Category Archives: Catholic

Livin’ on a Prayer

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I had to come down to C-U yesterday for close-out meetings with my department, so I decided to drop in to see Sr. Sarah while I was here, to see if I could schedule a much-needed SD session. It was wonderful to catch up with her, as I haven’t seen her or chatted with her since May. And, inevitably (as I expected it would), my prayer life (or lack thereof) came into the conversation.

“So how has prayer been?”

(silence…head shake)

We talked about it for a bit. And now I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Why is prayer so hard for me? Why am I so unable to make it a priority in my life. I popped up to the chapel to spend some time in prayer after talking with Sr., and I think I came up with a partial answer. While I know in my head and in my heart that God is always present, I don’t always acknowledge it and give Him the proper attention because it’s not a tangible presence (an arguable statement, I know). It’s easy for me to give my time and attention to things I can see and touch (friends, family, work, etc.), and it’s easy for me to not give my attention to things I can’t see and touch (God). I guess an easier way to say it is that I take God’s presence (and my relationship with Him) for granted. I know that I don’t hold up my end of things, and I would like to change that.

So here is my petition to prayerful readers: How do you spend time with God every day? How do you pray? How do you make sure that you do pray every day?

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I may have some really terrific news either tomorrow or Tuesday. I’ve told several people, but part of me is terrified that I’m jinxing it. So, until then, you’ll all just have to wait in suspense.

I went to confession with Fr. Luke for the first time on Saturday evening. It always scares me a little to confess to a new priest. Will he have angry-looking bushy eyebrows like Fr. Schroeder? Is he going to give me a long talk like Fr. Adolph? Will he tell me exactly what I need to hear like Msgr. Swetland always did? Will he give me extensive penance? Will I have an awkward almost-hug moment like with Msgr. Hallin (long story…)? But I went. And it was good. It was a very peaceful confession, and I really enjoyed hearing what Fr. Luke had to say (that’s not to say I don’t enjoy what every priest has to say). He just said what I needed to hear, in a way that I could really hear it. And the penance was really unusual…but incredibly fruitful.

I took a big step this weekend…. I got contacts on Friday! I’ve had glasses for…ten years (?), and I’ve never worn contacts. I’m still getting used to them. Today was the first day that I was able to put both of them in on the first try (the left one tends to fall onto the counter a lot), and take them out on the first try (I get scared that I won’t be able to get them out). Anyway, they’re nice. I like them, but I don’t think I’ll wear them every day. After about 5 hours, I’m ready to take them out and put glasses on…this is partly because I’m afraid of them drying out and popping out of my eyes. I’m insane, what can I say?

I’m also trying a new food this week. Tofu Shirataki noodles. Hungry Girl recommends them, both on the site and in the book, so I thought I’d give it a go. 20 calories, no fat, and 2g fiber?! Heck yes. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Tomorrow night I think is going to be the noodles in an “alfredo” sauce. We’ll see.

Charm City

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Two years ago, I took a trip to Baltimore, MD, for a service trip with a group from U of I. I spent a week there, volunteering at various soup kitchens and outreach centers. I loved that city. And even though I only spent a week there, I’ve always felt like Baltimore is a second home. I’ve always felt the call to return there someday. And I always feel a connection to people who mention Baltimore as a former place of residence.

 So when Katharine recommended I read the book, “Letters to a Young Catholic” by George Weigel, to spark some fire in my faith, I decided to look into it. I searched for it on Amazon and checked out the Sneak Peek. The first and thirteenth chapters were about Baltimore. And the author described Baltimore as “one of the most Catholic cities in the country.” I’m buying this book.

And what’s more, I think just reading that one sentence helped me realize why I’ve always felt a pull to Baltimore. Because that’s where my faith first started growing (outside of NFK). While there, I was around people who had so much faith despite everything they had gone through (drug addictions, poverty) and I think it was a strength-building trip. I think I get it now.

 So thanks for the book recommendation, Katharine. Little did you know it’d have this much of an impact before I’d even read it. 😉

CCD: Catholic Class for Dummies?

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Sometimes, I think that the Church ought to wait until people are older before they’re seen as “adults.” Being confirmed at the age of 13, I know that I had no idea what the Church was all about. I’m still not 100% clear on it (nor do I think I ever will be). And I feel like I have a lot of making-up to do. I feel like I should go through RCIA because I just know so little about my own religion. I try…. I really do. I attend Bible Study, I see a Spiritual Director, I read the Bible, I pray, I attend Mass on Sundays (and during the week when possible…which hasn’t been lately), and I participate in Koinonia retreats. And yet, I still feel like I don’t know what the Catholic Church–and religion in general, for that matter–is all about.

 I guess this is all coming about because I was perusing Facebook a minute ago, looking at a friend’s profile. He came into the Catholic Church 2 years ago, and, I’ll be honest, I’m a little envious of the love he has for his religion. I wish I could feel that way about it! I wish I could be that on fire for what I believe. And maybe part of the reason I’m not is because that’s just not my personality, but I think it’s also because I just don’t know about it.

I’m kind of at the end of my rope here. I don’t know how else to go about learning, and it’s getting kind of discouraging to not understand, and I can feel my faith starting to slip. Now is not the time to feel discouraged. It’s the Easter season. He is risen! Alleluia! I should be happy! But it just didn’t happen for me this year. This is the second year in a row that I haven’t really had an Easter (personally speaking). *sigh* I just don’t know anymore.