There is just something about the joy that one gets when they sit for an hour in the chapel, heart and soul alone with the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus Christ himself. It is indescribable and uncontainable. If you really have never done so, you really should make a Holy Hour, it is really great.
Monthly Archives: April 2010
So…I never sent that letter to my friend to try to undo my jerkiness. I don’t know why, I just never did. Doesn’t matter. I was praying my Rosary about 20 minutes ago and I looked at the envelope sitting there on my desk and started thinking again of whether or not I would do this difficult thing and send it. As I was praying the last decade of the Glorious mysteries, my phone went off. When I was done praying, I checked it. It was a text message from his girlfriend. Not a shock, I had texted her earlier to tell her I was living in her building next year. Only, I choked on my own tongue when I read it. Her boyfriend (my friend) had something for me.
Now I’m going nuts. What could it be? I haven’t talked to him in a year. I’ve been a complete jerk. Even weirder, its obvious that they were discussing it at the exact same time that I was praying about the situation during my Rosary. God is so interesting. Now I’m having dinner with them and another couple of old friends on Saturday. This is really great. Or really bad. I don’t know. My stomach feels sick.
I totally took a step up in my prayer life and bought the four-volume set of the Liturgy of the Hours. I’m pretty pumped about it. Just wanted to share that.
“God doesn’t really care what we do, as long as we don’t hurt other people.” That’s what Sam told his buddies at the lunch table. “Am I hurting Lisa when I have sex with her? No. God doesn’t care then.” His buddies all nodded in agreement. It made perfect sense. “I mean, he cares much more about whether or not I help the poor, or fight for equal rights. As long as no one hurts me, they can do whatever they like. Its not my business.”
And a complete lie.
Contrary to what society wants you to believe, this is not God’s rationale. The rules of engagement are not do whatever you like as long as nobody gets hurt. First of all, God has set up rules, and the reasons aren’t so nobody gets hurt, but the reasons are that he is God and what he says goes. It may sound very prideful, but let’s be honest, he created all that is, and so he gets to make the rules for he knows this universe a little bit better than we do. Second of all, we are foolish if we believe that physical hurt is the only hurt we feel. Nobody may get physically hurt in extramarital sex (though it does happen), but you may be emotionally scarred, whether you like to admit it or not. But that is beside the point, the rules aren’t there primarily to prevent pain, but rather to glorify God.
It’s a clever lie, though, isn’t it? It’s cleverness exploits our own humanity. It takes a complete advantage over our desire for love and acceptance. From the deepest fountains of our heart and soul is a hunger for love, a hunger that only God can fulfill. But seeing as how you can’t see the Persons of God standing before you, it is often difficult for us to experience that fulfillment, and so we aim that desire on the next best thing, our fellow brothers and sisters. We yearn so much for their love, acceptance, and approval, so much so, that we will betray our own consciences, our own knowledge of good and evil to experience that feeling of love from them. We would rather keep silent about sin so as to not upset them and perhaps lose their love. But this isn’t true love, its ruled by fear, shame, and guilt. When we say only what people want to hear so that we stay in their graces, we betray ourselves and we really do betray our love for them and most of all we betray Jesus Christ, nailed to the Cross for our transgressions.
But worse than this desire for the love of others is the dangerous desire to love ourselves. Our thorny flesh desires much that we know is wrong. Original sin and concupiscence; it all drives us to do what we know we ought not to do. We fear the pain and agony of denying ourselves what the flesh wants. We find it too difficult, not worth the fight. We would rather satisfy our bodies than satisfy God. We love ourselves so much that we choose not to love God.
The irony of it all is this: that when we love ourselves or others to the point where we lie or keep silent about moral truth or theological truth, when we call vice” good” and virtue “bad”, when we try to “love” them by accepting their sins, we actually cease to love them. No one who knowingly allows a child to pet a rabid mangy dog because the child wants to “pet the puppy” loves that child. He knows that the dog is unsafe and could lead to harm. Yet we are often silent when our neighbors freely, openly, and joyfully engage in rabid, mangy sexual sins, support the brutal murder of the Jew, the minority, the unborn. We do not love them if we silently or vocally approve of their sins.
The truth is that God does care about what we do to ourselves, to others, and with others. God would not rather we clothe the poor than abide in purity. He wants and demands both from us. This is the truth, and it is something we should not and cannot keep silent on. So what does this mean? Do we go and picket the funerals of soldiers with signs saying they will burn in hell for the sins of sodomy? Does it mean that we deface the fronts of business that sell pornography? Does it mean that we burn down the stores that sell clothing made by child laborers? Does it mean that we gun down the abortionist as he mows his lawn on Saturday afternoon? No. What it means is that we continually be a voice for sanctity, for respect of life, for virtuous living. It means we become a people of prayer, a people who instruct the ignorant. We become a people who live saintly lives, to show the world that it is possible to save sex for marriage, that it is possible to keep an unplanned baby alive, that it is possible to rise to new life in Christ.
And that is the truth.
How come I never even knew this verse existed:
When a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:16-18
Pray for St. Paul’s Newman Center and all who are riding in our bike race against UND tomorrow morning. It is going to be a great time. I’m really excited for the race and got a little statue of the Blessed Mother to put on my handle bars to inspire me and spur me on to finish the race no matter how difficult it is.
Sometimes I feel like my whole life has just been wasted. When I think about the first twenty-one and a half years of my time on earth, I don’t see much that is of value, of what really matters. I don’t see God. I mean, he was there all along, but I don’t see any recognition, any response on my part, and it kind of bothers me. When I go up for Communion or go into the Confessional, or I pray my Rosary, I feel a sense of loss in that I haven’t always taken joy of these things, that I’ve missed out. I just feel like my life has been a big old stinkin’ pot of sewage, and that there are 21 years that I will never get back. All that time being shy or all that time spent being mischievous is just completely wasted.
The truth is, my life really was a big old stinkin’ pot of sewage. But as I’ve been riding my bike past the Fargo waste treatment plant lately, one thing I realize is that sewage can be treated, can be purified, made new again. The yucky can be removed and be made into clean, drinkable water. That’s when I understand once more what happened to me in Baptism. God washed away those 21 wasted years. He does not even remember them! When those blessed and holy waters poured over my head, I died with Christ. All the terrible things I had done and said, my lack of faith in God, my prideful will in determining my own view of God, my apathy, my fears, my idleness, all of it was buried with Christ. It hung on the cross, stinking like sewage, very displeasing to God. But when I lifted my head from that font and the waters dripped off of me like grave clothes, I was truly risen with Christ. Those things were busted and broken, conquered and destroyed. They no longer were a part of me, thrown to the wind like chafe. God no longer holds those 21 years against me. I am free from them. They are confirmed dead. God doesn’t go there, so I don’t need to either. What matters now is that I continue to strive on the path that God has set before me, set before us. And when I fail, which I do constantly, I will stand back up and walk into that Confessional and will be made “Baptism clean” once again as my sins and failures are buried in Christ and new life is breathed on me through Christ from the lips of his priests.
O God, whose only begotten Son, by his life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life, grant that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.
As I step out and attempt something that I thought was impossible; as I attempt reconciliation that I have imagined to be too difficult; as I swallow my pride; I seek words from the Holy Spirit. All I can pray is the prayer of St. Francis Assisi for it truly sums up all that I need for this most difficult letter that I am about to write.
Lord make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light and
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
The most painful thing in the world is to realize how wrong you have been, how irrational your stupid decisions have been, how quickly you dump a friend over disagreements, over not being able to see eye-to-eye. I do want to reconcile. I still do want to be friends. But does he even miss me? Does he care? Does he even notice my absence or is even slightly pained by it? I fear the answers, but where there is doubt, I will sow hope, right?
Pray for me, please, as I begin this task which demands a LOT of humility, something I don’t have much of to begin with.