Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Blogging Break

We won't be posting much in the next few weeks - unless you can convince Sarah to post more, which she should, because she is a phenomenal writer.

I (Marcel) will be taking some time off to work on another book and to get some R&R.

Here is a video to tide you over:
"Being a Christian is a calling of love, friendship, a calling to become a child of God, a brother of Jesus, to become fruitful in the transmission of this calling to others, to become instruments of this call."
-Pope Francis

Friday, June 21, 2013

Why Did Judas Do It?


There are times I find it hard to believe that Judas would ever betray Jesus and for a mere bag of coins at that! Other times it isn't so hard to imagine. Our broken natures seem to reach out for all kind of fleeting pleasures, philosophies, and desires that cry out to us - THIS WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY!

I was meditating on this fact during my prayer this morning and came to the conclusion that most of us are not so different from Judas - we have all betrayed God with our sin! But, I wanted to look at what Scripture tells us about Judas and try to get to the heart of the man who might be the most well-known scoundrel in history and see what we can learn from him.

NOT ALL BAD!
Jesus must have seen something good within Judas. He called him to follow him in his inner circle of only 12 men. The Gospels always list Judas last among the 12, because he betrayed Jesus. But, was Judas all bad? Certainly not.
  • He cast out demons.
  • He preached the Gospel
  • He followed Christ loyally for 3 years.
  • He healed the sick.
Judas is known as "Judas Iscariot" The name "Iscariot", in Hebrew, means "a man from Kerioth". This means that Judas is, most likely, the only apostle from Judea and not from Galilee. The Judeans were known to be a very practical people and so he, naturally, was the most likely apostle to be chosen as the treasurer. But, his love of money didn't help.

John's Gospel treats the character of Judas most harshly, calling him a thief who didn't care for the poor (John 12:6). He and other Gospel writers say the Devil entered into him before the betrayal and Jesus said it was better if for him if he was never born (Matt 26:24).

Yet, early in his ministry, Jesus knew that Judas would betray him (John 6:71), and still he gave him every opportunity to turn from his sin. The Gospel of John tells us:
"When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus; so Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, “Tell us who it is of whom he speaks.” So lying thus, close to the breast of Jesus, he said to him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”"
-John 13: 21-27
Jesus clearly reveals to Judas that he has a clear knowledge that Judas will betray him. He doesn't just want to make him feel guilty, but reaches out to try and touch his heart and call him to repentance. Imagine what must have been running through Judas mind, "HE KNOWS! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO!"
He chose wrongly.

WHAT WE KNOW
So, from the evidence of the Gospels, we can know:
  1. Judas acted freely. 
  2. Christ gave him a chance of forgiveness right up until the end.
  3. His sin was not so different than Peter's betrayal, it was how he reacted that made the difference.
Remember, Peter (and the other apostles) fled when danger came near. Then Peter denied Christ three times! The difference between Peter and Judas is found in the reaction each had in the face of sin.

Peter repented.
Judas committed suicide.

Judas felt sorry for what he did, just as Peter did. Peter wept, and Judas returned the money:
"When Judas, his betrayer, saw that he was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders"
Matt 27:3
But, the meaning of "repented" here is more about changing ones mind than seeking forgiveness. In other words, Judas felt despair when he realized he had betrayed Jesus - not the kind of remorse that leads one to seek forgiveness of the wrong-doing.

But, don't we do this sometimes too? It might take each of us a while (some short and some longer) to stand up and truly take ownership of our sin, then seek out forgiveness.

Still, we haven't answered why Judas did it!

WHY HE DID IT!
There are several theories on why Judas did it:

1 - He was a greedy thief and more concerned with money. All four Gospels say he was greedy and list his greed as one of the motives for the betrayal. Was it is the overarching one? We don't know. But, if this is the case, then he was living according to a selfish utilitarian principle that he must live for himself and the other people in his life were merely a means to the end of his own happiness and pleasure.

2 - The Devil influenced him. The Gospels clearly tell us the Devil had an influence, but it is clear Judas also clearly chose the evil he did. So, the only reason the Devil had any power over him, was because Judas allowed it. Therefore, we cannot assign more blame to the Devil than we can Judas. The Devil might have stoked the flames, but he didn't light the fire or choose the betrayal for Judas.

3 - Judas didn't understand the mission of Jesus. This could be the case. Judas never calls Jesus "Lord", but merely "Rabbi". So, he did not have a saving faith in Jesus as a spiritual Messiah. Judas, like most Jews of his day, probably thought the Messiah would bring an earthly and military power to rid the Jews of Roman oppression. There is a theory that Judas might have betrayed Jesus to force him to use his power to reveal his identity as the Messiah and new Jewish King. It is akin to the sink-or-swim choice. If this is the case, it could explain why Judas hung himself - his despair over following Jesus for 3 years waiting for an earthly Messiah, only to be the one who uncovers the fact that Jesus wasn't what he expected.

4 - We just don't know enough to answer for sure! This is certainly the safest assumption. Several factors probably played a role in why Judas betrayed Jesus. What we can know is this:
  • Jesus ALWAYS forgives those who ask humbly for forgiveness.
  • There is NOTHING we can do to make Jesus stop loving us.
  • Jesus wants EVERYONE to be saved.
  • We still have FREE WILL to say "yes" or "no" to God's love.
May we choose better than Judas.
“For you will certainly carry out God's purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.”
― C.S. Lewis

Fortnight For Freedom Begins Today!

The U.S. bishops have called for a Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week period of prayer and action, to address the challenges to religious freedom, including the August 1, 2013 deadline for religious organizations to comply with the HHS mandate, Supreme Court rulings that could attempt to redefine marriage in June, and others.
Local events

  • June 21 - Opening Mass: 5:30 pm St. Marys in College Station in the church with Rosary following in the Hannigan Chapel
  • June 22 - Rosary: 6:30 pm at St. Joseph in Bryan
  • June 23 - Rosary: 6:30 pm at St. Joseph in Bryan
  • June 24 - Rosary: 6:30 pm at St. Joseph in Bryan
  • June 25 - Rosary: 6:30 pm at St. Anthony’s in Bryan
  • June 26 - Rosary: 6:30 pm at St. Anthony’s in Bryan
  • June 27 - Rosary: 6:30 pm at St. Anthony’s in Bryan
  • June 28 - Holy Hour for Life and Liberty: 4:30 PM at St. Mary's in College Station in the Church
  • June 28 - Rosary: 6:30 pm at St. Mary's in College Station in the Hannigan Chapel
  • June 29 - Rosary: 6:30 pm at St. Mary's in College Station in the Hannigan Chapel
  • June 30 - Rosary: 6:30 pm at St. Mary's in College Station in the Hannigan Chapel
  • July 1 - Rosary: 6:30 pm at St. Thomas Aquinas in College Station
  • July 2 - Rosary: 6:30 pm at St. Thomas Aquinas in College Station
  • July 3 - Rosary: 6:30 pm at St. Thomas Aquinas in College Station
  • July 4 - Closeout Mass: 9 am at St. Thomas Aquinas in College Station

Please note the different times for the opening mass and the closeout mass.

Diocesan events
Mass for Religious Liberty
Friday, June 21, 6:30 p.m., at St. Luke Parish (2807 Oakdale, Temple, TX 76502)
To begin the Fortnight for Freedom, Bishop Vásquez will offer a Mass imploring God's help for the protection of Religious Liberty in this country. All are welcome.

USCCB
To learn more on the Fortnight for Freedom, check the USCCB web page.

Ideas for individuals

  • Fast or make an appropriate act of reparation in this period, such as meatless Fridays or a fast day on Wednesdays.
  • Make a Novena for religious freedom, from June 26 to July 4, inclusive.
  • Obtain a prayer card for religious freedom and educational materials on religious freedom on the display on the table at the entrance of the Church
  • Take action in support of religious freedom using the NCHLA Action Alerts.
  • Read the statement Our First, Our Most Cherished Liberty.
  • Use the Fortnight for Freedom reflections on Dignitatis Humanae for personal reflection. These reflections and readings from the Vatican II document Declaration on Religious Liberty are available in English and Spanish and are intended for daily use during the Fortnight for Freedom.
  • Text the word "Freedom" or "Libertad" to 377377 to defend your right to live your faith

Prayer Resources


O God our Creator,
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be "one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fr. Barron on Superman: Man of Steel

The Culture of Death and Pope Francis' Response To It

I saw several headlines today that gave me pause, they included:
For different reasons, each one saddened me. We see the results of our culture of selfishness, death, power, relativism, utilitarianism, and other false philosophies every day.

But, then I read these words from Pope Francis. They perked me right back up!
God is the Living One, the Merciful One; Jesus brings us the life of God; the Holy Spirit gives and keeps us in our new life as true sons and daughters of God. But all too often, as we know from experience, people do not choose life, they do not accept the “Gospel of Life” but let themselves be led by ideologies and ways of thinking that block life, that do not respect life, because they are dictated by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power and pleasure, and not by love, by concern for the good of others. It is the eternal dream of wanting to build the city of man without God, without God’s life and love – a new Tower of Babel. It is the idea that rejecting God, the message of Christ, the Gospel of Life, will somehow lead to freedom, to complete human fulfilment. As a result, the Living God is replaced by fleeting human idols which offer the intoxication of a flash of freedom, but in the end bring new forms of slavery and death. The wisdom of the Psalmist says: “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Ps 19:8). Let us always remember: the Lord is the Living One, he is merciful. The Lord is the Living One, he is merciful.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us look to God as the God of Life, let us look to his law, to the Gospel message, as the way to freedom and life. The Living God sets us free! Let us say “Yes” to love and not selfishness. Let us say “Yes” to life and not death. Let us say “Yes” to freedom and not enslavement to the many idols of our time. In a word, let us say “Yes” to the God who is love, life and freedom, and who never disappoints (cf. 1 Jn 4:8; Jn 11:2; Jn 8:32); let us say “Yes” to the God who is the Living One and the Merciful One. Only faith in the Living God saves us: in the God who in Jesus Christ has given us his own life by the gift of the Holy Spirit and has made it possible to live as true sons and daughters of God through his mercy. This faith brings us freedom and happiness. Let us ask Mary, Mother of Life, to help us receive and bear constant witness to the “Gospel of Life”. Amen.
AMEN!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What Does "Nihil Obstat" and "Imprimatur" Found In Catholic Books Mean?


Q - A "nihil obstat" and an "imprimatur" appear at the front of many Catholic books. What exactly do these mean?


A - Thanks for the question. When a Catholic writer has a book on faith, morals, theology, etc. they submit it to the Bishop in their diocese or the Bishop of the diocese of the publisher of the book. The Bishop, or his appointed representative, then reads through the book and either gives or denies a "nihil obstat" to it.

This approval comes in two official steps:
  1. "nihil obstat" means nothing "stands in the way" of it being printed - that is, nothing contrary to the faith and morals of the Church is in the book.
  2. "imprimatur" is the official permission to print the book.
Thus, it is the official permission of the Bishop to print the book and a statement that it contains nothing outside the teachings of the Church. It is not an endorsement of the book or a statement that it is valuable to read. Nor do all books on Catholic teaching have these in them. It is up to the author and/or publisher to seek out such approval.

The Code of Canon Law discusses this issue in Canons 822-832.

I hope this helps.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Till Death Do Us Part?


Q - Why does marriage end once a spouse dies? Why is it not forever?

A - Thanks for the great question! We first have to explain what the Catholic Church teaches about the Sacrament of Matrimony, which we will call marriage.

Ephesians 5: 31-32 says:
"For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.
Human marriage is a reflection of the heavenly marriage between Christ and the Church. We can deduce from this that what we have on earth is nothing compared to what we will experience in heaven.

Also, the twofold purpose of marriage is the unity of the spouses and procreation = babies and bonding. Once in heaven these two are no longer needed, because the spouses will be perfectly bound together in Christ and there will be no more procreation. Thus, what marriage points toward - heaven - is found after death and therefore there is no need for marriage to continue forever.

There is also a difference in what happens in Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. These three Sacraments give an indelible mark or character to the soul. They can only be received once. All the other Sacraments - Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, and Matrimony - do not give this mark and thus they can be received again. NOTE: in the case of matrimony it can only be received again by one spouse when the other has died and the bond of marriage has been broken by death.

It is better, therefore, to speak of the lifelong bond of marriage, rather than saying it is forever. As Jesus says, there will be no marriage in heaven between human spouses.
"On that day Sadducees approached him, saying that there is no resurrection They put this question to him, saying, "Teacher, Moses said, 'If a man dies without children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up descendants for his brother.' Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died and, having no descendants, left his wife to his brother. The same happened with the second and the third, through all seven. Finally the woman died. Now at the resurrection, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had been married to her." Jesus said to them in reply, "You are misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven." - Matt 22: 23-30
I hope this helps.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Tell me, teacher." by Sarah Hayes


Today's gospel has so many beautiful lessons for us.  Lessons about forgiveness, humility, judgment, gratitude, and grace.  Yet as the gospel was read in mass, something new jumped out at me.  It was this little exchange between Jesus and Simon:

Jesus:               "Simon, I have something to say to you."
Simon:             "Tell me, teacher."

"Simon, I have something to say to you."  I can't help but wonder what Simon's interior dialogue was after that statement.  Often when someone says to me, "Sarah, I need to talk to you" my stomach flips a bit and my mind races as I think to myself, "Uh oh, what's wrong? What did I do? What is coming next?" 
Tonight I heard these words differently though.  "Simon, I have something to say to you."  As if Jesus was saying "Simon, this is important, please hear me." Or, "Simon, I love you, please let these words sink in and change you."  Or, "Simon, you're ready to learn this important lesson, so listen closely." 

As I sat in mass (and in the hours that followed) I couldn't help but wonder how many times God has said to me, "Sarah, I have something to say to you" . . . and I  have missed it. 

The times he has wanted to teach me some specific lesson (like Simon) but I was preoccupied with some other specific thing I was seeking an answer to.  The times he has wanted to simply say to me, "Sarah, I love you" but my mind was clouded with negativity and his voice drowned out by the words of shame, fear, and self-disappointment.  The times he has wanted to say to me, "Sarah, everything will be okay" but I was too busy to pray because . . . I was trying to make everything okay on my own. 

The times he has wanted to say to me something entirely new - about himself, about the way he created me, about my future, about our future (God and I) - and I've been looking back on old things.  The times he has wanted to point out to me something beautiful and I looked too long at the broken or the ugly.
"I have something to say to you."  He says this to each of us in prayer.  Yet so often we go to him, "Lord, I have something to say to you."  We go with a list of requests or desperate pleas.  We go to unload our weary restless minds, to get out what we have to say.  Of course neither of those are bad.  God wants to hear what we have to say and he can certainly handle whatever we unload.  But lets not miss the opportunity to hear what he desires to tell us. 

Simon didn't miss the opportunity.  "Tell me, teacher."  Sure, Simon jumped the gun and judged the woman who washed and kissed Jesus' feet.  But I can't help but see sincerity in his response, "Tell me, teacher."  He refers to Jesus as "teacher", aware Jesus has something to teach.  Perhaps also aware he himself has something to learn. 

In those words of Simon, I catch no hint of sarcasm or eye-rolling (as I might have, if they were my exasperated response, "Tell me, teacher.  What do you have to say?!").  I hear sincerity, openness, a willingness to listen, a genuine desire to learn from the teacher. 

I think in the upcoming days of this ordinary time, I will approach my prayer in an out of the ordinary way.  I'll first take time to hear the Lord say, "Sarah, I have something to say to you."  And I'll answer, "Tell me, teacher."

Friday, June 14, 2013

10 Things Catholics DON'T Say

A while back, there was an internet trend of videos that had "stuff ____ say". Some were good, some were OK, some were really funny.

In the spirit of fun, I offer this list.

10 Things Catholics DON'T Say
  1. Pope Francis sure seems to have the same style as all the other Popes, doesn't he?
  2. We sure could use more jokes in the homilies around here!
  3. I wonder how I could be added to the finance council?
  4. As a visitor to this parish, I was hoping they would ask me to raise my hand!
  5. About time! We haven't heard anything on stewardship in ages!!!
  6. Don't you believe 2 Kings 2:23-24 has the answer to every question in life?
  7. More meetings please!
  8. So, we started out the youth night we a little Metallica to set the mood.
  9. I have some gossip I would like to share with you.
  10. I understand everything JPII ever wrote!
Got one? Leave a comment.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What Love Looks Like

I, ___, take you, ___, to be my wife.
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.
I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.


I, ___, take you, ___, to be my husband.
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.
I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

10 Things To Know About Marian Apparitions


10 Things To Know About Marian Apparitions

10 - A Marian apparition = when Mary is reportedly appearing to a person (or several people) in order to give a supernatural message from God. Generally, the apparitions are given names based on the location of the appearances (e.g. Lourdes, France and Fatima, Portugal)

9 - None are required to believe in Marian apparitions. They are considered "private revelations", even if approved by the Church as authentic. We are only bound to believe in public revelation that came from Jesus Christ and has been passed down to us through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition - preserved by the Magisterium of the Church.

8 - Catholics are still free to believe in Marian apparitions, even though not required to. The Church may decide that an apparition is worthy of belief, but whether an individual truly does so or not, is left up to the individual.

7 - An authentic Marian apparition will never add or detract anything from the deposit of faith. Part of how an apparition is judged to be authentic or not is dependent on the content of the reported teaching - does it maintain orthodoxy with the teaching handed down from the Apostles?

6 - Generally speaking it takes many years for the Church to make a decision on an authentic apparition. Many non-authentic apparitions are easier to spot, but the Church sees no rush to approve any apparition. The process normally starts at the Diocesan level and may never even make it to the Vatican.

5 - Millions of pilgrims visit apparition sites annually. The most visited site is Guadalupe, which receives over 10 million visits a year. Lourdes and Fatima are the next most-visited.

4 - Stoking the fires of devotion to a non-approved apparition might not be a prudent thing to do. I know many good Catholics who have a devotion to non-approved apparitions. There is a good chance they might not be approved. If that happens, there is no good outcome for the devotees - either they believe the Church's decision is wrong or their faith in the apparition isn't valid.

3 - The purposes of apparitions is to enliven faith, for the purpose of conversion, and to give a needed message to God's people. Mary is the great facilitator for the one mediator (her son).

2 - False reports of apparitions can be for a number of reasons. They might be because of hoaxes, a mentally-ill person, or someone might fool themselves into believing they are truly seeing/hearing something they are not.

1 - Devotion to Marian apparitions may help strengthen your faith. Millions of people have come to a deeper love of Christ through devotion to his Blessed Mother's appearances around the world. They are great signs of God's loving care for his people and can emphasize a point of faith the world needs to hear at this time.


MARY PRAY FOR US!

LINKS OF INTEREST:
**Why do Catholics Pray To Saints?
**Can The Saints Hear Us?
**What is The Immaculate Conception?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Staying Catholic at a Non-Catholic University


The National Catholic Register interviewed several of us at St. Mary's for this article:
In his address to youth at World Youth Day in Toronto in 2002, Pope John Paul the Great said, "Dear young people, let yourselves be taken over by the light of Christ, and spread that light wherever you are."

Young Catholics at universities throughout the country extend this light by answering questions concerning the Catholic faith in Protestant and secular environments. Students from Baylor, Duke, Texas A&M and the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) explained to the Register how they keep the faith in college.

At Duke University, just-graduated senior Amy Wigger said that faith was her priority, especially attending Sunday Mass. She tried to attend one daily Mass per week, maintained a daily prayer life and used resources the Duke Catholic Center had to offer.

"Making friends in the Catholic Center has proven an invaluable resource for my faith," said Wigger. "Having friends with whom to discuss my faith allowed me to grow in faith and holiness, in ways that have been both unexpected and beautiful."

Wigger added that peers regularly challenged her faith, but she considered these encounters as growing opportunities.

"Instead of looking at this as a bad thing, I try to welcome such challenges as opportunities to engage with my faith in a constructive manner," said Wigger. "It forces me to take my faith seriously and spend time learning how to defend it."

Marcel LeJeune, assistant director of campus ministry at Texas A&M, said the greatest test of faith he sees is the culture’s attack on young people.

"Our youth are taught relativism and utilitarianism on a broad scale," said LeJeune. "Too many Catholic leaders and parents let the culture have the upper hand. We need a renewal of evangelization and formation of disciples in our families and parishes."

St. Mary’s Catholic Center at Texas A&M in College Station is home to one of the largest campus ministries in the country. Several students from St. Mary’s explained how they remain strong in faith at a public university.
CONTINUE READING.

The Dos and Don’ts of Reading the Bible


We live in a world of dos and don’ts. We use them every day: Do brush your teeth. Don’t drive too fast. They seem to impact our lives from minute to minute. Our consciences, our faith, and our knowledge of the world help us manage all the dos and don’ts we encounter. This goes for our relationship with God as well. When reading and applying the Bible to our daily lives, a few simple dos and don’ts will help us bring the Bible more clearly into our daily lives.

DO: Read the Bible frequently, daily if possible.
DON'T: Let your Bible go unread today.
–This one is simple in principle and difficult in practice for many of us. An analogy may help. The Bible is commonly referred to as a love letter from God to his people, the church. But, what good is a love letter when it is rarely opened, read with anticipation, and absorbed into one’s heart and mind? We, as members of the church, as God’s beloved, should relish the opportunity to read God’s love letter one more time.

DO: Focus on the big-picture of the Bible.
DON'T: Get caught up in too many details.
–There is no doubt that some details are important. But, they can become distractions when we fail to see the bigger story of God coming to us.

DO: Read the Bible expecting to encounter God.
DON'T: Read the Bible to prove someone wrong.
–Reading the Bible is an opportunity to commune with God, who made us. It is a chance to find out about who we are made to be and to learn about the one who made us. It is not supposed to be a book of arguments that can be used against someone with whom we disagree. I know from first-hand experience the turmoil that can occur when we use the Bible as a weapon in an argument.

DO: Read the Bible slowly and prayerfully.
DON'T: Read the Bible for dos and don’ts.
–The Bible is not just a book of what we are to do and not do. It is a book about a relationship that God forms with each of us and His pursuit and forgiveness of us. So do read the Bible slowly and prayerfully seek to understand God’s word and live it in your everyday life.

DO: Stop reading when you are struck by a word or phrase.
DON'T: Chug right through until you reach the end.
–The first to reach the end of the next chapter doesn’t get a gold medal. If something affects you when reading Scripture, then stop and reflect on why it moved you.

DO: Use good solid Bible commentaries.
DON'T: Neglect reading the text of the Bible in favor of them.
–The point of using commentaries is to supplement one’s reading of the Bible, not to take the place of it.

DO: Get a good Bible.
DON'T: Get caught up in which translation is best.
–One of the more common questions Catholics ask is “which translation is best?For most people, the best translation of the Bible is the one you read. However, there are different translations to explore, if that is your choice, with a range of choices. If you want a specific recommendation, I would recommend the RSV-Catholic Edition, and even more specific - the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (although only the New Testament is complete so far)

DO: Make changes in your life when challenged by Scripture.
DON'T: Put the changes off for another time.
–Christ is the Great Doctor. Christ’s grace is the medicine He offers us. One avenue of receiving that grace is through reading and applying Scripture to our lives. If we fail to apply it, then it is as if we went to the doctor and were diagnosed with a disease (realized our need for God’s grace); were given a prescription and bought it (read the Bible); but then never took the medicine that could make us healthy again (failed to apply the Bible to our lives).

The Bible is a great gift from God to His people. May all of us take the time to unwrap the gift and share it with others by living it out.

--This article has also been published on Catholic Exchange--

RELATED TOPICS:

Friday, June 7, 2013

Tolerance Is NOT A Virtue!

"We need to remember that tolerance is not a Christian virtue. Charity, justice, mercy, prudence, honesty - these are Christian virtues. And obviously, in a diverse community, tolerance is an important working principle. But it’s never an end itself. In fact, tolerating grave evil within a society is itself a form of serious evil. Likewise, democratic pluralism does not mean that Catholics should be quiet in public about serious moral issues because of some misguided sense of good manners. A healthy democracy requires vigorous moral debate to survive. Real pluralism demands that people of strong beliefs will advance their convictions in the public square — peacefully, legally and respectfully, but energetically and without embarrassment. Anything less is bad citizenship and a form of theft from the public conversation.”
-Archbishop Charles Chaput
Fr. Barron on the limits of tolerance:


More from Fr. Barron:

Touching Moment With Pope Francis and Kids

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

10 Reasons Why Pro-Lifers Will Eventually Win


Reason #1 - We have truth on our side. The pro-abortion crowd continues to come up with different arguments. Depending on who you talk to you might hear that babies are clumps of cells or even humans without rights of more developed persons. They are all over the place, because they don't have the objective truth about the human person and life.

Reason #2 - Death isn't attractive and doesn't sell. Who wants to be on the side of those that advocate for killing?

Reason #3 - Technology. Every time a new technology allows us to see babies more clearly or help them survive, we win. It seems every year the age of viability outside the mother's womb is getting earlier and earlier.

Reason #4 - We are out-babying the other side.
They think babies are a burden.
We see them as gifts from God.
Our numbers go up while their numbers go down.

Reason #5 - Women who have had abortions are speaking up and saying abortion wounds women.

Reason #6 - Women are starting to see through the lies sold to them by the pro-abortion crowd. Words have meaning. When those words carry lies, they cannot bring goodness or peace.

Reason #7 - Of the people who really care, the polls show an ever-growing pro-life sentiment in our culture.

Reason #8 - Former pro-abortion providers and workers, such as my friend, Abby Johnson, are now switching sides and speaking up.

Reason #9 - God is pro-life.
He created us after all. Christ was pro-life. Mary was pro-life. The Saints are pro-life.
So are you (most likely)!

Reason #10 - Positive loving passionate enthusiasm for the cause, as demonstrated below.

Monday, June 3, 2013

10 Reasons Free Contraception Is A Terrible Idea

10 Reasons Free Contraception Is A Terrible Idea


10 - The pill may cause chemical abortions by changing the lining of the uterus in a woman so that should a newly created child should be created by fertilization of a women's egg, the baby cannot implant into the uterus and is flushed out of the woman and killed. 

9 - It causes a multitude of side-effects. They include:

  • Increased risk of cancer 
  • Decreased libido 
  • Weight gain 
  • Blood Clots 
  • Mood changes 
  • Depression 
  • Headaches 
  • etc

8 - If you are responsible enough to have sex, you should be responsible enough for a baby. But, contraception tells us that sex and babies are two separate things. Thus, we have "accidental pregnancies" when someone uses contraception. No pregnancy is an "accident" because everything happened just as nature intended.

7 - Parents would be bypassed in order to get contraception to children. Another case of the government usurping the role of parents.

6 - The Bible says that fertility is a blessing. Contraception says fertility is a curse or a disease that we need to "fix" with a pill, shot, or implant. The first command given to both Adam and Eve is to "be fertile and multiply."

5 - Contraception does not help families or marriages. In fact, the divorce rate and the use of contraception mirror one another. But, when a couple uses Natural Family Planning the divorce rate is tiny and marriages are rated much better.

4 - Contraception makes a woman into an object. When a woman's fertility is seen as a bad thing, then the whole person is not respected. The woman is thought of as an object to be used for mere pleasure. Pope Paul VI predicted this outcome in his encyclical Humanae Vitae.

3 - Contraception fails and lulls people into a false sense of security. The only 100% proven way of not getting pregnant is abstinence. We see that the only proven way to reduce AIDS in Africa was a program in Uganda that focused on abstinence and faithfulness. Condoms and contraception have always failed.

2 - Natural Family Planning (NFP) is ALWAYS a better option. Check this out if you doubt it. Remember also that contraception became mainstreamed in our country after a marketing campaign by Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. She wanted to rid the world of the "undesirables" by contracepting them out of existence. Many of her ideas on eugenics were used by the Nazis. Her history is scary. She is the mother of contraception (pardon the pun).

1 - To create life with God is the most powerful thing two people can do together. Sexuality is not just about pleasure. It is about real love, the bonding of the spouses, and the openness to life. Sexuality is so much more than our modern idea of it. Contraception perverts sex and leads to the "contraceptive mentality" that sex / love / babies are all separate (though sometimes related) things. We must fight this mentality and free contraception for all.