Posts Tagged 'Jesus'

In Response To Those “Catholics”

I suggest reading and meditating on this section from Christopher West’s book Theology of the Body for Beginners. A direct contrast to the ‘God is out to get you and damn you to hell crowd’ that prefers a harsh, unforgiving tyrant than a merciful Father who who forgives when asked.

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West, Christopher. (2004) Theology of the Body for Beginners. Ascension Press: West Chester, PA. p.43

Bringing Back the Angry God

I thought God was love not anger.  I mean, the Bible even says so.

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It’s Jonathon Edwards and his “Sinners in the hands of an Angry God” with a Catholic bent.

This isn’t coming from one thing or article but multiple blogs, articles, and even CAF (Catholic answers forums). 

I don’t understand this need to punish others.  Reveling in the pain and suffering of others who have been deliberately hurt and abused in the name of God and saying this is a good thing.  These are Catholics who are advocating Edwards’ tyrant of a god who dangles sinners over an open pit of fire and then throwing them in with glee even after the sinners beg for mercy. 

These Catholics want God to hurt people.  They would be extremely happy if God destroyed certain people.  Their God is not the God of love that we hear about in the Bible.  Their god is a bully and a tyrant and an abuser who only loves them and loathed everyone else.  They make proclamations of judgment and condemn everyone who isn’t like them to a fiery Hell that is much worse and more violent than anything the Church teaches or accepts.  They like to hurt people and they want their god to hurt people, to torture people for fun.

This is not the Catholic God.  This is not the Christian God.  This is no God.  This is evil.

Wanting the destruction of another person is a mortal sin. It violates the commandment to love your neighbors as yourself.

God does not punish, at least not the way these people want. Most of our punishment comes from our own choice to sin. 

Our sins hurt us, not just God.  God does not seek our destruction but our salvation.  He loves us.  He doesn’t hate us.  He doesn’t love our sins.  Rarely does God need to actively step in and smack us down.  And he doesn’t even smack.  Mostly he let’s us suffer the consequences of our sins.  He might magnify the consequences, make them worse or more painful but he doesn’t deliberately set out to hurt us.  He doesn’t need to.  We’re pretty good at hurting ourselves.

Yes, God did punish the Israelites in the Old Testament.  But look at the context.  This was a people who were like children in their faith and God acted like the father he is.  Yes, there were time when his punishment seems excessive but then then look at what the Israelites were doing and the context.  The Israelites got a lot of second chances.  And I mean a lot.  And they still kept being disobedient.  So God escalated the consequences.  But he kept giving them chances, kept forgiving them even after sending them into exile.

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And Jesus changes the whole game.  Forgiveness, mercy, grace, salvation are there for the asking.  And if we fail, we sin, we have recourse to the Sacraments.  We aren’t cut off or sent into exile or have plagues sent.  We have grace and mercy and forgiveness and salvation all because God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us so that we might have eternal life.

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Nowhere in there is punishment. God isn’t a pushover, either.  We do have to repent of our sins and change our ways but God will give us the grace to do so.  We have but to ask.  We have but to ask.

People who want punishment don’t want mercy or love or grace or salvation or forgiveness.  They want rules and formulas and lines and penalties and punishment.  Oh, the grace and mercy they can have but they don’t want other people to have it.  They want to horde it all to themselves.  They refuse to understand or accept that God doesn’t discriminate in whom He gives his mercy, grace, forgiveness, love, and salvation to as long as people ask for it.  They make god in their own destructive image.

I don’t want that god.  I don’t want a god that is out to get me just so he can hurt me.  I grew up with that god.  That god was going to send me to hell just for existing.  I don’t want that god.  I don’t like that god. That is not god.

I want the God who is love.  That God that forgives.  The God that gives mercy.  The God that gives grace.  The God that offers salvation and eternal life. 

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That God is a much better God than the god that I grew up with.  The god that certain Catholics want to impose on everyone.  The god that hurts and punishes and isn’t a god at all but a bully and a tyrant and a condemner and abuser.  The god that isn’t God but a demon, a devil, a god made in man’s image.

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The Jesus we need.

Lent: It’s NOT Punishment

I think that’s where I’ve failed in the past.  Seeing Lent as a time of punishment, of castigating myself, to make up for all my failures.  I had never heard Lent as anything other than as doing without, sacrificing, giving up, abstaining, faster.  Always loss, no gain.  There was no going towards anything, no journey, no path to travel.  Lent was always about wallowing, being stuck, never moving on or letting go.  It was always about being a sinner in the hands of an angry, capricious god who was just waiting for failure.

Everything, everyone was bad.  There was no fun, no laughter, no smiles.  Only tears and it’s too lates and I’m sorrys that were ignored.  It was always gloom and doom and somber and bleakness and failure.  Always failure.  Always never enoughs.

But that’s not what Lent is.  Yes, there is sobriety but not despair, not blackness numbness joylessness unhappiness dull tediousness. It’s one thing to correct one’s course after reflection.  It’s another thing entirely to self-flagelate oneself over tiny, insignificant things to make somebody else happy at your expense. 

Lent is a journey towards a specific destination and specific events: the Tridiuum. Otherwise known as: Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter.  I knew that these days come at the end of Lent, that they are a liturgical season into themselves but I had never heard that Lent was a journey to these days.  They were always separate.  They may be next to each other on the calendar but never the twain shall meet.

It want until recently, as in the last week or so, that I heard of Lent as a journey to Easter.  And that changes things.  Lent becomes less about what we give up and more about how we are related to Jesus.  I never knew that.  Lent was about empty sacrifice, not sanctifying relationship.  There was always doing, never being, especially not in a relationship.

I mean, I’ve heard that Lent is before Easter and that it leads to it but it was always off hand or secondary, never the main thing.  It was always about sacrifice and punishment, always punishment for me.  As I’ve written before, I have this belief, this need to punish myself out of this idea that if I punish myself then God will finally love me.  Punishing myself will make things right, with God, with my mother.

And yet punishing myself only results in me being punished.  I never get loved, nothing ever turns out right.  But I keep punishing myself hoping this time that it will take, that God, my mother will finally love me.  That I won’t be a failure, a mistake.  That things will turn out right.  But they don’t and I keep on punishing myself even though it never works and never will.  It’s all I know how to do.

Being merciful to myself is bad.  Punishing is good.  I deserve to be punished.  Being nice and kind to myself only sets me up for failure.  I can’t trust nice. It’s wrong.  It’s not for me, never for me. 

So Lent isn’t about empty sacrifices and cruel punishments though that is what I learned and accepted for years.  Lent is about the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.  Yet those crucial events in the narrative of Jesus’s life aren’t really emphasized in Lent, not really.  Most of us have only heard about giving up things or adding more prayers or about going to Confession more.  Never about Jesus and what He did for us on the cross.  Or at least very little is heard.

Will things change? I don’t know.  But Lent is not about punishment, about a sinner in the hands of an angry god. God is merciful even if too many people want a god that hates and punishes rather than a loving and merciful God.

It’s Begun

Lent, that it.  I still have many other posts I should finish and post but part of my Lenten observerance this year involves updates and posts here.

This year for Lent I am:
Going meatless (I do this every year)
No pizza (something I’ve done the last few years)
Apply or at least look for a job every day during Lent (well I need a job and I wasn’t putting in the effort or work I needed to to find one)
Weekly posts to this blog, on Wednesdays, on a Catholic topic
Go to Confession (okay, that’s been on my to do list for a while and just needs to be done)

So all in all not doing a lot but I shouldn’t do a lot.  I have problems, which I may or may not have explained before, where I think, even believe, that I need to do more and do it perfectly.  Actually, I believe I just need to be punished and everything will finally be all right.

I’ve always believed, had it in my head, whatever, that Lent is not a fun season.  Not only that, it was a time where you had to absolutely miserable and suffering.  I needed to not only give up sweets and meat and not eat all day on Fridays but give up more and add heaping penances on myself.  If I gave up sweets, I couldn’t have even jelly or jam on toast.  I could not have anything that was remotely sweet in anyway or I would be sinning.  I had to go above and beyond and yet that still wasn’t enough.  I had to suffer.  I had to be punished.

Being punished was all I was and am good for.  If I was punished, things would go back to normal.  Would be the way they were supposed to be, not what reality was.  I had it my mind that if I punished myself then my mother would finally love me.

It doesn’t work that way.  Just replace mother with God and you’ll understand how messed up my thinking is.  I didn’t figure out that I wanted to punish myself to make things right until about two years ago.  But I still think it and believe it, to an extent. 

I understand that I can’t make my mother love me.  She never has and never will.  She’s not really capable of loving someone beside herself.  She’s just too self-centered for that.  And I can’t make God love me but then I don’t believe he loves me either.

You can tell me until you’re blue in the face that God and Jesus loves me and that the Bible even says it but I don’t believe it.  I don’t get it either.  If you grow up not being loved or at least not loved very much or loved very conditionally, being told you are loved and by a person you can’t really see or hear,or touch is unbelievable. 

To me, I’m not loveable and cannot be loved.  I need this to be true which would then explain how my parents treated me and how others saw and see.  How can I be loved if I’m not loveable?  I’m not loveable, therefore I am not loved. 

Love is conditional.  I can  only be loved if I meet certain conditions.  I don’t meet those conditions therefore I am not loved.  I have never been able to meet those conditions so I have never been loved.  I am exceptionally good at doing things wrong and terrible at doing things good.

Just look at where I am now: unemployed, broke, in major debt.  Nobody liked or loves people who are those things.  They are people to be pitied, looked down up, cast aside, and ignored.  You must be successful to be loved.  Nobody loves a loser.  Losers are pathetic and deserve condescension, not help.

Not everybody deserves love, hence conditions.  Everybody has conditions to be met before they will love someone, even parents for their children, even when they deny it parents still only love their children conditionally.  Love is too precious to just give out unconditionally.  There has to be conditions and they have to be properly met before love can be given out and even then it must be in small doses.  Can’t go overboard otherwise they might get the stupid idea they deserve to be loved and they can expect that love whenever they want.  And without conditions.  That cannot be allowed, not at all.

I don’t know the conditions or at least the ones I’ve know I haven’t met therefore I can’t be loved.  I was never able to make my mother happy or do what she wanted.  And she was always changing the rules, which didn’t help, but then she was allowed to change the rules since she made them up in the first place.  And as she repeatedly told me, I was going to Hell.  And since Hell was full of people God didn’t therefore God didn’t love me.

I have no problem with God loving other people.  That makes sense.  Other people have always has it easier, had fewer conditions, if any, to meet.  Me, like I said, am not lovable.  I’m used to that, in a way, though probably not as much as I should be.   I don’t believe it fully but I do believe it.  And in my head I believe I need to fully and completely accept that 100% for everything to be alright.  For everything to be as it should be. 

I’m under a different set of rules and conditions and I know that.  I’ve always been under a different set of rules, a different set of standards. 

I’ve always had to go to extremes.  Normal, average wasn’t good enough.  I wasn’t good enough.  I had and still don’t have anything  that sets me apart, makes me unique.  I could die tomorrow and nobody would notice.  Or care.  That’s how worthless I am.  And unloveable.  Too many says I deserve going to Hell.  Too many days I’ve thought my mother was right and deserves to go to Hell.  Too many days I’ve thought of suicide.  Too many days I’ve thought if I just accepted fully and completely that I am not loved, that I am useless and worthless then things would finally work out.  Too many days  I’ve thought punishing myself would make things better.  Too many days I’ve thought killing myself would finally make everyone happy.  Just too many days.

I just don’t believe God loves me.  And I’ve told Him to punish me and He isn’t doing that either.  Therefore, I’m probably not even on God’s radar, which is probably a good thing or a bad thing.  I don’t know. 

I’m not sure what to believe anymore. There are many says when I want to walk away from the Church.  I don’t know why I haven’t.  There’s no real reason for me to stay though I suppose there’s no reason for me to go.

The Healing Process

Everyone wants to heal.  But they never really tell you that it’s difficult.  Oh they say it, but you don’t quite believe them.  Right now I’m going through a really rough, tough patch in my healing process and there are times when I wish I wasn’t.  My emotions are all over the place.  I cry too easily.  I fall back into depression.  I feel like there is no future, that I can’t get any farther, that where I am at now (especially in regards to career) is where I will always be.  It doesn’t help that my abuser doesn’t recognize, refuses to admit that she abused me and that her choices affected me and affected me deeply.  Some days are so bad that I honestly don’t want to get out of bed, don’t want to go to work or do anything.

It’s tough and it isn’t fun.  But, once I get through this, I hope that I will be better than I am now.  That is the only thing that makes it worth it.  Pain without purpose seems pointless especially when you are trying to heal.  It doesn’t help that I can’t really explain or talk about this with people largely because they won’t/don’t/can’t understand or I’ve tried in the past to talk about my abuse and haven’t been believed or I’m just comfortable discussing this with some people.

A Declaration

Yes, at 4:40 in the morning.  Well, it is what time it is here.

I am a feminist.  There.  I said it.  And being a feminist is a good thing.  However, there are forms of feminism that are bad: radical feminism, any form that supports abortion and contraception and “sexual freedom” and bashing men and supports the homosexual lifestyle.  Those are anti-women and anti-men.

Abortion is anti-women because it’s about choosing to punish yourself and a baby for existing as a person and being able to give life and for being a women.  It’s also anti-men because it doesn’t care about men as fathers or as people.  Abortion is anti-people because it is indiscriminate in who it kills: girls, boys, gays, straight, the innocent, the potentially successful, the potentially disabled, etc.  Abortion basically says that you aren’t good enough to exist because you don’t fit in some arbitrary category about who and what a person is.  Abortion isn’t a choice or a freedom.  It’s a death sentence for the baby and for the mother.  It puts the mother in a continuous cycle of sexual abuse and prostitution.  A women who uses abortion to “get rid of a problem” abuses herself.  No woman is free when they get an abortion.  NO woman is free when they have sex with anybody outside of marriage.  They are abusing themselves and selling themselves as prostitutes that aren’t getting paid to have sex.

Bashing men also bashes women.  Men can’t exist without women and women can’t exist without men.  It’s biologically impossible.  If there was only one sex, then they wouldn’t be women or men.  There would be no concept of male or female, man or women.  The words and concepts wouldn’t exist in our language because there would be no need for them.  While I’m certain there are people who would love to eliminate such words, it’s impossible and entirely impractical.   It just wouldn’t work.  We need men and women and we need them to be different.  Yes, there are people who are trying to do with mother and father and what they mean but they will fail.  Not only do we need them, to eliminate them would eliminate what makes humans unique.  Actually, it goes beyond that.  It would destroy society.  Society as a whole needs mothers and fathers and men and women.

I believe in equal pay for equal work.  Now, it has gotten better but there’s always room for improvement.  There is also room for improvement in how people are compensated for their work and how work is valued.  Value shouldn’t be based entirely on monetary value but on what that person brings to the company or whatnot and not how much money they can make for the company at the expense of that individual’s health and personal relationships.

I believe rape, abuse be it sexual, physical, emotional, spiritual, verbal, psychological, or mental and neglect are crimes against people regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, creed, ethnicity, etc. and should be prosecuted as such.  A spouse has no right to rape their spouse or beat them because they are married or to verbally abuse them because they think they can.  Parents should abuse their children nor should children abuse their parents.  A gay partner can’t beat their partner and get away with it.  It’s a crime against a person.  While I have problems with the homosexual lifestyle, they are still people who should be treated with respect and crimes against them should be investigated and prosecuted.

I believe a woman has the right to choose what she wants to do with her life.  If she wants to be a wife and mother and work, I support that.  If a woman wants be a wife and mother and be a stay at home mom, I support that too.  If a woman wants to work but stay permanently single, I support that as well.  If a woman believes she is called to the religious life and chooses to follow that, I support that as well.  I don’t support people who dictate how other people should live.  I have no right to tell Woman A or even Man A what to do with their lives.  I can’t make them work in a particular field or make them get married and no one else should either.  They can seek advice and counsel from people they trust but should make their own choices about their life.  And I will defend a women’s right to determine her own life.

I believe women are the biggest oppressors of women.  They are the ones who watch others like a hawk and talk about people behind their back and pass judgement on them because they don’t live exactly as they do.  If a woman wants to dress like a Goth (does anybody still dress like a Goth anymore?), as long as she dresses modestly (this is predicated on her and the society she lives in) then she can dress like a goth.  Or a punk.  Or in jeans and a t-shirt.  Or dresses.  Or formal suits.  No one can dictate what she wears unless she works in a particular industry that requires a uniform for work (even the typical office has a “uniform” for how to dress).  Women are the biggest believers about the lies of women: that they are weak, inferior, support things that hurt women, uneducable, shouldn’t be allowed to work, shouldn’t be allowed to receive a college/university degree, that the only thing a women can do is get married and have children and stay at home, that women who don’t revolve their lives around men have something wrong them or are lesbians.

I believe people are individuals with their own unique life experiences. No one is automaton and people shouldn’t make people into clones of themselves just because it makes their lives easier or because they think they have the power to do so.

Now there are people who are going to have a problem with me, a Catholic, being a feminist.  Yet all that I posted doesn’t contradict anything the Catholic Church teaches.  Being a feminist isn’t anti-Catholic.  It’s pro-humanity.  The Catholic Church was the first feminist force in the world.  Now there were people in the Church, but not the Church Herself, that advocated beliefs and practices that were anti-women but they weren’t the Church.  They were sinners who got tangled up in the details and pushing their own agendas rather than focusing on Jesus.  Jesus is very pro-women as demonstrated in the Gospels.

Let the tomato and lemon throwing commence.

Reality Sets In

With my new schedule at work, I’ve been wanting to update here more often.  So far, that hasn’t happened.  I’ve been so tired from working especially picking up overtime since my relief has been sick a lot lately (we’re all concerned about him) so I’ve been covering some of his shifts.  And don’t know what to post about.  I have ideas but I don’t know how relevant they are, how I feel about posting about them, how well I could write about them, etc.  So I’m going to ramble which I can be rather adept at, usually when it’s not necessary (I’m not much of a talker in real life and especially bad at explaining things.)

Something that has been bothering me is the need of some people to impose their spirituality and their spiritual practices on everyone else.  That their personal devotions are the only devotions that are allowed and should be followed.  I’ve seen people push the Rosary, the Brown Scapular, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Carmelite or Charismatic spirituality, St. Theresa of Liseux, St. Padre Pio on people usually by saying these private devotions will “cure” everything; that they are the only prayers one needs; that by not conforming they are being “Protestant;” that they have all the answers.  They don’t recognize that each person is unique and prays in the way that they can and that God calls them to pray in the best way for Him to reach that person.  What works for one person may not work for another person.  I don’t feel called to Franciscan spiritual though the Church recognizes it as one of many beneficial spiritualities and the Church doesn’t have a problem with that.  The Church Herself doesn’t adhere to one spirituality and doesn’t require Her children to either because She recognizes that each of us are unique individuals, not automatons.

Yet there are Catholics that believe and demand that there is only one spirituality/devotion that is absolutely necessary, usually the one that the person is trumpeting.  They refuse to acknowledge or accept otherwise.  This is a huge turn off, even detrimental if they want more people to learn about, practice that spirituality or devotion.  If someone is in my face about the Rosary, telling that just by praying it once all my problems will be cured, that everything wrong with me will be healed in a moment, that it’s the only prayer a woman needs, and won’t listen to anything I say, that’s a huge turn off to me.  I’ve had this happen to me and have seen it a lot. I would have a hard time taking this person seriously because even the Church doesn’t say this.  The Church and Jesus himself never said that prayer was magic.  Yet people treat devotions and spiritualities like this which is detrimental to not only the person being encouraged to try a new devotion but also to the devotion/prayer itself.  The Church treats its members as adults yet people like this treat fellow Catholics like stupid children who can’t be trusted to dress themselves.

Faith isn’t a feeling yet this seems to be a big problem for people who go looking for excitement, for entertainment, etc. in the Mass.  I’ve posted here about Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman and the effect that TV, movies, Internet, etc. have on people.  I see this play out in the Mass not only in the Ordinary Form but also in the “young people” who seek out the Extraordinary Form.  Now, not all those who seek out the EF are necessarily looking for entertainment but I believe there are those that do go for ‘the show.”  People my age have been raised almost exclusively on TV, movies, the Internet exploded with us, etc. and that has an effect on how we view our faith.  How much of this is TV’s fault and how much is our fault? And don’t our parents play a role in all this?  People are taught to be entertained, to constantly seek out pleasure, to seek out the latest newest fad, to seek out the pretty lights and flashy clothes.  I’m not trying to denigrate the EF but I am pointing out that people’s reason for seeking out one particular Mass over another is impacted by our  excessive exposure to the media and entertainment and that people need to be aware of this.  If you are looking to get something out of the Mass, you are completely missing the point.  You are at Mass to worship God, not to be entertained by Him.

Why is it if someone hears something questionable in a homily they automatically assume the priest is a heretic?  I’ve seen multiple posts to this effect on a forum I belong to.  Why can’t it be that Father just doesn’t have the innate talent for homilies?  Or that he’s sleep deprived and he’s lucky enough to stay awake long enough to celebrate Mass? Or that he practiced his homily one way but it came out another way and he didn’t realize it until after Mass?  Or that he’s still afraid of public speaking no matter how much prayer and practice he’s said and done?  Or that he’s still a new priest and still learning?  Or that the priest doesn’t and probably won’t put things the same way you do?  People seem to be waiting for the priest to make one teeny tiny mistake so they can pounce on him and denigrate him.  Isn’t the media and the Devil doing enough of that already?  If you denigrate the priesthood, you denigrate Jesus himself.  Maybe you should think twice about what you say about a priest.  Don’t criticize unless the priest asks for constructive criticism otherwise it’s all about putting someone down to puff yourself up and there’s something very, very wrong with that.  It’s called sin.

When did Latin become the only language in the Church?  Considering there are 23 sui juris Churches, only one rite the Latin Rite uses Latin.  Greek, Aramaic, Russian, Arabic, and probably a language or two, at least, that I can’t think of are also used in the Liturgies.  Latin is only applicable to the Latin Rite and even then wasn’t the only language used in the Latin Rite.  The Latin Rite has never been uniform in it’s use of Latin in it’s liturgies.  It’s only with the Council of Trent and the suppression of other rites at that time that Latin really came to dominate the Latin liturgy.  Yet, even Latins still use Greek when we pray Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy).  And one does not need to pray in Latin to have their prayers heard or answered.  God’s bigger than that but I still see people saying that we need to pray in Latin and that only prayers said in Latin are “effective.”  Considering God is the one listening and answering prayers, I think He’s the only to judge if praying or not praying in a particular language is necessary for it to be effective.  I’ve only come across Him saying that we need to pray and St. Paul saying to pray without ceasing but nothing about all our prayers need to be in Latin.

All of us are on a journey in our faith.  We each follow the same path using a roadmap that is unique to each of us.  What works for you may not work and probably won’t work for me but that doesn’t mean that you should abandon it because it only applies to you.  God didn’t create clones, He created individuals whom He loves as individuals but also as His children.  God doesn’t pigeon-hole us so don’t pigeon-hole others in their journey and how they live their Catholic faith.  Your eyes should be on Christ.  Don’t take them off Him or you will lose your way.


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