Beloved of God

It’s surprising how God gives so much, even when nothing is asked for.

For a while I have been battling with my inner demons that are constantly telling me that I am Nemo–no one. That the reason I haven’t been able to fulfill my dreams is that I don’t deserve them. I don’t even know if my best friend knows that I struggled not only with the things I had told her, but also that I often think of myself as unworthy, and that I don’t deserve to have my dreams fulfilled, that I am actually no one.
I often am overwhelmed if a friend tells me how I have impacted their life in a positive way, or that I’m a great example to them. I often find myself thinking in those situations, me? I did that, for you?

Well, now that that’s in the open, to another part. The past week, I began a journey of discovering my faith, and who I really am. It goes even further than that, it’s a discovery of why I believe what I do. Because I’ve had the whole realization that I couldn’t be anything but Catholic–and I have a ton of knowledge of WHAT we as Catholics believe, it is a journey to find out WHY I believe in these things. Right down to the gritty details. Friends of mine have already given so much to help me, a great article one of them gave me was Six-Steps to Finding God, which led to another amazing article about Humility. The humility article is great, really eye-opening. However, the furthest progress I have made on this journey, was through an unexpected way, a video explaining the inspiration behind one of my favorite songs. Coincidentally–through one of my friends’ Tumblr account. The video can be seen here.

The song–a heart-stirring, beautiful, practically indescribable song–is Beloved, by Tenth Avenue North.
I’ve thought a lot about the word Beloved ever since I heard a good friend and indirect mentor of mine, and someone I very much look up to talk about that word in a talk she gave for a Women’s breakout session this past summer.
I don’t know if I could explain what it means to be a Beloved of God, but the song does a pretty great job of it. Here is it is, Beloved–Tenth Avenue North (by the way, not my video, thank God for YouTube, really.)

Anyways, long story short. The way that God has given me so much (via my friends, which is a big pathway He often uses for me (I have a thick head, which makes it hard for me to hear Him on my own a lot of the time.)) is that He reminded me that not only do I belong to Mary–I belong to Him, and I am His Beloved.
It’s interesting, because as most of my friends would probably attest, I would give my life for Mary. But so far, she has not been a huge part of this expedition. Of course, she is there, and I belong to her, so indirectly she’s involved, but not as much as I usually like to involve her in my life.

I am not Nemo. I am not No One.

I am Beloved.

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Soldier and Slave

*disclaimer*–I do not claim to be an expert on scriptures/teachings of the Catholic Church, this post is merely my musings, and the musings of my friends. It is my own interpretation of what I have come to believe and to know as my faith.

“Many are called, but few are chosen.” –Matthew 22:14

For those of you that don’t know by now: I am consecrated to Jesus through Mary using St. Louis Marie De Montfort’s Total Consecration to Jesus, through Mary.

I consecrated myself on November 21, 2010, the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin.

Now, you’re probably thinking, why the heck is this post called Soldier and Slave, and why did she quote that bible verse at the beginning of this post? Well, I’ll tell you. :]

  1. Every Catholic is called to be so, and through the Sacrament of Confirmation we become Soldiers for our faith. However, of all of those Catholics, few have been called (few are chosen) to become the Slave of Christ (through Mary!) as well.
  2. So, I’m not too knowledgeable about the hierarchy of the army, but I know that there are soldiers and officers. Those chosen by Christ through Mary are kind of like officers, but we aren’t the head honchos—those places are reserved for religious, priests, brothers, etc., and the top positions are for those already in Heaven, the angels and the Saints, Mary, and Christ at the very head. (At least, this is how I envision this Army idea…).

Through the consecration, we have become Slaves of Christ, through Mary. The devotion is to Christ, through Mary, meaning the devotion is taken by her to Christ. We no longer have any claim to anything (even the very hairs on our head, the footsteps we take, every breath, every word out of our mouth belongs to Mary, and through her, Christ.)  As slaves do not have a claim to property.

There are three types of slavery, according to De Montfort; Voluntary Slavery, Natural Slavery, and Enforced Slavery. Enforced is bad and should only be applied to the devil and the damned, natural slavery is, well…natural, and applies to all of us—as we belong to the Creator, the God who created us. Voluntary slavery applies to those in Heaven, and the just on Earth, such as those who consecrate themselves to Jesus through Mary, and live their lives according to such conditions. In this way, we are called to be slaves of Christ– of God.

Thus, I have been chosen to be both Soldier and Slave. I will serve my God accordingly. I will strive to the best of my abilities to live my life as such, and to only glorify His name, and to unite His will with my own.It is a hard life, being both Soldier and Slave, and a hard road to travel that has many bumps and burdens. However, it is the life that I choose, because it brings me the most happiness, and fulfills my desires to be true and faithful to my God.Christ chose me through Mary, and it was declared that I would be Soldier and Slave at the moment of my conception. They have only been leading me towards the fulfillment of these titles. Every step I took, every breathe I breathed up until the moment I consecrated, was leading me to it, and now, every step I take, and every breathe I breathe is leading me closer to Christ, and the fulfillment of my soldier-ship and slavery. I know that this path is the correct one, because it is the only path that I have taken in my life where I came to know the true peace and love of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the love of His mother, Mary. It is through her that I have come to know my Lord better, through her sorrow, through her peace, and through her joy. The gifts that she gives as an example to me to know her Son better and better each and every moment of my life. It is this path that will lead me to fulfill my desire of Sainthood, and it is this path that I will follow for the rest of my life. I will be humbled, and I have been humbled. But I will come to know God, and to give Him the love of my heart which He will not be able to have by anyone else. This is my choice, to live out my days belonging to Christ, through Mary, and to accept the consequences and gifts that come with it.

I have been called, and I have been chosen. Are you?

Help of Christians

Through Mary, with Mary, in Mary, and for Mary: the four ways the consecrated Marian devotees (by St. Louis de Montfort’s Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary) are called to live their lives. No longer do they have any claim to possessions, even their very body down to the last hair on their head belongs to her, and through her Christ. St. Montfort tells in his book True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin that through the consecration, we become the voluntary slaves of Mary and Christ. He states that there are three types of slavery—natural slavery, enforced slavery, and voluntary slavery. We are all enslaved to God in the first sense, in belonging to Him as our creator. The devils and damned are slaves in the second sense, and the Saints in heaven and the just on Earth are slaves in the third sense. The De Montfort Marian consecrated have freely given of their own will their body, their possessions, their future, their ambitions, goals, jobs, emotions, etc– to Mary.
In surrendering totally to Mary, we receive benefits as well. We receive all of her graces in abundance as we walk down our path of holiness towards heaven—that path which through the consecration has become much less of a rocky road, and straighter than it was before. However—even with this benefit, we are gifted with greater crosses to bear, though not feeling the weight, because of the ardent love and grace of Our Mother which softens the heavy burdens upon our shoulders.

Needless to say, complete surrender of everything one owns, and does not own about oneself, complete abandonment to God through Mary, is a tough thing to understand.
There is gravity to it, a seriousness that I did not understand when I first consecrated back in November 2010. I was filled with love, grace, happiness, and overwhelming peace. It wasn’t until I began to live my life as a slave to Mary that I started to understand what I had done. It wasn’t even until just a couple weeks ago that I began to fully understand what it meant to give my entire life to Mary, and hold nothing back for myself. It meant that whenever something came up that I wanted to do, but it wasn’t necessarily in God’s will for me—I had to give that up, accept it willingly without distress or complaint. It is hard, and God knew it would be for me. He challenged me; first by showing me that I needed to move on from my ex-boyfriend, as he had moved on from me. Then, by taking away my dream summer job—working at my absolute favorite place on Earth, and a place that felt like home to me, a place I had gone to for 12 years of my life. But it was all for His glory. He was showing me that there is more to life than I was living. He wanted me, desired me, my full attention, not divided between Him, “the love of my life”, and “my home.” He desired that I see my home in Him. It was not easy to do, and I still am struggling. I understand it better though, after a night in which I turned away from Him, from Mary, and literally tried to force her outstretched hands away from me—I started to understand what I had given up on that day back in November of 2010. My life, freely given, just as He had done for me a little over 2,000 years ago—He was finally calling me to Him. To give every last bit of me that I was holding back, the last reserves of my heart that I was holding onto, to retain my identity in myself. He was calling me to give Him those reserves, to finally, completely discovery my true identity in Him, through Mary.

Thus, I ask for forgiveness, from Mary, from God, and from my best friend and sister, through whom I forced Mary’s hands away from me. It is easy to forgive others, and to receive forgiveness from others, but to forgive oneself and truly, absolutely, hold-nothing-back, accept the forgiveness of others–that is the hardest. So, through belonging to Mary, tonight, I take my first step towards forgiving myself of ripping myself from my Mother’s arms, and my first step towards running back to her in nothing but joy, love, and everlasting peace. The same feelings I felt the day that I gave myself to Mary and Christ as their slave. The same feelings that were granted to me by my Mother’s grace, given to me as I took the steps towards walking in her path of holiness towards her Son at the foot of the cross.

Through Mary. In Mary. With Mary. For Mary. The way that I have chosen to live my life. The way that I am called to start living. My identity, my life, freely given, to belong to Him.

“Love of My life, look deep in My eyes, there you will find what you need. Give Me your life, the lust and the lies, the past you’re afraid I might see, you’ve been running away from Me. You’re My beloved, lover I’m yours, death shall not part us, it’s you I died for. For better or worse, forever we’ll be, My Love it unites us and it binds you to Me. It’s a mystery.” – Beloved, Tenth Avenue North  

Mary got an Angel

About a month and a half ago I attended a girl’s night discussion hosted by St. Mary’s (of College Station, TX) resident Sisters of the Interior Life, entitled Mary: True Femininity.
After one of the sisters gave her talk, the floor was opened up for a Q and A regarding questions about Mary, or general questions about the faith. One question struck me as particularly important, and the remark of one of the women there inspired the title of this post. The question was regarding tips for discerning God’s will for our lives. Of course, it was related to Mary. Her Fiat, her ultimate Yes to the Lord, “Let it be done unto me,” is her Fiat.
But how did Mary come about this Fiat? What was different about her that made her able to bear the Son of God? Why is Mary so perfect? How did she align herself to do only the will of God for her?
The answer to all of those questions and more:

Grace.

Hail Mary, Full of GRACE, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art though amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and a the hour of our death.

That is what Mary has. Yes, in the ultimate yes, Mary did get an Angel. But I think what we don’t realize daily, is that we have an angel too. Our Guardian Angel, who we often take for granted. I know that I do, often I get busy with life, and forget that I have an Angel constantly watching over me, constantly fighting in the battle for my soul. This is what we have.
Another important thing to keep in mind, is that we are able to obtain the perfection Mary did. We have the ability, not on our own, but we do have the ability to align our will with that of the Lord’s for us.
It’s a humbling thought for me, that I could be as perfect as Mary. I will never bear forth the Son of God in my womb…but I get to receive Him in me every time I go to Mass.

Mary got an Angel.
But we have the opportunity to obtain the same grace. We have our own Angels, a Mother who love us, and only wants to lead us to her Son, and an ever-loving, ever-merciful, and forgiving Father whose only longing is that of having His children return His love to Him.

It’s a comforting thought, no?

 

Glued Back Together

I once was broken. But Mother Mary helped me to gather up the pieces and glue them back together.

I have known loss, betrayal, misunderstanding, and pain. But I have also known love, loyalty, understanding, and healing.
My Mother has held me in her arms, countless times since I became hers through the consecration. Each time that I rip myself away from her, she welcomes me back, as I run to her arms, crying, knowing that I have betrayed her, knowing that I have broken her heart, but that she will always accept me back, and will lead me to her Son. It is Mother Mary that grabs me when I turn away from this path that I walk, towards her Son. When I am fearful, and think myself unworthy, she grabs my arm, turns me towards her, and holds my face in her hands and tells me–“you are worthy, you are beautiful, you are beloved, and I just want to give you to my Son, because you deserve Love.”–It is Mary that helps me to stay true to my path, to never leave the faith, and who leads me to have such great friends who will tell me the same thing.

There is a woman–a friend of mine named Ghillie, who is very dear to my heart, in the year and three-ish months that I have known her, we have grown to be extremely close friends. She belongs to Mother as well, and Mother uses her in my life often. Whenever I am unable to listen to Mother directly, Ghillie is there, telling me to shut my face, suck it up, and run to Jesus. All with love of course. That is one thing that I love most about Ghillie– all of her actions, whether they be little or big, mundane or exceptional, she does them with love. Even if she doesn’t realize it. It is what is beautiful about her relationship with Christ and Mary. They shine through her, and make her actions shine with their love.

Another friend of mine, coincidentally through Ghillie, one of my “big sisters” is very much the same way. But in her own way. She is logical, and extremely intelligent. Patient and kind. Always willing to listen. These are the examples that I have of my Mother. These are the ones who Mother has given me to help me glue the pieces back together when they fall apart. It is these women who Mother uses to tell me that I am worthy, beautiful, loved, and that I deserve the world–even when I don’t feel it. It is these women who Mother has chosen for me to trust with my life. These women whom Mary has chosen for me to walk with on the path towards her Son, with her watching over us, emanating the love and joy that we bring to her with our every day musings.

It is these women–my big sisters– who pick up the pieces of myself that are forgotten, and who brush the dirt off of them, and place them back together–with crazy glue–so that they will never fall off again.
With the greatest love that their hearts can bear.

I once was broken, but Mother Mary helped me to gather up the pieces, with a little help from my friends, and glue them back together again.

 

Queen of Angels

Mary- Virgin, Mother, Human, Immaculate, Full of Grace, Help of Christians, Queen of Peace, Mother of Mercy, Lady of Sorrows, Ark of the Covenant, Cause of our Joy, etc.

So many names describe her. So many names pointing out her importance, yet we often overlook her as not being important. We see her as simply the person who Christ came into this world through. Although there is beauty in that ignorance, because she doesn’t do anything about it. She remains in the background, humble, pure of heart. She lets us come to her instead of her coming to us.

The thing about Mary is that through her, we come to know Christ and ourselves better, because Mary is the ultimate example of how we should act as the Children of God. Mary was completely human, she was given a choice to accept God’s will for her, and she could have refused, but because of her grace and humility, she accepted with a resounding yes. Throughout her life, she was faced with some of the same situations that we are faced with every day. She was faced with the decisions in which she had to either choose God or selfishness, but because of the grace given to her by God—the same grace given to us should we choose to receive it every time we are faced with that decision—she chose the path of righteousness, not the path of sin.

This grace was with Mary throughout her whole life, she started with an Immaculate Conception, meaning she was born without the stain of original sin. God had chosen her for a beautiful task right at the moment of her conception. She grew up, was betrothed to Joseph, and had promised her life to God. Then, one day in her teens, no one knows how old for sure, but around 13-15 years old, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to her to tell her that she would conceive in her womb a son, and he would be called Jesus, meaning salvation. She was astounded, because she had not had any relations with a man. Gabriel said to her that the holy spirit would come upon her, and she would conceive in her womb. He also gave her the news that her cousin Elizabeth, then an old woman, was pregnant in her old age, when they had thought her barren. Mary replied to Gabriel, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to thy word.” This is her Fiat, her yes to the Lord to bear His only begotten Son, the salvation of mankind. It is through her Fiat, that we have the example of Mary—to always say yes to the will of God working in our lives. We may never have an Archangel come to us and tell us that we are to conceive the savior of the world, but we are faced with many decisions throughout our lives where we can say yes to the will of God, rather than throwing it in His face and denying Him our hearts, which He desires so much.

Mary could have been stoned.

Mary could have been killed for what she said yes to. She was pregnant outside of marriage, and Joseph was not the father. Joseph could have thrown her out, left her to the dogs, so-to-speak. It is not easy at times to accept the will of God, it means that you have to make sacrifices. To open your heart to a woman in need of protection, of an Earthly father for her both divine and human son. It is not an easy task, and the Angel came to Joseph, and told him to take care of Mary, to raise Jesus as his son. And so he did.

The task of raising the son of God was most likely a daunting one. I mean, imagine the three of them at the dinner table. Joseph blessing the food, what would he say? “Bless us o…you…and these….your(?)…gifts, which we are about to receive, from…your…bounty, through…you…o Lord. Amen” Awkward. And having a wife that is so full of grace that she chose to never sin. Of course—there were the years of raising Christ as a baby, toddler, and little kid. Spit up, diapers (probably cloth back then…), not sleeping through the whole night, crying, temper tantrums, nightmares, mud pies (oh come on, like you never made them too), bugs brought as presents, everything that comes with little boys.

It had to be intimidating. But God meant for them to raise His son, so no doubt, they were well equipped with whatever spiritual guidance they needed.

Above all, Mary was a woman. Of course, she is the Mother of God, and appropriated thanks should be given that she was chosen for this role. Nevertheless, Mary grew up as a woman, lived her life as a woman, and died as a woman. There is such beauty in that, as women are the crown of creation. And of course, Mary is the new Eve, as Christ is the new Adam. Both redeeming humanity from the mistake made in the Garden of Eden.

Mary is the embodiment of true femininity. An example to us all, through her Fiat, we are called to have our own fiat’s with God in our lives. Following His will to the best of our ability. Mary will constantly be by our side, ready to give us aid, leading us to her Son; a task that she absolutely cherishes.

Through Mary, we come to know Christ more fully, and on a basic level of understanding. Through Mary we come to know Christ in His humanity, and are given an opportunity to pursue great devotion to our Lord and Lady.

Mary- Seat of Wisdom, Spiritual vessel, Mystical Rose, Tower of David, Morning star, Queen of Peace.

Queen of Angels, Pray for Us.