Category Archives: Apologetics
Sometimes, I believe that people are actually choosing to be ignorant (Catholics included), though many people would rather not admit to it. Ignorance can simply make life easier to deal with when you choose to not know the truth.
Knowing the truth can be painful. It can make us question ourselves, especially about sensitive moral issues. Truth can change us, and often we can find ourselves afraid of what those changes can bring. However, it is only if we embrace the truth and the change that it brings that we can enter into fruitful dialogue with each other. I truly believe that it is a chosen ignorance that is preventing us all from effectively communicating and understanding each other.
There are many people out there that think they know Catholicism, but in reality they know only a shadow of it. The world offers often a watered down spirituality instead of actual Catholic truth. Its an unfortunate situation that so many people flock to imitations of truth and few actually go to the source of truth, who is Christ and his 2000 year old church.
When uninformed Catholics or Catholics who choose to be ignorant of church teaching try to communicate what they believe to be Catholic doctrine, there are going to be issues. Often, the dialogue falls flat without real issues ever being addressed. To put it simply, you can’t give what you don’t have. You can’t defend or share what you don’t know. That’s why effective catechesis as well as prayer and an active relationship with Christ are so crucially important for dialogue from Catholics.
On the other hand, when we seek to know the truth and to better understand our neighbour rather than to win an argument, we can find that it is much easier to communicate. It’s not just non-Catholics who need to better understand others and be more open to the truth. It is important that we as Catholics make the effort to understand where other people are coming from and to be respectful towards them.
My plea to Catholics is this: be in love with Christ, who is the Truth. Be in love with His sacred heart, especially in the most Blessed Sacrament. Go directly to the Church for answers, not to those who only think or claim to know the faith when they in fact believe in a self-constructed faith. For those that are not Catholic, know what the church teaches rather than assume. We should all seek to embrace truth and not relativism. If we want to have understanding and peace we must seek charity, truth, and seek to have respectful and logical dialogue. This does not mean that we must agree with one another, but we must all have the ability to communicate so we may love and understand one another better.
Check out the resources below for stories of conversion, Book lists, and more.
“That they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”
St. John in the above Gospel tells us that our Blessed Lord desires and prays for the unity of his Bride, the Church. Christ, who is the Head, desires that the Church, His body, be fully united together in Him. This is the reason why He came to save us – so that we could be united with Him on earth and in Heaven. As Christians, we should also have this same desire for unity. I have been listening to Air1, which is a great Christian music radio station over the past few years. Recently they have introduced a special feature called “59 Seconds of Hope”. These are great little reminders to us as Christians to keep our eyes on Christ and keep moving in our Christian journey. Read the rest of this entry
The greatest glory we can give to God is to do his will in everything. – Saint Alphonsus Ligouri
Newly married and starting fresh is a struggle on its own. In addition to this, lets add living in a new city, learning a new way of life that is filled with its own ups and downs, and learning how to love and live in a way you never have before. My life these past few months has been filled with change and I am trying to move forward as a married woman. However, all too often, I find myself asking ” What does God want me to do now?” I think we can all relate to asking ourselves this very question and spending hours of our lives just trying to come to grips with an answer.
Quite often, the people around us are the ones we want to please most. We want our family and friends to be proud of us. We also want to make ourselves happy with the decisions we have made along the way. There are lots of different opinions you may gather on who you should be, what you should do, and the ‘right way’ to do things. It can lead to some pretty rough internal turmoil, especially when you want to please everyone around you and also make yourself happy.
But do we pause and take a moment to ask ourselves: What would be most pleasing to God?
Trying to hear a solid answer is hard. We are hesitant and we make excuses for ourselves to try to run from the path that looks too demanding. We are faced with decisions in our career, our vocation, our friendships, and our family. Sometimes we just don’t really feel motivation to pray for help or to just listen.
Time and time again, I think of how Mary and Joseph imitate this submission and humility to the will of God. We can all recall Mary’s great “I do” to the will of God when she accepted the role of mother to the Messiah. Fatherhood was thrust upon Joseph practically overnight just as he had decided to dismiss Mary after he had found out she was pregnant. The angel came to him and told him to not be afraid and to take Mary as his wife. He show great courage in doing that, but also in fleeing to Egypt and keeping them safe there to protect Christ from Herod.
We can learn by their example that the calling for us will be great. It might be hard, and it might be nothing like we could have ever dreamed of. God wants the very best for us. Ultimately, He wants us to be holy, happy, and to be with Him for all eternity. If we truly want to achieve what will be ultimately good for our souls then we must seek to have souls that are in tune to the will of God . In Uniformity with Gods Will, St. Alphonsus says ” Those who love God are always happy, because their whole happiness is to fulfil, even in adversity, the will of God.”
The other day at mass, I prayed to God so that I would know his will, and that he would give me the strength I would need. I had been frustrated, scared, and tired of waiting for a response that was direct obvious. In prayer, I said ” God, I want what you want for me. I know what I desire in my heart, but is it what You want for me? Over and over again, I heard Him in my heart say:
” My Child, why do you worry? Trust me, and do not be afraid.”
Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. 1 Kings 19: 11-13
It can be hard to hear that voice of God sometimes. We truly need to quiet our hearts. Like children, we ask ” Are were there yet?” and “Why?” and “Where are we going?” But we must learn to be patient and to listen. We must unceasingly pray. Frequently go to confession. Go to adoration. Be with Him and listen to Him. Rest your heart in the hands of Christ. Ask of Him everyday that the will of God be done. Be ready to lay down your life for the sake of His will.
God provides for every living thing, and he will provide for us too ( Matthew 6:26). Offer to Him all your suffering and rejoice in it, for it is in redemptive suffering we are able to give our lives to God.
Below are some resources that may aid you in discernment.
According to Saint Ignatius, we must be aware of how the spirit moves within our hearts when we reflect on the choices before us. Check this article for more information on Ignatian Spirituality and how it can help us discern the will of God.
Jesus showed up in my life at one of my darkest moments. As a young teenager, I felt like I was at rock bottom. My mother was pretty much dying, I had no father that was present in my life, I was at the bottom of the grade school food chain, and I hated God. Life sucked and I knew it. I thought about suicide and did not want to live anymore. It was in the midst of this darkness that Jesus came into my life in a real way and changed that (you can read that story here). The point is, I encountered the real and tangible love of Jesus Christ, and I began to get to know that same Jesus through prayer, through Sacred Scripture, lives of the Saints, and through the teachings of the Catholic Church. I was like a crack addict; I could not get enough of the Truth. Now pegged as a fanatic Jesus Freak, I did not even show up on the radar of the Grade School foodchain, but the difference was, I did not care anymore. I found out quite quickly, however, that I was very much alone in this faith.
The Jesus I encountered that changed my life was far different from the Jesus being peddled to us in our school religion classes. He looked even more different from the Jesus talked about in my Confirmation class. Why was “my Jesus” different than “their Jesus”? I could not understand why it was so different, when the Jesus I knew was the same as the Jesus the Saints had encountered. The Jesus of the Gospels was far different than the Jesus of my parish. This needed to be rectified and I took it upon myself to rectify it. Jesus was being misrepresented and I needed to set the record straight.
Looking back, I realize I made a lot of mistakes growing up in my faith, especially as a teenager. My naivete was only matched with the poor catechesis I was receiving from my parish and school. The type of Catholic faith I was trying to proclaim overcompensated for the lack of clear evangelization I was seeing. So my closet was filled with an arsenal of Christian t-shirts with super lame slogans, trying to encourage my classmates to start thinking about God. Armed with my WWJD bracelets and a crucifix around my neck, I thought I was doing a service to the Gospel. Looking back, though my attempts were sincere, I know my tactics needed work. Nevertheless, I was determined to reset the image people had created about Jesus in their minds. I still am, however my tactics have changed
Every attempt has been made to make Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, a fluffy feel-good spiritualist, especially in the wake of the abuses in the name of the Second Vatican Council. Thanks to hippies and psychedelic drugs we have things like the play Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar. The world gobbled up this garbage like it was candy, and the image of the real Jesus has faded. Protestantism in its turn has also done a great disservice of painting a poor picture of what Jesus really looks like, however, as Catholics, you would think we would know better. It turns out, however, that what Protestantism began, modernist catholics have brought to an even greater low. On top of the Protestant Jesus who does not even see your sins, the modernist catholic Jesus does not even care if you worship Him at all. They place this friendly buddy Jesus on the same level as the Buddha or Muhammad. Jesus is made out to be this kind little lamb, with surfer hair and an english accent, who hugs peoples and gives them what they want. It drives me absolutely nuts, but I know it certainly is a tactic of the devil to deceive the world into thinking that Jesus has no real credibility and is certainly not God, who does God-like things like call people to conversion.
Last weekend, I attended a Christian Music Festival called Sonshine Festival, in Minnesota. If anyone knows me, they know I like music, and particularly hard music. Christian music has been a part of my life since my reversion. Christian music, however, can sometimes tend toward that feel-good spirituality that I absolutely abhor. Therefore, I found myself as a teen turning away from the mainstream Contemporary Christian Music, and listening to Christian metal, because I found in that genre a realism that I did not see in the mainstream. I was reminded of that fact during the recent festival I attended. Tommy Green, the lead singer of the Christian Hardcore band Sleeping Giant said something quite striking. He said before their set even began, “As I was walking over here to play tonight, I heard someone from the mainstage say, ‘You may think that we are rockstars, but Jesus is the rockstar here.’ A rockstar? GOD HELP US IF JESUS IS A ROCKSTAR!” He went on to say that, “Jesus is not a rockstar. He is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords…do not let them take away what is true about God!” Now, I do not fully support the protestant spirituality of Tommy Green, but he made a valid point that I wish the entire local church could hear.
If you look across the face of the Catholic Church right now, you will see that it is the converted and reverted who are making the real differences. It is those who have come into an encounter with Jesus Christ, and who continue to encounter Him. The world is looking for credible witnesses, not people who read from a textbook. The world is trying to re-write Jesus, and idle Christians stand by and watch the Lord of all Creation be stripped of His power and credibility, not simply because they are afraid, but because they do not know otherwise. All of the problems we see within the local church stem from catholics who do not have a real and healthy relationship with Jesus Christ. Ask any catholic who supports so-called “same-sex marriage” and the gay lifestyle if they spend a considerable amount of time in daily prayer, scripture, Eucharistic adoration and study of the Teachings of the Church. The answer will be a resounding “no”.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
Jesus knew when He asked the question to His disciples that the world did not know who He was. Peter, whose primacy is shown in this moment, speaks on behalf of the disciples when he exclaims that Jesus is the Messiah. What differentiated these Apostles from the rest of the world they were in? The Apostles were with Jesus and stuck by His side. They were His friends. In our culture today, it is not those whose names are followed by a bunch of letters, or even those who have received a higher ecclesiastical status, who can truly answer the question about who Jesus is. It is those who are united to Him in prayer and obedient to His commands and to the Church He established who can authentically say “I know the Lord”. Perhaps it is important for all of us to take stock of where we stand with Christ and ask the question, “Am I an authentic witness of the Gospel, or am I just going through the motions?” It is time for us as Catholics, the promised co-heirs of the kingdom, to begin to tear down, brick by brick, the false pictures that people have of Jesus and begin to proclaim with our actions and words, who Jesus really is. The New Evangelization will never take root until Jesus Christ is seated on the Throne, and we acknowledge Him for who He is, no matter how many committees or task forces are started. Jesus must be crowned King again if the Church ever wishes to see herself restored, bottom line.
+Mary, Queen and Star of the New Evangelization, help us to reveal the real Jesus to the world.+