Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Year of Faith

Next month Pope Benedict is opening a holy year dedicated as a Year of Faith.

This is a BIG DEAL, people.

Much needed grace for ourselves and the world will be poured out this coming year. Let's open our hearts to this rain of grace and grow in faith and action.

Check out the official site here-

http://www.annusfidei.va/content/novaevangelizatio/en.html

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Triumph of the Cross

Today is an incredible feast day in the Church- the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.

The feast originated as a celebration of the recovery of the True Cross that Jesus suffered and died upon and which was discovered by St. Helena.

But this feast day is so much more than just a celebration of recovery of a relic. It's a celebration of the recovery of our lives from sin.

The readings for today's Mass include the story of Moses lifting up the bronze serpent on a pole so the Israelites could recover after they complained bitterly about the ways of God. The suffering caused by seraph snakes was turned into healing when blessed by God. The cause was transformed into redemption.

We see this in the life of Jesus after He rises from the dead. The wounds that caused His death became the lights of glory that healed Thomas. By His wounds the disciples knew Him and where healed. Jesus healed their doubt through His suffering and resurrection and it set them free.

Do we not see this in our own life? When we open our wounds to Jesus and stop running from them, He comes very close to us to touch our pain and shame and heal us. From there, the light of His glory shines and becomes an instrument of healing for others.

This is the Triumph of the Cross-not that we are never wounded or that we never sin but that Jesus comes to forgive and heal our wounds.

It is the Cross that will triumph over the disorders of our sexuality. It is the Cross that will triumph over our enemies who wish to see us suffer. It is the Cross that will triumph over deception, deceit and lies. We only need to open ourselves up to Jesus and allow Him to reorder us personally and from there, the world.

It is easy to look at others and other societies and see how they need to be re-ordered. In this election year and also with the trouble continually brewing in the Middle East, all the faults and ugliness of the "other" is trotted out, front and center. It's easy to get swept up in the deception that everyone else needs to change for the world to be better.

The truth is that change begins with us personally. What are we willing to do to allow Jesus to come and heal us? Are we willing to return to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist? Are we willing to fast and pray for those in danger of abortion and for the truth of human life to triumph in this country? Are we willing to seek counseling or sobriety? Are we willing to love someone who is particularly difficult in our lives and pray for healing? Are we at least willing to be willing?

The good news is that we don't and can't do any of this in our own. We need the help of God who so lovingly and delightfully comes to help us. This is the Triumph of the Cross.

How incredibly we are loved!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Breaking Amish=Breaking Hearts?

The TLC channel is rolling out yet another "reality" TV show. No, it's not about people in a polygamous relationship or about nerdy adults who are virgins. Its not about people who have taboo sex, talk to "dead people" or about a little girl who lives in the south with a family who seemingly loves breathing on each other for fun in addition to being loud and obnoxious.

No, no folks. Those stellar shows are already featured on the network.

The latest show is called Breaking Amish and it features five young men and women who are either Amish or Mennonite and wish to leave their families and their way of life to travel to the outside world of New York City.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think young people wanting to go outside the norm of their family life is something that is rare. That desire to explore the "outside world" whatever it may be is a common part of growing up. And obviously, someone who has grown up in the Amish community has given up a lot of material comforts and conveniences. I think it would only be natural to sometimes wonder what life on the outside is like.

My issue with the show is two-fold:


TLC photo
1) Just because the Amish adhere to a simply and strict way of life doesn't necessarily make it bad. I think many times mainstream television tries to make people who follow a religious way of life appear to be stupid or naive or backwards. One of the girls featured on the show seems to have some deep struggles with her adoptive family that go far beyond her life in the Mennonite community. As I heard her speak of her struggles, it made my heart break to hear the raw sorrow in her life that seems like it has a deep core and cause that isn't really about not getting to wear jeans and high heels.

Although I am not Amish, I do think that in the long run, they may be better off eternally than many in the "modern" world. What they sacrifice now, for whatever reason, pays off. They certainly wont be slaves of the government or the grocery story should times get hard. They stick together and mind their own business. They work hard and serve God to the best of their knowledge. Their life, though certainly not perfect (nor is anyone else's) is a rich life.

2) Is the TLC channel truly giving these young people a taste of "reality" when they bring them to NYC? In some of the promos, it looks like they live in a nice place, go out and do fun things and party often. One of the girls has a modeling session wearing a bikini (I think she gets a DUI at some point in the show) and another of the young men takes driving lessons. My question is, who is paying for their stay and activities? I am guessing the young people didn't save up all their money for a few years to fund this journey, so the TLC channel must be paying for everything and then paying them as well to appear on the show.

Is that real? The cost of living in New York city is extremely expensive. Who could come off an Amish farm and foot the bill for that kind of living? Is that really fair to the young people? For certainly, if they leave their families for good and move to the city, they won't be able to live that kind of life. It's not reality at all. (that would be like saying that The Bachelor dating show is a lesson in real relationships and dating. Yikes).

People probably find Breaking Amish fascinating because it gives them a small glimpse into a simple, hidden life that is rarely seen. But I am guessing it also fills people with dread of "oppressive religion" and they feel inclined to encourage the young people in a life of "freedom." So.....freedom being drinking, partying and hooking up? Is that the fulfillment of modern life?

I guess my heart goes to the young people as real people. What will be their final destiny? The TLC channel will make their money but what happens when the cameras stop rolling? Will the young people be shunned by their families? Will one of them get pregnant? What are they going to do for a living? Will their hurts be healed?

Although these young people are consenting adults and are free to do as they choose, I just wonder if something like this is in their best interest. And at what cost will their "freedom" come?




Franciscan University Criticized Over Class Description

Apparently a former student at Franciscan University who is openly gay is offended over a recent description of a class that is being offered by the university.

Read the article here:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/catholic-college-under-fire-for-listing-homosexuality-with-murder-rape-robbery-prostitution-in-course-description/


I would like to point out that homosexuality (the attraction to and sexual uniting with a member of one's own sex) was listed by the American Psychiatric Association as an aberrant condition. In 1973, it was removed the the list-- read more
     The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association yielded suddenly and completely to political pressure when in 1973 it removed homosexuality as a treatable aberrant condition. A political firestorm had been created by gay activists within psychiatry, with intense opposition to normalizing homosexuality coming from a few outspoken psychiatrists who were demonized and even threatened, rather than scientifically refuted. Psychiatry's House of Delegates sidestepped the conflict by putting the matter to a vote of the membership, marking the first time in the history of healthcare that a diagnosis or lack of diagnosis was decided by popular vote rather than scientific evidence (p. 9). http://www.narth.com/docs/destructive.html
 
The truth that no one seems to want to talk about is that everyone has certain disorders in their sexuality. All of us are wounded in our masculinity and feminity. The call to holiness and happiness is allowing Christ to come and re-integrate us and heal our woundedness. When we open our wounds to His light, either directly or through people whose intent is to help us along our journey toward Jesus, He comes to heal us and restore us. It is a long journey for all of us but it's worth the trip.
 
Telling people that a behavior and inclination which goes against the natural law and divine law is normal and that the only problem with the inclination is the other people who dont believe such a thing is right doesn't help anyone. Someone who struggles with pornography or adultry isnt helped when they are told it's a normal behavior that should be embraced and lived out. Pornography and adultry go against the very definition of what it means to be a human person.
 
We long for more than disorder and a mere satisfaction of our base desires. We long to behold and to live out all that is good, true and beautiful. Every single person on the face of the earth has immeasurable dignity and deserves compassion in their humanity. However, trying to normalize disorder doesn't help the person who is afflicted. It doesn't help anyone.
 
To read more by a person who is far more intelligent than I on this matter, click here:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cardinal Dolan's DNC Closing Prayer

The Diocese of Charlotte says that the major TV networks skipped the coverage of Cardinal Dolan's closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention. How convenient.

See it here-

Serena Williams Is Awesome

Serena Williams won her FOURTH U.S. Open title yesterday. This woman is an amazing athlete and competitor. We as women are so often encouraged, it seems, to downplay our strengths and gifts.

Serena makes no apologies for her talent and strength and I love that.

Watch a clip of the match below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiGHtlZB7-E

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Pro-Choice?

Oh the irony....this is a very clever video on the irony of "choice" in regards to abortion and light bulbs and soda.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Another Good Song

Here is another good song, like Home, that speaks of a deep longing in our hearts to be loved no matter what.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Upcoming Retreats...

People often ask about upcoming retreats that I am involved in and I am pleased to announce TWO upcoming retreats in various parts of the country.

The Dignity of Woman-September 21st and 22nd in Corpus Christi, TX.

This retreat for women ages 18+ will focus on the beauty and dignity of women and the plan God has for us. SOLT General Superior, Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, and myself will be giving the talks.

To find out more or to register click here


Freedom Conference-October 5th and 6th in Boise, ID.

This retreat for anyone interested will focus on God's love for us and how to break free of what holds us back from experiencing that love and living to our fullest potential. The conference will be headed by an outstanding marriage and family therapist, Jake Khym, along with his wife and two great priests as well (and a random nun who will be giving one of the talks ;) ).

To find out more or to register for this retreat click here




Sunday, September 02, 2012

An American Dream...

Getty images
 
In the United States, we all know that this is an election year. It seems like every four years people say, "This election is a decisive one, it's very important." And perhaps that is true. Choosing a leader for the U.S. is a huge decision as that position of power affects the entire planet.

The topic of most discussion this year seems to be the economy. Unemployment is uncomfortably high, housings prices have dropped and the US dollar is losing its value. These are problems that effect the average person and all of us want to live peaceful and secure lives. A worker is entitled to his wages. Work is a noble activity that transforms the world.

But is the economy or even national security the foundation upon which we choose our leaders? Or is there something more foundational?

As the election comes closer and closer we, the American people, must take a very serious look at what we are really supports the foundation upon which this great nation was built.

The Declaration of Independence famously states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

For the past couple hundred years, people have been coming to this country in search of a better life.

So many success stories of immigrants begin with a dream- a dream to escape poverty, a tyrannical government or to simply live a better life. These are the same dreams of our forefathers. The American dream is not redistribution of wealth, socialized medicine or a free handout. Americans work hard. We believe that anything can be accomplished with ingenuity, effort and a free market system. Competition makes products better, food safer and leads to people becoming the best they can be.

First and foremost though, is the dream to live free. Live. Free. The reason why this strikes a chord in our hearts is because living free is an eternal reality. Jesus came that we might have life and live it to the full. He came to free us from the slavery to sin and death. He came that we might live free.

Is America perfect? Absolutely not. Why? Because it is inhabited and governed by imperfect people. Nothing this side of heaven is completely perfect. Every culture on earth has room for growth and healing, just as every person on earth has room for growth and healing. America, however, is still a beacon of light for the world because of this eternal echo of peace and living free.

But I think we have to be honest here and ask ourselves if we really want to be free and what the impediments of peace are in this world. On February 3rd, 1994, Mother Teresa gave a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. There, in front of some of the most powerful people in the world, she pierced the darkness of illusion and political correctness when she said:

"I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.

And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?...

By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems.
And, by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble.

So abortion just leads to more abortion.

Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion...abortion which brings people to such blindness."

As Americans we go all over the world freeing countries from tyranny and helping countries in their poverty. Yet, at home, we legally kill our own children in the womb. We call it a "woman's choice" and a "procedure" but those are euphemisms to hide the hideous deed of killing an innocent child. Nobody wants to see an abortion or see what results from an abortion. It's too grotesque to even fathom. So we harden our hearts and as women we cry out "don't tell me what to do with my body." We buy this lie of "freedom-through-abortion" hook, line and sinker. And we are blind, so blind, because of it.

We pretend abortion is a political issue or merely a religious issue. When the topic of overturning Roe vs Wade comes up, people call it a "war on women" rather than what it really is, a war on children and life.

Because, you see, we miss a simple but critical point. Children come from sexual union. Children don't arrive like a cold on a winter day. They come from a union of man and woman. So, to curtail abortion means that people have to amend their sexual practices. Dr. Janet Smith in her Sexual Commonsense series mentioned that abortion today is necessary for many people because they don't want to order their sexual desire. If abortion wasn't readily available, people would have to re-think their sexual encounters. Many people think it is better to kill the children from the union than order the initial sexual desire.

The word "abortion" doesn't really even convey the magnitude of this issue. Those being aborted are people like you and me. They have destiny, a mission and a gift to give to this world. They are called to marriage and family and religious life and service. They are real people. And they are gone, known now only to God.

Since the legalization of abortion in America, we have legally killed over 50,000,000 children. They were innocent and we killed them. Let's not kid ourselves, their blood cries out to God. Their deaths do not go by unnoticed and we will all pay the price for their deaths. Why? Because we are all one family of humanity. Our sins and our holiness effect each other. We all affect each other. It's an illusion to say "what I do with my body is my business." On the contrary, what we do with our bodies affects everyone.

We can create 20 million new jobs. We can quell war in the Middle East. We can lower the unemployment rate. But as long as we legally embrace the killing of innocent children we will never know peace. We will erode our very foundation and cut our legs out from under us.

All of us must look within our hearts and ask the Holy Spirit to come and bring to light the areas we need healing and order. We all want to live free and need the grace and light of God to do this, we cannot do it on our own.

The choice is ours. Do we support candidates that promote the killing of children or will we vote for those who respect and honor the gift of life? It's untrue to say that a candidate is either pro-abortion and qualified or pro-life and unqualified. This isn't true. Actually, is a person who condones the legal killing of children really qualified to lead the free world? They are missing the essential foundation of leadership.

America is an exceptional country. It is the land of the free and the home of the brave. It's an extraordinary experiment that has changed the world as we know it. We must choose a leader who knows this, and more importantly, lives this. Power and glory fade but life is forever. Let us choose life.





Home

A song from Jesus? Home is in his heart.... :) let Him sing it to you!



What Do I Stand For?

I heard this song, Some Nights, #3 on the iTunes chart as of now, yesterday in the car. This really is the anthem of the current generation.

Read the lyrics very carefully. It's a very insightful song into the angst of today's young people. (not a song for children, even though I am posting the clean version here)

Listen for these lyrics-- "what do I stand for?", "I sold my soul for this?", "five minutes in and I'm bored again", "some nights I wish it would all end", "I found a martyr in my bed tonight, she stops my bones from wondering who I am"

wow.