Monday, June 02, 2008

Leave of Absence...

You've probably realized nothing has been happening here for awhile. My life is too busy and stressful right now, so I find a "leave of absence" necessary. Please keep my grandma V. in your prayers as she has been sick from her chemo and has been in the hospital the past few days. It is not serious at this point, but obviously the chemo is really wearing her out. She appreciates all the prayers very much! Thank you!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

¿Quiere aprender EspaƱol?

This summer God has blessed me with an opportunity to travel to Chile for six weeks to a new Catholic "immersion" school. For six weeks I am supposed to speak pretty much only Spanish so that I can (hopefully) obtain fluency or at least very close to it. I really believe that I should do my best to learn this language (especially with my desire to be a priest one day) as there are so many people in our country today that will benefit from having someone that can reach out to them without a language barrier. The leader of this school has given me an opportunity to raise a little mula if through my advertising efforts an individual signs up to go to this school. So therefore, I am asking that if you yourself do not think God could be calling you to something this radical, perhaps you know someone who could benefit from this, or could even advertise in a local youth group or Catholic college. This IS a Catholic school, so they would have to be willing to participate in Catholic activities etc.. If you are willing to help out a little, I would greatly appreciate it! The next programs are coming up soon with the following dates:

OCTOBER 20th-NOVEMBER 29th, 2008

DECEMBER 10th-JANUARY 13th, 2009 (winter break program)

You can check out the official website here

My Facebook group here

or email for more info.

OR if you are simply interested in helping me advertise (which I would GREATLY appreciate) please email me asking me to send you a poster to hang up. Thanks in advance!

With the upcoming elections in America, what is/are the MOST important voting issue(s) for you?

Abortion/life issues: 12 (75%)

The War and/or Death Penalty: 0 (0%)

The Economy: 0 (0%)

Civil Rights: 0 (0%)

Health Care: 0 (0%)

Religious Freedoms: 0 (0%)

Other: 0 (0%)

I won't be voting: 4 (25%)
Votes: 16
Please vote pro-life!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stump the Chump Answer....

This week's question comes from Eva: "Should we hate the devil?"

My Answer:

Well, honestly this is a very tricky question. First, though I wish to turn your question around a little. Before we think about whether we should hate the Devil, maybe we should think about whether we should have love for him. That probably sounds strange, but some people question this as Jesus tells us we should love all people, even our enemies: "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matthew 5:44-45)

Obviously the Devil is our enemy and he persecutes us, so is Jesus implying that we should love him and pray for him? Now before I answer that question, I wish to share these inserts from the Catechism: "Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels. This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign...[#392] It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. 'There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death.' (St. John Damascen, De Fide orth.) [#393]
So this is saying that the Devil (and demons) has already decided what his will is, and he CANNOT change that. He has rejected God forever. Period. Now let's go back to the question above of whether we should love and pray for the Devil. How can we pray for the devil when he will not change? We can pray for God's protection from him, but praying for the Devil will not do any good as Satan has forever rejected God's grace. How about loving him? As I wrote about earlier when I was questioned about God's love for the souls in Hell, I stated how God's love simply cannot be given to the damned souls as they have rejected God and therefore His love. The same would be applied to the Devil. The Devil cannot receive God's love, because God IS love (1 John 4:16), and since the Devil has rejected God, he has rejected His love which is inseparable. We are to be imitators of Christ and His love, but it is impossible to love the Devil as a Christian as the Devil has rejected God and his love forever. Our 'love' for the Devil would do no good.
But then you didn't ask whether we should love the Devil, but whether we should "hate" the Devil. Now this is where it gets really tricky. Does God "hate" the Devil? Should we hate the Devil? I think we need to define the word hate first before going further. Hate can mean to "wish evil or death on someone" or it can simply be "to detest". The Church clearly condemns "hatred", but renunciation of sin (evil) is simply what every Christian must do. At a baptism, the candidate or sponsor is asked: "do you renounce Satan?... And all of his works?" to which the reply is, "I do renounce him.". When we equate or define hatred as "renunciation" and "detestation" then I think it is safe to say that we should indeed "hate" the devil. As Christians, we should never hold hatred which is a desire or wish for evil upon someone, but we should always seek after love as Christ taught us. Hatred of this latter kind is evil, and although this sounds funny we should really "hate" (despise) that kind of hatred. Unfortunately languages are limited and words can have broad meanings, thus making words like "hate" quite difficult to define. As the Holy Scriptures say: "The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate." (Proverbs 8:13)
The Bible uses this word hate in other references where I believe the definition is clearly "to despise" and not the kind of hatred which is a desire for evil. Look up Psalm 5:4-6 and Luke 14:26 to see further what I mean.

To sum it up: "Should we hate the Devil?"

If you are defining "hate" as "despising" or "renouncing" then the answer is yes. As for "wishing evil", this kind of hate should simply not be apart of a Christian as it is not of God. I hope that answered it pretty well.

Think you can stump the chump???

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 22 MAY 2008 (VIS) - At 7 p.m. today, Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Benedict XVI celebrated Mass on the square in front of Rome's Basilica of St. John Lateran, then presided at the Eucharistic procession to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

In his homily, the Pope spoke of the significance of today's Solemnity through the three fundamental gestures of the celebration. Firstly "our coming together around the altar of the Lord to be together in His presence", secondly "the procession, walking with the Lord", and finally "kneeling before the Lord in adoration".

Explaining the first of these gestures, the Holy Father quoted St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians, where it is written that "there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus'. ... In these words", said the Pope, "we feel the truth and the power of the Christian revolution, the most profound revolution in human history, which we may experience in the Eucharist where people of different ages, sexes, social conditions and political ideas come together in the presence of the Lord. The Eucharist can never be a private matter. ... The Eucharist is public worship, which has nothing esoteric or exclusive about it. ... We remain united, over and above our differences, ... we open to one another in order to become a single thing in Him".

Concerning the second of these gestures, that of "walking with the Lord", Benedict XVI affirmed that "with the gift of Himself in the Eucharist, the Lord Jesus ... raises us up again ... and puts us on the journey with the power of this Bread of life. ... The procession of Corpus Christi teaches us that the Eucharist wants to free us from all distress and discomfort ... so that we can resume the journey with the strength God gives us in Jesus Christ".

"Without the God-with-us, the God Who is near, how can we sustain the pilgrimage of life, either individually or as a society or a family of peoples?" asked the Pope. "The Eucharist is the Sacrament of the God Who does not leave us to journey alone, but puts Himself at our side and shows us the way. Indeed, it is not enough to keep going, it is important to see where we are going! Progress is not enough if there are no criteria of reference".

Finally, the third element of Corpus Christi, that of "kneeling in adoration before the Lord", is "the most valuable and radical remedy against the idolatries of yesterday and today, ... it is a profession of freedom: those who bow to Jesus cannot and must not prostrate themselves before any earthly power, however strong", said the Pope.

As Christians "we prostrate ourselves before God, Who first bowed down towards man ... to save him and give him life, Who knelt before us to wash our dirty feet. Adoring the Body of Christ means believing that there, in that piece of bread, Christ is truly present and gives real meaning to life, to the vast universe as to the smallest of creatures, to the whole of human history as to the briefest of lives".

Following Mass, the Pope presided at a Eucharistic procession that passed along Rome's Via Merulana to the Basilica of St. Mary Major. Along the way, thousands of faithful prayed and sang, accompanying the Blessed Sacrament. An open vehicle transported the Sacrament in a mostrance, before which the Holy Father prayed.
HML/CORPUS CHRISTI/... VIS 080523 (610)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Unfinished Theme

Here is another composition from me! I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

I've said this a thousand times I'm sure...
Yes, I'll say it again.... I'm sorry for not blogging in such a long time. I do have some good excuses I'll try to use though:
I am graduating tomorrow May 17th!!! I have been working to finish up school, though I'll still be doing some more after graduation (isn't that depressing or what???)---what?---I'm homeschooled. I can get away with stuff like that.
I will continue the blogging soon, but please be patient. The Stump the Chump question will be answered by this Thursday...
God Bless you all!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Soon to be Seminarian in Need
I was recently emailed by a young man named Neven Pesa who is a man aspiring to the priesthood, but is faced with completing a serious mission of paying off student loans from his time at Franciscan University in Stubenville before he can enter seminary. The order Neven believes he is called to has accepted him provisionally, but he must be debt free. He has to earn thousands of dollars very soon to complete his goal, but perhaps some of you readers could help him. He is apparently quite musically talented and is selling some CDs that he has personally produced to help him pay his way to seminary. Please consider supporting him.
How well do you like Pope Benedict XVI?

He's AWESOME!: 22 (78%)

He's better than JPII, but I wish he did more: 0 (0%)

I wish he were more like JPII: 0 (0%)

I really don't like him: 1 (3%)

I don't know him well enough: 5 (17%)

He's the Anti-Christ!: 0 (0%)

Who are you talking about?: 0 (0%)

Votes : 28

Thanks to all who took the poll! It appears that our Holy Father is well loved!

Try the new poll...

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Stump the Chump Answer....

This week Joey asked the Stump the Chump question:

"If God loves everyone, does he even have love for souls in hell?"

My Answer:

Wow. Good question! You have almost stumped me on this one. First of all though we have to work with what God's Love is really all about. Does God love everyone? If so, it would reason his love would extend to the souls in Hell.

We read in 1 John 4:16, " We have come to know and believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him." (emphasis added) I will talk about this verse in a second, but first also look at this one:

"For thou art not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not sojourn with thee. The boastful may not stand before thy eyes; thou hatest all evildoers. Thou destroyest those who speak lies; the Lord abhors bloodthirsty and deceitful men." (Psalm 5:4-6 emphasis added)

"Hate" is a pretty "hard-cord" word these days, yet this is the word that the psalmist uses. At the same time we have the passage in 1 John saying that "God is love". So if God is love then how can He hate? Before I answer these questions let's look at one more section of Scripture:

"[Jesus] If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)

Here again we see the use of the word "hate". Now, I wish I knew some Hebrew (for the psalm at least), because only going back to the original text and *context* can you begin to extract the original meaning. Now, I think the context issue is very important for the last verse that I gave you where Jesus tells us that we must "hate" everyone close to us to be worthy of Him. Now this makes absolutely no sense if Jesus is telling us to actually hate in the sense of "desiring evil for someone" or "wishing death" to someone. That makes no sense since Jesus clearly states many times about how we must have love for all people and that loving our neighbor is the second most important commandment in the world. I believe the word "hate" in Jesus' context is meaning "to detest", in the sense of: "you can't love (hold on to) your mom (or whoever) more than me, so that you would do what she wanted you to do and not what I (Jesus) wanted you to do". We must deny ourselves and place God first. That's what I believe Jesus is telling us there. I think the same context can be applied to the psalm. God detests evildoers makes a whole lot of sense. Obviously those who don't follow Him will not be supported or helped by Him, which brings us back to our first verse in 1 John.

"...whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him." This begins to make sense when we come to understand an important principle with how God's Love works. Love is a two way road. I can love someone who hates me, but they will not be able to receive my love because of their hatred for me. They won't give a care if I love them, and they want nothing to do with me, so how can my love do anything for them until they allow themselves to be open? Of course as a Christian I must love everyone, but if someone really hates me my love will not do them any good (excluding the good example etc.), though I would benefit from it. God's love is the same principle. If someone loves God, God's love can pour into their lives, because remember that "God is love". To receive God is the same as to receive love. When we reject God, we are the ones who are rejecting His love. God's love cannot enter if we reject God because again "God is love". So many times people desire to receive God's love, and yet they want nothing to do with God. You can only have all or nothing, there is no in between. So in the psalm where it says God "hates evildoers", it stands to reason that He is not able to give His love to them because they have rejected His gift of love. If they repented of their sin, His love would be able to be given.

"...does he even have love for souls in hell?"

Let's talk about Hell. Hell is not a place where God has fun eternally torturing those who didn't like Him. Hell is simply the place where one is utterly separated from God and His Grace. I like to think of how eternity begins now. Right now, this second we are all either living for God or against Him. We show this through how we live. Jesus said "You are my friends if you do what I command you." (John 15:14) There you have it. Many people have no desire to follow Christ and His ways. These people have rejected God. No one will be dragged off "kicking and screaming" into Hell. Remember that Hell is the place totally separated from God and His love, so therefore Heaven is the place totally filled with God and His love. Those who have chosen to reject God would suffer much more in Heaven, as they could not stand being in His presence. Therefore they would willingly go to Hell, even though Hell is certainly no fun place to be. It is a place of eternal suffering as living without God's love can only be torture and imprisonment. Of course, the Devil will try to paint a pretty picture of sin for us on Earth. Just remember he's on the campaign trail today. So that should answer your question. God is love, but His love can only be received by those who really desire it. Those souls who have chosen to reject God and are now in Hell, have rejected His love, and because our God is a loving God He will not force them to receive His gifts.

I hope that answered it pretty well.

Think you can stump the chump???

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Prayers for my Grandma V.
Any prayers you guys could give for my grandma "V." would be very much appreciated. She has recently been put back on Chemo-Therapy after several years of her breast cancer being steady, as the cancer numbers have been going up for the past several months. I visited her today and she is not doing well. She is so weak and sick she can't really get out of bed. She suffers many other health issues as well. She has Scleroderma (a tissue disease), borderline diabetes, bad arthritis, some nerve problems in her feet, sleep apnea, and can easily suffer from depression as well. Also, recently she has some sore on her arm which has given her a lot of pain. Praise the Lord she is a good Catholic, but please pray that she would stay close to Jesus through her suffering which she endures 24/7. After her last chemo treatment a few days ago, she could barely talk as she was so out of energy. It almost seems like the chemo will kill her quicker than the cancer! Please pray for her and for our family who is taking care of her. Thank you, and I will pray for you all as well!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Stump The Chump!
Well, since it's Thursday it's time for Stump the Chump! The rules are simple:
1. Comment in this post a question (religiously oriented) that you think will "stump" me
2. Come back the next Thursday to see if there is a response
3. If there is no response you have "stumped the chump" and you will be publicly recognized on this blog
4. If there is a response, comment on how well I answered it
5. If three or more comments show that I have not answered the question well, you will be recognised as having "stumped the chump"
Are you ready?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Feast of St. Pius V

Father, you chose Saint Pius V as pope of your Church to protect the faith and give you more fitting worship. By his prayers, help us to celebrate your holy mysteries with a living faith and an effective love. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. (Prayer from the Divine Office)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Am Legend Theme

Here is another music video I made. This is one of the themes from the amazing soundtrack by James Newton Howard from the amazing movie "I am Legend". Tell me what you think.

Monday, April 28, 2008

You can tell I'm running out of stuff to blog on when...

I start to post homework assignments... Yes sorry, but if you are quite bored maybe you will enjoy reading this essay of mine about Dante's Purgatorio. Here it is below:

Dante’s Insights Into Love and Sin

Dante Alighieri follows his Inferno from the Divine Comedy with The Purgatorio. This second installment brings about some very strong insights into the human person and soul just as the Inferno did. As Dante has now reached closer to Heaven, Purgatory, we are able to glimpse at the root causes of the vices, which if continued would’ve led to the souls’ damnation as witnessed in the Inferno. In Purgatory the souls make reparation for their sins which are now seen clearly as evil and not as the superficial beauty they deceptively held while on earth. It seems that all of the sins can be placed in one of three categories: corrupt love, not enough love, or impure love.
The lowest three levels of Purgatory contain those souls who need purifying from sins caused by corrupt forms of love. The first of these levels holds the prideful. The vice of pride, according to Christian Tradition, is ultimately the source of all sin. Pride is a corrupt form of love as it places love of oneself or of one’s own accomplishments over love of God and neighbor. This distorted love leads many to deceive themselves of their own greatness and to find their value in relation with themselves or their power and not in relationship with God. In reparation for this sin the guilty souls have to carry an enormous boulder on their shoulders. The boulder is made in size according to the amount of pride they had while on earth. The second level contains those souls who were guilty of the sin of envy. Envy is a corrupt form of love as it possesses only love for oneself and one’s own wellbeing, and has no desire that others should be well off. Instead of being envious of other people, one should be thankful and joyful that they are blessed as this is what true love is. In punishment, the envious souls have their eyes wired shut. In their lives on earth they used their eyes to lead them into sin, and so now they must suffer blindness in reparation. The final level within the “corrupt love” category is for the wrathful. The wrathful have given into so much anger that they are blind to reason and to love. Although Jesus commands us to love our neighbor and to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us, the soul filled with wrath is self-consumed and refuses to reason through love or Christian reasoning. In penance for their sin, these souls are subjected to living in a smoky environment which is blinding. Just as these souls were filled with wrath which blinded them from love and reason, they now suffer from blindness.
The second category in Purgatory is for the souls who did not possess enough love. There is only one level in this category, and it is for the purification of the slothful. The slothful have not committed something wrong, rather they have omitted from doing what is right. They have chosen to do what is most easy and not to do what is right (even though they have not committed something wrong). Their irresponsibility and lack of love for God and neighbor is now punished in Purgatory through the souls having to run quickly and constantly. Although Dante is normally able to talk to the different souls at the various places in Purgatory, the souls here have no time to stop and chat. Only one shade takes advantage of an opportunity by shouting as he passes by. In life they wasted their time, and so now in Purgatory they must waste no time in their purification.
The final category in Purgatory is for those souls whose love was impure. This category is divided into three levels. The first of these levels is for the souls guilty of the sin of avarice. The souls who have given into this vice that is caused from impure love have either hoarded possessions or have seriously wasted their possessions without reason . Although the desire for those things which sustain man (i.e. clothing, shelter, enough money) are completely fine and natural, the inordinate love of these things is wrong and “impure” as it impedes others from having what is needed and it replaces love for God. The souls who have sinned in this way are punished in Purgatory through possessing nothing whatsoever and being crowded together so as to not even possess their own space. The next level is for the gluttonous. These souls, have placed a love of their appetites and tastes above reason and natural law, and thus they are filled with an immoderate and impure love for what is carnal. They have placed their love of food above their love of God, their neighbor, and themselves. These souls now suffer to eat no food and to have their bodies in a wretched decaying state with their mouths as a gaping wound. The final level in Purgatory is for the souls who have committed sins of lust. Through lust these souls have distorted natural and appropriate love of neighbor by worshiping sensual pleasures and rejecting true charity. Lust is a great perversion of love as it only is concerned with itself and not for anyone or anything else. These lustful souls now must endure a burning cleansing fire which will not consume them, but which continually inflicts it’s burning painful sensation.
Dante’s Purgatorio has given us magnificent insights into the human soul and how love can be expressed. His idea that all sin is derived from corrupt, impure, or lack of love is really quite astounding. When we look closely at it, it seems that Dante really has visited Purgatory and come back to share with us his amazing wisdom. Perhaps this is why Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father: “I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.” (John 17:26)