Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Nunc et in aeternum! Amen.
It’s been a pretty amazing week. This past Saturday, I served Mass with the Archbishop of Detroit (who remembered my name and prays the private silent prayers in Latin as I ever-so-geekily heard during the Lavabo). I participated in a prolife Rosary vigil outside two abortion mills within a few blocks of each other (isn’t Detroit delightful?). I got to serve Sunday Mass for the first time in months because some kids don’t know how to show up for Mass (don’t get me started. I just wonder why this is happening since when I was doing work for the servers full-time, we always had at least four servers at noon Mass … we used to have like seven kids and they knew what to do).
Then I got the email with my assignment for what class I am helping teach Catechism this year. I am an aide for a first grade class. I didn’t want to jump right in teaching. I figure, get my feet wet and if things work, maybe I can upgrade to full catechist. The DRE did tell me that the lady I will be working under a lady who may be unable to make it a few weeks so I will have to teach. Nothing I can’t handle with the grace of God.
To be honest, at first, I only signed up for this because it would get 30 percent docked off my tuition (please continue to pray that I can find a way to pay for grad school … there are some rather stressful things associated with the financial end of this endeavor). But now, I am genuinely excited. I love being Catholic. I wear my faith on my sleeve, in my head, and in my heart. To me, my Catholicism is not a part of me. It is me. My identity is defined (besides the obvious “being made in the Image and Likeness of God” thing) by Catholicism.
Some think that that is a detriment to me because it keeps me from being me but I think that’s a load of excessive individualistic garbage. I can be my best self by being what the Lord wants me to be. What better way to do that than to dedicate my life to the Church He founded to bring His sons and daughters to surmount their fallen-ness and enter into more perfect unity with Him? That and to fall head over heels for Christ. *raises hand* I already have and I hope to only fall deeper. I do fall on my face sometimes but He picks me up like any gentleman. *pious lolz*
I want to share that love for Christ and the Faith with the little ones. I hate to sound cynical but in my experience there are many times when it’s almost “too late” to get kids on fire for the Faith when they hit junior high (high school is even harder sometimes). I hypothesize that it has to do with the whole “peer pressure” thing. When the kids are young, I find that they don’t place as much credence on what others think of them. They are who they are. They say what’s on their mind (“Out of the mouths of babes” much?).
Gone are the days when piety was a virtue that was generally seen as something admirable and almost expected. Now, piety is something that makes one “closed-minded,” “backwards,” “archaic,” “illogical,” “superstitious” and all that malarcky. It’s what happens when society becomes increasingly secular/atheistic/agnostic/gnostic (as in, man knows everything, there is no “mystery” to life/existence).
I remember when I used to train altar servers, it was always the young ones who were the most zealous. They wanted to learn how to serve Mass. They wanted to learn about the Church and her liturgy. They loved all the little bits of Churchy trivia I would insert into my training sessions. To be honest, I miss training altar servers so much. It was my favorite things (unless I was getting hovered over but that’s another post) to do.
I am not saying that all older kids are shut-off to growing in love for the Faith, I know preteens and teens who are ardent Catholics even in the face of peer nay-sayers. It’s just that it’s harder for them because of the negative peer pressure. Even in Catholic schools. I have spoken with junior high kids who told me that they want to serve Mass more but their friends make fun of them because they are always at church.
I’d tell the kids to not sweat it (easier said than done, I know) and to remember that it really doesn’t matter what they think. If it helps them grow in their relationship with God, then more power to them. And grace too. Odds are, they will end up for the better having spent time working on one’s spiritual life. Most of the time, it’s just the kids showing their jealousy in a more masked and yet overt way. They tend to envy the servers because they get/got special privileges.
My first class is on Monday. I have to be there at 4:00 for 4:15 class so I am going to head over earlier so I can pray Vespers, do some spiritual reading (did I mention I <3 The Imitation of Christ? I do.), and make a visit.
I am really looking forward to this. I just hope and pray I do and say the things the Lord wants me to.
It just seems like the Lord is making things fall into place. He knows that I have been praying for months that this all happens. I am just hoping that the Lord deign that it continues.
Besides the financial stuff (I will spare you the details but please do pray for it), my next wall to overcome is the driving test. I am confident that I can pass it. I just haven’t practiced the whole parallel parking thing which is a major part of the Michigan driving test. It’s the part that was the “kiss of death” for me last time so I have this irrational fear of failing again. My sister said she would take me driving in her car (the car I am using to take the test). Ideally, I would like to take the test next month or November-ish.
There have been times when Old Goat Legs has been on my back annoying the crap out of me because he knows my weaknesses and he knows how to exploit them. There have been times when I have been almost overwhelmed with “I am never going to pass that damn test and then I won’t ever make it to grad school. I can do all these other things but I can’t pass my damn driving test.”
That’s my perfectionism rearing its ugly head. And my lack of self-confidence. And my pessimism.
It sucks to think that. It really does. It’s exhausting as well. And it makes me feel like crap because then I feel like I am trusting in the Lord enough.
This was going on for the past few weeks without end. It was constantly on my mind no matter how much I tried to push it out or pray it out.
Then this past weekend happened. It was like I got a booster shot in the heart. It began when I served Mass for the Archbishop. It was so nice to be back to doing some of the stuff I used to do all the time. Then it continued through the week. I would be in church praying my Office when I would get to a verse that would stick out in my mind. I would read it, look up at Him, smile, and thank Him in my heart.
Two pop out in my head right now:
The Responsory for Lauds on Tuesday (Week I of the Psalter) said:
“My God stands by me, all my trust in Him.
“In find refuge in Him, and I am truly free; all my trust is in Him.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto (yeah, I do that part in Latin.).
My God stands by me, all my trust is in Him.”
The last stanza of the third psalm (Psalm 18 was the psalm for all three) for the Office of Readings on Wednesday:
“You, O Lord, are my lamp,
my God who lightens my darkness.
With You I can break through any barrier,
with my God I can scale any wall.”
Since that last one came up, I have been viewing those things that are coming between me and my goal as walls to be scaled instead of obstacles or blockages.
These little bits of Scriptural encouragement is one of the many reasons why I try to persevere in praying the Office more regularly. While I am not (yet) canonically bound to pray it, I try to pray the majority of it. When I have been faithful to my spiritual “routine,” I pray Office of Readings, Lauds, Vespers, and Compline. Maybe when my schedule is more set in stone and regular, I will incorporate one or more of the “little hours” (Terce, Sext, and None … yeah, I use the old school names).
I have been putting this whole thing in the hands of the Lord. I know there will be times when I will be all negative but I am going to try to offer that to the Lord too. With His grace, I can do this. With His grace, I can do anything (provided it’s His will).
To keep myself optimistic, I have been thinking about what I may want to have as a concentration. You know, just ideas. While I would love to study Mariology as my concentration, I need to make myself marketable. If I can, I will take some Mariology but I am thinking that Moral Theology may be a good avenue since there are a lot of possibilities for work in the Church in that area: professor, ethicist in a Catholic hospital/health system, work with the ProLife/Ethics office of a diocese (*cough* Detroit *cough*), etc. etc.. And, if the Lord deigns I study canon law as I would like, then that would just make it more interesting.
But I am putting everything in the hands of the Lord. It can be hard for a controlling personality like mine that needs to control everything; know all the who’s, what’s, where’s, when’s, and how’s of everything; and be able to do everything herself. Add to that my perfectionism and you have a ball of angsty anxiety with penchant for pessimism sometimes.
I just keep thinking, “If the Lord can conquer sin and death, I am quite sure He can help me overcome these things. I just need to trust Him more perfectly.”
I am also looking forward to what comes with having my license: more freedom to do what I want, go to school, go to Mass where I want (*cough* TLM *cough*), spend time with friends I haven’t seen in a long time, etc.. It will also help me to find a more Church-y job (some think that I need to lay off the Church but it’s my vocation whether they like it or not).
I also think I am going to start going parish shopping soon. I never thought I would have to do that but I think it’s time for a change. It’s going to hurt because SJA has been my home parish since I was born but if it needs to happen, it will happen. I will probably still go to SJA for morning Mass (unless I go at the Seminary, depending on the schedule) but Sunday Mass may be somewhere else.
To be honest, I want to find a parish that is a bit more trad-friendly. Not that the parishioners are anti-trad. In fact, the ones with whom I have spoken don’t mind it (not apathetic) or they like it for one reason or another. It’s other attitudes and actions on the part of those higher up that can be kinda disheartening, not just personally but also because it is an excessively polarizing attitude to have: that those more traditional-leaning Catholics are “stuck in the past” or “in love with something archaic.” “Allie, you never told me you love Latin Mass.” “Ummm, yes, I did. I’ve told you many times.”
My goal is to be able to go to TLM every other weekend at least. I want to be more involved in Juventutem because I see a lot of grace and good coming from that group. I also think that it will open a whole new aspect of Holy Mother Church’s ever ancient, ever new tradition to a vastly untouched group (young adults 18-35).
Oh and having my license and a car will allow me to go on retreat … ’cause I need to go on retreat.
Please pray for me. I need all the prayers and grace I can get. I am really looking forward to what the Lord has in store for me.
And did I mention that I am going to a Solemn High Mass tomorrow evening followed by a lovely dinner at a local Italian restaurant that my parents went to when they were dating (one of the owners went to my high school, we’re both Regina girls)? Well, I am. And I am sooo very excited about it! Hopefully it’s a foretaste of more TLMs to come. Dominus, exaudi me!
I have so much to which to look forward, I have to trust that the Lord will provide me with all the opportunities and graces I need to accomplish His will on His time. He knows what’s best for me. I need to trust!
Have a nice night!