God Gives So Much More Than We Do

This will also be a fairly short entry. Mostly because I didn’t really do much on my Sunday.

I had made plans to try to get together with my friend, Terry. However, this didn’t go as I planned, as I slept most of the day. Seriously. I woke up at 4:49 pm and debated whether I should try and jump out of bed and rush to the 5 pm Mass at St. Anastasia. Ultimately, I decided that God deserved better than that and resolved to go to the Last Chance Mass (TM) at Ss. Cyril and Methodius at 8:30 pm.

There was one very short intermission in my sleep-a-thon. I woke up sometime around noon, made delicious asparagus risotto for lunch and promptly fell back asleep. Food coma or something. 🙂

Between 5 pm and 8 pm, I read more of “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” by John Green, who — if you haven’t read any of his books — is awesome.

I got to church just at 8:30 pm and took a seat in a pew near-ish to the front. The altar was decorated beautifully for Lent. Cyril’s has this statue of Jesus, showing all of his wounds from the scourging, and they had put a purple cloak and crown of thorns on the statue. It was right next to the altar. Behind it, was their giant crucifix, backlit with purple lighting. Very moving. One day, I’ll try to get a photo of it. I remember staring at the statue for a bit, saying to Jesus, “I want You.”

At Intercessions, I was praying for Fr. Anonymous, my goddaughter and her parents. Then, just before the Sign of Peace, who should pop into my pew but her Mom/my best friend! How awesome is that! I was so glad to see her!

I see this as part of the over-abundance that God gives us. I was (very minorly) faithful in making sure that I attended Mass, and that I was dressed properly and in a right frame of mind to worship Him, and in return He brings me something that gives me joy. 🙂 He also gave me the grace to really pay attention and participate in Mass, for which I was grateful.

He is so good!

Effects of Holy Communion

In his book, “With Us Today: On the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist,” Fr. Hardon gives us 9 effects of Holy Communion produced in one who receives in a state of grace:

  1. Sustenance of Supernatural Life
  2. Promise of Bodily Resurrection from the Dead
  3. Remission of Venial Sins
  4. Protection Against Future Sins
  5. Curbs the Urges of Concupiscence
  6. Spiritual Joy
  7. Perseverance in Grace
  8. Growth in Supernatural Life
  9. Remission of Sin

Now, can anyone truly say that they get nothing out of Mass?  And also, reasons why you want to make sure you are in a state of grace if you are to receive the Body and Blood of Christ.

Running Into His Arms

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I remember, before 9/11 and security changes at the airports, flying into airports to meet my boyfriend.  He would be waiting for me at the gate (occasionally the other way around), and there would be that nervous anticipation, that giddiness, that longing for the flight to *finally* be over.

And then it would be.  And our eyes would meet each other across the gate.  And I would leap into his arms.

Oh, yes.  We were *that* couple.  It was lovely.

This morning, I woke up and was going to bring some medication to a friend who was in the hospital.  As I looked at how much time I had to get to the hospital and then to work, I thought that I might have enough time to stop by our church.  Then, I’d be able to bring her the Eucharist, too.

And who wouldn’t want to receive the Eucharist?!?!

The more I thought about it, the more I was like, “Yes!  Yes-yes-yes!”  And I was looking forward to those few precious minutes while driving to the hospital, where I would have Jesus in the Eucharist in my hands in my own personal, tiny tabernacle.

It’s only about 2 miles from my house to church — roughly.  For the first mile, I was recalling those feelings of anticipation and longing from those airport reunions.  I couldn’t wait to see Him and be with Him.  And I was so excited to bring Him to my friend.  During the second mile, I thought about how amazing it was that soon I would be holding Him in my hand.  To be able to pour my heart out to Him, and have Him right there.

And, of course, I’m all about sharing.  And I most wanted to share this with one of my best friends.  Because he would understand.  After all, he holds Him in his hands every day when he celebrates Mass.  I prayed that today my friend would feel that same overwhelming anticipation and joy at spending time with our Lord.

Wait. What?

Sorry for the long hiatus. I have been pretty sick lately. I’m feeling even worse now, if you can imagine, but this has been bugging me all day, so I thought I’d toss it out there to all of you.

I dragged myself to the 8 am Mass, where I attempted to actually participate, but more just tried to hang on to consciousness. I kept looking at those wooden pews and knew that they would hurt on the way down.

Anyway.

During the Prayers of the Faithful, the lector — reading about the dead — said the phrase, “finally freed from their bodies…”

Wait.

What?

That sounds rather … gnostic … to me. Doesn’t it?

With Eager Anticipation

I woke up this morning exhausted. I was up very late working on a project, got a little sleep, and am up again — taking a day off work — to jump into the project again. It was a little odd, being home in the morning on a weekday — getting to watch the garbagemen pick up the garbage. I don’t think I’ve been home for this since I was a little girl. I should have gotten ready faster. I should have gotten up earlier. Someone was waiting on me and it’s never good to keep people waiting. But I just had to take a few moments. Enjoying the fact that others were already well into the work morning and I was just now taking my shower. Looking at the way the morning sun (or well the overcast brightening, we take what we can get) lights up the house. Savoring the quiet. Praying.

These are blessed days. Blessed moments. In just a few days, we will be celebrating our Lord’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. I love the joy of this day. I also really love palms. 🙂 I know, I know. Palms are kind of not the point. And you are right. But I really like them, so they make me *extra* happy for this day. 🙂 I am particularly excited this year, because I finally remembered this year before Ash Wednesday and managed to remove all the palms from my house so that they might be turned into ashes. Come Sunday, I can decorate my house again with palms. They will lose their lovely green color over time, but I will still be able to look upon them with joy throughout the year.

Palm Sunday is great because it marks the beginning of Holy Week. My favorite week of the year! I usually take Holy Thursday and Good Friday off work, but this year I was too late in getting my request in. I did get Holy Thursday off, but I only got a few hours for Good Friday. So I won’t be able to celebrate with my parish in Troy as I usually do. However!!! I found out that my parish in Plymouth is celebrating Tre Ore a little later in the day, and I will be able to be with them for that!

Holy Thursday. Perhaps my favorite day. In the morning, I get to go downtown in Detroit and attend the Chrism Mass. Here, Archbishop Vigneron will bless the Oil of Catechumens, the Oil of the Sick (MINE!), and the Holy Chrism. I love the smell of the Holy Chrism! It’s quite amazing to see all the bottles and large containers of the oils process in — such a huge sign of the sacramental nature of our Church. So beautiful.

But, as much as I like the blessing of the oils and the realization of the sacraments that they represent, they are not what I love most about the Chrism Mass. What I love is all the priests. Not all, but many of the priests of the archdiocese attend the Chrism Mass and concelebrate with the archbishop. While they are there, they recommit their vows of obedience to him and to the Church. THAT, friends, is the BEST PART EVER!!! The best, best, best part! I love watching them all come in together, and all recess out. Hundreds of priests (okay, I never really counted)!

They Always Make Me Cry

I love going to Confession at St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit. But, they always make me cry. I guess I tend to feel God’s love and mercy a little more when I am there, for some odd reason. I don’t go there very often, but save it, so that when I do go, it feels “special”.

That and I usually buy something from their gift shop. LOL! 🙂

Today, they had something new in the gift shop, a candle that burns in a spiral, filling the bottom portion with wax as it burns. Once the spiral burns out, the “new” candle burns for hours. 🙂 Here’s a little video showing it:

I also picked up some honey that they make, to make my honey dijon chicken for dinner, and a couple other small things.

It was bright and sunny as I exited, and I feel truly blessed. 🙂

Epiphany

This is the first Epiphany Mass in four years in which I did not cry. Four years ago today, my godmother, Pat McDonald, died and went home to Jesus. While I am happy that she is no longer sick and suffering, the selfish part of me misses her quite a bit.

It is also rather fitting that today, on Epiphany, I would celebrate Mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel, with Fr. John, who was her spiritual director and a good friend of us both. At one point in her illness, she was no longer up to serving at Mass at St. Anastasia as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. With the additional prompting of our pastor, Fr. JJ, I agreed to take her spot on Team 1.

Last summer, I signed up to me an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at Our Lady of Good Counsel as well (I’m a parishioner at both parishes). I’m only called to be a minister there about once every month and a half. As it happened, today was one of those days. Not only that, but for the first time since the summer, Fr. John was the priest celebrating Mass. And! It was the first time that I got to distribute the Body of Christ (as opposed to the Blood of Christ). AND! I was assigned to stand next to Fr. John while doing it. 🙂

My red sweater fit in nicely with all the poinsettias on the altar and the red trim on Fr. John’s white chasuble. 🙂 Not that that matters, but it was a nice detail.

I was so joyful up there, handing Jesus to people. I’m sure I was grinning ear to ear the whole time. LOL!

It is Masses like this where I never want to leave. I just want to stay there in the company of Jesus and my friends forever. God willing, this will happen soon! 🙂

Here is Pat, taken on a trip to the Holy Land, overlooking Jerusalem.
Pat McDonald, Overlooking Jerusalem, Gallicantu Area
I love you!

Safe!

Earlier this evening, I went out with a friend to see Les Miserables again. I still love it! Afterwards, we went to Chili’s for dinner. Towards the end of the meal, I was starting to not feel well, so when I got home, I decided to take a nap before Midnight Mass.

I set my alarm, but when it went off, I still wasn’t feeling better, so I kept hitting snooze.

Finally, I decided to get up and go. Because I really do love going to Midnight Mass to start off the new year. And because I was concerned that if I let myself just sleep, I might miss the 10 am Mass tomorrow morning. 🙂

I really need about 20 minutes to make it to Ss. Cyril and Methodius on time, but left about a quarter to midnight. Traffic and lights were cooperative and I made it to a seat in the church just as the last bells of midnight were ringing and they were announcing the hymn for the processional. 🙂 SAFE! I thought. Sliding in to home plate, just before the priest greets us all with a loud “Happy New Year!”

Week 1:  The New Year

It was a lovely Mass. As I sat in my car, ready to go home, the radio was on and I caught the tail end of one song. All I heard of it was a phrase, “See Heaven’s got plan for you.” And as I was leaving the parking lot, the next song sang to me, “I’m glad you came!” Both great things to hear right after Mass! 🙂

If the link works, here is the first song that I was listening to:

A Blessed Day

I’ve been wanting to go to confession for several weeks now, but at every turn it seems that something would come up. The longer I went, the more I wanted to go. I used to go about every 2 weeks to my pastor for confession, but lately have been going to confession Friday evenings after work at Christ the King. However, after being frustrated in my attempts for so long, I wanted to go to confession to a special place.

Don’t get me wrong, God’s grace is God’s grace no matter the location or the priest who channels his grace.

But.

I’m not the kind of person who *feels good* after confession. I don’t feel “light as a feather,” or anything like that. I just feel like me. Although, when I go to St. Bonaventure’s for some reason, I feel God’s love and mercy more than usual. It’s not uncommon for me to exit confession crying. For some reason, there I have a better sense of my sin, and therefore an increased humility and gratitude for what the Lord is willing to forgive me.

After confession today, the day just seemed to … slow down, in a way. I lingered over sights and appreciated everything that I encountered.

First, I spent some time in prayer before the tabernacle.

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Then, as I was exiting, I noticed a garden space. At first, the door to go in was locked, but one of the priests saw that I was trying to go in and opened the door for me. The flowers inside (outside? The garden was an interior courtyard with no roof) were beautiful.

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When I first arrived, there was no one in line for confession and no priest in the room, so I had about 30 minutes to kill before the next scheduled confession time. I wandered through the exhibit on Fr. Solanus and then wandered through the gift shop. I ended up getting a rosary bracelet and a couple of postcards.

On the way out, after my confession, I took a couple pictures of the door.

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The building stone:
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And Sister Death, which is a sculpture of this twisted black piece of a tree.
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The sense of peace, quiet joy and reflection stayed with me throughout the day. It was wonderful. I felt His love surround me wherever I went. And I kept receiving signs of love throughout the day. I wish I could hold on to that feeling forever. 🙂

Presbyteral Ordination 2012

I love ordination! I have such a heart for priests that this ranks perhaps as my second-favorite Mass of the year, right after the Chrism Mass. (Who doesn’t love having *hundreds* of priests renewing their vows?!?)

The other thing I love is that I get to go down to the cathedral where, invariably, I meet up with a lot of my friends and get a lot of hugs! 🙂

Okay, okay, back to the men! And my overabundant enthusiasm. 🙂 I can neither confirm nor deny that I said something like, “Muahahahahaha! Your lives are about to be changed FOREVER!!!” prior to the start of the Mass. Or was that *during* the Mass?

No matter. I’m sure you are anxious for me to get to the photos! After all, this is what I do best, right? Take tons of pix? 🙂 Click here if you want to see *all* the pictures.

Here is (transitional) Deacon Salvatore Palazzolo and Deacon Paul Snyder, processing in:
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The Altar: what it’s all about!
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Dcn. Mateja, with Dcn. Palazzolo and Dcn. Snyder in silhouette in the foreground:
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Dcn. Palazzolo:
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Dcn. Snyder:
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My priest, Fr. John, praying over the new Fr. Steven Mateja, who will be joining us at Our Lady of Good Counsel in July! 🙂
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Another of my priests, Fr. Eric Fedewa, praying over Fr. Steve:
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And over Fr. Paul:
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My apologies to Fr. Sal, I was seated, yes in an aisle seat, but halfway to the back of the cathedral and didn’t have a clear line of sight to you! 😦

Fr. Lee Acervo praying over Fr. Steve:
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The mothers of the new priests got to present the gifts to Archbishop Vigneron.
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Since this seems to be turning into a Fr. Steve post (as I had the best line of sight to him), I’ll continue with this theme…
Here’s where he gets hugged a lot. I think they call it the Fraternal Kiss. First, with Bishop Byrnes:
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Bishop Hanchon:
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Bishop Cepeda:
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Cardinal Maida:
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Msgr. Monforton:
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Fr. Steve Pullis:
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Fr. Lee Acervo:
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Incensing the altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist!
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And the Recessional with the newly ordained Fr. Salvatore Palazzolo, Fr. Paul Snyder and Fr. Steven Mateja!!! YAY!
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