Lent reflections.

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Hello all!
I hope Lent is going well for you. We are into the 3rd week of Lent and continue to trek along to get closer to Christ. Fish sandwiches seem to be all the rage on Fridays, haha.

But you want to hear some hard honesty?
I’ve been sucking at Lent lately.

I originally had planned on many different goals to do during Lent this year. I was going to give up soda, read scripture every day, and go to adoration once a day. Well… let’s just say that hasn’t stuck with me. But I have been fasting on the Fridays like we are suppose to.

This fasting and sacrificing for Lent has got me thinking. We have people within the Catholic community who give up trivial things like sugar, soda (like myself), or junk food. And while this sacrifice is a good way to show devotion and love towards God it made me think… is this really what Lent is about?

While I haven’t yet made any real personal commitment to sacrifice or dedication to God quite yet, I am thinking deeper on the meaning of Lent. It is a time to retreat from the world and really dive into the junk drawer of our sins. How are we going to clean out that junk drawer before Jesus arrives on Easter Sunday? I deeply desire to do something truly meaningful and life changing this lent… but I want to make sure that I am doing them for the right reasons. It’s never too late to start. Even after Lent we can continue to sacrifice our worldly pleasures for the Lord.

Next week I am off to Denver to attend a discernment retreat. I am very excited and eager to see how religious life live their day to day lives! While right now I’m not leaning towards religious life I am still open to it. I’m excited to see where God directs my attention and I pray that I will be open enough to see His will pull me. I hope that if God exposes His will to you that you respond with peace and joy!

If today you hear His voice, harden not your heart.
Til then. God bless!

– Carleigh

In A Funk: How confession helped set me free.

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So for the whole month of December I have been pretty much in a religious, Catholic funk.
I don’t want to blame my decisions on events that have happened to me (because everything that is a choice is within my control) but the month of December just kind of… sucked, to be honest.

Let me start off by saying that my grandmother of 75 years passed away earlier this month. I was extremely close to her. She died of ALS, which many people know of because of the ice bucket challenges going on this past summer. She wasn’t confirmed in this disease until October and then it just… hit her body like a ton of bricks. And once she passed away I just lost the motivation to go to Mass… and then that spiraled into not having the desire to go to confession along with many other mortal sins that I decided to commit.

I pretty much just took God for granted (which pains me to realize and type out).
I missed several Sunday masses, the Immaculate Conception, and the Nativity of the Lord. I pretty much skipped out on all of advent and Jesus’s birthday. How lame.

But yesterday I finally decided to get off my lazy butt and head over the confession. Lucky for me, I have a beautiful church right down the street from me and they were having reconciliation during my work break.
It was the oddest thing. I had my list all prepared for my confession (because I always forget sins that I committed once I get in there) and when I walked into the church a since of nervousness came over me. I almost decided to postpone it AGAIN. But I made myself go in there because I knew that I needed to be reunited with God. I am nothing without Him.

One thing I usually do during confession is sit in front of the priest. I don’t know why, but I’ve always done it. But this time I decided to stay behind the screen and the confession was just very natural. Once I was done, an overwhelming sense of peace came over me and even now I still feel it. I still feel the holy spirit within me and it’s a wonderful gift that I wish I hadn’t taken for granted. I wish I would’ve went to confession sooner.

I had a priest tell me once that when you go to confession God smiles. Isn’t that crazy?! The Creator of the Universe SMILES because you confess your sins and ask for forgiveness. I had forgotten those words that Father had told me and when I walked out of the confessional yesterday. I could feel the Lord’s happiness within my soul. When I went to receive the Eucharist tonight it was just… amazing. It’s hard to put into words how God makes you feel, ya know?

I’m not really sure what message I’m trying to convey here, because I just decided to sit down and write. But I hope it says something to you regardless. Please don’t be shy about going to confession. Don’t think you’re not good enough for Jesus because he’s waiting for you at the tabernacle. There is no sin that you could commit that would make Him love you any less. Please don’t bask in your selfishness like I did, because it only pulls you further away from heaven and our Lord. Or maybe you’re wondering why you should even go to confession in the first place? Here is an Catholic.com article for you!

On a light note: guess where I’m headed in two days? SEEK2015 in Nashville, TN! I’m EXTREMELY excited about it! It’s a conference put on by FOCUS, Fellowship of Catholic University Students, and student have the opportunity to listen to major catholic speakers. We’ll all get to have mass together, adoration, and it’ll just be one big catholic bowl of awesome. I can’t wait. I’m eager to listen to Scott Hahn speak because that man is my home boy, haha.
Let me know if you’re going as well! Maybe we can say hello or something.

Til then! God bless!

– Carleigh

Catholic Communication: Speaking with God

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Hello all! It’s been awhile, hm?

Here at home the winter has been getting a little bit chilly and school is starting to wrap up for the semester (thank goodness!). So I’ve been a bit busy!

I just wanted to quickly write up something that’s been on my mind recently…
How do you know when you’re actually communicating with God?

This question has puzzled my mind since becoming Catholic. Actually it wracked my brain when I was agnostic as well. I’ve always had trouble figuring out how to really talk and listen to God. However, I think I’ve finally got it figured it out…to some extent.

But what does scripture and the saints say?
St.John says that we know all things through the Holy Spirit. “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.” And St.Paul says that God enters our very thoughts. “Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.”

God inspires our will without us even realizing it. I’ve come to notice that God speaks to me through my thoughts and desires. Granted, God will not speak evil to you. So if you are having evil thoughts… that’s definitely not God talking to you. But many are not aware that God speaks to them because they simply aren’t listening.

Notice I’ve italicized the word listening twice already? It’s important.

The way we speak to God can be through many different ways. Just simply talking to Him while alone is what I tend to do. I have formal prayer, but while I’m driving I like to mull over the happenings in my day and hash it all out with God. He’ll listen. He LOVES listening to us! However, with that in mind, we should be returning the favor. No relationship deeply develops if just one person is doing all the talking, right?
In order to fully connect with our Lord we need to listen. Be silent in prayer and just let God speak to you. This doesn’t come easy as first; I remember having so many thoughts jumbled in my head I couldn’t imagine how the heck God was going to squeeze Himself into that mess. But with practice it’ll come. Just ask the the Holy Spirit to help you and slowly that relationship will deepen. Just don’t expect to come to you quickly. It takes sweet and precious time.

This article from Catholic Exchange is a wonderful resource and goes further indepth about the topic: http://catholicexchange.com/how-to-hear-god-speaking-to-you

With Advent beginning within a couple of weeks I challenge you to draw closer to God! I promise He won’t lead you astray.

Til then! God bless!

– Carleigh

Curse of a lukewarm Catholic.

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I think the sin I grapple with the most is being lukewarm.
I’m pleased to know it’s nothing to deal with sexuality…but a sin is a sin regardless.

I have been lukewarm ever since I was first introduced to the concept of God. Even when I was a self-proclaimed unbaptized protestant I was lukewarm. I would believe and be passionate about God for about 3 months and then that desire would suddenly fall off the face of the earth.

It’s terrible.

But first of all, what is a lukewarm Catholic?

They go the church out of habit and don’t understand why.
They typically don’t pray (guilty!)
They don’t see a problem with missing mass.
Don’t stick up for their faith when confronted.
They mortally sin, or have no clue what a mortal is actually is.
Usually have beliefs that flow alongside with the world and not what the Church teaches.

I, personally, am terrible when it comes to daily prayer. It’s something I just typically don’t think about from my day to day. When I do realize I haven’t hardly prayed I feel terrible because I know I’ve neglected the Lord! Prayer is the only way to become closer to God, if that is what you desire. Going to mass is what is going to kick start that fire.
Often I pray to God to set me ablaze with passion so that my flame can kickstart others as well.

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.” – Revelation 3:15 

Yep. It’s not a good thing. Nobody wants to be ‘spewed’ from anything.

So if you’re reading this and having the same problem; it’s a sign! It’s a sign to get up and off your computer and say a quick prayer. Jesus loves ANY kind of prayer because he desires to deeply to talk to you. He wants to be connected to you in all ways. And if you worry that you’ll never get out of this funk; don’t worry. Whatever you ask God with good intention you’ll receive in a way that God has planned for you! Go to adoration if you can. I swear you won’t forget it!

Til then. God bless!

– Carleigh

Catholic Memes Thursday!

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Hello hello! Hope everyone is doing splendid on this Thursday night!
I thought it’d be fun to post up some Catholic memes for you guys so you could have a chuckle. Everyone needs a good laugh before the weekend starts, right?!

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"Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you, Reprove a wise man and he will love you."

“Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you,
Reprove a wise man and he will love you.”

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This one made me laugh SO hard!

This one made me laugh SO hard!

Til then! God bless!

– Carleigh

Target’s new commercial: Lesbians having a baby?

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I was roaming YouTube today and was about to watch a video when a commercial for Target popped up before the actual video. It stirred me up enough to instantly want to sit down and type up a response because EVERYTHING about this commercial contradicts itself.

First of all, as Catholics, of course we don’t agree with homosexuality. But I’m sure that’s obvious to even non-Catholics. There are many reasons why (biblical and biologically). However, there are so many aspects wrong about this advertisement and it saddens me deeply.

Two women attempting to proclaim that they are going to have a child is foolish. It is not biologically possible for two women to create a human being; even 6th grade sciences tells us that it takes the egg of a woman and they sperm of a man to create a human being. This is a fundamental truth. Thus because of this truth they cannot both be the child’s parents, only one. I believe this is common sense kind of knowledge.
The advertisement goes on to say “I hope the baby has Cat’s talent” while the other woman says “I hope it has her quick wit”. These lines are honestly was got me fired up in the first place. There is no possible way for that child to be like the non-biological mother because it doesn’t possess any of her DNA. Again, common sense.

As the commercial continues the ‘couple’ states that they wish to share their love of science for their baby because ‘there is so much reality that is amazing and awe-inspiring”. They also wanted their child to know “that anything is possible and that’s theres nothing wrong with and everything right with pursuing knowledge and learning about the world”.

Well, what isn’t possible is two people of the same sex having a baby. And they’re right, there is nothing wrong with pursuing knowledge. What knowledge and science will tell their child, if they looking up their facts correctly, is that being homosexual has negative health effects. Homosexuals are at the highest risk for sexually transmitted diseases. There is instability and promiscuity among homosexuals because there is no actual bond happening during their forms of sex. Homosexual pleasure is purely self pleasure, because their no way to actually united themselves. If you want to read more on the negative health effects of homosexuality here’s a very informative article from the Center for Marriage and Family Studies.

Man and woman have a way of bonding themselves and having fruit come from their love. A child is born through their intercourse. But what comes forth from the love of a two same sexed individuals? Nothing.

I have nothing against those who are attracted to the same sex. It breaks my heart to see people who don’t understand why acting sexually upon those desires has a negative side effect. So many diseases have came forth from these choices and has negatively impacted the world. It was one thing to be homosexual, but it another to act upon it. Heterosexuals are same way because they are not to have pre-marital sex and use one another’s bodies for their own pleasure either. The two do not have a ton of differences. It is not the sinner that Catholics try to goes against, it is their sins.

These woman obviously have not looked very deeply into science. Their actions and words deeply contradict themselves on so many levels. As a Catholic we can’t just simply sit back and let people believe that this kind of advertisement speaks the truth. The child being born should have both a mother and father to raise it.

Do you want more proof? Here are some other articles touching on the issue of homosexuality.

Why Homosexuality is not like other sins
Is This Loves? Surrogates, Same-sex couples, and motherless babies
How can the Church say homosexuality is unnatural when many animals exhibit homosexual instincts?
Did Christianity gives us Gay Marriage?

I know for some that homosexuality can be a touchy issue. The culture screams in our faces constantly that we are to be ‘accepting’ of their sexual preference and that if we are not that we are ‘discriminating’ them. These statements are not true in any way, shape, or form. There is proof that the lifestyle is non-beneficial. Whether or not others will see it is only up to God.

If you guys have any questions or maybe some discussion, I am open ears! I’d love to see your input on this topic!

EDIT 10/10/14
I believe I’ve found a video that perfectly represents the Catholic teaching on this issue. Watch it if you please! But I won’t be responding to any more comments on this post, mainly because this video explains it all. Also I’m a little tired of being attacked for a standpoint on an issue like this yet being told to accept their standpoint. I will delete any comments that I see as disrespecting (such as personally addressing me in the particular issue when I’m not the topic being discussed). Agree or don’t agree, it’s up to you! It doesn’t change the facts.

Til then. God bless!

– Carleigh