Perhaps the toughest part of forgiveness is forgiving ourselves. This Lent, I’ve made specific efforts to forgive myself for past wrongdoings. I’ve reflected on what lead me to those sins or mistakes. I’ve confessed them and have felt Jesus take them off of my shoulders. The freedom that comes with Jesus’ forgiveness is life-changing. But we have to let it change our lives. We have to accept that He forgives us. He doesn’t hold a grudge, so who are we to hold one?
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Jesus Christ is both justice and mercy. The Law of Moses required for the woman to be stoned; He didn’t fail to invite others to stone her. He even opened up the opportunity for others to condemn the woman, but only if they met the qualification that He knew no one (besides His mother & Himself ) could meet: “let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).
Among all the people that were present, Christ could’ve immediately condemned her by His own standards. But He did not condemn her; He showed her mercy.
Dear Saint Joseph, First of all, as a new dad, I’ve just got to ask you: how much sleep did you get? You see, while I may think my baby girl is the best and most beautiful baby (and I mean come on, she’s adorable), she’s no baby Jesus. Did He keep you and Mary up all night? Because the past few nights my baby girl has decided that the middle of the night is the perfect time to practice her new talent of rolling around . . . I can’t help but wonder if you experienced stuff like that Read more [...]
For a while, though, I lost hope in a happy ending to my story. I thought I was “tainted” or “damaged goods.” I didn’t know Jackie was coming (if I had, I would never have left my room!). She’s been saving herself for marriage, and I had to confess to her that I didn’t. I messed up. But the way that Jackie loves me — in such a pure, disinterested, and benevolent way — has brought so much healing. She told me one night that she doesn’t want the “Bobby of 2007” or the “Bobby of 2010;” she wants the “Bobby of now.”
I’m 29 and a virgin.
No, I don’t have some incurable alien disease that causes people to shutter at the sight of me. No, I don’t have the sex drive of a grandma (unless it’s my grandma who had 11 kids). And, no, I’m not Tim Tebow’s girlfriend.
“I don’t even know how she got on this show if she can’t harmonize,” I said as I leaned back in my chair and looked at the TV.
“Megan!” my roommate snapped. “You’re not supposed to be watching TV! Get back to work!”
“I’m not watching, I’m just . . . ” I trailed off, unable to come up with an excuse. I sat back up in my chair and started in on my schoolwork again.
I was expecting something “more.” I mean, this was the new Pope’s first homily since his election. On Wednesday the world tuned in to see our new Pope Francis. On Thursday we got to hear him preach for the first time.
Pope Francis celebrated holy mass with the Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday and within minutes his homily was made available online.
The entire homily was only 537 words. It lasted less than five minutes. It was short and sweet . . . but it sure wasn’t easy.
I needed Pope Francis.
And not only because I’m part of the Catholic Church and we were without a shepherd . . . I mean I needed him because I’m sinful, and broken, and I need a constant reminder of how to be like Christ.
I have been awestruck by him from the first moment he walked out onto the balcony, to the last news article I read about him.
There are so many things worthy of mention, but one of the coolest parts about being Catholic has to be the Tradition. We’re a Church built on a 2,000 year old foundation, y’all – with Christ, Himself, as our Founder and “cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:6).
There are a lot of opinions and conspiracy “theories” floating around about the next pope and the papacy, in general, these days. No doubt there is an author somewhere preparing to rewrite history, once again, in a best-seller telling us all about “what’s really happening” behind the closed doors of this papal election.
Think about the coolest thing you’ve ever made and how excited you were to show it to your friends and family. You didn’t find your best creation to be boring, stupid, and ugly. If you had designed the iphone 5, you’d be pretty stoked to show the whole world your handiwork.
Now imagine you had the power to create a person who could think and feel . . . and possibly love you back. I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty obsessed with my person.
Saint Peter died defending a faith that wouldn’t submit to any empire. The witness of millions of martyrs over the past 2,000 years gives testimony to faith that is unflinching and love that is stronger than death.
Today when you walk toward St. Peter’s Square, you can’t help but notice the obelisk that was once a sign of Rome’s power. In the past two millennia, empires and kingdoms, presidents and dictators have risen and fallen . . . but the Church remains standing.
The idea of discerning our vocation can cause a lot of anxiety. Wondering if we are called to be married, enter religious life, who we should date, if we should visit convents or try out seminary can be overshadowed by fear – fear that we’ll do the wrong thing or that God will plant us somewhere that will make us miserable.
So often I grasp for more and more. Things are good but I want them to be better. I have so much . . . why do I always want more?
This week has taught me to slow down and receive what God is giving me, and not complain that I want more or less. He knows what I can and can’t handle today. And He won’t give me more than I can handle – with His grace.
You see, more isn’t always better. I used to always focus on achieving, but now I want to focus on receiving. Our Lord is the Giver of all good gifts.
Now it is time to have all of the cardinals gather for the conclave. The conclave is a secret meeting of all of the College of Cardinals, in which they are locked in a part of the Vatican palace, where all access is walled off except for one door only (which once the cardinals enter is locked from both the outside and inside).
Figuring out what to do in the future is one of the things that most young people struggle to figure out. Now that you know your identity, you can remind yourself that God, indeed, has a purpose for you. You were created for a reason, and figuring that reason out will be one of the most exciting things you ever do.
Discernment is simply seeking and discovering God’s will in your life. It’s an adventure with God and it begins with bringing a question to the Lord. It’s easier if the question that you ask isn’t an open-ended question.
You know religion comes from the word “religare” meaning “to bind” – something we may not like. But you know sin? The word sin comes from a German word “Sünde” that means “to sunder” . . . to tear apart . . . to be divided.
And I don’t know about you but I have a sundered heart. I have a divided heart. I have a heart with sin and so I need religion because I have division and I need to be bound back together. I need some binding of my own. And I think God’s people – we’ve been sundered – we need religion, we need religare – we need to be bound.
Looking back now, I am thankful for the great gift Pope Benedict XVI has been for the Church over the last 8 years. God knows what we need, when we need it, and always provides!
I’m sure many of you are also curious about how this whole conclave process works. All over the news there are stories covering the physical steps to the conclave process.
There are a couple things that the process is NOT:
The word “infallible” does not mean that the pope is perfect. It also does not mean that the pope knows everything. Instead, infallibility only applies when the pope speaks about solemn, official teachings on faith and morals, and he can’t ever change, add, or subtract Christian doctrine.
He only helps define or explain what we already believe, and he doesn’t do it on his own. The infallible teachings of the Pope are the result of many years – sometimes hundreds of years – of consultation with the other bishops and theologians of the Church. He is, in effect, voicing the belief of the whole Church.