Sunday, August 1, 2010

Struggling...Please Pray for Me!

Hi sisters!

I need to be honest and unload about my experience so far, and I don't know who else to turn to!

I love my program so far, I really do. I'm learning so much about how to be a good teacher, and I'm definitely having a lot of fun with my new friends. But this is the first time I've ever felt that my faith, beliefs, and morals have really been challenged. And I'm IN A CATHOLIC PROGRAM. I didn't expect everyone to be Catholic, nor did I expect all the Catholics to be super devout. But I NEVER thought this would be an environment where I don't feel supported to live or grow in my faith. It's like there is so much emphasis on the fact that people AREN'T Catholic or AREN'T devout that it's like...wrong for some of us to be devout Catholics. Like, being inclusive means that I need to change the way I practice my faith because it might make someone else feel excluded or uncomfortable.

I understand this to a certain extent. For example, I had a Life Teen Mass at my home parish in Hershey, and a lot of times we would clap during an upbeat song. I definitely like to worship that way. But when I went to my friend's uber-traditional, conservative parish up in Connecticut, I didn't try clapping. It wasn't part of the culture or tradition at their parish. Furthermore, it probably would have taken away from others' ability to worship because it would be so weird and distracting and uncomfortable for them.

I guess I bring this up because, well, I have several problems and causes for sadness with the state of the Church in LA. But the biggest one I have is that many parishes don't kneel during the Liturgy of the Eucharist or during the "I am not worthy to receive you..." It's REALLY been bothering me, so I've started kneeling even if I'm the only one. I searched my conscious on this one, and I just feel like it's not something that can be compromised on. But it's SO TOUGH, especially during our community Masses...I feel like I'm being judged. I feel ashamed to be kneeling. I only look up when the priest holds up the Body and/or Blood of Christ...because I love the Lord SO MUCH and I know you can read it on my face and I don't feel comfortable revealing that in front of people. It's like...I feel like people are already watching and judging me because I'm kneeling...I don't even want to know what will happen if they see my face.

So, it's tough. And I'm struggling. And I'm sure sometimes I do not fight as hard as I should, and I let fear rule my faith. But while I don't want to make assumptions, I think this may be part of the reason I am here. If God has given me a mission to try and bring back tradition and proper practices to the Church in LA, then I want to do that. But I don't want any feelings of entitlement or pride or vanity. I want to change people's hearts and practices in a Franciscan way: "Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words."

I also realize I need to take it one step at a time. I'm starting with the kneeling issue. I'll continue to kneel at the times I've been taught, at the times that the official General Instruction on the Roman Missal state that I should. But I'll continue to research this - I've heard that Cardinal Mahony out here has said that it's ok to stand. This doesn't make sense to me, so I want to find out the truth. And if I find that the Church law is truly to "kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason" (cite - USCCB!) then I am going to have to be brave enough to use words. I'll have to speak with my program director, my local parish pastor, etc. It's just what I feel I have to do.

Anyway, I really appreciate any prayers, thoughts, advice, encouragement, etc. And please pray for the Archdiocese of LA as a whole! I love you all and miss you bunches!

Mimi :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

To Jesus through Mary

Hi ladies!

I hope you are all enjoying your summers!

I wanted to share a little story with you all. I don’t know if any of you have had any similar experiences, but this just blew my mind and it involves Gratia Plena, so I needed to share.

Last Sunday at Mass, I was thinking about how I was struggling, as I do most summers, with keeping Christ close in my life without the support of you beautiful women and the CUA community. I'm always talking and reading about my faith, but I feel like I've been lacking in spirituality lately. And as many of you know, I was abroad last semester, so that was difficult as well. At Mass, I was thinking to myself how I needed to bring more prayer and spirituality into my life and just to remind myself that God is constantly present in our lives.

After Mass, my family had planned on going to this park to meet up with some of my family. A few minutes after we hit the road, I realized I had forgotten to put my saint bracelet on, which I wanted to start wearing all the time as a constant reminder of God's presence. I couldn't believe it. I had barely started my resolution and I was already failing. I put my headphones in my ears, turned on my iPod, and kind of zoned out for a few minutes. Then, I don't remember if I was pointing to something or why I looked at my wrist, but there, on my left wrist, was my saint bracelet. I just stared at it. I was POSITIVE I wasn't wearing it when I got in the car. I just smiled and continued to look at Mary, the charm that had caught my eye. It was then that I realized that Our Lady had also been missing from my life. And I immediately thought of Gratia Plena. "To Jesus, through Mary". I realized I need to bring Mary back into my life because I know that she will help bring me closer to her Son. I don’t know if I’m just crazy or if I witnessed something miraculous, but I’m pretty sure Mary is praying for me and you better believe I will be praying to her a whole lot more now too.
I can’t wait to see all of you in August to catch up and so we can talk about how beautiful Our Mother Mary is! Know that you all are in my prayers.

Prayerfully, Spiritually, to Jesus through Mary,

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Human Person Is an Integral Union of Body and Soul

I really wanted to write about this subject for the ToB reflections, but there wasn't a question at the end of the I've decided to comment on it here, on the Full of Grace blog.

Body and Soul = you. Thank you God for making me a multi-dimensional/faceted (?) being.

This concept seems so compelling to me. Think about it - before we have a meal (nourishing the BODY), we say a prayer (nourishing the SOUL). During grace we aren't simply giving thanks for the food we are about to eat, we are looking both inward and outward, toward God.

My goal for this next year (starting right now) is to balance my time spent on BODY and SOUL. Maybe a trip to the gym and some time spent in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Maybe Mass and a quick jog around the neighborhood. Maybe a yoga practice (which I direct totally toward Jesus - feel free to ask me about that) followed by a rosary.

Hope everyone is having a beautiful summer!

Laura Y.

Celibacy and the TOB

Thursday, June 17

Though we talked about the vocation of celibacy yesterday, I was able to witness it in action today through my interactions with two people who are consecrated religious.

Sister Olga is originally from Iraq, but now she works at Boston University. She discerned a call to celibacy and to the religious life. Her witnese allowed me to see in action how celibacy is one way that we can live out the spousal meaning of our bodies. This woman radiates joy! She has a passionate, authentic love for everyone around her, and because of this love, she is truly a mother. And I'm not talking about some kind of second-rate motherhood. No! She is a real mother. Her witness truly blew me away. She has not given up her femininity or surrendered her sexuality. She is living the true meaning of her feminine sexuality through her celibate vocation. She is truly a gift.

Today, I had the pleasure of talking with Brother David, who belongs to the same order as Brother Rich and who also lives in DC. I sat next to him at lunch and we had a simple conversation, getting to know each other. During this conversation, I felt absolutely sure that I was having an encounter with authentic love. John Paul II talks about how in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve "knew each other with all the peace of the interior gaze." As Brother David looked at me, I felt the peace of the interior gaze. There was such a true disinterestedness in his love for me. It was awesome!

Praise God for our celibate brothers and sisters!

Quotes for meditation

Wednesday, June 16

Today we talked about Eschatological Man, which is a fancy way of saying that we talked about what it's going to be like to be a human person in heaven. In short, John Paul II tries to answer the question: What is our destiny? The material is so beautiful that I think it's appropriate to give you some quotes that I found to be particularly profound and allow you to meditate and reflect on them. Have fun!

"Right now, there are two bodies (one male and one female) in heaven, enraptured in the bliss of the Trinity. And they're waiting for us."
- Bill Donaghy

Divinization, which is God's plan for us, means "participation in the inner life of God himself." In this state "penetration and permeation of what is essentially human by what is essentially divine will reach its peak, so that the life of the human spirit will reach a fullness that was absolutely inaccessable to it before." Eschatological man will experience "God's self-communication in his very divinity, not only to the soul, but to the whole of his psychosomatic subjectivity" (TOB 67:3).
* psychosomatic subjectivity means body-soul personhood.

The beatific vision is a "concentration of knowledge... and love on God himself - a concentration that cannot be anything but full participation in God's inner life, that is, in trinitarian Reality itself" (TOB 68:4).

"Next to the Blessed Sacrament Itself, your neighbor is the holiest thing you can encounter with your senses."
- C. S. Lewis

More TOB!

Tuesday, June 15

"The words of Genesis 3:16 seem to suggest that [the appropriation typical of lust] happens more at the woman's expense and that in any case she feels it more than the man" (TOB 33:3).

I think we can all agree that as women, we feel the wounds of lust in a very particular way. Our culture tells us that we are only objects, and sometimes we buy into it, even though we know deep in our hearts that we are made for something more. Even worse, we sometimes start to think that there is something wrong with us if no man wants to use us. These are only a few lies, a few wounds, that I have struggled and continue to struggle with. But we need not fear to bring these wounds to the Lord. Christopher West says, "Grace flows through wounds." He wants to shower us with His healing grace! All we have to do is open the wounds to Him and let Him in. This process can be long and painful, but it is also healing and redemptive. Also, we can look to Mary, the Queen of the Universe. Her receptivity is not passive. On the contrary, it is always an active receptivity. A better translation of Mary's "yes" to the Angel Gabriel is, "I long for it to be done unto me according to your word." How beautiful!

Quotes for reflection:

"Get into the habit of saying 'Speak, Lord,' and life becomes a romance."
- Oswald Chambers

"Have you seen with the eyes of your soul the way Jesus looks at you with love? Never lose the daily interaction with Jesus the Living Person, not the idea."
- Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Theology of the Body reflections

Monday, June 14

Man "finds himself from the first moment of his existence before God in search of his own being... in search of his own 'identity'" (TOB 5:5).

1. The words "before God" really struck me in this quote. They made me think about something that Thomas Merton wrote in his book Seeds of Contemplation. I'm paraphrasing here: He says that God is closer to us than we are to ourselves and that our identity is so wrapped up in God that we cannot find ourselves apart from Him. It is astounding to me how necessary God is in the process of discovery who we are! But as Gaudium et Spes tells us, "Christ fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear." How often do we (intentionally or unintentionally) try to divorce ourselves and our identities from God.
Food for prayer: Go before the Lord and ask, "Who am I?"

2. Our wonderful teacher, Bill Donaghy, pointed out that both the animals and human beings were created on the sixth day according to the first creation story in Genesis. But God only invites man, male and female, into the seventh day, the Sabbath. To choose not to enter the Sabbath (a life in the Sabbath) is to choose to fall short of our human nature and to liken ourselves to the beasts. Dr. Peter Kreeft writes, "Our nature is a task to achieve, not a fact to receive." We are the only creatures on earth who have to choose to attain our nature. A dog is a dog. It has no choice. But humans can choose to be sub-human by acting in ways that fall short of our human nature. How often do we justify a wrongful act by claiming, "Well, it's just human nature." No! That is a lie from the pit of Hell!! Human nature is to receive and give authentic, self-giving love. And God has stamped this call right in our bodies by creating us male and female and calling us to become one flesh. Now we live in a fallen world and we must deal with concupiscence every day; so to some extent, we all fall short of our human nature. But we are also redeemed by Christ! This means that with God's grace (and only with God's grace), we can reclaim this nature for ourselves. This is why John Paul II said, "Become what you are."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Theology of the Body reflections

Hey girls,

Unfortunately my laptop did not fit in the bag I brought to the Theology of the Body course/retreat. But no worries! I wrote some daily reflections in my journal to share with all of you. I'm going to post each day's reflections as a separate post so that it's not one, long, overwhelming post. I hope you enjoy these insights and that they will bear fruit in your lives. Here we go:

Sunday, June 13

"Through the fact that the Word of God became flesh, the body entered theology... through the main door" (TOB 23:4).

1. The body must be theological simply because the Second Person of the Trinity, God, united Himself to a body by uniting Himself to human nature.

2. The Word of God became flesh through Mary's openness to God, through her receptivity. In a certain sense, the Word receives His flesh from her flesh. Mary's role in the Incarnation is indispensible! She is the main door through which the body enters theology. She is the main door through which we can enter the Theology of the Body, through which we can come to live and experience the truths contained in the Theology of the Body in our own lives. Mary is the key. Stay close to her and follow her example of receptivity and vulnerability before the Lord. It is her openness and vulnerability that enables her to be gratia plena, full of grace. We, too, are called to be full of grace; so like Mary, are called to radical openness and vulnerability before God. Letting God into those parts of our hearts that we're most afraid of, most ashamed of, most attached to, those places that are most in need of healing, can be really scary. But as John Paul II said countless times during his papacy, "Do not be afraid!" Trust in God's love and mercy. And we can always ask Mary to teach us to be open.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bound for Cali!

Hey girls!

Michele - I will definitely be praying for you three while you learn sooo much Theology of the Body! That is SUPER exciting and awesome!

I'd also like to ask everyone to pray for me as I leave Hershey and head to California! I'm a little nervous about the long drive (even though my sister is coming with me)...and of course I'm a little anxious about what my life will be like on the West Coast!

I love you all sooooooo much and will keep you updated on my life in Los Angeles!

Mimi xoxoxoxoxoxoxo :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Theology of the Body

Hello ladies!

Emilie, Elisabeth, and I will be traveling to PA to begin our 5 day course/retreat at the Theology of the Body Institute. Please pray for us! Also, I will be blogging about my experiences there. Hopefully I will be able to post every day, but if that doesn't work out, I will definitely have something here by next Saturday. I hope summer vacation is going well for everyone!

Love you all,

Thursday, May 27, 2010

And I miss you more each day...

Beautiful sisters!

I have missed you all so much, and was a tad bit bummed every time Sunday night came around and there wasn't a GP meeting to head to, but then I saw the e-mail about the blog, and remembered it =)

Anywho, I have a very very boring summer job, so I have a lot of time to just sit and think. One day I was sitting and thinking about how it's both really cool and really sad that lots of people who go to CUA live far apart from one another. I mean, it's AWESOME cause you meet people from all over (my friend goes to a school and hasn't met anyone who's not from NJ, PA, or Rhode Island. No lie). I mean we all joke about the "ROP" think, but honestly our school draws people from far and wide... which ROCKS... until summer comes around and some of the closest friends you have are suddenly anywhere from 300 to 3,000 miles away.
This got me thinking on what it means to miss someone. I now think that maybe to miss someone is to love them and recognize their goodness (that's not to say we're not called to love those whose goodness we are ignorant to... love is needed for all =) ). To miss someone is to recognize their absence in your life and to desire their presence again. Think on it... we don't desire to bring back illness or pain... we only desire to bring back that which brings us joy and happiness. To miss someone means that you acknowledge the good in them... recognize it... celebrate it! Also, since all goodness comes from God, it's in a sense praising Him as well!

I love you, dear sisters, and miss you so much, but I know that God wouldn't allow us to be apart for 3+ months if He wasn't doing wonderful things with that time in and with each of our lives.

Sorry for this very long post... I hope summer is going so well it's insane! =) (I also apologize for my job that made me write such a long post... sitting in a corner by myself in a room with no windows for 8 hours a day isn't very good for me haha)

ps. Anyone get the song reference in the title? Who sings it? What (awesome) movie is it in? =P

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Hey Sisters! Hope your first week out of school is going well. I was back at CUA today for graduation. the presidents speech was really good! I bet they'll have it on you tube so if you have any extra time look up his commencment speech online. God bless you all! Let's make sure to keep praying through the summer.

Hey beautiful ladies!! :)

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer (even though it has only been a week)! Anyways, I thought I would try to have this blog come alive & I want advice on something..

Okay, well.. I guess I kind of like this guy. He works somewhere on campus and I used to go there all the time during his shift. I think by as many times as I went, he should recognize me by now. I added him on facebook a month ago and had 2 brief conversations with him through it. I have seen him around a lot but I never ever talked to him in person. He does seems like a decent guy and I would like to get to know him more. The problem is I feel like I have to initiate for it to happen.. is that a bad thing? I feel like the first few times I do not have a choice in the matter and I have no problem with that, really. I just do not want to creep him out and I do not want to seem like I am trying to hard to be friends with him.

I know this seems silly because it is summer and I am worrying about being friends with someone I barely know who is a year above me. I do not expect anything to happen, but I am hoping we can talk a bit this summer. What should I do and how should I approach this?

Thanks girls!! Love you!!