Some Two Thousand Years Ago Today

It hit me yesterday a few times.

Especially during our Holy Thursday Mass.

Jesus is real. And He’s not a pie in the sky, abstract being with no concern for us.

See, this is the danger of falling into checklist love. I prayed multiple times today, check! I said, “I love you,” check! I did something nice for someone else, check! Etc.

That ain’t love.

But, often times, that is how I love.

I do it out of habit.

What’s more is the fact that I think I do it to not go to hell as opposed to doing it to get into Heaven. It’s a dangerous lifestyle and I need to change it. I don’t want to be a checklist lover of Christ. Because that’s not what He is for me.

What’s the most striking thing is the fact that, at this very moment, some two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ was hanging on the Cross, dying, hurting, suffocating, in mental agony. He saw us all when he was in the garden, praying. And He loved us.

In those raw moments of agony, He still loved.

Mark 15:25 says, “It was nine in the morning when they crucified him.”

Nine.

And He died at three in the afternoon. That means He hung for six hours.

Do you know the history of the cross?

It was a means of torture and humiliation invented by the Persians and perfected by the Romans. It was used for the worst criminals. They died by suffocation. See, they would need to pull themselves up in order to breathe. And if they didn’t die fast enough, their legs wold be broken, taking away their means of pushing up to breathe.

Jesus was already dead before his legs could be broken.

It must have been around midnight when the soldiers came into the garden and arrested Jesus. (Jesus – the God of the Universe, of Heaven and earth, the Creator.) From then until nine the next morning (this morning), they spat on Him, taunted Him, beat Him, scourged Him, pounded a crown of thorns onto His head.

This is real.

This happened.

And it happened today.

How great His Love must be to still care and want us with Him after we’ve hurt Him over and over again.

I’ve been hurt and the last thing I’d want is to be around the person that did the hurting. The last thing I want to do is forgive them and love them.

But this is what God does. After everything we did to Him, He still loves with a perfect love.

And that’s what we’re called to do.

Keep in mind that, just because Jesus is God, He was still human. 100% God, 100% man. He still felt pain, temptation — the difference is that He didn’t give in to it.

I know many of us would like to say that, were we there when He died, we would have stood up for Him. But I think that I, at least, would have doubted His divinity. I would have doubted.

But in three days, He defeats death.

He gives us another chance every second of the day.

If you ever find yourself checking off a prayer list without really thinking about how much love you’re putting into it, stop. Say a prayer to soften your heart. Ask Him to give you the grace you need to be a saint.

At least for today.

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{Have you ever felt?}

Hello, you!

Have you ever endured a pain so consuming that your skin seems to shrink and crawl over bone and muscle? Your heart sort of morphs into a little monster trying to tear its way out of your chest and, in that intense moment, you’re not thankful that your ribs hold it back. You wish your fingernails were claws instead so you could tear yourself open and apart. Maybe then the pain would ebb and a comfortable numbness would replace it, right?

Have you ever waited until the lights were out before you’d allow your mind to run through all the thoughts you forced to the back of your mind throughout the day because maybe a memory might trickle down your cheek and you know others see tears as an invitation into your struggles even though they have no right to even ask to be let in?

Have you ever felt that people asked what was wrong, and listened to only half of what you said so they could take that less than half of a truth and use it as a conversation starter with someone else?

Have you ever felt there could be no reason good enough to justify the pain you’re barely making it through now?

Have you ever felt…?

It’s been something I’ve thought about for a while. I believe there’s a reason behind everything. But until recently, if someone asked me why, I wouldn’t have had an answer and that bothered me. Now, I do and I thought I’d share it.

{Does pain have meaning?}

Yes.

{Why?}

I have a few answers to this question.

>>>>>>> Because I’m only human and this world is crap. If I didn’t believe that pain had a meaning, I’d have no hope. This planet is full of suffering, bloodshed, hate, anger… If there is no meaning to pain, and life is full of pain, then, to me, life would have no meaning.

>>>>>>> Because I have faith that this suffering can be used to help someone else whether by helping me relate to their situation in the future or…

>>>>>>> Ever heard a Catholic say, “Offer it up?” Hold up, non-Catholics! This applies to you too (if you’re Christian). It has a Biblical basis. In Colossians 1:24, Saint Paul says, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church…” 

(Quick note: Christ’s suffering lacked nothing. What this verse means, then, is that we should unite our sufferings with that of Jesus’ on the Cross. We can gather this from Romans 8:17 which can be found below.)

Jesus told us to rejoice in our suffering in Matthew 5:11-12: “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Now, where does the term “offer it up” come from? Well, we see it in Romans 8:17: “and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him”

When Jesus said, ““And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” in Luke 9:23, He was telling us that we would suffer. But for a greater glory. His glory and also (take a look back up at Colossians 1:24) for the sake of the Church.

So suffering isn’t worthless then. And that’s the biggest thing for me. If it means nothing, then a lot of our lives have been wasted. But, if it has a purpose, and we act upon it, then I think it’s justified. Now, if we complain a ton while we’re suffering, are we really acting as Christ would and uniting our pain with His? I think not.

For a more comprehensive article on the Biblical basis of why we suffer, I strongly urge you to click here.

I hope this helps you, lovely. ❤ I hope you can see the beauty in your pain and I wish you the best.

So what are your thoughts? Is there a reason behind your motive to push through pain? Anything that helps you deal with it? I’d love to hear it!

God bless!

Rana

P.S.

This song is just wonderful. Don’t be afraid to get hurt. Don’t be afraid of pain, darling.

United, We Stand

Hello, lovely!

I trust everything’s been going well since yesterday. ❤

Today, I wanted to ramble a bit on what is and isn’t freedom of religion/speech in regards to the Satanic Black Mass happening in Oklahoma later on today.

1) It’s not freedom of religion and here’s why:

Want to be a satanist? Fine. Don’t steal a consecrated Host from a Catholic Church so you can desecrate our Savior (although I believe the stolen Host was returned to the Church). I don’t care if you hate Him. You wouldn’t be allowed to get a bunch of people to rally and use a stolen Koran as toilet paper. That would get shut down immediately.

It’s not freedom of religion. It’s the sick and twisted parody of religion designed to mock a true God. Just as abortion is a sick parody of the words Jesus spoke at the Last Supper when He said, “This is My Body,” satanists twist the Catholic Mass to spit in God’s face.

2) It’s not freedom of speech and here’s why:

It’s hateful. Want to set up a rally for Nazis to publicly announce their hate for Jews? I doubt if you could. It’s offensive and totally wrong.

Free speech should be limited to only the laws of libel, obscenity, sedition, and slander. This would fall under obscenity and slander. I have no clue why the state would legally allow this to happen other than the fact that they don’t care and are part of a society that hates God.

Fact: Satanists only go for consecrated Hosts from the Catholic Church because they know it’s the true Host – they know it’s Jesus Christ. I read an interview done with a former satanist who said that the ones who are really in deep could pick out of several identical pieces of bread which was a consecrated Host. The Host is not a symbol or replica of Christ. It IS Christ.

Further more, at this black mass, it’s said that they will perform a reverse exorcism – they’ll cast the Holy Spirit out of a person. It’s so sick. Disgusting.

And you know what? It doesn’t matter if you believe the Catholic Church is right or not. We’re all Christians. An attack on one denomination is an attack on all denominations. We should be unified as it says in the Bible. Let’s take a moment (or between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. – the Holy Hour) and pray together that God intercedes and doesn’t allow this blasphemous thing to happen. Let’s pray for a change of heart of those participating in the Black Mass.

United, we stand. Divided, we fall.

To help stop this event, click here(I don’t know if you can still sign the petition to stop it, but just in case…)

God bless!

Rana

Our Constant Choice

Good morning, darling!

I hope you had a phenomenal week. ^_^ I’ve been fighting some sort of sickness. Maybe the flu. I’m still not over it. Oh, well.

Today, I just wanted to share something with you. I was reading my Bible last night and stumbled across Sirach 15:11-20.

11 Don’t blame the Lord for your sin; the Lord does not cause what he hates. (He may allow undesirable things to happen, but He Our Constant Choicedoes not cause them and will not lead you into temptation.)

12 Don’t claim that he has misled you; he doesn’t need the help of sinners to accomplish his purposes.

13 The Lord hates evil in all its forms, and those who fear the Lord find nothing attractive in evil.

14 When, in the beginning, the Lord created human beings, he left them free to do as they wished. (“Free will, though it makes evil possible, also makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.” – C.S. Lewis)

15 If you want to, you can keep the Lord’s commands. You can decide whether you will be loyal to him or not.

16 He has placed fire and water before you; reach out and take whichever you want.

17 You have a choice between life and death; you will get whichever you choose.

18 The Lord’s wisdom and power are great and he sees everything.

19 He is aware of everything a person does, and he takes care of those who fear him.

20 He has never commanded anyone to be wicked or given anyone permission to sin.

What struck me was the fact that life is a constant choice. Being a Christian is a constant choice. It’s not a once-and-done sort of thing. You can lose your salvation (Matt. 7:21-23; 2 Peter 2:20-22; 2 Tim. 2:11-12 …)

But you know what? You can also get it back.

Salvation is a process and God wants to help us through it. As a proud (practicing) Catholic, I believe that I have been saved (Mark 16:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Romans 6:3-4), am being saved through cooperation with grace (I Cor. 1:18, I Cor. 15:1-3; II Cor. 6:1), and I will be saved if I persevere in the Faith (Matt. 10:22; Romans 2:6-7; Gal. 6:7-9).

You see, if I say I’m a Christian, but go and murder someone, I’m not acting like a Christian; therefore, I’m not a Christian. Actions are more important than words. You can say whatever you want all day long, but in the end, what matters is what you did.

We’re not saved by our works, but without them, we’re useless. (Contrary to what many believe, Catholics do not believe works save them. We believe they are necessary, but we cannot earn salvation.)

In James 2:17, we’re reminded that, “faith of itself, if it does not have work, is dead.” And in verse 24, James says, “See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” And later: “For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (2:26).

I encourage you all to choose life with me. 🙂

God bless!

Rana

{my new favorite story}

Hello, beautiful!

I’m back from a two week debate camp. And those weeks were two of the best ever. ^_^ I could have stayed up in Virginia for a lot longer; but alas, it could not be. V_V

Now let me tell you a little story. It’s my new favorite. And it’s true.

Once upon a time (if you’ll forgive the cliche opener), I was feeling selfish for wanting to spend my parents’ money on attending a two week debate camp. My dad wasn’t entirely sure if it would be worth it. So I prayed that God would get me there if He wanted. His Will be done, not mine.

faithLo and behold, I ended up in Virginia. I met a nice college student who was contemplating converting to Catholicism. Now, I had borrowed a couple of books from someone and lent them to said college student.

Guys. This was one of the best things ever. I wasn’t sure if I should go. I did. I met a really cool guy and hopefully the books that I’d brought along helped him out.

Also, when we were praying one night, I wanted to tell the guy all of the above (not necessarily exactly like I wrote it) but wasn’t sure if I should or if it’d be creepy, you know? So I asked God to give me an opportunity.

Lo and behold, the guy walked in as I was about to leave.

Now, you should understand something about me. I’m not the feeling kind of person. I don’t usually feel stuff when I pray. I don’t usually see God working very obviously in my life.

But the stuff above was just way too obvious for me. I really think it solidified my faith and showed me that God works in different ways and if He leads us to things, will bring us through them.

Here’s an amazing Bible verse that I really like:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

This is one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me. Ever. Without doubt.

Please pray for the guy. 🙂

Has anything like this ever happened to you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. 😀

God bless!

Rana

P.S.

The two books were:

The Protestant’s Dilemma by Devin Rose

Catholic Controversies by various authors

A Merry Christmas to You

“Seasons greetings!”

“Happy holidays!”

“Merry Christmas!” – Wait, what?

No one ever seems to say “Merry Christmas” anymore and that’s a bit disheartening.

I mean, what’s the meaning of the season? Why are we celebrating? What are we celebrating? Take the Christ out of Christmas and you’ve got a shallow holiday that celebrates nothing but being broke and selfish.

We all look forward to “Santa Clause” every year but really, if we take Christ out of Christmas, we shouldn’t have a Santa Clause. Why? It translates to “Saint Nicholas.” Don’t believe we should celebrate Christmas for what it is (Christ’s Mass)? Then find some other excuse to give gifts to each other.

We’re not buffet Christians. A Christian believes in Christ, the Bible, and the dogma of the church. We can’t pick and choose what we want to believe. It’s all or nothing. Being Christian isn’t about being comfortable.

“I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” — C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock

So if you’re Christian, you have to accept it all, whether it makes you uncomfortable or not. If you’re confused on something, ask questions! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. 🙂

But what is Christmas really about,  if it’s not about Santa Clause, gifts, food, and family? I think Linus sums it up pretty well.

Good ol’ Charlie Brown.

God bless you and yours during this special season. 🙂

Rana

A Message on Peace

Hey, everyone!

So, a friend (she hasn’t updated that in a while, so…) sent me an email and I almost freaked. XD You know how I just did a post on peace? Well now I get an email on it! And you want to know who it’s by? The Pope! He’s asking us to be praying on September 7, 2013 for peace. Here’s the letter.

Seriously though. You don’t need to be Catholic to pray for this. We’re all humans, we all live here. What happens on end end of the world affects the other. Never is one person or nation solely responsible for the destruction that happens on this planet. Like Einstein said, The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch without doing anything.”

Without further ado, here’s the letter. 🙂

POPE FRANCIS
ANGELUS 
Saint Peter’s Square
Sunday, 1st September 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Hello!
Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.
There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.
I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.
With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.
May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.
What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love (cf. John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, [11 April 1963]: AAS 55, [1963], 301-302).
All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!
I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.
May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and be let themselves be led by the desire for peace.
To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.
On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 19:00 until 24:00, we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.
Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mat, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

© Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

God bless!

Rana