St. Patrick - Reconcillation
ST. JOSEPH - Reconciliation
St. Margaret Mary - Reconciliation
“Nourished with his Body in the Eucharist, we already belong to the Body of Christ. When we rise on the last day, we ‘also will appear with him in glory.’ In expectation of that day, the believer’s Body and soul already participate in the dignity of belonging to Christ. This dignity entails the demand that he should treat with respect his own Body, but also the Body of every other person, especially the suffering: The Body [is meant] for the Lord, and the Lord for the Body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?... You are not your own...So, glorify God in your body” (CCC, 1003-1004).
Therefore, you are never alone in your loneliness or brokenness. Bring your fears, loneliness, sorrows, and pain to Jesus, because he wants to sit with you in that. He wants to heal those wounds that keep you up at night. He wants to share your joys and sorrows. For when you are hurting my dear brothers and sisters, we all hurt. The whole Body of Christ hurts.
P.S. You are not alone.
With great love,
Graduate and a personally Invited Christian
I was raised in a small catholic town and was the type of person who went to church every Sunday because that is what your parents told you to do. I would not say I had a relationship with Jesus personally, but I knew who he was. I had some catholic friends that would go to things with me, like youth group events, but I had an "I would only go if they would go" type of mentality.
In 2016, the summer before I went to college, I attended Would Youth Day in Krakow, Poland. This was such a blessing because I fell deeply in love with the Catholic Church and wanted to be Catholic for myself and not just because my family was. It was the first time I experienced young people genuinely excited about their faith. They expressed this overwhelming joy within them that was so attractive, and I wanted that in my life!
I was on fire for my faith, but reflecting back, I do not think I understood what it meant to have a relationship with Christ. I attended Mass a lot and prayed the rosary. However, I could not find friends who would go to events with me. As my first year of college went on, I filled my time with other things besides Christ and his church. I still attended Mass, but I often was by myself.
I have always had amazing friends in high school and college! Friends who love me for me. One of those personal characteristics that my closest friends are aware of is that I prefer to not make plans. I was the girl who would hang out in her room on Friday night instead of asking someone to come over. Thankfully, I am incredibly blessed, and my friends who knew that were the ones to invite me or invite themselves to hang out with me. I never struggled with making good friends who shared similar values with me. That was until I had to start over and all alone.
In the spring of 2018, I studied aboard in Ireland. Although I put on a face for my friends and families back home, my first month there was extremely hard for me. I went by myself. I had to start over making friends, get out of my comfort zone, and ask people to hang out or worse, invite myself to hang out with them.
I was indeed friend-sick, and my friends that also studied abroad had a similar experience. One of these friends knew someone in Ireland, and they were Catholic! After spending time praying and starting a devotion to our blessed mother, I began to meet a lot of young Catholics. Through a chain of events and meeting different people, I ended up at an event and drinking tea afterward (how Irish of me). At this event, which was at my school I was attending, I met a group of girls who would come to change my life forever.
How did they change my life? Well, it was a simple invitation to the Breakfast Club. The Breakfast Club was a small group that would go to Mass in the morning and had porridge (oatmeal in American term) and tea afterward. We even made shirts! Because Jesus did say, "come and have breakfast."
Now, this was not just "any" invitation. Like most of you, we all have been "invited" to go to an event of some sort before. I usually do not go to things by myself, and especially if I do not know anyone. This invitation was different to me because they did not just say, "Hey! You should come to Mass and have breakfast" They said, "Hey Lucy! We are going to go to Mass and eat breakfast in the morning, would you like TO COME WITH US? We even live right by you and we can WALK TOGETHER".
Now that is precisely what I was longing for. My prayers were finally answered, and might I add abundantly! I was just looking for friends to go to Mass on Sunday with, but hey, we ended up going every day and doing so much more to grow in our faith. I learn so much from these girls, my seminarian friends I made, and the community that we hung out around. I learned what authentic friendship is and how an invitation to enter someone's life can have a powerful impact. We are not just growing in friendship, but we are also challenging and leading each other to Christ. I finally understood what it meant to have a relationship with Christ and be a true disciple of his.
My last week in Ireland, I was listening to my priest's homily from back home. The sermon was about an atmosphere of welcoming vs. inviting within a parish. This homily assisted the reflection on my experience that I had so far in college and abroad. Father Jonathan Meyer, said we need to be Christian people who are inviting, and not just welcoming. He gave the two definitions. Inviting means making a polite, formal, or friendly request to someone to go somewhere or do something. Welcoming means to greet someone who is arriving in a glad, polite, or friendly way.
The Lord left us with the Great Commission. Jesus commanded us to go out and make disciples of all nations. He did not tell us to just wait, and people will come. Being an inviting person presupposes that you are a welcoming person, but being welcoming does not mean you are necessarily inviting. We have to ask ourselves when was the last time you invited someone to enter into your life. I ask you to be the person to invite someone to a meal like my friends in Ireland did, to just spending time together, to go on a mission trip, a pilgrimage, or a retreat. That one invitation can be a triggering event in someone's life to make them a disciple of Jesus. As a missionary disciple, we are called to invite people into discipleship and relationship with Jesus Christ. Go out and change lives. Go out and help others to experience Christ with you!
Artist and scholar for Christ
Have you ever just needed a hug. As if your whole day could be fixed if you were only held by someone you cared for. Or when you were a child, and you hurt yourself or felt scared, and your mother or father would rap you in a hug and make you feel safe and warm. I think often we forget how nice a simple form of human contact can really make us feel. That is until we can't have it anymore.
We, as humans, need to be in contact with other humans. Even the Lord God said, "It is not good for man to be alone." As babies, we need to be held, or we will die. And we continue to need a connection with people through our lives. You may have never thought about how even the smallest form of physical touch from someone means till you can't have it anymore.
As we are going through this pandemic, we are forced to be separated from friends and family. No longer was it wise to greet others with a handshake or a hug. When you haven't seen a dear friend in a long time, even if you saw each other, you still had to stay distant. This longing to show someone you care for them with a small sign of affection is something I think we don't really think about until the ability to do so is taken away.
When thinking of a lost loved one, some of us may think about how it felt to be touched by them. How it felt having their hand pat you on the back when you needed to be told, "good job!". Or, how it felt to hug them when you haven't seen them in a while.
And now, we find ourselves having been asked to stay socially-distanced from those we love. Even worse still, being separate those we were even starting to build relationships with. It becomes more apparent how much we miss these individuals when we are unable to have physical combat.
I have been longing to have physical contact with others during this time of separation and isolation. Sadly, this comes mainly at my sister's expense. I often have annoyed her with how much I touch and pick on her. As much as I love my siblings and my parents, I have found that I truly need all those individuals that I have made friends and close connections with. I guess I've always known how much I needed others. And yet this time apart from everyone has really helped me see that God places people in our lives because he knows we need them. We may not know we are in need of them, but the Lord God does. And he gives us the opportunity for us to grow closer to these people.
With the upcoming semester about to start, I am getting rather excited to see my friends and reconnect with them. I am very grateful for all the people God has put in my life. I only pray that he continues to place people in my life to enable me to feel God's love. I pray that when I greet someone with a hug, it is a hug that makes them feel safe and warm.
I have been told that I am a "good hugger." After this pandemic, we all might appreciate a friendly hug from those we love most.
But until then, I ask you to remember that God is always holding you close to his heart. And our mother, Mary, is still ready to rap you in her mantle and bring you to her immaculate heart and through her heart to the sacred heart of Jesus. In this time apart from people here in the physical world, we can and should still long to feel God's arms wrapped around us and holding us close. And, we can find this direct connection to God in prayer.
May you always find peace and love in Christ and those who love him.