Form a New Habit

Help me get to the convent!

Very rarely in our society do we see people  make real sacrifice. It seems as if  people only do things for personal gain. “What’s in it for me?” they say. Well, if you’re tired of this, keep reading.

In my time at Camp Gray, I have had the privilege of working alongside a very holy woman of God. She has inspired me to keep learning about my faith, to dig deeper, and to spread the truth to others in a way that is firm but compassionate and loving. Theresa Wilks has indeed affected my life in a profound way.

Theresa (or Mo-T, as she is known around Camp Gray) hopes to enter a convent this fall. Specifically, she feels a call to join the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George. Mo-T is sacrificing all her earthly desires in order to serve our Lord every single day of her life in a very profound way. Her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience scream anything but “what’s in it for me?”

However, Mo-T still has quite a bit of student loans from her undergraduate career. In order to start her formation in September, she must be debt free. To help her do that, she has put together a blog to raise money to pay off her loans. It’s called Giving is Habit Forming (clever, eh?). Here’s a link to her blog, which has more of Mo-T’s story and information on how to donate.

If you’re wondering what to do with some spare cash, perhaps your tax return, please consider helping a great woman of God fulfill her vocation to the religious sisterhood!

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The Theology of “Boondock Saints”

A movie I watched quite a few times in high school and college was The Boondock Saints, a movie about two Irish Catholic brothers living in Boston. In the movie, they take it upon themselves to murder members of the Russian and Italian mobs, believing that they are on a mission from God to cleanse society.

I think it goes without saying that this movie is not an accurate depiction of what goes on in the Catholic Church.  Sure, it brings up a good point by looking a lot like the Conquest in the Book of Joshua, but we’ll save that can of worms for later.  In one scene of Boondock Saints, the FBI agent chasing these mysterious murderers goes into a Catholic confessional while drunk. He has figured out that the brothers are behind the murders, but he admits that he wished he could do what they were doing. He knows that these mobsters deserve to die, and yet his job dictates that he arrest the brothers.

At this point, the priest in the confessional delivers one of my favorite lines from the movie. He tells the FBI agent “the laws of God are higher than the laws of man.” NOTE: I am absolutely not encouraging vigilantism or taking God’s judgement into our own hands. Condemnation of sinners is something reserved for God alone.  However, I want to draw attention to that quote.

“The laws of God are higher than the laws of man.” That is exactly what is being tested by the current presidential administration. By forcing all employers to provide for contraceptive services (including sterilization and abortifacients), our government is asserting that the laws of man are higher than God’s law. In fact, not only are they saying this, but they are trying to force every single person in America to acknowledge that fact. And by refusing to stand up against this attack against religious liberty, we agree with President Obama. To make a stand against this attack, go here. To find out more about the HHS mandate, go the USCCB’s (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) website, usccb.org.

So eventually, we all could be faced with the choice of following our consciences (i.e. God’s law) or the law of the United States. This decision will first come to the American Bishops, almost all of whom have denounced the current mandate (along with many non-Catholic religious groups, here’s a short list). They will be faced with the decision of following Obama’s mandate or facing extreme financial and legal consequences of following the Church’s teachings. Please join me in beginning to pray now that they have the courage to do so.

This civil disobedience will not cause change overnight. Only through dedication and perseverance (and God’s grace) can we hope to win this battle. And when we do, it will not be the last fight. I promise that this current attack on religious liberty is only the beginning. It will take courage to disobey our country, but then again, the laws of God or higher than the highs of man. For strength in times like these, I often look to the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel. In the late 1800s, Pope Leo XIII had a vision of great evil approaching in the 20th century. After awakening from his vision, he composed the prayer below. I urge you all to pray it daily, and whenever you feel temptation of sin.

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

St. Michael, oro pro nobis.

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The First Post

Blogging is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now, but I’ve never really had the time or energy needed to make it work. My hope is that this blog stays running for a little while.

Anyway, what really inspired me to start this whole thing was the huge amount of significant events related to my Catholic faith that have occurred in the last few weeks.  First, there’s the GOP nomination race, featuring two fairly prominent Catholics in Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.  Then there was the HHS contraceptive mandate and the uproar of not only Catholics, but many religious faiths concerning our freedom of religion. Lost in all of this (seemingly) was the decision of the Susan G. Koman Foundation to end funding to Planned Parenthood, then cave under political pressure from pro-choicers.

Now, none of those events are exclusively “Catholic,” in reference to the Catholic Church. However, they are Catholic in the sense that they affect every single person in our country, and many throughout the world.  I have a feeling that the next 5 years or so will be a dramatic turning point in our nation’s (and world’s, for that matter) history.   As Americans, we all have the responsibility to speak up when our freedom is threatened, even if it is threatened by our own government.

It is with that duty in mind that I have started this blog.  Ideally, this will be a place to exchange ideas, but more importantly to spread the TRUTH. And that Truth is none other than Jesus Christ, who 2000 years ago established his Church and entrusted it to a few simple fishermen.  These men were as fallible and sinful as you and I, and yet through the power of the Holy Spirit they maintained and preserved the truth.  Their AUTHORITY came from Christ, and that same authority has been passed down until today, where it is still held by the Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, the bride of Jesus Christ.

My goal is not only to comment on American politics in light of the Gospel, but to also talk about everyday things.  God is All in All, and for that reason a blog about our faith cannot and should not be limited to politics or social issues. Our entire lives should be an expression of our love for our Father. Therefore, expect to hear some commentary on sports, books, movies, and other parts of everyday life as well.

In his Letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul tells us that “our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness…” (Eph. 6:12) This “present darkness” is dark indeed, but God’s presence can yet be felt through all the turmoil.  It is my prayer that this blog can help show many that God’s love can conquer all, even in these dark times. Thanks for reading.

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