Finding Ourselves in the Silence

longing

It’s hard for me to be quiet for long. Although I don’t like noisy, crowded rooms, I love having my music around so much that my headphones are practically glued to my ears. I hate making small talk, but if the conversation centers on Doctor Who or Buffy, I’m more than likely to talk someone ear off. There’s a calm to the quiet, but it’s still unsettling to my modern mind, which is so used to having some kind of background noise.

Gaining an appreciation for silence is something a lot of religions seek out. Elizabeth Gilbert practiced an intense Buddhist meditation called Vipassana while staying in the ashram as a way of practicing detachment. Vipassana requires just sitting in silence and not shifting the body once you’ve sat down. Practicing this particular meditation helped her gain an appreciation for the idea of being less talkative and neurotic.

Catholicism has its own appreciation for silence and has its own form of silent meditation. Sure we have praise and worship, Liturgy of the Hours, and a million litanies, but the Church also offers Adoration. I love the silence of Adoration. More often than not, though, I tend to use Adoration to dump all my thoughts in the presence of God. I pray a Rosary and then babble on in my thoughts.

Eventually, the calmness of the hour I spend in Adoration finally sinks into my heart. There’s a great freedom in letting go of your thoughts and focusing more on God’s presence. Vipassana doesn’t allow for thoughts of God because some Buddhists consider God to be “the final object of dependency, the ultimate fuzzy security blanket, the last thing to be abandoned on the path to pure detachment.” Liz Gilbert preferred her “Slumber Party Theology.”

Neither of these philosophies hit the mark. There’s a beautiful paradox in the way that Catholics detach themselves from worldly things and surrender themselves to God. It’s not becoming dependent on a warm and fuzzy imaginary friend. God is not safe, after all. The Pharisees and Romans didn’t crucify the Son of God because he was telling everyone what they wanted to hear.

Mother Teresa explains this better:

In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.

When we are silent in the presence of God, we become less of ourselves and more like Him. An interesting thing I observed about Eat, Pray, Love is that although Elizabeth found the happiness she sought from her mid-life crisis, there were times that she came off as a tad pretentious and self-centered. She never liked the idea of Christ being the only path to God. Sorry, lady, but it’s right there in black and white in John 14: 6 “ “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

I understand that some people will probably find that concept of only one way restrictive. But letting God into our lives and allowing us to lose ourselves in Him paradoxically brings out the best version of ourselves. Having a life in Christ doesn’t mean that everyone becomes a cookie-cutter copy of each other. You just have to look at the community of saints to see that in that “one path,” there is diversity. Bishop Robert Barron compares it to light being fractured through a prism into an infinite number of colors. Instead of many paths leading to one way, finding ourselves in God leads to a more beautiful life.

There’s a song by Matt Maher called “Empty and Beautiful” that captures this spiritual journey of God finding us and how emptying ourselves into Him leads us to finding True Beauty.

Tobit's Divine Praises: Tobit Bible Study Day 12

tobits divine praises

From Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship

It’s not surprising that thankfulness for God’s mercy is said first because gratitude and mercy go hand in hand. We can’t be grateful without something to be grateful for and someone to thank. All gratitude and mercy begins and ends with God. It’s very much like a prayer said at the beginning of Adoration:

“O Sacrament most holy!

O Sacrament divine!

All praise and all thanksgiving

be every moment Thine.”

Read the rest here!

The Eucharist Brings Us Peace: Eucharist Bible Study Day 14

eucharist day 14

An excerpt:

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” – St. Francis de Sales

I think the hardest part about being in Mass and going to Adoration is that we often want to rush things. I’ve said before that when we receive the Eucharist in the Mass and when we are in Jesus’s presence, we ought to do so with reverence, silence, and love. It’s not an easy thing, though, because we are always in a rush. We rush through traffic to get to work. We grumble when we have to wait in a line. We fast forward through pre-recorded programs of our favorite shows.

What we actually make time for says a lot about what we love. We may wish for the Mass to be short, but we’d gladly sit and watch a football game for however long it lasts or watch the Oscars as they drag on past the four-hour allotted time and heck, even watch the red carpet before the awards start. So why is it so hard for us to give our time to the creator of time?

Go read the rest here!

The Eucharist Is Calling You! Come to Him!

Eucharistic_Adoration_-_Monstrance

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

So I was browsing my social media feed when I saw this on a nondenominational Protestant’s facebook page.

Sometimes I just wish Jesus would appear in the flesh so I could see Him and touch Him and look into the face of all certainty, you know what I mean?

For the intents of this post, I’m gonna address the following to “Lady” because the page belongs to a woman who works in women’s ministry.

Dear Lady:

“How many of you say: I should like to see His face, His garments, His shoes. You do see Him, you touch Him, you eat Him. He gives Himself to you, not only that you may see Him, but also to be your food and nourishment.” – St. John Chrysostom

You can find his body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist, dear sister in Christ. I know that you’re so used to the whole “faith alone” concept. It’s hard for most of us to believe that what looks like a piece of bread and wine becomes the body and blood of Christ after  But it takes just as much faith to believe that Christ is there in the Eucharist as there is to know that God is everywhere. In fact, it takes a lot more faith in my honest opinion.

When Jesus said “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life,” he meant it. He was also being real when he passed the bread and the wine to his apostles saying “This is my body, this is my blood.”

But how can this be, you ask?

Paragraph 1380 of the Catechism says: “It is highly fitting that Christ should have wanted to remain present to his Church in this unique way. Since Christ was about to take his departure from his own in his visible form, he wanted to give us his sacramental presence; since he was about to offer himself on the cross to save us, he wanted us to have the memorial of the love with which he loved us “to the end,” even to the giving of his life. In his Eucharistic presence he remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and gave himself up for us and he remains under signs that express and communicate this love: (669, 478, 2715)

Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease.”

Dearest sister in Christ, when you are craving Jesus’s physical presence, know that He is calling you to come to Him! If you ever pass by a Catholic Church, I dare you to stop by their Adoration Chapel or just sit inside and recognize His presence in the Tabernacle. He is there in the Eucharist and He wants to be with you!

God bless,

Monique

P.S. There is also an image of Jesus’s Most Holy Face and a devotion to it. Look it up!