Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

Why is there dirt on your forehead? 

Along with many other questions we, as Catholics, are asked on Ash Wednesday, this question is one that we should focus on. The purpose of wearing ashes on our foreheads is to remind us to repent because we came from ashes and to ashes we shall return. When people see us wearing ashes on our foreheads we are bearing a witness for the Catholic Faith and all that we believe in.

Ash Wednesday marks the first day of the liturgical season of Lent. Lent is the period of 40 days and 40 nights in which we fast, abstain, as well as perform other acts to prepare our souls for Easter. Lent is symbolic of the 40 days and 40 nights Christ spent fasting and praying in the desert to prepare for His public ministry. A good way to think of Lent is to compare it to "spring cleaning". During Lent we take a step back and look at the clutter in our souls that is keeping us from having a strong relationship with God. By fasting, abstaining, and prayer we our sacrificing our bodily wants in order to focus on our Spiritual needs , and we receive the grace that we need to remove that clutter from our souls.  

Think about it. Do we want to go to the Easter Mass and have a strained relationship with the God that sacrificed Himself in order for us to be saved? I hope answer is no. That is the reason why we have the liturgical season of Lent; we are presented with a time period in which we can fully focus on cleansing our souls so that we may have a better relationship with God. Easter is one of the best times to give thanks to our Lord and Savior. What better time is their to thank Him and praise Him than when we celebrate the Paschal Mystery, His suffering, death, and Resurrection?

Here is a reflective prayer for Ash Wednesday.
The house of my soul is narrow;
enlarge it that you may enter in.
It is ruinous, O repair it!
It displeases Your sight.
I confess it, I know.
But who shall cleanse it,
to whom shall I cry but to you?
Cleanse me from my secret faults, O Lord,
and spare Your servant from strange sins.

St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430)

Happy Lent

In Peace, 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What is the POINT?

What is the point of Catholicism?

That is a question many of us ask ourselves at least once during our lives. People wonder why we need an organized religion. Can we not just have a personal relationship with God and call ourselves "saved"? Many people claim that they love Jesus, but hate religion such as the man in this viral video. One of the many Catholic responses can be viewed here.

Now let's dive into the original question. The point of Catholicism is the fellowship of one true Church in which we follow the true teachings of Christ. Without the help of the Magisterium (The teaching authority of the Catholic Church), we wouldn't be able to understand Sacred Scripture and other ancient texts. With the understanding of scripture and understanding, we, as Catholics, are provided with the basics of our teachings. 

We believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. When we say "One" we are saying that all Catholics are united in one set of teachings and one set of ways for worship. "Holy" is stating that as members of the Church we are called to be holy like Christ and to imitate His actions. The term "Catholic" means "universal". This is such a great way to explain the Catholic Church. We are universal, which means throughout the universe. We are united with all Catholics around the world and even those in Purgatory and Heaven. We believe in the same teachings and are united in our worship. "Apostolic" can be a tough word to comprehend the true meaning of.  Apostolic is referring to the tradition in which the Catholic Church has been handed down from Christ through His followers, the Apostles. The Apostles were the original Bishops of the Church; we believe that today's Bishops are the successors of the original Bishops. 

Without unity with other Catholics, one may find that it would be difficult to make it to Heaven alone. We rely on the prayers of others, intercessions of the Saints, and the intercession of  Mary, the Mother of God in order to earn Eternal Life with our Heavenly Father. That is the point of Catholicism; we need support in our spiritual journey here on earth and that support is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church to which we belong.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Beginning of A New Endeavor

Hello! My name is Jonah and I am a teenage Catholic. I love my faith and everything that goes with it. I am starting this blog so my friends and anyone interested can check in to see what I have written to try to help myself and others grow in our faith and relationship with God. As teens many of us have distractions of sorts that can lead to sin and a strained relationship with our Heavenly Father.

So as I start this blog, I want to offer up a prayer to the Holy Spirit that our hearts and minds to be open to our God.

Holy Spirit, we pray that our hearts and minds may be open to the will of our God. We ask that our relationship with You may be strengthened through others. We ask this as we pray in the most holy name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Our actions here on earth have an eternal effect. Either we choose to follow Christ and do His will, or we can choose to do the work of the devil and disregard the true God. As a teen this is the turning point of our spiritual life. With all of the temptations is high school such as drinking, drugs, sex, as well as other sins it is a wonder that people can make it through still strong in their faith. That is my goal here; I want to provide a place where someone who is struggling can find words of strength and encouragement. We are going to battle the devil and his demons together, and we know that if we put our faith in Christ, we can win!