Really Hate the Church

Do you disagree with the Catholic Church?

If you do, let me share how you can disagree successfully and completely! A hundred percent! And even if you don’t disagree, you should keep the following point in mind:

Once upon a time, there was a basketball player and a hockey player. The basketball player hated hockey with malicious viciousness. We’ll call him Piston (cawz dis be Deetroit!) and we’ll call the hockey player RedWing (because I’m out of ideas.)

RedWing: Dude, Piston — what’s hockey ever done to you? Why do you hate hockey so much?

Piston: I just do! I hate hockey! The game sucks!

RedWing: (Instead of high-sticking Piston in the face on the spot, he asks) Well… what about “hockey” sucks?

Piston: Well! For one thing, it’s too cold! Why do they need to make to whole arena like a freezer? I went to a game once and I got the sniffles! That’s just wrong.

RedWing: Oooookay… anything else about the game of hockey?

Piston: Yeah! The net around the rink! What’s up with that? It blocks the view, and the plexiglass has a stupid glare. So, even if I wanted to watch the game, I can’t! Dumb as crap! Dumb…

RedWing: Right… right… and the skates are dumb, too?

Piston: That’s the worst part of hockey! It’s already cold and slippery on the rink, who needs skates to make it even slippier?! You should all use snowshoes instead. Safety first man… safety first.

END OF CONVERSATION

(Note: I am NOT saying basketball players are dumb and that hockey players are smart. If that’s what you think the point was, please go back to school.)

So what does that have to do with disagreeing with the Catholic Church? Well… consider this quote:

“There are not 100 persons who hate the Church, but there are millions who hate what they think is the Church.” -Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

That’s a big claim! So is Bishop Sheen thinking about you when he said that? Are you a basketball player who hates the legendary sport of hockey for all the wrong reasons? Are you a Catholic who disagrees with what you THINK the Church says, instead of what she actually proposes?

Here is the challenge to you: If you think the Church has to change her teaching on Holy Matrimony, sanctity of all human life, love and relationships, worship, liturgy, Sacred Scripture, human sexuality, stem-cell research, Heaven, Hell, Confession, cloning, etc., IF YOU THINK THE CHURCH IS WRONG on any of the above and more, then do your research before you speak out like you know 100% what’s on her mind and what’s in her heart (which is ultimately what her Lord (Jesus Christ) thinks too).Mr_Silly

Because someone who acts like they know what they’re talking about (but actually doesn’t) is called… ignorant and prejudiced. So please, take my advice, because I don’t want you to be ignorant and prejudiced. I want you to know the full case, the full teaching of the Church, so that if you do disagree, then you can disagree 100% and not just disagree with some misconception or misinformation (that would be unproductive, wouldn’t it?).

So if you’re against the Church, make sure you’re actually against her and not just your fantasy of her… because then you’d just be against YOURSELF! And that’s kinda silly.

P.S… keep in mind this meme:

gotohell

The only way to leave the Church forever is to go to Hell, because anywhere else is still the Church! Life on Earth is the Church Militant, Purgatory is the Church Suffering, and Heaven is the Church Triumphant (hope to see you there!).

 

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Not The Average Joe

Today, March 19th, is the Super Solemnity of Saint Joseph, the Most Chaste Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (phew, long title!), aka: a well-deserved break from Lent! That’s right boys and girls, today is a solemnity, which means it’s a little oasis from your Lenten penances. It’s also my patronal feast day, so I thought I’d write a post for this occasion and share some art from Daniel Mitsui:

[Feel free to click the artwork to see more about it at the artist’s site.]

The artwork above depicts St. Joseph’s second dream from the Archangel Gabriel, telling him to take Mary and Baby Jesus into exile… into Egypt to escape the murderous Herod (Matthew 2: 13-23). St. Joseph had three such dreams in all, and I’d invite you to check your copy of the Gospel of Matthew to see what I mean.

Which then brings me to why St. Joseph is not your average Joe. Instead, St. Joseph was an intense man of love, made even more intense because his beloved was the stunning and gorgeous Virgin Mary. In fact, as Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said:

“When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”

In other words, the woman inspires the man on how to love her and others. In many ways, the woman’s beauty shows her man a glimpse of how ravishing her Creator is. The woman’s wisdom, intuition, faith, dignity, reverence and steadfastness hints at the level of wisdom, intuition, faith, dignity and steadfastness that the man needs to have in order to impress her. She sets the standards, and if he loves her, then he will rise.

And Mary’s standards were sky high. She was good enough for God to want her to be His mother, and her goodness inspired Joseph’s goodness. So here we see a chain: God inspired Mary, and Mary inspired Joseph. And if this logic led to the holiest of families, then we can conclude:

Ladies, get close to Jesus! Be inspired by God, be filled with the Holy Spirit, inspire the gentlemen in your lives to rise to higher standards. Don’t settle for wimps or pimps, don’t settle for idiots or cowards. Don’t settle for an average Joe. Be truly beloved.

Gentlemen, get out there and meet women who have high standards! Ask the Lord to give you the strength to rise to those heights… to the heights of being lifted on a cross and willing to die for your bride. Don’t live a wimpy or pimpy lifestyle, don’t be an idiot or a coward. Don’t be an average Joe. Be a true lover.

Now, since Mary was unaffected by Original Sin [by the Lord’s gift of immaculate conception], and since sin causes all ugliness, then we can say that Mary was truly and totally beautiful, through and through. In our fallen world, we’re always tempted to lust after the beautiful, to take it and possess it. This is a selfish thing to do, because beauty is meant to inspire us to be beautiful, and to praise the Creator of that beauty!

So for St. Joseph, I imagine devils constantly tried to tempt him to lust after his super beautiful bride, tried to make him use Mary, abuse her beauty and take advantage of her. But it never happened. He was her most chaste spouse, and for that he is known as the Terror of Demons. Joseph terrified and terrorizes demons because he never fell for their greatest temptations to lust, and so he was above their power. And whoever is above their power is close to Christ.

That brings me to my last point: what do I do with beautiful women? Do I fall for temptation and lust? Well, I used to. For a long time, and for most of my life, that’s all I did. But five years ago I started seeing beautiful women differently. Now, a woman’s beauty prompts me to pray for her. The beauty of women who demons wanted me to lust after now actually inspires me to pray — beauty turned my weakness into strength: beauty saved the beast. In fact, the more captivating a woman is, the more I thank and praise God for her beauty! I ask God to protect her from lust, especially from mine, and I beg God to crown her a saint in Heaven! I ask Mary to keep her safe and beautiful, I ask any saint I can think of to watch over her, and on and on and on I pray and praise.

And in this small way I try to imitate St. Joseph. I want to be a terror of demons, a most chaste spouse.

Because I don’t ever want to be an average Joe.

BONUS: There’s been a bit of debate about whether St. Joseph was a young man or old and grandpa-like. Well, here’s the theory I stand by (best expressed by Fulton Sheen on page 96 of his “The World’s First Love“):

But when one searches for the reasons why Christian art should have pictured Joseph as aged, we discover that it was in order to better safeguard the virginity of Mary. Somehow, the assumption had crept in that senility was a better protector of virginity than adolescence. Art thus unconsciously made Joseph a spouse chaste and pure by age rather than virtue…To make Joseph appear pure only because his flesh had aged is like glorifying a mountain stream that has dried. The Church will not a ordain a man to the priesthood who has not his vital powers. She wants men who have something to tame, rather than those who are tame because they have no energy to be wild. It should be no different with God…Joseph was probably a young man, strong, virile, athletic, handsome, chaste, and disciplined; the kind of man one sees sometimes shepherding sheep, or piloting a plane, or working at a carpenter’s bench. Instead of being a man incapable of love, he must have been on fire with love….Instead, then, of being dried fruit to be served on the table of the king, he was rather a blossom filled with promise and power. He was not in the evening of life, but in its morning, bubbling over with energy, strength, and controlled passion.

And for more about St. Joseph’s age, his possible assumption, and other amazing things, check Dr. Taylor Marshall’s article here.

Lego Movie Theology

LegoMovieWhen I first saw the trailer for The Lego Movie, I thought: “Dude, who wants to watch Legos when you can play with Legos?” But now I realize: why not do both?

So after reading the ever trusty [soon to be Deacon] Steven Greydanus’ review, I finally had the chance to see the film for myself and I noticed a few things…




—SPOILER ALERT—


—–1) The movie revolves around a tyrannical perfectionist who tries to brainwash, dominate and freeze the Lego-world into what he thinks is the perfect Lego world and society. Opposite this obsessed character is a resistance group trying to inspire people to be creative, to think for themselves and use their free will.

SheenTIMERight away, this reminded me of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s talk on a Perfect World versus a Moral World: essentially, what kind of world did God create… a perfect one? or a moral one? and why?

Well, we all know the world is far from perfect. Even in the beginning, when Adam and Eve sinned, we were imperfect, since why could they sin if they were perfect? In fact, even before our beginning, one-third of the angels sinned and fell from Heaven! So… if even 33.33333333 percent of the angels crashed, what in the cosmos was Almighty God thinking when He made everything?
Again, we can see here that God had two choices: make a perfect world, or make a moral world. And obviously he chose a moral world. That leaves us to ponder: WHY?????!!

Because a perfect world would mean he is a puppetmaster, an overlord, a slavedriver, a Matrix. He would call all the shots, make all the moves, think all the thoughts, and do all things done. There would be no possibility for anyone else to have freewill, self-determination, self-mastery, etc., etc…. including LOVE.

That’s right — if God created a perfect world, there would be no love, because we would all just be programmed to love, we would all merely love because we would be forced to. And if love is forced… guess what? it ain’t real. We need to be able to decide to love. If we cannot choose, we cannot love. This is why we inherently feel there’s something off about a 100% arranged marriage (some parts may be arranged, but to the point of forcing the man and woman to join against their will? that’s not gonna fly in the Faith.)
HelixNebulaSo God took the humongous risk: to create so that his children have free will. Free will for what? Free will to decide if they will love each other, to love Him back. If He forced them to love, that’s not good enough because it ain’t real. So He let us choose, and many choose not to love others, not to love Him… but those who do choose love, well then their love is true, real, free, total, faithful, and fruitful (or at least become that way eventually).

God made us with freedom not so that we can do whatever we want, but so that we can choose love. Love was worth it for God to forsake perfection. Love is always worth it for Him to forsake perfection. And if even He believes so, then we should also believe perfection is worth losing for the chance to love. And once you have real love, then the true creativity begins, because no one creates something to hate it, but to love it!

And last thing: God is the only person who can make something better than perfect… over and over, for forever. What was great, He can make even greater. What was super, He can maker superer (I know that ain’t real word), and yes… what we think is “perfect,” He can upgrade into eternity.

—–2) There’s a line in the film where Morgan Freeman says: “Sometimes you have to believe in order to see.”

Well, as awesome Freeman is, this line is not his. Saint Augustine already thought this thousands of years ago, and I just learned this a few months ago! A lot of people think we need to see something before we can believe it, like an “I’ll believe it when I see it!” kind of attitude… but actually, the reverse is more important!

If scientists didn’t believe in the logic of the scientific method, if they didn’t believe the laws of nature were consistent and non-contradictory, if they didn’t believe the facts and the data, then they would never see the truth. They would be closed to their own illusions, unable to see the intricacy and complexity of what they observe.

This also goes in our relationships: if we don’t believe our mother loves us, if we don’t believe our father protects us, if we don’t believe our siblings care for us, then we will always be suspicious of them, make up reasons to think they’re untrustworthy and lying, make up a fantasy that fits our disbelief.

Augustine and ChildThis is similar in our faith in God: if we don’t believe He is real, we will not know how to see Him. If we don’t believe he could be real, we will not know where to seek Him. If we don’t believe, we close our mind (and heart) to Him and will make up reasons that explain Him away instead of thinking more, meditating and contemplating into the deep.

And so, keeping an open mind involves leaving the window open, but also keeping the screen on… since there are always pests that want to sneak in and distract you.

—–3) Lego is successful because it teases our creativity. There’s a line that Saint John Paul II once said: “Man is, in a sense, condemned to create.”

When I first heard this, it hit me hard, because it’s so true. Our creativity is a powerful gift. We can create — like no other creature can! Our cities, stories, songs, sagas, civilizations… our arts, technology, cultures, societies… these are amazing things. Yet, at the same time… these can be a burden, a curse, a condemnation to us. How many times does an artist slave over her work? How many engineers become workaholics? Creating is laborious, tedious, and exhausting… yet our creativity drives us on (like right now… I should stop writing to get to my studies, but… just… one more… sentence!). Creativity is a mixed blessing, given to us by God. I only hope we use it for love and not evil.

LegoEnemy—–4) Finally, we see in the film an example of the best way to crush an enemy: by making him into a friend. After all, if you kill your opponent, he dies as your enemy, he dies in evil ways (assuming you are right and he is wrong) and you become his killer. But, if you can win him over, get him to understand and believe in your cause, then he becomes an ally, a friend, and the evil in him dies and leaves nothing left but love and friendship. The person is not the enemy, but it is the evil he thinks, believes and does that is the true enemy.

That’s all I got! I hope you enjoyed those insights! Thanks for reading. Now go play with some Legos!