Sunday, May 29, 2016

Because He Loves

I got two premises, however, they seem rather convoluted.

  1. God is good.
  2. Life, often, is not.
  (At least, from an objective, limited, incomplete view of things.)

The problem before me now, is to reconcile these two opposing viewpoints. I know God is good. That's without a doubt, nothing changes that. Whenever something doesn't make sense or seems contrary to what I know to be true, that's a flaw in my reasoning, or there's something I'm missing. Perhaps, it's beyond my grasp of comprehension or hidden from my limited view.

In regards to God, however, people throughout history have asked the same question:

Why does God allow evil to exist in our lives?

We pray for our daily bread, yet millions across the world are starving. 

We pray for peace, yet the world is stricken with violence, wars, and terror. The U.S. has been at war for practically 90% of its existence.

Even in our daily lives, we're confronted by tragedy and hardship at every turn. We've all lost someone close. No one escapes life unscathed from pain, not even Christians. Often, it seems, we get special attention. Today and for the last two thousand years, religious persecutions of often unimaginable cruelty have struck against the Church.

Don't think that such things are long gone, persecution is real and it's happening right now. There have been massive, state-sponsored religious persecutions as recent as the 20th Century. Wars have been fought over this. Even today, you can see the seeds of it sprouting and spreading in our own culture.

Christ warned us this would happen. We might've missed it, but He's said it multiple times. The real question is, why?

For some reason, I am reminded of the certain line from the age-old hymn:"They will know we are Christians by our love."

Often, I've interpreted that to mean that others will recognize us as Christians by the love we show to others. They would know we were different because of our kindness, gentleness, compassion, humility, forgiveness. I believe that's only half the picture. Love is more than that. Once we understand that, we begin to understand God more.

Despite what we might hope, God is not some paternal, fluffy, white-haired, grandfather figure whose pockets are full of loose change and Jolly Ranchers.

Love is not a pleasant feeling, it doesn't pat you on the back gently. It doesn't accept you for who you are, but who you could and should be. It's not some soothing balm to take away all your pains.

True love hurts.

Don't believe me? Just ask Jesus. Nails didn't hold Him to the cross. Love was the only binding strong enough to hold Him.

Love isn't always nice, but it's always good. It's a tough love. Suffering teaches us about ourselves. It strengthens us. A tree is strong because the wind bends it.

I've wondered a thousand times how deep my love and commitment to God truly is. I have no intention of being a fair-weather Christian, but the truth is, I don't know whether I'll hold true to my word, unless I've experienced an actual storm. Right now, I've never experienced anything that would truly shake my trust in God.

Hardship in life is not punishment. It's not the worst fate in the world. It doesn't prove that God doesn't exist or He's some sort of cosmic sadist. Such a claim is absurd, you might as well say your dentist is evil, just because he hurts. Do we complain of exercise being too difficult or painful? Is medicine bad, merely because of its bitterness?

If God didn't love us, our lives might be painless or filled with excessive pleasures. If God didn't love us, He might spoil us instead. To truly love someone, is to will their good. Is giving someone a perfect, utterly blissful life, what is truly good for them? In my observation, spoiling children isn't a good way to raise them, nor is it good for their souls.

Why people suffer, is still tortuously hard to understand. But I think the worst suffering to experience or to witness, is a wasted life. A life without beauty, truth, goodness. A life without Christ. We see it all around us. Moral decadence, relativism, or despair are never pleasant or fulfilling.

We might not understand, but we should always trust our Father. Worry and fear are ill-founded and useless. For while "pain and suffering are inevitable, misery is optional."

We never have to be afraid. 

Because He loves us.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Quote Tag: Day Three

Finally, the grand conclusion to the quote tag!
Please, excuse me a moment, while I run and try to find a good quote.



*hours later*
Alright, I'll admit it. This is not some famous quote by some famous person, but by my very own brother. I'm stealing this from his novel, which is he currently working on. I don't actually know his interpretation of his own quote, but I'm sure he willwon't mind me putting my two cents in.

I think, even at first glance, the meaning behind it is pretty clear. It's talking about the importance of light in darkness.

It's calling us to take courage. In my opinion, darkness only makes light brighter. After all, you can only see the stars at night. Darkness grows and stretches ever farther in this broken world, but that's only due to light's absence. Darkness is not a thing. It does not shine. It's a vacuum.

This is a time to hold fast. To cling dearly to everything this world was founded upon. We cannot freely accept the loss of any of the fundamental traditions that form the bedrock of society. Every step we fall is another mountain to overcome. Every loss is another light smothered. The sun cannot be extinguished, but the world can turn away from it. 

Sure, light can be restored, but have you ever tried lighting a candle in the dark? 

To us who live in the light, our actions may seem small and incomparable to the glory of the Lord, but remember those who live in the darkness. Even the smallest act of charity may appear great to them. Now is the time for unconditional love. A single spark can set a heart on fire. Being kind and patient does not apply only to our friends. When's the last time you smiled at a stranger, or the world in general? 

Don't be discouraged at the darkness. Mourn for the lack of light, but forget not to provide your own illumination. 

Even then, do not worry. We're not meant to shine. We're meant to reflect the light.

The Light of the Son.


Alright, that's it for me! Thank you all for reading, I really enjoyed this tag! Once again, thanks Jonathan!

Did you enjoy it? What was your favorite quote? I'm off to enjoy this beautiful afternoon before it rains all week. Do you have any fun plans for the day/week?

Anyhows, I'll see you all later!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Quote Tag: Day Two

Here it is, my second installment of the aforementioned quote tag.

I apologize for the posting this a bit late, but I've been out of town this weekend for a graduation. So yep, that's my excuse. Anyways, I'd better just hurry up and write this before the day ends.

Onto the quote!

I love this quote because it perfectly describes the fundamental desire and need of the human heart. I meant to do a post about this a while back, but never quite finished it. Then I read this quote and was blown away by it. 

It comes from JPII's "Love and Responsibility" an incredibly insightful book on the human person and love. It is also extremely complicated to read, but who doesn't like a challenge? 

The point of the quote is, that quite unsurprisingly, the human person is completely insufficient based on its own worth. What he is describing here is the extreme depth of the human heart's desire for the infinite. In every person, there is a desire to make the total, unreserved gift of the self and receive the same from the other. A beautiful and excellent example of this would be in the love of the human person, especially in the case of marriage. 

Marriage is the union of two people in a total, unreserved, reciprocated gift of each to the other. And through that self-gift, their love is manifested in physical form as a child born into the world. Through this love you have a unity of persons: The Family. 

Have you ever wondered about it? Prominently paraded throughout society, there is a complete and unashamed assault against healthy, human culture. The redefinition and weakening of marriage, gender, and the dignity of the human person. This is not some haphazard collection of various onslaughts against human standards. Taken together and viewed from afar, it is quite easy to see the meaning behind it.

This is about the complete destruction and desecration of the human family.

Why? Why is the family slated for such barbaric attacks? There's a reason for it:

The family is the visible image of the invisible God.

The family is a tiny glimpse or reflection of the glory of the Trinity. In it, we find the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father and the Son love each other without limit, unreservedly and it's that love that makes up the third person of the Trinity: The Holy Spirit. Sound familiar? That's what the family makes visible. Father, Mother, and child, the fruit of their love for each other.

Ever wonder why Heaven from the Bible is often described as a great wedding feast? There's a reason behind that. Heaven is the incredible, indescribable wedding of God between Humanity. That's what we were created for. That's what JPII is trying to tell us. 

We're made for union and love. This world cannot fill that need. Ever. Only God can. He desires us. Madly. He longs for your heart with an unquenchable love. That's why He died on the cross. To bridge the gap. To provide the means of our salvation. It's true,

"Realization of the limitation and insufficiency of the human being is the starting point for an understanding of man's relation to God."

We need God. 

That's all.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Quote Tag: Day One

Alright, this is it. I've been tagged.
Specifically, the one in which I throw a plurality of quotes at you.

So anyways, here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Nominate 3 new bloggers every day.
  • Post a new quote everyday for 3 consecutive days. 

Well, the first part is easy, at least. Thanks, Jonathan!

Ok, what's next?



Sorry, guys, but I think I'm going to cheat on this. First of all, I don't even think I know nine bloggers. Secondly, the ones I do know have all already been tagged for this. So, it kinda defeats the purpose. However, I might consider tagging one blogger for each day. But if not, have mercy! (It is my first tag after all. :P )

Alright, here it is: The Quote!

I'll admit it, Chesterton is where I get a lot of inspiration for my posts. He's always teaching about the simple joys and wonder of daily life. In his writing, even the small and mundane things are often written with a florid description as if to point out: "Stop looking for adventure in your books and worlds of fantasy. It's right here, waiting for you!"

And that's what I love. Life isn't always a struggle, it's meant to be enjoyed. The saints are some of the happiest people you will meet. Life is one blessed adventure that whips you off your feet and takes you to uncharted lands. It's full of mystery, love, courage, and adventure. Call it what you may, the world is not a boring place. The time of heroes and knights is not over. It is just as much critical for our times as any other. We're all called to be warriors.

With the weapons and guidance of God, we have an amazing adventure before us. It's commonly known as life


Alright, that's it for me. I hope you enjoyed it, 'cause I certainly did. Have you read anything by Chesterton?

As for tagging other bloggers, well, I've been a bit busy lately. Can we just end with this?

Thanks. :P

I'll see all you fine peoples later!


Sunday, May 15, 2016


So tell me, ya'll, how's your day been going?

Good, bad, a mixture of both? I, personally, am doing pretty good right about now. The sky is beautifully blue, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and everything just feels like spring. (At least, at the time of this writing it is...) There's a scent of damp earth and dew in the air, a bountiful floral fragrance, and a great growth popping up just about everywhere.

But I didn't come here just to chit-chat, (although, that actually would be really nice...), I have my daily question for ya'll:

What defines a certain day as "good" or "bad" for you?

Well for me, most days are a fragmented collection of moods, happenings, tasks, activities, and other varied occurrences. And, at the end of the day, depending on the ratio between the good things and the bad things that happened that day, I might classify that day as either
  1. A good day. (Yay!)     :D
  2. A bad day. (No!)         :(
And in such empirical labeling, I am wholly flawed in my reasoning. Can you spot it? I based the success or failure of the day, solely on the consideration that a day could be considered 'good' when good things happened and a day considered 'bad' if bad things happened. As such, I completely fail to place any importance on my own actions and everything on what was acted upon me. I'm a victim of circumstances, not a survivor of them. I'm happy depending only on what happens to me. I have failed to be happy despite what happens. Instead of conquering the day, I'm conquered by it. I'm helpless.

Which points me to a rather ponderous question:

What is the cause of my happiness?

Is it merely situational, depending on the world to supply my need? Or do I draw joy from the deepest source available to me, the depths of God?

I think I already know the answer to that question. The real problem for discussion is as such: How to transfer my foundation from the world to the One who made it? 

After all, that seems like a daunting task. How do I redirect all my priorities, my desires, my ambitions and fix them to the true fulfillment of all of them? That means a change in mindset. That means turning from things that are holding me back from more. That means conforming my lifestyle to God, and not the other way around. And that's hard. But think about it. Why would God demand this of us?

Because He wants to give us sooooooo much more. When you finally lose yourself to Him, He holds nothing back. In the end, we're the reason for our own irritability, unhappiness, listlessness, and lack of joy. God doesn't do "bad days". He doesn't plan out new ways for us to hate life each day. When you wake up in the morning, REJOICE YOU PEOPLES!

He's given us another chance, another day, another moment filled with countless opportunities to give Him glory and pleasure. Don't waste your time, go out and do something! Sing, dance, read, write, run, pray, eat, paint, draw, smile, laugh, etc. God's given us a day filled with every good thing imaginable. The only thing He asks in return is to abandon ourselves to Him completely.

And how do we do that? Easy. Make God an integral part of your day. Spend some time with Him in contemplation, read the bible, try praying positively more, attempt to become more like Jesus. In short, become a Christ-centered Christian.

It might be hard at first, but good things never come without a struggle. I can't promise every day will be a happy one, that's not the point. The thing is,

You have a wonderful life.

And it's worth living.

God doesn't make exceptions.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Power of Positive Prayer

Ever notice how all our prayers seem negative?

Is that the way it should be? Or am I missing something?

Today's topic is about something quite critical to our lives. Prayer. It's the lifeblood of any Christian. Rather, it's our lifeline. Being the only way of communication between God and us, you can bet your socks it's important. Which is why I'm writing about it. Specifically, the power of positive prayer. If you can't tell by now, I'm trying to think positively about things in general.

The phrase popped into my head in the car, while cogitating of things to blog about. (it bears no resemblance to the book with a somewhat similar title...) I wondered what it meant and what practical application the concept would have. I still am, which is why I'm writing this.

Let's start at the beginning. What does prayer mean? Well, it's etymology comes out to something related to entreating. Some synonyms for entreating would be beg, plead, or implore. Not exactly positive, is it? 

That's not to put a negative spin on it, though, far from it. Many good prayers are ones of supplication. It's something common to all humanity, we all need to call out to God to deliver us. We're meant to be dependent on Him. In our weakness, he can reveal His power. We are lost without our Creator, our hearts long for God. As the oft-quoted St. Augustine put it, "our hearts are restless until they rest in You."

However, where does the power of positive prayer come in? Firstly, the word positive implies we have something. Negative means we don't. "Negative" prayers, then, are petitions to God for something. It could be anything. Courage, faith, purity, healing for a friend, a nudge in the right direction. These are all good prayers. God has an abundance of grace he wishes to pour out on us if only we ask.

I may be wrong, but it seems that most of our prayers reside in this category. Which leads to me to "positive" prayers.

 Usually, it seems that "negative" prayers are ones of intention or need. Therefore, I'm guessing that "positive" prayers are ones of giving. At first glance, this might seem absurd. What have we to offer God? He created EVERYTHING. Why would he desire anything we have to give?

In the end, the only gift we can make to God is ourselves.

But why would he want me? I'm sinful, ungrateful, selfish. I'm made thousands of mistakes. I'm so helpless, I can't make it one step spiritually (or physically for that matter) without God. If we truly knew the extent of our sin and pride in our souls, we would cower before our Creator in utter shame.

If you find yourself thinking the above, you need to stop. Right now. God doesn't think that way and neither should you. Granted, we've all sinned and fallen short, but God's bigger than that. Have we considered the fact, that if we knew how much He loved us, we would die of joy? He is crazily in love with us. As the poem put it so beautifully, he is the hound of heaven who pursues us relentlessly. He would still go on the cross even if there was only one person to save. You.

So how do we pray this prayer of self-gift, this "positive" prayer? It all seems very vague and difficult to achieve. How do we make a gift of ourselves to God? What does that even mean? I think it's best to start small and very simply. The main point is not to achieve spiritual perfection on day one, what matters is whether we try or not. Therefore, the first logical step to take is the smallest.

God wants our love. He wants our hearts to freely conform to His. He desires that we would consciously choose to be His disciple. The term I heard is Intentional Disciple, which really sums up what our attitude should be. The time to choose is now. We cannot afford to wait for tomorrow. The sun might set tonight and never rise again. We don't have time to waste. Which leads us to our plan of action.

The first step is to desire to do God's will. This is the greatest gift we have to offer God. We can either follow Him or follow ourselves. He doesn't make the choice for us. And at first, this might seem easy. We say it every time we pray the Lord's Prayer. "Our Father, who art it in Heaven...Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven..."

But have we ever meant it? Do we truly want to be apostles of Christ and go where He sends us? We might not be called to go far, but it sure will be hard. Being a Christian is not easy. Anyone who says otherwise is not describing Christianity as it is, but as they would like it to be. And would we want it any other way? If something is worth believing in, it's worth suffering for. There are countless martyrs who died for Christ. What have we done?

So I'm suggesting this first step. Cultivating a desire to do God's will. If that's beyond you, then pray for the grace for such a holy desire. Remember, at the end of the day, all our successes are God's, while our failures are all our own. It is only through Him that we can do anything.

While you are growing this desire for His will, ask the Lord: What is one thing you want me to do for You today? I like to think of this as fulfilling one favor for God, one day at a time. I'm sure it won't be hard for God to find something for you to do! Perhaps, it's spending some time in contemplation every morning. Or being patient with those around you. Maybe, you're called to offer your help with doing the dishes. Assist a younger sibling with homework. Cleaning your room without having to be told. Praying more. The possibilities are limitless.

And there's no reason to stop there. Ask yourself daily, is there something I can do to become more like Jesus? Maybe this will lead you to something bigger, like volunteering at church or visiting those in nursing homes.

Whatever the case, don't be afraid to try! There's nothing more fulfilling than being a tool in God's hands. Doing God's will is the only way to true happiness and joy. Sometimes, all you need to do is ask. Don't forget the Holy Spirit. He's there to guide you. "Come, Holy Spirit," is the one prayer God never refuses to provide for.

It's only when we give of ourselves completely; when we start to pray and act "positively", that we begin to find true peace in our hearts.

And in that, we've given God what He desires so greatly of us,


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Losing it All

So, I've been noticing something very strange lately: I've been rather happy, absurdly so.

For some, I suppose, that might not be very shocking. After all, you might be a happy, fun-loving, go-lucky kind of person. For me, it's strange because I haven't always been. (Happy, that is.) Of course, maybe it's just that I'm having a great day, but either way, this is something to think about. (Or in my case, blog about.)

 Being me, I turned to empirical investigation to see what I was doing differently. One thing came to mind: I've been rather silly lately. How silly, you ask? Well, I'm not sure if I should say this or not, but one event comes to mind. A week ago, I did some Irish Dancing, alone, outside, in snow boots, in the moonlight, while listening to TobyMac. Yep, I did. And I loved every second of it. For me, at least, that's not what I do normally. 

Actually, that's not what I did normally. Nowadays, things are different. I can't stop moving whenever I'm listening to music. Perhaps, it's just my love of music showing up in tangible form. Whatever it is, I'm enjoying myself. My brothers think I'm weird. I probably am, but that's just fine by me. 

Of course, I didn't come here just to ramble on about my new-found dancing disposition. That, while interesting enough, just doesn't quite deserve an entire post by itself. (Or maybe it does, I don't know!) So, as I am fond of doing, I did my best to wonder: How can I take this "dancing" or "general weirdness" and give a real meaning and purpose in my life? Hopefully, I'll find my answer in the course of this post.

I'll start with the root, the core, and basic elements of this new desire or trait. If you don't know already, I like to go deep with things. It helps me think and find something new.

The first question that pops to my mind is pretty straightforward. Is it a good thing?
Hmm, let me think. Well, for starters, there is no law or moral code that prohibits being silly, every once in a while. Granted, the rules of propriety and common sense apply here. So, I won't start dancing in the middle of the street, the library, or church just because I feel like doing so. But what about at home? I'm certainly not bothering anyone there! (Or, at least, not too much...) I'd say it's pretty safe to assume I'm not doing anything bad. This matter might be one of prudence, not policy. But then again, is it doing anything good? 

Thinking back, the primary feeling I had that night was one of exhilaration and freedom. Part of me was thinking: What on earth am I doing? The other was: This. Is. Me. 

By this time, you're probably wondering where the title of this post came from. It's very simple. That night, I lost it. All of it. I stopped caring about whether people might laugh at me. I didn't fear what a spectacle I was making. I let myself go and I danced in the night.

Cogitating about this has made me wonder. What can I do, that I just haven't tried yet? Let me just point out, dancing like nobody's watching, will probably not have an amazing, life-changing effect on my life. That's not the point of it. What it has done, is stretched my comfort zone, just a little bit farther. I believe that even the smallest things, can be used for greater purposes. We can do little, insignificant acts with great love, or great, ponderous acts with none at all. What do you think God appreciates more?  

So, that's why I try to ask myself these questions: What can I learn from this? What can I use this for? How can I stretch this lesson learned to encompass my entire life?

That night, I learned to ask myself:

What's holding me back from more?

What's preventing me from a deeper relationship with Christ? Why am I not willing to go the extra mile? Why am I afraid to speak the truth loudly, boldly, with unflinching courage, despite what others might say? Why do I hide behind a mask because I don't want others to see me for who I am? Why do I not want to be who I am? And why am I too weak to respond to God's call? The call to holiness.

I realized that night, what I needed to learn. I need to able to lose it all. I need to abandon my insecurities, my self-ridicule, my fear of pain, my terror of the unexplored and untried. God wants me to be more than that. He has a future so bright and beautiful, for me. For you. The problem is, we find ourselves so easily contented with less. God has more. He's willing to give it all. He's already given everything to us. Himself, on the cross. He asks only one thing of us: Give of ourselves to Him, completely, utterly, entirely. Without fear, without hesitation, without worry of tomorrow.

But the question remains, at the very end of things, when the hammer hits the anvil, when the devil strikes, when night falls, am I truly ready to lose it all?

Are you?