We’re all in this together…

On Saturday we had our class watch a video from Bustedhalo.com on the importance of confession and what it really means. Since they are completing their second year of Confirmation and are receiving their Sacrament, it is important that they know and understand it. The one phrase from the video that stuck with me was “We’re all in this together…” I repeated it to myself over and over again. In the Catholic faith we believe there is one holy and apostolic church and one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. Regardless of what church you go to or what part of the country you’re from, if you believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God, you are my brother or sister. We are one.

Well, what does that mean, We are one? If you hurt, I hurt. If something is troubling you, something is troubling me. If you are happy, I rejoice with you. I pray for you and you pray for me, when it is needed. Siblings always have each others back. We are one.

Some of the kids in the class haven’t been to confession in a bit so the following video is great if you have never gone to confession or have not been in quite some time. You might be rusty on how it should be done or you might feel hesitant to go, don’t be.

What is it and how to do it (even if its been a long time)? Part One:

Here is a great guide on how to go to confession.

What is it and how to do it (even if it’s been a long time), Part Two:


What do you do with the time between confessions? This question is answered again with … We’re all in this together. At church I have become close with many people, they have become my extended family. I use them to help guide me and keep my relationship with God in tact. I also call upon my close friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ who are not apart of my specific church, to pray for me to the Lord our God. They share their personal stories with me, which gives me insight into something I might be going through. They share their courage with me, their fears, their triumphs, and their testimonials. They help me avoid committing the sins that would make me have to go to confession.

That is huge! My family in Christ helps me avoid committing the sins that would make me have to go to confession. I didn’t have that support system all those years I spent away from the church…the longer I didn’t go the farther I got away from my path. It is an awful feeling to be lost in your choices, overwhelmed with crucial life decisions and I wish that on no one. It is the main reason why I love working with teenagers, because that was the time in my life that I severed my relationship with God. I know now, as an adult that my life would have been very different. Perhaps the same road, but my outlook on that road, on life in general would have been different.

It’s never too late to turn it all around. I am living proof of that! I know I scare some of the young girls in the class I teach when I get passionate on explaining how important it is to have and keep God in their hearts, no matter what is going on in their lives. I just hope that above everything they see just that, God makes a difference in our lives. We’re all in this together. It is comforting to have that support group to lean on! If you find yourself without a support system, know that it is not too late to find peace, strength and patience from the words of a stranger. We’re all in this together, I am here with you! If you need a prayer said you can leave it in the comments section or send it to me via email and I will get a prayer petition going for you!

Before I let you go on this gorgeous Sunday, here is one of today’s readings:

2 Corintios 5: 17-21
English Version

Until then,

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How I lessened the burden of guilt… #Lent Season

http://www.mypocketfulofthoughts.com/2013/03/how-i-lessened-burden-of-guilt-lent.html#When I was studying for my Confirmation, I remember Sister Alta Gracia telling me to prepare for Confession. I cringed. Participating in the Sacrament of Confession, you tell the priest your sins. If I had done it when I was preparing for Holy Communion, I was so young I didn’t recall it. What I would confess to a priest at age 8 is very different than what I would confess at age 28. I had 20 years to rack up a long list. Can you blame me for cringing?

During the lent season, the church schedules more time set aside for confessions. I had set up a time with my priest and I sat patiently waiting. I wrote down every possible thing I could remember over that twenty year span that broke one of the ten commandments. I had three pages worth of things. I clutched that paper with dear life. I remember calling Daniel just before and told him how nervous I was. He assured me everything would be fine.

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The closer my turn got the more nervous I became. Who wants to confess the things that go against God? Then another visiting priest was taking on confessions in the Church Rectory. I kind of liked the idea of being confessed by someone who didn’t know me well. When I went into the sitting room, I realized that it was going to be a face to face confession. All I could think was where is the booth so the priest doesn’t see me and I don’t see him? The priest was patient, I followed the guide and when it was time to confess, I read off my list. Tears burned my eyes as I recalled some of the things on the list and then the next thing I knew I was sobbing hysterically. The priest grabbed a box of tissue and he remained patient. I finished my list and waited. He told me the parable of the Prodigal Son.

    Luke 15:10-32

    10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

    The Parable of the Prodigal and His Brother

    11 Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16 He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”’ 20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21 Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.

    25 “Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. 27 He replied, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.’ 28 Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!’ 31 Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’”

The priest explained the importance of going to confession frequently. The longer the period of time we go between confessions, the more likely we are to be tempted. Life is full of temptations, whether we are aware of it or not. During this Sacrament of Confession the Priest is a representative for God. When we confess to a Priest, we are confessing to God. When a Priest absolves our sins, it is God who is absolving our sins. At the end of my first confession, I had no idea how much guilt I had been carrying around. I felt my burdens lighten. I forgave myself. I felt a weight lifted.

When we carry around the weight of the things we regret in life, it slowly changes us. We’re able to move forward because we have no choice but eventually those changes start to show on the outside. I now go more frequently, I find it keeps me on my path. I am human and I am far from perfect. I fall, dust myself off and get back up. It’s comforting to know that Confession is available to help me reflect on my life, to aim to do better and to be in God’s good graces.

Here is today’s reading:

English Version


If something of your past is weighing on you, forgive yourself. God loves you, I love you and I ask you to pass it on!

Until then,

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Who’s watching you?

This week has been an interesting week.  Last week’s topic, that I discussed with the kids in the catechism classes, went over what the Catholic faith believes, who we believe in, why we believe, and where we get our information from.  These are topics that I will discuss in the future.  Today I would like to talk about why we believe.  If you tuned in last week, I also touched upon this topic, but after a week of people asking this question, Why do you believe?; I felt compelled to pose this question, Who’s watching you?

In the year 2012, if one is questioned on their beliefs, a conversation amongst a group can be done peacefully and respectfully.  Everyone has a variation on their belief.  I like and appreciate that we can do this.  We are not persecuted for our beliefs.  We are not ridiculed for our beliefs.  We can believe in whatever we wish for we have Freedom of Religion.

As individuals we support our religion because we have faith.  What is faith?

Definition of FAITH according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

1
a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty

b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions

2
a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion

b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust

3
: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

on faith

: without question [took everything he said on faith]

What phrases stand out to you?  The phrases that stand out to me are “firm belief in something for which there is no proof … complete trust and …without question.
The same can be said for someone without faith, or someone who questions their faith.  Does their faith exist?  According to the definition, no.  A person without faith, a person who does not believe, can not be faithful.  
Regardless of whether or not you believe in a religion, it can not be denied that people are watching you.  Our friends reflect upon our actions and our beliefs every day.   Our children look up to us. People watch us.  What are we showing them?

Those closest to me know, that over the last five years, I have embraced my faith.  It is not that my faith was lacking before, but I hadn’t done a good job of walking the Christian path.  I was in a state of being.  Over time I realized that just being was not taking my life in the direction I envisioned or wished for myself.  It was not until I decided to partake in the sacrament of Reconciliation that my path changed course.  

In the Catholic faith, there are seven Sacraments.  The sacrament of Reconciliation is also referred to as Penance.  One reviews their prior actions in reflection against the ten commandments.  If your actions go against God, they are referred to as sins.  This reflection period is a time to acknowledge what you have done to go against God in your actions.  These sins are confessed to a priest.   The priest will offer guidance and direction on your actions.  The priest will then ask if one is sorry for sinning against God.  If you are, then one’s sins are forgiven by absolution which can only be given by an authorized priest.  

In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, one receive God’s unconditional forgiveness.  I found that during this process I have also strengthened my ability to forgive myself.  I had never forgiven myself in the past.  This for me was huge.  In life we are hardest on ourselves.

If I forgive myself and acknowledge my sins and try my hardest to sin no more, I find it much easier and more likely to make choices that keep me in line with God’s law.  I find it easier to want to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.  WWJD?  You might have seen this a number of times, it stands for What would Jesus do?  I find I use this phrase when I am trying to make a decision on something difficult.  I ask this question because my actions are watched by God.

God is watching.  Whether or not you believe in that statement, it does not change the fact that someone is watching you.  Somewhere down the line, your actions may impact someone you know…and someone you might never meet.  How can I impact someone I have never met?  I’m happy that you asked.  The Skit Guys will help us out with this.

 

 
 
Do you know who is watching you?   On this Soulful Sunday, I leave you with this thought to marinate this week along with one of today’s readings.
 
 
Heb 4:14-16                     [Jesus Our High Priest]
 
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the high priest who shares all our weaknesses, except sin.  His mercy comes to all who seek it.
 
A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews
 
Brothers and Sisters,
Since we have a great priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.  So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.
-The word of the Lord.
-Thanks be to God.
 
 Until then,

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