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May 1

What is love? About love and sex

I wrote this note on Facebook years ago when I was still a Director of youth ministry, but the article linked to below really brought it back to my mind. It’s amazing how close our two lists of 7 things are! The things that Emily Stimpson is saying are absolutley true I encourage everyone to read what she says.


The following is what I wrote about love in 2008 and it is truer now than it ever has been before. I stand by what I said then 100%. I’m not down on love. I love love, especially now that I am married and have my own son on the way (who is due literally any minute now as I type this blog). So take a minute and read about what love is, really. What is a relationship? Not our cultures answer to the question “What is Love?”.


Our Own Worst Enemy: by Emily Stimpson

REAL LOVE


I’ve read a lot lists floating around social networks, and they mostly make me sick to my stomach. Our culture is perpetuating the idea that physical intimacy is what Love is all about. This is categorically false. Although physical intimacy has it’s place in your love life it absolutely does not define it. This right here is the REAL love list. Women, if a man treats you this way you have found love forever not “Until BOREDOM do us part” or “until menopause do us part” You ready for this? Here we Go!!


1. Real love is an intimacy of the mind. You should feel completely comfortable not touching your significant other while in the same room, but just enjoying each others company. If you have to touch your significant other every second you’re in the same room your relationship is not strong enough mentally, so you crutch on what’s easy the physical.


2. If you have real love for your significant other you should make them the only person you are intimate with. But if you are sexually intimate with every person you fall in love with none of those people are the only person you are intimate with. Real Love is forever, and forever goes in BOTH DIRECTIONS folks, not just into the future.


3. REAL Love IS NOT happy with you the way you are. Real love challenges your partner to become a better person real love helps them every day to become the best person they can be, and real love, REAL LOVE, expects the same from them, not complaining when out of Love they try to help you overcome your faults.


4. REAL Love is a DECISION not an emotion. It begins with an emotion, but REAL serious Love, the kind that includes things like sex and marriage, is a decision. A decision that lasts “until DEATH do you part”. It won’t be easy, and at times you will want to walk away but you make the DECISION to never do that no matter what. If you can’t man up, and commit yourself, FOREVER, to the happiness of the beautiful woman who wants to be with you, THEN KEEP YOUR JUNK IN YOUR PANTS! Because you are not worthy.


5. (ladies) Real love respects the man you will be with. You wouldn’t flaunt your body to others if you were married. Why are you doing it now? If there is real substance to you in your heart and in your head guys are going to notice. Guys don’t need you to highlight your physical beauty… we’re pretty good at noticing it no matter what you are wearing, and if we don’t find you physically attractive no amount of thongs, makeup or short skirts is going to change our minds in fact it usually makes it worse :) You start jiggling things around, and wearing nothing but a piece of yarn and you are going to attract a terrible person who will take advantage of you and kick you to the curb for the next jiggly thing he sees. You are beautiful and deserving of everything love has to give. Don’t cheapen yourself, and spend your life chasing after guys who aren’t capable of really loving you.


6. REAL love is about appropriate SEX. It’s about seeking real intimacy with the one you love. Sex does and always will permanently connect you with your partner. That’s half the point! (the other half is making babies) Sex unites a man and a woman to each other for the purpose of STRENGTHENING their love, and bringing children to the family. Not creating love, or turning like into love, but strengthening something that already solidly exists, giving it the ability to last forever. If you pass around the pie to everyone who’s hungry nobody feels special, especially you. There is nothing left for you to give once you’ve given away sex. No way of showing your Love that they are more special than anyone before them.


7. People encourage girls to save sex for a special night like Prom or Homecoming with you’re boy friend that you “Love”. Question… Why would you want that night with your high school boyfriend to be more special than your wedding night with your future husband? Saving your self for prom or your one year anniversary, or until you get engaged… that is a bastardization of what is good and truly meaningful. Which would be saving yourself for the most important human being in your life.


People wonder why our divorce rate is so high. People say oh it’s because people aren’t having their happiness suppressed any more by out dated concepts. That is absolutely BULL and you know it. Our divorce rate is so high because we are becoming more and more of a selfish people. Our personal happiness is becoming the most important thing to us. Stop for a second, and think about the kind of person you want to spend the rest of your life with. If you were their only sexual experience you would be their best sexual experience, and not only that you would share something between each other that no other person has ever known. These are the sort of things that make marriages last, and these are the only sort of things that can be called true unselfish Love.


There it is. You got a problem with that? Give me an ear full. I love love, but love is hard work it’s not like a movie. The sooner you get over yourself and realize that it’s not about you or your happiness at all, it’s about YOUR PARTNERS, the sooner you will have the capacity to actually Love with true devotion. Then you will be ready to be a husband or a wife.


Pass this on to somebody that you love not because anything bad or good will happen to you next week if you do (because any message that claims that is garbage), but because if you love to love and believe this you should desire it for your friends. That they have true happiness and Love. That is what love is.

This Eucharist - by Jethro Higgins (Catholic worship song)

Warning: This post is SUPER Catholic. This is a song I wrote for Eucharistic adoration when i was a youth minister and playing in the church band. It is a pretty authentic picture of how the Eucharist makes me feel. Feel free to learn it and play it for church activities. For any other purposes please seek my permission. Below you can read the lyrics.





V1: In this Eucharist gift of body and blood I am overwhelmed and over joyed and filled with your Grace my God, And in the breaking of the Lamb that was slain my knees hit the floor and I beg once more to be worthy of this gift of the Lord.


Chorus: I am not worthy Lord but only say the word and I shall be healed by the grace of my God. I am not worthy Jesus but that-a which God has made clean we are not to call profane.


V2: In this Sacrament we touch the living God and not the same and I am not ashamed to say I can feel the change and in my heart I know I become a temple of the Lord and dwelling with in me is the holy one the Savior whom I adore.


*Chorus*

It’s not just a sign! Not merely bread and wine! It’s so much more! Bread can’t hear the cry of the poor!! Hallelujah Hallelujah


*Chorus*

Amen. Amen. Amen. I do believe you Lord my God.

Why Suffering?: About God, is pain bad or good?

You’ve got a few minutes right? I mean you’re on facebook killing time… walk with me for a while. visit each link before you move on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kmVyiuA6DY

APOSTOLIC LETTER
SALVIFICI DOLORIS
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
JOHN PAUL II
TO THE BISHOPS, TO THE PRIESTS,… See More
TO THE RELIGIOUS FAMILIES
AND TO THE FAITHFUL
OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
ON THE CHRISTIAN MEANING
OF HUMAN SUFFERING

- 1984 (the beggining of his papacy long before his great suffering at the end of his life)

"This is the origin also of the present reflection, precisely in the Year of the Redemption: a meditation on suffering. Human suffering evokes compassion; it also evokes respect, and in its own way it intimidates. For in suffering is contained the greatness of a specific mystery. This special respect for every form of human suffering must be set at the beginning of what will be expressed here later by the deepest need of the heart, and also by the deep imperative of faith. About the theme of suffering these two reasons seem to draw particularly close to each other and to become one: the need of the heart commands us to overcome fear, and the imperative of faith—formulated, for example, in the words of Saint Paul quoted at the beginning—provides the content, in the name of which and by virtue of which we dare to touch what appears in every man so intangible: for man, in his suffering, remains an intangible mystery."

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_11021984_salvifici-doloris_en.html

Fr. Stan Fortuna unpacks Pope John Paul the Great’s beautiful message to us on the meaning of suffering. Why we must suffer, and what is gained by suffering. The link is only to part on out of 10 but I encourage you to watch all 10.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNCTV4gT45U

Fr. Stan raps his holy head off about the human requirement of suffering…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgZbP8nddhU&feature=related

Some people have a pretty Holy response to the endless suffering they see in this world.

Rightous B:

Who they are:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TrapvVxlHo… See More

What they do:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DotxtQFTGA

Pain is as close to you as the air you breath. This is the fact of life, but through this pain and suffering God molds us and shapes us into something far greater and far more worthy and blessed than we could ever imagine. There is beauty and benefit in humble, GRACE-full suffering, the virtue and vehicle by which we overcome the various forms of evil that plague our lives and this world. This is why the Faithless, the Hopeless, the LOVE-less, can’t cope with suffering in our world… because they cannot bring themselves to believe in the existence of objective evil (or good). The question is not, “If God is good, why is there suffering in the world?” THE question is…”God is good period. Why can’t I deal with the reality of evil productively by allowing suffering to increase MY OWN virtue, and allowing that suffering to make me a light of Hope along the path toward righteousness for others…?” (Inspired by Pope John Paul II the Great, and Fr. Stan Fortuna’s youtube discourse on suffering)

"Modern rationalism will not tolerate mystery" (Fr. Stan discourse part 2)

Embrace your cross and walk with Christ.

May God’s LOVE bring meaning and blessing in the sufferings in your life, and may God bless you all this week.

Your Brother from a Holy Mother,

Bible Study: Reason, Faith and Science

Bible Verse to Think About This Week: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes, fear the LORD and turn away from evil; This will mean health for your flesh and vigor for your bones.”

- Proverbs 3:5-8

The verse above is from the New American Bible translation, however when I was searching for a verse for the week I was reading the Catholic NRSV translation, and although the message of the passage is nearly identical, one word in particular strikes me in the other version. In the first line instead of the word intelligence the Catholic NRSV translation says ‘insight’. In our world today man has become obsessed with hypothesizing and theorizing. We as a species become aware of a small fact and immediately our minds run wild with possibilities. For this reason I thought insight was a much more revealing word for the message of this passage. Insight as apposed to intelligence implies that the occasion for sin is not in what we do know, but in what we think we know. We are being warned in this passage not to rely on what we think we’ve “figured out”. God’s truth and God’s plan transcends even the facts of our physical world. So how could they not also be greater than our inferences upon those facts?


Our world tries to explain away God through science (which is a joke it’s like using a perfectly manicured lawn to prove gardeners don’t exist). We see skeletons of animals millions of years old, and we infer that God didn’t make animals, but evolution did. However this theory has one major flaw, among others. That flaw is that there is no such thing as God didn’t, or God can’t. Everything in the universe was created, planned, designed, and executed by God. No matter how it actually happened one thing is for sure, it happened exactly the way God wanted it to. Just because you think you can explain how a miracle happened doesn’t make it less of a miracle. Science can not and will never be capable of disproving God. This is because God works out side of the limits of time and space. Mark Hart does a very good job of explaining this concept in this video clip please click here and watch it before continuing on.



God’s plan is so much bigger than everything, all together, that has ever been thought through out time. No amount of human reason or logic or scientific inquiry could ever do more for you than abandoning your whole heart to the plan and the will of your creator. Nothing is healthier or more freeing than that simple act of placing your trust in God instead of man. It is the safest bet in the world to always go with God. God created and shaped the rules by which we carry on our very limited intellectual pursuits. Who are we to challenge the mind of God? By all means allow yourself to question your faith, but when you have questions never stop seeking godly answers until you find them in Christ. Not in spite of Christ.


"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes, fear the LORD and turn away from evil; This will mean health for your flesh and vigor for your bones."

- Proverbs 3:5-8

Challenge:


Several years ago during my senior year of high school I was strongly in favor of the death penalty. I knew what the church taught on the consistent ethic of life, but I had weighed the issue, and made my own decision about what I thought was right and wrong. When I returned from an amazing religious experience I reevaluated what I believed. I still thought for a very long time that I was right about the death penalty, and although my personal feelings were in favor of it I forced myself to change my mind. Because I recognized that I was the one who must change not the Church, and definitely not God. It became more important for me to be in line with God’s plan than to hold on to my personal insights. Now I don’t tell you this to toot my own horn believe me there are many other aspects of my life that could have used this same approach . The reason I tell you this is because we all have an issue like this. No matter how dedicated we are to the Catholic Church everyone has that one thorn in their side issue that they really want to be right about at all cost (even at the cost of loosing their faith). Maybe for you it is Abortion, or sex before marriage, or homosexual marriage, or female priests… Here is the point and also the challenge. Anything contrary to the will of God is foolishness, “On your own intelligence rely not.” Conform your reason to the will of God. To use your reason to arrive at the truth as you see it is foolish if that truth is contrary to the teachings God gave us. this is because God is the father of reason it’s creator, and it’s perfecter. No matter how much you think you are right…just give in to the concept that in a battle of wits between you and God… God wins every time. God’s plan is so much bigger than your opinions on an issue. This could take time I’m not expecting anybody to make progress in a week, but just let that settle in your mind or your journal perhaps for the year.

Oh and FYI it took me over a year, but God made straight my path. I conformed to the consistent ethic of life. I truly believe in my heart that life is precious no matter when where or why it is. God helped me to alter my perceptions. Don’t let the paths of your personal opinions distract you from your journey with God.

God Loves you, and so do I !!

Your Brother from a Holy Mother,

(Source: lifeteen.com)

Bible Study: Isaiah God and a paradox of space time

Scripture Verse for the Week:


"See, my servant shall prosper, he shall be raised high and greatly exalted. Even as many were amazed at him— so marred was his look beyond that of man, and his appearance beyond that of mortals— So shall he startle many nations, because of him kings shall stand speechless; For those who have not been told shall see, those who have not heard shall ponder it."

Isaiah 52: 13-15


"Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; There was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him, nor appearance that would attract us to him. He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, One of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem. Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; But the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all. Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth. Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people,A grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, Though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood. (But the LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity.) If he gives his life as an offering for sin, he shall see his descendants in a long life, and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him. Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear. Therefore I will give him his portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty, Because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked; And he shall take away the sins of many, and win pardon for their offenses."

Isaiah 53:1-12


I know what you’re thinking, ‘Why didn’t he just write out the whole book?’ I thought about it. I love Isaiah. All the prophets are cool but Isaiah has a special place in my heart, and I’ll tell you why. Right after I tell you a bit about Isaiah :). Isaiah is actually the writings of three separate prophets. First Isaiah is the original prophet his career began around 742 B.C. The other two “Isaiahs” were actually reteaching the original prophets message to a different group of Israelites between 590 and 500 B.C. This passage comes from the 2nd Isaiah who’s contribution to the book was chapters 40-55. Ok so now on to why I like Isaiah so much. Isaiah’s words tell of the coming of Christ over 500 years before his actual birth. Most people are aware of this, but just stop for a second and really think about that. This text was written 500 years before the birth of Christ, and that is a scientific fact. That is what makes Isaiah’s descriptions of the passion so amazing. It’s as if he were watching the passion as an eyewitness. He talks about the Lords stripes from the lash of the cat of nine tails. He talks of how Christ was marred beyond human recognition. Other passages of Isaiah go into further depth of describing how Jesus would die on a cross. It amazes me beyond belief how a man over 500 years before Christ could so accurately describe his life and death. Isaiah is unmistakably inspired by God. Beyond this though I feel that Isaiah gives us a deeper understanding of God and time. In many places Isaiah speaks the words of Christ, and they refer to the Passion in past tense. The Israelites must have thought Isaiah was nuts! They were probably mumbling under their breath to each other. “Why’s this guy talking about the future in past tense? Coocoo…” The meaning of the tense is two fold. Not only does it show us that for God time is past present and future all at once, but it also gives the entire book a deeper meaning for us. Isaiah’s message though spoken 2500 years ago was meant to be passed on until after Christ’s death as proof of the fullness of God’s plan for our salvation. Isaiah literally wrote these words for us to hear now not Israelites 2500 years ago but us today. Isaiah really helps us to bring together the big picture of God’s plan, it helps us to understand a little bit about how God works. Isaiah is a very important stepping stone to understanding salvation history.

Bible Study: God, why does evil and suffering exist?

Bible verse to Think About This Week:


"God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day."


Genesis 1: 31


If God looked out at all that he created and saw that it was good, why is their so much evil in the world? Why do bad things happen to good people? This is a very complicated question. Every Christian at some point comes face to face with this problem. It is important for us to remember that God is not the creator of evil. God merely allows evil to exist. To understand why he would do that we need to first understand what evil is. Evil is not the opposite of good. It is the lack of good. Think of good like water, then think of a cup. Empty is not a substance opposite to water. It is merely a state of lacking water. This is the same as the relationship of good and evil. Every Sunday during Life Teen we say, “God is Good!”, and God truly is good. Therefore evil is simply a lack of God. Evil acts are empty of that goodness which is God. Now we are forced to ask another question; Why would God allow acts that are empty of himself, and thus allow evil? (read C.C.C. 310 - 312) So if you actually stopped to read those Catechism references then you read the bit about freewill. We were given the amazing gift of free will. We have the ability to choose what we believe, and to choose our own actions. God could have created us like slaves, but he wants us to be able to choose him. Hand in hand with that we also must realize that our world is in a state of journeying. This means that it is ever changing and evolving, and headed towards ultimate perfection at the end of time when evil will be wiped away. The existence of Moral evil in the world is always a direct result of our expression of the freewill God gave to us and to the angels. God allows this moral evil because it brings about our ultimate decision to follow or deny God himself. So through the free expression of our will we can make decisions that fill our souls (the cup), actions in accordance with the will of God, or we can make decisions that empty our souls, actions that empty us of God. Then at the end of our journey God will examine our cup, and through a lifetime of decisions we will have either filled our selves with God or left ourselves empty. So to go back to our original question; Why does God allow Evil in the world? He doesn’t. You do. And I do. God left good and evil up to us. God could eliminate evil in the world but he has chosen to allow it for the good that he can bring from it. (C.C.C. 313) Without our ability to choose evil we would never be able to choose good, and we would cease to be made in the image and likeness of God. Evil comes from our abuse of God’s gifts, it is not a creation of God. Free will only remains intact if you can freely choose to do evil.


"God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day."


Genesis 1: 31

Challenge:

Alright here is the challenge you need to do this on Saturday. Hopefully you have developed a habit of praying before bed, but if you don’t take some time this Saturday and quiet your mind. Before praying examine your week in your mind. Imagine every action through out your week as adding or removing a drip of goodness from a cup. When your mind finds its way back to Saturday night examine your cup for a moment in your mind. From this point… pray the way your heart tells you to.



God Bless!!!


Your Brother in the Holy Mother,

Catholic and Orthodox Bishops Pray for LIFE

During this year’s March for Life an unprecedented event took place. Catholic and Orthodox bishops bridged the Millennium wide riff between them and joined in prayer together in support of the pro-life event at the nation’s capitol. Some might be tempted to over look this monumental step by the two oldest expressions of the Christian faith. That would be a mistake. Joint prayer between the two is a rare occurrence. The most notable time in recent history that Orthodox and Catholic bishops were seen praying together was the funeral service for pope John Paul the Great. Below is a video of the monumental joint prayer at this year’s March for Life.





Many in the crowd for the March for life were very moved by the experience, but some seemed to not understand the magnitude of what was happening on the stage. As I sat there enthralled camera phone rolling I was disappointed to see a man walking threw the crowd shouting, “T-shirts for sale! $5 get your march for Life T-shirts!” while everyone was silently praying.

The March went on to feature the usual hour of senators and representatives sharing their enthusiasm and doing just a little bit of campaigning. However following the long speeches and a lot of standing around the crowd took to the streets marching through the National Mall it was a site to behold as you can see below







Clergy and politicians alike walked the streets of DC in support of human rights. However there was a bit of pushback by many local pro-life supporters who did not attend this years March for Life because the event was held midweek. Many professionals in the area were unable to leave work to attend the event. I spoke to a couple executives from local companies that wished the organizers of the March for Life would change the date of the event for next year.


There is a strong desire among many supporters for the event to be held during the Spring or Fall when weather conditions could attract a much larger crowd. The organizers chose the dead of winter for the March for Life to show the resolve of the pro-life movement, but a much stronger message could be sent by many more people attending. We will have to wait and see if the event is rescheduled next year. Until then let’s all join the catholic and Orthodox bishops and work toward fostering greater unity so that we might stand strong together against the unjust killing of the pre-born.

(Source: youtube.com)

Apr 7

<h1>Bible Study: The Board and the Spec</h1>

Scripture verse for the week…

"Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you."
Luke 6:37,38


How often do we judge our neighbor? Judgments have become an everyday thing for us. “He’s a creeper”, “She’s a know it all”, “He’s a liar”…. etc… In this chapter of Luke Jesus tells us that the measure by which we measure will be used to measure us. That simply means that God will treat you as you treated him. Don’t forget that God is in all of us. We are Christ’s living body or as St. Therese would say we are little Christs called to live like Christ because Christ dwells within each of us. So when we judge our neighbor… we judge Christ. When we condemn our neighbor we are condemning Christ. When we pigeon hole our brothers and sisters into a category that we think they belong in or dwell in negativity towards a person we not only do this to Christ as well, but we rob them of their dignity as a human person. Christ called us to Love like he loved, and he loved you so much that he died on a cross for you, and for each and every human person. Picture the weirdest, ugliest, most sinful, or most “screwed up” person you can. Get a real good mental image of this person. Ok got it? Now would you willingly give up your life for that person? Would you even give up drinking, or watching TV, or sarcasm for that person? Would I? Would any of us? It’s easy for us to say yes to these questions and feel good about ourselves, but would we really follow through or are these just words? I think the truth is that more often than not we would rather love ourselves and have our way than truly love our brothers and sisters. However, every moment… of every day…EVERY person deserves to retain the fullness of their dignity as a human person, their dignity as the beloved of Christ. Our job is not one of condemnation, or judgment, as Dane Cook would say, “I’m not the Lord. I can’t do that.” God called us to Love and forgive. He loved and forgave every person who had a hand in his death (“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” -Luke 23:34) how petty are you and I then, that we can not forgive each other for the smallest thing, or love each other in spite of our flaws? Those two things, Love and forgiveness, just might change somebody’s life forever. In fact they just might save somebody’s life. God promised that if we give (and giving means sacrificing and dying to self) he will pour his overflowing gifts upon us. But, when we steal that dignity from our neighbor we measure them with a small cup. God will measure his gifts to us with that same cup.

I don’t know about you, but I want the biggest cup I can have of things like; Mercy, Love, Justice, Peace, Grace, Salvation and Eternal Life…etc… I’m talking bigger than the 100 ounce Mountain Dew cups Travis, Nick and I bought at the fair. But again let’s go back, what am I measuring my forgiveness and Love with?

Later in this passage Jesus tells us to remove the board from our own eye before we worry about the spec in our neighbors. There is no room in the body of Christ for casting dispersions. We are all in need of the saving power of Christ’s love and forgiveness. The personal problems we have with others are actually just failed opportunities to share that Love and forgivness on our part.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” Luke 6:37,38

We Pray… Lord God, as summer slowly comes to a close, and the school year creeps up upon us, let us prepare our hearts and our minds to measure our neighbor with a God sized cup. Help us to see the dignity and beauty in every human being as well as your very Life, which is your Grace, dwelling within them. Guide our hearts and minds from judgment and condemnation into forgiveness and love. We pray through the intercession of Saint Michael the Archangel that you drive away the evil that desires our hearts, and causes us to dwell in negativity. Saint Michael, Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell Satan and all evil spirits who prowl the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

Challenge… This week challenge yourself to recognize one person you may have injured through judgment or condemnation. Don’t pick somebody that you already feel like you have wounded. Try to recognize for the first time how your actions may have robbed somebody of their dignity, and once you have a person in mind dedicate at least 5 minutes to praying for this person, and for the strength and faith to bring Love and forgiveness into your relationship with them.

May God Bless you all this week, and may the remainder of your summer vacations be filled with relaxation and enjoyment!

Your Brother from a Holy Mother,

Apr 6

Bible Study: Even the Devil Believes in God

Verse of the week:
"as it is written: ‘There is no one just, not one,there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God.All have gone astray; all alike are worthless; there is not one who does good, (there is not) even one.Their throats are open graves; they deceive with their tongues; the venom of asps is on their lips;their mouths are full of bitter cursing.Their feet are quick to shed blood;ruin and misery are in their ways,and the way of peace they know not.There is no fear of God before their eyes’.” -Romans 3:10-18

I was only going to take a portion of that verse, but the whole quote is so good.  It’s a pretty humbling statement, and it is meant for all of us.  I was going to take this time to mention something about “The Golden Compass” a movie coming out this week, but in looking for a bible verse to shed light on the subject I found this.  What St. Paul is trying to tell us here is that we are all sinners.  From the most radical Traditionalist to the most liberal “atheist” we have one thing in common, and that is our sinfulness.  Paul spends 7 chapters in the book of Romans telling us that humanity is completely lost to evil, but saved through Christ Jesus.  That humility is an important thing to hold on to.  You would do well to keep it close.  In the eye’s of Christ we are all sinners redeemed by his blood.  We’re all in the same boat.  

Speaking of boats I’ve got a little beef with a certain compass, “The Golden Compass” to be exact.  I would recommend that nobody go to see this movie.  I pointed out last week that we should vote with our dollar on movies with morals such as Bella.  This movie is the exact opposite.  Based on a best selling novel championing “atheist” ideals this story is quite literally the anti-Narnia.  Like Narnia by C.S. Lewis this story line depicts a small girl, and a wardrobe, and sentient animal creatures, but there is one very important distinction between the two.  In Narnia the lion Azlan takes on a Christ like role, and models the Sacrifice, and resurrection of our Lord.  However  “The Golden  Compass” is an open challenge to faith, and most especially to the Catholic Church.  The evil antagonist entity in this movie is called the Magisterium.  Sound familiar?  It should that is the name of the ruling body of our Church.  The most horrid thing about this story line remains in the book, but has been removed for the movie do solely to marketing research.  In the book the children kill God, and this is depicted as salvation for humanity. 

If you want to find proof of St. Paul’s point in our Bible verse this week look no further than “Atheism” as expressed in this abhorrent movie.  This is exactly what all of us would be like without the salvation of Christ.  “Atheism” can be tempting championing free will above all other things, but what makes our free will so special is our ability to restrain our selves from our desires.  If you use your free will to always do what you desire then you have really just given up your free will.  When we choose God’s plan over our own desires we are truly freed from the enslavement of our sinful human instincts, and desires.  Only through God can we see that what our media, our culture, and our atheist neighbors call freedom is truly the worst kind of mindless slavery. 

You may have noticed and been curious why I keep putting “atheist” in quotes.  The reason is that a true atheist does not exist.  Every human being is imprinted with a desire for God if you want some proof of that read the first third of the Summa Theologica.  The whole first third outlines the relationship between God and Man.  In a nut shell when we were created God imprinted on us, out of his great love, the desire to seek him, and to know him.  For this reason every nation every tribe of humans on the planet has some form of religious expression.  Every one is seeking God.  The truth about an “atheist” is that he is angry at God, angry at his lot in life or angry that he must follow morals to be a good person.  These people lash out against God, but to lash out at God, one must first believe in him.  There is another word for these people that is more fitting that word is agnostic, meaning that they believe the truth about God to be unknown, or unknowable.  Nobody believes in nothing.  I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes, “Even the Devil believes in God.” 


Challenge:
Every one who didn’t go see Bella yet really should, and read the reviews for both Bella and The Golden Compass @ Lifeteen.com.  But most importantly don’t go see The Golden Compass, and incourage your friends and family not to as well.

God Bless!!

Your Brother in the Holy Mother, 

Apr 6

Bible Study: Roe vs. Wade Abortion Pro-Life

Hello everyone!!

Today is a day of Fasting for the many who have fallen victim to legalized abortion.  1/3 of your generation is missing.  Friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, class mates, team mates… all gone.  Since 1973 there has been no greater cause of death (by an extremely wide margin) than abortion.  Most studies stopped counting in 1998, but there have been well over 40 million abortions since 1973, probably closer to 50 million, and that number is for the United States alone. 

Scripture Verse of the Week:
"We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, cheer the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient with all."
                                                                        1 Thessalonians 5:14

       This is the 5th day a week of prayer called for by the pontifical council.  This week of prayer is to be centered around church unity.  The scripture above is the verse which we are called to focus on today by our Pope.  We are called to cheer, support, and to admonish when necessary, those who find themselves outside of Unity with the Church.  The Church is quite literally the Body of Christ.  We take Christ into our bodies through the Eucharist and become ‘little Christs’ for the world.  St. Theresa of Lisieux  calls us to be like Christ in the little things.  She calls this the “little way”.  What St. Theresa means by the “little way” is that in order to be Christ for the world we must be Christ in our Ordinary lives in all the little things we do throughout the day.  Christ comes to meet us in our ordinary every day lives the question is; Are we ready to accept him there??? 
       It is in being Christ in the little ways, that we can show Christ to our separated brothers and sisters.  Christians who do not follow the Teaching Authority of the Chair of Peter (the Pope[Papa, Papem, Pontif, the biggest cheese that isn’t God]) are still Christian they are still our brothers and sisters, however they have what the Church refers to as partial truth.  This means that they do not recognize the fullness of all that Jesus has left us.  We are called by Christ to draw our brothers and sisters into the fullness of sacramental Christian living.  The way in which we are called to do this is again through good cheer to the faint of heart, support and love for those who grow weak, and to admonish when necessary those who stray from the fullness of Christianity.  This last part is tricky.  I’m calling in some support from my good friend Webster.  Admonishment:  
1 a: to indicate duties or obligations to b: to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner 2: to give friendly earnest advice or encouragement to.  So what does that mean for us?  This means that when a person is wrong we are obligated to express warning and disapproval, or to inform them of proper duties or obligations.  However… it is absolutely important to do this out of a spirit of Christian Charity (LOVE), and an obligation to take seriously and deal with gently. 
        These things are all done best along the “little way”.  Bring Christ in to all the little things in your life, and you will naturally be supportive and cheerful, and when admonishment is necessary it will flow naturally from the great Love that Christ has grown within you. 
It is also worth pointing out that admonishment is impossible without personal knowledge and understanding of the ways in which Christ chooses to dispense his grace in our lives.  So spend time with the Eucharist, and spend time with your Catechism. 

Challenge:
This challenge is three fold #1 Spend an hour with the Eucharist this week. #2 Spend an hour reading the Catechism this week. #3 Be cheerful and supportive :). 

God Bless you all this week!!

Your Brother from a Holy Mother,