Awkward Catholic

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


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When Roots Run Deep

In Remembrance

I woke up this morning to terrible news of yet another mass shooting, this time in Las Vegas. You know by now, it was the worst (most number of deaths) mass shooting in U.S. history. And right away there were calls for stricter gun control and responses of the need for more guns and blame being shot all around the internet and people yelling at each other.

Dog fight

Here’s the thing, this is the wrong argument to have. The reform that is needed has nothing to do with more laws enforced by a government that half of us don’t trust anyway. What’s needed is a reform of the heart and mind. You see, the escalating violence in the U.S. and around the world has nothing to do with the proliferation of guns and everything to do with the proliferation of hedonism and the inherently selfish worldview of the modern materialistic atheism.

In other words, we are the proverbial frog boiling to death. We’ve slipped so far down the ever deepening slope of narcissism that don’t even realize our own hypocrisy! Hugh Hefner just died and the country mourns his death as a national hero! The man was one of the root causes of the sexual revolution which has subsequently enslaved (both literally and figuratively) untold numbers of men, women and children. Practically, it is well known that he hated the women he used and abused them mentally and emotionally and treated them like play toys he didn’t care about. And this man is an idol in our nation!

Is it any wonder why so many people in our culture turn to violent aggression when they feel unloved, ignored, misunderstood, slighted or any other number of feelings that deeply wound the ego? When you are constantly told that what matters most is your own personal feelings and that you deserve comfort and pleasure, and the world is supposed to give you that pleasure, but then reality happens and you are wounded, whether real or perceived, you lash out and try to take what’s due to you.

We live in a world where, if someone else is an inconvenience to you, whether it’s their fault or yours, then you have every right to dispose of them however you see fit. So, as I saw someone else post, talking about stricter gun control is like lamenting abortion rates and then passing out contraception pills trying to prevent more abortions. What happens is more people have “consequence-less sex” and when the consequences come anyway, they go remove that unintended consequence through abortion.

We need to talk about the real root of the cause. Our violent culture (gun or otherwise) is a symptom, not the problem. Like modern medicine, we throw out countless drugs and solutions at someone’s health problems while ignoring the real cause of their sickness. Whether you want stricter gun control or greater access to firearms, we each need to stop and pray about how to actually make a difference.

compassion

Ultimately, that difference is to be found in the only One who can do anything about all this — Jesus Christ. Only through Him do we have a chance. Rather than defending our lives and fighting against those who fight against us, we are called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. We are called to put others first, always. Love is the answer. Love is always the answer. Love is the only answer. Pray for the man who killed so many innocent people in Vegas. Pray for Hugh Hefner, pray for those who follow in their footsteps. Pray for your rival or enemy at work. Pray for your boss. Pray for your spouse, kids, family, friends. Ask God’s blessing upon them. Don’t give the finger to that annoying driver in front of you, give him a blessing and a smile instead.

“Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort me and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in the hearts of all that love me, Christ in the mouth of friend and stranger.”   – Prayer of St. Patrick

Wounds of Christ

What if you’re not Christian, like so many of our fellow Americans? What’s the answer for them? Ultimately, it’s the same, Jesus Christ. But practically, it’s the same, Jesus Christ. OK, but if they don’t believe in Christ, how can he make a difference in their lives? What are they supposed to do? First of all, it’s not like the Holy Spirit is absence from their lives. Secondly, Christ can work through even those who refuse to acknowledge Him. Furthermore, each act of love, whether by a Christian or an atheist or Muslim, is nonetheless an act of love.


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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.