Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Reintroducing Logic and Reason to the Age of Sentimentalism

Spiritual Growth

All of the posts under the "Spiritual Growth" category.

True Charity

You are having an intense discussion with your friend. It is a great day outside and after having been stuck inside because of the brutal winter, you are enjoying the scenery. Suddenly, your friend catches you off guard and says “isn’t it amazing how the Sun revolves around the Earth?” You nod your head in agreement.

Except, you wouldn’t as you know that the Earth revolves around the Sun. You know this, because this has been proven, and this is truth. It would be uncharitable to let your friend continue on thinking that the Sun revolves around the Earth. It would be border-line cruel as you are withholding information from them. On top of that, they are your friend, and friends do not let each other err, at least good friends don’t.

earth revolves

Similarly, if your friend was pushing hard that you are incorrect in your math, and is arguing that 2+3 = 23 because you combine the numbers together, again, you would say “aha! That is your opinion and you are entitled to it!”. Except, you wouldn’t, unless you were a terrible and awful friend (maybe you are, I don’t know).

Yet, here are two perfect examples in which you would tell me that it would be wrong and uncharitable not to tell your friend the truth and inform them of their short-comings in math and science. Of course, you would then explain why they are incorrect in their assessments and help them to see the error of their ways.

Why is it then, that when it comes to our Catholic faith, we (read: some, not all) have no qualms or reservations in encouraging our friends to remain where they are in their non-Catholic faiths, and just agree that their opinion is equal to ours?

If Jesus Christ is the Truth as He so rightfully states, than whatever He has said or whatever His Church has said, holds True. Sadly, today, many Catholics are cowardly when it comes to defending the faith when the time arises. Excuses are made such as “Well, they are following Jesus, so we have common ground”.

Jesus The Truth

No! Following Christ is more than just “following” Him loosely and focusing our lives on Him and Him alone! Following Christ is also obeying the Commandments that He has given us, one of those Commandments is to follow His Church. A true Christian would join the true Church that Christ established here on Earth.

Some would argue with me that that is only a Catholic teaching and that there are multiple claimants. Unfortunately, the Encyclopedia Brittanica disagrees with them and they are not a Catholic source, but a secular one.

I am grateful to my friend Stephen for introducing me to the Catholic faith. He had the courage to tell me that Jesus Christ started the Roman Catholic Church and that it was my duty to become Catholic. He didn’t start by saying it exactly like that, but he started slow and worked on me on a regular basis, eventually leading to my conversion.

True charity lies within the truth, whatever that truth may be and especially when the Truth is that of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior and His Beloved Bride the Catholic Church. As Pope Benedict XVI said in his Encyclical Caritas In Veritate:

To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity. Charity, in fact, “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6). All people feel the interior impulse to love authentically: love and truth never abandon them completely, because these are the vocation planted by God in the heart and mind of every human person. The search for love and truth is purified and liberated by Jesus Christ from the impoverishment that our humanity brings to it, and he reveals to us in all its fullness the initiative of love and the plan for true life that God has prepared for us. In Christ, charity in truth becomes the Face of his Person, a vocation for us to love our brothers and sisters in the truth of his plan. Indeed, he himself is the Truth (cf. Jn 14:6).

It is inexcusable for us to be so adamant about defending (lower-case t) truths and yet when it comes to the Truth (capital T) we just forego it as if it is just an opinion. This can not stand, nor will it stand as it will be held against us when we stand before Christ as our Judge when we have perished from this world. His final command to us was to go and make disciples of all nations.

True love and true charity require us to share our faith with those around us, through the way we live our lives, through our teachings and through our traditions. This includes the way we worship in the Liturgy of the Mass.

Our worship at Mass should be solemn, sincere and serious. It is not a time for entertainment, but a time for enrichment. It is our spiritual buffet in which we gather the nourishment required for the salvation of our soul. If good food helps our bodies stay healthy and bad food slowly kills us, the same can be said about the Liturgy. If good Liturgy helps our souls stay healthy and strong through God’s abundant grace, than bad Liturgy can rob our souls of the grace needed to ward off the evil one.

Jeff February 25, 2014 1 Comment Permalink

The 5 Love Languages

During my marriage preparation classes, my priest told me and my now wife about the 5 Love Languages. He advised us that we should take the quiz, and that way we can learn more about ourselves, and how to interact with each other. And let me tell you, it has worked wonders for our marriage.

The 5 Love Languages is based on the research of Dr. Gary Chapman. What are the 5 Love Languages you ask? Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. Each category describes the way in which we most feel loved.

Words of Affirmation is basically anything that would be a compliment, such as “I Love you”, “You look beautiful”, or “I’m really proud of you!”. Basically saying nice things.

Receiving Gifts can be as simple as a note from you spouse, a surprise candy bar or even just little surprises left around the house.

Acts of Service would be running errands for your spouse, doing chores that your spouse doesn’t like to do or other similar things.

Quality Time obviously would be spending time with the other and physical touch can range all over the place.

Each one of us has a primary and a secondary love language. The primary language is what fills up your “love tank” faster, but the secondary love language will also fill up said “love tank”. Knowing what fills up your love tank will help you feel more loved by your spouse when they do those activities. This also works vice versa, you need to do those things that make your spouse feel loved.

Now, this has helped my wife and I to understand each other, and it’s great how it has helped our marriage. For example, after knowing each other’s love languages, we know that when it comes to arguing what not to do. My wife’s primary love language is Words of Affirmation, so when we argue, I can’t fall into the temptation of calling her names, as that will devastate her. We shouldn’t be calling each other names regardless of our love language, but I am now more aware of it.

As society continually tries to push gay “marriage” and to undermine that of traditional marriage, we need to create strong marriages. I feel that knowing your spouse’s primary and secondary love language will do just that.

When you feel loved, you want to share that love. The powers of love can not be held within our own human person, as we are creatures of finite space and possibility, love, in itself, is infinite. This is the reason why when it comes to creating our priorities, no human person, even if it be our husband or wife or children or anybody, should be our number one.

As humans, we only have a finite space to fill with love, though, we have an infinite ability to give love. When we put all of our love into another person, we will crush them. However, the love for God, that is, the love that God gives to us, we can receive, even though it is infinite, because God created us to be able to receive that love that He gives. God, being infinite, can also receive that infinite love that we can give. Thus, it would make perfect sense to love God before all others.

You can purchase The 5 Love Languages at Amazon. You can also find out what your love language is by taking the test here.

Jeff October 3, 2013 Leave A Comment Permalink

Ut In Omnibus Glorificetur Deus

“That in all things, God may be glorified.”


This is a rule of St. Benedict that we should all live by as Catholics. Everything we do, we should be doing so that we may glorify God.

When you work. Glorify God.

When you play. Glorify God.

If what you are doing, does not glorify God, I would suggest you reassess if what you are doing is good for you. Whether it be TV, internet viewing, reading, or any other sort of pleasure, if it doesn’t glorify God, reassess. It may take some time but it will be well worth it in the end.

Jeff September 17, 2013 Leave A Comment Permalink

The Children’s “Liturgy”

What is a children’s “liturgy” service? Essentially, a children’s “liturgy” is when the Mass is paused and the children (depending on the parish is broken up into different age groups, but for this post we’ll assume between the ages of 3 and 10), get up from their pews and walk outside of the actual Church where Mass is being held, so that they can have the daily readings (First, Psalm, Second and Gospel) read to them, and then given a “homily” that they can understand. Or, in short, this:

 Childrens Church

Now, this sounds all good and dandy, after all, don’t we want our children to understand what is going on at Mass? But what kind of a message does this send to the children? Above all, what do the children get from their parents when they are sent away (usually, this is at the parent’s disgression).

What is the Liturgy of the Word? The Liturgy of the Word is broken up into several parts. The First Reading is generally read by a Lector and taken from the Old Testament. Following the First Reading, we have a Psalm, generally sung by the Choir and led by a Cantor. After the Psalm, the Lector resumes his (or her) post and reads the Second Reading, which is generally an Epistle from the New Testament. After this, the priest or deacon will read the Gospel, taken from one of the four Gospels. Then the priest or deacon issues a homily (or sermon) and tries to tie the readings all together so that we lay people can understand them, and draw inspiration from them in order to better live our Catholic faith.

It seems fairly simple, no? Well, there are rules in place for who is to say what part. But, don’t take my word for it, let’s see what the Congregation for Divine Worship said in its 2004 letter Redemptionis Sacramentum (emphasis mine):

“Within the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, the reading of the Gospel, which is “the high point of the Liturgy of the Word”, is reserved by the Church’s tradition to an ordained minister. Thus it is not permitted for a layperson, even a religious, to proclaim the Gospel reading in the celebration of Holy Mass, nor in other cases in which the norms do not explicitly permit it … The homily, which is given in the course of the celebration of Holy Mass and is a part of the Liturgy itself, “should ordinarily be given by the Priest celebrant himself. He may entrust it to a concelebrating Priest or occasionally, according to circumstances, to a Deacon, but never to a layperson. In particular cases and for a just cause, the homily may even be given by a Bishop or a Priest who is present at the celebration but cannot concelebrate.” (paragraphs 63-64)

So, let’s refresh ourselves here. According to the CDW, only the Priest, Con-celebrating Priest, or Deacon is allowed to read the Gospel or give a homily. If this is the case, then why are we entrusting lay persons or those not ordained to the priesthood or diaconate this responsibility that is in no way, shape or form given to them? This to me seems to be a great scandal as it causes confusion among the laity. The Church makes it very clear what is and what isn’t allowed, so why do we let this occur? If Joe Somebody from the pews got up and started giving the homily, this would be a liturgical abuse. How come we disguise this Children’s “Liturgy” up with a nice name and throw around Liturgy as if it was a play word and it makes it okay? It doesn’t.

Needless to say, it seems ironic in my mind that we fight a culture that constantly attacks and berates the family, and the Church, who is supposed to be the first most defender of the family, is permitting the family to be divided during the pinnacle of our faith as Catholics during the celebration of the Mass.

Going back to the argument that it better helps the children understand the liturgy is a fallacy. It doesn’t help them better understand the liturgy as it becomes “play time”. There are two reasons for this. The first most, is that children, despite what we keep being told, want to be like adults when they grow up. See, in case you forgot, when you were in elementary school, you couldn’t wait to go to middle school. When you got to middle school, you couldn’t wait for high school. High school came and you wanted to be in college. College came and then you wanted to be working. Now we work as adults and all we want to do is be a kid. If you remember when you were a kid how much you wanted to be a part of the adults table, you’ll see why a Children’s “Liturgy” makes no sense. You are basically telling the children, sorry, you are too young to understand this, go over there. Before you disagree with me, re-read this paragraph.

The second point is that, let’s look at how, oh, I don’t know, the Church operated for the last 2000 years before there was the idea of a Children’s “Liturgy”. The Mass, for those of you who have either forgotten or were born after the 1960s, was said in that ancient and archaic language known as Latin. Yet, with the arguments we hear today that we need a “child-friendly liturgy”, you would think that there was no possible way that the Church could have possibly survived for so many years, after all, so many people were uneducated and didn’t understand Latin and had no understanding of what was occurring at Mass. Oh, wait. They did. In fact, there isn’t a single Saint that celebrated the Mass in there native tongue (except maybe St. (Padre) Pio). There was no Novus Ordo. Yet, somehow, the Church survived…and thrived. Think about it. Your grandparents went to Mass in Latin. They practiced their faith despite this. So why did it take 2000 years for us to come up with the idea that “hey, kids need a kids ‘mass’!”?

Children want to be treated like adults. To ignore this basic fact of life is an insult to intelligence. Kids want to take part of whatever the adults do because its cool to be an adult. This is the problem with most of the teenage-friendly programs that are so popular in the Church today as well. This is best saved for another post, but in short the issue is this.

We tell teenagers that the faith is too complex for them to understand and grasp at their age, so let’s sing Praise and Worship songs that appeal to emotions and make you feel good. However, this doesn’t prepare them for the hardships that our Catholic faith will lead them to experience. If you are practicing your faith properly, you will get dry runs in which you feel nothing. This is when your faith shines and we teach our children and teenagers that if it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it…hedonism at work. This is probably why 85% of teenagers who are Confirmed leave the Church within 5 years. It isn’t convenient, it doesn’t feel good, so why bother?

Another reason for the Children’s “Liturgy” is that “Parents can listen to the readings and homily without being distracted”. Yes, I have heard this reason. Go ahead and reread that. The idea that simply sending the children off will allow for no distractions is naive. Why? Because there are always going to be distractions during the Mass due to our fallen human nature. Your children may no longer distract you, but my children will, what your friend across the church is doing or not doing, who’s at Mass and who isn’t, what I’m wearing or not wearing, and the list goes on and on and on.

What we should be working on, is instead of trying to break apart the Mass to eliminate distraction, we should have a Mass that is beautiful and tranquil, one that is going to suck us in by its mystery and beauty. This is something that the Traditional Latin Mass allows and accomplishes.

The Mass isn’t about our entertainment. It is about the glory of God. Anything that we change in order for us to be entertained, draws away from God and puts the attention (whether it be intentional or not) on us. We go to Mass to honor Our Lord and to worship Him. We focus on the sacrifice of Christ in order for us to have redemption, to be able to have life everlasting. But too often, we think the Mass should be “entertaining” and that if we aren’t having a fun time, then it isn’t worth it and the Mass is boring and we need to change it. There will always be moments in which we struggle with this, but the Mass is where we give up our selfishness to focus on what should matter in our life, Jesus.

In short, the Children’s “Liturgy” is an excuse. Plain and simple. Instead of shipping the kids off, lets allow parents to take responsibility for raising their children and teach them the importance of the faith, instead of having the attitude of “its the Church’s job”.

Jeff September 10, 2013 1 Comment Permalink

My Honeymoon

Well…its been 4 months now that I’ve been married, and as usual I have completely failed to even start working on it, so today, you will get to read all about it.

Kathy and I decided that we would wait a little bit before we went on our honeymoon. Partly this was because we wanted to go on a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean and the sail date wasn’t until the week after. So, we stayed home and relaxed on Monday, and went back to work Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Thursday, we got up and went to the airport. Since our Eastern Caribbean cruise didn’t start until Sunday, we decided to enjoy a couple of days and nights down in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to get the most out of our honeymoon. This was quite enjoyable, we got a hotel that was right across the street from the Fort Lauderdale beach (although to be honest, pretty much all of the hotels were this far away). It wasn’t the fanciest of hotels, but, it was nice. We spent the majority of the time walking around visiting the different souvenir shops, restaurants and such.

The one fun thing that we did do was walk a mile to Mass. There was a Catholic Church about a mile away from the hotel and we decided that we didn’t want to spend the money on a cab, so, we walked it…in about 95+ degree weather. It was ridiculously hot, but it was a fun experience. Mass couldn’t last long enough, mostly because we still hadn’t recuperated from the trek, and we were definitely not ready to walk the mile back. We had drank about a half of a liter of water on the way and didn’t see a water fountain for a refill. I made a comment to Kathy during the Mass that it’s too bad they didn’t have some kind of “tourist ministry” where they give rides to tourists who want to get to Mass. Sure enough, at the end of Mass, Father made an announcement that if anybody needed a ride back, to let them know…score!

We got to ride with a guy who apparently decided to retire down there. He was very pleasant, and as we were talking, it turned out that he was also from Minnesota, in fact, his town was in the Twin Cities, so, not very far from us at all. Talk about living in a small world.

The beach was amazing and so was the water. I’ll admit, I was terrified to go in at first because I was worried that I would be eaten by a shark…I watch too many movies.

Sunday morning we checked out of our hotel room and got a cab to drop us off at the Royal Caribbean Port. It was ridiculous, the ship was massive. It was about 16 stories high, and probably about 16 stories wide, if not wider. Going in to check in, it was incredibly similar to an airport terminal. You have your security check ins, baggage check ins, and such. The difference was though, that they take your picture and give you an ID badge. This badge gets you into your room, it acts as your credit card, it basically replaces everything. It is pretty cool, and as a software developer, I am questioning how come we have not implemented this system in regards to our every day lives. Perhaps, one day, we will.

Once we were allowed to board the ship, we weren’t allowed to check into our room just yet, so, since we were hungry, we went up to a restaurant called “Windjammer Cafe”. This was basically an all you can eat buffet restaurant, and the food was amazing. It wasn’t your typical, cheap buffet food, but it was gourmet. I believe that I had two plates of food, and was definitely ready for more. We walked around the ship and just admired the vastness of it all. It was quite the experience. There were so many activities and different rooms that you could go into. It was awesome to say the least.

We went to our room and we had managed to get an outside room with a balcony facing the ocean. It was quite the view. We locked up everything in our safe, unpacked a little and just enjoyed the atmosphere. Also, the bathrooms were incredibly tiny and the toilets were like little vacuums. It was kind of weird at first.

In the evening we went to the ball room where we were to have dinner each night. Dinner was always served in this room unless you wanted to go to one of the other restaurants.

We met our waiter who was from Jamaica, he was quite the character. We had a lot of fun with him throughout the cruise. We also had an amazing “house keeper” who was the nicest person I have ever met. Upon talking to them, we found out how hard of a job they have. They work 7 days a week, they get paid completely on tips, they are under constant review, and if they get any negative feedback, they get demoted. Their jobs are always on the line. On top of that, they work for 6 months straight, generally away from their families, and the most amazing part of it all, is how they are happy with what they have. Meanwhile, here in America, people demand a “livable salary”, plus full benefits, and they still are unhappy with their job. It gave me a new appreciation for my job, even though I am really happy with my current employer.

Our first port of call was in the Bahamas. We were lucky enough to wake up just as we were making port, and we could see the islands just outside our window. It was beautiful. We even ordered room service, and ate on the balcony. Once we were finished, we went out on a glass bottom boat tour and even saw Nicholas Cage’s house. We took pictures and believe that he might be in them…but we aren’t sure. Afterwards we went to the bazaar and bought souvenirs. The people were very pushy and wanted you to buy something from them before you left. They would keep haggling you until you got a price that you wanted to pay. No window shopping, you pretty much bought it. They were really desperate for the money.

Our second port of call was in St. Thomas. We went to a place called “Coral World” which is similar to a Sea World except much smaller. It was still really cool seeing all of the different types of sea life. We went shopping in the little kiosks that they had and it was a lot different. They’d ask you what you wanted, but everything had a set price. They weren’t as pushy, and didn’t want to haggle.

Our third port of call was in St. Maarten. This time we just went to the beach and relaxed. It was nice to just sit there and take it easy. The water was crystal clear and a pretty royal blue. The sand was also white. Very cool. On the way back to the ship we went to do more shopping and the difference in attitude was very noticeable. They were not pushy at all, everything had a set price, and on top of that, you had to pretty much go up to them if you were interested in purchasing anything. Not at all what we expected.

So, between the three different ports of call, it was obvious the difference in the economy. Clearly, the Bahamas was very poor and destitute, looking to make whatever money they possibly could. St. Thomas was much better off and wanted the business, but they also were not going to step aside on their price. St. Maarten must have been doing very well as they didn’t really seem up to making that much money. Now, I could be completely wrong, but this is just my observation.

The other big thing that I noticed was just the general laid back attitude of the Caribbean. People were not in a rush and were very easy going. It was almost a culture shock when we returned back home and how people are always in a rush and that it is clear that in the United States, time is every body’s master. One thing I learned is that even those who are less fortunate than I am, were generally happier due to their laid back attitude. This could just be an outward show, as in, they are suffering internally, but aren’t showing it, but generally you can see through that if that is the case. Time is a cruel master if you do that. How often do we realize that we are in a rush because we have to be somewhere by 4:30, or we have to be in bed by 10?

Overall, the honeymoon was amazing in general, but I feel that it also taught me that I need to be happy with what I have and to not be so uptight about everything as well. Don’t let time be my ruler, as I will not be very happy if I do. Also, I just need to be happier in general. So what if I’m stuck in traffic? I’m still alive, I have a good life and things could be much worse.

I’ll probably add more throughout as I remember, but seeing as the honeymoon was now 4 months ago, I figure I needed to put this out.

Jeff December 2, 2012 Leave A Comment Permalink

get_footer() ?>