My thoughts; my words

Second Prize Winner of the AlwaysCatholic.com Blogaversary Writing Contest Congratulations, Layna!

 

Monday, April 4, 2011 

Divine Providence In My Life

If one were to walk up to me, and ask me: “What is Divine Providence?” I would say:
“It is simply God acting in the world.” I believe God acts in this world constantly, but so often we don’t open our eyes.
We don’t look for it. There’s a song that I like, and while it doesn’t relate divine providence, the main line in the song is:
“Just open your eyes and see that life is beautiful.” And it is, because God blesses us in so many ways.
Divine providence is always there, we just have to look. There has been some extraordinary ways in which I believe God has worked in my life, and I do believe it’s all been Divine Providence.

I will be talking a little bit about that today. I’ll take you back in time to what my life has been like.
I’ll give everyone a taste of who the real Layna is, on a more personal note. I’ll start around middle school and junior high.

For me, I’ve always been home schooled, but during this period of time I was doing an online schooling program. It was through this online program I got wrapped up in the wrong crowd. And my Faith wasn’t strong at this point. I was basically going through the motions of my Faith. I went to Mass, I went to confession, and that’s about it. Occasionally I would pray, but never devoutly like one should. I had just moved from California to Ohio, and really didn’t have any -true- friends.

The youth group I had -tried- to get involved with, weren’t very “accepting” of me. So, I felt like a complete outcast.
I was going through a dark and lonely time. But, it was this that drove me to pray for good friends. I remember praying for months for good friends, until Summer of 06 rolled around. I was about to start 9th grade, and I remember my dad picking up a church bulletin and it advertised something called: “The Fest” (basically a huge Catholic event with Mass, games, confession, live music, etc.) My dad said I should go, and I was hesitant, because it seemed so out of my element. (This is coming from someone that was into hard rock/dark music at the time.) But, I remember calling the youth minister because he was in charge of this program, and he said he’d love to have me.
For some reason, I was still hesitant to the point where I was basically set on not going at all.

But, a force came over me. A force that said: “Go!” and I couldn’t say no to it. So, I went, and there I met my friends, and other great people that have changed my life for the better.

Especially one person in particular. He’s my best friend. And this person has taught me the true meaning of friendship. I have found that true friendship is not about sharing common interests, or hanging out all the time, that’s only a small portion. It’s about unity with each other through Christ. We are both discerning our vocation, and we have a special friendship because Christ is the center of it. We’re constantly striving to uplift each other. Not always in an emotional sense, but in a spiritual sense.
With Christ as the center of our friendship, we definitely see God working in each others lives, and it’s a beautiful thing.

I also got involved with the youth ministry program, and later on became active in Catholic Scouting.
Scouting is what broke the leadership in me out. And it was Catholic Scouting that “re-perked” my interest for the religious life, because there’s a community of Sisters 10 minutes away from where I live, and that’s where we used to have some of our meetings. I do believe this is the work of God, because if I didn’t move here, meet my friends, get involved with scouting, then I never would have known to take discernment seriously.

Click HERE to read the rest of this prizewinning story!

 

From Layna at My Thoughts; My Words
@Layna_Hess22 on Twitter


Monday, December 27, 2010

A Personal Experience

by Layna at her blog, My thoughts, my words

I wanted to share a personal experience that happened to me back in 2007.
Back then, I was going through a dark time in my life. And I remember one day I was really feeling hopeless. I remember sitting at my desk in my room, and I was on the computer.

I was just sitting there feeling so lonely, and I think I honestly believed that God had abandoned me. It was 8:00ish, and the sun was going down, and then I had this strong urge to look out the window.

I got out of my chair, and I looked outside. And I saw this:
I saw a hand holding a cross. (There was no camera effect/photo editing to this picture)

Please go to Layna’s Blog to see this amazing photograph…


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Music for the soul part 1.

by Layna at her blog, My thoughts, my words

Dear friends,
It’s great to be back. I felt the need to take a break from writing. I’ve been overwhelmed with things in my personal life, and I needed to just take a step back and take care of things. Anyway, I will be catching up on things.. (hopefully).
I have things planned. I want to do a 3 part series.

1. My personal view on gregorian chant.
2. The history of gregorian chant.
3. The Latin Mass.
This post will be about my person thoughts and feelings on gregorian chant, so I hope you enjoy it.

“These qualities [sacredness, beauty, universality] are to be found, in the highest degree, in Gregorian Chant, which is, consequently, the Chant proper to the Roman Church, the only chant she has inherited from the ancient fathers, which she has jealously guarded for centuries in her liturgical codices, which she directly proposes to the faithful as her own, which she prescribes exclusively for some parts of the liturgy, and which the most recent studies have so happily restored to their integrity and purity

On these grounds Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the supreme model for sacred music, so that it is fully legitimate to lay down the following rule: the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the
temple.

The ancient traditional Gregorian Chant must, therefore, in a large measure be restored to the functions of public worship, and the fact must be accepted by all that an ecclesiastical function loses none of its solemnity when accompanied by this music alone. Special efforts are to be made to restore the use of the Gregorian Chant by the people, so that the faithful may again take a more active part in the ecclesiastical offices, as was the case in ancient times.”
–St Pius X, Tra le sollecitudini paragraph 3

More beautiful thoughts at…..Layna’s Blog


Monday, July 26, 2010

“Why Mary?”

by Layna at her blog, My thoughts, my words

“Many people put the Mother of Jesus down as often as they can, thinking that by degrading her they are somehow building up Jesus. They say things like “Mary is dead and can’t help you”, “Mary was just an incubator for Jesus”, “Jesus put his mother down by calling her “Woman, and “If Mary had refused Gabriel, then God would have just picked someone else”. All of that kind of talk is crazy, but they do it because they think that Catholics worship Mary as a goddess, and by putting her down, they are showing Catholics that Jesus is #1. How many people would like it if you said – “I love you, but I really can’t stand your mother”. And how many people regularly put down their own mother to reinforce the fact that their Dad is #1? No one. Jesus called her “Woman” all of the time to let us all know that she is the new Eve (Adam named his mate “Woman”) who’s yes to Gabriel overcame Eve’s yes to Lucifer. “-Catholic Bible 101

So, why Mary?

“And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with sun, and the
moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. And being
with child . . . she brought forth a male child, who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to his throne. . . . And the dragon was angered at the woman, and went away to wage war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God, and hold fast the testimony of
Jesus.”–Revelations 12:1-2,5,17

More…


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Do you see the sin in this world?


Yes, I’m a tad late, but I hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th weekend. Here in Ohio, they set fireworks off early.
So, I saw fireworks on the 2nd. I don’t have a problem with that, seeing as I went to the “Red, White, and boom”–supposedly the biggest firework show in the country. The fireworks made it worth going to. Above is a picture of the actual show. I had a problem with the entire atmosphere, though. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much sin in one place. Well, maybe I have, but for some reason it all really stuck out. It made my soul ache. I felt sorrow for the lost souls that were wandering all around me. By all means, I am not saying that I am better than them. I am a sinner too, but by the grace of God, I know better. I still have the choice to choose wrong, and unfortunately I do make mistakes.
You’re probably wondering exactly what kind of atmosphere was I surrounded by. Well, it was like walking into hell. How does a guy stay pure when girls wear “dresses” that obviously need leggings/pants?! Upper thigh length doesn’t cut it, honey. I hate all the swearing, stealing, random make-out sessions, smoking (this includes cigarette packs stuffed in bras), and disgusting music. You would think that they would at least play better music, seeing as it IS a family event and little kids are around. I guess not. Everyone is so desensitized. Swearing? No big deal, everyone does it. Immodest dressing? Who cares! It’s my body, and if I feel comfortable with my body..why not?! This is the society that we live in.

I went church for 5+ minutes before leaving, and let me just tell you…I enjoyed it so much.

It was like walking from hell into Heaven. Also, another side note–I’ve gone to the March For Life for the past 4 years, and I’ve never had a problem with crowds there. Why? Because I know I’m there for a good cause. Anywhere else, and I feel like I’m being suffocated.

Do you see the sin in this world? What do you do about it? Do you simply walk past whomever is sinning? Do you quietly pray for that person? Do you confront this person face to face? More



Monday, June 28, 2010

Love Letter V


From now on, I’m just going to write “Love Letters” once a month, and post it whenever I can. So it won’t have to be on a Wednesday.

——————

Dear Child,
Remember when you spoke to the Father,
and asked Him to change all things?
Oh, how many years have passed since then. And yet, the Father still remembers your request…because you never ceased to ask. Let us thank the Lord, our God!

—–

Sons and daughters, thank the Lord.
All the works, thank the Lord.
Cherubim, seraphim, six winged and many eyes, thank the Lord.
All ye’ Saints, thank the Lord.
Sun and moon, thank the Lord.

Praise and exalt Him forevermore.

Let us thank the Lord for what good He has done.

For the Catholic Church, let us thank the Lord.
For His Holy word, let us thank the Lord.
For Holy Communion, let us thank the Lord.
For His infinite mercy, let us thank the Lord.
For His abiding love, let us thank the Lord.
For graces brought forth, let us thank the Lord.
For Holy Priests, let us thank the Lord.
For the Holy Father, let us thank the Lord.
For religious women, let us thank the Lord.
Servants of the Lord, let us thank the Lord.

More at “My thoughts, my words”

Layna is an 18 year old Catholic girl that is in love with Our Lord. Her one desire is to share her love and knowledge of God in a simplified way.She is on Twitter @Layna_Hess22. She is author of the blog “My thoughts, my words”. Must reading…



Sunday, June 6, 2010

by Layna at her blog, My thoughts, my words

Mass experience

Today, I realized something at Mass as I was looking at the crucifix.
It’s really something obvious, and kind of one of those “duh!” moments…but it hit me hard today.

Let me start off by saying we all have friends, and friends come and go. Sometimes we will even mistreat each other. I’ve had my share of good friends, and bad. Friends can be a good thing, of course–if their morals are good.

And maybe it’s part of my cynical views, but I believe no matter who you know…good or bad…there’s going to be a chance of someone hurting you in some way. Things change, break-ups happen, friendships sometimes end, and fights happen.

As humans, we were made to love. We want to be loved, and love back.

It’s not fun, but that’s all part of life. More…



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

by Layna at her blog, My thoughts, my words

Retreat experience

Many people have been asking me about my retreat experience, and I haven’t really had time to write about it. I’ve been busy with scouting stuff! But, now that it’s over…I can write.

——————————–

Start of retreat:

Today is the start of my retreat! It first started out with me leaving the house at 1:45, and I got lost. I went back home and studied the map more, and called the Sisters to let them know I’d be late. I left the house, and drove around for a while. Finally, I arrived at 3:05.
All the Sisters were happy to see me. My retreat started out with Sr. Philomena Maria giving me a blessing and also giving me some time to pray. There, I just thanked God for giving me this opportunity to be here. Fridays are a day of fasting for the Sisters, so dinner was skipped.
I just had a piece of bread an an apple.

We did evening prayer & night prayer and I also got to see the Sisters participate in their music class. It was beautiful! Except, it wasn’t really singing. It was more like, gregorian chant in the background while the Sisters said the Rosary. Still, it was beautiful. I think they are working on a Rosary CD for people at the soup kitchen, which is really cool.

I remember when I had my first retreat here….I was nervous and scared for most of it. But not anymore. Even Mother could tell that I was more at peace.

Well, it’s almost 9:00. I’m going to go pray and go to sleep.
I have a full day ahead of me…

__________________________________________

Retreat day 1:

Today was a VERY long day. I woke up at 5:15, got ready, and ate breakfast.

It took me about 30 minutes to eat my breakfast. Not because I had so much food, because I didn’t. I was just enjoying the silence. I was having a conversation with God.

Then, I just started hearing “Be mine…” I’ve been begging God for answers….why would the answers come this soon, though? Could I have been thinking it myself?

And if this is God’s call, then wouldn’t I know it for sure?

Plus…..for 3 months now….there’s been some sort of “unsatisfied” feeling towards everything. Including the Children of Mary. Don’t get me wrong, I feel content here. I don’t want to leave.
I’m just just really confused now. I don’t understand how this could be God’s will if I don’t have 100% joy about it.

Eh, anyway, today I worked A LOT. It was “Ora Et Labora” day—(pray & work day).

So, after Mass and prayers we worked until 11:30 AM. I was mainly busy with weeding..fun stuff! I kinda enjoyed it, though. I sang songs while I worked. Mainly Catholic songs in Latin. Panis Angelicus….Tantum Ergo…..Ave Maria.

11:30 was lunch. There was SO much FOOD! It was ridiculous!
Hot dogs, beans, chips, desserts..etc. After lunch, we worked some more, prayed more, and I made dinner! (Pizza). The Sisters were having a meeting, so they had me cook. Wish I could write more, but it’s almost lights out. Ps. Before I forget, I picked pretty flowers for Mass today. They look beautiful. :) More…

Editor’s Note : Layna Hess writes about her vocation retreat experience with the Children of Mary.



Wednesday, April 28, 2010

by Layna at her blog, My thoughts, my words

Love Letter IV


Dear child,

Do you remember the night you woke up in tears?


It was when the prince of darkness visited.

Oh, your eyes were full of fear.


Oh, but you were wise, little one.

You were scared, but you never did abandon the Son. Faith is what you kept.

You took the pain, and suffered out of love

You’re an inspiration to me.



——————

Holy is He who tends to His sheep.

Holy is He who’s love I shall keep.

Holy is He who never abandons me.

I unite my suffering with Yours, O Lord.
I unite my pain with Yours , O Lord.
I unite my tears with Yours, O Lord.
I unite my aching heart with Yours, O Lord.



Father, the pain is too much to bear today.
Father, hold me.
Father, comfort me.
Father, love me.


Despite my sufferings, I know your love.
Despite my sufferings, I will praise your name forevermore.
Despite my sufferings, I will turn my tears to roses,
though it cuts me to the core.

He who defeats evil, sing praise.
He who defeats evil, adore Him forever
He who defeats evil, is the King of Kings.
He who defeats evil, is my love.

Sing praise to the King of Kings
Adore Him forever.

He who is merciful towards sinners, sing praise.
He who is merciful towards sinners, confide in His rays.
He who is merciful towards sinners, exalt Him forever.

Sing praise to He who is merciful.
Exalt Him forever.

He who thirsts for love, confide in Him.
He who thirsts for love, love Him.
He who thirsts for love, is my God and my King.
May His thirst be satisfied.

Sing praise to He who thirsts for love.
Love Him forever.



The importance of Adoration

by Layna at her blog, My thoughts, my words

? Jesus told Saint Faustina from the Tabernacle, “Love has brought me here, and love keeps me here” (Diary, 576).” To Saint Margaret Mary He said, “I have a burning thirst to be loved and honored by all in the Blessed Sacrament.” ?

God’s promise to us was this:
“I will be with you until the end of time.” (Mt 28:20) and so He is. He is everywhere, but especially in the Eucharist. Not part of Him, but all of Him. His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. His Heart, His sentiments, His mind, His desires, His love. All of Him. He is present, giving Himself to man for love.

The Eucharist is a wonderful gift of love from Jesus to all of men. It’s a reflection of His passion and His suffering. In the book of John, it tells us that Jesus loved us until the end. This means He loved us so much, that He didn’t stop. He took on all suffering and died for our sake. THAT is how great His love is.

It’s unfortunate that our Lord sits there with open arms, wanting to hear from us… wanting to
be friends with us ..and It’s sad when people in my church pass by the library (which is where adoration is currently being held due to remodeling). You don’t have a minute to say hello to our Lord? So often, I think we forget He’s there because we can’t see him.

But, even then..I don’t understand. Wouldn’t the Eucharist be as visual as it gets?
I think it depends. Some may see a piece of bread. Others, penetrate past the fact, and seek truth.

If you’ve ever been to adoration, you would know that stuff happens! No, maybe you won’t have an amazing conversion, but you will feel at peace. You will learn how to love. You will develop a relationship. You learn to listen. You learn patience.

If only you knew the power of adoration, you would not be looking at the clock every second.
You would not be passing the hallway. And, you would not be wanting to leave. Oh, how it saddens me. If you don’t have an hour to spend with Him, do you at least have a minute?

“If souls would put themselves completely in my care, I myself would
undertake the task of sanctifying them, and I would lavish even greater graces
on them. There are souls who thwart My efforts, but I have not given up on them;
as often as they turn to Me, I hurry to their aid, sheilding them with My mercy,
and I give them the first place in My compassionate Heart.” –God to Saint
Faustina.

I used to have a lot of struggles, I wasn’t proud of myself. I wanted to change, but no matter how much I prayed…nothing would happen. I didn’t stop praying though. I desired change more than life itself. I wanted a reason to keep on living, because the way I was living made me feel dead inside. Anyway, I did have a conversion. It was back in September, at the Eucharistic Congress of 09. It wasn’t during adoration, but during Mass. Every day since then I have strived to live only for God. I just remember crying and gazing upon the altar and thinking to myself:
“I want to live for You, God, and only You.”This desire within me has not changed.

I also used to struggle with anger. I suppose going to adoration has nothing to do with me finally being at peace.

You won’t ever be able to convince me that Christ is not present in the EUCHARIST!

It’s more than just a piece of bread. It’s everything. It’s the body, blood, soul and DIVINITY of my Lord and Savior.

On this Divine Mercy Sunday, set aside time for our Lord. Experience His great love and mercy.

Layna is an 18 year old Catholic girl that is in love with Our Lord. Her one desire is to share her love and knowledge of God in a simplified way.She is on
Twitter @Layna_Hess22

2 Comments to “My thoughts; my words”

  1. 1. Thank you for posting my writing!

    2. In my “Retreat article” I realized something…

    Editor’s Note : Layna Hess writes about her vocation retreat experience with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

    ^^^ That is not correct, I was with the CHILDREN of MARY.
    (www.childrenofmary.net)
    You probably got a tad confused because I have the Dominican Sister’s link on my page.
    It’s no big deal though. Just wanted to point it out. :)

  2. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS! :) You’re a Godsend!

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