Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Screwed-Up Examination of Conscience

If you live in the United States, you probably think about your clothing size too much. You probably know how much you weigh today, how much  you weighed last month, how much you weighed last year.

You have fat clothes and skinny clothes in your closet. You judge your self-worth based on which set of clothes you fit into right now.

If you are like many Americans - especially women - you go to bed mad at yourself if you ate too much junk and you wake up slightly depressed, believing the only remedy is having a few days of eating a restricted diet.

Other things matter to you as well - like how tan you are, how long ago you had your nails done, if your roots are showing, if your teeth need to be whitened again . . .

These are false examinations of conscience. They have replaced the one that matters. Here is a new way of thinking:

Think only about being the best self you can be for God. Eat healthier, but do not obsess. Being holy matters far more than what you ate today. Exercise, but do not think about it more than you pray - or seek God - or study the things of God.

In short, get over your screwed up examination of conscience.

Here's the real deal.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Do Catholic Young People Believe in the Great Commission?

Tonight, my daughter and I stopped at McDonalds for dinner. The table next to us was empty, except for two Bibles and a couple of other books and spiral notebooks. Soon, three young men returned to their table with food. Their Bible study commenced.

They were talking about the Great Commission.  One man was clearly the leader. He would ask someone to read a passage and then ask them questions out of the study guide:

"What do you think it means: the Gospel must go into the whole world? How can we help that to happen?"

I wasn't eavesdropping. They were speaking loudly enough that it was easy to follow their conversation without even trying.

As we were leaving, I asked them what Church they belonged to. I can't even remember the name of it now. It wasn't a mainline -- anything. Something clearly non-denominational, which, of course, is a misnomer. Even a non-denominational church is a denomination  - just with a unique name and no believers by that name (or specific theological slant) anywhere.

World Youth Day - Madrid - 1.5 Million

I wondered what they made of the mandate to go into all of the world and preach the Gospel. I wondered if they thought this had happened, if they thought it had happened to some degree, or if they thought it had barely begun to happen.

This young men from the denomination that I can't remember-- I wondered if they could name a single country that contained another church by the same name as their church. What about another city in the U.S.? Had their version of the Gospel gone anywhere?

They were young. Attractive. Totally into what they were discussing. And, I'll admit, they were full of zeal and that was pretty terrific.

But, did they believe that there were many other young people like them in other countries? If so, what denominations did they belong to? Which countries? How many followers?

It seemed hard to believe that there would be many young people like them, of their Gospel-version, anywhere in the world except the U.S.

But there are young people in the world who love Jesus. The Gospel message has gone into all of the world. It is preached on every continent (in which people inhabit) and has believers in every country of the world. And yes, there are young people just like them, although not quite like them in name or Gospel message, in every part of the world.

In the U.S. - sadly - there is a distinct feeling among many non-denominational groups that Catholics aren't "saved" or that they are downright lost - when, really, Catholics are the ones who have answered the call of the Great Commission more than any other Christian group in the history of humankind!

In fact, that Church is the only church to go everywhere - to truly spread the Gospel to every nation
and people.

The name of that Church is the Catholic Church. It's a memorable name because it's everywhere.

And soon, young people from all of those countries will be meeting as one to worship Jesus Christ - this time in Brazil. That's proof that the Great Commission was heard and answered.

Man, I love being Catholic!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Find the Encyclical Lumen Fidei Here--just a click away