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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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

Love and Forgiveness

We live in a world of feelings.  People do whatever they feel is right, and condemn whatever they feel is wrong or offensive.  Nowadays, love means a good feeling you have for someone or something.  It means letting someone do whatever they want because anything else would be hateful.  What a radical turn from the love Jesus expressed during His ministry.

250617_158293930987024_1619207592_nThe Gospel says that “God is Love”.  Since God is perfect, He can never be imperfect, or un-loving.  So if we look at the life of Jesus, we’ll only see examples of love.  We can see obvious examples that anyone would recognize.  He multiplied the loaves and fish to feed His starving followers.  He cured the sick and raised the dead.  And of course, His ultimate sacrifice on the cross, the ultimate act of love.  But then there are times when Jesus seems to not be so loving.  Remember when Jesus went to the temple and flipped all of the tables and fashioned a whip out of cords and drove the traders out?  That doesn’t seem like love in the way our culture usually sees it.  But I hold on to the fact that Jesus can only love, since God is love, or more accurately, love is God.

What do all of these examples have in common?  Not all of them are associated with just good feelings.  None of them involve letting someone do whatever the heck they want.  But they all happen because Jesus genuinely wishes the good for each and every person on Earth.  He would only do corporal works of mercy because He wishes that person to live a good life, and He died on the cross because He wants everyone to have a shot at Eternal Salvation.  He drove the money-changers out because they were making the temple, the most holy place in the world to the Jews, a market.  That would be like someone trying to set up a Taco Bell in your church.  Of course your going to get upset about it!  Not only are they making worship impossible for people trying to get to Mass, but they are also getting this idea that the House of God isn’t important enough to not have a trading market.  They need to be shown that it is indeed extremely important, and that is what Jesus did.  Jesus showed us that Love is not just a feeling, it is genuinely wishing the good for that person.  With that in mind, I can honestly say that I love each and every one of you reading this.

And of course, there is Paul’s famous First Corinthians 13: Love is patient, love is kind, etc.  I think we should also study this passage to better understand love.

Love is patient.  Sometimes, my siblings will turn into 7 little Jack-Jacks from the Incredibles movie.  You’ll have to watch it, I can’t really describe it.  But love wouldn’t freak out and start throwing pillows at them (which I may or may not do from time to time).  Love would not lose its temper, and calm things down.  Also, sometimes the thing someone needs the most is for you to listen to them.  That takes patience too.  I remember an elderly man I used to visit with my local Legion of Mary.  He was the coolest guy I’ve ever met.  But sometimes, all he would do is sit and tell us stories for like an hour.  You should have seen how happy he was that he had someone to talk to.  Sometimes it took patience, but that is all in the business of love.

Love is kind.  Love goes out of its way to help someone.  Love volunteers to do corporal works of mercy.  Love cleans its room without be told to.  I have to admit, I’m not so advanced in this category.  Jesus was though.  He would eat dinner with sinners, heal the sick, and talk to tax collectors (If you’ve never seen the Bible Series on History channel, watch the clip of Matthew’s conversion).  Today, go out of your way to be nice to someone.

Love is not Jealous.  Love isn’t jealous of what someone else has.  Since I do not own a phone, sometimes I’m jealous that everyone, literally everyone except me has one.  Love would be glad for them, and rejoice that they have been blessed with a comfortable lifestyle.

Love is not Boastful or Arrogant.  Love doesn’t brag about how good they are compared to someone else.  It doesn’t think that its better or worth more than anyone else.  Love is humble.  Love is like an angel: It can fly because it takes itself lightly.  Love is like GK Chesterton when he responded to the question “What is wrong in the world?”.  His response was the shortest out of all the famous authors that answered.  He simply said ” Dear sirs, I am.”  So, be humble, just like love.

Love is not Rude.  Don’t you hate it when you’re talking about religion, and there is always that one person who insults you and your faith?  Love is not like that.  Love is respectful to everyone, regardless of their beliefs or opinions.  That, however, does not mean to let them believe whatever they want.

Love does not insist on its own way.  Don’t take this the wrong way.  This does NOT mean that you can let someone do or believe whatever they want.  It means that if someone wants to go to blah blah blah for lunch, and you want to go to this and that instead, you don’t insist on going where you want to go.  I hate it when me and one of my parents are going to get something to eat, and they won’t say where they want to go!  That’s probably because they are being like love.

Love is not Irritable.  Love doesn’t get angry or annoyed at someone.  Love is too kind and patient for that.  I know its hard, but you have to try your best.  Your not perfect, but aim for perfection, and you’ll get excellence.  Aim for good enough, and you’ll get, well, not good enough.  So try your best.

Love is not Resentful.  Love doesn’t carry grudges.  It forgives and forgets, just like God when you go to confession.  There is this one kid at my high school that was in my Middle School English class.  He was the meanest boy I ever knew, and he would pick on me all the time.  Eventually I put a stop to it myself, but I still am trying to work to get rid of that grudge he gave me.  Love wouldn’t do that.  Love forgives.

Love does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.  Like I said earlier, our culture has a very distorted idea of what love does.  Apparently, nowadays, it is love to celebrate SCOTUS’s decision.  Apparently, its love to allow women to have abortions.  Apparently, its love to reject the truth.  That’s not love.  Love rejoices in the truth, not evil.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.  ‘Nuff said.

Now that we have established what exactly love is, let’s look at today’s Gospel.  Jesus is once more visiting his hometown, Nazareth.  And once more, they reject him.  But it isn’t as bad as what they did earlier:11064011_10203835795915839_610930802_o

If you haven’t already figured it out, they tried to throw him off a cliff.  Pretty bad welcome home party.  But he still comes back and preaches to them.  Again, culture would say that what He just did in today’s Gospel isn’t love, it’s hate.  They don’t want him to preach, so He shouldn’t preach.  Again, whatever the people feel is right, is somehow right.  Jesus loved those people so much, that He risked being thrown off a cliff just so He could talk to them about the truth.  Not only that, He forgave them for almost killing Him, just like He forgives you when you go to Confession.

Love fuels forgiveness, and forgiveness in turn is a manufacturing plant for love.  It’s like Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration, they fuel each other.  If you want the strength to forgive, love.  If you want the strength to love, forgive.  Jesus said that we must forgive each other, not seven times, but seventy times seven times.  I remember when I was little, my little brother punched me.  My mom told me to forgive him.  I asked why.  She said because Jesus tells us to forgive our brothers 70 x 7 times.  I told her that I think I’ve past that number a long time ago, so I shouldn’t have to this time.  But really, forgive endlessly. That’s what Jesus does.

In Christ, Catholic2theMax

PS, before we left Mass this morning.  My dad told me to sign a piece of paper.  I asked what it was and he told me to just sign it.  I have a plethora of different signatures, so I chose one of my favorites:  My name (Batman).  My dad laughed and told me it was going to our bishop!  I hope he has a good sense of humor.

PPS,

Turn the Other Cheek

Today is the Feast day of the First Holy Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church.  Today we honor the brave men and women who gave their lives to spread the gospel to the world.  Without them, we would never had heard the good news of Christ.  Some of them we know, such as St. Peter and Paul who we celebrated yesterday.  Today is for the unsung heroes who names are known to God alone.

They say history repeats itself, that what happened will happen again.  The world is definitely heading in that direction.  Doubtless you have heard of the Supreme Court’s disappointing decision regarding so called “gay marriage”.  What disappoints me even more is the reaction of the people.  Wordpress had a gigantic rainbow banner at the top of my screen for a couple days, Google had a weird video of it on their homepage, and Target had like thirteen different variations of Gay Pride swim trunks.  And people get mad at me for wearing a scapular under my shirt because it’s “offensive”.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 1.39.47 PMOut of curiosity, I did a little poll at my high school with my friends.  There were just a couple of questions.

1. Should abortion be legal in any circumstance?

2. Should gay marriage be allowed?

3.  What religion do you believe in?

20 people agreed to take part in it.  My friend and I tallied them up, and the results were…well, you’ll see.  As for religion, 50% were Protestant-Christian, 20% were Catholic, and 20% were Atheist, Agnostic, or other.  Here is the actual chart.  35% responded “Yes” to Question 1 regarding abortion, but a staggering 80% said “Yes” to the second.  If you just look at the Christians, two-thirds of them don’t see a problem with what the Supreme Court just decided.

1f8a89ff35a61631d4404c44cdbd22a884d302b10a410758a4ba2f984f3ca8a2Good question.  If we figure out how we got here, the easier it is to get out.  For that, I highly recommend the book Worshipping the State: How Liberalism Became Our State Religion.  It explains in perfect detail about what we face today in the secular world, how it came to be, why it came to be, and how we can face it.

So, what do do right now.  First, you need to fight off despair.  I know that’s really hard to do.  But if you give up hope, that’s like just letting your boat drift during a storm.  You need to anchor your ship in the Rock of Christ, His Church.  That’s why hope is usually symbolized as an anchor.

The second thing is to pray.

“Give me an army praying the Rosary and I will conquer the world”  – Blessed Pope Pius IX

Pray for strength for yourself, strength for your fellow Catholics, and by golly pray some common sense into everyone else!

The third thing is to respond with love.  LGTB advocates say they support ‘love’, but often argue or respond with hatred.  The founder of Mozilla was forced to resign because he made a small donation to a Pro-Traditional Marriage organization six years earlier.

The fourth thing is to teach others.  Based on the poll I mentioned earlier, you might think kids nowadays haven’t been taught well.  You may even think that the culture taught them instead.andyouareright

So, teach people the truth, the whole truth, and notin’ but the truth!

The final thing you have to do is to resist.  With the successful watering-down of most of Christianity, the secular culture expects us to just be the nice guys who aren’t mean to anybody.  To that I say no.  We need to be the totally awesome guys who go around teaching the faith and saving souls!  That sounds cooler to me.  They expect you to turn the other cheek and not do anything, because that is what they have led us to believe that it means.

Back in Jesus’ time someone would backhand a slave with their right hand because using their left hand was seen as “unclean”.  Jesus says to turn the other cheek, making it impossible to backhand you with their right hand.  You’re telling the person that you won’t fight back, you won’t run away, but you won’t just submit to his hatred either.

The story that probably explains it the best is a tale of Mother Theresa.  She had a starving child with her, and stood at the doorstep of a bakery, begging for bread.  The baker spat on her instead.  She replied.  “Thank you for your gift to me, now how about something for the child”.

That being said, my favorite example is that of an African Bishop who was making his way along a low bridge over a large pool of mud.  He encountered a racist white man who was going in the opposite direction.  The man said, “Get off.  I don’t make way for gorillas.”  The bishop got off the bridge and gestured for the man to move on.  He said, “I do”.

Step One

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   Step Two
 awesome

Jesus isn’t telling us to just leave them alone or not doing anything.  He’s calling us to resist!  Turning the other cheek attracts the person to be sorry, to realize what he is doing, and to repent.  It reflects his hatred back at him so he can see what he has just done.  Fighting back just fuels the fire (One of my brothers is like 16 months younger than me and we fight all the time.  Trust me, I’ve tried that.  It does not work.).  Running away just confirms that what he is doing is working.

Sometimes all we can do is fight.  I mean, it would not end well for Batman if all he did was send the Joker text messages with burn jokes.  Again, sometimes we have to flee.  But usually, go for turning the other cheek.  That goes for our situation in America today.

Remember what I said in The Way, when I said that it’s easier to get to your destination when you’re caravanning?  That certainly applies right now.  Not only do you need trustworthy friends to keep you on the straight and narrow, but also to give you advice about how to answer people’s questions and arguments, to give you encouragement, make sure you understand what is actually the truth, and to most importantly, pray for you.  Always be on the look out for potential caravan members, or a caravan to join.  You can find one here by the way.  You can send me an email or comment about whatever you want.

Well, that is it for today.  Tomorrow I’ll be posting a month-in-review post, so get ready for that.  Think about that follow button by the way.  My caravan is always open to new members.  I’ll pray for you guys, and for America, please pray for me too.  God knows I need it as well.  Thanks!

In Christ, Catholic2theMax

Some People

Pope-meme

I feel like this so often.  On the reader page of WordPress, I follow the “Catholic” Tag.  Sometimes people will post Anti-Catholic stuff on there with that tag.  There was one about how no devout catholic could ever be a good parent.  Annoyed sigh.  It is always nice to see and actual Catholic post under the Catholic Tag.  It’s even better when Catholic Memes comes out with a new post.  Ah, that site is awesome.  Anyway, it’s a lot easier to deal with the anti-Catholic comments in real life.  I feel much more at home in a face to face conversation.  Even not discussing it, but just taking the blow is easier in real life.  I don’t feel alone because I have a couple of really good devout Catholic friends that always have my back.  Elsewhere, I feel a lot more alone, helpless even.  I know I’m never alone with God, but I still get that feeling.  I have a “Catholic” friend who will usually take the wrong side of an argument and say something weird.  He’s all for that “all religions are equal” stuff.  He claims that the Catholic Church isn’t correct, it’s just the closest to being right out of all the beliefs in the world.  Whenever that happens, I’m just like:

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It’s usually pretty funny to see his argument collapse after the relentless barrage of sound theology from me and my friends.  I know that kid well, so I can have serious conversations with him from time to time without his dismissal of logic.  I always try to remember my own advice from the post the Apostolate of Friendship.  I have a hard time doing so.  The point that I am trying to say is that without those few select Catholic friends I have, I wouldn’t be wrighting this.  I would probably be just remain quiet on religion.  You know, keep your religion to yourself and all that.  I was like that at the start of my Freshman year.  Some of my friends were talking about abortion and they asked me how I felt about it.  I, a confirmed catholic, who has every responsibility to defend and share the truth, said I didn’t really care.  Looking back, I can’t even see how I let myself do that.  Then I met a couple of Catholic friends who had been in the apologetics business longer than I (I was homeschooled for a couple grades).  They gave me the courage to speak up.  Together with my friends, we all wore Yes on 1 buttons during the 40 days for life.  I have to admit, half the time I wore a jacket over my button during a few classes.  I didn’t want to face harsh criticism from people I didn’t know.  It was a really big learning experience for me.  Fast forward a couple months, and I write a blog about Catholicism.  I wear a Catholic t-shirt like every other day.  This isn’t me bragging, it’s me bragging about my friends.  All this is because of them.

Of course, with anybody, they do have their negative sides.  One of them is super philosophical and hurts my brain all the time. One of them is less traditional than I am, and we joke about his Church’s newer Worship music compared to my church’s classical chant and hymns.  But they are some of the best kids I have ever met.  They continue to change my life and keep it on the narrow way towards Jesus.  So this post is for them, and for all those heroic teens out there taking a stand for the truth.  For all those courageous souls bringing others closer to Jesus.  This is for you also, my brave reader.  Yes, Pope Francis, it’s for you too.  Don’t excommunicate me or anything, okay?  Thanks for reading and God Bless!

Apostolate of Friendship

Neighbors

Today was one of those days.  It started out okay, but it didn’t last.  There are always those people who don’t like you and actively try to make your day worse.  Sometimes I don’t realize that I act like them at times.  I may do the same to them or even something worse.  I can deal with those kinds of people like I have always.  The real killer is my friends who disagree with me on tough moral issues.  Some of them are even Catholic, almost all are Christian.  It’s the way they talk about religion though that really annoys me.  They pull up an issue and say something wrong, and don’t want me to say anything.  It’s like a drive-by shooting.  I have discovered in my short years of life that my personality has three main aspects:  Catholic, brother, and jokester.  When I am in Catholic mode, I relentlessly defend the faith and try my best to be kind.  Brother mode is like protection mode.  Being the oldest brother of a family of 8 kids, I know how to defend others.  Jokester mode speaks for itself.  When I am talking to these kinds of people, most often I find myself in brother mode.  Their my friends, and I know they are holding on to beliefs that are contrary to the truth, and often teach others the same.  I lose some of the qualities the Catholic mode has, like compassion.  The most important thing is to save their soul, not to win the argument.  It’s really hard for me to do this, especially when I am concerned about what they will spread to others.

This all ties into the theme of this post: The Apostolate of Friendship.  St. Josemaria Escriva has an entire chapter dedicated to this in one of his three books.  The apostolate of friendship is basically winning should to Christ by just being a good friend.  This doesn’t mean being quiet when a touchy issue comes up.  Defend the faith with kindness, like a shepherd would compassionately lift his sheep up before it falls.  Most importantly, just be a good friend.  If you are a general, and want another country to help you in a battle, it is much easier to be allied with that country than to force it do help.  No one is gonna listen to you unless they think there is a good reason to do so.  I struggle with this tremendously.  They see me as “the Catholic” that wants to force his religion on others, all because I was more focused on winning the argument than winning a soul.  Be Christ to others, so that through you, they may come to know the truth.  After all, we all need someone to lean on.

God Bless!

Coexisting, and why its not an option

You might be wondering, “I thought coexisting was a good thing?”.  And you’d be right, depending on the definition.  If you mean we should coexist by not killing each other over race, or being able to work together with people of different religions or backgrounds, that’s fine. But when I say coexist, I mean the concept that all religions are fine and should be treated as such (AKA Religious Indifference). Many people think this is a viable option.  After all, why can’t we all just get along already for Pete’s sake?  Others say that you should “stop forcing your religion on others”, or “you believe what you want to believe, and I’ll believe what I want to believe”.  However, there is one large gap in this philosophy.  One religion has to be correct, others flawed in areas of great importance, and some are just flat-out wrong (and sometimes scary).  Every religion is different from all the others, or else they would be the same religion.  eventually two religions will take different stands on a moral topic, and one is right, and one is wrong.  Let’s pretend there are two religions, each with strand of DNA.  They could be the same up until the end, but even that makes the two religions different. The Catholic Church teaches that we should love our neighbors as God has loved us.  Love is the willing of good to someone else, possibly even at your own expense.  St. Paul tells us that love is the single most important virtue, and that it is required of us as Christians to show it.   That gives us the duty to share the truth with others.  If you knew a blind man, but had a lotion that would cure him and didn’t give it to him, how bad would that be?  Or maybe you knew that your friend had a million dollars in his attic, and you didn’t tell him about it.  That would be stupid, wouldn’t it?  Now multiply that by infinity, literally.  We’re talking about eternal life here!  This is what coexisting is asking us to do, and why we cannot comply. In a nutshell, Catholics cannot coexist because we will not keep the truth to ourselves while we watch our brothers and sisters possibly lose their chance at eternal life.  As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said in Verbum Domini,

“We cannot keep to ourselves the words of eternal life given to us in our encounter with Jesus Christ: they are meant for everyone, for every man and woman. … It is our responsibility to pass on what, by God’s grace, we ourselves have received.”