Weeks back I got a glance from my father-in-law (it was over why I didn't get excited about the rosary or something...can't remember exactly) that brings back some feelings that I still carry to this day.
I'm catholic thru and thru. If catholics bled green, you'd see green running through my vains. However (and this is a big however), I am a stoic catholic. I don't get excited or get feelings for all the catholic stuff. Whether it be praying the rosary, lent, being a part of a novena, or anything like that. I can't seem to manufacture any genuine feelings toward it. I believe in them and I am aware the importance they have in the life of a catholic, but I just can't seem to "get into it" for lack of a better term. And it's always followed with guilt. Then I start questioning why in the world I don't feel anything? Do I really believe it? It's a vicious cycle.
I can't remember where I read or heard this but it reminds of something I heard in a movie that said "If you build it, they will come". Some baseball movie. Anyways, it made me think of my own saying that goes "If you do it, the feelings will come". So mostly, I do much of the catholic traditions out of a sense of duty with hopes that the feelings will come. Slowly, they are starting to come.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Weeks back I got a glance from my father-in-law (it was over why I didn't get excited about the rosary or something...can't remember exactly) that brings back some feelings that I still carry to this day.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I was at a restaurant today, and the couple behind me were discussing (fairly loudly) things about the catholic church. The one thing they agreed on was that it was a guilt ridden church. They hated how the priest, or other catholics, or even the faith in general makes them feel guilty about their life.
Is this a general idea of followers? Do people really feel that the Catholic church. is a guilt-full church?
Guilt is supposed to serve as a useful means to get us to repent and ponder over our actions. Too much guilt and no guilt can have dire consequences. It’s got its place, but like other feelings, it can also lead you down a slippery path.
To give you a classic example of a man who took guilt too far, read up on Martin Luther’s life. He couldn’t tolerate the uncertainty of hard work and that the sacraments could do anything to save him. The man just didn’t believe anything man could possibly devise was ever enough to satisfy God (hence, his modified view of salvation). He was right about man not ever being able to do enough, but wrong about the sacraments.
Only a supernatural act (sacrifice) can heal a supernatural wound (the fall of man). And it’s more then just something you do, but something you need to believe in. Otherwise, you can literally drive yourself nuts.
I happen to have experienced both; not feeling any guilt, to then feeling it to the point of not even believing forgiveness actually does something to you. In both situations, it affected me negatively.
Monday, September 7, 2009
I figured it was only fitting to start with this question.
I understand that the Catholic church is the first church, but that in and of itself i do not think is enough of a reason to believe in it. With as much as the Catholic church has changed over the years it could not have always been correct in doctrine.
There are many things about the Catholic church that i do not understand and i am seeking a deeper understanding on the main points of Catholicism such as the sacraments, rosarie (spelling?), and the communion of the saints, ect...
Well, I’m going to try to keep this as short as I can. I won’t be covering the sacraments, rosary, communion of saints, etc. I couldn’t possibly do them justice in this post. I will though, cover your initial observation you made about the Catholic Church being first and changing over the years. I’m going to go out on limb and try something new and unique for a change. Hopefully it goes well.
One of the most difficult shifts for me coming into the Catholic Church was not the doctrines (that came later), but rather the world view and presuppositions/bias that come with it. Imagine belief like a lever (bare with me as I attempt to make a point), once pulled, moves everything else in a person’s life. Are you a Liberal? A doctor? A bigot? Or how about a serial killer? These are all merely species of belief in action. Your beliefs define your vision of the world; they are the very fabric of your behavior; they determine your emotional responses to other human beings. If you doubt this, consider your perception and experience with the world would suddenly change if you came to believe one of the following:
1. You only have two weeks to live
2. The orange juice in your fridge makes you invisible
3. You’ve just won the lottery
These are mere words, until you believe them. Once believed they become part of the very apparatus of your mind, determining and altering your desires, fears, interpretations, and behavior.
Now the same applies with how you approach the Bible and Christianity as a whole. Let me give you an example. It is a common held belief in non-Catholic Christian denominations that the People of God (the Church) are a people of a book (The Bible). Now approaching the Bible with such a thing in mind completely alters how you may interpret the very verses you read. Most verses dealing with men being given authority (like the Apostles and those who followed) will either be completely ignored or minimized. To take them too serious would lean to the understanding that the People of God aren’t just a people of a book, but also of a living authority.
This is just one example that can make or break a person. Obviously there are varying degrees in which people might place importance into a verse. But the underlying biases, presuppositions, world view, completely can change how you interpret verses in the Bible.
You’re probably thinking “Ok, Victor that’s sounds wonderful but what does that have to do with the Catholic Church as it relates to my questions?” Well, in my research and experience I have come to find out that everybody has a bias, presuppositions, beliefs, world view, etc. Once you come to realize this, then it’s not about eradicating it but instead coming to embrace one. Now you’re probably thinking “So you said all that just to tell me that both you and I have a bias, presuppositions, and all that? And that we shouldn’t get rid of it?” Hold your horses! Not done yet. What I’m saying is that the question has never been about eradicating your bias, presuppositions, world view, beliefs, etc. because as I showed above that not only can you not get rid of it, but having unhealthy biases/beliefs/presuppositions etc. can make the world of difference. The beauty of all this is that God left us with His own bias/presuppositions/world view to have it become the very apparatus of your mind. In the Catholic Church we call this Holy Tradition. It comes to us in written form (The Bible) and oral form (The Canon, councils, etc.). Both are crucial and this is undoubtedly how the early Christians formed their consciousness.
These men believed in such things as Mary being sinless, they had bishops, they believed in oral Tradition being protected by Holy Spirit, and a myriad of other beliefs. Now what do you think would happen if you cut off all these facts from a group of Christians? I’ll tell you what happens, you get 33,000 different denominations. So it’s never been just about it being first, but about it practically (with the exception of Eastern Orthodox) being alone in mirroring the very early Christians. Do you think your interpretation of the Bible would change if:
1. You knew early Christians baptized infants.
2. Christians didn’t have an assembled Bible until 397 AD.
3. Christians saw Mary as sinless.
This is just one of many. But I hope I got the point across. I’ll cover your other observation (Catholic Church changing) on my next post.
Friday, September 4, 2009
From the onset of this blog I had planned to write about my life and my experience/knowledge of all things religious. At this point, it’s been almost exclusively about my life and almost nothing about the religious side of it. That’s going to change soon.
I’ve posted thousands of posts on various forums over the years that I can fill this blog up for years on my thoughts on religion. Most of them consist of defending my catholic faith and religion in general. Others are social issues that are connected to politics and Catholicism.
It’s important to note that I am by no means a theologian or even an apologist. I have no formal training in the science of Catholicism. Simply put, it’s very possible that I can misrepresent catholic theology. This will be as much of a learning experience for me as it will be for those who read my blog.
At any rate, I hope you both enjoy and contribute to the posts that are to come.
Bene rem gere!
Friday, August 7, 2009
I’ve been sick for over a month now. It started off with a cough and it developed into pneumonia and a visit to the hospital. This probably goes back even further then one month; since the beginning of this year I’ve had numerous allergy attacks coupled with mild asthma (which I didn’t even know I had). I’m fairly certain my immune system has taken a beating this year. Which probably explains why something as simple as not putting on a sweater on a cold night (which I’ve done thousands of times) will now, take its tow on me.
It’s been a humbling experience…
My doctor has more tests he wants run on me; specifically one that will measure the amount of acid my stomach produces. Apparently acid not only travels back up the esophagus, but it can end up inside your lungs which causes all sorts of problems like that ones I’m experiencing.
Hopefully everything turns out fine and he gets to the bottom of it all. Either way, this will require a life change for me. Everything from being aware that I can’t be close to certain grasses to putting on a sweater at night.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
What a week this has been! A friend and co-worker died this Tuesday from a hard fight with pancreatic cancer. He was 39 and left behind his wife and 5 kids.
Kai will be sorely missed. It was an absolute pleasure to have developed a relationship with him in areas we both were passionate about……sports, our family, and just the usual trash talk. He had the heart and competitive nature of a warrior. He was so unselfish and would always seek fairness even if it meant a loss for him. It always meant so much more when he did it, simply because he was so competitive. It warmed my heart to have seen the people in production love and respect Kai. That speaks volumes of Kai.
May he rest in peace.
On another note, two actors have died today and one died yesterday. It’s death week!
The first was Ed Mcmahon who was best known as Johnny Carson's sidekick on The Tonight Show. Never really watched any of his material but he seems to have been well known. He died at 86. I’m a happy man if I make to that age.
The second was Farrah Fawcett who was best known for “Charlie’s Angels” and consumer product commercials. She died at the age of 62 of anal cancer.
Lastly, the legendary Michael Jackson died at the age of 50 at 12:29pm today. No need to expound on his resume. He will go down as the best pop star ever.
All this death really brings to light just how fragile human life is. A small clutter of molecules can bring down a species that invented airplanes, rockets, and nuclear weapons.
More importantly it reminds me just how much one needs to invest in the relationships you have with the people you love. In the end, that’s the only thing you’ll care about in your death bed.
Friday, June 19, 2009
A week ago I got the idea of really embracing the symbolism in Catholicism. Actually, it’s more then just embracing it, but living it. As a start, I bought a candle wrapped with a picture of Christ. The idea was to have it be a tool for prayer.
Of course, there is nothing innovative about this at all. In most of the ancient [and modern] world it has been the natural language of mystical expression. In fact, Catholicism more then likely borrowed this practice from ancient Egypt.
At any rate, it’s been very effective in getting the kids more active in their prayer life. I start off by lighting the candle, followed by a “In the name of the Father…” and then circulate the candle as your turn comes up to pray. The candle seems to help them focus more and give it more of a mystical feeling to it. When it reaches the last person (me), it’s ended with and “amen” and we kiss and hug each other good night.
It’s a good tool for families who either want to improve on there prayer life or simply want something that works well with kids.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
It was a rough week. With Jojo breaking his arm in two and Sonia getting an abscess on her gums causing her to get her tooth removed; we didn’t get much sleep.
Jojo fell from grandpa’s Toyota Tundra and his whole weight landed on his left arm. He cried for hours. He did well in the emergency room though. They put a temporary cast on until the swelling would subdue. The days that followed were full of cries because he either moved and it caused pain or it would itch like crazy. A week later it was followed by a clinic visit and he was happy to get a blue cast.
Sonia’s dilemma was a bit more frustrating only because we didn’t know what was wrong with her. Whenever she did manage to stop crying because of the pain, she would simply say her teeth hurt. Evelyn figured it was a cavity but I was really doubtful that her constant pain was a cavity. Cavity pain comes and goes and I just wasn’t convinced a 3 year olds teeth had gotten so bad so quickly as to cause such pain. The motrin we would give her seemed to do little to stop the pain.
A couple days later, we took her to the dentist and they found an abscess on her gums. You could see it as clear as day but we both hadn’t seen it the previous day; so it must have grown over night. They took the tooth out that day. They might have to take more out but they don’t know yet.
Hopefully, next week goes better.
Friday, May 29, 2009
I've been feeling lukewarm lately. Prayer life has been horrible and I've been neglecting anything spiritual.
I do read catholic literature and pray from time to time, but it feels dull and dry. I haven't had the energy to fight off any old habits or to improve in areas I know I must. I need a reboot or something to get me back on track.
I need to go to confession and pray.
Friday, May 22, 2009
California Resists Home School Ruling
I was smoking from the ears when I heard on the radio that the California school boards have been pushing to create laws that could make homeschooling illegal. For one, it gives one more reason to have fewer teachers on staff and secondly, (and most importantly) the powers to be fear losing control of the hearts and minds of our youth.
If they can’t indoctrinate our youth to worship Obama, be pro-choice, hate America, and make you love and save a granola eating polar bear, then by golly they will become the most intolerant bunch of folks you come across.
Not to mention there tactics of forcing psychotropic drugs on your children to make them submissive, going as far as bias interrogation with the hope of finding cause to remove your children from your care in order to receive federal funding to place your children in their foster care systems……bureaucracies at it’s finest.
Therefore, if you have a subconscious desire to lose your child to the liberal school boards, just send your child to public school and they will be more then happy to make him a drone and drug him up for you.
It’s like something from the twilight zone.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The possible return of former professional football player Michael Vick has people on an uproar. Justly so, since his torture of animals, but there is a dimension of it that bothers me immensely. I can't help but think that some of the very people getting so upset at him wouldn't react the same at the thought of an abortion, but get absolutely furious of the thought of toturing and killing an animal. There is something wrong with that picture. One should get upset at both, but now it seems there is a growing population that would murder an infant in a second, but protect an animal to the death.
Just thought of it scares me to death. How did Hitler see non-whites? How did Stalin see religious folks? How did Mao see people?
How you view and value the human person matters.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
I came down hard on Dominic yesterday. He’s been so uninterested with doing homework and no matter what I said to motivate him, he wasn’t interested. As a parent you start back peddling on what you have done to possibly have contributed to his lack of interest. Do I not read enough to him? Do my daily activities send him a message that school isn’t important?
Whatever it is, I plan to fix it and hopefully have him at least understand that he doesn’t have to like everything he does in school, but he does need to understand that sometimes we need to do things we don’t like in order to get to things we do.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
To simply thank you for all you have done as a mother just seems like it’s not enough. You’ve managed to raise four kids through all we have gone through. All those times they were sick, crying, or simply driving you crazy. You are amazing Evelyn.
Our kids are too small to realize what an amazing mommy they have, but if there is any indication that they are grateful of mommy, just look at how much they mirror you. It is your inner workings that have them saying “thank you”, “bless you”, “excuse me” and many more……that is work you have done……Whatever I have done to support it, is just that “support”. You are laying the foundation for their moral character and manners. They love you and need you…...You are so selfless, caring, and loving with them and I see you do this time and time again. I love you sooooooooooo much for that. You are planting seeds in them and the results will show in time.
The bond and unwavering tie you have with our children has been an absolute beauty and privilege to see. Every time you kiss and hug them I melt with happiness.
Thank you so much for fulfilling your calling as a mother and as I said above, a letter or a thank you simply doesn’t do it justice but I pray we have the time to show you as a family, just how much we love you.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I’ve come to truly appreciate the value of fatherhood. It’s not something I read or was handed down, but it came to me in forms of slaps in face. Not one big one, but many medium size slaps and I’m still growing in this area. The more I understand, the more I realize the damage done one is without one.
Just yesterday I went out to play baseball with the boys and neighboring kids came out like flies. One by one they asked “can I play?”…”Sure”…I’d respond. In a matter of minutes we had six kids on each team with me as pitcher. At that instant, I asked myself, “where is there dad’s?”…The irony is that I’ve seen this for as long as I can remember. Never once did I find it odd that fathers were missing from the picture.
I just hope I can be a good enough father to my kids to give them the tools to be the men they should be.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Before my scholastic lapse I was posting in catholic forums topics that were either in the realm of catholic liberty or were controversial in today’s social standards. Now, I know certain topics have a tendency of raising brows and emotions, but I always [naively] thought if anyone was able to withstand such topics, it would be Catholics; I was dead wrong.
I started a thread on contraceptive use with the conditions set out in Humanae Vitae 15:
15. On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever.
The starting post went as follows:
Is contraceptives ever justified?
Humanae Vitae 15 makes an exception in cases of disease. It doesn't clarify whether the disease has to be fatal or not but just that "the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means".
Granted, it does say only in cases where it "cures" and where there is no "motive whatsoever".
So this would seem to leave out AIDS on the grounds that it does not "cure" and not necessarily because it leaves out the possibility of procreation. As the same paragraph says "even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from".
So what if a form of contraceptive did cure AIDS? Would it then be allowed?
Essentially I was stuck on the fact that using condoms isn't always done with the intent to stop procreation or even because one lacks self control; maybe.....just maybe......they simply don't want to get AIDS and still fulfill the unitive aspect of catholic sexuality.
Unfortunately I wasn’t met with much charity. It’s like I wasn’t allowed to even dare ask such a question. It’s sad that some Catholics feel this way. The way I see it, it was dialogue and open inquiry that got the Church to clarify and grow in the first place. Hopefully that will change in the future.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I’ve been inept in all things scholastic as of late. Not really surfing the forums or reading articles, just busy with life as a husband, father, teacher, employee, and any other title I’ve missed. I don’t know how other fathers with a passion to lurk into history, science, theology, sports, etc. do it. Even when I do manage to slip in some time; it’s an hour at best.
But that’s what makes life interesting. I could be a hermit who reads all hours of the day and still end up thinking I don’t know enough. I’d probably slip into finding pottery or gardening interesting; who knows.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Evelyn and I signed both the boys up for t-ball. Dominic’s desire to join was rather simple; Gabriel, a boy in his class was already part of the team and naturally Dominic wanted to join as well. Jojo’s desire was no different other then he wants to do whatever his older brother happens to get himself into. I was iffy about Jojo joining at first. He’s more animated, expressive, and emotional then Dominic and I wasn’t sure how that would translate into the field. That and he’s not used to be in a classroom type of environment where kids have rules to follow.
Fortunately, it seems to be turning out much better then I expected. The idea of being a part of something has really excited both of them to the point of them wanting to sleep with there baseball shoes and wear there game day outfits forever. Evelyn wasn’t too fond of them continuing to wear their outfits more then a day; I told her to let it go on this one. They are excited about being pirates and I didn’t think such a healthy feeling was something we wanted to interrupt. However, I could only hold back Evelyn for so many days. Besides, hygiene does eventually become a concern.
It’s been immensely fun and fulfilling to experience all this with my boys and family in general.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I was listening to sports radio today and the famous motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, came on to talk about his ability to impact top notch athletes come back to greatness. The immediate image that popped to mind was an old friend of mine that past away a couple years ago.
Marc Jones was his name. He was the one that made me aware of Tony Robbins by letting me borrow his tapes. I ended up purchasing a whole set of Tony Robbins tapes months after and I still have them to this day.
I miss my conversations with him. I miss him altogether.
You are missed Marc Jones…
Monday, February 23, 2009
Since starting the recreational basketball league at work, I’ve seen some improvements in my health. However, I still struggled to keep up with guys my size during games. I figured I was just out of shape; until I noticed no improvement in my stamina over the passing weeks.
I did have a violent cough along with thick green phlegm and figured I was getting over some virus. Turns out, I have “seasonal asthma”. It’s hard to be relieved about having asthma (seasonal or not), but I was. I was starting to get bummed out that I couldn’t keep up with a guy heavier and older then me. I guess my asthma had something to do with me trying to catch my breath.
So, once the doctor gave me meds, the cough and phlegm did stop, but the side effects are probably worse. I’m sensitive to light and noise. I feel cloudy and have difficulty focusing. My patience is shorter and apparently I’m just not as jolly. I’ve had like five different people ask me “are you ok?”. Of course, I say “yes I’m fine thank you”.
I just feel stoic and cloudy. Not really laughing or talking like usual. I can’t wait until I’m done with the medication.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Who ever thought that everytime you sit on a chair, you are actually sitting on millions of force fields. That's right, force-fields! Sounds sci-fish eh?
How is this possible? Well, atoms are actually 99.99% empty space. What surrounds the atom is this force field; the force-field is actually a shell of electrons. It is said that if these force-fields didn't exist we could literally walk through walls. Now that's cool!
The force-fields behave in a similar way that magnets do when you try to attach like poles. Just imagine everything as gazillions of mini-magnets assembled together.
Now, when I first learned this, I thought to myself "why doesn't everything just repel from each other? Obviously, something keeps them together." What happens is that although all atoms have a force-field made up of electrons; some atoms have an unstable or not enough amount of electrons. The way an atom becomes stable is by bonding to another unstable atom and therefore starting the chain of reactions to form an actual molecule like a protein and a protein into an actual organ.
That's a giant leap I made there and it's obviously more complicated then that but essentially it's a bonding of millions of atoms sharing forcefields that make everything.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I wasn’t so much surprised that I was nervous and enthused about our baby girl coming, but more at the fact that I was just overwhelmed with awe at how precious babies and life general is. I figured after having gone through this three times already I would be a bit more stoic and expert-like in my reactions and feelings. Not at all! I reacted like if it was my first baby all over again. I had a blast!
Good thing I stayed home with the family for a week after the birth. Life would have been tough for Evelyn had I not been there to tame the other three. Apparently they still think they are the center of the universe even though mommy isn’t feeling good. That is kids for you.
Doh!......Where are my manners?......Baby “Gia Bella Mesina” was born on January 7, 2009 @ 4:12 pm. She weighed in at a wopping 7.6lbs and was 18.75 inches long. She is adorable! See for yourself:
Monday, January 5, 2009
Happy belated New Year and Merry Christmas!
The holidays were joyous and happy for me. We met at the usual spot (in-laws), with the usual crowd. It’s always fun to see how much relatives have changed and not changed.
Well, it’s a new year and hopefully I can accomplish what I set out to resolve.