Young and Catholic
Three days in a row at church? Maybe it sounded miserable when you were six, but this year you’re much older and wiser. More importantly, you have gotten to know the person of Jesus Christ. And there is no better or more fitting way to commemorate Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection than participating in the Easter Triduum.
What is the Easter Triduum?
The word “Triduum” can mean any three-day period of prayer that typically precedes a feast day. The Easter Triduum (or Paschal Triduum) is the three days of prayer that precede the celebration of Easter. These three days see the celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, a Good Friday service that recalls the passion and death of Jesus Christ, and finally, the three days culminate in the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection at the Easter Vigil, after nightfall on Holy Saturday but before dawn on Easter Sunday.
Holy Thursday (that’s today!)
Tonight we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper (your parish probably has this mass tonight around 7pm). At this mass, we commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus (as, of course, we do at every mass—but in a special way tonight). We recall Jesus’ words to the twelve in Luke’s Gospel on the night he was handed over, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” We recall Christ’s washing of the apostles’ feet in the institution of the priesthood, and the institution of the Eucharist. …
So, I read this clever gem on Sunday night, and it painted a nice little visual for me during the offertory yesterday at mass. I highly recommend a read, as it’s a nice start to Holy Week.
After mass, I sat in on a class about the New Evangelization. Self-reflection set in. A mini form of depression followed, with the horrifying revelation of, “wow, maybe I’m not as awesome at this as I thought.”
“This” being evangelization. There seem to be many right ways to go about it, that is, to bring the good news to others. However, there are many wrong ways of going about it as well. And while it’s easy to pretend that you have all of the answers and do it all right when you’re writing a blog, it is of course another thing entirely to actually live it out in your daily life. In other words: You know that feeling you get during a homily at mass when the priest says something and you feel like he’s speaking directly to you? And you can’t be sure, but – oh my gosh – he’s definitely looking right at you. Basically the entire [three hour] class session I felt like that. A healthy serving of humble pie, just in time for Holy Week
Sincerity of heart. Loving those with whom we speak. Not debating just to win. Not letting pride get in the way of the pursuit of the Truth. …
Envy is one of the most ugly things we can struggle with in our relationships with others— especially with those we call our friends.
Despite knowing we ought to be happy for our friends when they call us with
good news about school/work/a relationship/ etc., we may often find ourselves suddenly comparing how we are faring in those fields to the positive news that our friend just shared with us about their life. Before we know it, and often without even realizing what we are doing, we begin looking for all of the negatives in
that other person in order to make ourselves feel better about our own lives. Rather than being happy for our friend, we choose to tear them down, even if only in our own minds.
Some of us may realize this terrible tendency within us, and so we rightly attempt to correct it. But we often choose a method that, though better than tearing another person down, is still not ideal because it robs us of our own happiness. We choose to compare ourselves to that other person. We know it’s silly to wish that other person harm, so instead, we conclude that the other person is awesome and we just have to live with the fact that we are not.
Neither of these options is healthy, and neither is what God wants for us. Since good things are inevitably going to happen to the people we know in life (yay!), I thought I’d put together a plan of action to help deal with envy and this terrible tendency of comparing ourselves to other people.…
As you may have noticed, a lot of people dismiss faith in, and ritual worship of, any sort of deity as something for the simple-minded. A common mindset holds that the truly educated and evolved “liberate” themselves from the shackles of religious devotion and place their trust in things more concrete and absolute (i.e. material), OR, more likely, these people reason that nothing is absolute, and so they resolve to have faith in the one thing they know is certain: that nothing is certain (it’s supposed to be ironic and deep, I guess).
But truthfully, when it comes right down to it:
Everyone. Worships. Something.
There’s no escaping this fact. Even self-professed atheists make gods of something (if not many things) in their lives. And it’s almost inevitable that a sort of religious system or habit develops around whatever it is that we make a “god” within the structure of our life. Whether it’s our physical fitness, our job, a relationship (or the idea of a relationship), or anything else that we become devoted to throughout life. It’s human nature. We like structure, and our structure tends towards what it is that we value most.
Of course, it’s not just people without a professed religion or faith who make “gods” of things other than the God of the Bible. Certainly even us Christians can be guilty this. What’s the first thing on our mind when we wake up in the morning and the last thing we think of before falling asleep? …
I got a question from a reader asking why NFP is ok when the Church says artificial birth control is not. I was reminded of this comment I received on a recent post of mine:
Use the pill for a month while having sex. No pregnancy.
Use condoms for a month while having sex. No pregnancy.
Use NFP for a month while having sex approximately for a possible 10-11 days of the month because that’s when fertility is low [disclaimer: this number is way off]. No pregnancy.
Different ways of getting the same thing. No real difference.
Well, NFP does have a difference I guess. It means having a lot less sex.
I see why the Catholic Church approves.
Zing! Gotta love the one-liner, right? Unfortunately, while one-liners are great for eliciting laughs, they’re rarely ideal for facilitating thoughtful discussion. And even though thoughtful discussion may not be the goal of the mock-news shows we watch on Comedy Central, it becomes a problem when us normal, everyday-folk confuse these snarky remarks for valid arguments. So let’s take this one head-on.
“Natural Family Planning is just Church-approved birth control”
The funny thing is that no one is really trying to say this premise isn’t true. The Church has always said that there exist valid reasons that a married couple may have for wishing to delay or space out pregnancies. If you want to call it “control” then fine, but we’re less delusional about how much control we actually have over things in this life, so we call it “planning.” Semantics, I guess.…
Receiving the Eucharist is a big deal to us Catholics, yes? Ok, good. Glad we are on the same page. However, I have this sneaking suspicion that our generation missed, or just wasn’t told often enough, some basic rules about receiving the Eucharist. Maybe the older folks are afraid we can’t handle them, or are just worried that we’ll think they’re uncool or something. Regardless, I’m letting the cat out of the bag.
(1) We have an obligation to attend mass every Sunday and on every Holy Day of Obligation. If we miss mass without a serious reason, we’re guilty of mortal sin and need to go to confession before we can receive the Eucharist again.
(2) We have an obligation to go to confession at least once a year. If it has been over one year since the last time you went to reconciliation, you should not be receiving the Eucharist.
(3) We also have an obligation to receive the Eucharist at least once during the season of Easter each year. Translation: if you’re a baptized Catholic just going to mass every Sunday but not receiving because you’re aware of a mortal sin on your conscience, you need to go to confession sometime before Easter season is over this year so that you can receive communion.
The point of all of this: We cannot receive communion in a state of mortal sin. Just because we made our first communion when we were seven does not automatically make us forever eligible to receive. …
Oh wait…is speed dating not what you mean by “dating fast”? :)
I was wondering if you could address dating fasts to grow in your
relationship with God and prepare for future relationships. I have a
few friends who are on them and recently God has put it on my heart to
go one, but there are not many resources out there that talk about
dating fasts. (when I googled it, it brought me to online dating
websites- not helpful lol).
Thanks, and I love your blog!
Thank you for this question! It’s a good one, and I think it’s very relevant to a lot of young Catholics today.
To be completely honest, this whole idea of a “dating fast” has always sort of rubbed me the wrong way. It could be that I don’t fully grasp the reason for these “fasts”—but then again, that may be precisely why this trend in dating (er—I mean, not dating) amongst young Catholics bothers me so much: I’m not sure that the majority of people embarking on these “fasts” fully understand what or why they are doing what they are doing in the first place. Usually, the terms are not clearly defined. What exactly is meant by, “dating” here? And at what point are you “breaking the fast”?
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with not dating. God most certainly wants to draw us to Himself, and often times dating makes it hard for us to let Him do that. …