Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Opioid Crisis and Advent




While driving around recently, I came across a fairly popular song on the radio with the following lyrics

"Medicate" by the band "Theory of a Deadman"

Got no job, mom pays my bills
Textin' ex's get my fill
Sweatin' bullets, Netflix-chills
World's out there singin' the blues
Twenty more dead on the evening news
Think to myself "really, what's the use?"
I'm just like you, I was born to lose

Why oh why can't you just fix me?
When all I want's to feel numb
But the medication's all gone
Why oh why does God hate me?
When all I want's to get high
And forget this so-called life

I am so frickin' bored
Nothin' to do today
I guess I'll sit around and medicate (medicate)
I am so frickin' bored
Nothing to do today
I guess I'll sit around and medicate (medicate)





I'm not sure if the artist is celebrating this reality, or just pointing it out, but either way I think it is helpful for us to pay attention to this.


We are all probably familiar with the opioid crisis in our country.  Just two stats

1) Opioids are the leading cause of death among people under 50 

2) Heroin alone (just one form of opioid) killed more people in 2015 than carr accidents and guns COMBINED!


We are asked to be people who bring comfort to God's people as we hear in the first reading.  Well, folks, this is the atmosphere in our world that we are asked to bring comfort to.

Some Christians are asked to be bring Comfort in the midst of severe famine and poverty.  Some Christians are asked to bring Comforth in the midst of religious persecution.  In our culture, we are asked to bring Comfort into the world amidst a culture of people that are medicating themselves at epic levels.

And there are lots of ways to medicate...not just drugs.  Shopping, food, caffeine, nicotine, my phone, etc.


So how do we bring "comfort" to God's people in the midst of all this?  The Gospel gives us a start - tell people to REPENT!

That sounds like it would only make people more depressed, more down on themselves...but here's the thing...people went out into the desert to see John.   John the Baptist wasn't bothering them in the middle of town...people went out to see HIM!

Why?  Because no matter how many drugs we take, no matter how much we try to medicate, we know that 

a - we sin (or, if you're atheist, "make decisions that harm ourselves and give us guilt") and
b - we can't fix it

So this invitation to repent is an invitation to acknowledge that these burdens I'm carrying around...God can HEAL them


Another thing the Church offers the world hopped up on medication and hating the burden and "boredom" of reality is the gift of a rhythm of life

1) Each day, we're invited to introspection, to prayer, and to celebration

2) Certainly also weekly we're invited to give something up like meat on Fridays and spend more time in prayer and on Sundays we celebrate

3) But also, as we are aware right now, the Church structures our year with this rhythm of life as well - we have seasons like Advent and Lent where we enter into more silence, perhaps giving some things up and then we have these great seasons of Christmas and Easter, and of course throughout the year we have "Feast days" for great saints and great moments in Church history.  So precisely when the world is trying to tell us to run around like a chicken with our head cut off and be frenzied, we step back and celebrate the quiet and peaceful and anticipatory season of Advent.

In a world of instant gratification, to choose to patiently wait for something is an act of rebellion against the frenetic; and act of rebellion against the evil one.



This rhythm of life given from God is something that the Israelites thanked God for regularly in the Old Testament.  People today often mock the laws of the Old Testament because some of them talk about clothing and shellfish and pork etc...but the Israelites said "We thank you, God, for this way of life you teach us!"

This rhythm of life given to us from God helps us recognize that not every day is the same. If I just think every day is the same, and there is no purpose or rhythm to anything, then things start to get boring REAL quick...

and so I look for a way out...

and I medicate and flee reality



Let us bring the comfort that only comes through Christ to a culture that is so afraid or bored by reality that people are turning to anything they can find to escape.  


Let us show people that the invitation to repent and the invitation to live out purpose and a rhythm of life are actually great gifts from our Loving Father in Heaven!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Are we living in the worst times?

Often times we hear from progressives that the times have changed so much that our sacramental laws have to change to keep up


But is that true?


Is our time really MORE hostile to the Faith than the Diocletian Persecution?  Is our time MORE hostile to Catholicism than 20th century Russia?  Than China over the last 50 years?


I think St. Agatha who had her breasts cut off or St. Bartholomew who was skinned alive for the Catholic Faith would laugh at the notion that today things are so much more hostile to the Faith or that the times are so much worse than any other time in the past.


From my vantage point, the notion that "Woe is us, we have to bring the Gospel to a world infinitely more hostile to the Faith than anything encountered in the first 2,000 years of the Church" is both

1) wrong

and

2) lazy


It is lazy because in believing that we live in a time "SO much worse" than anything else ever encountered, we can also, in the back of our mind, excuse our failure to do a better job because "things are so much worse now"

"Wow, things are so much worse in your time?  I was skinned alive 2,000 years ago for being Catholic


Hebrews 12:4 - "you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood."

We have this moment

With all the sexual misconduct/rape/abuse reports coming out against Hollywood moguls and media superstars, it is easy to get cynical and retweet and join in the piling on and the "I told you so".

This seems particularly tempting for Catholics, as our teaching on sexual morality has been skewered for the last two decades in the wake of the priestly abuse crisis.


However, it seems to me that we have this opportunity where a lot of people in our culture are awaking to the fact that perhaps our culture's approach to sexuality is not working, and are looking around and wondering "Is there a path out of this?"

 I think we as Catholics are gravely mistaken if we do not step in and help explain what our Church says with regards to sexual expression and also what our Church teaches about the role that morality and Christian principles can play in shaping public policy and law without insisting that a nation become an explicitly Catholic theocracy.







I think many fear that if there is anything in our public sphere that even SOUNDS Christian, we can't utilize it because of the separation of Church and state. 



But the Catholic Church has a lot of well-reasoned non-threatening non-seeking-to-take-over-the-country things to say and engage on this question of how laws can be more rooted in Truth while maintaining our Nation's Constitution.





Let's share these ideas and engage in these conversations - the time seems right, and people seem to want to have this conversation unlike any other time in my lifetime

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Conscience

If a person's conscience is telling them to

1) stockpile nuclear weapons

2) turn away immigrants

3) pollute a local river

4) utilize the death penalty


Should that person follow their conscience?

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Form to Weed out the Church

Here's a first draft of a letter a Pope might consider utilizing to address the informal but de fact schism that is only widening:


"For immediate distribution to all priests, religious, bishops, theologians, parish staff, and teachers at Catholic schools of all levels from kindergarten to the university and to all who claim to in any way be a theologian in the Catholic Church:

Please sign and return this document stating that you agree to the following

1.  Abortion is always and everywhere a grave evil.  If procuring or assisting in an abortion is freely done with the understanding that it is a grave evil, then it is a mortal sin.

2.  Sexual activity outside the context of a valid marriage is always and everywhere a grave evil.  If sexual activity outside the context of a valid marriage is freely chosen with the understanding that it is a grave evil, then that act is a mortal sin.

3.  Marriage, even civil marriage, can only exist between one man and one woman.  An attempted marriage between persons of the same sex is a grave evil.  Attempting or participating in an attempted marriage between persons of the same sex, if freely chosen with the understanding that it is a grave evil, then the act is a mortal sin.

4.  Artificial contraception (chemical or otherwise) is always and everywhere a grave evil.  Any use of artificial contraception, if freely chosen with the understanding that it is a grave evil, is a mortal sin.

I understand that I must always and everywhere publicly profess and teach the above teachings, and I will never work to teach otherwise, either directly or indirectly. 


________________________________________

Please submit this form to your local bishop at your earliest convenience

Monday, October 30, 2017

Sasquatch Fitness

I just joined a student for his podcast last week.  We talked about Faith, sports, working out, Catholicism, the Mass, and MUCH more


Help out a young Catholic student as he ventures into new media



Homily: Harvey Weinstein and AUTHENTIC masculinity




To love is to the will the good of the other

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Give to God what is God's




The prayer of Clement XI mentioned in the homily


Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
I trust in you: strengthen my trust.I love you: let me love you more and more.I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.


I worship you as my first beginning,I long for you as my last end,I praise you as my constant helper,And call on you as my loving protector.


Guide me by your wisdom,Correct me with your justice,Comfort me with your mercy,Protect me with your power.


I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;My words: to have you for their theme;My actions: to reflect my love for you;My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.


I want to do what you ask of me:In the way you ask,For as long as you ask,Because you ask it.


Lord, enlighten my understanding,Strengthen my will,Purify my heart,and make me holy.


Help me to repent of my past sinsAnd to resist temptation in the future.Help me to rise above my human weaknessesAnd to grow stronger as a Christian.


Let me love you, my Lord and my God,And see myself as I really am:A pilgrim in this world,Christian called to respect and loveAll whose lives I touch,Those under my authority,My friends and my enemies.


Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,Greed by generosity,Apathy by fervor.Help me to forget myselfAnd reach out toward others.


Make me prudent in planning,Courageous in taking risks.Make me patient in suffering, 
unassuming in prosperity.


Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer,Temperate in food and drink,Diligent in my work,Firm in my good intentions.


Let my conscience be clear,My conduct without fault,My speech blameless,My life well-ordered.

Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.Let me cherish your love for me,Keep your law,And come at last to your salvation.


Teach me to realize that this world is passing,That my true future is the happiness of heaven,That life on earth is short,And the life to come eternal.


Help me to prepare for deathWith a proper fear of judgment,But a greater trust in your goodness.Lead me safely through deathTo the endless joy of heaven.


Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"Imagine" by John Lennon


"Imagine" by John Lennon is the most naive song ever written. 

I guess we can excuse him a bit in that he didn't have the same historical data that we have now, 50 years after he first yearned for a world without Heaven or Hell, without religion, without Christ, etc. but just a big happy brotherhood of people...but the historical data is now apparent for all to see.

We now know quite well what happens when Christianity is abandoned.  It is NOT some happy brotherhood of humanity.

Nietzsche was way more dialed in than Lennon.

Why would a world that doesn't have Christ, that doesn't believe in the dignity of the Human Person rooted in the fact that the Juedeo Christian God SAID the human person ought to have dignity...why would a world that jettisons God still keep that part of God's message?  

Loving our neighbor as ourselves is THE HARDEST PART OF THE GOSPEL!!!  If I'm getting rid of God, why would I keep the hardest part of the Gospel in my life?



Here's an imagined conversation between John Lennon and today's Post-Christians on the right and left:

Naive post-Christian hippy: "Hey everyone, God isn't real, so religion isn't real, so the teachings about the dignity of each person aren't real, and the teachings about loving your neighbor as yourself aren't real...but let's still love each other."

Post-Christian alt-right/Post-Christian Communist: "Why should we love everyone?"

Naive post Christian hippy: "Because haven't you heard the song by John Lennon about what the world would be like if we did it that way?"

Post-Christian alt-right/Post-Christian Communist: "I don't give a rat's rear end about any of that.  I'm here to win and defeat the enemies of my ideology."



We are beginning to see, in our own day, exactly what happens, on the right and left, when Judaeo Christianity is jettisoned. 

Charlottesville was a perfect example of what is left behind when right and left are not rooted in Christ. 


The idea that we can get to all the good things Christ has brought to the world without actually believing or acknowledging Christ is a fairy tale.  He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Respect Life Month

Tons of great FREE resources by clicking here: http://usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/2017/respect-life-digital-resources.cfm


I  hope you consider downloading and sharing some of the resources with your friends and social media followers


Here are a few of my favorite images









Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Amoris Ghostwriter and St. John Paul II

A fact that people all across the ecclesial spectrum seem to agree on is that the man who had the major hand in helping pen "Amoris Laetitia" is Archbishop Tucho Fernandez.


In addition to being able to claim helping draft "Amoris Laetitia", Archbishop Fernandez wrote a book in 1995 titled "Heal Me With Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing"


You can read the English translation here if so moved: https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2017/09/full-text-of-archbishop-tucho.html

.....

Switching gears for a moment, in not a few progressive Catholic circles, St. John Paul II was attacked for his "Theology of the Body" presentations and his book "Love and Responsibility" which he wrote before becoming Pope.  He was attacked for writing about things that priests are, as his detractors claimed, ought not to be talked about by the Church
 

I've read both of St. John Paul II's works, and find them to be pivotal documents in the life of the Church, and also extremely appropriate and properly couched within the Church's important moral teachings.  What I've read from Archbishop Fernandez's work is frankly disturbing and, based on my lowly theological assessment, a completely different TYPE of attempt to talk about Catholicism and sexuality.


But the reason I raise all of this here, though, is to note that I've NOT heard progressive Catholics venting their frustrations about the fact that Archbishop Fernandez takes up Catholicism and sexuality, although that was one of their major critiques of St. John Paul II

Some GREAT Respect Life free resources and beautiful shareable images!

There are some GREAT images that are free to download and share with your friends and followers 





Why do we help the physically suffering but not the spiritually suffering?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Catholic Masculinity and the Massacre in Las Vegas

So in the wake of Vegas, the secular left has identified the problems
1) guns
2) masculinity

A sample:



Here's the great irony in this - according to the secular left, masculinity is both not a real thing, and also, at the same time, while not existing, also the problem.


Something can't both not exist and be the problem



And here's what the Church says
1) Masculinity and Femininity are real

2) Trying to suppress masculinity or pretend it isn't real, and to NOT nurture authentic masculinity will only cause DANGEROUSLY WRONG ideas about masculinity to rise up in place of authentic masculinity


Our culture, in saying there is no such thing as masculinity, is denying reality.  Denying reality is what psychologists call REPRESSION


Our culture takes masculinity and says
1) It isn't real
2) Boys that won't sit still in second grade must be medicated
3) It's cool if men are actually in to purses, manicures, make up, etc...


We are ROBBING our young men of their identity by drugging it and explaining it away...and in the wake of this we are left with soft, over medicated young men who are bored out of their minds, and are encouraged to fall deeper into their boredom by slipping into the matrix of video games, staring at screens, medicating with drugs and alcohol, and indulging in pornography, masturbation, strip clubs and sexual encounters of all sorts outside the context of marriage.


We ROB our young men of their identity, and no longer encourage them to strive for anything.




The CURE to the problematic manifestations of a diseased counterfeit masculinity is NOT doing away with masculinity.  You can no quicker do away with masculinity than you could do away with the Sun.


The CURE is to NURTURE authentic masculinity, which is why I think our culture has very little hope of enduring.  I am, in that regard, quite pessimistic.  But hey, all things are possible with God.


The Church has always taught that it means something to be a man.  To lay down your life in service to the vulnerable, in service to the poor.  To protect and defend and sacrifice for others.




Sadly it is no great shock that in a culture that has tried to eradicate the notion of men who defend, even taking up arms if necessary, there has arisen, in the vacuum, a demonic and warped mockery of masculinity that has men taking up arms to murder the innocent


Here are some resources that can be of great help in righting the ship





Bishop Olmsted's letter on AUTHENTIC Catholic Masculinity:

http://intothebreach.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/INTO-THE-BREACH-ROMAN-CATHOLIC-DIOCESE-OF-PHOENIX.pdf



We will either call men to battle, call men into the breach, call men to use their spirit to combat evil, or counterfeit versions will continue to wreak havoc on our culture

Monday, September 25, 2017

Surprising Insights In Our Month With a Communion Rail

One of my two parishes was just restored, thanks be to God.


I know a lot of the arguments and theological advantages of the communion rail, and that the Church has never said anything about taking them out.  The following are advantages that I was NOT expecting



1) In announcing and catechizing about the new communion rail, I have said, from the beginning, that a person can kneel or stand and received on the tongue or in the hand.  I have never stated a preference in any way for how a person receives.

On their own, over half of our congregation has CHOSEN to receive kneeling



2) The communion rail provides people with about 20-30 seconds to NOT be shuffling up in a line, but to instead stand or kneel facing the altar giving them a few precious moments to contemplate Whom it is that they are about to receive.



3) It has severely cut down on the awkward potentially non-Catholic person receiving Communion.  Let's face it, the majority of Catholics today fail to prepare their visiting family and friends for how to handle Holy Communion (i.e. either stay in the pew or come forward for a blessing)...but standing there at a communion rail for 30 seconds before the priest arrives gives the Catholic friend a chance to say "No, don't hold out your hands, cross your arms on your chest" whereas this doesn't happen when Communion is done in the American style of emptying the pews in an orderly style and shuffle up in a line and then be offered the Eucharist as soon as the person arrives at the front of the line




A Holy Urgency

Friday, September 22, 2017

On Human Dignity

I was listening to NPR this morning to keep tabs on what the left is promoting. There was a huge, lengthy, beautiful piece chronicling the plight of a refugee and his family in Germany.

It wasn't just a news story - it was an interview with a very noble purpose - to highlight the dignity of this man and his family.

The problem is that the left NEVER does this for the unborn....For the white Catholic father of 13 children...for the born and raised american business owner who sees his business as a means of helping his 200 employees grow in an awareness of their own dignity and support their families...the wall street worker who works crazy hours but gives a lot of her earnings away to charity.

---

No one thinks NO person has dignity

So everyone thinks SOME people have dignity. That's not hard. We shouldn't congratulate ourselves for thinking that SOME people have dignity

The challenge is to believe ALL persons have dignity. All races. All immigrants. The unborn. The poor. The rich. Men and women. The imprisoned. Your enemy


When you believe ALL people have dignity, that's to be congratulated.



Thursday, September 21, 2017

How to overturn Humanae Vitae


Humanae Vitae is one of those pivotal documents in the history of the Church.  Everyone thought the Church was going to cave on the issue of artificial contraception.  Basically every other Christian denomination had caved.

And then the Church didn't and said artificial contraception for the purposes of impacting/influencing conception is ALWAYS evil.

It is, by all sober analysis, one of the most prophetic documents in the history of the Church as it lays out the serious things that would happen if contraception became commonly used.






Many still can't believe the document happened.

Many have stated a desire to overturn the document


Here are steps to follow if you want to overturn the document


1) Establish a group of experts to go back and look at all the source materials, letters, behind the scenes correspondence, etc. that lead up to Humanae Vitae's publication.


2) If at all possible, don't let anyone know this study group has been put together.


3) This process of discovery should come out with lots of complicated verbiage, giving the impression that the only people who TRULY understand Humanae Vitae's construction are the privileged few who have been able to look at all the "evidence".


4) Make sure that the discovery process mirrors the historical/critical process that has been used so often to deconstruct the Bible.  In having experts deconstruct the Bible, it was really important that it was done by scholars, so that simple peasants and lay people could not mount any sort of argument.  What worked with deconstructing the Bible were things like "You don't understand Hebrew, but actually Jesus DIDN'T say anything about Hell" or things like "We've learned that divorce IS okay, because that part of the Gospel was written in by a guy named Burt in the late 800's."


5) In announcing the things that you are overturning in Humanae Vitae, don't actually SAY you are changing anything, whether in doctrine or in practice.  Continue to emphasize that Humanae Vitae is going to be left unchanged, that it is an AMAZING document, that we love Paul VI, etc.


6) Only after all that, then come out and say, in language that is really pharisaically theological and technical in nature (impossible to understand for most believers):  "Well, surprise, when we looked at how Humanae Vitae was constructed, we were able to discover that the BEST way to live out this AMAZING document is by now doing things/allowing things to happen differently. WHICH ARE ACTUALLY A BETTER WAY OF DOING/ALLOWING THINGS, AND THIS NEW APPROACH IS 
a) IN LINE WITH THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF THE AUTHOR and
b) A FULFILLMENT OF EVERYTHING THAT'S EVER BEEN WRITTEN BY THE CHURCH ON THESE TOPICS








Monday, September 11, 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Ladies: call us men higher!

There is no doubt that we face a crisis of masculinity.

There are many things we can do to change that.

One I'd like to think about today involves women.

When I ran track in college, the language I used a lot was pretty horrible.

A young evangelical track team member one time basically pulled me aside and THANKFULLY she chewed me out for being a juvenile and immature and that I was better than that. I just stared at the ground, and when she was finished I apologized and never talked with quite the same colorfulness ever again.

My point here: ladies - I don't think many of you know how much influence and power you have. I probably weighed twice as much as that young lady and she could have cared less - she said what needed to be said and it helped me tremendously and we went on being friends afterwards.

I do college ministry, and the vast majority of college-age women are about twice as mature as the men. But I'd just like to affirm our young women - you have AN AMAZING influence on those young men.

It can be easy and tempting to simply sit at a coffeehouse or in Church groups lamenting male immaturity. I want to challenge our young ladies, though, to not just TALK about the problem but also to call these men higher.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Secularism and Racism




There were two major revolutions that took place at almost the exact same time: the French Revolution of 1789 and the American Revolution of 1776

BOTH revolutions had the same themes and goals, we could call them them “freedom” and “liberty”
But there was a major difference, the French Revolution was explicitly a secular one, and by secular we mean a sort of expelling of religion, a “non-religious” movement

The American Revolution, on the other hand, also seeking freedom and liberty, as is clear from even a brief reading of the documents of the founders, was a non-secular revolution.  The American Revolution was one founded on a sort of “mere Christianity”, an experiment on whether or not a country could be founded on Christian principles without having to fly a specific denominational flag.  All are created equal…endowed by their creator

Here’s the point of mentioning the two revolutions – we hear in the first reading a sort of prophecy: My house shall be called a house of prayer for ALL peoples.

ALL PEOPLES!

This is a prophecy of the Church that Christ would found on Peter.  The Church is a house of prayer for all peoples!

Christ promises (and in fact is Himself) freedom and liberty – and this promised freedom appeals to the woman in the Gospel – she senses already, even prior to the Church’s creation, that Christ brings into the lives of all people a freedom and liberty not found outside Him.

---------

We’ve seen a lot in the news this week about racism in our country, and the Church stands up in the strongest possible terms and says this is wrong

At the core of the Church’s teaching on how we are to engage as a population is the idea that EVERY HUMAN BEING IS MADE IN THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD and so there is an inherent human dignity to every person

The argument against the Church here is simple: people in the Church, people under the banner of Christ have not always honored the dignity of every human person

But the counterargument to that is “we are well aware of that, but even in the failings something is very fascinating…it is through the Church, through the Judeo-Christian tradition that we are able to most strongly CRITICIZE the failings of people from the past

Yes, women were not equal to men in 1776.  Yes slavery remained after 1776, but those injustices were rooted out precisely by a deeper reflection on the Judeo Christian principles. 

Some will say – “Look, we will acknowledge that Christianity took the ball and advanced it down the field; you all did A FEW decent things to get us here, but now we no longer need to have a society rooted in Judeo Christian principles…we are post-Christian now…we’ve moved on…we secularists will take things from here.”

That’s why the French Revolution is so important for us – because what we see when we look at the French Revolution that we did NOT see in the American Revolution is that in France, not long into the Revolution, a REALLY disturbing insanity set in, the guillotine killing thousands of people a day, a frenzied distrust of one another – the two revolutions could not have been, at the end of the day, more different. 

And in the same way, people of all political persuasion, if they lack Christ, are left to try to rely on violence to drive out the opposition.  Even the language that you hear in the rhetoric is so telling as people on both sides of the secular coin describing the other as “less than human”….the moment someone is “less than human” it becomes okay to do to them whatever you want to them.

Only Christ and His Church have the ability to unite ALL people

Those of our parish who were blessed to be on World Youth Day last summer and those of you who saw the pictures know this – as far as the eye could see there were people of every race and tribe and language nation joined in prayer, joined in candle light vigils, kneeling together in silence, receiving the same Eucharist


God’s house will be a house of prayer for all peoples.  His Church is a house of prayer for all peoples.  Trying to build a house for all peoples on any other foundation will NOT work.  Just ask any secularist that has ever tried

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Life is Worth Living!

At the foot of the Cross, Jesus entrusts Mary to John and John to Mary.

Jesus of course dies, is resurrected on Easter, and then 40 days later ascends into Heaven.

Scholars think that Mary lived another 10-20 years and then was assumed into Heaven by Her Son, which is what we celebrate today on this Feast of the Assumption.

It is this interval of time that I’d like to focus on.

Why didn’t Jesus bring Mary up to Heaven with Him?

She had no sin.  God doesn’t need errand runners, and if he desired to bring His Mother home to Heaven, why not just do it right away?

One thing that I’d like to focus on, then, is that in some mysterious way, to exist, on Planet Earth and to be here drawing breath in this moment is, for you and I and everyone else (as it was for Mary) BETTER than being in Heaven.

That seems to make no sense.  Heaven is perfect bliss, perfect happiness, no more pain or sorrw…

But Jesus left Mary here for 20 more years.

This fact speaks very powerfully to us, and I’d like to look at how.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen had a primetime television show for many years, and the show had a very interesting title: “Life Is Worth Living”.  That is certainly, on one hand, a very strange title.  It isn’t “Wheel of Fortune” or “Jeopardy”…”Life is WORTH LIVING!”

If Archbishop Sheen felt the world needed to hear that, how much more does our world need to hear this?!?!

“Life is Worth Living”

The enemies of Christ and His Church are constantly saying, in so many different ways “LIFE, at least in certain circumstances, is NOT worth living”

1)      If you are elderly and in a nursing home and your kids don’t visit you and you are sick all the time, the world tells you “life is NOT worth living.  Just kill yourself…fast forward to the bliss of Heaven”
2)      If you are a teenager and you are being bullied at school and you aren’t getting straight a’s and you aren’t going to get into the school you want to…just kill yourself…fast forward to the joy of Heaven…life is NOT worth living
3)      That baby that is going to be born with Down Syndrome…better to kill the child and let it skip straight to the joy of Heaven…life, for that particular child, is NOT worth living
4)      That baby that will be born into poverty in Africa or to that mother on drugs in New York…abortion is the merciful option…that kid’s life is NOT worth living

It is clear when we look at Today’s Feast and the fact that the Assumption was TWENTY YEARS after the Ascencsion of Jesus, what becomes crystal clear, although mysteriously so, is that in God’s mind it is in some way BETTER for us to be here on planet Earth right now, amidst the sufferings and crosses of deceased spouses, children starving, people suffering from diseases and poverty…that we be here, right now, on planet Earth, ALIVE!

It is clear that for Jesus it is His Will that right now we be here and NOT in Heaven, just as he left his Mother here for those twenty years.

For God, life is clearly WORTH living.  The question we need to constantly be asking ourselves each day is do WE think life is worth living?




I didn’t include it in my homily, but I thought I’d leave this here…the end of Uncle Walt’s best poem


“The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?  
                                                        Answer.
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;  

That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hypocrisy of the Modern World

- Nicholas Senz

"The Hypocrisy of Modernity"

Wearing a Cassock

An interesting article appeared recently - a lay person (in fact, I think, a non-Catholic) wore a cassock around town for a day.

He documents the experience HERE and it is well worth your time.  It is super short




Contrary to what some might think, I'm not a huge fan of the cassock in one sense.

I'm pretty introverted and like "flying under the radar" in the sense of not having people notice me.

And so, quite often, it is tempting to wear "regular clothes" because I know no one will stare at me and I can walk around undetected.


But...I also know that wearing a cassock helps people know that there are actually priests around, and I think seeing a priest is a sort of "walking homily" that gets to people and maybe even forces them to think about more eternal things


This article sums up the experience quite well

The Dictatorship of Noise

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Coaching for Christ

Would you take two minutes to watch this news clip from 1999 and then ask yourself "What if we could help all 3,500,000 coaches in the US to talk like that...

At the end, you should be able to click on the picture of coach and donate, or click HERE and donate to this awesome effort



Sunday, July 23, 2017

Why We Get DESTROYED in the Culture Wars

When I first started raising money to try to make "The Third Way" 7 years ago, John-Andrew O'Rourke, owner of Blackstone Films and my partner in the whole crazy ride that was the project, showed me something very early on in the fundraising process.


He showed me a "Go Fund Me" page where a bunch of 30 something year old guys, who were particularly devoted to some completely obscure video game (we'll call it "Alpha Quadrant Gamma") were trying to raise funds to have someone make a documentary on "Alpha Quadrant Gamma".  I know all the cool video games...and this one wasn't one of them.


They had raised $420,000.


You can find project after project like this on Go Fund Me...stupid and pointless and even poorly executed fundraisers raising tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars for stupid and pointless projects.


These guys were playing a video game in their mom's basements for 18 hours a day and got people to fork over a HALF MILLION from a very select group of people interested in this particular obscure game.


Those who are part of the "Culture of Life" are getting SLAUGHTERED in the culture war because while the culture of death is supporting stuff that is either inane or outright evil, many who profess Christ support nothing that tries to make our case to the world.  ZERO.


Catholics give 1% to the Church, on average, and to get people to support (and I don't mean buying girl scout cookies or doing the token donation to some project) and really get behind Catholic projects and ministries that are trying to make the case to the world is virtually impossible.



I had to jump up and down for months, call everyone I know, beg, email, etc. for 6 weeks to raise $80,000 so that I could do something that would use up my day off for two years...while in the secular world, people donate tens and hundreds of thousands to documentaries on donuts and video games...let alone the billions that are poured in to more culturally-destructive Hollywood and TV projects.


"The Third Way" has been viewed over 500,000 times around the world, so it certainly has had an impact, and I'm thankful for that.  But how many other good ideas are out there that people are just sitting on?  How many worthy projects and stories are dying because they aren't supported by people?


When we started raising funds for the "The Third Way" people said "WOW THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY!"


But break it down.  $80,000 for 500,000 viewings of a 40 minute documentary about the Church's teaching on homosexuality.  You know what that works out to?


SIXTEEN CENTS PER VIEWING


So for every 16 cents donated, it paid for one viewing of the third way (and some of those viewings have been entire classes or gymnasiums at once...so the real math would probably break down to less than 1 cent per viewing of "The Third Way")



If I sound frustrated, it is because I'm in the midst of another project.  In the US there are 3.5 million coaches coaching 45 million young people this year.  Ask any priest and they'll tell you - families aren't coming to Church anymore because they're all playing sports on Sunday.  So what are we doing about that?

When I was in high school, I had a TRANSFORMATIVE coach who was both wildly successful and who also used coaching to challenge us to become good fathers, sacrificial husbands, to tell our parents that we loved them, to become men of sacrifice, to treat women with dignity and respect, etc. etc.

I know for a fact that his story can be told in a powerful and clear way to try to get coaches to reach their young people and inspire them to become good, holy, virtuous people...it is one of the last ways we can reach kids today.

This project SHOULD BE a no-brainer: pass the hat around...some guys throw in a hundred, some guys throw in 20 bucks...a few people that haven't met coach but agree we need to reach coaches with a great story throw in a few bucks, and there we have it.  Goal achieved.


Despite getting word out to most of the over 600 players who played for him over 27 years, 20 of the 600 have donated.


I have $7,000 dollars to my name, and have already donated $1,700 to this project, and I'll probably put another 2-3,000 toward the project if need be.



I know many of the 600 guys who were coached by Bruce Scifres were equally impacted by him, and many recognize he could have coached for twice as much money at a public school, and most know that Coach is so excited about the possibility of this documentary coming together.  But only 20 former players have donated.



And that's why we get slaughtered in the culture wars.  We are blessed to witness great things but instead of supporting powerful story telling, instead of looking to support art, instead of getting the word out to others about the amazing things we've been able to witness, we sit on the Good News, content to let the godless tell their video game stories.

3.15 million youth coaches have little or no training

That is a shocking number.  THREE AND A HALF MILLION youth coaches in the United States.


This article (click here to read) says that NINETY PERCENT have little or no training.


So 90% of coaches coaching a kid in basketball have not had any training on how to coach a kid in basketball.


That means 3.15 million of our 3.5 million youth coaches have basically no training in coaching.






If 3.15 MILLION coaches have no training on the sport they're coaching, I have to believe the number that have been shown how to use coaching to help people become saints is even WORSE.



This project of mine (click here to visit the donation page) is an attempt to put something together to address this crisis and help show coaches how they too can use coaching to form people for life.


If you can help me raise the funds, I will be partnering with Spirit Juice studios to put together a 10-12 minute VERY POWERFUL, VERY INSPIRING video using one coach's story to show other coaches that they can easily do the same thing!


Again, if you want to donate to make this happen, please click HERE.



Thank you!

Bruce Scifres' Message to friends of Roncalli



This project is something people all across the country will benefit and find very helpful as we try to reach out and impact the 3.5 million coaches coaching across the country. Help is much appreciated!

Friday, July 7, 2017

HELP!

HELP!
In conjunction with Spirit Juice Studios, I am hoping to produce an 8-12 minute mini-documentary titled "Bruce Scifres: Coaching for Christ"

You can click HERE to donate!

Coach Scifres and his wife Jackie


The goal: $35,500

That sounds like a lot, but:

a) I'm donating the first $1,000
b) I'm obviously not making money on this (in case that needed stated)
c) Think about how many young people today are connected to sports - and how many coaches could be coaching our young people in transformative ways if they just saw and heard that it was possible!

I had such a coach when I played football, and I believe strongly that the word getting out about HOW he coached will strongly impact our communities.

Coach won SEVEN state championships, but all throughout his 27 years he preached constantly about
1) loving our parents
2) being men of prayer
3) being good fathers
4) being great husbands
and many other similar virtues

Think about how many coaches are out there coaching our young men and women right now, and then imagine if they all began to realize that through coaching, they could call young people to holiness!

I would be forever grateful if you would consider helping make this happen

Again, you can donate by clicking here