Saturday, April 28, 2007


It's funny how so many people can profess to be Christians while having next to no idea what Christ taught. Funny how so many can cuss out the guy that works at McDonald's on Sunday mornings about their being late for [freak]ing church, with Jesus-fish bumper stickers on their vehicles. Funny how so many will ridicule, bash, demean, and judge others, while in the next instant profess Christ as their Savior.

And amazing (or perhaps not--I've seen this happen more than once) that an atheist knows our faith better than the majority of us do. See for yourself, and meanwhile, think about the sort of person you portray to others. Ask yourself if you know your faith, and live it every single day.

My thanks to Sam for this video. We've clearly been pwned at our own game.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Coming Home

At 4:15, the church was dark. Only sunlight filtering through stained glass lit the place, and no one was there. No one. The confessional door was open, and our voices carried a little too easily in the unlit sanctuary.

Are you sure you’re alright? Yes, I’m alright. I’ll wait until you come out. Okay.

A man in pants and a dress shirt looked up at me over his book. Wh--who are you? Oh, a priest. Oh, right. Relief. Embarrassment. Hi, I'm Melissa. Crap. Crap. He wasn't supposed to know my name. His was Fr. Bruni. I told him I was terrified. I told him it's been a long time. It was okay. It would be okay. Sit down. Talk a little.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, amen...

Show time. The beginning came easily. It always did. These are my sins:

And then I stopped, the words caught in my throat, and almost thought I couldn't start again, until he reassured me, trying to calm my nerves. Slowly over the next fifteen minutes, it all came out with shaking and whispers and talking more to the wall than the priest.

All I could do after the absolution was sigh, and finally make eye contact.

Feel better?

I beamed.

Welcome home, Melissa.

I said goodbye to my mother, who had waited for me, and took to very slowly tracing the perimeter of the back of the church. I found rosary beads and, still mostly alone, began to pray in silence before the Crucifix.

The overwhelming mercy, love, and relief that hit me was enough to move me to tears of the joyful variety. I knew then that this was where I had belonged all along.

It was so good to be home.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I finally get it...

I think I just listened to the coolest (or strangest, or both) priest ever. For anonymity's sake I won't mention my benefactor, but thank you!

The guy was Fr. Larry Richards, a priest at St. Joseph's in Erie, PA. The lecture I heard was all about Confession...

(...which, by the grace of God and a genuinely loving family, I will be going to this Saturday!)

The first thing that struck me was his outspoken demeanor that I really connected to. He got loud, which I found refreshing in a Catholic priest; the ones I've met are all softspoken. He had me giggling aloud almost the entire time.

The important thing, though, is that he reminded me that I am loved by He who gave me life, regarless of what I've done to spit in His face. Sure, I've been told so before many times by many people. This time, though, I believe it.

His Name is Mercy. And to go to Him and confess is to be healed by Love Himself...

Is it Saturday yet?

Monday, April 16, 2007


It's the Pope's 80th birthday. Awesome. The Vatican website gives the opportunity to send him a birthday greeting, if anyone is interested. I think that's pretty cool. Cool enough in fact that...hmmm.

Buon compleanno e tanti auguri, Papa! I hope it was both special and blessed for you. :D

...and yes, I actually did do that. With the emoticon and all, man.

Hey, everybody loves a birthday wish...


Heh. ^^()

Resistance is Futile

It's so hard not to fall back into my own "comfort food"-type sins when things get scary and I want to forget. Like flypaper, I find myself lured in, and then I'm paralyzed. Stuck.

And terribly guilty.

If I were really going for optimism, I'd say the guilt is a good thing. It means I'm starting to recognize sin for what it is--the severing of a relationship I've struggled for so long to build and keep.

If only shame would come with absolution. Absolution that I've been denied.

I never thought I would say this, but I know what he means now. I know how it feels to want to get it all out...and have someone tell you it was going to be okay, that God still loved you, to keep going.

I don't know if I have that right now.

I'm proud of him. It makes me want to fight back again. And I will. But, as I do, let's put something out in the open:

I confess to almighty God,
and to you,
my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary,
ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you,
my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

It's Not Over

My mom would rather not have me going to Church right now.

All I have to say in regards to this whole day, and the situation, is this:

"The work of God:
nothing can stop it,
not the malice of men,
not our mistakes,
not even death.
The work of God
multiplies when it finds
the Cross in its way
and always triumphs. "
-St. Inocencio, C.P.

I have lost this battle, yes. But I will win the war.


Back in February, He spoke to me.

His words, when genuine, are always few. But they always say so much. One little sentence would exhilarate and haunt me for the next three months.

Come to the cross with Me.

I ignored it. I plugged my fingers in my ears and screamed to block out the noise.

I knew I wouldn't last. I knew I had to listen.

I wanted none of it. Now, it's all I want.

Tomorrow, I will go to the cross. I will suffer shame. I will be thoroughly humiliated. My pride is already screaming in agony at the thought. The rest of me just wants to throw up.

But His shame was worse. His humiliation was worse than mine could ever be.

Tomorrow...everything will change. Tomorrow I will stop fighting. I've fought for so long. I'm so tired. I just want to go home.

Lord Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner...

St. Maria Goretti, pray for me.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Underage Drinking

Veramente, Cristo รจ risorto--indeed, Christ is risen--Happy Easter and Buona Pasqua to all of you.

It all comes down to this. Forty-seven agonizingly long days and nights, finally over. Before I hand myself over to chocolate and that all-too-tempting trunk of mine, I need to reflect. By morning, the intensity will have faded.

This Lent, I have truly learned the meaning of sacrifice and temptation. Both are things I know very well now. However, I've also been tempered. This intense time of growth has taught me to mellow out and trust God for direction in my life. I've learned to silence the voices of mockery, influence, and doubt in order to hear one of clarity and peace.

At first, it was very difficult--I spent about three weeks unable to fall asleep or to stay that way. Those nights were spent in a wild, ragged, distracted sort of prayer while I fought my own weaknesses and fears. When I did finally sleep, I would have dreams--and nightmares--both very vivid. Thanatophobia came back to play for the first time in years.

Last year, I spent my time counting the days until it was over, complaining all the while. This year, I counted every day as a small victory toward the larger war of temptation. Every day, I grew a little stronger. I took to reading St. John's Gospel, and picked up the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy again along with my usual prayer time. The latter turned out to be a lifesaver on more than one occasion, heh.

Finally, come Holy Week, my thirst ceased altogether. It was replaced, instead, by a different sort of thirst. I'm reminded of Christ as He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well as told in John 4:

Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."

For years now I've sought out other things to quench my thirst. After a while, I was no longer pacified by those things, and oftentimes I was left frustrated and confused.

That is, until I learned to drink of Him.

As we crossed the halfway point in the season three weeks ago, the struggle changed. Sleep came easier, temptation faded slightly, and I began to seek Him fiercely as I hadn't before. I sought Him like the woman at the well as the answer to my thirst, and slowly, I was fulfilled. Nights that were spent fighting with my fears became late nights reading and resting in God...and His will became clear to me. Finally, I could hear and feel again.

Holy Week, ironically, began with the crashing of my computer. I had prayed the night before for help with tuning out distraction and outside influences to better hear His voice and, well, I got it. Without internet, I lose a good chunk of friends (the majority of whom I met in theological forums), and many hours of surfing the web in boredom. The past six days have been an intense sort of mini-retreat. I thirst completely for Him now. I thirst, and only want more...I think I can understand now in a very small way what St. Therese of Liseaux meant when she wrote of "seductive waters".

But that's quite alright. This sort of thirst feels so much better. This time, much like before, I've lost control of myself. This time, however, I know it's safe. This time, I really don't mind.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Good Friday Thoughts

My apologies for not posting anything terribly original today. I do hope, however, that this collection of thoughts will serve to inspire in a small way.

It makes me happy that my parish bulletin is online.

For all the triumph that comes with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem – a seemingly fitting recognition of the Messiah – it is darkness that awaits him by week’s end. But it is not the strewn palm branches or the crowd’s approving shouts that proclaim Jesus’ ministry and message. Instead, it is the simple, quiet moments and the darkest hours. Only when the Son of God ties a towel around his waist to wash the feet of his disciples does his new commandment of love become so clear. Only when Jesus dies, arms spread on a cross, is God’s love for the world so visible.

This Holy Week we come to see the ministry and message in our lives. By reflecting on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we recognize that it often is not our grandest achievements that show who we are and what we are about, but our simplest daily actions, and sometimes even our darkest moments.

And something from Palm Sunday my monsignor contributed:

Today marks the beginning of the year’s most solemn week. Today we commemorate the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, entering the Holy City to begin the saving work of His Passion, Death and Resurrection. As the sun sets on Holy Thursday, the Lenten season ends quietly and the Easter Triduum begins, the celebration of our core belief in the Lord’s dying and rising. The shadow of the Cross falls over the sweetness of Holy Thursday evening as we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper...

There's so much I wish I could say today, but I can't find any acceptable way to put what I feel into words. It's a silent, brooding, sort of horrified awe that Christ would do what He did. I've never been so painfully aware of my own sin. A friend of mine was right...I hope Eudaimonia will forgive me for using her words. She says it with an eloquence that I can't muster today.

In a very real way, every day is Palm Sunday. As much as we might sing His praises, we still crucify Him again and again. With every uncharitable thought, we scourge Him just a little bit more; with every sin, we drive the nails in a little deeper.

From now until paradise, this is the human condition in all its weakness: as often as we beg His forgiveness, we find ourselves on the verge of betraying Him again and again.

The only consolation in this is that the acuity of this week does fade somewhat. Christ no longer suffers. In our acceptance of His Cross, we, too, will not live in agony. Our lives are preserved in Him.

3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

-Isaiah 53:1-6

Pax Christi.


I'm hungry in a totally mundane way.

This is a good thing--I've never fasted before, but I figured I might as well see what it's like. It's interesting how you don't realize how lucky you are to be able to eat until you refrain from it. As the Easter Triduum begins, we step back to remember Christ's passion, death, and resurrection. He went without food. He was tempted, just like the rest of us. He suffered greater emotional, physical and spiritual agony than any of us will experience. And all of this for us? How lucky we are, and how undeserving!

But today, and in the entirety of the Lenten season, we allow ourselves a taste of the suffering He endured for our sake. Nothing we go through will ever compare to that, but it can help us understand.

America is a country of excess. So many of us never know what it is to be without. We've become so polluted by society's influence that all we do, it seems, is want want want and never give of ourselves in return. We've become blind and deaf to our own sin. The frightening thing, though, is that we don't care.

Christ came to save us. He took the sins of every single person across the generations on his shoulders, and set us free through His perfect sacrifice. Two millennia later, we behave as if He never came at all.

Thank God for Him. Thank God that we live. The burden has fallen to us now to be the light, and to remind so many that He has come.

I don't know how they do it. I don't know how anyone can be without Him. I used to know. I don't remember anymore.

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world...