Category Archives: Catholic Belief

What a week!

Time has flown by so fast! I cannot believe my last post was my podcast promo. Being in the thick of wrestling season has blurred my days and nights. However, I would not trade this time for anything. I love wrestling and I love coaching.

Today is Tuesday, or so I am told. That means live show tomorrow night. Our topic will be the Blessed Virgin Mary. We should discuss Marian dogma, St Louis de Montfort, and probably apparitions. I expect some conversation.

Wednesday night. Tactical Catholic Podcast LIVE. 9pm central. http://www.fiatministrynetwork.tv

Got a question you want us to address on the podcast? Leave a comment below or use the contact tab above for private messages.

New Year Manliness

This is what we need to resolve to do: grow in virtue. My challenge to all of you Catholic dudes (and dudettes, and non-Catholics of all flavors) is to read this section from the Catechism and start working out with virtue development.

By the way, I pasted the header info as well. Notice where these virtue paragraphs are located. This, my friends, is important Christian life . Hit it!

PART THREE: LIFE IN CHRIST 

SECTION ONE: MAN’S VOCATION LIFE IN THE SPIRIT 

CHAPTER ONE: THE DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON 

ARTICLE 7: THE VIRTUES

1803 “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.

The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.

I. THE HUMAN VIRTUES

1804 Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good.

The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love.

The cardinal virtues

1805 Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called “cardinal”; all the others are grouped around them. They are: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. “If anyone loves righteousness, [Wisdom’s] labors are virtues; for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice, and courage.” These virtues are praised under other names in many passages of Scripture.

1806 Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it; “the prudent man looks where he is going.” “Keep sane and sober for your prayers.” Prudence is “right reason in action,” writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle. It is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. It is called auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues); it guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.

1807 Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the “virtue of religion.” Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. “You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.” “Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.”

1808 Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause. “The Lord is my strength and my song.” “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

1809 Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: “Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart.” Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: “Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites.” In the New Testament it is called “moderation” or “sobriety.” We ought “to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world.”

To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one’s heart, with all one’s soul and with all one’s efforts; from this it comes about that love is kept whole and uncorrupted (through temperance). No misfortune can disturb it (and this is fortitude). It obeys only [God] (and this is justice), and is careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised by deceit or trickery (and this is prudence).

The virtues and grace

1810 Human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by divine grace. With God’s help, they forge character and give facility in the practice of the good. The virtuous man is happy to practice them.

1811 It is not easy for man, wounded by sin, to maintain moral balance. Christ’s gift of salvation offers us the grace necessary to persevere in the pursuit of the virtues. Everyone should always ask for this grace of light and strength, frequent the sacraments, cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and follow his calls to love what is good and shun evil.

BRAIN Train for 12/30/14

Catholic guys should spend 30 minutes in focused thought to start their day. Non Catholics should do the same. Here are my suggestions.

Meditate on Sacred Scripture:
◾Proverbs 30
◾Psalm 30

Situational Response. Eliminate any persons from the scenario who do not apply to your family.

You are at home getting ready for vigil Mass for the feast of Mary Mother of God.

Your kid asks, “Why do we have to go to Mass?”

“Because I said so.” and [shrugs] are not acceptable.

Share any good ideas from your drill time in the comment boxes.

Feast of the Nativity

Today, let us meditate on the mysteries of the Nativity, most especially the Word Made Flesh dwelling with us, Emmanuel.

Merry Christmas!

Tactical Catholic Podcast Episode 011: Instant Catholics! Just add holy water

In Episode 011, we will talk about being instant, ready to do what must be done in the moment.  Vigilence is a great way to overcome many of the difficulties we face each day. Find out how.

LIVE and fully interactive video podcast

Join us live 12/17 at 9pm central http://www.fiatministrynetwork.tv

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It’s more fun when you’re there. See you tonight.

Missed a show? Download the audio at iTunes.

Take Care of the Flock or Saint Nicholas Will Knock You Silly

December 6th is the feast of St. Nicholas of Myra. He is the bishop most people recognize as Santa Claus. In fact, there is a really neat program that EWTN runs each year showing how this legendary saint became the jolly old St. Nick in the red suit. Saint Nicholas is best known for the stories surrounding his work with the poor and children, even before he became Bishop of Myra in what is now called Turkey. One story that immediately comes to mind involves a poor man with three daughters who was in need of a dowry for each so that they could be married and not face a life of singleness (and likely prostitution). On three separate occasions, Nicholas found a way to deliver money in secret to the father, saving his daughters.

Now don’t get me wrong, I really love these stories because they reveal the most well known qualities of bishops, such as loving care of his flock, helping right injustices, and caring for those less fortunate. One story, however, stands out in my mind as probably one of the most important duties of a bishop, protecting the Church from heresy.

Students of Church History can tell you that for the first 400 years of Christianity, the primary discussion among bishops was “How can we best define WHO and WHAT Jesus is?” The bishops knew that Jesus Christ was the Lord, the Messiah, the Son of God, God Incarnate, the Word made flesh. They knew Jesus was divine, but what about his humanity? He was also born to a human mother. So how did the humanity and divinity work in the life of Jesus? The first several ecumenical councils dealt especially with the terms that would help teach future generations of Christians. One of these councils was the Council of Nicea in 325. It is said that Bishop Nicholas was there.

There was a bishop named Arius from Egypt, who was seeking to convince other bishops that Jesus was a created being and therefore not always God. As the story goes, Bishop Nicholas himself argued on the council floor with Bishop Arius. At the height of the argument, Bishop Nicholas had heard all he could stand and punched Bishop Arius right in the face! Here is my dramatization of that event.

Arius: My brother bishops, Jesus had a definitive point in time…

Nicholas: Stop. That’s not true.

Arius: …in which Jesus the Christ…

Nicholas: We’ve been over this, Bishop Arius. There is not a point in time in which Jesus was not God.

Arius: Ahem. As I was saying, there must have been a definitive point in time in which…

Nicholas: Don’t say it.

Arius: …Jesus…

Nicholas: Arius!

Arius: …assumed…

Nicholas: I’M WARNING YOU

Arius: …divinity. See it’s that… My dear Bishop Nicholas, what are you doing?

Nicholas’ Fist: WHAM!

Nicholas: Ho…Ho…Ho.

So maybe it didn’t happen that way, but it does bring to mind something important (besides a holly jolly right hook). Doctrine matters. It matters what we believe, and it is the duty of our shepherds, the bishops of the Church, to defend the truth against the creeping heresies that constantly assail the minds of the faithful. In a world inundated by relativism and immorality, anyone standing up and saying there is an absolute truth and there is a right and wrong is in for a world of conflict. However, it must be done. Truth be told, it is the duty of each and every Christian to defend the Faith, but it is a primary duty of the Bishop to teach us, passing on (Latin: traditio) the truth.

For this reason, we should always pray for our bishops. They need our prayers and support because they are under loads of pressure. In each diocese, there are problems, and the buck stops with that man in the cathedral. He needs to know that you support his office and that you pray for him. If you think your bishop is less than perfect, then pray that much more for him. Pray that he will have the courage of St. Nicholas to stand up for injustice, to feed the poor, to look after children, and to defend the faith against heresy.

Here is a great prayer to St. Nicholas from Pope Gregory XVI:

Glorious Nicholas, my own protector! From that bright throne where thou dost enjoy the vision of thy God, in pity turn thine eyes upon me;   ask for me from God those graces and helps most seasonable in my present necessities, whether spiritual or temporal, and especially the grace of . . . . . . if such be expedient for my eternal welfare.

Forget not, glorious and holy bishop, our Sovereign Pontiff, the holy Church, and this pious city.

Bring back to the right way of salvation those who live steeped in sin, or buried in the darkness of ignorance, error, and heresy.

Comfort the sorrowing, provide for the needy, strengthen the weak-hearted, defend the oppressed,     help the sick; let all know the effects of thy powerful patronage with Him Who is the supreme giver of all good. Amen

Are You Getting Anything Out of Mass?

Tactical Catholic was at Magnificat Day on Saturday in Memphis, Tennessee.  My wife and I are so blessed to have been there with so many amazing things going on.  I wanted to high five every single Dominican I could, but I honestly lost track there were so many.  The Order of Preachers was in full effect on Saturday and I’m so glad for it.  No offense to the many beautiful religious orders out there, but my heart is with the Dominican Order.  In fact, my current discernment is whether or not to join their Third Order as a layman.  But my fanboy attitude toward the St. Dominic and friends will have to wait, because I need to discuss the main point for today’s morning post. Read the rest of this entry

RCIA: How a Year-Round Model Works

More and more parishes are seeing the benefits of engaging a year round RCIA, but some pastors are hesitant. They pause because they likely have never seen it in action. What does a year round RCIA look like? Read the rest of this entry

Turning the Key of Effective Evangelism

In my previous article, I mentioned the need for forthrightness and honesty when it comes to sharing the faith.  The focus was personal transparency.  We must show the lived reality of Christ in our lives if we expect others to take it seriously.  We are not salesmen, we are evangelists!

But wait, there’s more!

We have to have full disclosure of the Gospel itself.

What?

We must present the fullness of the Gospel.  There is no sense in presenting part of the truth and hiding the less savory parts.  What do I mean?

I could go on for a long time on the specifics, but let me summarize a couple of critical points.  If you are a child of God, you should know that by virtue of your baptism into Christ’s death that you are DEAD to sin and its power.  That means that you should be choosing to do good and not giving in to temptation as you formerly did.  What’s more, you are called to perfection.  Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).

Now, you could pretend that sin is somehow redefined once you become a Christian, but you’d be lying.  Sin is very real and the temptations will increase if they do anything.  So what’s the man of God to do?  He must daily put on the armor of God and choose virtue over sin and against the world.  Let me tell you, it’s hard work and the more temptation you allow yourself to be subject to, the more tired you’ll be.  The good part of this story is that, like a good coach, God has given you everything you need to overcome the temptation and avoid sin.  BUT, it’s not passive.  You must choose and you must walk in holiness.  We don’t hear that often do we?  We hear about mercy and forgiveness, and we need that, but we also need to keep ourselves pure.  After all, we are called to total union with God and what relation does God have with sin?  Read your catechism and your Bible for details.  This article is focused on the reality for total disclosure.

What else is part of the Faith?  Love.  Real love is at the core of who we are as Christians.  Real love is sacrifice and that means we choose the good of another over our own good.  This is most perfectly expressed in marriage.  In matrimony, the husband completely lays down his life for his wife, and she completely lays down her life for her husband.  This is done in spite of feelings, appearances, circumstances, finances, self-justification, etc.  That kind of living takes courage, because we want things for ourselves.  Total self-giving love, folks, is difficult.  Need a quick example?  Sex.  The marital embrace is not designed for pleasure.  It is pleasurable to be sure, but its design is for unity and procreation.  Any attempt to remove one or both purposes turns sex into a mutual masturbation session, in which spouses use one another for physical pleasure.  Grossed out?  You should be.  Sex is beautiful and the natural products of the marital embrace are unity and procreation.  That means we should not be surprised when new life comes from our union.  That was God’s plan.  To say “we don’t want kids” or “we want to _____ before we think about kids” betrays a lack of understanding of what marriage is about.  Sacrifice for the good of another.  We sacrifice our vacations, our plans, our hobbies, our whatever for the good of someone we might not even see for 9 months.  If you’re not ready for life, you’re not ready to get married.  If you think you wanna get married and then spend all your time away from your kid(s), you’re gonna pay for that later and you won’t like the way the bill comes.  Love is sacrifice.  A good premarital counselor will start there and not with curtain color or “compatibility” tests.  A good counselor will have the balls to say “You’re not ready and I won’t marry you until you are.”

By the way, you’ll never be prepared for every eventuality of this life, especially marriage, but when you make those vows, man you are agreeing to lay down everything for this woman.  It’s not a permit for sex, it’s a beginning of total self giving on a whole new level.  In fact, the self giving should be evident long before rings are bought.

But I’m not talking about marriage either.  Hmm.  Good articles for later.  Boy howdy, have I learned a lot the hard way.

So guys, when we share Jesus, we have to be forthright and disclose the reality that Christians are a persecuted people, a people who love fiercely, a people who stand for what’s right even when others do not.  We have always stood in contrast against the ways of this world.  The Christian life is difficult and very often devoid of emotional “consoltations”.  However, in the Christian life we are given LIFE by the God who made us.  We are given GRACE to strengthen us to do the things we must do.  We are given FORGIVENESS and MERCY to pick us back up when we fall.  We have HOPE in a future of eternity with God.  We have a FAMILY that spans human history through the CHURCH here on earth and in Heaven.

You can share all of this.  You can share your struggles.  You can share your victories.  You WILL share Jesus one way or another.  Like Jesus’ challenge in the sermon on the mount, “Let your light shine before men IN SUCH A WAY that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

 

Jesus is the Standard, not some dude you know

Catholics understand that we are all called to holiness. That is why it is called the Universal Call. This call to “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” applies to you whether you are Catholic, Protestant, agnostic, atheist, white, black, slave, free, man, woman, boy, or girl.

And since we know these words (Mt 5:48) come from Jesus, who is the Christ, we know they are trustworthy. So now what?

Oh crap.

Now you could do what many do and convince yourself that God only winks at justice and that He overlooks your iniquities. Problem is that our God is a consuming fire. He is purity. Sin, even ignored sin, has no place in his presence. God is truth and justice. He cannot pretend.

Well then we can believe that God has set a standard that is impossible. That wpuld reduce Christ to an arrogant prick who is not trustworthy. Jesus does not command his followers to do what is impossible.

Jesus knows that in Him we are made righteous. Romans 6 reminds us that we have been born anew and are dead to the life of sin. If God has said you are clean, you are clean. This ontological change is wrought by Christ Himself, infusing you with His very life. What remains is for you to abide in Him.

Men, God has given us every possible grace so that we can live in Him and free from sin. It is hard work to strive against sin and temptation. The easy way is to give in. After all, isn’t everybody else giving in? The true fight is to stick it out like a man. “Submit, therefore to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee.” Why, because you are a badass? No, because the life of Christ in you is connecting you to the fullness of the Holy Trinity. God wins. Stick with Him and don’t strike out on your own.

Why this rant? Because I know how fickle we can be. I know how often we look at men getting away with things. We say, at least I am better than that guy. It doesn’t matter. God’s perfection is the standard. Best you and I get in gear and follow Him instead.