Partakers of the Divine Nature

I think it is important for us to consider Baptism throughout the entirety of this holy season of Easter. We probably don’t spend enough time thinking about what we have become through this Sacrament. Baptism is intimately linked to the Passion and Resurrection because in Baptism we are buried with Christ, and in Baptism we are raised with him (Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12). So, in this season, we really ought to consider Baptism more often.

Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creature,” an adopted son of God, who has become a “partaker of the divine nature,” member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Catechism 1265

We are partakers of the divine nature. Can we not believe that this makes us even just a little more than human? Don’t we have access to power that the purely natural man does not? Does this not make us even just a little more than an animal?

We are no longer simply dust. Our nature, our dust, has been supplemented by God’s very nature. We are brand new. We are actually children of God and share in his nature, as the child of a giraffe shares in his parents’ giraffe nature.

This is what we are. Do we believe it? Do we live it?

Six Years Ago

Wow, its hard to believe that its been six years. I can’t decide if it feels like I’ve been Catholic for longer than this or less time than this.

Either way, its definitely not always easy to be Catholic, but its worth it because it is true. I would not know God the way I do today and have experienced his grace, presence, mercy, and love in the way that I have if it were not for the extraordinary blessings he bestowed and continues to bestow on his one Church, the one body of Christ. If I did not have Baptism, I would be drowned in my sin. If I did not have Confirmation, I would be weak in the gifts of the Spirit. If I did not have Confession, well, holy crap. And if I did not have the physical and spiritual communion that is the Eucharist, I would be a dead man walking.

I am utterly grateful for the Sacraments of Initiation which I received six years ago, and I am so thankful for all of the Sacraments I have received since that time.

Gloria in excelsis Deo!

What True Tolerance Looks Like

This story is reposted from The Blaze.

A gay woman who donated $20 to Memories Pizzain Walkerton, Indiana, is speaking out about her decision to take a stand in support of all Americans’ right to live their lives according to their beliefs.

Courtney Hoffman was one of thousands of people who donated over $842,000 to the Christian owners of the pizzeria last week after a high volume of online threats caused the business to temporarily close its doors. The outrage ensued after the owners told a local news crew that they would happily serve gay people in its restaurant, but would refuse to cater a gay wedding.

That’s why Hoffman’s donation stood out. While she clearly disagrees with the owners’ beliefs, she still supports their right to operate their business based on those beliefs. In addition to her $20 donation to Memories Pizza, Hoffman wrote:

“As a member of the gay community, I would like to apologize for the mean spirited attacks on you and your business. I know many gay individuals who fully support your right to stand up for your beliefs and run your business according to those beliefs. We are outraged at the level of hate and intolerance that has been directed at you and I sincerely hope that you are able to rebuild.”

Kris Cruz, a radio host and producer of “The Jeff Adams Show,” was the first person to flag Hoffman’s donation. He then contacted her through Facebook and she agreed to join them on the air Monday.

Cruz started with the “big question” — Why did she do it?

“My girlfriend and I are small business owners, and we think there is a difference between operating in a public market space and then attaching the name of your business to a private event,” she said. “Like, if we were asked to set up at an anti-gay marriage rally, I mean, we would have to decline.”

Hoffman said she and her girlfriend operate a small kettle corn stand.

When the disturbing threats of violence were made against the pizzeria, Hoffman said the “horrible, hate-filled attacks” did not reflect the gay community that she has come to know and love.

“The gay community that we know knows full well what it’s like to be condemned for doing nothing but living your life according to your beliefs,” she added. “We know so many gay individuals that fully support the freedom of living your life according to your beliefs and feel that freedom extends to everyone, even the people that we don’t agree with.”

Though she admitted she was nervous to have so much attention on her, Hoffman also said the responses to her donation have been “so positive and amazing.” But more than anything, Hoffman said she’d like to see people become more tolerant in general.

“There’s this tendency to group people together — they are either one thing or they are another,” she said. “I just think there’s a lot of room for differences and similarities between all of these businesses, all of these communities, and if we can remember that differences don’t equal maliciousness, and try to find what we have in common — you know, the ands instead of the ors. Maybe we can move beyond threats of violence and have open discussions of the things that we don’t agree on.”

Cling to Every Consolation

I received such consolation in the Holy Mass today. That doesn’t happen to me often. And when it does it is fleeting.

I need to cling to those moments of consolation in order to make it through the droughts of doubt and desolation. When God seems to be silent. When I experience nothing in Adoration. When my prayers appear to be chaff in the wind. When the host seems to turn to ash in my mouth. It is so easy to believe that God is not there, that God does not exist. That he has never existed. But the moments of consolation tell me otherwise. And if I reflect upon them and remember that God has existed, and that he has touched my soul, then I can fully enter into the desolation without losing hope, in order to accomplish what it is that God has set me out to accomplish for his glory. I can make it through the agony in the garden of my prayer. I can make it through the scourging chastisements of the forces of hell. I can make it through the mockery of enemies of Christ. I can make it through the heavy burden of my cross, made heavier by the culture I live in, and ultimately through the martyrdom of faith in Christ.

Cling to every consolation.

“Who’s going to Walkerton, IN to burn down ‪#‎memoriespizza‬ w me?”

This is a reblog from Catholic and Enjoying It, written by Mark Shea

As the Tolerati continue their Girardian Moral Panic in Indiana, an indispensible part of the kabuki of moral purification is to find a villain upon whom the community can lay its sins in purgative fury.

Yesterday, ABC supplied that villain in the form of a little family-owned pizzeria and, in particular this Designated Face of Pure Evil about whom it was misleadingly declared:

(Source: ABC-57)

…making it sound as though they would serve no gay people. The headline on their website was slightly less garbled:

RFRA: Michiana business wouldn’t cater a gay wedding

…but still misleading since it made it sound as though some gay couple seeking catering for their wedding had been turned away (and who would ask a pizzeria to cater their wedding?). But most of all, the headline left the impression that this belligerent Midwest culture warrior in an apron had thrown down the gauntlet to homosexuals, called a press conference, beaten her breast on camera, and shouted “Bring it, you queers!”.

Retribution was swift and terrible. Death threats like the one in the headline above were tweeted. A huge slew of nasty Yelp reviews from people longing to kill her business were unleashed.  The Tolerance Gestapo rushed like stampeding beasts to crush, ostracize, and publicly humiliate and impoverish her for her supposed aggression against gays.  It was full-on Pogrom Mode all day yesterday.

The thing is, the whole controversy was manufactured by ABC in order to gin up a mob (and ratings). Here’s what actually happened:

ABC-57 reporter Alyssa Marino’s editor sends her on a half-hour drive southwest of their South Bend studio, to the small town of Walkerton (Pop. ~2,300). According to Alyssa’s own account on Twitter, she “just walked into their shop [Memories Pizza] and asked how they feel” about Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Owner Crystal O’Connor says she’s in favor of it, noting that while anyone can eat in her family restaurant, if the business were asked to cater a gay wedding, they would not do it. It conflicts with their biblical beliefs. Alyssa’s tweet mentions that the O’Connors have “never been asked to cater a same-sex wedding.”

In short, a nice lady minding her own business and doing her job was interrupted in her busy day and artlessly said to the microphone shoved in her face that she’d serve anybody (including gays) but would not cater a gay wedding. In a sane world, people get that this means she recognizes gay people have a right to eat at her place, but not to force her to approve of gay marriage. They would also recognize that she had done nothing wrong and had never refused anybody service since nobody had (or would) ask her to cater a wedding, gay or otherwise.

In our world, however, it means ABC-57 torqued her words and offered edited reality in order to give the Ideological Police for Tolerance the sense of moral panic that justifies their belief that they can threaten her life and try to destroy her livelihood to punish her for Ungoodthink. And so: death, arson, and financial ruin threats are visited on a nice lady who was minding her own business and too innocent to realize that a network that was looking for somebody it could officially designate as the Face of Hate for the delectation of a mob of Righteous People.

Things might, of course, redound to O’Connor’s benefit. As the culture war heats up her business shows sign that it will be deluged with Chik Fil A style support. But then, it’s also possible somebody might make good on the death threats and shoot her in the head pour encourager les autres.

If the former, then I will thank God that an innocent took no harm from gotcha journalism of the lowest kind. If the latter, then I think the network who set this kid up should–pour encourager les autres–be sued by her survivors for $100,000,000 for inciting a mob and being an accessory to murder.

This is, in a minor key, the kind of moral panic and mimetic violence that Jesus suffered. Fitting that she should suffer it on Holy Thursday. God protect her, her family, and her business and surround them with holy angels through Christ our Lord.

Pray for the Dead Today

On Holy Saturday, when Jesus descended to the realm of the dead to preach to the spirits imprisoned there, let us remember to continue praying for the dead.

Many of our friends and family died in the friendship of God, yet were not perfect (no?). They are completing the perfection of their souls on the other side of death (where else would an imperfect deceased person complete it?). Our prayers can help them because the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective. Let us help those who are having their souls purged of their imperfections in purge-atory so that they may quickly enter into the beatific vision.

Gain a Plenary Indulgence Today

A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who devoutly assist in the veneration of the cross today, Good Friday, and kiss it.

To be able to receive a plenary indulgence, one must be in a state of grace, be free from attachment to all sin, including venial, to have sacramentally confessed one’s sins, to receive the Eucharist, and to pray for the intentions of the Pope. The confession, holy communion, and prayer for the intentions of the pope may occur within about 20 days of making the indulgenced act.

I Respect Him, But He is Not the Only Way

This is an impossible dichotomy that many of you try to integrate into your lives. But the man you respect has not left that open as a possibility. The claims he made regarding the Father. The claims he made of himself as Son. These things do not leave open the possibility to respect him without forsaking all other paths to follow him.

Jesus Christ made the following claims, do you respect these fundamental claims of his teachings?

So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 10:32, 33

He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 10:37-39

All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the FAther, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Matthew 11:27

For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.

Matthew 16:27

Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one who has left houses or brothers or sister or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.

Matthew 19:28, 29

Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’and not do what I tell you? Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.

Luke 6:46-49

He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.

John 3:36

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall be taught by God.’

John 6:44, 45

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood, has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live becasue of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.”

John 6:53-57

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But, because I tell the truth, you do not believe m. Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? He who is of God hears the words of God; the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

John 8:42-47

The Jews then said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.”

John 8:57-59

“Do you believe in the Son of man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe”; and he worshiped him.

John 9:35b-38

I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

John 10:9

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

John 11:25, 26

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father, but by me.”

John 14:6

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “You have believed because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

John 20:28, 29

Jesus is not a philosopher. He is not a moral teacher. He speaks directly of knowledge of God. His purpose was not to write a self-help Oprah book. His purpose was not to bring a feel good spirituality to be sit alongside other religions or spiritualities. He came to do the Father’s will. He came to save souls from the lies of the world and conform them to truth, and truth is not relative. He claimed to be of God. He claimed to be God. He claimed to be the only way to God and to eternal life.

We either accept that what Jesus is true, or we must declare that he is a liar (or a lunatic). But we are not given the option to believe that he was some great moral teacher and nothing more.

Many atheists hate this trichotomy of Lord, liar, or lunatic, and will come up with many reasons why we have a plethora of ways to see Jesus, but they are all variations of these three choices, and only one of these makes Jesus worthy of honor.

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg–or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.

C.S. Lewis