Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Review: Red, Innocence & Instinct

Red: Innocence & Instinct
review by Lorraine

The Christian Metal band, Red, recently released their newest album, Innocence & Instinct. They take us down a road similar to that of their previous album, End of Silence, with catchy minor guitar riffs, raw and sometimes gentler vocals. Each of the songs has a deep message beneath the hard-rock exterior. Death of Me is the opening track and starts the album off at a fast, loud pace. On Never Be the Same, things slow down a bit and Red presents a more reflective song to their listeners.

And here’s my two-cents about the album: I like it equally, if not more than End of Silence, so people who are already fans of Red will not be disappointed. After I get my hands on this album, it will be one much listened to!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bible Study Ideas for Teens


Q: I want to start a Bible study discussion group at my school and need some good verses for teens. What are some of your favorites?

A: Starting a Bible study group is a wonderful idea. We can always use more of them. Some of my favorite Bible verses include: Isaiah 33:1-9 (a prayer for help to God); Matthew 6 & 7 (excellent parables and advice); Mark 12:28-34 (discusses the greatest commandment of Christ); Luke 11:27-28 (defines true happiness); Luke 33-36 (encourages one to spread God’s Truth, Love, and Church); Luke 17:1-10 (discusses topics such as sin, faith, and our duty to God).

Jenna

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sacrifice of the Mass

Q: Why do they call it the Sacrifice of the Mass? My brother says it is because it is a sacrifice to have to get up on Sunday morning to go.

A: Obviously your brother has a good sense of humor but doesn’t have a very good understanding of exactly what the Mass is.

We shouldn’t take the Mass for granted, it's very important. Maybe you could use this as an opportunity to fix that. The consecration is called the Sacrifice of the Mass because it is done in remembrance of how Jesus died on the cross for us in the ultimate sacrifice. It's also called the “un-bloody sacrifice.” The consecration is awfully important; it's when the bread and wine are transformed into the Most Precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Christian

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Consecrating Oneself to Mary

Q: If you've already consecrated yourself to God or Jesus, is it necessary to consecrate yourself to Mary?

A: This is a very good question; it’s one that I’ve asked too. First off, I’d like to talk about who Mary is and, more importantly, what role she played and still is playing. Mary is the Immaculate Conception; meaning she was conceived without sin. In her obedience to bear God’s Son, she became the first Christian. At Cana, she spoke to Jesus on the behalf of the newlyweds who had run out of wine. On Calvary, by giving John to Mary as her son, Jesus gave all of humanity over to her as her spiritual sons and daughters. If this were not the case, what Jesus did would make no sense. John was not an orphan, so he needed no mother in the physical sense. Notice that in both events, Mary is the helper and motherly figure to humanity.

Some would still argue that these are not good enough reasons to consecrate one’s self to Mary and say that doing so would put her on the same level as God. I would ask that you reflect on the words Mary speaks in Cana: “Do whatever He tells you.” John 2:5 Those don’t sound like the words of a woman who will try to lead us from God. By consecrating ourselves to Mary, we take the hand of Jesus’s mother and allow her to help us in our journey towards Christ.

Scott Hahn’s book Hail, Holy Queen is very informative on this subject and an excellent read! God bless!

Lorraine

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why Is There Hell

Q: If God is so forgiving, why is there a hell?

A: Yes, God is very forgiving. And merciful, and loving, and caring. So much so, in fact, that He didn't want to make us do anything we didn't want to do, so He gave us free will. He wants so badly for us to go to heaven and be with Him for all eternity, but we have to choose as much and ask for His forgiveness. But because not everyone chooses the path He's made for them, He was forced to make an alternative, hell.

If you look in the Catechism, it spells it out pretty clearly; "1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: 'He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.'(1 John 3:14-15) Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called 'hell'."

Martha

Monday, March 16, 2009

How Do I Forgive Cruelty

Q: How do you forgive people when they've done something really awful to you? Not the petty little jabs or mean jokes by the popular people at school, but people, adults, who have significant power over you who not only did something mean, but incredibly cruel? I've asked God to help me forgive, so many times, but I keep getting the same answer: I want you to do this on your own. How do you forgive without God's help?

A: First, God isn’t going to tell you to do anything impossible. If he is telling you to forgive someone, then it is within your ability to do so. Second, we as humans must forgive even without feeling like it. If we don’t forgive, how can we expect to be forgiven by God? It’s not an emotion to forgive, it’s a decision. It is a decision to stop wishing for a better past and let go of the hurt that a person has caused us. To forgive someone who has hurt you, you need to do just this, and continue to pray frequently for a mire forgiving spirit, as well as for those who have offended you. It is not an easy thing to do, but it is quite possible.

Another thing you can do is talk to an adult you trust, like your parents, priest, or youth minister. They may be able to give you more in-depth help on this situation and offer you support. If you've been physically or emotionally wounded by a person, you could forgive the person who injured you, but you still need healing yourself. And keep praying, God can do the more healing than anyone else can. Pray to him for healing, and be aware that it is absolutely okay to continue seeking God’s grace for this hurt.

Tyler

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Why is Fish Okay on Fridays


Q: Why is an exception made for eating fish on Fridays? Isn’t fish meat, too?

A: The reason that fish is okay to eat while abstaining from meat is because in earlier times fish was a very common food that you might eat all the time like bread. Thus it would be a pleasure to give fish up, while meat such as pork or beef was more like “party food.” Now, of course, fish is much less common, but the tradition still remains the same.

Michael

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Want to Be Friends with Everyone

Q: I try so hard to be nice to everyone and they all throw it back at me and it makes me sad because I just want to be friends with everyone. What do I do?

A: “If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.” This is a quote from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. I think there is a lot of wisdom in what she has to say here and I would take her advice. The things that happen throughout your life are between you and God. It isn’t between you and other people. In the end it will matter that you were nice.

It is sad when others don’t treat us nicely. When hurts take it to Jesus. He has been down the same road and He will understand your sadness. He can also be your strength when the going gets tough. Look to Him for everything you need.

Amanda

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tyler

My name is Tyler. I am 15 years old, and the eldest of four kids in my family. I was born and raised in a small town in Michigan. I've been raised Catholic all my life, taught by good Catholic teachers and parents, and supported by good Catholic friends. Over the years I've grown deeper in my faith, though I won't say I don't have some more growing to do, and I strive to learn more and do better each day. I'm currently in my sophomore year of high school, and I really don't know what college I plan on going to. My favorite sport is golf. I also enjoy reading, online chatting, playing the Wii, writing a bit on the side, and biking, but I enjoy spending time with my friends most of all. My areas of academic interest are language, writing, and history.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Confused About Being Catholic

Q: I have been really confused lately and thinking about God. I am a Catholic but I never went to church or CCD. Why does everyone have to live under one person? I don’t think that is very fair. I don’t think I’m an atheist or anything, but I just don’t think I believe.

A: Let me give you an analogy. Millions of people live in our country and we need a leader, or else there would be total chaos. So, we live under the president, but we’re still free. He’s not here to dictate every last thing we do, but to keep everything from going into disarray, to lay down the law. He is the one serving us, but then even the president is following the example of someone else: the founding fathers, the ones that made this country, who wrote the Declaration of Independence, and sacrificed everything for our freedom.

All this is an example of something greater, much greater. The pope is here to lead us, to lay down the law. He is God’s servant here to serve us. And God, He is the one who created us, the earth, everything, He wrote all of creation itself. He gave up his “only begotten son” Jesus, so as to free us from sin, and Jesus; He is the perfect example of who and what we should be.

You’re right though, it is unfair – unfair to God. He has given us everything, and yet we go and break God’s laws, dishonor Him again and again; we murdered His Son. It would be just if He were to utterly destroy us, but God is loving and kind, our God is a God of second chances.

Christian

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Friday, March 6, 2009

Catholic Kids, Uniforms, Chastity and Fish

Q: Why must Catholic kids dress alike in school and eat fish on Friday? Why do nuns and priests have to wear habits and never marry just to serve God? I can serve my Lord with no reference to dress or marital status.

A: Catholic kids dress alike to show the unity of the church, to make all men equal, and to display order. They show reverence to Jesus, who died on Friday, by not eating fish on the Fridays during Lent. It is a way to show love for God, and devotion. Nuns and priests never marry because nuns are “married to Jesus” in a way, and priests are “married to the Church.” This is to help them focus more deeply on what God wants and needs for His people. It is just a way for them to serve God more devotedly. These are not necessary things, but they help in the process of loving our Lord.

Jenna

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Natalie

I'm Natalie, a very creative person who loves to chat and enjoys outdoor sports, including ultimate frisbee, swimming, skating and archery. Reading, drawing, singing and music are my hobbies and my favorite animals are horses, dogs, cats and anything cute and cuddly. I'm third of four children in our family and am blessed to have my loving parents who put up with my crazy antics. Being homeschooled has been such a privilege and my hope is that I may put what I've learned to good use for the glory of God.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Are Buddhists Going to Hell

Q: I was born and raised Catholic and I enjoy my religious responsibilities for the most part. I was also raised on the principle that all religions deserve respect. In a way, I grew to appreciate other views from a theological point of view. However, I feel pressure from some of the Catholic families I commune with to sever ties with my non-Catholic friends because their religious principle conflict with my own. I understand that worshiping idols and false gods is a sin, but are my Buddhist friends really going to hell? Is it really wrong for me to be friends with them?

A: Well, first off, as Catholics we believe that anyone has the chance to be 'saved' and go to heaven. We honestly can't say someone is for certain going to hell or not. That is solely up to God. BUT, we do know God clearly says in His ten commandments: "You shall have no other gods before me," and we all struggle with that in our own way. Buddhism in particular, I'd say, goes against that rather significant law of God. He wants us to love and appreciate Him as our creator, father, savior, and lord. Not idolize a mere man, just another creation of God.

Secondly, as far as being friends with non-Catholics, I think it's a perfect opportunity not only to teach others about your own faith, but also to learn things about others' faiths. Be fair in trading off/sharing traditions, but don't get involved in something you know would go against your faith and your God. Just be prepared to answer some tough questions. Pray constantly for them and yourself. And above all, stay strong in your own faith.

The people that you feel are pressuring you to sever ties are probably just worried about you. You could probably tell them to pray for you, for you to stay strong in your faith, and let them know that they don't have to worry. If you feel that God is supporting your friendship with these non-Catholics, then He is surely going to watch over you.

One last thing... take heed of warnings, and keep your ears open for God's voice in the people around you. Keep praying for God's will in your life, that's the most important thing.

My prayers are with you, good luck!
Martha

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Martha

Hey, peoples, I'm Martha. Soon to be sixteen, I've spent my whole life in a small town in Michigan, homeschooled, and Catholic. I'm the seventh of a harmony-type family of nine kids, the eldest four being half siblings, and the latest two being adopted (and adorable). I am completely in love with my God and my faith, but I must admit I wasn't always too taken with the Catholic ways. Until about two years ago, in fact, I was extremely bored with my life. Religion especially. But the summer after I turned thirteen I attended a Catholic youth conference in Steubinville, OH, and it literally changed my life forever. I've since delved, fascinated, into the Catholic faith and learned so much and I still want to know so much more ... Whenever I can. My days are mostly filled with entertaining a four year old and two-and-a-half year old trouble team. Fitting in school work, piano practice, and singing takes most of my time, but I always seem to find space for having fun, and most importantly, God. I hope to learn to become a dog trainer as a part time career and tentatively plan on GVSU for college, but mostly I want to get married to the man God has chosen for me and raise my own kids in a Catholic, homeschooled environment. These are just ideas, though. I'm going to try to let God guide my life the way He wants it to go. I only pray and hope I have the strength to trust Him that completely.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Should We Pray for Satan

Q. The Bible says to love and pray for our enemies. Does this mean we should pray for Satan?

No, there is no need to pray for Satan. God wants us to love and pray for our enemies so they may have a chance to repent and be saved and to be with God in Heaven. Satan has already rejected God of his own free will and does not have a chance to repent and cannot go to heaven. So there is no need to pray for Satan because, unfortunately, he has no hope. On the other hand we should not hate him, but pity him because he is stuck for eternity without God

God Bless,
Mary