Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Priestly Shorts and Bizarre Tabernacles

I found myself today visiting a church, as I sometimes do, and not realizing that they were about to say Mass. Unfortunately not all the chapels I visit to say my rosary are traditional, so I occasionally run into the Novus Ordo mass. I end up saying my rosary on the way back home in order not to attend, but today was different.

I saw all the elderly people doing their best to shout out the right responses, Father interrupting the sacred prayers to make jokes to the faithful, and Our Blessed Lord placed indifferently into the hands of all, and His particles potentially falling upon the floor. We truly have lost the beauty of Catholicism in the Novus Ordo.

These poor souls, who look for Jesus Christ, find Him in a place of dishonour. It is as if they go to a drying well, and try to survive on the drops of water that is left. The reason the Novus Ordo mass is so dangerous is because of its Protestant style. Holy Communion becomes just a piece of bread to be passed around by anyone, and the priests that celebrate this sacred ceremony quickly change into their shorts and tshirts in order to not be recognized in the streets for their holy position. How will anyone take Catholicism seriously when they see this? Why would anyone convert if this is all we believe? People may say I am not accepting of the modern times, but why in the world would we want to make our modern times a place of frivolousness and irreverence?

We are brought on this earth to respect and fear our beloved God, not place Him in silly looking tabernacles to be brought out and mocked. We must pray tradition is brought back, and these horrible acts of irreverence are stopped, so that those who sit in these modern day pews, may drink their fill in the true wells of Our Lord, and not through brambles which the Devil has placed there.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Making Sins from Dust

There are some topics that aren't talked about much in traditional Catholicism. We become so accustomed to avoiding things, that we sometimes forget the positive aspect of the Faith. What I mean to talk about in this article is the topic of the occasion of sin (I will be using purity between people courting as an example). We see the good in staying pure, and keeping from the occasion of sin, that we forget there are many dangers to becoming scrupulous in this aspect.

Before I begin, let me just summarize what an occasion of sin is. The occasion of sin is when we place ourselves in danger of committing sin, and this occasion must be avoided. For example, being completely alone with the person we are courting is an occasion of sin for impurity. But sometimes occasions cannot be avoided, like walking into a grocery store and seeing the worldly magazines. We must do our best not to have impure thoughts because of these magazines, but we aren't going to stop going to the store because of it. (I will in the future focus more on the topic of what an occasion of sin is)  But some scrupulous souls begin to worry so desperately about the occasion of sin, that they place themselves in a different situation to offend God.

Let us say a couple who are courting are holding hands before marriage, perhaps a kiss on the cheek. We see them across the restaurant and think, "How could they possibly do this in public, and place not only themselves, but all of us in the occasion of sin?!" I understand people have different principles concerning this, but if we begin pointing and picking at the people we see, as well as worrying about every detail in our relationship, the ropes become too tight and we start being prone to other sins. Either we will crack from the pressure and leave the Faith, or become so frozen with scrupulosity, that our souls are unable to move and live a good Catholic life. We must place our principles firmly before us, use every mean to stay pure, and never forget to be humble. The proud man says, I am holy, I will not hold hands until marriage! The humble man says, God please keep me pure in all that I do. Let our hands held together be in Thy presence as an act of our love to you, and let our minds be pure in all that we do.

If we try hard enough, we can make anything into a sin. But God never intended our minds to work in the negative, rather He desires for our hearts to shine with His goodness and love. He wants us to avoid the occasion of sin so we can enjoy all the beauties in life without fear and anxiety. And if you want to save holding hands and putting your arms around each other for marriage, I won't judge you. But when I see a soul completely paralyzed, unable to look up into her beloved's eyes for fear of sin, I cannot help but think there is another side to the occasion of sin.

If the Devil cannot get you to sin impurely, he will tempt you to despair. Trust in Our Lord Jesus Christ, avoid the obvious, but be not afraid to rejoice in the goodness He has given us. Because Heaven will not be us always saying no, but yes, just as He intended.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

I Don't Feel like Being Catholic Today

Let's admit it, some days we don't want to be Catholic. We don't feel like praying, thinking of God becomes tiresome, and the thought of sanctifying our souls seems like way too much work. But what do we do in these times? And can God do anything with the days we don't feel near to Him?

Closer than we think - On the days we feel nothing, God is doing the most. Oftentimes trials can be easier to offer up (since the sacrifice is evident), but the feeling of indifference can be more meritorious a lot of times. It is as if God is hiding behind a tree, waiting to see if we'll put our crosses down and take a nap, or go searching for Him. And if we do in fact keep going and persevere, how Our Lord will enthusiastically embrace us in His arms and rejoice at the love we have for Him!

Doing what we can - When these times do come, simply continue to do your daily duty, say your regular prayers and try not to dwell too much on the fact that you feel this way. The Devil will try to say, "Think at how mean God is to be leaving you out in the cold like this! Oh, and how holy you are for doing this favour for Him!" Pride is always the first vice that is sewn into our souls, so focus on what you need to do, and all your needs will be met - God never stops caring for us.

New devotions - Another great way of breaking out feeling of indifference and dryness is trying out new devotions. I don't mean beginning a million devotions at once (refer to my article on "Keeping Devotions Simple" on the CFN page), making it impossible to keep up, but maybe read up more on the promises of the Holy Face or the promises of the Precious Blood. Sometimes sticking to a lot of the same prayers can get tedious, so mix it up and make things interesting! Catholicism was never meant to be boring.

Finally have hope, and know that these times will pass. Every trial leads to a reward, and every step leads us to eternal happiness and peace in heaven. God bless and Our Lady protect you all!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

An Unspoken Topic - The Temptation of Suicide

Many traditional Catholics find this topic uncomfortable to talk about, and brush it off with "you know it's a mortal sin!" But suicide can be much deeper than that for a soul. I need to write a much longer article to discuss the depth of this topic, but I wanted to leave this here right away for any people in need, or those who have people close to them dealing with this tragic tribulation.

Deeper than a mortal sin - For those who have people close to them, understand that if they are dealing with suicidal thoughts, they need more than people telling them it is a mortal sin. Of course it is very important for them to realize this, but they also need comfort and support. Spending time with them, brightening up their lives, and filling their days with all the things they love most will help them far more than just condemning them. God is just, but also desires us to preach His merciful side as well. This is exactly what the soul needs, the nourishment of His grace.

And for those who are weighted down with the temptation of suicide, be hopeful, confess the thoughts you have consented to, and do your absolute best to look at all the good God has sewn into your life, and will sew in the future. Take it from one who has dealt with depression (hopefully planting little seeds of myself in this blog will help), it's very important to renew the reasons why you want to live. It may be a small exercise, but we need to cling onto the things we love to see that life is worth living. Suicide is a mortal sin, always keep that in mind, but also remember all the graces God has given us. The smell of bonfires, the taste of lemonade, the hug of a friend, these things might seem insignificant, but it is the little things that make up the big things in life. Focus on the positive, just as God wants you to. In remembering these things, our minds will slowly see that life is not just a dark dangerous place, but a welcoming one where we belong.

Laying out the problem - For those friends who are depressed or suicidal, a massive way to help us to assist them in laying out their problems. We often lose our view of the specific problems we are facing, then feel as if they will never end. But there is always a limit to them, and in laying out exactly what is bothering the person, we can help and give advice more efficiently. Perhaps speaking to a priest, even receiving therapy are all good helps. Finding the problem to fix it is much more efficient than generalizing everything.

And for those who feel as if the pain never ends, fall at the feet of Our Lord who also thought it was too much to bear when He said, "Father, why have you forsaken Me?" An excellent way to help clear your mind is sorting out the exact problems (as mentioned above) that are troubling us. There is always a way out, God wouldn't make it otherwise. Find your way out, no one should be stopping you from leaving a dangerous situation. You always have that power, since God gave us all free will. Sometimes we think it is God's will for us to be in a situation where we have to endlessly suffer, but sometimes when things get that bad, He wants us to find where we are most happy in life.

Try to Pray - Above all, pray for these souls who so desperately need our prayers. They are going through unimaginable pain, and though it is a sin, we must have compassion for them. Through prayer, God can grant them the grave to be healed and renew their Faith. Our advice is nothing without God, so use His assistance as much as you can.

As for the suffering soul, try your best to turn your eyes to God, even the smallest glance will bring you strength and peace. No matter how many times you've fallen or lost trust in God, He is waiting to pick you up and embrace the soul who He can't stand seeing suffering like this.

Therefore, for those who are reading this to help others, do you best to be there for them, and never be afraid to call emergency if things get serious. Anything is better than the loss of their souls. Pray, instill hope, and take part in the charity God wills for us to give.

And finally, for those who are suicidal, never forget that life will always get better. God only allows suffering for a greater good, and if you'll keep going, I can assure you it will be worth it. God gives a hundred fold of consolation for every drop of suffering we give. All of heaven and all of earth are here for you! Pray, hope, and trust that God doesn't want you to suffer like this. After all, there is a reason He wanted you to read these sentences.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Humbled Because of Consolation

I remember a while ago I was reading a book that said the souls that have highest form of sanctity detest consolation and seek for suffering alone to offer up to God. And I will say there are some exceptional souls that perhaps this applies to (some people would bring up victim souls, which I plan on writing about soon.) For a while then, I made it my goal to make suffering and offering up desolation the focus, rather than being happy with consolation.

What I love about this blog, is that every time I get inspired with a new concept in my spiritual life, I can quickly write it down and leave it for others to perhaps be inspired with as well. And today is one of those days. I often write that we must see suffering as a means to a greater good, but I want to add that suffering does not in any way ever need to be the focus. It takes a special kind of humility to admit that we are limited, and can't be offering ourselves up as a victim to God all the time. God doesn't want us to be victims, He calls us to be His beloved children who roam the world in peace and happiness, waiting to go to their heavenly home.

Pride can make it very easy for us to say when we are having a difficult time, "Look at me, and how I suffer! I am a victim soul, and do not need silly consolations. Let God put the world on my shoulders, because ME, MYSELF, AND I CAN TAKE IT!" Offering up suffering is an amazing act of love, it's true, but not like this. No matter what background or past you come from, whether it be a happy traditional Catholic family, or a broken home with divorced parents, everyone deserves to be happy and consoled. You might argue because of sin we deserve nothing. But because of God's grace in our soul, He lifts us up to the eternal and infinite, and makes us worthy of incredible things we cannot even possibly imagine on this earth.

Our Lord, when He was talking about giving us our hundred fold, specifically said, "on earth, and in Heaven." That means we do not have to toil all the time in the world, rather we must accept the grace to see right away that our trial leads to the greater good, and rejoice immediately! We mustn't dwell on our pain, or bask in our miseries. Do not let the Devil take away your merit with pride, but fight him with a smile and peaceful disposition. God's love is always burning for us, and He does desire to make us happy even here on earth. Does a father like to see his son in pain because he things it will do him good? God does desire to comfort us on earth, and we need to be humble enough to accept that, and agree with the fact that we do need it in our spiritual lives. We were born to be happy!

Let us then get down on our knees, and say to Our Lord:

Dear Jesus, behold me prostrate before Thy throne. I humble myself and freely admit that on my own, the cross Thou hast given me could not move an inch. I do not ask for suffering, or for an easy life, but rather that through all my experiences, Thy grace will abound, and through everything I may find consolation in Thy presence and generous blessings. Amen.


Friday, 23 June 2017

Radio Recording - Talking About Vocations

If any of you are interested, as I mentioned previously I was featured on Magnificat Media Radio, and got to speak about vocations and my own experience at the convent. It was a fantastic experience, especially since I'm opening up with my struggles and how I overcame them. Please listen down below, and as always I will keep you all in my prayers! God bless and Our Lady protect!

https://soundcloud.com/magnificat-media/your-morning-tradition-june-16-2018

(I begin talking around 30:00, before is a talk from Fulton Sheen)

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Listen to Me Live!

Listen to me live on Magnificat Media on Friday at 6am, 7am, 3pm, or 4pm Central Time. I will be talking about vocations as well as my own experience at the convent. http://www.magnificatmedia.com/

I will also have a recording of the interview afterwards for those who missed it and still would like to hear. I'll talk to you then!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

A Quick Thank You!

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to all those who have read my blog throughout the years. It has now been five years since I started up this blog, and because of all my readers, I've been blessed with so many incredible opportunities. I now write for Catholic Family News, am slowly expanding to other newspapers, hopefully soon will appear on a radio show (stay tuned!), and if God gives me the grace to finally sit down and finish it, release my first book! I feel so humbled by the amazing response my writing has received from you all, and can only pray I live up to all the kind words given to me. Every act of charity that I've been blessed with from my readers means more than you will ever know, and helps me persevere in my own personal and spiritual life. Please know that I am thinking and praying for every soul that reads this very sentence, and hope that God will reward you for your generosity for this poor writer.

Also, if any of you would like me to write any articles for you, whether it be for your blog, youth group newspaper, and so on, I would be more than happy to! Finally I'm going to put my personal email in this article for anyone who would like to request said writings, talk, or have a discussion about anything they wish as well, whether it be about their own spiritual life, the Catholic Church in general, and the like. My email is allie_reis@hotmail.com. Once again God bless you all and Our Lady protect you and keep you under her precious mantle.

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O God, of Whose mercies there is no number, and of Whose goodness the treasure is infinite; we render thanks to Your most gracious majesty for the gifts You have bestowed upon us, evermore beseeching Your clemency, that as You grant the petitions of them that ask You, You will never forsake them, but will prepare for the reward to come. Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

"Why do you strike Me?"

Our Lord, when He was being judged in the temple, uttered these words, "Why do you strike Me?" He asked this question because they were beating Him without a reason or cause during His trial. They proved Him of nothing, yet placed themselves in a position where they felt higher and stronger. Jesus was silent for most of His Passion, but never failed to defend His own name and reputation. As traditional Catholics, we can get humility mixed up with self-neglect, and forget that we have every right to defend our own honour as Our Lord did.

We hear a lot of quotes from great Saints that tell us to offer up every harsh word spoken against us to God, to turn the other cheek. But God never intended for our reputations, which are very precious and important in our lives, to be tarnished because we never stood up for ourselves. It takes a very special kind of humility to stand up for oneself, to recognize that even though we are sinners and deserve to be punished and do penance in this life, God desires so many other great blessings and graces for us. He cares so dearly for our wellbeing especially amongst our neighbours, since He wants to use every one of us to bring more souls to His Sacred Heart. God loves us infinitely, and we need to pray for the strength and willpower to be able to not be crushed by our neighbour, but stand with them in good example and charity.

Souls will not be converted if traditional Catholics sink back and not face the world in all its magnitude. We must stand with our principles, yet not estrange ourselves from the good things of this world. Your neighbour never has a right to crush you, since God would never will such an evil. So stand strong, stand for the truth, and care for your wellbeing, because in caring for yourself you care for others. We may offer up the trails our neighbours put us through, but every soul is equal, and whether it be because of gossip, slander, or general lack of charity, we must defend what is right - it's what we deserve.




Monday, 17 April 2017

The Crazy World of Adulthood

When we are teenagers, we think we know absolutely everything there is to life. Adulthood is on the horizon, and the youth rebels against as many adult figures in their lives as they can since, of course, they know everything! But a moment comes in everyone’s life, when adulthood actually does arrive, and we realize one thing. We hardly know anything. Being twenty presently, I’m realizing as the days go by that the older you get, the more humility you need to learn all the necessary life lessons.  Life is so complex, and we need to have the virtue to learn from others and sanctify ourselves as we go.


As a teenager, we always have an image in our head about our lives, and the future we are going to have. But plans change, and plans we were so firm in to happen in the future might change as well. Because every single person in the world has a different idea of life in their head, and sometimes their way of life is better for our souls than the way we planned on. That is why it is so essential to have good friends we can depend on. People were made by God to be social, and learn important lessons from a plethora of people.

The reason we need to be open to learning from others is because it will be essential to our vocation. For example, if it is God’s will for you to get married, there will be quite a lot of sacrifices that have to be made because of the other person. This other person who you are now bound to, will have different hopes and dreams, and you will need to have the humility to work with their dreams as well as your own. If we can perfect such a humility, life and all it’s potentials will significantly open up, instead of us being selfish and shutting out every idea that is not our own.

The importance of who we spend time with and our environment then comes into play. Since we’re adults now, it is our responsibility to choose our friends as well as our living situation. These two things will play a large role in molding who we are and our futures. If we live in a chaotic home, with friends who do nothing but look down on us, how will we ever learn about life and all it’s beautiful qualities. Every human deserves people who love them and a peaceful place to call home. Never stop fighting for what you deserve. God created you in His likeness, it’s His will.

Let us then pray, stay humble, and live life to the fullest. Because life and learning all it’s lessons is a glimpse of what is in store in heaven. Seeing God face to face is like looking in a beautiful infinitely deep well. Every time we gaze at God in the beatific vision, we will learn new eternally beautiful concepts and lessons we had never dreamed of on earth. Always stay humble, because in all these life lessons lies an incredible form of love from the heavens.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

The End that Led to the Beginning

Six years ago from this holy day of Good Friday, when I was fifteen, I was inspired to take my Faith seriously and obtain every answer for every question I had. Oftentimes when we doubt our Faith, it isn't so much we can't find the answers, but we do not want answers for our questions. We are so convinced that even though on this day Our Blessed Lord went through so many tortures, dragged a cross through the streets as He was laughed to scorn, that He doesn't understand our problems and our desperation. We assume He doesn't know what it's like to have nothing, to be in a position where there seems to be no hope. We strain ourselves to the point of losing faith in life and continue going down the path of destruction. We forget who we are, and Who made us.

This holy Friday, if you happen to stumble upon these words on my humble blog, remember one thing. He loves you. He loves you so intensely that He waits in Churches for days, weeks, even years, so that one day you can enter into that Church to make a visit to Him. He waits in the confessional, waits in the Holy Eucharist, even used to wait in the gardens He would play in as a child, so that one day He could grow up and die for us. Maybe life is harsh, maybe it seems like everything is crashing down, but remember His sacred eyes are continuously resting on you, waiting for you to run into His gentle arms to comfort you in your needs.

Therefore on this sacred day, regain your fire for the Faith. The Faith isn't there as a sort of distraction or burden in our lives. It's a portal to the truth of Providence, and a way for us to live peaceful and happy lives. When Our Lord was hanging on the cross, He didn't complain like we do in our trials. He simply hung in the silence, waiting for the day He would rise up and show the world that life does get better.

Listen in the peaceful silence. He waits for you with love. Have hope, the Resurrection is coming.

Monday, 10 April 2017

World News, and Why We Need to Calm Down

A couple years ago I wrote an article on this blog about the war in Syria and the good that could come from such a travesty. But as time goes on, these wars and evil events are getting far more serious and damaging. Not only are we worrying about wars and persecutions overseas, but the threat of bad influences in the media, in schools, and pretty much everywhere we go is now greatly worrying us. All these things are very concerning, but I must mention one thing. The greatest way the devil can use these trials is a way we often don't think of - he makes us anxious.

Anxiety, the cripple of virtue, the death of will power, and the enemy of perseverance enters our soul. As a general rule, God never dwells in anxiety, He always dwells in peace. If He ever allows any evil, He always brings out a greater good and gives us the grace to accept such things. But this new concept of reading through every article you can find on the internet, subscribing to every Facebook page predicting the Apocalypse, worrying constantly about the end of the world is not from God. We lose our hope this way, we pray to God, "How could this be happening? There is no hope for change!" There is always hope, never forget that. Of course keeping yourself informed of news in important, but never make it your duty and large part of your day to find and post as many tragic and gruesome stories as you can find. God is not found in anxiety, He is found in looking to the future with hope and peace.

If you want to change our leaders, help the world and all it's trials, and stop the horrific wars going on, put down the constant news feed and fulfill the duty God has given you. Whether you be a teenager working at McDonalds, or a mother taking care of a family, in perfecting your daily duty, you complete the job God has given you and He can use that to change world. I always quote St. Catherine of Sienna when she said, "If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!” Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect, and you will see the world change. Do not be anxious dear reader, do not trouble yourself as you do with the news, because Our Blessed Lord only asks you to do what He has given you and He will do the rest. He will never give us something we can't control, like who is in Parliament or who shoots the first bullet. Worrying does nothing, becoming a saint does all. 

Monday, 27 March 2017

Marrying Young, and Why Not to Be Afraid


For 2017, the average age people are now getting married at is 30+. After all shouldn't young people enjoy themselves and experience life to the fullest before settling down? The single life takes precedence, and the focus becomes solely on ourselves. Being 20 and planning out my future, I found myself being faced with these serious questions. My desire, as many young people have, is to experience all that I can and be prepared for marriage as thoroughly as possible  in order to give my best to my husband and children. Of course one can argue about waiting until every virtue is perfected, but marriage is just another step to gaining experience and perfecting virtue. If we consider the positives of marrying younger than 30+, maybe our thoughts will change with this idea of "world experiences,” and making sure we’re “ready.” 

First of all, what are all these world experiences people keep talking about? There are the obvious ones, learning how to manage finances, run a household, build lasting friendships, and so on, but the modern idea of experience has really turned into a pursuit of pleasure. The average person these days has the desire to spend as much time as they possibly can indulging in worldly pleasures, that they forget to focus on future goals. A lot of these pleasure are very good ones, and can be enjoyed within reason, for example traveling or relaxing with friends. But when the focus for the future becomes completely about experiencing as many pleasures as possible, we lose so much of ourselves and end up forgetting about the most important future, Paradise. Charity turns to self-love, sacrifice turns to self-indulgence, and the future is put off over and over until we are too old to even think of raising a family.

God always intended the man or woman to begin their lives together when they are ready: mentally, financially, and spiritually. Arriving at this point really doesn't take as long as people think these days. As long as the man can support his family and the obvious factors are met, then so be it! Marrying when younger not only is easier for having children, having the energy and motivation for raising these children and taking care of your spouse, but the virtues instilled in a heart when receiving the sacrament of marriage are so precious. St. Augustine once said, "What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like." So also is the role of a spouse and parent: one who gives of themselves for others ultimately for the greater glory of God. In giving of yourself so completely, the experiences and pleasures you were so desperately seeking in the world now come to you in a purer and more perfect form in marriage.

So my advice to those who are younger who are considering marriage, never rush into such a sacred union, but rather prepare carefully every day, building yourself up in the traits you will need for the future, and commit when the time is right. Waiting a longer time to experience more pleasures in the world will only keep you from experiencing the real, even greater pleasures that God wills for you. 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

The Duty of Putting Yourself before Others

I bet the reader was somewhat taken aback by the title of "putting yourself before others," but the concept is actually a necessary one in the spiritual life. Of course it is in our human nature to be selfish and not remember our neighbour at times, but this article is going to focus on a main issue people often don't see.  It's the problem that we put our neighbour before ourselves to the extent that we neglect our own needs. Here's an example, imagine two young men that work on a farm. They have a very labourous job, but the first young man always makes sure he's taking his breaks, that he's in good shape, and that his mental and spiritual health are benefiting from the job. The second young man doesn't exactly do this. He always asks the farmer for more jobs, pushing and pushing himself to make sure every detail is complete, working very long hours and skipping his breaks so he can get more work done to benefit the farmer. Who is doing better in the eyes of God? Maybe to the eyes of the world it would be the second man, since he's sacrificing himself so much for society, but in the eyes of God it would be the first. 

God does not give us merit for straining ourselves because we think we're doing more for the world and those around us. He gives us merits for taking care of ourselves as He wants us to. It is extremely necessary to care for ourselves first before we help our neighbour. How are we supposed to love our neighbour as ourselves if we're not even loving ourselves? It is our duty and obligation to take care of our physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing in every single situation. If you're being overworked and it's beginning to effect you, it's your job to rest and heal yourself. Oftentimes it may seem like rest is the last thing we want to do if we want to achieve great things, but it's always in the little perfections that we merit the most.

If we care for ourselves first, our neighbour will always benefit far more than if we had exerted ourselves too much for their "well being." God spreads merit and goodness where His will is followed, so never forget that if we take care of ourselves first, everyone else will benefit. Even if we're lying in bed, resting finally after a life over over working, the world will gain great grace.

And so my dear reader, care for your own soul, care for your body and mind, and always heed to the will of God. For the will of God guides us to not only happiness, but wellness, health, and peace.
 

Friday, 27 January 2017

Clinging to Peace

As Catholics we tend to sometimes have a gloomy view of life. The idea of "offering up all our trials and sufferings" takes over and blinds us from what true suffering is, to bring us to the greater good. God never intended for suffering to be the main focus, rather the main focus in everyone's spiritual life should always be peace.

Peace of soul is essential, because without peace there is nothing to fall back on. Peace is the clarity of conscience, the confidence in our Faith, the solid love and trust we have in our God. If at the end of the day our hearts aren't at peace, and are rather struggling with all our trials and trying to hold onto the fibres of peace left in our souls, then we're doing something very wrong. The first thing we must always remember is that we need to be doing God's will at all time. If you are in a situation, whether it be a job where people are mistreating you, or there are people in your family who are influencing you in a negative way, or your general environment is bringing you down, you need to find a way to fix these things, work around them, and make a change. Of course avoiding suffering is impossible, but unnecessary situations that are causing strain to your life need to be avoided, as it isn't God's will. God wants you to have a happy life in this world and the next. He may give us tests to strengthen us, maybe a situation to go through to help us be better people, but my dear reader, cling to the peace of your soul, for it is there and there alone that Our Blessed Lord dwells. If your heart calls you to a different environment, or a different vocation, or even a different circle of friends, follow it confidently! God is peace, and will always show you where you will be most happy in life as long as we trust Him.

For example imagine a young boy who was disabled. This boy is still a precious soul created by Our Lord, but the right environment is necessary for him to thrive and get to heaven. Why, with all our pride, do we think that we have to live in conditions that aren't peaceful and good for our souls? Do we think that God only wills us to take the cruelty of the world? Of course not! God wants us to fight for our peace and find where that peace lies!
 

Never let anyone take away your peace. Because where peace lies, grace and salvation dwells also. 

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Marriage in Heaven? - A Beautiful Article

I had to post this entire article on my blog (all credit goes to catholicconvert.com and the author Steve Ray - http://www.catholicconvert.com/blog/2015/02/19/marriage-in-heaven-will-we-know-and-love-our-spouses-in-heaven/comment-page-1/#comment-351966) because it's one of the most beautiful I've ever read and answered all my questions I had about this topic. I've always wondered and thought about it, and instead of writing down my thoughts after reading this, I thought I would post the whole thing, since every word is perfectly written! So please enjoy and be inspired!

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My dad died almost five years ago. Mom misses Dad and was discouraged about Mark 12:25 which her paraphrased Living Bible improperly rendered “will not be married” in heaven.


I wrote the following to comfort my Mom…


Mom, I know it is important to you since Dad’s death as you look forward to eternity and speculate about relationships in heaven. It is important to me too, knowing I want to be with my wife Janet in heaven.


You quoted Mark 12:25 from the Living Bible where it says husbands and wives “won’t be married in heaven.” It is the Living Bible translation – which is not a translation but a paraphrase – that renders the words “they won’t be married.” The paraphrased Living Bible takes great liberties and is quite inaccurate.


Here is how other Protestant translations translate the verse (since I know you like the Protestant translations even though the Catholic Bibles word it the same):


The King James Version renders it:
“For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.”



New American Standard Bible says:
“For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”



New International Version (NIV) says:
“When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.”



No reputable translation translates this in a way to deny there are people continuing in love with earthly spouses. The original Greek language says there is no giving or taking in marriage. In other words, there will be no weddings in heaven.


Interestingly it says that before the flood the people were “marrying and giving in marriage” until the flood came. But after the flood Noah and his wife in the ark were still married :-)  


There will be male and female distinctions in heaven. Jesus appeared as male after his resurrection. Mary is seen in heaven as a woman (Revelation 12:1). Marriage will be known in heaven since the Church is the Bride and there will be the great marriage in heaven with Jesus the Bridegroom and the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:9).


The Pharisees set up a trap for Jesus in Mark 12:18-27. They propose a situation with seven brothers. The first marries a wife and dies with no children. The second brother “takes” the woman to procreate children for his brother. This was the law of the Jews — a brother must take the wife of his dead brother to preserve his brother’s name in the land by propagating offspring for him with his widow.) This happens seven times. Who’s wife will she be in heaven.


The woman who was the wife of the seven brothers did not marry the seven brothers.  She married the first and was given to the six in order to procreate children in the name of the first.  All their children would be credited to her first husband who was her true love and spouse.


Jesus is not intending to teach on relationships in heaven but he is refuting the Sadducees’ denial of the existence of angels and the resurrection. He is cleverly eluding their question and in no way denies husbands and wives will know and love each other in heaven. This is not a treatise on relationships in heaven but a clever response to his opponents about the existence of the supernatural world.


The purpose for marriage was companionship and procreation. The propagation of children and the population of the earth was God’s plan for marriage on earth. The meeting of sperm and egg will not be needed in heaven.”Marital love” to produce children will not happen in heaven so marriage in that sense will not exist. But that does not eliminate the continuance of earthly relationship.


We will recognize each other in heaven just as the three disciples recognized Moses and Elijah on the mount of Transfiguration and John recognized Mary in heaven (Rev 12:1). 


Family and matrimony are very important in Scripture and the way God fashioned the universe and created man and woman to be one flesh. There must be spiritual discernment here. The reason why the Jews buried family members together is because they will rest together in heaven. There is a spiritual permanence to family. And an extraordinarily strong spiritual permanence to matrimony. This is why it is described as “one flesh”.


We will not know and love less in heaven – we will know and love more. And can we comprehend that God would command us to love each other down here and would expect us to forget or deny that love in heaven?


Interestingly, Doctor of the Church St. John Chrysostom, in writing on fidelity in marriage said that young husbands should tell their wives, “I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us.… I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you. (CCC 2365, St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in Eph. 20, 8: PG 62, 146–147.)


Nothing in Scripture leads us to believe that relationships between spouses will be eliminated. There is every reason to believe relations will be maintained in heaven though for different reasons – enhanced reasons which we will understand when we get there.


We cannot understand our new spiritual bodies and heavenly existence any more than a caterpillar can comprehend what it will be like to be a butterfly. We cannot anticipate how personal relationships will flower in glory any more than acorn can anticipate standing 50 feet tall.


I’m convinced you and dad will have a wonderful and much better relationship. It will be different. We cannot even comprehend how much better or more in love we’ll be with our spouses, any more than an unborn baby can speculate about the taste of a delicious steak dinner.

Referring to Jesus’ words J. Vernon McGee 9 (one of your favorite Baptist preachers) writes, “This doesn’t mean that a man and a woman who were together down here can’t be together in heaven. They won’t be together as man and wife. They are not establishing a home up there, nor are they raising children. That’s the thing that He’s saying to them here.”


Marriage is an earthly word to serve an earthly purpose. Marital relationships, on the other hand, will transcend time because love is forever. Faith and hope will pass away but love will never pass away (1 Cor 13:13).


Dad is sitting in his favorite chair having coffee with Our Lord Jesus waiting for you to arrive to love you better than ever before. In the meantime he is praying for you and very intent on your we’ll being.


(Thanks to De Maria for suggestions and insights which I have included)


Further thoughts from Whalter:


The divine declaration was that it was “not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18) The text reveals that God and the man enjoyed a genuine, interactive relationship in the pristine environment of the garden (Gen 2:15-19, 17; 3:8­-9), but God had created man as a relational being a being with capacity for a relationship with God, as well as a capacity, indeed, need for relationship with others like himself.  


 This divinely created need for companionship and relationship was part of the original creation to which the new creation returns. Granted, after man’s lapse into sin in the garden, the need for relationship in humanity was seriously marred and deformed. 

But, did God declare a law of marriage in a perfect world?  There are no such law. There were no laws of marriage imposed on Adam and Eve either. The only laws were “Don’t eat from that tree” and ” Be fruitful, start multiplying”.


They were made man and wife. In a perfect world, no laws of marriage were needed…But, they were commanded to have sex and multiply. This is what made Adam and Eve to be man and wife. She came out of his rib. 


 This made them related. Was this a law or an act of God? What law of marriage was imposed upon Adam and Eve? In the portion of Scripture above, God was silent. Adam did all the talking. Adam was prophesying about FUTURE relationships (Adam didn’t have a Mom and Dad).


God didn’t need a law to make Adam and Eve to be man and wife. In a perfect world, no laws of marriage were needed. Why would you even need laws of marriage in a perfect world? 


 In a perfect world, when God did the pairing, no law was needed. Adam and Eve were made to be man and wife while they were in an immortal state intended to be forever without death. 


 So, did God intend for them to be man and wife forever? In Heaven, will God undo what He originally did in a perfect world? Think about that. In a manner of speaking, will He return Eve back to the rib and stop their relationship which he made and said was good? God will not undo any laws of marriage over Adam and Eve because there never were any to begin with. They will have their bodies and a wonderfully fulfilled loving relationship, though they will no longer be procreating children.


 Heaven will be a perfect world, and no laws of marriage will be needed there either. Jesus made it very clear that in the age to come there will be no laws of marriage, no earthly ceremonies, no contracts being made where the father gets paid to sell his daughter (given in marriage).


 Yet, as in the perfect state of union that Adam and Eve had — a relationship God made them to need and to have — in heaven he will not undo what he did in the Garden. A man will know and love his counterpart that God gave him. They will love each other in that relationship for all eternity. Mom and Dad will still be “married.”

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Tricks to Humility

Humility is one of the most beautiful virtues given to us by God. It opens our eyes and makes us realize that all the good around us comes from our beloved Creator. But humility and battling our pride can be very difficult and often times confusing. For example we can admit to ourselves how prideful we are, but then while doing that, thinking we're humble and becoming even more prideful because of it. It can become a vicious cycle and at the end of the day we wonder how we can ever advance in humility without becoming more prideful! Here are a few points that have helped me personally with the virtues of humility.

Stop thinking about it - As startling as that sounds, we need to stop focusing so much on the concept of pride and humility, and look at it from the perspective that God has given us everything, we are nothing, and we need His help. In thinking of it from this viewpoint we keep ourselves from the danger of thinking we're humble, and accrediting God for everything. Focus on the goodness of God and rejoice that such a loving Father has given us everything! It keeps away discouragement and fills the soul with peace. 

Focus on mercy - Humility is a hard virtue to master, so when we beat ourselves up about it, it only gives us more pride. Trusting totally in Gods mercy will protect us from this, since instead of focusing on how prideful we are, we can think that even though we are sinners, we have a loving Father that will lift us up and through His grace will make us saints. 

Accepting our own goodness - Once we reach the point of accepting that God can do all things even though we can't, we'll have to start accepting that we can become holy - saints even! After all, the goal is to become a saint before we die. How can we reach that point then if we're so stuck on the idea that we can't be saints since we're so horrible? Instead, let us focus on the fact that God can make us saints, and even though we can do nothing on our own and can't take credit for any of these virtues, since we are sinners, if we trust God, He will give us the strength to become the greatest and reach the highest realms of heaven.

Therefore let us ask God for true humility, trust in Him, and understanding with ourselves, who are sinners yet are masterpieces of God that have so much potential.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

A New Concept of Modesty


In previous articles I've spoken about modesty, explaining to the reader that modesty is a misunderstood beautiful virtue that should be loved and cherished. But as I learn more and more about it, and experience different situations, I've realized something else very important. 

Helping Them Cope - As you know these modesty articles are directed towards girls. But what girls don't realize is that guys think differently when it comes to purity. For girls it can actually be quite easy  fighting temptations of purity, and we forget it can be much harder for men to fight these things, especially when we throw modesty out the window. So why not help them out a little bit by dressing properly? Surely we'll get merit for our charity. For example, if we knew our friend who had something like depression, and was triggered easily, we would be very careful to make sure they were as comfortable as possible. Therefore if we care about their wellbeing, let us dress accordingly.


Making Others Inspired - Modesty isn't just about ourselves, but rather everyone around us. It isn't meant to drag us down or prevent us from following the latest trends. Rather it's there to put us in our right position and make our bodies truly beautiful - the way God intended. In doing this we make other around us realize that the concept of modesty, which is so ridiculed in our day and age, is actually an amazing thing and lifts our spirits far higher than immodest trends ever could. They will begin to see that girls can be beautiful and follow the good trends while sticking to their morals. Let us always inspire everyone around us. It will then be at the Last Judgment when God calls upon us in front of the whole world that we will be called the inspirer. 

Don't Think, Just Do - A lot of times people will dwell forever on modesty, picking it apart and turning into a torturous task. Skirts ten inches below the knee exactly! Turtle necks only! Really, if we overthink all of this, it will reflect to those around us and they'll lose the inspiration they so desperately need. Instead of being so cold with modesty, set your regular Catholic boundaries, don't overthink it, then pray for the grace to see the beauty of modesty. Modesty isn't just in the fabric, it's so much more. It's in our actions, our words, our thoughts, and so on. Let us pray for the true spirit of modesty! 

Therefore dear reader, clothe yourself with the mantle of Our Lady, bathe your soul with the blood of the Lamb, and rejoice in the beautiful virtues which God has given us!