Monthly Archives: January 2012

Beautiful for Jesus: Accept Who You Are

Jam 1:17 Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

This blog post by Sarah Anne Sumpolec is exactly what I was waiting for today. I have the same problem that the blogger, Sarah, does. Sometimes I just don’t post because I don’t have anything to say. But after reading her blog post, the Lord revealed to me my problem: I’m waiting for what can be considered a big thing by my standards, by human standards, to write about. I’m probably waiting for something groundbreaking that I could brag about. What we really need to realize is that it’s the little things that God really shapes us with. It’s the little things that we should be looking out for.

The little things are only little to us because we are greedy–for power, for pride, for something big. This is what blinds us from seeing the little blessings that God pours down on us daily like a gentle rain. We see people who have “more eventful” lives than us, and we think that ours aren’t interesting; we become so envious of the big blessings other people get that we are blinded to our own.

I can identify my own problem right now, so I’m going to confess it. I want to be a Catholic Christian speaker and have a big audience with messages to preach every day. I want to have that power to show people the Narrow Path, but when I don’t get a huge blessing every day I start thinking that I can’t lead people to the Narrow Path if I’m not already sure I’m on the way there.

Then, my Guardian Angel whacks me.

This is my greed. I think that to be able to tell the Truth to others, I need to feel closer to it than them. I need a huge miracle. I want to see a green chair turn red daily or something (I’ve never actually seen an object change colors, by the way.) When I come back down to earth and see what I do have, it humbles me. We all struggle with the sin of pride, right? I struggle with wanting to do something I can be proud of. This is, of course, me trying to glorify myself with what God gives me–which isn’t how it goes either.

Today the Lord revealed to me that He is disappointed: I don’t appreciate the little blessings He gives me daily. Even if it’s a seemingly boring and uneventful day, there’s always little blessings coming down on me. Waking up in the morning is the first blessing. Having something to eat is another blessing. Being literate is a blessing. These are all things I can see.

But then there’s the things I can’t see: The angels that protect me, keeping me balanced with every step I take. The joke my brother cracks that gets me laughing for hours on end. My parents doing everything possible to them in order for me to be happy. Reading old prayer journals and being reminded of how my life has changed in three months. The freedom to accept Jesus and the promise of great things to come. My whole life is like a hundred million blessings put together. I could blog about all of these things, if only I’d stop staring at the moon waiting for some kind of prophetic apparition!

Then there’s the things that I probably won’t see until I’m old. Blessings I will continue taking for granted until they’ve passed. There is so much I could write about if I’d accept my own life God gave me. If I’d only remember that He crafted it especially for me. I can’t want more than I have, because this is what I’m meant to live.

Not until I learn to be grateful for what God gives me, will I ever be able to teach about Him.

Count your blessings–and if you can’t see them now, make a mental note to remember them later. This life comes and goes. We’ll all leave a mark , but only if we are humble enough to be ourselves. A beautiful woman is humble and grateful for who she is.

Beautiful for Jesus is a devotional blog post series I host at my personal website, A Catholic Sheep. 

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Everyday Saints

On Sunday, I was fortunate enough to attend the Students for Life of America conference in Bethesda , Maryland. I couldn’t help but be inspired by one of the speakers, Stephanie Gray. She was so incredibly eloquent, intelligent, and young. After watching debates between herself and pro-choice advocates on youtube, I was floored by her knowledge of pro-life logic. This woman is undoubtably an everyday Saint.

One thing she said while she was speaking about how to defend your pro-life stance in the real world reminded me of an infinitely important and confoundingly obvious fact. That we must pray to the Holy Spirit to help us in battles of theology and faith. I realized that this woman speaks the way she speaks not only because of her fervent studies and talents of the tongue, but because she relied on the Holy Spirit to help her fight her battles. I am posting a link to a short video about Stephanie below. I would highly suggest checking out more of her videos on youtube because she gives some incredible arguments in defense of the pro-life movement that can hold strong against secular opposition.

HERES THE LINK. PRESS IT. SERIOUSLY. She will blow your mind.

Fr Stephen Smuts

See also: Can You Come to Jesus Without Church?

YouTube videos go viral all the time, but sermons rarely do.

Enter Jefferson Bethke, a young “spoken-word” poet who recently posted the video “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.” It has been viewed more than 10 million times in the past 10 days.

The video opens with an eerie soundtrack and the phrase “Jesus>Religion” in a stark, white typeface. His poem begins, “What if I told you, Jesus came to abolish religion?”

In a polished, hip style, he continues with such controversial questions for four minutes: “If religion is so great, why has it started so many wars? Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor?” Mr. Bethke describes religion as no more than “behavior modification” and “a long list of chores.” This leads him to conclude, “Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums.” And…

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YOUCAT Series 6 – What We Believe: The Christian Profession of Faith

Questions 25 to 29
Here we look at why we need to have a definite profession of faith. We look at the origins of the Creeds and what they say.

The best source that I’ve come across regarding the Creed is the General Directory for Catechesis. I have used parts of it below that correspond to the questions. Although it may be directed at the role of catechesis surrounding the Creeds, nevertheless, I think it is beneficial to study them in that context anyway.

Q. 25 – As the YOUCAT states, the Creeds are ‘the foundation for the Church’s unity’ and prevent Christ’s message ‘from misunderstandings and falsifications.’ Moreover the Directory says,

[a] Who has encountered Christ desires to know him as much as possible, as well as to know the plan of the Father which he revealed. Knowledge of the faith (fides quae) is required by adherence to the faith (fides qua). (252) Even in the human order the love which one person has for another causes that person to wish to know the other all the more. Catechesis, must, therefore, lead to “the gradual grasping of the whole truth about the divine plan”, (253) by introducing the disciples of Jesus to a knowledge of Tradition and of Scripture, which is “the sublime science of Christ”. (254) By deepening knowledge of the faith, catechesis nourishes not only the life of faith but equips it to explain itself to the world. The meaning of the Creed, which is a compendium of Scripture and of the faith of the Church, is the realization of this task.

[b] St Cyril of Jerusalem affirms with regard to the Creed: “This synthesis of faith was not made to accord with human opinions but rather what was of the greatest importance was gathered from all the Scriptures, to present the one teaching of the faith in its entirety. And just as a mustard seed contains a great number of branches in a tiny grain, so too the summary of faith encompassed in a few words the whole knowledge of the true religion contained in the Old and New Testaments”.

Q. 26 goes on to discuss the Creeds as the common Christian confession of faith;

The object of catechesis is expressed in profession of faith in the one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

82. Catechesis is that particular form of the ministry of the word which matures initial conversion to make it into a living, explicit and fruitful confession of faith: “Catechesis has its origin in the confession of faith and leads to confession of faith.” (240)

The profession of faith inherent in Baptism (241) is eminently Trinitarian. The Church baptizes “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28,19) (242) the triune God to whom the Christian entrusts his life. Initiatory catechesis—both before and after the reception of Baptism—prepares for this decisive undertaking. Continuing catechesis helps to mature this profession of faith, to proclaim it in the Eucharist and to renew the commitments which it entails. It is important that catechesis should unite well the confession of christological faith, “Jesus is Lord”, with the trinitarian confession, “I believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”, in such a way that there are not two modes of expressing the Christian faith. He who is converted to Jesus Christ and recognizes him as Lord through the primary proclamation of the Gospel begins a process which, aided by catechesis, necessarily leads to explicit confession of the Trinity.

In the confession of faith in the one God, the Christian rejects all service of any human absolute; “power, pleasure, race, ancestors, state, wealth…”, (243) and is thus liberated from the enslavement of any idol. It is the proclamation of his will to serve God and man without any ties. In proclaiming faith in the Trinity, which is a communion of Persons, the disciple of Jesus Christ shows at once that the love of God and neighbour is the principle which informs his being and his action.

83. The confession of faith is complete only in reference to the Church. All the baptized individually proclaim the Credo, for no action can be more personal than this. However, they recite it in the Church and through the Church, because they do so as members of the Church. ‘Credo’ and ‘Credimus’ necessarily imply each other. (244) In fusing his confession of faith with that of the Church, the Christian is incorporated into her mission: to be the “universal sacrament of salvation” for the life of the world. He who makes the profession of faith takes on responsibilities that not infrequently provoke persecution. In Christian history the martyrs are proclaimers and witnesses par excellence. (245)

Furthermore, as an appendage to Q. 27, some information on the use of the Creed,

In the patristic period properly, catechumenal formation was realized through biblical catechesis, based on recounting the history of salvation; immediate preparation for Baptism by doctrinal catechesis, explaining the Creed and the Our Father which had just been handed on, together with their moral implications; and through the phase following the sacraments of initiation, a period of mystagogical catechesis which help the newly baptized to interiorize these sacraments and incorporate themselves into the community.

Then Q. 28, on the Apostles’ Creed:

– The Apostles’ Creed demonstrates how the Church has always desired to present the Christian mystery in a vital synthesis. This Creed is a synthesis of and a key to reading all of the Church’s doctrine, which is hierarchically ordered around it. (393)

Lastly, see The Nicene Creed- A Roadmap For Our Faith for a quick overview of the Nicene Creed for Q. 29.

Reflection Questions
• What does the word ‘catechesis’ mean?

• What would you say to a Christian who said they didn’t need to go to Church to have a relationship with God?

Happy Birthday Joseph!

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A Response to “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus”

Never Old, Ever New

If one were to ever imply that the Church’s doctrines were old and unrelatable to current affairs, or needing to be revised, so as to be brought up-to-date with the modern culture, this person reveals [indicates] a complete ingorance of the One God, His Church, and the Holy Canon of Scriptures so many take for granted, also known as the Bible.

One who stands with such a statement has declared God unreliable and irrelevent.

Nothing could be further from the Truth. I have found no other topic worth discussing that brings adventure, sense of purpose, or inspiration like that of the Church’s mission and journey through the ages, to share the Gospel Truth throughout the entire Earth, without shame or fear. Only the Truth will remain after all has come to past, and the very elements of the Universe have run their course.

Choose to not only find the Church, which is the Bride of Christ, His Body, but learn to share the Church with others.

 Matt.16:18-19, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

We see that Simon’s name is changed to Peter (Petros) meaning “Rock”. And so we read it as thus in (Matt. 16:18), “You are Rock, and upon this Rock I will build my church.” Then Jesus, the Eternal King whom sits on the Throne of David, places His Keys on the Apostle Simon, now Peter, to serve as Vicar, just as the Kings of the Davidic Dynasty.

 Isaiah 22:20-22, “On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts, no one shall open.” (shows a parallel to Matthew 16:18-20)

In this passage from (Isaiah 22:22) we see the Old Testament connection to the “keys.”

The Bible further explains the position of Eliakim in Isaiah.

 2 Kings 18:37, “Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace…”

Never doubt the role of the Pope as Vicar of Christ, to rule over the House of God on Earth, as the entire scenario was presented to the prophet Zechariah.

 Zechariah 3:9, “For behold, upon the stone which I have set before Joshua, upon a single stone with seven facets, I will engrave its inscription, says the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day.”

Seven facets? Yes, seven flat spots on a solid rock… interesting, but what for?

 Proverbs 9:1-6, “Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table. She has sent out her maids to call from the highest places in the town, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who is without sense she says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave simpleness, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”

Walking in the way of insight is exactly what the Church invites all to faithfully partake in by sharing in the Lamb’s Supper, which is the New and Everlasting Covenant. Wisdom [God] has established the Church, and it is here that we, Catholic Christians, come to the fullness of Truth in Jesus by eating the Bread [His Flesh], and drinking the Wine [His Blood], to which He instructed as our Pass-over meal for the New Exodus from bondage of the world, to find New Life in the world to come. We become a New Creation in Christ, sharing not only in His death, but also His resurrection to New Life.

The ways of this world are Old and passing. Let go of the world, embrace what is New and Everlasting, for the New has come, and the Old has past, and is still passing. All that is shaken will fall away, so come and partake of what is unshaken.

No Vacancy: How to Keep the Christmas Spirit Alive

The end of yet another busy Christmas season usually makes for a weary start of the new year as countless holiday decorations are stored away, schools and workplaces are reopened, and life suddenly goes back to “normal.”

Whatever that means, anyway.

Because normal, for me, means that I have to go back to a chaotic schedule of waking up at 5:30 AM for Mass; going to school sleepy-eyed and often irritable; sitting down through less-than-fascinating lectures, more focused on not falling asleep in class than actually paying attention and taking notes; going home to realize that I have a bunch of homework and projects to work on; and sleeping late only to regret it again in the morning.

And the cycle continues. Lather, rinse, repeat.

So as I cherish these last 3 days of Christmas vacation, looking back fondly on Christmas 2011 – at the same time, reluctant to start the second semester, I have to ask myself: how will I be able to keep the Christmas spirit alive in me for the rest of this year?

Christmas is usually a time characterized by “peace, joy, and goodwill to all people” as noted by this cool guy right here. Unfortunately, for most of us, the other 360 or so days of our year can be characterized by.. things other than that.

So thinking in concrete terms, how is it even possible to keep the Christmas spirit alive while we’re supposedly going about our days trying to restrain ourselves from having nervous breakdowns.

The answer as I’ve come to know it, is actually quite simple.

Make room.

Make room for Him who was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger because there was no room in the inn (Luke 2:7).

More times than not, I can look back at the low points of my life where I felt the most desperate, only to realize that during those times, I didn’t make room in my heart for Jesus to dwell – instead, I insisted, like the inn keeper, that I had no room for Him to be born.

And it really makes sense, though. How can we truly rejoice in the coming of our Lord if we don’t prepare a special place in our hearts for Him to dwell?

We need to truly ask ourselves if there are things we hold dear in our hearts that we must get rid of? And most of the time, these things take root in our pride, for pride usually leads to materialism, self-glorification, greed, lust, and envy.

At the same time, it is literally impossible to remain attached to those things which weigh us down and hope to keep our hearts aflame with God’s love.

For Christ Himself knows that “no one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24).

Of course, (as with most undertakings as Christians) this is easier said than done for we must first find the humility to acknowledge our human weaknesses and abandon ourselves completely to the grace of God.

But once we are able to ask for that grace to overcome such earthly desires and vanities, we are set free from the bonds that prevent us from pursuing such an ideal to live Jesus in our hearts forever.

We are then, able to prepare a place for Christ to dwell in our hearts that we may become reminders to the whole world that, not only is Jesus truly the reason for the season – but He is also our life, our love, and our salvation.

And how beautiful is this, that we can share in the work of Mary and the saints as we strive to bring Jesus into our troubled world today.. Into a world of darkness that so desperately needs the light of Christ to shine out the clearer.

In Matthew 5:16, Jesus encourages us to let our light shine before others that they might come to glorify our Father in heaven. Let us then, strive to be a light for the whole world to see.

Let us make room for Him.

Crazy Love

On October 2, 2006 Charles Carl Roberts IV entered an Amish school in Pennsylvania. He held the students hostage and eventually shot ten girls (aged 6-13), killing five, and then committing suicide. The same day of the shooting family members of victims visited the shooters family to show their forgiveness and to comfort Roberts’ family. The following day one of the elders from the Amish community said not to hate the killer, saying, “We must not think evil of this man.”  Many who witness or observed this tragedy made remarks and criticized how quickly the Amish community found forgiveness. Crazy love, right?

In a similar story, Pope John Paul II confronted the man who tried to assassinate him. The two spoke privately for 20 minutes John Paul II said, “What we talked about will have to remain a secret between him and me. I spoke to him as a brother whom I have pardoned and who has my complete trust.″ (Wikipedia)

CRAZY LOVE is a book that I recently finish reading from Francis Chan. The book is well written and offers a great reflection of how our relationship is with Christ and with others. I’ve realized I didn’t equally share my love to other. “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 24:40). I am at fault when it comes to being the bearer of light of Christ. I favor and give love to those who I expect to return that same love back. I offer little or no love to those who angry me and those who deserves the Love of Christ the most.

Matthew 5:44 “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you” Trying something new with my life – I will give love regardless on how you treat me. It is a difficult task but worthy of the challenge of being Christ-like. Crazy Love is an unbalance love. It is a love that overflows, which gives every opportunity for you to give it away, regardless of the situation. This type of love is called AGAPE – God’s unconditional love.

I want to challenge every who is reading this to leave a comment on a time when you offered love when most people would have shown hate. Or leave a comment on a commitment on how you will change so the light of love will shine through darkness in your life.

I LOOK FORWARD TO READING EVERYONE’S REPLY TO THIS POST!

Share Christ. Stay Blessed.

-Jon Jon-

YOUCAT Series 5 – What We Believe: Man Responds to God

Questions 20 to 24
This section covers aspects of belief and faith as a response to God’s offer of friendship to us.

Starting off with question twenty. A fabulous example of how one is to respond to God when he speaks to us is Blessed Mother Teresa, as her words quoted from here testify,

A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, [we] must empty ourselves. The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace.

The YOUCAT then proceeds to explain what faith, so accurately thought of above, actually is.

Two aspects of this explanation of faith stand out to me.

The first is that faith is absolutely certain – would a Christian not state their beliefs because they might change with time? No, that is what an agnostic would do, is it not? Christians know the truth and can state it here, now and forever – although hopefully they will gain a more in-depth faith with time.

How many people privatize their faith because of this reason?

Secondly, the parachutist analogy in question twenty-one – it basically boils down to trust doesn’t it.

We live in a society that is in many ways void of trust.

When religion is taken out of politics, because it conflicts with others’ agendas, people’s thinking on issues becomes distorted. Instead of these qualities being due to persons because they are made in the image and likeness of God, which is, in fact, the basis of human dignity and hence human rights, the values are given to thoughts and actions, leading to devastating consequences, as Pope Benedict XVI clearly states,

History has shown us how dangerous and deleterious a state can be that proceeds to legislate on questions that touch the person and society while pretending itself to be the source and principle of ethics. Without universal principles that permit a common denominator for the whole of humanity the danger of a relativistic drift at the legislative level is not at all something [that] should be underestimated (cf. “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” no. 1959). The natural moral law, strong in its universal character, allows us to avert such a danger and above all offers to the legislator the guarantee for an authentic respect of both the person and the entire created order.[1]

As an example, someone might say to you, ‘I respect your beliefs, will you respect mine?’

If you said, ‘yes’, wouldn’t you be accepting that those beliefs are ok?

To understand how this ever so subtle play on language, and indeed other common factors found in our age, lead to an erosion of moral standards in society read, A Refutation of Moral Relativism by Peter Kreeft:

Moral practice has always been difficult for fallen humanity, but at least there was always the lighthouse of moral principles, no matter how stormy the sea of moral practice got. But today, with the majority of our mind-molders, in formal education, or informal education—that is, media—the light is gone. Morality is a fog of feelings. That is why to them, as Chesterton said, “Morality is always dreadfully complicated to a man who has lost all his principles.” Principles mean moral absolutes. Unchanging rocks beneath the changing waves of feelings and practices. Moral relativism is a philosophy that denies moral absolutes. That thought to me is the prime suspect—public enemy number one. The philosophy that has extinguished the light in the minds of our teachers, and then their students, and eventually, if not reversed, will extinguish our whole civilization.

This relativism (remember the reflection question from last time?) robs the world of truth – for everything is seen as being true.

In the document titled On The Way To Life (which for anyone interested in catechetics is real gold). Just go to the RE and Catechesis section to find it.

In the section titled ‘Truth-trust’, it gives more insight on how this affects society:

People come to live in a society in a purely instrumental way that erodes any possibility of living towards a ‘common good’. Politics is forced into a position of inflating the goods in which it can offer in order to gain popular support and then generating cynical disengagement from the democratic process which it fails to deliver. These tensions and contradictions within the cultural and political force of modernity touch all institutions, including the Church.

So, in a world where everything is true – relativistic in other words, nothing really can be true and therefore, no-one can trust anybody.

The irony is that when people say they are being tolerant, respectful, etc (like what is so common in arguments these days), they can be being the very opposite! I highly recommend reading this piece called True and False Tolerance for further insight on this concept;

The prevalent idea of tolerance is connected to relativism: “each one has his truth”; “each individual is autonomous”; “the self is the source of meaning.” To be tolerant in this view is to cling to the opinion that everything is a matter of opinion and of equal opinions at that. Each person must take his bearings from his sovereign subjectivity, and no one has the right to put forth a universal standard. To affirm that a particular proposition is true by itself, apart from mere opinion, is considered an attack on tolerance.

What does this reign of universal tolerance, or dogmatic relativism, in fact mean? It has as its effect the undermining of all authority and vital knowledge, depriving all meaning from liberty and toleration. It finally destroys liberty and tolerance themselves. Taken to its logical conclusion, the reign of opinion means the end of all intellectual and moral authority, whether it be the great minds whose dialogue forms culture or the institutions — Church, family, school — that traditionally have transmitted rules of conduct. The reign of opinion means the attenuation of every form of knowledge. In the kingdom of opinion, there is no place for knowledge that engages one’s being.

Consequently, the phenomenon discussed above makes believing in God very difficult because everything is the truth and you can’t trust anything – I hope you can see the connection.

Therefore, for Catholics it is so important to see through relativism and to show other people the value of having an objective set of beliefs. In other words, believing in definite rights and wrongs that come from a source outside of ourselves, namely, God.

As Cardinal Burke puts so eloquently,

When reason is not purified by faith in the political realm, … the powerful and influential of the time exercise a tyranny which violates the fundamental rights of the very people whom political leaders are called to serve.

… Religious faith … also serves to evangelize and bring hope to men and women today who are “lost in the unreal and destructive world of moral relativism and, therefore, tempted to despair.[2]

For the sake of brevity I’ll leave the other characteristics of faith, as listed in Q. 21, for a discussion in the comments section. If readers would like to contribute their thoughts that would be great!

Moving on to Q. 22…

Many people have never thought much about what is outside the visible world, and still those who do may feel that it is a bit superstitious, to say.., pray to Saint Anthony when you have lost your keys, or something similar. On the contrary, Catholics should have a deep connection to the invisible. For more information I have put a link here to an article that explains how a Catholic has a sacramental imagination, one that thinks of the spiritual in a completely Christocentric way. An abstract from it is below:

We must stress, of course, that Catholic imagination is, in the deepest sense, a response to the imagination of God. Christ, the Word incarnate, crucified and risen, is God’s way of imagining our humanity. To believe, is to be caught up into such all creative imagining: `The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory… full of grace and truth’ (Jn 1:14). By becoming flesh, the Word has entered into human imagination. In that light, we begin to live in a universe of grace. It means having a sense of the fundamental goodness in creation. Our world can never be totally corrupt, because God has created it and made it his own. That is the crucial point: If God could so enter our human world, if God has owned this world as his very own in Christ, then the whole of creation can be seen as one great sign of God’s presence and love. And, in the resurrection of Jesus, we believe that the transformation of all creation has begun. Hidden within the struggle and dying of our history there is always the hope of rising with him. The whole of creation is shot through with the great cosmic mystery of Christ: `all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together’ (Col 1: 16-17).

Furthermore, the following two links are great additional reading for question twenty-three, on faith and science and question 24, on faith and the Church.

I’ve added some direct citations from these as well so you can get an idea of what they’re about:

Q. 23. What is the proper relationship between science and religion?

The popular view that science and religion are engaged in an endless debate is a misunderstanding that arises from a limited picture. When creation and evolution clash in a courtroom, the daily news fills up with stories suggesting there is some profound conflict between science and religion. What does not make the daily news is the research of the majority of scientists on topics that do not come into contact with religion.The same is true of the work of theologians and biblical scholars investigating topics in fields unrelated to science.

Q. 24. Pope Benedict XVI’s WYD 2011 Closing Mass Homily

Dear young friends, as the Successor of Peter, let me urge you to strengthen this faith which has been handed down to us from the time of the Apostles. Make Christ, the Son of God, the centre of your life. But let me also remind you that following Jesus in faith means walking at his side in the communion of the Church. We cannot follow Jesus on our own. Anyone who would be tempted to do so “on his own”, or to approach the life of faith with kind of individualism so prevalent today, will risk never truly encountering Jesus, or will end up following a counterfeit Jesus.

I’ll leave you with a funny thing I read quoting Cardinal Pell from WYD 2011, ‘Young people are in the Church to set it on fire. Old people are there to make sure it does not burn down.’

Reflection Questions
• What does the term ‘secularism’ mean?

• Can you think of ways that will help you not privatize your faith?

Further Reading
[1] Papal Address to Pontifical Academy for Life

[2] Religion ‘purifies’ politics, Cardinal Burke says