In 2005 a documentary was released called, Into Great Silence. The documentary was about the Carthusian monks of the Grande Chartreuse Monastery. (Yes. They are the same monks who make the liquor, “Chartreuse.” 🙂 These monks, who were founded by St. Bruno in the 11th century, live high in the French Alps and dedicate their simple lives to God in the form of “prayer and work,” a phrase translated in Latin as ora et labora, revolutionized by the founder of Western Monasticism, St. Benedict who lived in the fifth and six centuries. While the documentary could be perceived as boring, it’s fairly long at a clip of about two hours and 40 minutes. (You can watch the whole thing for FREE on youtube.com). Also, the documentary has received anywhere from 3.5 – 4.5 stars out of 5 from major movie critics. But what was unique about the documentary was that it was done almost in complete silence with virtually no conversation. While some disliked it, I found it quite refreshing, particularly because of the solitude it presented in a positive way. Monks were often shown working in solitude. But they also prayed in community and in solitude and seemed to enjoy God’s creation in solitude too. I am not advocating to do everything by yourself in solitude or live by yourself in solitude 🙂 We are social beings by design. But the solitude these monks enjoyed was far different than the loneliness people often experience being by themselves. While the monks are called to a communal life of prayer as well as solitude, they seemed to experience the solitude in a joyful and welcoming way, far different than becoming angry, uncomfortable, or sad that one could experience living by oneself and feeling lonely.
First, what is the difference between solitude and loneliness? Let’s try to define both words and then try to make some distinctions.
Loneliness: Being by oneself in an unhappy state and wanting to fill it with someone or something
- Uncomfortable being by oneself
- Uncomfortable in silence… For some who struggle to be by themselves, silence can be deafening, especially from all of the noise already in their lives.
- Struggle to find something to do… One may feel he/she always has to do something or feels the need to be constantly busy, efficient, and productive. Instead, just be…Just be a beloved son or daughter of the Father in Jesus Christ, and receive the love of the Father!
- Feels the need for someone or something to always be with him/her.
Solitude: The state of being alone in an uninhabited place
- Comfortable being by oneself in silence in the peace and quiet of the moment.
- Great appreciation for nature and the surroundings
- Being comfortable with not doing anything at all
- Recognize that while one is by oneself physically, one is truly not by oneself spiritually. Faith tells us that one is actually in the presence of God (in his omnipresence), one’s Guardian Angel, and in the presence of other angels and saints if called upon through prayer.
What other ways would you describe loneliness and solitude? Similarities? Differences?
Second, Jesus experienced both loneliness and solitude. He felt lonely and abandoned as he experienced the Agony in the Garden (Mt. 26:36-46, Mk 14:32-42, Lk. 22:39-46 KJV). In his loneliness as he hung upon the cross, Jesus cried out to the Father, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt. 27:46). There have been moments I have felt lonely. Some of you may have experienced loneliness being single or lonely after losing a spouse to death. You may have experienced loneliness in your own marriage. Think about an infant or a young child. What happens when mom or dad leaves the room? Left unattended, the child instinctively cries out. We all experience feelings of loneliness. When we experience these moments, it’s a signal for us to reach out to God with trust and bold faith through a simple, prayerful conversation with the Lord, for example.
But Jesus also experienced solitude too. Mk 1: 35 states: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Another good question to ask is what did he do with the solitude as well as the loneliness he experienced? He prayed. Mt. 14:23 states: “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.”
Third, how can we experience healthy solitude in our own lives? We can experience healthy solitude like Jesus experienced, and it doesn’t have to be anything you need to create. It can already be created for you. What do I mean? Recently, I had the experience of solitude at an eight-day silent retreat with over 20 people in Ontario. The majority of the retreat was silent with the exception of daily spiritual direction and participation at Mass. You may respond, “Father, I can’t take eight days off, let alone try to be silent for that length of time!” I’m not asking you to do that. Instead, I recommend to take SOME time for solitude. You decide how long that will be. It doesn’t have to be an eight-day silent retreat. It could be just a weekend retreat away from distractions (e.g. technology). How else could one experience solitude? Through a walk or a hike, an evening in the convenience of your own house if the circumstances allow with either a cup of hot chocolate, tea, or coffee, or even for five minutes in the convenience of your bedroom with a Bible and a journal.
Fourth, why would one want solitude? To deepen one’s relationship with God and to spend time with God in prayer and reflection, but also to get recharged for the responsibilities that lie ahead.
May we understand that God doesn’t call us to loneliness. Rather he calls us to spend time with him in solitude. This is not wasteful time but a good investment of it. Jesus often went away to spend time with His Father in solitude. May we take time to do the same to deepen our relationship with Him and be ready for what God calls us to do next.
In the Solitude of Spending Time with the Lord,
Peace be with you!
We had a great Confirmation Retreat with our candidates this past Sunday! A big thanks to Mary Lee Becker who comes in to facilitate this day for us!
Our requirements for Confirmation are that the kids (adults too) that are preparing for the Sacrament have a certain basic knowledge of the Catholic Catechism! We ask that they know the basic Catholic prayers.
We ask that they know the Seven Sacraments and their affects and have knowledge of the Liturgical (Church) year and the Holy days of obligation.
We ask that they know the Principles of Christian Living….the Ten Commandments, Beatitudes, Spiritual & Corporal Works of Mercy and that they are living those Works of Mercy by helping out in their parishes, homes and communities.
We ask that they know the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Fruits from using those gifts!
Of course this is ALL head knowledge and none of it counts if they do not have Jesus in their hearts! If they do not know Jesus and recognize Him as their Lord and Savior!
Ms. Becker did a great job of imparting what it is to be a Disciple of Jesus and their importance to following Christ and becoming viable members of their parishes and larger community. She stressed the importance of prayer in their lives and asking Jesus to direct them in their Vocations in life. I like her analogy of …..JES isn’t complete without ???? US !!! JESUS. 🙂
She did a good job of explaining that Confirmation is “a beginning” and not a graduation from Faith Formation classes and that they certainly are “not” adults (that will come in some years with age and with much more knowledge) but that their “yes” at Confirmation will open up doors to new responsibilities in the faith!
The kids written prayers at the end of the Retreat were beautiful in their depth and compassion for others and the world! Let us hope that this attitude will stay with them as they move forward!
So with six short weeks left for their preparation for this AWESOME Sacrament, let this faith community support them with our prayers! Let’s pray that their eyes will be open to God’s Spirit working in and through them during this time to really turn their hearts to Jesus and the awesome possibilities that await them when their “YES” to the Bishop on March 25th, 2017 really means “YES”!!
God Bless your Week!
Karen Clor – DRE Holy Trinity Parish 810-985-9069
The League of Catholic Women are excited to announce a Myrtle Beach Show Trip and Charleston, South Carolina. 7 days and 6 nights September 10-16, 2017 for $685 per person/double occupancy. Trip includes 6 breakfasts and 4 dinners, 3 evenings of shows: Legends in Concert, Caroline Opry, and Alabama Theatre, plus a morning of Cirque Extreme and a visit to Broadway at the Beach. For information and reservations contact: Judy & John Anter at 810-987-3059.
Cardinal Mooney Catholic is hosting an Open House Sunday March 5th, 2017 from 1:00pm-3:00pm. The Open House is open to all families and we invite you to visit as our guests.
Whether you have an 8th grader deciding where they want to go to school next year, a younger student who would like to meet the teachers or if you are just interested in what has changed at Cardinal Mooney Catholic, we invite you to join us. Stop in, meet the staff, current students, our coaches, school board members and get any questions you may have answered that day!
Cardinal Mooney is located at 660 S. Water St. Marine City, MI 48039. If you have any questions about the event, please feel free to call the front office at 810-765-8825. We hope to see you there!
Knights of Columbus
Msgr. E.J. McCormick Council 521
Congratulations to the following October Knights:
2016 Knight of the Year: Joe Ariganello. Joe has helped at many (almost all) Knights events and is in attendance at our general business meetings and officer meetings as well. We are very fortunate to have Joe as a member of council 521. Congratulations Joe on Knight of the Year!
2016 Family of the Year: Leonard & Denise Brookins Family. Len and Denise have been at all the Knights events. Purchasing the food, set up and clean up. They are both great examples of what the Knights do for the Church community. Congratulations to the Brookins for Family of the Year!
Council News: March is right around the Corner. With the start of Lent Wednesday March 1st. The Knights will be cooking a pancake supper for the religious Education group between 4-6 PM. The event is located at the St. Stephens Center/Gym.
The Knights will be sponsoring a float in the annual St. Patricks parade in Port Huron. We will be decorating the float Sunday March 5th, 2017 in the rectory garage between 4-7 PM if wanting to help let us know. The parade event on March 11th, 2017 will go as follows 9 AM Mass at St. Josephs after Mass refreshments at St. Joes. Then line up for the parade at 11 AM The parade starts at 12 noon after the parade we meet at St. Stephens Center / Gym where the Jackson family will be preparing a corn beef and cabbage lunch. This is a Great event to come out and show the community who we are as a Church and K of C council. The more people / families that march with us the merrier! This is open to ALL parishioners, families and of course K of C members. If you would like to help in any way or have questions contact Pete Cervini 810-650-3041
The Knights of Columbus council 521 supports Holy Trinity Parish and we could use help and more participation.
Catholic men over 18 years of age, please consider joining the Knights council 521. Help out your local Parish and community in a church organization. Call or email membership director Rick Janderwski 810-650-2305 email ten.t1511291668sacmo1511291668c@iks1511291668wredn1511291668ajr1511291668
God Bless Vivat Jesus!
Timothy Award Nomination forms are available in the parish office. If you know a youth in grades 9-12 whom you would like to nominate for a Timothy Award please stop by the office to pick up a nomination form or call and we will mail one to you.
All nomination forms must be returned to the parish office no later than Monday, March 6th, 2017.
Criteria to be eligible for a Timothy Award:
- Youth Currently in grades 9-12
- Activities from March 1, 2016 to March 1, 2017
- Initiative beyond required service or regular involvement (Does not include sports accomplishments or academic achievements other than leadership positions within a sport steam or academic club such as team captain, committee chair or section leader)
”Let no one look down on you because of your youth, but set an example for those who believe; in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12
“I’m bored.” Being in the midst of this cold and oftentimes cloudy, Michigan, winter weather, we can find ourselves cooped up in our house and encounter periods of boredom. Whether it be in the dead of winter or during hot summers, as kids, we may have told our parents at one point or another, “I’m bored.” Sound familiar? Their response? “Go read a book, or “go play outside,” or simply, “go DO something!”
But to say one is bored at Mass? Matthew Kelly in his recent book, Resisting Happiness, (the book that our parish handed out to each family at Christmas), said, “to say we are bored at any moment in our lives is a massive insult to God, but to say we are bored at Mass takes the insult to a whole other level (p. 98). Kelly says that the remedy to boredom is that “if you are ever bored, look for a way to get outside yourself and serve others (p. 100). One could do this by serving at Mass as a lector, choir member, usher, Eucharistic minister, altar server, etc.
What is boredom? Kelly defines it as a “manifestation of selfishness. It can only occur when we are overly focused on ourselves. It always means that we have set God and neighbor aside to focus exclusively on ourselves, and that is never a recipe for happiness,” he says (p. 100).
What if you are unable to serve in those capacities I just mentioned or are still bored at Mass? Kelly goes on to say that “the key to transforming our Sunday Mass experience and improving our relationship with God is shifting from a passive to an active disposition and really listening” (p. 104). He also cites that we can participate at Mass through the use of writing in a Mass journal which can be very effective. The purpose would be to write down one thing – one idea that captured your attention at Mass (e.g. from the readings or homily).
If I may add, one could also remedy boredom at Mass by attending a Mass-in-Slow-Motion, reading about the Mass in the Catechism (#s 571, 654, 1067, 1076,1088, 1322, 1332, 1362-1372, 1382, 2177, 2192), or attend an RCIA class (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults…becoming Catholic). May we never be bored in life with all of the opportunities that God has blessed us with today. But may we especially not be bored at Mass where God is truly active with us as he makes himself present in Word, in the priest, in the people, and in the Eucharist.
One day St. Teresa of Avila heard someone say: “If only I had lived at the time of Jesus… If only I had seen Jesus… If only I had talked with Jesus…” To this she responded: “But do we not have in the Eucharist the living, true and real Jesus present before us? Why look for more?” Look no further than encountering Jesus deeply at Mass in multiple ways. How could one be bored with that?
– Fr. Jeff