Thursday, December 3, 2009
I want to enter the SMMEs for a few reasons. The first year of my discernment from 2006 through 2007 was spent in prayer and I did not have a spiritual director at that time. I was in contact with a few different religious orders: Mission San Jose Dominicans, Daughters of Charity and School Sisters of Notre Dame. I liked different things about each one, but I soon recognized an undercurrent of apprehension: were those convents the right place? What did they think of me? Would I fit in? Why don't they practice their traditional charism? why the denuded chapels? why do they have to schedule in community time or prayer time together? why this and why that?
When I stepped foot into the SMME motherhouse that Friday evening none of those previously ever-present questions arose in my mind. I was completely focused on God and on just enjoying myself during the retreat. I felt this sense of peace within myself; I no longer had to search and question and research; no more comparison and contrast with my beliefs and practices with that of the religious community. I felt that it was over - which is why I so readily asked for papers Saturday morning before that evening's Eucharistic Adoration - I had already asked Jesus Friday night where He wanted me. He gave me the answers one after the other. The whole weekend God was saying "Yes, this is the place" in all those special ways He does in our own understanding of Scripture, prayer, music, people, etc. Lastly, as I was leaving Sunday to go home, I tried to see myself at the SMMEs just as I had tried with the MSJ Dominicans, the DCs, and SNDs; never had I pictured myself that way before, so fully.
What is it about this Community and our way of life that most appeals to you?
I'm very attracted to the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist way of life and community for reasons that echo the above. In the years since my Confirmation I have had to re-teach myself the mechanisms of the Catholic Church. I've had to learn about charisms, evangelical counsels, virtues of the flesh and theology. Few religious orders and communities actually practice a vow of obedience and poverty as I have seen in the SMMEs. There is a true sense of community: in the Eucharist and prayer life, in your daily life, and your interaction with each other. The vows and community life are faithfully lived out - sacrifice is not questioned, it's expected. I'll never forget the visit I made to convent here in Los Angeles and I was asked "Why should you have to sacrifice XYZ?" I don't have to sacrifice. I could enter a religious community that would permit me to own things - but then I'm not really, fully loving God, am I? Isn't that Who this is all about? God invites us, we say "yes," and I'm only supposed to give up what I think I can manage? No. I'm reminded of the verse in Revelations that describes what type of service and love God enjoys -- either be hot or cold, but not lukewarm. The Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are definitely filled with Love and Passion for God and interested in doing His service and His will. Oh, and you're faithful to the Magisterium, which is important as I’ve seen it affect faith and salvation first hand in those who decide to add “New Age” or east Asian practices to the Catholic faith and liturgy; I don’t like the spiritual “funny” business.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Advent is that time of year where we wait, and as much as we want the joy of Christmas to be "now," we are forced to wait. We sit in silence, darkness, and longing until God wants to open the door. God decides when He will push us over the edge.
God will be for us who He wants to be for us.
It is so easy to think of God when we are allowed to silently exist in His creation; there were kids in the background who could be heard on snow tubes, coasting down the mountain. But if we moved far away enough, it faded away and nothing could really be heard. Neither a bird in flight or a call was heard or seen.
And my eye was caught by the sprig. Standing there in testimony - through the rain, snow, and freezing temperature. Trials were endured, even as they damaged it's bark and threatened it's very life, yet it clung tenaciously to the mountainside and was determined to poke it's boughs through to the sunlight.
Our God is not one of comfort! He says "Come and follow me" and we don't know where He leads us! We humans are creatures of comfort, habit, structure and predictability. Are we supposed just suddenly feel at ease because God says "I've got you; now, come"? Why do you think we are so taken with the image of God as a father, as a daddy?
Mount Baldy, CA
Highlighted and Shadows
Taken January 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Advent, meaning 'to come', is a new liturgical year, especially for us Catholics. (Happy New Year) Over the past several weeks at Mass the readings have been focusing on the end times.
When Christ first entered the world more than 2000 years ago, the only one who was fearful of Him was Herod. Herod was brutal and so jealous of the throne that he killed his own brother to gain it.
Yet, when He comes again, and He is a Man of His Word, we are the ones who fear Him.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.
It’s a neat and tidy little verse, isn’t it? Short, but not so sweet.
Prayer is so different for me these days. It’s not dry, but it’s not blossoming either. As many know, this verse is part of a prayer to the Five Wounds of Christ that I prayed in novena fashion before telling my mother on Sunday, June 14th at 4:25pm that I was interested in religious life. I knew that I was not going to be received warmly by my own mother, hence what was the point in asking for Mercy? Instead I requested that my heart bear all the wounds of our Precious Lord’s own Heart. My heart would become His; my blood be replaced by His; words, thoughts, intentions, etc. All were to be replaced with His.
Careful. Be ever careful of what your soul says to God. Do not hinder your Soul, but be ever aware, and prepare yourself as best as you can. You ask to be put on the frontlines, you will be there. You will not be relieved from your duty until you languish and your soul faints. I have physically fainted once, and I can now also say that I know what it is to have your soul feel fatigued and faint.
Sometimes I get pulled from the front lines for a week, other times just a half hour. It is not pleasant when I have to leave the security of the camp and plunge headlong into the front lines, but I did not ask for Mercy. The moment one task is done I am handed another. Consolation is few and far between; oh the sweetness of it!
Truly, hands that are not my own grasp my heart, and hand the heart over to the Lord. She offers it to Him and He’s taken it. How torn it is, I don’t know, but I know that it is.
As a mother rocks a child to comfort and soothe, so has the Spirit rocked me.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Many lies infect our society today; a good majority of these lies are not special to the 21st Century. Lies great and small, from the whispering voice that says no one will notice if you lift an item from a store, to the larger ones on not being worthy of love and respect. It is not scary that these lies exist, as lies are a sign that there is a truth worthy of attack. What is scarier is the rate and ease which these lies are pronounced and believed.
What happens the first time a lie is heard? It’s countered: That’s not true, and you know it. Come on, you’re better than that! Yet, if the lie is repeated further, we begin to waver. That’s not true, not really. Maybe it’s the truth. I’m not sure. And it is in this wavering that damage begins to be inflicted. Shoulders sag with the weight of worry and doubt. When something is done right, questions are raised. Worth is not seen in the gifts that are brought to other people.
The harm does not end with lies.
Lie breed lies, causing further pain and suffering. Soon enough shoulders sear in pain from blows. A nose drips with blood, and lips swell under force. Hands roughly grab arms, arms shove and fists pommel. I’m scared. I don’t know what to do, he says I’ll regret it if I tell anyone. He said he’d kill my kitty. Mommy hurts me. Maybe it’s true, I am a bitch. I’m a bitch. I am a whore. I am worthless. I should never have been born. I’m good for nothing. I cause all the problems in the house. I’m a painful reminder of all the poor choices she made. The lies are believed, and the actions “are” deserved.
Lies are hidden in the promises. Baby, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. It’s the last time. I promise it won’t happen. I’m sorry, but you made me do it. Hey, kiddo, we’ll get you another puppy. Until the next time.
Is the next time, the last time? No one is better than you. You are strong, capable, smart, and loved. There is no one who should be made to accept blows, punches, insults, humiliation, rape, abuse, spitting, kicking, slapping, bruising, burning, cutting, shoving, neglect, strict financial allowances, and social isolation. That is emptiness and death: death of self and esteem. It saps strength and hope: who would believe you? What did you say? That’s a family matter!
How dare you!
Yes, how dare you! Why did it take me so long to see? It’s okay to cry. It is healthy to be scared, and run from the source of my fear! I’m not a coward for running.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−SAFE (7233)
Report Child Abuse: 1-800-25ABUSE (22873)
Report Elder Abuse: 1-800-252-8966
Monday, October 19, 2009
Christians who are actively Pro-Life (they are not just pew sitters who are bobble heads in church), are being called into Silence on Tuesday Oct 20th.
Whether they put tape over their mouths and write "life" or if they just maintain silence for a majority of the day. The message is the same: Our generation of siblings, classmates, friends, spouses, etc have been silenced through abortion.
Therefore, we, the ones left remaining, will be quiet on Tuesday. Maybe then, "they" will truly feel the impact of convenience. Then they will see the cost of their compromise. Then someday, some will be able to say there is regret. There is pain. There is suffering from those murdered: they are children, grandchildren, siblings, friends, spouses, doctors, pharmacists, presidents, world leaders, etc.
I will NOT be silent.
I will NOT compromise.
I will NOT forget.
What will you remember?
Monday, September 21, 2009
I enjoy cooking and try to show off some skill in the process. It’s not necessarily about flair and delicacy, but the pairing of flavors and finding different dishes and recipes. If I were to cook a meal for an enemy, I’d like to do a full meal: appetizer, main entrée, and dessert.
I’ve been wanting to perfect a dish using unsweetened dough for cream puffs, but instead of using the sweet cream filling, I want to find a way to create a fine, light olive paste. Or maybe blend cream cheese with some herbs: lavender and lime mix well. While these would usually be served chilled, but it would be neat and different to serve them warm.
The main dish should play on the flavors of the appetizer. So, the lime and lavender of the puffs could be balanced out with either something creamy or spicy. I would like to make a vegetable borscht goulash, but put in some spice. There are two ways I could do that: (a) mince a habanero pepper and put it into the dish to simmer or (b) cut the habanero into pieces but in such a way that I could fish them out later. However since I am cooking a meal for an enemy, I would do it the first way: mince the pepper and leave it in.
Dessert will not be cool to soothe now-burning palate of the diner. I love to go back to the original citrus flavors of the appetizer. Lemon-lime flavored meringues, key lime pie, or tangy plain yogurt with some fruit. How about, plain yogurt with lemon zest and blueberries.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
All of me made up of different fabrics, stitched together over time; time fraying the edges of the quilt, as its not yet complete. Some are faded, others still brilliant, some tattered, others wholeheartedly replaced.
And like the actual quilts sitting in my room awaiting their last stitches, I’m not pleasing to others. Problem being that God’s my batting, my oomph.
I attended a Charismatic Catholic conference for the Labor Day weekend, and Monday I spent hanging out with friends watching a film about Karol (aka JPII), and Tuesday will have Bible Study and Wednesday spiritual direction.
Yesterday morning someone asked “Don’t you O.D. on it? Don’t you think that someone like you would know when to stop?” Calling on my degrees in social work, psychology, and sociology a family member was implying that having God as my all in all, my true alpha and omega as an illness. Illness vs. Fool for Christ; both could appear spiritual feverish.
Where would you like to be?
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Love is blind, especially when it comes to us loving Our Lord. We hear our Souls saying stark, simple prayers, then mutter in our beings that surely the Lord will not take our Soul’s groans seriously. Perhaps He thought us just thinking and not praying and requesting that He make us broken, or impoverished, or a Fool for Him.
I knew that I was going to suffer, and that the heartbreak would be beyond anything I could imagine or prepare. I could arm myself with His Armour (Eph. 6), but as I couldn’t imagine, I couldn’t prepare myself further, except through prayer. Thus I chose a prayer:
Holy Mother, pierce me through, In my heart each wound renew Of my
Saviour crucified. Amen.
This prayer to the Five Wounds of Christ had one repeating phrase pleading Momma Mary to take my heart into her holy hands, and present it to our Lord. He was then to say it be done to me, as it was done to Him! My heart was to bear each Wound of His Blessed Flesh, from the nail piercing and bruising from the hammer blows, to the gaping tear of the thrust lance.
And I broke. What else was I to do? I could not fathom praising Him. Why would I want to praise Him for pain? Two months later, I understand that is what I should be doing because I now know with every fiber of my Being that He hears me. What am I that He should listen to me? Listen, He does. It is more than many dare ponder.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
This past Saturday was the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. It was also my 2nd cousin's wedding. Before going to into the church building, I put on my shoulder wrap, covering up my nearly bare back and arms. Mom had a fit saying "God doesn't judge! God doesn't judge that way!" While I cannot bear Scriptural proof that God would or would not judge me for how I go dressed to Mass, I follow a few simple points. One of them being that when I enter the House of God, I'm literally standing before Him in the Tabernacle (albeit, Veiled in wheat). When I was working, I had to be dressed properly for the position. If you dress well for a mere mortal you call boss, how much more should you dress for the one you call Master and Saviour? You should give Him your best because He gave you His All.
I also dress formally for Mass (business casual or interview worthy) because I know how distracting casual and informal dress is: I don't want to see tattoos or bikini tan lines, or g-string triangles. If others (men and women) are distracting to me, how more so am I for someone else? Chapel veils help shield my side vision from other distractions, and I can reasonably assume that I'm not contributing to someone's near occasion of sin.
What's your reaction / opinion?
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
- whatever is not the Will of God will be thwarted.
- Jesus came to separate Mother from daughter, father from son, etc.
- I'm 24 & they can't force me to go to school.
Friday, July 3, 2009
God did not make death, nor does He rejoice in the destruction of the living. For He fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying. For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it.
I absolutely love this passage from last Sunday’s first reading; there’s so much meat to it.
God did not make death, nor does He rejoice in the destruction of the living. He created us, male and female to be fully alive, eternally alive, and we can get a glimpse into how much the separation from Him and Adam and Eve caused after the Fall. He does not cherish death or destruction. It would be like Michelangelo’s reaction if the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel were to be damage beyond repair – it’s unwanted and heartbreaking.
He fashioned all things that they might have being; and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is not a destructive drug among them nor any domain of the netherworld on earth, for justice is undying. All that He creates is wholesome: from dirt to sex, all are beautiful, but it is with the corruption introduced by the Demon that these good things of the Lord are perverted and distorted. It is upon this distortion that the image of God cannot be seen in the reflection of His creations.
For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it. Through the envy of the devil! Envy is, according to the Catechism (CCC 2539) a sadness and longing upon spying another’s possessions. Envy is wanting to obtain these things for oneself that disproportionate to the object of desire. What is it that the Demon wanted to obtain from Adam and Eve so badly, as to bring upon the whole human race perpetual death (prior to the sacrifice of the Lamb)? Would it be said that humility and charity are opposite roots of envy – as it is the suppression of the self and the desire to see other thrive? If so, then it can be seen that the Demon, lacking in charity and humility to serve Man, and in turn God-made-Man, wanted to deprive God of His creation, of His work of art? As for the children of the Demon, we know that we are not! For the humilty and charity of the Lamb has won out, and St Paul's word of "so once were you! but you are saved" ring out and reverberate across the centuries.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Remember that meeting I went to in Ann Arbor in November? Well I met a sister there and she recently emailed me about a retreat for the last week of June. It's for women like me who are thinking about but are uncertain of religious life.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
I never once thought in all the time of my childhood or adolescence that I would be where I am today. It wasn’t even really permitted – to think of religious life: poverty, chastity, and obedience in the service of God. I cannot take credit for anything other than my “Yes” to God nearly four years ago. It had been in private prayer to God when I came across a psalm verse that stated that God will fulfill His promise when we keep our vows. I promised to Him then and there, before I ever became aware of the import of my prayer, that He could use me however He wanted, whenever He wanted.
While there were many people who pointed me over the past four years towards religious life, there are a few who stand out the most. These are not the people who said “Megan, you look like a nun” or stated “You sound like a nun,” or even “God’s army needs you.” No. There are people who have shown me in their life, in their taking and living of religious vows what it means to see Christ in other people. The greatest example I have personally experienced of that level of love and sacrifice can only come from a true zeal for Souls. A friend of mine, Fr. Aaron Kuhn, was not the one to say that I looked or sounded like a nun. He’s witnessed religious life and the suffering love that is so inherently desirable. If there were to be one ideal, one moment that could be taken to say that encouraged and demonstrates the very nature of vocation – it is that he cared for a person and a soul that he had not met and barely knew. As he has written recently, “These moments carry heavy opportunities to love, to suffer in humility, in magnanimity, in charity, to follow Christ as he is misunderstood, slandered, and crucified.”
I do not know where my “Yes” and my Love for God will take me; I don’t know where Christ is leading me, but I know that He has me by the hand. I know that He’ll teach me an ever increasing Love and Zeal for Souls. He has led me to a spiritual Home here with the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. For it is here with the Sisters of Mary that I will be daily impacting Eternity through supplication, praise, and belongingness. As Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta stated, “I belong to Jesus. He must have the right to use me without consulting me. The very life of our vocation is belonging and being used.” A Bride stands beside her Divine Spouse; they endure all things together.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
So you're sitting there, waiting with bated breath.
I'm trying to consolidate my loans. And then, I've got to tell you my vocation story.
Well, I sit with Jesus day in and day out. I talk to Him, sit in silence. Silence. I'm not the one who's being selectively mute right now.
Hopefully by next week I'll have more for you to go on.
In Christ, through Mary,
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Soon I will be posting up here my vocation story and details on how to donate, to help me pay off my student loans.
It is on the 15th of May that I will graduate with my Masters in Social Work, and in order to better pay off my loans am seeking work until I have to leave to enter the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in late August.
But don't fret, all the details about donating, dates, etc will be in the upcoming posts!
In Christ, with Mary,
Thursday, March 19, 2009
*Ouch* That does hurt. But I've got a different pinch in mind.
I was recently surfing the web last week while a professor gabbed about leadership skills, and found a number of sites where proud parents gushed with pride about their child. Their son/daughter had chosen to be a religious or a priest. They faced negative statements from relatives and strangers who did not fully understand that vocational callings are not limiting but actually widen horizons.
That wasn't what I was looking for. All these sites and articles were published by mothers and fathers who were aware of their child's vocation, found it valuable and worthy of support.
What about the hundreds (thousands?) of others just like myself who venture to follow God without any familial support? Where were the frustrated musings and postings of parents who denied their child's faith and religiosity? Did the thought of publicly stating such sentiments keep them silent? Why then do parents find it acceptable to say such things privately to their child, but not in public?
If it's not acceptable to state on the internet, why should it be uttered to an adult child?
Then again, I'm not entering and neither are my brothers and sisters in Christ entering on the basis of others' opinions, but for God. But it sure would be nice if we could enter in the hopes of parents and family members sending the occassional letter or helping out with student debt and the clothing list.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
We have recieved your completed official applicationof possible entrance into our community, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, and after study of your documents, have decided to accept you for entrance into the community! Congratulations! How such news must warm your heart - and please know that we are most grateful to God as well! Only God can give a religious vocation and thus all honor and glory and gratitude be to Him for this grace! But we also thank you for your response to His offered gift! We can imagine your joy in recieving this news!
[details about entrance date]
In Mary, Mother of the Eucharist,
Mother Assumpta, OP
Friday, March 6, 2009
When will the blood of unborn children cease to be shed, and who will take responsibility for the travesty that will finally be wrought on American soil when God's ears have been over-filled with the cries of the innocents?
Who will be the one to say that he (or she) was the one that changed the events that were a few court rulings into a massacre?
I'd cry, but the tears wouldn't end. Last Lent I spent time praying and fasting for the end to abortion and spent much of the time crying for the loss of the children: for the unknown siblings, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, grandparents, etc.
Yet, on Monday March 9th, Obama will sign an order authorizing widespread provision of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research.
Sometimes I am forced to wonder. Many have prayed, many have fasted. Many have prayed and fasted, yet God stands by. But I know that He stands by our side and is waiting for His perfect moment. I just wish it wouldn't be at the cost of so many lost lives, loves, and souls.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
However I was recently thinking that Lent should invite us to something closer to Christ: the scene between Him and St Simon helping Him take up the gloriously wretched Cross. Are we walking with Christ, close enough that we can be friends, or the bride as He is the Bridegroom? Can we claim to be His helpmate as Eve was to designed to be for Adam?
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I wish I could see you. Who do you look like, mom or dad? Are you the perfect middle child, bridging the two extremes between me and monkey? What do you like? What do you see? Where are you? What's it like to be nameless until 2006, when you would have been 21? You know that I miss you, without having ever seen you, right? You know that I love you too?
I'm sorry that you were just discarded in a biohazard bin. I gave you a name in 2006, Joseph. Maybe that can begin to make amends. It was Jennifer's idea, and it was good, but brought the pain to a new high. It made it real, that you were no longer a mere abstract, but my brother. My little baby brother ... dude, I don't even know what that means; what it feels like or anything else at all.
Remember last year when I hit a point during Lent? I know in my head that its not my fault, that somehow my costing mom and dad over $100,000 in neonatal and preemie care, is not reason alone for you not living. I can't be used as the excuse, nor can your disorder. You've probably seen how that that 'perfect child' ideal has backfired.
There's many reasons why I'm not happy with my mom, but you know that you're among the top. You are probably also aware that each 40 Days campaign I do is somehow for you; mom's never really shown remorse.
Oh, say Hi to Jesus for me, would you? Tell Him I'm doing okay here, but He's got to start coming through for me in some huge ways. He knows what I mean.
Your sister, Megan
Sunday, January 11, 2009
As a member of USC Our Savior Chapel's Peer Ministry Council, I recieved the packet this evening and tried very hard not to show my distaste.
Liturgical direction is headed under Ed Archer, from St. Monica's Parish in Santa Monica. That's for the Youth Day. St Monica's thinks that having a homosexual community and a dating lounge in the church's auditorium is the greatest way of attracting young adults.
As for Mass, there are different "characters", or flavors. There are some pretty wild themes: "Church on Way to Unity," Hawaiian, Celtic, etc.
There's the returning classic of Sacred Space that unwittingly promotes Centering Prayer.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
After that, I can send it in.
Of course, there's a but to be expected. I know that if God can handle my salvation, He can handle $46,700 in student loans.
I know of two resources:
But are there others? Are there certain patron Saints I could appeal to?
Friday, January 2, 2009
But I'm not writing a book review here. I'm still processing and reacting to it, thinking over the lines that I heard and liked the most. They're not pretty lines. They're not poetic, or uttered in a field of flowers. The lines are of a little boy, growing up in a communist prisoner camp his whole life, simply saying that he's scared, but doesn't want to be so any more. It's uttered in the bunker, where mattresses are a faintly remembered fantasy, clothing is gray with dirt, brown with mud and likely shed blood from being beaten. Clothes don't fit well, they're taken off of somebody's who was killed by the guards.
The little boy says he doesn't want to be scared anymore, but the adults around don't have the same ability. They knew life before the camp, before the pain, the beatings, the blood, the fear, they knew goodness existed. This little boy didn't know what "good" was, but he knew there was something other than evil.
Do we sense that goodness exists, expect something different, even if only we know badness? Is that a sense of the Divine, of the Holy Spirit telling us about Home? Has God planted, grafted into us a sense of Him and are we only able to know that faintly remembered fantasy if we've been immersed in the pain and known nothing else?
Just think about the heavy simplicity of the statement "I'm scared." We're okay with the words if its a kid reacting to the dark or a nightmare, but what of it when adults say it? What do those words mean when adults, grown-ups, say "I'm scared." They don't shout it, they don't say it at all. They whisper it, in wavery voices, as though they're even more scared of the idea of someone, something else knowing, that they are afraid of something. Why doesn't saying that you're afraid carry the same weight as saying one is scared? What's so primal about it? What's so fearsome about it?
Why does it echo in my head?
"I'm scared. I don't want to be scared anymore."