Midnight Apostolate

This is a midnight apostolate.  Anyone who has ever maintained a blog will know how difficult it is to regularly post engaging content.  It’s not easy and so many forces work against us.  Thanks for coming back, again.  I’ve been gone for a while.  I hope Our Good Lord has blessed you and that you’ve fallen more in love with Our Mother.  May the Virgin bless you with her maternal smile, save you from unnecessary suffering, and bring you consolation in times of difficulty.

How was your Easter?  I celebrated my sixth anniversary as a Catholic Christian.  It was my third time going to the Vigil Mass and I chide myself for not going every year.  It was so beautiful.  There is something incredible about that experience… the anticipation which culminates in a community outpouring of love for our Lord, Jesus Christ.  And, it’s not a spontaneous, chaotic outpouring of ecstatic praise, but a unified chorus of prayer.  It’s the liturgy.  Have you ever really paid attention to the Easter Vigil Liturgy?  You can’t read about it.  You can’t have someone else tell you what it’s like.  You have to pray and prepare yourself to receive this generous gift — the gift of the Easter Liturgy.

I want to get back into the habit of writing to you.  This time, though, I will pray for you, as well.  It’s so important to know that we are loved here in this world.  And, if you happened to have stopped by this corner of the Internet, please know that I’ve been praying for you.

Where are you in your life?  Do you believe?  Do you hate God?  Could you care less?  Whatever the state of your soul, know that this anonymous stranger is and has been praying for you.

I do this because my love for God is overflowing from my family life into other areas.  I no longer want to offer just my Sunday mornings, but every moment to God.  This has led me to pray more.  And, so I’ve prayed for strangers.  I’ve prayed for friends, family, and co-workers; for my parish; the Pope’s intentions; for the victims of tragedy that I read in the news.

As my prayer life grows, I feel this need to love more and more, to give more of myself.  I’m restless with love.  So, instead of going to sleep next to my family, I have this midnight apostolate where I pour out my thoughts into these posts.

Pentecost is coming on our liturgical calendar.  Isn’t our calendar amazing?  It’s like we can be sure to see the sunrise again tomorrow in case we missed it, today.  It’s the same with our Catholic liturgical calendar.  If you missed something, then you can be sure it’ll come again next year.  Over a lifetime of the liturgical seasons, we will see so many Lenten sunsets and Easter sunrises.  Oh, and all the lovely moments inbetween!

Thanks again for stopping by.  God loves you.  I will pray for you.  Let me know in the comments if there is a special intention you’d like me to pray for.  May the Lord bless you, protect you from evil, and bring you to everlasting life.  Amen!

New Look for 2015

Do you like the new look?  I wanted to simplify the blog’s look for 2015.  I’ve had the same theme for two years; it was nice but I want a layout that focuses more on the words than on the image.  I can do more image-intensive posts for the Facebook Page.  For those of you who’ve visited before, let me know if you prefer the old theme.  God bless you.

Pillow Talk with God

I am not alone when I pray.  The Holy Spirit is there to guide me.  My friends, the saints whom I often turn to are there (St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Joseph, St. Thomas More, St. Jose Maria Escriva).  Prayer is a solitary activity, but I’m not alone.

I learned this past year the importance of liturgy in my prayer life.  While personal prayer is like pillow talk between God and I, active participation in the liturgy is prayer at a higher level.  Praying through liturgy is transcendental.  I am part of something greater than myself.  It is the spiritual equivalent to the conjugal act between husband and wife — it’s happening between Christ and His Bride, the Church!

Communion at Mass is more profound than sex.  Christ enters every member of His Bride, and His Body and Blood is absorbed into each member of her body, the Church.  The very divinity of Our Lord seeks to enter each soul, to unite with each member of her body.  This transforming union takes place to the extent that each member is holy.

That’s why I pray.  That’s why I want to be holy.  to be united with my beloved through the Church.  I am nothing on my own, by I am everything when I am with God in the Church.  Great sex with our spouse is only a shadow of the ecstasy we will experience in the transforming union with God.

Reading Fr. Thomas Dubay’s “Fire Within” has been the spiritual direction I needed.  It’s not the same as having a real-life coach, but the book is a stop-gap until God connects me with one.  Discursive meditation should lead me to simple contemplation.  Increasing distraction should be normal.  Feeling like I’m failing at prayer is also normal — although, I admit, I haven’t really experienced that aridness, yet.  When I do feel dryness in prayer, I should persist.  God doesn’t ask for us to “feel it” during prayer.  He asks us to be faithful.  I don’t have to feel like going out on a date with my wife.  I just have to do it faithfully, regardless of my feeling at the moment.

When I finish “Fire Within,” I should refrain from jumping to the next book.  I should instead put more time towards contemplation.  I should use the Liturgy of the Hours as a springboard to lectio divina.  I suspect the Office of Readings will be particularly fruitful.

Dear Holy Spirit, I do not know how to pray as I ought.  I fear that I am not advancing in my prayer life.  I seek to be united with you in the Most Holy Trinity.  Show me, Most Holy Counselor, how to grow in contemplation.  Help calm me if I fret.  Remind me that the process takes time, that this kind of prayer is less about effort and more about fidelity.

Help me, dear Holy Spirit, to be more detached to the creations of this world.  Reveal to me my hidden faults.  Purify me.  Burn away my imperfections so that the windows of my soul can shine your light without filter.

I love you, my Lord.  Abide in me and help me abide in you.  Amen.

United by the Spirit of Christ

My family and I are getting ready to go on a long flight back to the U.S.  In case God decides to call us home, I wanted to say “I love you” even if I’ve never met you.  We will meet each other, some day.  I am praying for you, and I hope you will pray for me, too.  This is one of the many beauties of our faith: we are united in Christ’s One Body.  When we receive Communion, know that there, in that moment, we are like the hundreds of millions of cells that make up your body, but animated and unified by your soul.  As your cells are united in will by your spirit, so you and I are united by the Spirit of Christ.

Oh, how I love our faith!  How I wish I can share my excitement with you!  There is so much treasure kept within the Church, and I hope you will be inspired to go and explore.  Read “Rediscover Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly, or “Life of Christ” by Archbishop Fulton Sheen.  Read anything written by Scott Hahn.  Subscribe to Lighthouse Catholic Media.  Buy the Lighthouse Catholic Media app and purchase the Ignatius Study Bible in the app.  Pray the Scriptural Rosary that is explained by Dr. Edward Sri.  Go to one of the Steubenville Conferences.  Pick up Dan Burke’s “Navigating the Interior Life” and join the book club at his website.  Above all, go to Confession.  If there is one thing that has helped me grow the most spiritually, it is the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  I try to go weekly.  The supernatural grace that is bestowed on one’s soul is indescribable.  Imagine having the power to consistently resist mortal and venial sins.  Imagine the freedom of your soul to do what is good.  Imagine the possibility to become, really truly become, the best-version-of-yourself.  It’s possible.

Oh, how I wish I can share this love with you!  In a few short months after weekly Confession, don’t be surprised to find yourself praying more often.  Don’t be surprised with finding yourself thinking about God in every spare moment.  Wealth, pleasure, power, fame… those drugs that were once so addictive, so alluring, finally lose their hold.  Don’t be surprised if you don’t think about them very much anymore.  You will be so hungry for God.  And you will likely feel like you’re alone.  Even if you are surrounded by people you love and who love you in return.  Even when you meet another pilgrim who is on the same path, your own journey is made in solitude.

If you sin, don’t worry.  It’s like falling into a ditch.  The more you try to escape, the deeper the hole seems to get.  The best thing to do while waiting for temptation to pass is to pray ceaselessly in the midst of it.  Go to Confession.  The Holy Spirit will lift you out of the ditch Himself.  He will comfort you.  Do penance.  It works.  Do penance and don’t stop praying.  Find more time to pray.  Quit Netflix.  Quit video games.  Cut back on Facebook.  Find more time to pray.  Pray while you’re on the toilet, while you’re taking a shower, while you’re on your commute.

There is so much more I want to say, but I will have other opportunities.  Just know that you are loved by God more than it is possible for us to understand.  A single soul is worth more than the whole universe in the eyes of God.  Do you believe that?  Believe it: “For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?” (Mark 8:36)

%d bloggers like this: