Jesus Christ is both justice and mercy. The Law of Moses required for the woman to be stoned; He didn’t fail to invite others to stone her. He even opened up the opportunity for others to condemn the woman, but only if they met the qualification that He knew no one (besides His mother & Himself ) could meet: “let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).
Among all the people that were present, Christ could’ve immediately condemned her by His own standards. But He did not condemn her; He showed her mercy.
All you have to do is listen to a lot of popular music to hear about marijuana. All you you have to do is watch TV or movies to see marijuana. And just attend a concert if you want to stand around inhaling it secondhand. It’s everywhere. Marijuana is even legal in a couple states and even where it’s not – I know you still see it. It’s a topic that always seems to spark a ton of debate. Is it a sin? Can it be used in moderation, etc? I want to take a step back from the legality Read more [...]
I was once riding in a shuttle-bus with a number of older folks on the way from an airport. They noticed that I was a priest and started asking questions about it. “Do you do all of the priest stuff?” “Yep.” “Even the Confession thing?” “Yeah. All the time.”
One older lady gasped, “Well, I think that that would be the worst. It would be so depressing; hearing all about people’s sins.”
I told them that it was the exact opposite. There is almost no greater place to be than with someone when they are coming back to God . . .
I’m not sure if you know this about me but something rather drastic happened in my life a couple months ago – I found out I had an intolerance for gluten. If you follow me on the Twittersphere (LT_Christina) you’ve probably seen me talk about this. Scratch that, you’ve probably seen me complain and bemoan my gluten-less state while everyone else is so happily eating muffins and bagels and brownies.
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.
That was a tough question, but the next one worried me:
“Was I afraid to talk with God, to be honest with Him, and listen to Him even if I didn’t like it?”
I had to think about it for a while. I realized that while I trusted God with most things, there was still one thing that I avoided – Confession. I would go to Mass every Sunday and pray throughout the day asking for help or thanking Him, but I didn’t like sharing my weaknesses with Him.
God offers us His grace and mercy every day, especially through the Eucharist. Because the tomb is empty, we have freedom. When Jesus descended into Hell he took sin and shame with Him. He left them there, where they belong. It is because Jesus rose that we are free. God’s mercy is so big. St. John Vianney put it beautifully when he said, “Our sins are nothing but a grain of sand alongside the great mountain of the mercy of God.”
Catholics believe in indulgences because ultimately we know we’re all sinners and need God’s mercy. When a person commits a sin, there are two kinds of punishments that they have to deal with as a result of that sin. The first is called “eternal punishment” which means the sinner can’t enter heaven because of a grave sin that is not repented from. Through Christ’s sacrifice we don’t have to suffer eternal punishment if we repent. The second kind of punishment is called “temporal punishment” and every sin we commit carries a temporal punishment with it.
Try to picture it now. When the earthquake subsided and the darkness lifted that Friday afternoon, it must have resembled something like a crime scene. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your mind and heart now as you discern the site.
“Great news! I got a promotion . . . and I’m ENGAGED!”
My friend went on and on sharing the romantic story of how her tall, handsome, Catholic man proposed. Everything in her life seemed to be the stuff of her dreams . . . and mine. As she was oozing with excitement, I smiled and was happy for her, but inside I had this strange, silent but sickly feeling of envy. There was this small part of me that wanted her to gain 10 lbs, break out with acne, or just stop talking. (Ok, not my finest moment).
In Matthew 5:28, Jesus says that, “Anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
When Jesus said this, it was completely radical, because he revealed that lust (something that happens inside your heart) is a sin just as much as an external action. What we think with our minds and desire in our hearts is a big deal.
My image of God the Father, enthroned in heaven in flowing white robes and Birkenstock sandals, was overshadowed by my certainty that he didn’t want me to have any fun. Not only was God all about rules, he’d drop anybody that strayed off his path. Parochial school should have taught me how to live but instead I learned how not to die and burn. The result was that I treated Moses’ Commandments with the same reverence I reserved for one of Letterman’s “Top Ten” lists.
I wish I could say that seeing how hurt she was cured me of any desire to ever speak ill of anyone. I felt bad. But I also experienced the power of words for the first time, and the power of sharing a secret, fact, or observation about another person was intoxicating. While I knew it was wrong, I often resorted to gossip to garner attention. I operated under the assumptions of “I’m just saying what everyone already knows,” “I’d totally say this to their face.” Or, the ever popular, “Well, I’m telling people so they can add it to their prayer intentions.” While this used to prick my conscience, like any sin, the more I spoke the less I felt bad.
The idea of stealing something is totally scary to me. I can’t even imagine the amount of fear that would paralyze me if I ever went to steal something like shoes, cash, or a camera. I would be shaking like a wet puppy in winter. But I would be sweating like it’s Phoenix in July. And I’m also pretty sure that the sick feeling in my stomach, the shame, and the guilt would drive me to return the stolen item the next day. I’m a sensitive person.
“You Shall Not Kill” Exodus 20:13 As a little kid, I was jealous of my neighbor. He was my age, but he could hit the baseball better than I could. He would smack the ball into the outfield and everyone would shout “Run! You can do it!” I never heard “Run!” shouted to me. It was usually “Duck!” or “Open your eyes!” or “Put down the snow-cone until after the game!” We’ve all experienced knowing someone who’s better than you at something or has something Read more [...]
“Behold Jesus Christ crucified, Who is the only foundation of our hope; He is our Mediator and Advocate; the victim and sacrifice for our sins. He is goodness and patience itself; His mercy is moved by the tears of sinners, and He never refuses pardon and grace to those who ask it with a truly contrite and humbled heart.” -Saint Charles Borromeo Read more [...]
The concept of having a name is an interesting thing. Don’t you think? A name is one of the most basic necessities we possess. Think about it. Without a name we would not be able to differentiate one person from another. How different would your interactions with other people be if there were no such thing as names?
I stepped into the confessional and kneeled down at the kneeler. The priest opened the partition and I froze. I could not for the life of me remember what to say to the priest. Luckily he sensed my nervousness and walked me through the whole thing.
Because I know that sometimes we forget what to say I’ve provided a basic structure of what you should say at the beginning of your confession. I hope it helps!
Then I realized that I was not much better than those pagan voodoo worshipers.
In my head I know that God was the only one worth my worship, but I still found myself turning to so many other relationships, habits, and even sins to save me when I was overwhelmed and in need of help. I knew that Jesus was my Savior, but often I turned anywhere else but towards Him when I needed to be saved from loneliness, hurt, or boredom.
Not sure if you’ve broken any of the Ten Commandments? Or maybe you don’t know what the Ten Commandments even are? (It’s okay, 10 is a lot to remember.) Print out this Examination of Conscience to take with you when you go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation!