Psalm 27

Rest.

Walking into Mass this morning, the last thing on my mind was peace. Projects to handle for school, a talk to finish writing for tomorrow, homework to start, sick siblings at the house, decisions to make, my mind had 50 tracks running at once.

But just entering the Church, finding a pew, and kneeling to pray – a peace washed over me.  My heart filled with joy and I smiled. He is taking care of me. He loves me. That’s all I need. I can rest in His presence and allow my mind to take a break. The constant streams of stress and worries went away, replaced by a flood of love.  And I was okay.

I was reminded of my true love I have for my Faith. That that same faith is my rock to lean on and to hold onto when life becomes a storm.  It will never fail on me, never forget me, never cease to provide an endless source of inner joy and peace, it remains no matter what. I love my faith. I am in love with that faith.

It is a beautiful thing.

The way our Faith is there to catch us when we fall.

The way it never changes.

The way it provides us with shelter and hope.

The way our Faith lets us know we are loved, endlessly and unconditionally.

The way our Faith brings us closer to Him.

The way it gives us a place to rest.

I love it.

We need to let our Faith transform us, so that it becomes so much a part of us we can never be separated from it. Let it fill our hearts and minds, going everywhere we go. Hold onto it and know that it will be there always. Love it. Believe it. Learn it. Live it.

In the presence of the Lord we are at home.

Today’s Responsorial Psalm is taken from Psalm 27. I want to show you the whole Psalm, because it’s something I know I needed to read and hear today:

A Triumphant Psalm of Confidence.

(A psalm of David)

“The Lord is my light and my salvation;

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life,

of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me, to devour my flesh,

my adversaries and foes,

they shall stumble and fall.

Though a host encamp against me,

my heart shall not fear

Though war arise against me,

yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord,

that I will seek after;

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

to behold the beauty of the Lord,

and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter

in the day of trouble;

he will conceal me under the cover of his tent,

he will set me high upon a rock.

And now my hear shall be lifted up

above my enemies round about me;

and I will offer in his tent

sacrifices with shouts of joy;

I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,

be gracious to me and answer me!

You have said, “Seek my face.”

Your face, Lord, do I seek.

Hide not your face from me.

Turn not your servant away in anger,

you who have been my help.

Cast me not off, forsake me not,

O God of my salvation!

For my father and my mother have forsaken me,

but the Lord will take me up.

Teach me your way, O Lord;

and lead me on a level path

because of my enemies.

Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;

for false witnesses have risen against me,

and they breath out violence.

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living!

Wait for the Lord;

be strong, and let your heart take courage;

yes, wait for the Lord!”

 

Isn’t it beautiful?

God gives us confidence, He makes us triumphant when we call on Him and let our hearts take courage in Him!

He is there.

He is always there.

He gave us our beautiful Faith to stand on, to hold onto, to live out in Him. To give us confidence when we are down, to strengthen us when we are weak, to sing his praise when we are hurt. Because He is love.

Love Him.

 

Read your Bible, or at least read that Psalm I put above. In today’s world it can be hard to remember that He is triumphant in all things, and He is always there for us – never forsaking us. Temptation and trial may attempt to lead us astray, yet He remains. He is our light and our salvation. We have nothing to fear.

 

~

Catherine

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Love is…Tough

First of all, this isn’t what I thought this next post would be on. I was going to do a beautiful and detailed look at some of the best examples of God’s love shown throughout the Bible – and I”ll still do that, just next time.  This post though, is one to remind us that love isn’t all flowers and hearts and bliss. Sometimes love is tough.

 

God has a path for each of us to walk, right? We can choose to follow it or we can choose to take the bunny trails and try to make our own path. If we wander too far away, or wander at all, God starts calling to us, reminding us to come home. The signs can be small, hard to notice, hard to interpret. Or maybe one hits you like losing your voice the day of a performance, and on that same day getting invited to give two separate talks.

That’s what happened to me last Thursday. I had been training and practicing with my two theater class for 10 weeks, we had one night to show off what we learned, and I got sick. (That’s also the reason this post is delayed.)

I think God was making something pretty clear – because I got invited to give two talks that same day to different schools. Which is huge.

It wasn’t what I wanted necessarily. I wanted to perform with my classmates, I wanted my teacher to see what I could do, I wanted to show off, I didn’t want to listen to the little voice in my head telling me that maybe my time doing fun theater is coming to an end. Tough love. Sometimes it’s what we need.

Sometimes we need a reminder that our ideas may not be the ones of God. And we need to step back and reflect on what we’re doing, decide if it’s the same as what God wants us to be doing.

Now is the perfect time for that. Because today is Ash Wednesday.

Lent started today. A season dedicated to penance, to changing our hearts, preparing for the celebration of Easter. Lent is about discovering ways to grow closer to God and show our love for Him, maybe by sacrifice, or by going to adoration, or praying more, or just deciding to dedicate time to discovering who God wants us to be. There are tons of ways to keep Lent the sacred season it is. And it’ll be different for each of us.

My lenten acts will be to dedicate a lot more time to working on Heroic Catholic writing, (study guides, books, posts, etc.) and making myself get out and get to know people at the Catholic Student Center at my college. The latter will be much harder for me than the former, but Lent isn’t about keeping everything easy.

Lent isn’t about piling on as many sacrifices as you can think of either. Any sacrifice you decide to make should direct you to becoming closer to God. If giving up sweets helps you find a way to focus on God and Religion, awesome. IF giving up Facebook means you spend that time in prayer or reading or study of the Faith – fantastic. Maybe you don’t give anything up, that’s cool too.

This Lent I’m trying something new for me. A little sacrifice each day, and adding a little something to enrich my faith life each day. (Like no chocolate one day, and add a decade of the Rosary before I sleep that same day)

This Lent I’m trying to say less “I want” and more of “Your will be done” in my life, words, and deeds. I want to love Him better. To keep discovering what He has planned and follow those plans, letting His love for me be my guide.

Love isn’t always easy. Sometimes love means missing something you wanted to do, so that another door can be opened. Who knows where Love will lead us if we stay open to it? I want to find out.

Keep one another in your prayers this Lenten season, I’ll be praying for y’all too.

~

Catherine

P.S. I challenge you to lay in bed before you sleep and just ask God to speak in your heart. Ask Him what you are called to be and do – then just listen. Place yourself in His presence and know that you are loved greatly by Him and He wants to lead you ever closer to His heart.

 

 

Love is…

It’s February, and this month holds many special days within it. Like Mardi Gras next Tuesday, the beginning of Lent next Wednesday, St. Blaise’s feast day this Wednesday – and St. Valentine’s day as well, two weeks from yesterday.

All very centered around one simple thing, love.

 

I say simple, but the reality is that love is both the simplest and most complicated force at work in nature. The power and magnitude of love is incredible. Last Sunday’s readings focused on love. Let’s look at the second one again – from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:

 

“Brothers and sisters:
Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.
But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues,
but do not have love,
I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy,
and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;
if I have all faith so as to move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own,
and if I hand my body over so that I may boast,
but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, it is not pompous,
It is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests,
it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing
but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.
If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing;
if tongues, they will cease;
if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.
For we know partially and we prophesy partially,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child,
think as a child, reason as a child;
when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror,
but then face to face.
At present I know partially;
then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.” – 1 COR 12:31—13:13

At first glance love seems so simple. Something easy to do, and it is! But let’s look at what St. Paul says love is – and what love isn’t. What we are with love, and without love.

This passage opens up with St. Paul’s familiar greeting: “Brothers and sisters”, a greeting that reminds us of the fact that we are one family, one body in Christ. And that is a beautiful symbol of love.

He then goes on to say that we should strive for the best spiritual gifts, yet he will show us a better way. The way of love.

I love the next part. Where he writes that without love, it matters not what we say, for we are like resounding gongs or clashing cymbals.  Think about that. If you speak to someone in a loving way, your words go across and are more likely to touch the heart of the person you’re speaking to. Whereas if you speak without love, and instead with something of hatred or anger, you’ll get nowhere.

We are nothing without love. Our faith matters not if we fail to have love. All our knowledge, comprehension of mysteries, prophecies, it means nothing without love.

We gain nothing from giving things away, offering things up, if we do not do it out of love.

Love is God. and God is love.

St. Paul’s next paragraph is one of the best known passages in the New Testament, I think, and I encourage you to go re-read it. It is powerful in how it shows what love truly is. How love should be. What love should not be.

Love is a beautiful thing.

Never discount the power of love. The final part of that reading goes,

So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.” 

Greater than faith. Greater than hope. Love is greatest.

This month, focus on love. The meaning of it, the power of it, think about how much God loves you – because He loves you an awful lot. You are a miracle. You are incredible. You are made in the image and likeness of God – made in the image of love.

Think about that.

Next time we’ll look at more examples of God’s love as shown to us throughout the Bible. Check back soon

~

Catherine