Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Glee Is Killing Me....

How can a TV show that I don't even watch irk me so? I get tired of seeing all the headlines about this musical show, watched by many elementary and middle aged students, continually destroying boundaries of dignity and decency.

A few weeks ago, the show, set in a high school, apparently featured a young gay "couple" and a heterosexual couple both deciding whether they should sleep together for the first time.

Now the show will feature a new episode with the girl cast singing Katy Perry's song "I Kissed A Girl, (and I liked it)".

One website promotes the new show as such, "They’ve always been known for pushing the envelope, and the “Glee” cast members have once again outdone themselves with a provocative new performance. Santana and Rachel (Naya Rivera & Lea Michele) have a fabulous and flirty time with Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” much to the delight of their male classmates. As the song progresses, Quinn, Brittany, Mercedes, and the rest of the gang join in for a female gender-empowering anthem."

Female gender-empowering anthem? To the delight of their male classmates?

Are you kidding me?

When I speak to parent groups, one thing I like to share with them is that they need to know what their kids are watching on TV. This requires a bit of effort on the part of parents and a willingness to stand guard over the hearts, minds and souls of their children. The agenda being pushed by mainstream society is one of introducing destructive behavior to younger and younger people and billing it as "normal and healthy." This is a toxic lie and it is wreaking havoc on our young people.

Some people might say, "oh, come on, Sister, this show is realistic, a lot of young people are gay and everyone knows that teenagers can't say no and often sleep around. You are just archaic and oppressive with your right-wing conservative religion."

I disagree completely. We go back, once again, to the beginning of our origins and God's plan for man and woman. Man and woman were made to be a gift to one another in a covenanted, life-giving relationship. Their union is called to be an icon of God's unconditional love for us. The misuse of our sexuality never produces good fruit and we need to really look at this reality and be intentional in our pursuit of what is good, true and beautiful.

Are we really going to stand by quietly and let our kids find out about masculinity and femininity from magazines, pop music and TV shows?

We must use the gift of discernment. We must have dialogues with our young people about what they are seeing on TV and the lies that society is telling them. We cant move our family out to the Himalayas and pretend there is no such thing as sin, anymore than we can just let our kids unabashedly submerge themselves into the often toxic media. We must teach them how to critically think and remind them from where they came and where they are going.

All of us came from heaven and will hopefully go back there. The deepest desire of our hearts is ordered, life-giving and eternal love. Anything less than this fails to satisfy.

Glee might feature talented singers and dancers, physically beautiful young people and an exciting format, but the underlying agenda is ugly, indeed.

Mad Money's Jim Cramer explains looming financial crisis...

check out this link for a simple and understandable explanation of the debt crisis in Europe and how it could affect us here in the US (because we don't already HAVE a huge debt crisis of our own....)

When we look at the signs of the times, it seems that something large is coming our way, perhaps something that will readjust life as we know it. Perhaps we will have all of our "gods" paraded before us-- our "gods" of money, power, arrogance, etc. Will they save us? Uh, no. and everyone is about to find that out firsthand.

The awesome thing is that the REAL God never abandons us. We are like children who need correction and education.

I came across a very telling and true quote from John Adams (the second US President) who spoke these words in 1797, "Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Behold, our current state of affairs....

Monday, November 28, 2011

Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful....Or Are You Beautiful Because I Love You?

When I first heard the song Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, I pondered it for a long time.

The setting in the musical is the royal palace garden and the Prince has just seen Cinderella and danced with her. He is captivated by her beautiful form and finds himself falling in love with her. He then begins to sing "Do I love you because you're beautiful or are you beautiful because I love you?"

Obviously fairy tales speak a deep meaning and are meant to be more than just a superficial story, and so it is with this song.

Philosophers and theologians from of old have heralded beauty (ultimately Divine Beauty) as the attraction of our souls. We are attracted to beauty. But there is another, deeper, aspect to love. Love makes things beautiful. When love is placed in a situation, it invites and elicits beauty.

What may appear "ugly" to someone on the surface, is beautiful to the one who loves. This is why we can say that the Crucifixion, or a disfigured person contains a deep beauty because God always brings beauty and good out of darkness and suffering, if only we have the eyes to see.

St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in The Summa, "motion is nothing more than the reduction of potentiality to actuality." I LOVE this. Our whole lives, our becoming less so that He becomes more, is to lose our potentiality of beauty and holiness for the actuality of these realities.

St. Thomas gives the example of logs on a fire, that once they are hot and burning, they are no longer potentially hot, but actually so. And i think this is a very apropos example, for the reduction of our ego and self-centeredness does feel like a burning fire. But since God is pure essence and actuality, out of His love, He wants to make us like Him.

He loves us because we are a beautiful creation of His and we are beautiful because He loves us, and no one can take that away from us. People can gossip about us or steal from us. They can ignore us or be unkind to us but they can never, never take from us what really matters- the beauty and love that come from God. How freeing. How freeing. What matters most can never be taken or stolen.

May this Advent, with the beautiful new translation of the English Mass, be a journey of freedom, healing, beauty and a deeper knowledge that we are loved by the One- Jesus, who is the Light of the World.

God bless you.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tim Tebow Makes A Wish Come True

This is a really moving video. Tim Tebow seems like an authentically decent person. Its really beautiful to see people who are famous and wealthy use their gifts to help others and make dreams come true. God bless them all.

Sometimes, even on Thanksgiving Day, it can be easy to feel sorry for one's self and compare situations and find your own lacking. Yet, when we re-enter reality, and see the true crosses many others bear, it reminds us that God knows what He is doing and will bring good even out of darkness.

Addicted To The Game?

This commercial made me laugh! people think of creative ways to get their "fix" ;)

"yeah, this is great..."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jelly Belly....

This is SUCH a cool video. The background is not computer generated but created from 288,000 jelly beans. It took TWO years to make this video because of the painstaking work of shooting each scene and then moving the jelly beans a little at a time. Love the creativity!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Beyonce and Christ the King....

I love this particular song Halo by Beyonce. In her music video, she sings it to a man but perhaps in the depths of her heart she is singing it to Christ the King. For it is He whom we ultimately find so attractive and captivating. He is the Light and He breaks down the barriers of our hearts, He awakens us and surrounds us by his grace and his embrace. Truly breathtaking.....

Speaking of Beyonce, there is some of her music that I like very much and would like to post the videos here, but unfortunately, Beyonce seems to have bought into the lie that tells women that if we want to be considered attractive by the world, we must show nearly all our body has to offer.

This makes me very sad because Beyonce is obviously very talented and she is absolutely physically gorgeous- she has been given many great gifts from God. However, all of us have the choice to use our gifts to glorify God and bring true beauty to the world, or turn our gifts back on ourselves and bring glory and attention to us. It must be a tough climate she is in. Hopefully one day, she will use her body as a gift to glorify God. How awesome that would be.

Here is the song I mentioned, Halo. The lyrics and her voice are incredible!


Team Is....

Very good commercial---

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cookie Monster Occupies Wall Street....

Apparently even Cookie Monster has a bone to pick with the 99%.

He joined the Occupy Wall Street movement today....check out www.theblaze.com

Vatican Prepares To Sue Benetton Over Deplorable Image..

The Vatican is preparing legal action against the Italian company Benetton after the company used the Holy Father's image in a manipulated photo showing him kissing a prominent Islamic imam.

Read the full story here.

I will not post the image because it's disturbing and unnecessary but I would like to explore the company's response to the outcry.

The clothing company is featuring an ad campaign entitled "Unhate" and other images show US President Barack Obama kissing Chinese President Hu Jintao, other images feature leading figures kissing one another.

But get this, regarding the image of the Holy Father, Benetton released this statement, "we are sorry that the use of the image had so hurt the sensibilities of the faithful ... The point of this campaign was solely to battle the culture of hate in all its forms."

oh....right.....what a surprise that manipulating the image of the Holy Father to show him in a homosexual kiss would "hurt the sensibilities of the faithful."

Are you kidding me? Come on, people. This is no innocent campaign.

Why the homosexual kiss? If Benetton really wanted to show "Unhate" there are obviously endless ways this could be done in a respectful and life-giving manner. This is no accident.

Why is it that the mainstream media considers acceptance of homosexual behavior the supreme act of tolerance and love?

There are many people who suffer the trials of same-sex attraction. Just like there are many people who suffer from drug addiction, sexual abuse and pornography addiction. Those who suffer from these deep wounds are called to be treated with compassion and kindness, for God has mercy upon us all and comes to seek and save what is lost.

However, there is a huge difference between suffering from an attraction or addiction vs embracing a lifestyle.

This is where people get really, really upset. People will probably hate me for writing these things but before you freak out and called me homophobic, I would like you to appeal to reason (not emotion) and ask the Holy Spirit to come and fill you with truth.

Mainstream media says, "if you feel like doing something, do it. The only things holding you back are your archaic religious practices and outdated modes of thinking there is right and wrong."

This whole issue, especially in regard to homosexual behavior, has been clouded by men and women accepting birth control at large. For if sexual union can be thwarted from it's life-giving impetus to the sole pursuit of pleasure, then what's so wrong with people of the same sex seeking that pleasure?

We must go back to the very roots and foundation of our being. We are made in the image and likeness of God- which means that we are created in and for life-giving love. We learn from John Paul II's work on Theology of the Body that true love is free, total, faithful and fruitful. When our relationships do not or cannot include these four realities, true love is lacking and withers into selfish, self-seeking gratification.

Let us honestly look at what rampant sexual encounters and endless birth control have brought us. There is more "sex" promoted in society than ever before, so let us ask ourselves- are we authentically happier? is there more respect for life, especially the unborn? has respect for women increased and violence against women decreased? Has the number of STDs risen or fallen in the last 50 years? Are men more responsible for their actions or less responsible? Have the number of abortions increased or decreased? Which group of men has the highest rate of HIV infection?

Think about it.

God is our loving Father who wants us to be authentically and eternally happy. He knows that cutting ourselves off from life-giving love and embracing a life of addiction or empty sexual encounters will not make us happy and will only fill us with despair, darkness and shame.

We are made for more. If you live this kind of life-style or have tendencies toward it, please know you are deeply loved by God. Please know that He never abandons you. Please know that there is hope and healing when we embrace the truth and walk toward the Light. Jesus comes to re-order our disorder. All of us are dis-ordered and we all need healing.  This is not an easy path, but the value of redemption and healing is priceless.

With the Lord, there mercy and fullness of redemption. (Psalm 130)

Wanna start the journey?

Same-sex attraction-

12 Step Programs-

Sexual Abuse
Restoring the Heart Ministries

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fatherless Sons.....

The current generation of young men suffer a tremendous wound of being raised without fathers. Although perhaps these young men "get by" in their lives and try to cope, being abandoned by a father is a deep, deep wound.

Many years ago there was a long running sitcom on TV called, "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." Will Smith played a young man from a poor neighborhood who was sent to live with his wealthy uncle Phil and family in Bel-Air. The show was funny and touching and poignant at times.

One of the most powerful scenes of the entire series was when Will encounters his father who abandoned him as a child. His dad "Lou" returns to Will's life and promises he has changed and that he wants to be a part of Will's life again- only to change his mind and abandon his son for a second and final time.

Will Smith really captures the deep agony of a fatherless son in this scene and it's heart-breaking.

I apologize for the poor video quality- the better quality videos had no embedding options.

My Heart's A Stereo and The Book of Proverbs

In the never-ending quest for all that is good, true and beautiful-- i found an echo of the natural law in the song "My Heart's A Stereo".

I love the lyrics-- especially the rap lyrics because what the guy is really saying is this: "will you love me even though I am not perfect and if I become inconvenient?" love it- because that's what we all long for, that's the deep desire of human love for human love is an echo of divine love.

I am not particularly a fan of Adam Levine who is featured singing the chorus, but i like the rest of the song. (my random thoughts continued below...)

This week's Sunday readings featured an excerpt from the Book of Proverbs about the characteristics of a worthy wife. This incredible book gives us some concrete examples and tools for living an authentic and happy life, and some solid advice to men on how to choose a good woman--

It speaks of a man who finds a worthy wife AND entrusting his heart to her (love that) finds a worthy prize or treasure.

Proverbs speaks about the woman who is a hard worker and serves with joy, a woman who fears the Lord and does what is right, a strong and noble woman, a woman who is truly beautiful.

The words also warn men that "charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting." A man looking for a good woman needs to look beyond her physical appearance and peer into her heart to see whether she is rightly ordered or not.

Any woman or man who is deeply disordered and not interested in allowing Christ to come and heal them and bring order to that disorder, will have a hard time in a marriage relationship.

Good to know-

Happy Monday :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Divorce Ceremonies All The Rage In Japan...

I just saw a similar clip to this one and couldn't really believe my eyes. A divorce ceremony as a cause for celebration? wow.

It makes my stomach turn when the divorcing couple smash their wedding rings in an act of "unity."

A covenant ends with a smile and a handshake? Not on your life.....

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Joe Paterno Fired....

Penn State University officials have fired head football coach Joe Paterno over the mishandling of sexual abuse allegations of one of his staff members. 

The students reaction: Riot.


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Division 1 Re-Integration...

By now, I am sure many people have read about the disheartening abuse scandal regarding a former Penn State football coach.

Legendary head coach Joe Paterno (left) announced today that he will be resigning at the end of the season and he expressed his sorrow that he wished he had 'done more' regarding gross mishandling of the situation by his staff.

From this event, we see many realities at hand.

First of all, we see that sexual abuse is not a problem solely encountered by "religious organizations." Whenever a priest is accused of abuse, critics are quick to attack and often drag in the issue of celibacy as a reason for abuse. This is untrue. Sickness and brokenness are the reason people abuse others, not celibacy.

We also see that the tendency and desire to keep problems quiet or to deny their existence isn't only a "church problem" but is trait of fallen human nature. Many times when bad things happen or we have trouble in our family or organization, our first response is to deny the existence of the problem or convince ourselves that it's
"not that bad."

This denial obviously leads to devastation on many levels, especially in regard to the victims. Children never deserve or "ask for" abuse. Children only deserve love, kindness, guidance and protection.

A friend of mine and I were just talking about how coaches have so much influence over their athletes. They often teach the young men and women in their care the meaning of true masculinity and femininity. When a coach violates that trust, everyone suffers. Being a coach is a tremendous responsibility.

Our founder, a former Notre Dame football player, told me a long time ago that when we coach young athletes, we aren't teaching them a sport so much as we are teaching them how to live their lives.

From this angle, we can see how a predatory coach destroys the foundation of the athlete as a person.

As the stakes get higher, (and make no mistake that Men's Division I athletics, especially football and basketball, have VERY high stakes and make an incredible amount of money for their athletic program and school) perhaps it's easier for coaches to forget that the most important thing they are doing is guiding and forming immortal souls, not making money for the university and promoting themselves.

God help us all.

All of us will answer to a higher power than the boosters of the athletic program, the athletic director or the president of the university. We will all give an accounting to God Himself. No amount of money or fame can bypass that reality.

When I see stories like the one that is being exposed at Penn State, its another revelation that we all must seek integration and healing of our sexuality- our masculinity and femininity. We can't pretend that we or our families or institutions don't have problems or disorders. We must go to Christ and embrace all the other help available and begin the journey of healing.

There is a saying: "Suffering that is not transformed is transmitted"

If we don't honestly face our disorder and fears, we will just continue to pass them on to our children, athletes, co-workers, families,and others.

We pray for all victims of abuse that they receive healing, help and hope. Abuse is a devastating crime. The longer it's allowed to continue, the deeper the wounds.

May God have mercy on us all and may we pray for the courage to do what is right, no matter what the cost.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Fr. Robert Barron Is Awesome.....

 I am late on the draw on promoting the awesome work of Fr. Robert Barron, but better late than never! Fr. Barron, a prolific teacher and writer, has recently produced an incredible media project on the truth of our faith that was made into a series called Catholicism.

Check out Fr. Barron's website here.

Lend your support, pray for him and his mission and pass it on!

George Weigel On 'Occupy Wall Street' Confusion...

In the past few weeks, certain Catholic "leaders" have spoken out on a document that seemingly lends the Holy  Father's support to the Occupy Wall Street chaos.

George Weigel writes another excellent article, clarifying the matter.

Read it here.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Beary Birthday...

Our very masculine convent bear (who is a eunuch for the kingdom, by the way) takes one for the team and dons a purple apron to help wish Sr. Giovanni a very happy birthday! Go Birthday Bear!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Beary Sporty...

 Beary, the giant convent bear, intently watches the LSU/Alabama game...who will win?

Beary thinks he knows... (or maybe he just wants to drink some tea and be civilized while watching the game.....)

Friday, November 04, 2011

At Your Gate by Mike Mangione and the Union

I LOVE song #3, At Your Gate by Mike Mangione and the Union.

It was so awesome to hear him sing it live and listen to the accompaniment by awesome band members Patrick and Kristina when we were in Spain. It was breath taking. God has surely filled the world with talented and beautiful people.

Offering by LLRLRR


Happy Friday. Here is a beautiful song by Lifehouse. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Occupy The Confessional....

If we want to change the world and the way things are, the best way to do that is to have a daily conversion from the depths of our hearts. True freedom comes from the forgiveness of sin. We must personally take responsibility for our sin and brokenness and allow Jesus to come and heal us. From this place of healing comes true transformation. Blowing things up and starting riots doesn't lead to peace.

Occupy The Confessional and Receive Grace and Mercy!

Bishop Fulton Sheen on Marriage...

From his book written in 1951- Three To Get Married:

"There comes to every human, at one period or another, the discovery of his nothingness. The man who wanted a certain position eventually becomes dissatisfied with it, and wants something higher; he who has wealth does not have enough, not even with the first million. So, in married love, there comes the crisis of not completely realizing the ideal. But this crisis of nothingness which comes to everyone, married or not, does not mean life is to be mocked. One has not hit the bottom of life, but only the bottom of one's ego...

During this crisis of nothingness, the thing that hearts are kicking and complaining against in not their destiny, nor their nature, but their limits, their weakness, their insufficiency. The human heart is not wrong in wanting love; it is wrong only in thinking that a human can completely supply it. What the soul yearns for in the crisis is the Light of love, which is God, and not the shadow...instead of thinking that the other partner is to blame for this emptiness, which is so common today, one ought to peer into his own soul....the thorn in the flesh is a summons to climb to the Flame of Love which is God."

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

"Life Is a Race Toward Holiness"...

Love this address from our Holy Father given today in Rome for the Solemnity of All Saints.

Raking In The Dough?

In Part 2 of the ridiculous "marriage" drama of Kim Kardashian- she apparently MADE nearly 18 million dollars from her wedding event from start to finish. Kim has recently denied this claim stating she made no money off of the wedding and that she "married for love."

There seems to be such confusion of what "love" is. The essence of true love is not powerful, pleasurable feelings but the willingness to do what is best for the beloved. True love is not fixated on the masculine or feminine traits found in a body but reaches deeply to the person as a whole- a creation of God who is unique, precious and unrepeatable.

I found it interesting that the person quoted in this article speaks of how the industry makes money off of young people--

"But Gene Grabowski of Levick Strategic Communications said that the divorce could actually enhance Kim's brand, and isn’t likely to do any real long-term damage as she wasn’t taken particularly seriously in the first place.
“Kim’s quick divorce enhances her brand because she’s all about being outrageous and over the top. The divorce keeps Kim in the public eye and guarantees her another week of cover stories,” he said. "Kim isn’t taken seriously by anyone. Her life, like that of Paris Hilton or Britney Spears is a curiosity that gives everyday people something shocking to talk about at work, at parties or at the hair dresser. And it’s that surreal, vicarious, even reckless life that makes her image so marketable among young people who wouldn’t dare behave that way, but who are excited by the idea of doing so.

I would like to say "yikes" on so many levels just regarding this brief quote but I can't decide where to begin.

In the end, it will be Kim who loses in this arena, for she ultimately is not an empty image or a marketable product. She is a person. She has been created by God as unique, precious and unrepeatable. She is not to be used as a "thing" to make money and then tossed aside when she is no longer "useful."

I pray that she realizes this about herself- she does not have to flaunt or expose herself. She is loved more deeply than she can ever imagine.

All Saints Day.....

We begin our road to sanctity very young. Is there anything more delightful than this? A kiss from a little boy to his mother :)