Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Charism of a Catholic Blogger

I've just discovered a new blogger that gave me much to think about concerning my own blog. Marcus Allen Steele here, discovers that each one of us has a spiritual gift or talent (charism) and has set out to discover his own. As he writes,

 "At the risk of being decapitated, I’m going to stick my neck out and state that writing may be my charism. Holy Spirit, if I’ve missed the boat on this, please tell me. Although I’m not entirely confident in my writing abilities, I remain committed and will hopefully become better. But I’m struggling somewhat with direction." 

I think most new bloggers, and I include myself, go through this self-examination in trying to discover the purpose of our blogs. Before I began blogging, I found myself commenting on various blogs and many times at length. I was encouraged by a few to start my own Catholic blog and in July of 2011 I took the leap and began Peter's Barque. We all know that for a long time now, the liberal, progressive Catholics/Christians seemed to dominate most religious online news sources with very few of us that are faithful to all the Church's Doctrines and teachings, risking ourselves to exposing the scant truth or outright lies of these aforementioned progressives.

I had one purpose in mind when I began blogging; to tell the Truth of our Church as best as I could and expose the lies leveled against her. It's not been easy to do. Like Steele, I do not consider myself a writer, yet in his case he is wrong. Marcus writes very well and expresses his thoughts quite eloquently. As a faithful Catholic however, I do have many thoughts on faith and how it affects the public square, and I try to write them down in a manner that makes sense to others.

Do I have a charism? No, not as a writer, but perhaps I do as a layman that is trying clear the path of chaos among many of us that have fallen victim to a liberal faction within our Church determined to recreate the Church in its own image. Have I been successful? I'm not sure. Though I do have a certain amount of regular readers each week, I still question whether or not this charism I may or may not have is truly divinely inspired and strengthened. I continue to pray to know His will in all of this.

At its founding, Peter's Barque was born out of frustration and a sense of being left stranded by our Church leaders when it came to defending ourselves. As I wrote in another post, Catholic bloggers have picked up the standard and have plowed ahead in making themselves a front line in defending our faith against those too willing to destroy our Church from within and without. Paradoxically, the Church is its own worse enemy to its life on earth, but also Christ's mode of salvation in this world today since Pentecost.

Though still frustrated at times with the slow moving though unmistakeable move to restore our Faith by the Church's hierarchy, as well as their coming to her defense lately,  I also have sought out the Holy Spirit in what I write instead of reacting. The ego is a terrible obstacle when determining what thoughts should be posted. We, I, have tried to find my role in all of this. I know I've opened the eyes of some people to the truth of what the Church teaches, but on the other hand,  I know I've angered others. Sometimes anger is the catalyst to discover the truth, but it also can alienate others. I hope I've not driven any away that may have teetered on their faith, not sure which way to go.

I know I have been blunt in the manner that I write down my thoughts, but at the moment, that is who I am and my style, if I do have a style, reflects this. Like Marcus, I hope to improve my writing skills, say what I mean and mean what I say. To those that may have been offended by my 'style' of writing, I ask that you overlook  my one-brow, Neanderthal clubbing over the head manner. Remember, we are all saints in the making and I am no different.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Big Bird/Cheshire Cat Versus Romney/Ryan

There has always been a certain amount of truth manipulation from many politicians when expressing their views on certain issues, whether the truth is stretched a bit or it is skewed in such a manner that what is said is not what is meant, but the blatant lying that we witness day in and day out in the closing days of this presidential campaign is beyond anything I've seen in a long time.

To say that Obama indulges in fiction is diplomatic at best. Even his supporters in the media have called him out on a number of misstatements(I hate that word). I won't even go further back for examples of his lying than the outrage of Libya and the murder of the U.S. diplomat in the attack in Bengazi. Without batting an eye, Obama blamed the attack on an anti-Islam video when knowing full well that it was not just a protest to the video but a deliberate attack of our consulate by terrorists. Lying to the American people for about two weeks, this administration refused to change their story even in the face of the facts that have come out and are still coming out.

Lying comes too naturally to this President and apparently he's lied so much even he believes his own lies. How else could they trip off his tongue so easily? During the presidential debate we saw our President reduced to nothing more than the fictional character that he is. Never fully vetted as a candidate for president before the last election, this man was created in the perception the media wanted to portray. From the fictional story of his autobiography that he did not write, to the words he speaks ala the teleprompter, Obama's life as we see it has been fictionalized. Like Big Bird in a make believe Sesame Street, Obama exists in a land created by the media, a land of fiction.

Charles Krauthammer told the truth when he criticized those who said that Obama was just not himself during the debate. Krauthammer countered that yes, this was the real Obama that we saw. This is the Obama that has always been there, but masked over by the media, who to this day continues to cover for him. A man, who without his teleprompter to tell him what to say, Obama was no more than a puppet without strings during the debate. Nothing to animate him, the President was hunched over his podium, averting his eyes from his opponent and spouting mere talking points with nary a defense against the slings and arrows coming from Romney. This man of fiction was in full view of about 70 million people during the debate and this all but devastated the liberal pundits who were left with their mouths open at what they saw, or didn't see from their messiah.

Enter Joe Biden. The VP was given instructions for the debate that he would have with Paul Ryan. It is said that he was told to be himself, be the old Joe that we know. In reality however, he was sent out to save his boss's  image since the debate in any way he could. Biden failed miserably. He came off as an arrogant little man who's only defense against the truth was diversion FROM the truth. As one pundit said, Joe Biden kept a creepy smile on his face that resembled the Cheshire Cat. Indeed. Biden's grin would have made the Cheshire Cat envious. The only tactic Biden had against Ryan was the constant interrupting while Ryan spoke. Biden was seen laughing, denigrating his opponent with a shake of his head etc. In a nutshell, Biden was an embarrassment to this country. This was not statesmanship but desperation from a man that had nothing in his bag of tricks to counter Ryan. How could he even begin to defend the failures of these four Obama years we've experienced? Joe had nothing to say. Biden failed to save his president, the Democrats and most of all, Joe failed himself by his lack of truth.

I suppose we could cut Obama some slack concerning his aversion to the truth considering the people he kept company with during his early years. People such as Saul Alinsky, Jeremiah Wright and Frank Marshal were influential to Obama. Their ideology built the bedrock of lies around which Obama's life revolved. But Joe Biden has no such excuse for his inaccuracies and outright lies during the debate beginning with the issue of Libya, that according to ol' Joe, he and Obama knew nothing of the calls for support from the Ambassador prior to the attack. His lie that the HHS mandate exempted employers who objected to providing and paying for insurance covering contraceptives because of their religious faith, and that the Church in particular was exempted from this mandate was blatant, enough so that Ryan immediately countered him by asking why the administration is continuing to be sued by those who supposedly are exempted,  and the Bishops issued a statement that Joe Biden was wrong in saying that the Church was exempted from covering and paying for contraceptives and the like.

Joe Biden admits to being a practicing Catholic, yet, as a man opposed to abortion and believing life begins at conception, he feels that he should not force his view on others, so he supports his boss's agenda on abortion. So much so, he defended Planned Parenthood when he said they could not perform abortions and that it was against the law for them to do so. Was he lying? In a way, I hope he was, for the alternative is scary to contemplate: stupidity and/or total ignorance. This is a man who is a breath away from being the President should the need arise. This more than scares many of us.

Biden did not have the pleasure of sitting in church and listening to Jeremiah Wright as Obama has. No, Joe presumably sits in a Catholic church each Sunday, calling himself a Catholic and receiving Holy Communion. He recites the Profession of Faith as we all do when we say, " I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church..." To believe in the Catholic Church, indeed, to be a true Catholic means to embrace her teachings and doctrines she has put forth. We as Catholic cannot pick and choose what to believe and not  believe. It is the whole shebang. Ol' Joe Biden knows this.

Does Biden feel any guilt or shame for his actions and words during the debate about abortion? Does he think he portrayed his Faith and the Church in a good light and without scandal the night of the debate? After forty or so years of practicing his faith, Joe knows better. Oh...he knows what the Church teaches about the evil of abortion, but like Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Sibelius et al, he seems have sold his faith for the power and the lies the left has promised him. But then again, perhaps behind all the bluster, the Cheshire grin, the maniacal laugh and the arrogance was a small man to be pitied for his weakness of not standing by the Faith he professes every Sunday and defending his faith. Whatever the reason is for Biden's bizarre behavior during the debate, one day in the future, we will all have to answer for what we've said and done in this world. Vice-Presidents will not be exempt either.

 After the debates were over, it was clear that it was Romney and Ryan who carried themselves as statesmen, serious and mature men who take this nations problems seriously and personally. Obama and Biden were painful to watch. There was nothing presidential about Obama that night, and Biden had to have frightened world leaders when he laughed during Ryan's discussion on Libya. Libya is nothing to laugh about certainly, but Joe should have known this.

Big Bird and the Cheshire Cat live in fictional worlds. Fictional worlds are usually easily discernible from reality by sane people. Somebody must have left the door open... 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dressing For Heaven

I've noticed for a while now that many of us have little concern for our attire when we come to Mass to worship God in the Eucharist. It's been said often enough that the clothes make the man, or woman for that matter. If it's true, then what does it say about us when we come to Mass dressed in jeans and t-shirts or any other clothing that looks as if we just got out of work, walked in from the beach wearing shorts and flip-flops or dressed in a manner that is immodest at best?

What is it that we've forgotten about God that would make many of us so complacent and uncaring as to how we are dressed when we take the time to come to Mass to worship the Creator? I am not so self-righteous as to suggest that I have not been guilty of dressing negligibly in the past. I am guilty of that, and on more than one occasion, so if it seems I am passing judgement on others, know that I am judging myself first and foremost.

I've made a transition from dressing up for Mass in my youth living in my father's house, to BARELY acceptable attire for a few years while on my own and then slowly began to revert back to wearing appropriate clothes. I say slowly because though I did not dress down for Mass, I didn't wear what I would have considered my best. What caused me to change my mind as to how I should dress for Mass is two fold. First, I noticed others around me and many times what I observed embarrassed me. It did so not only because some people wore scant clothing but for those who were dressed modestly, what they wore was no better than what many of us wear on a regular weekday. Jeans, t-shirts and the like. Second, I didn't feel I could say one thing about it for I saw myself guilty of the same offense: the pot looking at the kettle.

It was on one of those Sundays that I made a decision be begin to wear clothing that said to others around me, that I considered the respect and worship of God central in my life. I looked at what I was currently wearing and decided that I could do much better. If I could dress up for secular occasions that were special, then I most certainly could dress up when in the presence of God in the Eucharist.

When participating in Holy Mass, our dress should reflect the solemnity and holiness of the occasion. The attitude some of us have today of our attire is that how we are dressed should not matter, as long as we are at Mass fulfilling our obligation and God will overlook our lack of discretion. I could not disagree more. What we wear to worship God reveals how much or how little we know of who and what God is and what he's done for us. Never in a million years would the majority of us attend a wedding dressed in jeans and t-shirts. Some of course would and have, but there are always exceptions.

If we were invited to meet with the Queen of England we would make sure we are well dressed and groomed so as to reflect the importance of the occasion and the dignitary in whose presence we stood. We dress in fine array for many occasions which are much less important than the Mass. We know when to dress up and what the convention is regarding certain special occasions when a tie is appropriate and expected.

I knew the situation about wearing inappropriate clothing to Mass was bad when I decided to start wearing a tie and a sports jacket again. I hesitated for I felt like I would stick out like a sore thumb amongst the congregation. NO one dressed like this in my parish. If the occasional person did, they must have felt the eyes of others on them,  for they were hiding and were no where to be seen. I stuck to my guns and dressed up. Of course some noticed and the ushers were the first ones. I looked sharp they said and asked if I was going to a special occasion after Mass. Without being prideful, I explained that I looked at what I wore to Mass and felt I could do much better and that this, the Mass, WAS the special occasion. They smiled then nodded in agreement. The next ones to noticed were the people that sat around me every Sunday. One man who chuckled, asked if I was trying make him look bad and again I told him what I told the usher. I was making no judgement on how others were dressing. This was between me and God.

We may not think we influence many in our little circle of daily life, but what I  noticed is some of the ushers and that particular man in the pew that sat near me slowly began dressing up more often. I began to feel less self conscience about dressing "differently" and realized that maybe I was becoming an example to other men. I'm not saying that we all dress up in suit coats and ties now that I began to wear them myself, but slowly others seem to be making an effort. 

I became a lector again after many months of absence because of my work, but I always dressed up for the days that I was assigned to proclaim the Word. A month ago, my son married and I bought a new three piece suit for the wedding. This is now my Sunday best though  I have not worn it to Mass having again hesitated to do so. I will wear it this morning however, for this morning I am the lector again. I feel this suit may be over the top, yet it really isn't. It's only that in the sea of inappropriately dressed worshipers in my parish, I will again feel like I'm sticking out from the others. I've decided to stay my feelings and wear it for God and his Word that I will be proclaiming, and possibly, again, be an example to others.

In this new era of evangelization that the Pope has set forward for all of us, the way we dress for Mass is an opportunity to make others see the importance of Mass and the God we worship.  It is an opportunity to say to others by the care we place on how we dress for God, that we respect our King and recognize His love for us. We will be saying to others that He is the Creator of all things and that it is time to recognize this at Mass when we go up for communion to receive God among us.

I am asking for all of us, man or woman, to make more of an effort to put our best selves forward at Mass. I ask that we set aside our laziness and our hesitation of sticking out like a sore thumb in Mass and dress appropriately for God. It is not that difficult as I have found, yet it speaks volumes to those around us that see us and especially to God. We may not all own suits and ties, but most of us do have clothes that we consider our best. Others may not see them as such, but God will. It is our best that we should offer at Sunday Mass, for God himself offered up His best for us.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Not So Subtle "Freedom of Worship"

If there is any consistent tactic in the leftist's strategy to undermine society and move its own progressive agenda forward it is this: The redefining of words to strip them of their original meaning and intent. Freedom of Worship, instead of our Freedom of Religion, is now being used in Obama's attempt to restrict our faith. Since his speech in Cairo a few years back while speaking to the Muslim community, both Obama and Clinton have used this phrase consistently. Though seemingly innocuous to many, this redefinition of our Freedom of Religion has caught the attention of those of us that have paid close attention to what Obama says as to what he does.  And they don't mesh.

At first glance, Freedom of Worship does not seem to worry many citizens. Why should it? It calls for us to be guaranteed the right to worship as we please. So what's the problem? If our Freedom of Religion is watered down to Freedom of Worship, our faith will then be able to be restricted and controlled by the state. Once our religious freedom is replaced with a freedom to worship, our faith would now be fair game to be manipulated and controlled. Though free to worship, our faith could then be restricted to our homes and within the walls of our parish church while banned from the public square while being told, "See? You can still worship all you want, just as long as it is done in private". This would completely contradict the very reason the first immigrants came to our shores in search of religious freedom in the first place and fly in the face of our nation's founding fathers original intent in securing our Freedom of Religion.

It's been said that the government is buying millions of rounds of ammunition from manufacturers in preparation for an eventual uprising by the people should economic collapse occur. Possible? Maybe, but not very probable. As others have said, I think it is more in terms of restricting our right to bear arms. Yes, we will be able to own a gun, but try to find the ammunition with which to use it if there is a shortage of rounds. Our right to bear arms would have been neutered. This is precisely what this so-called Freedom of Worship will do also should Obama be left to his own devices.

The freedom to worship is only a part of our religious freedom and not the whole. Our freedom to practice our religion tells us we can believe and express this belief as we see fit and as dictated by our faith, and that does not mean merely to worship God on a Sunday. It also guarantees that are consciences are protected from being forced to do something our faith considers immoral. The founders understood this and too many today do not.

Religious convictions were part and parcel in the founding of are country. They were not excluded from public debate as our nation wrestled with how to best proceed in securing a nation that guaranteed the rights of its citizens. We as Catholics, faithful to the Magisterium that is, are an obstacle to this Obama administration. We stand in the way of his ideology of promoting abortion, SSM, infanticide and contraceptives in a manner  he deems necessary, even if it means coercing us through executive order or legislative means in order to achieve his goals. To achieve this end, the Catholic conscience needs to be hamstrung and delegated to the privacy of our homes and churches and out of the public eye and square. That is what Freedom of Worship will do. We enjoy and are guaranteed Freedom of Religion and our worship is part of that. Not the other way around.

Those of us who are not of any faith within a traditional belief or any belief, should also be very worried at what this administration is trying to do with this freedom we have, for if our Freedom of Religion can be decimated bit by bit, so can our Freedom of Speech. Once these two freedoms are restricted, all of our guaranteed freedoms are up for grabs. Watch what Obama does and do not listen to what he says. It has been shown that he will lie to get what he wants. It is in what he does that tells us what are truly his intentions for our freedoms, especially our Freedom of Religion. Again, they do not mesh at all.