What Makes Me Sad on Ash Wednesday

I love that Catholics come out of the woodwork for Ash Wednesday. I don’t know why people being told that they are sinners and wearing ashes on their foreheads all day is something people enjoy. But they do.

But what makes me sad is that so many people are going to desecrate our Lord today. So many haven’t been to Mass since Christmas or even longer, skipping Mass on every Holy Day (and Sunday’s are all Holy Days) and they will not repent or go to confession, but will receive our Lord in a state of grave sin and won’t return until Easter (where they will desecrate him again) or even longer.

My heart breaks for them and the condemnation they heap onto their souls as St. Paul preaches. I pray for them today and I hope you will too.

Seven Quick Takes Monday

—1—

I’m fairly excited! I am a sponsor this year for someone coming into the Church! As much as I’m doing it for him, it’s actually quite important for me as well. It is giving me the opportunity to reflect and kind of relive the experience I had almost seven full years ago with Andy and Megan at my side (and I almost started giggling in Mass yesterday thinking about shower comas—inside joke). It can be easy to forget about the truth behind an emotional decision made in the past as the fires of a passion for Christ glow as embers now as opposed to a raging out of control fire. But these rites I’m going to be supporting this catchumen through remind me of those days when I was blazing, not knowing really what was going on, only knowing I was being called by God to something amazing. I cannot wait to participate in the Easter Vigil!

—2—

Me when someone is like "I'm ashamed to be Catholic cuz...I'm proud to sin."

Me when someone is like “I’m ashamed to be Catholic cuz…I’m proud to sin.”

This quick might not be sensitive, so if you don’t have a spine or skin or can be triggered by words that aren’t sugar and spice and everything nice, scroll down a few inches.

You aren’t ashamed to be Catholic, you’re ashamed that you aren’t Catholic and are being reminded that you aren’t. You can call it what you want, but to in claim in the same sentence unapologetic pride for sinning and shame for being Catholic is an lotosclerosis contradiction. Pride for sinful action is the opposite of repentance, it is the slayer of humility and is foreign to Catholicism. It is impossible to practice the Catholic faith while embracing your sin or propensity for sin as a good. It is equally impossible to faithfully practice the Catholic faith while publicly declaring her teaching on sexuality to be sh*t. The fact is, you may be baptized Catholic, and for that your soul will always be marked by God, but you aren’t truly interested in discipleship with Christ. You are ashamed. Not to be Catholic, but rather that you’ve heard Jesus’ call to take up your cross and follow him, but have refused to follow, but want the reward just the same. You’ve heard and seen him admonish the sinner in tender love, but you reject it. You’ve seen his example of selflessly taking your sins to the cross, but don’t believe that had anything to do with you because you were “born this way”, it’s God’s fault, so you reject him on the cross. You see others who have or are trying to follow Christ, no matter how much it hurts, and you are ashamed not of what they do, but that you yourself don’t have the guts or humility to follow Christ, so you disparage them to feel better about yourself.

Sorry to sound harsh, but your soul isn’t a game. It has immeasurable worth to God and he offers you nothing short of his life to save it and bring it to perfection, but you don’t get a redo at the end of this life if you reject his mercy. You won’t always have time to embrace this false martyr complex. You need to decide today: do you want temporal pleasure through lifeless and fruitless homogenital-anal acts or do you want to be everything God made you to be? You might not get a tomorrow to change your mind.

(Also, I do see the irony of using Portia de Rossi in the above gif)

—3—

Not a huge football or Super Bowl fanatic, but I did enjoy many of the Super Bowl ads. Pro aborts did not, however.

image image

Geez, like how much do you actually have to hate life? Talk about extremist anti-choicers. Just the mere thought of someone enjoying life, the thought of someone loving their blob of cells or making a blob of cells that will nine months from now magically become a human that is loved threatens the very world they live in. Joy and love are not acceptable to their worldview, even joy and love between others. Not only that but these two tweets are simply offensive. The first essentially denigrates all those children and people who appeared in the Super Bowl babies commercial. The message is that their parents should have used protection, that they are mistakes, and that their lives should not be celebrated, and that last night, everyone should have used protection because we don’t need any 2016 Super Bowl babies. The second is simply anti-science. Of course a human woman carries a human fetus. There is no such thing as humanizing a fetus, it already is human and has been since conception, this is an empirical fact. The real question is about personhood. Personhood isn’t something that can be tested empirically. Any assumption one draws about what qualifies as personhood is just that: an assumption. There is no definitive test that can prove a fetus is or isn’t a person, only that it is a unique individual human being. The question is both above our pay grade and completely out of ability to determine. That means, however, that the gravity of abortion is still serious, perhaps even more so because of the possibility of murdering millions of persons each year.

The point I mean to make though, is that it is clear that the mouthpieces of the pro abortion movement are threatened by any message and choice that flows from love, joy, and celebration of life. It’s rather sad and pathetic.

—4—

Don’t forget that Lent begins on Wednesday. The Church, in her apostolic power to bind and loose, given to her by Jesus Christ in the Gospels, binds all Catholics of the proper age and who are not pregnant or have some other serious condition to abstain from meat on Wednesday and to fast. The Church fast consists of one regular sized meal and two smaller meals which together are less than one regular meal. And don’t forget, if Ash Wednesday Mass is the first Mass you’ve been to since Christmas or longer, you cannot take Holy Communion until you’ve made a Confession of missing Mass on Holy Days which is a grave sin (all Sunday’s are Holy Days of Obligation).

—5—

Also, Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, contrary to popular belief.

—6—

I’m doing two things for Lent this year. Instead of taking up fasting above what I normally do (which is still more than what Holy Mother Church requires), I’m going to do a personal 30 day Ignatian retreat. I have a copy of the book of exercises and at one point had done about two weeks worth, but this Lent I plan to do the 30 days of exercises over 40 days. The other thing I’m going to do is to read Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI. It was a recomendation by Fr. Walz yesterday at Mass.

—7—

This week’s image of mercy: Jesus admonishes Mary Magdalene to sin no more.

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Seven Quick Takes Monday

—1—

Questions about indulgences? Ask Fr. Mike.

—2—

I gotta learn not to click on other videos on YouTube when I’m watching Catholic videos, like the one above. It leads to things that would be so laughable if they weren’t so sadly ignorant of basic historical facts. Sorry Mike Winger, maker of anti-Catholic YouTube videos, but I’m about to burst your bubble: Catholicism is Biblical. I can’t even believe that literate people seriously think that this is still an argument against Catholicism. It’s one thing to disagree with our interpretation of the Bible (as you do with the tens of thousands of other personal popes of Protestantism), but to claim that the Church’s life and teachings are not rooted in Scripture is just plain ignorance, and is an example of some of the poorest scholarship there is. And to paint the level of respect Catholics have for Scripture as dusting off our Bibles once in awhile, kissing them and putting them back on the shelf shows you know next to nothing about Catholicism. My challenge to you, Mike, and your followers who treat you like their pope, is to actually learn a few historical facts, beginning with the actual history of the deuterocanon, and ending with the Scriptural basis of the Mass and its roots in the Jewish faith (which was established by our never changing God as a good thing because *gasp* religion isn’t evil).

—3—

Lent begins next Wednesday. It’s crazy to think that Ash Wednesday is almost here, especially since so many people still have Christmas lights up. I haven’t decided what practice(s) I’m going to take up or lay down yet, but being snarky at ignorant anti-Catholic fundamentalists might be one. Any ideas you’d like to share?

—4—

This weekend I stumbled upon a Catholic news site I had never heard of called Crux. I  perased it and didn’t immediately find anything to cause any concern as to the faithfulness of the source, but you can never be to careful with supposed Catholic news outlets these days. I was just wondering if any of my Catholic readers have heard of said site and whether or not it is faithfully Catholic (i.e. does not dissent from Catholic doctrine and dogma). Respond in the comments if you have something to say regarding the site.

—5—

On Friday we had a fundraising banquet for my college Newman Center. After an incredibly moving testimony from one of my friends on the positive impact that the Newman Center had on his faith, I decided to give more of my tithe to the Newman Center, and to be more faithful in giving to all the places that I give. I mean, for every good testimony that you hear, there are a hundred good testimonies that go unspoken. It is so important to give back, as we are able, to the ministries that have helped us. I would simply encourage you, as Lent approaches, to give back to the Newman Center if you are one of my friends or acquaintances, or to give back to your own parishes this penitential season.

—6—

The highlight of my week this week was a trip with my friends to a birthday party for another friend who had passed away around Christmas. The best moment was on the way home. It was dark, but not late, and as I sat in the back with the baby who was a little tired and a little fussy, she grabbed my pinky as she fell asleep and I got to thinking about St. Joseph and Mary with Jesus. How incredible it must have been to have God fall asleep squeezing your finger. I tried putting myself in that scene. How vulnerable Jesus was to come to us so small and require us to care for and comfort him. What an example. And now it is our time to be like Jesus and allow ourselves to be comforted by him.

—7—

This week’s image of mercy:

Offering Mass to those in prison.

Offering Mass to those in prison.

Total Insanity

The indictment against David Daleiden in Harris County. Total insanity. To have relieved Planned Parenthood of selling baby body parts and then turn around and indict Daleiden for the very crime he has exposed Planned Parenthood doing. Total insanity. To charge a whistle blower for the crime the whistle blower is trying to expose is just asinine. But as Daleiden has pointed out if he was a buyer, there was definitely a seller, Planned Parenthood. Any competent juror at Daleiden’s trial would not be able to vote ‘guilty’. The forensically tested videos speak for themselves: Planned Parenthood is guilty of murder and the selling of murdered babies for profit.

But despite this travesty of justice, this is a wonderful time to be a Christian in the western world. What the haters of life and the haters of the God who came to give life to the fullest don’t understand is that persecution only serves to strengthen the Church. As you surround the Church with the blackness of hate, the blackened blood of abortion, the lifeless homosexual act, the empty promises of material goods, the light of Christ burns ever brighter and becomes evermore a beacon of those lost and shattered by the forces of evil. And as a culture which whips itself into a frenzy worshiping itself on its lifeless altars built on murder, contraception, and homogenital acts, reality strikes. Such a culture cannot sustain itself. It dies because it has no life to give and it takes the life of its future to feed its present lusts. Total insanity.

So while it may appear to those who feed on the darkness that the powers of hell are indeed overcoming Christ, the idea is total insanity. The tide is almost at its lowest, the waters are about to start rushing back, cleaning the rotting carcasses and seaweed away into the abyss. I believe that there will be a surge of martyrs and saints made in the coming years as the culture chokes itself to death and Christ remains victorious in his Church as history has continually repeated itself over the last two milennia. When will evil learn it has already been defeated? Total insanity.

Seven Quick Takes Monday

—1—

Today is my patronal feast day, The Conversion of St. Paul. We celebrate Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. He was blinded by Christ and was converted from persecutor of Christians to a Christian himself. I related rather obviously to this event when I became Catholic. I persecuted them until I met Christ in the Church’s doctrines. Like Paul, I became Catholic. I’ll be doing a little bit of extra feasting today to give thanks to God for bringing me into the fullness of all that is true!

image

—2—

This is a message to the ladies out there. I’ve been catching what I think are some vibes some of you might be laying down. If you know me, well, you should know I’m not really interested. I won’t absolutely rule out the possibility that someday I could be, but as of right now, that is not a reality in my life. God has not brought me to a point where a solid relationship of that type with a woman would be possible, and maybe he never will. So do yourself a favor and cast your vibes in a stream that flows a little straighter (pun 100% intended).

—3—

I smoked my first cigar this weekend. It was a surprisingly pleasant experience. I can see why people enjoy it. I will probably do it again sometime (don’t judge me).

—4—

Recently the Archbishop of Melbourne (Australia) has changed diocesan policy to allow same-sex student couples in the archdiocese’s schools to bring their same-gender dates to their formals. In the article he states that in this age group these relationships are more like friendship than real lasting relationships. Maybe things are different in Australia, but high school students have sex, and if you look back a few months ago, I posted in a previous SQTM stats that show that LGBT youth start having sex at much younger ages than their heterosexual counterparts. I think the Archbishop has made a serious mistake by permitting this. This goes beyond compassion and into encouragement of embracing the homosexual lifestyle. Please pray for the Archdiocese of Melbourne and the souls under her care.

—5—

So, I have caved on my giving up tv for a whole year (guess I’ll have to find a new penance). But in doing so I started watching Raising Hope. I can’t speak for the whole series because I haven’t seen it all yet, but what I have seen is good. If you’re looking for a tv show that seems to be pretty pro family, I would recommend checking it out on Netflix.

—6—

It’s possible you’ve already heard of Friar Alessandro, but I just found him this weekend.  Listen to those pipes:

—7—

This week’s image of mercy:

Taking care of plague victims.

Taking care of plague victims.

Seven Quick Takes Monday

—1—

Late last week, news was leaked from the 2016 meeting of the primates of the Anglican Communion. The news is that for the next three years, the Episcopal Church, the American branch of the Anglican Communion, is suspended from the Communion. This means that the Episcopal Church cannot represent Anglicans on interfaith bodies, cannot be appointed to internal committees, and cannot be involved in decisions regarding doctrine and polity. Why? Because of the Episcopal Church’s decision to ignore Christian teachings on homosexuality, and it’s blessing of same-sex marriage, going so far as to create liturgies for such celebrations and making its marriage canons gender neutral to accommodate those in sinful lifestyles. I really could not care less about what the Anglican communion does, and I find it interesting that there is tension regarding departure from marriage teachings considering that the Church of England only exists today because it King Henry himself departed from the Christian understanding of marriage. I guess you reap what you sow. With that said, there are many Anglicans of good will who are troubled with the goings on of the Episcopal Church and liberalizations elsewhere and are returning to the original Church of England, the Catholic Church. I will continue to pray for them.

—2—

I continue to have a love/hate relationship with the things the Pope says. While I find that according to my understanding he has not said anything as Pope that is contrary to the truth, I have found that some of what he says does more to confuse the lukewarm than to clarify, particularly in regards to sexuality. I mean, sure, “who am I to judge?” might compel active homosexuals to re-examine why they left Christ, but how many of them are doing it because they believe the Church is going to reverse her teachings and abandon the truth? I guess I don’t know what good it does to lead people into the Church through a type of bait and switch. With that said, I love what Pope Francis said recently to encourage Catholic youth.

We Christians were not chosen by the Lord for little things; push onwards toward the highest principles. Stake your lives on noble ideals.

He encourages us to swim against the tide in defense of higher truth and principles. A good reminder about what is really important in life.

—3—

No one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the cross. No one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ.

Pope St. Leo the Great

—4—

I was reading some other blogs yesterday, and came across this post at The Catholic Gentleman. Memento mori, meditation on death. It actually is something I do often, unintentionally, and as you can imagine, over the last few days I’ve done so even more. As Catholics and other Christians, we need to make sure that we do this regularly. Death is an inescapable reality, and contrary to many popular beliefs, we will not be judged on faith alone, but will be judged on our deeds, how we live our lives. The inspired New Testament books explicitly state this, even quoting Jesus himself as saying as much. Meditate on death, and what it brings, and use the graces that God gives in that time of prayer to go out and live a life worthy of your calling.

—5—

What would you think of a dating website called exseminarians.com? It would be a place for that Catholic woman looking for very specific qualities in men that are most often found in priests. Since there are not insignificant numbers of seminarians with these qualities who leave seminary for one reason or another, it would be great to get these men all in one spot, right? That’s what me and my friends think at least.

—6—

I loved yesterday’s Gospel reading, the Wedding at Cana. I could take weeks to write about all the awesome stuff packed into that Gospel. But I only want to mention two things: the role of Mary and the goodness of alcohol. First is Mary. Mary’s role as intercessor is undeniable in Jesus’ first miracle. Although Jesus tells her that his time has not yet come, she asks, she intercedes on behalf of the bride and groom and Jesus consents. It is not that it was not God’s will for the bride and groom to have a wonderful feast, but Mary requested even greater abundance for them. Her soul “magnifies the Lord”. Through her faith and intercession God’s will was accomplished. So it can be with us when we ask her to intercede. Second is that alcohol is good. I don’t have anything against Christians who choose not to consume alcohol, however, I do take issue with Christians (Seventh Day Adventists for example) who say it is evil and that no Christian should partake. They are flat out wrong and Jesus’ miracle at Cana, the start of his public ministry, proves that. Alcohol is not evil, abuse of it is, just as food is not evil, but abuse of it is. Alcohol is a gift from God, respect it as such.

—7—

This week’s image of mercy:

March For Life 2014, Washington, DC

March For Life 2014, Washington, DC

Thoughts From Lockdown

As I start this post, I have now been in lockdown in the bathroom of my apartment for two hours. I am thankful that I was in my apartment finishing lunch when the campus announcement went out to lockdown.

I have to admit that the first few minutes were terrifying. I had no information about what was going on. After all the training I have gone through about active shooters, it was finally coming to fruition. What I thought could not happen on my campus, probably was happening on my campus. We all think it can’t happen to us, but it does happen to some people. Some of us are wrong when we think we are safe.

As information has been slowly coming in, I have discovered that there has not been any active shooting. However, the reality is that that could change at any moment. A threat was posted to social media about shooting up a building with a machine gun, complete with the machine gun the suspect would use. They still have not located the suspect and police are still on the scene, so I am trying not to get too comfortable here.

Many of us have never been in such a position, with a threat hanging imminently over our heads. So what has gone on in my mind? The first minutes were literally fear. I could not focus. I shut and locked as many doors between me and the hallway and the outside as possible. I shut off all the lights, turned my phones on silent, took off my shoes, and sat on the bathroom floor in the pitch black, all alone. I started to reflect immediately upon all the tragedies of school shootings in the past. I wondered if I would be brave if I heard the doors in my apartment being kicked down or if I heard gun shots in the hallway. Would I face the gunman and die like a man? Would it be quick? God I hoped it would be quick. And I thanked Jesus that I had gone to Confession yesterday. My soul, I feel is ready to meet God should this situation turn to the worse.

Yet, as time is passing and no one has been injured, and it seems that it is likely to be resolved without injury (praise God), my thoughts have become more calmed and I’ve been thinking about the grander scheme of things. It is situations like this in which I realize and appreciate the importance of the big things. I can get caught up in the petty and childish justification of my sins and the stupid unimportant stuff, but what matters most is that I put it all aside for what is true and right, for what is eternal. It is better to die to self, to lose a friend, to lose a job, than to risk your soul. Any moment your soul could meet God.

I could see though how others might come to the opposite conclusion. That we shouldn’t worry so much about truth and morality, but just love each other and never question anybody’s beliefs or actions, that fighting or discussing about the greater scheme of things does more to divide than to unite, that we should focus on the here and now, the reality we can sensibly perceive and in improving upon it. I understand it, but I don’t agree.

I could go on, but I won’t. I am thankful to be alive, and thankful, that so far I have not been asked to sacrifice my life today. But I could be, and I am confident in what lies ahead if I do.

I ask for your prayers for our campus and for the individual who has threatened us. May he or she find the true peace that they are lacking, and may they be found before harming anyone. Peace of Christ be with you.

Update 4:15PM

We’ve been given an all clear. As far as I know, there are no injuries to any students or employees. Thanks for the prayers.

Update 12:45PM 1/15/16

A suspect was arrested yesterday afternoon about an hour from campus shortly before the all clear was given. He was a male high school student, 16 years old on a tour of the school. I can’t give more details, though, I do know more. All I can say is that he was on campus during the lockdown and that his online threat was a lot more chilling than I had been previously lead to believe. Things could have gone very badly yesterday.

Seven Quick Takes Monday

—1—

It’s an interesting time we live in, isn’t it? I’m just thinking about the situation in the Middle East and in Europe. The mass migrations of people from one place to another and the violence that they bring with them. Women in places like Sweden and now Germany have every reason to be scared of being raped by rioting crowds of refugees in their own homelands. The scary thing is that the media and the governments seem to prefer the rights of the refugees to the rights of protection of the citizens of those countries. Yes, Christians have a duty to help those suffering, like refugees. However, there are ways of fulfilling that duty without swinging open our doors and placing our own in danger. We only need look back on history. Let us please learn from the lessons of the past before we invite this into our own country.

—2—

I was reading this article recently from Fr. Longenecker about change. It rung true to me, because I think I’ve recently hit the point in my life where the “pain” of the status quo is now greater than the “pain” of changing. What is the one thing in your life that you want to change, but seems too difficult? Is it maybe time to admit that staying the same is actually more difficult or tough on you than changing would be?

—3—

Start your day by holding a council. Life really is a battle. It is a battle between the holy spirits and the fallen spirits. It is a battle that has raged from the first moment of creation when Satan and his angels rebelled. And we have been dragged into the fray. We all must fight or surrender. If we are going to choose to fight we must plan every morning with Jesus, our Commander in Chief, and take the advice of his Generals and Captains, his angels and Saints, in the war room which is our soul. We cannot go out into the day without considering the fact that there is a great evil out there who hates you because he hates God who loves you. He wants you to be separated from God forever just as he is, and he will do almost anything to accomplish that end. Don’t go out unawares or you will fall into sin, as sin is like a lion, crouching at your door.

—4—

On Friday, Pope Francis spoke about the love of God and forgiveness. One of the points that he made is that God is always waiting for us to come and ask for forgiveness. And he willingly and freely gives us that forgiveness. We never have to fear to bring our sin to God and ask for him to take it away.

—5—

Let us pray for all divorced Christians. Our first prayer is for them to reconcile with their spouses, to whom they promised to remain faithful until death. Our second prayer for them is that if that is not possible, that they would, for the sake of their salvation, take up their cross and remain single and chaste, for as Christ teaches, the one who divorces and remarries is guilty of adultery, and the one whom they marry is also guilty of adultery (Luke 16:18). It is not an easy to cross to bear, celibacy, that is, as I know well. And sometimes mistakes are made, as I also know well. But to get up and return to God, who is always waiting for us, can be hard, but is so freeing, as I know. Please pray for our families and friends and neighbors in these situations.

—6—

I’ve been watching The Cosby Show, which my sister got me for Christmas, because regardless of the charges leveled against Bill Cosby, the show is a great show. And I have to say that of all the television mothers out there, Clair Huxtable, is definitely one of the best. She treats her children and husband with respect, is involved in their lives. And she does all this while being a full time partner at a law firm. She shows that family does not have to suffer while being a woman with a career. She is both strong and compassionate. If anyone is looking for a good role model in the media, they should look at Clair Huxtable.

Not always that sassy.

Not always that sassy.

—7—

This week’s image of mercy:

The Good Samaritan, 19th Century

The Good Samaritan, 19th Century

Spare Me Please

I received a message today from someone, who I’m sure in their heart had the best of intentions, suggesting a book for me to read. What sort of book? A book that defends gay “marriage” from an orthodox traditionalist Catholic point of view.

Spare me. I don’t recall the title of the book, but after reading the description on Amazon (out of curiosity, not out of vain hope), it didn’t even pretend to be Catholic. Within the first paragraph it directly stated that it defies official Church teaching, and then threw around classic catch phrases like “sexual repression” and “ignorance”. Interestingly it claimed to draw quite a bit of its content from St. John Paul IIs Theology on the Body, which is laughable considering his direct papal statements against homosexual behavior.

You know, there are a thousand thousand denominations that will tickle your ears and bless whatever proclivities your genitalia might have. If that is what you are looking for, why not just go there? If you want to be Catholic, just be Catholic. If you want to start changing teachings, you cease practicing Catholicism. So just stop. Be Catholic or don’t.

Furthermore, leave me out of your deluded and vain attempts to change the teachings of Christ on marriage. Don’t try to convince me that the Church actually doesn’t know what she teaches. I know what she teaches, I own a Catechism, and I am literate. Read paragraphs 2357-2359. Case closed, move on. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that at some future point I would abandon this teaching, that is always the case with a person who has a free will. But if I do, I know I will cease to be Catholic, and I would go elsewhere, I would not try to pretend the Catholic faith allows what it does not. Why? Because I am not stupid.

So please, spare me the the vain attempts of trying to pretend that gay marriage and the gay lifestyle are compatible with Catholic teaching, and are in fact orthodox, when they are in fact, not. Spare me the assumption that the Church teaching on homosexuality is repressive and that by subjecting ourselves to it, and to the Church’s correction when we fail, that we are self-loathing. And spare me the hypocritical judgment of the Church being obsessed with sex, when everything you do is about sex, normalizing all kinds of sex (even though homosexual acts are extremely risky), fighting for everyone but yourself to pay for your recreational sex (contraceptive mandate anyone), etc., etc.

Save your spare time, don’t send me this crud anymore.

Seven Quick Takes Monday

—1—

So my time in California last week was great. I got to go hang out at all my old haunts from my summer there in 2008 and even got to see some new things as well. It was bittersweet coming back to the Midwest and the cold and the snow. You know, California is not a bad place at all, you can’t simply judge a place based on its politics. It is a place that I think would be great to live.

—2—

I’m not a frequent Latin Mass goer, maybe five times or so each year, but I 100% get it. I went to Latin Mass on New Years Day at St. Anne’s in Barrio Logan and it was one of the most beautiful Masses I’ve been to. I don’t usually like it when people grumble about the Novus Ordo and are Latin Mass only-it’s, but I do get it. Thankfully, some of the parishes around Bismarck are beginning to implement the reforms of Vatican II as they were actually intended, bringing entrance and communion antiphonal into Sunday Masses, and along with them, reverence that was lost in experimentation and disregard for the norms. Anyway, I think that 2016 is going to involve more Latin for me.

—3—

I found the best Christmas present in the mail when I got home from San Diego. A dear friend has given me the gift of having a Mass said for me every Monday during 2016. I appreciate that so much, because I have a hunch that a lot is going to be changing in my life this coming year and while some of it will be good, some is going to be hard and I will need the extra special graces that flow from the Mass, which is the one and same and only sacrifice of God on Calvary.

—4—

Something a Confessor told me recently I’m going to share. Loneliness tends to rear its ugly head for single people around the holidays, and so it is during this time of the year that we have to resist the urge to wallow in loneliness or respond to loneliness with sin. We are never alone with God, and we shouldn’t assume or pretend to be. We might be single, but we aren’t alone. For some of us that singleness is temporary, until we find someone eligible to morally “unsingle” us (opposite sex, never been married, widowed, or annulled, etc.), and for the rest that singleness is permanent, we are eunuchs for the kingdom as Christ put it. In either case, we should turn to God and remember that he is the one who in all cases will ultimately and completely fill our desire for the intimacy of another, because we were made by and for him. Something I need to remember, and maybe you do too.

—5—

Rumor has it that Obama is going to attempt some executive action on gun control now that he is back from his vacation. Apparently terrorists like the ones in San Bernardino will choose to not break the law if we make more laws for them to break. All I have to say about it is that progressives are pretty hypocritical. They get all up in arms when conservatives try to “legislate morality” meaning we have opposing views from them on abortion and gay marriage and what we introduce in policy reflects that. But they have no qualms about “legislating morality” with gun control laws, contraceptive mandates, or bake my freaking wedding cake or go through sensitivity training laws. I’m not opposed to them doing so in theory, they have that right, but let’s call the kettle what it really is. And how about we go through the appropriate political process to do so: legislatures and initiatives. If the legislature isn’t moving, vote in new people, don’t try to circumvent the system. End rant.

—6—

A video for how I feel right now.

—7—

This week’s image of mercy:

Confession is the mercy of God made present to the penitent sinner.

Confession is the mercy of God made present to the penitent sinner.