Saving Graces

new mercies each and every day

How can i stand here with you and not be moved by you?

Aug
05

I was introduced to the song Everything by Lifehouse at the SFC camp. I have just one word to say; astounding. OK, maybe one word is not enough, fascinating, profound, amazing, breathtaking overwhelming… it was that good especially because the skit accompanying it was very relevant. It was like Jesus is always here beside me, God is all around me, and yet I do fail to be moved by the awesomeness of all that. The skit and words are below.

And TOB yesterday was difficult and yet easy… it had a message of how to be naked without shame, about the fall of original man due to original sin, about how we have run away from God because of shame and yet shame should bring us to God and well, a lot of things came up to show me that maybe I have not healed as much as I would like to think I have. Which makes me very sad. Yet I am happy that it just showed me that I have to keep going to God with my hurt because as Bronwyn said, He won’t allow me to heal away from Him because He is a jealous possessive God. And because He is standing right here beside me there is no need to hide. We were given so many verses on how we are beautifully made, in His image, how can I ever doubt my beauty with so much evidence of it again… how? I don’t know but I do. So Lord, this be a heartfelt plea, remove the ugliness I perceive and show me the beauty You see.

As an aside. I’ve decided to try writing again. Why oh why do I do this to myself? It’s just that the stories are in here and they are bursting to get out. They don’t seem to understand that the process of getting them out is arduous and painstaking and aaarrrggghhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s hard work! And no one has ever accused me of being a hard worker.

Everything by Lifehouse

Find Me Here
Speak To Me
I want to feel you
I need to hear you
You are the light
That’s leading me
To the place where I find peace again.

You are the strength, that keeps me walking.
You are the hope, that keeps me trusting.
You are the light to my soul.
You are my purpose…you’re everything.

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

You calm the storms, and you give me rest.
You hold me in your hands, you won’t let me fall.
You steal my heart, and you take my breath away.
Would you take me in? Take me deeper now?

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Cause you’re all I want, You’re all I need
You’re everything,everything
You’re all I want your all I need
You’re everything, everything.
You’re all I want you’re all I need.
You’re everything, everything
You’re all I want you’re all I need, you’re everything, everything.

And How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Singles For Christ Camp!

Aug
03

So I’m back from this weekends camp and it was an awesome God filled and blessed weekend. SFC = Singles for Christ… and no that’s not a dating club or anything, it’s a Catholic family ministry that has, Couples for Christ, Singles for Christ, Youth for Christ and Kids for Christ specific programmes. Nyashmi has always been involved.

I have been looking for fellowship and boy have I found it of late. If I take it all up I’ll have Young Adults on Monday, Theology of the body on Tuesdays, RCIA type Formation on Wednesdays (found out about this one on Sunday so want to start this week), SFC on Thursday, also starting this week, then of course Young family Sunday afternoons and teaching Catechism and Youth mass, plus Saturday mass here and there coz that’s my cantor slot now.

Hey, ma I think I’m living as close to a religious life as I can out of a convent! And loving every bit of it. Now to sort out logistics; if only I had a car.

Back to the camp…
So I only arrived Saturday morning because I was singing for St Ignatius feast day on Friday and could not miss that. Cameron would have minced me, literally. So I wake up Saturday morning just before 6 and its raining, in winter in Johannesburg!!! It’s not supposed to rain. So I prepare to leave, had slept over at the church due to mass being late and all so I am the only one awake I leave the keys were I’m supposed to and I slip out and realize I don’t have gate keys but maybe there is a guard…. umm NO!! so I am stuck outside in dismal drizzle with no keys to get back inside and no gate keys to leave … so I go ring the bell at the priest house. For a good 15 min before someone comes to help me get out. I am losing heat by the minute.

I finally manage to get into town, hunt for taxis to Krugersdorp. Which takes me another half an hour and then I get there but get to the wrong gate and Nyashmi comes to get me and I’m practically wet through.. and the temperatures are steadily dropping and the drizzle is turning into rain…. so I get there, I get assigned to a group and the rest was fantab, besides the soft ice rain that is. It was literally little balls of ice that are not hail. And of course I get my period. On the coldest day in winter which just means dysmenorrhea. Thank the Lord for blankies and hot water bottles 😀

The messages were profound esp one by this guy Kirk. I have to get his notes. Will ask for them Tuesday at TOB; how to love the way God wants us to love, the Christian way. There was this cute couple who are recently married who gave a talk on married life and of course the wife is a girl guide 😀 and I met the coolest girls this side of the world! yes i still think of myself and peers as girls.

The music was good too, quite a bit of it local compositions. It’s the good Lord affirming all my decisions and I gotta say you gotta love it! Now for me to do my part and actually put into practice what I learnt. And my confession was grand too. Not just cleansing, downright fun! The penance is going to be challenging though, when did priests move from just telling us to say little prayers for penance to telling us real life day to day penance type acts. Like, go apologise to so and so etc lets hope this time it takes longer to get back into silly habits. With God’s grace of course!

Hidden in Christ

Jun
12

Our household has embarked on saying a novena, for our future spouses no less and it’s been 11 days. I know 11 is more than 9 but we skipped a day in between and hence started over. What I find striking is that when we started it I was doing because I know I am to pray for my future spouse and all, though not necessarily wanting one at the moment. But as the week has progressed I’ve begun to wish for the vocation marriage more… mmm.

And then i received this from a friends email… and the first line was what I found fascinating. I thus plan on hiding myself in Christ and the devout catholic man I desire will find me!

‘A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ
That a man should have to seek Him first to find her.’

When I say…. ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not shouting ‘I’m clean living,’
I’m whispering ‘I was lost, Now I’m found and forgiven.’

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I don’t speak of this with pride.
I’m confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide..

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I’m weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say.. ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not bragging of success
I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I still feel the sting of pain…
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not holier than thou,
I’m just a simple sinner Who received God’s good grace, somehow!

Pretty is as Pretty does… But beautiful is just plain beautiful!

The Eucharist – Flannery O’Connor

Jun
09

I was reading a blog about Father Jefferey Steel who is leaving the Anglican church to become Catholic, Deo Gratias 🙂 and I came across these two excerpts that are so profound to me. And here they are:

My children, we know when a soul has worthily received the Sacrament of the Eucharist, it is so drowned in love, so penetrated and changed, that it is no longer to be recognised in its words or its actions. . . . It is humble, it is gentle, it is mortified, charitable, and modest; it is at peace with everyone. It is a soul capable of the greatest sacrifices; in short, you would not know it again.

-St John Vianney

The other is from Flannery O’Connor whom I have suddenly discovered and now is going onto my Amazon wishlist, if only some benefactor out there would reduce my list even by one… he hehe. From first read I thought she was male… just goes to show ha! Totally invigorating and affirming!!

“I was once, five or six years ago, taken by some friends to have dinner with Mary McCarthy and her husband, Mr. Broadwater… She departed the Church at the age of 15 and is a Big Intellectual. We went at eight and at one, I hadn’t opened my mouth once, there being nothing for me in such company to say…Having me there was like having a dog present who had been trained to say a few words but overcome with inadequacy had forgotten them. Well, toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I, being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. Mrs. Broadwater said when she was a child and received the host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the most portable person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. I then said, in a very shaky voice, Well, if it’s a symbol, to hell with it. That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of a story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.”

Flannery O’Connor

Mortal Sin or Venial Sin?

May
14

I’m part of this Facebook group called “We are not Crazy, We’re just Catholic” and there is this thread that discusses purgatory in a way that is so clear it’s full of ‘aha’ moments. But most profound was a post by Andy Simms which I

just had to quote… the thread had somehow lead to explaining the meaning of mortal sin and venial sin…

From Andy: ” As I understand them, Mortal sins are any sins that take glory or power from God and transfer them to those to whom it does not belong. For instance, murder is a mortal sin. The authority to determine the life cycle of a human being belongs to God alone, but when we end the life of another with intent to do so we are taking that authority upon ourselves. To worship another god is a mortal sin. It is transferring glory and honour due to God alone to another. Contraception is a mortal sin. It places the choice of when life is created on the person rather than on God. Mortal sins are sins against God Himself.

Venial sins, however, are not as damaging to the soul as mortal sins, but an abundance of venial sins could amount to a mortal sin. In this case, willful and repeated refusal to follow the commandments of God, even though these are minor in nature, adds up to a denial of the supremacy of God. Back to venial sins, though. Venial sins are those that violate the spirit of the laws of God but do not replace the authority, glory or power of God. For instance, lying about how much money is in my wallet when my wife asks me is a venial sin. Intent is very key in determining severity of sin. If I tell a lie with the intent of keeping money to myself, it is a venial sin. If I tell a lie that ultimately leads to the expected result of death to another, for instance false testimony in a capital murder trial or telling a drug dealer that someone else stole the drugs, that would likely be a mortal sin.

It all sounds very legal, but the best answer I can give you is that mortal sins are direct affronts to God and venial sins are affronts to fellow men or indirect affronts to God.

Mortal sin speaks to death to the soul, not death to the body.”

That just jumped out at me, mortal sin speaks death to the soul. If I don’t hearthat then I’m doomed. It makes me want to go to confession like now! not that I have any mortal sins that need confessing but the more often I go to confession the more grace I have to not commit the same sins over and over again… I am so going to try and memorise most of Andy’s post to make sure more people know and that I never forget… a mantra of sorts; ‘Do not commit mortal sins, for mortal sin speaks death to the soul.’ Hell is real Y’all!

 

sin photo

Photo by bionicteaching

 

Revival retreat

Apr
02

The Lord knows what we need even before we do. It’s up to us to follow His will and be abundantly blessed therein. So last weekend was a Revival Retreat, for the ‘youth’ in our deanery. To say I was a bit sceptical of the whole thing would be an understatement. I was to go and practice on Friday afternoon with the praise and worship team but I was just too bummed so I did not go, for which I ended up feeling a tad guilty so got up with the cocks crow on Saturday morning got there at 7:30 and lets just say my scepticism had not abated. I would have liked to practice songs beforehand but there just didn’t seem to be time and then we had a leader’s group prayer, which I found a smidgen long. Don’t I always? And the participants just …trickled in. Finally, it went underway with praise and worship and I was getting this feeling of the Lord has brought you thus far for a reason so… be expectant.

The first session… A quarter of it went over my head coz arrogant fool that I am I was half the time correcting the speakers English and then that would lead me off into a major daydream and before you know it I have to drag my mind out of whatever land its currently in to the talk which was about waking my slumbering spirit. And I found it too long. But all in good time. So we split into groups, gender and age-based. As there are quite a number of females present I got roped into leading a group. I was thanking the Lord that I have somehow escaped leading the young ones (teeny boppers) and I have my own peers which is grand.

We begin discussing a topic to which I had only listened with half an ear. But the Lord works His miracles as always. It seems a quite number of the ladies in my group have never been to a retreat of any sort so they have no preconceived notions; like Di here who is expecting reverent coaching on how to get in touch with God (again). So we discuss the topic at hand of awakening our slumbering spiritual beings and talk as only girls together are wont to, about the relevance of our lives and we learn. Boy do we learn. It was such an eye opener and took me off my backbench and wanting to be “done” for and got me thinking on “doing for” the others. I wanted the ladies from my group to leave with extra knowledge on living Catholic lives on knowing the joys of being Catholic and on having fellowship that is second to none. And I wanted that for myself too but in this instance that was secondary. Was I ever grateful for having started teaching catechism lessons for then I actually had real catechism truths for some of the questions posed… whew!

As is wont to happen at most youth meetings relationships were talked about. Hey it’s a fact of life we love to talk about our relationships don’t we. We were taught to seek relationships in which we did not use others or allow others to use us, where love was the paramount love that was Free, Total, Fruitful and Faithful. Now I will happily say this is the love I have been seeking in any romantic liaisons I may have later and if a criterion was not met then sayonara. But I am sad to note this was not necessarily the same FTFF love I was seeking in my platonic and familial and friend relationships. Which I have charged myself to endeavour to change.

Struggling… again

Dec
31

I always seem to end up back here time and again. Struggling. Why Lord why? I hate the term backsliding it makes me think of being on a hill and trying to find purchase, so you climb up and use your hands even looking for any finger and toe holds.  But the ground is wet with this muddy sludge and you’re not just mired in the bog, it’s pulling you down! And there seems like there is nothing you can do. No not true that there is nothing you can do; there is something you can do. See you have a guide but you don’t want to ask for help from the guide beside you. You want to do it yourself and you begin acting like a pig and thinking the sludge and crud ain’t too bad. it’s kinda fun playing in the dirt – and before you know it you are at the bottom of the hill and the stink comes up and you are asking yourself how did I get down here?!?!?

ButIi was doing so well Lord… what part of me just does not learn Lord?… I KNOW I don’t want to be down here. And I know how to keep out of this stinky bog. So why do I lose sight of You and of Your love for me and of Your light? Stand firm, steadfast in the faith, come daily to God, persevere, immerse yourself in God’s word… is this not yet emblazoned on my heart??? And yet somewhere somehow I am left again by the wayside. I don’t even have an excuse that’s the pathetic thing about it.

Way back when I used at least to justify my sins, tell myself I know it cant be that bad, I mean did God really mean 123 and not ABC, you know stuff like that. But this time around I know it’s wrong I don’t even try false justification anymore. I just went right along and did it.

It’s like a man who has developed an allergy to his favourite food, say caramel and he sees this delectable caramel cake all sticky and wonderfully gooey. Instead of taking himself away from temptation coz he knows it is bad for him it could kill him, what does he do? He keeps coming to view it, taking pictures and putting them on his desktop, finding new recipes for caramel cake and even trying them out himself, to give away of course. He comes to inhale in its all so wonderful scent and he cuts a piece telling himself he won’t eat it he just wants to imagine himself doing so. Before you know it he has convinced himself a 5mm teeny incy wincy corner won’t kill him and it’s in his mouth; and anyway he has his EpiPen ready.

Then it dawns on him after that minuscule taste that what he is doing is wrong, wrong, wrong. He may as well be eating the whole thing and having an EpiPen won’t save him if he keeps that cake around so he comes to his senses and dumps the whole thing, pictures and recipes included, in a big black bag, drives to the furthest dumpster out of town and leaves the bag there whilst he hightails it out of there. But the taint of the tiny taste lingers in puffy eyes, a rash that has developed on his lip and in a stain on his heart – well caramel does not put stains on the heart but I figure you know what I mean. So I am trying my level best to take myself away from temptation… the pains and agonies of Christian-hood

So to help me out I have decided to pump up my one-on-one me time with God. I have never been really good with my daily devotions but I am really hoping this time it sticks and stays. I saw this beautiful plan here, An Hour with God and I am hoping that this time it works better than the other times I’ve started and it’s fizzled out. There is value in the struggle though, and I should be thankful for it. And I’m hoping that I actually turn to the Lord for help and not think I can do it all by myself. If I have learned anything this past year it’s that I have no control over anything. I may make plans but the world always comes in my way and I can not change a single thing by worrying.

Makes me think of this verse, have no idea where it is in the bible, but it goes something like “who of you can add a single hair to their head or a single year to their lives by worrying”. I may have paraphrased a lot… see am still a long way from memorising my verses.

I’d best get going I have to study for my exams… how did I get here? This aked by the chief procrastinator… moi!

On a sin… and communion (Part I)

Dec
15


Dilemma! Or not. When you sin and you know it’s a sin it’s different from when you sin and you didn’t know if it was sin and also different from when you sin and you weren’t sure it was in. So in which category am I in?… the latter I’m afeared on this current dilemma item.

What is sin? In this day and age, the lines between right and wrong get so blurred and logic is sometimes used to present an argument against doing what is right, we do love to rationalise don’t we? If one is not sure if something is sin what does one do? In my case, I asked around a bit but not enough, just enough for me to do the something. And then only after asking around a little more or sufficiently I find ’tis been a sin all along, so what to do? Stop, of course, that’s a given (I hope), repent and do better…

So what is the sin I’ve been grappling with? Receiving communion in a church that ain’t Catholic.

I remember how huge it seemed on day one then you let people talk to you and one rationalises and the deed loses it’s ‘horror aura’ and becomes less sinister. But that niggling that came from God never left me, it just didn’t gel with my spirit you know. And so I researched some more and was led to the Catholic on-line forum and asked my question and I am getting ‘educated’… no better word for it… so watch this space and I will give more info as I get it… or just go to the discussion, click here.

some may be thinking what’s wrong with receiving communion in another church, we are all Christian and we all want to be united spiritually in the body of Christ, don’t we? I get that if we believe different then we are not in communion anyway, as a Catholic I believe the Eucharist is the true body and blood of Christ in every essence except our physical experience of it. This is something I really need to study and pray for discernment on, and there is so much information I have to do a lot of sifting too, ok so let’s winnow…

God’s Will, which is love and mercy itself.

Dec
10

The final prayer on my Divine Mercy chaplet ends thus. I just had to comment that it is true, God’s will for me is His love and His mercy in their entirety. Now if only I could program that into my being… because I tend to wonder, especially nowadays when all is not going as planned, that Lord what is your will?… What do you want me to see, to learn, to glean if need be, please make it clear and then I sorta realise I have to submit to His will for it is infinite love and mercy to me 😀 now all I need is to learn how to submit… easy peasy ha?… This advent is proving more difficult than most.

Need the grace of charity…

Dec
08

So I have had an odd week. What can I say did not do as much as I had hoped to do
1. Ich habe keine plaetzchen gemacht!!!… I did not get the time to make my plaetzchen this weekend how sad is that?
2. Still no permit
3. Bone tired from go-karting (well over the weekend)

So at work, we went go-karting on Friday and we were divided into teams and during my practice
round I was all gung-ho and thinking now I know why I have always wanted to be a Formula 1 driver; and thinking I was the bees knees in my team I asked to go last so I could cement a win…only to be proven woefully wrong… getting overtaken by the red team coz I kept crashing into everything and everyone… ’twas fun bumping my CEO though! Michael Schumacher and all the Formula 1 drivers deserve all their money coz we all got so tired, sweaty and a headache… from the speed? who would have known that one has to expend quite a bit of energy to get the kart to turn round a hairpin turn, my left arm and wrist can testify. Much fun was had by all I had a blast though my pride had a great big knock… see only good came out of it! Just shows me ha? Pride comes before a crash

Then Saturday choir practice was grand (to which I was late again ) and we sang this Hillsong song Eagles wings “come live in me all my life, take over, come breath in me and I will rise on eagles wings” which on Sunday we sang as a prayer and a better mind worm is yet to be found especially for me a perpetual hum-mer 😀

We (that is the family in Johannesburg) also had a prayer meeting for my brother. He was involved in a car accident a while back… and so his leg got buggered and so he’s come to Johannesburg to see a specialist, after having gotten an unnecessary operation that did not work. He had an appointment this morning. hope it went well, will have to find out in a bit. So we prayed for his healing, for the examination to go well, for the grace to accept God’s will. All great and all except that my heart when I got there was at first in the wrong place. Not feeling very charitable to my sister-in-law which is nasty of me. And I had been listening to C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape letters which just basically were a highlight to me of how I let the powers of darkness reign supreme sometimes. Like honestly by now you would expect that I had gotten this charity thing down pat or at least to a point where I view all the people I am associated with as glorious creations of the Lord. I have generally become a flippant ol’ thing… and I hate it! So I pray Lord You change my heart coz only You can at this point.

‘Twas great to see one of the mom’s though…we sang and prayed for Zimbabwe too and generally my heart got better as I prayed coz I asked the Holy Spirit to enter my heart and help me focus on my brother my and my family and their needs and not mine and I think it worked.

Got my hair cut and relaxed and all then as soon as getting out of the saloon we got rained on! So much for having a spiffy do for the training today :D… all is vanity