There are not over a 100 people in the U.S. that hate the Catholic Church, there are millions however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church, which is, of course, quite a different thing.- Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"The World's Toughest Catholic Quiz"

Would that everyone could know all 20 of the answers. I knew about 17 of them, but then again EWTN Radio is all I've listened to for a year and a half now and I've read stuff from Frank Sheed and Patrick Madrid.
So here it is:
How will you do?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

You Have No Idea How Long I Tried To Think Of A Good Title For This Post

So, after all retreats I've been to, they have people who have prepared to give their "witness," or the story of their faith life. After retreats, people who feel that retreat really affected them give the story of the way the retreat changed their ideas about their faith. After all such stories, I have the great fear if I was to give a witness, what the heck would I say? Even the format of casually telling your own life like a story was new to me on my first retreat, and I wanted to be able to do it myself. And the more witnesses I listened to, the more I felt able to imitate them. And the more I felt the insignificance of my own story.
        Martyr means "witness" in Greek before it took on its current meaning. In the Church, red martyr has come into usage for Catholics who die for their faith and white martyr is used to refer to "dying to self" through sacrifices. Everyone is called to be a white martyr, it takes a special call from God (and special graces) to be a red martyr.
       In Acts 1:8 Jesus says "you will be my the ends of the earth."
       Through EWTN Radio, I became aware of  Seth DeMoor's website and mission to film the story of every Catholic in the world.
So how am I a witness to Jesus?

Have You Been Sufficiently Censered?

I got the idea for the title from Retreat. Censor/Censer get it? Ok, it was a bad pun. And, on second thought, it's Jesus who gets censered...

Like over the retreat. UCF puts on amazing retreats: they are really blessed in their campus ministry. They're all such wonderful people. The theme of the retreat was "Holiness Today." The patron saint of the retreat was St. Augustine (not pronounced like the city in Florida!!!). It would be incomplete to talk about St. Augustine without talking about St. Monica, his mother who prayed for her son's conversion for 17 years. That's like if I had been praying since I was four years old until now! I was definitely praying for different things when I was a four year old than I am now.

Some of the important points presented, I would like to share:
  • God must teach us how to love Him back
  • Is it amazing that Jesus lowered Himself to be human? How much more amazing is it then that Jesus lowered Himself to take the appearance of bread, of food?
  • Have you been through this cycle? I know I have: isolation->numb pain->self loathing->shame, discouragement->hiding-> back to feelings of isolation. To know you are a whole, complete person (holiness, whole-y, get it?) is to break this evil cycle.
  • Jesus is the light. We cannot be holy until we bring to light all that you hide, all that would embarrass you.
  • Holiness is analog. Holiness is not something that you "arrive at" and can say "I'm here! Journey over" (this side of death, at least). In fact, everyone baptized, everyone consecrated to God has a "base level" of holiness; are a holy people. 
  • We each have our own journey to holiness. Everyone has their own individual struggles. 
  • We can't get "lulled to sleep" by the routine struggles. We can't become lulled to sleep by the world that says "what you felt at retreat wasn't real." For Catholics, what the world considers reality, we consider fantasy. There is no reality without God. You're walking in a dream if you spend any time unaware that God is present, walking next to you. We fall into spiritual slumber without even realizing it.
  • The Bible doesn't follow the careers of politicians or the life of businesses: it follows families. And not many families, but one family: the line of Adam, the line of David, which ends with Jesus. 
  • (technically not from retreat, but I was reminded of it during retreat) Hurt people hurt people and healed people heal people
  • retreat should be more than a "spiritual energy drink." It should be a re-calibration to focus of Jesus.
  • Jesus has conquered the world. What have we to fear?
  • We are supposed to be right where we are-on a journey
  • God calls you to be yourself, but "be who you are" is different from "I can do whatever I want"
  • A little angel doesn't tap you on the head and say "you've been made holy, go out and play." God gives us opportunities for holiness. 
  • Who were the kids in Mk 10 13-16? They got hugged by Jesus! Did they know they were being hugged by God? 
  • I stand in grace. My heart is open. All is gift.
Lastly, one of the fun activities they had us do I will reprint here:
Look over the following descriptions and take a minute or so to pick out which one best describes you.
  1. You are a good honest person that works hard but you don't really understand how God operates in your life. You show up more because someone else wants you to be there.
  2. You are someone whose decisions in life are not always the best. You struggle with self-esteem issues and you have felt the scorn of others.
  3. You are someone who has spent time mocking those who proclaim to be Christian. Your head and knowledge over-rules your heart and you make decisions according to what you can prove.
  4. You are a person of great compassion, but you're skeptical and cynical. Your heart still wants to believe in miracles, but you find it difficult and draining.
  5. You are someone whose mind gets the Gospel message, but your actions do not always compliment what you believe. You want to be a leader but you fall short and make mistakes.
  6. You have lived a blessed life and due to your parents' wealth you have been well taken care of. You struggle when things get uncomfortable and rationalize sin. 
  7. You are a faith-filled person that worries about others and tends to want God to work on your time and not His time.
  8. You are someone who wants to spend more time with God and the Church but your family would rather you not get too involved. 
The number you chose refers to a saint who felt the same way: 1) St Joseph 2) St Mary Magdalene 3) St Paul 4) St. Elizabeth Ann Seton 5) St Peter 6) St Francis of Assisi 7) St. Monica 8) St Claire of Assisi

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

60 Days!

I've gotten through 60 days of reading the Bible and CCC in a year! I've kept going for two months!
I have learned:
  • Genesis ends with the death of Joseph
  • Exodus ends with the making of the Ark of the Covenant
  • "Ark" means "box" so Noah literally had a box of animals
  • I've started compiling a list of Engineers of the Bible: so far I have Noah (Ocean Engineering) and Bezalel and his assistant Oholiab (ok maybe they were more artisans, but I think it takes some engineering to be "experts who the Lord had endowed with skill and understanding in knowing how to execute all the work for the service of the sanctuary, just as the Lord had commanded (Ex 36:1)" 
  • I haven't been bored in Leviticus yet. Yeah, it's law, but I don't mind reading about holocausts because it involves burning stuff and now that I'm on the uncleanliness laws, I'm finding parallels with the New Testament. And I didn't know your house could catch leprosy. It would be kinda hard to have acne or eczema back then... all of their medicine is "wait and see if it goes away on its own" so you get stuck in isolation until it goes away. But Jesus's words to the ten lepers are to go and show themselves to the priests. I'm not quite sure what declaring women 'unclean' after childbirth does to help anything. Unclean animals lists remind me of Acts where Peter was told to eat unclean animals in a vision, in preparation for his being sent to Cornelius. What did he see? What was listed in Leviticus: pigs, badgers, camels, rabbits (did you know Jews couldn't eat rabbit? I didn't), and non-scaly fish. It makes sense: they wouldn't know how to cook the pork & they wouldn't know when it was safe to eat shellfish. They didn't have months with Rs yet. 
  • Finished the Gospel of Matthew, now reading Acts... how can anyone doubt Peter's leadership in Acts? Until it starts following Paul's journeys, and except for Stephen's martyrdom, Peter is the only one saying anything!
  • There is a psalm for anything. I found Psalm 51 for before Confession and Psalm 32 for after Confession. The psalms also make me feel like I knew more of the Bible than I thought I did.
  • Nothing really stands out to me as learned from the CCC other than last night in 475 where at the 6th ecumenical council, they declared that Jesus had two wills, with the human will submitting to the divine will. The passages before it didn't really clarify for me how Jesus could have both human knowledge and divine knowledge at the same time. I wonder how having two will works, as well...
ugh off to class... maybe I'll blog about retreat later