If you’ve ever gone to church for years, then moved and went to a different church, there is one giant difference that isn’t hard to notice. The music. There are other factors, of course, like homily styles, overall feel of the community, friendliness and liveliness. It’s hard not to ignore the music though. In San Diego my church has a youth choir and I think they have grown very far since I first listened to them. Moving here to Long Beach the music is so much more different. In San Diego the music makes the mass feel like a praise and worship concert- fun and vivacious. Here, it ranges from angelic choirs, orchestra ensembles, and concert-worthy performances.
I’ve been having difficulty feeling “belonged” in a church, but the music always helps me stay. Different choirs play the same songs differently, but the message stays the same. So when they sing a song I recognize it makes me feel good. It reminds me of why I come. Sometimes I feel like the music speaks to me stronger than the homily. I listen, I sing, and I really don’t care if I’m not musically gifted, because God would’ve given me a different voice if he didn’t want to hear me. When I sing the songs and the sound of the choir is all around me it just feels like I’m at a different place. I can feel HIM all around me. Music moves people. It moves me and makes me want to keep singing about him. When I sing, I can sing with as much passion as when I pray. I think that’s the beauty in it— I’m praying when I sing, and I can sing to pray. I sing these songs and my heart is pouring everything it wants to tell God without me having to say it. Because some things are just harder to admit ourselves. When I sing, I know He’s listening to what comes out of my mouth and what comes out of my heart. I know He listens and that’s why I have faith.
They shared when they started, how you get free condoms, how birth control will soon be free, how the hormones are affecting her, how they hate having to pay for it. During this whole conversation they had I had nothing to add because I don’t use birth control and I don’t approve of birth control. Unless its abstinence, of course. I wanted to tell them how birth control is so bad for your hormonal health. I wanted to tell them that they should wait. I wanted to tell them about NFP. Tell them how the new health care plan is not working well will religious institutions. Tell them how I’m waiting with my boyfriend, we don’t have sex. But I barely know them. I need to learn how to comfortably share my thoughts around people. It felt so awkward just sitting there adding nothing, but I didn’t want to tell them all these things and risk ruining the small amount of bonding we’ve had lately. Sigh. I need to learn to do better.
I need to remember to always pray this because that is what I am here for.
Sometimes I find myself at a loss for words when I pray at church. During mass, as I kneel after receiving communion, I can’t put to words what I want to pray because my thoughts are constantly mixing. But then, our choir sings songs, and I can’t help but sing along. That’s when I have my moment of unity with Him. Where I feel completely connected and I know that he knows what I’m trying to say from my heart. When I can’t seem to figure out what I want to say to Him, I sing. I sing and I let myself pour my heart out through song.
I wish I had a stronger faith base. I feel like I always fall away, lose the passion I worked for in a blink of an eye. I was so passionate before as I was getting confirmed, but now it’s different. It’s a much different passion now more like a candlelight than a bonfire. It’s more mellow, I guess. Or maybe it’s just fading. I’m not really sure. I’m trying to read the daily readings, pray every night, and be interested, but it doesn’t feel the same. I wish I could feel a greater need for Christ. I wish I could pray clearly. I’m still a work in progress.
Bible study has opened my eyes to so many things. It’s amazing when I realize that I have learned so much about God, love, and relationships from the Bible than any other book. Take for example 1 Peter 3:1-7
1 Likewise, you wives should be subordinate to your husbands so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by their wives’ conduct2when they observe your reverent and chaste behavior.3Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or dressing in fine clothes,4but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God.5For this is also how the holy women who hoped in God once used to adorn themselves and were subordinate to their husbands;6thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him “lord.” You are her children when you do what is good and fear no intimidation.7 Likewise, you husbands should live with your wives in understanding, showing honor to the weaker female sex, since we are joint heirs of the gift of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
This whole passage talk about the relationship between a man and a woman. I love this passage because it takes explains so much about what a good Catholic woman should be.
Although we are subordinate, it doesn’t mean we are powerless; In verses one to two it clearly says that just through out behaviors and actions we can win over our men. In other words, our look can say it all, we don’t even have to say anything.
Then it goes into modesty, that we should emulate the kindness of our hearts rather than adorn ourselves in physically distracting ways. That we should do ourselves and our men a favor by dressing modestly because in that way there is nothing to distract from our “hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God.” Our character is more than enough to show how beautiful we are.
And finally, in this relationship between men and women, men should love women as equals because we are “joint heirs of the gift of life.” Thought women should submit themselves to their husbands, they should love one other equally and fully. It’s important to understand that God doesn’t want women to be powerless, less than beautiful, or mistreated. He loves us so much and wants only the best for us. In his eyes, we are all his children and everyone is his favorite. He see our hearts and knows that is what makes us beautiful, not our appearances.