Tag Archive: Christianity


Returning from Mass around 5:30 in the evening, I set down my car-keys and checked the mailbox. Nothing was there. A sinking feeling came into my heart as I realized it wouldn’t be until Monday that my newly ordered, 4 volume set of breviaries arrived. Not that the wait particularly bothered me as I currently had an old crinkled volume IV from the church’s library in my custody. Still, anticipation boiled within me. I longed to feel the weight of each volume in my hands and smell the newly printed pages while chanting the psalms. 

All day, I believed that my breviaries awaited me on Monday. I made dinner, said my Legion of Mary prayers and began surfing the internet. Finally a thought came to mind. I forgot to feed that cats! My mother entrusted me with this duty before embarking on a trip with her sisters. The poor babies were probably starving by now. Curse my negligence! Stealing into my mother’s empty room, I turned the light on and saw a rectangular cardboard box sitting on her bed, two envelopes on top of it.
Excitement surged forth as I read “Amazon.com” on the sides and saw the curved arrow on the logo. I cried out “It’s them! They’re here!” Like a child on Christmas morning who just sited the biggest shiniest gift box with their name on it, I seized the box. My brother, Kevin came in the room wondering what all the shouting was about. All I said was “My books are here! They’re here!”


My fingers trembled as I retrieved a pair of scissors yet Kevin easily tore the box’s lid with his finger. He pulled out a smaller, white box, paused for a moment, then handed it to me saying, “You should be the one to open it.”
In black letters, the words were written across the white box: “Liturgy of the Hours” Without a doubt, they had arrived! Blue, red, brown and green, they lined up inside the box, waiting to be freed by my anxious hands. Carefully, so as not to hurt them, I turned them to the side and let them slide out onto the couch. One by one, I investigated them. They were perfect! At once, I felt unified with the entire Church, enrolled in the camaraderie of countless priests, seminarians, monks, nuns and lay people. God’s hand was in my hand. He gently led me to a piece of tilled land, the fruit of which I was yet to discover.

(By the way, I later discovered that my father fed the cats at 5:30.)

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The Priest

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“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” –John 14:18

A discussion on the Mass cannot be separate from a discussion on the gift of the priesthood. Crowing the offering of the priesthood of believers, God’s ministerial priests make the Eucharistic sacrifice present. The word “priest” means one who makes sacrifice. Chosen from among men, he presides over the banquet of love. As “another Christ” his hands, voice and body become the very instruments of Christ, used to pour out every kind of grace. The priest’s vocation is to be steward of all gifts which the Mass imparts. We see clearly that his actions, words, prayers and vesture have something to teach us about the gifts.

Gold in the vesture of the priest is not belonging to the man, but to God’s presence which wraps him as a mantle. We think of how the prophets of old chose their successors by placing their mantle upon them. We think of how Christ elected his own apostles and remember that every priest is enrolled in the apostolic ministry of preaching the Gospel to every nation.

The oil of a priest configures him especially to Christ. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit burns a brilliant seal upon his soul. It is the oil of gladness, of Our Savior’s eternal priesthood. He goes to the wellspring of Christ’s own life and draws out the Eucharist from which we all drink. He gives us the sacrament that heals, atones and saves. During the elevation of the host and chalice, let us imagine that oil is being poured out over the people, cleansing us, strengthening us, making us new.

When the priest prays quietly at the altar, he is praying for himself- and for us. Jesus’s disciples asked him: “teach us to pray” and this is what the priest does. Like the Good Shepherd who leads us, he teaches us a silent way of prayer, of turning our eyes to the Heavenly Father and trusting in Him. He lifts up his children, diligently cares for them and feeds them honey from the promised land.

The priest does many acts of reverence during Mass. He bows his head, lifts his hands, makes small crosses and big crosses. Genuflecting before the consecrated Eucharist, he shows adoration for Christ. We worship with head, hands, feet and lips because Christ became man and worshiped his Father in this way. Watching these gestures and responding to them, our whole being participates in the Holy Sacrifice.

Lastly, the priest works hard to provide for our nourishment. He spends many hours in toil, tending to the sick, weak and spiritually wounded. His celibate fecundity and wholehearted devotion become rich milk flowing in the desert. By laying down his own life for us, he provides us with a model of Christian living. In following self-abandonment, we find true happiness. What a happy sight is a priest wearing his collar amidst a bustling, public place! The priest is a quiet, humble enduring token of God’s presence with us always.

Picture the most beautiful sight you could ever chance upon… perhaps a snow-swept mountainside or an iridescent-feathered bird of paradise. Imagine the most luxurious scent you could ever smell… a whiff of burning frankincense, a sultry gardenia blossom. Imagine the sweetest sound you could ever hear… a virtuoso’s symphony, the tinkling of sleigh bells. Imagine the most delicious taste and the most pleasing thing you ever touched. Oh how great these things are!

Now, imagine this: that all the wonderful sensations in the world are but a foretaste of heavenly things. The pitter-pat of rain and awesome clamor of thunder are but hints of the majesty of God. Morning sunlight on your skin is but a shadow of the Blessed face of God. All our satisfied- and unsatisfied appetites are only a foreshadowing of our consuming desire for God. Our senses are gifts, love letters sent to us that we may delight in creation and look forward even more to the Creator. That first bite into a ripe mango, the caress of a lover’s hands, the rumble of a cat purring on your lap, all are reminders of a Creator deeply in love with us!

I remember reading in the Old Testament that no man has seen the face of God, for if he should gaze upon God, he would die.

“And again he said: Thou canst not see my face: for man shall not see me and live.” – Exodus 33:20.

Because God is so indescribably beautiful, more splendid than anything in the universe, we would simply die from beauty. Our sinful ugliness would quiver in the Divine Presence and not stand to live. But the amazing thing is that God took all His killer-beauty and became man! That Beauty which withstood not a slightest imperfection, descended to walk amongst abject ugliness and sin. Truly Jesus, in one of his most shattering statements, told his disciples:

“He who has seen me has seen the Father” – John 12:45.

How the Lord deigned to wrap us in divine love and terrific beauty! How Love and Beauty Himself met death so we may see the Father, He who lit stars and painted planets with His fingers, who commanded the sun to burn and rise!

Perhaps one thing about as scandalous as God becoming man was the fact that through Jesus Christ, man could become like God.

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” – 1 John 3:2

Ponder this a moment…In the Beatific Vision won for us by Christ, we will at last see the face of God- and we will not die!! Truly these are the depths of love and beauty of which, we can readily perceive every lovely, beautiful thing in the universe is but a foretaste. More than sensuous, resplendent and enrapturing things, we were made to desire God from Whom every goodness comes. Yet God does not stand apart on account of our lowliness… He does not deprive humanity of our One Desire because of our guilt; no He brings the One Desired to us!

The greatest, happiest memory we have lived is a taste of God’s love. Whatever ravishes us: the canvas of stars above, the embraces of romance, a stirring motet, Mona-Lisa enshrined, a romp with your kids on a summer day, is a small taste of what God has stored for us. It is written in Paul’s letters that eye has not seen nor ear has heard what God has in mind for those who love Him.

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Moreso, when God enters into us, we become beautiful for it is our souls that are His desired. God stooped down into our mean existence, not a little- but all the way. God became man, suffering and wretched man, to reclaim His one desire. Thus, it only makes sense the beloved would be shaped into the image of the Lover. On earth, the Christian soul may yearn in expectation, groaning within us, awaiting the blessed moment when beloved and Lover unite. Upon our deathbeds, may we joyfully incline our ears as God whispers, in sweetest poetry, saying:

See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.

Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come,  

the cooing of doves is heard in our land.

The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.

Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.”

–          Song of Songs 2:11-13

The day after my ill-fated encounter with the lady spiritual director, I went to visit another one. You could say I am pretty serious about this spiritual direction thing. I have realized I am the type of person who learns best by example. Regrettably, few people set a good Christian example in my life. Around the age of 13, I learned by example that Christians were better people than everyone else, they were holier, richer and nicer- and by nicer, I mean they had nicer things.  All too soon, I learned I couldn’t be that way, for I was sinful, poor and lacked nice things… No shiny car with a “Jesus” bumper sticker on it, pretty dress to wear on Easter or blonde hair shot with “good-girl” highlights. I remember being told that if I suffered- or was sad, I possessed little faith and this sent me running to the altar-call basically every Sunday.

Fast forward about 10 years and I am Catholic. I am Catholic because I was shown Christians were people just like everyone else but they TRIED to be holy. They could be rich or poor and the nicest “things” were virtues and sacraments, given as gifts from God. Three people figured majorly in my conversion to faith: Brad Poole, Father (now Monsignor) Stanley Deptula and Father Brian Brownsy.

Brad was my first Catholic friend- my first real Christian friend too. He was first to tell me that if I were the only person on earth, Jesus would have still died for me. I learned from Brad that suffering didn’t mean a lack of faith; it meant God loved you and wanted you closer to Him. God desires our hearts and being Christian isn’t just going to church on Sunday, it is a life journey.

Father Stanley taught me about the mercy of Christ. Instead of shunning my idiosyncrasies, he saw a soul that hungered for God. In his office, I had my first confession and though I was terrified, he remained patient and even allowed his two dogs to sit nearby, because they gave me peace. This powerful sacrament and kindly gesture showed forth forgiveness- and a God who gives second-chances.

Father Brownsy was my first Christian teacher. His Masses were the first I attended. He revealed the Sacred Scriptures, how they instruct us day-by-day, and showed me a beautiful world of prayer and liturgy. To these three people, through whom God’s grace so brilliantly shined, I am forever indebted.

It has been five years since my entry into the ancient, beautiful world of Catholic Christianity and I’m still in great need of examples. Left on my own for so long, I have grown dull, stunted and confused. Yes, I study the faith constantly and perhaps know more doctrine, Scripture and history than your average Catholic, but without a stability of spirit, it means little. Thus, spiritual direction!

I sat down with this new spiritual director and spoke to him and he spoke to me.  He was far removed from the lady I met yesterday, expressing gentle love instead of harsh condescension. In short time, he revealed two issues: First, my true happiness would come only if I depended wholly on God- and His will for me. Second, people aren’t naturally capable of love- they must be taught how to love. I must learn how to love so that others could in turn, see love within me. …and this guy didn’t even know about my dysfunctional childhood issues! See the problem is that I want what I want. I wish to choose my life, to become better- often independently of God’s will. I can’t save myself- and this scares the living heck out of me!

There is a realization that I haven’t been taught how to truly love, I mean I think I’ve been taught how to truly love but I really haven’t. This is because I keep resisting it. I keep expecting everything to change around me instead of changing myself. Moreso, my problem is I like myself but I don’t love myself. My life and my existence must be seen with God’s eyes and not man’s eyes whose perception of truth changes every day. So there you have it: two issues brought before the light. They hang on my heart like twin weights of pride and fear, begging to be loosed. As I set these goals and continue seeking spiritual direction, please, if you read this, pray for me.

That is what we Christians do.

Dear, Life Magazine and editors of Life Magazine:

I recently bought and read your “Pope Francis” issue of Life Magazine, Volume 13. No. 8 March 29, 2013. It was full of beautiful photographs and packed with information that was fairly free of bias. I commend you for giving the historical facts about Catholicism being Christianity’s oldest branch, the excavation of St. Peter’s tomb and the myth of Pope Joan. However your gloss over the Crusades was one-sided, viewing them more as a campaign for material gain than a defensive maneuver to protect Christian pilgrims.

Your coverage of past popes and their lives was meaningful. It keenly followed the history of Catholicism up to the present day. Your connecting the dots from antiquity to this modern day was very engaging.  Most people do not realize how old the Catholic Church is and that its roots lie in Biblical times, starting from the apostles. Thank you for showing us this!

Now I must share some criticism. On the section about Pope Benedict XVI, a flash of bias came out strongly. Your treatment of him was harsh, implying he was a cold figure of the “old church” with his outdated bans on birth-control and gay-marriage. Worst of all, you said he did nothing to stop child abuse.

Allow me to make my first point that Pope Benedict’s stance on moral issues is no different from any other pope’s. Both John Paul II and even the darling John XXIII spoke against gay-marriage and birth-control. Pope Francis has already and will continue to do the same, going to uphold what the Catholic Church has taught for 2,000 years. It’s absurd to think otherwise and reflects a very poor understanding of Catholicism. The problem is precisely that you don’t understand the Catholic Church. You even state: “The Catholic Church is older than democracy”. Yet you seek to impose modern, democratic values on it?

The Church doesn’t need to get with the times, it is beyond the times. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said: “If the Church should marry the modern age, she would find herself a widow”. Don’t you get it? Catholicism came before this era and will be here after. It is something bigger than us- because it came from Someone bigger than us. Instead of criticizing Catholic leaders for not catering to modern whims, your publications should appreciate their perseverance, ancient tradition and sticking to principles laid down by Jesus Christ – not the majority vote.

Allow me to make my second point. A majority of child-abuse cases occurred before Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate. Some date back from the 60’s and 70’s before he was even ordained a priest! May I also elaborate on the fact that our own American society does little to stop the exploitation and abuse of children that happens in our schools, by their relatives or human traffickers. In fact, a child is more likely to be molested at school or at home than in a Catholic Church. Where is our accountability? Why don’t we take responsibility for producing a culture where children are prepared for sexual activity at increasingly younger ages? We cannot even live up to the rigorous standards we apply to the Catholic Church.

Moreso, the measures Benedict XVI implemented to protect future abuse and his changes to discipline in the Vatican went completely unmentioned. To be honest, it looked like you couldn’t find the answers and looked for someone to blame.

Lastly, more detail was given to Pope Benedict XVI’s shortcomings than to his brilliance as a theologian and burning love for his faith. As I said, you regarded him as more “cold, old church” than a man who wanted to set things right. Could he have done better? Yes. We all can do better.

Pope Benedict XVI was a shining example of Christian discipleship who made others fall in love with Christ. It was sad you couldn’t see this beneath the scapegoating. Your criticism of previous popes such as Pius XII and of the College of Cardinals was more fair. Why couldn’t you be fair to Benedict XVI? The man was old, weary and beaten down by years of the media basically crucifying him. Beneath all the power, you should have seen a human being. I figured you could have treated him more kindly is all.

You may not all be Christian, maybe none of you are, but I believe you can learn a thing or two from Christ when he said: “The measure by which you judge others will be measures unto you.”

Sincerely,

Rachel Gohlman.

 

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Overall rating :6 out of 10 (slightly above average but still pretty average)

Attention Pastors, Youth Pastors, Music Directors, Deacons and Catechists:

 

I have oft heard the complaint from you that “The young people aren’t interested in Catholic faith, they don’t come to Mass and they don’t volunteer to sing, lector or help with ministries…it seems there is little hope these days!”

I’ve come to tell you, there is hope! The young people can be drawn to Catholic faith, Mass, choir and any church-related ministry. You can get them interested!

 

The Problem:

Frequently, young Catholics feel ignored, not that they aren’t being pampered or praised or given special attention, I mean they are trying to tell you exactly what they like, what they expect from the Church, what they are yearning for deep in their souls… but you simply aren’t listening.

I am in my twenties, part of the tail end of what they call “the John Paul II generation” I came into the Catholic Church just as John Paul II went out. My RCIA class was on fire for faith, for learning and for yearning. We did homework, read our catechism, got on the internet, immersed ourselves in it all! The parish that nurtured this crop of oncoming-converts was steeped in reverence and awe for tradition. Not just going through motions and singing empty songs. On Ash-Wednesday, we proudly explained the odd mark on our heads, we debated Protestants on the Bible, we learned basic prayers- in Latin AND English. Sunday night Mass ensued in candlelit splendor, amidst clouds of incense and to the tune of Laudate Dominum. You could never look at these young people and say “They just don’t care”.

After RCIA and graduation, I returned home and attended what you’d call your average parish church. I descended from a world of splendor to bare walls, hurried Masses and barebones hymns. Still fervent in the sacraments, the Eucharist and the Early Church Fathers, I lived on. Come 2012, I attend a parish in central Florida. Art covered the walls, thank God, but it was rather bare art. Mass was still hurried and hymns still barebones. Something however was very familiar: no Latin during Ordinary time, nor during Advent, nor during Lent, no incense, no Laudate Dominum.

I spoke up once during choir practice (I’d since then joined the choir because I enjoyed singing and praising the Lord). I said “You know, I’d really like some Latin hymns…Maybe we can have some silence after Mass during Lent- you know for reverence…”

I suggested to our priest once: “I think a Eucharistic procession around Christmas to celebrate the incarnation would be cool…” Deaf ears in reply. I was told by the music director: “We don’t do Latin anymore…Silence bores the congregation…” The priest said a procession would be “too inconvenient”. What I gave was the opinion of a young Catholic- a real, live young Catholic. They didn’t want it.

The problem is all these people keep telling us young folk what bores us, what we really like, what we find interesting. And guess what, THEY’RE WRONG! If one listens to the young Catholic voice, one would find we are yearning for beauty, for tradition and for truth. Traditional Catholicism honestly fascinates us! We go all week hearing perky pop-songs, jumping techno and chatter that doesn’t leave a minute of silence. We go to church and we get exposed to the same exact things. Thus, of course we find it boring! Why should we go to Mass when we can stay home and sing “Gather us in”, listen to a preacher on tv and fill our rooms with noise? Young people are sick of the world. We long for a safe habitat where we can bow before God and think. We crave contact with ancientness, with a strong grounding, with strong Catholic identity. God’s people are chosen out of the world, set apart, destined for a heavenly home. We want a taste of that!!

 

What young Catholics want:

First, we wouldn’t mind if you listened… Stop telling us what we think and what we like.  Look at traditional Catholic parishes, they are overflowing with young people and traditional seminaries are crowded with young aspirants. The next generation wants precisely what your generation has put away and tried to hide from us. There’s a proverb: “The son longs to remember what the father longs to forget!” We long to revisit the Latin oldies, incense, kneeling and chapel veils. We hate guitar Masses. We hate sappy hymns, watered-down teachings and Masses that must be kept minimal. We want the red meat that is the 2,000 year old Catholic faith and not only that, we want to sink out teeth into it!

When young people see that Mass is not like the rest of the week, that it’s not like the world, that it requires us to think and act differently- as if we’re present when heaven touches earth, we will be interested. We will wander in with curiosity, saying “what glorious thing is this?” and we will stay there.

And this is not a dilemma that has gone unnoticed either.  An article on Catholicculture.org states: “The Roman rite was always different from all of the eastern rites, of course, but the sense of the transcendence of God, which once marked our liturgy strongly, seems rarely to find expression in our worship today. And we trashed, just trashed, a glorious tradition of liturgical music which the council fathers at Vatican II explicitly commanded be fostered. ” I can tell you that many of our young people agree with this! Our generation is immensely attracted to the statements of Pope Benedict XVI that ask for a return to tradition in liturgy.  I hear countless, young Catholic college students and bloggers begging: “Please, give this back to us.”

People can pretend that worship is a strictly spiritual matter, pretend that it does not involve shallow, physical things but the Mass is precisely opposite. It is very physical just like the union of two lovers is very physical. No sane person declares love is just a spiritual thing, that saying “My dear” doesn’t matter, that singing a serenade or reciting a sonnet doesn’t matter or that a candlelit banquet makes no difference. Our worship became VERY physical the moment Christ assumed human flesh. Catholics are people of the incarnation. We don’t go to Mass to philosophize and have Bible study- no, we go to Mass to taste and see the goodness of the Lord! Mass isn’t about social gathering- no, it’s about each soul receiving perfect union with God! Shouldn’t our pastors and music directors be showing us that? Shouldn’t our priests be saying with their actions and words and prayers: “Hey, this isn’t part of the world that bombards you with noise and ugliness, that constantly seeks to entertain you, this is heaven!”

Jesus Christ came to give the hungry world that which they were so long deprived of. He came to give meaning, to give mystery, to give us the awesome presence and tender love which is God. Jesus didn’t say “Let’s get the young people interested.” He said “Feed my Lambs.” So, I sincerely ask our pastors, youth pastors, deacons and music directors to give young Catholics a taste of heaven, give us mystery, give us that presence and awesome love of God. Hit us with a meaty Catholicism that makes us stop and think, that makes us truly perceive the miraculous thing that is happening at every Eucharist, and causes us to bow down and say “Truly this is the Son of God” “Truly this is the New Covenant” “Truly this is the Promised Land- our heavenly home”!

 

“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him.”

-Psalm 34:8

A big, angry rant

I get tired of other Christians constantly arguing against the authority of the pope! It seems that Christians will endlessly disagree about basically everything but on only one thing will they agree, that the pope’s authority is wrong. What is so BAAAD about the pope? Why does this one figure automatically equal corruption, lies and mistrust?

Many Christians act as if believing papal primacy is intrinsically evil or morally wrong! As if one who believes the pope holds authority over the entire church is some heartless, mean person with no capacity for love in their hearts. At best, they might be considered a mindless drone… or a poor, misled soul.  As if Christians who believe in the authority of the pope might someday get in heaven IN SPITE OF that belief instead because they were guided by it.

One person, an Orthodox, that I spoke to a long time ago said that the pope’s primacy “destroyed the central message of Christianity” I mean COME ON!!!

Believing that an old man in a pointy hat guides and teaches the whole church and the bishops, destroyed the central message of Christianity? Seriously? …I didn’t know the pope was capable of undoing the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls (the central message of Christianity by the way). They give this one man more impossible amounts of power than Catholics do!

Let me elaborate that I have no problems with the Orthodox but some of them see fit to have a problem with me because: gasp, I believe in the pope’s universal authority as one who must “strengthen the brethren”. Oh, how evil I must be!

It’s the Pope of the Catholic Church who gets called the anti-Christ and a liar and an evil man. It’s not the Patriarch of Constantinople or the Patriarch of Alexandria of the Archbishop of Canterbury who raises the general hackles of fellow Christians- but the little, Ol’ Roman pope! Nor will any of these aforesaid holy men get so much negative media attention and myriads of insults over the internet.

There is not one man who is so universally hated and despised and falsely accused. Every person who denies he is the Vicar of Christ and then persecutes him actually makes him more like Christ. It is something in the nature of so many to attack this one figurehead. Churches need to focus more on loving Jesus than hating the pope. Pastors need to teach the Gospel as their core doctrine instead of how to argue against the pope. Christians need to live their religion out of heartfelt acceptance and trust not out of rejection and conspiracies.

 

Moreso, there is a Biblical warrant for the pope’s authority, a historical warrant and a logical one.

He’s the successor of Peter!!

 

People just need to stop saying junk.

okay rant over

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There is a reason more scandals hit the Catholic Church than any other religion. We’re the only religion/faith in the world that Satan wants to destroy. Only Catholicism brings Christ to the world through His Sacraments. Without the Catholic Church this world would forever be lost to darkness and Christianity would disappear. Not trying to sound argumentative to my Protestant brothers and sisters

but without Catholicism you wouldn’t stand a chance against Satan and his worldly influences. Catholicism has withstood every scandal, every persecution. It has outlasted every major empire for two thousand years. Many have tried to destroy the Church, but by the power of the Trinity, the Church just goes right through these forces. Anytime a new scandal hits the Church, while it saddens me at the weakness of mortal men and women throughout the Church and faith, scandal after scandal only reassures me that this is in fact Christ’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.Satan will NEVER relent his attack on this Church because it IS Truth. We have Christ. No other church/faith/man made religion can claim this. But “because” we have Christ, we know we will never fail. We are engaged in spiritual warfare from the moment we are baptized. Satan will stop at nothing to ruin all souls but wants nothing more than to lure people away from Christ. Especially those who are receiving Him in the Eucharist and other Sacraments. He wants to separate us from the graces that Christ bestows on each of us through our Holy Sacraments. Satan knows without the Sacraments we are not strong enough to fight him. No human can EVER conquer Satan. Period. We absolutely NEED God for that. We need the Holy Spirit to strengthen us. We need Christ and His host of angels to defend us. We need the Communion of Saints to pray for us. Christ calls us to Communion. We are all to enter the Communion of Saints and be a community. Christ knew we are too weak to do this on our own. That’s why He wants us to stick together.

I pray someday soon the schism will end and all of our departed brothers and sisters who know of Christ will start doing His will and come back to the Catholic Church and receive Him in the Sacraments. The sanctifying graces we get through them by our Lord and Savior cannot be described by words. I get depressed thinking about the amount of people who could be saved from themselves, if only they had the graces of Christ through the Eucharist and Reconciliation (as needed). Give us this day our daily bread. We need the Eucharist daily. Many of us can’t receive the Lord daily due to work obligations and more is the pity, but that is just how life is for many of us.

But Catholics, we KNOW the power of Christ in the Eucharist. We need to share our experiences and love with our fallen away brothers and sisters. They love Christ. They are depriving themselves from Christ’s strength. From His gifts of love. They have walls built up. Tear them down with love. Pope Blessed Pius IX once said, “Give me an army praying the Rosary, and I will conquer the world”. It’s time we give His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI the army that Pope Pius IX was deprived of. This world and everything in it, every one in it, belongs to God. Let’s take this world back for God. Not by violence. Not by governmental diplomacy. Not by making concessions. But by the power of prayer. “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” It’s time we listen to St. Augustine. We have work to do people. God Bless!

 

written by Colin Michael Sheehan

Top-Ten Reasons why Catholicism is So Goth.

 

1.)  We speak an arcane tongue.

Latin is one of the most mysteriously beautiful and ancient languages.

Its sound, rhythm and flow are almost magical, timeless and can be quite creepy in the dark. Our millennia-old Latin may seem cold as stone, foreboding as death, angry as fire or ecstatic as the throes of passion.

 

 

2.)  We pray and worship over tombs.

Yep, at least our predecessors did. A prime place for early Christian worship was deep in the catacombs, right over a martyr’s tomb. In this dark place, we lit candles, sang psalms and celebrated Mass. For centuries, tombs reminded us of our hope for eternal life, the shortness of mortality and our fear, pretty much, of nothing.

 

 

3.)   Ash Wednesday.

Where can you go, have black ashes smeared on your forehead and get told “Remember man, thou are dust and to dust, you shall return.”? At any Catholic church on Ash Wednesday of course! Is there anything more grim, harrowing and true than this classic, Catholic one-liner?

 

 

4.)  The Exorcist.

Evil demons possessing a little girl, making her neck spin around and emit green vomit. What unholy thing is this! Well, we are pretty informed about it. Catholic priests actually receive training specifically to deal with crises such as these. They have been doing it since Jesus himself drove out the first demon in 33 AD. Some Christians don’t believe in exorcism, some trivialize or explain away the powers of darkness but we stand strong, ready to kick some demonic-ass.

 

 

5.)  The stigmata.

Holes suddenly appear on your hands and feet, bleeding profusely, causing excruciating pain. Might be a scene from the latest horror-flick… or maybe you have a case of old-fashioned stigmata. Yeah, we actually believe in this. No one has been really able to explain this supernatural phenomenon, which has happened to a rare, few people. Creepy ain’t it?

 

 

6.)  Candlelight and Gregorian chant.

Until you’ve been in a pitch-black room, watching light grow gradually as numerous candles are lit, one-by-one, whilst midlevel chant echoes overhead, you haven’t lived!

 

 

7.)  The Requiem Mass.

Yes, we have Masses specifically for someone who has just died. The Requiem Mass is so gothic that the priests wear black vestments, often with dancing skeletons on them, burn incense and recite prayers for the departed one’s soul.

 

 

8.)  We actually drink the blood of Christ.

Legends of vampires may actually have their origin from Catholicism. In the ancient, Roman Empire, Catholics were accused of cannibalism. This is because we believe that when consecrated, the chalice of wine becomes the literal blood of Jesus Christ. Morbid as such a belief sounds, it appears in Scripture where Jesus says, “My flesh is true meat and my blood is true drink.”

…yeah, we love our Lord so much, we have no qualms about sipping his most-precious blood!

 

 

9.)  Gothic cathedrals.

Artistically speaking, the term “gothic” means “barbaric, crude, grotesque”. Many of Europe’s old, Catholic cathedrals proudly bare this name. It’s hard to believe that the most beautiful churches in human history were once denounced as “gothic”. Yet, those pointed arches, gargoyles, dark niches and stained-glass eventually found way into our hearts.  Kind of like the subculture right?

 

 

10.) We have no fear of death.

Catholics can walk fearlessly into the darkest graveyard, stroll besides nameless tombs, solemnly lift a skull in their hands and laugh. Our God became flesh and conquered the hellish powers of death long ago and promised that we would also. “O death, where is thy sting? Silly skull, are you amused yet?”