Tag Archives: FSSP

What is Love?

2 blogs in one week?!  Oh yes, my friends!  I feel compelled to talk about something else that’s been on my mind a lot as of late.  I feel very uneasy to admit this because, frankly, it’s not something that I would have found myself saying even 5 years ago, but I’m finding that I am becoming a very conservative person.  Dun DUN DUN!!!!!!! Yes, I know!  I am a sellout.  I am becoming everything I hated, but alas it’s true.  I should clarify and say that I don’t go around throwing around the word “liberal” or calling people “liberals”.  No, those people are assholes.  I have no shame in saying that.  I don’t go around judging people based on their ideals… well for the most part I don’t.  The thing I do do, however, is live a conservative lifestyle and I have been for about the past 3-4 years.  Sure, I have my moments of stupidity every now and again where I let things get away from me and the way I am choosing to live my life goes by the wayside, but those moments have been few and far between.  I’m trying to live a true Catholic lifestyle and let me tell you this… I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my adult life.  I feel like I’m finally getting things right in my life, you know?

Ok, so you’ve gotten this far.  Don’t freak out on me!  If you know me in real life, let me assure you that nothing has changed.  I’m not going to treat you any differently than I have before.  I’m not, as what some people (me included on occasion) blast out, a “holy roller” or a “Jesus freak”.  I may, in fact be those things, but I don’t act them out as to be an attention whore either.  My favorite passage in The Bible happens to be Matthew, Chapter 6.  It’s really the foundation for my beliefs.  If you’ll indulge me:


Concerning Almsgiving

6 “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.2 “Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Concerning Prayer

5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.[a] 7 “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this:

Our Father who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done,

    On earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread;[b]

12 And forgive us our debts,

    As we also have forgiven our debtors;

13 And lead us not into temptation,

    But deliver us from evil.[c]

14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Concerning Fasting

16 “And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Concerning Treasures

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[d] consume and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust[e] consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The Sound Eye

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; 23 but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

Serving Two Masters

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.[f]

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.

Footnotes:

6.6 This does not, of course, exclude public worship but ostentatious prayer.

Matthew 6:11 Or our bread for the morrow

Matthew 6:13 Or the evil one. Other authorities, some ancient, add, in some form, For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Matthew 6:19 Or worm

Matthew 6:20 Or worm

6.24 mammon: i.e., riches.

Matthew 6:27 Or to his stature


 

I’ll give you the short meanings of each topic.  First off, don’t let anybody know of the good deeds that you do as in order to get praise.  Secondly, when not attending Mass, pray in private, man.  God will reward you there.  If you want the attention and people knowing that you pray to show them just how good of a person you are, then that will be your reward.  If you want a real reward, keep it to yourself, man.  Oh, and while you’re at it.  FORGIVE or else don’t expect to be forgiven when it’s your time to ask for it.  Oh yeah, and that thing we call money that we want to flash out to everybody so that they can see how badass you are?  Good for you.  Our time here is just temporary, man.  If you wanna party for a fraction of a second here, go ahead.  If you want to be invited to the real party, you’ll keep your stash in your savings account that you can’t access until you check out of this place first.  While we’re at it, you can’t serve God and seek to gain all the monies either, dude.  You gotta choose which one is more important to you.  Choose wisely, by the way.  And lastly, be cool, man.  God’s got you.  If you love him, he’ll never let you down.  He knows what you need to survive and you’ll have it.  Chill out.

That’s why I don’t wear shirts about religion, start conversations about religion, or blast these Christian pop songs.  Actually, to be honest, those “praise and worship” “Christian rock/pop” or whatever people want to call it is actually almost offensive to me.  Don’t get pissed off, let me explain.  As a Catholic attending a FSSP parish, I’ve been further exposed to Gregorian Chant.  Chant has been Holy Mother Church’s music for about 1,300 years and as my previous blog attests to, I live by the motto of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  To me, if you want to sing about God, He already gave us the music to play.  Leave secular music where it belongs… outside of the church.  I know, it’s just my opinion, but I got my reasons behind my opinion.  Actually, now that I think of it, an argument can be made that pop music for Jesus could go against the teachings from Matthew Chapter 6 that I just mentioned.  In any event, I don’t partake or listen to any of that nonsense or make it known unless asked that I’m versed in my faith.  I try to lead as much of a pious life as I can and know that each day that I do a good job at that, I’m one step closer to having a shorter term in purgatory when my number is called.

With that all said I have also made it a routine to visit Crisis Magazine which posts 2 long essays a day about various topics.  The authors of these essays brief biography is posted after each essay to let the reader know of their history and background to also solidify the fact that they do indeed have some knowledge about the topic they happen to be writing about.  Some of the essays, however, are still a bit much for me.  Mainly it’s the ones that blame the “liberals” or the Democratic Party (they use the terms interchangeably) for the faults of society as we know it today.  That’s where they get things wrong, in my opinion.  It’s not just the “liberals”, it’s everybody who decides to not follow their moral conscience and God knows that conservative people are NOT free of blame in doing shady messed up things either.  They are just as guilty as everybody else.  But, looking past that, I tend to be in agreement with every other article because these people actually know their faith.  The basis on their arguments that they made in defense of an action or a call to stop an action is based not only on Bible references, but on Church history, which is the way it should be.  The doctors, saints, confessors, and martyrs of Holy Mother Church and their stories and teachings are also points of reference in the faith and enrich one’s life in faith.

Now, the other day, this article struck a chord with me that has reverberated enough that I am writing this long diatribe now.  I was reading along to it nodding in agreement until just a few paragraphs into the essay, the author writes this:

“Has our culture now reached the place where the gold standard for “love” is uncommitted, easy, no-strings-attached infatuation?”

and further goes on about speaking about a protestant megachurch preacher (makes me wonder why she even watched/heard this unless it was just for further research for her essay) and his 45 minute talk about marriage that didn’t mention children once,

“It seems being a married couple need not have anything to do with babies, sacrifice, helping one another get to Heaven, or the multiplication of love. Marriage is, apparently, only there to make you feel good.  Heaven forbid you wake up one day with a stuffy nose, bad mood, or passing fancy, like Ms. Afont did, and discover you might just feel otherwise.”

I stopped reading right there and really thought about it.  The thought that came to me was “Man, she’s right.”  Men and women today don’t give a damn about anything but themselves nowadays.  There’s no family life anymore.  Hell, just look at the divorce rates!  There’s no yearning to live a good enough life to give yourself at least a fighting chance to make it to Heaven and live in eternal peace, happiness, and pure love.  No, most people and I’ll say society as a whole now just want instant gratification with no consequences for their actions.  “Here’s to feeling good all the time!” as Kramer once so beautifully said on Seinfeld.  Nobody wants to take the road less traveled, the difficult road, the whatever you wanna call it road that leads to the better prize.  Nope.  People want just a taste of the sweetness and not the whole thing.  Work for it?  Why the hell do that?  That’s crazy talk!

That leads me to my situation.  Not to sound like a narcissist, but that really can explain why it is that I’m solo deep.  Well, let’s not forget about the fact that I’m also short and fat, but that’s beside the point.  I’m not choosing the secular or protestant path.  I’m choosing the Catholic path and most people I know are a little averse to it, if you want me to be honest.  I don’t want to live a life filled with carnal pleasures just to have fun.  Honestly, I never have, but that belief is even more reaffirmed now.  I don’t want to get into a serious relationship just so that I can have relations regularly.  Ha!  Funny I even mention that because typing that out reminded me of one of my ex-girlfriends back in my early 20s.  She actually said something to the effect of “Well, that’s why you get a significant other, no?  for the guaranteed sex.”  Even then I said (or at least gave the facial expression of) “WTF?”  Ummm, no.  Sorry to ruin that idea for you that all guys want is sex.  I don’t.  I want to find a wife that will help me get to heaven.  God willing said wife and I will be blessed with children that we can also raise in the faith and teach them the ways to get to heaven too.  Yes, I would like to have similar interests as well.  I want a woman who will not look at me with some shocked face and call me stupid because I want to watch nerdy documentaries.  I want a woman who won’t judge me for going all over the spectrum of music when listening to it.  Oh, and aside from holy obligations, can it be cool to watch NASCAR, football, baseball, golf, and hockey too?  And while we’re on favors and holy obligations, can I also have a woman who won’t come up with excuses to not to go Mass on Sundays and other holy days of obligation?

My search continues.

Until next blog, y’all!

Ragrets and The End

I’ve had a lot of strange moments in my life lately.  Mainly, they have all been brought to my attention thanks to my continuing chronological journey through Star Trek.  Here’s an example.  This is going to sound morbid, but I don’t mean it this way… BUT!  Has it ever crossed your mind, or have you actually done a goodbye video in the event of your death?  What brought this about was the death of a main character in season 1 of The Next Generation. The rest of the main cast goes to the holodeck where they are greeted by a hologram of the recently deceased giving a goodbye message.  I thought this was the coolest thing ever.  Now, I have seen about 88% of the episodes of TNG, this one included, but this time around I’m really paying attention and that scene struck a chord with me.  I started to think about it and I think that would be the thing that I would want to do.  Actually, I’d make two videos.  I’d make one for the people organizing my visitation/Rosary/Funeral making sure that they dressed me up in the tie I’d like to wear, make sure that they don’t have the Requiem Mass anywhere else but my FSSP parish and offered by one of the FSSP priests, and to make sure that the people I happened to mention in the second video would be present for said video if I did blast some names out.  THEN I’d go ahead with the goodbye video.  I think that would solve a lot of problems.  Gone would be the “In according to what we believe his wishes very well may have been…” business, it would be put right there on front street what I’d want.  Now, I know funeral planning and prepaying is a thing already, but I would like to add the personal touch of a video.  Some co-workers and I talked about that today and I was hoping they wouldn’t take it that I was morbid, but thankfully they fully understood what I was saying.  It’s not a bad thing to give at least a few passing thoughts about the end of the line here on this planet.  I know the important thing is to prepare for the next life after this one, but not dwell on it too much.

That quick conversation with the co-workers of mine brought another thought to me.  Regrets.  I know that’s a big word and people have even inked “No Ragrets” on their bodies and many a song have been written about not living wondering what could have been, etc., but if I’m being honest with myself, I have to say that not only do I have general regrets, but I regret the things that I think I could have achieved in my life through no fault of my own or my family.  Let me explain.  As some of you may know, I am a HUGE fan of NASCAR, and I enjoy other forms of racing as well, but for me stock car racing is where it’s at.  With that said, every time I’ve been in the informal positions of racing, I’ve always dominated it.  My hand and foot coordination has always been on point and as my pops and sister can attest and I’ve always been a natural driver.  Sadly, west Texas isn’t the most ideal place to get a racing career off the ground.  The way I understand it anyway is that most of the drivers that are climbing up the ranks of NASCAR have invested upwards of $200,000 to just have the chance at making it.  I know my mom (rest in peace) and dad love me and would do anything for me (within reason), but I wouldn’t allow them to find ways to help me get that insane amount of money together to chase a dream.  That’s just crazy.

Another dream that comes to mind is what is still a delusion of grandeur of sorts.  I think if I had the means and the effort put forth back in the day, I think I would have made it in the music business and made a career of it.  Don’t get me wrong, some mini versions of these dreams have come to pass.  In the two bands I’ve been in, I’ve played for crowds in the hundreds (yay me, right?), I’ve played mostly all the genres of music I’ve enjoyed sans jazz and hard rock/heavy metal, and I’ve recorded two albums to date.  That’s pretty good, I’d like to think!  BUT, there’s always that dream of being discovered, signed to a major label contract, and going on tour playing 20,000 seat arenas, and writing and recording music the way I’d want to with all the time needed in the studio to make my vision a reality.  Who knows, maybe it could happen.  Getting back out there and gigging at different places and continuing to write music needs to happen first.  Heh.

Point is, I do think of these “what if” scenarios often.  Well, maybe often is not the right word because it’s not like I live in the past questioning every step I’ve taken, but there are those occasional thoughts of “Damn.  I think I’m pretty good at ____.  I should have pursued that in my youth.  *sigh* Oh well.”  Things, in the end, are meant to happen the way they happen.  I’m a firm believer in God’s plan.  He knows what’s up.  I’m at where I am in the entirety of my life with reason and purpose that He knows.  It’s not my place to question it.

All Hallows Eve

I’ve been feeling like I need to put something out on Front Street.  What I’m going to talk about in this post may very well upset some people who read it and for that I apologize in advance, as these are merely my views and opinions on the matter, but I feel that I need to let them out or else they are just going to keep eating away at me.

So, as I write this out now it’s the eve of all hallows eve.  This past weekend was the weekend for Halloween parties to go down where people dress up in their best, worst, scariest, or skimpiest to have a good time boozing it out with like-minded individuals.  Cool for them, right?  But the question I have started to ask myself as I’ve continued on my journey of faith is “Why has the bastardization of Catholic feast days and holy days of obligation continued and even gotten worse as time has passed?”  I know, I know, you’re probably reading this and are saying something along the lines of “STFU YOU IDIOT!!!!!”  But, hang out.  This is what I mean.  What are three of the biggest non-holiday celebration days here in the U.S.?  Valentine’s Days, St. Patrick’s Day, and Halloween right?  Some would argue others, but those 3 are pretty big days here to celebrate for one reason or another.  Thing is for the secularized world, Valentine’s Day is a day where you have to get hearts, roses, chocolates, a card, some stuffed animals or whatnot, and go to a restaurant and wait in a long line with the rest of the people there either trying to impress their potential significant other, or go with the flow with their significant other/spouse (heck sometimes both at separate times on the same night!).  Little do people know or more than likely care that it’s a Catholic feast day venerating a saint.  Granted, St. Valentine and his history are a bit cloudy, it’s still clear that it is a Catholic feast day of a saint and he is the patron saint of love, marriages, etc.  Of course this has been twisted around by culture over the years to what we get now.

Same goes for St. Patrick’s Day.  People know it now as a day to dress up in green, wear shamrocks, claim to be Irish, and go out and party and get drunk on green dyed beers and/or other cocktails with a large swath of people.  What it really is, however, is a Catholic feast day venerating the patron saint of Ireland who converted nearly the entire country to Christianity.  How it came to what it is now is a long and wild story, I’m sure, but it just bothers me slightly that these two big “holidays” that are celebrated here are done now for all the wrong reasons.

The same goes for Halloween.  This one is just as bothersome to me as the previous two because Halloween came out of the day of anticipation for All Saints Day and had nothing to do with candy, booze, immodest attire, and partying under the veils of black and orange lights like it’s devolved into now.

I know this blog is coming across as a “come to Jesus”/”take a knee” moment, but I’m not really trying to go for that at all.  What I’m saying in the context of referencing my points is that ever since I started going to Traditional Latin Mass at my local FSSP apostolate, Immaculate Conception Church, I have found that I have learned as much or even more about my faith than I did in the previous 34 or so years before FSSP was invited here by our bishop.  Before this, I had attended 5 Masses in the Extraordinary Form all during a Lenten Mission and was immediately drawn to it.  Thanks to my very good friend Michael, who is in the know in matters of the faith here locally, he got word of FSSP giving us a one-night only Mass at one of the seminaries here in town to gauge interest, both by FSSP and our bishop.  Needless to say, we overflowed the chapel where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered and the bishop invited them to stay.  Anyway, my first Mass at Immaculate Conception was another holy day of obligation, The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which is on December 8th (the day before my birthday!).  The only reason I hadn’t gone sooner is because I was unaware that FSSP had been given the parish already as of that previous August.

That quick backstory about me leads me to my point.  I didn’t know my faith enough.  I wasn’t involved in the own salvation of my soul!  Did I know holy days of obligation? Did I know the history behind the aforementioned feast days?  Could I defend my faith against people who would try to convert me to protestantism (it almost worked once!), or just as bad, trash talk my faith to me expecting a defense?  Well… no, not really.  I wasn’t engaged too much.  Confessions started out as something I rarely did as a kid to something I did even less of in my teenage years.  I wasn’t even aware of what constituted a mortal sin therefore falling out of the state of grace.  It’s no surprise to me that a lot of people I grew up with going to catechism class, and confirmation class either turned protestant (a general term for anything else other than Catholic), or atheist.  Same goes with family and friends.  We weren’t being taught our faith.  That problem still goes on today with some of the things I see happening at Novus Ordo parishes (i.e. the behavior and dress… or lack thereof… of the laity, and even worse, things like yoga classes being offered at parishes!)  I feel like I’m the only one around of my peers that acknowledges the holy days of obligation, and the great feast days that people have twisted with time to where I feel like an outcast.  No matter though.  My goal here is to get myself ready at any moment to defend my faith, with my life if necessary, and to aspire to if not outright live a life of a saint and by God’s grace make it to heaven when I die.  I’m learning more and more each passing day about my faith.  It’s an ever growing, ever evolving thing in my life and for that I am grateful.

WHEW!  Well, with all that said I circle back to the timing of this blog post, Halloween.  I’m finding more and more each year that I really don’t care for it.  Bless the people’s hearts that do, as it’s a pretty intense thing for a lot of people, but ever since my late teen years and even more so now the past 3 years or so, the last day of October into the first two days of November have come to mean a completely different and deeply spiritual thing to me that does not involve ghosts (well, only one, the Holy Ghost), goblins, vampires, witches, the undead, naughty nurses/law enforcement officers, etc. It involves preparing for, first, the celebration of all of the canonized saints in heaven on November 1st, then the praying for all of the souls that have passed on on November 2nd.  I appreciate the invites to parties and I’m all for cosplay and stuff, but doing it around holy days of obligation and/or reverence has never really been my thing and even less now.