How The Visitation Can Increase Our Eucharistic Faith

The second joyful mystery is the Visitation. Mary visits St. Elizabeth. St. John the Baptist leaps in St. Elizabeth’s womb.

St. Elizabeth’s words – “how is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” — can be a key to deepening your Eucharistic faith.

What if you prepared for communion by changing her words just a bit – “How is it that my Lord comes to me? How is that bread becomes God…for me? How is it that God pours all of Himself into what was once bread … for me? How is it that He invites me to receive all of Himself without reservation as food? “How is that my Lord should come to me?”

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Updated: How To Strengthen Your Faith In College

This post was published last winter.  Now that it is getting to be back to school season, it seems that now is a good time to re-publish it.  I added some additional thoughts at the end.

___________

Will The Crucifix Be There In Four Years?

How do you keep your faith in college? It can be done. 

The following advice was written by Peter Bullen, a Stanford grad, who has long been a member of the St. Francis of Assisi.

1.    Make a conscious decision to love every single person you meet.  Love is an action rather than a feeling, so it’s the key to living your faith actively.

2.    Love yourself because God loves you and you are His child.  College is hard, and you will fail sometimes, so you may have a hard time loving yourself, but if you don’t love yourself, it’s harder to love others and love God.

3.   Get involved in a Christian fellowship on campus.  Christian friends can support each other in their faith and encourage each other towards Christ.  We’re all members of the Body of Christ, so we’re meant to work together.

4.  Pray and share your faith with your friends.

5. Take time to pray when you have down time, such as when you’re walking to class.  Praying often helps you keep God at the center of your life.

6. Put your faith into your regular schedule.  For example, go to daily mass on a certain day of every week or read the Bible at a certain time.

7. Do not be afraid to ask questions about your faith.  Questions can help you grow if you take the effort to find the answers.

8. At times when you doubt your faith, be active instead of passive. Pray for stronger faith, talk to someone who has a strong faith, and learn more about your faith.

9.   Learn more about the mass and the Eucharist.  The mass can be so rewarding if want to love it.

10. Participate in a community service activity.  Faith without works is dead.

Update (August 6, 2011):

I would add a couple of thoughts to Peter’s excellent summary.

+    Everything your professors think they know about Catholicism is wrong.  Their mistakes will seep into their teaching (mostly) unknowingly and they will rarely reflect well on the Church and her teaching. Most often, they will say or suggest that Catholic Church believes “X” and imply that “X” is really stupid.  Stop and think: Would a billion Catholics believe it if it were really stupid?  Would the Church teach it if it were really stupid?  Is this professor really smarter than some of the most brilliant thinkers known to history — St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Bl. John Paul II — thinkers who believed what the professor is mocking?  Uh, no.

So, if they tell you something troubling about Catholicism or the Church, ask someone who knows.  You will find either that the professor has misstated what we and you believe or that the professor simply does not know why we believe what we do — reasons that the Church has probably believed and taught for, oh-I-don’t-know, centuries.

+     “The greatest deception, and the deepest source of unhappiness, is the illusion of finding life by excluding God, of finding freedom by excluding moral truths and personal responsibility.”  Bl. John Paul II, 2002.

In college, you will experience new-found freedom.  Much of the so-called ‘college experience’ is nothing more than an attempt to find happiness by “excluding moral truths and personal responsibility.” Have lots of fun — just choose your fun well.

+     Grace.  Participate in the sacraments — they are the ordinary means of receiving sanctifying grace.  More than anything you need grace.  Grace opens the door to Heaven — nothing else.  Your faith will wither without it.

+     The Church Will Always Be There For You.  The Church carries within her and freely gives out a love like no other.   Your professors don’t.  The guy you met in the bar who’s plying you with drinks and pretending that he likes you doesn’t.  The girl who’s doing shots with you so she can forget what she’s about to do doesn’t. They won’t be there when the chips are down.  They will abandon you; the Church will not.

Updated: How To Strengthen Your Faith In College

This post was published last winter.  Now that it is getting to be back to school season, it seems that now is a good time to re-publish it.  I added some additional thoughts at the end.

___________

Will The Crucifix Be There In Four Years?

How do you keep your faith in college? It can be done. 

The following advice was written by Peter Bullen, a Stanford grad, who has long been a member of the St. Francis of Assisi.

1.    Make a conscious decision to love every single person you meet.  Love is an action rather than a feeling, so it’s the key to living your faith actively.

2.    Love yourself because God loves you and you are His child.  College is hard, and you will fail sometimes, so you may have a hard time loving yourself, but if you don’t love yourself, it’s harder to love others and love God.

3.   Get involved in a Christian fellowship on campus.  Christian friends can support each other in their faith and encourage each other towards Christ.  We’re all members of the Body of Christ, so we’re meant to work together.

4.  Pray and share your faith with your friends.

5. Take time to pray when you have down time, such as when you’re walking to class.  Praying often helps you keep God at the center of your life.

6. Put your faith into your regular schedule.  For example, go to daily mass on a certain day of every week or read the Bible at a certain time.

7. Do not be afraid to ask questions about your faith.  Questions can help you grow if you take the effort to find the answers.

8. At times when you doubt your faith, be active instead of passive. Pray for stronger faith, talk to someone who has a strong faith, and learn more about your faith.

9.   Learn more about the mass and the Eucharist.  The mass can be so rewarding if want to love it.

10. Participate in a community service activity.  Faith without works is dead.

Update (August 6, 2011):

I would add a couple of thoughts to Peter’s excellent summary.

+    Everything your professors think they know about Catholicism is wrong.  Their mistakes will seep into their teaching (mostly) unknowingly and they will rarely reflect well on the Church and her teaching. Most often, they will say or suggest that Catholic Church believes “X” and imply that “X” is really stupid.  Stop and think: Would a billion Catholics believe it if it were really stupid?  Would the Church teach it if it were really stupid?  Is this professor really smarter than some of the most brilliant thinkers known to history — St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Bl. John Paul II — thinkers who believed what the professor is mocking?  Uh, no.

So, if they tell you something troubling about Catholicism or the Church, ask someone who knows.  You will find either that the professor has misstated what we and you believe or that the professor simply does not know why we believe what we do — reasons that the Church has probably believed and taught for, oh-I-don’t-know, centuries.

+     “The greatest deception, and the deepest source of unhappiness, is the illusion of finding life by excluding God, of finding freedom by excluding moral truths and personal responsibility.”  Bl. John Paul II, 2002.

In college, you will experience new-found freedom.  Much of the so-called ‘college experience’ is nothing more than an attempt to find happiness by “excluding moral truths and personal responsibility.” Have lots of fun — just choose your fun well.

+     Grace.  Participate in the sacraments — they are the ordinary means of receiving sanctifying grace.  More than anything you need grace.  Grace opens the door to Heaven — nothing else.  Your faith will wither without it.

+     The Church Will Always Be There For You.  The Church carries within her and freely gives out a love like no other.   Your professors don’t.  The guy you met in the bar who’s plying you with drinks and pretending that he likes you doesn’t.  The girl who’s doing shots with you so she can forget what she’s about to do doesn’t. They won’t be there when the chips are down.  They will abandon you; the Church will not.

Blessed Are They Who Mourn

A Jesuit father once told me that tears are a gift from God.  He told me at my father’s funeral.  I cried.

How could this be?

The Holy Father (while still Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger) explained in his book Jesus of Nazareth.  There are, he pointed out, two kinds of mourning.  “The first is the kind that has lost hope, that has become mistrustful of love and of truth, and that therefore eats man away from within.”  We’ve all seen this in action and may even have experienced it ourselves.  It truly is a vortex: by playing on the soul’s mistrust in face of the event, it chooses further mistrust as the solution.  The soul is then trapped.

There is another kind of mourning.  The Holy Father wrote: “But there is also the mourning occasioned by the shattering encounter with truth, which leads man to undergo conversion and to resist evil.  This mourning heals, because it teaches man to hope and to love again.”  The tears I shed for my father were of this kind.  Left alone, I would have been lost in the vortex trusting ever less until I lost the capacity to trust.  But I wasn’t lost.  I wasn’t lost because the Jesuit father who I mentioned, through his own tears (he and my father were friends), helped to teach me to hope and to love again.

Bishop Laffite Stands Up For Church Guys Everywhere

We’ve all been there.  In the doghouse with our better halves.  We may not know what we did wrong, but whatever it was, it was bad.  We were and are wrong.  We were and always will be in need of forgiveness.

Well, the next time we’re in that situation, we can now remind our wives that it is their religious duty to forgive us.  Of course, Bishop Laffite diplomatically (bishops are always diplomatic) talked about this topic in a way to suggest that we should forgive our wives when they are in the wrong.  But, of course, wives never need forgiving because they never do anything wrong — just ask.

So the next time our wives need encouragement to forgive us, we can just cite Bishop Laffite and blissfully await immediate and fulsome forgiveness.

Of course, Bishop Laffite did not say that our wives had to forget.  Now, that would be asking the impossible!

“Mother Teresa And A Cheeseburger”

This is the title of the video from onebillionstories.com telling a wonderful story about Mother Teresa. Skip to 2:06 and enjoy.

(c) onebillionstories.com

Catholic Boot Camp: Eucharistic Adoration

A long time ago I went to a Third Day/Michael W. Smith concert. Between acts, the preacher Max Lucado spoke. He took as his text Moses’ encounter with God in which God promised Moses anything. Moses had one request — “Show me your glory.” I remember hearing that and instantly picturing a monstrance with Christ present and his glory streaming forth. Everyone else in our group pictured something similar.

Eucharistic adoration is straightforward. A consecrated Host is placed in a monstrance. A monstrance is a specially designed holder for displaying and reverencing the Christ really present in the Eucharist. (You will see several monstrances in the video.) Once the Host is displayed, we reverence it for an hour. Why one hour? Because we are answering Jesus’ question to Peter — “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” — with an enthusiastic yes.  So what do you do? Nothing except worship your God.  Nothing except encounter His love.  Nothing except pour your heart to Him.  Nothing except love Him.   Why? Because Jesus is waiting for you. . . .

(c) http://www.CatholicHQ.com Jeff Lloyd; song: (c) Mercy Me