Tagged: Mass

What do you think about during Mass?

I went to Mass yesterday morning (Wednesday) and here are a few of the million things that passed through my head:

  • I wonder where that guy I saw yesterday is sitting. (Shift body angle to look around)
  • Who is sitting behind me? He was an accent or something going on.
  • I hope the priest kneels when he gets the already consecrated Body of Christ… oh good. he did. I hate when they don’t do that.
  • Where do all these old women buy their coats?
  • I should have brought my Rosary.
  • Yes, I’m definitely going grocery shopping this afternoon. And I need a new can opener.
  • And lighters. And some candles. I love candles.
  • Did I turn the heat down before I left my apartment?
  • I wonder how long my cat is going to be clingy at the new place.
  • Don’t think about him (as I think about my ex-boyfriend).
  • It’s like I want to date an old man or something (because I want someone who is financially responsible and courteous).
  • My grandpa is a great man.
  • I forgot to send my grandma a birthday card! Yikes! Today is her birthday!
  • I really want to bake some bread (part of my 28 in 28 list) today… but I’m on that diet.
  • What are these clip things for on the back of the pews?
I don’t even think that’s it.
I know I was thinking about one of my coworkers during the homily.
Do you do that? Get so far off topic that you don’t even know how you got there?
Any suggestions for re-focusing myself during Mass? I know I have to re-orientate myself to daily Mass and let go of distractions, and that it’s a great exercise for me spiritually.
But… I want to focus now!
I picked up another prayer card with the Memorare on it. Oh, Mother Mary, pray for me.
God bless!

5 ways to move on

I haven’t been the best at moving on.

I was with my ex-boyfriend for nearly six years. It was hard to leave, even when I knew it was the right thing, the thing that God had been calling me to do for a long time.
I’m still hurting, still lonely, still clawing my own heart out, and I want to share more personal things on this blog, but while the pain is so fresh and new, I just wanted to post this list.
These are five things that have somewhat, kind of, barely, a little bit helped me “move on.”

1. “Jesus, I trust in you.”

     One of my first nights alone, I was washing some dishes and I started crying. I remember just nearly-kneeling (my knees were bent, and my head was down and my hand was holding on to the counter), and just saying “Jesus, I trust in you, Jesus, I trust in you, Jesus, I trust in you.”
     There’s something calming about the repetition, something calming about Christ holding my hand, something calming about being able to trust someone.

2. Fill your life with people and experiences.

     Not food! Not things! This is not the time to eat yourself into a food coma or drain your savings.
     If you do that, you’re only going to feel worse about yourself.
     Things (or food) can not bring you happiness. Remind yourself of that.
     Instead, invite your friends over for game night or drinks or coffee. Go for walks. Start a 10K running program (this is what I did).
     Set a goal of something, anything.
     Go on a road trip. Just a few miles. To a lake or a hiking path. Go somewhere.
     These don’t have to be new experiences. You just have to go and do without the other person that used to be in every part of your life.

3. Go to Mass!

     Mass will bring you peace. Enjoy it.
     Talk to people while you’re there. Sing the songs. Hold hands, if your parish does that during the Our Father.
     Smile at everyone. “Fake it until you make it,” in the happiness department.
     If you can go to daily Mass, do it. There is something great about a pious, beautiful quiet Mass during the week. It’s a refresher.
     Better yet, spend some  time in Adoration. Bring your Bible. Bring your Rosary. Talk to God about your pain.
     He cares. “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you. He will Never allow the righteous to be shaken.” -Psalms 55:22

4. Avoid thinking about the break up and trying to figure out what went wrong.

     In my case, I sort of knew the break up was coming. I was growing more and more orthodox in my beliefs, and I wasn’t communicating that. My Ex-boyfriend wasn’t talking to me about his goals, either. My heart of hearts knew.
     After the break up, I tried to figure out, for a while, how I could have changed things.
     But no, it isn’t going to help. We weren’t meant to be together, and that’s OK. I learned a lot, I loved a lot, and it hurts a lot.
     Pain and sacrifice are a part of life. I know that God will provide.
     It doesn’t make sense to dwell on the past. As soon as you can, start planning something for the future, something to look forward to.

5. Don’t jump back into the dating game.

     Again, I did this wrong. I signed up for a free online dating site and started talking to two guys.
     What a mistake. MISTAKE.
     I wasn’t ready. My heart is still hurting. My soul is still healing. My head is still reeling. It’s not the time to try to find someone else.
     It may never be the time.
     I don’t have a magic formula for when is the right time to start looking. My mom, my friends, everyone, says you’ll find someone when you aren’t expecting.
     Except, when you think your vocation is married life, you are always expecting. (Right?)
     So take some time to be yourself, by yourself. Take some time with the Lord, as often as you can, and just enjoy life.
     It isn’t too late, regardless of how old you are. Honestly. It’s not to late. God has a plan. God knows. Just trust in his ways.
Just some things to think about while you’re in pain.
God bless!

5 ways to actually say ‘peace be with you’

If I had to choose just one part of the Mass that really irritates me (it’d be really hard), but I’d pick the sign of peace.
So many times, I reach out to shake hands with someone, and the person doesn’t make eye contact with me because he or she is looking at the next person to shake hands with.
Really? I always think to myself. You’re supposed to be sharing peace with this person.
It’s supposed to be symbolic of asking for forgiveness and giving forgiveness to those in your (personal) life.
It bothers me a lot.
Here are some ideas to make the whole process go more smoothly.
1. Relax. You’re not going to get a deadly disease from shaking hands.
     Last time I checked, those horrible diseases aren’t spread by hand-to-hand contact. I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure a few seconds of sweaty palm action won’t kill you.
     Stop trying to avoid the person who coughed a little bit ago. He probably just has a dry throat because he woke up late and didn’t drink anything before leaving for Mass (he can not wait for Communion, let me tell you).
     Seriously, can you stop with the hand sanitizer after shaking hands? Please, stop.
     Jesus was among the lepers. You can shake hands with the girl who has a runny nose (it’s allergies, I swear).
flower photo

A not-related photo of flowers.

2. Stop trying to make a strategy.
     This is not the game of Risk. Just turn one way. No hands open? Turn the other way.
     The just shake hands in succession one way or the other.
3. That would be the point where you make EYE CONTACT.
     Actually give peace.
     Goodness. Smile, say it audibly and shake the hand like you just made a closing deal on a house.
     You’ll feel good. He’ll feel good. Life will go on.
     “Peace be with you.”
4. Shake hands with the kids.
     They’re probably shy and don’t want you to look at them.
     Just offer your hand anyway. If they don’t respond, it’s OK.
     Offer them peace anyway. I mean, they’re kids. C’mon.
     If you do it sincerely, the parents will smile, too.
5. Mention it after the dismissal.
I mean, was that hard? See, you just gave peace again.     “I noticed your scarf when we shook hands. I love it.”
     Then, she might be happier, not snap at her kid in the parking lot and the world goes on.
     If you’re too shy, try to say something nice to the greeter handing out bulletins.
     Not just, thanks, have a good day. How about: “nice tie” or something similar.
It’s not difficult to just be nice.
Once you’re pretending to be nice, it’s not too far until you’re actually nice.
It’s kind of a vicious circle.
God bless.

Learn something: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Learn something

In case you aren’t aware, tomorrow, Aug. 15, 2013, is the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Yes, that’s a Holy Day of Obligation.

What’s it all about, anyway?

The beginning

In 1950, Pope Pius XII wrote Munificentissimus Deus, defining the Dogma of the Assumption.
It’s really the go-to guide for this feast.

Pope Pius XII said, “Since ancient times, there have been both in the East and in the West solemn liturgical offices commemorating this privilege.”
This isn’t something new that Pope Pius XII thought would be a great idea. Cool! Let’s make a new feast day for Mary and make it a Holy Day of Obligation!
No, this has been a tradition in the Church throughout the world since “ancient times.” When the Church talks about “ancient times,” you know it’s pretty serious.

Pope Pius XII continued, “The fact that holy fast had been ordered from ancient times for the day prior to the feast is made very evident by what our predecessor St. Nicholas I testifies in treating of the principal fasts which ‘the Holy Roman Church has observed for a long time, and still observes.'”
There are even traditions that most (read: me) Catholics don’t follow… a fast before the feast day? What a great idea! I wish we hadn’t given that up. I may try that today (Wednesday). Except… usually, I fast breakfast and lunch and then eat dinner. I should work on that and what a great time to start.

There’s more from Pope Pius XII:
“The Holy Fathers and the great Doctors, in the homilies and sermons they gave the people on this feast day, did not draw their teaching from the feast itself as from a primary source, but rather they spoke of this doctrine as something already known and accepted by Christ’s faithful.”
ALREADY KNOWN by Christ’s faithful. It was already in our (Catholics) corporate knowledge. It was just something that made sense to us. Of course. Mary’s body was not corrupted. She was just lifted up into Heaven. This makes perfect sense.

Our beliefs

Pope Pius XII explains exactly what we know in our hearts.
“She, by an entirely unique privilege, completely overcame sin by her Immaculate Conception, and as a result she was not the subject to the law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, and she did not have to wait until the end of time for the redemption of her body.”
Now, if you haven’t got to that part about the bodily assumption of all humans… go check out your copy of the Catechism. That’s right. We aren’t going to be angels. We’re going to be humans, perfected in Heaven. We’ll be near Christ in our human bodies, in the same way Mary is now.

Just like not bearing sin, she’s the the forerunner. She does it before us (and with us, of course). You can’t get any closer to Christ than Mary is. She’s there, walking in his footsteps. She walks so close behind her rabbi, she’s covered in the dust from his sandals.
Let me break down this quote.

ENTIRELY UNIQUE – she’s the only one that not only had an Immulate Conception, was chosen (AND ACCEPTED) and was taken up to Heaven. The only one. She’s special.
NOT THE SUBJECT OF THE LAW – that’s right, those biological laws. she wasn’t subject to them. She didn’t have to die. God spared her from that, because she, too, sacrificed her only son.
END OF TIME FOR REDEMPTION – the rest of us have to wait until Christ returns. and oh, what a wait. Mary didn’t have to wait. She didn’t have to be away from Jesus.

Pope Pius XII said, “The august tabernacle of the Divine Word had never been reduced to dust and ashes.”
I had to look up august in this sense. It means marked by majestic dignity. Is there any better way to describe Mary? Majestic dignity.

St. Robert Bellarmine said, “And who, I ask, could believe that the ark of holiness, the dwelling place of the Word of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, could be reduced to ruin? My soul is filled with horror at the though that this virginal flesh which had begotten God, had brought him into the world, had nourished and carried him, could have been turned into ashes or given over to be food for worms.”


St. Peter Canisius, the Vatican’s secret agent, said, “This teaching (of the Assumption) has already been accepted for some centuries, it has been held as certain in the minds of the pious people, and it has been taught to the entire Church in such a way that those who deny that Mary’s body has been assumed into heaven are not to be listened to patiently but are everywhere to be denounced as over-contentious or rash men, and as imbued with a spirit that is heretical rather than Catholic.”
WOW. St. Peter Canisius thinks this doctrine of Mary’s Assumption is pretty serious stuff.
And we should, too.

Pope Pius XII tells us, “Since our Redeemer is the Son of Mary, he could not do otherwise, as the perfect observer of God’s law, than to honor, not only his eternal Father, but also his most beloved Mother. And, since it was within his power to grant her this great honor, to preserve her from the corruption of the tomb, WE MUST BELIEVE (emphasis mine) that he really acted in this way.”
Now, Mary sits “in splendor at the right hand of her Son,” Pope Pius XII said.
Wait, the right side? So Jesus is in between Mary and God. Interesting.
It’s like… A HOLY FAMILY. Wow.

I’ll let you know how my fast goes… if it goes. Maybe I’ll give up coffee.
Yes. I’ll start with abstaining from coffee. And add on.

God bless.

Check out other learn something posts:

Missing Mass


Mary, Queen of Heaven

Learn something: Holy Days

Learn something


Holy Days of obligation…. the Catholic Church seems to be the only one (among so many others) that has Holy Days of Obligation.

We have feasts, solemnities, memorials…

Which of these are obligatory?

Well, the most important is Sunday.

Every Sunday is a Holy Day of obligation.

Here’s what the Catechism says.

2192 “Sunday … is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church.”

1389 “The Church obliges the faithful to take part in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and feast days and, prepared by the sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive the Eucharist at least once a year, if possible during the Easter season.”

There you go. That’s the end of that, right?

No. Nice try.

2177 “The Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church’s life.”

This is so important it’s one of the PRECEPTS OF THE CHURCH.

The first precept: “You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.”

According to the Catechism, there are five precepts, though just a quick search of the Internet shows some think there are more. (The Church really doesn’t demand much from us.)

Alright, so Sunday, get to it. Go to Mass. Easy.

What about these Holy Days they speak of?

These days vary in the different Rites and by country.

In the United States, it even varies by diocese.

According to EWTN, beside Sunday (every Sunday), the Holy Days of obligation in the U.S. are:

1) January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
2) Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, the solemnity of the Ascension
3) August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption of the  Blessed Virgin Mary
4) November 1, the solemnity of All Saints
5) December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
6) December 25, the solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The Canon lists 10 for the universal Church, including the six above plus:

The Epiphany, Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, St. Joseph and Sts. Peter and Paul.

(I was at Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ by accident… a nice accident. I didn’t even look at my Catholic calendar and just went to Mass that day.)

Anyway, in Hawaii, the only Holy Days are the Nativity (Christmas) and the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Interesting, but local rule by Bishops and conference is another topic.

If any of the Holy Days occur on a Saturday or a Monday, they are typically transferred to the following or preceding Sunday (so you don’t have to go two days in a row).

Personal devotions

I have a few saints I depend on for prayer and help regularly, and I like to go to Mass on their memorial days. It’s another, special chance to say thank you for their hard work on my behalf.

I know St. Joseph was behind me finding my current job. St. Matthias is constantly coming up on my petitions. My guardian angel as well, during the feast of the guardian angels.

There are all sorts of Marian holidays and celebrations all over the calendar. Depending on your priest, he may choose to celebrate those memorials on selected weekdays or the major memorials.

I think if you’re close with your priest, you can ask and he’d oblige you.

These days all start to mean something with a serious Catholic calendar (that you look at!). But all the dates can be found online as well.


God bless.


Check out earlier Learn something posts:

Missing Mass