So besides learning carols and Advent hymns like Veni Emmanuel and Adeste Fidelis, I finally completed the advent wreath yesterday! JPII said “Advent is a period of intense training that directs us decisively to the One who has already come, who will come, and who continuously comes. ” And I say Amen and it’s been so good thus far. We light our candles and read a bit and do reflections and pray together. What can I say?… I love it!!!!!! 😀
We went to Jo’burg Gen for the kiddies party! Wow, indeed Veni Veni Emmanuel! Am chanting today with the schola in a concert hope it goes well. Been practising Iustus Ut Palma because he threw a hissy during practice on Sunday 😀
Pics below of my advent wreath and some of the kid’s party 😀 The middle candle is for our numerous intentions 😀
I am going to carols tonight and will be singing a duet with Nya, Panis Angelicus… I know it’s not a carol but it is or so beautiful and do-able when compared to opera of the bells 😀 and Gau’s wedding reception is tomorrow… so I try on the blouse that goes with my saree… and discover I now look like a hippo… last time I wore my saree I had to reduce and pull in the openings… I may have to let out a seam or two today here’s hoping I have fun though! My saree is black with blue edging similar to the photo. Mmm, maybe I must get pictures to put up.
And on carols again I found this wonderful video on YouTube here…
After asking my questions and googling as if my life depended on doing so, (which it does in a sense) I have been getting an education on what constitutes sin. Here are some conclusions I have come to:
What I have gotten is that:
1. it is wrong to miss Mass without a grave reason, and to go to a Protestant service as a substitute without grave reason… (emphasis on grave)
2. if I go to a Protestant church instead of a Catholic one, I fail to fulfil my Sunday obligation and am in a state of mortal sin
3. it is wrong to fully and actively participate in a non-Catholic service, i.e. communion, reading, etc.
4. it is unclear whether it is wrong to attend other Christian services ‘passively’ – if one can be passive – as well as mass. It is advisable not to go, as one’s faith is put in peril, could be attacked and undermined.And attending these services is not in the best interests of the church; of not condoning the different Christian denominations as we want to encourage the return of all the Christians to the church
5. if I attend Protestant services for different reasons like pleasing family or just because I like it, I tolerate the hurt to Christ’s Body and make light of the scandal that wounds our Lord deeper every day
And what I need to do is:
1. actively endeavour to go to mass every week and receive the Eucharist
2. study the catechism in order to understand why Catholicism is the true church of Christ
3. avoid actively participating in other Christian services and going there as I could be tossed around and confused by strange doctrines and beliefs
4. somehow get my friends and family to understand why it is important for me to be Catholic and lead them to the light…
As I read around I came across a site which had the following… “The new Catechism calls the Eucharist “the heart and the summit of the Church’s life,” as well as the “sum and summary of our faith.” (CCC, #1407, #1327).The Eucharist is the sacrament of sacraments, the divine reality toward which all the other sacraments point and in which they are all fulfilled.”(source) and I thought how profound, I think I was last at a benediction years ago I can’t remember when and yet I always felt immersed in His presence then so why don’t I go now?
In one of the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis which I am listening to, Screwtape was telling his nephew Wormwood something about how our bodies and what happens to them affects our spirituality… or something to that effect, it was about how the nephews ‘person’ could be led to being less prayerful by thinking that where I am and kneeling etc. are not important in the greater schemes of things for prayer or the quality of a prayer. As Catholic we hold that our bodies are the temples of the Lord, hence I’d want my temple (read body) to be positioned at the best place possible and not be desecrated and to be clean in preparation of the Lord coming into it… during communion.
Along the same lines, I’ll quote the following (also online) “…there were Gnostics who reasoned that the opposition of body and spirit meant the body could do anything without affecting the spirit. This school went in for orgies and every form of self-indulgence, all the while pretending they were ‘holy within’. But the Church of Christ went on teaching the truth: The Word became flesh. Body and spirit are married in Christ Jesus and we who are in him can and must glorify God in our bodies, not apart from them just as Jesus did when he died and rose–bodily–and ascended to his Father.(source)“ So indeed I have been woefully depriving myself by not receiving the Eucharist to be unified body and soul with the body of my Lord. and not only that, I’ve also been in a state of mortal sin by not attending mass; which leaves me very sad indeed.
“Many Catholics leave their bland parish for another denomination that serves up the Gospel hot and spicy. People who give up the Catholic faith often say they were looking for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. How much more personal can you get than to have Jesus literally and physically living within your body? Ex-Catholics who claim that they are now being “fed” with the written Word at their new church, don’t realize that they have abandoned the banquet of the Living Word, the body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ. (source)
I used to wonder that if half the world did not believe in God for reasons out of their control as in been brought up way out wherever where Jesus is mostly unknown, and that if we can only get to heaven through His son then what would happen to them? It seemed … anathema…!!! Would so many perish?!? Then I would think that there must be another way to heaven or that there must be some flaw in the formula or that one’s deeds were a great part of it. Then I came to realise that there can not be two or more right answers… there is the truth and everything else. It may fill me with horror to think of people perishing in hell, as it well should, for without this fear would my faith grow?
It is not for me to try and figure out the mysteries of the Lord or to try and figure out how the rest of the world would get to heaven or to judge if they should… but it is for me to say yes to the truth when I hear it, for me to say no to the sin when it is recognised (as has happened here). I was sinning and I have to turn away from that sin ask for forgiveness and for the grace of the Lord to not sin again… for all my failures are my own and the triumphs are His. It his mercy that pulls me through.
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…
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.
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
…makes a man (or woman) healthy, wealthy and wise. I wonder when I’ll learn that…? When I sleep late I wake up late and grouchy the day does not go well and I don’t’ ‘have’ time to read my bible or say my prayers coz I am harried and the day just goes down the drain… I know this! But guess what time I went to sleep the other day? 3:30 am… when I need to be at work by 8:30 and it takes 1 hour at least for me to get there…. whoever said human beings are creatures of habit had it spot on. Because all I wanted to do was finish my novel and the rest would take care of itself. Now if I had the same attitude towards my quiet time I could probably move mountains coz when I am in tune with the Lord I am in tune with me and what I need to get done, I am literally superwoman.
There have been a couple of good breakthroughs though, I decided for advent to say the Joyous mysteries and I’ve actually been doing it twice a day and loving it as well as the Divine Mercy chaplet. I was busy googling devotions I came across it and though I hadn’t done it in a while when it was actually one of my favourites so depending on how I’m feeling rosary first then Divine Mercy chaplet or vice versa and because the Angelus is so centred around the birth of Jesus I’m doing it too. I tend to miss at least one of the times either midday or 6pm but ’tis early days yet, I’ll have it down pat by next week, easy peasy.
One of my favourite times of the year is here! Advent began yesterday and at church the first candle of advent was lit. I love advent because of what is symbolizes, the coming out of darkness. The word Advent is from the Latin ‘adventus’ for “coming” and is associated with the four weeks of preparation for Christmas, for the coming of Jesus, as a baby and for His second coming. I love the feelings of anticipation and penitence that pervades the atmosphere. With the lighting of the candles we are coming out of the darkness. And we come to God asking Him to forgive us that we may be ready and not found wanting when His son comes.
It’s major family time too which I love to bits, and trying to parallel ones family to the holy family is always an interesting exercise. I’m kinda sad though in that this is the first year in a very long time that I won’t’ be organising the nativity play, last year was a blast. I’ve stopped acting in them thank the Lord. Who knows maybe this year it will mean that midnight mass won’t be frantic for me 😀
But most of all I love to ‘basteln’… that’s the German word for ‘doing craft’ because I just love creatingg advent wreaths, advent calendars and baking and making sweets and seeing kiddies excitement. This weekend was a bit hectic, did not manage to do all that I intended but I will finish my nieces advent calendar later today. I had intended to make Honeycomb toffee like that inside Cadbury’s Crunchie bars but had no bicarb of soda so will make that today. I can’t wait till I get home! And I have this Girl Guide advent calendar that I have never used coz I like it too much. But I did make copies for my Guides last year mmm maybe I should make more copies of it this year anyway and send it to them. It will be late but not by too much. Yep I do miss the girls a whole bunch.
So advent has begun and i can make as may plaetzchen and sweets as I like and my family will shake their heads at their outlandish black sheep again, but secretly all the while they are happy I am there to create little things they’d never see or taste without me in their lives 😀