14 January 2008

Too Catholic??

I was recently told that I was “too Catholic”. How ridiculously stupid! How can someone possibly be too Catholic? What this person was getting at was that I am too excited about Catholicism. I think that is ridiculous. The Catholic Faith is the most important and exciting thing in my life. After all, I have been waiting for four years to fully become Catholic. The truth, though, is that all Catholics should view their faith as the central and all-pervading aspect of their lives… and be excited about it!

Last night I read from my awesome book by Father Lasance, The Young Man’s Guide. The section I read from was entitled “Your Most Precious Treasure”. Father Lasance calls to our mind the parable of the pearl of great price. In the parable, a man sells all that he owns in order to possess this one pearl. What is this pearl of great price?

“The one pearl without price is the true faith and the state of grace. Guard this treasure carefully. Sacrifice everything to preserve your faith and the grace and love of God.”

So why is the Faith so valuable, that we should give up all that we have in exchange for it? Well, our faith is that of the Catholic Church. This Church is the one instituted by Christ, a gift to all of us. Our Lord gave us the gift of Himself, and after that He gave us His Church. (And after all, Christ gives us Himself to us daily in the Sacrifice of the Mass, which is only available through the Church!) So since Christ gave us this great gift, we must value it above all other things. Also, it is through the Church and its sacraments that we may receive eternal life and happiness in heaven. I’d say that’s pretty valuable!

Then how do we go about keeping this faith strong and close to our hearts? How do we stay in the state of grace? Father Lasance has a few suggestions. First, attend to religious instruction. Saint Paul says in his letter to the Romans “Faith comes by hearing.” How can we hold dearly our faith if we are ignorant of it?? Second, live up to the Faith which you profess. We have duties as Catholics: attend Mass at least weekly, receive the sacraments of Confession and Communion frequently, perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. As we do these things, the Faith will become more and more a part of us. Third, avoid sin. Since sin displeases God, it should displease us. Now we may go about this by using those sources of grace just mentioned. Finally, prayer is an excellent means of maintaining the Faith. A consistent and fervent prayer life is key. We should pray in the morning, evening, and throughout the day. By lifting up our hearts to God in prayer, we unite ourselves with Him more closely.

Now, an easy way of hitting all four birds with one stone, for lack of better words, is to frequent Holy Mass. I believe that attendance at daily Mass, if possible, is the best means of maintaining a deep love for God and our Faith. If we look at the four means listed by Father Lasance and then look at the Mass, we can see how the Mass provides all of this for us. We receive religious instruction in the form of the priest’s homily, we perform our religious duties, we receive the grace to avoid sin, and we take part in the most excellent of prayers! Let us then take advantage of the Mass- so great a gift (we can receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord and be united with Him!) It is the greatest gift of Christ and His Church.

“There is no greater wealth, no more valuable possession than the Catholic faith!”
– Saint Augustine

11 January 2008

A Glimpse Into My New Catholic Life

This is just an excuse to make an entry on this blog- life support, if you will. I took a few pictures of my dorm at the university to show off all my new cool Catholic stuff. Also, some interesting news. Today at Rosary (we pray twice daily on the Plaza of the Americas) we prayed in front of the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe- a huge exact replica of the original image on St. Juan Diego's tilma. That was a very nice experience for all of us. Other interesting news: I will be trained to be an altar server and hopefully I'll be able to assist at next week's Exposition and Adoration. We are looking into purchasing a/some cassock(s) and surplice(s) as opposed to the very plain, very dull albs that altar servers wear at St. Augustine's nowadays. Though I have been informed by a reader of the blog that in the Diocese of St. Augustine, servers are to wear albs. 'Twas a pipe dream, anyways.

So, here are the pictures...

So we have my crucifix, a painting by Juan de Juanes of the Institution of the Eucharist, various pictures of my friends, images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary, a beautiful picture of the Blessed Trinity, my laptop with a super cool background of a FSSP priest saying Mass, statues of St. Joseph, the Christ Child, and Our Lady of Grace, and the TV that I never get around to viewing.

Here is a shot directly above my unmade bed... a beautiful cross depicting several scenes from the life of Christ, a painting of Our Lady of the Rosary by Murillo, and another Murillo called The Good Shepherd.

Ten bucks says I'm the only student at UF to have a holy water font in his room.... and I LOVE it!

A nasty old tract attacking Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.... so I cut out the super-cool pictures out of it before throwing it away. Check out that priest offering the Sacrifice of the Mass ad orientem!!

This one gets me excited just looking at it!! Far left are my Rosaries. Then we have some holy water, my Sunday Tridentine Missal, a book about the saints (organized by their feast's placement in the year!), a hymnal that is 1,000x better than those found across the street at St. Augustine's, and my Daily Tridentine Missal. Below, the sheets I made up for our St. Michael exorcism at the Plaza of the Americas, my RSV-CE Bible, Catholicism for Dummies, holy cards, This is the Faith, the Catechism, the Lamb's Supper by Dr. Hahn, and this month's issue of Magnificat, a Novus Ordo daily missal.

This is the starting point, the springboard for my collection of Catholic goodies. They are proudly displayed without fear of my family tearing them down or some other nonsense like that... It's good to be a Catholic! Deo gratias.