November 24, 2012 – Unlocking the Answers

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  I had  good Thanksgiving, although I’m still a little sore from my nephew pretending to be “Ironman” and killing me about 67,000 times.  Ahhh … family!  And if you were one of the hearty people who ventured out in all hours of the night to grab a deal on Black Friday, I hope you got what you were looking for and that you didn’t get too many bumps and bruises from fighting for that $200 laptop.  I went with the same strategy I employed last year.  I waited until lunchtime yesterday and then went to Wal-Mart to see what was left.  I scored a very nice $9.44 crockpot as well as a couple of computer accessories, so I’m calling it a successful trip.  If you are not on Facebook, I posted this photo that gives a new perspective to Black Friday.  It is a little late, but it is so true…

This coming Tuesday will be a bit of a bittersweet day.  That evening we will wrap up our year-long “Fanning the Flame” discussion group.  When we started back in January I think a lot of us thought that it would be a long year since we would be discussing a chapter out of the same book each time.  However, I think all of us who have stuck with it would say just he opposite.  We have greatly enjoyed the discussions and have learned a lot about why the Catholic Church “does what it does”.  If you didn’t participate in the discussions, you can still go to www.ftfdiobelle.org and get the study guides and other materials from each of the chapters in the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, which was the basis of our discussions.  Also, if you did not get a copy of the Catechism, you can still get them at a discounted price by using the code on the same website.

I wish everyone could have been a fly on the wall during our discussion sessions, particularly those who have been having doubts about their faith and those who have the attitude that the church is “behind the times” and refuses to change to suit our culture.  The positions that the church takes on issues such as abortion, birth control, marriage, etc., are not there because a bunch of crotchety old men say that this is the way it is and we shouldn’t have to change just because some people think what we are doing is out-of-date.  The church believes these things because this is what Scripture tells us is God’s will, and we have the responsibility to live the way God desires us to.  For example, the Bible could not be more clear that God’s intention of marriage was to be between a man and woman, and that acts of sexuality should be open to procreation.  as far back as the first chapter of the Bible, we hear this message in Genesis:  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;  male and female he created them.  And God blessed them. And God said to  them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  We also hear this from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:  “But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his  own wife and each woman her own husband.”

This is not some made-up, pulled out of the air social policy.  This is Scripture.  The last couple of weeks in my PSR class, and as well as in our Fanning the Flame group, we have been discussing the 10 commandments.  The point that I have been trying to emphasize to the kids, and what I think we as adults need to keep in mind, is that God does not give us these commandments as a punishment.  He gives us these as a guide to live a happy life.  Imagine what the world would be like if everyone followed the Commandments to a tee.  There would be no murders or violent crimes.  We would not have to bother to lock our homes or cars.  It would be the simple life that many of us wish we had.  If you know someone who is having doubts about their faith, or if you know someone who has been inquiring about their faith, then direct them to the Catechism to find answers to their questions.

Back to the subject of marriage, the Catholic Conference of Illinois has put together a great resource, or what they call a “toolkit” to help answer questions about the Catholic Church’s stance on marriage.  It is for clergy as well as lay people.  It helps answer questions such as:

  • What is marriage?
  • Why is the definition of marriage important?
  • Why does the Church endure the repercussions of taking a stance on marriage which is contrary to popular social trends and media advocacy?
  • And, most importantly, why should you care about marriage?

Here is the link to the website where you can get this “toolkit”:

http://www.ilcatholic.org/cci-issues-marriage-toolkit/

Also, we have talked about this being a Year of Faith as proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI.  I found a website this past week that has a lot of resources pertaining to the Year of Faith.  It is a joint effort between Loyola University in New Orleans and Catholic News Service.  Here is the link to this site:

http://lim.loyno.edu/yearoffaith

Finally, even though Christmas preparation seems in full-bore with all the shopping going on and all the decorations going up, our season of preparation of Advent actually does not begin until next week.  I’ll give you some resources then that you can find online to help our spiritual preparation.  Until then, have a great week.  Enjoy your leftover turkey.  Peace.

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