I’ve heard it. You’ve heard it. We’ve all heard it. “You can’t prove God exists!”
It seems like more and more people these days only believe in what they can see, touch, hear, taste, and smell. It’s all about what our senses can experience and what we can wrap our brains around. Pope Benedict XVI has declared a Year of Faith for us all to get back to the basics and proclaim that there is more to life than only what we can see!
Still, there are countless people who try to say that the Bible is “unreliable” or “outdated.” Many people – some of whom are well-read and quite intellectual – do everything they can to debunk the validity of Scripture, thinking that if they can exploit seeming “inconsistencies” or supposed “errors” they can somehow do away with Christianity and even God. That’s the first mistake . . .
“You’re out of control! I’m sending you to the convent.” Are those words that you would want to hear? A teenager named Teresa sure didn’t appreciate when her father told her that. As a little girl, born in Avila, Spain in the 1500s, Teresa tried to run off and be a martyr, but by the time she became a teen, all of that enthusiasm for the faith was gone.
Teresa loved attention – especially from boys. She had a passion for fancy clothes and jewelry and was known for being an excellent dancer. One of her favorite pastimes was reading romance novels, and she constantly had a new one. Even when her father sent her away, surprisingly the convent wasn’t a whole lot different…
Today begins the Year of Faith, a time that Pope Benedict XVI has called each of us to not only rediscover the truths of our Faith, but in a deeper way the Who of our Faith in Jesus Christ and to ask why He is so Good and True.
Did creation start with a “big bang”? What does the Catholic Church say about that? Have you ever wondered if the creation story in the book of Genesis is real? Are we supposed to take it literally and leave science behind?
No way! The Church is all about us using our faith and our reason. Just because science explains the natural world around us, doesn’t mean it disproves that God created the world.
Having grown up in South Carolina which is something like 3% Catholic, a lot of my conversations in middle and high school were about the differences between where we all went to church. My friend Meghan, a Baptist, was especially inquisitive about what we Catholics were up to. I invited her to attend mass with me.
This guest post is from Matt Fradd, a Catholic apologist and speaker who has a sweet Australian accent. He’s a convert from Agnosticism. In this blog he gives the reasons why science and God can co-exist – they don’t cancel out each other. If you want to learn more about agnosticism, atheism, and Matt, check out the video about his conversion story at the end of the blog.
Did you know that the Catholic Church actually cares about homosexuals? I even feel confident saying that we love them alot. I sincerely hope that no one has ever made you think otherwise because they were sorely misled and misinformed . . . and probably unhappy too because of this faulty way of thinking . . .
God is one creative Creator. He gave us the cosmos, the sun, the moon, and the stars. He gave us the mountains and the seas, volcanoes and icebergs, tropical rainforests and sand-covered beaches. He gave us the humpback whale, the platypus, the giraffe and the dragonfly. God also gave us humanity. God created us male and female – beautifully distinct and wonderfully made in His divine image. God created marriage and God created sex.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
This is one of those Scripture passages that many people “know” (meaning, they’ve heard it before) but countless people fail to understand. My own parochial school teacher taught us that it simply meant God loves poor people “more.”
Ummm, to put it as charitably and bluntly as possible . . . no, that’s not what it means . . .
Do you ever feel like there’s some big secret to becoming a saint and you can’t figure out what it is? What did they do to become so awesome? Was there a book they read? A certain prayer they prayed? Does a diet of bread and fish help?
That’s what I was wondering. (Not so much the bread and fish part.) God has been teaching me that you become a saint by . . .
We venerate the bodies of saints because even though the saint is dead they are still an important part of that man or woman. They were once temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:15) and one day they will be eternally glorified!
Do you ever look around at all the actresses, singers, athletes and reality stars and wonder why you can’t be famous like them? Maybe you pray at night that you’ll get “discovered” on YouTube. Or maybe you want to get famous spreading God’s word. That can’t be bad, can it? After all, can’t you do more for him as a celebrity than as an average person?
Catholics follow the Ten Commandments because Christ, Himself, followed them and because He told others to follow them (Matthew 19:16-19). We also follow them because they were given to us by God. In the book of Exodus we read how God himself gave these commandments to the Israelites through the help of Moses. However there is more to following the Ten Commandments than just because “God told us to.”
We obey God’s commands because He loves us! Because God loves us and loves us perfectly we can always trust His word. Also, because God created us we can trust that He always knows what is best for us.
The Eucharist is the greatest gift we have received from our heavenly Father. This gift is even better than the miracle of Christ multiplying the loafs and fishes because it is not just bread, but God among us and within us. The Eucharist is a taste of heaven on earth.
Who we are is more important than what we do. Don’t ever forget to value people over the projects that they accomplish. This is especially important in regards to your priest. Make sure he knows you appreciate him for who he is, not just what he does.
I meet tens of thousands of people a year at different events. Most of them are Catholic Christians who want to start reading the Bible but don’t know where to start. So if you’ve ever wanted to go deeper into God’s Word but haven’t known how to approach it, allow me to suggest a few tips (so you can learn from my mistakes).
Like anything else, if you want to build something – in this case, your knowledge and love for the Scriptures – you don’t just grab a hammer and some nails and start pounding. To ensure that you don’t just jump in and then quit out of frustration or confusion, there are certain things you can do to be more successful.
We’ll attack this on three levels – the tools, the blueprint and the construction. By the end you’ll have ten total steps to help you build your bodily temple into a Biblical fortress, able to resist anything the devil can throw at you.
“You are not the sum of your sins, you are the sum of the Father’s love.” Pope John Paul II said this and the readings reflect it this week. When we give ourselves over to God, He will use us to do great things because He sees the potential in us when all we see is the brokenness.