Blog Archives

Would you want a book with missing pages?

Is your Bible Catholic? This sounds like a silly question but I mean it in all seriousness. I asked because there are so many versions of the Bible, and it is hard to tell them apart. Most people don’t understand the difference between a Kings James Bible, Protestant Bible, and the New American Standardized Bible.

What prompts this question was when I was asked, “What is the Pillar and Foundation of Truth?” I thought for a moment and answered, “Jesus.” But I was wrong. What would you have said?

I learned that the Pillar and Foundation of Truth is the Church. In 1 Timothy 3:14-14 it states “I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”

What church is Paul talking about in this verse? Paul is referring to the Catholic Church, the church founded by Jesus Christ. Through the Catholic Church, along with the teachings of the Bible, we have the resources necessary to understand “truth” and fullness of Christ.

I want you to understand the importance of the Church because it practices and perpetuates the values and traditions not written in the Bible. The Catholic Church has preserved sacred traditions and practices established by Jesus.

“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.” Revelations 22:18-19

A Catholic Bible is the complete Bible. No books were omitted or added. A Catholic Bible contains all the teachings of Christ, in its fullness.

CHECK IT.

“Do not conform to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing, and perfect”

-Romans 12:2

My name is Andrea.  I can, in almost all aspects, be considered a completely average teenage girl.  I am of average intelligence, average appearance, below average height, and of fairly average talent.  I came from a Catholic family and I went to Catholic school for 9 years, but for most of my life I would have also been considered an average Catholic.  And an average Catholic, as depicted by society, is one simply in title and not in practice.  To me, Mass was “eh” and the Eucharist was a nice snack break amidst the “eh” and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary were also “eh” + a little bit of “whatever”.  There were moments where I felt touched by God, where I felt some glint of divinity in the Eucharist or in the stories of the Saints, but two seconds later I would see a cute boy and that precious glimpse of truth would go flying out the window.

It wasn’t until a little over a year ago that I made a pledge to take the “average” out of my life.  And it has been the most difficult affirmation I have ever made.  I believe the Bible verse at the beginning of this entry is so incredibly applicable to all young adults, especially myself.  Because truly, we are young ADULTS.  Teenagers are completely capable of making life altering decisions and of affecting people in profound ways.  It’s easy for us to avoid that fact.  What we do is beyond the scope of our individual personhood.  Our thoughts and actions not only affect ourselves, our friends and our families, but they affect the Salvation of the world.  We are that important.

Yes.  It just got real.

You might be thinking that I’m some intense zealot sitting in my bedroom chugging sacrificial lamb blood while watching EWTN and blasting Gregorian chant.  But like I said, I only immersed myself in the Catholic faith about a year ago.  And oh was it a rocky journey.

The story of my deeper conversion begins with my move from Minnesota to Alabama right before my sophomore year of high school.  And let me put this out there, moving in high school may not be a huge deal for a lot of people but I felt like it was literally the end of my life.  When I found out I was moving to Alabama I figured I would be living in Cowtown, U.S.A fighting off stray farm animals and racists.  But it turns out, the suburb I was living in was not much different than the one I had lived in in Minnesota.  Only the climate was much more humid, wood roaches were everywhere, and cicadas wouldn’t shut up at night.

My first year in Alabama was the most difficult year of my life thus far.  I had promised myself that I wouldn’t bother with making friends or being social because I was just going to leave and go back to Minnesota or somewhere that wasn’t Alabama in three years anyways.  But that didn’t quite work out.  Because every person yearns to feel united with someone else.  And I just couldn’t fight that desire to be desired.  And so high school turned out to be not that bad.  I was really involved with theatre, going to competitions and even writing and directing a play my senior year.  Theatre was my life in high school.  That was where I belonged and that was where I was accepted and praised.

Religion was not a huge priority to me at that point in my life.  However, it’s almost impossible to move to the South and ignore all of the raging “Bible thumpers”.   The largest Baptist Church in my suburb seemed like the size of the Mall of America.  And I’m pretty sure it had just as much parking.  Thankfully, I made friends with a girl who was in several of my classes who was very active in the local Catholic Church’s youth group.  So I thought hey, if everyone has their own little Church cliques, maybe I should join in on the fun.  So I went to a few events now and then but mainly just the “fun” stuff and none of the boring “Jesus” stuff.  That just wasn’t for me.  I was a free-minded artist.  I wouldn’t be one of those close-minded, ignorant Christians.

So for much of high school, if I went to mass it was solely for “God points”.  I figured, if there is a heaven, and if God exists I can just go to mass and daydream for an hour and then God would give me anything I wanted because I was being good and going to church.  FALSE.  That is not how it works.  If you think that’s how Church works, you are sorely mistaken.  I had to learn that lesson the hard way.

I cannot wait to continue this story but for now, I’m just going to have to leave you hanging because it’s 12:07 am and I have class at 9:oo am.  And if I don’t get what I deem an appropriate amount of sleep, I will cry.  I’m serious.  Sleep is important to me.

Okay so GOODNIGHT!

BIO – “Jon Jon”

Life is a Be-You-Tiful Struggle: God has played a major role in our life, in helping all of us shaping us into the person we are today.

Howzit everyone! My name is John “Jon Jon” Ulep and I’m an active Catholic in my church along with the Youth and Young Adult Ministry, known as the A.G.A.P.E. Ministry. The AGAPE Ministry founded in Honolulu, Hawaii is the largest Religious Program in the state. I’ve have been actively involved with the ministry since my Sophomore year in high school in 2000. I’ve taught classes, organized youth and young adult retreats for different parishes, shared my testimony to hundreds of people. November 3, 2011 I was named Co-Director of the AGAPE Youth & Young Adult Ministry, Hawaii, along with my friend Kyle.

I am eager to share my experience and knowledge with people. I hope working together and sharing our story with bring our Catholic community closer and become more active in their faith.

What’s Next?

Hey guys! My name is Kirstie, and I’m 20 years old.

I’ll have to be honest and say writing this little intro has been difficult, for me to write for several reasons. One of them happens to be one of the reasons I’m here.  My story is kind of long, but I hope to keep it as short as possible.  So basically to begin…I wasn’t raised Catholic. I wasn’t even really raised Christian all that much as well. It just wasn’t ever a topic that came up at home and we didn’t go to church. So my religious education was practically nonexistent. I knew nothing.  I’ve been fairly good my whole life though. I tried not to be mean or hateful. I didn’t pick fun at others. I was a virgin until marriage, didn’t drink, never did drugs. I didn’t get into trouble, and I’ve had friends describe me as excessively perky to the point of being annoying in some instances.

The excessively perkiness changed in about 10th grade. For an unknown reason I started falling into depression. It wasn’t a huge change, but it was noticeable to friends I’m sure. I don’t know why, it just did, and regular high school life obviously didn’t help things at all with all the drama that can come with it. 11th grade is when I really started falling fast. I was getting mixed up in a group of friends that were depressed and suicidal, in some cases sadistic, and a little bit controlling. I experienced 4 deaths, (3 people, one was a dog), and all the hurtful things people used to bully me with really started affecting me. I felt like I couldn’t connect with my old group of friends anymore…I was feeling pushed into things I didn’t want to do to fit in with these new people (whether they knew it or not I don’t know, but I’m so happy I never gave in!) and there’s just so much more I could say. It was a terrible year. This was the year when I became Angry with God, and then started doubting God’s existence all together. I couldn’t understand why God would let terrible things happen to me, other people, especially in the event of a natural disaster or a random drive by shooting or something. I couldn’t understand why God would let me hate myself so much. I didn’t know how I was supposed to know the bible wasn’t made up, or that Jesus even existed, and I felt that I didn’t have anywhere to turn or where I could get answers without being judged.

Right before my senior year of high school started I was invited to a party. It wasn’t a crazy party with alcohol or anything. It was good clean fun, we ate yummy food and talked to friends we hadn’t seen in a while, and it was great fun. There I met this guy named Justin. I liked him a lot, and we started talking and it turned out that he liked me a lot too so after about a month when we both figured this out, we started dating. Little did I know I was dating a Catholic. a couple of months or so after we started dating, I asked him a question about his faith. I can’t honestly remember what it was or what he said, but I must’ve like it because I remember so many times driving to and from dates where we would just talk endlessly about his faith. I started going to mass with his family. Everything just started making so much sense. I can’t even begin to explain it. It was amazing, and so after nine months going through the RCIA process, I was baptized, confirmed, and received my first Eucharist on April, 3rd, 2010, and Justin was my sponsor, and I can now proudly say that as of October, 8th, 2011, he is my Husband :)

I know this has already been the longest intro on the planet, but before I finish I have one last thing. So we already know I’ve had a couple sort of major life changes. I can’t believe the plan God has already set out for me. I often find myself asking “What’s next!?” because it has just been absolutely amazing. It hasn’t been easy though. Especially with what has been putting off my little intro. I’ve recently been looking into if God is calling me to go into Catechetics or music ministry or something similar. It’s a huge life change, but it’s been a little difficult to decipher if it’s something I want rather than a calling. That’s one of the reasons I’m here. I know I can’t tell anyone what God has planned for them, but I hope that I can help others by helping them, even if it just to pray for you or give any helpful advice that I can :) Okay…that’s enough from me! Thanks for reading my way too long story! God bless!

Other Blogs: kirstie-ann.tumblr.com

Can I Be A Saint? Part 1: The Hardships

Some people are wondering why it’s so important to become saints. Most people don’t even know what a saint is. Here’s the definition of a saint, credits go to saintspreserved.com:

Beginning with the early Christian martyrs in the first century, saints were chosen by popular acclaim. Legends of their lives were spread through word-of-mouth. Their stories evolved into some wonderfully fantastic tales, probably arising from our intellectual, moral, and spiritual need for heroes. They fed the hungry, clothed the naked, healed the sick, defended the defenseless – never expecting (and virtually always refusing) payment for their (sometimes miraculous) services.

St. Cecilia, Martyr

From this, we get that a saint is someone who does good works to help their neighbors and do it out of love and with full willingness. A saint does good works from the bottom of their heart, never expecting something in return. Anything received in gratitude does not belong to the saint, because everything they did was in service of Christ with no reward in mind.

saint
/saynt
noun 1 a person who is acknowledged as holy or virtuous and regarded in Christian faith as being in heaven after death.
2 a person of exalted virtue who is canonized by the Church after death and who may be the object of veneration and prayers for intercession. (informal) a very virtuous person.

verb 1 formally recognize as a saint; canonize.
2 (sainted) worthy of being a saint; very virtuous.
– DERIVATIVES sainthood

nounsaintliness noun saintly adjective.
– ORIGIN Old French seint, from Latin sanctus “holy.”

-Definition from Oxford English Dictionery

You don’t need a formal canonization to become a saint. There are probably thousands of saints that are known only among their brethren up in heaven. They didn’t get a canonization and they aren’t demanding one. I will blog more on the subject of canonization later. Right now I’m addressing the question, Can I be a saint?

The answer is YES, absolutely so! We’re all called to be saints. We’re called to imitate those already in heaven. It’s going to be hard in our own personal lives, but it’s going to be worth it. Sainthood today is far different from sainthood a hundred years ago. You probably won’t be burned at the stake for proclaiming yourself a Christian, but people will look down on you and mock you in different ways.

Read Hebrews 12 for encouragement about the suffering you’re going to endure on this journey: (NIV)

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,

and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,

6because the Lord disciplines those he loves,

and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”a

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees13“Make level paths for your feet,”b so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. The devil is glad that so few people are seeking sainthood anymore. We’re about to turn that around. Starting Christmas Eve, pray about your calling and see how you’ll pursue it. It’s a hard journey full of sacrifice, but it’s worth it. Get ready to join us.

Note: I used the NIV because I couldn’t find the NAB resources for this on the Internet. I’ll edit when I’m able to, but this is basically the message GOD wants you to hear.