Happy Feast of St. Joseph to all, especially to all fathers! (Maybe it is a bit late, but better late than never!)
Saint Joseph is known as the providential father and patron saint of the Holy Church, since he was the one who took care of the Holy Family of Nazareth. So, what should we learn from him? Here are some small inspirations that I have.
1. Giving more than what you don't need
Saint Joseph gave everything to his family, even though he didn't understand at all how Our Lady’s pregnancy came about. And I have to be sincere, it happened to me at the beginning in my Catholic life that I only gave my extra money or extra time to people in need.
I am quoting from the lyrics of a song that we usually sing in Stella Maris during the youth weekends. I was inspired by today’s Gospel (Matt. 5:43-48): “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you”.
Pope Francis invited us to pray for persecuted Christians recently, but I should really say that I also feel persecuted in my daily life in Finland (or Spain/Europe/everywhere!). We are not persecuted physically, but always, psychologically and spiritually. Did you understand what I mean?
I am so disheartened that there are women who are pondering abortion as a right and an opportunity; I am so disappointed that people are creating genders; I am so frustrated I defend the Truth, but people avoid accepting it.
This is my second Lent as a Catholic, at the beginning of my conversion, I don't really understand why Catholics are “looking for” sufferings. But in the past few days, I have just come to realise a new meaning of Lent.
The True Meaning of Freedom
In my notes, these famous words from Saint Therese of Lisieux summarize the January One Body in Christ Youth Weekend outcome. The whole purpose of life is to find out how God can live in you and through you in the way that He planned from the beginning, from the time before you were even a twinkle in your earthy father’s eyes. God is love (1 John 4) and we all are made in the image of God. We praise God to be more like Him. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me (Gal. 2:20). This is how we are to inherit eternal life.
Each of us is an instrument and only God can play that instrument the most beautiful way, as Fr. Gianni taught us. Or with St Irenaeus we can trustfully believe that the glory of God is the human person fully alive. By all means we should fight against the modern atheist idea that God would be in competition with humanity and praising God would somehow decrease the freedom of humanity.
By now we have had 4 Youth Weekends at Stella Maris. If you have taken part in more than one of those weekends, you will have noticed that we changed the poster after the November weekend.
At first we had no idea about what the name or the theme for the weekends we were going to have together. Then one day in October Andi wrote to us about this inspiration: One Body in Christ. That’s why later on in November, that name started appearing on the posters for that month's weekend gathering.
Last weekend for the first time, I attended a “One Body in Christ” Youth Weekend at Stella Maris and, if God wills, it will not be my last.
This is my first post in the New Year, as I was in Spain with my family for my Christmas holidays. I would like to share with you some differences in being Catholic in Spain and in Finland.
A desert? Not the first association that comes to mind when you hear the word Finland? However, for me my recent return to my home country felt like a move into one - the Biblical desert; a place where we are alone, stripped of the comforts and tempted by evils. Bit no need to get anxious, a happy ending follows! as always with the God of Israel who is love through and through and eagerly waits to give us that glass of life giving dehydration!
My stay was a wonderful, life-changing experience. Worship of the living God naturally wells from the daily routine of prayer, work, leisure and shared meals lived out in obedience, poverty and chastity. Well, that is a whole another story. Now I concentrate on the shock that return to “the world” brought about in my life.
From 28th December 2016 to 1st January 2017, young adult Christians – Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant – from all over Europe gathered in Riga, the capital of Latvia, for the 39th European meeting animated by the Taizé Community.
We had prepared for the meeting by praying as well as by reading some Latvian history. Our grandparents and parents had told us about their travel to the Baltic countries a few decades ago. During the meeting, we were accommodated in local host families. With our hosts, we could discuss what it was like to live in Latvia and in other countries today. We were really touched and grateful they wanted to open their houses to us and share this experience with us.
This is a blog about being young and Catholic in Finland.
Yiran, or Maria Micaela. Born in China but baptised in Spain (2015), student in Turku. Participant of the Youth Weekends at Stella Maris. Cooking, running and photography are my hobbies.