Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It's Going to be Okay

Honestly, this whole HHS mandate regarding contraception and sterilization procedures has been almost a constant in my thoughts since I first heard about it.

This is a scary time. The idea of people being forced by the American Government to violate their consciences is something I never really imagined. In fact, it's something I could only vaguely conceptualize as a reality at all. For anyone. Anywhere.

I've always known though. I've been told of the reality of oppression at the hands of a country's leaders. The difference now is that it was always something distant from me, from the life I live. After all, I've been blessed to be a citizen of the Land of Opportunity, the Land of Promise. I've always had full access to the American Dream.

Whatever your personal beliefs are regarding the Catholic Church's teaching on matters of contraception, I think you can still admit that it is a serious violation of the Religious Liberty promised to those who live in this country.

And so, I've worried. I've worried about what else the government has the hidden ability to do. I've worried about what is going to come after this. I've worried about how people will react. I've worried about what will happen to an already misguided and disillusioned view of family and the right to life.

I worried, and then I read this.

The most reassuring thoughts provided in that blog (for me) come at the very end.

(1) "...I'm not worried because we're going to do the right thing." Oh. Right. I forgot. The Catholic Church is led by holy men who are direct successors of the apostles. They have been anointed to safeguard the teachings of the Church. They have been anointed to pass on and protect the Sacred Traditions that have been handed to us. And they will. Because for all of the falling away, all of the countless ways that human nature has tainted what we see of the Church, God will protect His Church. He has graced it, consecrated it, and founded it upon a rock that stands today: in richness and in fullness. We ARE going to do the right the thing. Not every single Catholic. But the One, Holy, and Universal Church. The gates of hell will not prevail.

(2) "Finally, more importantly than any of these human, practical, temporal things that I take hope in, the number one I find hope in is that these armies and enemies don't matter. As King Henry V says in Shakespeare's play: 'We are in God's hands, Brother, not in theirs.'"

We do not belong to this world. We do not belong to this government. We belong to God. We are His children, members of His Church. We live and move and have our being in Him. He will protect us. He will empower us with His Spirit. The gates of hell will not prevail.

He has won. And we are so blessed to have been called into His victory. By mercy we are invited into the mystery of Himself. And nestled within the grace of that mystery we know that this world cannot take away all that is glorious in Him.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Well, I AM Going to Talk About It

On Friday, the Heath and Human Services Department of the Obama Administration passed a regulation that will require employers to include coverage of contraceptives and sterilization procedures in their health care plans regardless of their moral beliefs.

In other words, the Catholic Institutions (schools, hospitals, etc.) that have employees who receive health care benefits will have to PAY for contraceptives.


In case you didn't know, the Catholic Church sees the use of artificial contraceptives as grave matter. This means that their use, when combined with full-knowledge of the gravity and full-consent to the usage, puts Catholics in a state of MORTAL SIN, which completely cuts them off from GOD and His Church.


Catholic Institutions, which make up the single largest charitable organizations in the world, provide medical attention to the SICK and DYING of any religion, and have pioneered the education system, CANNOT comply with this regulation.

CANNOT! Period.

So what does this mean? Well (unless I'm completely erring in my understanding of the situation) either (1) the entire Catholic Church in the United States becomes complete sell outs, sacrificing the fullness of Truth, the sacredness of Tradition, and spitting in the face of all Divine Revelation, (2) Catholic Institutions stop providing heath care to their employees (which Catholic Social Teaching would have a big issue with), or (3) these institutions courageously stand up for the Truth the Catholic Church boldly proclaims and suffer the consequences.

So you see, this is kind of a BIG DEAL. It kind of MATTERS.

Setting aside the fact this appears to be a blatant contradiction of our Constitutional rights to religious freedom, people should be talking about this. People should be fired up!

But there has been (in my humble opinion) a strange and unexpected amount of silence regarding the issue.

Well, not anymore.

I'm saying something.

Click here to read a better explanation of the situation.

Click here to see how the bishops are responding.

Click here to read who is in support of the ruling.

Click here to see what you can do about this now.

And above all else PRAY! Pray for the courage of the leaders of the Church. Pray for the lawmakers and leaders of our country. Pray for the conversion of hearts that will allow LIFE to be known as something precious to value, not something negative to prevent. Pray, pray, pray.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Slightly Confused

This video, "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus," has popped up multiple times on my facebook newsfeed. I finally watched it a few a minutes ago, and I'm going to offer a response here.

Let me start out by saying that there are points made in this video that I absolutely agree with. There are also points (namely the whole premise/title) that are not Truth.

Religion is not in and of itself evil. The problem with religion is not that it is something contrary to Jesus or something on the opposite end of the spectrum of Jesus (as it is according to the video). The "problem" with religion is that every religion is made up of HUMANS whose daily lives, decisions, and actions are influenced by FALLEN NATURE.

The logical parallel that the poet in this video attempts to draw between Christ's rebuking of the Scribes/ Pharisees with religion as a whole is faulty. Christ did NOT come to abolish the law; He came to FULFILL the law. In doing so, He INSTITUTED the One, Holy, Catholic Church. The FULLNESS of Truth -of God's plan for mankind- rests within the rich sacredness of a religion build upon Scripture and Tradition.

Christ's condemnation in Scripture is a condemnation of people who did not allow God their whole beings - their whole hearts. He condemned people who used the law as a source of pride rather than a guide towards love. He condemned people who tried to hide behind the law and avoid actually LIVING mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love. And today He still condemns people who hide behind religion. He still condemns hypocrisy.

What the man in this video DOES understand is that far too many people today claim salvation and holiness because they can check church off their list of things they did this week. Far too many Catholics - and Christians as a whole - never allow their religion to guide them to the fullness of the Christian life.

However, what the man in this video DOES NOT recognize is that when Christ instituted The Church, it never ceased to be comprised of fallen people. It never ceased to exist in a fallen world. Rather, He insured that even when we do fail -even when our practice of religion falls short of the glory He has in mind - there is a religion through which we always have access to the grace of His obedience on the cross.

It is through a religion- The Catholic Church- that the grace for our salvation is made available to us.

Religion is not the summation of the hypocrisy its members. Rather, One religion is the NECESSARY path for us to our salvation.

I guess in a way I could say that he is almost right. And yet completely wrong at the same time...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

10 Things I Hate About You

Dear Satan,

This is not like the movie. This post will not turn into a cute little poem about the things I only wish I actually hated about you.

I'm NOT struggling to honestly accept the truth that I'm secretly in love with you. I'm not in love with you.

I think you suck.

Because you do.

So here it is. The 10 Things I Hate About You...enjoy! Or don't. I don't care.

1.) I hate that you manipulate the human heart into rejecting God.
2.) I hate that you attack the most beautiful and most holy things the hardest.
3.) I hate that you constantly lie in order make lives miserable.
4.) Speaking of lives...I hate that you destroy them.
5.) I hate that you convince people to think only of themselves.
6.) I hate that you deceivingly draw people into fear of the best things.
7.) I hate that you have led man to participate in your ungodly destruction of commitment.
8.) I hate that you deprive society of it's most precious gift in the name of freedom.
9.) I hate that you convince man to deny truth and have worked to eliminate courage.
10.) I hate that you have attempted to destroy love by replacing it with a ridiculously utilitarian method of life.


Someone Begging God Daily for the Mercy and Grace to NEVER Listen to Your Perpetual Lies

P.S. The Voice of Truth already defeated you. In the end, the victory is His. And those of us who can see you lurking behind every morally relativistic comment, idea, or movement, behind every bit of unrighteous anger, and behind every person too disillusioned (by you) to see their value in the heart of God are not going to stop. We will not give in. We are claiming His victory.

Too bad you can't.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Awards (And Other Memories)

Kayla Hartmann (as always)

I cannot possibly give this to just one person. Amanda, Sarah, Kathy, Abby, and Dazzer have listened, advised, and been understanding COUNTLESS times this past year. I do not think I've ever relied more heavily on friends. I'm so grateful to count them as my good friends.

 The Pro-Life trip at the beginning of this year was fantastic, but I think the award goes to Steubenville 2011 Week 1. My small group of seniors and experiencing the retreat with the absolute best teens made this a holy and wonderful weekend!

This is my blog, and I can be honest here. From mid-June to mid-November I walked through each day broken, confused, and very hurt. In the midst of that time I asked myself hard questions about who I am in God, who He is calling me to be, and what things (and people) in my life were assets and what things (and people) were not. My heart broke into a million pieces as a walked away from youth ministry -from teens I have spent much time loving. I tried to find purpose, meaning, and direction in the things that remained. In those months I tried to hold the pieces that were left together. I learned hard lessons in trust and surrender. I allowed God to slowly and painfully show me more and more of Himself as I gave Him more and more of my life. So much good has come from those moments. But it sucked like no other to live them. :-)

Christmas. But only because it was (is) the culmination of Advent, which is not a holiday, but was, by far, the most peaceful season.

The Saint that is Just Me by Danielle Rose taught me that holiness does not come from mimicking the lives of others. Rather it comes from living the individual journey towards God with grace.

Courageous. It was a good movie. For a Christian Film, it was amazing. And it challenged me to view my life differently. It also changed my standards for the people I allow to be closest to me.

Searching for and Maintaining Peace. I'd read this one before, but reading it again this year reminded me of just how important peace is.


The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark. This book inspired me to make things happen in life. It is the original source of my New Year's Resolution for the year.

Amanda. Without you so much of 2011 would have been less holy. I am so grateful for your selfless, life-giving friendship. Your holiness calls me to be holy. Your insights, wisdom, and general understanding of my heart and spiritual journey are an invaluable blessing to me. Thank you.

Applebee's. It has to be Applebee's.

"Dr. Blosser. Always. And still." That's what I wrote last year. For this first time in 19 years I had no formal teacher this year. However, Dr. Blosser responded to every email and patiently answered every heavy theology question I posed. He gets the award. Again.

To just keep moving. No matter how hard it got, I never stopped going. I never gave in to that part of me that wanted to just curl up in a ball and stay there forever. I never stopped going to God. I continued to meet Him in the Sacraments.

Texting the most serious things because saying them out loud was too scary. Or maybe it was all of those things I didn't say or text... Either way, I wouldn't call it "stupid." I'd just call it the opposite of courageous.

Leaving my involvement in AYM behind me.

To not make excuses so that I can make things happen.