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Joy in the Waiting

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You know what is almost worse than knowing what you want to do with your life? Waiting for God to open that door. I used to think not knowing was worse; I was wrong. When you don't know, you spend your time in discernment, looking deep into yourself, asking God to reveal your heart to yourself. When you know, first, there is the thrill of an answer, of a sense of purpose, of calling. But that soon gives way to the continual craning of your neck to see where the door is, and you start fidgeting in the here and now. And it is not helped by people continually asking where you are going with your life. For example:

"Yes, I am working. No, it is not what I want to do long term." 
"Oh? What do you want to do?"
"Be a wife and mother." 
"Oh! You would be great at that, do you have a guy yet?" 
"No...."
"Oh.... well, good things come to those who wait. Why don't you go do something while you wait. After all, you are never young again, an…

Our Lady of Guadalupe - The Woman of Revelation 12

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Today (December 12) is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. For an abbreviated version of the story, go here. Most of us are familiar with the image. Some of us - myself included until recently - tend to avoid this aspect of Mary because she's so.... popular. And for those of us who are not Mexican, we often get weird looks from people when we start talking about Our Lady of Guadalupe because, well, she's Mexico's Lady, right?

Wrong!

I could spend forever talking about all the amazing aspects of this apparition. I could talk about the fact that the tilma has survived for over 400 years when it shouldn't last beyond 20 (And the first 100 or so were unprotected). I could talk about the images present in her 3 mm eyes; I could talk about the lack of brush strokes on the tilma, the fact that scientists just scratch their heads in confusion as they try to explain it, about how the stars on her mantle align with the constellations on the day she first appeared, or about how e…

Decking the Interior Halls

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Thanksgiving is past, and now, even the most conservative of vendors have decked their halls, doors, and bags with red, green, holly, snowmen, and Jolly Santas. Christmas songs will fill the air on radios, in stores, and in homes. We look forward now to Christmas.

But before we get to Christmas, we must journey through Advent, that time of preparation, that time of anticipation. This is the pregnancy before the birth, the quiet before the storm, the shy courtship before the wedding. It is a time of self reflection, of introspection, of getting house, home, and soul ready for the coming of a Glorious Guest.

In most households, this change in seasons means people will begin shopping in earnest (or begin shopping period), tickets will be booked, plans will be solidified, fudge will be made, advent wreaths, candles, Christmas lights, and toy soldiers will be laid out. And so, we will whittle away this beautiful season, replacing the peace it is meant to bring with the chaos of preparation…

Holding Mary's Hand

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The Rosary is central to my spirituality because it is an active meditation on the mysteries of Jesus' life - particularly in relationship to ours, and always through the eyes of His mother. Praying these prayers - most straight from scripture - daily and meditating daily on parts of His life, death, and glory has taught me so much about who Jesus is, how He relates to me, and how I am supposed to live in response.

Often, when I pray the Rosary, something sticks out. Themes develop, and Jesus reveals Himself through His mother's eyes, letting her tell the story of His life. Mysteries that never struck you suddenly do - I mean really, how often do we sit and just think about the Presentation of Jesus at the temple? Not just the prophesies, but the Presentation itself? Or how about the Finding of Jesus in the Temple? Or Jesus' Transfiguration? Probably not very often unless you are praying the Rosary or just ran into it in your reading.

Unfortunately, I have fallen out of th…

Dangerous Yet Beautiful

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And no, I am not talking about some Femme Fatal. I'm talking about the ultimate Deceiver.

I think we sometimes don't think of the Trial in the Garden properly, largely due to the limitations of English, largely because all the artwork is rather cheesy. We tend to think of Satan being this little garden snake that sits and talks to Eve, hissing in her ear that God was unjust and selfish. But Scripture does not tell us that he was like Sir Hiss, but rather much more like Maleficent.

"The another sign appeared in the sky, it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. It's tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth.... The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.&…

The Eternal Wedding

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This summer, I knew over 20 couples getting married, and I made it to several of the weddings. I liked many things about the weddings, and many things I would have changed, but having gone to so many weddings made me more aware of something that I had "known" but never really understood. The Mass is a wedding.

"Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory. For the wedding day of the Lamb has come, His bride has made herself ready.... Then the angel said to me, 'Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.' And he said to me, 'These words are true; they come from God.'" (Revelation 19:7,9)

When we go to Mass, Jesus starts out by having His friends read aloud the letters He penned to us across time that profess the greatness of His love for us. He speaks words of love to us publicly, yet intimately. He publicly declares His love for us, but He does not stop at words. No! Rather, He bares His heart for us.

Upon t…

Mary as the New Eve

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Remember that typology stuff I was talking about? I already mentioned there that Jesus is the new Adam. But if Jesus is the new Adam, as Paul tells us, then who is the new Eve? Mary, of course! No other woman was with Him at the beginning and stayed with Him until the end. But do we need a New Eve, you may ask? Well, here is what some of the Early Church Fathers and more modern theologians have said.

"Christ was born of a woman so that just as death came through a woman, so through Mary, life might return." ~St. Peter Chrysologus
"Jesus became man by the Virgin so that the course of which was taken by disobedience in the beginning through the agency of the serpent might be also the very course by which it could be put down. Eve...conceived the word of the serpent and bore disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced to her the glad tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High …

Typology

Typology is something I am going to be using in many of my posts, so I am going to type this up once and link it whenever I use it.

What is Typology?

Mister Webster defines it thusly:  "A doctrine of theological types; especially: one holding that things in Christian belief are prefigured or symbolized by things in the Old Testament."
St. Augustine talks about this mystery when He says, "The New Testament is concealed in the old, and the Old is revealed in the New."
Michael Barber (in his book, Coming Soon, Unlocking the Book of Revelation and Applying its Lessons Today) describes typology this way,

"God is the Author of all history, which He fashioned for the salvation of the world. When humans write books, we use words to signify realities.... God "writes" the world as men write books - except, instead of using only words, He can use historical realities to signify other historical realities.
"An example is the Passover. There was once a real Passo…

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

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If I were to ask what the biggest dividing factor between Catholics and Protestants is, I guarantee you at least half would say "Mary." A few might say "The Pope," one or two may bring up the sex scandals, some may bring up Tradition and Scripture vs Solo Scriptura, and a few who were familiar with Catholic doctrine might say the Eucharist. But the bulk of people would say Mary and the Saints. 
Why is that? Some people will claim that it is because we shouldn't talk to the dead, but Jesus told us that God is not God of the dead, but of the living, so many will leave the topic of the saints alone - regardless of their acceptance of it. But few will leave Mary alone. I was listening to a talk by a convert, and he was certain that "Mary would keep him Protestant." Mary was one of my mother's largest hurdles to pass as well, though that wasn't something I had an issue with. But for many of my friends, it is. 
So, first, let me clarify a few things…

Oh, Lord, To Love You More

My Desire
Totus Tuus - Totally Yours. This, more than anything, is what I desired of my life.
One of my first posts, a year and a half ago, was about how God shaped my heart to desire His Glory. God has since changed my desire. Anyone can give glory to someone - think of the soldiers that gave great glory to conquerors like Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire, or the Champions that fought in the place of the king to settle disputes. Achilles was one of the great Greek glories.... but he despised the rulers. You can bring glory to someone you don't necessarily love. And I realized that I didn't just want to serve God - I wanted to love Him. I didn't just want to be His soldier. I wanted to be His bride, His lover.

This was a distinction I did not make until after I graduated college and had time to sit and stop being a Martha and start being a Mary. After graduation, I had almost 8 months of no job, so I spent lots of time in the Adoration Chapel, sitting as the feet of J…

Theotokos and Seat of Wisdom

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Mary is known and called by many titles: Mary, Mother of God, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Grace, Our Lady, Our Lady of the Rosary, the New Eve, Queen of Heaven, Queen of the Angels, Comforter of the Afflicted, Mary Most Holy, Blessed Virgin, even just Mother (to name a few). However, when I was in at church, the priest teaching, while praying, asked for Mary's intercession under a title I had heard once or twice before, but I had never really thought of: "Seat of Wisdom."

As I pondered this title, I realized that it is intrinsically tied to one of my favorite titles for Mary: Theotokos - the God Bearer or Mother of God. Now, some of my friends are likely curling their teeth back at this, so I say, please, read on. I shall explain.

The first recorded use of this title dates to the third century in Egypt, and much controversy erupted over this because the Egyptians called Isis the Mother of God. They proposed a compromise - ca…

Pen Pals and Brides

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In class today, the teacher, Mrs. D, made a comparison that I'd never thought of before. God communicates to us like the old pen pals did. Back in the time of the World Wars, many people wrote long letters to each other, and they fell in love even across the sea. Through these letters, they poured their hearts out and decided that, yes, they were willing to spend their lives together based solely on this interaction. They never met each other, they didn't have several friends in common who could vouch for them, they accepted the words on the pages, and they married. 
In many ways, that is how God communicates with us. He gives us glimpses of himself, most especially in the Scriptures and creation. He writes His love for us through the pages and trees. These letters tell us who He is, give us little anecdotes to see His personality, and tell us how serious He is about our relationship. He pours His Heart out upon these pages, begging us to recognize this love and sincerity. And …

My Lord and My God!

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"My Lord and My God!" It's an entreaty, words of adoration, a cry of the heart. But first, it is a title - a name. The first time it is used in the New Testament is when Thomas - Doubting Thomas - drops to his knees before Jesus and recognizes the pierced man before him not just as his Teacher, nt just as the Christ, not just as the Son of God but as "My Lord and My God!"

Thomas is usually best known for his refusal to accept Christ's resurrection based on the testimony of all his friends and fellow disciples. He says he has to see proof - the wounds that killed Him. He has a week to ponder their testimony, and then Jesus comes, and instead of saying just "I believe it's you!" He instead becomes a vessel through which the Spirit reveals more about Jesus and becomes a source of revelation, of clarification, of insight: He cries out "My Lord and My God." No longer is Jesus just this Teacher, just their Rabbi, just the Messiah and Son o…