Very few people set out with the intention of “Hey! I’m going to be an evil #######!” But many people who start out with the intention of being good do wind up with the end result of having done evil.
Consider that statement. I bet a lot of us immediately thought of other people as falling under this category. I also bet that very few thought of ourselves. That means we’re either a bunch of saints (in which case, consider 1 Corinthians 10:12), or we’re blind to our failings. Personally I think the second option best describes our lives.
The fact is, the devil is out to ruin every one of us individually, and every one of us has our own strengths and weaknesses. The intention of the devil is to play on our weaknesses—our passions, our opinions, and so on. Unfortunately, we tend to be blind to this. We expect the devil to come with a direct attack against what we find important. A lot of our apocalyptic religious fiction tends to work that way. If you look at the Left Behind series or the Michael O’Brien novel Father Elijah, we see an antichrist who is a political liberal. He gives people what they want in terms of libertine debauchery and undermines the Church by turning people away from it. And this is happening today. We see this, and we make our decision to be faithful—praying to God that we be given the grace to stand in the face of persecution or seduction.
But what we don’t consider is that the devil wants our damnation as well. It doesn’t please him to destroy our body if our soul is brought to God. Some have apostatized in the past in the face of persecution, but others have stood firm with the grace of God supporting them. Some have been seduced into accepting libertine behavior, but others have not—through the grace of God. Are we to think that the devil will only succeed in trapping the political left and the weak minded, and as long as we’re politically “conservative” we’ll be safe?
Pure hearts are holy hearts! When your heart is pure, it is clean and this means that your soul is free from sin. You are united with Christ; conformed to Christ, and act in a Christ-like manner. To be of this stature you must have a pure heart, a holy heart, a heart like Jesus’ heart. Might sound impossible, right, given humankind’s propensity to sin?
Jesus reminds us in the Beatitudes:
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8).
News flash! If we want to experience eternal life in Heaven, in the presence of God,… Read more…
The cure for anything starts with understanding how it came to be in the first place. Immodesty stems from a lack of self love, resulting in a lack of self-worth. When a person lacks self-love and self-worth he/she tends to hunt for affirmation, looking to fit in, and at times, bowing to peer pressure in trying to fit in to a preconceived mold defined by others. All this person wants is to be loved and to be told that he/she is worthy. This person craves attention, any kind of attention, even negative attention. That’s why immodest people tend to act… Read more…
Success seems to be defined by fashion magazine trends these days, and everyone wants to be successful! However, most of us are not fashion models on photo shoots. Rather, we’re everyday people trudging along in our communities, working, shopping and maybe, we exercise at the gym. Yet, how often do you see scantily clad people inappropriately dressed for a given occasion? Maybe its short shorts and a tank top in church, or a low cut blouse and tight jeans at work.
What we choose to wear makes a difference, not so much for others, but for ourselves, in the view…Read More…
Christians are now dealing with a new obstacle to evangelism; we can no longer assume people know stories in the Bible or the basic tenets of the faith. Perhaps this dearth of spirituality in modern culture will serve to drive desperate people to the feet of Christ but more than ever seekers need basic catechism to lead them back into the arms of God and the Church.
A few decades ago, almost everyone knew the bible, even if they did not attend church because even public schools read the bible and prayed before classes started. I am a convert. As a Protestant kid who went to Sunday School from 3 years old, I grew up on the stories of Jesus, singing songs about His love and memorizing bible verses. I realize now that I was a prayerful kid; God was close to me.
This increased hostility is simply because the Church will not go along with calling evil “good.” The world wants approval for its sins. But the Church will not give this approval. The Church speaks out against many things that the world wants to do. Not because she is reactionary, or ornery. She speaks out because she is tasked with going out to the world in order to spread the Word of Salvation and to speak out against the behaviors which separate humanity from God.
The world does not mind a belief in God. What it does is resent a belief in God which requires change in behavior. People who want to think of themselves as “good,” resent being told that they do evil—especially when the evil condemned is something they do not want to give up. People have no problems speaking against evil which offends them, but tell them that the behavior they like is wrong and people become hostile.
The message of the Church is simple:
God Exists and loves us.
But, we are alienated from Him.
He sent His Son to free us from our sins and restore our relationship with Him—which is impossible to do apart from Him
We must respond by ceasing to live in a way which separates us from Him
Language choice is key. What you choose to say to others is important. Using foul language, for example, has no place in any society, except to display the poor character of the speaker. We hear off color jokes, privately told at the water cooler, as well as routines on Comedy Central (cable television). We overhear snide remarks made to a co-worker. We hear defamatory lyrics that top the music charts. The choice to use foul language is pervasive; so also is the cultural norm to accept it as part of the fabric of our society – a stained fabric, but nonetheless, a fabric of our society.
How we speak makes a difference, not so much for others, but for ourselves, in the view of our own self-worth. Read more…
Action speaks louder than words! Everyone has heard this phrase, but have you given it much thought in relation to modesty? How you behave around others is an indicator of your true character. Even the things that you do in the privacy of your own home can divulge your true character. What you think is private may not end up that way. A classic example is “sexting” – sending private pictures containing sexual poses to a supposed “lover” over the phone, only to see them splashed across Twitter and other social media sites.
How we conduct ourselves both privately and publicly, makes a difference, not necessarily for others, but more so for ourselves, in the view of our own self-worth. Read more…
Some Christians think that Centering Prayer is an invaluable way to deepen their spiritual lives, others think that it is the work of the devil and many more have never heard of it. For the benefit of the latter I shall briefly summarise it based on this leaflet (pdf)
1. Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within.
2. Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s presence and action within.
3. When engaged with your thoughts*, return ever-so gently to the sacred word.
4. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.
On the subject of choosing the ‘sacred word’- The sacred word expresses our intention to consent to God’s presence and action within. The sacred word is chosen during a brief period of prayer asking the Holy Spirit to inspire us with one that is especially suitable for us. Examples: God, Jesus, Abba, Father, Mother, Mary, Amen. Other possibilities: Love, Peace, Mercy, Listen, Let Go, Silence, Stillness, Faith, Trust, Yes.
The practice is recommended for 20 minutes a time, twice a day. Its proponents argue that it is based on an ancient Christian practice referred to in, for example, the medieval English work The Cloud of Unknowing which is true so far as it goes. It is no coincidence, however, that this practice emerged and was publicised at a time when Eastern meditation techniques based on Hindu or Buddhist mantras were gaining many adherents in the West. Indeed it is strikingly similar to Transcendental Meditation which also recommends two twenty minute periods with eyes closed. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with Christianity appropriating and Christianising this or that aspect of non-Christian cultures, philosophies or practices, The key question is always: does this provide a bridgehead to advance Christianity into new areas or a breach to permit non-Christian beliefs to invade the Church? In the case of centering prayer we can only answer that question when we have some sense of its benefits or risks…click here to read more
The situation of the religious freedom in America is certainly as bleak as it has ever been in our history. The three branches of government take it as a given that they have the authority to rule on matters that involve religious obligation and to dictate to believers which of their beliefs are valid and which are not. The general trend here is to force religion out of the public square under the assumption that anything with a religious motivation cannot be used to set policy. (That’s the Genetic fallacy by the way). Between the government and the influential shapers of public opinion, people are being led to the view that unpopular religious teaching is based on intolerance (poisoning the well fallacy) and any religious opposition to an issue is portrayed as the equivalent of the racist opposition to civil rights in the 1960s (false analogy fallacy).
The result is, we are now in a situation where religion can be restricted outside of the most narrow redefinitions. The rights of people who profess belief in the Christian moral teachings and the institutions or businesses they establish is denied on the grounds that their belief is merely a repugnant intolerance (Begging the Question fallacy). We could soon see an even more overt attack where Christian individuals and institutions affiliated with churches have no right to refuse to do something their religious beliefs condemn, and thus suffer lawsuits, fines and prosecutions. It’s the kind of behavior we hitherto associated with Communist governments and long said “It can’t happen here—our Constitution prevents it.”