Monday, June 29, 2009

What is Love

Q: Everybody has probably thought about this, but I'm just gunna get it out there. What is love?


A: God is love. Every act of love is an imitation of God. What is an act of love? Love is present in every act of patience, kindness, trust, humility, generosity, selflessness, and goodness. The greatest act of love is the total giving of one's self to another. This is most clearly seen on the Eucharistic table and the wedding bed. Love is not fully tangible, beyond matter and time. Attempting to describe love in mere words is like trying to capture the glory of God in a mere painting.


Paul

Friday, June 26, 2009

Why Does God Allow Satan to Exist

Q. Why does God continue to allow Satan to exist? I know that He gave us free will, and therefore will not force us to do what is right, but why doesn't He cause Satan to become good, without taking away his free will? Or cause Satan to just cease to exist?

A. Well, for starters, He's not going to just kill off Satan. Of course He's able to, but we all know a kinder and more merciful God than that. Ah, Satan, our famous prince of darkness, our fallen angel. He chose that life, he chose to be "the evil one." He used to be one of the good guys, but then ... he wanted more. He wanted the power and control that God had. So he fell, down to a place called Hell where he could rule ... but still under the command of God. Satan still has to ask His permission before setting loose on the world. Everything Satan does, God has allowed him to do.

Take, for example, Job. One of those routine days in heaven and Satan shows up, God asks him where he has come from, and he answers that he's just been "to and fro and up and down" on earth, and God asks him if he's considered Job, "There is no one like him on earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil."(Job 1:8) Then Satan challenges God by saying, "Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face."(Job 1:9-11) So God gives Satan permission to "stretch his hand against" Job, but not to harm Job himself. And Satan must obey. Later on in the book of Job, God gave Satan permission to harm Job, as long as he didn't kill him. And Satan had to obey.

So really, the question is, why NOT continue to allow Satan to exist? Without the evil in this world, free will would be irrelevant, there would be no other option but good. God wants us to freely choose Him, and if there's no other option, it's not the same. And God is ultimately in control, there is absolutely nothing that Satan can do that God can't prevent if He wants to. God loves us all a great deal more than we can possibly imagine and He wouldn't put anything on us that we couldn't handle with His help.

Hope that answers your question, my prayers are with you,

Martha

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stuff to Do on Summer Break

Q: I’m bored. Can you suggest anything I can do during summer break?

A: Summer break is the greatest time of the year, no school, no homework, and no teachers. It’s like a three-month-long Saturday morning, only without all of the cartoons. Unfortunately, there is such a thing as too much free time. So how do you fill those long hours of boredom? Here are just a few suggestions of things to do this summer break:

Start a club. Realize that you are not the only person looking for something to do over summer break. Why not bring your friends over and tackle boredom together? If you believe the old saying that two heads are better than one, imagine how many fun things four or five heads can come up with! But to start a club, you have to have a purpose. Maybe you could start a Random Acts of Kindness Club whose members do nice things for people in your neighborhood, like helping the older woman across the street plant flowers or walking the dog for your neighbor who broke his leg.

Get a job. Not all jobs have to be boring or involve sitting inside all day. Try working for an ice cream store, or caddying at a local golf club. Too young to get “a real job”? Don’t dismay – make up one of your own! Start a lawn mowing service, or a dog walking business. As long as your job involves something you can have fun doing, it’s a great way to spend some of that free time, while making a little money on the side.

Volunteer. Summer is the perfect time to become a volunteer in your community. Offer to help with your church’s summer Bible camp, or volunteer to work at the zoo a few times a week. See if any local day-care centers are in need of students to help out during lunch or naptime. Become a tutor for kids you know who have a difficult time with math, or reading, or spelling – something you’re lucky enough to be good at. Or volunteer to deliver flowers at the local hospital. There are tons of things for you to do over summer break – just use your imagination.

Maureen D.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dealing with Anger Issues

Q. I have so much anger. I always seem to let it out on the people I love most. I'm trying to change but I can't. I feel so hopeless like I'm never going to be able to change who I am. I feel like I should just give up trying. Can someone help me out with this?

A. Emotions are the hardest things to control, and I find what leads to them is pride. We often take things into our own hands instead of turning our trials to God, and then we get ourselves into heaps of trouble. I am glad that you recognize what your obstacles in life are; that’s a gift, because often people are blind to the cons of their actions and emotions.

Now, getting back to the pride issue; it's fundamental to always be thinking about what you’re going to do before you do it. Before saying a word, think about it. And pray about it. When things seem unconquerable, pray to God. If we humans can't overcome our troubles, then we need divine help, and we find that in Jesus Christ. So, pray, pray, pray! Prayer creates your relationship with God, increasing your love for Him and, at the same time, for others.

Confessing your anger often will also help tremendously. Great graces can be found through going to Confession. Baring your soul in such a way causes a wonderful realization that we humans are weak, but God is there to help.

Remember that things often get worse before they get better, but perseverance and prayer, confession and trust in God will defeat all barriers of sin in our lives.

As a closing, I’d like to include two Bible verses which are two of my favorites.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7)

“Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

God bless.
Lorraine

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Catholics and Fashion

Q: I normally wear a brown scapular. But I like to wear clothes from Aeropostale and Abercrombie. A lot of people tell me that it is clinging to the world and not living like Jesus. I don't wear the clothes to impress, I just like the way they fit and the way they look. What do I do?

A: Good for you for wearing a scapular! I must confess, every time I’ve tried to wear one, it would irritate me endlessly and I’d take it off after a few days. Anyway, hope I can answer your question!

Clothes have always been important, ever since Adam and Eve’s fashionable, “environmentally-friendly” fig-leaf loincloths. Fashions have come and gone throughout the ages. We all know what it’s like today. People tell us what to wear, how to wear it, why to wear it, and to not care what it’ll cost us, whether it be money or our dignity.

But what does the Bible say about it? 1 Peter 3:3-4 says, "Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or dressing in fine clothes, but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God."

Mind you, that doesn’t mean you can’t dress fashionably or wear jewelry. Peter is just reminding us that the external is not what’s important—it’s your “hidden character” that’s important. If you’re dirty inside, your apparel will reflect that mindset. In the same way, if you’re holy inside, your apparel should represent it—if not, then you don’t know the meaning of true beauty and modesty.

In your case, I understand you like Aeropostale and Abercrombie—not to impress, but for the comfort. But people are judging you for it, claiming it’s too worldly. What to do? One thing they have to realize is, no matter what you wear, it was considered “worldly” at one time. Believe it or not, your grandma’s clothes were fashionable at one time—and they may come back into fashion! Even the Jews had their own clothing clique (albeit very modest).

But, on the other hand, those people may have a point, depending upon how immodest your clothes are—upon how much they attract people to your body and not your personality. For girls: really tight clothes, cleavage, and lots of skin. For boys: sleeveless shirts, extremely tight “emo” pants, and way too baggy pants, “showing off” their boxers (by the way, guys, this is not in any way attractive).

If your clothes fit one of those descriptions, do yourself a favor and get a new wardrobe (I recommend Good Will highly)! Though they will attract people to you, you have to ask yourself: what type of people do I want to attract? Do you want people who will like you for your body and choice of clothes, or people who will respect you and love your personality?

Plus, you might want to consider how Abercrombie & Fitch advertises itself. “Immodest” and “inappropriate” are understatements. Go to their website and see for yourself. Then ask yourself: do I want people to think of images like that when they look at me? Do I want to be wearing a brand that promotes itself like this? Think about it; it’s your decision.

Through all the fashions that come and go, always remember these words in Ephesians: “Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Put on the armor of God! If you wear that, you’ll awe people with your inner beauty shining forth. They’ll forget all about judging your clothes.

God Bless,
Catherine

Monday, June 1, 2009

Catholicism and Hinduism

Q: My sister’s boyfriend is a great guy, nice and respectful. The problem is he is Hindu and we are Catholic. My sister really cares about him and now they're talking about getting married. I’m worried that this won't work out or that she'll decide to become a Hindu too. How do I approach this subject without hurting her feelings? What exactly is Hinduism?

A: Hinduism differs from Christianity and other Western religions in that it does not have a single founder, a specific theological system, a single system of morality, or a central religious organization. It consists of thousands of different religious groups that have evolved in India since 1500 BC. Hinduism is based on ancient scriptures known collectively as the Vedas. Hindus believe in a supreme spiritual force called Brahman with which an individual will become one after cleansing his or her karma through a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. In life, Hindus follow the laws of dharma, or spiritual teachings.

Approach your sister with care and concern. Go into the conversation with an open heart and mind. Let her know how you feel, but also let her make her own decision. Pray for her.

Jenna