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YOUCAT Series 15 – What We Believe: I Believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church

Questions 129 to 145
A close look at the four conditions that establish the truth of the Church and what this means for us as believers.

Q. 129
This question is very well written about here.

Q. 130
See Saint Augustine On Non-Catholic Christians as “Brothers”;

Those then who tell us: You are not our brothers, are saying that we are pagans. That is why they want to baptise us again, claiming that we do not have what they can give. Hence their error of denying that we are their brothers. Why then did the prophet tell us: Say to them: You are our brothers? It is because we acknowledge in them that which we do not repeat. By not recognising our baptism, they deny that we are their brothers; on the other hand, when we do not repeat their baptism but acknowledge it to be our own, we are saying to them: You are our brothers.

If they say, “Why do you seek us? What do you want of us?” we should reply: You are our brothers. They may say, “Leave us alone. We have nothing to do with you.” But we have everything to do with you, for we are one in our belief in Christ; and so we should be in one body, under one head.

And so, dear brothers, we entreat you on their behalf, in the name of the very source of our love, by whose milk we are nourished, and whose bread is our strength, in the name of Christ our Lord and his gentle love. For it is time now for us to show them great love and abundant compassion by praying to God for them. May he one day give them a clear mind to repent and to realise that they have nothing now but the sickness of their hatred, and the stronger they think they are, the weaker they become. We entreat you then to pray for them, for they are weak, given to the wisdom of the flesh, to fleshly and carnal things, but yet they are our brothers. They celebrate the same sacraments as we, not indeed with us, but still the same. They respond with the same Amen, not with us, but still the same. And so pour out your hearts for them in prayer to God.

Saint Augustine, Ex Enarratiónibus sancti Augustíni epíscopi in psalmos (Ps 32, 29: CCL 38, 272-273).

Q. 131
See the Encyclical Ut Unum Sint on the commitment to ecumenism:

2. No one is unaware of the challenge which all this poses to believers. They cannot fail to meet this challenge. Indeed, how could they refuse to do everything possible, with God’s help, to break down the walls of division and distrust, to overcome obstacles and prejudices which thwart the proclamation of the Gospel of salvation in the Cross of Jesus, the one Redeemer of man, of every individual?

Q. 132
See The Church is Holy.

Q. 133
See How Did the Catholic Church Get Her Name?

Q. 134
This is superb:

“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you”. Lord, you desire us, you desire me. You eagerly desire to share yourself with us in the Holy Eucharist, to be one with us. Lord, awaken in us the desire for you. Strengthen us in unity with you and with one another. Grant unity to your Church, so that the world may believe. Amen.

Q. 135
Full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s quote on p. 84.

Q. 136
See Religious Freedom, Path to Peace:

Religious freedom expresses what is unique about the human person, for it allows us to direct our personal and social life to God, in whose light the identity, meaning and purpose of the person are fully understood. To deny or arbitrarily restrict this freedom is to foster a reductive vision of the human person; to eclipse the public role of religion is to create a society which is unjust, inasmuch as it fails to take account of the true nature of the human person; it is to stifle the growth of the authentic and lasting peace of the whole human family.

Also Nostra aetate from Vatican II.

Q. 137
See the Catholic Encyclopedia on Apolstolicity.

Q. 138
See Church Hierarchy:

When he established His Church, Jesus placed the Apostles in charge of caring for the faithful, of teaching them the faith and caring for their souls. And He placed Peter at the head of the Apostles. Through Apostolic Succession, that same hierarchy willed by Jesus, exists today in the Church with the Pope (the successor of St Peter) at her head, leading the Bishops (the successors of the Apostles) who themselves lead the faithful in their local Churches.

Q. 139
See Decree on the Apostalate of the Laity.

Q. 140
See The Church Isn’t a Democracy.

Q. 141
See What is the Role of the Pope and The Magisterium or Teaching Authority of the Church.

Q. 142
Here is a letter about the removal of a bishop who publically went against the magisterium.

Q. 143
A very good discussion on The Church’s Magisterium:

The Magisterium is a wonderful gift from God. Faithfulness to it will preserve us from intellectual slavery to trendy theology, personal prejudices, secularism, and all the other forces that threaten to rob us of the truth.

Q. 144
See The Duties of the Bishop:

The Bishop is a representative of Christ, commissioned to bear witness to him, to speak in his name, and to preserve all that has been handed down by means of the apostolic body. “And what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well.”

Q. 145
See Chastity, Poverty and Obedience:

Truth Shall Set You Free
“[Jesus’] way of living in chastity, poverty and obedience appears as the most radical way of living the Gospel on this earth, a way which may be called divine, for it was embraced by him, God and man… This is why Christian tradition has always spoken of the objective superiority of the consecrated life” (John Paul II, On Consecrated Life, n. 18).
Don’t let the world get you down. Be strong and know that if you long to give yourself fully to God through chastity, poverty and obedience, you aspire to a noble way. Such was the path chosen by Our Lord. Such is the way he chooses for many privileged souls who come after him.
If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me (Mt 19:21).

Reflection Questions
• What does the term ‘banality of evil’ mean?
See Eichmann, the Banality of Evil, and Thinking in Arendt’s Thought

• What is the sin of human respect?
See A Reflection on the Sin of Human Respect and its Antidote, the Holy Fear of the Lord

The Dignity of Women.

Today women are often looked upon by men in ways God never intended.
Satan’s work can be seen all around us, on billboards, on TV, and especially on the internet. Women are slandered and used quite often for monetary gain and pleasure.
Why has the devil cast so much of his effort to distorting and perverting the image of women?
Its actually a very simple question to answer. Women in my mind hold power in heaven unlike anything or anyone else on earth. With them the future is brought into being, future saints, future men and women of God. On them mostly rests the training and guidance of the world through its future generations. And through their prayers, Gods plans are furthered and realized.
I know in my own life I’ve had many rough areas. My parents thought at one point my future was a jail cell, or a life far removed from what I have actually become.
I thank God and all the saints for my mother, who untiringly prayed for me, watched over me, and helped me even when I didn’t think I needed help. I’m already realizing many instances in which I remember my mom saying, “You’ll thank me for this later”. And I do.

Dignity. What is it?
Dignity is a kin of respect, a gift given us by God.
Dignity realizes within each of us the image in God. It is our right as human beings, and should be realized for even the lowest of us. It demands Honor and respect.
Now we have defined what our human dignity is, how has Satan assaulted it within society, and especially towards women?

Firstly, through lust.
God created us to be loved, and from his love for us comes to us our dignity. And because of his love for us, we should love each other with that same dignity.
God creates nothing imperfect. And so we are perfect creation, and only flawed because of the sin that entered the world we are born into. Lust destroys the image of Gods creation in the eyes of those who fall into it.
Society teaches many people today that lust is love, that sex is casual, and that pornography is acceptable.
I think of this as 2 lenses.
The first, the lens of Gods eternal love, the lens of dignity. Through which who we are and who we will become is shown.
The second, the lens of Lust, the lens of destruction. Though this lens we no longer see a person. We see a THING. A MEANS. And dignity never enters the equation.

You could argue this for both sexes. Both being susceptible to this lie. However my focus is from the mans perspective.
What is it that makes us fall into this lie? What is it we really seek?
What most men want to see in a woman is:
1. Modesty. Because we know a modest woman holds her self higher than most.
And hasn’t yet degraded her self by lowering her standards.
2. Morality. Because we know a Moral woman is a true treasure, and walks with Christ.
3. Purity. Because we know a pure woman will belong to only one. And has saved her being for her calling, in this sense, the man who will prize her highly, and love her always.
After all that we look for the other qualities we seek. Good with kids, hard working, fun, ect.

The 2nd way the devil assaults the dignity of women.
The idea of casual sex.
Our sexuality is our gift from God, and in marriage, the most powerful expression of love in this life. And that is why Satan wishes to destroy it.
Married intercourse is the deepest form of love available to us on earth. So powerful in fact that, with Gods grace and blessing, creation is achieved.
God, the all powerful creator, sharing his power with us, in the act of creation.
Casual sex perverts and destroys this.
Marital relations are a covenant with God, in which each person gives them selves to each other totally, completely, and for eternity. Casually this becomes a temporary language of love. And in fact is more than just occasionally, lust. It says “I love you so much that I don’t have the integrity to wait for God to enter this relationship. And I love you so much that I’ll give only part of my self to you, and only for a little while”.
The language of forever is gone and replaced by the desires of now.
And this is why 50% of marriages fail. Trying to seal a forever promise with temporary glue.
So the devil destroys the dignity of our sexuality. And instead of seeing the daughters of God like we are meant to, men see only an object, instead of princesses of the Divine King–playthings for their own selfish desires.
And there is only one thing more degrading, that destroys dignity more than this.

Abortion. Abortion takes the dignity of the human being which we have already talked about, and utterly destroys it. Instead of perverting or mocking it, it stifles and kills it.
And even more than that.. The divine calling for a woman to conceive life within her, and to carry it, to nurture it is destroyed. And in abortion Satan ultimately takes away a woman’s greatest gift from God. Her child. And in doing so deprives the world of a brighter future.

Women of God. You are all SO BEAUTIFUL! And this is why the powers of darkness assail you.
Your dignity deserves the most humble respect from us men.
You capture men’s hearts and tame them.
You are co creators with God Himself.
You are daughters, princesses, beautiful creations of God. And all men should respect you all, and show you great love and dignity.
It was ordained by God from the beginning that women play the most crucial roles in life. By bringing it into being, and nurturing it.
Instead of coming into the world by His own divine power. Christ, God, true God and true man, came into the world from the womb of a woman we now know as the Queen of Heaven. Only through her “yes” did Jesus enter this world for the salvation of our souls. Not because God couldn’t otherwise… He chose to, and this TRULY shows the real dignity of women.

And for those of who you may have lost sight of that dignity. I pray in the name of Christ that your eyes be opened again. And that again you raise your standards to be worthy of who you REALLY are. Because you are beautiful, and you are loved.

For those of you who still stand, dignified but yet modest and kind, continue to set your examples.
In a world where you might stand totally counter to the culture around you, remain strong. Only you can let yourself fall, and your dignity crumble.

God revealed in our lives through suffering and love

In today’s society suffering is often thought of as bad luck or simply something to be endured. As a Catholic though, there is so much more to be offered, literally, in the service of God, by our own personal trials and suffering.

Many of us have often been told or heard about “Offering our suffering up to God”, however not many people know how or even why.
Our example is the Cross of Jesus Christ. During the passion Jesus gave His life for us in absolute and perfect love. Offering our sins up to God with His suffering.
In the same way we can offer our suffering to the Cross for the sake of others.

Something else we’ve all heard before as well is “God is love”.
But we always miss the profound truth in that statement, and the potential with which we can live our lives underneath that teaching.
If God is love, then any act of love we are involved in is not only of God, but brings His graces with it.
The saints and prophets often in the bible would take no reward for the works they preformed. I would say this is due to the fact that all good we do on earth, through love, is simply an extention of God him self in our own lives. We always ask the question: “Where is God? I mean in the real world, if he is in all things, how do we recognize him?”
And this is the answer.
In every act of love we have the opportunity to see Gods face, and through the world he so lovingly created.
But we still have yet to answer the first question:
“How DO I offer my suffering to God? And what does that actually mean?”
We offer our suffering to the Cross of Christ through an act of love. With true love and compassion for the suffering and trials of others, we send our love through our suffering for the sake of others.
If God is love, then an act, even painful, done in love for another person or persons, will ultimately bring Gods grace and love to that person.
And this is the way of Christian suffering.
In the bible it says that we in essence complete the mission of Christ on the cross through our suffering.
How?
By using our suffering to continue his mission of salvation. That by our suffering within the shadow of Christ’s Cross, we bring Christ and his love and grace, to the rest of the living world.

Marriage Part 2: Dating

    What is dating? Generally in todays society dating is seen as having someone with fuzzy feelings. A date to prom, a nice Valentines day dinner and all those other lovey dovey things. People often talk about wanting to find love and find “the one,” which is precisely my point. What dating should be about is finding your future spouse. Not emotions.
Now I realize as a teen, you’re probably not ready to get married. Most of you are probably concerned about finding a prom date before marriage. Which is great! I’m not saying you have to be ready to get married before you date. I mean, when I was first interested in guys I certainly wasn’t ready to get married. When I met my husband, I was 17, and I wasn’t ready to get married. While it’s true that he’s my first and only relationship, sometimes God doesn’t let everyone find their future spouse on their first try. You have to let God be a part of you love life.
So how can you start trying to find you’re future spouse? Well I think that first it would be most important to decide if God is even calling you to the married life at all! Maybe this is something you haven’t thought about. Maybe you’re afraid of the answer, or maybe you simply haven’t given it much thought yet, but it’s so incredibly important to discern what God is calling you to do. It’s a process even I went through, even though I was in a relationship while I was in the process of becoming Catholic. I can’t tell you how to discern. Everyones process is a little bit different, but two really important components would be praying to God about it, and talking to a priest if you have any questions or you’re feeling called one way or the other. Not only is it important to talk to God and someone who can help you discern the call, but if you are dating someone, it’s important to be honest about your discernment process so no one is surprised in the end, and so no one gets hurt. Don’t lead anyone on!
So to get back to dating. How exactly do you go about this whole thing to begin with? The first thing I’d like to note is that you might not find your future spouse on your very first try. We’re all different people from different walks of life. While I did find my future husband on my first try, I know that it’s not the case for everyone. It’s important to let God in on this whole process. He loves you, and He has a plan for you. He knows what’s best for you, so I can definitely say that prayer is a great way to go. Let God in on your love life. Talk to Him about someone you’re interested in or someone you’re dating. Pray for your future spouse! God very much wants to be a part of it. Not only that, but having a strong relationship with God is a great way to meet your future spouse. It’s also a bit important to be open to who God may bring into your life. It’s okay to have an ideal of what you’re looking for, but in the case of my husband, I certainly wasn’t exactly what he was looking for. I was Agnostic and had a very different way of living than he did and he was looking for someone who would share his faith with him. He did find that someone, he just had to help bring me to it. And last but not least, remember what love really is. Love is not warm fuzzy emotions. Love is wanting the good of another even at ones own expense.

The Origin of: Mystagogia

Welcome to the first entry of a very long series which I would love to call “The Origin Of”. Together we’ll explore some origins and history of our traditions, rites, and common devotions as Catholics. This particular subject is very close to my heart. I grew up Catholic, but I first learned to love The Church and our Lord when I was 8 years old. God gave me an angel, a guide, and by that time I called her “teacher”. She instructed me in meanings, and gave me an explanation to why we acted the way we did. She was patient, cheerful, and very smart on how to explain a very curious 8-year-old.

As I grow older, I realize that is that kind of instructions that made me fall completely in love with our Church and our faith.  It also helps me be aware of what I do in mass, while praying the rosary, confession, and our many devotions.

By writing this, I don’t pretend to be your (only) source of knowledge. I just want to share with you what I know, what I have investigated; I want you to feel the need of getting to really know our Church, and through it, get to know who Jesus really is. Not who you think He is, but who He IS. I want to share with you the reasons I love our Tradition. I pray you learn to love our Tradition, Rites and everything, and live every single one of them with true happiness, even when a smile is not at hand.

So let’s get started.

During early times of Christianity newly Baptized Christians went through a period of ‘Mystagogia’, a time in which they were introduced to deeper knowledge of the faith.  Small details of Rites and devotions (like the water in the baptism, the wine and bread, the rosary, the adoration of the cross) where explained.  During this time, all these wonderful newly baptized Christians used to wear white (more symbols).

But why was this so important? Well, we really can’t love what we do not know. The Catholic Church, and Its Founder, Our Lord, have always used symbols and material things to explain, represent, and reveal spiritual things. Things (facts) we cannot see, touch, or even imagine. And even when all spiritual things are invisible to our eyes, they are here.

Jesus made many miracles (still does!) on this earth. Notice my dear reader, miracles are symbols (don’t get me wrong, they have massive importance); a way of illustrating to us, his children, that He is in fact, GOD.

To give a basic example, water has always been a associated with “pure”, “purifying”, “cleaning”. In the baptism, the Original Sin is removed, our soul cleaned. So, water is symbol of the action of the Holy Spirit.

So as you see, we are going to be talking about the origin of these symbols, how they came to be and why.

When we stand, when we kneel, when we speak, when we listen, when we pray, when we remain in silence…..everything has a reason. Everything is to bring us closer to God.

Redemption

I often find it hard to get my mind wrapped around the idea of God’s mercy. Like the stars in the sky that remind me of the great vastness of the universe, I cannot even begin to fathom how unbelievably blessed I am to experience something so boundless and immeasurable, yet tangible and real.

In a very strange way, I am reminded of that awkward time in 7th grade when I finally began to grasp the idea that variables and letters, could represent numbers and values. While I couldn’t exactly explain the logic behind this unsettling discovery, I somehow found it easy to understand how these variables worked – this coming from someone who still thinks that variables are one of the greatest mysteries of life, next to women.

Coincidentally, much like my experience with the peculiar nature of variables, I still struggle with trying to comprehend the wonder and splendor that is my Father’s mercy, love, and compassion. But I am starting to realize in a more profound and concrete way, that unlike those pesky variables, I don’t need to comprehend them. I don’t think anyone can. I simply need to immerse myself in all that He is, and follow Him.

God’s grace has often been compared to the grandeur and depths of the ocean. And to think that this is the same ocean that envelops each and every one of us is beyond all human understanding, and yet, it somehow makes all the sense in the world when you come to realize just how much He loves us.

Too often have I felt undeserving of God’s mercy and wallowed in self-pity.

But I know that God calls me just as I am, flaws and all. He doesn’t love me for what I’ve done, but for who I am – His lover, His child, His friend.

So as we approach Ash Wednesday and Lent with contrite hearts, let us also reflect upon how the love of Christ has changed and transformed our lives.

It’s made all the difference in mine.

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.

Marriage Part 1: Love

Seeing as this is entire series about marriage, I think it makes sense to talk about love first. I think the first question to ask is what love is. Is it warm fuzzy feelings in your tummy when you see that someone special? Is it an emotion? Is it a feeling? All of these combined? You might be shocked to find that none of these are the answer.

What is love then? Well first of all, there are lots of different types of love in different contexts, but we are going to talk about married love, because my love for pizza is a lot different is a lot different than my love for my husband, or even my family and friends. Love is an action. Love is to will the good of another, even at ones own expense. “Love is the free self-giving of the heart. [2346] To have a heart full of love means to be so pleased with something that one emerges from oneself and devotes oneself to it. A musician can devote himself to a masterpiece. A kindergarten teacher can be there wholeheartedly for her charges. In every friendship there is love. The most beautiful form of love on earth, however, is the love between man and woman, in which two people give themselves to each other forever. All human love is an image of divine love, in which all love is at home. Love is the inmost being of the Triune God. In God there is continual exchange and perpetual self-giving. Through the overflowing of divine live, we participate in the eternal love of God. The more a person loves, the more he resembles God. Love should influence the whole life of a person, but it is realized with particular depth and symbolism when man and woman love one another and become ‘one flesh.’ (Gen 2:24)” (Youcat 402) That pretty much sums it up in a nutshell. It is to will the good of another. I’m really only repeating myself, but I feel that it must be stressed because secular society has a distorted view of what love really is. To secular society, it is selfish, and needy, and all about these feelings and emotions that may not even stick around forever. Think about it. How many times have you heard someone say, “I just don’t feel like I love him/her anymore,” or “I feel like I need/want this or that.” There is so much emphasis on feeling and emotions, which isn’t what love is all about! Love is not always convenient, or easy. Love isn’t always about you, or what makes you feel better. There have been plenty of situations where it would have been easier to just opt out of my relationship than trying to love my husband through out our entire 3 years of being together.

I know this post is already kind of short-ish, but if I were to continue, this post would never end, because I could honestly write books, and books about love. I strongly suggest reading up on love in the Catechism though, there is a lot of great information in there, and don’t forget to look under Charity as well! It is basically the same thing! All I don’t really consider myself to be a master of love myself, because I’m fairly new at it :) But I will leave you with another famous Bible quote to reflect on.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NAB) 

YOUCAT Series 3 – What We Believe: Man Is Receptive to God

Questions 3 to 6
This chapter of the YOUCAT: Man Is Receptive to God, draws heavily on an understanding of the metaphysical, which in layman’s terms is; what is not physical, what is invisible or the spiritual element of existence.

Q. 3
Joel Hodge writes about our yearning for God in an article called The value of theology and the mystery of life;

What Christian faith involves is completely natural to human living: we place our faith in an Other who shows us what it means to be human by his living. We all do this in some form. Christianity is explicit about it, so much so that we devote an academic discipline – theology – to the rational study and explication of our faith. This is, in part, why theology is ‘queen of the sciences’ as it is concerned with the most important and fundamental human questions and experiences. It is the love of God in Jesus that has also allowed Christians to know their lives better, and so flourish in terms of art, music, knowledge, and so on. In this regard, the works of Rodney Stark and René Girard, amongst others, have shown how Christianity has revolutionised human thought and culture.

Q. 4
Moving on to human reason;

The most regarded document on the link between faith and reason is Fides et Ratio by Bl. Pope John Paul II:

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves (cf. Ex 33:18; Ps 27:8-9; 63:2-3; Jn 14:8; 1 Jn 3:2).

In reading this text we begin to see just how important a solid grounding in the field of philosophy is to fully appreciate our faith and to be able to have meaningful dialogue with others about what we believe and, moreover, to understand the principles of theology.

Q. 5
Indeed, if you have ever had dialect with a non-believer, you would have an insight into this question and just how important a knowledge of philosophy, and consequentially, the appeal to human reason is.

If for instance, every day we struggle with wanting to do our own thing and especially if in the past you have had a lapse of faith or weren’t a religious person, you will know how easily we can convince ourselves that because it is hard to live a life close to God, such a life would limit our freedom and therefore must be wrong. In reality though, only a life in Christ guarantees our freedom.

The Pope’s Message for 2011 World Youth Day does a lot to explain this;

Dear friends, the Cross often frightens us because it seems to be a denial of life. In fact, the opposite is true! It is God’s “yes” to mankind, the supreme expression of his love and the source from which eternal life flows. Indeed, it is from Jesus’ heart, pierced on the Cross, that this divine life streamed forth, ever accessible to those who raise their eyes towards the Crucified One. I can only urge you, then, to embrace the Cross of Jesus, the sign of God’s love, as the source of new life. Apart from Jesus Christ risen from the dead, there can be no salvation! He alone can free the world from evil and bring about the growth of the Kingdom of justice, peace and love to which we all aspire.

However, as he points out in this article, we must remember that ‘[i]t is better to be a searching agnostic than a false believer.’

Q. 6
Yes, we must tell others about our faith!

It is our responsibility to engage with non-believers firstly by appealing to their faculty of reason, vouching for the existence of God and the truth of His Church.

How do we do this seemingly impossible task? Firstly we must remember that when a person outrightly denies or is ambivalent about the existence of God, as the question says, they hope deep down that beyond this life they cannot have come from nothing and go back to nothing. This gives us the confidence to undertake this task, but also, we must remember the value of prayer and the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we have been given, especially in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation – These inspire us to do what is right.

Here is a website on evangelization called Ask a Catholic a Question which has some helpful advice.

Lastly, as Archbishop Chaput said, ‘teaching the truth should always be done with patience and compassion, as well as firmness.’

Reflection Questions
• What is the meaning of the word ‘theology’?

• With the notion of freedom, what are we free from?

One Day My Prince Will Come

I don’t care how unsentimental you may claim to be, almost every teenager catches themselves yearning for their “soulmate”.  We dream up this perfect man or woman that will encompass all of our likes and dislikes, all of our hobbies and all of our physical preferences.  I blame this phenomenon on the Disneyfication of our mentality that begins in early childhood.  Don’t get me wrong, I am almost 20 years old and I make yearly trips to Disney World and I still think Beauty and the Beast is one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen.  However, I do realize that my obsession with fairy tale love stories has hindered a much more important relationship.

To be honest, during high school about 90 percent of my thoughts revolved around imagining myself in a perfect relationship. The other 10 percent covered family, friends, homework, God, food, theater, music, etc.  These statistics are pretty bleak.  I spent a whole lot of brain power thinking completely futile thoughts.  And the worst part is, I still have the same problem.  Once I realized that I was spending too much time thinking about and/or lightly stalking boys and not enough time on Prayer and the man that already loves me unconditionally, I still wasn’t able to break the habit.  But I try.

It’s not a bad thing to have a crush on a boy or girl, especially if they emanate Christ, but you have to give up those fantasies if they are interfering with your all important relationship with the God that made both of you.

I was reminded of another truth bomb that I constantly choose to forget well I was watching the TV show, “How I met Your Mother”.  One of the characters said to a hasty ex-boyfriend searching for his soulmate, “she’s on her way, and she’s getting here as fast as she can”.  If we are called to be in a relationship, then we have to trust that God is getting our soulmate here as fast as He can.  We have to remember that He is preparing the both of us, constantly, for each other.

It’s often our tendency to look around.  To look towards the future or the things we want that we think we need.  But those anxieties are pointless.  So put them aside.  And for all the women out there who are obsessing about being in a relationship with a perfect man, well, you already are.  Every time you take Communion you are one with the greatest of all great men.  Because Jesus makes every professional athlete, handsome millionaire, and dare devil actor look like a pansy.  And he always will.

I learned most of this lesson from incredibly insightful prayer by St. Anthony of Padua, he basically said everything I needed to hear.  I hope it can serve you as it did me.  So here it is:

Be Satisfied with Me
by St. Anthony of Padua
Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone,
To have a deep soul relationship with another,
To be loved thoroughly and exclusively.But to a Christian, God says, “No, not until you are satisfied,
Fulfilled and content with being loved by Me alone,
With giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me.
With having an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone.Discovering that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found,
Will you be capable of the perfect human relationship,
That I have planned for you.
You will never be united to another
Until you are united with Me.
Exclusive of anyone or anything else.
Exclusive of any other desires or longings.
I want you to stop planning, to stop wishing, and allow Me to give you
The most thrilling plan existing . . . one you cannot imagine.
I want you to have the best. Please allow Me to bring it to you.

You just keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things.
Keep experiencing the satisfaction that I am.
Keep listening and learning the things that I tell you.
Just wait, that’s all. Don’t be anxious, don’t worry
Don’t look around at things others have gotten
Or that I have given them
Don’t look around at the things you think you want,
Just keep looking off and away up to Me,
Or you’ll miss what I want to show you.
And then, when you’re ready, I’ll surprise you with a love
Far more wonderful than you could dream of.

You see, until you are ready, and until the one I have for you is ready,
I am working even at this moment
To have both of you ready at the same time.
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me
And the life I prepared for you,
You won’t be able to experience the love that exemplified your relationship with Me.
And this is perfect love.

And dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love,
I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your relationship with Me.
And to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting union of beauty, perfection and love that I offer you with Myself.
Know that I love you utterly. I AM God.
Believe it and be satisfied