Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My Cup Overflows

Last Friday was one of those days where one could say, "This is what I've waited for through the muck and all the trouble and late nights these four years. Finally!" Granted, it's not ever yet. This semester and next are crucial capstones to a monument to dedication, determination, and passion. The light at the end of the tunnel is there, and last Friday I was enveloped in that glorious light.

I am on the cusp of something so big and life-changing. I see the stability of the future and all the more relief overcomes my worries. It is in the Lord that I put my trust, and it is through the Lord that our burdens are made light.

Yes, I cannot remain up at this emotional mountaintop forever. Just as Peter, John, and James had to leave the place of Jesus' transfiguration, I had to pass from this emotionally thrilling point in my short life. Their reveling and desire to stay there at the mountaintop was so great, but, just as they had to, so must I go through these valleys and mountains of life. The realities of things yet unfinished are not yet done and must be done before this new future can be a full reality. However, I have seen what is to come, and it is good—oh so good.

My cup indeed overflows, and I am ever thankful for things such as these.

My Cup Overflows

The sweet taste of relief flows into my mouth.
It quenches the thirst of all my doubt.
What overpowering joy this victory is,
A mighty one over strife and all amiss!

“Joyful! Joyful!” Is the strain,
Which casts away all past pains.
No more worries shall overcome me,
And the opportunities ahead are as vast as the sea.

All that I worked for I can now see:
Through all the muck and all the trouble
The Lord has made it mere rubble.
What glorious works are these!

My cup overflows with sweet blessings,
And I shall praise the Lord, never ceasing!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Showing Joy

Tonight's post will be brief, simply because time is short. Classes start again tomorrow, and all the fun associated with classes also come with it. It has been said that college is great, except for the classes that get in the way. Well, there are the scheduled classes and the "other" education one receives from being away from home. It is a development of being full sustainable and "on your own" that college is now summed up to be in our society. It is a coming of age. It is all these things, especially of finding one's self.

It is also sharing the joy found in one's day with another. It's about not being bitter about past wrongs, of being ready to turn the other cheek, of forgiveness, of returning to what one loves, of returning to the people one loves. If one cannot love freely, one is dead. To love is to show joy and thus be a ray of light in the darkness that we find ourselves in a troubled world that we live in. Don't sweat the small stuff because in the end it doesn't matter. It matters not how you get there, only that you do.

What I'm looking for in life isn't quantity. Quantity is the absolute cop-out in the scheme of life. It means that "nothing matters unless I have the most toys." It's about quality. Period. It's not about the toys. It's about the people you meet in life. It's about the love we show and give in life. Without human embrace we are nothing but mere machines. We are not machines. We are so much more than this. We are capable of so much more than machines. Ask that of the current Monets, Rembrandts, Beethovens, and Twains of the present. Ask that of the Edisons, Teslas, and Wrights of the present. We are not what we create, only a part of that very thing we make. Love makes us complete.

So we must show joy because it is in showing joy, through simple but sweet conversation, that can we show to others but a foretaste of what is to come in the next life, of what is to come united with God in Heaven. So spread some the good Lord knows, this world surely needs it.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Catholic Mass

I have spent the majority of time the past few evenings viewing a rather assorted set of videos posted on YouTube concerning the Catholic Mass. With some I viewed some egregious liturgical abuses (from the incidental to the flagrant), the profane use of liturgical dance (why???), and even clowns during Mass. (YES, CLOWNS!!)

* HALLOWEEN/Barney-Giving-Final-Blessing Mass (Version 1, Version 2, Version 3)
* Clown Mass (Link)
* Teen-Giving Homily, Etc. Mass (Link)

I did however find a comforting video (broken into three parts) done by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (God bless his wondrous soul!). I viewed them a few evenings ago after running across those horrible liturgical abuses:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

It was a most excellent oratory presentation of the Mass and its significance of being much more than a "fuzzy warm" communal celebration. Heck, you find those anywhere, secular or religious for that matter. Archbishop Sheen's words on the Mass reminded me exactly why I'm Catholic. It's not because of the liturgical dancers (!!!) or the priests who dress up as Barney for the Ite missa est. It's not for the poor music at times at Mass. It is because of Our Lord, it is because of His Sacrifice and His Love. If you have not viewed the Sheen videos, please do. His words are timeless and always worth listening to. It's truly the next best thing to being at Mass.

I also viewed a Traditional Catholic video (Reform or Revolt: The Mass of Paul VI [Part 1 and Part 2) yesterday evening. I, at times, agreed with the presenter's arguments with regard to Church design, the significance of the Eucharist, and similar things. However, I had to take quite an exception to his treatment of the entirety of Vatican II and especially of Pope John Paul II. I think it is a new "Spring Time," and it is evident in how the Church is now in a counter-reform stage. We are realizing that a number of the interpretations by a select number of people went too far. We've started to realize the need for much better catechesis. The accusatory tone of some of this supposedly "unbiased" video is a bit unnerving. The author of the video clearly indicates his position, but fails to site specifically the works he consults. Furthermore, it borders on blurring the line between actual Dogma (which is unmovable—it is what it is) and mere practices.

For it is known that the Mass was celebrated at times facing the congregation before Vatican II because it simply wasn't possible because in some churches in, of all places, Rome itself. It should be noted that I do agree with the hard-line traditionalists in the call to show the utmost reverence to that of the Lord's Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. I don't think many wish to degrade the Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, however the wolves in sheep's clothing should be noted when found (read: the flagrant liturgical abuses of the specified California dioceses, among others). The question is what are those abuses? What is the baseline for all things that we as Christians, let alone just us Roman Catholics, ought to be viewing in what is acceptable and what is not? This rests on Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition. This does not involve "outside help" of ecumenicalists and other non-Catholic "experts." Heaven help us if we decided to reform the Anglican (or better yet the Lutheran) worship service against their wishes.

I consider myself a Catholic who is striving with the utmost to follow Christ through his teachings, thus carried down through his Apostles and their successors. Fundamentally, we must get to the heart of why we are at Mass. It is to acknowledge, praise, and reverently worship our God: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Without end let praise ever be on our lips for the graces that He has bestowed on us. Vivat Jesus!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Sing Praise!

Sing praise all you nations; sing praise!
For all the gifts the Lord has bestowed on you,
Sing praise!

All the glory of the Lord is with you
All the days of your life.
Sing praise!

With everything you do sing praise
And with all words that spring from your tongue
Sing Praise!

Give the Lord what is rightly His
And all that He has promised will be yours.
Sing praise!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Into the Wilderness

I wrote this poem last Wednesday, during the hurried and busy week before Aggie Awakening #79. I tried to capture the sense of hopefulness of that this retreat would (and has since did) provide me new light on my Lenten journey of renewal and spiritual improvement.

Into the Wilderness I Go

Into the wilderness I go;
Let prayer ever be on my lips.
The Lord is my rock and my refuge.
In Him, I put all my faith.

With the morning sun
He sets me on my way
And with the evening's darkness
Sets me in His hands to rest.

Guide me, O Lord, by thy radiant beam
And keep me in thy care at day's end.