Monday, September 28, 2009

I Gotta Feeling...

Yes, this post title IS echoing the current Black Eyed Peas hit. OVERPLAYED but still kind of awesome. You can't help singing along when Fergie shouts out her adlibs (SMASH IT. LIKE OH MY GAWD...shout out Naj and the recycling crew! ;)

But I chose the title because I had been having a feeling lately that I needed a kind of retreat. Prayer in the morning's been great, the novena has been rockin' (way more than I thought, surprisingly. Who wants to pray to be totally open to God's Will- I mean HONESTLY OPEN. I'm talking His will which could possibly include, I don't know, remaining single forever?! I know, right? But surrender is a beautiful thing, and God knows our hearts...), but I needed a little extra me n Jesus time.

One of the volunteers from the youth group I used to work with in VA let me know that they were taking a group to Awakening Fest- an all day Christian concert in NoVA. I found that quite a few kids whom I had worked with were going, and like I said, I had just been having this feeling lately...that I needed to get back to my roots in a way.

Time to TESTIFY! (who remembers the short lived Kanye song by the same name? I know Kanye is taboo these days for many reasons, but that was one of my jams circa, say, I dunno- 2004 maybe?) anywho...

Christian concerts like the one I went to this weekend were pretty crucial in my personal relationship with Jesus. I must admit, it was the non-denominational Protestants in my life that jump started me on my walk with Jesus. And witnessing the concert this Saturday, I remembered why.

Our Protestant brothers and sisters get down to basics. They speak of Christ's personal love for each of us as the reason He died on the Cross. They preach often that we are saved by His Cross and Resurrection. Done and Done.

And that is the heart of it- God became Man to die for us to save us because He loves us. I know I just talked about this a couple blogs ago with the John 3:16 reading, so I will spare you my football poster comment(s) again...

For me, I needed to get back to that personal love. That reminder that, yes, Jesus died for me and He'd do it again because He loves me that much.

And it has become clear to me in my walk with Jesus, that my Catholic faith adds SO. MUCH. to that Truth. And I couldn't help but think- as I often do- how much MORE amazing would that concert be if the Eucharist were present and Christ could be worshiped while He was truly present there before us (He was pretty present anyways- it was raining all day, and it seemed kind of appropriate to me. Jesus raining down His love and mercy.... but we know how the Eucharist draws us even closer to Him).

The same youth leader who told me about the event reminded me that the Gospel this Sunday (and then again today at daily Mass) was 'anyone who is not against us, is for us'- a pretty ecumenical message. And so I pray for Catholics and for our other Christian brothers and sisters and that we can become more united in our ministry and our proclamation of Jesus and His message of HOPE in the world. The Protestants definitely have that simple Gospel message and ZEAL down. But our Catholicism has a rich, rich bounty that adds even more to that. For example:

IT'S OLD. In both of my grad classes, we are reading old catechisms and I totally geek out over them. We went to see the rare books collection in our Library, and me and my whole class were all like: 'oooo....a 17th century children's catechism! Look at the pictures of the seven deadly sins!' Kind of sick, I know. (BTW, it is a fact that I've spent more time in the library in 4 weeks of grad school than 4 years of undergrad. Sorry, mom and dad...) But it is just amazing to me what a deep history the Catholic Church has! We have maintained rituals and teachings from the very beginnings of Christianity. Our faith stems from Jesus' initiation of Peter as our Rock and what Christ left to the apostles. Amazing! (It is also amazing to me that some of the catechisms we've seen in recent years haven't changed from like the 1500's, which has positives and negatives...I'm working out that thesis in my head right now ;)

Anyways, I am thankful for the opportunity to get 'back to my roots' today in my personal relationship with Jesus, in being re-connected with the fruits of some of my ministry efforts, and the rich history of our Church which involves many people of different backgrounds and points of view. May we all bear much fruit for the growth of the kingdom on earth and in heaven.

Peace,
Julia

1 comment:

The Swandas said...

GREAT post! You always encourage me so much in my walk.

I'm so sorry it didn't work out for tonight. Can't wait to catch up soon!