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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Night in Catholic Country

[Please know my heart regarding this post. It is in no way intended to be judgmental or accusatory. In fact, it is tattling on my own judgmental attitude. I apologize if it seems so. That is not my intention whatsoever.]

Saturday, we celebrated Bear's grandparents' 54th wedding anniversary. Well, technically we were celebrating their 50th anniversary 4 years late. It was held at St. Thomas Aquinas in Roswell. Did I mention the whole family is Catholic? I'm pretty sure Bear and I were the only Protestants there. They renewed their vows in the middle of the mass. I was a bit nervous about the mass because I had no idea what to expect. I've never been to a Catholic mass and have only attended one Catholic wedding (Bear's brother's) and one Catholic funeral (Bear's aunt's). I knew that there would be a lot of standing, sitting, and recitation by the congregation. Bear completely left me hanging and skipped the service altogether. Granted it was for a noble cause, seeing as they needed help in the kitchen preparing for the reception afterwards, but I was still a bit bitter. I sat by Bear's aunt, Leslie, who was very helpful in explaining everything. I would've been completely lost without her! They really should have cheat sheets printed up for visitors.

The mass started off with a hymn. (Is that what they call it?) The chorus said, "If you hear the Word of God today, do not harden your hearts." Um, was this picked out especially for me? I usually don't like 'different'. I'm pretty skeptical of all things unknown and this was definitely out of the familiar for me. Looking back on the evening, I probably did have some walls built up around my heart before going into it all. I mean, you're talking to a girl who doesn't even like to sit on a different row than her own at church. (Although, I'm pretty sure that particular row that I'm fond of doesn't have my name on it. Maybe I should contact someone at church about that....) I took a deep breath. Okay, God- I know you want me to hear from You tonight. Help me see You in this because You are here.

The priest?...minister?...deacon?...walked around the altar with a large rectangular plaque held above his head. (Maybe I should've cleared up some details before posting this!) I later discovered that this wasn't a plaque but a book. And not just any book but one of the Gospels. I should've guessed. It had four winged characters on it: a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle. Duh.
Lion=Matthew, shows Jesus as King
Ox=Mark, shows Jesus as Servant
Man=Luke, shows Jesus as human
Eagle=John, shows Jesus as Divine
I knew all that Bible study would come in handy! This particular one was Luke. Before reading, they walked around the altar and said a prayer. Then, they did something that I thought was the most beautiful thing.

I'm familiar with the Sign of the Cross, where one makes the cross across one's body before and after prayer. This was similar but different. The priest made a small cross across his forehead, mouth, and lips before reading the Scripture. I found out later from my sister-in-law that they whisper "May the Word of God be on my mind, my lips, and my heart."

Oh, yes Lord! That is what I want! Not just for Your Word to be in my mind as knowledge. While I could definitely stand to memorize Scripture more, I don't want it to just be head knowledge but apply it to my heart as well that I may live it out. I also want Your Word on my lips, Lord. If I know it and apply it, what is it worth if I don't tell others about You? That's the core to my Christianity. Know it. Apply it. Live it out. Yes!

We've been studying the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 as a youth group. My lesson on Sunday was on Matthew 5:8- "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." If I hadn't cleansed my heart of my bitter attitude when God called me to during that first hymn in that mass, I would've never seen Him in the service. Aside from getting the most cardio I've had in a while, all I would have seen is 'different'. The way they prayed was different. They way they worshipped was different. They way they sang was different. I wouldn't have seen Him and His message for me. Oh, that I would see Him wherever He is! That my own prideful arrogance never get in the way of His message for me! People are different but His Word is the same. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and  today and forever." "In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the word of your hands. They will perish, but you remain...But you remain the same, and your years will never end." (Hebrews 13:8; Psalm 102:25-27)

I've been studying Psalm 19 with a blogging friend and the final verse of the chapter is "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." That is my prayer for this blog. That is my prayer for my life. That God's Word not only be in my mind and heart, but on my lips as well.

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