Category Archives: Catholic Belief
I had an interesting conversation with a podcast listener about a week ago. They had listened to some of the podcasts and were accusing me of being “holier than thou” when in fact I was a hypocrite. Their conclusion was that I was in no position to tell anyone anything related to faith and morals because of my own imperfections.
Were they right?
Saints did not get that way because God zapped them and suddenly all their imperfections were gone. They are saints because they cooperated with the grace of God and grew in holiness. Read their stories. You’ll find real people with real struggles. You’ll also find that they were still sharing their faith as they struggled. People didn’t only start listening to them after they had been canonized saints by the Church. Folks were listening to them the whole time, even in the tough times.
Here’s what I have to say to the ones wishing to point out my faults. Do I have them? Loads of imperfections and lots of mistakes are mine on a near daily basis. Here’s the difference: I don’t claim perfection. In fact, I tend to use my constant idiocy as proof that God’s grace and mercy still work. Listen to the podcast often enough and you’ll hear it. His discipline and correction in my life is proof to me that God still loves me and wants me to be part of his kingdom. Otherwise, He’d leave me alone to pursue whatever and end up dead and separated from Him forever. But He doesn’t.
I’m not perfect. I sin often. But I go to confession. I do penance. I work at growing in holiness. All the while I share the faith. I’m fortunate to have been taught a great deal by the saints, my pastors, my spiritual director, and scads of good books. When I fail I cannot plead ignorance. So I struggle on. God has been good to me, not only to forgive me and put me on the right path, but also to provide me with a community in which to grow.
For those who wish to be left alone and not be faced with a moral obligation, be it from me, the Pope, or anyone else, let me encourage you to avoid isolation. Let me further encourage you to seek Christian community where you can be challenged to be the person you were created to be. Community makes the difference, and you need it as much as I do.
Chances are good that there are opportunities for building community in your home parish, and there are good places online to find additional folks to help you with whatever you might be facing. Of course, you can always hook up with us at The Tactical Catholic Podcast or any of the programs at the Fiat Ministry Network. We would love to talk to you, pray with you, and get to know you. Just don’t go at it alone.
And don’t wait until you’re perfect before you share your faith. Your real struggles might be the key to helping someone else find the hope they need.
I feel as though sometimes people pit the Missal (and the General Instruction on the Roman Missal) against their own personal piety as well as their own tastes. Truth be told, there is a great deal of flexibility in the Mass. All one has to do is read the Missal and the GIRM to see this. That is not to say that Mass is a free-for-all. Far from it. There is a proper form and proper matter to the Mass. Within these constructs there is freedom and choice. For example, there are several different Eucharistic Prayers that may be employed in a Mass. The Prayer of the Faithful is guided but not dictated. The music is not specified. There’s some room, folks.
So maybe you can feel me when I say that equating your choices and your likes with “the voice of God” is a dumb thing to do. I’ve never been to a Mass in which every single thing tickled my fancy. I don’t always like the music, or the lector’s pace, or the homily, or the choice of crucifix, or the type of kneeler. But you know what? I don’t come to Mass for any of those things. No, they are tools in the hands of the Lord to move me toward the source and summit which is the Eucharist. Christ is going to show up. He has promised us that. Even if someone intended to attempt invalidation, God still supplies the grace. It’s on their head, not yours or mine. I am here to receive Jesus. Keep your steel guitar.
Let’s talk about gestures, shall we? Do you bow your head at the name of Jesus or cross yourself at varied times during the Mass? There are some times that the faithful are instructed to do so (beginning and ending of Mass signs of the cross, bowing during the three lines in the Creed regarding the Incarnation) but there is no rule prohibiting you from crossing yourself at other times. In fact, I’m often baffled that folks at Mass seem to be more vigilent about crossing themselves before the Gospel (a sign prescribed for the Deacon/Priest/Bishop at that time) and holding hands during the our Father (not prescribed at all) than bowing for the Incarnation in the Creed, “…and by the power of the Holy Spirit, was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.” which is prescribed. I say, be as pious as you wanna be, just so long as you keep the main thing the main thing.
If an extra crossing here and there and holding your neighbor’s hand helps you draw nearer to our Eucharistic Lord, then go for it. We all need to do all we can to prepare our hearts to receive Him. Don’t get bent out of shape, however, if your neighbor has his hands together in prayer during the Our Father, or that he chooses to kneel and pray after Mass. Let’s keep the main thing the main thing, alright?
On a side note, how did you do with your Easter Mass assignments? I hope you were able to be the welcoming and kind face that visitors to your parish need to see. May they be moved to return to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass next week and renew their faithful walk with Christ.
I couldnt resist laying out the words of the great Kenny Rogers in my preparation for tonight’s podcast:
On a warm summer’s evenin
On a train bound for nowhere
I met up with the gambler
We were both too tired to sleep
So we took turns a-starin’
Out the window at the darkness
The boredom overtook us, he began to speak
He said, “Son, I’ve made a life
Out of readin’ people’s faces
Knowin’ what the cards were
By the way they held their eyes
So if you don’t mind me sayin’
I can see you’re out of aces
For a taste of your whiskey
I’ll give you some advice”
So I handed him my bottle
And he drank down my last swallow
Then he bummed a cigarette
And asked me for a light
And the night got deathly quiet
And his faced lost all expression
He said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done
Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser
And the best that you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep”
And when he finished speakin’
He turned back toward the window
Crushed out his cigarette
And faded off to sleep
And somewhere in the darkness
The gambler he broke even
And in his final words
I found an ace that I could keep….
You tell em, Kenny. I am excited for.this week’s show. 22 episodes in the bag so we are gonna take a chance and play the ponies.
Join us tonight and talk gambling, sports wagering, march madness, Pete Rose, stocks, gas station sushi, and other gambles. http://www.fiatministrynetwork.tv
St Polycarp, picture of true Catholic manliness, pray for us!
I love St Polycarp. This courageous Bishop of Smyrna (present day Izmir, Turkey) led his flock with grace and integrity. He taught them to hold fast to the Faith, particularly to the Eucharist. This disciple of John led by example, even unto his martyrdom.
I encourage you to read his letters. They are a major reason I am Catholic today. St Polycarp showed me the first century Church that we see blossoming in the book of Acts. He made me question my presuppositions regarding authority, worship, and sacraments.
His greatest lesson to me, however, is his resilience. Polycarp, at age 86, would not give in to the smallest concession to the false gods of the Roman Empjre. No, he stood strong, facing their threats with gusto, and even a little “ain’t skeert” swagger. Read the accounts of his martyrdom.
St Polycarp, you are the man. Thank you for opening my eyes to see the Church you love so much and our heavenly feast in the Eucharist. Pray for us.
Coming up tomorrow on the Tactical Catholic Podcast…
Lent. It’s Ash Wednesday, and Lent has begun. We can discuss Mardi Gras, Fish Fry, Lenten penances, fasting, chocolate, and a whole lot more.
Don’t give this podcast up for Lent. Add it and promise to join us weekly.
No doubt the Seahawks last play at the goal line is the worst call ever made in the history of the Super Bowl. I am quite sure Seattle coaches, players, and fans wish for a do-over.
There are no do-overs in football.
The press conferences look for the answers for horrible calls. Rarely, if ever do we hear…
- I made the wrong decision
- It is my fault
- I am sorry
- I resolve to not do that again
Blame gets passed around like an empty donation basket – hurriedly, hoping the next guy will do something with it or that it goes away.
- It didnt happen the way we wanted.
- We thought …. so we ….
- Sometimes things happen
- Next question
Does this happen to you? You make a bad decision. There are no do-overs. You blew it. Do you own your mistake? Do you confess, apologize, and make amends? Do you pass responsibility or blame to someone or something else? Do you apologize as though it is their fault and not yours? Do you ignore it and hope it goes away?
Our model is confession. To confess means to admit. Admit your mistake. Admit your decision to act. Confess that it was wrong. Apologize. Resolve not to repeat it.
It takes guts to admit mistakes, especially to spouses and children, but we have to do it. Do not wait on a press conference. Do not wait on an apology from someone else. You do your part and confess. Let God handle the other person.
New live podcast tomorrow night at 9pm central. Last week we talked about the Blessed Virgin Mary. Wednesday we will pick up where we left off and discuss Our Lady.
- Marian Dogma
- and more
Join us live. Http://www.fiatministrynetwork.tv
Send your questions and comments now.
Tactical Catholic goes live tonight at 9pm central with episode 013. Tonight we are talking about the Blessed Mother. What role does the Virgin Mary play in salvation history?
Join us at http://www.fiatministrynetwork.tv/live 9pm central.
Missed the show or want to listen to previous shows? Tactical Catholic is on Stitcher and iTunes.