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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.

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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.

Ask and Understand: Week 2

Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. The rest will be given. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Universal Faith is on a quest for dialogue with people who believe other things, in order to build peace and understanding. We hope and pray to tear down walls of bias that are present in our world.

We know each person is an individual with opinions and questions. In this segment we’ll invite a guest every week to cross paths respectfully as friends.

Our guest this week is Baird Scriven. Visit his blog here!

We Asked:

Q: What is baptism to you?

A: The type of baptism that I’ve grown up around is believer’s baptism (as apposed to infant baptism), where you enter a body of water (baptistry, pool, river, sea etc) and are dunked under the water by two members of the congregation (generally people who have had big rols in your faith, but also generally elders or similar). Baptism to me is the symbolic representation of dying to your old life (going underwater) and being reborn in Jesus (being pulled up from the water), it is a outward statement of inward change, showing your repentance and your turning toward Jesus, it is a way of saying to your community that you have made that descision. It’s another step in your walk with Christ. It is following Christ’s example. There is also baptism in the Spirit, which is being filled with the Holy Spirit, but more than just that, that’s a bit harder to explain the meaning of being baptised in the Spirit in my life, as each time I’m baptised in the Spirit it’s different, but generally it’s accompanied by gifts of the Spirit, eg prophecy, words of wisdom or knowladge, occasionally, but rarely for me the gift of healing – basically the gift the Lord knows I

need at that time. That is a really inadequate way of describing it.

Read the account of pentacost for a better description of something similar (if not the same) as baptism in the Spirit, though I’ve never spoken in Tongues, or different languages (I know people who have though).

Q: How would you describe your denomination?

A: My personal denomination is non-existant, I try to be non-denominational and live by the teachings of the bible rather than what any doctrine says, as such I’ll always try to take any teaching away and check it’s authenticity against biblical teaching, and through prayer. But I suppose if you want to force me to try and catagorise myself, I suppose I’m Methodist mixed with Baptist, with a healthy dose of Evangelical and Charismatic, with possibly a splash of Anglican, but not much.

The Guest Asked:

Q: I know we’ve had many conversations about the Saints, so this seems a logical question from my point of view, and one I should have asked much earlier on, but what are your criteria for Saints, what do people have to do to get a sainthood, what boxes do they have to tick, if you like?

A: This is a good question. Technically you have to work on making your life holier to be canonized as a saint, however a friend put up a list of questions that are considered when someone is up for canonization here. It’s nothing we can’t achieve if we look at our own lives and see how we can sanctify ourselves to the point where people really don’t see ourselves but Jesus. We need to become very, very holy for a canonization. It’s something we work for all our lives; it’s something we have to take seriously. However, I’ve gathered from the stories of all the saints that a real saint doesn’t believe they’re going to get a canonization. They become so humble that it’s no longer about them, and nothing they do is ever perfect anymore. Not even a canonization ceremony is dedicated to them. I blogged about it here.

Q: What are your views on the gifts of the Spirit?

A: The thing about this question is that in Catholicism there are what we call Charisms, and then there are the gifts of the Holy Spirit that are received most during the sacrament of Confirmation. I think what you’re referring to is Charisms. The Catechism states that these gifts do exist and are to be used to benefit the Church and our fellow believers: (This is a good website with more detail to the Catholic view of Charisms.)

798 – “The Holy Spirit is ‘the principle of every vital and truly saving action in each part of the Body.’ He works in many ways to build up the Body in charity: …by the many special graces (called ‘charisms’), by which he makes the faithful ‘fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church.’ [252] ”

799 – “Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up, to the good of men, and to the needs of the world.”

800 – “Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by all members of the Church as well. They are a wonderfully rich grace for the apostolic vitality and for the holiness of the entire Body of Christ, provided they really are genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit and are used in full conformity with authentic promptings of this same Spirit, that is, in keeping with charity, the true measure of all charisms. [253]”

801 – “It is in this sense that discernment of charisms is always necessary. No charism is exempt from being referred and submitted to the Church’s shepherds. ‘Their office [is] not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good,’ [254] so that all the diverse and complementary charisms work together ‘for the common good.’ [255] “

This is a good page on the Catholic view of the gifts of the Holy Spirit received at Confirmation. This is a good, deep topic that deserves its own blog post, which I will probably do because it would help even Catholics who confuse the two.

Food for Thought: Have you ever tried discerning your Charism? It’s well worth it!

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

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) 

[PURE: The 90-Week Devotional Series] Week 2 – Who Determines Your Worth?

de·ter·mine

   [dih-tur-min] Show IPA verb, -mined, -min·ing.

verb (used with object)

1. to settle or decide (a dispute, question, etc.) by an authoritative or conclusive decision.

2. to conclude or ascertain, as after reasoning, observation,etc.

3. Geometry . to fix the position of.

4. to cause, affect, or control; fix or decide causally: Demand for a product usually determines supply.

5. to give direction or tendency to; impel.

The good old dictionary shows how powerful a word it is: Determine. The first definition means to settle or decide something by an authoritative decision. When the thing they’re deciding is as personal and defining as your own worth, to whom will you bestow that authority?

What does worth even mean? Let’s check.

worth

1    [wurth] Show IPA

(…)

noun

4. excellence of character or quality as commanding esteem:women of worth.

5. usefulness or importance, as to the world, to a person, or for a purpose: Your worth to the world is inestimable.

6. value, as in money.

7. a quantity of something of a specified value: ten cents’ worth of candy.

8. wealth; riches; property or possessions: net worth.

That’s even more powerful. Somebody of conclusive authority is determining your usefulness or importance to the world. Now, how many times in your life have you stopped to consider in whose hands you put that authority? It depends on the judge, what the verdict is. If you put the authority in the hands of the secular world, you’re going to be judged by your appearance and compared to skinny women in magazines. You’ll be compared to rich men with mansions. Realistically, how many people will be worth anything when compared to that?

The problem here is that many kids nowadays choose to give this authority to people who are only going to make them feel worthless. Because if we’re letting someone who edits a fashion magazine judge our usefulness or importance…to put it quite bluntly, most of the world won’t be useful or important. That’s why it’s such a sad world! These people don’t even deserve to hold your value in their hands. Why? Jesus said: And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Mat 10:28, RSV

I think it’s important to point this out. While most people will go straight to the next verses about the worth of a sparrow, we need to let the world know that these people don’t deserve trust regarding your worth at all. A lot of kids will question how we know we shouldn’t fear these forces, but we need to remember that right before Jesus told us how God determines our worth, He also said who can’t determine it and why. It’s in the Bible. How many of you knew that?

Rebecca says:

My tendency was to live with a sense that God was disappointed in me—that I was not good enough. Through study and prayer and time alone with Him, the Lord assured me that I am loved and secure. I know that I’m His princess, accepted and cherished. Pure, page 6

We are all princes and princesses, not by how the world judges us but by how God loves us. He told us not to listen to the world, so why are we? Finally, I’ll share the passage about the sparrow:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matt. 10:29-31

I don’t think this passage quite does it justice, because it’s been read so many times that our brains watered it down. But this is nothing less than a picture out of a fairy tale: We are royalty of Heaven! We may not ever feel like it down here on earth, but our rewards will be great.

St. Patrick put it well:

If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples; even though some of them still look down on me.

As did Rebecca:

How much time do you spend in the morning thinking about how others will perceive you based on what you look like each day? How could you spend some of that time contemplating your worth in God’s eyes? Look in the mirror and realize how precious you are to Him.

Have you put the authority to judge your worth into worldly hands? Turn back now, because the only one who can judge you justly and determine your worth is the Lord. He knows what’s best for you. And He’s watching you…everywhere. Read Psalm 139:

Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, thou art there! If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Let only darkness cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to thee, the night is bright as the day; for darkness is as light with thee.

How many magazine editors can claim that authority?

mariella_siggy

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