The Catholic Chic is a personal and faith-based blog on the life of a Catholic woman in the modern world.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mercy Cafe: Purity in a Wild Wild World

I am the vine and you are the branches.
- John 15:5  

When I joined Youth for Christ (YFC) in 2007, we had a 100% Pure advocacy program which empowered me to live a life of chastity and to avoid drugs, smoking, and drinking (see the poster here). I understand that these ideas are contradictory to what is "in" or popular among young adults my age. Even before I joined YFC, I already felt there was something empty with how I lived my wild adolescent life. I wanted to live for something greater. I wanted a change in my life. And who best to challenge, change, and mold me but Christ?

It's been 7 years in my journey with Him in a Catholic community and he truly has changed things for me. He has changed my heart. He radically changed my life. 

This month's edition (August) of Mercy Cafe was a refresher for me as the topic is about Purity in a Wild Wild World, something which has been advocated to me since my younger days in the community.  

The event started with some welcoming remarks from Sky Ortigas of CBCP and an opening prayer by brother Jhonsen of Singles for Christ.
Opening remarks by Sky

Opening prayer led by Jhonsen

The first activity was a game wherein we were to enumerate organizations founded by Fr. George Willmann, SJ. Surprisingly, I was able to answer and win a CD and a shirt!

Participants enjoying the game.

And the winner gets a shirt.

Here's what I won.

For the talk, the speaker was Mr. Edwin Lopez, the International Manager of EWTN Asia Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand. 

Tito Edwin discussed the topic of Purity in a different and unique perspective. He zeroed in on the term Self-knowledge. He proposed that if a person has Self-knowledge and knows his or her worth, then the decision to live a life of purity would come naturally for the person because Chastity is a by-product of self-knowledge.

Edwin Lopez of EWTN.

Lord help me know myself

As St. Augustine wrote, "Lord Jesus, let me know thyself and know thee" (see complete prayer here). Sometimes we have to ask ourselves, sino ba ako? Who am I? What is my truest identity?

I personally define Self-knowledge simply as knowing my truest identity. And how do I know my truest identity? By seeing myself as Christ sees me.

Tito Edwin shared a passage from John 15:5 in which Jesus said "I am the vine and you are the branches." This means we are a part of Christ and apart from him, we cannot know who we really are. 

Obtaining Self-knowledge needs our cooperation too because it comes from both His grace and our decision to work with Him.

Tito Edwin with the participants.

You are worth more than that

Jesus is said that it is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich man to merit heaven (Matthew 19:24). Well, Tito Edwin said it is not really bad to be rich. Even King David, the beloved of God, owned vasts lands and riches. But what sets him apart was that he was not defined by his wealth. Even if he was rich, he did not let it get to him but he used it to further the mission God gave him. He was charitable with his wealth.  

Tito Edwin reminded us that our worth is more than our physical appearance, fame, reputation, money, and possessions. It is a pity that many people still have their lives defined by these worldly things. If we too are hinged on these things, it will be hard for us to know our truest self. 

Unless you know what defines you, it's hard to be chaste.

It is only through love that we know our deepest selves and fulfill our mission. In the end of this earthly journey, He will only ask "How much did you love?"

"In the end of this earthly journey, He will only ask 'How much did you love?'

Attain Self-knowledge through CARE

Tito Edwin discussed an acronym that could help us attain full self-knowledge. CARE means...

C - onfession

A - doration

R - osary

E - ucharist

He said that a daily devotion to Adoration, Rosary, and the Eucharist and a weekly devotion to Confession can help us know who we truly are.

He challenged us to constantly practice these four activities because practice makes permanent. Also, he insisted that virtue lies outside one's comfort zone. I believe this statement is true. We have to challenge ourselves to get out of our comfort zones to develop firm virtues rooted in Christ.

Lastly, he said "Let others see you change." Sometimes, when we want to be our best selves, our peers may jeer at us but he challenged us to just let them see you. Maybe in their witness of the change in your life, they would want to know themselves better too.

"Let others see you change"

I am my cross

Tito Edwin gave a special advice to us married couples to remind ourselves "I am my cross." 

Sometimes when I fight with my husband, I tend to think that he is the problem or he is my cross. However, Tito Edwin challenged us to change this way of thinking. My husband is not my cross. I am my cross and I can choose to change how I react to the situation. The problem could be resolved not by attacking the other but by improving how I respond to my spouse. 

At the end of the talk, the organizers gave Tito Edwin a Mercy Cafe shirt for his awesome sharing and lecture. His American friend from EWTN also gave a little sharing about how awesome his life is as a father of 10 children in the United States. 

Sky thanking Edwin Lopez.

Edwin Lopez posing with his new shirt.

Our visitor from EWTN shared about his experience as a parent of 10 kids in the US.

Here is a sneak peek at the merienda they gave us. They served pasta, sandwiches, and iced tea. We also enjoyed their choco almond cheesecake, that was teeming with almonds. Yum!

Our snacks.

Being pure in a wild, wild world is not a piece of cheesecake.

Contemplating on purity in a wild, wild world over sweets and coffee.

I hope you enjoyed reading my notes. And I sure do hope we see each other on September 20, 2014 for the 8th Mercy Cafe session, again at Grills N Sizzles, Examiner Street, Quezon City! If you are interested to join, please check out the Mercy Cafe Facebook page  today!



The Catholic Chic

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