30 March 2008

Nobody's 'sposed ta be here

Okay, maybe for a time, but ultimately we are meant for something much greater than this world can provide.

This might be the most important thing to remember from the Theology of the Body. Of course I could say that about 100 other points the late pope made. But at this moment anyway, the idea that our bodies are pointing us toward a greater reality than what we can see, hear, smell, feel, or taste is really resonating with me. It's like every time we find ourselves feeling down, lonely, alienated, and just not clicking with others, it's a siren going off. There's something wrong here, and I belong somewhere else.

We'll never find total happiness on Earth. If the love that totally satisfies was here, then we would never fight with our family and loved ones. They would be enough. But deep down, we all know it's not. That's why we leave home and going looking for something bigger and better. And some of us never stop looking.

There is a greater love out there, and that Love is a communion of 3 persons known as God.

We gotta keep trucking, keep loving like he told us too. We're going to fail, and others are going to fail us, even those we love most. But God (LOVE) promises the gift of himself to those who believe in Him. And it will be there in Paradise, that we'll realize how very much we do belong.

26 March 2008

What is Chastity?

According to Dictionary.com:
Chastity - the state of being chaste.
Brilliant. Now, according to The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth:
Chastity - the virtue by which people are able successfully and healthfully to integrate their sexuality into their total person; recognized as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
That's more like it. But, what does New Advent, your friendly neighborhood Catholic encyclopedia, have to say:
Chastity - the virtue which excludes or moderates the indulgence of the sexual appetite . It is a form of the virtue of temperance which controls according to right reason the desire for and use of those things which afford the greatest sensual pleasures.
We are seriously cooking now! The bottom line - CHASTITY IS ABOUT FREEDOM! Sadly, images of chains and shackles appear in our minds when we hear the word "chastity". Yet, there is nothing binding about chastity! In fact, chastity is a grace given to us by God to unbind us from the urges and desires of our body. Now, those urges and desires are NOT BAD. But sin is, and can twist the yearning in our hearts for love, into a yearning for pleasure.

If you cannot control this yearning, my friend, you are not free. Chastity is about being in control of your body and not allowing the body to control you. And it's a virtue, a gift, that we need throughout life, in any state of life - celibate or married. Chastity considers the value of self, as well as the value of others. Living chastely is not just abstaining from sex. It is mastering the power of your body, and seeking to use it in it's proper place, fulfilling it's greatest potential - growing closer to the Lord in the process.

21 March 2008

The Pinnacle

I just haven't been writing a whole lot. I shouldn't make any excuses but I'm going to anyway. Full-time youth ministry, part-time abstinence educating, part-time grad school, and planning a wedding leaves me with very little time to update the blog. I apologize to those who were following it closely and may have phased out. In fact, there are probably few reading this now :( But, truth be told, mostly good things have kept me away from "The Rise". I believe I can speak for Laura, as well as any other potential contributors when I say, we'll try to do better! Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Of course, today is Good Friday. The day Our Lord gave his life so that we might be free from the chains of sin that we found ourselves bound to since the fall of man. And, how those chains continue to hold us down! The hurt I see in people, especially people my age (mid-late 20's) is horrifying. God has already won this battle! He has already come to untie us, to destroy the shackles! But out of love, he lets us choose to be free or not. Is there a better day to choose to be freed? If you are bound to anything... alcohol, drugs, smoking, promiscuous sex, jealousy, greed, hate, pornography, gossip, the occult - ANYTHING... LAY IT AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS. The Lord will take it away. Of nothing else could I be so certain. His Mercy is greater than anything evil can muster.

Thanks for reading. God Bless.

08 March 2008

A Quiet Moment

I love this image of the Holy Family by Timothy P. Schmalz called "A Quiet Moment".

Obviously the Holy Family, imaging the communion of persons that is God - The Trinity, is the best model we have for what family is supposed to be. This sculpture shows that interconnectivity. Everyone has their place, their role, their purpose. Joseph, Mary, and of course the Lord, all bravely answer their very different calls.

I like this statue also because it provides a great image of what it means to be male and female.

Men are called to be fathers, biological or spiritual, in everything they do. It doesn't just mean siring children. It means that you're a dad in every facet of life. Joseph shows us what father means - protector, provider. Joseph gives his bride and child a lap to rest on, and at the same time makes himself vulnerable, hunching over to protect them from danger. Men, we need to embrace our women and their dignity in our arms and be willing to die in order to uphold it.

There is nothing weak about Mary in this picture. She is nurturing the Infant like no man could ever imagine. It's a mother's touch and she has it mastered. All women possess that power to care for God's children, not to mention the power to GIVE life! And when a man comes along who understands his responsibility to protect his bride, well then that makes for quite a potent team. Quite a holy family!

St. Joseph, pray for us

Holy Mary, seat of Wisdom, pray for us

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.