30 September 2007

A Look at the Theology of the Body

You can't have too many introductions to TOB, here's a nice little summary

22 September 2007

The Living Flame Of Love

The Living Flame Of Love

Songs of the soul in the intimate communication of loving union with God.
1. O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest center! Since
now you are not oppressive,
now consummate! if it be your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

2. O sweet cautery,
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
that tastes of eternal life
and pays every debt!
In killing you changed death to life.

3. O lamps of fire!
in whose splendors
the deep caverns of feeling,
once obscure and blind,
now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
both warmth and light to their Beloved.

4. How gently and lovingly
you wake in my heart,
where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing,
filled with good and glory,
how tenderly you swell my heart with love.

by St. John of the Cross

18 September 2007

The Champ is Here!

One of the greatest time-killing websites is Googlefight which allows users to enter their favorite searches so that they may "duke it out" for search engine supremacy. Some of the classic matches - "McDonald's vs. Burger King," "Ali vs. Tyson," and "George W. Bush vs. Bin Laden".

So I put my champ, Natural Family Planning, to the test against the formidable foe, Contraception.

According to Googlefight, pills and latex just don't stand a chance against uncompromised one-flesh union and cooperation with God! Indeed it was a close bout but NFP just lasts longer.

Here are the results. N-F-P, Buma Ye!

17 September 2007

Desensitization Gets a New Name

There is a very disturbing article about the recent news that nude photos of Vanessa Hudgens, star of Disney's "High School Musical," have surfaced on the internet. The perspective of this article should really not come as any surprise and yet it has left me quite stunned. Here are some of the "low"lights of the article...

Two decades after a nude photo scandal helped cost a Miss America her title, Americans may be adopting a more ho-hum attitude toward people who bare it all for the cameras.

This is not a huge shock. After all, movies and TV haven been relentlessly pushing the envelope for years now and will only continue to do so. More skin has become acceptable. Playboy Magazine is actually considered to be a classy publication. Top actresses, who have no need to bare anything, are willingly taking it off for the sake of "art".

"I do think that general attitudes about nudity are becoming more relaxed, but these changes take time, which is why there's still mixed responses," said Paul Levinson, communication and media professor at Fordham University. "We as a society are finally growing up and it's a healthy thing," he said.

Growing up? Hardly. More like dumbing down. Healthy? What's so healthy about an 18 year old sharing her most precious of gifts with the whole world? What's so healthy about the young boys and girls who looked up to Miss Hudgens potentially having their innocence compromised by her? What's so healthy about a society that finds little value in the human body outside of exploitation and exhibitionism?

Robert Thompson, professor of media and popular culture at Syracuse University, agreed attitudes about nudity had "lightened up," but said there was still a huge disconnect between how people feel and what people say. "While filling in a survey, people will always check off with one hand that there's too much sex and violence in the media, while using the other hand to search for that kind of material," he said.

I agree with this assessment. However, instead of blaming people for hypocrisy, why don't we look deeper and see what this tells us. If people are marking down that there is too much sex and violence in the media in the midst of the desensitization taking place, that's an indication that deep down we know there is something wrong. Despite our passivity when it comes to nudity on film, tv, and on the web, when we are earnestly approached with the question of "is it too much", our hearts are speaking "yes!"

"There's no doubt about it. The Web for the last 10 years, has made more nudity available," Levinson said. "I predict in the next few years, the FCC will be put in its proper place and nudity will be the norm," he said.

Quite possibly the most disturbing part of all. I never thought I'd see the day when people would champion internet pornography. I predict that if nudity becomes the norm rape, sexual abuse, STDs, and the continued oppression of women will also become the norm.

"I'm not sure if people are becoming more casual, but in the case of Vanessa (Hudgens), she comes with a lot of brand equity and this was her first strike. If she was a constant train wreck, her fans may not be as forgiving," he said.

Oh sure, let's wait until her life spirals completely out of control before we do something about it. Everyone deserves a do-over. We can forgive and forget, but it's times like these when we really need to sit back and ask ourselves what all of this means. Why have we gotten to the point where people argue that it is "healthy" for an 18 year old to pose nude in front of a camera?

We're regressing. Our society has made enormous strides in science and medicine and technology, and yet has compromised it all by lowering ourselves physically, morally, and emotionally to mere animals. We're like conditioned apes who just happen to know calculus and quantum physics, but at the same time don't have a problem with flinging our own dung. This is not a grown up world. It's a world of children in adult bodies, with no self-control, no values to live by, and no guts to stand up to that which we know is wrong.

Sorry if I came off a little harsh today. This article really got to me! Check it out here.

16 September 2007

40 Days for Life

From September 26th-November 4th the nation comes together to storm the Heavens with prayer for those who cannot speak for themselves. 40 days of prayer, fasting, and peaceful vigil outside of abortion facilities (Planned Parenthood in Hempstead if you live on Long Island).

Prayer is always powerful, but when a nation comes together with the same prayer at the same time, good things happen. Miraculous things happen.

Abortion is at the heart of what Pope John Paul II called the "culture of death" - a societal acceptance and participation in those actions which lower the value of human life. It's been there throughout history waiting to seize our world. Perhaps it first came with slavery and capital punishment, when certain people were deemed not worthy of life. The poor have always been mistreated as if the amount of money in your bank account determines the significance of your existence. Abortion made it okay to take the life of a child before that child even gets to experience life outside of the womb.

Why has our culture accepted this things from time to time? Because it was easier for those in power when slavery was legal. It was easier to put criminals to death than find a jail cell to put them in and keep them alive. It's easier to ignore and belittle the less fortunate than work to get off of our high horse and find ways to better their quality of life. It's easier to murder our unwanted babies than to accept our responsibility and raise them or give them up for adoption.

It only gets worse. Euthanasia, cloning, in-vitro fertilization, stem-cell research, and who knows what else evil has up its sleeve. It comes in the guise of a great help to society. It comes proclaiming to be a savior to mankind's woes. It comes to make life "better". But evil can always be identified when death is its means of achieving its goals.

So let's start with these 40 days. Don't just do what your schedule permits. Do a little more than what your schedule permits. We never quite know just what our prayers are capable of. Maybe, just maybe, this is when the tide begins to turn on the culture of death.

For more info visit 40daysforlife.com and 40daysforlife.com/longisland for my neighbors.

11 September 2007

Top Ten List

Dawn Eden has written a terrific article for Inside Catholic called "10 1/2 Reasons to be Chaste".

Here's her ten-point-five with some comments from me...

10. Find Joy in Unexpected Places

Oh, it happens! After all, dating (or courtship) is supposed to be the time where you find out how compatible you are. You discover that you like the same movies or enjoy playing the same sports. You laugh together, share stories, and build the ultimate friendship. When you get married, that love that you've been building comes to the ultimate climax in the bedroom, and continues to sustain you until death, as do all those other joys from the dating period. If we skip the dating period and go straight for the climax, your missing out on lots of happiness.

9. Experience True Freedom

There's nothing free about not being able to say no to sex. Your not free if you cannot control yourself.

8. Fornication Is a Mortal Sin

And don't you forget it! Jesus said it, his followers said it, the Church still says it to this day. Countless other religions also agree, Christianity is not alone here. Sex is reserved for marriage.

7. Annoy Relatives

I'd like to add friends as well. Chastity bothers the heck out of people either because they wish they had it or because they don't want you to have it. Which is kind of the same thing. But it can also be a great teaching moment. Be a living witness to truth!

6. Be the Kind of Person You Would Want to Marry

I'm yet to meet someone who dreams of marrying someone who has been around the block. It starts with us though. If we want to marry someone who has saved themselves for marriage, we also have to save ourselves (or recommit ourselves). Guys, when you date, think of your future bride. Ladies, think of your future groom. Those images can really help when remaining chaste and seeking a significant other.

5. No Foams, No Jellies, No Pills, No Shots, No Sponges, No Latex, No HIV, No STDs, No 'Honey, It's Just a Cold Sore'

As Dawn put it... 'nuff said

4. Build True Intimacy, Not Forced or Premature Intimacy

Good things come to those who wait. There's nothing intimate about flinging your clothes off with a stranger or even a friend who has nothing binding him/her to you. True intimacy takes time. It takes getting to know someone.

3. Deepen Your Relationship with God

Like all sacrifice, it leads us closer to Him who created us and created our sexuality. Like fasting, and prayer, our minds are locked into God while we anticipate and we are strengthened by it.

2. Dramatically Increase Your Odds of Having a Lasting Marriage

The statistics are clear. Chaste couples stay together much more often than couples who were engaged in premarital sex.

1 1/2. Fornication is Still a Mortal Sin


1. Learn How to Love Others the Way God Loves You

By dying on the cross. Except that His cross was much more difficult than ours. When we can resist our own urges, we can actually see the needs of others. By taming our desires, we make way to love like Christ, unconditionally.

Props to Dawn for a great article.

07 September 2007

Rise of the TOB: BANNED!




Extreme Medievalism

Funny Languages


The Rise of the TOB blog is guilty of all of these charges according to The Spirit of Vatican 2 "Catholic" Faith Community Blog! This uber-cool, totally hip, all inclusive new church apparently does not have room in their communion of characters for John Paul II and his crazy teachings about God's plan for human sexuality.

Seriously, this parody blog is one of my favorites. Thank the Lord this is only a joke! Check it out.

Oh, and their wrong about the funny languages.

Pax Christi :P