Saturday, June 30, 2012

Unicorns in The Bible

How can there be unicorns in the Bible? Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin will tell you all about that. You see, I sent him a question about the various mythical creatures mentioned in the Bible, and he has answered the part about unicorns for me. Check out Jimmy Akin's answer here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

14 Ideas for The Fortnight for Freedom

Happy First Day of Fortnight for Freedom!

"What is that?" you ask. Well, I'll tell you. The Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) wrote a document about religious liberty, and they called for a 14-day period of prayer, action, and education in support of religious freedom. It runs from June 21st to July 4th. Now, even if you aren't in the U.S. you can still participate. Religious freedom is important no matter where you are!

Image from this article on martydom by Msgr. Charles Pope


Check out the official webpage for Fortnight for Freedom and the statement by the U.S. Confrence of Catholic Bishops reguarding freedom of religion.

Now you ask, "What do I do to participate?" I'll make 14 suggestions, since it's a fortnighty thing.

1.Check your Diocese newspaper for events in your area. Maybe a special Mass or a rally?

2. Pray the Rosary for religious freedom for all people.

3. Read about martyred saints. You can start at the Catholic.org page on martyred saints. Then, share what you learned with somebody else.

4. Write to the government about the HHS mandate. The NCHLA Action Center page can help you learn about the issues and send an email.

5. Support Christian musicians and artists. Do you like heavy metal? Check out Catholic Metal.com, or how about punk? Take a listen to The Outer Fringe, or just wander through The Catholic Music Network site and see what tickles your fancy.

6. Make a blog post about religious freedom. Tell others about the Fortnight For Freedom or about the martyrs you read about.

7. Write a story or poem with the theme of religious freedom. Maybe a fantasy about an alien planet where the characters must go underground to worship. Or if painting and drawing's your thing, make a picture.

8. Start keeping up on Catholic news around the world. For instance, what's happening to Catholics in China? What does the Pope say about Syria? Pop over to Catholic News Service or another Catholic news site and inform yourself.

9. Share the Good News on Facebook or Twitter. Take these 14 days to evangelize more. Go out and make disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:19)

10. Listen to Catholic radio. If you don't get it in your area, go to Catholic.com and click on the "listen" button at the top to hear Catholic Answers live (6-8 Eastern time) or check out the podcasted shows on the site or subscribe at iTunes.

11. Decide of a Catholic book you want. Go into your local bookstore (they have them still right?) See if they have the book on the shelves. (You're almost guaranteed they won't have it.) Then ask them to order it for you. It sends the message that people want them! They are about making money, so they listen when people ask them to sell particular types of books.

12. And of course support your local Catholic bookstore, if you have one in the area. And support the shops and restaurants that support your parish. Does your parish have a bulletin? Check the back. It might indicate which local businesses support your parish.

(Whew! Can I think of two more?)

13. Organize a rally or ask your priest to hold a special Mass for religious freedom, then help him publicize it.

14. Pray for the success of the Fortnight of Freedom efforts.

I'm sure you can think of many more things to do! 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Truth and Love vs. the New Age Mentality

Ouija boards, tarot cards, neo-paganism, new age beliefs (such as the power of attraction): If you've ever gotten into any of that or know someone who has, read on.

FALLING AWAY

I've mentioned before on this blog about my falling away from the Catholic Church, my stint as a pagan, and my coming home to the Church. Because of my past, I was excited to attend a breakfast talk featuring Sharon Lee Giganti. Perhaps you've heard her on Catholic radio or have visited her website New Age Deception .

She had fallen away from the Church after 8th grade, and got into listening to "channeled spirits" and "A Course in Miracles." But, by the grace of God, she was moved leave that behind and embraced Jesus and truth.

A HARMFUL BELIEF SYSTEM

After we at the talk enjoyed food, music, and prayer, she told her story. I'd heard bits of it on the radio, but never the entire thing. Many of us, including Sharon herself, were brought to tears. The devastation wrought by her former belief system was horrific. We're talking multiple deaths.These were caused by her involvement with and her teaching of the new age philosophy. Read a bit about it on her website "about Sharon" page.

She explained how this philosophy is harmful. You can't just shrug and say, "It's true for some people." It's a dangerous lie. And being that the information and philosophy come from so-called channeled spirits, I think it comes from demonic influences.

The new age "Law of Attraction" says: "'Like attracts like,' and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results" (as quoted from Wikipedia.) Which would mean, if it were true, that bad things happen to those with a bad attitude, and good things happen to those with a positive attitude. Teachers of this thought actually say such things as the Holocaust occurred because the victims held negative thoughts. They also say that you should ignore anything that doesn't please you or that causes you to hold negative thoughts. Tell that to somebody who has suffered loss, pain, or depression, and you'll see how devastating that belief is. (Actually, don't tell them that. It would be very damaging.)

As Sharon said, in the talk, "If what you're believing is a lie, it can be deadly." She found that this particular lie caused her to lose her humanity, her empathy.

I believe this, not only from her testimony, but from what I've observed in people in my own life who've embraced new age philosophy. They tend not to feel badly for people with problems and tragedy. They'll tell you, "That's just their path." Or instead of sending aid to starving people in catastrophe torn regions, they'll say "Just hold good thoughts about them. That's all they need." They will tell you that they know a fetus is a human infant but that it's fine to kill it "if you feel that's the right decision for you and your family." These are all examples that I've been told by people close to me--people who subscribe to this new age philosophy. It chills me to recount the phrases as it chilled me to hear them spoken.

HOPE

Sharon's life was filled by devastation because of this philosophy, but her life is also a story of hope. She came out of this and embraced the mercy of God. She grew to become a Christian. In her search for a church that held true to Jesus' teaching, she wished for one led by an Apostle. Somebody who still had sand between his toes from walking with Jesus by the Sea of Galilee. Her friend told her, that's the Catholic Church. As Sharon Lee puts it, it's the church with the sandy toes! (I loved that image.)

That's Sharon Lee Giganti at the podium
And it's true. We have Apostolic succession right down from the beginning. The truth has been guarded by the Holy Spirit Himself.

The fact is, the new age teachers will have you believe that there is no God, only energy in the universe you can tap into in order to get whatever you desire. The truth is, God is a unique being, all powerful creator, who loves you!

Here's a link to the Vatican document Jesus Christ The Bearer of The Water of Life: A Christian Reflection of The "New Age". There you can read the Church's opinion on new age practices and beliefs. And Catholic.com/Catholic Answers where you can listen to Sharon Lee Giganti podcasted and read articles about new age issues.

This is the Lord God who Loves You! I got the image here.