Bring Back A State Of Grace

Bring Back A State Of Grace

No more excuses.
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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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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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5 Facts About Spiritual Gifts That You Need To Know

Different gifts, but from the same Spirit

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1 Corinthians 12:4-5 states; "[4] There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. [5] There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord." We see that there are multiple spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Lord.

1. We all have different gifts and that's okay

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Just like a body has different parts that each has its own function, that's like the body of Christ. We all have different gifts and different purposes, but we're all part of the body of Christ. God has a plan for you and has given you certain gifts. God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the calling.

2. There are various spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible

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Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 are some of the bible passages that talk about spiritual gifts. Giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, tongue interpretation, administration, discernment, hospitality, missionary, and evangelism are some of the spiritual gifts that people can have. We can desire any gift, but it's God's choice on what gifts He gives us.

Remember, everyone can receive speaking in tongues via baptism in the Holy Spirit, but not everyone will get the gift of tongue interpretation.

3. Spiritual Gifts are supernatural abilities that are either given or enhanced via the Holy Spirit

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God gave us these Spiritual gifts because God wants to invest in His church.

4. Spiritual gifts are for strengthening others

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We have spiritual gifts in order to help others.

5. It does take time for gifts to mature and develop

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Like with a skill that you have, it does take time for you to own said skill. You put in the work, and because of that, you grow in your skill, and you get better. That's the same way with your gifts. God gives each of us certain gifts to use, and it will take time to mature those gifts.

Spiritual gifts are important.

In Romans 12:6 states; "[6] We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; [7] if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; [8] if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

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