Bring Back A State Of Grace

Bring Back A State Of Grace

No more excuses.

I once made a promise to a friend that I wouldn't receive the Eucharist unless I was in a state of grace. This wasn't too far out of reach for me as I was still in high school, still living at home, and still surrounded by people who would answer "Absolutely!!" when I texted them to ask if they would go to Confession with me. However, college came around and while I went to Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame with my new friends on Sunday mornings, after a while the Sundays began being skipped and eventually they burned out.

When I came home for winter break, I went to midnight Mass on Christmas with my old friends from home. Though I had skipped Mass multiple times and hadn't been to confession in two months, I walked up and received the Eucharist just as everyone else. Something didn't feel right, but I shook the feeling and continued on with my second semester of college.

The next time I went to Mass was when I came home for the summer. I honestly didn't want to go, but I had a strong reputation in my youth group when I was in high school and I didn't want everyone knowing that I hadn't been to Mass all year. Everything felt strange - I felt like I wasn't worthy enough to be standing on holy ground. The place I used to call home made me feel like a foreigner. I quickly said hello to everyone, and then I sat in the back with a friend from high school. I remember how I tried my best to keep a low profile without giving off the sense that anything was abnormal about me sitting in a Church. The Liturgy of the Eucharist came, and I proceeded up the aisle. Maybe it was because I was thinking about how I didn't want to break a promise that I had made long ago, or maybe it was because I knew that I shouldn't have been in that line, but in those 30 seconds of walking from my seat up to Christ, I decided not to receive. I felt like everyone in the Church was watching me as I swallowed my pride, crossed my arms over my chest, and denied the Eucharist from a woman who used to minister Him to me. I looked over at a friend who was serving the Blood and I'll never forget the look of confusion she gave me. I simply received a blessing and sat back down.

For the next days, those 30 seconds was all I could think about. I walked into Church the following week 3 minutes before Mass began so that I could avoid conversations, and I had no luck because they were short one Eucharistic Minister and frantically looking for someone to fill the place. I was immediately asked to take the spot as soon as I walked in, as I had been a Eucharistic Minister for the past 3 years, but I shook my head and said, "I haven't been to Confession since October, I shouldn't be receiving, let alone delivering others the Eucharist." I remember someone saying, "But we need one more person!" and I walked past the sign-up sheet and once again found my place with my friend in one of the back aisles. I don't know how I could go from not caring what the state of my soul was in, to all of a sudden deeming myself unworthy of even attending Mass.

So as any other millennial, I searched Google as soon as I got home. Of course, I was flooded with information that reminded me why I had been feeling how I was. We as Catholics are called to receive only when we are in a complete state of grace. None of the "Oh, I went to confession last month!" or, "It's been a while, but I'm trying so that's all that counts." No more excuses.

The only time it's acceptable to accept the Eucharist is when you are under venial sin because there are actually multiple times throughout the Mass when the priest gives you an opportunity to be absolved of all venial sins. And for those of you who don't know, there are so many mortal sins.

Skipping Mass on Sunday for no good reason? Mortal.

Failing on your daily prayers? Mortal.

Did you use God's name in vain? Mortal.

Willingly or unwillingly wished evil upon someone? Mortal.

Assuming that you can receive because, "God will just forgive me for it next time I go to Confession," AKA presuming God's mercy? There are no levels of mortal sins, but if there were that'd be super mortal.

Under mortal sin, we are unclean. I've realized how offensive it is to God to house Him in a body that's not pure. That's literally staring God straight in the face and saying, "I know that I am unclean and I know that You deserve to be housed in the holiest of places, but I don't care because I don't want to be judged by others for not receiving You."

One Bible verse that struck me all throughout high school and still rings throughout my mind is from the Book of Revelation. Chapter 3:16 reads, "Since you are neither hot nor cold, but only lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth." Those of us who are only lukewarm in our faith - who practice it but don't keep Him at the center of our lives - will be rejected on our judgment day. In some versions of this quote, "spit" is replaced by the word "vomit." God will literally vomit away those of us who know Him yet aren't on fire for Him. He would rather welcome those who completely turn from Him before he welcomes those of us who don't practice what we preach. If He will vomit us from Himself, why on Earth would He want to be placed somewhere so undeserving?

I'm not writing this because I think I'm above others for choosing not to receive, but because I hope that others will read this and take it just as seriously as I have began to. My one wish is that with this new year coming, the Church decides to focus on the importance of a state of grace.

Cover Image Credit: Life Teen

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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11 Bible Verses To Help When The Anxiety Is About To Get The Best Of You

For times when things get tough


College can be a mixture of excitement, fun, definitely stressful, and full of anxiety. I know there are times when I am stressed and I feel like there is nothing I can do. Stress can be this giant weight that just wears you down no matter how hard you tried to get rid of it. These are a few bible verses that help me whenever I feel stressed or I am filled with anxiety.

1. Isaiah 41:10


"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Whenever we have fear, just know that God is with you. Through him He will give you strength. He will be there to lift us in in our times of fear and your anxiety.

2. Psalms 56:3


"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."

I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory. Whenever you feel afraid or are dealing with something that you are not quite sure will work out, then just give it over to God. It will definitely help. It can help take off that weight that you are dealing with.

3. Philippians 4:6


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

Whenever you feel anxious about something then give it over to God. A way to give it over to God is through prayer. There is power in the persistence of prayer.

4. John 14:27


"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you."

You cannot find peace in worldly things, but you find peace in God.

5. Psalms 94:19


"When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul."

The world is very good at making people stressed and worried. In this verse, the "cares of my heart are many" is talking about the different worries that people have, but in God, we can still find joy in the midst of all those worries.

6. Proverbs 12:25


"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad."

This verse goes to show that words can drastically effect a person's attitude and mood. Even when a person is going through something, kind words can make them feel better. If you read the Bible, I can guarantee that it will help you through anything. It is amazing what the Word can do.

7. Psalms 23:4

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

This verse is an excellent reminder that through horrid things, God will be there to watch over you and protect you. There is nothing we cannot do if we have God there with us. We just have to remember that He will never leave us or forsake us.

8. Joshua 1:9


"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

The fact that God is with you seems to be a running theme in these verses. You would think that we would not forget it so easily since God has made it so clear. In God, we can be strong and courageous. We have nothing to worry about.

9. Matthew 6:34


"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

There are definitely things throughout the day that we can all worry about. It could be a test, a project due at work, or even friendship or relationship problems. However, worrying about it is not going to help. There is also no point in worrying about the next day because we will have no control over it. We do not know what the next day will bring so why worry about it? That is what this verse is trying to say.

10. Mark 5:36


"But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, 'Do not fear, only believe.'"

As long as we believe in Jesus then we have no reason to fear. All it takes is for us to believe that He can help us through anything.

11. Deuteronomy 31:6


"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."

I referenced this verse earlier. It was sort of unintentional, but there is so much truth and power behind it. This verse relates to what it is saying in Joshua 1:9 (verse previously mentioned). That verse asks "Have I not commanded you?" This verse is telling us that we need to be strong.

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