A long day of work.

Our work days are long, and the spirit is low but the outcome is ever so important. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself if what you did for that day was worth it. When I have a large task to overcome that I am nervous for I try to look at the big picture. In 30 years I am going to look back on today and say, “Wow that was pretty dumb.” I always look at the positive side, and say “I am going to live for a hundred years,” but who really know what will happen. Regardless of when I am going to die, when I do, I will spend an eternity somewhere. So in the long run, that hard task you had to do so long ago on that ever so stressful day really just doesn’t matter.

Do not be discouraged when the going gets rough. Do not believe that the day you are on is the worst day you have ever experienced, because trust me it can always get worse. Take joy in the little things and heed what I have to say because before you get discouraged and angry at the wrong person know that you will be sorry later.

Control your mind, experience an inner calm, fight through the tough hills of the day in hopes that tomorrow will bring about a much anticipated break.

The Crusades: A Forgotten Reality

This blog is in response to the article found at the following address: http://www.firstprinciplesjournal.com/articles.aspx?article=1483 I am not about to reiterate what Mr. Crawford said in his article but instead I am giving a brief opinionated review about what he said.

Shortly after the attacks of September 11th in the 2001 former president Bill Clinton gave a speech at the University of Georgetown. Within this speech the former president made some rather ignorant remarks about the crusades.
“When the Christian soldiers took Jerusalem [1099], they…proceeded to kill every woman and child who was Muslim on the Temple Mount.” He went on by citing Raymond of Aguilers when describing the event. “Soldiers walking on the Temple Mount…with blood running up to their knees.” This tale, the former president went on to say, was “still being told today in the Middle East and we are still paying for it.”
One thing I would like to point out about this article is that many people in modern society look back at the crusades as an unholy stain in the history of the Catholic Church. I think that everyone can admit that mistakes were made at the hands of corrupted knights. There were huge massacres of innocent Muslims over the few hundred years of the crusades. There is no excuse to be made for these dreadful incidents. The popes would pardon soldiers of their sins if they promised to fight in the crusade but it definitely does not mean that they condoned the murder of innocent women and children.
Men are corrupted when greed comes into play. Dreadful mistakes were made when men in power wallowed in greed and decided to play Satan’s game instead of the good Lord’s. Obviously it has been admitted that these massacres happened but we also must look at other reasons beside greed. As was stated in Mr. Crawford’s article the Muslems were attacking Christian provinces for more than four hundred years before the first crusade was started by Pope Urban. Is retaliation in the form of massacring innocence a good Christian reaction to the four hundred years of Muslem persecution? I would have to say no, but before we condemn those Christian knights to the eternal fire it is good for us to hear the whole story.
One of the my favorite parts about Mr. Crawford’s article is the following statement. “As difficult as it may be for modern people to believe, the evidence strongly suggests that most crusaders were motivated by a desire to please God, expiate their sins, and put their lives at the service of their “neighbors,” understood in the Christian sense.” Aside from the few instances of greed and depravity, the crusaders had high ideals and were obviously motivated in serving the heavenly Father, and their earthly father the vicar of Christ.
It is hard for me to have the same nonchalant attitude towards Mr. Clinton as Paul Crawford does in his article. Instead I will only give you a slight notion of my distaste for the Clinton regime. Mr. Crawford’s article is very informative and a quick read. I ask that you read it and maybe you will find it as good as I did.

It’s how I was brought up.

It is not in my nature to be mean to people that do not deserve it. So what if someone is slow and does not fit into the group. Why does that mean that I should be mean to him? I am a stand in team leader while mine is on leave and I am doing my best to be fair. My fellow team leader acquired his position after the previous person got fired from the platoon. He told me last week when we were chatting that I am too nice. Honestly, I could not tell you what that means.  I am not too nice, I just am not an ass to people that do not deserve it.

It’s the way mommy taught me.

While I am in this temporary position of leadership I am doing my best to not fall into the trap of being an ass. I am an infantryman, which means I have a tough skin and rough disposition. However, I do not remember anywhere in the Infrantrymen’s Creed where it says you have to be a jerk to people for no reason.

There is a guy who is attached to my platoon and is a radio operator for our F.O. (Forward Observer) He is picked on so much that I can honestly say that I am suprised he hasn’t done anything drastic. Sure he deserves getting yelled at some of the time, but for the most part he just does not have anyone that is willing to mentor him. I feel bad for him, because I know what it is like to be picked on for no reason.

My point in telling you this is that no matter what your age is, we need to be leaders and mentors to one another. Our inner dispositions are not all the same and the weak minded need to be helped by the stronger willed so that they can be molded into something better. We are all created in the image and likeness of God so that means that nobody is better than anyone else.

Teach the weak, protect the weak, and above all else defeat the devil.

What is my Purpose?

What is my purpose here on Earth? Okay, yeah we all could go ahead and quote the Baltimore Catechism and say: “To know, love and serve God in this world in order to be happy with Him in the next life.” Gosh sounds pretty darn easy right?? Not so much….

I mean c’mon folks let’s look at reality for a second. We all have hard lives, most of us are always in some sort of debt, whether it is our own or our kids ever so expensive private educations. So besides the monetary stresses of day to day life we also have family issues, job issues, and most importantly faith issues. I think it was easier to believe in God 1,000 or 2,000 years ago than it is today. There are so many worries, stresses, and reasons people make up not to believe in God. So today it is almost impossible to utter the word faith without asking for a scientific analysis to go along with the definition. There was only one doubting Thomas, and eventually even he believed. So why shouldn’t you?

Look, seriously folks did Christ really intend for there to be 38,000 denominations of Christianity? Thankfully, Catholicism is not a denomination. All of those denominations split from the Catholic Church. Although I am getting slightly off topic (which can always be dangerous) I would also like to add that Christ never said “You are Peter and on this rock I will build 38,000 different churches.” NO! He built one Church and through Tradition, the Holy Bible, and the laying on of hands it is one of the biggest religions in the world. This He intended, and this I believe in.

Anyway, now that you know where I am coming from I can get back to my original topic: What is my purpose?…or…What is our purpose? However, I am not going to be presumptuous and guess what all of your purposes in this life are. Instead I will just stick with me.

I work with many people that don’t believe in God. They tell me God doesn’t exist. Does that make me believe what they say? Sure as heck doesn’t! Do I even weigh what they have to say and ask if it is possible? Sure as heck don’t! Do I pray for them and hope they change? Sure do! Why? because that’s what we do as Catholics, we pray for those that persecute us. Boy, with this job that is a lot of praying! Maybe I should just make it my purpose in life to pray for nonbelievers and on top of that even try to teach them as well.

To tell you the truth I have seen improvements…very slight improvements that you would only recognize if you are good at studying people. Their goal is to make me upset when they make fun of my beliefs and even if it does, I can tell that they are getting tired of it. They know I won’t change, they know that no matter what the oppressive joke is that they shout at me, I won’t joke about it back. They joke about all sorts of things  but mostly unsavory priest jokes. Even my best friend throws in his own jibes at me about it. If I laugh at it also and say oh that’s funny, then I would be undermining everything I believe in. It would put me down at there level with all disregard for what I know, love, and have faith in.

So what is my purpose in this hell hole? I use hell in reference to the intense lack of love for God, sacraments, and graces that are here. I have to be the white light among the darkness spreading the light of Christ one word at a time, one day at a time. “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone that demands you to account for the hope that is in you. Yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15b)

Bullying never gets old

Ever wonder where the class bully went from middle school? For some of you poor unfortunates all the way up to your senior year of high school as well. They definitely did not stop their bullying tirades but instead got into an occupation where they could continue their glorious escapades of picking on the faint of heart. That occupation is of course the United States Army and most especially the Infantry.

I must say that this piece of writing is about a particular person who shall remain nameless for the sake of argument, however I did tell him that I planned on writing about him. This particular chap I will refer to in this blog as T.  T is a person when growing up was very gruff in nature, meaning in the strictest sense that he hunted, fished, and was a typical outdoors-man. It is quite natural for people that live outside the city to have characteristics like T, however his life is a little different. Ever since he could remember has been a bully. I doubt it was to the extremity of stealing lunch money and giving swirlies but I am sure he was quite the enforcer when it came to the little weak kids of the class.

One of the things I have noticed about bully’s is that they are immature. I am sure that back in school it might have had its perks being the tough guy, but c’mon folks it is time to grow up. Recently, I had a rather nice chat with my team leader. We are both the same age, and we have our differences, but he knows he can rely on me no matter what to get the job done. We were talking about the people we work with, and how some of them would not work very well in the civilian world. It is not that they would not work hard it is just that they lack the people skills necessary to work with others. This is the case of T who although a hard worker, to a certain extent, lacks the skills necessary to get a long with everyone. He will stay in the Army for a full career, because by staying here he will always be able to be in a position of power over the weak-willed. He will be able to keep playing the role of bully for the rest of his life.

Bullying never gets old.  People grow older but some people never grow-up.

Charity: A Forgotten Reality

Well I promised a friend a long time ago that I would blog about Charity and I finally found the right words to say. First and foremost I want to say that the virtue of charity is dieing.

Many people in my profession always ask but never give. This is a completely wrong attitude to have because the whole purpose of giving to others is to be an example, just like Christ was an example to the world. One of the sad things I am seeing, is that so many people care about their own materialistic image. This is not the image that Christ intended for us to maintain. Christ expects us to follow his example so that others can then follow our example. It’s all about passing on the reign, so to speak.

People in society get so bogged down in the opinions of others that they fail to see the importance of living a virtuous life. As Christian’s we are called to be apostolic and be a light to other’s. Pope John Paul II said it perfectly: “You are the light of the world.” The Holy Father applied this to the youth of the world inspiring them to be good examples to everyone around them. Pope’s throughout the ages have always encouraged the lay faithful to be inspirations for all in the specific area of charity. “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18) Even the author’s of the Old Testament allude to this simple virtue.

A lot of times for the average Joe encyclicals that are written are rather hard to read and digest. Regardless of this fact I would still encourage you all to at least skim through the encyclical Deus Caritas Est which was written in December 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI. So if you take nothing from this at all, please at least remember this: Help the hopeless find God for in Him they will find the meaning of peace.