Salamanca

One of the things I am most thankful for during this trip is the daily mass with Fr. Jan, he is our spiritual director during this trip. He said during his homily today that Jesus always challenges us to look beyond the physical and towards the spiritual. He challenged us to open our faith and to live it like it’s your name. “Show it to the world and do not be afraid.” I can honestly say that it is one of my weakness… showing my faith and living it beyond closed doors… but I am working on it.

As we left behind Fatima (for now), we drove to Salamanca to see this beautiful city (I might even consider going to school here). It holds one of the oldest universities and the architecture is just amazing! I cannot help but feel in awe of this creation! God truly works through amazing people!

I do feel a bit tired, we lost an hour again, so I am 8h off my body clock now. A pilgrimage is not a vacation at all. You learn a lot about the city and also increases your faith through the journey.

Thank You for showing Your magnificence through these amazing art and architecture.

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The Passion of Christ Movie– (a long overdue review)

I am the type of person that hates, loathes, despises anything violent. I avoid it. It is just plain disturbing for me when I see or hear someone in pain. As soon as I know something excruciatingly painful is about to happen or show up in movies, in the news, or on the internet; I run the other way and avoid the subject entirely. I once walked out of the movies because it was mentally challenging for me. I felt like I was getting sick. I practically self-diagnosed myself of algophobia (fear of pain) because it haunts me.

Last night, I decided to watch Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ movie. As I turned the lights off, I wondered why on earth I would watch a movie so physically and emotionally disturbing for me. I told myself that I owe it to Jesus to be with Him on His passion. By trying to bear the gut-wrenching moments of my self-diagnosed disorder, I forced myself to watch the movie without looking away, without avoiding the painful scenes, without holding anything back, and just to be in the moment. It was a whole new experience for me, because during the entire movie I was balling my eyes off. Every hit and miss, every blow, every slap and spit, every single one they threw at Jesus, my heart started hurting. I couldn’t take it… I kept saying, “Lord… please no, stop” literally. I feared that I must’ve woken someone up while watching, because I was literally wailing. I have never forced myself to watch something that disturbed me so emotionally and it was distressing. It hurts. My heart was in pain.

Imagine… Jesus who is without sin, died for me. Why me? You don’t just look at the cross and see Jesus, you look at the cross and see love. That is love, brothers and sisters, pure love. True love.

I challenge you to journey with Jesus today. Journey with Jesus everyday, and remember why He took on that cross for you. Do you feel it?

Crucem tuam adoramus Domine, resurrectionem tuam laudamus Domine. Laudamus et glorificamus.

Why Going to Mass is Simply Not Enough

I am 100% Catholic, born and raised. I believe in what the Church believes. My faith is built upon its teachings, liturgies, doctrines, and all of its wonderful services. I have never missed mass my entire life. My parents were always so strict about missing mass, and although I found it a chore to go to mass despite not understanding what the mass is all about. I now know and understand why my parents were being strict about it. Come to think of it, I have been exposed to Jesus for the entirety of my life (appreciate them strict Catholic parents!) You’re probably thinking if this’ll be another life conversion story, where the writer falls in love with the Church. No. I didn’t fall in love with the Church. I didn’t fall in love with its teachings, or with the gospels, homilies… or priests. I didn’t. (Although that came after...) First, I simply learned… to serve.

At this point I’ve probably lost some of my readers, because frankly… most of us think that going to mass is enough. MOST OF US, IF NOT ALL OF US, THINK THAT BEING GOOD IS ENOUGH! (Sorry for the caps I got excited.) I don’t blame you, because for the most part of my life, I thought it was enough too. I’m a cradle Catholic, and that probably is one of my biggest advantage and/or disadvantage of my faith life. You see… we can be Catholic by birth from the Sacrament of Baptism, we can attend mass every Sunday and receive the Holy Eucharist, or go to confession every Lent. We experience all these Catholic celebrations, and think that it’s simply enough. Often we live our lives just trying to get by, just trying to make the right choices for our well being, and consider our life to be well put. We don’t seem to want to look for answers and meaning. We don’t seem to want to fill the void in our hearts–that void being Jesus. A priest once said in his homily, “We, Catholics are scared to learn more about our faith, scared to discover the teachings of the Church, because we know that when we start to know more about the genius of Catholicism…. it starts to become more difficult.” We pretend to be ignorant, because we want our faith life to be easy. Jesus didn’t say that our journey will be easy. It’s not in the Bible! We just know, quoted in several verses in the Bible, that He will be with us, that He will be our strength, and that nothing cannot separate us from Him.

Having faith is a blessing from God. Acting on that faith is grace. Learn more about Jesus. Read the Bible. Read Catholic books. Read your Church bulletins, read The Carillon. Read about the Saints. Read about Mary. Pray to Mary. Pray, pray, pray. Always pray. One minute prayer time? Fine, just don’t forget to pray. Serve the Church, be a reader, be a eucharistic minister, join the choir. Have a spiritual relationship with your priest. Join a lay community. And love. Always love. One of Mother Teresa’s famous quotes, “Faith in action is love– and love in action is service.” 

God bless.