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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Lord of the Rings: The Ring of Liberalism and Sin

I’ve just gotten home from my long road trip to South Bend, Indiana for my youngest brother’s baptism.  My siblings and I have all been baptized at the same church, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame University, and by the same priest.  The road trip was about 8 hours, so I needed some serious entertainment.  I brought my laptop, but it died within 2 hours of Minecraft.  After about an hour or so of boredom, my dad put the Fellowship of the Rings audiobook on.  I’ve read the book many times, but my brother sadly had not, and I am always ready to read, or hear it again.

Like I’ve already said, I have read the Lord of the Rings trilogy at least 15 times, but I’ve never noticed something which caught my ear on Saturday.  Gandalf was talking to Bilbo before the hobbit left for the mountains right after the party.  Bilbo was getting angry, and he told Gandalf, “I’ll do as I choose and go as I please”.  Ever heard that before?  Probably not in those exact words, but perhaps something like “Don’t tell me what to do”.

Nowadays, that’s what most people define as liberalism.  But, with the secularized culture, our liberty has morphed into license (doing whatever the heck you want to do).  Now, that is pretty much what Bilbo in his anger just confessed.  He believes that he can do whatever he wants.  That what true.  With his Ring of Power, Bilbo can get away with whatever he wants because of the invisibility it bestows on its wearer.  He can do as he chooses and go as he pleases, and no one can stop him.  The ring symbolizes liberalism.

Many people want to live like that.  No rules, no bonds, nothing that could get in the way of you and your desires.  Look at America today, somehow the Supreme Court has decided that people have a right to do something just because they want to do it.  Look where that got Bilbo.  He lived an extremely long life, had a tremendous amount of wealth, and not to mention the power of invisibility.  But then we start to see the side affects.  He says that he felt like “butter, scraped across too much bread”.  He has begun the transformation into a terrible creature, a slave to sin.  He shows this in his flashes of anger in his conversation with the wizard.  The reader sees the similarities between him and the creature Gollum, as Gandalf outlines in great detail.   The biggest similarity that I see, is their obsession with their “right” to the ring.  Gollum claims that it was his birthday present, and Bilbo claims that he won it, both lies.

So many people today claim to have a “right” to have an abortion, or to marry someone of the same gender, or to get a divorce.  A right is given from authority.  A mayor has authority given to him from a higher authority, and eventually goes on up to the Federal Government.  And there the chain stops, or does it?  Jesus says that all authority comes from God, and that government has authority in things that only God gives authority.  The Supreme Court may profess to have the authority to redefine marriage, but no such authority lies in any human establishment.  That would be like a monkey trying to redefine the banana given to him by his master.  His master gave it to him out of love as a gift, and the monkey doesn’t want it to be a banana, he wants it to be a pistol.  Eventually, when that monkey tries to start a Rise of the Planet of the Apes, his so called gun will fail to function and he will be in a very bad spot.

I used to have a CD that I would listen to in the car by Joseph Pierce about the Catholicism that can be found in the Lord of the Rings.  He mentioned how the Ring is sin.  It seems appealing and harmless, altogether precious as Tolkien put it.  It seems to exist only for your happiness.  But it will trap you and change you.  Look what it did to the Nine human kings.  They were probably okay guys to start off with.  Some were probably tyrants, but nothing compared to what sin turns them into.

At the beginning of the Return of the King movie, it shows Smeagol fishing with his friend Deagol.  They are very happy, just hanging out enjoying the good weather.  Then they spot the ring, and a peaceful day turn into a murder scene.  A perfectly happy hobbit-like thing was changed into the monstrosity of Gollum.  He both hates and loves the ring, as he hates and loves himself.  He is a hideous animal, a monster from nightmares.  Sin has the capacity to do that, no matter how alluring or harmless it may seem.

This is what will happen if we do not drop sin as Bilbo did.  Leave it and never even look at it again.  The same thing with liberalism, or should I say, license.  License puts you in the place of God as judge of all.  Something is right if you say it is.  That would be living on a lie, like the lie of Gollum.

Frodo just wore it around his neck and he almost turned evil.  But he had a friend, Sam (my favorite character by the way) who helped him on his journey.  Like I’ve said like 10 times already.  A journey is a lot easier if you have good friends to keep you going.

In Christ, Catholic2theMax