Thought For The Day

Standard

I’m just really happy that the USA 5000m Silver Medalist, Paul Chelimo, was reinstated as the the Silver Medalist after first getting DQ’d.

For those that didn’t see it, he was so excited and happy, and he found out about his disqualification on national TV when the reporter told him about it.    The devastation and disappointment on his face was heart-wrenching.

Looking at the video, one could see why.   There was some jostling but there certainly didn’t seem to be anything blatant or advantage-gaining.

The US appealed and won the appeal.

Congrats, Paul.   You ran a great race and deserved it.   Also, congrats to the entire US long-distance team.   Traditionally, we are not real strong in this area, but the 2016 team really showed well (including a Gold medal in the men’s 1500m for the first time since 1908!)

 

And yes, I love the Olympics.

Moral Implications of Social Conformity

Standard

The above video is fascinating.    It is also very revealing.

The experiment above is relatively benign.   But when i watched it, I couldn’t help but immediately tie the results into an answer to a question I have often asked myself:   “How could the acceptable standards of what is moral and what is not decline at the precipitous pace it has in the last few decades?”

We are all conditioned in many ways.   This doesn’t make us unthinking robots, but it is a natural part of our sense of community.    And I think God wired us that way so that we can condition ourselves rightly so that we can do good as a natural reaction without even thinking.   Of course, in a world where both good and evil resides, one can also be conditioned wrongly.

We need to take responsibility for our own conditioning, but it is without question that we are also greatly influenced by others, and we may not even realize it.    Parents try to form good habits in kids so that these kids just learn to do them.   Saying “please” and “thank you” is an act of conditioning.   I remember arguing with someone once about the value of doing simple things like opening the door for someone.   He argued that it wasn’t really “doing good” because it wasn’t so much an act of kindness or will as it was conditioning.   I argued that if someone cares enough to be conditioned or to have conditioned themselves to do a perpetually good thing that it doesn’t lose its value because you’ve made it a natural habit.  That’s ridiculous.

Unfortunately, as much as we’d all like to argue that TV, billboards, advertising, movies, music, etc. do not affect us, the reality is that it is probably nearly impossible to make that case.   Now, I will say that if you are morally grounded, confident in your faith, and resilient then it is entirely possible that you can consciously recognize when things are projecting their influence upon you, and it is more possible to ward off their impact.   But it would be silly to believe you cannot be influenced in the things you do, think, and believe by the culture and other influences around you.

And, truth be told, as God has been moved out of the public sphere and the minds of others, the moral code that people live by is a hodge-podge of ideas to start with.    So, now you start to introduce an acceptability to immodesty, different views on marriage, on sex, on violence, and so on can it really be as amazing as it seems to be that we’ve flipped our thinking upside-down on previously long-accepted ideas?

A perfect example of applying the concepts of the video above to the acceptance of cultural decay as something well and good is the typical University.   While there are some outstanding Catholic, Christian, and Conservative Universities we all know that these are exceptions.   It is a fact of the day that most Universities hold progressive views of what the rest of us see as cultural rot.   The administrations and faculty not only accept it themselves, but are open about it, promote it, and will in many cases shout down opposing opinions – ironically enough – in the name of tolerance.

If those who agree join in the vocalic of those positions while those who disagree stay silent, it will not take long for the pressure of conformity to kick in.   How many parents have lamented the fact that their “good kid” came back home after a year or two at school with all sorts of goofy ideas that go directly against the values they were raised with?    All those years, undone in nearly an instant.

As a parent, I watch this video, and I realize I need to share it with my kids and explain this very thing.    This happens not only with meaningless physical response, this is a very real and natural inclination.    Whenever your thinking and your beliefs are challenged and you seem to be standing alone, it still doesn’t mean that everyone else is right, or even makes any sense.   And they may not even know why they believe what they believe.

And on the flip side, this may be a good opportunity to evaluate whether or not any of us are accepting what we shouldn’t because it was just so easy to…

The Diabolical Deception of Self-Love

Standard

It all sounds really good – you need to love yourself.   And that is absolutely true.   But I think  – no,  I know – that we have largely lost the truth in application of what that actually means.    And it’s a very difficult discussion to have in these times when we define “who we are” by so many thing, most of which are things that should not define us.

I’m going to share in its entirely a post that showed up on my Facebook timeline.   This friend of mine is a family member who grew up in a Catholic family but in adulthood came out as gay and left the Church.   He is not a person who spews agenda and vitriol.   He often talks of love and peace and acceptance, and even desires good for those who will treat him badly.    All of which says a lot of his personal character in many ways.   He talks of God, but in a sense that is far from Catholic and mainline Christian.   To my shagrin, though, he has fully embraced the “goodness” of “who he is” (i.e. gay) and all that goes with it from a lifestyle perspective.   He is in Hollywood and has produced films, one of which was featured at the Cannes film festival, which is about his story growing up gay in a Catholic family.   While not outright anti-Catholic, the undertones are there – he simply believes the Church’s teachings are wrong, not loving, and archaic.   He is actively promoting the goodness of living “who you are” as an expression of self-love.   Unfortunately, he is in a position to influence and affect the way others think as well.   As he does this, he believes he is professing truth.

I am reproducing the post he made today to demonstrate where he is coming from:

“This weekend I will take a vow of silence.

For the words, clotted in the tormented throats of those told they are loved unconditionally, but cannot be who they are, because it will send them to an eternity of fire.

For those raped physically, mentally, and emotionally by the guilt and fear of an ideology that taught them to keep their beauty silent, and utter a string of Hail Marys instead.

For those carrying the weight of an unspeakable defilement in their bodies, minds, and spirits and have never since been able to connect God and Love, because they cannot understand how these two synonyms can feel so horribly different.

This weekend I hold silence to hear the screams that still linger in the air, audible when you stop to lend a sobered and reverent ear.   I hold silence to hear the voices and the stories they never got to tell.   I hold silence for those who wander, lost and lightless, on this Earth, in for and out, due to the false representation of unconditional love that has stolen the inner children and turned them to husks of what were once powerful, unquestionably self-loving beings.

This weekend, if it resonates with you, and even if it just for a small chunk of time, I invite you to join me in respecting those who have been conditioned by ideologies of all kinds with silence.  And if not, quieten and listen whenever you can.  Collective awareness can heal the deepest energetic wounds , and our woprld needs it now.

I love you, truth warriors.”

This is not the ramblings of someone who is unloving and ill-intentioned.   And not everything in that post is wrong.   And it also highlights how important it is that we do a much better job of finding ways to characterize God’s love for us in a way that can reconcile the tough questions about what that means in the context of the very real existence of Hell.

But he has been misled in a very diabolical way.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the term diabolical conjurs up imagery of demons and monsters and ugliness.    And for good reason, for that is what lies behind the mask of it all.   But something that is diabolical does not have that appearance to one who is swayed by the diabolical.   The very nature of the diabolical is to take something that is evil and disguise it and present it as good.   Or to take something good and pervert it and re-present it as something else (e.g. traditional marriage is about being happy, people want to marry people of the same sex, therefore same-sex marriage is good.   The premise here is faulty, but is widely accepted.)

The post above perverts the entire idea of what self-love is.   The problem is that the entire underlying baseline is now faulty, so all other arguments and conclusions that stem from it are faulty.   Regardless of how thoughtful, well-meaning, emotional, and even loving the case is, if the case is made on a faulty premise everything else is flawed.

In this case, there are a couple faulty premises.   The first is that unconditional love necessarily implies that there are no expectations of behavior attached.   This is wrong.   Unconditional love, by definition, means that you are loved despite your flaws and your behavior.   Unconditional love in no way dismisses anything bad as acceptable.   It means that I love you anyway.   Unconditional love could even mean that you find ways to point out issues of belief, faith, behavior, etc. but always in a spirit of charity.   It also means that if all these attempts fail, you will still love that person.   This is different from accepting behavior as good and right.   It can be a difficult distinction when emotion and humanity of the individuals is involved, but from a purely logical standpoint, this is really not all that difficult a distinction to make.   The main issue is that we want our children, brothers, in-laws, and friends to be happy.   It is difficult to see someone struggle with their weaknesses and tell them they need to control this thing or that thing, especially when all the world is telling them that it’s OK, and what you were taught is just an archaic ideology.   It is much easier from a relationship standpoint to relent, and let be what be.

The second problematic premise here is that self-love is about what makes you happy.    “God made me that way” is a common refrain.    God made all of us with infinite dignity, and it is true that we are His creation, warts and all.   But never has this been an excuse to purposely give in to our own weaknesses.   We all have them.   Some weaknesses society has decided to celebrate and some weaknesses, not so much.   Those who are prone to anger are asked to control that urge.   And this is the right thing to do.   Some people really struggle with it.   We are asked, in our maturity, to keep it under wraps.    But if someone has a weakness in the area of sexual perversion (of any sort, really – both heterosexual perversion and same-sex attraction, among many other things) it is difficult to find anyone admit this is a weakness that needs to be controlled, other than when issues of violence is involved.    We suppress other things and say it’s for our own good, but in this area it is claimed that suppressing it is a horrible thing.   There is no consistency.

The issue at hand is that we tend to define ourselves – and thus the self we love – according to what we feel, think, and do.   I am sorry, but this is a flawed idea of self.   It is true that our experiences, thoughts, feelings, education, urges, etc. form our character.   But that is not us.   We can, at any time, change our opinions.   We can change our behavior.   We can control our urges – perhaps with help in doing so.    This is not “us.”    What we are is human.   What we are is body and a soul.   What we are in baptism, quite literally, is an adopted child of God.  What we all are is an image of God.   All the rest takes who we are and puts it to work in what we do, what we say, and how we act.   I am not defined by my heterosexuality, my marriage, my kids, my job…   these are all outward signs to people around me what I think and feel and believe and what is important, and may very well then indicate to them who I actually am.    But who I am is actually fundamentally the same as who everyone else is.   The question is, are we exhibiting this outwardly or aren’t we?

I don’t want to make it sound like we’re all clones.   Obviously, the last item of “who we are” is our particular and unique DNA.   Between the genetic code and the soul, we are all individuals and unique.   It is said that no two snowflakes are alike, and yet every snowflake is made through the same process and is made of the same components.   How a snowfall drifts or flies or melts or sits does not define what that snowflake is.   It is a snowflake, pure and simple.

I fear that fewer and fewer people understand this, and even if explained, would accept it.

If you really want to “be who you are” then you need to be a child of God.   And if you are to act like what you are, then what you think and do and say needs lead with “am I thinking of self-love in terms of what I want or in terms of what God wants for me? “    That is not an easy question, because sometimes God calls us to suffer, to struggle, and to use those weaknesses to utterly rely on Him for our happiness, and not the things of this world – even relationships.

A Shout Out to the Shrine in my Home State

Standard

The shrine in Champion, Wisconsin, home of the only approved apparition site in the USA has received a National Designation.

I don’t really have much to add.   Just thought that was cool.

Oklahoma Today: Black Mass and Desecration. You all need to Grow a Pair and Stop it.

Standard

It’s a shock, it’s an outrage, and unfortunately in the times we are in it is not surprising.

We have perverted the meaning of religious freedom to be so inclusive that we now can’t even figure out a way from preventing a Satanic Mass on civic property.   As if that weren’t bad enough, on the Feast of the Assumption the statue of Mary will be desecrated.

So, if someone burns a Koran, that is intolerant and verboten.   But a public desecration of a statue of Mary and a blasphemous attack against the Catholic mass is fair game.   Got it.

What a spineless society we’ve become.

But, we can still pray.   From Spirit Daily:  “In the Name of Jesus, we break the power of satanists in Oklahoma and everywhere and pray a reversal of their curses; we claim victory over them; we declare everything evil they do be met by times more in the way of good, in the way of honor for Immaculate Mary.”

And, also

POWERFUL EXORCISM PRAYER

Kyrie eleison. God, our Lord, King of ages, All-powerful and Almighty, You Who made everything and Who transforms everything simply by Your will. You Who in Babylon changed into dew the flames of the “seven-times hotter” furnace and protected and saved the three holy children. You are the doctor and the physician of our souls. You are the salvation of those who turn to You. We beseech You to make powerless, banish, and drive out every diabolic power, presence and machination; every evil influence, malefice, or evil eye and all evil actions aimed against your servant. . . Where there is envy and malice, give us an abundance of goodness, endurance, victory, and charity. O Lord, You who love man, we beg You to reach out Your powerful hands and Your most high and mighty arms and come to our aid. Help us, who are made in Your image, send the angel of peace over us, to protect us body and soul. May he keep at bay and vanquish every evil power, every poison or malice invoked against us by corrupt and envious people. Then, under the protection of Your authority may we sing, in gratitude, “The Lord is my salvation; whom should I fear?” I will not fear evil because You are with me, my God, my strength, my powerful Lord, Lord of peace, Father of all ages. Yes, Lord our God, be merciful to us, Your image, and save your servant . . . from every threat or harm from the evil one, and protect him by raising him above all evil. We ask you this through the intercession of our Most Blessed, Glorious Lady, Mary ever Virgin, Mother of God, of the most splendid archangels and all yours saints. Amen.”

 

Cardinal Burke has asked all the faithful to pray a Rosary today in reparation of this evil in our midst.

 

Quick Note

Standard

This doesn’t really have to do with anything, really.   Just wanted to say that anyone at all who believes Donald Trump was openly advocating for the assassination of Hillary Clinton is an unhinged, unthinking idiot.

Even if some morons took it that way, or his point that the voting block of gun owners can lead the way to defeating Clinton in November was made clumsily, to make that extrapolation just means you have no wits about you.

Period.

That is all.

Charlie Johnston

Standard

A few days ago I once again revisited the idea of Catholic Prophecy.    If you did not read that post before reading this one, please do, so as to put everything in appropriate context as I move on to discussing Charlie Johnston.   In that post I also encourage you to read and review in Charlie’s own words what he claims to have experienced, and what his stated mission is.

I am mentioning him here because of all the current, modern-day “prophets” he has a very unique approach to it all.   His approach, I believe, allows someone to follow him and listen to what he has to say, even if skeptical, and having one’s faith and approach to things edified.   And I think this statement holds true regardless of whether or not you choose to believe the more remarkable claims he makes with respect to his personal experiences (visions, encounters with Angels, Mary, and Jesus, etc.).

So, allow me to explain.

One of my biggest issues I have, as I’ve already mentioned, are persons who claim to have visions or apparitions of the supernatural and proclaim messages to the world.   Nearly every modern day “prophet” follows the same formula:   Some supernatural or divine entity visits or speaks to them and asks them to share a message with the world.   This happens over and over and over and over again with the same or similar message over and over and over and over again.   People listen to or read the messages and cling to every word.   After a while, we get bored with whatever good message is communicated if that message isn’t about some remarkable event that is going to occur.   I could be entirely wrong, but I think that more than one of these people, even if they started off authentically receiving (or believing they were receiving) divine messages may feel the need to sensationalize things in order to placate a widening audience.   This is speculation on my part, but I’m sure it’s happened.

In many cases, I have to believe that – even if innocent – some of these people have entirely experienced a confabulation of the whole thing.   They are in quietude and want to have a conversation with God – all well and good – and in that silence (which they haven’t entirely learned to control properly) they believe they are receiving some sort of message or locution.   But it’s their own mind running wild, but emotionally they feel in tune with God, so it must be Him, right?    What starts off as good internal thoughts from a well-formed person can become a desire to feel that and continue that, and who knows where that can take a person.

I may sound like someone who can’t accept any of this.   That is not true and it’s not my intent.   I am just careful.   And so, it is actually with a bit of an effort against my nature that I find Charlie, overall, authentic.

For those who don’t know him and will be too lazy to fully research him or read my links, I will provide a general summary:   As mentioned above, Charlie claims to have been visited by supernatural or divine entities for most of his life.    He kept it to himself for a long time, and only as he matured did he embrace all of it.   The purpose of the visitations was to provide him visions, insights, and messages for the future which would occur during his lifetime.    However, unlike others, he has not shared every individual message with the world.    He has not even provided a whole lot of details of things he claims to know about, or has known about in the past.    Because the purpose of his visitors was to train him on the bigger, more important things:   why this is happening, a general course of what to expect, and to build up the flock so that they can better grasp the reality of what about to happen and what is, in fact, happening around us.

The entire purpose of Charlie’s ministry is not to predict exactly how, when, where, and why all the corresponding events that make up what is called “The Storm” are (even though he is in tune to many of those things).  The purpose is much more general – get people right with God and each other, and not worry about all these details.   Understand the overall course of The Storm so you’re mentally and spiritually ready for it.    But he also very clearly preaches that no one can effectively prepare for everything that is to come.   We will utterly need to rely on God.   While he welcomes the idea that people make preparations, it’s always in the context of prudence and with an eye towards preparing in such a way not so much for you, but to help others.

Charlie has a different personality than most of the other supposed seers I’ve researched.   He has a sense of humor, comes from the political arena and still follows politics, and is basically just a normal guy who happens to have a remarkable attribute that the rest of us don’t have.    It’s interesting to hear him talk about his visitors so casually, when all the rest of us would likely fail to sleep for a week after receiving a visit from a supernatural friend of any sort.    But this shouldn’t be surprising.   After all, how casually do we Catholics speak of the Eucharist?    We receive it without a huge show, and sometimes in our weaker moments are distracted by other things around us as the very Son of God becomes physically manifest on the altar.    The Eucharist is so remarkable as to be utterly unbelievable by non-Catholics.  And yet, we stroll up and receive Christ as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.     So, unlike us, Charlie has received these visitors his entire life.   It should not be a surprise that over time a natural comfort level and even a sense of the unremarkable comes across in his comments about them.

Whether he’s imagining it all, or whether it’s all real, or somewhere in between, there is no sense that I get from Charlie that there is any deception.   He is very clear on all of us, most of all himself, follows whatever instruction the Church gives.    He is not one of these anti-Francis folks – far from it.   He has called Francis the Pope of the Storm.   On the other hand, this does not keep him from offering opposing opinions with respect to purely temporal matters.

I would encourage anyone to look at Charlie’s posts and start the process of discernment.   To be clear, it is not substitute for Church teaching, Scripture, etc.   But nothing I see opposes any of those things.   Charlie is a full-throated supporter of daily mass, Catholic devotions, Adoration, Eucharistic processions, etc.   He is very stout on life and family issues.    He is fine if you don’t agree with him as long as all discussion on the board is well-intentioned and respectful.   In the end, the very worst that can happen is you don’t buy into all the remarkable stuff, but you’ll still see a good group of people trying to do their best in a world gone mad.

The one part of my skeptical nature on all this that I can’t completely rid myself of is the idea that one needs these visitors to warn of The Storm.   I have for years seen signs of ultimate disaster in our country and our world.   I think to anyone paying attention, it’s not a matter of “if” it’s a matter of “when.”   One does not need an angel to point out that a country that turns its back on God, holds up abortion as a blessing, makes same-sex marriage the law of the land, continues to grow in accepting euthanasia, becomes more atheistic, and so on that there will be a point where God turns us over to ourselves.    Now, Charlie claims that in his private writings to his Spiritual Director, he envisioned what we are clearly seeing today long before it became as readily apparent as it is, and he is now taking up the mantle of one who is now making it clear to everyone exactly what it is that is happening and how we need to react.

Charlie is also very open about the fact that over the years he has greatly misunderstood, misinterpreted, and even challenged the wisdom of the messaged he’s received.    This is one reason he doesn’t share them.    He has said that this was all part of the training he needed.   Whenever he went against his direction because he thought he could protect someone from something or another, he saw that worse things happened that originally envisioned.   So he has better learned to not question, and to trust.   And trust is a major theme here.   He promotes a Prayer of Miraculous Trust – say it once for a particular intention and then leave it.  Don’t repeat it again for that specific intention (sort of like Moses hitting the rock more than once).

There are a couple areas where Charlie has been more specific.   I only assume there are particular reasons why these items are necessary to share with us.   One is that our next stable leader will not come from the election process.   It is a bit unclear exactly what that means, but it’s safe to say that if Charlie is correct, then even if elections are held and a new President elected, by the time they would otherwise take office in the normal fashion, things will have changed dramatically so that this doesn’t happen in a way that anyone expects.    Second, there will be a necessary financial collapse.   Third, he has given a timeline of the end of 2017 for what is called the Rescue – where God allows Mary to intervene on our behalf and, in some way, make it clear to everyone on earth what the Truth of Christ is.   Because of this timeline, if Charlie is correct, then whatever is to happen will happen soon, happen swiftly, and will create a situation of such extreme confusion that without the Rescue everything would so utterly devolve so quickly that we would almost certainly destroy ourselves.    Charlie’s sense (I believe this is noncommittal) is that the Rescue will actually occur before there is an incredibly severe loss of life.    Not that millions of lives lost will not be horrible, but he’s not talking about half, a third, a quarter, or even a tenth of the world’s demise.

I could go on, but I believe this covers the general sense of it.   We are under no obligation at all to pay attention to or adhere to private revelation.   So it is not incumbent upon any of us to look into all of this.   But I do think Charlie’s message is helpful and encouraging during this time, and my own personal and unofficial opinion is that it is something that is worthy of looking at.