By Anthony Geleynse
So this has been a pet peeve of mine for some time now. But I really only decided to write about it a few days ago when it came up again in a discussion with a friend of mine. My friend had phrased a question to me “Do you think guys like girls with long hair or short hair?” Now this was a mis-phrase by her but it brought up one of my biggest pet peeves. Guys don’t like girls because of how they look. Or at least they shouldn’t. Guys like (or should like) girls because of who they are and not what they look like. Our society has warped our understanding of relationships. Nothing is the same anymore because everywhere people look they see famous celebrities. And you know what all the famous women celebrities have in common? They look beautiful. So all the time people are watching these movies and TV shows where all the women are hot celebs and the guys only want to be with them because of that. Suddenly women have this self image that if they aren’t like that guys are never going to like them, they are never going to get married, they are never going to make friends, eventually turning into; they will die sad and alone in a little hovel if they do not look amazing all the time. But newsflash people! Guys don’t care about how you look (at least the worthwhile ones don’t.) Guys care about you because they love you, they like spending time with you, and your just an all around great person! So remember this! It’s not because of how you look, you can look like an ugly hag but guys will still like you. Now of course this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about how you look cause guys still like seeing you look beautiful but remember that it’s not going to be the reason a guy will fall in love with you. A guy is going to fall in love with you because of who you are so be the person God meant you to be and look out for that special person who will come for you in your life.
By: Faith Marie
A couple weeks ago I took my younger siblings to the park for a walk. Most of the kids wanted to venture down a new path, which was narrow and filled with thick trees blocking the sunlight. My 4 year old sister took one look down the path and declared that she did not want to go down the path because she was too scared. When I asked her why she was scared, she just looked up at me with her innocent brown eyes and said, "because I don't know what's in there."
Franklin Roosevelt was right in saying, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself". Many times we have no need to fear, but it is something unknown which frightens us. My little sister's reaction seems like a perfect example of what we all fear: the unknown. She was scared of the path because she couldn't see what was down there, similar to how we are afraid when we do not know what is going to happen. It may sound silly, but it is true. That is why suspenseful horror movies are successful, because they play with our fear of the unknown. Since I am a high school senior, my classmates and I have been afraid of next year, simply because we have no idea what college is really like.
I was reflecting on the concept of fear in my prayer one night, and this is what I wrote in my journal:
"Be not afraid". 365 times you tell us Lord. Yet we still don't hear you. We forget about your infinite power and mercy, your great love and peace. When we forget your greatness, we get scared. And Jesus you know, we do what we hate when we're scared. We coil away from you because we are scared. We don't always do it on purpose, some things just happen which frighten us. But fear is not what you want from us Lord. You hope we always run to you instead of cower in fear. Our hearts are yearning for you alone, Our Savior who vanquishes all our fears. Give us the strength to always turn to you in the face of our fear instead of succumbing to our fear. You make us whole again and draw us our of fear with your outstanding love.
The reason we are afraid of the unknown is because we forget God is taking care of everything. We have no need to fear, because God has planned our lives since before He created us. He is making sure everything will work out.
Mother Teresa gave us the perfect solution when she said "Because I cannot rely on myself, I rely on Him, 24 hours a day."
In conclusion, let us use this motto to encourage us to become saints. Let us make this world so hot that we will catch everybody’s hearts on fire for God. The only way to do that though is to start with ourselves. Let us go out and make a fire that the devil and his demons could not put out, how hard they try.
Author’s note: I would like to thank RebornPureAdmin for her You Tube video called, “Another Critical
Reason Why You, In Particular, Must Become A Saint.” Your information was priceless for this blog.
These are the three "pillars" to Lent, and if you follow through with them, they should make your Lent all the more sweeter. The words can seem kind of overwhelming sometimes. I mean, fasting? I love food; I don't know if I could go without a snack! :) Okay, maybe a snack but still. And almsgiving? What even does that mean?
Well dear readers, continue on to find out. :)
Lenten Tip #2:
PAF is the way to go this Lent.
Prayer: I am pretty sure that we all know what prayer is. But incase you need a reminder, prayer is the direct telephone line to our Creator. Sometimes we abuse prayer by making it a one way conversation. Or a "I want this, and this, and this and oh yeah, this too" conversation. I mean, who likes that?
Almsgiving: Don't feel dumb if you don't know what this word means, I didn't either until my religion teacher told me. Whoops. :) Anywho, according to the Google dictionary, almsgiving is
"Making voluntary contributions to aid the poor."
My definition of almsgiving is pretty much stewardship: taking time out of your day to help others.
Ever feeling down on your Lenten Promise(s)? Just remember PAF and you'll be set!
Praying for you all in your Lenten journeys! :)
All through Christ,
We pray you are all doing well. Glad to announce the release of Fire of the Spirit's latest magazine edition. This edition of the magazine is actually the first of two editions to be released this month. We are trying something new with this edition and have created a mini- edition of the magazine that is much more concise and compact than the normal editions you receive. Make sure to let us know what you think about this mini-edition of the magazine. Thanks so much, God bless.
In Christ through Mary-
Corey Louis and the Fire of Spirit Magazine Team
By Abi E.
What does it mean to be in love with God? What is love? When I said at the beginning of Lent that I wanted to fall in love again, did I realize the statement I was making? These are questions I have been musing over for a couple of days.
I think I'll take the answers slowly.
First of all I think the answer to the third question: When I said at the beginning of Lent that I wanted to fall in love again, did I realize the statement I was making? is yes and no. People who know me, know that I've encountered the love of God in a powerful way. For those that don't know...Well the short version is I was lost and then I was found. The summer of 2010 I fell in love with God for the first time. Since then it's been a journey, with good times and bad times. Which is why I wanted to make the commitment to love again. Again I can't remember the exact Bible verse, but it says something about remembering your first love. And that's what I want to do. Go back to my first love, and go deeper.
One of the missionaries was giving an example of the love of God, and our love for him. She talked about God's love (and our love for him) being like a mighty river. And first you just dip your toes in His river. Then he calls you out a little deeper, and then a little deeper. Each time we go deeper, we learn something new, something more, something deeper about Him.
I think the first and second question go to together: What is love? In the world today hear all about love. Love is fuzzy feelings, butterflies, sex, pleasure, the want of someone. But what is true love? Catholic and Christians tell us that love is sacrificing what I want for what someone else wants. Okay, well that makes sense for people. But how does this apply to me and God? As I sat thinking about this it hit that the answer is really scary.
Giving up what I want for what God wants. If I really mean that I want to love God in that way, that means I have to be willing to change everything for Him. Everything that I want, everything I would like to do. The college I want to go to, the person I want to marry, everything.
This brings me to the second question: What does it mean to be in love with God?
There's another great song that I love that talks about this like climbing a mountain with hands wide open.
Isaiah 2:3 talks about climbing the Lord's mountain, to receive teaching from the Lord. And if we think about climbing a mountain, you need your hands! In this song we have a striking image of not using our hands to climb the mountain. Our relationship with God is complex. On one hand we have to climb the mountain ourselves, because of free will God will not force us. And then on the other hand we have to let God be in control of our climbing, He must help our hands.
This is true love of God, that in serving and worshiping Him we let him guide us. And the only way to do this is through constant prayer.
I would like to continue to talk about these questions, and the answers, throughout Lent. As always I pray for you, as I hope you pray for me.
To Be Continued.
“I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm in arm with Balzac and Dumas….I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously, with no scorn nor condescension.”
- W.E.B. Du Bois
Above, there is a brief quote by a prominent black scholar on why the great works of literature, no matter who wrote them, appeal to universal themes, across cultural lines, across gender lines, across color lines. The fact that most great authors are dead white males is irrelevant. Because the works they write transcend these barriers, so significant to much of humanity, they ought to be studied by everyone, and they have some pearl of wisdom for every situation.
So today, I have compiled for you a list of fiction works which I believe most strongly emphasize those universal themes which pertain to Catholicism. For even if it is so that great works all emphasize universal themes, some focus on certain themes above others, and for that reason can be of greater benefit to the Catholic mind.
So, without further ado, here are my list of six works of fiction every Catholic should read:
1. The Lord of the Rings, By J.R.R. Tolkien
An obvious one to put at the top. Written by a fervent Catholic, who was indeed raised by a priest, this work is full of Catholic themes. The main plot? An ordinary, weak hobbit, accompanied by an absolutely devoted friend, must cross through a land controlled by essentially a demon, to rid himself of a terrible burden that could give the dark lord power, and threatens his morality, character, and sanity. One of the only things which gives him strength on this terrible journey is special white bread, which looks quite ordinary but which refreshes the Spirit, stiffens the body, and prepares one for a terrible struggle. Surely, there is a lesson in that for us all.
2. The Father Brown mysteries, by G.K. Chesterton.
Although written before his conversion to Catholicism, this work by the jolly genius of the 20th century will constantly invigorate the Catholic mind, as it sees even those aspects of it which look commonplace or dull revealed for the truly transcendental salvation which they hold.
3. Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo
I am quite certain that not everyone will agree with me on this one. Victor Hugo had a noted anti-cleric streak, the book is very long, and often rambles about unrelated matters. Nevertheless, I feel it an important work to read. It is the story of ignorance falling into sin, of sin and harshness corrupting a good man, of his path down the road of evil being halted by the charitable act of a selfless priest. It is the story of a man who has sinned attempting to expiate his evil by a life of penance and selflessness. And it paints for us as a warning sign every vice which could tempt humanity, always in disapproving, yet such human terms. It is not an easy read, but it is well worth the trouble.
4. The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis
Another classic of the Christian genre. More a commentary on the spiritual life than an actual work of fiction, it nevertheless has its own plot twists and cliffhangers, as we watch the soul of a young man hang in the balance.
5. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
Little introduction is needed to such a popular work. Here, the themes of redemption, hope and wonder which characterize Christianity, and especially Catholicism, stand out so sharply that they would prick even the dullest mind and heart into an invigorating quest for the truth.
6. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis
At this point the reader may be outraged at seeing C.S. Lewis three times and Chesterton and Tolkien only once. I admit, it is a terrible injustice. And it shall be rectified in part two. But C.S. Lewis has a clearness about his writing that makes him a good intro to the other two. This particular trilogy is a masterpiece, and is explicitly Christian in a way few books are.
In future posts on this topic, look for historical fiction, some more modern books and some books a trifle more in depth . Until then, work on the books I’ve listed. If you have any suggestions for part two, tell me in the comments!
It's the most grueling, hard, peaceful, challenging, and faith boosting time of the year for Catholics. We are supposed to give up something meaningful, but it mostly ends up with us being selfish and brushing off the promise as quick as you can say "Easter."
I bet you know what I'm talking about, but incase you don't the answer is... Lent.
Yay, party! :)
When I was younger, Lent was probably on the bottom of my "Favorite Spiritual Times of the Year" list, probably because I had to give up candy, and some electronics, and stuff like that. I really didn't like how everything looked and felt sad. I just wanted some bright colors and the Easter bunny! :) But now since I'm older, I have really thought about Lent and what it means.
Lent literally means "spring" or "springtide". According to www.catholicism.about.com:
"Lent is a 40-day period of preparation for Easter Sunday and one of the major liturgical seasons of the Catholic Church. A penitential season marked by prayer, fasting and abstinence, and almsgiving."
Lent is probably the most important Church season, despite many younger kids thoughts about Christmas. :) For me, now anyways, Lent is the period of time when people can look back on their wrongdoings, repent, and find a way to make it up.
And as you already now, we give something up. Whether it be an addiction, bad habit, or something that you do everyday, you choose a sacrifice to give up to Jesus. Sometimes it really makes me sad how people put this part of Lent on the backburner.
"Oh sure, yeah, I'll give up... chocolate. Yeah, chocolate." You didn't even think about it. The first thing that popped into your mind was chocolate and since it is already Ash Wednesday, you have to go with it. There's no turning back now...
Lie. The next day you're gorging on your mother's chocolate cake.
Lenten Tip #1:
Think about what you will give up. You need something that will really make you feel the pain. (Not literally :) ) You need something that you will actually miss. It needs to be hard, that's the purpose! Whenever you are needing a little push, just think about what Jesus had to go through. I bet you would rather be nice to your siblings for 40 days rather than be nailed to a cross. Be realistic though! You can always start small and go bigger.
Here are some cool (and crazy) ideas that will really get you thinking.
1. Give up your bed.
2. Give up your pillow.
3. Give up sweets/junk food.
4. Give up electronics (or just one electronic)
5. Give up certain TV shows that you are addicted to.
6. Give up certain apps.
7. Go to one extra Mass every week.
8. Go to confession one time more than you usually do.
9. Take 5-10 minutes each day to reflect on the scriptures.
10. Put a popcorn kernel in your shoe and walk on it all day. (crazy!)
11. Right when your alarm rings, get out of your bed instead of laying there for 10 minutes.
12. Leave encouraging sticky notes in the bathroom, lockers, or anywhere else where someone could see it. (Don't leave too much!)
13. Say the Hail Mary, and do a crunch (or any other excessive) to every separate word.
14. Get some of your peers and head on down to the church.
15. Go to Eucharistic Adoration or Stations of the Cross once a week.
Also, remember it is always good to take up as well as give up. I would suggest picking one thing to give up, and one thing to take up. Go to a private school with a church attached? (or in it?) What a better Lenten promise then to gather a few of your friends and have a little faith group during Lent! All you got to do is invited people, bring your Bible, and then pray with them. It is a good way to help your peers through Lent, and hey! You'll get help in return! (it's a win win :) )
Tonight, ponder about your Lenten promise. First off, think is it realistic? Can I actually go through with this? But also think is it big enough to serve as a challenge? You want it to be hard enough for it to be a challenge, but not too hard to be impossible.
I hope you have enjoyed the first installment in my Lenten series! :) If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or just want to say hi, please don't be afraid to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org !
Have a wonderful Lent! :)
All through Christ,
*"Some, though not all penances taken from http://lifeteen.com/weird-lent-ideas-that-will-make-you-holier/"
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates". (Deuteronomy: 4-9)
- By Abi E.
This has always been one of my favorite passages in the old testament, and I'm not sure if I can put it into words why.
There is obvious joy in the writer's heart. The one who wrote this was excited.
"Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Don't stop talking about Him!
I'm a fan of quite a few British TV shows, I have no problem talking about one or the other, whenever. Sure some people think I'm obsessed and really geeky, but I don't care. I like the TV show.
Am I the same when I talk/think about my Savior?
Wednesday started the season of Lent in the Catholic Church. For about a week before my family and I spent time trying to decide what to give up for Lent. And although I do have things I am giving up, I think this Lent, for me, is going to be a time of my obsession with God.
There is a psalm, what number it is I can't remember, but it says "He is my love, my fortress."
He is my love.
One of my favorite songs is by United Pursuit and it's called "Help Me Find My Own Flame."
I love this song because it's about taking the love of God for our own, and not letting it be "dry bones."
This Lent I'm falling in love again. Please pray for me as I do so.
This is a long post I know, but I want to leave you with the link to the song.
By Michael B.
Seeing as it’s now Lent, and Lent is a penitential season, it seems like the opportune time to talk about something that’s been on my mind for the last week: the agony in the garden.
It’s one we’ve all heard before on the many Palm Sundays we’ve lived through. After the Last Supper, Jesus Christ goes with His disciples to the Mount of Olives, instructs them to stay awake and pray, then goes off to pray Himself, saying: “Father, if Thou wilt, remove this chalice from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done” (Lk. 22:42, Douay-Rheims).
We are told that the suffering experienced by Our Blessed Lord was so intense that, even after an angel came to comfort Him in His agony, His sweat became “as drops of blood, trickling down on the ground” (22:44).
According to Matthew’s gospel, His prayer (Remove this chalice, yet Thy will be done) was repeated three times in all. Here comes the intriguing part. What caused such anguish in Our Lord’s soul that the presence of an angel, the sweating of blood, and a threefold repetition of His prayer were necessary before it was over? That, my dear friends, is what I will show you now.
It would be a mistake to think that Our Savior was merely afraid of approaching suffering and death. To be sure, His physical suffering went to the utter limit of human capacity; to be sure, it caused immense pain, which no one but a person in total union with God (or in our case here, God Himself) could handle. But the anguish in Gethsemane was not related, at least primarily, to upcoming physical pain.
The suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane was the pain of sin. Think for a minute now. How many times have you sinned mortally? Obviously that’s something you yourself will know (at any rate, I don’t want to know). Then, how many times throughout a given day have you sinned venially? How many times have you resolved within the past month or two to never sin again, with the help of God’s grace, only to fall again? How many times have you done this throughout your whole life? I don’t know about you, but I can’t count my own number of times. Then consider all the people presently alive, who sin, have sinned, or will sin, multiple times every day. And all those of a previous generation who have died and sinned either gravely or slightly, from Adolph Hitler to Henry VIII to Thomas Aquinas to the Pharisees to the ancient Egyptians, all the way back to Adam and Eve. And if all those countless sins aren’t enough to think about, consider all those in the future who will sin over and over again who haven’t yet done so, all the way to the end of the world.
Every. Single. Sin. Big and small, public and private, communal and individual, through all ages, past, present, and future. In the Garden of Gethsamene, Our Lord felt that weighing upon His soul—the weight of the world’s sin, and all those who would reject Him and choose Hell, past, present, and future (and if we are to take His words in Matthew 7 at face value, the majority end up doing that).
It must be remembered that the same One who was Almighty God from eternity became really man at the Incarnation. He became really man, and thus, as man, became really finite. He really had emotions, really experienced suffering, and all the knowledge that His suffering was necessary couldn’t mitigate the emotional devastation brought about by sin.
I don’t say this to make you feel unnecessarily terrible, of course. If you’re in the state of grace, praise God, and thank Him for what He went through for you and for the world. If you’re not, think of what was done for you and repent. And indeed, if you think about it, the suffering of the agony in the garden was itself a clear display of the Divine Mercy. No one except a person with an infinite capacity for love could go through that. But it’s very interesting to think about, and hopefully this episode beginning Our Lord’s Passion can light a fire within your soul that will help you persevere more faithfully through Lent. However countless our sins may be, they are not, in fact, infinite, and never can be, and God will always have greater power than they.
God bless, and may the Blessed Virgin Mary keep you under her protection.
Since I had some free time today I decided to throw together a slideshow with pictures taken by some of our photographers pared with some quotes I find very inspirational. Do you have any favorite saint or religious quotes that you find inspiring too? Make sure to share them below ;).
Put together by Corey Louis
'Fire of the Spirit' Teen blog is run by Henry B. To find more information about this blog, go here