Letters From a Young Catholic

My reflections as a Catholic young adult passionate about the Faith, seeking to grow in knowledge and understanding of God and discerning the will of the Lord in my life.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Blogging Light

Graduation this past weekend went well. It was also a huge blessing to have the opportunity to spend time with my family .

Just so you know, blogging may be light for some time as I adjust to my "real life" with a 9 to 5 job and try and make time in my day for other priorities that come ahead of blogging.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Peace and Perserverance

A dear friend of mine entered the Poor Clares today. I was honored to be present among a handful of her closest friends and family who went with her to witness her enter the monastery. After having said goodbye to everyone and hugs all around, she knocked on the cloister door and requested to enter the community. Please pray for Donné as she begins her journey with Christ within the enclosure and adapts to life with the Poor Clares. The picture above is of Donné receiving a blessing from her parish priest immediately before knocking and asking to enter.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pope Tells Universities to Serve Persons

PAVIA, Italy, APRIL 23, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Every university should be made for the person, placing the individual at the center and giving worth to interpersonal relations between students and professors, Benedict XVI says. [Attending a smaller university or college definitely makes this a little easier. . .]

This is what the Pope said Sunday during his meeting with students, professors and other guests in the Tersiano Courtyard of the University of Pavia. The Holy Father explained: "All universities should safeguard their identity as centers of study 'made to man's measure,' in which students do not remain anonymous but are able to cultivate a fruitful dialogue with professors, drawing incentives for their own cultural and human development."

"It is of fundamental importance," he continued, "that the commitment to academic research remains open to the existential question of meaning in peoples lives." The Pontiff said: "Only by valuing the person and interpersonal relations can didactic interaction become an educational relationship." Benedict XVI offered St. Augustine as a model for the dialogue between faith and reason. "From a life dedicated to searching for worldly success he passed to a life totally donated to Jesus Christ, the only Master and Lord," he said. "By the intercession of St. Augustine, may the University of Pavia always stand out for its special attention to individuals, for a marked community dimension in academic research, and for a fruitful dialogue between faith and culture."

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I'm Done

I wrote my last exam yesterday, so I guess that means I'm done. I don't think it has really sunk in. I guess technically, I'm not a student anymore. . . although, I don't think I'll ever stop being a student. Learning is a lifetime project. This coming week will be very busy with starting a new job, spending time with my friend who is entering the Poor Clares on Thursday, graduation ceremonies on Friday and Saturday, and a philosophy discussion group on Sunday. . .

On another note, I went to my parents' goddaughter's (my godsister?) First Communion earlier today and the sincerity and joy of the children receiving Jesus for the first time in the Blessed Sacrament literally brought tears to my eyes. They're faith is just so incredibly precious. Do any of you remember your First Communion? I remember being perfectly still during Mass because I knew I had to be on my best behaviour and I remember going forward to receive the Blessed Sacrament and the thoughts going through my head at that time, but I can't actually remember the very moment I made my First Communion.

Labels: , , ,

Women Priests

A discussion has come up over at Servant and Steward on the issue of female ordination. . . here is my input.

It's not about being equal in ability, capacity, skill, etc... The Church's teaching that woman cannot be ordained points to an ontological reality. In celebrating the sacraments the priest does not act in his own person but rather is acting in the person of Christ. There is only one High Priest in the New Covenant, and that is Jesus Christ. In celebrating the sacraments the priest participates in the singular priesthood of Jesus Christ. It is no coincidence that the second person of the Trinity became incarnate as a man. This is essential to who Christ is. The male exclusive priesthood points to this reality that Christ, in his essence, is male. Christ's maleness is not accidental.

Furthermore, it is also clear that Christ chose and appointed only men as his apostles. Christ challenged the cultural view of women at the time by eating with prostitutes, speaking with the woman at the well, etc. . . If he had intended for women to be priests he would have chosen them to be among his apostles.

It is also important to remember that Christ is the bridegroom and the Church is His bride. The ordained priesthood, as a participation in the priesthood of Christ, also operates in accordance with this image. The priest is a bridegroom who espouses the Church. This image would not function with a female priesthood.

The previous poster asks why would you oppose the Holy Spirit if it someday led this pope, or some future pope, to permit the ordination of women? The simple answer is, this will not happen. It would be impossible. Even if the pope himself were to lay hands on a woman in an attempt to "ordain" her, no ordination would take place. It's an impossibility. Also, this matter has been infallibly defined in the doctrine of the Church and so it cannot be changed. The teaching can be elaborated upon and clarified, but never changed.

I know the above question was directed at Father, and so I'm sorry for jumping in here, and I hope you understand that it is not my intent to be confrontational in responding. It's just frustrating as a young woman who loves the Church to so often encounter misunderstandings with regards to the Church's teaching on Holy Orders. As a woman studying Catholic Theology in no way do I feel belittled by the fact that I will never be called to the priesthood. In fact, coming to a deeper understanding of this teaching has helped me to see more clearly my own vocation and place in the life of the Church and come to a greater appreciation for our priests who participate in the total-self oblation of Christ on Calvary so that we, the faithful, might encounter Him in the Sacraments.

Labels: ,

Saturday, April 21, 2007

St. Justin Martyr and the Eucharist

In case you've forgotten or didn't get the memo. . .

". . . a common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Saviour was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus."
- St. Justin Martyr, 150AD

Labels: , ,

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Modern Era

"The most perniciously typical aspect of the modern era consists in the absurd attempt to reconstruct a solid and fruitful temporal order divorced from God, the only foundation on which it can endure."
- Pope John XXIII

Labels: , ,

Thursday, April 19, 2007

No, it's not to get permission. . .

My catechism kids and I walked through the Mass today from when we enter the church to when we leave. As I we went through this I was explaining the various parts of the Mass and why we say the things we do and do the gestures we do. . .

At the beginning I was explaining that any time we enter a church we should make the sign of the cross with the holy water. I asked them why we thought we do this, expecting an answer linked to baptism but I got the following answer instead:

"It's because we need to get permission from God first before we enter the church. It's something we do to show we're asking permission from God to see if we can come in . . ."

Kind of like knocking on the door out of respect before you enter someone's room? Cute, but not quite what I was looking for.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sometimes more effective than studying. . .

O Great St. Joseph of Cupertino who while on earth did obtain from God the grace to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew, obtain for me a like favour in the examinations for which I am now preparing. In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.

Through Christ our Lord.

St. Joseph of Cupertino, Pray for us.


For more info on this favourite saint among students preparing for exams, click here

Labels: , ,

Monday, April 16, 2007

Note to Self

No more classes, three final exams, and five days to go until I'm done.

Note to self (and other students): several handfuls of chips, a can of diet Coke, and two dozen chocolate covered coffee beans does not constitute a healthy meal while studying for exams and although these substances contain plenty of 'energy' consuming two dozen chocolate covered coffee beans may in fact cause you to start bouncing off the walls.

On that note, I'm off for a walk (run perhaps. . .) to burn off some of this excess energy and hopefully be able to focus.

Labels: ,

Apology to the World from Canada

A friend sent me the following text via e-mail which has been signed by various pro-family organizations from across Canada. I add my own name to this apology.

"To the world's leaders and people, We, the people of Canada who support marriage solely as the union of a man and a woman, apologize to the people of the world for harm done through Canada's legalization of homosexual marriage. We are grieved and troubled as we consider the impact this is having in weakening the fundamental institution of marriage in countries and cultures around the world. We understand that because Canada does not impose citizenship or residency requirements in order for same-sex individuals to be "married" here, couples are coming to Canada to seek legal sanction for their homosexual relationships with the intent of returning to their own countries to challenge those countries' legal definition of marriage. We understand that Canada is seen by people around the world as a country in which public policy is developed carefully and judiciously. It would, therefore, be a natural assumption that in legalizing homosexual marriage our government and courts thoroughly considered the implications of this action through proper and extensive study of social sciences and facts. But it is essential that the people of the world understand that this was not the case. Our government and courts only considered adult "rights." Among other things, the impact on children's rights, children's education, parental rights, religious rights, adoption, the economy and family law were never fully considered. Changes were thrust upon us by court actions followed by a vote that did not allow for a free vote of every member of our federal parliament. Our warning to you, the people of the world, is to learn from our mistakes and avoid repeating them in your own countries. Forewarned should be forearmed."

Lord, have mercy!

Labels: , ,

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Christ has the answers to your questions. . .

"You will hear from people tell you that your religious practices are hopelessly out of date, that they hamper your style and your future, that with everything that social and scientific progress has to offer, you will be able to organize your own lives and that God has played out his role. Even many religious persons adopt such attitudes, breathing them in from the surrounding atmosphere without noticing the practical atheism that is at their origin.

A society that, in this way, has lost its higher religious and moral principles will become an easy prey for manipulation and for domination by the forces, which, under the pretext of greater freedom, will enslave it ever more. Christ has the answers to your questions and the key to history; he has the power to uplift hearts.

Without heading the call of Jesus, it's not possible to realize the fullness of your own humanity. He keeps calling you. He keeps inviting you. Yes, Christ calls you, but he calls you in truth. His call is demanding, because he invites you to let yourselves be "captured" by him completely, so that your whole lives will be seen in a different light. He is the friend who said to his disciples, "No longer do I call you servants. . . but I have called you friends" (Jn 15:15). And he proved his friendship by laying down his life for you."

- Pope John Paul II, Galway, Ireland, September 30, 1979


Tolkien on the Eucharist

"The only cure for sagging of fainting faith is Communion. Though always Itself, perfect and complete and inviolate, the Blessed Sacrament does not operate completely and once for all in any of us. Like the act of Faith it must be continuous and grow by exercise. Frequency is of the highest effect. Seven times a week is more nourishing than seven times at intervals. Also I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children - from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn - open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. (It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand - after which [our] Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.)

Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires."

- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

Divine Mercy, Chastity, and Virtue

Fr. Stephanos, OSB has a post up bringing together God's mercy, practicing chastity and the nature of virture.

Check it out.

If all goes well, she may never return. . .

Last night I went out for a "stagette" (?!?!?! hahaha. . . I don't know if that's quite the right word. . .) party for my friend who is entering the Poor Clares in a week and a half! There were over a dozen of us at the party and we ate cheese and chocolate fondu, drank tea, and had an all round good time.

We also were quite entertained by an article on my friend's decision to enter the cloiter in a local newspaper. . . the first paragraph sounds like an obituary and the second like a personal ad. . .

Donné‚ Davidson's days in the outside world are numbered. She has until April 26 to say goodbye to friends, spend time with her family, and get "things in order". She will leave behind this world of cellphones, boyfriends and suicide bombers before heading off to a place in the hills - and if all goes well, she may never return. At 23, Davidson has decided to be a nun.

Davidson has got small, hazel eyes and curly blonde hair pulled back from her freckled face. She wears little makeup if any, her shoulders are broad, her posture is straight, and her demeanor is calm. There's a thick chain around her neck with a cross partly hidden beneath her white blouse. In less than two weeks, she's off to St. Clare's monastery just outside Mission, to join a group of eight Franciscan nuns whose lives are completely devoted to prayer.



Saturday, April 14, 2007

Divine Grace

"If the obstacles are great, then divine grace is also more abundant."



Friday, April 13, 2007

Prayer Request

I have been preparing several children who are "behind schedule" on receiving the sacraments to make their First Confession and receive their First Communion. The First Communion will be the first Sunday in May, however the children will be making their First Confessions tomorrow morning.

Could you please say a little prayer for them?

I don't know that they are fully prepared for this sacrament, but then again, are any of us ever fully prepared? I have done what I could and taught them what I think they need to know however now I must entrust them to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the love and mercy of Christ.

I ask especially for prayers that as they make their First Confession the seeds would be planted for an ongoing sacramental life and a continual returning to God's love and mercy in and through this sacrament throughout the course of their lives.


No Small Question!

I was reading through the list of "possible" final exam questions for the "Christian Worldview" course I took this semester. . . no joke, this was one of the possible questions:

Tell the story of the Bible from creation to consummation.

Well, that should be nice, short and easy! (sense sarcasm)

How to get an A+

The following was said by our professor, in the context of the "Church and Sacraments" theology class I've been in this past semester, while discussing what to expect on the final exam:

"If any of you begin to levitate while writing the exam you will receive an automatic A+."

Automatic A+'s were also offered about a month ago after the lecture on consecrated religious life to anyone who left and entered a religious community and thus did not return to complete the course.

Unfortunately, I think I'll have to actually prepare for the exam in order to do well since chances of me levitating are not that great and I already missed out on the enter-religious-life-and-receive-an-automatic-A+ offer.

On that note, I'm off to brush up on Pope Benedict XVI's (Cardinal Ratzinger's) book "Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith: The Church as Communion" . . .

The Way, the Truth, and the Life

I know where I'm going.
Christ is the Way.
I know what I believe, where I stand, and who I am.
Christ is the Truth.
I am not dead. I am alive. I live in Christ, and He lives in me.
Christ is the Life.

"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me."
(John 14:6)


Thursday, April 12, 2007

The end is in sight. . .

1 more class to go
4 more exams to go
until I receive
my B.A.
God willing.


I Can Do All Things in Him

"And I know that the strength to conquer myself and to win comes from repeating that cry, "I can do all things in him who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13), words which reflect God's firm promise not to abandon his children if they do not abandon him."
- St. Escrivá. Friends of God


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Holy Father's Prayer Intentions

I know that it is already almost half way through April (yikes) but take note of the Holy Father's prayer intentions for April.

General Intention: That, allowing themselves to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit, all Christians may answer enthusiastically and faithfully to the universal call to sanctity.

Mission Intention: That the number of priestly and religious vocations may grow in North America and the countries of the Pacific Ocean in order to adequately meet the pastoral and missionary needs of those populations.

There you have it. Now go pray.

Choosing the Life of the Poor

A dear friend of mine will be entering a nearby Poor Clare monastery in two weeks. Her local newspaper heard about this radical decision and were intrigued by it and interviewed her and published an article today about her decision to enter into a life of prayer. The secular press is so full of negative stories these days, I thought I'd share with you a very positive one for once.

“What drew me there was their simplicity,” she said.

The sisters pray seven times a day; one of those times requires them to rouse themselves at midnight. Much time is spent in individual prayer.

Beyond this, they do their chores to keep their monastery in working order, garden and do their best with the B.C. climate to grow vegetables, Davidson said.

The sisters also engage in music, artwork and other activities, but above all is prayer.

When she enters the cloister on April 26, “you pretty much go there with nothing. Part of their lifestyle is poverty,” she said.

You can find the entire article (Choosing the Life of the Poor) at Maple Ridge News.

You can find Donné's blog at A Journey Toward Christ.

Let us join together in prayer for Donné as she prepares to follow Christ wholeheartedly in religious life.

Whether charity is friendship?

I've been taking Latin both semesters this past year and it's been amazing. It was a really challenging course and required a lot of work and effort but it was so worth it. I'm excited that I can now read quotes from the Latin vulgate in the writings of the saints without having to look them, make sense of St. Thomas Aquinas in Latin and even read through some Church documents in Latin. I know I'll sound like a geek but . . . Latin is fun! :-)

Anyways, for one of our final assignments we got to choose any (well, within reason) Latin text we wanted to translate.

I chose St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II-II, Q.23, a. 1,
Whether charity is friendship?

My favourite line of the selection:

"Et hoc modo caritas, quae maxime est amicitia honesti, se extendit at peccatores, quos ex caritate diligimus propter Deum."

In this way, charity, which is above all the friendship of honor, extends itself to sinners, who, out of charity, we love on account of God.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Don't Forget it's Still Easter

Let us not forget it's still Easter. I just wanted to remind anyone out there who may have forgotten this important fact. Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. When I wished my friends a Happy Easter today, even my Catholic friends, most looked confused and even a little perplexed. I don't know about the rest of you, but after five weeks of Lent I'm certainly ready to continue to celebrate Easter beyond Easter Sunday.

May God bless you all. May your lives be marked by the joy of the Risen Christ.

Losing myself, I find myself

"Let us understand that truth and love are not abstract values; in Jesus Christ they have become a person. Following him, I enter into the service of truth and love. Losing myself, I find myself."
- Pope Benedict XVI, Palm Sunday Homily 2007

Monday, April 09, 2007

Handmotions in Heaven

This video is for all of you out there who have been to one too many youth conferences. I hope you enjoy. It sure had me laughing. If you have the context of experience in youth ministry its funny - otherwise you might find it a little scary.

Child-Like Faith

I came across this very cute video of the kids of one of the staff from our archdiocese Youth Ministry Office on youtube . They are so cute. Awe... I pray that my faith would be more like that of the lil' adorable Imoo boys!

He is Risen, Alleluia!

Christ is risen, Alleluia! He is risen indeed, Alleluia, Alleluia!

In response to the following question: Lent is over. Where are you??? . . .

Yes. I am well aware that Lent is over. Believe me. Anyone who saw me after the vigil late on Saturday night can attest to the fact that I definitely know Lent is over.

I had a very special and blessed Lent, Holy Week (I spent the Triduum on retreat at Westminster Abbey) and Easter Sunday. I participated in the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday morning Mass with the Benedictines at Westminster Abbey, visited with Jesus at the Poor Clares monastery in the afternoon (by God's providence I happened to stop by at the right time for Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction), enjoyed a special dinner with my family in the evening, and had a chance to visit with my parents for the first time in several months this morning (they're on a plane to Japan as we speak to go visit my older brother in Tokyo).

I am alive and doing well and living in the joy of the Risen Lord. That being said, life is a little crazy right now (mild understatement) so I'll be blogging "as the Spirit leads me." Not to mention the fact that final exams begin next week (ack!).