Awkward Catholic

Living my faith as the awkward man of God that I am.


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Get busy living or get busy dying

 

That awkward moment when you realize that our nation is being torn apart just like an unborn baby in her mother’s womb during an abortion.

It’s unnerving watching our culture at war with itself. Each side demonizing the other, justifying violence and vengeance upon each other. People literally in the street shattering windows and lives with bullets. Young people are so disconnected with each other and any truly meaningful relationships that they are killing each other and themselves at alarming rates, or diving headlong into addiction and despair.

People’s lives are being torn apart, disintegrated through countless abuses against their own and each others’ God-given, beautiful nature. Families are disintegrating, too, because of and in precipitation of all these self-inflicted wounds. It feels as if so many lives, so many families and all of society is spiraling out of control into a vortex of war and destruction, internal and external.

Disintegration

Image by Cyril Rana

After yet another shooting, such a common occurrence now that even the media outlets are starting to ignore them, people are shouting even louder (if that’s possible) for more gun-control. They think that’ll solve all these terrible mass-murders. But gun control isn’t the solution because it isn’t the guns that are killing people but people killing people. And before you jump on me, I do believe in enacting certain limited, sane, safe and healthy gun policies. It’s a balancing act, not an all or nothing kind of thing. Besides, gun laws aren’t the answer. Just like the vast majority of so many other hot button issues, like immigration and education.

Ultimately, it boils down to this one truth so clearly simple that it baffles me that so many people simply don’t understand it… we are living in a culture of death and it should surprise no one when death occurs, natural or violent. Why would a troubled teen think twice about shooting up his school when any mom can simply stroll into an abortion clinic and kill her unborn child? Yes, it’s about abortion. The moment our once great nation accepted the murdering of its most defenseless and vulnerable, we lost our soul as a nation. And what happens when a person’s soul separates from his body? He dies. That fateful day, Jan 22nd, 1973 is the day of our nation’s death.

Stroller Grave

Photo by Henry Burrows

We were once a nation of immigrants. No longer. We were once a nation where people came because they had a dream of life and hope. A place of freedom and prosperity. We are now a nation of freedom from religion, a nation of death and “tolerance.” You will be tolerated as long as you agree and support the army of death. But speak out against it and your job, your business, your family, your life is forfeit. Welcome to the brave new world where slavery thrives, alive and well. Not only is real, physical, human slavery thriving more now than at any point in history (there are more people enslaved through human trafficking and the sex trade than at any time in history before), but we are a culture enslaved to the doctrine of tolerance.

But I don’t want to tolerate you, I want to love you. I am not a slave, I am a friend and I love you too much to allow you to persist in a life of death.

Our moment of death as a nation was on Jan 22nd, 1973 with the legalization of abortion, but we became sick many years before, when in the 1930’s, Protestant churches began accepting the use of artificial birth-control methods. As Justice Anthony Kennedy said in 1992, that women have come to depend upon abortion should their contraception fail. Thus, abortion is a necessity.

With contraception, we violate the very nature of sex (being ordered toward procreation and unity) and thus destroy and disintegrate our love. And without love we die. As John Paul II once said, “Man cannot live without love. He remains a being incomprehensible to himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.”

With artificial contraception, the love between spouses disintegrates and removes the heart of the family, God, from the most intimate and profound of all possible acts. And death ensues. The family disintegrates, the child is no longer an expression of love but now a commodity to be bought and sold, traded, fought over, torn apart and discarded. Sex, now a vehicle for selfish pleasure, becomes cold and lifeless and porn becomes just another means of satisfaction, another commodity in the relentless pursuit of pleasure and escape from the pounding, ever-menacing presence of death.

But all hope is not lost. No, far from it! For we do not hope in a lifeless, distant god. Our God raises the dead to life with a mere thought, a simple act of His will! But he does not wish to go it alone. This God of love insists that our love participates in his!

He brings the dead to life– persons, families, nations and the world! He called the universe into existence with a thought, he can raise our culture back to life. But he waits; he waits for you and for me to respond to his call to raise our nation and our world, our families and our own souls back into the light of his love and life. We do this, not by our own strength, but by His strength within us, by responding (through his grace) to that still small voice within our hearts crying out in a whisper, “Love!”

So let us arise. What are we waiting for? As Andy Dufresne said in “The Shawshank Redemption,” “It comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Freedom


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When No One’s Looking

That awkward moment when you think you’re alone in the adoration chapel and let out a small bit of flatulence. Only to turn around and realize someone was in the back the whole time… not that this has ever happened to me.

 

Warning: this is an ugly, harsh post.

 

There are a lot of things we do when we think no one’s looking: we pick our noses, pass gas, sing out loud, dance, help and pray for others, judge others, cry, and so on. But there is one thing that many people do–so much so that it has become a pandemic, one of the world-destroying kind, and no, I’m not exaggerating. It’s called pornography and it’s everywhere. It’s become such an integral aspect of our culture that oftentimes, when a person speaks out against it, they are mocked and scorned, even by other Christians.

 

Yet porn has destroyed untold millions of lives. This seemingly harmless sin, an act often done in the quiet dark and selfish void of loneliness, is destroying our world. How is porn destroying our world? A few statistics should make the point nicely: 56% of marriages that end in divorce cite porn as one of the key problems[1]; more than ½ of boys and 1/3 of girls see their first pornographic image by the age of 13[2]; the average bad habit takes only six repetitions to become a habit. It takes only one exposure to become addicted to porn. Fifty percent of Christian young men say they are addicted to porn, and those are just the ones that are willing to admit it[3].

 

A great deal of research has been conducted on the effects of porn on the brain and how pornography dramatically and directly increases the risk of sexual deviance such as rape, homosexuality, pedophilia, and violence against women[4]. One of the results of the porn pandemic is a similar and related pandemic of human sex-trafficking. Up to 300,000 victims within the U.S. (not globally) are lured into the commercial sex trade every year[5]. Think about that: around 4 million babies are born in the U.S. every year. So, of the 11,000 babies born every day in the U.S., 822 of them will end up in the commercial sex industry. That means that every hour, somewhere in the U.S. 34 people (mostly young girls) are being manipulated or forced into the sex trade. The average age is between 11 & 14 years old[6].

 

Why? A major cause is porn. Eventually, a person’s imagination just simply can’t satisfy the lustful hunger with 2-dimentional images and many people compulsively act out on that hunger. Another fact, more women (i.e., young girls) are bought and sold in America on the day of the Super Bowl than on any other day of the year. The great test of strength and might we celebrate on the 1st Sunday of February is actually the most powerful witness to the lustful addiction and destruction of human life we have happily walked leaped into.

 

What’s my point? Porn and its partner sin of masturbation are NOT harmless! It is not a private matter. It doesn’t help marriages, nor does it relieve sexual pressure. Rather, it adds fuel to an unquenchable fire, one that consumes rather than purifies. It turns men into little boys with no impulse control and children into sex slaves, literally. Every. Single. Click. on porn helps finance sex slavery; even the free stuff costs someone their freedom.

 

Perhaps you don’t struggle with porn. God bless you and praise the Lord for protecting your heart, mind and body from this scourge. Pray for those who do struggle. If you are one of those who struggle, then God bless you. I know personally how hard the struggle can be. It seems as if the dark tunnel you are in has no end, has no light. But I am here to tell you that there is hope, that there is a Light. And to encourage you to use every available means to find that freedom you desire. The next time you are tempted to click on porn, think about your own child, or brother or sister being kidnapped and forced into sex slavery. Then grab your Rosary and pray for those who have been; pray as if your life depends upon it. In reality, porn is a gateway drug and eventually, when left unchecked it will devour your soul. It will crack the foundation of your home and it will destroy lives.

 

This is a harsh reality, and an ugly post; but a necessary one. As you watch the Super Bowl on February 1st remember this post, perhaps share this post. And then pray for all those whose lives are being destroyed by porn. And have hope. Hope in the God of mercy, the God of love. If you do struggle with an addiction to porn (or any addiction, really), remember that God wants your freedom more than you do. There is hope. No matter how many times you fall, get back up. Find someone to help you up and to help you stay standing. You can be free. You can be forgiven.

 

And please, visit these two sites for more resources and help with practical steps toward freedom:

1) http://www.theporneffect.com

2) http://www.covenanteyes.com.

 

Mary, Star of the Sea, pray for us.

 

 

 

    1. http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/02/19/pornography-statistics/

 

  • ibid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • ibid.