Posts Tagged With: Catholic

Liturgical Relativism

I spoke with a priest recently and the conversation moved to Liturgical music. He heard I played guitar and so he wanted to involve me in his gospel group.

I quickly declined the invitation in the nicest way possible. ”what you don’t lift the hand high?” as to infer I don’t like the whole ”praise the lawwwddddd” stuff at least in the context of the Liturgy.

Answer was no I don’t. He tried to explain to me that he has been reading books that talk about how we need to use the culture to try and help convert them. In other words using modern music and giving the lyrical application and theme of Jesus to it.

Furthermore there is a whole culture out there he explained where people love the somber Gregorian chant but not everyone is like that or likes this music. Sometimes it’s important to have joyful music he said.

It’s at this point I’m thinking these people don’t really and truly understand the public perception of what it is they’re doing and have a wrong perception of what joy is. Music does toy with our emotions but there’s a difference between feeling joyful and being joyful. True joy is found in the application of oneself to a particular discipline.

For example when we look at Islam it has all the discipline but it has no joy or love. When we look at the Catholic and protestant west we see all the joyful uplifting and praise and good emotions but no discipline, no real depth. In the Orthodox Church one can see both joy and discipline coming together nicely.

Anyway I explained that he said himself the architecture of the church all lends itself to the mystical and I continued that so when you stick a drum and a rock guitar in there it looks out of place with the whole scene and interior of the Church.

It’s not just my opinion but every soul that walks into that church can feel it in their gut that whilst the music in itself is nice, it doesn’t fit the actual dramatic scene of Calvary before them on the altar. It’s wishy washy and people don’t come to mass to experience the world again, they come to experience an other worldliness. They come to see, hear and smell there’s a fine line between US (the church, heaven, the kingdom, Jesus ) and THEM (the world, secularism, atheism, the playground of the demonic).

I understand the mystical side of it and I’ll get to my history as a musician/singer/songwriter in a minute. But if you want to be the pink floyd of Christianity God has given it to you, it’s called the Charismatic group. Go there but sadly the Charismatics have invaded the Parish church and now everything is upside down in there they’ve ruined the discipline that held it all together because their type of worship doesn’t suit the parish liturgical life.

Tonight I watched Lord of the Rings the two towers. I saw that the music fits the movie. If you were to put some indie folk music in there or even star wars music it wouldn’t fit. It just wouldn’t be the Lord of the rings would it? It’s the same with the Mass. When you insert that type of modern music it no longer looks or feels like the Mass, that something heavenly is taking place.

I understand that we need to use the culture and that this helps conversion. St.Paul VI said this in his encyclical and I’ll never forget what he said although I do forget the encyclical in which he said it. But he said that the use of the local culture is important and helps with conversion but to always remember that God is above the culture.

I hate to boast but there’s nobody who understands the liberal, secular culture like I do. I was immersed in the music, drugs and sex scene for years. I have smoke joints with Ian Browns musicians, I’ve supported acts like Rick the drummer of the Jam (He had his own band once and I forget the name of it already). I’d been involved and friends with Los Angeles biggest movies critics for film/tv later in life also.

I drank and puked in the darkest of places. I’d a different woman almost every other weekend.

I just know the mindset of this culture this priest thinks he’s converting and they think your music is absolutely horrible and horrible is not the word they’d use for it, it’s way too kind for a description of what they think.

I don’t think it’s horrible but it just doesn’t fit THE SCENE of what’s going on at Mass. I told him that I highly doubt that when I die, that Jesus is going to greet me on a cloud with a rock band behind him.

This music is great for a youth festival/retreat and works well in that setting but NOT at the Celebration of the Mass.

I’ve been having a discussion with atheists about this who used to be a part of the Church. They say that music is diabolical. They hate it. Is it any wonder people are leaving the church at an alarming rate. You may not think it but the Divine Liturgy is what keeps people coming to the church and it’s the divine Liturgy which helps them from youth to realize then that the teachings of the church are not to be taken lightly.

But for as long as they see you compromise with the world on the Liturgy they then don’t see any issue with Compromise also on the teachings of the church. Everything is connected, when you sever one thing and rupture the Liturgy you cut off everything else that the Liturgy gave meaning to which is the teachings of Christ.

Discipline and Love are not distant cousins but brother and sister. Without them both we have a broken family, a broken Church.

Sadly we live in a world of Liturgical Relativism. The Folk mass is not right for you, but it’s right for me. You may like incense and candles but ya know, I prefer the glow of an artificial light.

It’s really sad and so you can see why I don’t bother fighting it. I was glad to leave him at that because I really hate getting into a discussion with priests over it because I know that you cannot preach to someone whose already made their mind up. Never teach a pig how to sing, it only wastes your time and it irritates the pig.

I’ve given up teaching pigs how to sing and I’d rather just get on with my life. The Church will enter it’s dark period and there’s nothing I can do to stop that. But does it mean I must be a part of it? Perhaps so but very reluctantly.

 

 

 

 

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Surrounded By People Who Want To Convert Me

Christos Annesti!

They’re good people whom I love dearly and I know have good intentions, but I am surrounded by many who are trying to rope me in and get me involved in their religious communities. Some may offer an invitation to their Church and some may try and use something I possess like my photography for example to get me involved. Why? because people see I’m interested in the Orthodox church and so the Orthodox want to help me and the Catholics see I’m looking for a good excuse to leave the Catholic Church as I’m concerned for my boys and families spiritual future and growth (which I don’t believe they’re getting in the overtly feminine Catholic Church) and so naturally are employing tactics to get me to stay.

It’s a good idea and I like their strategies because one knows that when you’re embedded into a group there’s a better chance you’ll remain in the Church or become part of theirs. I know my photography is awful so when someone asks me to come in and do it for them I’m always aware of the reasons why and its not because I’m any good at it (I’ve only being doing photography since 2013) but because they want to use it as a means to get me involved.

That said I enjoy doing it anyway if it contributes towards the church and the cause because I hold both of these things dear to my heart anyway.

I would just prefer it if people would not approach me in a roundabout way and do it directly be blunt and just come out with it. I don’t like to praise myself but I’m a little more astute than most people think in examining situations. I’d prefer it people just said ”Stephen would you like to speak with someone about why you want to leave the church or for any other help you may need?”

Great, its just so great because it eliminates the wastage of time inviting me here nor there. Again I’m not praising myself here or boasting but that’s something you do with someone whose spiritually asleep and who needs a gentle awakening and introduction to the faith because they’ve been hammered by secularism and numb to all things spiritual for years.

I on the other hand am a different kettle of fish altogether and to be honest there’s really no need to convert me because the massive row that’s going on between me and God at the moment over his Church he’s brought me into will be ongoing and there’s nothing you can do about it. I possess my own spirituality in the sense that I go to Mass once a week and confession, accept all the churches wonderful teachings and I’m happy to leave it at that with everything else in between such as the odd devotional prayer.

When I came into the Church I’ve done my bit in my immediate local community, tried to get involved and realized the church from laity to bishop wont listen to reason and so getting any more involved in the Catholic Church would drive me absolutely more bonkers than I already am.

I’m happy in the job I’m currently in and I’ve returned to what I consider a fairly normal life and I’m at peace now with that so just leave me be and focus on those who need your attention. It’s not your fault, its mine for advertising my difficulties on facebook and wordpress but you’re better off ignoring my rants and getting on with your own life. You have enough to be worrying about me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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J.R.R Tolkiens Vision For Christian Unity

 

In the Lord of the rings I’ve always had a theory of Tolkien’s vision of the modern church today in all its splintered glory.

The Catholics (the elves), the Orthodox (the bearded dwarfs) and the Men (the protestants). The Catholics and Orthodox being elves and dwarf and are not portrayed like the men because they’re other worldly and mystical whereas the protestant culture doesn’t have these characteristics of theology.

In addition to these Tolkien has the Orthodox (Dwarves) down to a T. They are often very loud, grumpy and uncompromising much like the Orthodox Church of today. They are very manly whereas the Elves (Catholics) are very feminine looking. It’s a weird way of looking at it but tell me I’m wrong haha.

In Tolkiens vision we see that in order for the entire kingdom to eliminate the powers of Darkness and put a lid on it, All the elves, dwarfs and men must unite. What about the hobbits, who are they? We will get to that in a minute.

Without unity the powers of darkness rule and for as long as there is discord and no harmony within Christendom, the devil has much more of a foothold. Today, even though we may have our theological differences, without Christians settling their differences and coming together to unite against the powers of atheism and secularism, it will have constant rule over us.

What about the hobbits? Isn’t funny how Frodo is given the job of getting rid of the ring? He’s light footed, small and nobody will see him come in the back door. Who are the hobbits in the church? The hobbits are the mystics. The children (vassula ryden, fatima, medjugorje and Garabandal to name some examples) who nobody ever sees. They’ve been chosen because they will be light footed and are usually unseen because their humility gives them no cause to be seen.

When we are humble, the devil can neither see nor touch us. It’s only those of us who are full of sin who become entangled in him and come under his fire. Jesus has always chosen the weak in the Bible to be his prophets. They may not have all been perfect but they were chosen nevertheless to lead the Church into the future and back to God.

However these little hobbits can’t do it alone. They need the help and guidance of the world around them to take them there. They need a spiritual director (Gandalf) and they need others to guide them (the elves, dwarf and men) because without them and their unity they will never defeat darkness.

The call of God for the entire Christendom is unity because without it Christians will be overcome. Scripture says a divided house cannot stand. If Christians are at each others throats is it any wonder darkness has the upper hand?

We need to become small and humble like the little hobbits. We need to become like this in order to fight evil. I do believe that this movie was J.R.R Tolkiens message of unity for the modern and broken Church.

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Catholicism And Modern Art

It’s not that I dislike it as the headline suggests but what it has transformed into. The only way I can describe Modern Catholicism is how I’d describe modern art. It’s just a stroke of paint on the wall, it’s not art its way too simple to be art. You can’t just put a pair of glasses on the ground and call it art.

Catholicism like modern art has become void of all substance, meaning and the mystical. In its quest of compromise with the secular/pagan world in order to help bring about an easier conversion by making life easier for us all, it has become further disconnected from a world that already despises it.

Today I revisited this pain when I went to my local church at 3pm. They spent 10 minutes saying prayers for Good friday which consisted of the Divine Mercy chaplet at 3pm and then they all went home. I got back in the car and said to my wife ”You know down in the Greek Catholic and Orthodox parishes in Dublin they’re only getting started and ours is over already?”

Afterwards there’s no community. No coffee or chance to socialize like in Orthodox parishes. Everyone just makes a dash for the door and it’s considered to be an end to the obligation.

I almost felt like I should have just stayed at home and lit some candles to have our own 3pm Holy Hour.

Tomorrow I plan to go to my Ukrainian Greek Catholic parish an hour away in Dublin. I just can’t go through easter without experiencing some kind of closeness to God. The Roman Catholic Church just fails miserably at any attempt to lift a soul off the ground and bring it to God via the Divine Liturgy. They don’t even call it Divine Liturgy which has a much better ring to it than ”Mass”. The word Mass means nothing it’s mad.

I know it sounds mad, even Jesus I bet thinks it sounds mad when we say this is the church that’s the true Church.

Tomorrow I will be greeted by the smell of incense, singing, chant, imagery and tradition in which body language also plays a part in our prayer towards Christ in the tomb.

 

 

 

 

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Palm Sunday: Did You Welcome Him With Joy Too?

We all live out Palm Sunday at some point in our lives. All of us welcomed the Lord into Jerusalem (Our hearts, souls and minds) in the beginning.

Up on cloud nine rolling around like a pig splashing in the mud rolling around all the rosaries, crucifixes and bowls of incense. Visiting every church that we come across. No desire for conversation with anyone unless it’s about…..JESUSSSSSSS. Yeah that’s a perfect description of us all.

Then when the dust settles, some of us either are on the verge of becoming a mystic, or a crazy (like me) and even turn on the Lord and abandon him altogether.

For others we go on a retreat and we are so high on the Graces that Jesus showers upon us that we love and forgive everyone their faults whilst confessing our own. Then we arrive home from pilgrimage only to turn back into a monster that avoids Jesus at every turn.

One could say we are always welcoming Jesus and rejecting Jesus in a sense.

Hosanna in the Highest!!! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the Highest!!! Yes great, but do you really welcome Jesus in those who represent him today?

Jesus comes to us many times throughout the day in those whom he loves. This could be the atheist, muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc etc but do you welcome them, or…reject them, avoiding them altogether?

Sometimes we welcome people who are of benefit to us. Perhaps they’re a millionaire and we want to form a relationship with them in the hopes they will cure our poverty?

When you think about it, that’s what the people who welcomed Jesus at first thought. They thought this humble man on a donkey was going to be of benefit to them. He would perform the miracle and make this roman empire disappear and they’d be freed from oppression. It wasn’t until they realised they weren’t getting what the wanted that they turned on him in the end.

We do the same, like the people did with Jesus here, we welcome people only because we want to use them. We never see them, only what we can get out of them, whether that be money or emotional comfort all we see is ourselves but rarely do we see the person or Jesus.

What I’m asking you is to look hard yourself and ask the question, Am I welcoming Jesus, or am I just looking for him to answer all my prayers. If after a few rosaries I don’t get a shiny new car I’ll turn on him and abandon him. We’ve all been there.

God bless

 

 

 

 

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Are You Thinking Of Studying Catholic Theology? Please Read This Before You Do

We all want to gain a better understanding of our Catholic Faith. I don’t think there’s one of us here who would say otherwise.

The more we learn the teachings from Catechism right down to Canon law and deeper still into some heavy academic studies, our closeness to God will multiply. At least this is the understanding many of us like to hold onto.

Lets propose the idea however that Catholic teaching and our desire to learn it is a distraction to deflect the real problem that resides deep inside us.

Could it be that we are more focused on understanding the teaching of the church as opposed to gaining a deeper knowledge of who we are?

I think learning the faith on a most basic level is great such as the ten commandments and the Sacraments. I am always a little nervous though when someone decides they want to dive in deeper than this. Suddenly I find myself wondering if this desire for academic study of theology serves as a distraction towards the real goal and authentic desire of first developing a relationship with God first.

It may seem incomprehensible to some reading this but learning theology without first developing a strong relationship with God and a spiritual ”awareness” of oneself and faults is a loaded gun just waiting to go off. To simplify it even further, without a metanoia, a true metanoia, not just ”feelings” and an ”emotional” drift towards Jesus but a really honest hot and teary conversion, theology is dynamite in the wrong hands.

It’s the reason why we have so many progressive theologians both clergy and laity high up in the church who have abdicated from the throne of truth and into the pit of bad theology.

I’ll break that down for you again so you can’t walk away from this post claiming to be confused. Two men and one knife in the room. One man sees the knife as a tool for cutting bread and giving it to the other man. The other man sees it as a weapon to steal some money to buy a loaf of bread.

It’s the same with theology and we view theology through the lens by how strong our relationship with God is. If the focus is not on God and ourselves we will use theology for bad and if the focus of our studies is a fruit ( not a foundation ) of our relationship with God who is always the primary focus of our studies, then we will use it for good and see it for as it really is.

It is very rare though to find that in a lay person who jumps at theology. I hate to say it because it makes me look like I’m a spiritual giant of which I’m not but I’ve been witness to many spoiled cradle Catholics who love the whole intellectual side of the church.

They enter their theological studies but their people skills and ability to forgive, meekness and humbleness isn’t there. And although they do adhere to correct theology, most often and sadly the devil gets involved (because they’re without the Grace necessary to handle it) and they end up becoming the religious police (Michael Voris for a popular example).

Therefore their study becomes a distraction developed and influenced by the devil to dissuade them from the true theology. Evagrius (an early church father) said ”He who prays truly, is a theologian, and he is a theologian who prays truly.”

Is he talking about devotional prayer? No, he’s talking about the prayer of transformation by which we totally transform and shed the skin of the worldly teaching we’ve absorbed from birth. Once we experience this true metanoia of change of heart we then become a burning, living prayer and even when we are not saying ”Lord Jesus Have mercy upon me, forgive me, help me,” we are still praying.

Our very way of being and life becomes an incense that rises into the nostrils of heaven that appeases God who reciprocates with Grace. When we have achieved this, then we can enter into theological study and it will bear more fruit.

But I always tell people not to bother and I’m always worried about the spiritual state and reasons of those who use it to escape from the real problem which is THEMSELVES. HAHAHAHAHAHA.

God bless

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Catholic Snobs

Did you know that Catholic snobbery is a real thing? It most certainly is and snobbery goes all the way back to the pharisees who stood there ready to condemn a woman for her sin. Instead of rushing to forgive her and give her an honest hearing, they went in and condemned her right away.

Pharisees where snobs. People who thought they were know-it-all’s and had a higher opinion of themselves than most. They were privileged. They grew up with a strong education, ate the best of food and wore the best of clothes. They lived in a bubble and were unable to step into the shoes of someone of lower class than themselves.

For this reason they weren’t considered good evangelists. Jesus however was someone who the ordinary person could identify with and he brought himself down to the level of a peasant. St.Ignatius of Loyola employed this method and it worked well. After all it’s only common sense given that Jesus is the one who coined the strategy.

Snobbery has never went away and Catholic yuppies still exist to this day. As much as I love them, I’m forever trying to avoid them especially the American type who are new converts from a protestant background. Like the pharisees, they’re a very ”by the book” people who get on my nerves. Ireland has them too don’t get me wrong but the Americans are so much more intense in their snobbery because they’re by default an intense nation.

They take everything and multiply it by 100 and they have this approach to the Catholic faith as well. So needless to say they get on my absolute nerves.

Anyway, today I had a discussion about lying with some of these people. The woman who initially posted this story on facebook I’ve been watching for a while. I already have known she is a bit of a privileged middle to upper class snob and my wife is forever giving out about her updates on facebook that she had to just hide every post from her. I tolerate her only because I sincerely love her but her recent post took the biscuit.

She posted a news story about how these college kids investigated their principal only to find out she lied on here resume to get the position/job. We don’t know what made them investigate, we don’t know why she lied. Did she lie to indulge herself in a six figure income? Ok we know that is wrong. Did she do it because she desperately needed a job to keep the mortgage afloat and cater for her kids college fees? Perhaps so.

I found her gloating over this and her snobby friends throwing stones at this woman without even gathering all the facts first very distasteful. I told them Abraham lied, Jacob lied, King David lied. Sometimes we lie and it’s not the ideal but in the real world sometimes we have to do so just to get that job because we’ve literally no education and been on the social welfare since we were 18 years old. All of a sudden we decide we want to get better and enter the workforce. Would you enter the workforce with an empty resume?

Who would hire ”Hi I’m John, I was a drug addict for years and a bum on social welfare for 8 long years but now I’m ready to come work for your company”? Would you hire this guy? Such an argument shut them up pretty quickly as like a true pharisee they were claiming that lying serves no purpose whatsoever.

Oh you mean that time when Pope Francis lied to the Junta to get out the persecuted Christians and smuggle them out of Argentina, that served no purpose? They began to howl now and trip over themselves again and again with ”Oh but that’s different to lying to getting a six figure income”. All of a sudden the people who said lying had no purpose were now eating their own words, all of a sudden now it did have a purpose.

The fact of the matter is my dear readers, these people are self-styled theologians. Over privileged delinquents and downright snobby. They live in a bubble of never having to worry about their education because dad paid for that and so getting into the workforce was easy. They are therefore like the pharisees unable to put themselves in the shoes of man who has to tell a few lies on a resume to get working at the local walmart as something ridiculous as stacking shelves.

If you want to live a life of spiritual perfection and not have to enter into the real world of bumps and knocks, then you should go into a monastery and live out that vocation. But in the world, sometimes we have to do what isn’t ideal in order to get ahead but don’t ever judge someone without digging deeper first. Before you cast that first stone, consider whether or not you’re being an absolute snob and have done your homework. Not only that like the woman who committed adultery, the journalists made this principals lies so public that it will destroy her chance of ever getting a job again? is that justice? is that forgiveness?

Snobs and yuppies in the church drive away converts. They’re like wolves among sheep who actually think they’re ”helping”. They usually have zero people skills and are often put in positions such as reader of the word, or secretary because the priest himself is a snob and so you’ve got all these people from privileged backgrounds with no people skills or life experience from priest to laity running the church and they wonder why the average joe doesn’t fit into their click, why he won’t darken its doorstep?

One guy said it to my sister  ”ah the Church is just a club, a gentleman’s club”. He didn’t fit in because the Catholic church was just considered a club for the white suburban yuppie. I need to be fair to him he’s right. He really is because before I converted back to the church that’s how I felt.

There I was stood at Catholic mass for the first time since I was 12 years old. I’m in my rocker leather jacket and gear. I take a look around me and it’s a sea of well dressed snobs and I just thought ”What am I doing here? I don’t fit in here at all, these are the very people who annoyed me my whole life”.

My problem with yuppies goes even deeper than before I was Christian you see. When I was 8 years old, I had a friend who was poor ah sure look…we were all poor. At Halloween he couldn’t afford to buy a cheap plastic scary mask.

He came with us and he put his hood up, his hand over his face and tried his best. When we came to this one household of marble munchers, (that’s those who like to talk with a few marbles in their mouth)  the man answered the door and wouldn’t give my friend any candy. ”He’s not getting any because he doesn’t have a mask”.

That friend over the years, where is he now? he was in prison, for robbery, assault, rape, you name it he’s been in and out. I always like to think my disdain for snobs began there.

This is mostly why I avoid their natural habitat which is often bible groups and theological seminars or the coffee club after mass. yuck. no thanks. But then when I first began reading the bible for the first time, I saw that Jesus didn’t care much for them either. Oh he loved them, but he gave them a hard time didn’t he? Makes me feel I’m not all that bad for avoiding them.

I put up with them when I have to put up with them. If I’m like a cornered rat in the room with no place else to go, I just have to bite the bullet and talk to them always keeping an eye out for the exit.

In fact I’m pretty sure if God hadn’t of blessed me with the  special approach I got 8 years ago, I’d have most likely fallen back into my old secular ways and forgotten about the church as some sort of strange ”phase” I went through. But it’s the constant daily reminder of this blessing which is why I endure and keep moving along.

 

 

 

 

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Do Not Scare Your Children Into Loving God

teenage-girl-angry-cropped-smaller

My sister’s husband left her for another woman. It was an affair that went on for 4 years. Both her and her children for 20 years grew up in an atheist household. He wasn’t religious at all, pro abortion and so my sister naturally absorbed this separation and embraced the secular life.

As of recent she has come back to the Sacraments of the Church. I met her today as I walked out of the church having said my penance following confession she was just coming in. ”Is it too late for confession?” ”No” I replied and she rushed by me to be the last one in as the priest was just leaving.

I ventured out and noticed the jeep with two of the three children in the back. I jumped in and the first thing I said to the 16/17-year-old niece was ”Are ye not going to go in as well?”. They looked at me in shock and Her response was chilling, she said ”No, I don’t have anything to confess I’m fine and anyway no teenagers go to confession anyway. ”

I wasn’t surprised by the response though given that she’s grown up not being in the habit of going to Mass and confession. You see, as a Christian, we must make the regular attendance of the Sacraments a habit. When we form good habits and make them our masters, navigating the spiritual life is made a little easier.

Therefore if you’re a parent who neglects your vows at the altar to raise your children Catholic and are not yourself sincere in your own practice of the faith, then your children will always follow you as you become their teacher from birth. Whatever it is they see you love, they also will love. Whatever it is they see you cling to they will also cling to.

Therefore if you love money and make this the centre of your life rather than as a means to an end, your children will become hard and cold like money because that’s what they learn to love just like you.

To add insult to injury, the kids at school and their peers also become their teachers and there is nothing but conflict of thought when they come home to you because all of your ”wills” are weakened by lack of Grace, prayer and the Sacraments.

My niece doesn’t understand the concept of sin and what it is because she hasn’t been taught so she naturally thinks that she’s not a bad person. In addition to this confusion she is the victim of collective thought in which her decisions are made based on what the culture and youth of her age surrounding her decide is trendy and what isn’t.

It is much more difficult to rescue a teenager whose parents have not formed good habits and passed them onto their children, much more difficult.

My mother happened to be in the car and she went for the jugular by saying ”You have to go, other wise you will face God at the end of your life and you could go to hell” or something to that effect.

This is the old school tactic of getting your kids to confession. It makes God out to be a nasty unmerciful God to the modern-day person. It’s useless.

There is a more modern approach to this that has many avenues in dealing with it. I also practice this in my telesales and business to business sales job. Instead of persuading the person to do business with me and qualify them with my product. ”You need this” or ”my product is a great fit for you”, I play hard to get and I apply this primarily in my approach to get others to come back to the Church.

I disqualify the person and play the hard to get card. I give the impression that I’m not altogether bothered if you want to go to confession or not but….here’s some thoughts. I will dig deeper into the person by making it look like I respect their decision, then I allow them to tell me more by saying ”yeah hmm, you wanna tell me more why you think you’re not a bad person?”. It creates an immediate ”This person is not trying to persuade me to go to confession, but genuinely respects my boundaries.”

Then you follow-up more and I responded to my niece by proposing why I thought she felt that she wasn’t a bad person and why she didn’t feel the need for confession. She was open to listen why? Because of the language of reciprocity led her to behave that way.

Basically the language of reciprocity works this way, I gave her something, the opportunity to air her views, now she want’s to reciprocate this by giving me the chance to present my thoughts and this is what is known as the language of reciprocity.

I explained that the reason she doesn’t believe in sin is because her concept of good and evil is limited and she’s never really studied what sin is. We are all bad people and there’s no such thing as squeaky clean soul, even the Pope needs confession and he’s the Pope. Secondly, if I turned on a cooker and it was hot, would you touch the hob? Of course not because it would burn your hand. The consequences are immediate upon touching it.

In comparison to this the consequences of sin are more obscure and hidden. We don’t realise them until we die and we don’t see the wars, accidents and natural disasters around us that are caused by the collective sins in the world both mortal and venial.

Because we don’t see these consequences and when we indulge in the sin of gossip, we are less careful of avoiding it like we are putting our hand into a fire because it has no immediate physical effect on us when we sin. If we indulged in gossip and broke out in boils and developed leprosy, we’d never gossip would we?

This was the gist of my response to her and she seemed more receptive of this than ”Get into confession, it’s your catholic faith that s why and you’ll die one day and face God, what are you gonna say then huh?”

Scare tactics don’t work so don’t scare your children into loving God, rather help them embrace loving God instead through open dialogue that develops a healthy atmosphere of calm and trust.

I do it when I’m selling products all the time. I never try to convince the person that I’m right and they’re wrong or convince them of the product. I allow them to sell it to themselves by asking them about challenges they’re facing in that department. Some may say they’re not facing any challenges and fine where they are and so this is why I invite the person to trust me that if we dig a little deeper we could find a problem.

It’s the same with my niece. In a roundabout way, I invite her to dig deeper and question her own thoughts about the Sacrament of confession by proposing my own suggestions. I plant seeds all the time in the persons mind so that when I revisit them a week later, they may be inside the confession box keeping it warm for me and a total change has occured.

For example in my sales job I never EVER sell something over the phone or on the first visit. I call them up, plant the seed and then when I call them a week later they say ”You know, I was thinking about that price you gave and what you said about X,Y and Z and you know what? I think I’ll go ahead with that.”

So there you have it, plant seeds and pray for them. Your prayers is what waters the seed and it’s up to the Grace of God to let it grow further.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When Darkness Is Illuminated By Light

A woman close to me had lived for 25 years in a marriage of darkness, that is to say atheism. He was a complete and extreme atheist/secularist with no religion in him at all.

Recently he was caught having an affair with another woman who continued for four years.

Now he’s gone and we encouraged her to go back to confession and back to Divine Liturgy.

Today I saw her at mass with one of her children. The Second reading of Ephesians 8-14 and the Gospel Of John about the Blind man born that way from birth. I couldn’t resist but feel as if the Lord was speaking directly to her ”8 You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; behave as children of light,”.

She lived in darkness for many years through all that atheism. I felt as if the Lord rescued her in some way. Not that Our Lord wants to see marriages fail and she did everything in her power to save the marriage but the affair continued.

Sometimes Our Lord removes people from our lives for our own safety. It is necessary that this happens but I do believe that God used this opportunity to shine a great light into the midst of such darkness to rescue this woman and her children whose souls have been deprived of Christ and his Church all these years.

Marriages are doomed to fail when God is not at its centre. Where there is no God, there is nothing but unrest in a marriage. Without a proper understanding of love beyond the realms of the flesh and that which we’ve been taught by the popular culture, our marriage becomes the playground of the demonic.

What happens most marriages is that spouses become bored with each other. Their false understanding of love as led them to fall ”out of love” with someone.

When we fall in love with someone according to what we think love is, we are saying ”You suit my shopping list of desires and wants. I would like you to be my vehicle of gratification now for the rest of my life. When you no longer become the vehicle of my gratification I will trade you in for another ( known as falling out of love).

Therefore we go through life thinking we love our wives, children, friends and so on. But like the blind man in the Gospel we never really see each other and only what we can get out of that person. This is what’s known as living in darkness. That isn’t love, you’re only in love with yourself. True love is when you see someone for who they really are, not what you imagine them to be.

How can husbands love their wives? By first discovering who they are. If I were to ask you who you are, what would your response be? I am a man. Nope didn’t ask you what your sex was. I am a plumber. Nope didn’t ask you what your profession is. Who are you? Suddenly when you run out of answers you begin to realize you don’t actually know who you are.

Once we discover who we are and who Christ is, we then give him a chance to illuminate the darkness within us that we may be able to see clearly the people in front of us. Then only then can we begin to love our wives when they get fat, go bald, no longer able to have sex because they had some sort of accident. When these things come, that’s when the true test of whether or not you love someone will present itself.

The vows at the altar are nice aren’t they? ”through rick or poor sickness in health” but I’d love to hear more than just that. Maybe they should add ”When he’s a big belly and loses all his hair, when he loses all his teeth and becomes a drug addict” and so on.

That’s what love is, most people run to the altar with stars in their eyes especially the women. Oh I’m gonna have my babies and big house and dream home but when the ridiculous image they’ve created of marriage in their heads doesn’t reflect the reality of what they experience several years down the line, all of a sudden now they fall ”out of love” and become bored and begin to literally lose their minds and commit adultery searching for their need in other men or vice versa with the man looking for his wants in other women.

You see in the midst of all of this running to exchange vows God is not at the center because he can’t get in there’s too much ”ME ME ME” and ”MY WEDDING, MY BABIES, MY CAR, MY JOB, MY HOUSE”.

 

If your marriage is going down the toilet as long as the marriage is valid, then do everything in your power to discover yourself and Christ. Love is not just an experience, it is an eternal truth that is only found in the living of the Sacraments and life of the Church.

Don’t allow Darkness to pervade your marriage and wait for a light to come. Become the light now.

God bless

 

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Learn How To Debate Like St.Thomas Aquinas

Saint Thomas Aquinas

When debating someone I’ve always used this method as an aid to helping me overcome my opponent. It works really well and I learned it from Thomas himself. Basically he instructs us to meet the person on their own ground when they make an accusation.

I’ll give you some examples.

Atheist: You can’t prove God exists and all you’ve got is faith.

Christian: You can’t prove God doesn’t exist and you’re a man of faith also.

Atheist: Religion should be taken out of Catholic schools and taught at home.

Christian: Atheists should take their kids out of religious schools and give them a religiously deprived education at home or take them to another school that is ”atheist”.

Atheist: My taxes shouldn’t fund Catholic schools

Christian: My taxes shouldn’t fund schools deprived of a religious education fair is fair.

This kind of debate is called diffusing the argument by placing a mirror in front of them so they can see they are a reflection of their own argument. As a result you defeat them on their own terms with the same argument only mirrored back at them.

It’s not the only method of debate and can form part of the argument whilst throwing out a few statistics afterwards. For example with regards to schools again:

”My taxes shouldn’t fund schools deprived of a religious education fair is fair. By the way statistics show that in Ireland atheists only make up 5% of the population. This proves more religious are paying more money for these Catholic state funded schools and so the so-called secular state with regards to the funding of schools is actually a religious one. ”

You see how meeting them on their own ground was also mixed up with some statistics also? So it forms part of a debate and I thought it would help you when debating someone in future.

Debate is my least favourite part of my faith but lots of the saints were called to do it and so being a good debater is a vocation. St.Paul was considered the first really great debater so you should begin with him when learning.

There are more tips I have. I’ll save these for another post.

 

 

 

 

 

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