Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Reintroducing Logic and Reason to the Age of Sentimentalism

Faith

All of the posts under the "Faith" category.

Rediscover Your Catholic Faith

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis just wrapped up their “Rediscover Faith” series. They worked closely with Matthew Kelly on this in order to help jump start the faith within the Archdiocese. At Christmas this past year, they gave away copies of “Rediscover Catholicism” (which I reviewed last Summer) to everybody that came to Christmas Mass (since many people want to go to Mass on Christmas).

They’ve encouraged book study groups to form through each parish (my wife and I started our own through our Young Adult group) and that has been taking off like wildfire, I don’t recall the exact number, but if memory does serve me right, there were about 400(?) different groups. This is magnificent.

The Archdiocese sponsored a speaker series in which once a week, every other week, we would all meet at a parish and there would be a presentation of a specific topic within our faith. This was highly successful as we went generally to the largest parish in the Archdiocese, and it literally ended up being standing room only.

I wanted to more or less draw attention to the website that the Archdiocese kicked off. Rediscover-Faith.org is the name of the site and they have a numerous amount of resources to help you learn more about the faith, in a very simple and easy to understand way. They have articles, videos, and even a smart phone app for your Apple or Android phones and tablets. I personally have not used the app yet, as I apparently have too old of a phone. I should be getting a new phone shortly though, and am excited to try it out. It shows all parishes within the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis as well as confession times. It sounds like a great tool to help you in your faith and prayer life too, allowing you to organize and keep track of what you have been doing. Sounds similar to what I’ve been saying on spiritual discernmentspiritual examination and prayer routine.

The videos range from long to short. The long ones are generally the talk that they gave for the week, so they are about an hour in length. They are well worth the view though. I believe they are downloadable so if you would rather listen you can do that.

I highly recommend going through the site if you can. I am only one man, who works full time and has many other responsibilities. I do my best to update this blog as often as I can, and I think of lots of interesting things to talk about, but, here is a site that goes down to the basics and can probably explain it better than I can. However, I think its important that if you ever have a question about the faith, please, please, please don’t hesitate to ask. Leave a comment on pages (I allow anonymous posts (for the time being)). I really do enjoy talking about Jesus and His Holy Catholic Church. So, again, don’t be afraid to ask.

The Year of Faith

Our Catholic Identity is extremely important. In an age where modern relativism is running rampant, it is incredibly important that we as Catholics remain close to the Church in identifying ourselves with her. However, many Catholics have forgotten (or never were taught) what it means to be Catholic. It is quite possibly one of the greatest tragedies to fall upon the Church when it comes to the matter of our faith.

Fortunately for us, this year in the Church marks the Year of Faith. It is a time for us as Catholics to reconcile ourselves with our faith and to find out more about it. It is time for Catholics to stop hiding from themselves, and to KNOW their faith. It is time to get properly catechized, as many Catholics don’t know the who, what, where, when, why and how of their faith.

This is an important part of being Catholic. As Catholics, we should be spending more time learning about our faith. Most Catholics are under the impression that “hey, I went through Catholic School/Religious Education, etc… when I was a kid, why do I need to keep going?” Frankly, you need to keep up on your faith because you forget things. When you aren’t thinking or using a particular skill set of yours, over time, the skill degenerates. Unlike riding a bike, when you don’t practice your faith, similarly to taking calculus, when you stop doing it, you forget it. (Yes, I did just draw a comparison of the faith to calculus, and yes, I think the faith is DEEPER than calculus, if you don’t believe me, try reading some St. Thomas-Aquinas, Pope John Paul II, or Pope Benedict XVI).

The other reason its important to know about your faith is simple. Our faith tells us that we are to put God first in our lives. The logic is simple, whoever, or whomever is first on your priority list, always gets your attention, regardless of how tired you are or how late it is. If you have a new girlfriend or boyfriend, and they are #1 on your priority list, you make sure that you give them a phone call, text or IM before you go to bed. But God deserves to be in that #1 spot, and spending time in prayer, with Scripture, with a book on the faith, is spending time with God, getting to know Him. And this is what the Year of Faith is all about.

Really, its rather simple on what needs to be done. God needs to be put number 1 in our lives, and then we need to spend time with Him. Being a Catholic is more than just throwing a label on yourselves and going about your merry way. Being Catholic is about living our your Catholic faith the way that Jesus is calling you to.

Each and every one of us is called to follow Jesus, and yet how often do we fall from that path? Often enough. Yet, we can get back on that path every time we stray to get back in line with Christ and His teachings. This does not mean that we can do whatever we want and say “I’m following Jesus, its okay! We’re homeboys!” but to actually follow Him. The best way to know if you are following Him or not, is to read the Gospels. Here you will find out about Him, by reading His own words.

You also need to know your faith. Why? Partly, so that you know why you believe, what you believe. But, secondly, and possibly more importantly, so that you can explain your faith to others. When someone asks you, “why are you a Catholic, when you can be anything else?” you’ll have a reason. On top of that, if someone ever does come up to you and asks you what Catholics believe, you can tell them. It is time that we as Catholics both know and live our Catholic faith and identity.

The Year of Faith has been underway now for a couple of weeks. So, what have you been doing to better understand the Catholic Church?

Read scripture. Read the Catechism. Read Papal Encyclicals. Read the Second Vatican Council Documents. Read good Catholic books. READ. As Catholics, we need to read more. Our Protestant brothers and sisters read on average of 6 books on the faith in a year. What is our excuse now? Its time to stop with the excuses, sit down, and know our faith. Once you know your faith, live it.

Jeff October 29, 2012 Leave A Comment Permalink

Society Should Conform to the Church

“The Church needs to get with the times, they are totally way back in the Middle Ages!”

This is quite often thrown around by those who oppose the Catholic Church and believe they have the authority to dictate their own personal beliefs, otherwise known as liberals.

Yep, I said it, the “l” word. Liberals aren’t big fans of Catholic Orthodoxy, tradition and authority. In fact, they secretly hate the Catholic Church. They are jealous of the Church in how successful it is, even when it is severely limited by government, as it is in China or was in Russia.

See, most liberals don’t believe that God is omnipotent, all-knowing and all-powerful. Heck, I think there are a lot of non-Catholics that think this too, but I digress. For a lot of Protestant churches, the pastor can be fired if the congregation doesn’t like what he is preaching. Or, on the other hand, they get up, and leave their church and go around to various other churches until they find what makes them happy. No longer is the faith taken at what God said, but now the faith is taken more on what is comfortable for the individual. Which is exactly what Jesus preached:

Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” John 6:60

So, instead of actually accepting it, when Jesus asks us if it shocks us (John 6:61), they throw it away and simply keep walking (John 6:66).

Far too often though, this is not just Protestants, but all of those that would rather follow the path well trodden as opposed to the road less traveled. This is why we have Christians, and liberal Catholics who constantly support sex before marriage, pornography, masturbation, gay marriage, abortion, embryonic stem-cell research (which by the way has had absolutely no positive cures found after how many years, compared to adult stem cells (which is 100% approved by Church teaching)), euthanasia, contraception (which is both bad for women’s health and the environment), and the list goes on and on…

Unfortunately, people have no self-control and do not want to sacrifice. This is why there has been such a huge increase in the divorce rate. Love demands sacrifice, and when you can’t sacrifice for your Lord, there is no way in hell that you will sacrifice for some petty human being. Most people today can’t even sacrifice that extra sweet somewhere in the day to shed a few pounds and would be more content taking a pill in order to shove down a couple of more cupcakes.

Another common argument that liberals and progressives like to throw around when they encounter those who actually follow the teachings of the Catholic Church, is something like “you should really think for yourself…(insert crummy logic here)”. Right, because you came up with all of your beliefs on your own? Seriously? I’m not sure what is so difficult to understand about being a Catholic. If you say that you are something and go against that, then you really aren’t part of that group. Its kind of like saying that you are a Democrat and vote with the Republicans. The Democrats will basically try to kick you out and label you as a Republican. This happens on the Republican’s side as well.

An even better example would be a Vegan for Meat Eating. Because as we all know, Vegan’s love their meat. If I were to tell you that I am a Vegan who eats meat, you would look at me and say that I was out of my mind. Yet, someone can do the exact same thing within the context of Catholicism, yet we aren’t supposed to bat an eye. They are “thinking Catholics”. Well, call me a “thinking Vegan” then.

What’s interesting is that the Church has what they call “canons”. Before you ask, I know what you are thinking and no, they do not shoot cannon balls, nor are they performed in a pool. Canons are the body of laws and regulations that are made by or adopted by the ecclesiastical authority for the use of the Church. I know, the Church and its rules! But seriously, many complain when it comes to the Church and its rules, but what functioning society or group of people don’t have rules?

We as a country have federal laws that we must obey. Within our state we have state laws we must follow. We even have city and county laws that we have to follow. If you belong to a group you have your own rules or by laws that you must obey. But the Catholic Church, the one authority that Christ left here on Earth to watch over His Church (Matthew 16:18-19) can’t have rules? Frankly, if you don’t like the rules of the group that you are apart of, you are allowed to leave, or worse yet, you are given the boot. The Church has a canon for this, and it probably should be used. Unfortunately, it still does not shoot people out of it

There are far too many people today who say that the Catholic Church is closed minded and is not open to society’s views. If only they themselves were not closed minded to the Church’s beautiful teachings. Society preaches about being open minded, yet look at how closed minded they are. The Church IS open minded. She listens to what others have to say and corrects them when they are wrong. It is society who is closed minded and who hardens their hearts when they hear what they do not want to hear. Man may change, but the Church will not.

Jesus has always been the same person. He was there when life began, there with Moses on Mount Sinai, with Abraham, with His disciples and even to this day. He brings us strength when we are weak. He is food and drink for the soul. He will be through the end of time.

If you like the images, check out Catholic Memes.

Jeff October 9, 2012 1 Comment Permalink

Starting Over in Prayer

As I mentioned in my post on our spiritual reflections and spiritual discernments, I talked about how we should constantly be analyzing how we are doing (whether it be weekly or monthly) and when we are doing great we should be adding more “reps” or “weights” to help build our spiritual muscle. I did also mention that we should also decrease if we are overburdened.

Unfortunately, I haven’t really been keeping up on my end of the bargain with decreasing. I’ve felt an incredible sense of guilt with the idea of dropping some of my favorite prayers. The thought for me is “its important to do this, I shouldn’t just drop it”. But, of course, I’m not listening to my own advice! I’ve been praying a lot of maybe I should just start over from scratch, get back in touch with my earlier days when I started off light and build from there, but of course the guild would come right back.

The other day I had one of those moments that just stopped me in my tracks. On my way to work and back home, I listen to religious talks by different Catholic speakers. I swap between these talks and my own personal CDs as I get tired of radio. However, listening to Archbishop Fulton Sheen give a talk on prayer, I was floored as I heard what he had to say regarding prayer. He said “do not be afraid to remove the dead wood of our prayer lives. Sometimes it is best to just start fresh. God will not be angry, in fact, we might even find a bit of renewal in this starting over.”

I just couldn’t believe how I’ve listened to this talk several times before, never even paying attention to this part, and BAM! I get smacked across the face with a spiritual 2 by 4. I’ve found that these talks are incredible. They always hit you at the right time when they are needed, and I always seem to grow from them even if I don’t “need” them.

After hearing this, I reflected upon it throughout the work day. On my way home from work, I listened to what Archbishop Sheen said again. It resonated with me so true, that I decided right then and there to do just that, start over. Not just, dropping my prayer life down from 8 things to 5 or 6, but starting over. I wrote down everything I was trying to do and put it on the list of prayers to begin when I’m ready to add weight. Immediately, I felt a burst of energy. On top of that, I felt that I was doing what God wanted.

It is no coincidence that that CD was chosen to be heard at that precise time. No, God’s providence always reigns supreme. For those that open their hearts and lend their ears to God’s Will, incredible things are revealed. God knows what is best for us. Even when we think we know better, when we surrender our will and let God take control, we find ourselves in an even better and happier place than we were before.

To top it off, on my drive today, I was listening to a talk by Matthew Kelly titled “A Call to Joy”. I highly recommend anything by Matthew Kelly as he has a charm and a style that strips away most of the “technicality” of the faith (without stripping away the faith) and translating it in a way that allows us to grow using today’s language. I’ve listened this CD…a lot, and thanks to God’s providence, BAM! Another spiritual 2 by 4 across the face. This one wasn’t nearly as stop dead in your tracks as Archbishop Sheen’s, but it was still noticeable.

I got my idea of spiritual examinations whether it be monthly or weekly or whenever (but often), from Matthew Kelly’s idea of how his faith blossomed from a friendship. His friend always challenged him and when Matthew had gotten used to the added prayer, his friend challenged him to add something else. Similarly, my prayer life grew like this too. It seemed though, and as I recall thanks to my friends Stephen and Jonathan, that we both would add something on a more monthly basis. So, of course, I’m back to the maybe monthly is better side again. Its a work in progress, but it may be something that depends on the person, as well as that person’s state in life.

If you have been struggling with your prayer life and keeping on top of it. I’d first suggest removing a couple of prayers from your list and seeing if that helps. But, after how just taking Archbishop Sheen’s words to heart, I am amazed at how my list of about 8 or 9 items, down to 1, has made that 1 time of prayer so much more…intense. It allows me to refocus my mind and soul onto that one moment and really pray. It is revitalizing and I’m excited to see how things will grow.

However, if your prayer life is blossoming, great job! Keep up the awesome work! Just remember not to overburden yourself, and really get in the moment of the prayer.

When you pray, you are giving God everything. Just make sure that you take a moment and listen, and let God do some of the talking.

I am a member of Lighthouse Catholic Media‘s CD of the Month Program. CatholiCity has some great talks as well.

Jeff October 1, 2012 Leave A Comment Permalink

Spiritual Discernments

I’ve been trying to figure out what direction I am being called within many things. There are a lot of things going on within the realm of my Catholic spirituality that I’m trying to figure out. Mostly the things I want to talk about, the talks I’d eventually like to give, potential books I’d like to write, the Young Adult group I’m trying to start, my faith life, my career direction and even my current prayer routine (yes, our careers are part of our faith journey as they are our vocation).

Its kind of frustrating to some point. I’d like to be able to say “yes, I will write Saturday for two hours between the hours of noon and two”, but of course, you can’t always force the keys on the keyboard to input into the text editor to display onto the screen the words that you’d like to say or that the Holy Spirit is guiding you towards, they are either there or they aren’t (although sometimes they can be summoned). So, I’d like to at least keep up putting out a post a week at minimum, but its tough. The frustrating part about it is that a lot of times I’ll have something incredibly awesome I’d like to share, pull up the editor and *poof* its gone. Incredibly frustrating.

So, I think what I need to do, is spend more time pulling out the laptop when I come up with something and just start writing it down. That, or when I do spend the time writing I just write what comes to mind. I want the words to flow forth like that of St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, but alas, I am not them. I think that is the most difficult thing for me to realize is that I am me and my writing habits are different. They were also much older and all I have heard about are their successes and not their defeats. Who knows how many times St. Augustine put the ink quill to the parchment before coming up with his masterpiece “Confessions”? I suppose it’ll take time, and I believe that my writing is improving as I am discovering myself through this process.

Eventually, I’d like to give talks on my conversion story and other aspects of Catholicism. It is something I am passionate about. I love discussing and teaching the Faith, which is why I began teaching Religious Education two years ago. I am taking the year off as my plate is already full, that with the Young Adult group and other ministries that I am hoping to be a part of. But, I feel that I have the gift of speech, as I have noticed I seem to be able to find common ground with my audience and bring them in when I talk. Or maybe I’m just full of myself, you tell me.

I think the biggest part of my life is getting into a good prayer routine. I discussed this awhile back about figuring out what you want to do with your prayer life, and when you figure that out, to keep a note about it somewhere. This is important, and I’m beginning to question if a month is too long to determine if something is too much or too little. Some weeks, nothing is going on, and it would make more sense to add more, and some weeks there is a lot going on and it’d make more sense to drop a few items. I say this as I have yet to complete an accurate one month portrayal (I’m currently half way through), as I seem to make it about a week, before forgetting about it and getting off track. Trial and error is apart of life as it is a part of our spiritual journey. Remember that.

I’m currently working on a bunch of posts simultaneously. I’m hoping to have another post this week of something with a bit more substance, just because I have such a huge back log of posts that I want to put out, and because I want to be more regular with posting. There are many things going on in my head.

If you could offer up some prayers for me, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Jeff August 28, 2012 Leave A Comment Permalink

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