Category Archives: modesty

Make Change

“Be the change you want to see in the world”

“Never change who you are”

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, No one thinks of changing himself.”

“You were born this way”

These are all familiar quotes to us. We hear them in music, in movies, and see them on cheesy prints they sell at gift stores. One challenges us to change ourselves for the good of the world,  while the other embraces comfort in not changing at all.

Often people assume they can change the world by giving in to who they feel they are. This means embracing all faults and making them excusable by thinking that removing those faults would be dishonest to who they are. For example, I really struggle reaching out to people. I am shy about meeting new people, and often I make excuses for myself because I am too afraid to get out of my comfort zone. I found out there is another new mom not far from me and I was so afraid to reach out to her. I made excuses like “she’s a bit older than me”, “she won’t like me” , “she is a stranger”, and “I’m too shy”. I convinced myself it was okay to just keep to myself because of my introverted nature. It took several weeks for me to just send her an e-mail.

Fear to change is also an excuse.

Fear to change is also an excuse.

It seems more apparent that people would rather change their surroundings than change who they are internally. We may challenge ourselves to do good deeds, which in turn can make an impact on ourselves, but it is only temporary if it isn’t pursued and ultimately will yield little or no fruit if we do not continue to change ourselves.

We may need to reflect on the little things we do and ask ourselves some hard questions. Am I humble? Am I modest in dress? Do I love selflessly? Do I always expect something in return when I do something kind for someone else? Do I really put God first?

The change we embrace must not be solely fuelled by the desire for what we wish to see happen in the word nor in what the world wants from us. Instead, any change we make must be rooted in Christ, who is truth and love. It is only by Him that we can be made perfect. This conversion is about seeking holiness rather than temporary happiness.

Christianity calls us to change the world by changing ourselves daily by picking up our cross and conforming out lives to Christ. It means turning away from sins that we may have allowed to become habits in our daily lives. It requires repentance. A murderer can become a capuchin, but it requires a change of heart through conversion, not just once, but daily.

As the Christmas season draws near, let us prepare our hearts for the celebration of the Incarnation. Let us change our ways and continue to pursue a real relationship with Christ, one that requires us to change and to grow. Let us change into the people of God, not of the world.

 

 

Courting and Date Ideas

Dating’, or whatever you want to call it, is one of those life experiences that has changed over the decades. These days, dating is often seen as a place where it’s all fun and games, where it’s filled with passion and risks, where relationships can be abandoned if they aren’t our cup of tea or in some cases hold us back from everything we used to or want to be.

If you wanted to get to know someone in a greater relationship, it was for the sake of seeing if you two could discern your vocation with one another. In other words, seeing if you guys could be married. Back in the day this was better known as courting. It makes so much more sense though, doesn’t it? If you’re called to the vocation of marriage, then doesn’t it make more sense to seek out the person God wants for you to discern marriage with? I wouldn’t want to spend years of my life unsure about someone, staying in a relationship because it’s become comfortable, or settling for that person because we ‘get along’.

Taking any relationship too lightly can result in it falling apart. Relationships are fragile, special, and to be taken care of. They are not to be used or used for our own gratification, rather they should be based on self-sacrifice and love. In summary, if we are called to the vocation of marriage, we should seek out the individual that will become our future spouse right from the very beginning. You want to be able to help them live a holier life, and get to Heaven.

So, That being said, I thought I would make up a list of ideas of date ideas! They are in no particular order. So, here I go!

  1. Holy Hour: Chris and Julie can probably attest to this idea. Where better to discern your vocation than before the Eucharist? Go to Mass and Confession if you can, too!
  2. Pray together: So it’s a friday night. You’ve been fasting. How about the two of you pray the rosary together? Or maybe you will say the Divine Mercy.  Praying together as a couple is extremely important. It’s important to be able to pray alone, and this is encouraged as Jesus told us to pray in this manner (Matthew 6:6). It’s important to give your relationships to Christ so that He may do with them what He sees fit.
  3. Go to a Christian Concert: There are loads of shows all over. Look up concert listings and try to find a Christian band to go watch. Maybe it’s a new band you have never heard of, but it might be fun! Here are some of my recommendations:  Copeland, Starfield, Hillsong, Anberlin, and Sent by Ravens.
  4. Other Music Shows: Okay so maybe your girlfriend isn’t a huge fan of MeWithoutYou or Demon Hunter. Maybe you need to scale it down and find something a little more soft. Lots of venues have shows with music that’s a little easier on the ears. Maybe look up the local music hall and see if the university students are showing their skills in a choir, or are simply having a talent show. These shows are relatively cheap, too.
  5. Take a walk: Probably one of the simplest ideas out there. However, walking is a great way to spend a day. Whether it’s just around the city, around the block, or on a nature trail, it’s a great way to just talk and observe the world around you. It’s also great exercise!
  6. Volunteer: Jesus said in Matthew 25  :“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
    “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
    “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
    Charity! Pure and Simple! Soup kitchens, nursing homes, St.Vincent de Paul. All these places love to have volunteers. Maybe it’s time to stop by the nursing home and see Grandma. Or maybe you guys are musical and you can do a little duet. Maybe you want to help out at the food bank or the soup kitchen downtown. It’s a free date, and it makes a difference in the community.
  7. Book Study: You may have to invest some money in buying some books, but check out your local library first. Basically you both read a book, and at the end of every chapter, or at the end of the book, you sit down and talk about it. I recommend setting a limit to how much you read so you can discuss it in smaller portions and take your time in the discussion as well. Compare notes and talk about what you learned or thought was cool!  Some ideas of books to read:
    – The Love that Satisfies by Christopher West
    – Captivating and/or Wild at Heart – John and Stasi Eldredge
    – The Bible (This could take a while, but there are lots of Bible study resources online.)
    – Anything by G.K. Chesterton. I’ve read three of his books, and they are fantastic reads. He’s truly a master of paradox, and though it’s old, it’s definitely not outdated.
    More of our book ideas can be found here.
  8. Dinner out: It doesn’t have to be fancy. Hit up the local grill, or even just a Tim Hortons. Special occasions may call for stepping it up a little, but treating your significant other out to a nice night is always a treat.
  9. Dinner in! Time to become Master Chefs! it’s a great way of having fun and trying out new recipes. If that fails, well it might be time to call up Dominoes or Kings Buffet and just order in.
  10. Bowling: Inexpensive and fun. It’s fun if it’s just the two of you, but maybe you guys can invite some friends and have two teams playing!
  11. Ice cream: I think all my friends know that I absolutely LOVE ice cream! You can walk around outside with it, or just sit and chat at a table and enjoy each others company. So hit up DQ or Marble Slab! If you’re looking to save money, check out the newspapers and Facebook pages of those sites and you can look for coupons and such.
  12. Game time: So as many of our readers may or may not know, Team Orthodoxy is FILLED with nerds. Seriously. When we all hang out, we’re usually playing Halo or something. If you own a gaming system, find a two player game. If you’re not into shooters, play some Mario Kart. Feeling active? Play Wii Sports. Feeling Musical? Pull out the Rock band or Guitar Hero.
  13. Board Games: These may be harder to find two player games that are a little more interesting than chess or checkers. Jenga, scrabble, battleship, connect 4, or a puzzle are textbook games that i’m sure many people have stored away somewhere. Recently, I started playing Settlers of Catan. It’s a little more expensive and you need an expansion if you want to play two players, but it’s a great group game. Invite another couple or maybe let the younger brother or sister play and it’s great.
  14. Take a class: Some parishes offer classes on the Catechism, history, and rosary making, or Bible Study. Check out your local parish and see if there are classes being offered.  Also, if you’d like to do other things, grocery stores and community centers often have cooking classes or other hobby classes. Try something different, and don’t forget to have fun.
  15. Photo day!  You basically have two options. You can buy a disposable camera, which would make the outcome perhaps more surprising, or you can limit yourselves to a certain number of photos on a digital camera, and print them elsewhere. Basically, spend the whole day taking pictures around town.
  16. Movie Marathon: Lord of the Rings. Back to the Future. Star Wars. Make a boatload of popcorn, grab some hot chocolate or some pop, and just hang out in front of the tube and watch some timeless classics! This is a great option for a rainy day.
  17. Stargazing: During the summer months, nothing beats just chilling in the backyard and watching the stars.
  18. Bonfire: If you have a fire pit, get a fire going and you won’t get cold. Maybe roast some marshmallows and have smores! This is a great idea for inviting a bunch of friends and sharing funny stories.
  19. Dinner with the parents: I encourage this! Showing that you care about your significant others family is huge. This may shock many of you : They may be your family one day too! So you should probably get to know them, and love them as you would love your own family, with its ups and downs.
  20. Theme Park: Every year, there are fairs and amusement parks open. If they bigger attractions are a little too expensive or they are hard together, look around and see if there are county fairs. You can often find cool things there, not to mention delicious food!

Well, those are my ideas! I encourage you all to pray for all vocations. Pray for guidance and patience. Above all things, seek Christ. Keep one another from sin.  Help one another to get to Christ. Help them get to Heaven in every way you can.  As the saying often goes, You cannot be someone’s soul-mate unless you car for their soul.
Love,
Catholic Ruki

Please check out some other Team Orthodoxy Links concerning topics related to courting and marriage
The Great Sexual Persecution
Lust: Not just a Guy Thing
Web Find Wednesday: 1-Flesh.org
Marriage as a Primordial Sacrament
In Pursuit of Chastity
Modesty

Lust: Not Just a Guy Thing

“More souls go to Hell because of the sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”- Our Lady of Fatima

How often do we see relationships affected by the consequences of pornography?
How much of the media is targeted to degrading women and turning them into sexual objects that are pleasing to ‘the gaze’?
The Gaze is a cinematic tool in which the camera objectifies its subject. Often it is women being looked at by men and seen as sexual objects. The camera focuses on a part or parts of the woman in order to send across her subjection to the viewer.

Well, while feminists battle it out against the male gaze in Vertigo, I’ll just discuss how media likes us ladies to have a gaze of our own against men, and not in a good way.

Hollywood has done a fantastic job turning human sexuality into a device meant to bring us escapism and pleasure. Movies that project big screen nudity and sex send images into both male and female viewers. Television series with steamy sex scenes fill up the TV guides. These are the shows that somehow have season after season, each promising to be hotter than the last one. The images create fantasies on screen for the viewers, inspiring them to have their own, and what is worse is that this leads to sin.

Erotic fiction and romances are mass produced by publishers around the world .  These books fill the shelves of department stores, bookstores, libraries, and are discussed in book clubs.  Harlequin novels are some of the most popular books amongst women. People are drawn in to the quick ‘romantic’ story about a lonely woman that seeks love. They create a drama, a dream of passion and sex fueled by love from a childhood friend or the mysterious man at the back of the room. But found within the pages are frequent sex scenes that don’t even contribute to a good storyline.

Readers will try and justify those scenes by saying “Oh , but they are in love!” False.  They are in lust.  Novels allow readers to create a private sphere in their mind. They are private, and yet mass produced like a biological and demoralizing weapon. Here’s what gets me, though. So many relationships are torn up because of the industry of pornography. Marriages crumble. Couples lose trust with one another. And yet, how many of the same women go out and buy erotic fiction or park themselves in front of the TV and watch women fall into affairs, explicit sex scenes, complicated love triangles where friends are sleeping with friends, making the mistake of sleeping with a friend and then falling in love with them and continuing to have sex with them. The list goes on.

Really? Does this make ANY sense? Absolutely not. These TV shows, movies, and books, are just the media’s way of getting at women and creating for them a different kind of ‘porn’. It’s manufactured to please (most often) female audiences and keep them coming back for more. These images attempt and many times succeed to lead women to sin in their hearts, minds, and even their bodies. The images make women crave for a sexual adventure of their own comparable to those that they read about or watch.

Many will say it’s all about self control. One person may read the novels and find themselves giving in to temptations. Other will simply read over the erotic parts with not much interest. If you play with fire, though, you’re going to get burned. Temptation can be given into like a bad habit. I’ll use smoking as a way to explain this. You know many people die from cancers caused by smoking, but you also know many people who don’t have cancer or other problems. Does that make smoking okay? NOPE! Why would you risk starting such a horrible habit that will cause your body ailments and possibly lead to death? Is it not common sense to avoid things that will make us sick and possibly die? So why would you put yourself in a position of temptation which can cause sin and sickness of the soul? The same way smoking puts your body at a higher risk of cancer, these temptations put your soul at a higher risk of spiritual disease. Regardless of whether or not one person can handle it, it’s not appropriate, and it is sinful.

Lust is extremely manipulative. It targets our hearts and souls to send us on a path that could bring us to a place far from Love. It puts on the mask of love, and it tears at us from the inside out. It aims to destroy femininity and masculinity and corrupt our hearts and bodies in whatever way it can.

Men are sons of God. They are not to be seen as bringers of fulfillment and pleasure and be eye candy to all those who look on them and neither are women. True heroic masculinity can’t be found in raunchy dramas or movies or in the pages of an erotic fiction novel.   It can be found in the heart of a man who loves with his whole heart, in he who wants to protect women from sin and all worldly harm, and most importantly in he who loves God above all else.

Does what you read or watch promote or tempt you or others to sin? If it does, do not give in to it.  In fact, stay away from it. Do not support the  media in its attempt to degrade men and women by turning us into sexual objects. Don’t buy the books. Don’t watch the shows or recommend  them. All the media wants is to get rich quick by manipulating the sexual cravings of their customers. It doesn’t care about your soul or God’s love for you.  So when you see those male actors on screen, appreciate them as part of Gods creation deserving respect and love, and not as objects.

LOVE is infinitely stronger than lust.  It defeats sin, crushing it underfoot. Turn your eyes to LOVE Himself, Christ our Lord. Ask Him to make you pure. Pray to Our Lady, who is the new Eve that crushes the serpent and sends Satan running. Pray for all those that are caught up in lust’s web, that they may overcome temptation. Pray for all those that are part of the the industries that produce the rubbish that leads people to temptation and sin.
Love,

Catholic Ruki

Mysticism in the Life of the Church

The Catholic Church would not be the Catholic Church we know and love without authentic mysticism.  Mysticism brings fire and passion to the faith. Read the rest of this entry

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