I signed up for Life Teen’s Camp Tepeyac only days before it started, confident that God wanted me to go. It was the first night, second to last obstacle in the messy games course when I hurt my shin. I couldn’t put much weight on it but after some ice and bandages, it was doing better. While going to get cleaned up, I ended up slipping, falling on my arm, and breaking it. Waiting in the ER, despite the panic attack, extreme shivering, and shin and elbow pain, I still felt like God had me there for a reason.
God hid His glory under the appearance of bread and wine so that every week, or even every day, His grace could pulse through your veins. His grace would be in every beat of your heart, bring energy to your body, and healing to your hurts.
“Don’t walk into mass out of shape,” proclaims the bridge of the song “Mass Fitness” performed by some, gangly, shaved-eyebrow dude.
Well that Vanilla-Ice-looking dude is me. I love writing silly songs with catchy hooks and was asked to add a comedic spark to Life Teen’s semester on the Mass through song, dance, and video.
The original idea came from our Life Support Coordinator Joel Stepanek. He thought an 80’s style Richard Simmons workout video featuring specific movements that would get people in shape for Mass would be a fun introduction to the topic (since we all know there’s a lot of kneeling, sitting, and standing going on at Mass). I laughed just thinking about it and then suddenly got inspired to blow it up. So I wrote an original song, shot a music video (with the help of some wonderful and talented people), and decided to give it an early 90’s vibe instead.
I rode in the car for two hours with our Lord clutched to my chest. I had my knees up by my face and both my hands over Him, hugging Him tightly to myself. I could feel my heartbeat in my hands, pounding through the gold capsula. I did not speak. The hours passed like minutes as I sat there in complete awe and wonder.
Daily Mass became part of my routine when I was in college, and because of Mass, I am a changed person.
I am reminded each day that Jesus loves me and is a very real part of who I am. Through His holy sacrifice — and my human one in getting up early for daily Mass, His grace and goodness transform me. Maybe you’re thinking, “but I just don’t feel anything at Mass,” or that,“Mass is boring.” These are common feelings, but we shouldn’t let these feelings or thoughts come between us and Jesus. We should realize that it’s how we respond to Christ’s call to be with Him daily that makes the difference in how we are receptive to Him.
I loved (and still love) being Catholic. I loved belonging to my parish, to my youth group, to the choir, and to the picnic committee. I wanted to be involved in anything that allowed me to express my faith. However, I now realize that sometimes my zeal for my faith made me act like I was part of an exclusive club — not the Body of Christ on earth, commissioned to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
The word ‘eucharist’ means ‘thanksgiving’ in Greek; did you know that? It’s a meal that we come to, and I hope you come grateful. Not only grateful that He picks you, but grateful that He feeds you. And that meal is one of the ways He stays with us, always. Because as often as we come to the Eucharist, He comes to us.
These promises changed my life. Don’t rationalize or make excuses for yourself. Push yourself a bit, work a little longer, sacrifice something else, persist, and persevere! Following through on these promises will not only bring you joy, but freedom to live the life God is calling you to!
A few years ago I felt my relationship with God was kind of “meh” so I asked a priest I knew, Father Chris, for advice. “Are you attending mass every day?” Father Chris asked. Keep in mind, I worked at a church that offered mass twice a day. All I had to do was walk […]
As a kid I remember being super excited for a road trip from Massachusetts to New Jersey to visit my grandparents. In my five year old brain, 'New Jersey' might as well have been the moon and a week was basically forever. I had to pack accordingly. Pulling bags out the closet I filled them with my stuffed animals, dolls, books, art supplies, my sticker collection and a panda poster.
Maybe God's calling you to reorder in that way. Or maybe He has a different way of walking with you and helping you establish order. Let Him walk with you. Let Him speak truth into situations in your life and bring calm to the chaos.
We waited all throughout Advent. We celebrated all throughout Christmas. Now we have the beautiful season of Ordinary Time to settle into a routine – but a routine that looks different than it did last year, because we're letting God in to our lives in new ways.
Clothes say something about what we think, what we value. They also influence how we behave and feel. Sunday is special, and God's House is special. Some things are really important, and our clothing and demeanor ought to reflect this truth.
The exterior reflects the interior, and God definitely deserves the best we have inside and out!
Only Catholics can receive the Eucharist at Mass because the Eucharist is the Sacrament of our unity in Christ; those who receive it need to have unity in the Faith.
The practice of excluding some people from Holy Communion is a Biblically based, ancient Christian discipline observed by both Catholics and many Protestants.
In the outward sign of crossing our forehead, lips, and heart, we are asking that the Word of God to pierce our mind, lips, and hearts.
We cross our forehead so that the Word of God may be in our thoughts and purify our minds. We cross our lips so that our speech may be holy and incline us to share the Gospel with others. And we cross our hearts to invite God to strengthen our love for Him and others. All of this is so that we might know, proclaim, and love Jesus Christ all the more.
Fasting is all about the 'disposition' of your soul. That means the 'condition' or 'state' that your soul is in. In order to prepare the soul, we have to prepare the body.
We are physical beings. When we force our body to do something hard, like not eat or drink, it reminds us that hunger and thirst for spiritual food is even more important.
Since the body and soul make up the one person that you are, they have to do things together . . . like get ready for Jesus in the Eucharist.
Joanna and I became friends in college, when I was a junior and she was a freshman. Her family had converted to Catholicism when she was a teenager and she struggled to embrace their new beliefs. I was a theology major who loved my Catholic faith and a good discussion. Joanna would often knock on my door, offer me a pudding snack, and spend hours grilling me about the Church.
Catholics genuflect in Church in order to show our reverence to the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Genuflection is defined as 'A reverence made by bending the knee, especially to express adoration of the Blessed Sacrament' (CCC 1378). As we walk into the house of God, a Church, we show our adoration for Him by kneeing before Him.
Only Catholics are able to receive Communion at Mass because the Eucharist is the Sacrament of our unity in Christ; those who receive it need to have unity in the Faith. Those who reject Catholicism including Protestants and non-Christians, reject the doctrine of Transubstantiation. We Catholics believe that Jesus does a miracle in every Mass and turns our offerings of simple bread and wine into His Own precious Body and Blood, but others do not believe this. The Catholic Church isn’t doing something mean or intolerant.
But when we talk about the union of God the Father with God the Son, it is not enough to just say that they are the same. They are both God … one God in three unique Persons. By asking us to now use the word consubstantial when we pray the Creed (remember, the Creed is a statement of what we believe as Catholics) the Church is reminding us of the importance of professing that the Father and the Son are the exact same substance.
When we skip Mass on Sunday, we are violating our covenant with God. We are saying to God, 'I don't need to be united to you. I don't need to worship you.' It may seem innocent, but we are actually declining His marriage proposal. We are not showing up for our own wedding.
When we make a decision to deny His invitation to covenant we are saying we don't want a relationship with Him. Because our God loves us and is a gentleman, he allows us to do this.
However, it’s a grave sin to miss Mass.