Friday, August 31, 2012

August 31, 2012 – Job 14

The human life is so frail.  2-“Like a flower that springs up and fades”.  I know how frail flowers can be because I seem to be able to kill them regardless of how much care I give them.  You also get a sense of how frail life can be when your children are sick.  A bug is going through our house right now that brought Paul to tears in the middle of the night because it hurt so bad when he coughed.  I haven’t held him and rocked him to sleep for 2 years, but I did that night.  Noah has been hit really hard, not sleeping and constantly cranky (we think he is getting a tooth to top it off).  With the lack of sleep, Michelle is got sick and that makes it very hard to deal with a 1 and 3 year old.  Life is fragile, and this is only colds and ear infections.  Life can turn much worse in a heartbeat.  Do we really understand how fragile we are or does that only dawn on us that instant in slow motion when it is all taken away.  Pray that we realize it and live our life like we realize it before we don’t get that chance.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 29, 2012 – Catechism 1749 – 1761

The ends justify the means is NOT a Catholic teaching.  Look back on things you might have done thinking that the ends were enough to act out of line or to sin.  Was the end ever in actuality enough.  We may think that in the moment of the act, but if you really reflect on it, I bet the end never comes out exactly as you planned and the path to created to there is something that cannot be erased.  One of the biggest historical events that uses this excuse are the A-Bombs dropped on Japan.  Did the ends justify the means.  According to the paragraphs we just read, if the means are immoral, the end cannot be justified.  The question becomes “Was dropping the A-Bombs a sin”.  If the answer is yes, then the ends don’t matter.  If the answer is no, I guess I would ask you why it wasn’t sinful. 

It is hard to answer because there is a balance that was going on.  The US had to weigh using the A-Bombs verses attacking Japan.  When we looked at the damage that was caused as we jumped from island to island in the Pacific, we were taking massive losses and moving at a very slow pace.  It was agreed that we needed to end the war quickly rather than spend years trying to defeat Japan by attack.  But what was the limit.  What if two didn’t work.  How many were we going to drop.  Was it worth opening the door to the Cold War.  We are still the only country to use nuclear weapons.  Was it worth all that stemmed from that.  It is an interesting and complicated question, but simply put, from the Catholic perspective, the A-Bomb was not justified by the ends it brought about.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 25, 2012 – Catechism 1739 – 1748

It is sometimes hard to understand where doing God’s will and having free will meet and don’t contradict each other.  The argument is that if you are doing God’s will, you are not acting on your own free will but allowing another’s will to lead you.  But, if you understand that God is perfect and that He only wants good for you and created you for a specific purpose, why wouldn’t you want to do what He wants you to do.  But it is simple to explain if you look at a child’s relationship to his parents.  If the child chooses to follow the rules, does that mean he didn’t do it of his own free will.  I don’t think so.  If he continues to follow the rules (assuming the rules are legitimate in the house) the entire house should be a place of growing love and unity.  If he disobeys the rules there will be “confusion and delay”.  (Anybody that has young boys knows that is Sir Topham Hatt)  If the child realizes that the house and his life is better if I follow the rules, is that taking away from his free will at all.  No. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 23, 2012 – Job 12

Verse 2.  “No doubt you are the intelligent folk and with you wisdom shall die”.  I think this sometimes when you hear the way people talk about our “era”.  We think that this is the greatest thing that the world has ever seen.  We think we know the most about medicine, physics, technology, sociology and the list goes on.  Granted, we have discovered a lot of things and technology seems to take new steps every instant, but do we really believe we are the smartest humans ever on the Earth.  Do we believe that wisdom will die with our generation.  I think there are some that would say yes.  Some are so arrogant that they think there has never been anyone as smart before and will never be anyone as smart again.  We see this when people ignore things like nuclear families.  Those have been unchanged for thousands of years and been the source of stability.  We now think that it is all bubcus, that a child can be normally raised in a single parent home, home with two dads, two moms, or any other combination.  The new show “The New Normal” is a homosexual male couple, the mom, grandma, and another kid.  The title reflects the attitude towards traditional families and that we don’t believe we need them anymore.  We are smarter than the countless generations before us that relied on the nuclear family to develop the world we know today.  But don’t tell any of this to people that “are the intelligent folk”.  You will be called old fashioned, out of touch, a bigot, a hater or women, or countless other names.  I may be the first one, I always thought I was born a generation or two late, but I don’t feel I am the others.  I am a believer in a traditional family, that this holds the most stability, raises the most stable children and provides the firmest foundation for our communities. 

(It is funny where these post go when you are just typing off the cuff.  Had no idea that Job was going to lead into family values.)

August 22, 2012 – 1 Samuel 23

We have a very interesting scene here that I don’t recall ever hearing before.  While David is in exile and hiding from Saul, he hears of a city in Israel that is under attack.  David takes it upon himself to lead his men to save the city.  He does this knowing that Saul is trying to kill him.  I was trying to think of a similar situation.  The closest I could come to is if during the Civil War, General Lee heard that Canada was attacking Chicago.  David’s actions would be like Lee going right into the enemies hands for the greater good of the nation he felt loyalty for.  It isn’t exactly a match, but it gives you a sense of the risk and the loyalty that were involved in such an action.  Saul does hear about it and, instead of being grateful for David’s action, sends and army down to kill David.  We continue to see this complete tunnel vision of Saul.  His only focus is on killing David. 

Perhaps we are seeing that in this election.  It appears that President Obama has tunnel vision.  The only thing he seems concerned about is re-election.  When you look at his campaign, the rhetoric, how he describes where the country is, it doesn’t seem based in reality.  He has blinders on to anything but getting 4 more years.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 21, 2012 – Catechism 1730 – 1738

People are so confused about what freedom means.  We are free to act in any way we want, but many seem to think that this means there is not right or wrong, good or bad.  Freedom has nothing to do with defining right or wrong, but we are really only free when we are acting for good.  When we freely choose evil, we become ensnared.  Evil only leads to further evil and we become slaves.  Slavery is the opposite of freedom just like good to bad.  True freedom is choosing good, which is of God.  You are free to do evil, but really ask yourself if you feel free while you are doing it.  Are you truly making the decision on your own.  Is it peer pressure, greed, anger.  What is driving the evil act and if you are not doing it on your own but are being influenced, is it freedom.  The same examination can be done for good acts and whether you are being motivated by something else or it is truly free.  That is a struggle I have had to face and it is important to think about when we are talking about freedom.   

Monday, August 20, 2012

August 20, 2012 – Psalms 32 – 33

Many might look at Psalm 32 and want to say that we don’t need a priest to hear our confession because it is right there.  Confess to God and be forgiven.  First, this forgiveness is incomplete, at least Old Testament forgiveness was.  Christ had not come yet to bridge that gap.  The forgiveness that is being claimed here is not the same forgiveness Christian receive after Christ Passion.  Second, Catholics don’t believe that you must confess every sin to a priest.  Venial sins are able to be forgiven through acts other than the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Third, Christ gives His followers the power to forgive sins.  This power, God’s power only, is given to the Apostles.  They were not given the power to read minds though.  The gift makes no sense unless people came to them and confessed their sins.  Going to God alone for sins is great and can lead to forgiveness, but when you cut yourself off entirely, a different remedy other than personal prayer is needed.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19, 2012 – Job 10 – 11
10:4-5 – This is a sarcastic tone towards God.  Job is giving God human qualities in answer to his friends.  The reason is that they are trying to fit God into human understanding.  They are limiting God in their thinking.  Job is saying, “does God have human eyes, does He live the days of a human?”  Job knows the answer is of course no.  But his point is why are they arguing their way when it limits what God can do or why God can do something.  God is so beyond our thought that we may never understand His motives.  We will have to wait and go through all of Job, but I am remembering God making a very similar argument to Job near the end of the book, so I wonder where that track comes from.
The next response to Job attacks Job’s supposed arrogance for thinking that he knows God’s workings or believes his righteousness despite all these wows.  This speaker questions his ability to know God so well as to question the “right way” of thinking, the way where if bad things happen you must deserve them.  He tells him to get rid of iniquities so that you can look to God in innocence.  They refuse to see that bad things can happen to the innocent.  We will see this brought to a climax with Christ on the Cross.   

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 18, 2012 – 1 Samuel 21 – 22
We see this short scene with David takes the holy bread.  Jesus mentions this story when the Scribes try to corner Him when the Apostles were eating or picking grain out of the field on the Sabbath.
David is on the run, but not really remaining hidden.  As soon as he gets to the caves his family comes to him and soon many others join him. 
Well, all that restraint of Saul seems to have gone out the window now.  He wouldn’t actually kill David, he held his hand to Jonathon, but the priest and his family, and the whole town, were the tipping point.  After this slaughter, there seems to be really nothing Saul might not do to kill David or to keep his power.  That is the thing about sin.  It may start off small and you may even be able to resist it for a time, but if you don’t actually tackle to real issue, it will eventually defeat you and sin in a way you might have never thought possible.  This is the same Saul that started out in such a great way, not even wanting to be king.  Slowly we have seen him turn his back on God, and even though he has resisted certain acts and held his hand, we see know what it was building to.  The damn has broken.  The slaughter of an innocent person, family, city, because of his jealousy, unwarranted jealousy at that. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

August 17, 2012 – Catechism 1720 – 1729
I think whenever we hear the word beatitude we automatically think of Christ Beatitudes.  And that is good, but the Catechism speaks of living with a “beatitude”.  “Such beatitude surpasses the understanding and powers of man”.  (1722)  So what does the word beatitude mean.  According to it means “supreme blessedness; exalted happiness.”  So, when you are reading this section of the Catechism, don’t always think of the 8 specific Beatitudes, but think about the noun itself.  Beati – from the same root where we get Beatific vision (Heaven).
“The beatitude we are promised confronts us with decisive moral choices. It invites us to purify our hearts of bad instincts and to seek the love of God above all else.”  So many things in the world have been accepted as natural and okay to do just because they feel good or give us pleasure.  We are called to have self-control over our bodies, to keep those feelings in check, to choose the right way over the more pleasurable way.  The beatitude is about ridding yourself of this need for pleasure, the need to always feel good, it seeks to bring us in line with God’s plan for us. 
And the next time you hear someone say something about suppressing our desires and not fulfilling all of our every physical need is not natural, you tell them that you agree 100%.  We cannot do it on our own, we need help, we need God’s help, and to accomplish it is “supernatural”.   

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16, 2012 – Psalms 25 – 26

25 – “Make known to me your ways, LORD; teach me your paths”. How many times do we actually pray, “Know my ways, oh Lord. Let my paths work out for the best”. We are so obsessed with what we want and selfish about what is best for our lives we completely forget about everything else. When I was walking around downtown Chicago I kept trying to remind myself that every person I saw was on their own journey. You walk by a 100 some odd people on a city block and try to realize that they are each living their own separate life, completely untouched by yours, dealing with their own issues and worries, you can quickly get a sense of how little your life affects the world.

You also realize that you are probably the only person walking down a busy street trying to think about all the other people. Most of them were thinking about themselves. It gives you a sense of the dying of thirst while standing in a river. You could see why a person could be very lonely even though they live in a city surrounded by 12 million people. (I don’t know the population of Chicago, I was just throwing a number out there)

26 – “Lord, I love the refuge of your house”. Have you ever walked into a Church and at once felt like you have escaped the world. I had a feeling like that when I was in Chicago for the Assumption. I have also had feelings like that on retreat. You are busy or running around working or speaking and you step into the chapel and gain a peace. I wish I were aware enough that I could feel that every time I stepped into Church.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August 15, 2012 – Job 9

I had a couple of thoughts that have nothing to do with the reading today (I haven’t read it yet) but that I had while I was at Mass today. Today, Catholics celebrate the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. I am not going into the teaching on that, but that is why I was at Mass. I am in Chicago for a conference and went to St. Peter’s in Downtown Chicago. One thing I thought of was how much peace I got just walking into the Church. You are walking down the street, Madison in this case, surrounded by skyscrapers and traffic and then you step into the church and there was a sense of peace. It was something that I really felt more than I can describe in words.

The second thought I had was brought up during the priest homily. He was talking about Mary after Christ Ascension into Heaven. I don’t think it was what he was really trying to point out, but he mentioned Mary receiving strength from the Sacraments while she was still on Earth. That got me thinking about Mary receiving the Eucharist. What must that have been like for Mary. Mary carried Christ in her womb for 9 months. Her receiving the Eucharist would be her bringing Christ back into her body in a very special way. With her belief, her faith, her connection with Christ, her receiving the Eucharist must have been an extraordinary event. I would venture to say that she would fully feel Christ inside her until the Eucharist would be completely dissolved and Christ was no longer present in that way (usually about 10 minutes). And we know that she spent time with the Apostles and she would have helped them realize and understand the Eucharist actuality and strengthened their belief, especially John because of the time spent with him. I just thought that was something we could reflect on this day we celebrate God bringing Mary up to Heaven to be with Him for all eternity.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 14, 2012 – 1 Samuel 20

Here we see the loyalty of Jonathon and an emotional departure after David is not safe in Israel anymore.  It reminds me of the breaking of the fellowship in “Fellowship of the Ring”.  Jonathon and David have a bond that is of the soul and they are aware that they may never see each other again.  Although it is only a few verses, you can imagine in the film version of David, this scene would be a climaxing point.  Now that I think about it, the story of David could be made into a trilogy and this could be the end of the first film, very close to the end of “Fellowship”. 

We see that Saul is so consumed with jealousy of David that he is almost willing to kill his own son.  That is a pretty severe case of jealousy, but as I have said before, compare that with what David does with Bathsheba’s husband.  Saul didn’t actually kill Jonathon or David. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13, 2012 – Catechism 1716 – 1719

Be poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hungry and thirsty for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, a peacemaker, persecuted, reviled and persecuted and you will be happy. If that isn’t the exact opposite message the world gives, I am completely confused about what the world is teaching. Look at the opposite of all of them (didn’t want to type that all out, but here is a beginning), be rich, cheerful, arrogant … you will be happy. Try to think of the reaction Christ received when He first laid this out. It was the same sinful world (I don’t think we realize some of the close similarities between Roman culture and our culture today).

I have to question those that think Christ was just a good man with some good ideas and are the Christians without a religion, do they treat the Beatitudes like they treat other teachings by Christ. In our moral relativistic world, are they relativistic about the Beatitudes. Yes, we will thirst for righteousness, but we really don’t have to be poor in spirit. Yes, we are merciful, but we don’t want to be persecuted or reviled. As with all Christ teachings, because He teaches Truth and it cannot be varied or compromised or edited, it is not something we can pick and choose. If you choose to be Christian, you are choosing to be persecuted, you are choosing to be meek, and you will be reviled. Being a very popular Christian that the world is accepting of what you are doing probably means you are not fully living out the Beatitudes. That may not be a popular thing to say, but persecution is part of the package. That is something every Christian should fully understand.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August 12, 2012 – Psalms 19 – 21

19 – Unto the End – When we are having troubles, the first thing we need to look at is where we are putting our trust.  The Psalm talks about placing our trust in the Lord and if our trust is in Him, He will take care of us.  Those that place their trust in Armies and Worldly Power will disappear.  It makes you wonder about the US.  It used to seem that we were trying to spread our ideologies around the world.  At some point it switched to relying on our military power to influence people.  As we rely more on might, our list of enemies will grow. 

20 – Verse 12 talks about the plans of those against God and how they will not succeed.  We know this is true, maybe we don’t see it in the short term, but long term, Christ has told us that the Gates of Hell will not prevail. 

21 – Here we have the Psalm that Christ references on the cross.  The Jews back then would likely have the Psalms almost completely memorized.  We hear, “God why have you abandoned me”, and think that there is a separation, that Christ is no longer God or God has been divided.  A Jew would have heard this and known almost instantly what Psalm was being referenced.  Many would have immediately been reminded of the words, “they have pierced me” or “the derided me” or “they divided my garments” and seen that this was all happening to Christ.  They would have known that this was no normal crucifixion.  The Jewish leaders almost certainly would have known what Christ was referencing.  The only people that wouldn’t know what was really happening were the Romans, who wouldn’t have any understanding of the Psalms.  They were the ones acting it out. 

The end of the Psalm is full of hope.  While the Jewish leaders may have been fearful of hearing Christ and seeing the Psalm come to life before them, the Jewish followers of Christ should have heard Him and rejoiced in the coming Hope.  The Gentiles, the ones that were running the crucifixion and didn’t know about the Psalm, should have been the ones rejoicing the most because the Psalm talks about a hope for them through God, not just the Jews.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

August 11, 2012 – Job 7 – 8

We see Job in a state of impatience with the friends.  He seems to be saying, “just leave me alone”.  He understands that they do not understand his particular situation and that he hasn’t done anything.  I enjoyed the image of him wanting to go to bed and particularly mentioning his blanket.  Even Job found comfort in his “blanky”.  This is prophetic of the first Pope being named Linus. 

8:13-14 – I was interested in the imagery of a hypocrite’s faith being like a spider’s web.  I was thinking about a spider web and what characteristics it has that would help with this.  What is a hypocrite.  Simply put, it is a person who preaches or judges someone on something that they themselves do.  So, how does that relate to a spider’s web.  A spider’s web is made to catch many little things.  Bugs, dust, and dew drops are all captured by the spider’s web.  Much like a hypocrite who judges people on all the little things that they see them doing wrong.  They nitpick a person’s every fault.  Although a spider web is strong for its size, I have heard it is extremely durable in comparison to other threads, it is very vulnerable to larger things.  If I see a web, I have to wave my hand and completely destroy the spider’s hours of work.  Similarly, when you point to a hypocrite’s faults and that they are being a hypocrite, you can take destroy their ability to judge.  (you really don’t destroy it, they can ignore you and continue, but hopefully they will see their faults and change)  The image seems to be saying that a hypocrite’s faith is like a spider’s web in that it allows them to see other’s faults and catches little things, but they are vulnerable to bigger issues and when up against a bigger issue, their faith will fall apart and they can be destroyed.     

Friday, August 10, 2012

August 10, 2012 – 1 Samuel 19

Here we see the loyalty of Jonathon. The connection between Jonathon and David is a very unique bond. 18:1 And it happened that, when he had completed speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan adhered to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him like his own soul. I don’t know if there is another relationship in the Bible that is described like this. It has a very “marriage” feel to it. It is not marriage and David later marries Saul’s daughter, but the relationship that is really focused on more is that of David and Jonathon. It makes me think about the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus. They had a connection even before birth and John knew who Jesus was and pointed his disciples towards him. Jonathon seems to know how special David is and assist him in the situation with Saul. He goes against Saul and his wishes to his own detriment. If everything in the Old Testament is a foreshadowing of something to be revealed in the New, maybe Jonathon is a type of foreshadowing for John the Baptist.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

August 9, 2012 – Catechism 1699 – 1715

“The divine image is present in every man.” 1702 I am at a conference and they are talking about pornography, specifically child pornography. When you look at the quote and then think about pornography, it causes you to really think about what pornography does and how we should be treating it. I know how damaging pornography can be and the long lasting effects it can have. I don’t think many people see pornography as an offence to “the divine image”. Imagine the next time you see an image that could be considered pornographic or someone who is saying it is victimless, place an image of Christ in its place, use an image of Christ for the same purpose, or expose Christ in the posture or position that is in the image. (There have been images of Christ in all sorts of offensive postures and been accepted by the world as art, but usually with controversy.) That same outraged does not come out in the instance of pornography.

In our world with its moral relativism and normalization of sexual behavior, pornography has become normal literature. Pornography leads to a distorted view of who we are as humans, what our bodies are meant for, and deeply injures our ability to see what our worth in God’s eyes. It changes a man’s view of what a woman is suppose to be, damaging his future relationship with his wife. It causes women to think men only think of sex and teaches men that all other men only think about sex. It inspires sexual acts (mixed with freely available contraception, media’s acceptance of pre-marital sex) and fosters early sexual activity and experimentation. All of this is in contradiction to what the body is suppose to be an image of. Christ came in bodily form to bring us back to Adam and Eve before the fall, when they look on each other naked and with no shame. We have taken the body, the divine image, and caused to be violated and disgraced. Always keep in mind that we, not just our souls, but our very physical bodies, and all those humans around us, are “THE DIVINE IMAGE” of God. Treat it as such.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

August 8, 2012 – Psalm 18

He runs off the long list of accomplishments that brought him from his enemies prey to the king in charge, but at every action he says “You” did this or that. He understands completely that God did everything for him and the he is completely reliant on God.

I also enjoyed the section where he ask who is God besides the Lord. It really is a question many think they can answer with “fill in the blank” worldly things. It seems like such an obvious question to us with such an obvious answer and yet many of us do make things of this world “gods” for ourselves. It is a very popular thing for retreats to start you off by asking you questions like “What do you spend your money on, your time doing, your priorities”, those are your Gods. Answers those questions and then read that section again. “Truly, who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is the rock”.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

August 7, 2012 – Job 6

21 “You see a terrifying thing and are afraid”. In Jobs first response we see that he knows he has done nothing wrong. This verse, directed at his friends that have come to help could be talking about many things, but I think that it is the whole idea of someone suffering that is not guilty of anything. That idea is terrifying. We still think so today. How many times do we see a situation and say “that person is a good person and didn’t DESERVE that”. How many times do we say that about ourselves. For us to look at Job’s situation is terrifying for us because we can no longer rely on our own actions to avoid suffering. Suffering is in the world and will fall on everyone, good, bad, indifferent. Nothing will hide us from that suffering. What we see as suffering in ourselves or in others is not a measurement of how evil the person is. It is just proof that evil is in the world and unbiased. The whole idea that you reap what you sow (Job 4:8) is turned on its head and shown to not be the rule many hold it out to be.

What is important is our reaction to suffering. Do we turn to God or away from Him. That is the test we undergo when we have our “Job moments”. When everything turns against us and people look at us and think “you didn’t deserve that” or “what did they do to deserve that” are we thinking the same or trusting in God.

Monday, August 06, 2012

August 6, 2012 – 1 Samuel 18
Samuel begins his conflict with David over jealousy. And we see it is a jealousy that isn’t based on reality. David is completely humble in front of the King. He does not want to be the King’s son-in-law because he does not feel he is worthy of it. Saul has to scheme just to get David to agree to it and only does so by having David prove himself in a military feat. It seems that Saul doesn’t expect for David to survive the test and hopes the Philistines kill him. That is a plot that is used in many films and books. The bad guy gives the hero something so difficult to do that he hopes to get rid of him without having to get his hands dirty. But David comes through and Saul makes him his son-in-law. So, even though Saul is jealous of David, Saul raises David’s status, thus making Saul even more jealous. We can see what jealousy can do to a person.

When looking at Saul sending David out to battle the Philistines in the hopes that he is killed, we are reminded that David will use the same tactic against the husband of Bathsheba, but he will make sure that it works.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

August 5, 2012 – Catechism 1691 – 1698

We will never fully understand how special we are to God as an individual while we are here on Earth. We are so flawed in our fallen nature that our closest understanding of our own value is completely lacking in expressing what is our actual worth. By being Christian, we are given tools to help us come closer to this understanding, but, however difficult it may be for us to believe, being Christian does not increase our worth to God. God loves, honors, cherishes each individual that He has given life to infinitely. The thing about infinity is that you cannot go any higher. God loves me as much as you as much as Martin Luther as much as Hitler. Our worth is the same, which is, our worth cannot be understood by us and is eternally known to God alone. What the difference is here on Earth is our understanding and attempting to fulfill that worth.

Being Christian, and being Catholic and receiving the Sacraments, gives us gifts that help us to understand our worth and fulfill our roles that God has planned for us. But it does not make us better than others in Gods eyes, it clears up our own vision of what we are. The world clouds our vision of who we are as people. The Church tries to clear away those clouds and helps us see who we actually are, how God truly sees us, and helps us live out that True view of what it means to be human.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

August 4, 2012 – Psalms 12 – 15

12 – Evil Tongues - We have the imagery of purification with silver being refined. Here it is in regards to the promises of God. This is in comparison to the words or promises of the world. They are deceitful and boastful but offer nothing in the long run. It is a great comparison in thinking of the teachings on sex by the Catholic Church and the lessons the world teaches about sex. What the world teaches is a lie and a deceit that causes pain and suffering. The Church’s teaching bring life, happiness and fulfillment.

13 – Time of Illness – Here we have a call to the Lord for help from their situation. Some may look at this and see it as contrary to what Job would say in his suffering. I disagree. The main point in Job, at least the first statement we have gotten to, is about trust in God and being faithful. Here, even though they are asking for healing and to become better, verse 6 says “I trust in [God’s] faithfulness. This Psalm is also about trusting in the Lord during suffering.

14 – Widespread Corruption – Verse 3 I have heard argued disproves the Catholic teaching on Mary being sinless because it says “Not one does what is right, not even one.” Beyond the obvious that this was written before Mary, I don’t think in the context of the Psalm it is trying to make a statement about individuals but the evils in the world. If you took this as meaning no person on Earth was ever sinless would be looking at Adam and Eve before the fall, Jesus was human and on the Earth, and all the countless holy men and women that have lived. I just don’t see that verse being meant as what it is sometimes stretched out to contradict.

15 – Righteous Israelite – If you read 14:3 to mean no one on Earth could ever be worthy and all going astray, what is the point of Psalm 15 which describes the Holy person.

Friday, August 03, 2012

August 3, 2012 – Job 4 – 5

The first speech basically lays out what the group approaching Job believe. If you are suffering, you must have done something to bring that suffering. Only those that have some fault suffer. If all these things have happened to Job, then he needs to turn to God, repent from the evil he did, and God will restore him. God “wounds, but He binds up”. 5:18 They solution is a simple one, just turn back to God. We know that God has said Job is righteous and not done anything to deserve His wrath and that this is a test. Eliphaz doesn’t believe that any such scenario is possible. In his mind suffering in the world is exactly proportionate to evil acts by the person.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

August 2, 2012 – 1 Samuel 17

The story of David and Goliath is one of the most famous stories in the Old Testament.  It has become a cliché to use it when we are talking about an underdog’s heroics.  But, what stands out to you this time reading it. Even though you may be hearing it for the millionth time, you should always try to learn or discover something new about it.  I never realized that Goliath calls out Israel for 40 days.  This is a significant number (flood, desert, fasting, lent).  At the end of 40 days we always see the end of suffering, the conclusion to a battle, the victory brought by God.  How does David’s victory compare with Christ victory over Satan’s temptations.  We see Satan tempted Christ with material goods, strength, and worldly power.  We can see these, in a way, in the armor that Saul tries to give David.  Saul thinks that armor and weapons are what will save David, much like Satan says bread and power are what Christ truly needs.  It is when David turns these down and relies on God that he truly becomes strong, just as after Christ turns away Satan, He begins His ministry. 

We also see a situation in which David is challenged because of his youth.  God does not care about age and can use the very young to teach the old.  If you feel held back because of your age, look to young David as an example of what you can accomplish with the help of God. 

Also, 6 ½ feet tall is a lot different than most images would have us imagine.  Goliath is always depicted as towering over all the other men in the camp.  Maybe 6 ½ feet would have towered over all of them or maybe he was just a very good soldier.  Whichever it was, he became arrogant and lowered his guard and was defeated by a boy.  

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

August 1, 2012 – Catechism 1680 – 1690

This is the conclusion of the 2nd part of the Catechism “The Celebration of the Christian Mystery”.  It has taken us through the Liturgy, the Sacraments, and other liturgical areas.  It ends with funerals and how we are to say good bye to those that leave this world.  Their lives are not at an end, they are just on a different part of the journey or, in the case of those that die in a perfect state of Grace, reaching their destination.  Death is something we will all face, for ourselves and more than likely with someone that is very close to us.  I have not had to deal with death of someone I was very, very close with.  Grandparents are about the closest.  I can tell you I don’t think I did well with those.  It is hard for me to get into a state of celebrating their lives when things are that new.  I understand as I get older, this will become a circumstance that will happen many times.  Those that I am close with will get older as well and it is a matter of fact that I will have to bury people close to me.  It is not a pleasurable thing to think about, but on the other hand, not thinking about it doesn’t stop it and only leaves you unprepared.  Maybe the easiest way to approach others dying is to really dive into your own mortality and the frailty of life.  When you accept and wrap your head around your own mortality, you begin to appreciate those around you more.  Maybe the reason we have the hardest time at funerals is because of all the regrets we have for the things unsaid or undone.  Coming to grips with our own mortality allows us to say what should be said and do what should be done and when those regrets aren’t there, we can celebrate a life well lived and say good bye much easier.