Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Youcat: Weird Title, Cool Book

My copy of Youcat, the new youth Catechism came in the mail yesterday.  While I've only read a few pages of the content, I can tell it will be quite beneficial for today's teens. 

Read more about the Youcat. 

Here are a few things I noticed right away:

-There are pictures!  Lots of them.  Cartoons, too.
-It is written in a Q&A format.  The answers are to-the-point and easy-to-understand.  Yet, the answers naturally (because of the content) lend themselves to further questions.  To help you with further study, the Youcat is filled with cross references to the big green CCC, Scripture passages, Vatican docs and quotes from saints. 
-Pope Benedict really loves the youth and is in touch with our generation (check out his letter at the beginning of the book). 
-The bottom right corner of the book features a little man who becomes animated as you flip the pages quickly with your thumb.  Yes, your new Catechism is a flip book. 

This book will not be a quick read.  It's not meant to be.  But it will greatly enhance your understanding of the faith, and probably lead you to ask some good questions.  All for the purpose of pursuing Truth.

I'd encourage all of you to pick up a copy.  Read one page a day.  Pray with some of the answers; they are phenomenal. 

You can buy it at Amazon for $16.  I'm sure the Catholic Shop will have some in stock soon, if it doesn't already. 

Monday, April 25, 2011


Just a quick post to get you the link to Pope Benedict's Easter Vigil homily.  You can check it out at the CNA site.

I will be back in action on the blog a bit later this week.  Happy Easter!

Monday, April 18, 2011


I'm batting around the idea of some sort of Dodgeball Tournament.  Thought I would check out youtube for some inspiration. 

Friday, April 15, 2011


Last week we learned, or re-learned, the Church's teaching on homosexuality.  I want to come back to this topic on the blog sometime next week.  Now, however, I'd like to touch on a couple of items I read yesterday. 

While perusing the CNN site, I found an article about states placing new restrictions on abortion and on Planned Parenthood funding.

Read:  "More states restrict abortions; group says trend 'unparalleled'"

Yes, it was a nice change of pace to read about a few pieces of legislation taking steps toward protection of the unborn.  But, a quick scroll through the comments in response to the article clearly shows the chasm of thinking that reveals the nature of the issue - one that is much bigger than the political arena.

Upon reading the comments, it looks like any traditional understanding of freedom, truth and reason has been lost in secular society.  I would also point out that this is the case even among Catholics regarding essential issues surrounding what it is to be human. 

Does this leave us hopeless for the future?  Is it even worth continuing to stand for any sort of truth or standard?  Does anything have substantial meaning or worth?  Is it all relative?  Should I scream with the masses, "I create myself, and my happiness"?

Pope Benedict's first volume of Jesus of Nazareth provides insight into the "common mentality" adopted by society over the last couple hundred years.

In commenting upon Jesus' temptation in the desert, Benedict points out Jesus' inner struggle surrounding his own mission, and addresses "the question as to what truly matters in human life."  He goes on, "At the heart of all temptations, as we see here [Jesus' temptation in the desert], is the act of pushing God aside because we perceive him as secondary, if not actually superfluous and annoying, in comparison with all the apparently far more urgent matters that fill our lives.  Constructing a world by our own lights, without reference to God, building on our own foundation; refusing to acknowledge the reality of anything beyond the political and material, while setting God aside as an illusion." 

This is the fundamental moral problem so apparent today.  God is secondary to my life, to my happiness, to my problems.  A lack of recognition that I did not create myself, therefore I have been given this life.  Everything is given to me.  I cannot create a happiness for myself that satisfies the infinite longings of my heart. 

Even "holy people" are not immune to the effects of such a culture. 

"God is the issue:  Is he real, reality itself, or isn't he?  Is he good, or do we have to invent the good ourselves?  The God question is the fundamental question, and it sets us down right at the crossroads of human existence."  These are the questions Pope Benedict leaves us with, and, I feel, they are necessary questions to ask ourselves if we are to engage with the dominant societal mentality.  Understanding life as gift and approaching every situation from that stance puts us in proper moral standing with God.  Standing before, and being strengthened by Being itself is the only way to move forward in the midst of so frightening an opposition. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Confession App

Those of you Smart Phone users...there is a new app out when prepping for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 

I'm not privileged enough to have an iPhone, but it looks like it would be helpful in examining your conscience.  Only $1.99!

Friday, April 8, 2011

NCAA Tourney

This year, we witnessed one of the craziest tournaments of all time.  Tons of upsets.  Horrendous final bracket scores.  The score that won the pool this year, would've finished in the middle or toward the bottom in the past. 

I think we'll be seeing more of this in the years to come. 

Congratulations to David for picking UConn.  That was arguably the ugliest college basketball game I've ever watched. 

Katie made it through the storm, even with Duke losing pretty early on.  Jack was also right there, but guessed too high on the tie-breaker.

Jackie is my favorite story, as her random integer thingy on her calculator took VCU to the Final Four, which cost her last place.

As it is, Fr. Michael scores a gift card for his woeful attempt at a bracket.

Here are some fun buzzer beaters as we kiss March Madness goodbye and anxiously await the return of the Indians to the World Series.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Death and Life

St. Malo Retreat Center
In January, I had the privilege of leading a retreat for about 100 teens in Denver. 

I stepped out of adoration one evening and ran into a distraught-looking girl.  I asked her how she was doing.  Stupid question given her demeanor. 

She said, “Not well.  My brother, he’s 10.  He has a chronic illness that could kill him.  I just don’t understand why this would happen.  Where is God in this?”

This is a question that has passed through most of our minds at some point.

The Gospel this Sunday provides us with keen insight into such a question.

Upon hearing of Lazarus’ illness, Jesus responds, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

“What good has come from this illness?”

This was the only thing I could think to say to that girl.  How is God using this illness to bring good?  Hard question to answer in our own lives, because it demands an honest look at suffering we face, instead of giving into the desire to run away from it.

She replied, “Well…(long pause)…my family is closer than we’ve ever been.  I know it’s because we’ve had to come together in this.  That’s been amazing.” 

From suffering and death, comes life. 

I’m reminded of the words of St. Paul, “In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him.”  Often, this “good” in my life, doesn’t look exactly like I think it will look.  It can even feel bad at the time. 

Do we love God?  Do we see how He is at work in our lives? 

The Gospel presents us with a challenging question, and one I feel cannot be ignored. 

Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?”

He is Life.  In Him is Resurrection.  He is working in suffering.  He is alive and a Presence in our lives now. 

Do you believe this?  Are you willing to look?