Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let Earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room,
and Heaven and nature sing,
and Heaven and nature sing
and Heaven, and Heaven and nature sing!

File:Gerard van Honthorst 001.jpg
Gerard van Honthorst

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Vice Verses

Switchfoot-Vice Verses
Alternative Rock
This is Switchfoot's latest album, and the song I've been analyzing, "Selling the News," is from this new CD.  As always, this new album is full of awesome sounds and insightful lyrics.  Jon Foreman, the main singer, has an incredible voice and cries for a world-wide change, starting with one's soul and working up to saving this "nation that eats our youth" (from the song "Blinding Light,").

Switchfoot is not afraid to address topics that are not considered politically correct.  They begin their album with a song called "Afterlife" which is about living life out loud, choosing to live to the fullest with the end in mind.  Another highlight on the album are "Restless" which is based off of St. Augustine's famous quote "Our hearts are restless until they rest in You."  This song is truly beautiful, and inspires the listener to seek to do God's will in his life, starting with finding and accepting God within him.  One of my favorites is "Thrive" which is about wanting to "thrive, not just survive" in body and soul. "Dark Horses" is probably their biggest mainstream hit from this album, and is about continuing to run against the crowd and pain without giving in, and many have called the last song "Where I Belong" their best yet.  This song is about the end of one's life, and about finally arriving "in a world where I belong," and living so as to achieve this end.

When you are feeling down or are in need of some motivation to continue to fight the world's lies, I suggest this CD to you.  It will inspire you and fill you with the fire you need to get out there and continue the battle.

As always, there are no curse words or inappropriate topics.  Switchfoot has once again succeeded, creating an album that wakes everyone up with fresh, fast beats, awesome notes, and fearless words.

May God bless this band as they continue to use their popularity to spread His message!

This is the last post in the series "We're Selling the News."  I hope this series has been both educational and inspiring; may the problems and solutions outlined here fill you anew with a desire to fight God's battle with all your heart.  And may God bless all of you!

A Book for These Times

Eclipse of the Sun
-Michael D. O'Brien

As I was reading this book, I couldn't believe how perfectly it fit the theme of this series "We're Selling the News." 

Within this book, Michael D. O'Brien describes a world that is nearing the Apocalypse.  It has fallen into horrible sin, human life is no longer respected, purity is non-existent, and the government has begun to treat its citizens like clones, or robots, simply manipulating them and brain-washing them to fit the agenda of some rich and lofty official.  Yet, amidst this ruin there are still the faithful; within this book the author describes the plight of the children of a radical journalist who are now being sought out by the government.  He focuses on the journalist's youngest son, Arrow, as this poor boy is assisted across Canada in his search not only for his family but also for truth and happiness.  He is helped by a prophetic priest, eccentric old lady, a good Protestant family, and even an angel. 
I do not want to give too much away, so I will end this summary here. 

The scary thing about this book is that, while reading it, one cannot help but notice that many of the sinful ways this disgusting culture has accepted are being implemented in our country now.  Mr. O'Brien's descriptions of this fallen world are revolting, yet one cannot help but acknowledge that this country is not that far away from fulfilling all of the author's prophesies.
I loved this book and highly suggest it for all older teens and adults.  I would not allow any one younger than that to read it, due to some of the descriptions of the twisted culture, not done in an inappropriate context, but detailing inappropriate things to fully depict how fallen the world has become.

This book is for our times, as it is describing the beginning of the end, upon which we are on the edge of entering.  Within these pages, Mr. O'Brien provides a clear distinction between right and wrong, and gives the reader inspiring characters as examples for how he should handle the destruction around him.

May God bless Michael D. O'Brien, and all those whose eyes are opened after reading his books.


This is post 8 of 9 in the series "We're Selling the News."

Friday, December 23, 2011

What To Do?

Over the past couple months I've been analyzing the state of the world using Switchfoot's song "Selling the News."  Now that I've gone through all the verses of the song, I want to give all of you some suggestions for how to fight this national crisis.

  1. Pray.  Ask God to look with favor upon the faithful within our country, and to forgive our nation its sins for their sake.  Implore Him to bless those who fight our nation's worst evils, especially those in the pro-life movement.  Throw yourself upon His mercy in the name of our country, and never tire of begging for His assistance.
  2. Speak Up.  There are so many organizations fighting to end the sinful patterns of our nation.  Research these organizations and choose one that you are passionate about.  A few problems you may prayerfully consider fighting against are abortion, euthanasia, gay "marriage," taking God out of schools, or the promotion of immodesty and impurity.  After researching and praying about these issues, you may find you are drawn to one in particular.  If so, find a local group and start taking time to join them in their efforts to end one of America's many evils.
  3. Support.  Support local Catholic organizations and other groups like the ones described above with your time and money.  Often times these groups will hold fundraising events that are open to the public; go and attend them.  Consider adding a local Catholic activist group to your group of charities that you donate to regularly.  You have no idea how much a little money or time encourages and helps these small, local groups.
  4. Educate.  Spend time growing spiritually and mentally by educating yourself.  Read wholesome books with your family, or by yourself.  Listen to CDs about the faith, and be ready to defend your beliefs if someone were to confront you about them.  Educate yourself, and then be prepared to educate others.
  5. Be Proud!  Be proud of your faith and values!  Wear T-shirts with a Catholic (or pro-life) message.  Pin pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-chastity, pro-Catholic buttons to your purse, coat, scarf, etc.  Buy some bumper stickers that announce your Catholic faith and values to those driving around you.  If we spend all our time hiding, we are not going to benefit anyone.  Don't shy away from situations that you know may bring about a confrontation. 
"Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary use words."  This quote is often attributed to St. Francis, and this is exactly what we must do.  It is by doing this, by being faithful children of Christ and seeking to extend His love to all those we come into contact with that we will change the world.  As St. Catherine of Siena said, "If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!"  These five things are just a start, but if you start doing them either by yourself or as a family, you will begin to impact those around you.  Every little action counts, it may seem like waiting a few extra weeks to put up Christmas decorations isn't that big of a deal, but your children and your neighbors will notice and remember your faithful observance of the Liturgical calendar and how, even when the whole neighborhood had taken their lights down, your lights were still shining a week after December 25th because Christmas wasn't over yet in your Catholic home.  As my mom always says, each little thing you do that may seem little is like planting a mustard seed in someone's mind.  Throughout that person's life, other people will nourish that little seed until it grows into the beautiful plant God designed it to be.

And so, "Go forth and set the world on fire!" (St. Ignatius of Loyola), and may God bless your efforts!

This is post 7 of 9 in the series "We're Selling the News." 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Where Nothing is Sacred, There's Nothing to Lose

The lines start to blur, I get so confused
I get shiny new models mixed up with the blues
I get binary code mixed up with abuse
The facts are simply on option to choose

Where nothing is sacred there's nothing to lose
Where nothing is sacred all is consumed
We're still on the air it must be the truth
We're selling the news.

I want to believe you
I want to believe
But everything I see is greed
The fact is fiction
Suspicion is the new religion.

File:Gerard van Honthorst 004.jpg
"Der verlorene Sohn" - Gerard van Honthorst

These are the last three lines of Switchfoot's telling song, "Selling the News," and some of the most powerful in the whole piece.

The first stanza describes the climax of the singer's confusion as he tries to make sense of the world, morally, based off of the social media's coverage of it.  All of the lies, half-truths, and fanciful claims to honesty are beginning to blur together, causing him to start to lose sense of what is true and what isn't.  He is so turned around that he is getting serious issues mixed up with objects and technology, because the media treats them all the same.  The newest Apple product gets the same amount of coverage as the most recent war-tragedy, and the latest environmental rally, which had about five attendants, gets more coverage than the March for Life in DC, which has millions of attendants (and is not even mentioned on regular television).  Which is why the facts are only an option, because one can watch mainstream TV or choose to research the truth, just like one can chose to believe the lies of Planned Parenthood, or choose to research the truth. 

The middle paragraph is incredible.  "Where nothing is sacred, there's nothing to lose,"  Think about that for a minute.  If we pretended that God did not exist, what reason would we have for avoiding sin?  If we decided that God and His morals just get in the way, and so decided to ignore, abuse, or curse them, what reason would we have for remaining pure, holy, and disciplined?  We would have no reason.  The more secular the world becomes, the more politically correct we become, the less respect we as nation have, and everything sacred is discarded, which is why living together before marriage and killing children for the sake of convinence is now considered okay by modern society.  And, as our culture becomes degraded all the good is consumed in the destructive fire of Satan as people begin to become comfortable with His tricks.  Yet, "we're still on the air, it must be the truth" is the way our nation thinks.  "Well, I heard it on the news!" is the common excuse to justify any claim that seems incorrect.  "Oh, well then you must be right" is inevitably the response.  When did opinions become facts?

And, as the song ends, the refrain changes a little to highlight one of the basic reasons our society has taken such a turn for the worst.  Because "everything is greed."  Why don't the news stations report the truth?  Because if they do their Muslim sponsors will not longer pay for their fancy clothes and shiny sets.  Why doesn't Planned Parenthood tell girls the harmful effects of abortions before doing them?  Because then they will lose money.  Why does Hollywood continue producing trash, and why do actors consent to play immoral characters?  Money, money, money.

And so ends Switchfoot's "Selling the News," one of the most eye-opening and honest analyzations of our country I have heard so far.  May we pray we will stop the decay and begin to rebuild a nation "under God" once again.

This is part 6 of 9 in the series We're Selling the News.  In the next three parts I will post things you can do to start healing this sick culture and review a book that fits perfectly with this theme.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advent Fingers

"It is the beautiful task of Advent

 to awaken in all of us memories of goodness

and thus to open doors of hope."

Pope Benedict XVI

(Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger)
Seek That Which Is Above, 1986

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Two movies for St. Nick

VeggieTales: Saint Nicholas

I love VeggieTales, and this their third Christmas special, and probably the funniest out of the three. This movie is really cute.  It shows some of how St. Nicholas originated, though it doesn't show that he was a bishop (at least, not that I can remember).  It is a very sweet, comical tale, though, and highlights the importance of giving freely of our things out of a Christ-like love for each other.  There's even a scene with a nun handing out bread to the poor, who teaches him the true meaning of Christmas.

What I liked:

I loved the scene with the nun, the on-going hilarious enjoyment, and the overall message.

Possible Concerns:

True to the story of St. Nick, it shows that the Saint's parents died while he was a young boy.  This may be a little too sad for sensitive children, but it doesn't dwell on the tragedy for long.  Overall, the actual story of St. Nicholas is not quite correct, and the movie portrays some Catholic things in a different way than they should be (the previously mentioned fact that they do not show that he was a bishop, they show a Mass in session, but do not follow what would have been the correct proceedings, little Nick doesn't want to wait for Mass to be over because he is impatient to go fishing with his father, etc.).  In my opinion, show your kids this movie for a light-hearted tale of the spirit behind St. Nick, which was Christian giving, and read them an account of the real life of St. Nicholas for a better knowledge of his actual life.

Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa

This is a movie that shows more of St. Nick's original beginnings, shows him become a bishop, and is more religious than the VeggieTale.  All the movies in this animated Saints series are good, showing very positive, kid-friendly versions of the stories of the Saints.  I've been watching this one since I was a little kid; they used to show it at my old school during religion class.  It's a very powerful message, and shows how the Christians were true to their faith even when they were being persecuted for it.

What I liked:

I loved the whole thing!  It's very religious, showing Nicholas's piety while he was still a boy and chronicling his generosity through the rest of his life, even after being imprisoned for many years.
Possible Concerns:

There are a couple conflicts, such as a short slave scene, in which Patrick trades his new horse to free a boy, and a fire in a Church, but nothing too traumatizing.

I hope you all enjoy St. Nicholas Day, and may God bless you as your Advent journey continues!

(A note about the series "We're Selling the News":  I am terribly sorry it is taking me so long to finish it, I had no idea how difficult it would be to complete the series in a timely fashion.  It's been busy around here lately, but I promise to finish it before Christmas- and this is a promise I am not going to break!)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oh Substance, where have you been?

I can see your talking heads
On the television set
On the internet they said
The fact is fiction
Suspicion is the new religion

Substance, oh substance- where have you been?
You've been replaced by the masters of spin
Who make good looking books and write history in
We're selling the news

Twilight Movie Picture
In the tenth and eleventh stanzas of Switchfoot's insightful song "Selling the News,"  the corruption of the media and Internet "news sources" is discussed even further.  Due to extensive treatment of these issues in earlier posts within this series, I'm not going to write too much about this.  Basically, in this part of the song Jon Foreman (the lead singer) is trying to point out that the people on the news stations are simply pretty faces being paid to report bogus stories to please the liberal public.  These heads never stop talking, just like they never stop lying.  The Internet is even worse, because anyone can claim to be an "eyewitness" or an "expert" on a subject, write up an impressive paper with out-of-context quotes and politically correct ideas to fool anyone who doesn't take time to do additional research.  Our trusted resources are becoming less and less honest as money becomes more important than integrity. 

The second stanza posted above addresses a scary topic: the corruption of our world's literature.  How long has it been since a book of substance was sold on the store-front shelves?  This is incredibly obvious when one looks at the "teenage literature" section.  Thanks to the Twilight craze, the shelves are filled with lustful tales of gorgeous, blood-sucking bad guys engaging in impure (not to mention down-right wrong) relationships with scantily clad, lovely women.  The books are bound in enticing covers, and the stories are filled with the kind of junk that used to only be purchasable in sketchy, back-alley adult video stores.  And our history books, oh Lord help us!  They're filled with lies, and any Catholic familiar with the ways of the world can surely guess what the books are lying about.  That's right, Catholics.  Last year in one of my history classes, the textbook said that Queen Elizabeth I was the great peace-maker, pacifying the tortured English people and making all religions happy.  Do you know what Queen Elizabeth I really did?  She persecuted Catholics; she had them violently executed. 

Nothing is trustworthy anymore, because now "the fact is fiction."

Part 5 of the series "We're Selling the News"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent Begins!

Christmas Clipart Christian Wreath
So many wonderful new things are happening today!

First, Advent has begun.  This also means that this blog's background is going to be purple (and pink) for the next four weeks.  There aren't many purple choices, so I'll only be changing the background once a week.

Second, the new Mass translation was used for the first time in Mass today!  What are your thoughts?  There weren't as many changes as I had expected there to be, but overall I liked them.  As far as I'm concerned, the more reverent and close to the Latin translation we can get, the better.  Our priest gave a wonderful homily about the need to be respectful and how we, as a Church, need to re-awaken our awe and fear of God.

Third, with the beginning of Advent come the emergence of all sorts of new decorations (Advent wreaths, La Posada statues, Jesse trees, Advent calendars, etc.) and purple accessories (I have two scarves I save just for Advent, and wear them only during this time).  What kind of things do you all do during Advent?  I'm looking for new decorating ideas and different traditions to try.

I want to thank you all for your patience.  I plan to finish up this "We're Selling the News" series this week; I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving and I wish you all a prayerful, joyful Advent!

God Bless

Image from

Saturday, November 19, 2011

To the Beach!

Hello Everyone!

My family and I are going on our annual Thanksgiving trip, and I'm not going to have my computer with me.  I'll be back in about a week, and when I get back I'll wrap up the "We're Selling the News" series and move on to preparing for Advent!

May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Seldom as it Appears

America listens the story is told
With an eye on the truth as the story unfolds
But the ratings determine if story was sold
We're selling the news

Begging the question mongering fears
Stroking the eyes and tickling ears
The truth is seldom just as it appears
We're selling the news

Photo: Close view of girls’ eyes
National Geographic

As Switchfoot's insightful song "Selling the News" continues, the first two lines written above make me think of the conscience we all have, whispering to us about what is right and what is wrong.  As Americans watch their TV screens, scanning the headlines and following the top stories, they listen with one foot planted in reality and the other in the TV.  They know what is real, what is true, what is right, and as they listen they decide whether the stories fit these parameters.  Yet, too many Americans have become unable to listen objectively.  They trust the news channels to bring them honest reports, and so when something doesn't sound quite right, they write off their gut feelings and adjust their perspective so that their mind will accept what the television is saying. 

This mentality causes them to forget many things, such as the fact that before any stories are even broad casted, Muslim princes and rich executives screen the information, the Muslims approve what is politically correct, and the executives then choose what is interesting and will continue to bring subscriptions.  Thus, the Americans hear what they're supposed to and remain ignorant of the true state of their country

And so the reporters raise questions without offering satisfactory answers, playing with the people's fears and always promising more information "right after this quick break," yet the greatly desired answers never come.  They "stroke the eyes" with attractive anchors, modern sets, and impressive photography while they reassure the Americans that the crisises occurring in other countries involving dictators and a loss of freedom could never happen here.  They hide the fact that our government is slowly taking control of more and more, creeping in and monitoring us much too carefully.  Things appear normal on the surface, but if one were to take the time to dig a little deeper, he would find many things amiss.

Despite all this, things go on seemingly as usual, and the stations continue to announce with plastic smilies "we're selling the news."

Part 4 of the series "We're Selling the News"

Friday, November 11, 2011

Salute to Our Veterans

This is an awesome song; say a prayer for our veterans today, living and dead.

God Bless the USA!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Fact is Fiction

See all men are equal all is for sale
A powerful dog that's been chasing his tail
The lowest common denominator prevails
We're selling the news

I want to believe you
I want to believe
But everything is in between
The fact is fiction

Suspicion is the new religion

Occupy Wall Street in NYC

"All men are equal all is for sale" begins the fourth verse of Switchfoot's song, reminding me of the ominous words in George Orwell's Animal Farm, when the pigs claim that: "all animals are equal."  Of course, we all know how the book ends: the animals discover that what the pigs (symbolic of dictators) really believe is that "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
Let me remind all of you of something: men are certainly not equal in one sense of the word.  For example, I am not my brother's equal, for he can skateboard much better than I can; he is not my equal because I can bake much better than he can.  We are not, as far as being "evenly balanced," equal.  This is one of those words that are being seriously misused.  In the above Orwell quote, "equality" is being used to describe what rights animals (symbolic of men) can exercise.  Men, in the words of the Declaration of Independence are "Created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."  We are all "equal" in this sense.  But, we are not equal in the way the socialists would have us believe.  When "all men are equal," then (as the Occupy Wall Street people would have us believe) no one should be able to succeed, and all personal growth should be restricted.  Hence, everything is for sale because no one is allowed to hold on to personal convictions, to go against the crowd, to rise above what his culture defines as "normal and successful." 

The "powerful dog that's been chasing his tail" is our country. Our politicians have been so worried about political correctness that they've been too busy criticizing the patriots of this country- running after America's remaining heroes- and letting the terrorists go through security posts without a problem so they can prod and poke the normal white children who, of course, pose "such a threat" to society.

The Occupy Wall Street people are claiming they are the 99%; in all actuality they are the minority- a group of fanatics who are stirring up trouble.  Yet they're the ones with the news spots, threatening to change things.  More Americans are pro-life than pro-choice.  Yet their Planned Parenthoods continue operating and their representative is in office.  "The lowest common denominator prevails" because they're the ones doing the complaining, they're the ones stirring up trouble, and they're the ones the government is too worried about being polite towards, to the extent that they cannot control them, for fear of looking harsh.

This is why people are beginning to worry.  Suddenly, those who are informed do not know where to turn for truth because the media, government, and protesters are all lying to them.  "I want to believe you, but everything is in between," says the American who knows how far his country has deteriorated, because suddenly his been forced to be wary of all informants claiming to tell the truth.  The fact has become fiction, and our news stories (which so many people believe out of honest ignorance) are mostly opinion with a few twisted facts, when it should be the other way around.

And thus, suspicion becomes our new religion as we turn around in this deceptive world and try to find an honest voice amid the lies.

[Sorry this series is taking me so long to write/finish.  It's been busy around here! :)  Please be patient with me; I plan to post more regularly now.  God Bless!]

Part 3 of 9 in the series "We're Selling the News"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Black and White

See opinions are easier to swallow than facts
the greys instead of the whites and the blacks
If you shoot it too straight they wont come back
We're selling the news

See money speaks volumes louder than words
Or virtues with wings maybe not quite at first
But salaries are paid by the ads not the birds
We're selling the news

Photo: Bronze sculpture
"The Encounter" in Toronto

"See opinions are easier to swallow than facts" begins Switchfoot's second verse, stating something that our newsstands prove.  One can't walk into a grocery store without seeing the latest gossip on Hollywood celebrities filling the racks near the cash registers.  People spend all their free time reading about the latest scandal and what Mr. so-and-so has to say about it; they're up to date on their soap opera drama, yet they don't know what is truly going on in the world.  The magazines people trust for information are lying to them as journalists fill their columns with their opinions on the news and market it as the truth.  The American people are becoming afraid of hearing how badly our country is doing, so the news reports don't tell them about how the country is basically at the mercy of China thanks to the humongous debt America owes them, no instead they tell them that China is the superman for America, and that they will save the world from economic collapse (check out this month's Time magazine).  They sell what the people want to hear, making sure they are so politically correct no truth could ever even creep in, because it might offend someone.  This is what the second line means.  The reporters sell the "greys" because they're safe.  It's not what the American people need to hear, but it will keep all sides happy.  Quick question, when Jesus came, did He water down the truth to make all sides happy?  I don't think so.  But the CEOs of The New York Times, CNN, and TIME Magazine don't care, because if "they shoot it too straight they won't come back," and lost subscriptions means less money, and that is something they cannot live without.

And so Switchfoot concludes that "our money speaks volumes louder than words," and oh how true this is.  One can pay anyone to do just about anything now, and the threat of inconvenience is now more powerful than the danger of a lost soul.  The people with the biggest share in the news station decide which stories get published and what lies must be mixed in with them before the anchors announce the headlines.  The channels claim to broadcast "fair and balanced" reports (Fox News slogan); their reporting is fair and balanced alright, fair for the Muslims and balanced so that no alarming stories will awaken people to the true state of the country.

Finally, virtues that should be spreading and growing are suppressed by the need to make a buck.  Companies supply abortion coverage to equal competitors without considering the evil behind it.  We need to wake up!  We need to start demanding, defending, and searcing for the truth!  We need to stop accepting and believing the "news" they're shoving down our throats and start investigating for ourselves!!! 

Stand up and fight for the truth that our Lord came and died defending.  For God is Truth, and if we continue to deny and hide from Him, He will have no reason to give our country the blessings it needs.

Part 2 of the series "We're Selling the News"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"We're Selling the News"

 Welcome to the holy city of silver screen
built with a lens and a low self esteem
 a teenager's plea for meaning and means
 we're selling the news 

Photo: Taxis in New York City
National Geographic-New York

This is the opening verse of the song "Selling the News" on Switchfoot's new album Vice Verses.  It's a fast song with a timely message about pop culture and the misplaced trust we place in the media.  Each line of this song has a meaning behind it that I believe we all need to hear NOW!

The first line of the song sets the scene, taking the listeners to a bustling city with shining buildings and chaotic streets (I always picture NYC).  Described as the "holy city," the world of business, money, and underhanded tricks has become our god.  Power is more important than virtue, and men step on each other's heads on their way up the ladder of success.  This whole song describes the sad state our country is in, and this first line defines why humanity has fallen so far into decay: we've replaced God with money.

"A lens and a low self esteem," are the building blocks of this society.  Our movies depict gorgeous women in tight clothes dominating handsome, idiotic men while racing through city streets in sleek cars or while sleeping in the same bed, succumbing to lust and upholding rebellion.  The actors are perfect, the scenarios dramatic, the morals non-existent, and the plot lines predictable.  The films are marketed to the people as a standard they should follow; each picture redefining love and life in a seemingly flawless way.  Yet, more and more of our citizens are on antidepressants, seeing mental therapists, committing suicide, and losing hope.  We all dream we're in the movies, trying to live our lives on the edge, yet inside we're all scared to death that the person sitting next to us on the subway might not like our outfits or ideas.  America has developed a huge ego, yet we've become a nation full of "sheeple" (hat's off to Michael Savage for that perfect word) too afraid to turn against the crowd.

The proof of this analyzation can be seen in America's teenagers.  The girls walk around without enough clothes and more than enough make-up, frowns on their faces and phones in hand while their boyfriends trot behind in baggy pants and hats turned backwards, apathetic looks on their faces.  All they want to find is happiness, that charge to make them feel alive.  This search for "meaning and means" takes them to the nearest theater, yet the medicine the movies prescribes only leaves them hung-over, pregnant, and even more alone and empty than they had been.  The culture is setting a bad example, and the teens are following it blindly.

Despite this corruption, the news carries on, reporting about the latest sexual scandal within the Church and defending murderers in other countries because they have lovely faces.  The all-powerful news that we trust is telling us the truth is delivered to us every day from the mouths of beautiful reporters with big smiles and crossed fingers.  The lady anchor won't tell us about the girl who died from a botched abortion yesterday, or about the Muslims taking over Europe, neither will she warn us about Hospice murdering its patients or doctors taking beating hearts out of accident victims because they agreed to be "organ donors."

This may all seem very depressing.  You may be reading this in disgust, thinking that things aren't really that bad and that this is all an exaggeration.  But this is only the beginning of the song; Switchfoot's hasn't finished uncovering the truth the media has been trying to hide.  And no matter how hard it is to hear, this is a message every American must listen to if we ever want to see our society improved.

Pray for America, that we will turn from our sinful ways and once again receive God's blessing.

(This is this first part of a nine-part series.  I'm going to analyze the rest of the song's verses, then in the last part discuss why, despite this darkness, we can still place our hope in the light.  Though there may be different posts interspersed amongst this series, I'm going to be focusing on this for the next two weeks.  I hope you will follow the posts, look up the song, and really think about the important message Switchfoot is trying to convey.  And may God bless you!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Pledge Allegiance...

Hello Everyone!

I promise I will post here soon!  Until then, I've posted a new article on St. Austin Review's Ink Desk:

I Pledge Allegiance...

I made an embarrassing mistake and attributed the quote "I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country" to Patrick Henry instead of Nathan Hale, but the mistake has been corrected (that's what happens when I write in a hurry).

Have a wonderful day, and God bless you for your patience with me!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Disposition of a Saint

"It is not fitting, when one is in God's service, to have a gloomy face or a chilling look."

-St. Francis of Assisi

Today is the feast day of one of the most famous saints in the modern world, St. Francis of Assisi.  Now, of course, St. Francis is best known for his time spent preaching to the birds, who would listen to him, and for his prayer "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace..."  But, sometimes it's nice to look into the lesser known facts and sayings of the Saints, especially the ones that have not become so common-place.  While browsing the St. Francis quotes on, I found this one and immediately felt God trying to tell me something. 
Think about it for a second, "when one is in God's service" we are supposed to be cheerful, so as to "preach the Gospel at all times" (another famous quote of his) through our conduct.  And, if we are openly Christian, yet live with a frown on our faces, glaring at everyone who tries to talk to us, what kind of impression are we making?  As my mom always likes to remind me, "You attract more flies with honey." 
In this quote, Saint Francis said we must keep up a positive demeanor "when we are in God's service."  But, I have a question to ask you.  When are we not in God's service?  If we are truly striving to do God's will, then we are always trying to do His work, and we are ALWAYS in His service!  That makes this quote even more challenging, doesn't it?  It certainly does for me; my siblings can testify to that!
For those of you who, like me, are not very good at keeping a smile when unhappy or inconvenienced, pray to St. Francis today for help.  Take this quote, write it in pretty calligraphy or type it neatly and post it somewhere you will see it often.  It's short, so you could even memorize it.  Then, when you feel a scowl creeping over your face, or a sharp glance preparing to pierce someone across the room, hopefully this quote will come to mind and help you to reign in that difficult temptation.
Overall, do not forget the simplicity of St. Francis.  For, though he had literally nothing, he was one of the most joyful men ever to live upon this Earth.  May his example inspire us to a greater love for sacrifice, poverty, and the embodiment of Christ's happiness!

And may the God of Brother Sun and Sister Moon bless all of you tonight!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Planned Parenthood to be Investigated!!!!

(copied from
September 28, 2011 by Erik Whittington

Great news! Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider is being investigated by Congress! On September 15th a Congressional Committee sent Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards a letter that communicated its concerns regarding their operations and how they use federal funds. Documentation is being requested on how Planned Parenthood keeps its federal funds separate from their abortion business, how they are notifying law enforcement regarding reporting statutory rape and sex trafficking.

Of course they aren’t keeping their federal funds separate from their abortion business so it’ll be interesting to see how they comply. You can read the letter here.

And we all know they aren’t contacting the proper authorities when it comes to statutory rape and human sex trafficking as you can see by this video and this one. I wonder how they’ll wiggle their way out of this one.

Planned Parenthood aborts one baby every 96 seconds. Planned Parenthood receives $11 taxpayer dollars every second. Planned Parenthood, at the very least should not be funded by our tax dollars. Ultimately, Planned Parenthood and their affiliates, as long as there are aborting babies, covering up for statutory rape and sex trafficking should be shut down.

Cecile Richards has 2 weeks to comply. That is tomorrow! Let’s hope and pray that this Congressional Committee, the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the investigation led by Cliff Stearns, (the Chairman of the Subcomittee on Oversight and Investigations) will be able to overcome the upcoming attacks by the pro-abortion forces and bring the truth about Planned Parenthood and their illegal operations to light!

Pray that the investigation will reveal the lies and evils of PP and that they will lose federal funding!!!

God bless all of those who have been working so hard to bring an end to this massacre of the innocents!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Devotion for Everyone

body parts,folded hands,gestures,hands,hands folded,hands praying,persons,Photographs,pray,prayers,praying,praying hands,prays,religions

Hello again everyone!

I apologize for how long it's been since I've posted something (the pictures with the quotes don't really count, in my opinion)!  I'll try very hard to make sure that doesn't happen again.

Last night, I read the third chapter in St. Francis de Sales's book An Introduction to the Devout Life. For anyone looking for a great spiritual/devotional type book, go buy a copy of this.  The advice and spiritual direction has helped me so much, at all different times in my walk with God.

Anyway, Chapter Three was about how devotion is something everyone can strive towards and practice, but not in the same way.  He talked about how the life of a poor monk would not work for a married couple with children, but that couple should have their own, more personalized way of growing in Christ.  This is not the same, mind you, as deciding one doesn't need to go to Mass because they can pray at home.  This is referring to the time one spends on his own, by himself, trying to cultivate a garden of good deeds and hopeful prayers to present to God.

When around nuns, monks, priests, or other very disciplined spiritual people, it's easy to feel like you're not doing enough.  Seeing their hard work and selfless lifestyle, it's hard not to start feeling guilty because you have a closet full of clothes, spend time pursuing your own interests, and sometimes miss your Daily Rosary.

But, as St. Francis de Sales wants to remind all of us, we are not all called to the same lifestyle.  Possessions are not evil in and of themselves; what is wrong is when they become our center, instead of Christ.  Spending time golfing, sewing, surfing, gaming, etc. is not wrong, as long as you make sure those things do not replace or cut into your time for God. 

Here's some tips for all of you.
  1. If you've tried saying a Rosary every day, and you find you just can't concentrate, buy Fr. Benedict Groeschel's "The Rosary is a Place" CDs. These are great! Fr. Benedict gives a reflection on each mystery, and meditatively prays the decades with a woman named Simonetta, who sings a little song in between each decade.  It's so beautiful, and helps me get in a reflective mood.  You're not going to have perfect concentration every time, but if you honestly try to keep your mind on God, He will understand.
  2. Start reading the Bible daily! If you already do, but are having trouble understanding it, start with the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament. It's full of amazing historical and spiritual commentary, essays, and word studies. Above everything, don't become overly worried about a time schedule. If trying to read a certain amount every day is becoming stressful, chances are it's not nourishing your soul very much. And always pray to the Holy Spirit before reading!
  3. Start trying to do a Morning and Night prayer, as soon as you wake up and before going to bed. These help the day start and end on the right note. Magnificat has great prayers in their monthly issues, but if you want even more, try the Divine Office.  For something a little less daunting, buy a basic prayer book and choose one of the morning dedications to say every morning until memorized. Then move on to more in-depth reflections.
  4. Read good Catholic literature! If you like non-fiction, I suggest either The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux or The Lamb's Supper by Dr. Scott Hahn. Both are fairly easy to read and offer great insight into living a more loving life and deepening one's devotion to the Mass.  Fiction lovers, pick up any of Michael D. O'brien's books, A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. (if you like sci-fi or other new concepts), The Great Divorce or The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, or Mr. Blue by Myles Connolly (for realistic fiction). These are all wonderful books that get one's mind and soul thinking!
  5. Pray! Anywhere and everywhere, just start doing it! An amazing prayer book is Jason Evert's Pure Faith. It says it's for teenagers, but anyone could appreciate it.  He has a great prologue about how to start praying and some tips, along with a lovely collection of prayers and other devotions.  If you're in a rush, whispering Christ's name is better than putting Him off entirely!
Don't forget, start slowly.  Baby steps come before big ones.  By easing into some of these things, your life will immediately begin to change for the better, and your soul will long even more ardently for Christ.

God bless you all!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Triumph of the Cross

"For God so loved the world, as to give His only begotten son; that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God sent not His Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world might be saved by Him."

John 3:16-17

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Mary!

"Your birth, O Blessed Virgin Mary, fills the whole world with a sweet consolation and a holy joy, because of you was born our Jesus, our God, who has taken away from us the curse in which we were plunged by the sin of our first parents, and filled us with all kinds of blessings,"

St. John Vianney

Holy Mother of God, ora pro nobis!

Picture from Photobucket

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Worthy Websites

Hello Everyone!

I don't plan to go a whole week between posts again! It's just been crazy busy at home lately. Until I can sit down and write a nice post, I thought I'd post links to some of my favorite blogs/websites for you all to read.

So, here they are in no particular order:

This is Clare's personal blog. She also writes for The Catholic Young Woman. This blog is full of lovely thoughts and reflections, perfect for a young lady looking for inspiration.

Ioannes posts regularly about political news and the Catholic Church's views on the hot-button issues. His commentary is filled with enthusiasm , and is always very engaging.

This is the website of Michael D. O'Brien, author of many amazing Catholic fiction books. He writes articles on popular literature, and his opinion of it. I love his artwork as well! LOVE this site!

This young lady has extreme art talent. I love looking at the beautiful paintings she's done in the past (since 4 years old), and the paintings she continues to produce. Incredible!

My favorite way to listen to music online! A radio that works like the "Genius" on iTunes, except it plays music for free (you don't have to purchase songs to listen to them). Right now, my stations include "Josh Groban" Radio and my Dad's "Waterboys" Radio! :)

This is an absolutely lovely website! A group of young women post all sorts of lovely reflections, inspirations, tips, and suggestions for young woman striving to embrace Catholicism and femininity. And, Clare re-posted an article (The Shieldmaiden) from my blog a couple weeks ago!

Enjoy your Sunday, and I'll be posting again soon!

God Bless!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


This song was inspired by St. Augustine's famous quote; it's very beautiful. Enjoy and God bless!

The Doctor of Grace

"If you believe what you like in the Gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself,"

"It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels,"

"The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home,"

"God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination,"

"We makes ourselves a ladder out of our vices if we trample the vices themselves underfoot,"

"Love the sinner and hate the sin,"

"To sing is the work of a lover,"

"Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage: anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are,"

"You have made us for yourself, oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You,"

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Today is the feast day of St. Monica, the mother of the great St. Augustine of Hippo.

For those of you who are not familiar with St. Augustine's wild past and miraculous conversion, this link provides a very brief summary.

St. Monica watched her son, his sinful lifestyle, and even though it seemed he would never return to the beauty of Christianity, she continued to pray. She never stopped coming to God in prayer, begging Him to save her son's life. Along with praying for her son, she also prayed unceasingly for the conversion of her hot-headed, idol-worshipping husband.

As my mom read her story to us this afternoon, this verse popped into my mind:

"And he said to them, "Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him' and he will answer from within, `Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything'? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs." (Luke 11:5-8).

The friend in the parable received his wish, not just because of his relationship with his neighbor, but because of his persistence. St. Monica, after years of ceaseless prayer, was rewarded with the conversion of both her son and her husband.

And God did not just give her a converted son, He gave her a Doctor of the Church! One of the most famous and eloquent Saints, quoted by Catholics and non-Catholics everywhere, brought to Christ through the prayers of his mother and the guidance of St. Ambrose, ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit. It so amazing, isn't it? We have a God who listens to our prayers, the petty ones and the important ones. And He answers them in the way He sees best. If we do not give up hope in Him, and we endure and do not despair, continuing to call upon Him, He will reward our perseverance.

So, don't lose hope, even when it seems God is ignoring you! Often He works in unexpected ways. St. Monica was distressed because Augustine was going to go overseas on a trip. She was worried that he would be exposed to evil influences and therefore pulled even farther away from Christ. She pleaded with God to prevent his trip. But, it was while he was on that trip that St. Augustine met St. Ambrose, who was a key factor in bringing about the conversion. Augustine would later say, "You did not do what she was at that moment asking, that You might do the thing she was always asking."

Meditate on this beautiful story when your prayers seem to go unheard. And, above everything else, remember Winston Churchill's words, "Never, never, never give up!"

And may God bless you all!

Picture and St. Monica information:
St. Augustine information:
Bible quote: RSV Bible

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Ignorance of Scripture... ignorance of Christ."

-St. Jerome

How many times have we all heard this quote? And how many times have we, after hearing it, resolved to correct this ignorance and start reading the Bible every day? AND, how many times have we faithfully followed our unrealistic plans of reading so many chapters of the Old and New Testament daily for the first week, then slowly dropped off as we lost time and make-up readings began to overwhelm us?
This is something I have tried and failed at repeatedly. I've told you all in a previous post about how I tend to create huge goals while in an inspired moment, only to realize later how challenging my resolutions truly are as I sadly stop trying to meet them.
Well, right now I'm going through a wonderful phase spiritually. I can feel the Lord really encouraging me to grow closer to Him. And, as I strive to become more united with Him, I keep running into this barrier. Hundreds of years after this scholarly Saint translated Christ's words, his quote has been on the front of my mind. So, finally, I'm going to listen. This time I'm really going to do it. I'm going to read the whole Bible this year. Starting today.
I went online and found a great website with all sorts of suggestions for Bible reading in the light of the Church. After reading the various forms of studying the Bible, I settled upon the Daily Scripture and Catechism Devotional. Not only will I grow in knowledge of Christ through this daily plan, but also in knowledge of His Church! Since this plan has one read about one chapter from the first half of the OT, the second half of the OT, the NT, then the Catechism, I'm hoping the variety of the different sections will help me through the difficult ones.
I would love to hear from you! What tricks help you read Christ's Word? Is there a method or technique you have used that has succeeded, or failed?

May God bless you today!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Delight in Waiting...

I was listening to "Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Buble on my "Josh Groban" Pandora Radio station the other day for the first time, and it made me think. In the song, he's singing about how he's excited about meeting the woman who is going to be "the one;" he's dated other girls, but he sings, "I still haven't met you yet!" And he's happily anticipating being with his future wife.
Now, not everyone is called to marriage. Some are called to the priesthood, others to be sisters, nuns, friars, monks, or simply single lay people free to give all their time to the Church. But, even they are waiting for something. Whether it's seeing that special someone for the first time, or feeling that tug toward a specific religious order, we should all be awaiting our future with the joyful expectancy because God is the one planning it!
Whatever He has planned for you, it's going to be so amazing! Ladies, it may seem like there's no guy out there who could fill your expectations, treat you respectfully, be everything you need, but if you are called to marriage- "he" is out there! And guess what, you're going to meet him one day; he's going to love you, make you feel special, and draw you closer to Christ through your relationship! Just be patient. Gents, it also may seem to you that your search for a lady among society's children is difficult. But you will find one, THE one, God is getting her ready for you. And one day you will kneel down before her and have the thrill of watching her face light up as she promises to love you forever. Or, for those called to singleness, God will provide you with these lovely experiences as well- just read St. Therese of Little Flower's autobiography!
Any time there's a lull in my day, or while I'm doing things around the house, the happy little song will flow through my head and I'll start singing it, smiling because I truly can't wait to meet my future husband. Smiling because I know that as long as I trust God with my future, the outcome will be even more incredible than I ever dreamed!

And that is something to sing about!

God bless you all!

Picture: A Pensive Moment: Knight

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Paschal Mystery

"As if that were not enough, He invented the Eucharist:
a God who makes Himself into bread, a little host, in order to descend onto our lips
and into our hearts, to bridge all distance between Himself and us."

I Believe in Love by Fr. Jean C.J. d'Elbee
p. 9

Post to come tomorrow!

God Bless!

Picture from:

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Assumption of Mary

"Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!...
You are all beautiful, my beloved,
 and there is not blemish in you."

Song of Songs 2:10; 4:7

Pray a Rosary in honor of Our Lady's Assumption today!

Picture from

Saturday, August 13, 2011

His Gaze

"His gaze of goodness is cast beyond the borders of the paradisiacal scene and into this valley of tears, which will carry on
in travail until the end of time."

The imagery in this is beautiful. Christ is gazing at us, at our fallen world, and sending his goodness into it. Though He is in paradise, He still focuses on Earth. He desires that we join Him, turn to Him, look into those eyes and drink in all that they are pouring out for us. And, as the quote says, He will not stop trying to help us. But, it is our choice to accept, look for, ask for, seek His help.
Do not give up on Christ, because He has not, and will never give up on you. It may seem your prayers aren't being answered, but it doesn't mean they're not being heard. God hears your pleas, and is answering your requests, maybe just not in the way you asked or expected. But God's plan is always infinitely better than ours, so trust Him. He will provide!

May God bless you!

Picture: Madonna of the Blooming Garden by Maurice Denis
Quote: Pierre-Marie Dumont
Both from August 2011 Magnificat

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Looking for Kings

The Lamb's Supper
Dr. Scott Hahn

Scott Hahn's The Lamb's Supper describes the Mass using the book of Revelation. Through drawing parallels, he shows that Mass is truly a divine event- an entrance into Heaven while on Earth. After reading this book, the Mass was transformed before my eyes. It truly is a book every Catholic should read. Keep your Bible close by, and let Dr. Hahn lead you through Heaven on Earth as seen in the Church's Most Holy Sacrifice. It will increase your reverence and desire for the Eucharist, along with the many other aspects of a Catholic's weekly (or daily) trip to the House of God. An entertaining and engaging read.

Looking for the King
David C. Downing

Tom McCord is an American graduate trying to write a book about King Arthur- the historical figure. He goes to England to do some hands-on research and becomes involved with Laura, an American seeking an answer to the reoccurring dreams she is having. The two travel all over England, become friends with the Inklings (C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, etc.), and have to dodge stalkers to find their answers. Ultimately, their goals are reached in ways never expected: a truly fascinating book. Tolkien and Lewis are portrayed beautifully; the entire book is extremely exciting. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Shieldmaiden

We've all heard of knights and chivalry. Yet, when it comes to describing the correct place and character of a woman, finding an acceptable definition is slightly more difficult. Within the description of a shieldmaiden I found the answer, and I'm going to break it down as I did the Code of Chivalry. First, here is the definition in full:

"A shield maiden is firstly a woman. As a woman she is the keeper of the hearth flame that provides a safe nurturing environment for her family. She is the teacher of her children and lady for her lord. The shieldmaiden has the courage to do the unglamorous daily tasks and to do them graciously. She is an example to her family and the keeper of the peace. She is generous to others while also being generous to herself. She keeps her word no matter how hard to fulfill and she stands by her beliefs. She selflessly serves."

There are many things within this description that I would like to address. First, the stress put upon the fact that- no matter what she is doing- the shieldmaiden is a woman. She is never going to be a man. This statement may seem pointlessly obvious, yet our modern culture is trying to disprove it. The feminist movement places the woman in the man's position, and tries so hard to prove that the modern woman is independent it loses the true and beautiful essence of womanhood. goes on to say, "As a woman do not be afraid to show your femininity or to look good, whatever your style. Do not be embarrassed of spending a day shopping or crying over a sappy movie. It is okay to pamper yourself. Try not to get so caught up in being strong you forget to be a woman." This slightly humorous statement is very true. God created women with a different temperament, personality, physical and emotional make-up than men for a reason, do not be afraid to express it! Wear skirts, paint your nails, watch chick flicks, get dressed up, experiment with hair styles, and enjoy all the fun little things that go along with being a woman. As Audrey Hepburn says, "I believe in manicures, I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and... I believe in miracles." Of course, one does not necessarily need to be a "girly-girl" to embrace her gender. But she shouldn't be embarrassed if she enjoys things that men do not. How boring would the world be if women always acted and tried to be like men!

Along with the pretty and care-free side of womanhood, there is another, more important role a lady plays in this world. From, "As a warrior a shield maiden must have the strength to make her way in a man’s world. She must be willing to get her hands dirty and make sacrifices. She may have to bide her time in an unsavory position until the time to fight is at hand. When that time comes she must have the courage to stand without blame. She keeps her word and is willing to show mercy. She is willing to help others. She stands by her convictions and her commitments." We are called to be strong, yet lovely. Hard-working and gentle. For those women called to motherhood, they must help uphold their families, keep them together, lead them in the right direction, and be willing to fight at the side of her husband when needed. Yet, in everything, the lady must reach out to others. She must put herself last, always seeking to ease the pain and right the wrong surrounding her.

Now, many (including myself) begin to lose heart upon hearing such high standards. It may seem impossible to become such a perfect figure. But, we have an exulted role model who is always ready and willing to help us in following her. That perfect woman is Mary. Her strength and beauty display perfectly God's plan for femininity. When you become downhearted in your efforts to be a virtuous, true lady, turn to the Mother of Christ and she will guide your way.

Chivalry quotes:

First picture: Stiching the Standard: Leighton

Audrey Hepburn quote:

Second picture: