Friday, May 31, 2013

The Myth That Women Are To Blame For a Man's Lust


I read on another blog a metaphor for how men struggle with lust - due to women who dress immodestly. I think there is some merit to it. It goes something like this...

Women who are concerned with good health and exercise have to really struggle not to eat the chocolate (or other tempting food they like) which is sitting out on the counter. It takes all the will power a woman has to say no, stick to healthy habits, and put the chocolate aside. Now, imagine if someone followed you around every day, with chocolate, and offered it to you. Over time, your will power might break down, unless you were constantly vigilant. This is what it is like for a man struggling with lust due to women who dress immodestly.

While there is some merit to the analogy, I want to point out that if someone is following you around and tempting you there is always the St. Paul option (see Acts 16:18).

Second, It is a choice to say "yes" to the chocolate and allow the temptation to fester. The desire for chocolate is not the problem. It is what you do with that desire that is the problem.

Finally, women aren't generally following men around and tempting them. Rather, the man's eyes are wandering and the man needs to have more custody of them.

I have heard many excuses for the men who can't control their lust:
  • "If she didn't dress that way, then she wouldn't be seen as an object."
  • "Men can't control themselves when women dress so provocatively" 
  • "Just boys being boys"
  • Etc
This mentality is a lie. It is an "out" that we men sometimes wish we had so we didn't have to control ourselves. Yet, the fact is - LUST IS A CHOICE!

In order to be clear, let us define lust. Some think it is any sexual thought about someone else. It is not. Rather, lust is the entertainment of sexual desires for a selfish satisfaction.  Here is how JPII put it:
"Reducing the riches of the perennial call to communion of persons...to mere satisfaction of the sexual 'need' of the body."
In other words, lust is using another person sexually (whether they know it or not).
The Catechism says:
"2351 Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes."
So, lust isn't just a thought that pops into your brain without you choosing it. Rather, you take that thought, entertain it, and use it as your own. This makes the thought an act of your will - you choose it. If you don't take ownership of it, then you can't be forgiven nor can you start to work on real chastity.

So, regardless of a woman's ignorance, imprudence, lack of modesty, and bad choices - it is NEVER A WOMAN'S FAULT YOU CHOSE TO LUST AFTER HER!

Let me say it again - despite a woman's reckless behavior, lack of concern for your chastity, failure to show charity to her brother - the man who lusts is the one who is to blame for the lust.

This is not to say that women should wear immodest clothes (see this post for the argument against immodesty). In fact, immodesty can be sinful, just as lust is.

Rather, it is an argument that shifting the blame of a man's lust to women who dress in a certain manner is a lie. The truth is if we love our sisters, we men will step up and take responsibility for our choices and our need to work on self-control.

RELATED POSTS:
**Internet + Bathing Suits = Bad Idea
**Top 10 Reasons Men Should Practice Custody of the Eyes
**Top 10 Reasons Women Should Dress Modestly
**The Impact of Porn Through Stats
**Reflections on the Question of Modesty

Cheers

I wish more celebrities would use their influence in such a positive manner as Patrick Stewart does in this video:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Internet + Bathing Suits = Bad Idea

NOTE: This post was originally posted in the summer of 2011. It has received over 12,000 individual hits after being posted on several non-Catholic websites.

Something I never really wanted to post about, but feel I have to, because I don't think that young women quite understand the problem.

Yesterday when I logged onto Facebook, I had several pictures of college women in bathing suits, who are friends on Facebook, come up on my feed. In response, I posted the following on Facebook as my status:
A note to young women on Facebook, from a guy who works with young men struggling with pornography...you might look good in your bathing suit, but if you were able to see yourself through 20 year-old male eyes, which are struggling to see you as a human and not an object, you would never post that pic. Just a thought.
But, that isn't enough to describe what is going on. So, here is the science behind it all:
Researchers used brain scans to show that when straight men looked at pictures of women in bikinis, areas of the brain that normally light up in anticipation of using tools, like spanners and screwdrivers, were activated.

Scans of some of the men found that a part of the brain associated with empathy for other people's emotions and wishes shut down after looking at the pictures.

Susan Fiske, a psychologist at Princeton University in New Jersey, said the changes in brain activity suggest sexy images can shift the way men perceive women, turning them from people to interact with, to objects to act upon.
I believe that most young women who post pics of themselves in bathing suits aren't looking to be objectified, but it is happening to them nonetheless. I hope this shows once again why modesty is a necessary virtue in our society today and it is an act of charity to your brothers-in-Christ to avoid immodest behavior, including posting pictures of yourself that are not modest.

Something else to think about. Once it is on the internet for a short time, it will most likely have a permanent copy in many other places that you cannot get rid of. In other words, you are leaving a permanent digital mark of yourself out there for the world to see.

A note for men - you are not off the hook for lusting after women because a woman dresses immodestly. There is no excuse for using a woman, regardless of how she might present herself. Your lust is your problem, not her problem. Her problem is immodesty.

I should add a note for the women - you would never have put on the bikini in the first place if you ever had 30 seconds behind those 20 year-old male eyes I describe above.

UPDATE: I forgot to post the history behind the bikini - I summarize it like this:
The modern bikini came from a Frenchman running a lingerie boutique. When he introduced it, he couldn't find a model to wear it so he hired a stripper. It was a hit with the guys and caught on.

Related posts:
**Top 10 Reasons Men Should Practice Custody of the Eyes
**Top 10 Reasons Women Should Dress Modestly
**The Impact of Porn Through Stats
**Reflections on the Question of Modesty

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Don't Try To Fix Me

I am a fixer, so I really appreciate the message in this thought-provoking video.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sneezing Caused By The Devil?

-"Achoo"
-"God Bless you"

Ever wonder why we pray for God's blessing after someone sneezes? One possible origin is that it comes from an ancient belief that a person's breath was the same as their soul. When God made Adam, He breathed life into him. Thus, a myth grew up around this belief that a sneeze was thought to rapidly send the life of a person out of them. When this life leaves, a vacuum is left which could be filled by evil spirits.

Another possible origin comes from the reign of Pope St. Gregory the Great. During his time, there was bubonic plague in the area. Thus, Gregory instituted the phrase "God bless you" as a way to ask for divine protection if one were to become sick or die.

-----

Then there is Yawning. Why do you cover your mouth when you yawn?

Some modern moms say it is because it is rude to yawn in front of others. While our culture may reflect this as the modern reason, it has a much more ancient origin.

Some French and English taught that yawning was an opportunity for the devil to enter your soul, thus you covered your mouth to bar his entrance. In Ireland, they would make the sign of the cross over their mouths while yawning. Still today, some Muslims believe this can happen when one yawns.

Now you know.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Time To Live is Now!

"I want to be remembered as the kid who went down fighting and didn't really lose." -Zach Sobiech

What a story. It is long, but worth it.


Yesterday, on May 20, 2013 Zach died.
May he rest in peace.

Here is his song "Clouds":


Here is the celebrity video put together for Zach:

Monday, May 20, 2013

How To Get More Out of Mass?

Q - Mass can be boring. How can I go to Mass and get more out of it?

A - Thanks for your question. First off, I will tell you that your question is all too common. Many people go to Mass with the expectation that they are supposed to "get" a lot out of it. But, what you get out of Mass is dependent on what kind of changes you are willing to make in your efforts before, during and after Mass, because what you put into Mass determines what you get out of it.

Let me give you eight pointers that have helped me in the past:

1 - Properly prepare for Mass.
  • Read and study the readings before you go to Mass, and then listen to them intently while The Word is proclaimed. You can find the Sunday readings here.
  • Study the Church's teachings. The more you know about Christ and His Church, the more there is to love. - You can't love what you don't know.
  • Go to Confession regularly. This will help prepare you spiritually.
  • Pray daily. Without prayer you have no spiritual power!
  • Dress appropriately. You are going to meet the King of Kings. Don't dress the same as you would for a lunch date, a party, or class. Make it special.
  • Get there early and sit up front. Less distractions and more time for prayer before Mass.
  • Once inside, don't talk or people-watch...pray.
2 - Make sure your attitude is adjusted properly
  • Don't expect to be entertained. It isn't as much about what God is doing for you, but what you are doing to worship God.
  • Look for God in every part of the Mass.
  • Don't let outside distractions disturb your internal peace.
  • Find one nugget in the preaching to take home with you.
3 - Participate
  • Sing, even if your voice is bad.
  • Respond and pray with gusto. Give it all to God and don't worry about others.
  • Remember that during Mass isn't socializing time.
  • Offer your pain, sufferings, joys and prayers to God.
4 -Listen to the Word and be open to it changing you
  • Are you open to letting God change you? If not, then you won’t be changed.
  • Listen to the Word proclaimed and let it challenge you.
  • Find something in the Homily and apply it for the week.
5 - Know, understand, and proclaim your Faith
  • Don’t just recite the Creed - proclaim it like you mean it and understand what you are proclaiming.
6 - Tithe
  • If every Catholic tithed...think what we could accomplish in spreading the Gospel.
  • Yes, it is our duty to support the Church. But, it does more for our own faith than it does for the Church.
  • Most people "tip" not "tithe" - so be a tither, not a tipper.
7 - When you receive Jesus in the Eucharist - understand what it is you are doing
  • You are taking the Body, blood, soul, and divinity of GOD into you
  • You are joining in heaven on earth
  • You are becoming one with The Body of Christ
  • Be reverent
  • Realize that He is in everyone else that received Him as well.
8 - Tell other people about Him
  • You are now empowered to evangelize (share the Good News of Christ) - which is what the Church exists for.

"If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy." - Saint Jean Vianney

Friday, May 17, 2013

How Far is Too Far?

Q - My question is how far is too far in a relationship, that is not marriage? Should it not go past kissing? Or is it ok to show more affection than that? Also If you are married, do all the actions restricted while dating suddenly become ok?!

A – 
Thanks for the great questions!  I will answer your questions in part

PART I – How far is too far is really the wrong question. If I were to re-phrase the question it could basically be “How far can I go until I do something that will harm the other person or myself?” When stated this way it is easy to see that the question doesn’t take love into consideration. True love is choosing what is best for the other despite the cost to myself.  If this is the case, then we don’t love another person when we risk harming them in any way in order to satisfy our desires.  Love only wants to fight for what is best for them.

Pope JPII defined love as “gift” and the opposite of love as “use”. When we use another person we fail to see them as a true human, but more as an object for our own selfishness. To ask “how far is too far” is to risk using another person. A better question might be – “how close to God can I bring this person?” or “how can I guard this person from harm?”

I have never met a person who asked "how far is too far" who wasn't struggling with purity.  This is because if we are constantly bumping up against a fence, we will eventually break through it or hop over it.  The same goes for "how far is too far", we will eventually break the rules if that is all we have.  Too often Catholics have only heard "don't do it" when it comes to sex.  But, this isn't the best reason not to have sex, and the result is that too many are sexually active outside of marriage.

Sex is something holy and beautiful - when in the right context of marriage.  Sex is something intimate and wonderful - between husband and wife.  Just like anything good, it can be twisted to be bad.  This is what happens in pre-marital sexuality.  Pre-marital sex is never about love, but is always about our selfishness.  While it may "feel" like love, we would never risk another person's future, virginity, pregnancy, disease, soul, broken heart, etc. if we loved them.

Another way to re-phrase the question might be to ask “where is the line between sin and not sinning?” Well, it depends on each individual. While all sexual activity (not just intercourse) outside of marriage is sinful, lust is also sinful. This is the deeper issue. When we have a control of what is going on in our hearts, then we will easily see where the line is drawn and will do all we can to avoid even approaching it. You might ask your self if you would act the same way if Jesus (or grandma) was sitting next to you. That might keep some wandering hands where they should be. But, we want to try and change our hearts, not just our actions.

I know there are many Catholics who struggle with their sexuality and controlling their desires, but it is worth it.  Here is the reason - you can't give what isn't your own.  If you don't have self-control, you can't give yourself away fully.  This means you can't really love another person by being a gift to them.  We can either be in control of our desires or allow them to control us.

Some say that kissing is the problem and many Christians say you shouldn't kiss until you are married. Now, I am not advocating that kissing someone is sinful at all times, unless you are married.  But, we have to realize there is something else going on here.  If we cannot kiss another person without lusting for them, we must ask what is in control of our actions - ourselves or our passions?  We need to be more careful in choosing love through a mature decision-making. Yes, every heart is different and some can kiss another without lusting, but, there are some objective facts to point out – anything “sexual” outside of marriage is harmful to a relationship and sinful.

Sex should be saved for marriage, where intimacy (of all kinds) is supposed to be.  Unfortunately in today's world, we give our sexuality, our emotions, our bodies, and our lives to people we our not married to.  We have lost the depth to what a "simple" kiss really means.  We end up deadening our sensitivity to intimacy.  To put it another way, I have never met a person who saved sex (of any kind) for marriage and regretted it, but I have met thousands who didn't keep themselves pure and now do.  You will never regret purity.  Never.  But, you will always regret impurity, eventually.  I say, live life without regrets.

Questions to ask:
  • Have we invited God's will into this relationship?
  • Is everything we do in this relationship glorifying to God's name?  
  • Why are we dating or engaged in the first place?  
  • Is it to figure out if you should be married or is it because you really "like" each other?  
  • Are we choosing true love (wanting what is best for the other person despite the cost to myself) or just the feeling of love which comes and goes?
  • Do we have self-control or do we allow our passions and desires to rule us?
These questions can help guide you in finding what is best for you, the other person, and ultimately your relationship with God, which is the most important relationship of all.  For more on how to date, from a Catholic perspective, check this out.

------------------

PART II – So, is everything ok in marriage? 

Not if you mean anything that would be contrary to chastity. Most people think chastity is celibacy, but that is not what it means. Chastity is rightly ordering your sexuality to your station in life. This means everyone, single, religious, priests, and married are to be chaste – though all in different ways. A married couple’s chastity means they have sex, but not that “anything goes”.

Chastity is a virtue that allows us to give ourselves to another…remember the definition of love as “gift”. To give everything means we have no selfishness in our love and chastity frees us of selfishness. So, any behavior that is not free, total, faithful, or potentially fruitful is a contradiction to true chaste love in marriage. So, no. Not everything is ok in marriage if it goes against chastity. If you have more specific questions on this part of the answer, you can talk to a campus minister or priest.

I hope these answers help.  See this site for more Q&A on these issues.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why Would Any Man Become a Priest?

An Aggie Catholic answers the question in an interview with a DFW TV station.
Please pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Abortion Doctor, Kermit Gosnell, Found Guilty of Three 1st-Degree Murder Charges


The "House of Horrors" trial of Kermit Gosnell has concluded with three 1st-degree murder charges + other guilty verdicts in other parts of the case.
Former Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell has been found guilty on three of four counts of first-degree murder involving the deaths of four babies.

He was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of former patient Karnamaya Mongar.

Gosnell will now face the death penalty in the sentencing phase.

The jury of seven women and five men weighed a total of 263 crimes against Gosnell with the most serious being four counts of first-degree murder.

Lord Have Mercy on our culture of death.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mother's Day Videos

3 very different videos to get you thinking about those important women in your life:

1 - Just Like Me:




2 - An Open Letter To Moms from Kid President:



3 -YO MAMA BATTLE (of Compliments)


Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Summer Rule Of Life For College Students

The primary authors are the Apostles of the Interior Life. I did a little bit of editing.

A RULE OF LIFE FOR SUMMER

Summer can be a very good time for relaxation and rest, compared to the hectic life of the year, but it can also be a very fruitful time for spiritual growth.
“In this oasis of quiet, before the wonderful spectacle of nature,” the John Paul II says, “one easily experiences how profitable silence is, a good that today is ever rarer. The many opportunities of relation and information that modern society offers sometimes run the risk of robbing time for recollection, to the point of rendering persons incapable of reflecting and praying. In reality, only in silence does man succeed in hearing in the depth of his conscience the voice of God, which really makes him free. And vacations can help us rediscover and cultivate this indispensable interior dimension of human life” (Angelus, July 11, 2004).
It is important to enter summer with a “plan” for your spiritual life. Otherwise it is so easy to drift away even from the prayer commitment that you had during the year.
  • First of all be faithful to your daily prayer. Establish how much time you want to devote to it, how (rosary, meditation on the Word of God, adoration…) and where (home, the chapel, your parish…). It is better to start with a little commitment (for example 20 minutes every day), and then in case increase it, than to start big and then give up because you can’t keep up with it.
  • Go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation with frequency. Get information about the days and times for Confessions in your parish.
  • If it is possible, you ought to go to Mass during the week as much as you can, according with your academic/work commitments.
  • Summer is usually a period when you have some more free time on your hands. It is ideal to read some good spiritual books that can inspire you and nourish your faith. You will find a great treasure in the lives of Saints, their writings, and in books about specific topics in which you are interested (e.g., spiritual discernment, virtues, faith and reason, Church history, apologetics, morality, etc.). You can ask your spiritual director or a campus minister for some good titles.
  • Try to be in touch with some good friends, with whom you share the same values. You can either pray together sometimes, or take a commitment at the parish together (e.g., helping with teens, Bible study, working in a soup kitchen, etc.), and certainly keep each other accountable for your spiritual life. If you can’t be physically in the same place, at least you can call each other regularly.
  • If you have a spiritual director, or spiritual mentor, keep in touch with him/her, calling or emailing him/her if you are in need of help and suggestions during the summer.
  • If you are going to spend summer at home, you might find difficulties because you don’t have the St. Mary’s community around. Families are not always supportive of faith, some parishes seem to be less alive than the Catholic Center, and you don’t get to see so many young people around. Remember that God is at work also in your parish, in your family and in your home town. Try to see the positive aspects there, and to think of that as an opportunity to give something of what you have received here at St. Mary’s during the year. With your family, try to be strong about your decisions, but also understanding of where they are at and not judgmental. You can be a witness to them, with your peace and gentleness.
Have a great summer and we are praying for all of you who have finals starting tomorrow.

Monday, May 6, 2013

How To Talk To Atheists?

Brandon Vogt, the Boy Wonder of Catholic media, has put together an A-list of Catholic thinkers and writers to help launch a new initiative aimed at high-level dialogue with atheists. It is called StrangeNotions.com.

This is the kind of work that can change hearts and minds - so please pray for those who might use it.

Here is a description and intro video.
What is StrangeNotions.com?
StrangeNotions.com is the central place of dialogue between Catholics and atheists. It’s built around three things: Reason. Faith. Dialogue. Each day you’ll find articles, videos, and rich comment box discussion concerning life’s Big Questions.

What does “Strange Notions” mean?
The name “Strange Notions” carries a double meaning. The first sense comes from a colorful story in the Biblical book of Acts. The first great Christian missionary, Paul, sailed to Athens where he debated in the synagogue with the Jews, and in the public square, before being invited to the Areopagus, a prestigious hill where Athenian philosophers gathered “for nothing else but telling or hearing something new.” (Sound like the Internet, eh?) Paul stood among the circle of pagan philosophers and appealed to what they all held in common—devotion, philosophy, poetry. His message intrigued the Athenian elite, who said, “you bring some strange notions to our ears; we should like to know what these things mean” (Acts 17:20).

This website is designed to mimic that first meeting of Christians and atheists, allowing both to discover intriguing “strange notions” on either side.

The second meaning affirms the unavoidable fact that both Catholics and atheists think think the other side’s views are strange. Atheists see Catholics worshiping an invisible, three-in-one God and who is not empirically verifiable. Catholics see atheists dismissed the Creator behind this rich and complex cosmos, a supreme Big Banger who loves the world into being. Both groups have trouble seeing why the other believes as it does.

StrangeNotions.com is meant to help that strangeness fade away. In the end, we may still disagree, but at least the opposing views won’t be confusing “strange notions”—we’ll more clearly know what we reject, and thus what we hold, too.
CONTINUE READING.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Letter To A College Grad


From my friend Lauren - some great advice.
I recently had a conversation with a young friend at a party. Sitting at a table outside, sharing a tray of veggies and dip, I asked her about her plans after graduation. She told me that she wasn’t sure – she was looking at options, didn’t know if she could find a job she’d like, one that would be ‘right’ for her. As the sun set, several of us shared ideas and advice: resume writing pointers, interview tips, contacts for job recruiters, job-search websites, etc…. Finally, at one point she looked down at her hands folded in her lap and said in shocking sincerity, “Well, I think it really just comes down to the fact that I’m just afraid to be a grown-up. I’m just not sure I can do it.”

Ah, yes. “Afraid to be a grown-up.” At least she’s honest, right?

Some of us more seasoned folk might have words of advice for this young lady. “Well, buck up lassie, that’s what life is about!” Or, “Oh hun, you’ll be juuuuust fine. Just be sure you’re making a competitive salary, with a solid career track and great benefits. You know, my friend Sally’s daughter got a job in Houston and bought her own condo right after graduation.…” Or, “Eh, it doesn’t matter. Just go find something that pays the bills and get yourself through the day. Everyone hates work.”

Right.

Well, my dear. Here’s what I have to say to you, but I’m not sure it will help much:

I’m pretty much afraid of being a grown-up, too. And I’m 37.

I remember a moment in time, back when my oldest were very small – 2 years and 6 months or so. I was standing in my kitchen, staring at a pile of bills. My clothes disheveled, my children pleading for some lunch, and I thought, “What in the world does God think He’s DOING?! Why does he think I can handle all this? Because I can’t. I feel like I’m 17!”

All of us have a little wonderment in the back of our minds and hearts, sometimes a whisper, sometimes a scream: “I wonder if I had done this instead of that. I wonder if I had taken that job, moved to that town, married that guy, made that choice… What would have happened THEN, God?!

So, the real questions are these: How do we know if we’re doing the RIGHT thing? How do we know if our work is what God wants us to do with our lives?

When it comes to the bright future of any young person, all I can say is:

1. Try to find something you love to do. Always do your very best work. Don’t just go after the job position that pays the most, offers the best benefits or nicest year-end bonus. Find a balance between the practical need to work and your personal need for happiness. You have responsibilities to take care of – loans, payments, rent. So you might have to take a job that is not your ideal position at first, but that’s okay! There is still time, keep dreaming and planning but be thankful for what you have today. It is a privilege to work and contribute to society, to finally be doing something on your own and take care of yourself. Start at the very beginning, striving for excellence in all you do. You may never know how your hard work and contentiousness will benefit those you are with.

There is always nobility is a job well-done. Even if no one notices.

“Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things!” Pope Francis @pontifex
CONTINUE READING.

15 Year Old Adults?



Things it is illegal for a 15 year-old to do:
So, a 15 year-old CHILD cannot do a lot of things, yet they can now buy the morning-after pill over the counter.

This means that if a CHILD is impregnated by a 30 year-old man, the crime can more easily be swept under the rug.

This means the parents' of the CHILD are taken out of such big decisions and may never know about it all.

So, tell me what is wrong with the following statement about how some are still not satisfied and want all restrictions on age for the morning-after pill taken away:
"While an improvement over current policy, today's announcement is still disappointing," said Marcia D. Greenberger of the National Women's Law Center. "Because all women will be required to show an ID to establish their age, those without IDs could be denied access."
If you can't figure out the problem, there are 2:
  • A 15 year-old child is not a "woman".
  • A 15 year-old child is too young to get a driver's license and drive a car (under normal circumstances) and we think they can operate the issues of having sex and taking the morning after pill?

--------------------------------------

FYI - the pill is being marketed as "emergency contraception" and may work as contraception, but it is a back-up abortion drug. Even the FDA description points this out.
4 CONTRAINDICATIONS
ella is contraindicated for use in the case of known or suspected pregnancy. The risks to a fetus when ella is administered to a pregnant woman are unknown. If this drug is inadvertently used during pregnancy, the woman should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.
Not only might it "harm" the "fetus" but it can cause abortions...
12.1 Mechanism of Action
When taken immediately before ovulation is to occur, ella postpones follicular rupture. The likely primary mechanism of action of ulipristal acetate for emergency contraception is therefore inhibition or delay of ovulation; however, alterations to the endometrium that may affect implantation may also contribute to efficacy.

Lord Save Us!