Monday, June 27, 2011

Demon on My Chest

So today (Monday) was pretty intensely awesome. And awesomely intense. It all started when I was still sleeping, actually.

I was having this dream about random and varied things. But suddenly, in my dream, everything was dark. I was lying on my bed, eyes half closes. And I felt something attacking me, weighing down on me. My hand covered in a blanket, I tried pushing it off-but it clamped its mouth down on my hand and held on. I knew that this was a demon. The demon was pushing down on me, not letting go. I struggled, said a prayer, and it was gone. I opened my eyes, and everything was bright. And I woke up.

Well, my day continued on relatively smoothly after an intense dream like that. I randomly got a call from the convent, and Sr. Mary Agnes invited me to a picnic with the Handmaids of Mary. So I went to the convent, hung out, played games, had fun. Then I went to the IHM Novena. It was a good talk, about Cardinal Newman's devotion to Mary. Admittedly, during about half of the talk, I was zoning out, because I was thinking about the Joyful Heart of the Blessed Trinity (more on that may come in a later post eventually). Well, after the talk there was Adoration. And Confession.

It had been a long time since I had gone to Confession. About two and a half weeks. For me, that is a long time...see, a couple years back, when I really started getting my faith life together, I grew to love Confession. I would go once a week most of the time. In fact, the week that I was confirmed as a freshman, I went TWICE in that week! I found that with Confession, it was a lot easier to grow in holiness. I was avoiding sin more, and my prayer life was more intense.

Then I would go through cycles of frequent Confession, not frequent Confession. And I noticed something: when I went a couple of weeks without Confession, I would start lapsing into sin more often, and my prayer life would grow to be more lax. However, when I was going to Confession on a weekly basis, I was more on top of my prayer life, and was more in tune with God.

So far this summer, I have been pretty lax on Confession. Three weeks might go by without Confession. And I've noticed the effects. Well, I also thought about how after Confession, I always go back and commit the same sins again and again. And that's a discouraging thought. But, I was blessed to have a very good conversation with some dear friends of mine the other night. In the course of the conversation, one of them said something to the effect of "Confession isn't meant to take you back to the place where you started; it's meant to take you further." Whoa. Confession is not supposed to take you back to the beginning. Confession is not a do-over. Confession is a try-again--with extra graces intact.

But in order for Confession to fully help you, you must really let go of that sin and let the graces work. Going back to my dream....

There was a demon in the darkness. A demon that wouldn't let go. He wanted me. He wanted to live in unity with me. He would not get off of my chest; he even clamped his mouth down on my hand.

We all have sins that won't go away. The demons sit on our chests, holding us down with a particular sin. And after a while, we can think that the struggle is too much. That demon refuses to get off, so we might as well let him stay. So the demon just sits there comfortably, covering us in darkness.

But we are called to shove that demon off. In my dream, I began to struggle. I tried to push that demon off, but he only clamped down harder. Still, I took my hand (which was covered in a blanket) and pulled it out of his mouth. Shoving, pushing, heaving-I got the demon off of me. And then I saw light. And I woke up.

When we go to Confession, we are shoving that demon off of our chests. As the priest gives us the absolution, the demon is falling off of our chests. The darkness falls away with the demon, and our eyes are opened to the light of Christ. In Confession tonight, I experienced this. The demon that was holding me down with a few particular sins was shoved off with absolution, and I saw the light. I experienced freedom, and sitting in Adoration after Confession, felt a complete and utter joy and intensity. I was breathing hard. God is so good! I highly encourage that if you are a person who goes to Confession once in a blue moon, maybe rethink that schedule. I'm not saying that everyone should go once a week. But, Confession--when used properly--provides many graces and strengths to help us on the pathway to holiness.

Confession helps us shove that demon off of our chests.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


So the Holy Spirit is ridiculously awesome/amazing/incredible!

See, when it comes to the Holy Trinity, people can get confused and overwhelmed. I mean, the Holy Trinity cannot possibly be fully understood; it is a mystery of our Faith. Yet, it is so awesome to meditate on-the different persons of the Trinity, and how we can visualize them in different ways. Which I think is important to do, since each of them is a unique person. Random thought, but I really am not a fan of the song "Heart of Worship"--and one of the reasons why, is due to the line "It's all about you, it's all about you, Jesus." See, worship at its heart is directed to God. God is three persons. God is not only Jesus, but also the Holy Spirit and the Father as well. Jesus is the reflection of the Father, and the Holy Spirit comes from the love between them. So really, where worship is concerned, it is necessary to focus on all three persons.

But this post will not be a rant. At least, I hope not.

Let's get back to the Holy Spirit.

So this past weekend was Pentecost weekend. Which is the birthday of the Catholic Church, celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. And I somehow found myself in Holy Trinity Catholic High School, on a TEC retreat weekend. Is God's timing outrageous? Yes.

Moving on......

You know how when your hand is on the wooden rail outside, or you are working with wood, you can get a sliver of wood stuck in your finger. And it is uncomfortable, but you can deal with it. Still, it's there. And you want to get it out. So what do you do? Well in my case, I soak my hand in water, until the sliver starts to come out, and I might pull it out to help it.

The Holy Spirit can do the same thing.

While not going into any details (because I feel strange sharing a very personal prayer experience on the world wide web), the Holy Spirit did the same thing to me: I had slivers, which I was not working to remove. So what did He do? The Holy Spirit soaked me in a bath of His graces, so that the slivers started coming out, then He pulled them out the rest of the way. And you know what? With the slivers out, I felt peace. True peace.

Just like in Kung Fu Panda 2, Po finds true peace at the end of the movie--he comes to grips with his struggles, his past-and he finds peace. The same thing happened to me, plus the bit about the Holy Spirit.

So what is the point of my rambling? I don't exactly know. I just felt like writing, getting my thoughts out. And I want to encourage all of you to give it ALL over to God. It is so easy to say "God, I give You everything"--but then keep a little teensy bitty sliver to yourself. Saying to yourself "Well, I gave everything to God--but out of pride, I'll keep this little sliver so that I can take control if needed." No. Not happening. Give it ALL to God. Yes, all-hopes, desires, dreams, struggles, failures, joys, sorrows, etc. Don't keep little slivers imbedded into your skin. But if you do find those splinters? Talk to the Holy Spirit, and ask Him to remove them.

You will never regret it, for you will find true peace.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Everybody loves Kung Fu Fighting!

I just saw the new movie, "Kung Fu Panda 2" for the second time today. And I love it! Even more than the first; this movie has a lot of depth, humor, and power. And I could go on and on about the overall awesomeness of this movie, but I think I'll cut straight to the p0int.

Without giving any of the plot away, there is a scene where Po is by these prison bars, talking to a couple of kung fu guys. And Po is trying to get them to think reasonably, and he spins around the prison bar door to the cell around really fast. Looking at the kung fu guys incredulously, Po says: "Did you guys just see that? It's called BEING AWESOME!"

I think this world would be so different if all Catholics were like Po.

So Catholics go to Mass (or at least are supposed to) every Sunday. At least once a week, Catholics go and consume the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. Even if they really arent' into their faith that much. They come to Mass, la-dee-dah go up to Communion, leave before Mass is over. And I confess, there have been times where I'll catch myself drifting into mindless wanderings during the Eucharistic prayer. But then I hear those bells that the servers ring-and it's kinda like Po trying to shake up the kung fu guys. The bells are especially used during the Latin Mass, so that the congregation know when the really, really important parts (like the Consecration) are happening. The servers, like Po, are saying "Hey, look-it's called BEING AWESOME!"

We need to be like that every day. Honestly, I'm all about the "New Evangelization" as JPII calls it. Evangelizing to those Catholics that need some shakin' up. Heaven knows our world NEEDS Catholics to be woken up a bit. So, in the spirit of my good panda friend Po, I think I'm going to try and live that "New Evangelization" a bit more.

Pump up those laxadaisical Catholics; show them why being lukewarm just doesn't cut it. Why be lukewarm about a Faith that you belong to? If you're in the Faith, you might as well go all the way. So go out and burn that world with love of God! Show those Catholics what God offers them! Be a Po for Jesus!

"Did you guys just see that? It's called BEING AWESOME!"
'Cause lets be honest, what is more awesome than GOD letting us EAT HIM?!?!?!?!?!