Brothers and sisters: Grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore, it says:
He ascended on high and took prisoners captive; he gave gifts to men.
What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended into the lower regions of the earth? The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.
And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming. Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole Body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the Body’s growth and builds itself up in love.
R. (1) Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. I rejoiced because they said to me, “We will go up to the house of the LORD.” And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem. R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. Jerusalem, built as a city with compact unity. To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD. R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. In it are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David. R. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them– do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”
And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”
We put on this tough exterior in order to try and hide what is really going on. We try to broadcast something completely different from what’s going on in the inside. We think that if someone knew what we really felt, what we really experienced, what we’ve really done, then we would be cast out. That no one could possibly love us.
When I first heard Isabel’s testimony at a retreat, I was tearing up just thinking about what life would be like without having parents around. It made me wonder… do I respect and value my own parents? The words of advice that I couldn’t stop thinking about from Isabel were, “Always love and respect your parents before it’s too late.” That talk really inspired and helped everyone realize that our parents should be loved, respected, and valued every day while we have them with us.
This is probably really different from any other retreat you’ve done before. I want to offer you a way to retreat within the silence of your bedroom, the peace and stillness of the Blessed Sacrament chapel at your church, or even better Adoration.
Well, no matter where you are on your spiritual journey, here are three tips on how to jump-start your spiritual life, get back on those steps, and persevere on the path leading to the narrow gate of Heaven.
We see this beautiful young woman and hear about her wedding and learn of her pain…and we feel compassion. We feel so sorry for this woman whose life has been entirely disrupted. In doing this, we are being human. It is human for us to feel such compassion for Brittany (and anyone else in pain). And it is natural that we don’t want her to suffer any more. If there is a way that her pain can be taken away, wouldn’t that be better than for her to needlessly endure?
I wanted names, dates, places, and the assurance of a happy ending. I wanted to know what the future held for me. I wanted God to tell me everything.
You see, there’s something about studying abroad in Europe that made me ask The Big Questions about life.
What was I supposed to do with my degree? Was I supposed to be a nun? Should I work this summer or look for an internship? And, the most pressing question — why weren’t boys asking me out? I knew that I was called to holiness through the sacrament of baptism, but this felt generic.
The next few Sundays looked the same. Each week I was presented with an opportunity to tell them more about my faith but each week, I responded with a one-word answer. After a month of this happening, my siblings caught on. They noticed that instead of cramming for a test on Sunday night, I was at church. They called me anything from “church freak” to “soon-to-be-nun.”
I found, through Life Teen, where I fit in perfectly: as a piece of God’s great puzzle. I was meant to be different than how society was teaching me to live; I have been called to be more and to truly “set the world on fire” through showing love to others just as Christ showed me.
Sure! There’s nothing wrong with putting on a costume, trick-or-treating, and enjoying the company of your friends and family. Of course, some misled people take the holiday too far and make it more satanic than it should be. However, that’s not a reason for the rest of us Christians to be scared away.
When we decide to be afraid of the devil we give our power over to him. What message does it send the world if we, as Christians, are afraid to admit to the reality of evil? It sends the message that we’re not sure who wins this battle of good vs. evil.
This false life of never enough permeates every aspect of our culture. When we pick out what to wear to school we ask, “Will others notice me?” When we step into the locker room to change out for sports we compare our body with that of others. When we get report cards… sports awards… drama or music evaluations… We are never enough. And when we do excel, there’s always some way we can (and “should”) improve.
This never enough culture consumes us with shame. We feel that we are never enough and so we believe that we are not enough.
It was a Saturday night and I was completely alone. I had cash in my pocket and gas in my truck but I had no friends anymore. The phone was not ringing. The silence was a deafening reminder to how ‘sad’ my social life had become in a very short amount of time. This had never happened to me in my previous three years of high school. My senior year was supposed to be epic! Instead it was growing increasingly lonely and there was only one person to blame: Jesus.
Alexander is probably best suited for 8-12 year old movie goers. It’s charming and fun and fast paced but not very deep and frankly, not all that interesting. The jokes are all there for the upper elementary and middle school crowds—bathroom humor, injuries, adults in silly situations, etc. There’s nothing especially outstanding about this film. Steve Carrel and Jennifer Garner work pretty well as a sitcom style married couple with kids. The other children serve their purposes in the story, the story is told to completion.
I turned around, and drove back to my house, wiping my eyes so I wouldn’t freak my mom out too much. But as I got out, it wasn’t Mom, or even Josh to meet me outside first. It was my Dad. And I had told myself I wasn’t going to cry anymore, but the concerned look on his face made me start to sob again and I sputtered, “I didn’t forget anything, I just missed you guys.”
As soon as I walked in the church, I was shocked at what I saw – TEENS!! I had thought they’d gone extinct in the Church! Looking around, I started seeing some familiar faces from school. I was incredibly happy. Then Mass started. I was expecting to hear the usual adult cantor and some sound resembling “song” emanating from the congregation.
To my surprise, Mass started with an upbeat, piano driven version of “Your Grace Is Enough” by Matt Maher. Piano, drums, three guitars, a saxophone, even a violin. These guys had it all.
Secondly, it’s false. She says men have two options: 1) look at porn, or 2) look at you.
And by “look at you,” I assume she doesn’t mean, “look at you while you’re praying the rosary on your evening walk together.”
No, she means either a guy will lust over you or someone else. It’s like saying, “either your boyfriend will be obese or he’ll be anorexic.” Isn’t there a third option? Like, maybe he’ll be healthy? And there is such a thing as sexual health, we call it chastity. Though chastity may conjure up images of either uncomfortable belts or the notion of repressing sexuality in the name of “abstinence”… chastity is neither of these things but so much more.
The truth about uniforms/dress codes is they help us see who we are, they bring out our personality and true character. The unity in uniforms allows the unique dignity of our person to be truly seen. That is what we all desire most – to be seen. If you have ever met a group of religious sisters, you know that they each have a unique personality; each sister is so different from the others. And yet, they all wear the exact same habit, cut their hair the same way, don’t wear make up and follow all these dress code rules with joy. Why?
Whenever you begin to feel the temptation to sin and you don’t have those accountable people around, have an alternative activity that is your “go to.” You’ll have to do it right away. When you’re tempted to look at someone and judge them, think to yourself, “They are a child of God.” It’s important to train or condition yourself to avoid sin, so you might have to start by making a conscious effort to think that about every single person you see. Maybe you are a musician, and you grab your guitar or your drumsticks.
The “Catholic Church hates gay people” is a misconception floating around society I’m sure many Catholics have heard many times. I don’t know about you, but I always wonder why people believe this misconception. My guess? Many Catholic individuals don’t know how to properly express love. When the Church’s individuals fail to express love, the Church loses its identity.
Why should we watch this film? First of all, in order to “go through” something of the refugee experience. Just think of Iraq and Syria and so many other places in the world where millions have been driven from their homes and their countries, cannot go back and are in limbo in every way imaginable.
To make matters worse I began struggling with even more anxieties, anxieties about: past worries, college decisions, the future, and even my faith. I wrestled with these anxieties for a while and though I have certainly been able to manage them better, this is something that I still struggle with today.
Often I wonder why did this happen? I felt fine in the beginning of the school year. I’ve had worries like this in the past, but nothing that has trapped me as much as these anxieties did. After praying and reflecting on this question a great deal, I strongly believe that this was Jesus telling me to wake up.