Every Moment Counts

To start thing off, I would like to apologize to each and every one of you for my failure to post in over two months.  I’ve just been so busy.  But never fear, I will have much more time when Band season ends (nigh three weeks now).  This may not be my best piece to come back in style with, but at least its something to let you guys now that I’m still here so to speak.  Anyway, here we go.

We live in a world that is full of selfishness.  I’m sure all of you are aware of this already.  Especially in my age group, there is such a prevalent force of narcissism in each and every bit of culture.  All people care about is there social media, the only person they want to take a picture with is their own face, and the sole thing that matters to them is being accepted.  Okay, maybe I shouldn’t say they, we would be more appropriate.  Because I struggle with selfishness too. I care way too much about how I look to others and spend far too much time with people who aren’t getting me any closer to heaven just because I feel cool doing it.  This is all a waste of time.  And we don’t have enough of it to throw around.

Every single moment you spend think of yourself, committing sin, or failing to do something good is a moment you will never get back.  Worse than that, it could have been that moment where God selected you to be his messenger to a person who has perhaps fallen away from the faith.  It could have been one of those times where you act as an instrument of God’s grace to someone else.  And instead of bringing another into Christ’s loving arms, you spent it telling inappropriate jokes with kids you barely know, or not paying attention during a boring business meeting.

We do not have any time to waste in our lives.  That doesn’t mean you can relax.  Sweet Moses no.  You definitely should spend some time doing useless things, like reading a novel, playing in the park, watching a movie, or simply taking a well deserved nap.  These are some of the most important things you do.  That’s why God set aside an entire day for you just to take it easy.

thu

On a more serious note, taking a well deserved nap here and there does not entitle you to laziness.  Just yesterday I was going to confession.  I’m proud to say that I didn’t have anything serious to confess, so I picked apart every single little venial sin that I had done throughout my week.  Father first congratulated me on making such a good confession.  Then he said, “Son, I think you’re starting to struggle with sloth”.
oli-spirit

Yes, Sloth.  One of the seven deadly sins.  Most people wouldn’t think it would rank as bad as lust or wrath, but it is in some ways even worse.
Sloth-Smiling-10

Sloth is very hard for the victim to detect.  If they do, they don’t think much about it.  Because, like most sin, it starts out small, and gradually builds into mortal sin.  The thing about sloth is that usually you don’t even categorize it as a sin, just a small mess-up.  It could start with not doing your homework for one night for whatever perfectly reasonable excuse.  But the net day, you’re like, “You know, I didn’t do it yesterday…and nothing bad happened then.  I guess its okay if I just don’t do this one worksheet.”  Then you gradually never do your homework, your grades go down, and before you know it, you failed your high school and end up working at a McDonald’s in the rough parts of town, if you’re lucky.  Okay, that may be a little extreme, but not by much.

The Devil knows the truth about what I was telling you: we really do not have any time to waste.  So, guess what he’s gonna try to get you to do, or should I say not to do?

You’re gonna try to convince yourself that not giving your all on this seemingly insignificant business project is fine, or not paying attention in class is okay.  You have to be extremely ware of the enemy’s movements.  As soon as a lazy thought enters your head, go out and start dong something productive.  If you do let Satan sow a seed of sloth in you soul, it will grow, ever so slowly, until you have no control over it.  It is like those weeds you have to root out in a garden.  You don’t really notice them until they have grown large and have become very difficult to take out.  You have to go looking for them in order to prevent them from ever gaining a significant hold on your will.

Is anyone here a Latin mass fan?  If you are, you probably know about those cool red mini-missals they usually have.  There is a prayer towards the beginning that struck me.  It was called A Christian Reflection or something like that.  Anyway, i don’t have it, but I have made my own (slightly different version).  I think it’s an important thing to think about when you rise in the morning. I call it “Today”.

Today, Christian soldier, is a fight.  Today, you have souls to save.  Today, you have sin to destroy.  Today, you have others to love, and God to serve.  You have friends to aid, and enemies to reconcile.  You have demons to defeat, angels to help, and a battle to win.  Today, Christian soul, You have work to do.

Wow, that was deep.  I’m actually kinda proud of that.  Getting back on track.  I know that as far as kids are concerned, we think we have all the time in the world.  We don’t think that exams are really that close, or that college applications were due tat early.  Youth don’t really think they’re ever gonna grow up.  We have this sense of immortality about us.  We seem to think that we’ll never run out of time.  But, the sad truth is, no, we don’t have all the time in the world, yes the exam is really tomorrow, and sorry, you missed the college application deadline.  You only have one life, and its pretty short (which is why its so precious and worth protecting).  Or as my contemporaries say: YOLO.  Don’t waste it playing video games or flirting.  Make use of your time.  Get out there and kick some evil butt!  Whatever you do, just don’t be a sloth.

sloth-at-speed-o

You’re gonna get yourself run over by the Devil on a motorcycle.  I don’t think you’ll be as lucky as Sid and have a big mammoth and a saber tooth tiger to watch out for you.

sloth-meme-if-you-ever-feel-dumb

Vh-Slow_Some_of_the_most_powerful_Inspirational_Quotes_and_pictures-s408x384-359214-580

Well guys, It’s great to be back.  Go out there and kick some butt!  God Bless!

In Christ, Catholic2theMax

Why All the Rules?

So, my birthday is coming up in a couple days, and I was looking around amazon to see what I wanted to ask for.  Eventually I found myself on apple seeing what stuff they had.  On their front page, they had a brand new iPod Touch.  A bit of backstory first.  I don’t have a phone or a tablet.  For starters I can’t afford either of them, but according to family law, I’m not allowed to have them either.  I was looking at the price tag of the iPod, and it was $200.  I thought, “Man, I could get that.  I have one hundred bucks in the safe, and I could mow my lawn for a couple weeks and get the rest”.  The more rational part of me quietly dismissed this thought.  It’s not gonna happen.  I wouldn’t be allowed to get it.  I would explain my parents rules about technology, but even I don’t understand.  It is precisely for that reason that I (in some cases) resent my parents’ rules.  I’ll be at school going through my normal day when I look over at someone with their Beats headphones plugged into their iPad Air 2 while checking their iPhone 6.  Number one, it gets me really annoyed/envious that they (their parents) have enough money to throw around that kind of stuff.  And number two, it makes me really wish I could have one of those things.  But then again, it is kind of funny to hear the class gasp when I try to explain to a teacher that I can’t put my phone away in the technology bin because I don’t have one.

I remember doing the Great Adventure Bible Study (which I highly recommend) with my family one night when I was much younger, and the host Jeff Cavins was talking about one of his high school daughters.  He said that she came home one night really depressed and angry.  He of course asked her what was wrong.  She said, “I want a phone.  Every single person has one except me!”  He replied, “THANK GOD there is at least one!  And you’re it!  You should be happy.”  I think that’s what inspired some of my parent’s rules.

The point of all of this is that a lot of the time, I hate rules.  I want to buy what I want.  I want to have more freedom.  But it eventually boils down to I want to do whatever I want.  Sounds like most people today, doesn’t it?  America is obsessed with this notion of liberty.  Look at abortion, Gay “marriage”, a hundred different other things that I don’t even need to mention.  People don’t like rules, they think they just hold people back from being happy.

Imagine a baseball game where the pitcher feels like playing dodgeball, or the batter feels like playing hit-the-pinata.  Imagine a baseball game where the players do whatever the heck they want.  No rules, total liberty and freedom.  Not a very fun game to watch, is it?  Each team is going to give themselves a million points for showing up to the game.  Without rules the game falls apart.  That’s what our lives are like.

A good batter doesn’t hate the rules but obey them anyway.  “Fine coach.  I’ll use a bat instead of a cow.  Gosh, your such a communist, coach.”  No, a good baseball player loves the rules.  He understands why they are important and has witnessed the beauty of them.  He obeys them because he wants to.  A golfer loves the rules of golf, and gets upset when someone twists or disobeys them, and obviously attempts to help that person understand the game.  Rules aren’t only good, they are necessary.

Don’t get that confused with “Rules are good, so too many rules are better”.  No, an excessive amount of rules is like a suit of armor that is far too big and heavy for the wearer.  It detracts from the knight’s ability to fight.  It endangers the very thing it is supposed to protect.  That’s why my brother and I never play baseball with just the two of us.  We either have no rules and end up fighting, or have too many rules…and still end up fighting.

So, if we apply the importance of rules in things like baseball or golf, why don’t we apply them to far more imperative things like our lives?  The world tries to tell you that rules aren’t important.  That they restrain you from being happy.  Applied to a different field, they would be telling you that 2+2=5.  So, why believe them?  I hate to break it to you guys, but 2+2=4, no amount of scientists or lawyers can change that.  Marriage is between one man and one woman, and no amount of scientists or lawyers can change that.  Life begins at conception, and no amount of scientists or lawyers can change that either.  Why?  Because they didn’t make the rules.  2015-05-29-universe11

2015-05-29-universe21

From adam4d.com
From adam4d.com

~ NEWS ~

  • Formerly Tolkien Tavern, Talking Tolkien is launching today!  If you are a die-hard Tolkien fan, you’re gonna love it.  If you read this blog, but have a lukewarm relationship with Middle Earth, you’ll love it too.  If you are like “Who is this Tool-keen guy?”, for the love of all that is good in this world, you need to check it out.  I’ll be writing there, along with a friend of mine who knows more about Middle Earth than I do, and that’s saying quite a bit.  It will be awesome.  Make sure to check it out and follow.
  • It has been brought to my attention that my username “catholic2themax” is not a very convenient name for you to address me by.  No, I’m not gonna blow my cover and tell you I’m actually Batman.  Wait, did I write that?  Darn.  But seriously, I’m not gonna give my real name away, sorry.  For explanations, read this post again, especially the beginning.  It will make sense.  But I do have some heart.  So if you are one of those poor souls who cried out to me for a convenient name to call me by, give me some ideas.  I’m really busy and don’t have the time to sit down for an hour and think of a better username.
  •  God Loves You!

In Christ, Catholic2theMax

As for Me and My House

As for Me and My House

So, in my English class, I have two very good friends, and we were just talking about games, Madden Mobile to be precise.  One of them asked me if I got the new update.  I said no, I don’t have the game.  He freaked out and told me to take out my phone and download it.  I said, “I don’t have a phone”.  The entire class collectively gasped.  Okay, that stretching it.  It just got really quiet and everyone looked at me.  Long story short, they both thought my parents were communists for not allowing me to buy my own smart phone.  I told them calmly that is just the way we roll in my family.

Last week, on Thursday if I’m correct, I had probably the most stressful day I can recall.  I won’t go into details, because then this post would have about one hundred lines of negative thoughts, and that’s not what this blog is about.  Anyway, I was at school calling my mom on my dad’s extra phone that he (thankfully) left in my band bag.  i was so stressed that I completely forgot my mom was even on the phone.  Someone asked me a dumb question and I started swearing.  Pretty loudly too.  Anyway, afterwards I kinda beat myself up about letting it loose (I am just one of those weird people who doesn’t swear every other word).  My friend asked me why Catholics had to be so different from the rest of the school.  Why can’t we just be like everyone else?

That seems to be the question everyone is asking nowadays.  We seem to be the only ones standing up for traditional marriage.  One in a small group who stand for the Right to Life.  We are a lot like the apostles in today’s readings.  Jesus tells his disciples that to enter Heaven, they must eat His flesh and drink His blood.  “This is a hard saying” they murmur, “who can follow it?”.  With that, many turn and leave Him.  Jesus turns to His disciples and asks, “Do you also wish to go away?”.  And Peter, the first Pope replies, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”.

Have you ever noticed that, out of the thousand Christian denominations, Catholics are the only ones who believed Jesus when He said “This is My Body”?  That alone is enough to make us different.  But why do we act different?  Maybe it is because we are not ordered to this world.  Death is not the end for us.  We live for Christ.  That is why we are different.

Take a Catholic, a good, faithful, devout Catholic, and order his life to the world.  What do you get?  A normal person at best.  Probably a bad person.  All he would want to do is to be happy, nothing else.  He looks for fleeting pleasure in everything and cares about himself.  Whatever is good about Catholicism is ordered to God and Heaven (A.K.A. ALL OF IT).  And whatever is good about you is what is ordered to God.

I found this poem on Star of the Sea blog in a post about wealth.  It’s very powerful.

Wealth can be an idol, built of gleaming gold,
bringing dreams of paradise, futures bought and sold.
Some will choose to gather it, all that they can hoard,
but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

Don’t fall into peer pressure.  Don’t let others influence you to do wrong.  Others are willing to let their technology govern their lives.  Many push for evil in our government.  Almost all are ordered towards this world, and what little it offers.  Tell them boldly that they can do as they wish, but as for me and my house, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD!

News

  • I was notified recently of what is essentially, a Catholic Facebook.  Its called Awestruck, and its awesome.  You can join groups that have similar interests as you.  For example, I’m in the Tolkien group, as well as the Latin Mass group.  You can pray for each other and post prayer requests.  You can Pray a virtual Rosary complete with Scriptural Reflections, as well as the Liturgy of the Hours.  I highly recommend it, and you can follow me at http://awestruck.tv/members/catholicteen/
  • There have been a ton of new readers recently, so I just wanted to point them to the Follow button on the sidebar.  If you click that and type in your email address, you’ll get an update overtime I write a new post.  It is a must for any reader of this blog.
  • Fo those of you who missed the memo, there will only be posts on Sundays for a while.  I am extremely busy and do not have time during the week.  I may be able to drop in a quote like I did last Monday, but the chances are slim.
  • NEW FEATURE!!! – Just a few inches below this, is Tolkien Tavern.  It’s a little thing I’ll do every Sunday writing about Tolkien and his works.  I might have a language corner, or a reflection about his life, and definitely a quote.  Remember, this is a new feature, so I need reader advice on how to improve it, and what you want to be in it.  I don’t write a blog just to read it myself, I have a journal for that.  I think eventually it will morph into a post by itself, maybe even a newsletter.  But again, I’ll only do it if people will read it.  I you want that to happen, MAKE SURE TO TELL ME!  I’m not God, I don’t read minds.
  • Guess what, GOD LOVES YOU!  Don’t forget it!

~ TOLKIEN TAVERN ~

Quote
Sam Today’s world is very dark.  And getting darker.  But remember, even darkness must pass.  “A new day will come.  And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer” – JRR Tolkien.

Quick Quenya

For this of you who do not know, Quenya is one of the two main Elvish languages spoken in Middle Earth.  It was brought into Middle Earth by the Noldor when they came to fight Morgoth.  For the most part they adopted the other language, Sindarin, but Quenya was still used as the High Tongue of the Elves.  Quenya is a lot like Latin, whereas Sindarin is a lot like Celtic.

I prefer Quenya for two reasons.  One is that it is a lot like Latin, and therefore, easier for a latin student (such as me) to understand.  The other is that it sounds better in my opinion.  Another great thing about Quenya is the resources Tolkien left for us, compared to the little we know of Sindarin.

I have worked with a couple like-minded friends to produce the first translation of the Rosary in Quenya.  Feel free to use and share it as you will.

Sign of the Cross:
Essenen Atarwa, ar Yondova, ar Ainasúleva. Násie.

Creed:
Istanyë Eru, Illúvatar Antaura, I ontaro menelo ar cemeno. Istanyë Yésus
Hristo, Sonya eressë Yondo, Herúlva. Tullë túrenen Airefeo
ar etnoná Marí Vénëa. Nés nwalyaina nu Pontius Pilátus,
Tarwestaina, firnë, panyaina noirissë. Lelyanes nún I vanwanna.
I nelya auressë enortanes. Rostanes mir menel, ar
ná hamna sé forma Illuvataro. Entuluvas namien I cuina ar I
firin. Istanyë I Airefëa, I aire Palurin corda, I yomenië nerion airi, I
avatyaralë lucassion, I ortalë I hroan, ar cuile oia. Násië.

Our Father: 
Átaremma i ëa han ëa,
na aire esselya.
aranielya na tuluva,
na care indómelya cemende tambe Erumande.
ámen anta síra ilaurëa massamma,
ar ámen apsene úcaremmar sív’ emme apsenet tien i úcarer emmen,
Álame tulya úsahtienna mal áme etelehta ulcullo. Násie.

Hail Mary: 
Aia María quanta Eruanno, i Héru as elye. Aistana elye imíca nísi, ar aistana i yáve mónalyo Yésus. Aire María Eruo ontaril, á hyame rámen úcarindor, sí ar lúmesse ya firuvamme. Násie.

Glory Be: 
A laita Atar, ar Yondo, ar Ainasúle. Ve nés i yessesse ná sin, ar yéva tennoio. Násie.

Salve Regina: 
Aiya Tári, Amillë oraviéno,
cuilelma, lisselma ar estelma, aiya.
Lyenna yélalmë, etya-híni Évo,
lyenna síqualmë, nainala ar nyérala
sina nandossë nieníva.

Ai! etta, a sámelma, á querë
menna oravála hendulyat;
ar ámen tana Yésus, i aistana
yávë mónalyo, apa etyalë sina.
A raina, a méla, a lissë Wendë María. Násie.

God Bless (nai Eru lye mánata)!

In Christ, Catholic2theMax

Mercy Quote

Get ready guys, because this is quite possibly my favorite quote of all time.

“I glorify You in making known how good you are towards sinners, and that your mercy prevails over all malice, that nothing can destroy it, that no matter how many times or how shamefully we fall, or how criminally, a sinner need not be driven to despair of Your pardon…It is in vain that your enemy and mine sets new traps for me every day. He will make me lose everything else before the hope that I have in your mercy.”  – St. Claude de la Colombiere

Special thanks to SR for helping me find out the author.

Do You Have the Courage?

Okay guys.  I’m sorry for not writing in a while.  With school just starting up along with band, I haven’t had a moment to spare.  I’m taking harder classes than I did last year, and I no longer have a study hall (which is where I would usually write during the school year).  I will try to write whenever I can, but don’t count on anything more than one a week.  Sunday posts will be almost guaranteed, but that also means the Q&A posts aren’t gonna be able to happen.  Don’t worry.  For those of you who have already submitted questions, I will answer them in this post.

So, as many of you know, St. Maximilian Kolbe’s feast day was just a few days ago.  For a very long time, he was one of my favorite saints, and he still is.  Back when I was homeschooled, I read books on saints for english class (a far cry from reading Candide by Voltaire like I do in a public high school), and my absolute favorite book was the one on Maximilian Kolbe.  I was so intrigued by him, especially his love for Mary.  At the time, I had a very weak (basically absent) devotion to Our Lady.  the thing that caught me was the Militia of Mary Immaculate.  As a boy, anything that involves military will peak my interest.  I started to read more about Kolbe, his devotions and organizations.  They were all pretty cool, but the best thing I read was the story of his capture and death at Auschwitz.

I’m sure many of you know the story, but for those of you who don’t, Kolbe was arrested on February 14, 1941, and was sent to Auschwitz concentration camp without trial.  There he endured horrible treatment that you hear horrific stories of.  But one day, ten prisoners were chosen at random to be sent into a cell to stave to death.  Fr. Kolbe was not one of them.  One of the doomed men who was chosen cried out, “My poor wife, my poor children!”.  Kolbe offered to take his place in the starvation chamber.  Two weeks past, and four men were still alive, but Kolbe was the only one who remained conscious.  Thats two times longer than the normal time it would take a man to die without food or water.  They injected some stuff in them to make them die faster, and on the following day, he was burned.

It was on Kolbe’s feast day when I read this email that was sent the day before:

If “defending” your faith, would cost you your life, would you still do it? This is a question I ask myself all the time as the Bible says, “A man does not value his life, until it is about to be taken from him.” (Not direct quote but you get the meaning) God Bless, SR

i’m going to assume that “defending your faith” would range from martyrdom for refusal to reject Catholicism, martyrdom for simply being Catholic, dying to protect another (such as Kolbe), or pretty much anything on those guidelines.  And to answer you honestly…probably not.  I would love to and all reason points to it being the correct choice, but I don’t think I am at the point spiritually where I would have enough courage to do it.  But that’s not to say that I am making no progress to build up my fortitude.

Everyday, I try to do something I normally wouldn’t do for my faith.  Just as much as I can.  Sometimes its admitting to being Catholic, other times its defending the unborn.  But the point is, you can’t get to amazing acts of selfless courage if you don’t build yourself up to it first, little by little.  This past week, we were having a Class debate in AP Euro on whether or not Joan of Arc is a saint, or just a crazy lunatic.  And not to pat myself on the back, but I ruled that debate.  At one point I said something, and a proponent of Crazy Arc asked me what my source was.  “An Encyclopedia”.  I knew if I told them ‘New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia’, they’d probably think it was biased.  But it was amazing.  PS, if you’re ever in a debate that’s not about moral issues, just talk louder, shout if you need to.  It works every single time.  In moral debates (abortion, homosexuality), you need more brains than brawn, more love than guns.

A bit of news

  • Okay, so many of you will be happy to know, that I have finally (somewhat) got a grip on the Latin Mass.  Yay!  And to be honest, its much more profound than Ordinary Form usually is.  I don’t know how to put it, but it feels more Extraordinary (out of the ordinary).
  • Okay, a lot of you guys know (especially those reading who know me personally) that to say I am merely a Tolkien fan is a big understatement.  But anyway, I worked for a really long time to translate the Hail Mary prayer into Elvish (Quenya to be exact).  And that was before I knew that JRR Tolkien himself had written not only the Hail Mary, but also the Our Father in Elvish.  I only had to correct a couple words that meant basically the same thing, but I was close.  Anyway, here is the correct translation:

Aia María quanta Eruanno, i Héru as elye. Aistana elye imíca nísi, ar aistana i yáve mónalyo Yésus. Aire María Eruo ontaril, á hyame rámen úcarindor, sí ar lúmesse ya firuvamme. Násie.

In Christ, Catholic2theMax

PS, I got some new memes.  Check ’em out.

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The Impossibility of Catholicism

No, I’m not leaving Catholicism.  No, I’m not going back on my first 34 posts.  No, Catholicism isn’t a lie.  And no, I haven’t been at the Gaffer’s home Brew (ha, movie quote).  Just Bear with me.

Today’s First Reading.

14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and kneeling before him said, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; for often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

“O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?” How many times have i felt like that?  Quite a bit.  Anyway, this reading has a lot to deal with faith.  Jesus says that if you have faith, you can move mountains.

7257c-patrick-faithSeems pretty impossible.  I mean, he’s talking about one of the largest types of natural formations on the planet.  Yet Jesus cannot lie, it is against His very nature.  So it must be possible.  So, hands up if you believe Jesus, honestly.  You can’t see me, but my hands remained firmly fixed on the keyboard.  Humans tend to know their limits pretty well.  I know i can’t fly, lift a thousand pounds, drive stick, and definitely not move a mountain.  Science tells me all of this.  Some people think that its Science versus Catholicism.  But actually, they go together quite nicely.  Science tells me that it is beyond my capability to move a mountain.  I wouldn’t be able to budge it an inch, simple as that.  So, it seems that lil’ old Jesus has been thwarted again by the evil, umm, common sense.  Actually no.  All these fake scientific tests that I metaphorically did on myself were, well, on myself.  I wasn’t testing God.  God is omnipotent, all-powerful, limitless.  you didn’t really think you would be moving that mountain by yourself?

Like I already said, we tend to know most of our limits.  Also, we tend to create some of our own.  “I can’t do this dad, its too hard”.  “Mom, I can’t go to that”.  We say I can’t so much we have forgotten to say “I can”, much less “God can”.  We have humanized God into a weak mortal like ourselves.  We usually don’t believe even He can do something.  But, time and time again, He proves us wrong.

One of the reasons Catholicism isn’t viewed kindly by most people, is because of some “impossibility” of some sorts.  “No, Jesus couldn’t have possibly risen from the dead”, “No, God couldn’t possibly have become man”, “No, this lump of bread couldn’t possibly be Jesus”.  

When people say something is impossible, they probably don’t know what they are saying.  When they say that, they probably mean its impossible for anyone.  They don’t think that there might actually be someone who can do the impossible.  Again, we think of “can’t” so much, its hard for us to think of “can”.  

Have you ever been to a 3D movie theatre?  One time, I lost my glasses, and I went the entire movie just watching a super blurred, very visible outline of the movie.  That’s what our “impossible” ideas do to us.  We can’t really see what we can do because we won’t really look.  That would be like cutting a car in half and saying, yeah, I don’t think it will go any where soon.  Duh, you just looked at half of it.  If you think you can’t do something, you’re right.  A+.  But you aren’t doing it by yourself.  If we were, I would definitely not care enough to write this.

Yes.  most of Catholicism is impossible.  But only if you aren’t wearing your 3D glasses so to speak.  Only if you just look at half the picture.  If you take it all in, it makes a whole bunch of sense.

NEWS

  • I was trying to watch the GOP debate on youtube, and an ad for Planned Parenthood came on trying to cover up the recent videos going around.  When the lady basically said that they did not do it, I paused the screen.  I felt like I had met her before.  And then I figured it out.  I had seen that face before, many, many times.  Its the look of my younger siblings telling me they did not eat a cookie…as they try to swallow the three cookies that are hanging out of their mouths.  You might be able to fool the Government, PP, but you can’t fool an older brother!
  • I’ve got a request from a follower to do some Q&A posts.  So I’m thinking about doing it weekly or monthly or something, where you guys can ask me any question you want, and I’ll of course answer them to the best of my ability.  To do this however, their have to be questions for me to answer.  I don’t want people thinking of questions for days just so they can make me feel popular.  If you actually would like me to do this, comment about it.  I’ll only do it if there is enough support behind it.

In Christ, Catholic2theMax

The Universal Call to AWESOMENESS

“Awesome”.  Try to picture that word in your head.  Visualize the most awesome thing you can think of.  The coolest, most amazing, and most astounding thing you have ever seen.  I would’ve told you to close your eyes, but then you couldn’t really read the post.  Ah well.  Anyway, think of what you just visualized.  If you though of JPII holding a Koala, you’d be like me.
682343cd15468f7eba7f4751b9525618You may be cool, but, you’ll never be St. JPII-is-holding-a-koala-cool.  Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, pure and total awesomeness.  As, you can tell, I like that word.  And not without reason.  The word mean “to inspire awe”.  And to me, the most awe-inspiring thing is God.  Well, He’s not a thing, but you get the idea.  So, anything “awesome” in it’s purest form is anything like God.

You may have heard of the Universal Call to Holiness (I certainly hope so).  The idea is that no matter who you are, where you’re from, or what you’ve done, you are called to be a Saint.  When I was confirmed, I chose St. Josemaria Escriva as my patron.  At the time he lived, there was a lot going on.  Well, duh, it was the Spanish Civil War.  But it was also a time of struggle in the Church.  Priesthood was seen widely as just another job you could choose from.  But one of the biggest wrong ideas of the time was that only religious (priests, nuns, monks, etc.) could be a saint.  Josemaria started Opus Dei, or the Work of God, dedicated to making saints out of ordinary people.  Not only that, but to do every single thing for the Glory of God.

St. Josemaria liked to get up early in the morning, and say the Morning Offering the moment he woke up.  He asked people how could they expect to win the day’s war if they lost the first battle to laziness?  He would get up and squash temptation before it even had the chance to yawn.  Pretty awesome.  Whatever he did, it was for God.  Now, I don’t expect any of you to be praying a rosary while you take a final exam.  We’re not that good, well, I’m not at least.  You guys might be.  Giving everything to God is amazing, but it is really hard to achieve if you’re not used to it.  So, I propose something simpler to get you on your way.

Here it is.  Whatever you do, be awesome at it.  Do it well.  If you’re a baseball player, swing like Jesus was your coach.  If you’re taking a test, study like Jesus was your teacher, or maybe your mom, that might inspire you not to fail more.  If you are a doctor, operate like Jesus was your patient.  If you’re a babysitter (or just an older sibling, like me), care for the kids like you were holding the infant Jesus in your arms.  If you blog, write like Jesus is going to read it (because He is!).  You get the idea.  If you’ll do that, you can’t go wrong.

Just because that was kind of vague, here are some easy to do and simple ideas for being Awesome, each and every day of the week.  The way this works is that you try to accomplish all of the goals everyday, but focus the most on the one for the prescribed day.  Here we go:

  • Monday: Smile more often.  Frowns take more muscle anyway.
  • Tuesday: Talk to God.  No need for a set prayer.  Have a conversation with Him like you’re sitting at the coffee shop with your best friend about whatever you want.  Tell Him about your day, or about how fun that new video game is, or about how amazing this “Catholic Teen” blog is.
  • Wednesday: Laugh.  Not only does it relieve stress, but it gives you an excuse for looking up memes during study hall.
  • Thursday: Listen to good music.  I mean good music.  I want none of this Taylor Swift nonsense.
  • Friday: Read a good book.  If you can’t think of one, read the Lord of the Rings.
  • Saturday: Try your hardest at everything.  You have no good reason not too.
  • Sunday: Relax.  If you care enough to have read this far, you are probably a hard-working and devout Catholic who is in no desperate need of my advice, except maybe this one.  Humans are designed to need rest, so we Catholics vote an entire day to it (how typically awesome of us).

This isn’t all you can do.  This is more like The Beginner’s Guide to Being Awesome.  It is more concerned about how you are at work or school than how you are at church.  Confession should definitely be somewhere in there, along with Mass and stuff.

You might think that you’re just an average citizen, an ordinary person.  But there is no such thing as ordinary.  You are a child of God!  That is pretty extraordinary!  The saddest thing I see everyday is someone who has forgotten who they really are.  You’re AWESOME!  Start acting like it!

In Christ, Catholic2theMax

PS, I secretly was scanning you while you read this article with a state-of-the-art Awesome meter.  Here is what you scored: awesome-meter

Since When Has the Faith Become Convenient?

Look around you.  I would bet that almost everything has been engineered for your convenience.  Looking around the room I’m in, there is a ladder going up to a bunk bed to make it easier to get up there.  I’m sitting in a chair designed to make me comfortable.  There is a closet so I can find my clothes quicker.  I’m typing on a laptop that can bring me news from around the world in a split second.  This laptop can allow me to communicate with my Grandparents 891 miles away without leaving my home.

Wherever humans go, they change their environment to make life easier.  We cut down trees and build dams.  We build towns and cities and nations.  We invent new things to make life even more comfortable.  We built cars, manufactured airplanes, created computers and cell phones.  We domesticate almost everything to suit our needs.  And now, we have started to domesticate Christianity.  Nowadays, Jesus is just a “nice guy” and “a good teacher”.  People believe whatever they want, usually whatever they want to be correct.  Ever heard of Cafeteria Catholicism?  I want this Jesus-loaf, and maybe a bit of that Church-cream.  Ooh, that Heaven-cobbler looks great!  Ew, that morality stuff makes me feel sick.  Yah, I don’t want a Pope-roll.  Finish it off with a Whatever-the-heck-I-want-Cola.

Gone are the days when people were picky about their beliefs and would eat anything their parents gave them.  No, nowadays people believe whatever their friends or the media tells them, and will only eat like four things without throwing a fit.  My generation has gotten so used to having everything made easy for them.  For instance, at band camp, some people fake injuries when they don’t feel like running anymore.  People only do their homework when they feel like it.  The list goes on and on.

Conveniences like plumbing and electric lighting are definitely useful.  To be honest, I wouldn’t last a week without air conditioning during the summer.  But when you try to make everything easy, that’s where you go wrong.  Some things aren’t meant to be easy!  You don’t get a Gold Medal at the Olympics for showing up in the uniform.  You don’t get a college scholarship for just going to high school.  And you don’t get to heaven just going to church when you feel like it.  Sometimes we forget that we are the Church Militant, not the Church Comfy.

Mass isn’t supposed to be fun, it is supposed to be a prayer.

16692_137476246402126_1068780111_nNone of the Saints got to Heaven by doing whatever they felt like doing?  Look at any Saint in the History of Christianity.  Name one of them who didn’t suffer in some way.  Cricket…Cricket.  And the Saints are role-models for us.  So if you are being persecuted by our culture for your Catholic faith, take heart!  Your doing something right.  If you are not, you need to either thank God for living in a perfect world, or reëxamine what you believe.

Birth Control was made for the convenience of parents who didn’t want kids.  Divorce exists for the convenience of spouses who no longer wanted to be around each other.  Abortion usually takes place in the failure of birth control, again, for the convenience of parents who don’t want their kids.  People are changing the liturgy to make it more convenient for them or prospective converts.  People, even bishops, are trying to change church doctrine for various reasons (Story).

I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t want a comfortable church that lets me do what I want.  That’s kind of like a parent who won’t tell their child not to go out on a busy street.  It’s the Church’s job to protect and guard its flock.  Jesus told Peter to “feed my sheep”, not to let them do what they want so you can be popular.  The thing is, when my parents protect their kids from various thing, kids tend not to like it.  I once tried to buy a violent video game, and I was extremely angry when I was told I couldn’t get it.  No matter how long I wouldn’t talk or through a fit or shouted or whatever else I could cook up, my parents wouldn’t budge.  That needs to be what the church does.  No matter how much people want to go out on a busy street to play with their friends on the road, the parents cannot let them do it.

Our morality cannot be defined by us, or by circumstance.  Morality comes from God, and God alone.  We cannot make it for ourselves.  Since God made morality, it can’t be circumstantial.  Killing someone is wrong, regardless if you are doing it because you want, or because someone tells you to do it (cough planned parenthood cough).

Whether you like it or not, we are on a battleship, not a cruise liner.  That doesn’t mean we have to be morbid and pessimistic though.  We can still be happy, in fact, we are called to be joyful in this life.  But that doesn’t mean we aren’t in a fight.  Most of you have heard of the Planned Parenthood video about selling aborted body parts.  It’s nothing new.  That’s what PP does.  The #WomenBetrayed Pro-Life Rally was one of the biggest in history.  It is calling for an end to the Government’s funding of Planned Parenthood.  However, Obama still vows to veto anything that would accomplish that goal.

We have to take a stand.  Nothing is convenient about that.  I am lighting the beacons of Gondor.  If you are reading this and have a blog, write a post calling the Faithful to make a stand, and tag it TheBeaconsAreLit.  Will you answer the call?  I’m counting on you guys.

In Christ, Catholic2theMax

When You’re Done with Everything

Today, I’ll be honest, was horrible.  It started out good enough.  I slept in until about 8:00, and went to the 9 am Mass.  After that, I went to the library to get some movies.  My mom told me that I might not be allowed to watch some of them.  I was pretty tired, and that kind of got me annoyed.  Then we had to go to a couple more stops, which further irritated me.  When I finally got home, i locked myself up in my room and started to read a book.  That’s when my mom told me I had to go to the pool (which I really didn’t want to do).  After that she said, “you also have a dentist appointment Thursday, and you have to get a haircut this weekend (Gretclips always messes it up).  Oh, and you have band rehearsal tonight”.  It was like the 4 worst things in a row.  I was very angry.  Then my brother came into the room and said, “Why are you angry.  Huh?  Just tell me why you’re annoyed.”  It lasted for like ten minutes.  I finally escaped and ate lunch.  When I came back upstairs, I was checking what time band was tonight, when I got a notification from wordpress.  It was a post from The Honan Chapel Newsletter.  It was a video from a father whose 5-year old daughter is battling cancer.   

I realized that my life is pretty awesome.  I have to go to the dentist and that means I have teeth to get checked out.  I have to get a haircut and that means I’m not bald.  I have to go to the pool which means I have a pool to go to.  I have to go to marching band which means I’m healthy enough to do it (that’s saying a lot).

My life is great, just like most people’s.  But sadly, most people don’t realize it because their heads are always down to their phones.  Enjoy your life that God gave you, you only have one.

In Christ, Catholic2theMax

PS.  If you’re having a bad day, imagine a t-rex trying to make a bed.  If that doesn’t work, go to catholicmemes.com, that should do the trick.

Comfort and Greatness

So, if you didn’t already know from some of my earlier posts, I’m part of the Marching Band at my high school.  I started playing the alto sax just a year before I joined my Freshman year (that’s barely any).  I was very inexperienced and unprepared for what I was going to be asked to do.  I couldn’t play the music and I could barely march, so they made me an alternate who just pushes the props around.  It was pretty cool, actually.  I went everywhere with the band and pushed a fake camera around.  I got featured on the jumbotron at Lucas Oil Stadium a couple times.  It was hard, but not that hard.

This year is a whole different enchilada.  I have improved my marching technique a lot, and have also spent time getting better musically.  When they dished out this year’s music, it was twice as hard.  But I practiced and practiced, and soon I only had a couple measures that still needed work.  Yesterday (July 16, 2015), we had an all-day rehearsal to get ready for our all-week band camp.  We were outside marching, and it was the time when they choose who is going to be an alternate.  One of the band directors pulls someone aside during a water break and tells them that they will be an alternate for the season.  I was marching around with my alto, feeling good about my improvements, when the assistant band director tells me to see him at the break.  I got pretty disappointed.  I worked so hard to meet their standards and I still am an alternate?  What stinks the most about it is that usually only one sophomore is an alternate, the rest are freshies.  So its really bad luck to be the one sophomore out of 60 that is an alternate.

At the water break I walked over and stood in front of the director.  He says, “You’ve improved a ton.  Not only marching and music, but also your determination and work-ethic.  I’m very glad to see that you have begun to be comfortable in your position.  But…”  I brace myself for the bad news tat I knew was coming.  “But, we need you to march Bari Sax instead.”

For those of you who don’t know, an alto sax is relatively small, but a baritone sax is about 3x as big.

Alto is the one on the far left, then tenor, and finally bari on the right.
Soprano sax is on the bottom, then Alto is the one on the far left, then tenor, and finally bari on the right.

For some reason I still don’t understand, I agreed to march bari.  Its a lot heavier, more awkward to play, and not to mention that I have never played it before.  Band Camp is this Sunday, and I have two days to learn the music and be able to march with it perfectly.  But hey, it’s only marching band.  Ok, it’s a lot harder than it looks.  However, I do have a history of doing these kinds of things.  I used to play football, and I was really good at it (not to brag).  I played defensive end, but my coach needed me at fullback and tight end.  I said that I’ll play whoever he put me.  I ended up playing almost ever position except Qb and running back.  In baseball, I typically played outfield, but my coach wanted me at third.  I had a terrible fear of getting hit with the ball, but I did it anyways.  And finally, band.  When I took the infamous bari out of the case I was like:3973c399c75172b31e8d7a73982c8c10

But when I took a good look at it after it was fully assembled:IMG_5391  I felt like Frodo when I finally took it off.  c2192f9c1e4c9eb5c17e1f24affe37eb67c08459f991487cc19016e1c660cd73

That night, my band director gave a great speech.  he started out with a quote.

“10% of life is what happens to you, 90% of it is how you respond”

He went on to talk about how he kicked our butts that night (very true, considering I marched with a 20 pound sax for two hours straight).  He talked a lot about getting out of your comfort zone, and taking risks.  No one has ever achieved greatness while being comfortable he says.  If you’re starting to feel good about how you are doing, do more.  Push yourself to do more than you think you can, because I know you can.

I couldn’t help but hear Jesus in his words.  read it over again with God as the speaker.  It sounds like him, doesn’t it?  If you feel comfortable just going to church on Sunday, you need to do more.  If you feel uncomfortable about something, generally, generally mind you, you’re on the right path.  Has anyone ever gotten the girl of their dreams by feeling comfortable and not talking to her?  Has anyone won a Super Bowl without taking a single risk?  Has anyone made it to Heaven, just trying to be “good enough”?  Heck No!  Jesus asks for the impossible, but He rarely requires it.  If you give, 110%, Jesus will give the rest.  If you aim for like 98-ish, your gonna get 9.8-ish.  Give your best, and then some.  At band, we do a breathing exercise, where we fill up our lungs in 5 counts, and then take gulps of air for 15 counts.  Our air wasn’t really full after five, was it?  How about this.  Raise your hand as high as you can.  Higher.  Higher.  You could go farther, couldn’t you?  That’s what we always need to do.

“The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort.  You were made for Greatness” – JPII

In Christ, Catholic2theMax

PS, I really need some prayers today and for the rest of the week.  Thanks!