The Church is a Cultivated Field

The Catechism introduces several symbols of the Church. The one that stuck out most to me:

The Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about again. That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly cultivator. Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ, without whom we can do nothing.

CCC 755

Reading the Catechism this time around is completely different. I don’t even know what I got out of the Catechism the first time I read it as a Protty, who was a junior in college. Its absolutely insane how much of this went in one ear and out the other, and yet, I still received the grace of conversion. Even now, I feel as if I will need to re-read the entire first part (which is the credo) when I finish in the next few days. There is just so much depth to the faith. Again, God is kindling up the fire of his love in me.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Pope Francis’ Remarks at Family Synod Mass

The following are some of Pope Francis’ remarks for the opening Mass for the Synod on the Family. A hattip to Single Mom Smiling for her reflection on the Synod and Catholic teaching on divorce.

We too, in the Synod of Bishops, are called to work for the Lord’s vineyard. Synod Assemblies are not meant to discuss beautiful and clever ideas, or to see who is more intelligent… They are meant to better nurture and tend the Lord’s vineyard, to help realize his dream, his loving plan for his people. In this case the Lord is asking us to care for the family, which has been from the beginning an integral part of his loving plan for humanity.

We are all sinners and can also be tempted to “take over” the vineyard, because of that greed which is always present in us human beings. God’s dream always clashes with the hypocrisy of some of his servants. We can “thwart” God’s dream if we fail to let ourselves be guided by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives us that wisdom which surpasses knowledge, and enables us to work generously with authentic freedom and humble creativity.

My Synod brothers, to do a good job of nurturing and tending the vineyard, our hearts and our minds must be kept in Jesus Christ by “the peace of God which passes all understanding” (Phil 4:7). In this way our thoughts and plans will correspond to God’s dream: to form a holy people who are his own and produce the fruits of the kingdom of God (cf. Mt 21:43)

It’s Already October?!

Time flies when you’re in your favorite season.

Things really got cold on Thursday, and it looks like there may only be a handful of days where it will hit 70 left this year. And that’s fine with me. I love this sweatshirt/light jacket weather. I do need it to hold off getting too cold though in the next few weeks because I do have one more camping trip to squeeze in this fall. I began my camping season in the Black Hills in April, and I will end it there in two weeks, so here’s to praying that there won’t be any freak snow, and that some of the more ‘rugged’ roads, like the Needles Highway, will still be open and safe to drive so that I can easily get to the Harney Peak trailhead at Sylvan Lake from my campsite.

Also, I think I’ll be getting an unexpected raise this month, due to an unintentional disparity in pay between me and a new hire in our department, so I’m pretty pumped about that, regardless of how much it will actually be.

And my coffee is really good this morning.

St. Raphael, Pray for Us

I know, the Feast of the Archangels was yesterday. So why am I writing a post about St. Raphael today?

Well, as I was preparing for Mass, I was reading from my Laudate App about the archangels and other Saints and Blesseds whose feasts are on September 29. And I was reading about St. Raphael. Now I don’t know much about St. Raphael. I think I’ve read Tobit once since I became Catholic, but that’s it. He doesn’t appear by name in Protestant Bibles after they removed the books they didn’t like. His hagiography struck me as pretty awesome, especially his list of “patronages”. It lists him as being the patron against all sickness and mental illness.

Probably not the most PC thing to write or say, but this reached into my heart as a guy who struggles with SSA. As there has yet to be any mildly convincing evidence that the genesis of SSA is genetic, and more evidence that points to a psychological genesis, I am inclined to believe that SSA is a sickness, or as the Church states, an disorder. Now I wait for the tolerant thought police to come out and droves and hate on me for not believing exactly as they believe.

So I wondered, has anyone struggling with SSA, adopted St. Raphael as a patron? Has anyone sought his intercession for spiritual healing? Wouldn’t he be a natural Saint to turn to in our battle to live for Christ and to heal our passions? So I’ve added a little prayer page along with the other Saints on my blog. He may not be the most well-known of the archangels, but Scripture testifies to his power to heal physical infirmities, and to vanquish demons from those who desire to be free, and who trust unwaveringly in the goodness and mercy of God.


St. Raphael, pray for us!

Today is a Pretty Good Day

So I got up early this morning, and the sky was clear as a post-Confession conscience. These September mornings are ridiculously awesome if you take the time to look up to the east before sunrise. Right now, Venus, Jupiter, and Mars are all hanging out in the sky together before dawn and are moving towards a sweet planetary conjunction that will occur between Venus and Jupiter on October 26, with Mars really close by. I mention this because I think creation is pretty cool and I think it’s neat of God to let us witness such awesome shows in the sky.

In case you don't know how to find the planets this month. Venus is the really bright star high in the sky this month. Jupiter is also bright, and looks smaller (only because of how far away it is), and Mars is reddish in the middle.

In case you don’t know how to find the planets this month. Venus is the really bright star high in the sky this month. Jupiter is also bright, and looks smaller (only because of how far away it is), and Mars is reddish in the middle.

But today is also the Feast of the Archangels: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Be sure to call upon them today (and every day!).


Last, and definitely least, but still important, today is National Coffee Day. I don’t think that that needs much elaboration.


Have a blessed day!

Implications of Believing in One God (Monotheism)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church outlines 5 implications of believing in one God as opposed to many. It doesn’t specifically state that these implications only apply to those who believe in the Judeo-Christian God, and so I would be prone to think, that no matter what monotheistic faith one belongs to, these implications would be true to them as well.

1. That it means coming to know God’s greatness and majesty. The monotheist believes that all exists because of God, therefore, the God that created this insanely awesome universe must be greater than the universe, and must therefore be superbly majestic. This means the monotheist must serve God first.

2. It means living in thanksgiving. If God is the only one, everything we have and everything that we are comes from God. There is nothing that we have that we did not receive from him, even if it came to use through the hands and work of others. We must live in thanksgiving to him.

3. It means knowing the unity and true dignity of all men. Though we live in a universe that is sojourning towards perfection, and therefore, all men are imperfect, all men have their source in God, all men originated in the mind and the will of the one God. Therefore, all have equal dignity, and all are united in their common origin.

4. It means making good use of created things. All things that exist are created by him and for him. They are gifts to us, and do not belong to us. They will pass, but he will not. Therefore, we only use the created things of God insofar as they will help us come closer to him, and we detach ourselves from these things only as far as they lead us away from him. This is true moderation, and leads us to avoid abusing what God has given us, and from adopting a false sense of humility by falsely rejecting what is good and can bring us to God.

5. It means trusting God in every circumstance. If there is one God, responsible for all that exists, there is a reason for our existence and a reason for every event that he has permitted, even adverse events that make no sense to us. We trust in him, that good will come from everything that happens to use, even if we have to wait in order to see those things come to fruition.

Faith in God leads us to turn to him alone as our first origin and our ultimate goal, and neither to prefer anything to him nor to substitute anything for him.

CCC 229

A Discussion of Property Rights

So I had an unintended conversation about property rights the other day, specifically the right of a landlord to not allow children in an apartment building and whether that should be illegal or not. 

1. It should be legal because an individual should be able to decide who lives and does not live on their property. 

2. It should be illegal because if a woman becomes pregnant it could influence her to have an abortion. 

3. It should be legal because individuals should be able to freely enter into a contract that says among other things, that they will not have children while living in a specific apartment building. 

4. It should be illegal because it is discrimination against families. 

5. It should be legal because I may have a job where I work strange hours and would prefer to live Ina building without the noise of children. 

6. It should be illegal for a landlord to get involved in the reproductive rights of his tenants. 

7. It should be legal because other renting entities legally discriminate based on things like age (senior living communities). 

8. It should be illegal because housing is a human right. 

So what are your thoughts? Should people freely be able to enter into a housing contract which stipulates remaining child-free during their occupancy? Or is the potential that breaking that contract could possibly lead to abortions strong enough to curtail that right?

And on a slightly related matter, if you favor that it should be illegal, what do you think about many university and college housing policies that would remove a pregnant female student from on campus housing?

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the hap-happiest season of all!

I think Andy Williams had things a little messed up when he sang his classic song emphasizing the wonderfulness of the Christmas season. Today, September 23, marks the beginning of the three months of bliss which we call fall.

Therefore it is with great joy that I start something new today: I am giving up television for one year, including movies and Netflix (the one single exception is that I will be watching Once Upon a Time on Sunday evenings, as I have already committed to that arrangement with a friend).


Why am I doing this? If you have been a reader of mine for a long time, a few years ago I gave up the drink for a whole year as a penance for the conversion of my family. That penance bore great fruit, as my sister began showing signs of conversion as that penance came to an end. I should have immediately began another penance at that time because who knows, my entire family could have come to be converted by now.

So I’m doing this penance for the conversion of my dad and my brother, that through my prayers and sacrifices, God might pour the grace into their souls to know that Catholicism is true and for them to have the strength to take that step to come home. I know there was a point in time a long time ago where my brother “seemed” close. I have total faith that it could happen again. When anyone, even those who seem to hate the liturgy and would rather be anywhere else, receives the grace to contemplate the greater mysteries of life, the universe, and existence itself, they begin to walk through the doors of truth, which the Catholic Church alone holds to the keys too, whether they realize that that is the direction they are heading or not.

The Hardest Thing to Pray for is Mercy

I have to say that for me, the hardest thing to pray for is mercy. And the hardest people for me to pray for it for are those who murder children, and those who unashamedly support those who murder children.

When the end of the day comes I could really care less about all the gays who hate the Church, and all the people who sue people who refuse to make them a cake or take a picture of them, or sell them flowers, or issue them a marriage license. Call me a bigot all day, tell me how much I hate myself for believing that acting upon my attractions is a sin, walk into Mass wearing a rainbow sash, and stand up during the readings and start same-sex kissing. I can easily find it in my heart to pray for you, and to hope for mercy and forgiveness for you.

But I find it so difficult, even though I know God requires it, to be calm and compassionate towards people who do this/support this/advocate this/celebrate this/vilify anyone and everyone who opposes this:


Abortion at 9 weeks.

Abortion at 22 weeks.

Abortion at 22 weeks (4.5 months)

It is so hard for me to look at these victims, and to not desire vengeance for them. I feel as if I betray them by asking for mercy on those who perpetuate these serious crimes against humanity. I find it difficult to pray anything except, “make them stand before the millions of murdered children on the day they die, make them look in them in the eyes, make them listen to their voices, let those children be the ones to throw them into the fire.”

The newest facebook/twitter/social media/slactivist fad for today is #shoutyourabortion.

Those pictures are what people are shouting. They are proud of that! They revel in their right to do that! They love murder! They love shedding blood and take joy in it! And God asks me to show them mercy.

Yes he does. And it is hard. Because the fact that this:


doesn’t phase them, doesn’t make them stop to think, but only spurs on their bloodlust, makes me so sad. It’s just sad. When you take a step back, out of the noise, out of the frenzy that is stirred up, it is simply sad, that for whatever reason, something has seriously distorted their ability to love, their ability to desire the good of the other, their ability to acknowledge another’s worth. Who is guiding them? It is not their faults that their ability to reason is so warped. They are victims too, victims of a culture that failed them, broken homes, broken promises, broken dreams, broken, because the culture forgot God.

At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Matthew 9:36-38

Jesus, may our prayers for abortionists, clinic workers, and those who staunchly defend and promote the slaughter, be vigilant but compassionate, just but merciful. Help us to remember that no one is incapable of receiving your mercy and repenting of their sins. Send out laborers to those entrenched in the abortion industry, to rescue them, to give them what their hearts truly need. And may you care for and have mercy on the children who were killed before they were born, and especially those who were born alive after a failed abortion and were then killed or left to die, alone, with nobody else in the world to love them and console them after the traumatic experience of attempted murder. Fill us with love God, do not let us be consumed with hate, do not let us become like them. Let us be Christ to them. Amen.

 [photos from]