Flightless Birds

A Problem with Truth

IMG_1032As a Catholic who often ends up debating social issues, I’ve often thought, in frustration, that some people have a problem with the truth. Now, that’s a pretty prideful thing to think when it’s born out of frustration. This person isn’t listening to me, so they must just not like the truth!

But there is a real issue here. It’s not just me; anyone who has ever tried to debate with someone about a moral issue recently has likely experienced it. It’s clear that at a deep level, whether they realize it or not, a lot of people actually don’t care about truth at all. And I don’t think that’s because they’re stubborn, stupid, or intellectually lazy. Rather, it’s the influence of the philosophy of post-modernism.

“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.”

- Pope St. John Paul II in his encyclical letter, Fides et Ratio (1998)

Modernism

IMG_1033To understand post-modernism, one first needs to understand modernism.

In its most basic form, modernism is a rejection of the use of faith as a means to know truth, and therefore the elevation of reason as the only way of knowing truth. This philosophy was very common in the early 20th century, and many parts of it still remain common. For example, over-emphasis on science and neglect of philosophy and theology, and the assertion that science is opposed to religious belief.

This philosophy is and was a colossal failure, both in effect and in substance. Shearing off the wing of faith from the human spirit, modernism leaves us tumbling from the heights of truth to crash in the dirt below.

Modernists believed that the use of reason alone would lead ultimately to a greater understanding of truth, and to a better, more just future for humanity. But in fact, it lead to the opposite: the rejection of previously known truths to be replaced with nothing but confusion, and the most violent, brutal and unjust century humanity has ever seen.

Modernism could never be a long-term success, nor lead to progress toward truth, because it rejects faith. As John Paul II pointed out, faith and reason are complimentary, and to a large extent, dependent on each other. Without reason, faith can become blind. It can become gullible and prone to error, and it doesn’t allow us to properly understand the significance of revelation. But without faith, reason has no basis, no axioms to proceed from. Reason becomes worthless and ultimately leads to arbitrary answers. And it is largely the frustration with this inevitable failure that leads into post-modernism, which is where so many people find themselves today.

Post-Modernism

IMG_1034Post-modernism is modernism taken to its inevitable conclusion. Reason alone cannot find any truth, and modernism relies on reason alone. What, then, is a modernist to conclude, but that truth cannot be known at all? This is post-modernism, at its core: the abandonment of all hope of coming to know truth.

The poor one-winged bird that is the modernist human spirit, deprived of faith, incapable of flight, quite naturally decides to rid itself of its remaining wing: reason. After all, it is no more than dead weight without its counterpart.

Tragically, instead of realizing the mistake of modernist philosophies, our culture has doubled-down on its error, and spirals further from sanity every day.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

All hope is not lost for our culture. As Catholics, we always have hope, because our God is not only capable of anything, he has already done everything for us.

The fact is, post-modernism and the lifestyles that result from it do not lead to God, and they do not lead to happiness. They lead to despair and depression, and thus, the human spirit will begin to long for what it was made for. As St. Philip the Apostle famously asked Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.”

This is where it becomes important for us to evangelise through our lives, as well as our words. Because, even when argument fails to convince the skeptic, the hope of a life lived for God is an undeniable light in the darkness. And just as a physical light becomes more obvious the darker the surroundings, our lives will diverge further from those of our neighbours, as the culture moves further from God.

This is painful, and sometimes even deadly for us, but we can take comfort in the fact that it also makes us a clearer sign pointing to Christ.

The Cross of Love

What is love? What is dating? What is marriage? Can’t I get a little single around here?

First things first, I am happily in a relationship; one that has been put to the fire and test several times now. I’m not going to speak to you about my relationship, however, I am going to share with you about that time prior to my relationship, that “dreaded” stage in our lives we call, “being single.”

I may be alone in this, but personally, I loved being single. I loved everything about it. I liked going out, the dinner dates with friends, the laughs and the hassle-free lifestyle.  I mean, of course I thought about dating and getting a boyfriend, but I knew that I’d have to change and I wasn’t ready for all that. All that being said, however, I still wanted a relationship in the future where someone valued me as the woman and daughter of God that I am.

What I want for a future husband is someone who is going to respect me, value me, and listen to me. I want a man who will open the doors for me, push me to grow, and help me to set new goals for myself. I am going to support whoever I am going to marry. I will listen to them, and like any good woman, let them lead me as the head of the household.

As I was discerning my vocation, I found that I definitely wanted to make a family. I kept hearing from friends and family about what a good catch I was, but I couldn’t seem to find a man who met the criteria. Then I started dating Jesus. I knew He was the one source in my life I needed, and the one source I wanted. Everyone told me that He loved me, but I had to ask “what was love?” At that point in my life, I thought loving Jesus was as easy as getting a bracelet at a gift shop with “W.W.J.D?” on it. I was wrong.

Loving Jesus forced me to look into a huge mirror and reflect on myself. I started to realize that the princess treatment I thought I deserved was an illusion if I couldn’t give my real King, Jesus Christ, the royal treatment He deserves.

If you are looking for the marriage of your dreams, make sure you date Jesus first. 

IMG_20141018_012455Dating Jesus is similar to dating anyone else. You have to take your time and get to know Him, especially in His Word and in the Most Blessed Sacrament. As time went along, my visits to the Eucharistic Adoration chapel grew longer. I started telling my friends that I had scheduled date nights, and I wanted things to get serious. The more time I spent with Him, the more I realized that if I wanted someone to cherish me, that it was out of my control and that Jesus would have to send them to me.

I then started to realize the effects of getting closer to Jesus. Dating Jesus was making me change. Up until that point, I had been so cautious and had only been dating Him conveniently. I wanted to know Him, but I wasn’t telling too many people about us. People knew me. They knew I was this wild woman who loved God, but I still had my flaws. I was afraid to let them know I was really trying to be committed. Jesus, however, had other plans for us. As things continued to deepen in prayer, I felt Him ask me, “I see what you want in a man, but are you giving that to me? I am love. You can’t give a man love if you don’t know Me.”

Why did He have to get all personal? I mean, He is supposed to love me regardless of my flaws, He created me, He knows what my issues are and why they are there. Then He put me on the spot. I didn’t even know how to answer. I didn’t know him, not the way 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 tells me I should.

If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.”

When Jesus started asking all those questions, I started asking them to myself. I started wondering how I could be better for Him. I wanted God to send me a man, but if I didn’t know how to love God, how was I supposed to know how to love one of His sons? I started doing a lot of self reflecting. Was I giving to Jesus what I wanted a man to give me; my time, my effort? Was I listening to what He had to say? Was I trusting Him? I knew it was going to take some time before I made changes, but when I started to see my flaws in the grand scheme of things, I started to realize how far I was from where I needed to be.

IMG_20140616_015200Some people may think that being close to Jesus only happens when you go to church. As I have grown in my relationship with Him, I have realized it is so much more than that. Being close to Christ in a real relationship with Him affects everything. It affects your friendships and relationships with others. It affects how you experience pain, trials, and sufferings. When I was hurt by a friend or loved one, my usual reaction was to cut them off and be done with them. I would simply leave the situation until I realized how I have hurt Jesus by my sins and failings. Would I want Him to cut me off and call it quits? No. So how did I figure I deserved to be treated better than the manner I was treating others? That became the question in situations where my feelings were hurt. I focused a lot on the Sorrowful Mysteries. I would ask myself, “would I do this to Jesus?”

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As I continued to grow, I started looking at what I wanted in a relationship and would then look at my relationship with Jesus. I began diving into the lives of the Saints and came to understand even more that if I wanted my relationship with God to work I would have to start sacrificing worldly things in my life. I had to ask if I was I giving my time, effort, love, and attention to His calling. Like any good relationship, communication, trust, and a firm sense of direction are the key elements in the growth of the relationship. Where was my communication with Jesus? Was I talking to Him daily; praising Him, trusting Him? Where did I want our relationship to grow? Was I fully committed or was I just passing the time? I had to start adjusting my priorities. I ultimately wanted that relationship where I was becoming a better person because of Him.

My relationship with Jesus is growing ever more and more now that I understand what I want to give Him in return for what He has given me. I know that there are a million other things I can about write in this blog regarding how I feel, but I’m still growing and I know that in due time, I will have a deeper sense of how far I have grown. I don’t want other people to compare their relationship to mine. I simply want to issue a challenge to anyone reading this, whether you are single, engaged, married etc. If you are currently in a relationship (dating or married) that is lacking, chase after Jesus. I encourage you to picture Christ in that other person and treat them with that same love you ought to give to Jesus, but begin with giving Jesus that love first and then to that other person.

Happy loving!

A Reflection on Parish Revival

It takes a lot of things to have a faith-filled, joyful, and growing parish community. It takes a lot of work from the priest(s), the secretarial team, and the whole congregation, especially the volunteers that give their time and talent to ministries such as music and youth group. I have been reflecting often on things I have observed in many parishes that really demonstrate how different they can be from each other. This post is not a guide on how to have a perfect parish, but rather a reflection on qualities that can help keep the fire alive and burning brightly for the love of Christ and His Church. Read the rest of this entry

Cutie Catholics: Saint Longinus

longinus

This soldier pierced the side of Christ, and after blood and water fell into his eyes, restoring his sight, he exclaimed “Indeed, this was the Son of God!”
May God restore sight in the blind of heart.

St.Longinus, pray for us!

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