I wear a fairly large silver crucifix about 2″ long, usually visible and drawing attention. People ask me where I got it, other times it has leads to much deeper conversion in the most unlikely places (i.e. a Gelato place). Above all, this necklace has caused me a peculiar grief while wearing it, and an even greater grief, I’m certain, to my Lover.
My crucifix has initiated conversations about my faith. I only noticed this recently, but whenever I am with catholic but non-practicing/agnostic friends, when asked if I’m religious, I hesitate. Primarily, because I’m unsure whether they mean spiritual or religious; (terminology these days!) and (yes, I over think!). But even when I know what they mean, I am so perplexed despite being a practicing Catholic and knowing my faith is the most important thing in my life.
A very close childhood friend of mine asked this very question during this past Triduum, and while answering the minimum, my face turned blood red (I never blush). This friend noticed my crucifix before asking me and as a response to my answer gave a look as though I was a pioneer with a naive ideology. When I think back, I don’t know why I could not have been straightforward with the question. I was a coward (see blog post “You’re a Wimp” at http://triathletewithacollar.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/440/). Nothing was at stake, but I was still ashamed and timid to talk about why I still decide to practice and believe all that the Catholic Church teaches on my own volition.
If someone asked me to describe my boyfriend or fiancé, given that I am head over heels over him, wouldn’t I go on and on about how great he is? Isn’t it my duty to ensure that whomever I am talking to knows my boyfriend inside out by the end of the conversation?
I did not do this. I felt ashamed and unnecessarily threatened, despite the several times I have told my Lord that I love Him and wish to do anything He desires of me. I was Peter. I denied Christ through my inaction, my inhibition and mostly by my lack of joy answering the question. Peter denied Christ thrice. I denied my lover more than I can count.
I’ll keep pressing on as Peter did. I’ll keep going back to Mercy and Love, and spend more time with Him. It is only by His grace that my great love and joy for Divine can be passed on to all those whom I encounter.
Since I started university, there has been only one place which can, now, earn the title of being my (mostly) quiet abode. It is not the library, for there have been several semesters which i have not stepped into the Very large room of books and cubicles. It is not my favourite coffee shop either. Nor is it my usual spot to study on campus – the law building for the most part.
It is a quiet room inside a modern looking french. A small circular room accommodating 5 chairs and 5 kneelers. In the centre of the room is an odd looking tabernacle. Despite the rough patches, I learned to call that place my abode because it was the only place where I could meet my love. It was the only place I could hear my love talk to me in silent whispers ( while at school that is). It was the only place I could feel His embrace and learn to embrace Him back. It was the abode of love, my Love, my Lover, The Lord.
So now that I have completed my Health Sciences degree from the University of Ottawa (pending graduation June 2014), in all, it was the place where I received the strength to keep going these past four years of constant academic struggle.
(Clearly, I have a devotion to Eucharistic Adoration. Adoration is among the top three things I look forward to in Heaven! )
Lent is my favourite liturgical season. This year I bought Bl. JP II’s (soon to be Saint JP II the Great) Biblical Way of the Cross. It is different than the traditional (i.e. St. Alphonsus Liguori version used at most parishes). I prayed it with my family every single Friday of Lent and it proved to be a blessing despite the terrible timings, tiredness, exam/assignment deadlines and everyone’s super busy schedule. I adore my mother’s perseverance in getting the whole family together each week (apart from our daily Family Rosary/Divine Mercy Chaplet Prayertime).
Good Friday, I attended the Way of the Cross through the streets of downtown Ottawa, led by our shepherd, Archbishop Prendergast. I’ve been going to all of them ever since they started, save the very first one. It’s incredible to see people of all ages and various states of life there, following silently behind the Cross.
I attended St. Mary’s, my home parish (when not attending St. Patrick’s Basilica), for Good Friday Mass. It was an incredibly beautiful and solemn Mass. I invited two guys from school, and one stated that it was the most beautiful Mass he’s been to, apart from an Eastern Rite Mass. That was affirming of all the changes our priests were implementing.
Later in the evening, I picked up two of my best friends and we attended a Gregorian Chant concert. When the three of us left, we didn’t utter a word for several minutes – there could not have been a more perfect way to take part in Good Friday. One of my friends suggested to go out for late night tea. So we found a spot that was open and spent a few hours together where our friendships flourished.