Fight Like a Man to Save Your Soul

Below is a great post from The Catholic Gentlemen, which is one of my favorite blogs. The blog often highlights the crucial fact that for the Catholic Church to be a force in the world it must remain a masculine entity. The Church needs good strong men to lead the Church Militant and help attract souls to the Church . . . which is the only ark of salvation instituted by Christ. A holy priest once reminded me in confession that I need to always act like the man I was made to be because it will take faithful and masculine Catholic men to help save our families, our country and our culture.

A war wages over the fate of every single living soul. If you don’t think the devil wants your soul and is doing everything in his power to grasp it for all eternity, then you are probably losing the war. I pray you start fighting like a MAN using all the tools the Catholic Church . . . that God . . . has given us. Your eternal salvation depends on it.

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Here is the post from Sam Guzman of the Catholic Gentlemen:

St. Michael the Archangel, Defend Us in Battle
September 29, 2014
Sam Guzman

We’re in a spiritual war, and in this war there is no neutrality. The combatants are God, the Immaculate Virgin, the saints, the devil, demon hordes, angelic hosts of immense power, and you. The weapons are humble prayer, frequent fasting, and unwavering faith.

“For we are not contending against flesh and blood,” says St. Paul, “but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

At stake in this war is your eternal soul—eternal life or eternal death. No prisoners are taken. If you’re not fighting, you’re already dead.

But fear not. On your side are the mighty archangels, and chief among them is St. Michael. These angels are not doe-eyed sissies. They are burning flames of fire endowed by God with power beyond our comprehension. These mighty angels are even now engaged in conflict with Satan and his demonic minions.

Michael means “Who is like unto God?” Indeed, that was his battle cry when Lucifer first rebelled against God. It was Michael who defended the glory of God and rallied the forces of heaven against the rebellious angels, driving them from heaven. And their primal combat continues to this day.

I’ve had some individuals criticize the warlike emphasis on this blog. They think fighting is inherently evil, even if the fight is against spiritual forces, and that gentler and more peaceful metaphors should be chosen to describe the spiritual life.

I would challenge these critics to pour deeply over scripture and the writings of the saints. For if they do so, they will quickly realize that spiritual combat is part of the very fabric of Christianity. We must fight because we have an enemy who rests not day or night, an enemy who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.”

In the face of this relentless enemy, passivity is never an option. St. Peter explicitly commands us to, “resist him, firm in your faith.” We must make war against the world, the flesh, and the devil, or we will be destroyed by them.

Holy Church is under attack from the inside and out, and the battle rages hotter than ever. In an age when many seek to dethrone God or declare him dead, we must rise up like St. Michael to defend his glory, saying, “Who is like unto God?”

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

http://www.catholicgentleman.net/2014/09/st-michael-archangel-defend-us-battle/

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More Evidence the Church is the Solution of All Problems

Check out this article about an inner-city Catholic high school in Newark, New Jersey that is using the Rule of St. Benedict to help bring a sense of order to lives of its students surrounded by chaos, violence and sin. The school is run by Benedictine Monks in Newark. This is further evidence if more Americans would look to the Catholic Church to solve its problems, this country would not be on the fast track to oblivion. Never forget that the Church was founded by God himself and is a gift to us, not only for our salvation, but to bring us joy while still living here on earth. St. Benedict, Ora Pro Nobis.

http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2014/09/documentary_on_newarks_st_benedicts_school_to_air_on_pbs_tonight.html

Save the Liturgy . . . Save the World

One of my favorite quotes ever is ‘Save the Liturgy . . . save the world.”  Pope Emeritus Benedict the XVI famously said this.   As we all know, he is the driving force behind the come back of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM).  Thank God!

I move around a lot in the military.  I have seen my share of masses and most have been unemotional, banal and sterile.  The only masses where I have been lifted up to Heaven by the mass have been at parishes where the priest either says the TLM or has incorporated many of the TLM aspects into the Novus Ordo mass (such as ad orientum). The TLM is just so beautiful and rich that words can’t even describe the experience.  It truly is the closest thing to heaven on earth.

A good example of the power of the TLM was at a TLM Requiem (funeral) mass I attended.  After the mass I spoke with two non Catholics (most likely atheists) who told me the Requiem mass was the most powerful event they had attended in their lives.  In their lives!  They didn’t understand a word the priest or the schola said or even anything that was happening up on the altar or around the casket but they just knew they were in the presence of something supernatural. Sometimes it takes an unobjective observer to point out the obvious truth and boy did these two gentlemen nail it!

Another thing I noticed is that TLM parishes, or where a parish offers at least one TLM on a weekend, are vibrant, lively and have a cohesiveness that is unparalleled. These TLM families are having lots of children and are studying the one true faith and most importantly educating and making a point to raise their children in the faith. The liturgy is the driving force behind creating this culture. These children will then grow up, God willing, to become Priests, nuns, teachers, etc… and bring their faith to shape the world. Thus, save the liturgy . . . and save the world.

Below is a blog entry at a great new Catholic blog titled “onepeterfive.com” regarding an “Amazing Parish” conference recently held in Denver. The purpose of the conference was to improve parish life. The blog entry notes the “Amazing Parish” conference didn’t list as one of the ways to have an “Amazing Parish” was to improve the liturgy. Based on my experiences moving around, the conference wasted a HUGE opportunity for all these parishes that attended. It seems quite obvious to me in my travels. I am not sure why others don’t see it.

The blog entry can be located here:

http://www.onepeterfive.com/want-amazing-parish-begin-liturgy/

Porn is Bad for You All the Way Around

Below please find another solid blog post about the dangers of porn to your physical health and mental health . . . not to mention your eternal soul!  I wonder when this public health hazard is going to start having its own public “walk” similar to the breast cancer walks :)?

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http://marysaggies.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-science-of-internet-porn-what.html

 

“The Science Of Porn – What Happens To Your Brain & Body

Here are some startling statistics compiled from a variety of academic and popular sources. I am sure you have heard how much money porn makes, how much there is, etc. But, what many don’t see as much is the impact porn is having on individuals and society.

Here are some stats I have found (links give sources).

ADDICTION:
*Porn is more addictive than cocaine or heroin.

SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE:
*it isn’t as widely accepted as some might make you think.

  • 76% of U.S. adults disagree that viewing hardcore adult pornography on the internet is morally acceptable;”
  • 74% disagree that “viewing hardcore adult pornography on the Internet provides, generally, harmless entertainment;”

MEN:
*According to a survey published in the Journal of the American Psychological Association, 86% of men are likely to click on Internet sex sites if given the opportunity.

WOMEN:
*34% of female readers of Today’s Christian Woman’s online newsletter admitted to intentionally accessing Internet porn.

MARRIAGE:
*According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, prolonged exposure to pornography leads to:

  • An exaggerated perception of sexual activity in society
  • Diminished trust between intimate couples
  • The abandonment of the hope of sexual monogamy
  • Belief that promiscuity is the natural state
  • Belief that abstinence and sexual inactivity are unhealthy
  • Cynicism about love or the need for affection between sexual partners
  • Belief that marriage is sexually confining
  • Lack of attraction to family and child-raising

*According to sociologist Jill Manning, the research indicates pornography consumption is associated with the following six trends, among others:

  • Increased marital distress, and risk of separation and divorce
  • Decreased marital intimacy and sexual satisfaction
  • Infidelity
  • Increased appetite for more graphic types of pornography and sexual activity associated with abusive, illegal or unsafe practices
  • Devaluation of monogamy, marriage and child rearing
  • An increasing number of people struggling with compulsive and addictive sexual behavior

*The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (divorce lawyers) reported that the most salient factors present in divorce cases are as follows:

  • 68% of the divorces involved one party meeting a new lover over the Internet.
  • 56% involved one party having “an obsessive interest in pornographic websites.”
  • 47% involved spending excessive time on the computer.
  • 33% involved excessive time spent speaking in chat rooms.

CHILDREN:
*According to research from Family Safe Media, the largest group of viewers of Internet porn is children between ages 12 and 17.

*According to a study cited in the Washington Post, more than 11 million teenagers view Internet pornography on a regular basis.

*When a child or adolescent is directly exposed to pornography the following effects have been documented:

  • Lasting negative or traumatic emotional responses.
  • Earlier onset of first sexual intercourse, thereby increasing the risk of STD’s over the lifespan.
  • The belief that superior sexual satisfaction is attainable without having affection for one’s partner, thereby reinforcing the commoditization of sex and the objectification of humans.
  • The belief that being married or having a family are unattractive prospects.
  • Increased risk for developing sexual compulsions and addictive behavior.
  • Increased risk of exposure to incorrect information about human sexuality long before a minor is able to contextualize this information in ways an adult brain could.
  • And overestimating the prevalence of less common practices (e.g., group sex, bestiality, or sadomasochistic activity).

*A study of youth between the ages of 10 and 17 concluded that there is a significant relationship between frequent porn use and feelings of loneliness and major depression.

*51% of male college students and 32% of female college students first viewed pornography before teenage years (12 and younger).

CHRISTIANITY:

*In 1994, a survey showed 91% of men raised in Christian homes were exposed to pornography while growing up (compared to 98% of those not raised in a Christian home).

*In August 2006, a survey reported 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography. 60% of the women who answered the survey admitted to having significant struggles with lust; 40% admitted to being involved in sexual sin in the past year.

The Angelic Doctor and our Passions

Found on the intraweb:  A wise individual wrote the paragraph below in reviewing St. Thomas Aquinas’ Treatise on Passions:

“So for him, man is made for friendship with God and all his passions and appetites are ordered to that end. The unplugging of man from his constitutive relationship with God crisscrossed his circuits and thus the passions can often be chaotically arrayed against man’s “telos.” But it was not so in the beginning and it is not so in man’s fundamental nature. Aquinas understands original sin and the consequent loss of sanctifying grace as a disruption of man’s NATURAL STATE — being in obedient love with God.”

We have been pulled from the dark abyss out of love from God so we can love him and spend eternity with him.  But too many of us simply ignore him and pretend we can be happy without him.  We need God to control our passions.  The Angelic Doctor knows this oh so well.

Well played my anonymous friend.

Understanding the Catholic Church

I find it difficult, as much as I love and study the Catholic Church, to describe it to people that know nothing about the Church.  I work with many protestants (aka “Ps”) that simply have no idea what the Church is or even the fact that Jesus created the Church for our salvation.  I give it the old college try when explaining the history and the purpose of the Church but for the most part it falls on deaf ears.

As a result, I am always on the look out for blog posts that explain the Church well to the unchurched.  The post below is one of the better ones I have found.  Since the Catholic Church is the solution to all problems and the ark of salvation, if we want to save souls, we need to get as many people in the Church before their last breath.  Kudos to the Texas A&M Catholics that wrote this one.

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http://marysaggies.blogspot.com/2014/09/7-things-you-need-to-know-about.html

7 Things You Need to Know About The Catholic Church

1 – The purpose of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus. Too many people

have a false understanding of the purpose of the Catholic Church. After

Jesus made the Church, He gave a clear mission statement to His apostles:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name

of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to

obey everything that I have commanded you.” -Matt 28:19-20. Everything else

the Church does, feed the hungry, perpetuate the Sacraments, etc. is in

service to this mission. Evangelization isn’t optional.

2- The Church itself isn’t what you think it is. Catholicism isn’t just a

set of doctrines or a hierarchy of clergy. Catholicism isn’t just a moral

code or social teachings. It is much more than we could ever know. The

Church isn’t so easily definable, which is why we have so many different

ways of describing it – the bride of Christ, the body of Christ, the people

of God, etc. What we need to know is this – The Church’s identity is wrapped

up into the person of Jesus and thus shares in the mystery of God. When we

think we “know” the Church, we are fooling ourselves. This is why continued

education about God’s Church is so important.

3 – The Trinity really does matter. Many Catholics wouldn’t care if the Pope

declared that we don’t need the Trinity anymore, because it makes no

difference in many Catholics’ daily lives. But, it really does matter. Why?

Because if God is a communion of persons, a family, and we are made in God’s

image and likeness, then our families and relationships are called to

reflect the same kind of relationship found in the Trinity – the gift of

self to another – true love. This is where the paradox of the Gospel finds a

foundation. To gain life, we must lose ourselves. To live is to die. To die

is to live. All because of the Trinity…and that is just the starting

point. Since God is infinite, the Trinity matters an infinite amount.

4 – The Incarnation changes everything. An all-powerful, eternal,

all-knowing, divine being decided to create the universe and then he becomes

one of the creatures he created. This is mind-numbing. Furthermore, in

humbling himself to take on our flesh, he raises up our nature to a greater

dignity – one that now shares in his own nature. We share in God’s nature.

This is flabbergasting. The world is never the same and all of creation and

time revolves around this one moment – when God becomes one of us. Our

response should be to see God in all of his creation, but most importantly

in all of humanity, including ourselves.

5 – The Church is beautiful. Because of the first three truths above, we can

now see the beauty of the Church. Is the Church full of sinners? Certainly.

But, we sinners are not the source of the Church’s beauty, God is. We are

called to reflect this beauty as best we can, but true beauty is found in

the being of God, who is beauty itself. The Church reflects Christ beauty to

the world. Through the Saints’ lives, the Cathedrals and artwork, through

the music and songs, and through the teachings of the Church. It is in these

ways we see God’s beauty rise up for a world that focuses all too often on

what is ugly.

6 – Catholicism contains the most balanced teaching you will find.

Catholicism holds a lot of seeming tensions in balance. They include; 1 God

and 3 persons, Scripture and Tradition, Faith and Works, Jesus is human and

divine, the Church is both holy and imperfect, we can know God through both

faith and reason, we are a people of both prayer and action, and the Bible

is written by man and inspired by God. We are a people of both/and, not

either/or. While it may seem there are contradictions, there are not. But,

there is mystery behind the balance.

7 – The world needs the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has the answer

for all the world’s problems in the fullness of truth and the fullness of

grace she offers to the world. The Church gives us a moral anchor, an answer

to broken families, addiction, sin, war, violence, abuse, and all the other

issues in our culture. More than ever the world needs the Catholic Church,

if our society is to last. This answer is the personal relationship with

Jesus that the Catholic Church offers to us all through the Sacramental

grace, teachings of the Church, and in our own personal prayer we all need.