Saving Graces

new mercies each and every day

Sr. Sturmia has gone home….

Oct
05

A few months after going back to Germany Sr. Sturmia Denk has passed away. She has gone home. Such a sad day. She will be sorely missed. And to make it all seem real bad one of our parishioners also went home yesterday, but his send-off was definitely not as peaceful as I imagine Sr. Sturmia’s to have been. He was gunned down, shot in a robbery of his jewellery shop at Northgate shopping mall. We continue with the “Why believe?” series this Wednesday and Fr. J said he would be touching on why there is evil in the world. I would like to know why….

Goodbye Sr. Sturmia, you will be sorely missed, but I know you have gone home.

Life… and it’s troughs

Jan
30

I could honestly cry if I think about all the things going wrong right now. I find out there is something major wrong with getting my permit and I may have to go to Zim to get it fixed. I am broke so I can’t afford to travel home. All that amidst my first exams in a very long time and it shows coz today’s exam was the pits. If I pass it will truly be by God’s grace. But even He says you reap what you sow. Let’s just say I had not sowed enough. And did I mention I am beyond broke; let’s try in debt and after working for four months with nothing to show for it. Goes back to my permit issue.

What to do what to do. What am I missing Lord, what is it You want me to see coz I have no idea what it is? And I have been coming across too many nun videos for my liking…

Went to benediction. Mass and rosary today. Yaay something went right. It was rather good but I am really lazy now coz after kneeling for rosary I felt as if my knees have been eternally welded in place…

And it’s not just my blog but my bible reading which has been neglected and days not hemmed in prayer do unravel. Ask me I’d know.

Everyone says life is a series of hills and troughs, mountain tops and valleys, well the troughs are the pits. They are there to aid me in being diligent to seek after what I want, what I know is right and what the Lord wants me to do even if it is proving a mite difficult. But how do I do that when I’m not even so sure what it is I am supposed to fight towards…

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 II)

Dec
17

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.

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…