I am human. I am a man. I am Catholic. I am Irish.

Month: March 2015

Irish Hippies, Wrapped in the Flag of War

rainbow flagOne of the world’s most influential ideological forces to emerge out of the past one hundred years is the hippie movement. It emerged in the United States in the 1960’s and 70’s and its philosophical mass continues to dominate the mindset and mission of most people, organizations, governments and other institutions to this day. Formed as a strong reaction against repressed freedom of expression, the movement generally endorsed, practiced and spread an ideology of freedom to express in whatever form an individual’s emotion moved them to do so. “Freedom” was the catch phrase as people strove to break loose from the bonds of societal expectations such as rules, morals or behaviors. The mantra of the movement implied “I will do as I wish, when I wish, with whom I wish.”

Like most movements it began with good intentions and it is easy to understand why mankind is attracted to the ideal of freedom. Freedom is a beautiful thing and every human has an intrinsic right to be free. However, the hippie idea of freedom is absolute obedience to emotional desire. On the other hand, true freedom is being able to feel emotion and yet with intellectual reasoning having the ability to say yes if the emotions lead to a good or no if the emotions lead to a bad. Emotions, being very human can be misleading. We may desire something very much but that something could be harmful to self or others rather than beneficial. Being unable or unwilling to say no to emotion is slavery, not freedom and that is why hippie freedom is a cleverly crafted lie, which may mimic the good but leads to a dangerous consequence. Let me explain…

From the center of the hippie movement ascended the sexual revolutionary, for in their mind no freedom of expression would be complete without the ability of a person to express their sexuality in any way they felt moved. Instead of sex being about the unity of persons and nurturance of life, sex became about deriving individual pleasure for the self. People sought out sexual sensation and arousal and they wanted it without the responsibility of commitment to another, be that spouse or child. To satisfy this ambition, the idea of contraception was further developed to enable “sex without consequences”. As a contraceptive mentality grew, abortion naturally and intentionally followed to prevent those young consequences from seeing the light of day. Sex became less about the giving of oneself as a life long gift to another person body and soul, and became more about what could be derived from other people for personal benefit or pleasure. Relationships started to become measured by the questions “What use is this person to me?” “Are they making me happy?” “Are they providing for my needs?” On the other hand, questions such as “How can I give myself to make this person happy?” or “Am I giving to this person what they need to become fully human?” declined in popularity because they infringed upon individual freedom. A steady process was set in motion that would gradually lead to extreme dehumanization and objectification.

Throughout the world, hippies graduated to more influential positions in society. They became our politicians, business managers, church group leaders, primary and secondary school teachers and our college professors. Through these positions they began to form the minds of the next generation of young people into accepting this new ideology. No institution was immune. Lay leaders in the Catholic Church began to incorporate eastern spiritualties such as yoga, centering prayer, the enneagram and prayer labyrinths into group gatherings. These practices fundamentally shifted the focus of prayer away from God and more toward the individual growth of the person. Priests and nuns began to adopt the ideas and teach them in their parishes while shying away from or outright refusing to teach or preach objective moral Truths of Catholicism. All this occurred because hippie ideology considered moral Truth a social construct that repressed freedom. As decades progressed it became intolerant to even mention that Catholic moral Truth exists. Those who professed the ancient teachings of Christ through Catholicism were ostracized, defamed and today these brave souls who still speak out receive the strongest vitriolic attacks and even death threats. The circle is complete. Those hippies of peace who formed for the soul purpose of freedom of expression have now become and trained others to become the hippies of war, now stifling and destroying the freedom to voice opinion contrary to theirs with hatred and vengeance.

gay2The hippie ideology was foundational for the growth of the homosexual agenda. This agenda now in full force has as its goal to have distorted sexual behavior become accepted as a good by everyone. Not content to just engage in those behaviors in their own lives, they must have it accepted as good by all of society. Anyone who does not accept homosexuality as a good are pursued with hostile determination and shattered personally and professionally. This was displayed recently in Ireland, with the case of Ashers bakery being sued in court for daring to exercise their Christian voice. Catholic adoption agencies are being forced to close in the United Kingdom, politicians who reject pro-life party lines are forced to resign, and families are being targeted as child abusers simply for raising their children Christian. This situation continues to escalate at a rapid pace and the media in multiple forms continues to portray the sexual revolutionaries as victims and Christians as bad people.

Divorce, separation, infidelity and marital disharmony are all symptoms of the hippie ideology of “free love.” Intimate human relationships have become unions designed only to serve the goal of personal benefit or pleasure and if that goal is no longer being satisfied, the relationship can easily be discarded with little thought for the other. Where once love was a choice to commit to another person in sickness and health, for richer for poorer until death do us part, it is now a commitment only as long as the relationship feels good (or the other looks good). Cohabitation or “trial marriages” became a substitute for real marriage as young men opted for the “get out” clause. They became willing to live with a woman, as if married, but without the commitment, allowing them the option to walk away at any time if the flame of desire fizzled out or if they encountered a situation or event they did not like. In turn, those young men forfeited the very quality that made them men: their inclination to give for their bride even unto death.

Ireland was in no way immune to the destruction of this movement. In many ways, the strong Catholic character of the Irish culture slowed the movement down significantly. However, this has, today, lead to a more rapid and rabid, dictatorial expansion and integration effort by proponents desperate to have Irish society catch up with the rest of the world. The foundations have been laid for decades. Almost everyone in the land has bought into the idea that people should be free do whatever they please as long as they desire it and it feels good. People accept no alternative and anyone who attempts to engage them by arguing an alternative is immediately torn down.

What we have, in effect, is a very real and active war brewing in Ireland. The weapons are words and the destruction of personal and professional reputations is fair game. This war will only intensify. The people who espouse the ideology of the sexual revolution will never stop until their opponents are silenced completely or have accepted their ideas as good. Believe that this May 22nd referendum is only the beginning.

Ireland has a new enemy, which has moved to its shores and has become entrenched in the lives of its people. The old hope we had was Irish openness, the tendency to be willing to listen and engage all thoughts and ideas, to learn. That tendency has all but been eliminated, as the debate now appears closed. Any disagreement and you are labeled a bigot and not worthy of being listened to. Dialogue is only permitted if the side agreeing with the sexual revolutionaries is the dominant voice.

Remember today, my friends, the definition of bigotry: “stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own” (dictionary.com). Now ponder the question: “Where does bigotry lie?” This Irish age is going to require brave men and women to stand up and fight this evil. Where will it end? The consequences are eternal.

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On Gay Marriage: An interview with The Catholic Irishman

couple 1I suppose it is time to weigh in. It is now or never. So here it goes: There is a significant movement in Ireland today driven on by most governmental parties, the media, television personalities and almost anyone who has been awarded a public voice. The movement, which appears to account for only one side of the issue, encourages Irish people to vote “Yes for equality”. A “Yes” vote would result in the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland being amended to redefine marriage to include the union of same sex couples. Currently, it is defined as union of only opposite sex couples.

In this interview with The Catholic Irishman he attempts to outline the very logical case why voting “Yes” would be a mistake for Ireland. Many people believe that arguing against gay marriage is bigoted and based on outdated religious ideology. Contrary to that myth, the Truth could not be more logical.

Based on your writings a lot of people are going to want to know what your thoughts are on gay marriage. Could you elaborate?

 I know a lot of people will want to know so they can batter me over the head with them. Others will ask for more altruistic reasons and out of a genuine seeking of knowledge. But the views that I hold are the views of Catholicism and by “Catholicism” I don’t mean the views of random clerics who provide their personal opinion separated from Church teaching. It seems that if priest opinions are in agreement with the “Yes” camp, they will get painted over every newspaper and political public forum in Ireland, which is what happened recently with Father Iggy O’Donovan. I am referring to the two thousand year body of Church teaching, enshrined as doctrine, infallible and unchangeable. If a priest does not hold to those principles he has abdicated his role as teacher for Christ.

So what are your views then?

 It is very simple and very logical. Homosexuality is sexuality distorted. It is not what sexuality is. It is something other than what sexuality exists for. Even the least logical of human beings can determine that sex between two men or two women is not the true function of sexuality. Sexuality exists to unite two individuals and its purpose is for procreation. If sexual feelings of any kind are divorced from that fulfillment then those feelings are distorted; that does not make the person feeling them bad, it just makes the feeling misdirected. Sexual emotion can become misdirected for any number of reasons. The point is, when they become misdirected, they should be called misdirected. It is logical. It is sensible. So let’s move forward.

But people have no choice in being homosexual.

 I agree with that. Homosexuality is an exceptionally deep-seated emotional experience. It is a physiological feeling derived from chemical and neurological interactions in our brains and bodies. It is absolutely likely that people who experience these attractions have no choice to feel them, but that makes no difference to the argument because they are still a distorted form of sexuality. The emotions are being directed toward an object that sexuality does not exist for. You really can’t get around that fact.

But so what? Should not people with these feelings be allowed to live any way they wish?

 I believe strongly in free will and choice. People certainly have the free will to do as they please. There is little I can do to stop people engaging in whatever behaviors they wish. If two men wish to direct their sexuality toward themselves then that is their choice. But it is still a misdirection of sexuality.

So why do you have a problem?

I have no problem with people who experience same sex attraction. It is when they seek to engage in behavior that is contrary to their human nature that I must speak up, especially when they then attempt to force the concept that homosexual behavior is normal. It is not. I am always going to say that their actions are misdirected and that their sexual experiences are not ordered in the direction sexuality exists for. I will always explain the Truth, for that is my duty as a Christian. What people do once I have explained the Truth is on them. I also will never stop reaching out either – just to clarify.

So why have you set up a forum telling people that homosexuality is wrong?

Feeling same sex attraction is not wrong. It is misdirected sexuality, but if it can not be helped then it is not wrong. Homosexual behaviors freely chosen are wrong. I have a forum because people need to know. The whole country, in fact the whole world, through news organizations, governments, Hollywood, television shows and multiple other public forums is set up to deliver a message that homosexuality is normal and okay. That is plainly a lie and yet these mediums of information have been hugely successful in convincing most of the world, including most Catholics, that same sex attraction is part of “who a person is” rather than something a person experiences. A person is not defined by what they feel, by a function, and so, I believe deliberate attempts to define a human being by what they feel, including when people do it to themselves, is dehumanizing. They are denying their own humanity and the humanity of others. They are also attempting to redefine an objective Truth of what is human. Sexuality is an objective, intrinsic, human quality. It is ordered. To disorder it or argue for a disorder of it is essentially dehumanizing the person and dehumanizing the whole human race. I cannot accept a distortion of Truth. It is my duty for social justice to let people know these portrayals are false and misleading. Truth screams out to be known.

But you have no problem with two homosexuals living as homosexuals?

ring 2 No, I never said that. I certainly have an issue with the sexual behaviors that flow from homosexuality but, if two people choose them freely, then that is their choice and I will not force them otherwise. I will always inform them that their choice is misdirected but if they still choose it, then that is on them and they shall accept the consequences of their choice whatever that may be.

So what should a young person do who is experiencing same sex attraction?

 Even heterosexual persons experience misdirected sexuality. That is why pornography is such a scourge in our world. Pornography is also misdirected sexuality. Sexuality finds its fulfillment in the uniting or two minds or spirits, the masculine and the feminine, the yin and yang if you will. This unification of love is ordered toward the creation of love and the development of love manifested biologically as a child. Masculine and feminine are two different concepts, but real, with different but complementary attributes. Not only does the male complement the female physically but this also translates into emotional and spiritual complementarity. What occurs is a spiritual dance or relationship of giving and receiving that all humans experience individually and crave in their relationships. A child requires this complementarity in their parents for affirmation of their individual experiences of the masculine and feminine, the giving and receiving they experience individually, internally, intrinsically. A male is the biological manifestation of masculinity and the female is the biological manifestation of femininity. Both male and female experience masculine and feminine but the male is more disposed intrinsically to the masculine and the female is more disposed intrinsically to the feminine. Like the ebbing and flowing of the ocean tide so too is the gentle swaying of the masculine, feminine spirit together. It is really a beautiful philosophical and biological, spiritual reality. A young person should know these Truths and be enabled to understand them. A young person should know what sexuality really is rather than being bombarded by the agenda of today’s secular information mediums, which seek to distort the true vision of sexuality.

How can you say that homosexuality is not normal when it is documented since the beginning of documentation in humans and even in the animal kingdom? For example we see how species of dogs display homosexual attraction.

I don’t deny that this is the case but homosexuality is still a distortion of sexuality. It doesn’t matter if it is practiced or felt by every human and animal on the planet, it is still a distortion of what sexuality is logically meant to be. Even if they discover the elusive homosexual gene to show humans are born with the attraction (which, by the way they have not discovered yet despite what you have heard), it is still a misdirected emotion toward an object other than what sexuality finds true fulfillment in.

If you have no problem with homosexuals choosing to engage in the behavior you refer to as distorted…

No, I have a problem with it. I just cannot prevent them if they choose to exercise their free will.

Okay, would you then be okay if the country chooses in the referendum, through free will to allow gay marriage?

Ireland will have what it has based on whatever the political power mongers push on us, but I will never support enshrining in our constitution an action or feeling that is intrinsically disordered. I do not want disordered sexuality forced on my head politically by the weak elites of this country. In effect, that is what a referendum does. It is where potentially 51% of the country can enforce their view upon the heads of the other 49%. I can’t stop individuals who have chosen disordered sexuality freely and go off to their behaviors alone. However, when you intend to force that disordered sexuality upon the heads of all Irish people and you propose enshrining it in the constitution, a document which is meant to represent us and natural human order, then at that point I will oppose you absolutely and completely.

wedding 1First of all, a “Yes” vote is significantly manipulated by people in positions of power. So people are never getting the true picture as all they hear is the propaganda of the “Yes” camp who selectively keep those same people from ever hearing the true voice of the “No” camp. Those powers also go out of their way to destroy the reputations of people who argue “No” or at the very least they make those people seem foolish and weak, outdated and bigoted. Their means of promoting their cause is therefore immoral and unethical because the deck is stacked. Second, marriage is a reflection and fulfillment of true sexuality. Gay marriage is not marriage at all but a twisted, deformed version of human union. It should be opposed at all costs.

Any last words?

People need to understand the Truth of this debate. They need to get this message out to anyone who is willing to listen because it is vital to prevent a destruction of the beauty of sexuality and human nature, humanity and Truth in Ireland and the world. Forget the bad the Catholic Church has done. That is not even the argument. The main focus should always be, “is this right?” And logically we can clearly see that gay marriage is not right at all. It is very very wrong.

Thank you

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Ireland, Graveyard of the Unfinished Idea

graveyard-bearaA friend of mine, I will call Joe, is a nurse by trade. He and his wife have a large beautiful family of six children, four girls and two boys. Their family is the pride of our whole community for they are a wonderful faith centered family and they display everything that should be a Christian family. Personally, every time I meet Joe, no matter how tired or busy he feels, he stops what he is doing to hear me. He goes out of his way to give me his time and he never rushes the conversation, allowing it to conclude in its own natural way. He listens and takes time to respond as he draws his answer from the deep tradition of moral Christian truth, his education and experience that he has immersed himself and his family in all their lives. You never leave without the sense that you are a better person for having spoken with him. At Mass on Sunday, it is often his first wish that you join he and his family for dinner that afternoon. My wife and I always look forward to those occasions for the food is generous, the conversation wholesome and nothing gives more peace and joy than when the eleven of us gather around his living room to pray the rosary.

Not only is Joe friendly and inviting but he also displays a fatherly firmness that has a profound effect on those who encounter him. His faith is in no way superficial. In one of our many meetings our conversation turned to heaven. My wife had recently had a miscarriage and Joe, whose father had died several years earlier said “you know I often think about what it will be like the day we get to heaven when all those we loved on earth come to greet us, the child you lost, my father and all our relatives that have gone before us”. Jokingly, I laughed and said, “Yeah if I ever get there”. Joe suddenly became very stern and responded frankly “well you better, I’m telling you that you better, because the alternative is too horrific to even contemplate”. I will never forget that response.

Now Joe, like every Christian or non-Christian, man or woman on the planet, has his faults. One of those, which we joke about often, is his tendency to leave a job unfinished. He is an avid handyman and he loves to tell you about his latest project around the house as he built himself a nice little storage shed or he would be fixing up old cast iron electric saws from back in the day for sale at a pretty profit. Though I know little of these pursuits, I find his enthusiasm fascinating and I love to discover what exactly it is about his work that moves him. When I first met Joe five years ago on my first visit to his home I noticed the banisters of his stairs. They were squared at the top with four jagged edges. I have worked in the world of construction and I developed in my time a tendency to notice things that needed fixing so I pointed out to Joe that jagged edges could pose an exceptional hazard especially in a home of six children all running around and going crazy. It was my turn for being firm. Indeed, with eyes to the ground, Joe admitted to me his weakness that day and vowed that he would get around to rounding those edges soon enough. Five years later the edges remain jagged but the children are fine, healthy and dandy and you can put that down to the power of prayer, I suppose, if you like.

Joe’s ability as a handyman is unquestionable. He has built that little storage shed into a fine illustration of craftsmanship. It still requires painting but you can imagine how perfect it could be with a little finishing touch. His home is three storied where once it was two; his garden has one flowerbed but could do with a few. Still, once again, with a little inventiveness you could see in the minds eye how beautiful the home has the potential to be, and yet it remains a dream unfulfilled. Alas, I have arrived at the point of revealing my point.

Like Joe, our human race appears to be in a similar dilemma. Since the beginning of time we have built great citadels and bastions of brilliance in the form of cities, communities, ideologies, political systems and our love of building ensured we endeavored for larger and greater ideals. We wanted bigger places to live. Our villages became towns and our towns became cities. Our families became communities, communities became counties, counties became provinces and governments became masters of larger and larger groups of peoples. Ideas of individuals became the ideas of the many and philosophies shaped the foundations of our human institutions; socialism, capitalism, conservatism, liberalism, relativism, secularism and ism after ism arose with great promise to the heights of the heavens. Indeed it is not unlike a famous tower of old:

“Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:4)

Yet despite all these immense efforts, perfection remains elusive and what is left behind are graveyards of lonely, forgotten ideas left unfinished, and therefore, untried. So what is wrong? Why does this happen? Why do we always search for the new instead of finishing what we started?

MaryThe answer, my friends, is human nature. We humans mess everything up by our inability to be Him, Jesus, the One Creator of all that is good. We come up with these grand ideas, try them, find out we can’t finish them and we give up. Take for example, Catholicism. It is clear that the rejection of this great belief system occurs most often, not because the system itself is wrong but rather, because the people who profess to follow it rarely live up to it’s ideal. In fact, most become so disillusioned by their own inability and the inability of others to follow the teachings of the Catholic faith that they step away from it completely and give up trying. They begin to claim the system is flawed and refuted when really it is the weak humans following it that are flawed and failed.

Ireland cannot give up on Catholicism. We cannot give up on it because we have not yet experienced what the world would be like if we tried it to it’s fulfillment in society. It’s beautiful teachings of virtue and reverence for God have created great saints like Mother Teresa and Saint Pio. Saint Maximillion Kolbe gave his life in a German concentration camp, taking the place of another man chosen to die, because that man had a family. That is true goodness, courage and strength. That is action worth emulating. And let us not forget our Blessed Mother Mary, a woman the Church places above all other created beings. All these people knew the power of Catholicism fulfilled. It would be folly to dismiss our faith just because so many weak Catholic leaders in Ireland have failed to live it.

There are so many people in our media and in secular positions of leadership who mock our faith daily and want to eliminate it from the public. They scoff at the religious and seek ways to distort and silence us. They introduce and attempt to legislate ideas that are the antithesis of Truth and distortions of goodness. As a people we must not allow it. We are for Christ and He is always by our side. These people reject Catholicism and use the scandals of religious to push a total rejection of the faith. However, those scandals were the actions of men (and women) who were not living what the Catholic faith truly is. Catholicism has never been successfully fulfilled on earth. It has never been properly attempted and we must keep striving for the ideal.

Let us not seek for new culturally popular fads and untried belief systems concocted by smiling liars. Let us hold fast to the rock of Christ, Saint Peter, His Church. We know it works because Christ is its head. Let us finish the job`. Let us carry our cross to the hill of Calvary with Christ and in union with Him utter the words of true peace – “It is finished” (John 19:30).

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Only those who suffer become men

croagh patrickWhich of these activities would you consider to be more masculine: an eighty year old man struggling with bare, bloodied feet over rocks and stones to reach the summit of Croagh Patrick, or the man who calls that old man “a fool” and spends most of his time comforting himself in the local while his wife and children wait for him at home?

Who has a greater strength of character: The woman who lives on bread and water for several days as she drags her knees across Lough Derg island or the man who denounces Mass, priests and anything to do with religion while garnering support, laughs and pats on the back from the lads in the pub?

Is it a difficult choice? When put like that, it would seem obvious what the answer is right? However, in our modern world the picture of a human being giving themselves to God has become an image of weakness in a sense and even “feminine” to most men.

In our world masculinity is expressed in many other ways. I have witnessed men randomly starting fights with other innocent people just to impress the other males (and females) in their company. I participated in drinking games and, on many occasions, I sat in the company of people who became victims to harsh, biting conversation from people who may have referred to themselves as friends. In reality, those people had their own interests in mind when they went out of their way to make others in their company feel small or less than them. I also witnessed the effects of infidelity, adultery and chronic pornography abuse, as young men desperately attempted to demonstrate or to just feel what they thought was “being a man”. Stealing, hurting animals, destroying property, extorting, objectifying… all forms of debauched behavior was fair game in the pursuit of showing the world their version of manliness. Through the eyes of hindsight, I see now it was a pathetic cycle, for no matter how much or how often my companions engaged in those activities, the further from satisfaction they fell. Consequently, they also sought more and more self-pleasure as they endeavored to compensate for the obvious emptiness that had grown to consume their joy, to rob them of their childhood.

So today, to any man who would for a second, consider me something other than foolish, I have a message to transform your life:

“A man is never more a man than when he is on his knees before God”

For some, however, getting to your knees seems to be the most difficult task on earth. The reasons are here presented: Suffering is not easy. It takes courage and strength. It is an alien concept to most modern men. They cannot or will not suffer for others and even for themselves. Prayerful suffering is something all human beings are capable off but in our world with so many technologies, modern conveniences and options for comfort it is an activity that has become one to avoid rather than one to embrace.But why would anyone want to embrace suffering, I hear you ask. Shouldn’t we actively seek to avoid it?

croagh patrick 2It is true that every time we seek out, for ourselves, emotional or sensory comfort as an escape from the realities of everyday life, we are rejecting suffering. On the other hand, every time we give ourselves for the good of another human being we embrace suffering. Whether you are a father on his knees playing with his child or a nurse on her knees giving comfort to the dying, whether you are a member of Saint Vincent de Paul offering time to collect money for the poor or the teacher comforting the crying child, you can give yourself in small ways for others. Even something as small as a smile can echo in eternity especially if we do not feel like smiling. We cannot avoid the fact that if we give of ourselves for others in any way we make a sacrifice or a little suffering. Saint Therese of Lisieux’s famous words sum suffering up well:

“I prefer monotony of obscure sacrifice to all ecstasies. To pick up a pin for love can convert a soul”

This statement is profound. Therese is a doctor of the Church. But how can picking up a pin save a soul? Well, this is a deep theological reality. Take some time with this paragraph and the concept will enlighten your soul:

Firstly, Saint Paul writes “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, which is the Church” (Colossians 1:24). He says that Christ’s afflictions are “lacking”. What could possibly be lacking in the afflictions of Christ Jesus? The answer: Christ is the head and His Church (our Church) is His body. Anyone who receives the Holy Eucharist is assimilated into His body, the Church. If you receive the Eucharist you are a member of His body. This is a mystical and physical reality. We literally become one with Christ when we receive the Eucharist. Therefore, when Christ was nailed to the cross in His eternal act of sacrifice we also were nailed to the cross with Him because we are His body. Secondly, Christ gave everything He had on the cross and so His afflictions could not possibly be lacking in any way. What was lacking was us. We were what was lacking in His afflictions because we, today, refuse to suffer with Him. In the same way as Christ’s ultimate masculine act on the cross accomplished the redemption of mankind, so too do our sufferings, when united with Christ’s, participate in that redemption of mankind. If we refuse to suffer, we are refusing to participate with Christ to redeem mankind. We are refusing to love others by helping them obtain heaven. By suffering, we have the ability to redeem those who are unable to suffer themselves, who are unable to carry their own crosses.

This then, my friends, is why suffering is an act of true love for others. We are literally offering ourselves to redeem nameless and faceless others whom we have never met. We do so because we choose to love. Love is not merely a superficial emotion to make us feel good. Real love is an act of the will, a choice to give of yourself for the good of another, especially those we would not typically be likely to love. When we refuse to suffer for another and we instead seek out an escape to comfort ourselves we reject love.

loch derg womanThat, in a nutshell, is why suffering is the most admirable of all pursuits. Suffering is not easy. That is why most people cannot accept it and choose instead sensual, emotional comforts for themselves. It is also why so many scoff at the religious in a desperate attempt to justify their choice to reject suffering. It is often the reason why many people refuse Catholicism and why they become so vehemently opposed to it. Catholicism mirrors to them their inability or unwillingness to live up to its Truth.

Catholicism is not easy. It is not for the weak. It can break most men and it will ultimately bring us all to our knees. However, praise your God, praise your King, because it is on your knees in humble recognition of your weakness that you find the answers to everything your heart desires. You will find Him kneeling right there with you, the man for whom all men are made. Jesus.

Now go out into the world and embrace the miracle of Lent.

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