Z is for Zeal

Z is for Zeal #atozchallenge @fillpraycloset on TwitterI could have chosen Zechariah, Zachariah, Zealot or Zion. Why not Zipadeedodah?! I’m punchy. We’re talking Zeal today, and I hope by the end of it, you’ll get why.

Yesterday I shared a little about the yoke of my marriage and it’s unequal nature. Wanna relive the past? Of course you do!

What is it?

Zeal is love in action. From Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. (oh yeah, I’m getting Dominican Order on ya!)

We have seen that love of neighbor is the extension or the radiation of the love we should have for God: this love should extend to the children of God. It is one and the same supernatural theological love; it is essentially divine, like grace, a participation in the inner life of God.

And if you get a chance or the inclination, read that link about Zeal. It’s really quite wonderful and insightful. There are 3 motives of zeal apparently, I didn’t even know that!

#zeal #atozchallenge @fillpraycloset

Why did I choose to share this particular “Z” with you?

As you can see, I take my faith pretty seriously. I take it so seriously, that I preach it and I try to do it in a way that’s sensible and applicable. I’ve loved things before, sure. I’ve had hobbies, and even mini obsessions over trinkets. This faith of mine, the Church, it’s history, teachings, meditations, contemplations, Saints, Third Orders; the more I Iearn, the more I want to know. The more I know, the more I want others to know. It’s a gnawing need that I think about, and almost can’t control. Granted, I can contain myself, I’m not spilling my Holy Spirit at the table over pasta! My soul is animated from a long sleep. I don’t want to sleep anymore. So, I write. And that’s Zeal, baby!

Catholic talk. The end of our journey together as we shared all our stuffs. We dumped the dirty t-shirts and rumpled pants of our lives, sorted through them and hopefully, have made some sense of it. This series, is by far, not all there is to the Catholic Church. I could write on this theme for years and never quite get everything, and that’s pretty remarkable.

Thank you for reading, thank you for commenting and thank you for sharing. Most importantly, thank you for being you and reading a bit about me. This has been a truly humbling experience. It’s been Catholitastic!

Please come back tomorrow and see if my fingers are still typing. I bet you they will be.

Please support the bloggers of the #AtoZchallenge by visiting, sharing or commenting. We have all worked long and hard to prepare these posts, some prepping for a couple of months, as we posted our regular schedule, took care of our children, went to work, had the flu…well, you get the idea.

 

Y is for Yoke

Y is for Yoke #atozchallenge @fillpraycloset on TwitterYes, I could have written about Yahweh, but I think you’d expect that from me. We all know how I like to keep you guessing. So, what the Yoke it is?!

Yesterday we talked about the very first Jesuit priest, St. Xavier. Did you know that Pope Francis is a Jesuit? Of course you did.

Tomorrow is the last day, my loves. I’m a little sad!

What is it?

A yoke is a wooden frame used to join two oxen together. When interpreted through the lens of the Church, we have yoke as in, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29) and more specifically today, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

Why did I choose to share this particular “Y” with you?

@fillpraycloset #atozchallenge #yoke

Doesn’t it seem like I am disobeying the Word (Bible)? I’m married to an atheist, after all. I have friends who are unbelievers. The Catechism (or Catholic play book, for you sports fans) of the Catholic Church expands on this as well:

Difference of confession between the spouses does not constitute an insurmountable obstacle for marriage, when they succeed in placing in common what they have received from their respective communities, and learn from each other the way in which each lives in fidelity to Christ. But the difficulties of mixed marriages must not be underestimated. They arise from the fact that the separation of Christians has not yet been overcome. The spouses risk experiencing the tragedy of Christian disunity even in the heart of their own home. Disparity of cult can further aggravate these difficulties. Differences about faith and the very notion of marriage, but also different religious mentalities, can become sources of tension in marriage, especially as regards the education of children. The temptation to religious indifference can then arise. Source: (CCC 1634)

This doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. There will be difficulty, arguments and broken utensils. But ultimately, I think it’s the Catholic person, or the person of faith to step back and refrain from preaching to their spouse. I did little things, I emulate St. Therese of Lisieux (also known as St. Therese of the Little Way). This saint opted to serve the Lord in ways that were so small no one would see it. She refused to share her suffering with anyone and in that way, she was showing love.

It is precisely this self-conquest, for it is nothing less than self-conquest, in little things which the world never realizes, which is the real secret of sanctity in great things.

Read more on EWTN

I stopped arguing, stopped trying to make him see that I was still the same woman he married, fell in love with and had children with. I live in and with my unequally yoked marriage. I’ve learned that his spiritual journey is never something I can control or even plot on a map to see how far he is to a destination (wherever that is). I can just love him, the way God loves me and I Him; unconditionally, unreservedly and with deep faith that if He willed it, I’m meant to live it.

#atozchallenge #yoke @fillpraycloset on Twitter
How do you not love this?

I’m not entirely done on this subject. Readers have asked me specifically what I do to “make my unequally yoked marriage work”. That post is coming. SOON!

Come back tomorrow to read all about my Catholic take on the final letter, Z. I am blogging my way through the alphabet with others who are doing the same. 

Please support the bloggers of the #AtoZchallenge by visiting, sharing or commenting. We have all worked long and hard to prepare these posts, some prepping for a couple of months, as we posted our regular schedule, took care of our children, went to work, had the flu…well, you get the idea.


			

X is St. Xavier

X is for St. Xavier #atozchallenge @fillpraycloset on TwitterYou didn’t think I had one, did you? For X? I am a prepared Catholic. That’s a lie, this is tough and I am SO happy the internet exists for this letter or I’d be flogged with chocolate. St. Xavier. Nothing like a good and holy saint. Did you know that all we can hope for is to be a saint?! They are models of regular people doing extraordinary things. On Saturday, we talked interior design. No we didn’t. I just want to see if you’re paying attention! We did talk Liturgical colors, and White ruled the day! Catch up, pumpkin pies!

Who is it?

St. Xavier was the first Jesuit priest and was buds with our homeboy, St. Ignatius, remember him? St. Xavier studied and taught Philosophy at the University of France. Known as the Apostle to the Far East, his mission (as in missionary, not Mission Impossible), sent him to India, Japan, the East Indies and China where he died of fever on December 2, 1552. His feast day is celebrated on December 3rd.

Why did I choose to share this particular “X” with you?

Aside from it being tough to find X’s for you, my dear pilgrims, this guy baptized over 40,000 (not a typo) converts. That’s a lot of holy water! I was able to find a letter he wrote, which I thought was fascinating.

We have visited the villages of the new converts who accepted the Christian religion a few years ago. The country is so utterly barren and poor. The native Christians have no priests. They know only that they are Christians. There is nobody to say Mass for them; nobody to teach them the Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Commandments of God’s Law.

I have not stopped since the day I arrived. I conscientiously made the rounds of the villages. I bathed in the sacred waters all the children who had not yet been baptized. This means that I have purified a very large number of children so young that, as the saying goes, they could not tell their right hand from their left. The older children would not let me say my Office or eat or sleep until I taught them one prayer or another. Then I began to understand: “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

I could not refuse so devout a request without failing in devotion myself. I taught them, first the confession of faith in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; then the Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father, and Hail Mary. I noticed among them persons of great intelligence. If only someone could educate them in the Christian way of life, I have no doubt that they would make excellent Christians.

Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians.

I wish the university students would work as hard at converting these people as they do at their books, and so settle their account with God for their learning and the talents entrusted to them.

This thought would certainly stir most of them to meditate on spiritual realities, to listen actively to what God is saying to them. They would forget their own desires, their human affairs, and give themselves over entirely to God‘s will and his choice.

They would cry out with all their heart: “Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do?” Send me anywhere you like – even to India!

– from letters to Saint Ignatius of Loyola from Saint Francis Xavier

#atozchallenge #jesuit @fillpraycloset #saint #xavier
A Japanese depiction of Francis Xavier, dated to the 17th century. From the Kobe City Museum collection. from Wikipedia

Source: http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-francis-xavier/ and please do spend time there. Reading about the saints is great inspiration for writers and those looking to read about the lives of all Catholic saints – it’s massive!

Come back tomorrow to read all about my Catholic take on the letter Y. I am blogging my way through the alphabet with others who are doing the same. 

Please support the bloggers of the #AtoZchallenge by visiting, sharing or commenting. We have all worked long and hard to prepare these posts, some prepping for a couple of months, as we posted our regular schedule, took care of our children, went to work, had the flu…well, you get the idea.

 

W is for White

W is for White #atozchallenge @fillpraycloset on twitterI didn’t get a chance to share Liturgical Colors with you, which is where the White comes in. I may throw in the others. May, let’s not get crazy.

Yesterday was a pretty day, wasn’t it? Whenever I talk about Mary I get all soft and full of strength. If she can do it – you know, this life thing – then I can. Catch up buttercups! 10 Virtues of the Blessed Virgin Mary

What is it?

In the Catholic Church we are all about symbolism. This is so we are always attentive to the subtleties of the faith – even if our minds wander. Yes, they wander, just ask Screwtape. who lives here in this book The Screwtape Letters.

The color white symbolizes light, innocence, purity, joy, triumph and glory. Priests change their vestments according to the time we’re in. As a partial example (because we’d be here all day!), in the season of Lent priests wear purple, for Palm Sunday, Pentecost and Feasts’ of the Martyrs, they wear red.

W is for White #atozchallenge @fillpraycloset on Twitter Gandalf the White
You think this color choice was a coincidence? Ahh the Christian symbolism in the Lord of the Rings – now that’s a topic for discussion! And who doesn’t love Gandalf the White!

Since we’re focusing on white, here are the instances you will see white worn at mass:

  • Season of Christmas
  • Season of Easter
  • Feasts of the Lord, other than of His passion
  • Feasts of Mary, the angels, and saints who were not martyrs
  • All Saints (1 November)
  • Feasts of the Apostles
  • Wedding Masses
  • Masses for the dead (Requiem Masses) when the deceased is a baptized child who died before the age of reason

Source: http://www.catholic.org/clife/lcolors.php

Why did I choose to share this particular “W” with you?

I just attended a wedding ceremony last month (not a wedding mass because communion wasn’t shared – they were in the RCIA program!) This couple has been married 28 years. 28 YEARS! She was the most beautiful bride. She wore a simple Audrey Hepburn style dress and her makeup was fantastic (because I did it!!). I snapped tons of pictures with her camera and my iPhone. There’s just something about witnessing that, last month. As they exchanged vows, she was petting his hand as if to assure him – I think he was welling up with tears. I was too. I am sure that in each others eyes they saw the years of love and strength, disappointment and strain, but they were still there and she was still wearing white. Their love is pure. Their hearts are pure with love of and for one another, and that, was truly a sight to behold.

This family has come into the Catholic faith just this Easter, and I was honored to be the sponsor for both the mother and her daughter.

#atozchallenge #white #wedding @fillpraycloset #catholic

Come back tomorrow to read all about my Catholic take on the letter X. I am blogging my way through the alphabet with others who are doing the same. 

Please support the bloggers of the #AtoZchallenge by visiting, sharing or commenting. We have all worked long and hard to prepare these posts, some prepping for a couple of months, as we posted our regular schedule, took care of our children, went to work, had the flu…well, you get the idea.

This post contains affiliate links, because writing doesn’t pay the bills, but you could if you clicked and bought sumthin, chaching!