Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What the Pope Said and the Devil

I had this post all ready to go with the video below, and then I read that the Pope thinks homosexuality is fine.  I thought I'd comment here he didn't actually say that.  You can thank the mainstream media for creatively misrepresenting what he said, and you can read more about it here and here.

Onward and upward.  Or downward, given the topic...

I heard a talk once that getting too excited about Satan is dangerous.  We need to be like the postman - go mailbox to mailbox spreading the Gospel.  We carry a stick just for when dogs attack, but we don't go looking for the dog.  We need to remind ourselves the dog is out there though.  It isn't a lie.  It isn't superstition.  It isn't some fancy story.  Evil is very real, and not just in humans.

http://youtu.be/IED3S-vJ5AU

Sunday, July 28, 2013

What to read?

Today is quite an important and busy day, so I think I'll end the 7 posts in 7 days with several links from this week.

If you like my blog, you should head over there to read hers as well as the many other bloggers participating.  You should do that even if you don't like my blog, now that I think of it...  She had a few great posts this week including How to think about the afterlife (hint: you can’t, because you live in Flatland) and my personal favorite If you want to whine about your alligator problem, don’t come to me.  There's some very serious science there regarding the dangers of both alligators and scorpions, and you'll want to stay in the know.

Here we have a post about the new royal baby, and how all babies are good with a call not to use babies to our advantage as pro-lifers. BABIES = GOOD.  That is an equation that this blog wholeheartedly supports.

Are you a new feminist?  If you're reading this blog that probably freaks you out I even asked.  But how one defines feminism matters a great deal.  Go check out the article to find out more.

I've been listening to Romans: The Gospel According to St. Paul, and it is incredibly eye opening and educational.

The Conquering Power of Praise.  A meditation on praising God.  Do we do that often enough?  I know I don't.  Which is kind of ridiculous given the circumstances.  God created the universe out of nothing.  I could go on with the rest of human and salvation history, but that fact alone should be enough to generate hours of praise.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bible Study

More Catholics are opening up their Bibles and digging into the Word.  This is a really great thing!

I know sometimes the Bible can look scary, but start off with the Gospels.  They're very easy to read and you'll find you know most of them from Mass.  The rest of the New Testament, save Revelation, isn't scary to open right to either.  The first several books of the Bible are also easier reading, and nobody will take you out back if you skim or even skip the genealogies or the pages-long instruction on building the Tabernacle.  Books like Proverbs or Psalms are easy to read a few at at time; Proverbs is even easily set up to read a chapter a day!  The "hard parts" are a lot less difficult once you have a base understanding of what is going on.

E-sword is a great piece of software for the PC.  I have yet to find anything as good as this for my Mac.

There are a lot of translations available for use.  I prefer the Revised Standard Version Catholic Bible.  It seems to be fairly easy to read without entering the far less formal translations available that just don't feel like God's Word to me.  Just remember when picking your Bible that Protestants dropped several books from the Old Testament, so look for a Catholic Bible.  (Unless you're Protestant, of course).

Where's a good place to learn more about the Bible?  Here are some of the resources I use.

St Paul Center for Biblical Theology.  There is a lot of information there!  It also includes several free studies, both written and in audio. You can download it to your smart phone!

There's the Navarre Bible.  This includes a lot of commentary, and you can buy individual books for a lower cost.  The commentary seems more spiritual and less academic in these and includes a lot of quotes from known greats throughout the ages.

I'm a big fan of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible .  This has a lot of academic footnotes, still with plenty of quotes.

People have been studying the NT for two thousand years, and the OT even longer than that so don't be afraid to look around for other good Catholic resources.

What resources do you use to study God's Word?


Friday, July 26, 2013

7 Quick Takes


As mentioned yesterday, I am reading the book of Luke this week.  It is probably my favorite book to read and includes my favorite story (the Roman Centurion and Jesus) and my favorite parable (the sower).  I've read it so often and heard it so frequently at Mass, sometimes it can be difficult to slow down and read it fresh.  I've tried to focus on that this week, and I've been amazed at how well that has been going.  What have I seen differently?  So glad you asked!

We all know the shepherds were out in the field tending their flocks when the angels showed up and told them about the newborn King.  We are all pretty familiar with the scene.

I was thinking on it this week though, and I'm not sure we can really imagine how truly EPIC that must have been.  Think of the most exciting thing you've ever had happen and then multiply it by 100.  They're just out tending their flocks and WHAM, an angel appears.  These aren't the adorable fluffy angels you can get at Hallmark - biblical angels scare people to the point I'm surprised there is no mention of someone accidentally going in their pants when they encounter one.  I would find that to be an acceptable response.

When the angel is done with telling them the Good News, a huge group of angels shows up to praise God.  I can't even think what that must have looked like!  The spiritual world makes itself visible to celebrate the birth of God made flesh!  No wonder the shepherds rushed to see Jesus!

We can see the same joy later in the chapter when Joseph, Mary, and Jesus run into Simeon and Anna in the temple.  These holy people had been waiting patiently, praying and praising God.  And they were able to SEE the Messiah, and know that it was Him!

On the back end though, can you imagine how devastating it must have been when Jesus was arrested, much less crucified?  We know about the Resurrection now, but what about His followers before they saw Him again?  Or how about when they did?  What must they have thought when they found the empty tomb?  And can you imagine what it was like to be the two of them on the road to Emmaus, walking and talking with some random guy who turns out to be Jesus?  RISEN FROM THE DEAD?!

One exceptional roller coaster, start to end!

I always have the tendency to see Jesus' disciples as the people they were later, after they had been emboldened and were out spreading the Gospel, prepared for martyrdom.  As I slowed down, I was able to remember that they were kind of just random guys along for the ride much of the time.

If we look in Chapter 5, Jesus grabs a ride on Peter's boat to talk to the crowds.  After that, he tells Peter to let out his nets.  Peter goes along with it, not expecting anything.  Surprise!  There's a whole bunch of fish.  They need another boat to haul it all in.  Let's go back to imagining the scene and let's say you're Peter just out fishing and Jesus shows up and uses your equipment to preach.  We know from other times Jesus is recorded, His words always were different and exciting.  He then tells you to let out your nets, and a miracle happens.  To finish it all off, He tells you that you're going to be a fisher of men.

I know I'd be thinking "What is going on with this guy?!"  Sure, we know He's God, but they didn't know that right then.  This seems to happen a few times.   Jesus says or does something extraordinary, and his disciples just can't wrap their heads around it.  Can you blame them?

Sometimes in the past, I'd be tempted to wonder what was going on with the disciples.  For instance, Jesus goes up a mountain with Peter, James, and John.  Moses and Elijah show up and Jesus is suddenly dazzlingly white.   I always thought it was kind of odd the best thing Peter could come up with was something about making them tents, but on slower reflection, what else was he going to say?  What would you say if the eccentric preacher you'd befriended suddenly transfigured, two dead patriarchs of your people showed up, and a booming voice spoke from the heavens?  I'm surprised Peter formed a coherent sentence.

In the Catholicism series, Father Barron says Jesus was always a "deeply disconcerting figure."  He says we have a tendency to "domesticate" Him, and I think that's true.  He's an amazing God, but perhaps we've lost our sense of awe.  Jesus' disciples were in awe.  Slowing down certainly helps capture that!

Check out this except from that series, "Amazed and Afraid."
http://youtu.be/lWf-h2BLzOA

Chapters 5 and 6 show story after story of Jesus completely throwing off the religious leaders.  It seems they just didn't know what to do with Him.  Not that they were without problems, but I doubt anyone had it on their radar that God was going to take up humanity.  Not only that, but if someone would have guessed that, they would not have expected Him to come as He did, act as He did, or die as He did.  Jesus was entirely unexpected.  Does that make the infancy narrative a surprise birthday party?


Speaking of birthdays, slowing down helped me to remember things I'd learned or experienced in the past.  I did an online bible study somewhere once and remember the author of the book we were using said the infancy narratives were fabricated later.  The reasoning was that nobody was around then.  I didn't buy the argument then, and it was interesting to recall it now.

By the way, if anyone ever tells you that, you can argue pretty easily.  Luke explicitly states Mary remembered all of it, or kept it in her heart.  Is it all that unreasonable to think somebody asked Mary about her son at some point?  John would have had plenty of time to ask her about it and share with others, or perhaps Luke himself interviewed her.  Wouldn't you ask her?  Don't you think she'd remember?  I don't think a woman who just had a baby forgets random shepherds showing up flipping out over a host of angels who announced her child's arrival.



Another thing I've been able to notice by slowing way down is the impact chapter divisions and the headings have.  Those weren't in the original text - Luke didn't sub-divide based on the chapters we have.  I think there's the pull to see each chapter as its own little unit, but at the time, the start of one paragraph would have happened at the end of the last.  Come to think of it, I'm not sure they even had paragraphs.  So there are connections across chapters and headings I might not catch when I'm reading quickly or one chapter at a time, or even listening to the short readings at Mass.

For instance, I'd always seen the Pharisee stories as related in the sense they all had Pharisees in them and that was about it.  You get one or two parts at Mass and maybe assume the point is just so you know He was irritating the religious leaders, which explains why they wanted Him dead.

Luke 5:17-6:11 is one Pharisee story after another, and they all relate to Jesus doing something unexpected.  First, He cleanses a leper.  That gets the ball rolling because how often does someone exhibit healing power like that?  Then He heals and forgives sin, which is surely bothersome to those in charge, but also quite different for everyone else.  He hangs out with tax collectors and sinners, telling the Pharisees He's come to heal the sick.  His followers don't fast like everyone else and they collect and eat grain on the sabbath.  He also heals on the sabbath.  They've got to also be wondering what is up with this guy?!

So they are all stirred up and wondering what they might be able to do to Him.  The next section has Jesus praying and then selecting the twelve, followed by the Sermon on the Mount.  Was the stuff before just the attention getter?  I can't answer that of course, but I know it all goes together as a big whole, not just disconnected parts.


Jesus really, really, really bothers people who think they're doing fine in life without Him.  You can see it all over Luke - the people who thought they were righteous or thought they were good enough people or who otherwise just weren't looking at God were bothered by Jesus.  Some might follow Him for awhile for good show, but they didn't stay.  The people who knew they were sick, physically or spiritually, knew they needed Jesus and flocked to him.

That is no less true now than it was then.  I know of someone who doesn't like God and picked up the Bible with a poor mindset to begin with.  Halfway through Matthew, she decided Jesus was a bad man and stopped reading it.   That seems to be what happens when we're content with our own lives.


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Spreadsheet makes the plan!

Still doing the 7 posts in 7 days challenge at Conversion Diary.  Check out her entirely fun (and creepily accurate) post on alligators vs scorpions yesterday.

This week, I'm reading the Gospel of Luke as part of my challenge to read the Bible in 6 months.  I don't know if I mentioned this, but yes, I did indeed use a spreadsheet to create my very own plan for this project.  There's no limit to what spreadsheets can do!

I've tried other ones before, but wanted to make my own to see if it might work better.  The year-long plan is excellent but has you bounce between three places every day and I'd get somewhat confused.  The 90-day plan was excellent in its own way, but goes from start to finish and I easily get bogged down in the prophets.

First, I used the table of contents to identify how long each book was.  Then I calculated that as a percent to total.  Next was determining how many weeks and days.  I went with five days a week to give me some breathing room on weekends to "catch up."   I used the percent to total with the total number of days to determine approximately how many days per book.  The hard part was deciding how to break it all up, but I decided to ensure the historical books were in order throughout the six months as much as possible and I also spread the NT books throughout. In hindsight, I could have done a better job trying to spread things more evenly or match up prophets with the right historical books.  But this is a workable plan.

I've been spending some time before reading familiarizing myself or reminding myself of the book in general.  This would include the author, the date, and the historical context.  This is particularly useful when reading the prophets as it is easy to confuse who exactly they're trying to get to listen.  If I have a study resource handy, like the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible , I use that too.

Below, you can see my progress in green.  I'll have to apologize if I didn't use the right shortening of any book.  I really had no idea and that seemed far less important than the plan realized in a spreadsheet!


2-Jun
Gen
Gen
Gen
Gen
Gen
9-Jun
Exo
Exo
Exo
Exo
Exo
16-Jun
Hab / Zep
Mat
Mat
Mat
Mat
23-Jun
Lev
Lev
Lev
Judith
Judith
30-Jun
Num
Num
Num
Num
Num
7-Jul
Sir
Sir
Sir
Sir
Sir
14-Jul
Sir
Deu
Deu
Deu
Deu
21-Jul
Luk
Luk
Luk
Luk
Phil / Col / Phm
28-Jul
Joshua
Joshua
Joshua
Joel / Mal
Ruth / Nah
4-Aug
Judges
Judges
Judges
Bar
Lam / Hag
11-Aug
Is
Is
Is
Is
Is
18-Aug
Is
Is
1 Sam
1 Sam
1 Sam
25-Aug
Rom
Rom
1 Cor
2 Cor
Gal / Eph
1-Sep
2 Sam
2 Sam
2 Sam
Zec
Ecc
8-Sep
Psalm
Psalm
Psalm
Psalm
Psalm
15-Sep
Psalm
Psalm
Psalm
Psalm
Psalm
22-Sep
Acts
Acts
Acts
Acts
Jam / Titus / Jude
29-Sep
Jer
Jer
Jer
Jer
Jer
6-Oct
Jer
Jer
1 Ki
1 Ki
1 Ki
13-Oct
2 Ki
2 Ki
2 Ki
Wis
Wis
20-Oct
Mark
Mark
Mark
Heb
1 Ti / 2 Ti
27-Oct
Prov
Prov
Prov
Tob
Amos
3-Nov
1 Ch
1 Ch
1 Ch
Hos
Ezra
10-Nov
2 Ch
2 Ch
2 Ch
2 Ch
Neh
17-Nov
John
John
John
1 Pe / 2 Pe
1 Th / 2 Th
24-Nov
1 Mac
1 Mac
1 Mac
Dan
Dan
1-Dec
2 Mac
2 Mac
2 Mac
Mic / Jon
Song / Obad
8-Dec
Ezek
Ezek
Ezek
Ezek
Ezek
15-Dec
Job
Job
Job
Job
Ester
22-Dec
Rev
Rev
1 - 3 Jn



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lumen Fidei

Have you read the new Encyclical, Lumen Fidei?  You can find it here.  You don't even need to be Catholic!

This encyclical was started by Pope Benedict and completed by Pope Francis.  I really like both Popes, and even though they seem vastly different they both share a love of Jesus and the Church.  They just express it in different ways, which is true for all of us.

A sample:
This fullness which Jesus brings to faith has another decisive aspect. In faith, Christ is not simply the one in whom we believe, the supreme manifestation of God’s love; he is also the one with whom we are united precisely in order to believe. Faith does not merely gaze at Jesus, but sees things as Jesus himself sees them, with his own eyes: it is a participation in his way of seeing. In many areas in our lives we trust others who know more than we do. We trust the architect who builds our home, the pharmacist who gives us medicine for healing, the lawyer who defends us in court. We also need someone trustworthy and knowledgeable where God is concerned. Jesus, the Son of God, is the one who makes God known to us (cf. Jn 1:18). Christ’s life, his way of knowing the Father and living in complete and constant relationship with him, opens up new and inviting vistas for human experience. Saint John brings out the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus for our faith by using various forms of the verb "to believe". In addition to "believing that" what Jesus tells us is true, John also speaks of "believing" Jesus and "believing in" Jesus. We "believe" Jesus when we accept his word, his testimony, because he is truthful. We "believe in" Jesus when we personally welcome him into our lives and journey towards him, clinging to him in love and following in his footsteps along the way.
Catholic Vote has its Top 15 Quotes from the Pope's New Encyclical.   Keep the author, Thomas Peters, in your prayers otherwise - last week he broke his neck in a swimming accident.

Here is a video commentary by Fr Barron I found on YouTube.  I think I could watch You Tube all day with the amount of awesome videos from Father Barron and Scott Hahn out there, but that's a different subject.


http://youtu.be/IDbcHBuuG7Q

What did you like about this encyclical?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"So what if we suffer here? This is not our home. I know where home is."

This is just beautiful.  Take the time to watch the video and grow more thankful about the time we have. "So what if we suffer here? This is not our home. I know where home is."


Faithful Heart from The Austin Stone on Vimeo.
In the face of living with a chronic heart problem that could result in cardiac arrest at any moment, Julie Manning and her family find their hope, peace, and courage in God.

What an incredible woman and an incredible story!

A friend posted yesterday on suffering well at Behold the Lamb.  There's a lot out there on the idea of suffering, and I have to say I suffer loudly, not well.  I don't do well with others suffering either, though I'm not as loud then as that would be rude.




Monday, July 22, 2013

Word = Life

I'm participating in 7 Posts in 7 Days at Conversion Diary.  There will be more posts this week!

I'm on a reading plan to read the Bible in 6 months.  So far, so good!  Yesterday I found something that caught my interest in Deuteronomy:
And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life:and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.  ~ Deu 32:46-47
Joshua is about to take over and lead the people into the promised land, and these are part of Moses' final words before his death.  At this point, there is not an overabundance of words for Israel to set their hearts unto since they'd just have what Moses has shared.  But even this very small portion of our Bible is "their life."  It is no vain thing, it is no small thing, it is no minor part of their existence.  It is their life, and thus they should set their heart unto all the words.

Do we set our hearts unto all the words we have, and unto the Word Jesus Christ?  Do we treat our relationship with God with such respect, with such reverence, with such importance?  Or is it a trivial matter we may happen to find time for during a day, week, or year if it suits us?  Do we see God as our life or as one of many things going on in our life?

Prayer and study are two incredible ways to focus on God all throughout our lives.  Later this week I'll share some resources I use to study.

How do you keep your life focused on God?



Sunday, July 21, 2013

Axious and worried about many things...

Today is the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Readings are here

I know there is already a lot of commentary out there about Mary vs Martha and how they approach life.  One is busy and the other contemplative.  One is praying and the other is doing.  I'm sure there is plenty of information out there about balancing that, or praying before engaging in activity, or making sure to find time for Jesus.  I'm sure if you google it you might find more.

All I know is I read that today and I hear the  "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing."

I am anxious and worried about many things.  It seems to be in my nature.  Especially this week as I approach the unknown results of a long-awaited for and prepared for test, I am anxious about the future.  I don't like not knowing the outcome.  I like certainty.  When it isn't there, I am anxious.

But there is need of only one thing, and that one thing really is certain.  Jesus is certain.  And when I pay attention to Him, the anxiety goes away.  There is nothing to be anxious about with God.  All the "many things" in life take their proper place, which is quite small, in comparison to eternity.  I pray today that my heart will always remember to sit at the Lord's feet, regardless of what the rest of me is doing.

Voice of Truth



http://youtu.be/VaVg0cWkgAw

Another great one!  What are your favorite songs or videos?


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Strangely Dim



http://youtu.be/MjmZ2v0niCI

This song really does a great job addressing some of the problems I've been mentioning regarding fear, anxiety, and letting God take our problems.  It is one of my favorites for the summer!

I've had all these plans piled up sky high 
A thousand dreams on hold 
And I don't know why
I Got a front row seat 
To longest wait 
And I just can't see 
Past the things I pray 
Today 

(Chorus) 
 But when I fix my eyes on all that You are 
Then every doubt I feel 
Deep in my heart 
Grows strangely dim 
All my worries fade 
And fall to the ground 
Cuz when I seek Your face 
And don't look around 
Any place I'm in 
Grows strangely dim

Friday, July 19, 2013

A video about evil!

Fighting evil!  I love Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit for these ideas.

(This has spoilers for the Hobbit)




One of my all time favorite quotes is from Gandalf, below.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Fellowship of the Ring

7 Quick Takes - Exercise!


I haven't done 7 Quick Takes in quite some time, but I love reading them and today seems like a good day to play!  Once I decided this, I realized it is still too early in the morning to think up anything cute to write about.  I'll just have to write about something I've been doing - exercise!  I've been getting in terrific shape here lately; way better shape at 33 than I was even at 23.  I do have to admit though at 23 the workouts left me less sore!  Here are some things I've learned or realized.

P90X seems scary and hard, but it really isn't all that bad.  The key is to modify exercises, do fewer than he recommends, and only do like half the workout if you start to struggle.  I also found it works better if I don't panic if I get off schedule.  I don't really like the Kenpo X, but everything else has been terrific and I've seen incredible results (even with ignoring their meal plan).

People who don't run at all probably don't even know there are "rules" for buying shoes based on how your foot rolls in or out or not at all when landing.  The common theory was that you could find your best type of shoe based on this information, and if you got the wrong type you'd be more prone to injury.  As it turns out, this may not be the case.

I do over-pronate and have even seen a podiatrist about a related injury to my posterior tibial tendon.  I like the shoes aimed for pronation that control motion, but that doesn't mean everyone should.  Find a shoe that is comfortable and works for you and then don't let anyone convince you otherwise!

Fun thing to try:  Tell people you injured your posterior tibial tendon.  Count the people who awkwardly assume it is your butt.

A lot of sites on the internet will tell you that you should run barefoot.  Many will tell you to exist all the time barefoot too, but that varies.  The theory is we actively weaken our feet and prevent them from doing their jobs by shoving them into shoes.  Over the course of our lives all the little muscles in our feet and ankles stop doing what they ought to do when we are barefoot because the shoe compensates for it all.  It makes total sense.

The solution is apparently to be barefoot.  I'm not really comfortable with running or walking or even existing barefoot for too long, so I guess I'll have to deal with my shoe-damaged feet the rest of my life.

Interesting fact: I've never liked being without shoes.  In any emergency, I would always strap on shoes just as soon as possible.  One never knows if one is going to have to flee!  They're like a security blanket with laces.

There is a ton of information about heat acclimatization on the web.  If you're going to be running or exercising in hot weather, take it slow and don't go from sitting on the couch to running for 60 minutes in super high heat or super high humidity.

It felt like 94 last night when I got home from work and I went for a 2 mile walk/jog.  I only ran about 0.6 miles in the middle of all the walking and it was interesting!  My lungs were very warm, and it was the first time in weeks I've had a side cramp.  It didn't seem all that bad though.  I'd been running in the morning when the humidity was higher and I'd come back soaked.  Last night I did sweat, but not to that extent.

Always be hydrated!

I always feel better if I eat less processed food and sugars, but this has been more evident while working out.  Perhaps I'm just imagining things, but I even feel better about the process of exercise if I'm not eating sugar.  I know there isn't supposed to be a difference between high fructose corn syrup, regular sugar, and the sugar one finds in apples and other foods but I am telling you there is.  I eat whatever fruits or normal foods I want with no problems, but adding in the other makes a huge difference.

My playlist has always included a lot of rock music to make me feel AWESOME at working out.  Lately I've been using Christian music to remind me how awesome GOD is, and that has been better.  I can get my prayer on while walking or running!

Not all of my music fits though.  This was on my playlist last night, and I must say everyone needs it.  I felt like a super-hero, and every step I took was another step toward saving the world.  My head was up, my shoulders were back, and my stride increased.  I should have had a cape.  If I'd run into a kitten in a tree, I would have been all over it.  Get the song, add it to your playlist, and be a hero!


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Some Links

The Cross of Being Pro Life.  This is simply a beautiful reflection.  "He told me that he keeps in perspective that God’s idea of death and life are radically different than our own."

I liked this one too.  I'm Not The Entire Congregation.  "Then, with a sickening mental thud, this thought landed: me, sitting there in the pew, sighing at the sermon? I'm doing the same thing. Maybe I'm not a racist, but there I was, grousing because the sermon wasn't tailor made for me. I was expecting to file in and have a message delivered according to my desires, as if the Mass were a vending machine and I had just put in my quarter."

Sometimes my sister jokes, "Not that there's anything wrong with that" after discussing some sin.  She's joking, but many people aren't.  And those of us who would say there is something wrong with sin are pressured to keep our mouths shut, lest we be accused of not "loving" people.  I like the below video because it talks about the difference between blind tolerance and Godly love.



Father Barron is such a great speaker!  He is the one who did the Catholicism Study Program, which I love.  Here he is again, discussing faith and reason.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Twitter Indulgence?

Apparently the media has been reporting that following the Pope on twitter will reduce your time in Purgatory.  Cute.  Also false.  

You should follow the pope on twitter though.  It is pretty good to wake up every morning with an encouraging Pope quote!

Mine Mine Mine

It sounds so easy.  Give your troubles to God!  Of course, He created the whole universe so He knows what He is doing!  God only asks us for our best effort and to glorify Him.  Besides, worldly success here does not translate to anything for Heaven!  Health and wealth and a peaceful existence on this life aren't all that important because all that matters is eternity!  The amount of verses, Bible stories, and real life examples of these concepts are simply overwhelming.

Obviously!  And then, "But what if I fail" or "What if it doesn't work?"

Well.  That trust thing lasted a nice few seconds, didn't it?  And even if we notice we have grabbed our problem back from the hands of the God who made us, the Universe, and everything else, there seems to be little we can do about it.  Mine, mine, mine!  It is my problem to control and be anxious over!



It is a lot easier to trust in God's plan for our future if we simply ignore the fact His plans may be different than our own!  His idea of a wonderful life to ours may indeed be different.  Let's face it, it probably is.  And of course His way is "better," but then again he probably defines "better" differently than we do.  His idea of "better" involves taking on humanity and dying on the cross, among other things.  It can be painfully difficult to see his "better" as better with our limited and selfish capacities.

Trusting can be very terrifying.  Absolutely terrifying.  I struggle with it every time I try to do it without praying; every time I try to do it myself, when trusting becomes its own problem for me to manage.  How do I make myself trust God?  How do I create an environment where I am not terrified?  I can stay there for days until I hear how often that "mine" pops up.

Here's the deal - the only "mine" we need to concern ourselves with is that we are God's. He looks upon us and says "mine."  And He has all the authority to mean it.





Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Understanding the Eucharist

This is the best overview of the Eucharist.  It is long, but worth it.  You can get a lot out of it just listening to some of it though.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Scary Statistics

Let's talk about some statistics.  Check out some here.  16% of Americans are not affiliated with a church.  78% are Christian.  Okay, interesting.  Christians appear in the majority.  Or are we?

Only around 20% of those identifying as Christians actually attend church.  That means around 80% of the 78% are not going anywhere to learn more about God, be educated on current events in the light of religion, etc.

So 15-16% of Americans are Christians actively attending a church.  Why is this important?  Well, we keep complaining about how our rights are being trod upon, and I think there's a certain surprise since we're in the "majority."  But we're not the majority given these numbers.

At what percentage of people who are educated in their faith and participating in their faith do we start to see persecution?  Well, currently religious institutions and private individuals who oppose it on moral grounds are going to have to provide contraceptive coverage via their insurance, else face fines.  So I'd say 15-16% is a good start.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

A busy month

I've been very busy this month preparing for my next opportunity to move ahead in a big change in my life.  I've written about it before.  It is very challenging; not only the preparation, but also letting it all go and giving it to God.

I have two videos to share today though!