Hate is Blind

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“Love is blind, and lovers can’t see the silly things they do around each other”

– Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice

Is love really blind?

I don’t think so.

Hate is blind. Love sees.

God loves us completely wholly and purely. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39).

If love is blind, than God would be blind. That can’t be true.

Why do I think this is something worth blogging about? I don’t want to talk about Love, because knowing God through discussing love is something we’ve all heard before. I want to talk about God by discussing hate. Even through hate can the true nature of God be revealed.

Hate is Blind

What does it mean to hate someone? We say it all the time. Someone mentions a person’s name and we say ‘ugh I don’t like that person’ ‘oh, gosh she’s not my favorite’ ‘man, he bugs me so much.’ Even if we don’t verbally express our distaste for someone, we think about it an awful lot.

Think about a person who you don’t like very much. Perhaps they do something that is a pet peeve of yours. Or perhaps they do something that rubs you the wrong way. Maybe they’ve done something to hurt you in the past. Often times it is something small that makes us dislike a person. We find a trait we don’t like, and we decide that the person is unlikable to us. Every time we see that person, all we see is that one fault. We magnify the aspects we dislike and let them blind us. Often times we refuse to believe there is any other trait in that person which could overpower the trait we dislike.

God Does not Hate

Why do we hate? Is it because we have amazing judgement of people and our ability to perceive their flaws permits us to hate them and be justified? Do we dislike people because with our human intellect we are capable or seeing a person and deeming them lovable or not? Can we hate because we know a person so well that they are undeserving of our affection? No. No. No. We hate because we are weak human beings who cannot truly know another person. Whether we are in a serious relationship with someone or we have met someone for the first time, our knowledge about that individual is extremely limited by our human nature. We exist in time, and therefore we know a person at a specific time and base our relationship with them on that. Perhaps the person that you hate did something to hurt you but only because he himself was hurting. Perhaps the pet peeve that someone has that irks you is something that person struggles with because of a traumatic event in their past.  We hate because we are human. We love because God has loved us. The only reason we can love someone is because God has created us in his image and likeness. We participate in love only because God loves first.

We cannot hate a person. It is impossible for us to actually hate an entire person. This is because God created the person and therefore the person is a good and beautiful masterpiece of the Father. But it is also impossible for us to hate a person, because we don’t know everything about that person. We hate only an aspect of that person. And often times, that aspect blinds us to the rest of the person. Hate is blind. Love frees us from the shackles of sightlessness. “The blind will be able to see, and the deaf will hear. The lame will leap and dance, and those who cannot speak will shout for joy” (Isaiah 35:5). God cannot hate an individual because he sees the person in their totality. He is outside time, so when he has a relationship with a human being it encompasses everything that they are. It leaves nothing out, “The very hairs of your head are all numbered: (Luke 12:7).

Hate Reveals the Awesomeness of God

The very fact that we hate, reveals to us how much we need God. We are imperfect creatures, and in order to love truly and have authentic relationships with people, we NEED God. God loves us in our weaknesses. He loves us because he sees more then our sins. We dislike people because we are blind to their intrinsic goodness and see only their faults. “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses” (Proverbs 10:12).

Christ asks us to love our neighbor. Take a minute to realize what this means. “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness” (1 John 2:9). We may dislike a person, but does God dislike that person? Absolutely not. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). Can we love like God? Can we look past peoples faults and failures and see the creation God has put in front of us? Or do we continue to hate them and live in blindness?

What kind of Church do you know?

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Perhaps you have met a Catholic Church who isn’t pastoral, merciful, caring. Perhaps you know a Church that is petty, hypocritical, selfish, and oppressive. Perhaps the Catholic Church you know isn’t accepting, but is hateful, judgmental and negative.

Let me tell you, if that is the case then you have not met the Catholic Church. You have met her fallen members. These members are sinners, they lie, they cheat, they steal. They aren’t perfect, but the Church is. The Catholic Church often gets a bad name because of the way her supposed faithful show her face in the world. Pope Francis is calling all of the Church’s faithful to reexamine the way they live their lives, and dedicate themselves to following the footsteps of Christ.

The Catholic Church stands firm as a moral compass and a beacon of truth that can never be destroyed and can never be extinguished. However, her members will fall. Her members will be rude, but they are trying to be right. They may be misinformed, misled, or deceived. However, Holy Mother Church will continually call them back to herself and remind them of the truth.

Pope Francis is doing just that. He is reminding those ‘so-called Catholics’ to better represent the Church. So in the footsteps of Pope Francis, and the reason why he should be Person of the Year, I leave you with a evangelical purpose. Hopefully this will inspire you to better live a life in line with the truth of the faith the Catholic Church professes.

Please watch this video: http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=0BFJBFNU

Marriage: United Under The Same Yoke

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Mortification especially keeps a man and a woman united in marriage. in fact, it cuts egotism in half, that stubborn self-affirmation that is the chief enemy. In marriage, mortification preserves love. It teaches couples to hold back hurtful words that cause bitterness and coldness and to speak only words that are good and that lead to mutual charity and edification.

Spouses can be described as “conjoined” (in Latin, coniuges), which etymologically means “united under the same yoke.” If that yoke is the yoke of the flesh, of pleasure, or only of duty, it very soon become heavy and unbearable. Jesus offers Christian spouses who live in the Spirit the possibility of becoming “conjoined” in an altogether different sense: They are “conjoined” because they are under the same yoke, Christ’s yoke, which is the yoke of love. He says to them, in a special way, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).

You will find rest! This is why St. Paul exhorts those who marry to do so “in the Lord.” To marry in the Lord means far more than simply being married in the Church; it means putting the marriage under the lordship of Christ, entrusting a decision made in time to something that really belongs to eternity. If you marry relying only on your own feelings or on the enthusiasm of a love in the budding stage, when the initial love diminishes you will find yourselves faced with the obligation of loving forever, and duty all by itself will not be enough to sustain love. But if, on the other hand, you place your marriage relationship under the shelter of grace, if you have built on the rock that does not change, then you can always return to it again to find grace, finding the foundation for unity there every time. The words of the Prophet Zechariah are also relevant for those who marry: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”

 

This is an excerpt from: Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap. Sober Intoxication of the Spirit; Part Two: Born Again of Water and the Spirit Pg 57-58

How Dare Pope Francis Speak About Politics!

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I recently read this article called Pope Francis and Basic Economics written by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano. It upset me a little, because it wasn’t the first time I have heard someone criticize the first Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis called Evangelii Gaudium. The section Napolitano is discussing is in articles 53-60. I encourage you to read both before reading my opinion.

First of all, The Catholic Church has all the right in the world to teach on economics and politics and give her teaching on social thought. She is wise, and her guide is God and the natural law which lends to a social teaching which aims at establishing conditions in which the human person can flourish.

Second of all, Pope Francis never once attacks capitalism, and he does not criticize the economic market of today because it takes too long ‘for poor to get rich’.
What he does criticize is the prevalent thought process in our world today that the fittest will survive and it is not their problem to defend and help the poor. He criticizes trickle-down theory because it contributes to the problem of thinking that it is someone else’s job to take care of the poor.
He also criticizes our cultures obsession with money, and how instead of the proper use for money to serve us, we are ruled by money.

This article criticizes Pope Francis for attacking capitalism, which he does not do, and not attacking capitalism for what it should be criticized for.
However, Pope Francis did not claim that he was going to offer a comprehensive exhortation on economics today. He is simply claiming “only to consider briefly, and from a pastoral perspective, certain factors which can restrain or weaken the impulse of missionary renewal in the Church” He even says “It is not the task of the Pope to offer a detailed and complete analysis of contemporary reality”

There is so much more to Catholic social teaching that an ‘imposition of moral obligation to act in charity’

Pope Francis isn’t telling people to give money to the poor and let them squander it, but he is telling people we need to care about the lowly and build them up.

The Catholic Church teaches that private ownership for man’s own sake is a natural and necessary right for man, but she teaches man not to become obsessed with possessions and money. In order to do this she teaches to give away your excess to help other people flourish and grow.

Overall, I think this article is very misinformed. It seems as if the author didn’t even read the actual apostolic exhortation that Pope Francis wrote. It is wrong about what the Church teaches, and it is presumptuous about Pope Francis’ comments on the problem economics has created in the culture. I mean right off the bat the author says “His encyclical is about economics” and it absolutely is not. The only reason Pope Francis brings up economics is to serve his greater goal of evangelizing the world and sharing the Joy of the Gospel.

If you would like to learn more about Catholic Social Teaching here are some resources:

Pope Leo XIII wrote Reurm Novarum in 1891 on the “Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor”
Pope Paul VI wrote Populorun Progressio in 1967 on The Development of People and the economy.
Pope Paul VI wrote Octogesima Adveniens in 1971 on securing democratic foundation in society
Pope John Paul II wrote Centesimus Annus in 1991 which examines contemporaneous political and economic issues.

Don’t Judge Me, Man.

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Men are made to protect, to lead, and to guide. The Lord created Adam and “put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Adam was meant to keep the garden safe, and to protect the animals and himself. God gave him one commandment, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).

So God gives man the command to protect, and to follow God’s law. THEN God creates woman. “The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:17). God created woman from the side of man so that woman was under the strong arm of the man, always to be protected by him. This is what we are to look for in a husband, a man who will protect us. So why not Adam?

Adam was to keep Eve from evil, to guide her in the way of God’s commandment and to lead her on the right path. However, when Eve was tempted by the delicious fruit of the tree Adam stood by and watched.  “The serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field” and he twisted the words of God and lead Eve astray. Adam should have spoken up and made clear the command of God. Eve was guilty of original sin just as much as Adam was, but Adam was created to guide and protect her. He failed, and Eve gave into the temptations of the serpent. She “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise” and forgot the love of God. Adam did not take Eve under his arm and redirect her to the truth of God, but he instead watches her fall and takes the fruit from her “She took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:3-6).

God calls for men to be courageous and speak up in defense of women. Our culture preaches the mantra “don’t judge me” and it has had an awful impact on men and women. Jesus tells us not judge others… and most people stop right there. However, Jesus warns us against judging others hypocritically. We are meant to call others out of sin “be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4). Yes, it is difficult to call another person out of sin, when we ourselves struggle so much. But Jesus says “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Mathew 18:15-17). We are meant to judge others, not in a proud condescending way, but in a way that guides and redirects them toward the saving mercy of God.

This is especially the case for Men and their relationship with women. Adam didn’t behave the way God created him to. Many men in our culture today model themselves after Adam. They don’t want to step on any toes, or make anyone feel bad. They don’t feel like it is their business to speak up, or they don’t want the person to feel talked down to. Unfortunately, these are not good excuses and Adam is not the model.

Adam sinned because he refused to speak up for the woman he loved. He didn’t warn Eve that she was walking on thin ice. He didn’t pull Eve aside and say, “I don’t think this is following God’s will for your life.” He sat by and watched as Eve sinned.

After the fall, God calls out to Adam. He does not address Eve first, because it was Adam who was the ruler and protector of the garden. When Adam asks if he ate from the tree, Adam immediately blames God for giving him the woman (a temptation that led him astray). When God asks Eve, eve blames the serpent. Adam and Eve both refuse to own their sin. Eve was created from Adams side to be protected by him, and when she stood in the face of great temptation Adam did nothing to stop her.

This reveals so much about why relationships work the way they do today. People in relationships blame each other, or external sources for their problems. Often times, no one wants to own up to the fact that the problem stems from themselves. This mind set goes hand in hand with the ‘don’t judge me’ culture. We don’t want to hold each other accountable. Women were created to be Man’s helper, and Man was created to be her protector. Our roles as men and woman reveal the need to speak out when our loved one is sinning.

When I am struggling with a sin the last thing I want is for someone to point it out and make me feel bad about it. However, if the person who is calling me out does so with the intention of leading me closer to holiness, then as much as it stings the exhortation and advice eventually sets in and helps me grow.

These are the kind of people we want to choose as our friends, but more importantly this is the quality we need to look for in a future husband. Women, you do not want a guy who lets you do whatever you want, does not speak up, and has no spine. It might be nice at first, but after a while you will be dissapointed by your lack of growth in the relatiosnhip. Men are meant to encourage wonmen to grow, not to let them be complacent with their lives.

Jesus Christ, the new Adam, models for Men and Woman how we should behave in the face of temptation. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17). Jesus doesn’t make us feel awful or put us down for sinning, but he calls us out of our sin into grace. Men should be less like Adam and more liek Christ. A man shouldn’t be afraid to tell his grilfriend, wife, or sister that they are being led astray by the seprent. He should not be afraid to speak up and remind her of God’s law.

Marriage IS for me

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I did enjoy the article written by Seth Adam Smith “Marriage isn’t for you.” I enjoyed the article because the heartfelt expression of self-giving was true and beautiful. However there were two things that I felt were lacking in this post. One, happiness is not the goal of marriage, holiness is. Steven LaMotte wrote a piece addressing this issue called Marriage Isn’t For You: A Response.  Another post by a blogger named Jeremy also addressed how this article seems to leave God out. So I won’t get into that on this post. The second thing I disagree with is the theme found in this excerpt:

“You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family…Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married…No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love–their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, ‘What’s in it for me?’ while Love asks, ‘What can I give?’”

I think this is a description of what LOVE is, not marriage. Every time he says marriage, swap it out for Love and I think I would agree with everything he says. “You don’t love to make yourself happy, you love to make someone else happy. Love isn’t for yourself.” Love is for the beloved.

However, marriage is for me. I am going to be a part of the marriage, and though my love should be completely self-sacrificial and for the benefit of my spouse, I am still the other half of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.

If you are dating and view your relationship as ‘if I’m not happy, but I like making my significant other happy’ this is not a healthy relationship.  If you believe that simply sucking it up and being a martyr without ever thinking of the good the relationship is doing for your own soul, the relationship will destroy you.

“Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another” ( CCC 1605). The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). A spouse is created to be a helper for you. Marriage is “a partnership of the whole of life” (CCC 1601). A partnership is “an arrangement in which parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests” (Wikipedia). There is more than just one interest in a partnership. It isn’t only about the other person. Marriage is “by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses” (CCC 1601). Not just one spouse or the other, but both. “The well-being of the individual person…is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life.” (Gaudium et Spes 47)

I understand what the article that Seth Adam Smith was trying to get across, but I think that it could be misleading. Love is meant to be selfless. However, when you are choosing a partner for life, someone who is meant to help you on your way to holiness, you must think about yourself. The two partners “are called to grow continually in their communion through day-to-day fidelity to their marriage promise of total mutual self-giving” (FC 19). So marriage is for the other, but marriage is also for me. Marriage wasn’t meant only to help one of the partners, it was designed by God to help each member reach holiness and their heavenly goal.

So I am not completely bashing Seth Adam Smith’s article, but I am trying to say that what he is talking about is love. If you haven’t realized love is not for you yet, you haven’t been to enough weddings where they read “love is not self-seeking” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Marriage must be about both individuals, or it is not a partnership. If both members take Mr. Smith’s approach to love it is indeed a true marriage, but if only one person holds this view and they are not receiving the mutual help from their significant other that is not marriage.

If my boyfriend isn’t going to help me get to heaven, then I will not choose him as my husband and father of my children. If my boyfriend isn’t going to make me happy, then It would not be a prudent decision to marry him. This does NOT mean that I will be focused on myself in a marriage, and ask ‘what’s in it for me?’ I do desire to serve my future husband and lay down my life for him. However, marriage cannot be decided upon simply by your desire to serve the person you love, you must take your own soul into consideration.