Saint Anne Novena Day 6

Day 6: Glorious Saint Anne, mother of the Mother of God, I beg your powerful intercession for the freedom from my sins and the assistance I need in my troubles…

(State your intention here.)

What can I not hope for if you deign to take me under your protection? The Most High has been pleased to grant the prayers of sinners, whenever you have been charitable enough to be their advocate.

Therefore, I beg you to help me in all spiritual and temporal dangers; to guide me in the true path of Christian perfection, and finally to obtain for me the grace of a happy death, so that I may contemplate your beloved Jesus and daughter Mary in your loving companionship throughout all eternity.

Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne & Saint Joachim, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

Congrats to Bishop-Elect Robert Barron!

Courtesy of Word on Fire

Courtesy of Word on Fire

Back when I was in college, one of my friends introduced me to Fr. Robert Barron’s videos on YouTube. I quickly became a big fan of his because he loved talking about the things that he loved as well as teaching about the Catholic Church. He would’ve fit in with any of my wonderful professors. I especially loved how he often debated with New Atheists and his 10-part Catholicism series. (I have the book version.)

So I was really happy to find out this morning that Fr. Robert Barron is now going to be an auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles!

My personal prayer for the soon-to-be-bishop is that he will follow in the example of Fulton Sheen and keep on making videos and wonderful new projects in new media. I also pray that the people in Los Angeles will be inspired by their new Bishop and follow in his example.

I’ll be here cheering him on and praying for him.

Read similar congratulations from Elizabeth Scalia, Deacon Greg Kandra, Tom Zapino, and Kate O’Hare.

Saint Anne Novena Day 5

Great Saint Anne, how far I am from resembling you. I so easily give way to impatience and discouragement; and so easily give up praying when God does not at once answer my request. Prayer is the key to all heavenly treasures and I cannot pray, because my weak faith and lack of confidence fail me at the slightest delay. O my powerful protectress, come to my aid, listen to my petition…

(State your intention here.)

Make my confidence and fervor, supported by the promise of Jesus Christ, increase as the trial to which God in His goodness subjects me is prolonged, that I may obtain like you more than I can venture to ask for. In the future I will remember that I am made for heaven and not for earth; for eternity and not for time; that consequently I must ask, above all, the salvation of my soul which is assured to all who pray properly and who persevere in prayer.

Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne & Saint Joachim, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Fear Not! : Things I Learned at Cafe Catholica

Art for the Heart courtesy of the Heart of Mary Women's Fellowship. Feel free to make this your PC wallpaper.

Art for the Heart courtesy of the Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship. Feel free to make this your PC wallpaper.

I have a tendency to worry too much. I overthink and overanalyze pretty much everything. I tend to think the worst of myself. When I went to Cafe Catholica yesterday, I was nervous because Cardinal DiNardo was going to celebrate Mass and give the talk for the week. He draws in a huge crowd and I was going to lead the opening hymn. I should also mention that I had to get there earlier than usual for a last-minute rehearsal. So yeah, I was more nervous than a college student during finals week.

I brought a Mass journal with me and one verse from the first reading particularly stood out to me:

“The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.” – Exodus 14:14

The image you see in the header is from the Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship’s “Art for the Heart,” free wallpaper/phone backgrounds that the site shares every Sunday. The verse comes from 1st Peter, relating to the Bible study that I am writing:

“Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” – 1st Peter 5:7

When I led the opening hymn, I didn’t use the mic because I tend to project (which is theatre talk for “I can be seriously loud.”). It was a good thing I did because I messed up the last chorus a bit, but my voice blended with the choir’s so my mistake went unnoticed.

I didn’t socialize much that night because I was too worried about things that ultimately didn’t matter in the long run. I confided my worries to a few close friends and tried to distract myself with getting stuff instead. (From the desire of spending my entire allowance on Catholic merchandise, deliver me Lord!)

The lecture centered on service, but what resonated with me was the idea of letting Jesus be with me and that it was okay for me to be distracted in prayer.

It wasn’t until I got home and did some major prayer time that I was able to settle my thoughts. Distractions will always be in my life, but spending time with the Lord last night and this morning is helping me to relax.

I also learned recently that I need to value myself more. I’m still learning how to love myself, to be completely honest. To see myself as a child of the one true King and not the girl who didn’t feel good enough. Instead, my hopes for the future rests in two Bible verses.

The first one is 1st John 4:18

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.

The second one is Jeremiah 29:11

 For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the Lord—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.

Til then, I will keep on casting my anxieties onto the Lord and ask him to always abide with me.

Regardless of Warnings, The Future Doesn't Scare Me At All

Looking into the future of the Catholic Church is a lot like somebody wondering if they’ll ever find love again after a series of heartbreaks. It doesn’t seem like any good will come with all of the persecution, the indifferent (at best) or hostile (at worse) politics and entitled brats that populate the majority of Tumblr who attack the Church on a daily basis. And yet, in spite of everything, I still feel like there is hope.

 

There is hope for a bright future when you see young adults spreading their love for the Church in New Media:

 

 

There is hope when the entire world can relate to the joy found in the eyes of a Catholic priest who happens to be a Star Wars geek:

 

There is hope when even the combox trolls of YouTube see evidence of God through his servants: 

Photo courtesy of Introvert Apologist. The term you're looking for is "Father What a Waste"

Photo courtesy of Introvert Apologist. The term you’re looking for is “Father What a Waste”

 

I see hope for the future of the Church every time I staff at Awakening retreats.

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Copyright to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston office of Young Adults and Campus Ministry.

 

In the hundreds of people in my diocese attending Mass on a Monday afternoon for Cafe Catholica. 

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Posted with permission from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

 

In the millions of young adults who march for the rights of unborn children…

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In the millions of people who come to World Youth Day

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It’s too easy to be pessimistic, even fatalistic. Sure, all these people show up to these events, but how Catholic are they really? God only knows. We can’t write off people who want to be part of the Church, but seemingly falter. We can’t write off Pope Francis and say that he’s a bad pope in spite of his flaws. We can’t dig foxholes where none are required.

GK Chesterton said “Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.”

Like people who’ve been burned by love affairs gone wrong, many Catholics build up walls and put armor around their hearts, keeping outsiders at arms’ reach and daring the world to prove them wrong. They do this in the name of protecting themselves and defending the church, but in truth, it’s a very selfish action. When we find people who want to understand the Church more or even your everyday “spiritual but not religious,” we have to consider where they’re coming from in order to evangelize. If we approach them with all of our armor, it just ends up alienating them.

A small example can be found in something I encountered recently. A person who considered themselves spiritual but not religious posted a quote that I found inspiring, but in the caption, they asked why religion and philosophy were taught instead of affirmations. Being someone who went to a Catholic college and minored in philosophy, I felt like I needed to defend what I learned. But I did so with as much love for the person I was commenting to as much as the love I had for the things that made me who I am.

I said: “I love your quote because it reflects on what I’ve been experiencing recently, but part of my transformation happened through what I learned from religion and philosophy. There is beauty to be found in them. It’s through my faith that I gained the courage and the desire to change. It’s through philosophy that I learned what kind of ideals I should strive for. I definitely agree that having an attitude of gratitude helps as well.”  I was glad to see that they responded positively to what I said.

 

Be not afraid, fellow Catholics. We are in a future not our own, but if we approach the future with an open heart and focus on just being friends with those we dialogue with as opposed to turning people into “projects,” then the future of the Catholic Church will be a bright one.

Saint Anne Novena Day 4

Glorious Saint Anne, I kneel in confidence at your feet, for you also have tasted the bitterness and sorrow of life. My need, the cause of my request, is…

(State your intention here.)

Good Saint Anne, you who did suffer much during the twenty years that preceded your glorious maternity, I beseech you, by all your sufferings and humiliations, to grant my prayer.

I pray to you, through your love for your glorious spouse Saint Joachim, through your love for your immaculate child, through the joy you did feel at the moment of her happy birth, not to refuse me. Bless me, bless my family and all who are dear to me, so that some day we may all be with you in the glory of heaven, for all eternity.

Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne & Saint Joachim, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

Leading By Example: First Peter Bible Study Day 6

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An excerpt:

We’ve all rolled our eyes at that passage from Ephesians about wives being subject to their husbands. We live in an age where women don’t have to depend on a man to get what they need and we can dress however we want to. So why on Earth is Peter asking wives to accept the authority of their husbands and to not adorn themselves by dressing nicely?

Take a step back and take a deep breath, ladies. It’s all a matter of context.

This passage asks women to lead by example. While we are free to dress how we want to, the evidence of our holy lives is better shown by how we act as people. True beauty, after all, is found within. Don’t worry so much about having the latest hairstyle, the trendiest accessories, or a closet filled with designer clothes. Men are definitely visual creatures, but if you ask your significant other (or a beloved family member) what they find most beautiful about you, they’re more than likely to (hopefully) say something about the way that you smile or something related to your personality.

Read the rest here.

 

Saint Anne Novena Day 3

Day 3: Beloved of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, mother of the Queen of Heaven, take us and all who are dear to us under your special care. Obtain for us the virtues you instilled in the heart of her who was destined to become Mother of God, and the graces with which you were endowed. O model of Christian womanhood, pray that we may imitate your example in our homes and families, listen to our petitions,

(State your intention here.)

Guardian of the infancy and childhood of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, obtain the graces necessary for all who enter the marriage state, that imitating your virtues they may sanctify their homes and lead the souls entrusted to their care to eternal glory. Amen.

Pray for us, Saint Anne & Saint Joachim, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.