Born to be Magnificent

Bishop Robert Barron said, “A saint is a friend of God. A saint is someone of heroic virtue. A saint is someone who is in heaven. A saint is someone who has allowed Christ to live his life in him.”

Destination Heaven

God wants nothing more than for us to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. It begins here and now. By cooperating with the love and grace that God gives you, through the Sacraments and in His Church, your life in Christ points to the ultimate destination, Heaven.

“And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered himself for me.” -Galatians 2:20

Getting Sidetracked

In Matthew’s Gospel the disciples saw Jesus walking on the sea. Peter said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” As Peter was walking on the water he was fine as long as his focus (and faith) was on Jesus. But as soon as he took his eyes off Jesus, his faith diminished and Peter started to sink.

Taking the focus off Christ gives way for temptation to set in and we’re more likely to commit sin. The word sin is an archery term that means “to miss the mark.” Our aim and our goal is that bullseye which is Jesus Christ (and Heaven). Deep down we want to be a saint, but sometimes we miss the mark. That is why we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To forgive us and to help us from committing the same sins again.

Fishers of Men

Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Come after me, and I will make you to be fishers of men.” In other words, “your life is about to change.” Change is not always easy. Moving through uncharted waters, so to speak, makes us uncomfortable. Consider how God has worked through you thus far. We first have to open up and allow change to happen. Achieving sainthood is a lot easier when we cooperate. I cannot think of a better example of someone saying yes than our Blessed Mother, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38)

“The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.” -Leon Bloy

Be a Saint

Growing up in the 80s there was a popular slogan: “Be Like Mike.” Be like Michael Jordan. People often times look up to movie stars and athletes. Desiring to be like them or to look like them. What if we modeled our lives after a saint? The beauty of the Catholic Church is that we have so many saints from all different backgrounds, personalities, and experiences. So many different saints to choose from to look up to and pattern our lives after.

Heaven is our final destination. Rather than settle to be the last one out of Purgatory, strive to be a saint here and now. If you “miss the mark” by committing a sin, go to Reconciliation. If you get sidetracked and lose sight of Jesus, explore a deeper prayer life, read daily Scripture, or go to Eucharistic Adoration.

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
-St. Augustine of Hippo

by John Connor

Related articles:
Distractions and the Devout Life
Purgatorio: Prayers and Reparations
Battling Sin

Eucharistic Journey: How the Latin Mass Changed My Life

In 2010 I converted to the Catholic Church from a Protestant background. I knew nothing of liturgy. As a new Catholic it took time for me to learn the liturgical movements, when to sit, stand, kneel, and genuflect, and also learn the responses. But after a while Mass may feel mechanical, like we’re just going through the motions. We forget the Mass is a Eucharistic journey.

Take a look at how the Mass unfolds. At the beginning of Mass you invoke God’s presence (Sign of the Cross), you tell God you’re sorry (Confiteor), you ask God for mercy (Kyrie), you praise and give glory to God (Gloria), you allow God to speak to you (Liturgy of the Word), which leads to the climax of Mass, Jesus feeding you and your soul with His own Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist.

You see, the Mass is a Eucharistic journey. Is it possible to go even deeper in this journey? I believe so, because it changed my life.

I was invited to attend a Traditional Latin Mass. When the Mass started I followed along in the booklet as best I could, but quickly found myself gazing up at what was happening at the altar. I put my booklet down and watched. It was beautiful and reverent.

When we got to the Liturgy of the Eucharist (also known as the Mass of the Faithful) it was silent. You could sense something was about to happen. Then the Consecration took place. At the moment the Host and Chalice were elevated, I knew without a doubt Jesus was really present. I got a yearning in my heart for Jesus that I never had before.

I was absolutely on fire for Jesus after the Traditional Latin Mass was complete. What was so different about the Latin Mass compared to going to Mass in the Ordinary form? Beauty and reverence. The Traditional Latin Mass reveals clearly the eminence of God and is celebrated reverently.

Sometimes Mass can feel “busy,” but at the Latin Mass there is silence. It can be an interior (contemplative) experience. Rather than Mass being something you do, it’s something you experience. The Mass isn’t about me and what I get out of it, but the focus is on Jesus. That is what naturally draws a person to the Latin Mass.

The Traditional Latin Mass is in Latin which means it will take some time to learn the responses. For me it took no time at all with a little bit of practice. Learning more about the Latin Mass has enhanced my Eucharistic experience and journey. Following along in the booklet was a snap after only a few weeks of attendance.

I invite you to attend a Traditional Latin Mass sometime. For the first couple weeks instead of trying to follow along in the booklet, do as I did and just watch. Watch the beauty unfold. Then after a few weeks use the booklet. To help practice your Latin responses there are websites, such as Sancta Missa, that can help. Also, don’t be afraid to ask someone to help you or to answer questions you have about the Latin Mass.

Even though we are all at different stages in our personal spiritual lives, we are all on the same journey, a Eucharistic journey, where Jesus feeds us with His Body and Blood. To strengthen us, to heal us, and to sanctify us. The Ordinary form of the Mass can provide beauty, but if you want to go deeper into the Eucharistic journey then the Traditional Latin Mass may be exactly what you need.

After your first Latin Mass experience you may find yourself repeating the words of St. Thomas just as I did, “My Lord and my God!”

by John Connor

Related articles:
Liturgy You Deserve
Restoring Catholic Culture
Why I Love Traditional Catholicism