Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Nunc et in æternum! Amen.
Going to Mass this morning was nice. Really really nice. Nicer than usual actually. Yep. I know, how can the Mass be “nicer than usual” (“nice” being a commonplace word for such a transcendentally beautiful reality)?
When you haven’t gone to Mass in about five days when you are used to going six out of seven days it can be. I was going through withdrawal.
I really don’t like missing morning Mass. When I miss it, I feel “off.” The rhythm of my day is all messed up. I went on Monday but then I had to go in to work on Tuesday and Wednesday so I missed those days. I was happy because then at least I would be getting a few days at Mass.
But no. I went to bed Wednesday starting to feel like junk thinking that it was probably just allergies.
I woke up Thursday with a head packed with scuzz and nastiness. I couldn’t breath but through my mouth and my ears were pretty much useless. How do I know they were useless? Because I woke up to a greatly muffled alarm and television (I wake up to EWTN because it’s how I roll). I rolled out of bed and went to see my mother.
As I walked to her room, I came to the realization that I could not make it to Mass. There was no way I could because just walking made me feel weak.
That thing came in fast.
So I didn’t go to Mass on Thursday.
My goal was to work up strength and fight the bug so I could go to Mass on Sunday when I absolutely had to go.
Did I mention that my parents were out so I was on my own the whole weekend?
Needless to say … no loud raucous party this time.
I stayed in my lounging clothes all day yesterday. It was kinda nice though I did feel incredibly lazy. I do believe that we all need lazy days every once in a while. It’s good for the body.
And we need to go on retreat.
I went to confession today and the confessor told me that I should think of going on retreat.
“Okay, Lord, I know. Get me there. I already told You I want to make a retreat, that I NEED a retreat. I put it in Your hands because it seems anything I take, I royally screw up. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
I am also convinced that I have been stressing myself out of late more than usual. My mother even tells me that I am my own worst enemy. I do live in my head too much. I also don’t have much self-confidence in some aspects of my life
And I am a perfectionist. A perfectionist to a fault to the point that it causes me a lot of anxiety.
Which probably didn’t help me fight off the bug that attacked me with a vengeance over the past few days.
I find that when I am really stressed out I: a.) break out, b.) get sick to some degree, c.) am fatigued to a degree, d.) become generally anxious about even the smallest thing.
I have gotten all four of those of late. I am believer in the fact that if your spirit/soul is not at peace then don’t expect your body or mind to be any different and all other arrangements thereof.
Oh, and I haven’t been praying my Office.
That was the arsenic sauce on the sundae of “Bah!” *angst* that has been the last few days.
I know I am not bound to pray my Office but it’s very much a part of me.
Along with my evening devotions and the devotions I have during the day (my daily Rosary walk and my pre-Mass devotions and meditation time). Those were gone too.
I hate missing Mass. It messes me up more than it’s worth.
When I start grad school, I will not give up daily Mass. No way. Never. It’s too important to me for me to just “skip” it because of class. If I have to go to the crack of dawn Mass at SJA, so be it. If it means I have to get to the Seminary earlier so I can assist at Mass and make it to class on time. So be it. The Mass has to be the center of the day.
At the very “least,” I have to make an extended (as in not just five minutes) visit to the Blessed Sacrament. I have to see Him. I am like a lovestruck girl.
Who am I kidding? I am. As imperfect and fallen as I am, that’s what I am.
I am in a relationship with Someone.
If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend or a really close friend, you want to spend as much time as you can with them. You want to be in frequent contact with them. You want to develop a deeper and deeper relationship with them.
That’s how I am with the Lord. Srsly.
It’s one of the primary reasons why I have to go to Mass pretty much everyday. It’s my QT with l’amore della mia vita. When I assist at Mass, it’s just Him and me. When I am sitting in church either praying or just being, it’s just Him and me. Sometimes all I do is gaze at the tabernacle and I cannot help but smile because I know for a fact that He is there gazing back at me as if I were the only one in church and I can feel in an almost visceral manner a bit of the infinite love He is radiating into my very soul.
When I was at Mass today it was so very very nice. It was like being recharged after being worn out. It was something that absolutely lifted my spirits.
Whenever I go to Mass, I never want to leave. I just want to stay there and remain with Lord always.
But I was hungry (physically) and I had things to do before my parents got back home from the weekend away.
I stopped at one of my favorite Italian stores for some sfinciuni (Sicilian pizza), a sub (for tomorrow), a couple of my favorite Italian cookies, and a soda and then I made my way home.
I came home and decided to tweak the blog a bit. I have added two new images to the sidebar where you can pray the Divine Office in either the Ordinary Form or the Extraordinary Form online (along with some other even older forms if you really want to pray it old school … think “party like it’s 1572”). I also added to the top image (“May the Most Blessed Sacrament …”) a link that when you click on it [the image], you are sent to a site that streams a live image of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament exposed for Adoration. The stream you get is from the chapel of the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters out of Philadelphia (known as “the Pink Sisters” because of their nifty habit).
I kinda forgot about that last resource (and the traddy Breviary site) but as soon as I found it again, it brought back memories of college.
As some of you may know, I went to a Catholic/catholyc college that was a mixed bag of happy-clappy felt banner womynpryst-longing progs (for serious charity), the sanctimonious walking stereotypes (I was on the receiving end of their ire at times), and the small group of traddy Catholics (most of us had a sense of humor) who would randomly go to the local traddy parish (NO and EF Masses offered properly and beautifully) that had a perpetual adoration chapel (they renovated another classroom in their former school my senior year that was beautiful) after our night classes where we would pray our Office or Rosary.
Well, one of my personal practices was when my friends were in class and I didn’t really want to trudge across campus to maybe get a good spot in the library (I loved the floor to ceiling windows of the library … especially when the men’s lacrosse team was practicing … lol) I would go to the chapel which was not far from the main academic building and sit in the closet where the Lord was stored.
The campus was an estate before the Grand Rapids OPs bought it in the 40s and the place where the chapel is now was the stables. When the College first moved in, it was the gym but in the lovely 70s, it was made the “Pastoral Center” (because “chapel” is too old-fashioned … that has since changed). The tabernacle (besides looking like a Simon game made out of gold) was in what must have been a closet at one point. It was a small room with two chairs and two old prie-dieus that when you opened the tops, you would be smacked with the glorious smell of old prayerbook (I opened those tops often).
After class, I would walk over to the chapel, put my veil on (I had a black one back then … still can’t find it), and go over to the “Jesus Closet,” say a prayer or two, then sit in one of the chairs, pull out my homework and start on my homework. I would talk to the Lord in my heart. Sometimes I would ask Him to help me with my work and other times I would just be silent. Sometimes I would put on some classical music or traddy music. I thought that playing my Eminem playlist was not appropriate (I don’t listen to all his stuff but there are some of his songs that I like … sue me … lol).
It was really the best time of the day. My friends would always know that if they couldn’t find me (I would get a text, “Where’s Teh Nun at?”), they would just come over to the chapel and there I would be having a study party with Jesus. Sometimes they would join me so at some times, there were like four or five of us in this small room, with our books spread out, having a study party with the Lord. We were Catholic geeks par near-excellence (sometimes the non-Catholics would join us too). Add to that the fact that (like my parish church) there was a strong wireless signal, and you had some happy Catholic nerds.
What more could one want? It was quiet, low traffic (sadly), and there was the Lord. We always said that we studied best there. Sometimes we would talk among ourselves quietly since we figured that so long as we were bawdy and loud, He didn’t mind.
On Fridays of Lent, some of us would make a Via Crucis in the chapel using one of the versions I had on my iPod from Father Z. My favorite is the Cardinal Ratzinger 2005 Stations.
Many good memories of those times.
Why did I do that?
I figured that He was almost always alone, He must get lonely so I would come over and spend time with Him. Besides, I wrote some of my best Theology papers in His Presence (mind you, He was in the tabernacle, not exposed but He was still there) … I wonder why? lol What better place to write a paper on the Real Presence, the role of the Eucharist in the life of the Church, or on the liturgy than in the very Presence about Whom I am writing?!?! The best Study Buddy!
There were also times when I was at the library or I was in my room in the convent off-campus when I wanted to see Him. I would look up that very site I shared with you here. I would open it in a new window and put Him in the corner so when I would be doing research online or writing a paper, He was with me. I could look at the corner of my desktop and there He was, looking back at me. It’s not technically the same thing as really being there but the fact that it’s streaming over the Internet does not somehow negate His Presence. He does not cease to be in the Blessed Sacrament because His Image and Presence is being transmitted over the Internetz. I think it’s a great thing for those who cannot for one reason or another cannot make a visit in person.
The site actually has prayers and devotions that one can offer while making an e-visit. You can submit your prayer intentions. You can even make a 10 dollar donation for the flowers around the Blessed Sacrament for your intentions! They suggest ways to utilize the stream such as when one is praying one’s personal prayers/devotions, to have Him on one’s screen so one is praying in the Presence (in a direct/indirect way) of the Lord. They also remind us that we should not be treating the stream any more differently than when we are in the real Real Presence (as in in a church with the Blessed Sacrament exposed/reserved). They suggest opening with a prayer and then when one is going to close the window offering a prayer.
I love making visits to the Lord. Even if it’s just cutting through church for a moment and saying “Hello” or “Ti amo” (I always say “I love You” to Him in Italian for some reason). Or if it’s an extended hour before Mass of varying levels of attention (He knows my drive to multi-task and my fallen-ness).
When I am in His Presence, for that time I am with Him, it’s just Him and me. All my worried go away. I know I can pour my heart out to Him because He knows me better than I know myself. I can have a staring contest knowing that I am going to lose but also knowing that He is looking at me with nothing but the most perfect and ardent love for me for the very reason that I am me.
I invite you to spend time with the Lord. Drop by your parish church, He’s there (though in some churches you will need a GPS to locate where He is). Find out where adoration (perpetual adoration even) is held and go. If you can’t make it to church for one reason or another, check out the site I shared. I assure you, He is waiting for you right now. He wants to see you. He loves you because you are you. Because He wants to hear all of your joys and sorrows, your worries and anxieties, your triumphs and failures, your laughter and your tears (I have cried and laughed in His Presence). He wants all of you. You can’t hide anything from Him. He knew you before you were even conceived. He knows how many hairs are on your head and how many steps you have taken and will take. He knows the exact unique color of your eyes and He knows your very soul because He made it … for you and no one else. He loves you with such intensity that when you come to see Him, He rejoices because He has been waiting for YOU. When you spend time with Him be it in a crowded church or an empty chapel “closet,” you’re the only one there and He is there for you.
Learn to love the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Bring Him every thing and watch Him work so many graces and wonders in your life. You just have to let Him do it on His time (I should talk). He would do so many wonderful things in your life that you will be overflowing with joy, even in the face of sadness and adversity.
All right, I have Mass in the morning and I still have to pray II Vespers and Compline. Have a nice night!
BTW, next Sunday is Priesthood Sunday. Pray for the priests in your life who have helped lead you closer to Christ. If you can, thank them. Being a priest can be a thankless job. Being a priest isn’t always smells, bells, Latin, and lace sometimes (many times) you are a prime target of not-so-virtuous souls and the Evil One himself who are bent on undermining their vocations in one way or another. What will you do?