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Monthly Archives: February 2015

2nd Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar

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2nd Sorrowful Mystery:  The Scourging at the pillar

“Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.”  John 19:1

The fruit of the mystery is purity, and accepting the will of God.

They used a whip made of several strips of leather that were embedded at the ends with pieces of bone and lead.  No Roman limitation was placed on the number of lashings inflicted, and often the victim didn’t survive the flogging.  Jesus did.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

Every blow from that cruel whip was for my sake.  Every vicious tear in His flesh, every drop of precious blood that flowed was for my healing.  Every agonizing moment of pain He endured was to secure my peace.  His punishment, my freedom.

My impurities are not beaten out of me; they were beaten out of Him.

God deals with me gently and patiently, always with love.

I can’t even fathom the harsh treatment Jesus received in my stead.  He must have cried out in pain, but He never protested.  He never even tried to whisper a plea to the Father, “Stop!  Please stop!”

He would do anything to rescue a lost child.

Me.

You.

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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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1st Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden

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1st Sorrowful Mystery:  The Agony in the Garden

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.  And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.  Luke 22:42-44

The fruit of the mystery is true contrition for our sins.

True contrition. Before we can have true contrition, we have to first truly understand that we have sinned.

Our self-obsessed, “enlightened” society would very much like to proclaim Sin as an archaic, prohibitive concept whose time is over.  Moral restrictions, clearly defined standards of right and wrong, and consequences for violations are all antiquated notions wrongly imposed on people of free will, says the modern mind.

To dare to suggest that Someone outside ourselves, higher than ourselves has the authority to define right and wrong, good and evil, and then establish the just punishment for wrongdoing, well, that’s downright blasphemous in this age of moral relativism.

How can we be truly sorry if we’re not thoroughly convinced we’ve done wrong?  Okay, maybe we can admit that we’ve sinned, but we haven’t done anything truly terrible, so it’s not really that bad.  It can’t be that big a deal.

Take another look at that scene in the Garden. Jesus was in so much anguish that He sweat blood as He prayed!  He asked God if there was some other way to accomplish the plan, so it’s obvious this Sin problem is a very big deal, indeed. The torture He was about to suffer wasn’t due to something small or trivial.

But I can’t help wondering what grieves Him more – that we sin, or that we try to cover our sin, make light of it, and even delight in it?

Is it the arrogance that inhabits our sins and causes us to deny that we haven’t just broken a rule or made a little mistake – we have sinned against a perfect and just God who also happens to love us beyond our comprehension?! Our sin is aggravated by prideful indifference. Insult is added to injury.

Why? Because it is scary as all hell, literally, to fully grasp the gravity of our own sin and the consequences of it, and were it not for the Cross and the unspeakable love of the Father, none of us could bear it. Contrition that begins out of fear of the just punishment for sin is a good place to start, but God isn’t satisfied with leaving us there. He wants to overwhelm us with His love; that crazy, illogical, endless love that took our hideous sin upon His perfect Self and endured our punishment for us.

We no longer have anything to fear.  Now we are free to be repentant out of sorrow, not terror or despair. We can face our wretched condition and own up to our sins honestly, because what awaits us is forgiveness, not wrath. Once that reality takes root in our hearts, then gratitude inspires us, humility enables us, and LOVE compels us to true contrition.

“Blessed is he who transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.  When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.  Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”   Psalm 32:1-5

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.”  Psalm 51:1-4, 7

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2015 in Lent, rosary

 

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Fifty Shades of Madness: No Gray Area Here

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I can’t say it any better than the Dowager Countess of Grantham: Have we all stepped through the looking glass?

Yes, I’m afraid that collectively, as a culture, we have indeed. We no longer seem to recognize the plainly absurd as absurd. Up is down; out is in; wrong is right; insane is normal.

I have been holding out hope that the rapid descent of our culture into utter madness would be stopped, or at least slowed because enough people would come to their senses and find their backbones. I’m not sure I can hold that hope any longer.

Things that are as fundamental to the human person as being male and female, mother and father, are being jettisoned as oppressive and discriminatory, in favor of bizarre and thoroughly fabricated, convoluted notions of human sexuality. All sense of sacrifice and obligation toward children and their true best interest seems to have also been rejected in favor of the feelings, desires, and “rights” of the adults.

Imagine standing in a crowded stadium full of people, on a bright, sunny day, and being the only one there who knows the sky is blue. Everyone else now insists it’s pink. It’s absurd, but try as you may, you cannot convince anyone of the error of their thinking. You show them what blue looks like, but still they say, “We don’t want a blue sky anymore. We want pink! We say it’s pink, so it’s pink!”

Fifty Shades of Grey has been the latest offering of proof that we have gone completely mad.

A story that is plainly, unabashedly about sado-masachism, rape, and pornography is being hailed as romantic. It’s been offered as a Valentine to the world, and devoured with enthusiasm as though it were fine chocolate. Women look at Christian Grey, a man who is controlling, abusive, selfish, and manipulative — a man who knows nothing at all about love — and they swoon. Because he’s rich and handsome. That is madness.

“Oh, it’s just a book. It’s just fantasy.” What crazy talk! Have we all really forgotten the power of an idea that really catches on and gets gobbled up by the masses? Have we forgotten the kind of influence a book can have on a person, and on a culture?

However the money-machine has packaged and sold it, FSoG is not a love story. Christian Grey does not regard Anastasia as someone to respect and cherish; he certainly doesn’t view her as someone to protect and honor. He uses her and abuses her. He manipulates her into “consenting” to what he wants, so that his every sick and selfish desire can be satisfied. And this, somehow, is portrayed as an adult romance to be gushed over?

Dads, raise your hands: How many of you want your daughter to get involved with the likes of Christian Grey? Well, guess what? Thanks to the phenomenon of the book and movie, you can rest assured that there will be more and more Grey’s out there looking for young women they can easily dominate. The culture is telling them it’s not only alright, but it’s the kind of relationship women really, secretly want.

What are you going to tell your daughter about men like Grey? What are you going to tell her about porn and BDSM? Not comfortable having that conversation, you say? You better get comfortable real fast, because she’s having that conversation without you, with folks who do not have her welfare in mind.

And Dads, what are you saying to your sons about FSoG? Do you want your son to think it’s okay to twist a woman into signing a contract agreeing to be bound, beaten, and raped? Who’s going to tell the guys that that sort of thing is not sexy? Who’s going to tell them it’s NOT love? Who’s going to tell them it’s not how a real man behaves?

Moms, what about you? Would you just be delighted to learn that your daughter was Anastasia? That she was being blindfolded and bound, beaten, and treated like a piece of meat for some man’s selfish pleasure? Is that progress for women? “Mom and Dad, I’ve met the most amazing man. He’s rich and handsome. He had me sign a contract stating he could put me in handcuffs, blindfold me, beat me, and assault me. He says I shouldn’t overthink it. But don’t worry. It’s all good because I consented.”

Would you just be so proud of your son if he treated a young woman that way? Would you brag about him to your friends and rave of his accomplishments? “He’s a sado-masochist! He’s a master of dominance. We couldn’t be more proud of him!”

Scores of women — Protestant Christian women, Catholic women — have bought this garbage and then defended doing so. That is just madness. That is an inexcusable action. Yes, inexcusable. Why? Because “to whom much is given, much more will be required.” As part of the Body of Christ, you’ve been given True Love. You know what and Who love is. You have a duty to be a witness of that love to the world, and to refuse to buy — literally and figuratively — the counterfeit ideas of love, marriage, and sex that come from the pit of hell.

I’ve heard the pathetic rationale — “I probably won’t see the movie, but I read the book and I enjoyed it…it’s really no worse than a lot of other adult romance novels” — and I’m just gob-smacked.

What the heck are y’all reading? If this is run-of-the-mill “adult romance” to you, then you are a big part of the problem. And you have no excuse. You are obligated to know better and do better. You know darn well that FSoG has nothing whatsoever to do with love. You know darn well is pornography. It’s smut. You know it. How can you enjoy that?

Are you living under a rock that you don’t grasp the destructive force of pornography in our culture? How can you in any good conscience contribute to that destruction?

Would you think someone smart for dabbling in a little Ebola? Maybe as long as Ebola took you for a private helicopter ride, and invited you into the Penthouse suite and served champagne? Ooh, the danger, the risk, the glitter… makes it exciting!

Pornography ought to be regarded with greater alarm and more isolation than the Ebola virus because it is far more deadly. It can kill the soul of a person; it will kill a marriage and ruin a family. It destroys lives every single day from the inside out. It’s pure evil.

(Don’t believe me? Believe Ted Bundy.)

But you FSoG fans out there, you’ve lost your minds. You don’t run from this insidious plague. You’re so hypnotized by a glamorous illusion you’re willing to get cozy with it. You pay for the privilege of being infected.

And no, it’s not just your life and your private choice. Your decision to buy the book, see the movie, and defend those decisions has given aid and comfort to the enemy of all our souls, the enemy who prowls like a lion looking for children, spouses, families to devour.

You have become part of the audience for that filth. You’ve helped make it the best-selling, record-breaking hit it’s become. You helped spread spiritual Ebola.

There’s nothing gray or ambiguous about this. As plain as the nose on your face is the fact that FSoG glamorizes an abusive man, portrays him as some twisted sort of romantic idol, normalizes sado-masochism and pornography, and tries to insist that it’s all marvelous because it’s supposedly “consensual.”

A good friend of mine, who’s a Catholic convert and father of 11 children, said it so well:

“There is a line of theological thought (Milton refers to this in Paradise Lost) wherein the first sin committed after the Fall was one of lust. Adam looks at Eve’s nakedness and proceeds to simply take her. Thus at the core of our fallen nature as men is the desire to subjugate and objectify women, rather than nurture, protect, and provide for them. This is why porn is such a grave evil…it is a siren song for men to cast off their hard-won nobility and grace and revert to a default state of depravity.
How much more evil then are materials like “50 Shades”…that teach women that this state of depravity is not only normal…but desirable?”

In real life, Anastasia doesn’t change her abuser. Grey doesn’t transform into a gentleman and become a loving husband. He doesn’t realize how wonderful she is and vow to never hurt her again. No matter how much she “understands him” and no matter how patient she is; no matter how much she thinks she loves him, she cannot turn him into the man she wants. She’ll end up battered, emotionally shattered, abandoned, and possibly dead.

It also has to be admitted that if Christian Grey was a middle-aged, fat, sloppy, ugly man in a crummy neighborhood, no one but no one would be rushing to justify this book or be enthralled by its “romance.” No one would call it anything other than what it is: a perverted tale of a predatory creep and his victim.

Ultimately, the woman most responsible is the author, E.L. James. She spouts the same nonsense about the story being only fantasy, totally consensual between two adults, and not in any way making light of domestic abuse. She’s deluding herself. She’s become wildly wealthy by calling degradation and abuse “romance”, and beguiling all the crowds into accepting madness as perfect sense.

Ms. James and half the world may have gone mad, but I still know vomitous, pornographic trash when I see it. And I’m not so fond of vomit that I’ll sit in it and call it a bubble bath.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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