Do you make decisions out of fear or out of love?

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Do you make decisions out of fear or out of love?

 

                                     By Fr. Carlos Padilla

Sometimes I have to do things because you think is not the right time, or because I’m afraid of making mistakes in trying. Sometimes I stop and leave to fight, to love, to deliver me.

In a selfish act, I think of me in my plans in my wishes. I look at myself, for my needs, for I lack, for what makes me happy.

I fear that my actions did not come true because of the fear of life. Give me fear losing what I long for, to lose what I have. Fear sometimes in chains.

At one point in the saga Star Wars, Master Yoda tells Anakin: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. “

The fear that we may lead us to anger, fighting not to lose what we love. Fear can close in on ourselves and could end up causing what we fear most.

It is true, it would be powerful as God, be as gods. Being able to control life and death. But we are fragile. We are dependent on a God who loves us and leads us. We are afraid and we are often not free to love.

The fear of losing what he loves most, the life of his wife, takes Anakin to prevent his death using any method. He wants to be able to save your life, so you never die.

In fact, the heart desires eternal love, eternal life. That’s how Anakin goes to the dark side, thinking that in this way possess a deeper understanding of life and death.

Fear leads to anger, and anger alienates her who so loves. And then, when searching for evil, causes the death of his wife, who no longer wants to continue living.

Whenever I think of that moment in the film, I see the strength of our choices. Opt for good or evil. Want to control life and death or trust in a God who leads us.

What we choose the form and transforms us. Makes us better or worse people. Our decisions mark who we are and what we can come to be.

But fear often decide our choices. Then reflect: how you deal with your fears to think about the future? What are you most afraid of losing? Do you trust a merciful God who loves you with madness and never leave your steps if they lose? …

REFLECTIONS with Ven. Fulton J. Sheen

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The Church makes no man less free than he was before. But we chiefly value freedom in order to give it away; every man who loves surrenders his freedom, whether his passion be the love of a woman, the love of a cause, or the love of God. . . Hence: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Everyone wants the things that only a love of God will bring to him, but most men today seek them in the wrong places. That is why no one comes to God without a revolution of the spirit; he must stop seeking his good in Godlessness.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Peace of Soul)

Why Homosexuality is a Natural Law Issue

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by DANIEL MATTSON

 

Melinda Selmys, familiar to the readers of Crisis as a leading voice among the gay Christian movement, recently wrote an essay she called “10 Reasons Why Homosexuality is Not a Natural Law Issue.” Her basic premise is “that trying to argue against homosexuality from a natural law point of view in contemporary discourse is about as prudent and effective as the charge of the Light Brigade.” In other words, she believes it’s dead on arrival.

 

She concludes her essay with a few magisterial pronouncements:  Christians have been trying this natural law approach for decades. They have been steadily losing ground for decades. Arguing against homosexuality from natural law is demonstrably ineffectual. It produces no converts. It draws no souls to Christ. It doesn’t even convince people to oppose gay marriage. It’s a lame horse. Giving it another run will not alter the results. It has not worked, and it’s not going to work—for all of the reasons given above. It’s time to put this old argument out to pasture, and try a different approach.

 

As a man who once considered himself a gay man, and converted to the Catholic Church in large part because of the Church’s teaching on the natural law, I simply have to scratch my head in wonderment that she believes the natural law draws no souls to Christ, or is ineffectual for conversion, or ineffectual in convincing people of the wisdom of the Church’s teaching about homosexuality. I’m not an anomaly. Anyone who earnestly seeks the truth will find the truth revealed in the natural law. As to the natural law’s effectiveness in drawing souls to God, we need only consult the writings of St. Paul. One of the foundations of Christian evangelization is St. Paul’s assertion that God’s law is written on man’s heart, always guiding him so that he might know good from evil. The “law written on the heart” has always given missionaries confidence that they could communicate with any society anywhere the wisdom of the Church’s teaching.

 

I travel all over the country, and have spoken about the Church’s teaching on homosexuality to thousands of people, young and old alike, and I can attest to the power and efficacy of the natural law in convincing people to consider the teachings of the Catholic Church. The most effective part of any evangelization is the power of witness, yet after the story of my conversion, people (especially young people) want to know why I’ve chosen to follow the Church. Without grounding my choice firmly within the natural law, my choice to follow the Church appears to most people as mere blind obedience to an arbitrary moralism. The natural law is the most effective tool we can ever use to explain to the world, and to young people, exactly why the Church teaches what it does, and why the Church’s teaching leads to freedom. The natural law isn’t a lame horse—it’s a stallion itching to run who has hardly been let out of the stable.

 

None of Selmys’s assertions about why the natural law is a “lame horse” have ever been a problem in my ministry. For example, one of her major complaints is that no one can possibly understand what the Church means by “natural,” since, according to Selmys, “the particular meaning of the word ‘natural’ that is used when we’re describing homosexual acts as ‘unnatural’ is more or less completely unfamiliar to everyone in the contemporary world.”

 

I don’t accept her claim, yet even so, it’s not difficult to teach people meanings of words that are unfamiliar to them. As a professional musician, who has taught trombone lessons for about 25 years, I’ve taught many elementary students a new meaning of the word “natural” they never knew existed, and they learn it quite quickly, especially when I constantly remind them they need to play an A natural—and not an A flat—when they play a B flat major scale.

 

Teaching what “natural” means in the context of human sexuality isn’t all that hard either. In my experience, it’s been remarkably easy. And in the case of students, not only do they grasp it quickly, they are grateful as well.

My talks to high school students always include a parable about Thanksgiving. I describe a typical family Thanksgiving, where the whole family has gathered at grandma and grandpa’s house. They’ve just finished a memorable feast of turkey, with all the fixings, followed, naturally, by pie. Everyone is stuffed to the gills. And yet, fifteen minutes after dinner, and to the surprise of everyone, their grandmother offers everyone a second meal. “We couldn’t eat another bite!” some say, yet in response, their grandfather, with a glint in his eye, grabs a bucket, sticks a feather down his throat, and proceeds to vomit out his dinner, horrifying the family. With a swish of mouthwash, and a quick wipe of his face, he sets the bucket on the table, looks around at his stunned family and says, “Alright, who’s next?”, then grabs another plate of food and sits down in front of the TV, acting as if he had just done the most natural thing in the world.

 

Students’ reaction to my story is immediate and visceral. They groan—loudly. I ask them with feigned shock, “Why does that gross you out? Don’t you like to eat? Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could eat whatever you wanted, and never worry about gaining weight? Wouldn’t purging yourself of food in order to eat more food bring you great freedom to live with as much pleasure as you would like?”

And as easily as that—and in a way they’ll never forget—I’ve introduced them to what the “natural” means in the Church’s teaching of the “natural law.” It’s not hard for them to get it, for they can detect unnatural behavior in humans a mile away. They may have never thought about it in the context of human sexuality however, but that’s the power of parables like my story about Thanksgiving.

 

The students groan because they intuitively know that eating, followed by purging food is not normal or healthy human behavior. Indeed, they know instinctively that to do so is not natural, since they know that no matter how pleasurable food is, eating food is primarily to provide sustenance and nutrition for the body. With eating and purging, they have rightly intuited an ought from an is. Once this understanding is established, it’s an easy and direct path towards discussing sex and the design of the human body, and the freedom that comes from following the natural law.

 

Yet deriving an “ought” from an “is” is another of Selmys’s complaints about the natural law. She says, “But those few who have some philosophical training will dismiss natural law arguments as committing the ‘naturalistic fallacy,’ i.e. deriving an ought statement from an ‘is’ statement.”

Here, I will rely on a man far wiser than I to answer her objection.

 

In a book I can’t recommend highly enough called On the Meaning of Sex, author and philosopher Dr. J. Budziszewski provides an antidote to the lies and confusion stemming from the Sexual Revolution by appealing to the truth and wisdom contained in the natural law. Far from believing that the natural law is an ineffectual tool for promoting the Church’s vision of human sexuality, Budziszewski places it at the core of his argument, where he provides a lifeline of rescue for young people (like his own college students) hurting from believing and following the lies of the Sexual Revolution.

 

Contra Selmys, Budziszewski argues that people who don’t believe an “ought can be derived from an is” are holding onto a false dogma.

 

He writes,

If the purpose of the eye is to see, then eyes that see well are good eyes, and eyes that see poorly are poor ones. Given their purpose this is what it means for eyes to be good. Moreover, good is to be pursued; the appropriateness of pursuing it is what it means for anything to be good. Therefore, the appropriate thing to do with poor eyes is to turn them into good ones. If it really were impossible to derive an ought from the is of the human design, then the practice of medicine would make no sense.

 

Speaking of a young fellow who is addicted to sniffing glue, with concepts he’ll later expand to human sexuality, he asks,

How should we advise him? Is the purpose of his lungs irrelevant? Should we say to him, “Sniff all you want, because an is does not imply an ought”? Of course not; we should advise him to kick the habit. We ought to respect the is of our design. Nothing in us should be put into action in a way that flouts its inbuilt meanings and purposes.

 

As he says later,

These meanings, purposes, and principles are the real reason for the commands and prohibitions contained in traditional sexual morality. Honor your parents. Care for your children. Save sex for marriage. Make marriage fruitful. Be faithful to your spouse.

 

Let the sexual revolution bury the sexual revolution. Having finished revolving, we arrive back where we started. What your mother—no, what your grandmother—no, what your great-grandmother—told you was right all along. These are the natural laws of sex.

 

I have found any attempts to convince people of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality that don’t include a discussion of “the natural laws of sex” to be dead on arrival, for without this understanding, the Church’s teaching sounds like arbitrary commandments, rooted in nothing but the whim of some grizzled old priests somewhere who think sex is dirty and that people shouldn’t be allowed to have any fun. Without a grounding in the natural law, the Church’s teaching merely becomes, “obey the rules, simply because the Church says so.” And no one is ever really convinced of anything merely through blind obedience—especially young people.

 

It is simply wrong to say the natural law is ineffective concerning homosexuality and evangelization. During a three-day period a few years back in the Diocese of Wichita I spoke to over 3,000 high school students. After one of my talks, a theology teacher at one of the high schools shared with me what one of his students said to him: “You know, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this guy, but now, it all makes sense to me—all of the Church’s teaching. This isn’t just about the stuff he has to deal with. What he said helps me make sense of what the Church has to say about sex, all of it.” And no wonder it made sense to him: the natural law makes sense because it’s true, for its truth comes from being rooted in reality.

 

I hear similar things from youth pastors and teachers all the time after my talks. Of course, not everyone who hears me speak about the natural law is convinced by it, but after my talk, they have enough understanding that they can finally see there are well-reasoned arguments for the Church’s teaching. Our job isn’t to convert everyone we meet—that’s the Holy Spirit’s worry. Our job is to promote the Good News in the most powerful way we can, and as for me and my experience, next to the witness of conversion, the natural law is the most effective tool the Church has to convince souls that her teaching on homosexuality is the path to peace and freedom.

 

Natural law is not a lame horse—and it’s not really been “tried for decades” as she contends. Since Humanae Vitae, natural law has been held back, whipped, bullied, and abused by prelates, theologians and lay people who don’t like the claims it makes upon the men of the world. Every time it’s been trotted out and proposed as salvation from the world’s view of sexual morality, it’s been gelded, stifled and undermined by people in the Church who don’t like what the natural law has to say—or the way it says it. As St. John Paul II lamented in 2004 to the Biannual Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,

My intention in the Encyclical Letters Veritatis Splendor and Fides et Ratio was to offer useful elements for rediscovering, among other things, the idea of natural moral law. Unfortunately, these teachings so far do not seem to have been accepted as widely as hoped and the complex problem deserves further study. I therefore ask you to encourage timely initiatives for the purpose of contributing to a constructive renewal of the teaching on natural moral law, seeking consensus with the representatives of the different confessions, religions and cultures.

 

St. John Paul II is right. Melinda Selmys is wrong. It’s not time to set the “natural law” horse out to pasture. No, it’s been put out to pasture long enough—it’s well fed, and ready to run. In the fight for souls, the natural law is a compass and light that shines as a beacon leading to a place of safety. This is a stallion meant for battle, yet its mettle has yet been tested, for people like Selmys have had no confidence in its ability to run—or worse, have no desire to see it run. Now is the time, when the world has become so confused about human sexuality, to unleash the saving power of the natural law, and by the thundering of its hooves, lead lost souls to freedom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged as J. Budziszewski, Melinda Selmys, Natural Law, Pope John Paul II, Same-sex attraction

 

JOYFUL WARRIORS

 

The Joyful Warrior

 

 

As we accompany our loved ones with same sex attraction on their journey, may we follow Blessed Mother Teresa’s advice joyfully.

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THE HARVEST IS GREAT…LABORERS FEW

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My First Homily

 

I am honored to be here in front of this Ambo to deliver my first ever homily. The whirlwind of my ordination is still fresh to me, still blowing God’s graces my way. I feel privileged and humbled to be here, excited to preach for the first time. I believe The Holy Spirit inspired me with some good material. You may feel different after I am done!

 

Interesting that my premier comes on the same day as this gospel. The harvest is great but the laborers are few. If I only had a dollar for every time a priest, deacon or instructor used this passage in regard to our Pursuit of the diaconate while in seminary. We were always reminded that we are the laborers, the called, the chosen, the men of God although at no time during our formation did any of us think we were worthy to be considered Christ’s laborers. We hung onto the quote, God does not choose the qualified but qualifies the chosen. But the truth is, we as deacons need to embrace the role of laborer. Just look around, the potential harvest is great for certain. If I asked each of you here what you consider the harvest to be, I would get different answers for sure. Our society is desperate for laborers of Faith.

 

On my drive over , I passed through an abundant farming region. I am no farmer but the fields look good this year. The corn stalks are shooting up, the cabbage is taking shape, the green tops to all our famous onions look healthy. We could even say “God willing” the harvest is great. Mingled within the rapidly growing produce, there are several workers caring for the crops. They are working at the pleasure of the farm owner. The farmer knows he cannot handle all the work of the fields by himself or with just his family. He had to reach out and hire others to help bring in the harvest. Otherwise the crops would lay in the field, succumbing to the elements, eventually to be killed off by the frost of Autumn and rot. But, with the appropriate work force, the crops find the marketplace and everyone involved share in the fruits of their labor. Seeing the symmetry of this natural progression of farming is a beautiful sight.

 

We know from the gospels that Jesus selected 12 to follow him, then added 72 more disciples. After the Ascension. The 12 found seven more worthy men to ordain as deacons to ease the burden. Quite a sobering thought that from the beginning, Jesus knew he needed laborers, workers for the faith. Something that I marveled at last weekend Which I would like to share now with you. I was one of 12 ordained last Saturday. I think that number appears once or twice in scripture? Of course, the Cardinal had to ask who among us was Judas! We all pointed the the Certified Public Accountant! Then at my first mass God graced our altar with three priests, I immediately thought of the Trinity, assisted by seven deacons, once again biblical. How blessed am I! Then just Yesterday we had a great moment right here in the atrium of my parish. All four of us deacons attended 9 am mass and gathered afterward around Our Pastor.  Several people made positive comments about all of us being there and  Father  let on that he was lucky to have so many “laborers” to assist him. Now we to prepare for what the harvest will reap from our labor so.

 

A further reflection of today’s gospel wants us to have a clear picture of someone in particular. Someone doing something positive in the world around us, actively working to bring light and peace and hope, at the same time alleviating the world of darkness and sin and despair. This someone is doing their part to partner with Jesus’ vision in building the kingdom of God. It is indifferent in this context as to what their religious of even nonreligious persuasion is. After all the rabbi’s and the Pharasses shared Judaism with our Lord but took very different paths executing the will of God.

 

This Gospel passage also shows us that the Christian life is always an intertwined connection between teaching and doing. Notice that wherever Jesus traveled, he was teaching, proclaiming, and curing. Preaching the Gospel is something we do with our words as much as we do with our actions. Connected to this must be compassion, which is defined as seeing through the eyes and heart of the other person. This is why Jesus is moved with pity for the crowds, for they are like scattered sheep without a shepherd.

 

An abundant harvest seems empty without a multitude of laborers. God calls each of us to be his hands and feet. Sometimes, that calling even transcends borders we are comfortable with. Either way, the call is always one and the same. To build the kingdom. His Kingdom, our Kingdom for eternity. A call to partner with Him in the task. To make his dream and vision a concrete and tangible reality. The task is not reserved to ordained priests and pastors alone. All of us are encouraged to take our place in the grand story. At times, you will be contradicted and sullied, as Jesus was. You will be overwhelmed with tasks at hand, as Jesus was. After all, what did Soon to becSaint Mother Theresa say? ” God does not give you anything you cannot handle, but I sure wish He didn’t trust me do much!”

 

You will perform miracles, not physically healing the infirmed, but simplistic and genuine acts which will move hearts, as Jesus did. Let us pray for not just an abundance of the harvest, but an abundance of laborers, for priests, deacons, nuns, brothers, faithful lay people. Ask God to send out these laborers for the harvest, and be prepared. Because the first one he will send will be you and I.

God bless you!

 

BEST TIME SPENT ON EARTH

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Eucharistic Adoration

 

“When your down and troubled and you need a helping hand..”

Powerful lyrics from James Taylor, but who can we, who have loved ones with same sex attraction, take our troubles to? All too often we get mocked, ridiculed or accused of small mindedness. There is only one place for us to go to, and that is to Jesus. The Christ who is always waiting silently for us in the Blessed Sacrament.

 

When I’m troubled I go to Jesus. He is always there waiting for me at every Adoration Chapel and Holy Hour. I know God is everywhere and often I look up to the heavens to ask for His help. Yet, I find an inner calm when I go to Adoration. I feel His presence sooth my frazzled nerves. The more I go to Adoration, the more peace”filled” I become. I go to the Blessed Sacrament to talk, to complain, to cry and to catch my breath. And, if I stop to listen, I sometimes hear him whisper sound advice to my heart. 

 

So to all my friends who get down and troubled and weary from all life’s struggles, I recommend you go to Adoration. As Mother Teresa said, it’s the best time you will spend on earth

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