Tagged: Gospel

Learn something: Confirmation

Learn something

I think I should get some LEARNING back into the whole idea of Learning Mass, so here goes.

My intention is to make this a twice a month event for the foreseeable future, with an increase in frequency after I am officially out of the U.S. Army.


I’ve already sat through a Confirmation Mass this Easter season.

It was beautiful and all that, and everyone one is supposed to say about a Mass that brings “the youth” into the Church officially.

I don’t mean to sound sarcastic or anything. I’m glad when I get to see it, but for someone who didn’t know anyone getting confirmed, it’s hard to really realize the impact and importance of such an event.


I didn’t mean to look it up in the Catechism or anything. I just kind of stumbled on it when I was trying to catch up on my Year of Faith goal to read the whole thing this year. (Eek, I’m a little behind, I confess, but I know I’ll get there.)


This is what I found in the Catechism:


1294: Anointing with oil has all these meanings in the sacramental life. The pre-baptismal anointing with the oil of catechumens signifies cleansing and strengthening; the anointing of the sick expresses healing and comfort. The post-baptismal anointing with sacred chrism in Confirmation and ordination is the sign of consecration. By confirmation, Christians, that is, those who are anointed, share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which he is filled, so that their lives may give off “the aroma of Christ.”


The aroma of Christ… interesting.


I looked into that reference a little further.


2 Cor. 2:15-17: “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.”


Wait… what?

Let me break it down. I don’t even really understand yet.


“We are a fragrance of Christ to God”

OK. Christ was a sacrifice, like in the Jewish tradition. He was atonement for our sins.

God sacrificed Christ, for us. He is the fragrance.


See Gen. 8:21: “The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.”

The fragrance of the sacrifice was pleasing to God.


“among those who are being saved”

We are a fragrance of Christ to those being saved… um….

We serve as an example to those being saved. We share in Christ’s saving grace with those saved. I think it really is as simple as that.


“among those who are perishing”

This is confusing to me… how can we be the same thing to two very different groups of people?

It makes more sense with the next clause.


“to the one (group) [those being saved] an aroma from death to death”

According to my Bible commentary, Roman priests often carried incense, so Paul is using a current era reference for the readers.

The Romans lit the incense when they were returning from war, which meant life for the Roman soldiers but death to the prisioners.

The same is here with the “fragrance of Christ.” We are life to those that believe and death to those that don’t… though in our case, those that don’t know my not realize that we “smell” that way.


So, we smell like Christ. We smell that way as a continuous reminder that we are saved, that we are an offering to God, that our lives are offerings to God.


With confirmation, we “share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ.”

We share in his mission. Not that we didn’t before we were confirmed, but it’s more so after the confirmation. That’s what the anointing bestows on us: a responsibility to share in Christ’s mission, to spread the Gospel and to love as Jesus did.


It’s nothing that should be taken lightly.


When I watched that group of high school students process to the altar for anointing, I wasn’t thinking about the extra burden they will now carry… well, I shouldn’t call it a burden. It’s a vocation.

I wasn’t thinking about that.

I’m glad they are entering the faith fully as adults. I was thinking about how catechizes never really ends.

Not for priests, not for moms, not for anyone. We must continue to learn, to develop our faith and to share it.


It’s the sharing that makes it stronger, which is another reason I need to get this blog focused back on learning again. (And writing Mass responses, but that’s another battle.)

When I do a little research for a blog post, it helps me. I hope it helps another.

It helps build and strengthen and my faith (along with writing for a different audience than a newspaper article).


I hope I didn’t confuse you more.


God bless!


Remember, Remember the 22 of January

Yesterday was a “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of the Unborn Children.”

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal states, “In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life.” (No. 373)

On Monday, I was thinking about what I could do to observe this day.
I’ve always been strongly pro-life. I support Pro Life Wisconsin and have been to vigils and prayer services.
I own a Rosary for the Unborn.
But I don’t think I’ve ever fasted on the day.

The day, of course, is the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

Is fasting enough? Is prayer enough?
I think the best answer to that is yes, with faith.
We can move mountains with God.
We can change the world. We can stop abortion.
With fasting, yes. Prayer, yes. Faith, yes.

By teaching our kids, our friends, our family the truth. Have faith that these things work. They do.
God is on our side in this.

Why am I always hungrier, earlier when I fast?
It wasn’t even lunch time yet, and I was feeling hunger pains.
I ate only a small serving of veggies for breakfast (not that unusual for me, though I normally add that to eggs with some sausage or bacon).
I skipped lunch, though I did have orange lime slices in my water all day. Not that that adds much at all.
Everyone’s food smelled so good. And it normally doesn’t (I have high food standards).
Someone’s egg rolls, oh wow. A sub sandwich, please.
But no. I stuck with it.
But it’s not just enough to be hungry. I offered up my pain, my discomfort.
I’m alive. I can sacrifice and pray for change.
Those killed since the Roe decision in 1973 aren’t alive.
It’s not just the children that are hurt (killed), either. It’s the mothers and the fathers that lose a child.
I can’t imagine ever being that lost, hurt that much, so worried about my future that I could do it.
I can’t imagine the fear these women feel. I wouldn’t wish that fear, that feeling, that emotion on anyone.
It’s important to know there’s forgiveness. God forgives. Christ died for our sins.
Turn to him. He loves you.
I don’t even know what I would say to someone. Sidewalk counselors are so brave, so caring, so wonderful in giving their time, their love, their talent.
If you have that ability, don’t be afraid. Go.
I should go. I want this to be my goal this year.
I ate dinner, of course.
I hope they have delicious food in Heaven for  all the children lost. It’s so much fun to eat. I think about this a lot when I cook. Thank God for our sense of taste and smell.
I said a Rosary THIS morning 😦
I “couldn’t” (read: didn’t make it a priority) yesterday to do so.
But I was in Mass this morning and saying the Rosary with all my old lady friends. Wonderful to join with them for that devotion.
God bless.

Sunday reflections

Brothers and sisters:
Every priest stands daily at his ministry,
offering frequently those same sacrifices
that can never take away sins.
But this one offered one sacrifice for sins,
and took his seat forever at the right hand of God;
now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool.
For by one offering
he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated.

Where there is forgiveness of these,
there is no longer offering for sin.


Our sacrifices don’t take away our sins. Christ’s sacrifice does.

If you wanted to really find a basic tenet of Christianity, there it is.

“For by one offering, he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated.”

Lord, have mercy on us.


In other news…

I have bee house sitting/babysitting for the past week.

It’s been… not the worst experience in the world, but I want to be home. I want my own bed and my own cats and my own refrigerator.

It’s funny what we miss when we’re away from home.

So I was at St. Paul’s Catholic Church today (and last Sunday). And most of what they do, I’m OK with.

But then!!! (explanation points are like jazz hands, I’ve heard)

The entire congregation stands as the Eucharist is taken back to the tabernacle after communion. We stand, and we watch. I cross myself.

It’s beautiful.

It’s very pre-Vatican II/Latin Mass style. And I love it.

There’s a reverence there that you don’t have when you’re sitting.

It’s the type of thing you’d do if the president was leaving the room, and yet, Christ is so much more than our leader. He’s our savior.

Oh, Lord… have mercy on our lack of respect for your role.


God Bless. Happy Sunday!

Home, away from home

Mass in another Parish…  and diocese.

Let me start from the beginning. I was born in one diocese. OK, maybe that’s too far back.

I was baptized in the archdiocese that I currently live in, that I lived in most of my life except for when I was in college.

During (most of) college, I was in the diocese that I was born in. And I was OK with that diocese because I have a very reverent priest at our Newman Center.

For about six months, I lived in that diocese after I graduated. I didn’t like it as much. I have a very… let me just say, liberal priest who I didn’t… have as much respect for as I probably should have.

Then I moved back to my “home” archdiocese and I love it. I think there is better communication between the Bishop and the priests here. That’s just my opinion. I have no real facts to  back that up except that Masses are celebrated in a very similar fashion in different parishes. It’s beautiful.

Anyway, this weekend, I was again out of town into the other diocese. I attended Nativity of Our Lord parish. It’s the one I usually go to when I’m there, and I’m quite familiar with how it works.

I wish I could get past this convenience factor and just find a church I like while I’m there. It doesn’t make sense why I continue to go to a church that doesn’t work for me.

Granted, I know it’s Catholic, and I know that Our Lord is present in the Eucharist, but it just… isn’t… right. Or something. Kind of like how I feel during those Life Teen Masses. It’s just not for me. I like organs, hymn books and a priest who is there for the Lord.

Again, I’m being judgmental. I apologize. It’s hard for me not to be. It’s just nice to know that I can choose which church to do to. That’s not wrong.

I got home late last night

And read three quick chapters of the Agape Bible Study that I’m working on. Then I fell asleep.

Tonight, I’m going to re-read the notes and come up with something concise and intelligent-sounding to tell you.

And as the Year of Faith begins on Oct. 11, I’m going to be trying (even harder) to share my faith and increase my own knowledge of Catholicism.

Let’s do it together.

God Bless, always.

Michaelmas and more

I consider Michaelmas one of “my” feast days.

War broke out in heaven;
Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.
The dragon and its angels fought back,
but they did not prevail
and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
The huge dragon, the ancient serpent,
who is called the Devil and Satan,
who deceived the whole world,
was thrown down to earth,
and its angels were thrown down with it.

(From USCCB)

It’s one of “mine” because of my military history. I don’t want to get into it too much.

Everyone, right now, every American… we’re all attached to someone, some how who’s served.

Yet, it’s less than what it was during World War II. We don’t “know there’s a war on.”

And St. Michael, he’s the patron saint of the armed services. See, it’s all rolling into place now.

Yes, I know it’s not called Michaelmas anymore, either: Feast of Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael, archangels.

And today…

Though your servant is careful of them,
very diligent in keeping them,
Yet who can detect failings?
Cleanse me from my unknown faults!

(From USCCB)

My priest is officially becoming St. Patrick’s pastor tomorrow. How exciting for him and for us!

He’s been a delight for me since I started attending here in July, and I welcome the new authority he will hold over the parish.

In the Bible:

I promised to share my reaction to the Agape Bible Study on Thursday.

It’s definitely more… factual and academic than the InterVarsity study I just finished. It doesn’t have as much feeling and personal reaction behind it.

But there’s something that can be gained from it just the same.

“In the beginning God (Elohim) created heaven and earth. Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep, with a divine wind sweeping over the waters. God (Elohim) said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light.’

God, the Father = first person of the Holy Trinity; the divine wind – God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity; and “God said” = the Word of God, the third person of the Holy Trinity.”

The way the passages are broken down, the way it’s so easy to see the way the New Covenant is already apparent in the Old. It’s so easy and beautiful to see God’s plan already in action.

I highly suggest this study, regardless of one’s academic path. It’s enlightening to me even with my minor in Religious Studies.