Our Flag. Our Anthem.

Our Flag. Our Anthem.

Most would say that freedom of speech is pretty black and white. In two cases in particular I beg to differ. We live in a time where anything we say out loud will most likely offend every 1 in 5 people. No matter what it is, someone will find issue with what you say.

Our Flag represents all Americans, but most of all it represents our Freedom. Why would you burn down your best representative? You want to bring those that hate you to your side? Then wear that flag and wear it proudly. You want to anger those who hate what we stand for in America? Then sing our anthem and sing it loudly. That flag was sewn in a time where every American was persecuted by tyranny. That anthem was written in a time where our very freedom and unity was at stake in the war of 1812.

The only tyranny you have now in America is your mom taking away your smart phone at the dinner table. If you do not think you are being treated fairly by your government take a little trip to a country where you can’t pray or speak when you want and how you want. I’ve been there and I’ve seen it first hand.

Our flag represents all Americans, Red or Blue. Black or White. Our Anthem represents all religions and all creeds. Look to the Olympics and you will see the untainted pride of those that represent us on their athletic fields. The cheering and the 100% authentic patriotism is what should bring us together.

Trust me when I say that sitting down during the anthem because you are a household name will do absolutely nothing to help your cause. The only thing you will get is a week of publicity, good or bad. Somebody in the position of Colin Kaepernick who was given opportunities that no low-income African-American would normally have, should not be silently protesting in this way. There is no “effect” to his “cause”. Start a program and talk to local leaders. BE A LOCAL LEADER. Sitting on your bum during a song about inclusion of freedom will only get you mocked by both the left and right. It really just shows an ignorance of your knowledge in the plight of struggling minorities while introducing a certain level of “black privilege.”

People don’t realize the value of living in America anymore, we take everything for granted. Is there hate? Yes, but that will never go away because we are not perfect. One of my favorite meme’s about the status of the American youth is an image showing 18 year olds on D-Day in 1944 storming beaches, jumping from planes, and charging into almost certain death. While in 2016, 18 year olds need safe places, because words hurt. Wear our Flag don’t burn it. Sing the Anthem don’t turn your back on it. Be a leader. Be informed. Be smart.

“Even fools, keeping silent, are considered wise; if they keep their lips closed, intelligent.” (Proverbs 17:28)

 

Protesting for the sake of protesting: A Modern Reality

Nobody can deny the deep history and traditions that are rooted in the Catholic Church. Whether you are Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or any other non-Christian religion you can not deny the history that is put forth about this 2000 year old faith. In recent times (the last half-century) we have stopped clinging to religion and have started to lose faith in the idea of a supernatural being that is in charge of the universe. Instead we dwell so much on the present, whether it is the economy, gas prices, or shopping for Christmas in September we fail to realize what is truly important in our lives.

Yesterday, on the 22 of September the Holy Vicar of Christ who can be traced back to St. Peter through Apostolic succession visited his native country of Germany to speak to the German Parliament. Although the 60,000 faithful outnumbered those who were protesting which numbered slightly under 10,000 it is a sad thing for me as an American Catholic to hear about. One of the protestors even commented that he thought there was separation of church and state in his country.

Since when does a pope talking to a political sect of the government, whether parliament or senate constitute as a breach in the philosophy of separation between Church and State? Let us just think of it as the parliament taking a field trip to listen to a well educated peace maker. Why would people protest the Catholic Church and her doctrine about homosexuals? Considering that and the use of contraceptives are two leading causes for protesting and boycotting the church. If you want to be a part of the Catholic Church yet you believe in the openness of homosexuality, contraceptives, and the institution female clergyman then join the Episcopalian or Anglicans. In my opinion the idea of conservatism and traditionalistic values originated or was strengthened within the Catholic Church. The Church does not change with the times. Instead she adapts the way in which she proclaims her theology.

Defend what you believe in! Do not decide to change your values due to the times that we are in. How do you expect to bring up children on the principles of irrational change? Respect the opinion of the Pope if you are not Catholic, he is a renowned Theologian and very highly educated. His views mean more than just “religion” they mean the way all should live their lives according to the path that was set for all mankind to follow. The path of Truth.

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.

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)

A Reality We All Need To Face.

Before I deployed to Afghanistan I told my uncle that I was scared to die. He told me that just because I am going to war in Afghanistan does not mean that I will die there. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.(Matthew 24:42) This is so simple, I could just as easily die crossing the streets in America as I could being shot by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Why should I worry?

Who likes talking about death?

Honestly, I have no desire to talk about death. I do however want to talk about Heaven. I want to talk about believing in something besides ourselves.

Yada yada yada blah blah blah

Why don’t you write about something interesting and worth reading?
Something about your job, perhaps another titillating story of rocks and sling shot battles.

Well my intrigued readers, I would rather write about something much more important. I would rather tell you to not lose faith in God and to not lose faith in yourselves.

Many of my associates have lost faith in God, they have lost faith in everything that is important. So by losing faith in the important things they bring themselves to believe in earthly god’s. Furthermore, they believe in earthly pleasures instead of unearthly pleasures.

Us Infantrymen work in an occupation where death is an everyday hazard, so don’t you think that it should cross our minds what will happen to us if we die? Nine times out of ten it doesn’t.

Oh boy here he goes again with the morbid stuff…just wait he will probably get more depressing in a second…

 To tell you the truth I am scared to death of going to hell, so me dying without monthly confession is an ugly thing. I hate hearing my comrades in arms curse God and blame him for bad things that happen. Where does that get you? The answer is, NOWHERE! I thought that most people were scared of hell, the truth is half of the guys I work with would rather go there then Heaven. I believe that hell is an evil place and going there means an eternity of pain that noone on earth can even imagine. Not just a physical pain, mind you, but a spiritual pain as well. This pain is a result from the loss of God, the complete and utter loss of knowing that you can not be saved. By then it is too late, you can never turn back to God and ask Him for forgiveness. You abandoned Him, and in the end He abandoned you.

What does this guy know?
Are you some kind of religous mystic?
Why should your opinion mean anything to us?

Well folks, my hope is that you question what I have said. My hope is that you have faith in what I have said. I am asking you to believe in God, believe in a Heaven, and work towards that. Just because you believe in God does not mean that you are saved from Hell. You have to work for what you believe in. You must desire Heaven above all else because life on Earth is so incredibly small compared to a life of eternity. Live in the moment, but look towards the future. Help those that cannot help themselves, remember the beatitudes! Kindness to others results in returned kindness to you when you need it the most.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

The Heart of the Church

”Et ego dico tibi quia tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversum eam. Et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum et quodcumque ligaveris super terram erit ligatum in caelis et quodcumque solveris super terram erit solutum in caelis.” (Matthew 16: 18-19
You might ask Why Latin? Well just a little history for you then…Saint Jerome who is known as a Doctor of the Church translated the Bible from Hebrew to Latin between  382 and 405 AD. I am sure the actual year is not known because he spent quite some time translating it. Although known for his temper St. Jerome was a councilor to Pope’s and a wise and holy man.
My dad was always a big Latin buff, but I on the other hand, was never too fond of learning the language in middle school. I now have a profound regard for it. It is the language of the Church and has been that way since its conception. I have gone to several Mass’s that were said in Latin and gained a whole different perspective on the language. The Latin Mass is very old, and whenever I attend I feel a spiritual reverence that I don’t while attending the Novus Ordo Missae.
The peacefulness that I feel when attending the Latin Mass is amazing. In someway, that is virtually unexplainable, it brings me back to a period before all of this new age rubbish. I am not referring to the the new form of the Mass as prescribed at the Second Vatican Council. I am alluding to the corruption of the Sacrament through the laity and priests. As Catholics we tend to look the other way when it comes to corruption.
Quick side note: I am speaking of my own opinion in this matter, although I say “As Catholics”I am still speaking in the first person, and about my opinion of the topic.
Corruption comes in many forms and in the case of corruption in the Sacrament of the Eucharist I refer to the minor instances when people have changed the liturgy to best suit their personal beliefs. Beliefs that differ from what the Church preaches. The purpose of this blog post is not to site specific instances of this corruption, but to point out that it is there. Feel free to email me if you want examples.
It’s undeniable, when certain priest’s throughout the universal Church were charged with sexual assault many of us covered it up, as well as the presiding Bishops. When I say “us” I am referring to people not wanting to believe it and denying it happened. This should not be the case! I love the priesthood and I thought about joining it very hard from middle school through high school. Many people who loved the Catholic faith left it because of immoral acts of certain priests. These acts were overlooked and nothing was done of the problems they caused. Pope Benedict XVI has done a lot to amend for the terrible acts that happened. I was referring to immediate action on those specific instances.
We must be responsible for our actions!
How many times did your mom tell you that when you were a kid? I lost count. My point in all this is to take a different look at Catholicism as a whole. Do not look at it as some corrupt organization controlled by greedy pontiffs. Do not look at the times when the devil took control of men in positions of power in the Church. Instead, look at the good the Church brings. Look at the Traditions that the Church has kept for 2,000 years.
The Catholic Church is perfect, in and of itself. It is an institution created by Jesus the second person in the most Holy Trinity. It is untarnished and will never die because it is bound on earth and lives on in Heaven for all eternity.

Faith: A Forgotten Reality

Religions are dying all over the world. The reason for this is a lack of faith and a lack of trust. People always have to have an explanation for why everything is the way it is. Whatever happened to the blind faith that we see in the Bible?

One example of this is the story of Joseph. Joseph found out that his betrothed, Mary, was pregnant before their marriage and was quite torn about what he should do. However, when the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him that Mary conceived through the Holy Spirit he listened and believed.

This simple little story really is a testament to what we need to believe in as well. We need to have the faith to believe when we do not understand completely. The reason for this blind faith is because God does not mean us to know everything. His job is to know the outcome of our lives and our faith proves that we trust Him even when the road ahead is dark.

The reason why I am writing about faith is because I firmly believe that it is an important virtue that many people today fail to care about. People are so concerned about understanding everything, that they do not realize the importance of trusting in God. It is ever so important when something happens that you do not understand, to just say Well that’s what God wants. Leaving your life and your everyday plans in the hands of God shows to him that you trust and love Him. Lastly, of all the stresses we have in our lives, just think of how much of that is relieved when we leave everything in God’s hands.

Have faith in what we cannot understand and put aside all doubts because God is for ever faithful to you if you are to Him.