Friday, March 26, 2010

Here comes Holy Week....

What do you do? Panic because you're not ready? Or rejoice because of the fact that Lent is almost over?
You're ALMOST there!!! :D Whoo hoo, I'm praying for you!
Did you actually count 40 days from Ash Wednesday? Sundays are not included in the 40 days, so your finger (if you're actually counting right now) should stop somewhere around Holy Week. Yep! Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are not a part of Lent. *gasp!* But it definitely doesn't mean that you can eat whatever you want and start rejoicing. Remember, Lent is a PREPARATION for His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.
So what do we do for Holy Week? Do we hold our breaths? Count silently until Easter comes around with wide eyes? We're not supposed to really think about Easter yet - look forward to it yes, but not celebrate it yet. Doesn't mean that you need to stay up on Saturday night and wait until 12:00am to start boiling eggs, going on raids to the grocery store to stack up on candies & goodies and plastic eggs and such.
I think the best thing to do for Lent, especially if you live a truly hectic life (like me :P ) is to keep silent. In honor of Jesus' Passion, Death and Resurrection. You can refrain from babbling on the phone, ranting with your friends, or something like that. But during Holy Week (that is, if you didn't do this during the entire Lent), offer up your silence for the distracting noises and misuse of music, audio, and conversation. Think about how silent JESUS was when he carried the cross. Remember He asked why people were against him even when he already told them a gazillion times that he was from God? He didn't ask why those very same people were persecuting him now. Instead of telling someone to stop annoying you with their bickering (like a fly that just won't get out of the house), listen to them, and pray for them. It's not easy. I remember reading something about this guy asking Padre Pio if the Wounds of Christ on his hands hurt. Well, of course they hurt! He said that they were holes in his hands.

But it's admitting that your pain hurts, admitting that it's not easy, and admitting that you can't do this without God - that's true humility. Humility (and I like to think it this way) is like asking a hug from Jesus.

Well, until Easter! Keep your eyes on Jesus - the finish line! ^_^

ultra awesome pic source

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy Feastday of St. Joseph!

I posted this last year...I think. Anyway, here's something special for St. Joseph's Feastday :) Pics source from patron saints index

P.S. I put up a new (well, not really new, it's been there and I realized I never mentioned it) poll on the sidebar. If you could, it'd help me a lot if you could vote (pretty please? ^_^ ). Thanks!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

"So....How are we holding up??" :D Lenten Reflection

The title says it all.
We're just about halfway! Yay! That means we can eat our seconds and all the goodies we want soon!! :P
Actually, Lent has been going waaay too fast for me. It's always been like that for us. You must be thinking 'yeesh, good for you' but that's not what's exactly in my head right now. How am I 'enjoying' Lent? I wouldn't put it that way, but Lent comes by every year, and you're bound to get used to it. What?? Used to it?! You're not supposed to get used to Lent! Well, not the 'used' that I'm thinking of.

Think of Lent this way: You know how a special visitor/relative comes to visit you, and you make sure to set aside most of your time to spend with that person? Sacrifice a ton of things to be with that person? Even eating other kinds of food when? Lent is a LOT like that. It's time for that 'extra' time with Jesus.

Though I must say this though...Why oh why does the food cooked in the house have to be soooo good, during LENT of all times???? For example, my older sister made salmon cooked in butter with chives and lemon. It was mouth-watering. Seriously. And then for Friday, Dad cooked tilapia (fish) in vinegar with tomatoes and onions on the side, then last Friday he made one of my absolute favorites: SHRIMP SCAMPI. You know, it was kind of hard not to fast....but there you go, another thing to 'offer up!' :)

Btw, this blog was mainly written for the youth/young adults section, but I'm glad that regular adults are reading this too. :) Anyway, forgive me for getting off-topic for a bit, but here's a part for the young ones....about fasting. I have a 12-year-old brother, who's feet are as long as a foot (that's 12 in. btw, and he uses size 13-14 shoes), and he's almost 6 ft. Tell me about it. And I'm not even 5 People always get the impression that I'm 13 years old.
Anyway, he's one of those kids who get seriously inspired after watching saint movies and try to copy their every move after watching them. (*sigh*...if only we could all do that 24/7 :) And, he also likes acting like a teenager, which he's not so good at. Okay, forgive me for hopping around here, but let's go on to a different topic for now. :)
As you (should) know, the Baltimore Catechism (or whatever you're reading) says that once you're 15, you are obliged to abstain from eating meat on Fridays and days of abstinence. For fasting, the ages are 18-59. Why 18, you may ask? Well, the Church would definitely not like to starve you to death and deprive you of your nutrition when you are still growing. For my brother for example, he's tall, but he's still growing. No fasting for him. And I mean healthy meals, not candy and whatnot. Kids can give up all the candy and sweets they want - you're not gonna die without them - but food? Please don't starve yourself to death. I beg of you. Especially if you're having your growth spurt, are very into sports etc...It's not very plesant to faint during activities, I can tell you that.
I fainted twice before - both in not very good situations. :( But yes, I fainted because I skipped breakfast (this was because I was reaaally little back then) and fainted during Mass at a park I felt queasy during the Our Father, then dropped down. All I wanted to do was sleeeep. Food was not very interesting.
Another time was when I skipped lunch because I had an hour gymnastic class at 12pm. I was the only student (thank goodness) at that class, so I was spared embarrassment from my fellow classmates. I fainted after the first 15 minutes of warm up. And YES. This was during Lent. My mom had to dash out of the gym and into the food court nearby, buy a chocolate bar and a full bottle of water, and come back. She gave me the water, which I accepted gratefully, but the chocolate bar...? I was like, 'No thanks, Mom. I gave up sweets for Lent - you know that.' But she gave me this look that screamed "EAT IT." So I ate it. It was disgustingly sweet. I'm not even sure if they sell those things anymore - this chocolate crunch bar with caramel inside. I ate half of it and was ready to go back to sleep. My teacher must've been totally weirded out that I didn't want to eat the chocolate. :P Oh well. Thankfully, I've survived the next 30 min. of gymnastic lessons. So far, I'm the only kid in the family who's ever fainted before, let alone twice. :P Not very proud of that fact...I still need to make sure I eat something sweet if I'm feeling queasy again.
I really hope you've gotten the point of this story. I think the reason you see and read the saints (when they were little, I mean) is because they don't exactly have video games to give up. Haha, I mean, it's their effort that we have to learn from, right? :P I'm pretty sure the Church was thinking of the little ones and their growth when they made sure that the age for fasting wasn't until 18. (Now now, it doesn't mean you can eat all you want! :P )I don't think I need to explain why aged 60+ people don't need to fast.
OK...moving on.

If you're unable to fast, there's plenty of other things you can do. Give up extra food, like chips, candy, sweets, and whatnot. If you're aching for a snack, eat a banana, nuts, or even banana nut bread :D get the message. Something healthier. And offer it up! It's not like you have to be completely full after a snack or a meal.

Here's another point I'd like to stress, if you don't mind. If you're utterly deprive of just about everything, (like me and my sibs) :P And I mean video games, fiction books, extra computer time (computer writing/research for school and homework are OK. nice try! :P ;) Try to walk an 'extra mile.' Be nice to someone who's not very nice to you. And if you think that might cause something worse (like this person might get the wrong idea) do it in secret. Do a deed for that person, or if it's entire impossible because s/he lives far away, pray for that person. In big families, this isn't much of a problem. Wash the dishes for your mom or dad, or if you split chores with your brother/sister, do your siblings' half. "A little progress each day," a friend in Heaven once said (I forget his name though). Not sure if cleaning up your siblings' rooms would be a good idea though. They might get the wrong idea in thinking you're snooping around...:P :) If you're the only kid around, do something for your parents. :)

Another point I'd like to stress. Adoration, or simply sitting/kneeling in Church would be awesome during Lent. Take some time off of prayer for a moment, like offering up a rosary or intentions and all that, and just take the time to listen. It's not very nice to say to your parents 'I need this, I want that, this person needs your help so please help him/her, oh and btw, thanks for this and that' and then just cut off the conversation. Don't get me wrong, Jesus is a very good listener! But how can a servant do his or her duty without knowing what the Master wants? Empty your mind, close your eyes (this is hard, but I find that it really helps) and open your heart and ears to whatever message he might have in store for you. A saint said something like, 'Let me hear You with the ears of my heart' or something like that. You may or may not hear a loud voice speaking to you, but it's like sweet music. You'll find the meaning in your heart, not your mind. A bible verse or two might pop up as well. Maybe Jesus wants you to think about what he's said before. Kind of like a reminder from parents :)

Another thing for kids: If you've got an iPod, that'd be the perfect thing to give up. Offer it for the many people in the world who trash music and do not use their gifts and talents to spread goodness and hope. If you can't survive without music (like me - it keeps the gears in my brain turning ^_^ ) then at least make a playlist with all the Christian/Catholic music, and listen to that for Lent. Actually, it's not a bad sacrifice at all. I know some pretty good artists, if you like rock, there's Skillet, Red, Fireflight... And if you do not happen to have an iPod, then by all means, listen to some meditation music to go along with your reflections, while praying, reading a book about a saint, while writing in your journal and all those kids of stuff. Life would be sooo much cooler with background music, right? :) Or, if you're a musician nerd, practice some Christian/Praise 'n worship songs on the piano, guitar, violin, etc. If you somehow cannot do that because of certain reasons (eg, your piano teacher wants you to play a non-religious related song), then practice whatever it is you must play, but on Fridays, play religious music. Unless you've got lessons on Fridays....offer your playing to Jesus! He'd like that alot. :)

For Holy week, try to refrain yourself from using the computer or ranting on the phone. It's just one week. No big deal. You've got Jesus to help you with that, so I don't think it'd be too hard. After all, this is kind of like the wrapping paper on the present you give to Jesus, yeah?

Of course, it is ENTIRELY up to you what you are giving up/doing for Lent. These are just a few suggestions that I thought of. No one's going to force you to do these things. :) Keep it to yourself or tell whatever it is you're doing to the whole world - just remember that it should come from your heart not your mind or the admiration of the other people. It's Jesus everyone should be focused on. Anyway, scroll down to my Advent post for more stuff to read - Lent is a lot like Advent, I can tell you that.

So...I hope you have a VERY blessed and fruitful Lent! :) Keep up the good work - we're JUST ABOUT halfway there!!!! :D I'll be keeping you in my prayers!!