Where is the Bottom

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Here is one from the “How far do we have to fall before we hit bottom” department. In the news this week is a story about a website where married couples can hook up for affairs. It seems that a group of hackers has hijacked all the information and is threatening to release all the information unless the site is taken down. This information includes names, addresses, credit card information, dates, times, places, all kinds of stuff. There are at least 45 million members.  More

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Has Satan Won?

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I have to admit that lately I have been neglecting my blogging duties. In fact, I have been neglecting a lot of my spiritual duties as well. I am not sure why, but I can only explain it as being in a spiritual drought. I haven’t given up or lost faith or anything like that, I am just, for the lack of a better word, “Dead.”

I think much of it has to do with a feeling I have lately of just general hopelessness. Every day we hear more and more stories of how the world just seems to be spiraling downward, out of control, with what seems to be no morality or even common sense left anywhere. The latest example of this is the recent death of Brittany Maynard, the young woman who decided to end her life “on her terms” because she was suffering from terminal brain cancer. There are many things which bother me about this including the opening of a door which should remain closed (that of making euthanasia legal), suicide being a sin and against Catholic teaching, and that we should not have the right to play God. But this isn’t what I am the most upset about.

What bothers me the most is how people are reacting to those of us who don’t have the same view about suicide as others. For the record, I think suicide is wrong, but with that being said, if someone makes that choice that is between them and God. However, just because true Catholics think she should not have made this choice they are accused of judging Brittany. “You shouldn’t judge” we are told. “It is her choice, not yours.” Ah yes the choice word. The thing is who exactly is judging who? Like with the abortion and gay marriage debate, it is not about the sinners, it is about the sin. No one is judging Brittany, just her action, or sin.

Then of course, as usual those who think it is okay for us to kill one another, to eliminate those who are no longer useful or contributing to society, have to throw in the old argument of how the Catholic Church  should not be forcing their views on everyone, implying they are using some kind or martial law to do so. Again, I ask, who is forcing their views on who? Is it the church or those who believe in this culture of death? No where have I read anything “judging” Brittany, only her actions. No where have I seen any one from the Catholic Church trying to impose any kind of law on anyone.

How can we continue to defend killing as being a good thing? How can we justify either our killing of the unborn, the elderly or sanction the killing of ourselves? When did we decide what was once morally wrong is now right? Is Satan finally winning? Has Satan finally won?

Back to my spiritual drought, I think this is part of the reason I am in it. We are told we should pray and God will make things okay, but things just seem to get worse. I wonder if my praying helps. In the end I know it will all work out, it is part of God’s plan, He knows what He is doing, but it is hard. When we don’t see change, we think there is none.

I won’t give up however, I will continue to do what I can.

It all Starts with Temptation

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As we near the end of Lent I thought I would write about temptation. At the beginning of Lent we hear about how Jesus fasted in the wilderness for forty days and then was tempted by the Evil One (Matthew 4:1). And of course we all know the story of Eve and how the serpent tempted her (Genesis 3). All sin begins with temptation. I suppose the reason we can be tempted goes back to that whole free will thing.

It isn’t easy to avoid temptation it really is everywhere, especially in today’s world. In a world where (here I go again) we have removed God from our lives, replacing morality with materialism, narcissism, individualism, hedonism and minimalism we have allowed temptation to become very pervasive in our lives. Look around at pop culture, the music, movies, television shows, video games for just one example. There are plenty more. Now I know what you are thinking “Here we go, another one of these guys who is going to tell us to spend all day praying and reading the Bible.” Nope, I’m not (although it couldn’t hurt). I think you should know by now I am not one of those guys. I am more of the “Yes, I believe in God and do my best to be a good Catholic and Christian but I am more interested in getting our moral compass straightened out through any means possible” kind of guy.

I really think it is hard to argue the point that our moral compass has been turned upside down,  whether you believe in God or not. Again this goes to the world we live in where anything goes. I am not sure how long society can survive like this, there will come a point when it will collapse upon itself and we will spiral out of control. For those of us who do believe in God, this is when He will decide “Enough is enough” and it will truly be the end times. Have we reached this point already? Who really knows.

Anyway, once again I have managed to go off track.

I came across this passage from a post entitled “Overcoming Temptations of Daily Life“, and I thought how true it is for me:

Letting Fear Guide Your Life. 
You may be surprised by how much of what you do is guided by fear. Fear of failure, fear of losing your possessions, fear of not being respected–any fear that may sway your life. Fear can certainly serve a valid purpose, but it ought to be tempered by an underlying faith. Trusting in God is the greatest antidote to fear because it allows us make good use of our fear. Once you’ve decided on a course of action that you nonetheless fear, acknowledge your fear and move forward. Such an act is an act of faith.

I have let fear guide me an awful lot throughout my life, although, honestly not so much now. I have feared failing at jobs, at raising my kids, at marriage (which I did, but alas that is a story for another day, or not) and even writing. Because of these fears I have not taken chances I probably should have, I have made bad decisions based on these fears, and then gave in to the various temptations which led me to sin, and a rather long list of them at that.

It’s kind of funny, the thing I should have feared the most I didn’t. No, I won’t say the wrath of God, but if you go back a few posts where I talked about what comes next, and rolling the dice, I should have feared what may happen after I leave this life. But again, whether you believe or not, making decisions based on fear will have a negative impact on them. There are times when you have to take chances, not dangerous ones (in the sense of you could lose your life or cause someone else to lose theirs) but chances which could help you improve your situation.

Failing isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Sometimes you need to go back in order to go forward. I know I have failed many times, but I have gotten up, although it hasn’t always been easy, and gone on. am I necessarily a success now? I guess depending on your definition of success, I think I am, I have come a long way but I still have a long way to go.

I do know in my case however, there are two big differences in my life now, the first definitely led to the second. I met a wonderful woman, a woman who I believe was sent by God to me, and because of her and some of the trials and tribulations which have come our way, I now also trust in God.

Here are some books on morality you can order from Amazon:

Morality: The Catholic View

Morality: A Response to Gods Love

Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics (Library of Theological Ethics)

 

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Quick to Hear Slow to Speak

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James_Ch1_V19-20

How many of us are quick to speak and slow to hear? I would be willing to bet more of us than care to admit. We seem to live in a world where we never listen to each other any more. We have so many distractions, our attention spans have gone down to nothing, we can’t stop texting or answering our cell phones whenever they ring. It doesn’t matter who we are talking to, our spouse, our kids, our boss, our employee, God.

Today’s Gospel reading comes from James:

Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,  for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.

We need to listen more and speak less. Listen to what others are saying. Are they reaching out to us in some way? Are they asking for our help? What can we learn from them?

A little further down in the same reading is this:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing.

Whether you are a believer in God or not, this passage speaks volumes. Who do you see in the mirror? Do you forget what you see as soon as you walk away? Or worse, do you not like who you see looking back at you?

In the world we live in today, I wonder if this might be part of our problem, we look at ourselves in the mirror, we don’t know who is looking back at us. We don’t know who we should be, we don’t know which way of the moral compass is up, we have no guidance. How can we know if the person looking back at us is a good person or not when we have no guidelines? Think about it.

How Do We Fix It

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Lately I have begun reading C.S.Lewis’ “Mere Christianity“, a book he wrote in the early 1940’s. I find it amazing how relevant it is to the world today. He talks about how at that time we were losing our morality, just like now.

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It’s Common Sense

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Wouldn’t it be nice if we all just got along?  There would be no war, no strife, no violence. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just pick up a book and have all the secrets we need to do this? We do. More

A Waylaid Catholic

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In yesterday’s post I talked about whether or not we need God in our lives. Obviously I think we do as the evidence of us pushing Him away becomes more and more evident with each passing day. With that, I have a confession to make…

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