Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Celebrating Christmas as One

Christmas is a time for celebration: we celebrate our faith, we celebrate in the spirit of giving, and we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. What many remember about the word “celebration” is the connotation of happiness; what many forget is the connotation of togetherness.

God’s Love Is Everywhere

It is easy to dismiss the importance of going to a gathering to celebrate one’s faith. After all, it is said that God is everywhere, so He can hear our prayers wherever and whenever they are uttered. This is true, of course: wherever hands can be folded, heads bowed, and hearts opened, He can hear and listen. 

Church is Home to a Bigger Family

But one’s voice can only carry so far. The meaning behind the celebration does not just lie in the fact that the Lord receives our message; there is also meaning in delivering the message as one. One soul certainly is not insignificant, but many souls speaking as one certainly have a greater weight. And certainly, as one sees how many people share in his or her devotion, that person’s devotion is reinforced and strengthened. Those whose voices waver in loneliness may find themselves shouting louder, emboldened by the knowledge that they are part of a family.

At Old St. Mary’s Church in Detroit, it is our constant mission to ensure that people, wherever they are from, are free to become part of our Catholic church. It is as Saint John Chrysostom said: “You cannot pray at home as a Church, where there is a great multitude, where exclamations are cried out to God as from one great heart, and where there is something more: the union of minds, the accord of souls, the bond of charity.” A Catholic is Catholic wherever he or she is, but every one of them needs a home, something bigger than himself or herself to belong in.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Heart of Christmas

Once more, we’re coming up to that time of year: Christmas. It is the season of smiles, the season for sharing, and the season for giving. The experience may be totally joyful for many, but for others, it can be a time of worry.

Giving Usually Hurts…

We cannot deny that for many, life can be harsh. Perhaps they are in a place in their lives when they feel that things are out of their control; they are experiencing many misfortunes that takes away what little they have in the way of luxury and pleasure. Bills go before dinners out; work goes before play. And in this kind of situation, it is easy to slip into the trap of thinking that whatever one gives others, however little, takes away from one’s happiness.

…But It Is Usually Worth It

What many fail to consider is the payoff from their sacrifice. Every act of sacrifice is an act of love. You pay your bills to keep your family secure; you work so that your children can play. The happiness you bring them, in effect, is your gift, and being able to give is something from which one can derive immense satisfaction. In the spirit of love that comes with the Christmas season, as well as the spirit of the Catholic Faith, it is important to not lose sight of this.

At Old St. Mary’s, we celebrate the spirit of giving not just during Christmas, but every day. Jesus Christ’s life was a testament to the power of giving. He performed healing miracles; he taught lessons to many, while inviting all to listen; and he died on the cross to cleanse us of our sins. As members of the Catholic Church, we must remember the importance of his example, and follow it always. Everyone is invited to be part of our institution, a home for traditional Catholics to follow the spirit of their beliefs.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How Do We Become Angry?

Unhappiness roots from the most unlikely places--whether you’re not achieving a goal or you’re faced with an uncomfortable circumstance. The emotion can last a day or a lifetime depending on the issue. Not being able address it instantly can make the unhappy feeling turn into anger. 

What Anger Can Do to You and Others

Anger triggers heart pains both figuratively and literally, activating the body’s fight or flight response. This causes a person to generally feel uneasy all the time. Physically, one can easily get irritated that leads to depression and conflicts with others. While anger has a purpose, and it’s a part of life to experience it, what’s unhealthy is holding it in.

The Healthy Response to Anger

A proactive first step is identifying the cause of the anger by creating a journal or talking to a friend and maybe a psychiatrist about it. This helps narrowing down what’s bothering you. It’s also important to make an informed decision on the actions you’re willing to take towards easing your anger. Although all your problems can’t be solved overnight, getting rid of a few counts as a win. Obsessing over the remainder does not help.

Prayer Can Help

Surprisingly, talking too much about your problems can also stress out your friends. That’s why changing the conversation once in a while is good, to give them a break. Prayer a viable alternative and there’s no harm in trying it out. Surrendering your problems to the Lord can change your perspective. With a calmer mind comes lucidity that helps you figure out what to do.