Love Wins

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably heard that the Supreme Court legalized gay “marriage” yesterday. Social media was filled with people celebrating the ruling, using the hashtag #lovewins.

I, like many Christians, believe that marriage should only be between one man and one woman and that the legalization of same sex “marriage” is a grave error. However, we Christians should engage and respond to people who disagree with us with respect and, yes, love, in the way St. Paul describes it in the first letter to the Corinthians:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] 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.”

This passage is often read at weddings, but, married or not, we are all called to love every.single.person. in this way, the way Christ, the Bridegroom, loves His Bride, the Church. For a person as uncharitable and hard hearted as I am, that’s an extremely tall order. It’s so much easier for me to give a sharp response, to defend myself with ugly words, to hurt the other person as much as they’ve hurt me. In other words, doing the exact opposite of what Christ taught.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, …Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Let’s face it: we aren’t going to win souls for Christ with ugly words. Yes, we absolutely should correct those who are in error; it’s one of the works of mercy! And yes, we are allowed to defend ourselves when attacked. But nothing is accomplished when we heap anger upon anger, vengeance upon persecution. When that happens, the Enemy, the real enemy, has won.

Friends, we are blessed to have the true version of #lovewins: Christ on the Cross. Instead of giving in and letting forth anger, let’s challenge each other to show Christ’s sacrificial love to all our brothers and sisters, to show them that Love does indeed win.

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“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. …I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday!

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“I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day, the very depths of my tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of my mercy. …Let no soul fear to draw near to me, even though its sins be as scarlet.”

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“The greater the sinner, the greater his right to God’s mercy.” Saint Faustina

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“Do not be afraid to ask God’s forgiveness! He never tires if forgiving us, like a Father who loves us. God is pure Mercy.” Pope Francis

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“The flames of mercy are burning me. I desire to pour them out upon human souls. Oh, what pain they cause me when the do not want to accept them!” -Jesus to Saint Faustina

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Jesus, I trust in you! Jesús, en ti confío!

7 Quick Takes: Resurrection

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1. Hello, all! Happy Easter!!!!!! How was everyone’s Lent and Easter? My Lent was uneventful; I gave up all social media, and after the first few days, I actually started to enjoy it! It was nice to be away from the torrent of information and to be out of the loop for a while. I’m still getting used to being able to check Facebook/Twitter/Instagram. I did think about this blog a lot, and whether I should delete it or keep going. Writing does not come naturally to me. However, I don’t think I should let go of this little corner of the internet just yet.
Easter was glorious! I stayed in SA for the first time ever and got to experience the entire Triduum at my parish. It. Was. Amazing.

2. What I’m reading these days:
*”Story of a Soul” St. Therese of Lisieux – Is there really ever a bad time to re-read this? NOPE. 🙂
* “Thug Kitchen” – I flipped through this on a recent trip to Barnes & Noble. It’s basically a vegan cookbook, except with things I would actually want to eat. I was mildly interested, but not enough to cough up $30, so imagine my delight when I saw it at the library yesterday! I’m always looking for new recipes for meatless Fridays that don’t involve tuna or quiche. F-bombs abound, but the recipes look appetizing and I’m excited to start cooking my way through this.

3. This past week, I bought some hot pink carnations on a whim and I seriously underestimated how much of a mood booster they would be. I love looking up at my bookshelf and seeing that pop of color, so I’m definitely going to make this a Thing. Don’t they look sweet?

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4. “With Scars and All” – The Jesuit Post
“They say he’s coming back, but I can see the marks they left. He will never be the same.”
Read it and weep. I did.

5. Here is a gratuitous picture of my parish all decked out for Easter. You’re welcome. 🙂

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6. I’ve been trying to eat healthier lately (see Take #2), so I bought a cauliflower. This is how my brain works. Naturally,I have no idea what to do with it. I suppose I could just roast it in the oven, but with what spices?

7. Friday funny:
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Go see Kelly for more Quick Takes!

Happy First Sunday of Advent!

Well, hello, my pretties! Happy liturgical new year! This is my favorite time of year. I just love the air of expectation and preparation, both in the Church and out in the world. It’s so exciting!

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Some people can go the whole month without decorating their houses or listening to a single note of Christmas music. I am not one of those people! I’ve definitely tried to do it; for the past couple of years, I’ve only listened to Advent music and saved the Christmas music and decorations for the last week of Advent. But it was honestly kind of a bummer. I just love listening to music while making cards and wrapping presents, and having the cheery decor to greet me when I get home from a long day at work. So this year I said, “Enough!” I am determined to enjoy this season to the fullest, and for me, that means baking and eating cookies, watching Christmas movies, listening to ALL the Christmas music, and decorating every square inch of my apartment that is not covered with furniture. Without apology or guilt.
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To be sure, I’ll still keep a spirit of prayerful expectation; however, that doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy myself in a non-sinful way. Jansenism, be gone!

Here’s to a blessed, prayerful, JOYFUL Advent!

Oh Hai Internet

My poor neglected blog. I always have these dreams of posting more than once a millennium, and those dreams last right up until I sit down to write a new post and end up getting distracted by Tumblr. Such is life.

I haven’t been a zombie these past couple of months, though. Thankfully, it’s been more of a “living so much that I don’t have time to write it down” situation. And let me tell ya, that is a great situation to be in. I went on a weeklong vacation to my hometown, just because. It was lovely to spend time with my family on a non-holiday. We went to the beach. We spent time with my sister. I got to celebrate my best friend’s birthday IN PERSON. That hasn’t happened in ages! It was great.
Then came the novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (who I have a big devotion to) and the feast day! I attend a Carmelite parish (Little Flower Basilica FTW!!) so it was a solemnity for us. The Mass was glorious, and the dinner afterwards was great!

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The altar all decked out for Mass.

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Carmelite Sisters! More about them later.

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Ora pro nobis, Regina, decor Carmeli!

I received some major graces during that novena. I mean, I was just happy because one of my favorite Internet peeps said he would pray it with me (and he did!). But Our Lady interceded for me in a big way and I finally feel like I have a clear path cut out for me for the time being. God is so good.

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I didn’t read quite as much as I had been earlier in the year, but here are two of my recent favorites.

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Epic. I saw the movie ages and ages ago, but as a card-carrying member of Team The Book Is Always Better Than The Movie, how could I resist picking this up and blazing through it? It did not disappoint. It’s not a short book (my copy had over 1000 pages) but it’s definitely a page turner. I carried the book with me everywhere, reading snatches whenever I could, because I just HAD to know what was going to happen to Scarlett next.
And can I have a second to talk about Scarlett? Holy crap. Book Scarlett is like 9727182637 times more infuriating than Movie Scarlett, and let me tell ya….I loved it! She’s just one of those characters you love to hate, and I kept having to suppress audible reactions to things she said or did. Definitely recommend!

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I’d never read any Merton before, other than random quotes floating around the Internet. The only thing I knew about him was that he’d converted and then joined a Trappist monastery in Kentucky. And for some reason I associated him with sketchy theology??? (I don’t know why?) Anyway. I enjoyed this book. He’s pretty quotable, and has a way of writing that occasionally makes you go, “Huh. Hmmm. Yeah. Yeah!” The book is a bit slow in the beginning when he’s talking about his childhood, but picks up after he gets older. I liked it a lot, so much so, that I checked out “The Sign of Jonas,” which is his journal from his first years in the monastery, from the library the other day.

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I’ve started looking around at different orders here in San Antonio. Nothing too intense, just sort of feeling out a few that caught my eye. I did go and visit the awesome Carmelites of the Divine Heart of Jesus! I’d actually never heard of them before the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, but after I saw them at Mass on the feast day, I asked around and got some info. It was soooo much fun, and they are definitely on my short list of communities to look into further!

Please keep praying for me! As you can probably tell, I’ve decided to go full steam ahead into looking at religious life. So if you think of me, please ask for continued clarity in discernment, por favor. 🙂

Until next time!

Possibilities

Oh dear. I was doing so well with posting for a while, and then…I don’t know. My bad. Here’s a picture of Carmelite friars hitting a piñata as an “I’m sorry” gesture. 🙂

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I’ve been taking a bit of a social media break over the past month. I just felt this strong pull to sit and think and, most importantly, listen.

Mostly, I’ve been pondering the scary-ish (for me, at least) question of Vocation. As in, what is mine? I confess, I haven’t given it a whole lot of thought over the past couple of years. Oops. But in the midst of moving up here and getting settled and working on trusting God more, I just haven’t had any time! Okay, well, I’ve had time, but I didn’t feel like I was in a space to be deciding anything major. But no more! I have a decent job, I have no debt, and I feel emotionally prepared to actually listen to what God is telling me instead of talking to myself and pretending that it’s God’s will for me. Do you hear that, Lord? I’m ready to listen to all the things!

However, let me just say this: I’ve already given religious life a serious try. About three years ago, I went through aspirancy with an amazing cloistered order in Kentucky. Obviously, it didn’t pan out, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a good, spiritually fruitful time! Seriously, though. I don’t know if it was because I was younger (21! d’aww) or if it was my first time seriously away from home, but holy homesickness, Batman. That, combined with my inner people-pleaser taking over my life coming out to play, which made me clam up something fierce (not good), combined with the death of a family member coming right at the end of aspirancy, made me seriously freaked out about religious life as it applied to me. Whenever someone tried to ask me, how was it? Or, are you going to try another order? I was like:


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At the time, it felt like the end of the world, but now I just feel a little ridiculous when I think about it. Because nothing bad even happened to me! The nuns were lovely and awesome and kind and fun, and I learned SO much about myself, and I definitely grew up a little. I would definitely do it again.

Lately my prayer has been different. For the past three years, I was just like:

But now? Not so much. It’s a lot less fearful; it’s freer, somehow. I have been feeling the urge to tell God, “Take me wherever You need me to go. I’m not so afraid anymore.” It’s times like this when I am even more grateful that the Church, through the Liturgy of the Hours, gives me the words for the movements in my heart:

“Incline my heart according to your will, O God.”
“Speed my steps along your path, according to your will, O God.”

So. Here I am, back at square one. At first I was like, “Right…so…how  do you discern again?”

For real.

Now, before someone goes, “Just do what you did before, Liz,” well, the last time I seriously discerned, I put my name on some mailing list, and a week later, my mailbox was stuffed with mailings from religious communities all over the country. I got stuff from over 80 different communities, multiple times. Yeah. All it did was bring out my indecisiveness and freak out my roommates. (Sorry, past roommates. I promise I’m not a religious nut. Well, actually, I am, but I’m the fun kind of religious nut!)

So I’m making it my mission to find a spiritual director soon-ish. I’m extremely nervous, mostly because I’ve never asked anyone to be my spiritual director before! Eeek. And all of this doesn’t mean that I’m looking to join religious life anytime soon. I’m definitely open to it, though! I just need some help getting going with discernment.

Anyway. This is basically a very long-winded way of saying, “Pray for me! Because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing! Yayyy!” But seriously. If anyone has any advice, throw it my way, please.

Until next time! I promise it won’t be a month. 🙂

Random Update of Random

Hey, y’all! Happy Easter! I hope you are still partying, because I totally am. Alleluia!

I was lucky enough to get to go home for Easter weekend, and that’s always, always super fun. I spent my time in the RGV eating, talking, going to Mass, talking, sleeping, talking, flying kites, and did I mention talking? Seriously, though, my family is an Catholic extrovert’s dream.

How I spent my Easter vacation.

I finished both The Namesake and Between Heaven and Mirth. Real quick about those two books: I didn’t realize that I’d already seen the original talk on which Between Heaven and Mirth is based, and while I enjoyed it in book form, I feel like I would’ve enjoyed it more if I hadn’t seen the talk first. Such is life. I still highly recommend it, though! The Namesake was good, too! I now want to READ ALL THE JHUMPA LAHIRI BOOKS.

In case you live under a rock, just letting you know that this happened yesterday:

So epic. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch it because of work, but I saw plenty of pictures and a couple of news clips. Also, my aunt and uncle were there (I KNOWWWWW), so I’m looking forward to their descriptions! I was talking to a friend about Pope St. John XXIII, and we both agreed that 1) we know almost nothing about him and 2) we definitely need to get to know him better! So if you have any favorite quotes or pictures or whatever, send them my way!

I promise to try to blog more! I’ve had lots of thoughts knocking around in my head, and I definitely need to be more disciplined about setting them down somewhere instead of letting them evaporate in my head. Easter resolution!

I think I’ve pretty much caught you all up on my life now. Have a lovely day!