Cheating on your future spouse and family: The effects of pornography
I wish I could say that you could go through life and not have to deal with the issue of pornography. Sadly, the culture that we live daily is saturated with sex, and not in the way God fearing way.
The more we see it in our daily lives, the more we become accustomed to it. Grocery store checkout lines, bill boards, online ads, and Facebook run rampant with pornography. And the more the issue is prevalent in our culture, the more we become desensitized to it.
Excuses such as “It’s not like I’m actually physically hurting anybody” or “it’s completely mutual” or “it’s really no big deal” are buzz words around the issue. It is not helpful when the world in which we live and breathe simply reinforces the supposed normality.
Take for instance the move that recently came out staring Leonardo DiCaprio. “The Wolf of Wall Street” was hailed as an ingenious film. The levels of nudity and crass were through the roof. It also grossed over $389 million worldwide against a $100 million budget. Additionally, it was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Scorsese, Best Adapted Screenplay for Terrence Winter, and Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for DiCaprio. And it was pornography for the masses.
What a narrow box pornography is. Instead of opening your eyes to the beauty of God’s creation, you narrow yourself into a thought process where people are objects to be captured in a screen shot for viewing pleasure.
However, pornography is not a moral issue because sex is bad. On the contrary, sex is a beautiful creation from God. Sex was created BY God. So if you think He just sits up in the sky and says “Don’t do this,” “Ohh, wrong move,” thing again. He invented sex. And all things that God creates? Good.
Pornography is not even bad because it shows too much. Instead, as so flawlessly pointed out by John Paul II (are we surprised?), “Pornographic images reduce the person being lusted over to body parts only. There is no dignity when the human dimension is eliminated from the person. In short, the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of the person, but that it shows far too little.”
It takes the beautiful creation of a human being, made in the image and likeness of God, and reduces him or her to parts to be admired.
You are more than parts. God’s creation of your fellow human beings are good. Sex is great. Pornography? Doesn’t even fit in the picture.
By Chloe M.
Elliot Rodger. A twenty-two year old man who took the lives of six victims and himself, while wounding thirteen others.
What is the right response to this incredible act of violence? Dissecting the issue piece by piece and realizing the violent culture in which we live today.
Elliot Rodgers was a mentally ill young man. He suffered from a highly functional case of Asperger Syndrome. This Syndrome is a form of autism, in which those who have an affected view of the their social interactions. However, Elliot's mental health was not unchecked. According to CNN news, he had been seeing a therapist since the age of eight, even up to a daily appointment during the years he spent in high school. Both of his parents were aware of his condition, and monitored his social media postings and general well being.
When posts about suicide consideration and general violence appeared on his social media profiles, his own family contacted the police and asked them to make sure Elliot was okay. In April, six policemen visited Elliot at his home, but found nothing suspicious, and advised Elliot to contact his family and assure them of his mental stability.
The mental health system of the state of California is not broken. In all reality, it worked exactly as it was supposed to. Elliot met with a therapist, his family was aware of the issues he suffered from, and the police even visited his home. The reality is that Elliot Rodgers was a mentally ill person who was bent on the destruction of human life.
On this day of remembrance for our victorious dead, I strongly recommend that you all read Losing the War, by Lee Sandlin. An essay maybe 20 pages long, it makes the case that our wars have been all but forgotten by the American people, in many cases because it was simply too terrible to describe. Although he illustrates his thesis with World War 2, it is still a marvelous essay on the nature of war, drawing from many elements of North European culture. I’ll briefly post a couple quotes from it, and then the link to the essay, should you wish to read the whole thing yourselves. If you want to understand why we are so grateful to our soldiers, then I beg of you, read this.
“When I was taking my survey a friend told me that he was sitting with his father, a veteran of the European campaign, watching a TV special on the 50th anniversary of D day. My friend suddenly had the impulse to ask a question that had never occurred to him in his entire adult life: "What was it really like to be in a battle?"
His father opened his mouth to answer -- and then his jaw worked, his face reddened, and, without saying a word, he got up and walked out of the room. That's the truth about the war: the sense that what happened over there simply can't be told in the language of peace.”
“Around 100,000 Japanese soldiers died on Okinawa -- a few hundred were captured, mostly those who were too badly wounded to commit suicide. About 100,000 of the native inhabitants of the island died as well. Almost 8,000 Americans were killed or missing; almost 32,000 were wounded. And there were more than 26,000 "neuropsychiatric" casualties -- more than a third of the American casualties in the Okinawa combat zone were soldiers who were driven insane.”
“So what did the people I asked know about the war? Nobody could tell me the first thing about it. Once they got past who won they almost drew a blank. All they knew were those big totemic names -- Pearl Harbor, D day, Auschwitz, Hiroshima -- whose unfathomable reaches of experience had been boiled down to an abstract atrocity. The rest was gone. Kasserine, Leyte Gulf, Corregidor, Falaise, the Ardennes didn't provoke a glimmer of recognition; they might as well have been off-ramps on some exotic interstate. I started getting the creepy feeling that the war had actually happened a thousand years ago, and so it was forgivable if people were a little vague on the difference between the Normandy invasion and the Norman Conquest and couldn't say offhand whether the boats sailed from France to England or the other way around.
What had happened, for instance, at one of the war's biggest battles, the Battle of Midway? It was in the Pacific, there was something about aircraft carriers. Wasn't there a movie about it, one of those Hollywood all-star behemoths in which a lot of admirals look worried while pushing toy ships around a map? (Midway, released in 1976 and starring Glenn Ford, Charlton Heston, and -- inevitably -- Henry Fonda.) A couple of people were even surprised to hear that Midway Airport was named after the battle, though they'd walked past the ugly commemorative sculpture in the concourse so many times. All in all, this was a dispiriting exercise. The astonishing events of that morning, the "fatal five minutes" on which the war and the fate of the world hung, had been reduced to a plaque nobody reads, at an airport with a vaguely puzzling name, midway between Chicago and nowhere at all.”
“"The infantryman hates shells more than anything else," Bill Mauldin wrote about the front lines in Italy. His phrasing makes it sound like the men were expressing an aesthetic preference, like a choice among distasteful rations. But "shells" weren't a few rounds of artillery floating in at odd intervals. They were deafening, unrelenting, maddening, terrifying. One fortified American position in the Pacific recorded being hit in a single day by 16,000 shells. In the middle of an artillery barrage hardened veterans would hug each other and sob helplessly. Men caught in a direct hit were unraveled by the blast, blown apart into shards of flying skeleton that would maim or kill anyone nearby. Afterward the survivors would sometimes discover one of their buddies so badly mangled they couldn't understand how he could still be breathing; all they could do was give him the largest dose of morphine they dared and write an "M" for "morphine" on his forehead in his own blood, so that nobody else who found him would give him a second, fatal dose. (One soldier marked with that "M" was Bob Dole, wounded in Italy in 1945; he wasn't released from the hospital until 1948.) Commanders came to prefer leading green troops into combat, because the veterans were far more scared. They knew what was coming.”
By: Henry B.
Please pray for for a friend, 'E', who died in an accident. She wasn't Christian, so please please pray for mercy on her soul and the comfort of her family.
Incline Thine ear, O Lord, unto our prayers, wherein we humbly pray Thee to show Thy mercy upon the soul of Thy servant N., whom Thou hast commanded to pass out of this world, that Thou wouldst place him in the region of peace and light, and bid him be a partaker with Thy Saints. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
"Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come". (Rom*5: 14)
Well this is interesting! I never would have thought looking over our guide would entail me writing so many blog posts; moreover, I never would have thought that asking three simple questions would lead to so many more of them. Although these blog posts on Sacred Scripture may seem unnecessary to some, I am beginning to understand that this overview of Scripture is like being shown how to use a compass, or more formally it is the foundation on which all other arguments or questions we ask will be guided with. For in all reality, without the ability to completely trust the validity of Sacred Scripture, the whole basis for the Christian religions fall apart. If you can't trust your map or GPS how can you expect to reach your target destination? Although I am not entirely sure, I think it is better for me to tackle Bible related questions before all else, because if those remain unanswered it would be futile for me to attempt to find the truth in other religious matters. So with that we have a general destination in mind. It is time we start walking on our journey; the adventure to find truth, reason, and faith has begun. Our first destination really isn't a destination at all, rather, it is the manner we must travel in order to leave this place of 'nescience'. The way being that of 'Typology'.
Biblical Typology- what is it, why use it, and how to see it in action?
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines 'typology' itself as "a study of, or analysis, or classification based on types or categories"(http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/typology). In light of this definition, I wonder what one would reasonably conclude 'Biblical Typology' is? Could Biblical Typology be the 'study of, analysis, or classification of Scripture based on types of categories? That sounds pretty reasonable to me, but let's turn to The Catechism of the Catholic Church and see what The Church has to say on this matter. " The Church... has illuminated the unity of the divine plan in the two Testaments through typology, which discerns in God's works of the Old Covenant prefigurations of what he accomplished in the fullness of time in the person of his incarnate Son" (128). So in essence the Church is teaching that the "Old Testament (OT) prepared the way for the New Testament (NT)" (Beginning Apologetics: How to Read Scripture, 9). Specifically though, the Old Testament, previews the reality of Christ, as is found in the New Testament. "As an old saying put it, the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New" (CCC,129).
“I am sorry.” Heard that one before? Said that sentence before? I would bet you have said that many times during your life. If you have never said that, then you are either REALLY holy or…..you need to get checked up on. On the other hand, have you said it enough? Either way for any of these questions, do you really know what you are saying? By the way, this may seem like a no-brainer, but stick with me.
To start, it needs to be understood why people say it, or really, why they should say it. People say this, is for the plain reason of trying to apologize for what they have done. This sentence is said to try to make things better for the person offended. To put it really short, it is said to try to make things right (at least verbally) after an offense.
Now that we understand the reason for it, the true meaning or significance can now be explained. With our attempt to correct things verbally, one should also be trying to say something else; I wish I had never done that to begin with. Really what your saying is that I was being a selfish brat and only thinking of myself. This is much more important to express. The reason being that to truly mean what you are saying, you’re sadly stating that you have not imitated Jesus Christ’s message of Love.
Up to now, this blog has been on human to human offenses that we apologize for. There is one person that we offend more, personally, than all of our faults against humanity combined; God himself, namely Jesus Christ. This is the reason why he gave us the sacrament of confession, to tell God that we are sorry for our sins. Although this is an outward act:
Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, ‘sackcloth and ashes,’ fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance. (CCC* 1430)
When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: “Simeon, son of John, lovest me more than these? He Saith to Him: “Yea, Lord, you know that I love thee.” He saith to him: “Feed My Lambs.”
Most of us have heard, at one time or another, this passage from Scripture. But many of us may not know what it means. Why did Christ repeat the same question three times? Wasn’t he satisfied with the first answer?
The hidden meaning of this passage becomes extremely clear in the Greek original. Greek had four words for Love: Agape, Eros, Philia, and Storge. Each word for love had its own unique meaning behind it. Agape was perfect, pure, selfless Love, the highest possible form of Love. Eros was more romantic desire, from which we get our word Erotic. It was a form of Love solely romantic, which in many cases turned into pure lust rather than Love. Philia was a form of Love for friend, or a close comrade. Storge was the Love of a family member.
Now, when we read the passage in Greek, armed with our knowledge of Greek types of Love, what do we see?
Christ asks Peter: “Peter, do you Agape me?”
Do you perfectly love me? Selflessly? Totally?
And what can Peter say? He has recently abandoned Christ to his death, and denied Christ three times to save himself. He loves Christ, but he is too overcome by shame to say that his Love is selfless and perfect. So he responds:
“Lord, you know I Philia you.”
“Lord….I love you as friend.”
So Christ asks him again: “Simon Peter, do you Agape me?”
Christ shows him that the difference has not passed him by. And Peter again says: “I Philia you Lord”
Then, for one final time, Christ asks him: “Simon Peter, do you Philia me?”
Christ accepts the limits of Peter’s weakness, and therefore, in a step reminiscent of his incarnation, he brings himself to a weak human level. Peter is conscious of his weakness, and saddened by it. He tells Christ: “You know all things. You know that I Philia you.”
By his three professions of Love, as weak, as imperfect as they are, Peter has expiated his three denials of Christ. This shows us the great mercy of God, who is willing to forgive Peter, who brings to God only part of the Love he wishes he could. God shows us that our contrition need not be perfect, nor our Love complete. We have only to go to him with what little we have, and God in his infinite goodness shall provide the rest.
Perhaps we are struggling with a sin, which we commit over and over again, and we simply feel like we have offended God past the point of forgiveness. Or perhaps we feel that our Love for God is totally incomplete and inadequate. (Which it probably is.)
But God knows this. He knows we are weak, fallible beings, and he has truly infinite mercy upon us. Just try your hardest, and pray for his daily grace, that you may overcome the weaknesses which so overpower you, and he will provide.
"My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God" (Pro* 2:1-5)
How do we read Sacred Scripture?
There are many varying opinions on how Scripture should be read across the countless churches found in Christianity. Some churches prefer to place more emphasis on personal interpretation of scripture while others rely much more heavily on pastoral explanation. First and foremost, however, as Catholics we must adhere to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, when she states " Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written" (111). We must be unmistakably clear in our understanding that that the Holy Spirit is the primary interpreter of Scripture. This very fact is reaffirmed in Jn**14:26, when Christ says: "the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things". This means for us to be able to fully grasp the power and meaning of scripture we must read it in light of the understanding that Scripture was written through an eternal spirit, and is not a simple narrative or myth.
I think we can all agree that any person or object works best, and it's fullest potential is only realized, when it is used for it's intended purpose. As such, "we should read the Bible according to the reason it was given to us; to bring us closer to God by helping us to grow in love for God and neighbor. To understand the Bible correctly we ought to read it with concern for holiness"(Beginning Apologetics: How to Read the Bible, 6). Another important aspect to remember is that the bible is the inspired word of God, and when read with faith it has the power to transform our lives. Also, we ought to not get discouraged if we find we are unable to understand certain sections of Scripture. "We... need to read the Bible with humility, recognizing that we are limited creatures reading the words of the limitless Creator"(7). One must also remember it is foolish to believe the bible is "outdated" or "not relevant" to our lives. The New Testament of the Bible has remained unaltered in written form for over 1500 years, and the majority of the Old Testament has existed for well over 2500 years (more on this in a future blog post). Does this not mean the Bible has been able to pass the test of time, having survived through countless ages of mankind and yet retaining relevancy throughout that time period?
"The idea that "old ideas" are not as not as solid as new ideas is not only stupid, it's dangerously prideful. Old ideas are often far better because they've held up over time... Yes, maybe you have the Internet, but [people from the past] knew how to build pyramids without cranes, harvest crops without tractors, heal without prescriptions, and chart stars without telescopes"(Truth Be Told,81).
Lastly, we must remember to "read the Scripture within the "living Tradition of the whole Church""(C.C.C***, 113). This means we ought to look at the Bible as a whole rather than read it in isolated fragments. As Beginning Apologetics states, "Reading only isolated passages, or taking paggages out of context, can seriously distort Scriptures meaning". For instance, " years ago on a television show, an atheist insisted that the Bible teaches there is no God. As the audience gasped, the Atheist opened his Bible to Psalm 14:1 and read, "There is no God." However, the whole passage reads, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" We should not chop the Bible up into contradictory pieces, but interpret it as a consistent whole"(7). It is important to remember the 2000 years worth of Catholic saints, historians, doctors, and theologians whose insight on Scripture have come before us. Often times we will find that their insights on Scripture have been invaluable in enriching the Church's understanding of Scripture, and as such may prove to be essential in furthering our defense of the faith.
** The Holy Gospel According to Saint John
*** The Catechism of the Catholic Church
"But as you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the Sacred Writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (2TM* 13;14-17)
Why do we need Sacred Scripture?
It has become a common occurrence for people to claim that they live in the modern age, and thus consider scripture and the church obsolete. Why would they need those when they can speak to God personally? Essentially they believe that God is everywhere all the time and is not limited to a single book or a church. This notion, however, is faulty in so far as it denies the truth that "Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit" (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, 9). While it is true that God is everywhere and in everything, I echo Mark Hart's response to this in Truth Be Told when he says, "If anything, we need the Bible more than ever before. It's dangerous to live in any present moment, where you have forgotten your past"(82).
Turning to Beginning Apologetics: How to Read the Bible we find out that "in 2 Timothy 3: 16, St. Paul gives several reasons for reading Scripture: "All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work"(6). It is dangerous to rely solely on our own human intuition to understand the truths of an eternal and ever present being. As Mark Hart states, "What if the God you"think" you know isn't the actual God at all? Many people follow a concept of Jesus that is not historically accurate- a pleasant politically correct, "be nice to everyone" figure of Jesus that is anything but Biblical. Many people ascribe traits to God that are not even remotely consistent with the God of Scripture" (Truth Be Told, 82). Through the C.C.C** we are able to come to the understanding that God is the author of Sacred Scripture and the church relies on faith to accept God inspired the human authors of scripture to write what he desired written (105-106). Lastly, I will turn yet again to Mark Hart and Truth Be Told in depicting the complete and unhindered truth about Sacred Scripture and it's unique personal role in the existence of every human being who has lived and died, is living today, and has yet to come.
"In the Bible you encounter the God of the Universe and see how He moves, thinks, and speaks. You're not merely reading about characters from long ago- you're reading about your very self. The Bible isn't merely speaking to you; it's speaking about you. You are Adam and Eve, standing before God in all your sin. You are Moses, worried about his reputation as he strikes the rock a second time. You are David, putting your wants before God's. You are Esther, deciding whether or not to endanger yourself to protect others. You are Peter, being called to lead even though you're far from perfect . You are the woman caught in adultery, or the woman at the well, or Zacchaeus - being told by God that you have worth regardless of your past.
This is what the Bible offers you... an invitation to know God more deeply. The Bible helps you to "know" God beyond just your head and to engage Him in your heart. Scripture deepens your prayer, enlivens your worship, and makes the sacraments come to life in a whole new way" (83).
* the second letter of Saint Paul to Timothy
** The Catechism of the Catholic Church
"Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the sons of Israel and say to them, "The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?" God said to Moses, "I Am Who I Am." And he said "Say this to the sons of Israel 'I Am has sent me to you'". (Exd 3: 13-14)
So we have begun walking the way of faith, truth and reason. Now is when our mind turns to thoughts and questions about what the first beast we shall tackle is, where lies a monster we shall slay, or how we shall break a curse along our journey. What is the first test of faith, truth and reason we shall encounter? Is it the behemoth known as 'sola scriptura', the perplexing concept of Mary's perpetual virginity, or even the battle over the Eucharistic presence of Christ? The answer to that questions is quite simply a loud and resounding no! Before we can even consider entering into those areas, we must make sure we have a guide we can trust to get us through those areas truthfully and without error. The first battle to conquer is over our guide itself. What is our guide? Can it be trusted? Why do we need it, can't we find our way without it? How do we even read it? The bible, the Holy Scriptures of our faith, shall be the first to be put to the test. Here you shall find recorded the first test that was undertaken with more recordings to follow as the tests are completed.
What is Scripture?
"To understand what Sacred Scripture is, we must first understand what revelation is"(Beginning Apologetics: How to Read the Bible, pg.4). The Catechism of the Catholic Church (this will be abbreviated to C.C.C from this point forward) defines revelation as "God's communication of himself, by which he makes known the mystery of his divine plan, a gift of self-communication which is realized by deeds and words over time, and most fully by sending us his divine Son, Jesus Christ (pg. 897). Being that the Catholic Church teaches that mankind was made in the image and likeness of God, we have the ability to observe things about God through the material universe he created, the natural moral law, and through public revelation. Public revelation comes in two forms: Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Beginning Apologetics states, "Sacred Scripture is divine revelation that was written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Sacred Tradition is divine revelation that was not written down, but which the Church has faithfully transmitted from the beginning"(Beginning Apologetics: How to Read the Bible, pg. 5).
Mark Hart gives a great analysis of how one can be sure if the Bible really is the Word of God and is reliable in his book Truth Be Told. "Countless people try to say that the Bible is "unreliable" or "outdated." Many people.... do everything they can to debunk the validity of Scripture, thinking that if they can exploit seeming "inconsistencies" or supposed "errors," they can somehow do away with Christianity and even God... Faith does not begin with the Bible. You don't use the Bible to prove God's existence... thats likes using the music of Nikki Minaj to "prove" God hates me. No, we begin with God. Once a soul believes in God, there's a decision to make regarding whether or not Jesus is God. Next, one must decide whether or not Christ instituted a Church or not. After that, one must understand that the Bible came out of a living Church (not vice versa)... The Church didn't "come out of " the Bible; the Bible came out of the Church... The Scriptures are meant to be a light, and are designed to not only guide us through the darkness but also to beckon others to safety.
Thus we can define Sacred Scripture as divine public revelation written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the effects of a living church, which is meant to be a light and guide in our lives.
" If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him, nor recognizes him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you." (John 14: 15-17)
I am packing for a journey, a great adventure of sorts. Do you want to join me ? Maybe you're not the courageous type, one to just get up and leave everything you know in an instant. Yet, would you be interested if I were to tell you this adventure encompasses the most riveting war of all time, an impending tragedy that must be prevented, the greatest love story of all time which ends in self-sacrifice, a hope beyond all hope, and all of these events focus on one person and that person is you? Do I have your attention now, are you sure you don't want to come along?
For the longest time we have been told what to believe by our parents, friends, society and even our Church, but at some point we must decide what we shall believe. Why do we Catholics reject 'sola scriptura', believe in the Eucharist, follow the Petrine Succession, teach about the afterlife and Purgatory, preach Mary is the Mother of God and was immaculately conceived, and adhere to the understanding that Christ rose triumphantly over the dead? It is in recognition to these questions and many more that I have decided to put the 'faith' and 'reason' I have always known to the test, and will be sharing this journey, to find 'the Spirit of truth', with you all via blog posts. Here you will find the first of a series of blog posts over the next few months which will entirely be focused on finding truth through Catholic apologetics.
Along this journey I will primarily be using the Beginning Catholic Apologetics by Fr. Frank Chacon and Mr. Jim Burham as a guide, the New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Truth Be Told by Mark Hart. Of course I can't promise there won't be other sources I find helpful and will cite those when appropriate. Anyways, it is time to start walking and journeying for truth. Pray for me, as I pray for you along this journey! I encourage you all to truly journey with me and engage with others in the comment box, friendly debate and discussion is encouraged, ask questions, get messy and above all let us be open to faith, truth and reason.
4.) Spiritual Communion
A Spiritual communion should be one that we should say many times.
My Jesus, I believe that You are in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I long for You in my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though You have already come, I embrace You and unite myself entirely to You; never permit me to be separated from You.
You can find more about Spiritual Communion on catholic.org: See Here
5.) Stations of the Cross
THE PROMISES MADE BY OUR LORD TO THOSE WHO HAVE DEVOTION TO THE WAY OF THE CROSS AS WRITTEN HERE.
Alright these might not be as attractive as the last list, but each one has it place when it comes to graces received. If you have others to share do so in the comments. God bless.
When people think of proofs for God’s existence, their minds usually leap to Thomas Aquinas’s five proofs. Beautiful as his proofs are, they were written for a different age, which valued philosophy in a way our current age simply doesn’t. Our modern age is all about science and feeling (Feeling being for morality, and science being for everything else.), so it is along those lines that argument is best conducted. Many of the philosophical arguments transfer to science, but very few transfer over to feeling. This can make arguing morality and God’s existence a real pain. What arguments can be made to appeal to the modern mind, therefore, should be drawn out, well honed, and kept constantly ready to use.
This brings us to one of the greatest visible differences between us and the animals, our profound appreciation of beauty. Why is it that we are drawn to spend enormous amounts of time and money in the pursuit of beauty? Universally, as soon as a culture becomes even remotely prosperous, they immediately begin to beautify things. Often, all we have of early cultures is their art. Man, even from his earliest beginnings, has yearned for beauty.
What material benefit does this confer? Why don’t we spend our time building things for pure efficiency?
Richard Dawkins, in attempting to counter this argument, claims that many animals are interested in beauty too. He argues that many animals look for mates with brilliant colors. However, often these colors on animals are directly correlated to a balance of hormones within the animal. In essence, the beauty is for use, and not art per se. What it does indicate, though, is a Designer with a great appreciation for beauty.
By Henry B.
The world is an interesting place. It is filled with souls that yearn for God, yet constantly stuff finite objects into an infinite hole in their heart. They subconsciously yearn for God's love, yet don't know where to find it. It will even seem that when you suggest the possibility of God, they shut down.
How do we lead others to Christ without burning down our friendships with non believers? There are many countless ways, but this post will focus on two.
Point number one: Befriend them. You cannot suggest fixes to problems you don't understand all aspects of. If you have a classmate who is constantly bashing the Catholic faith, don't go Rambo on them and demand they respect the Church. Get to know them. More than likely, you have some form of concern for this person's soul, or else you just wouldn't care, frankly. So, if you get to know this person as a child of God. There is something broken in every soul that is the cause of a hatred or lashing out or general life of dependency of sin. But you cannot pass judgement on a person at all. You can judge their sins as harmful to the life of their soul and to their relationship with God, though. Yet it is easier to understand the behavior when you understand the environment.
The blatantly homosexual guy at work? Could have been abused by his dad as a child. The girl who constantly snaps at you everyday in your grocery line? Maybe her boyfriend recently broke up with her and she just feels like a pile of trash. Each of these people is loved by their divine creator, who just wants them to choose Heaven and Him. They won't choose Heaven and Christ if the only example of a Christian just constantly tells them how much they are sinning.
Point number two: Make sure you have what you're trying to give away. If you walked up to your classmates and said, "Hey guys! Doughnut day! Doughnuts for everyone!" then they would probably get pretty excited. I mean, it's free food, it's college, it's common sense. But if you then said, "But I don't have the doughnuts! Don't look at me! Go get them yourself!" they would probably sigh, shake their heads, and, depending on if it's finals week or not, chase you out of the classroom with torches and pitch forks
But if that's the reactions to food, imagine what the reaction is to the claim that you know the Bread of Life. If you preach Christianity to people in your life, but your life says the opposite, don't expect to win souls.
To claim solidarity with the Christian life, but then act hypocritical turns SO many people away. If you say Catholics should act like Catholics, but use contraception in your sexual activity, your life is a contradiction. And people see that. And then they don't listen to your defense of the faith because you're already justifying your own sins.
So, basically, be a good friend and be a holy Christian. It's the Easter season. It's time for a fresh start. It's time to turn our whole lives over to the Lord. Not just the parts we want to give Him....give Him your all. I've heard He runs a pretty decent return rate.
'Fire of the Spirit' Teen blog is run by Henry B. To find more information about this blog, go here