Thursday, March 21, 2013

Controling The Wondering Mind

Our brain is probably the most complex part of our bodies, that many people including scientist are barely discovering many aspects of the brain. Our brain let's us remember things, including the people we love, special days, and lets us hold information that could not be possible without the brain. Our brain is also the head of communications that helps the body connect with all the other members. However fascinating the brain is, there are also things that we don't seem to like very much about it.

One of these things is distraction. As many of us pray, attend Mass, or even work, we seem to get distracted almost every time. This seems to be something that we all struggle with, and something that most if not all want to work on.  It happens almost every time, specifically when praying prayers such as the rosary, that we let ourselves get distracted. Because of this we don't fully appreciate these prayers, or even come to grasp the profound beauty in it.

The same thing is true for things such as the theme of intrusive thoughts. I am pretty sure most of us have intrusive thoughts almost daily. They can be sexual, violent, or just plainly unwanted. These thoughts seem to come out of nowhere, which most of the time they do.

Because of distractions and intrusive thoughts, many of us try to control our thoughts. This usually proves to no avail, and the reason is that it is IMPOSSIBLE. There is just too much going on in our inner faculties that it is too hard to do, never less too stressful and time consuming. Rather although we can't control our thoughts completely, there are techniques and things that we can do to at least try to tame our wondering mind.

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is something that I have found not too long about. Yet it is something I have been doing to some extent. It is about meditating on scriptural reading. This technique is very helpful, specifically when praying prayers like the rosary. The rosary is much more than just repetitious prayers, it is about meditating on the lives of Jesus and Mary. Because of this we can see the scriptural roots it has. A great tip is to read a scriptural passage that goes with the mystery that we are about to meditate on.

Lectio Divina can be used with other things as well. I use it specifically when reading the daily reading for that particular day. It brings great meaning to our lives and to our Catholic faith.

You can learn more about Lectio Divina from

Intrusive thoughts

As for intrusive thoughts it is quite different. As stated before there is only so much that we can do to control our thoughts. As someone who suffers from OCD and Scrupulosity I know from experience that I cannot control all my thoughts. An example is a husband who is laying in bed with his wife. If he has an intrusive thought about staving his wife, he might panic and try to reason why he had the thought in the first place. Does it mean that he wants to hurt his wife? Does it mean that he doesn't love his wife enough? The answer is none of the above. The reality is that it is just a thought that seems to come out of the bloom. It could actually mean that the husband had this thought BECAUSE HE LOVES HIS WIFE A LOT.

When it comes to intrusive thoughts, all we can do is simply acknowledge that we had the thought and not think anything of it. Stressing about it will only make these thoughts happen worse. I know from experience. It is just about putting your faith in God knowing that he understands that we get thoughts that we would never want to have.

photo credit: <a href="">Darwin Bell</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Being Catholic: The Good The Bad and The Ugly

Stained Glass Window courtesy of 


The Catholic church has survived for the 2000 years since its foundation. The reason is that it holds the truth given to us by Jesus the son of God and passed down through the tradition of the apostles. It has survived through the good and the bad, through the truth and through heresy and error, through peace and war, and through saints and sinners.

The Church has the Holy Spirit as its guide, and as Jesus said " You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will never prevail against it" ( Mt 16:18) and later in the end of the Gospel according to Saint Mathew Jesus says " Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the world." (Mt: 28:20)
For this reason is that the church has and will always survive until the second coming of Jesus Christ. As Catholics we are blessed to have a revealed religion to us, that no other religion has. One that is founded by God himself through his son Jesus Christ.

The Good The Bad and The Ugly

As Catholics we are to stay firm in the faith through all generations and through all the trials that face us today. It is about showing the truth of God despise what the world is doing.

The Catholic church has had the privilege of celebrating during the good times. This good times have included the development of Western civilization through the Catholic church, and other times when converts have found the truth in the church. This are the good times, the times of celebration.  It is the times of the triumph of the Catholic church, where God's good news is seen in the fullness of truth found within the church.

Then there are the bad times, these are the times where heresy and error have entered the church. This include the rise of Arianism, Gnosticism, albigensianism, Protestantism, and the heresies and errors that face our world today. Most common of them are atheism, agnosticism, New Age philosophies and relativism. What faces our world today is more of irreligion and a lack of faith in God himself. Regardless Jesus reminds the faithful that the church will never be alone even in the darkest of times. It is through the Holy Spirit that truth remains.

Finally there are the ugly times in the church. These are the times of persecution and when blood is shed. This includes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ himself. It includes the start of the Church during the persecutions of Rome and the Jewish revolts against the early Christians. These are the times that saints are born out of martyrdom and faith.  Although this is not so much a problem in the western part of the world, it is still a growing problem in the East, specifically under Islamic and radical atheistic regimes and dictatorships, that this still occurs.

Yet the good, the bad, and the ugly is what makes up our Catholic faith and heritage. It is what gives history and truth to the truthfulness of the Catholic church. It is about celebrating the good, working through the bad, and persevering through the ugly.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Alleluia Audio Books

Hey folks just wanted to share a site a friend of mine has created. I have come across it and although I haven't checked all that it offers, I have found it to be great. It offers Audio books, Homilies, and much more audio.  There is a wide range of topics from The Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, The Sacraments, Sanctity, and much more.

Hopefully this website gets bigger and people come to like it. I have posted the link below for anyone who wants to check the website out and check out what it offers.

God Bless

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI: His Resignition and what to expect

As of yesterday Pope Benedict XVI has stated that he will resign on February 28, due to failing physical and mental health attributed to his age. Currently 85 and elected in 2005, he has led the Catholic church for 8 years.

From Pope Benedict
After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Yet there are many questions that are being raised, and which need to be resolved.

Many fearing schism

There are many that are fearing schism to an already affected church. The church has been lately criticized for the child abuse scandal that has been going on, as well as the Muslim disputes that have happened throughout his papacy.

Pope Benedict has said that there should not be a fear of schism or any division. The pope stated that we are to leave all matters to the Holy Spirit which has guided the church for all the 2000 years in which it has existed. Doing so will get us where we need to go.

What Pope Benedict had contributed

There are a lot of things that we will miss about Pope Benedict XVI, this includes all that he had contributed as pope, the Vicar of Christ. Of these things include his theological wisdom that he has shown mostly in writings such as The Jesus of Nazareth books that he has published.

This also includes his years of preserving the truth, as he has warned us about many of the wrongs that are affecting modern society. This includes the dictatorship of relativism that he has warned us about. He has brought unity within the Catholic church by bringing schismatic groups within the Catholic church back into communion. He reminded us about our responsibility to the poor, and of fairness of distribution and equality.

These are all the things that we should remember Pope Benedict XVI for and not so much as the pope that decided to resign.

The next pope

There is a question as to who will be the next pope. Pope Benedict reminds us to believe in the Holy Spirit and to leave all matters to God. Yet there are some candidates for pope and one that stands out.

Many people expect Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria to be the next pope. He would be the 4th pope that comes from Africa. There have been three other popes throughout the papacy that have been African.

Prayer and hope

All we can do right now is to pray to God that he may guide his church as he always has. Jesus said " The gates of Hell will never prevail against it" He also said " I will be with you always, even to the consummation of the world". For these reasons we are to have faith in the church and in God's providence.

Let us contribute by doing what we have always done as Catholics and live the truth regardless of the changing times.

photo credit: Sergey Gabdurakhmanov via photopin cc

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Carrying Our Cross This Lenten Season

This Lent we are called to practice the three penitential exercises of praying, fasting, and almsgiving.This is something that has been called the Swiss army knife of the soul. By praying we have an intimate relationship with Jesus. We also fast which opens up time doing other things like prayer, as well as free up money that can be given to the less fortunate. It is also a form of mortification which disciplines the soul. These three exercises work with each other.
This Lent season I urge ourselves to extend our penance by carrying our cross. After all Jesus himself did die during this season in Good Friday, why not help him carry his cross by carrying our own?

We all have headaches, we all have annoying clients that don't seem to leave us alone at work. We all simply have inconvenient days that might be a combination of all these things. Some of our crosses are light like a small headache; others are quite bigger like suffering from scrupulosity like I do. Yet we all have them. The point is for us to offer them up and carry them.

Saint Therese of Liseux is a great example of this. She often carried her crosses by making small sacrifices throughout the day. She thanked people when she was offered food that she didn't really like, she took the blame when it was the fault of another sister, she smiled at people that she didn't really get along with. What better example of penance and sacrifice than Saint Therese.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Seventh Commandment and Stewardship

Photo by Elhombredenegro

I recently found a blog post named What's mine is God's and What's yours is God's

The Seventh Commandment

The reality is that the seventh commandment is more than what we know it to be. It is also related to stewardship; taking care of what God has given us.

To further emphasize this and explain it, we should look at what the Catechism has to say about stealing.

 The seventh commandment forbids theft, that is, usurping another's property against the reasonable will of the owner.Even if it does not contradict the provisions of civil law, any form of unjustly taking and keeping the property of others is against the seventh commandment: thus, deliberate retention of goods lent or of objects lost; business fraud; paying unjust wages; forcing up prices by taking advantage of the ignorance or hardship of another.The following are also morally illicit: speculation in which one contrives to manipulate the price of goods artificially in order to gain an advantage to the detriment of others; corruption in which one influences the judgment of those who must make decisions according to law; appropriation and use for private purposes of the common goods of an enterprise; work poorly done; tax evasion; forgery of checks and invoices; excessive expenses and waste. Willfully damaging private or public property is contrary to the moral law and requires reparation. (Catechism 2408-2409)

This passage is a great description of what it means to steal. Stealing is not only in terms of items that have been gained illicitly, but it constitutes a whole lot more. Anyone who has done  poorly done work, out of not wanting to do their best, damaging private property willfully, and lavish spending can all be considered stealing.

This is why stealing and stewardship go hand in hand. We know that nothing belongs to us, on the contrary everything belongs to God. We are simply stewards of what God has given us. It is our duty of taking care of what God has given us. Not doing so would in one sense be considered stealing.

Take these two examples 

You have started a small painting business and get quite some clients. Yet you have been taking advantage of your customers by charging quite a lot and doing a very poor job. You leave most of the work undone, or intentionally not put in your best effort in your job.

The second scenario is that you are given money by your parents to help you out. Let's say you just moved out and your parents give you a good sum of money. Yet you spend it lavishly and loosely. This is kind of like the story of the Prodigal son.

In both these scenarios you are in essence stealing. It is not that you physically took something from someone without asking permission, but that you did not take care of what you were given. In the first scenario you robbed the client of his money, by charging a lot for something while choosing not to put quality in your work. By doing so you have stolen money from someone. In the second scenario although that money was given to you, you did not take care of it by spending in lavishly.

Respecting copyright law

Something that many of us have been guilty of including me. It is something common in our generation that should be addressed, as it is stealing.

Just as there are tangible goods, such as property, cars, land, etc, there are also intangible goods. These are those such as patents, copyrighted works, music, ideas, songs, and much more.

We live in a time where many of us recreationally download and share these intangible assets; most of the time songs and movies. We have gotten use to doing this that we may have forgotten the fact that many times we are breaking copyright law without even knowing it.

The problem is that many times it is hard to know what is copyrighted and what is not. This is true when it comes to using things like images and songs out of another website. Many times these things are free to use, but not always. For this reason it is our job to find out before using something. I have been guilty of breaking copyright laws before simply because of ignorance and lack of understanding. Now I am a lot more careful when it comes to this.

As Catholics we should have respect for the law at hand. Even when it comes to paying taxes and  yes this even means copyright laws. This is just as Jesus said " Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar" Mark 12:17
Stewardship and the seventh Commandment

The word steward is defined as someone who manages the property, finances, and other domestic affairs of another. I thus think that the parable of the talents is a great example of what stewardship means.
“It will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’
 Mathew 25:14-30

In the parable of the talents we learn about the last servant who chooses to put his talents in a hole, thus not doing anything with them. Later his master takes them away and gives them to the other servant. The passage ends by stating that " he who has not, even what he has will be taken away".
The Catholic church extends our role of stewardship and gives us a bigger role, than just financial matters or dealing with property. The church commands us to be good stewards with all of our actions that they may be of benefit to all. The Catechism of the Catholic church summarizes our role of stewardship.
In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits. The right to private property, acquired or received in a just way, does not do away with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind. In his use of things man should regard the external goods he legitimately owns not merely as exclusive to himself but common to others also, in the sense that they can benefit others as well as himself.” The ownership of any property makes its holder a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to others, first of all his family.
(Catechism of the Catholic church 2402-2404)
Love of thy neighbor
Thus by it being of benefit to all, it is saying that we are to do what benefits our neighbor. This includes respect and love for each other. Stealing, taking advantage of, and doing actions that only benefit ourselves is not being a good steward. Rather we are to do the opposite, as we are accountable for our actions.
It is that we must act on the best interest of others. We do this by not stealing as that is contrary to the moral law. Doing so hurts thy neighbor which is against Jesus telling us to love thy neighbor. We are also to be good stewards, in that we act by taking care of what has been given to us. By knowing that everything belongs to God, we would want to keep everything in good condition. We wouldn't let something borrowed to us be damaged would we?
A priest is to take care of his congregation, just as a shepherd is to take care of his flock. As children of God we are to take care of each other.




Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Conversion Story: The Road To Catholicism

I think it would be fair to everyone to write about my conversion to God and his church. It is not that I was not Catholic at some point, but it is that I did not always live it.

My Beginning

I am what most people would call a cradle Catholic. I was baptized Catholic, and was raised in a Catholic home. I went to Mass most Sundays, I would pray each night, and I would pray the Rosary about once a month.

Yet I did not always understand why I did things. I always thought that the reason that I did what I did was because I was Catholic. This is the only answer I could give. It's the only answer that I knew. I had never really read the bible before, never was really catechised, nor had any solid knowledge about the Catholic faith. My Catholic faith for a long time was nothing more than a cultural thing. I believed in God and in his church, I just didn't understand why we did what we did.

Although I grew up in a Catholic family, I also grew up in a mostly liberal household. For the most part I was thought by certain people in my family things that I took as truth.I was told things like masturbation was ok, that it was something normal for humans to do. Things like all religions are basically the same, that besides the difference in belief, they all led to truth about God. That they all led to salvation. I was told that we should learn other faiths and to be respectful of the difference in ideas.

Learning other faiths and being respectful is something that we should all do. The problem comes when it is seen as if Catholicism and Christianity are no different than another religions. For example I was told as a kid that it was ok for a Catholic to practice Buddhism. That it was ok to practice other spiritualities as well. This is simply not true.

Like I said we as Catholics and Christians should learn other faiths, and to be respectful of other people’s ideas. The problem is that we are also called to follow what was told to us by Christ and handed down to the apostles, as well as the church.

It was during my early teens that I started backsliding away from my Catholic faith. This was around the same time that I was introduced to Buddhism. I was also introduced to another philosophy. The Laws of Attraction.

This was a belief I strongly held on to for years. I had read books like The Secret, The Science of Getting Rich, and other New Age books. At first I really thought what this philosophy promoted, the idea that we could be and do whatever we wanted based on what be focus. That if it made you happy then it was good. I first thought it to be no more than the idea that if you held a positive mindset then you could achieve whatever. It wasn't until later that I found out that there was a lot more than this.

My Slide Hill Down

It was when I turned sixteen that I let myself get as far away from God that I would ever do. I had a hard time knowing what a sin was. I started committing sins such as masturbation. How could I know this was bad? After all I was following a belief system that said that if you think something to be bad then it is. At the same time some of my liberal family members would tell me that things like masturbation weren't bad. I could have not known.

When I was seventeen and a half is when I hit rock bottom. I think this is something that is different for each person. All rock bottom means is the time that you let yourself go as low as possible. For me my rock bottom was at seventeen. I remember one day just feeling so guilty and depressed that I just sat depressed near my bed. I really just felt horrible.

It is that I realized that what I was doing was wrong. Although I did not have anybody tell me that the way I was living was wrong, I felt it. Every time I would commit a sin such as masturbation I would feel a feeling of guilt. I did not know why I felt it I just did. Something was telling me that I was not doing what I should. I started questioning the Laws of attraction. I finally started seeing the flaw of logic behind it. If something that I was doing was wrong, then I would feel bad. It doesn’t matter what type of mindset you had.

My journey to the Catholic church

I was just not in the right state of mind. I felt horrible and depressed for weeks. I knew it was that I had come to acceptance that what I was doing was wrong. I felt like Adam and Eve after they had bitten the apple. I felt ashamed.

I made the decision to get closer to God. The first thing I did was pray the rosary. Something just told me to pray it. I started praying at least a couple of times a week. I just kept asking the Blessed Virgin Mary for God’s mercy. Something told me to pray to her. I just kind of knew that she would bring me closer to her son Jesus our Lord and Savior.

After a couple of weeks I started reading the bible almost everyday. This is the book that I credit for really changing my life. It was the new testament that made me realize the truth. From it took me a while to get further, but finally after a couple of months I told myself that I was going to start attending Sunday Mass again.

I felt a burst of thirst for the truth in God that just came out of nowhere. From here God had let me closer to his church little by little. First by going back to church, then by attending confession, and last my getting confirmed. Since then He has let me closer and closer to his church so much that know I am trying to bring people closer to God.