Month: February 2016

Defending Christ

There comes a time when we as Christians can’t just sit by and watch as our beliefs get trampled every day. I remember a while back when Jon Stewart was making fun of Christianity (specifically Catholicism) and I read some comments from different people. People who called themselves Christians made a point that it was just humor, that others just need to lighten up and take a joke.

This always stayed with me and it wasn’t until this moment that I realized what huge impact that would have – in a negative way. Everyone likes to claim that everyone is entitled to free speech but that freedom always fails to extend to Christians. Anyone that decides to bring Jesus into any discussion in any form is automatically turned away. Unless it involves crude and disgusting humor.

This point is made very clear by actor Seth Rogen and his statement back in December that “you can make fun of Christians, they’re cool” he further berated Christians by saying, “Christians have their own [explicative] to deal with, they’re not worried about us”. Then he further claims that it is on the LOW list of controversial matters. He is right that Christians have their own stuff to deal with, including him and his Hollywood cronies who feel it is okay to bash Christians – seeing as though we’re “cool” people and all.

First of all, you can make fun of Christians because it seems to be the “cool” thing to do now. It does not make it OKAY by any means. We should not continue to support these people who are so callous as to call our Savior, our beliefs, such foul blasphemous names. Degrading the beliefs that we hold so dear.

That just about sums it up when he says that his movie is on the low list of controversial matters. Where clearly disrespectful statues and pictures are stated to be “art”. One case I saw that happened in 2012 during a party celebrating design has really bothered me. An “artist” made popsicles out of wine that he secretly had blessed by a priest. He said that he snuck in to the church with a cooler and during the transubstantiation he claims that his wine was also transformed into the Blood of Christ. He then froze it on popsicle sticks that were in the shape of the crucifix with Jesus on the cross.

The first thing that I have to say, is this totally disgusts me. He wanted to make a point about religious fanaticism and violence. This does nothing but cement the fact that he is a total disgrace of a human being who is being influenced by evil to try and hurt the Catholic Church as well as Christianity. Not surprisingly, he is a practicing atheist. Which further disgusts me that he would during a time when Christians are being slaughtered over the in Middle East, choose a peaceful religion to make fun of, blasphemies and degrades.  

It is time for Christians to stop sitting around and twiddling their thumbs as our faith is being dragged through the mud. Start standing up for Jesus, or stop letting His name pass your lips. It is time to start being realistic and stop focusing on the happy side of being a Christian. We are called to be defenders of Christ and our faith. There is a hell and anyone willing to stand against Jesus will find their souls damned for life. Christians who stand by and allow it to happen, while defending all things that are against Christian beliefs will find themselves possibly in hell, if they’re lucky then they might get time in purgatory.

Does this make me judgmental? To some yes but in reality no. Hell is coming to earth, mostly it is already here and people don’t want to believe. A war is coming between good and evil and there will be no gray area. So decide what side you want to be on.

Dear God,

Give me strength and courage to stand against the dark one,

It comes in many forms and I must resist temptations,

Guard me against my human weakness,

Allow me to turn my heart completely to you O’ Lord,

Help those who are Christian to accept their beliefs,

And those who are not to turn to Christ our King.

Amen

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Yes God

Imagine saying yes to God. I mean truly, whole heartedly, no doubt, second thought or hesitation – a total complete love and trust in saying yes to God. There is one person who did this and said yes to God, ultimately redoing everything that Eve ruined by falling for the temptation of the evil one. Mary, the Blessed Mother of God said yes to God. Changing the course of humanity in a way unlike any other before or after her.

Mary the Mother of God goes by many names, such as Saint Mary, Virgin Mary and Blessed Mother. When the archangel Gabriel showed up to her and told her that she would give birth to the son of God, through the Holy Spirit. When she was to be betrothed to Joseph, it was discovered that she was pregnant. It was considered scandal at the time for any woman to be with child outside of wedlock. However, once Joseph was visited by the angel he understood the importance of the situation. He took her to somewhere safe after marrying her, to protect her as well as the child of God.

This is of course just a small piece of the history that surrounds this world changing event. It is something that we need to understand as Catholics, the importance that Mary has in our life. She gave birth to our savior, how can she not be special? Some Christians doubt the importance that Mary has, that she was just a human who happened to have a small part of such an incredible event.

What?? I have a hard time believing that God would chose just some random woman to give birth to His son. Not only that, but such as the story of the wedding at Cana, Mary had a part in the miracle that Jesus performed. She chose to do Gods will when He asked her, something that very little humans have the ability to do – none have done as full as her.

I think one of the most incredible things that is inspiring about the mother of Jesus is how even when she knew He was going to be murdered and when she SAW Him getting beaten, tortured and killed, she never once cursed God. How many of us can say the same?

I have been guilty of this as well, when something goes wrong it is so easy to blame and yell at God. That isn’t fair though, because how seldom do we thank God when everything is going right? What Mary showed and can still show us is how with the power of God, with placing our faith in our savior we can truly do the will that God has for us.

Sometimes it is hard to understand Gods will for us but he knows what is best for us, He wants what is best for us. Just like any parent He loves us and wants to protect us as best as He can without completely interfering. If God did everything for us, where would our love come from? If we never use the gifts that God gave us or love Him simply for everything He is, what have we learned?

Let me explain a little deeper. God loves us but He can’t force us to love Him. If we are unwilling to let go of our selfish desires to see everything He has done for us then we are not capable of loving Him. Do we say we just love God because He gave us money, fame and fortune? That isn’t love, that is a feeling based on convenience. If we were to lose all the money, have to live on the streets and had our body riddled with disease, could we still say we love God? That example may be a little extreme but it is the same basic principle. We have to truly love God during the good and bad times.

Getting back to our Blessed Mother, she is a great example of what we can be in our life. If we are willing to look out of ourselves and give faith to the Lord, we can do God’s will. We have to let go of our fears, doubts and anger, and give ourselves to God. Like Mary, we have to say YES to God!

Dear Jesus,

To you I give the glory of the day as well as my moments of sorrow,

You are my friend, redeemer, the savior of humans.

Help me to say yes to you, to give myself completely,

I want to do your will throughout this darkened world.

To be the light for Heaven, to share with others who do not know,

I want to let go my human weakness and submit myself to you

~Amen

Where is God?

Where is God? That is a question that a lot of people ask when something bad happens. If people would truly open their hearts to God they would realize that He is ALWAYS there no matter what, especially when something bad happens. It is something that actually quite annoys me now but I used to say not too long ago.

God created us all in His image, He loves us more than we can imagine. Why is it that instead of turning to God we turn against Him during difficult times? This is when our relationship with God should become strengthened. People would be able to deal with things a lot better if they turned to God in times of need and grief. We only “stick with” Him when everything is happy rays of sunshine but when the storms come we say where is He? When the whole time He is telling us that He is right there. Forever and always.

Then people have the audacity to BLAME God for all their woes. When realizing that had it not been for humans original weakness for temptation, none of the bad things would happen – so if you feel the need to play the blame game, blame Adam and Eve. We are not entitled to good days every day, we are not immune to death and decay, sickness still makes our bodies weak. These are things that make us HUMAN now that Eden is gone from us. We need to embrace them, as crazy as that may sound.

By embracing them, I simply mean accepting them as they are. We are human, bad things are going to happen and that is the way of the world. Some people get the “short end of the stick” and continually get bad things thrown at them. It is during those times when it is most tempting to quit, tell God that He is bad and that you don’t deserve what is happening to you. God doesn’t set out to hurt anyone, that is not how these things work. He gave us choices, we make those choices or others make them for us. In the end, we can either come out stronger in our faith or weaker in our temptations. The choice is yours. It won’t be easy and it is okay to feel weak sometimes – again it is what makes us human. But do not let that weakness consume you.

Dear God,

I am nothing without you,

Everything bad that has happened to me does not compare to the love you give,

Give me the strength to see that,

Instead of giving up and letting the devil win,

Don’t let me isolate myself to get weak,

Let me use your word to heal my hurts and sorrows.

Amen.

Toxic

Throughout life we are going to meet people who will make a huge impact on us – whether it be negatively or positively. Sadly, there are people out there who not only work to take advantage of others, but to intentionally hurt them for no other purpose but to cause pain. I have run across these types of people, who constantly lie, taunt, hurt, deceive and use everything to try and hurt your soul.

We can’t let them though! This is when we really need to rely on the strength we have through Christ to pick us up so we can carry on with our lives. There is no doubt evil in this world, you just have to flip on the news station to know that. However, we deal with evil every day in our lives through temptations and out right attacks on our beings.

This can be done through the evil ones use of others who do not allow God into their lives. We may even have own family members who say vile things about you, then try to justify it. Which is what happened in my case, which I won’t go into full detail with. Ever since I developed a closer relationship with God, it has been easier to see through people whose motives are not in line with what Christ asks of us.

When we stop and think about it we are merely spiritual beings with a body that was created to love and serve God. When satan disobeyed God, even trying to become God, he was thrown out of Heaven; along with other angels who chose the wrong side. When good and evil come together, they don’t mesh – much like oil and water. When someone has dedicated their life to serving God, spreading His message and helping others, there will be those who will go against them. As if to stop them from continuing on the path that God has made for them.

It is easier said than done but we must not let their toxic and hate filled words harm our inner souls. That is the ultimate goal that they are striving for, is to cut you off from God. To make you feel so worthless, sad, despairing or as if you are a bad person. It may begin to make you doubt yourself, why is this person being so mean to me, is it me? Did I do something? This is especially true if you are going through this with a loved one, someone you once thought of as close.

When faced with this dilemma, some may wonder how to respond. Don’t respond with anger! This is one of tricks as well, they want you to be angry because they feed of it; it’s fuel for their continued assault. Don’t respond with simple words in defense of yourself because you don’t have to defend yourself. In fact, you don’t owe an explanation to anyone and the only one who can judge you is God. So when someone is vile to you, look them right in the eye (or text them) Peace of Christ be with you. That is what we ultimately want, is for them to see that the path they are on is not a good one. It will not end up in their favor when they have to stand before God and explain why they were so hateful.

In the end, we are solely responsible for the actions that we make and what we choose to do. How someone chooses to treat you is based solely on a decision that they made to treat you like that. When people allow themselves to be consumed by the secular world, they are easily influenced by satan. Don’t let them drag you down to hell with them. Keep that smile on your face, Jesus in your heart and God in your sight. And with all your soul, wish those people the Peace of Christ and move on. Don’t dwell, don’t wonder, just move on.

Dear Jesus,

You were hated by many for speaking the truth,

Allow me to please have the courage you did.

The venom spoken by my enemies does not harm me,

If I let hate and sin fill my heart, then my soul will be darkened.

To you I give my suffering, sadness, anger and tears.

I want to do your will and continue on the path you’ve given me.

Let me to be your light for others struggling,

To turn from their life of sin to be with you Jesus Christ.

Amen

Cold Weather, Warm Hearts

When I first stepped outside to take my dogs to use the restroom, I was greeted by an unpleasant feeling – cold. It hit me before I even had one foot out of the door; and from the minute it did I was uncomfortable. I could see my breath, my ears lost their feeling and I could barely even think with all the chattering my teeth were doing.

Then it dawned on me that this situation I was in isn’t permanent. It’s not like I would have to go out and face the unforgiving cold, trying to find somewhere to lay my head. I have a home I can go into and nice warm pair of pajamas I can put on. I am luckier than most people.

A lot of people are trying to survive this winter, which is quite a ‘reality check’ when you really stop and dwell on what that means. I complain about the cold as much as the next person but one day I realized that I wasn’t being fair. This uncomfortable feeling I had wasn’t one that was going to last until I could find a warm place to rest. It was going to last until my dog was done using the bathroom.

We take a lot of things for granted in our lives, that we often realize too late in life to appreciate them. Jesus gives us everything we have in our life – whether we want to give Him the Proper credit or not. He is the reason that we have a chance at attaining our ‘forever’ in Heaven; because of the sacrifice He made. Now it is time for us to live out that sacrifice in our everyday life.

By helping those less fortunate, we are living the way that Christ wants us to. We are loving and helping our neighbors by giving of ourselves. Before you get all set on writing a check or donating without second thought, wait! Monetary donations, if you can afford them, to different charities is commendable and appreciated. However, it should be remembered that there are real live people that are going to be helped by these organizations (no matter what denomination). PEOPLE! Living, breathing, thinking and feeling human beings.

These human beings are already facing tough times, whether by choice or by a series of unfortunate events. Go and talk to them, get to know them, be kind to them and most of all preach Jesus to them. Often times we are so busy just giving to charities that we automatically give without thinking. The best gift that we can give sometimes is that of our time.

We live in such a fast paced world that we seem almost glued to our cellphones, computers, game systems etc. We are so focused on just moving forward, accomplishing our “mission” and moving forward. We don’t look to the people who are right next to us, we remain strangers.  Sometimes all we need is someone to look at us as if they understand what we are going through, maybe they care just a little bit. Maybe, just maybe they’ll end up sending a prayer up to Heaven for them because their guardian Angels spoke and helped the individual to realize the need for prayer is great.

Of course with this frame of mind thinking, a little caution has to be put in place. Sometimes there are people out there who wish to take advantage of others who go out of their way to be kind; other times some people are just stuck in their own ways. Don’t let this dishearten you! It could be something as simple as smiling at someone in the store, or talking to people who are waiting in line with you somewhere. Take these few precious moments to “pitch” Jesus and Catholicism to others. It could change their lives – and will no doubt change yours.

Dear God,

I ask you to help me please,

Step out of my comfort zone to reach those in need.

If a smile, hug or simple Hi is all I can give,

Help me to continue this as long as I live.

To you I give glory, love and honor by spreading your way,

Help me to share your message with all people throughout my day.

Amen.

Fading Belief

There are a total of 3 different kinds of spirits that are in our realm – Angelic, human and demonic. With the most powerful of these spirits being The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. There are only three places in which these spirits reside, Heaven, purgatory and hell; with all of the spirits being able to travel to earth, where we are.

As Christians we believe in God and Jesus, but many don’t truly believe that there is a devil with his minions known as demons. Hollywood is partially to blame for this as well as Christians who are not willing to acknowledge the possibility of their existence. It seems too “out of this world” to believe in such a thing. What caused Adam and Eve to sin? Adam and Eve’s total lack of trust in God. Who tempted them to sin? The devil. It has always been a known fact that he has hated God as well as humans because of jealously.

So now you ask yourself- What does this all mean? That a constant struggle between good and evil is happening every minute of every day. That guy that just shot someone on the street? An act of evil that was carried out by an individual who had lost trust in God or never believed in God. That person who helped the little old lady cross the street? That was an act done by someone who had been influenced by God.

I guess it just bugs me as a person when “Christians” are so quick to pull out the crazy card whenever someone starts talking about the spiritual realm and the devil. Everything that God did for us and Jesus sacrificed for us means nothing if there is no one working against it; if there was no end goal in sight. I can just hear some people saying, “Oh, you sinned so bad but it’s okay because Jesus died for you and you’ll still go to Heaven”. NO! Don’t believe that, it’s a trap! Wonder who started that one, could it be the one who slithers on the floor, biting at our feet.

Of course there are consequences if you sinned. It’s blaspheming to Jesus when you say that it’s okay if you sin because Jesus died for us. He didn’t just die, He was betrayed, tortured, and hung from a cross, so it is NOT okay if you sin. He died so that we are able to have the chance at forgiveness if we truly feel SORRY for it. You can’t use Him as a default when you sin to excuse the behavior. You have to be truly sorry for your sins, knowing in your heart that you hurt Jesus and God. But guess what? Because you are truly sorry and confessed your sins, you are forgiven. You have to make a pledge to not sin anymore. No one is perfect – we all will continue to sin. Just don’t use Jesus as an excuse to do it, that undermines everything he sacrificed for us.

A great book that I will recommend is Saints Who Battled Satan: Seventeen Holy Warriors Who Can Teach You How to Fight the Good Fight and Vanquish Your Ancient Enemy. I finished reading it a few days ago and was sad when it ended! It is a really great book that you should check it. It delved deeper into the mystical struggles that the saints endured as they were trying attaining their calling for God. The stronger and more prayerful they became, the stronger the evil one became in trying to torment them.

The struggles are incredibly eye opening and to some they might find it downright scary. Saint Padre Pio, Catherine of Siena and Teresa of Avila are just a few of the saints that are featured in this book; in which they actually experience physical attacks as well. Often times they were left bloody, beaten and sore from their fierce battles with satan. Like I stated previously, it is not glamorized like Hollywood portrays it. Anytime there is prayer, there will be temptations to try and deter you from keeping a good prayer life. We have to fight these temptations, and say to the devil, “Jesus Christ is my savior, my everything; you bring nothing but sorrow and torment with your false promises of everything. Be gone you serpent, go back to the depths in which God casted you, through the power of Jesus Christ”.

 

Jesus

Hear my prayer,

I am truly sorry that I let my weakness as a human hurt you,

You sacrificed so much for me out of love,

Let me return that love and try to live in a way that exudes you,

Help me to keep strong against the temptations of the snake,

Give me strength and courage to fight the devil as he appears.

Amen

Sorrow, Pain and Loss

Pain is something that everyone feels at one point or the other in their life; whether it be physical or internal pain. When we experience loss of any kind it feels as if your heart has been ripped out. This is the time that we should turn to God as opposed to turning away from God. We need to find comfort in our Lord and Savior, not blame Him for what troubles occur in our life. Our Lord did not suffer and die on a wooden cross for us to turn against Him the moment a hardship crosses our path.

This is when we have to take heart and really follow the passion of the Cross. We have to understand each station and how we can apply this to our life. The first two stations (Jesus is condemned to death and Jesus bears His cross) deal with how He has graciously excepted His sacrifice for the good of all of us. We have to pick up our cross and follow Him, which means we have to bear whatever hardships and trials come our way. We cannot simply cast them aside, proclaiming that it is too hard! We must embrace it, like Christ and carry on our journey.

The next few stations (Jesus falls a first time, Jesus meets his mother, Jesus is helped by Simon and Veronica wipes the face of Jesus), focus on how we may stumble sometimes but Jesus and others will always be there to ensure that we can get back up and go on. We have a God who loves us beyond all measures, Jesus who has sacrificed so much for us, Mary who comforts us, Joseph who protects us and all the saints in Heaven who struggled like we are now.

The last stations deal with the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us so that we can have eternal salvation and hope. It is not easy by any means, but it is attainable. We have to give our sufferings up to God and realize that because we are doing the act of embracing our sufferings, we are following Jesus along the stations. We are lifting up our Cross with the strength of Jesus and walking on the path to eternal happiness.  

So the next time something bad happens, look up to God and say “to You I give my pain and suffering, Jesus comfort my heart” and carry on. Cry if you want to, write it down, scream until your voice goes out but under no means turn your fist to God and curse Him. Embrace what God has given and accept what is taken away.

Dear God,

This pain in my heart is heavy,

Much like the Cross your Son carried.

I will bear it with Your sunshine in my heart,

With the Grace you have bestowed upon me.

To you I give glory as well as sadness.

Help me to hear Your voice through the turmoil,

And not turn away as so many do.

Heal my heart day by day,

To You I will always pray.

~Amen