Sunday, January 17, 2016

Eucharist Adoration

I had the hardest time learning how to pray.  My idea of praying was telling God what I wanted and counting on Him saying yes to what I was asking.  Oh boy did I have things backwards!! I was able to strengthen my prayer life by asking the Holy Spirit to help me.  I started going to Adoration once a week for an hour.  For the first few months the hour went by in slow motion.  I couldn't understand how people could sit in the quiet for so long.  It was then I realized how much noise is in my life. I woke up to a blaring alarm, turned on music while I took a shower, got into the car and immediately the radio music turned on, went to work and talked all day long, and got home and ate dinner while watching TV. It was so routine to have all the noise of things block out anytime God wanted to talk to me. I decided to switch up my routine because I wanted to have more than one hour of silence a week.

 I started waking up and would have my first cup of coffee and slowly dedicate 5 minutes a day in the morning to silent prayer.  I would talk and He would listen.  I then increased my silent time with God until I reached 15 minutes first thing in the morning (after the caffeine hit). It finally got to the point where an hour in Eucharistic Adoration would fly by. I started to think an hour a week wasn't enough to go see Christ waiting for me at the chapel.  I learned by talking and telling Him what I wanted, I wasn't leaving anytime for him to talk to me! Think about you and your friend going for a cup of coffee.  You haven't seen each other for a year and are catching up.  Well if you talked the whole time you catching up you wouldn't know anything new about your friend.  They would know a lot about you but you wouldn't know what is new in their life or what their advice would be in situations you are struggling with.  Like Christ it is a two way conversation.  If you talk the whole time He won't
have a chance to help you in the right direction.  I recommend everyone sign up for an hour to sit with Jesus in the Adoration chapel.  Some churches have perpetual adoration (around the clock) or a certain day per week where Christ is exposed in the monstrance.  If your church doesn't have Adoration, He will still be present in the tabernacle! This is usually my routine when going to Adoration but it may not work for you:
1. Talk to Him about my week, worries, fears, successes, joy, etc. Ask for prayers for family and friends, etc...
2.  Stay in silence for a few minutes and listen to Him.
3.  Say the Holy Rosary.
4.  Mediate on Christ's life and how it will help in mine.  Silently listen to Him and his advice for me.
5.  Read a spiritual book. There is this saying that we pray to speak to God and we read for God to speak to us.

"The greatest love story of all time is contained in a tiny white host."- Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Thank you for reading and I hope it helps you seek out a chapel for Eucharistic Adoration.  As always if you have any suggestions please feel free to email me!
Ad Jesu Per Mariam,


Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Holy Rosary

The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God’s Feast Day was the other day and it made me think of Mary and how she has helped me through my journey in the faith.  This blog post I will be talking about the Holy Rosary and my relationship with the Blessed Mother.
st. dominic and the rosary.jpgWhen going to Mass for the Solemnity of Mary we get to pick a saint from a basket (really the saint picks you) to learn about, ask to intercede for us, and become friends with for the rest of the year.  The first time I picked a saint, from the back of the church I received St. Dominic. Now at this time I was new to learning my faith and had no clue who St. Dominic was.  I remember being excited to learn about a saint with a normal name. St. Dominic was given the Holy Rosary from our Blessed Mother, what a blessing this was for us! St. Dominic led me to the importance of the Holy Rosary and to learn about our Blessed Mother.

The Holy Rosary.jpgMy sister-in-law had an important question about the Holy Rosary that helped me understand it more.  She asked why do you say we are going to “pray the Rosary”? Well I knew that Mary was venerated but not worshiped because that was reserved for God alone, so I didn’t know why we said we are going to pray to Mary, pray to the saints, etc.  So doing my research led me to find the word pray means to ask. For instance, in court attorneys often say “I pray the court to”.  The saints in heaven are closer to God and therefore their prayers are more effective. When having Mary intercede for us, to ask her son for answer our prayers, she has a lot of pull. Just like at the Wedding at Cana when Mary asked Jesus to perform his first miracle, he did.  When Mary asks Jesus to perform a miracle the odds are pretty good in our favor! There is a story of Jesus coming out to the entrance to heaven to see St. Peter.  Jesus asks St. Peter why there are so many people coming into heaven when they shouldn’t be.  St. Peter states that he is only letting the people who are allowed to go into heaven in, but says your mom is letting people in through the back door. :)

That leaves me with my final thought: what does the Holy Rosary do for our souls in eternal life and our life here on earth?  We Mary gave us 15 promises of the Rosary.  They are:

  1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive signal graces.
  2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
  3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
  4. The Rosary will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire for eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
  5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish.
  6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
  7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church.
  8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plentitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
  9. I shall deliver from Purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
  10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
  11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.
  12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
  13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
  14. All who recite the Rosary are my sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters of my only Son Jesus Christ.
  15. Devotion of my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.

To conclude, pray the Holy Rosary daily! Mary WILL bring you closer to her son.  And with any topic suggestions please feel free to email me!
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
Ad Jesu Per Mariam,

Edit by: Natalie Cloney

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Saint For All

I remember going to Sunday Mass and there would be lots of dogs, cats, snakes, birds, fish, and hamsters outside of the church with our priest praying over the pets to bless them.  How cool is it that we have a special day to have our pets blessed?! This was St. Francis' feast day! He was known mostly for his love of animals but had so many other qualities that radiated the love of Christ.  St. Francis was born in 1181 in Assisi and died in 1226.  I used to think it would be impossible to follow in the footsteps of someone not from our time! I mean they had it easier than us right?  They didn't have the distraction of TV, guns, internet, etc...  How can I look up to a guy who wore a brown robe?  It occurred to me that I don't have to put on a brown robe, or give up all of my money to look up to St. Francis and to use him as a model to become like Christ! It is the principal of what he did that I can use as a guide in my life. I am going to go over a couple key qualities of things I love about Saint Francis and why he is one of my favorite saints. I am currently reading a book about him which is listed in my reading list at the bottom of my blog if you are interested.

1. Relatable: St. Francis' story made me realize it is possible for me and anyone else to meet our goal of becoming saints.  Now many people think that to be a saint you have to be canonized, the Church declaring a dead person is in heaven, but that is not true.  There are many saints in heaven whose names may not be known to us.  For instance your Grandma or Grandpa who died could have gone through purgatory or straight to heaven even though the Church has not declared them a saint. St. Francis was a young man who was said, by himself and those around him, to have lived in sin.  He was the leader of a group of young people who stayed up all night to party and would surround himself with people who liked living their lives in sin. Although not everyone stays up all night to party there may be other types of sin in your life where you can relate to St. Francis and his story . I think it is hard for young people to be close to God because they don't know Him and therefore don't have a relationship with Him just like St. Francis in his youth. Just as St. Francis did, you can turn a life of sin into a life of love and holiness. For people that are not so young anymore they can reflect on St. Francis' life and compare it to their own life.

2. Humility: There is a story of St. Francis riding a horse when he came upon a leper.  St. Francis was repulsed by the smell and looks of the leper.  He jumped off of his horse and kissed the lepers hand and when the leper returned the kiss to St. Francis' hand he was immediately filled with happiness. As St. Francis rode off on his horse he turned around and the leper was no longer there.  St. Francis felt this was a test from God. Leprosy was a disease that was not curable at the time. People with this disease were shunned from society because of their looks and smells. Is leprosy still around? Yes.  Are you likely going to see someone with leprosy? Probably not.  But this got me thinking of when I'm driving or walking down the road and I see someone who doesn't look clean, and whose smell takes my stomach for a turn. I thought of all the homeless people in every city and state!  This story isn't saying you should go and kiss every homeless person's hand but it is great way to show how you should treat those around you; with the same love you would give Christ.  This may not be the easiest thing to do but if you see someone with a sign asking for money and you have a dollar or some extra food from the grocery store just think of St. Francis and what he did for the leper. Show love for everyone.

There are so many more lessons from St. Francis that we can use in our daily life! I am sure he will come up in another blog post or I may write about some more of his awesome lessons another week.  As always if you have any suggestions please feel free to email me!

Ad Jesu Per Mariam,


Edited by: Natalie Cloney

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Jumping In With Both Feet!

I have so many ideas to share for my new blog; this is my third one this week! When I decided to start a blog I knew of the direction I wanted the blog to go but had to think of the specific topics I wanted to discuss.  I couldn't decided if I wanted to talk about how I overcame the struggles with teachings and the wrestling I had to do spiritually to overcome them or if I wanted to tap into my head a pull out experiences of getting serious about my faith and how I did it. After careful thinking and prayers to the Holy Spirit I decided to do both! My previous post about the Eucharist had to do with how I learned about the faith and how I came to believe in the Eucharist; this post is going to share my experience within the Church and how I view young people today starting their journey in the faith!

For the longest time when walking into a church or going to Sunday Mass I would not want to sit near the front, would look around to make sure I didn't see anyone I knew, or whould not want to look as if I was praying to hard or too serious.  I was not ashamed of what I believed in but what other people would think if they found out that I believed in my faith; that I wasn't dragged by my parents but actually wanted to go to Mass and talk to Jesus. I think this relates to how we are outside of church too! How long do you spend picking out your outfit, doing your hair, and spiffing yourself up to go out with friends? Are you afraid that other people will judge how you look if you are not wearing designer clothes or don't have perfect hair, style, swag, etc? If you were kneeling down in church with your eyes looking at Jesus on the Cross and your friend who wasn't Catholic/religious walked in and saw you would you be embarrassed?  You would try and play it off like you don't really "care"?  Because that is exactly what I used to do and what I felt like.  I saw an old friend that I went to school with (last time I saw him was about 10 years ago) at the same Mass as me and immediately felt weird. Not because I haven't seen him in a long time but because I knew he didn't practice his faith and was in town visiting his Mom. I was afraid that he was going to think of me as some crazy Christian would prayed 24/7, was no fun, and wasn't cool anymore!
I feel like this is the reason most young people in the faith have one foot in the Catholic pool water and the other leg not.  I feel like they want to take part in their faith, want to have a relationship with Jesus,
and want to experience the joy that comes along with it, but they don't want leave the "fun" part of them behind so they play an almost doubled sided person! In church when no one they know is around they can pray and be a super Christian but when their friends are around they don't want to talk about Jesus because of what their friends might think of say. You can still be a fun, cool, and loving person by loving Jesus (especially so!). I know because I am super cool :). Well it is time to jump with both feet in! It is like ripping off a Band-Aid and it is the best thing ever!

The reality is other people really don't care. They don't care how you dress on a daily basis, if you take your faith seriously, especially if they don't (although I would hope they would support you!).  The person you should be worried about is Jesus.  How would he want you to dress, how would he want you to pray, and how would he like it if you were embarrassed of him? I always think that I am going to meet him face to face one day and I don't want him to be embarrassed by me!

Love Jesus, love your friends, love your family, and don't be afraid to share your love of Jesus and his Church with the world!!!

"...and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved." (Matthew 10:22)

Ad Jesu Per Mariam,


"Why are we more concerned with being socially accepted than with saving souls?"

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Eucharist

The Eucharist

This evening I was putting tabs together for my new Bible I received for Christmas (thanks Mom!) and was flipping through some apologetic pages.  One section caught my eye and brought me back to the first couple of months I started to really pay attention and participate at Mass. I remember how boring and long it seemed to go on! I felt like I was going to the gym with all the kneeling, standing, sitting, etc... The more I was attentive the more I saw the joy and reverence surrounding the consecration (bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Christ) of the Holy Eucharist.  Why is it important?  Is it really Jesus? 

In Catholic elementary school I remember learning about the Eucharist being the Body and Blood of Jesus. At the time that registered in my brain as no big deal.  The priest says things and it becomes Jesus. So in my head it wasn't anything big or spectacular that peaked my interest but I knew it was important because it was the "center of our faith" whatever that means. So I decided to do a little digging to try and grasp something about the Eucharist that would connect with me; something to stick in my head to believe it.
I found the book "7 Secrets of the Eucharist" and could not put it down! ( So many facts in the book that I have heard people say but never explain helped me understand at least what the Eucharist is and why it is so important! It is the actual Body of Christ that doesn't look, taste, sound, smell, or feel like him.  Mysterious! So I figured out what the Eucharist is and it led me to thinking about why do we need to receive the Eucharist and how do I know it is really Jesus. Well the Bible is a good place to start and hopefully the internet can tell me more if need be.
So I found where Jesus says "Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." (Matthew 26:26); "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." (Luke 22:19); What sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you?...He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Jesus then said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world. They said to him, Lord, give us this bread always. Jesus said to them I am the bread of life..." (John 6:30-36); Partaking of the Supper Unworthily (1 Corinthians 11:27-34); "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." (John 6:53) WOW! He said it is his body.  That is easy for me to understand! Jesus said it is his body, it is his body. To put the cherry on top in John 6:54, the very next verse, the original language is the word trogo which means "to gnaw". Okay well I don't think if Jesus wanted use to talk symbolically about his body he would say to gnaw it when doing it in remembrance of him!
Alright Jesus I know what the Eucharist is, why it is important, and that is it truly the Body and Blood of Christ! Well why do we have to receive him?  He said we will not have life within us! Physical life we will, but spiritual and eternal life? When we receive Jesus we are united with his Body.  He is truly present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity!  Much more meaning to me now that I know it is truly Jesus! But why do we need to go to Mass every Sunday?  Short answer?  Why wouldn't you want to receive him as often as possible!!!

I hoped this short blog showed my struggle and journey into The Eucharist.  It is still a struggle when worldly views come in and I just have to remind myself of the word to gnaw.  Also in most churches there is Eucharist Adoration, where Jesus is exposed 24/7 to talk to.  He is waiting for you to go and visit him!

As always feel free to email me with any topics you would like me to talk about!

In Christ through Mary,


Friday, December 25, 2015

My First Post!

My First Post!

Yay! This is my first blog and my first post! My name is Chris...nice to meet you!  A little about me; I am a 23-year-old from Sacramento, CA and a practicing Catholic.  I was brought up Catholic, attended Catholic elementary school, public high school, and public college.

After elementary school I stopped going to church, didn't practice my faith, and didn't even have a clue of who God really was and why I was put on this earth (still trying to figure that one out)!  To make a long story short, after being wrapped up in the world and totally trying to hide from God's love I had an experience that would bring me back to my Catholic faith and, God willing, won't let me leave.  When I first experienced God's love it was the best "high" I have ever had.  It was better than anything artificial I had used/taken in my life to get that feeling.  I felt like nothing mattered in this world and the after effects of this "high" lasted 2 days.  At the point I wanted to learn everything I could about the Catholic faith and I was not disappointed with the rich history! It gave me strength to know of all the Saints and Angels that I could turn to and relate to while struggling to understand and accept the teachings of my faith.

So that is a little about me and my background.  I wanted to make this blog to relate to the young Catholics that may being having the same struggles I do on a daily basis and the strengths I have found through Christ to help me through them.  When I read blogs from others and listen to podcast from some awesome people, ( check them out they are awesome, I never get to hear or read what other young Catholics in the church experience is like so I decided to make my own! I feel like this blog can still relate to anyone who wants to tap into what a young adult struggles with on a weekly basis and how I can rely on Christ and all my friends to help me.

I figure I will just start posting weekly (or a few times a week depending on how busy I am) with my struggle for the weeks. If any wants to email me with some topics they would like to read about my experience you can find my email below.

I hope this note finds you all well and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

In Christ through Mary,