Category Archives: Random
This post probably qualifies as a rant. Forgive me, you guys, but I rarely get this frustrated about anything and most people I know aren’t interested enough in the Church to listen to me go off.
You guys all know, I’m sure, that Pope Francis celebrated Holy Thursday Mass at a juvenile detention center in Rome and that he washed the feet of some of the detainees there. Most of us probably thought this was a good thing. I thought (or rather, hoped) that everyone would see it that way. Found out today that that wasn’t the case. What am I talking about? Look here.
Yes. Those people are seriously spazzing out. Not only are many of them upset that Pope Francis celebrated Holy Thursday Mass at a detention center, but some are equally frustrated by the fact that he washed the feet of women instead of only washing the feet of men. Oh, okay, yeah, that makes perfect sense. That’s a legitimate complaint.
You must be joking! I cannot believe that people are actually upset about this. It is just so unfortunate when people get so lost in the letter of the law that they can no longer understand its spirit, its purpose, and its application. I’ve just realized that I’m not angry at these people; rather, I’m sorry that they feel this way and I’m frustrated with their mentality. I understand that, for many, Pope Francis is rocking the boat…but darn it, maybe the boat needs rockin’, people! What could possibly align more with what Christ taught and with what the celebration of Holy Thursday is all about than visiting people who are desperately in need of Christ and inviting them to encounter Him in this profound way?
Okay, I feel much better now. Have a blessed Good Friday and a Happy Easter, everyone!
You guys will notice that I refrained from doing a post on the Holy Father’s resignation announcement that came to us over a week ago. I figured that would get enough news coverage as it was and I didn’t see the need to chime in so early before we had watched everything play out over the days following his speech. As a means of introduction to this post, let me say that I strongly support the pope’s decision, as I believe he is doing this for the good of the Church as a whole. He has served the Church faithfully and to the best of his ability, and now I only pray that God will grant him peace in the future.
And that leads me to my point behind this post…
Since the pope’s announcement, there has been a lot of talk about who the next pope will be. Fantasy football brackets featuring the names of the cardinals have been made, bets have been placed, and heated arguments about who would best serve the Church have floated around. I’ve even heard people talking about how the pope should be elderly so that we aren’t dealing with the same person for a long time, as was the case with Pope John Paul II. I’ve heard people discussing how much they dislike this or that cardinal and how they would lose all respect for the Catholic Church if this or that person happens to be elected.
You guys, I realize that it’s kind of fun to try to figure out who the next pope is going to be. I get it! I understand that some people want to look ahead and see some of the directions in which the Church could be headed after the election of a new pope. I get it! But this is not fantasy football. Let’s try to keep any discussions about conclave and the papal election respectful.
I would also like to remind my Catholic readers out there to avoid being prophets of doom and gloom. Contrary to what I’ve heard some people saying, the Church is not going to come to a screeching halt if so-and-so is elected. It just won’t happen. Whoever is elected will lead the Catholic Church. The Holy Spirit is in charge here—and none of us can change that.
Instead of these bets about who the next pope will be or in what direction the Church will be heading next, let’s instead pray for Pope Benedict XVI and for the cardinal fathers, that they may be open to the voice of the Holy Spirit in conclave.
I’m going to have to start having my theology geek moments here on my blog…because it turns out that most of the people I know aren’t interested in discussing theology or hearing about it. So…that’s life. But luckily, I can be a geek on here and you guys can’t judge me too harshly. Or, even if you do, I won’t know it. So it’s all cool.
Anyway, there’s a little background story here. I take theology classes outside of school. These classes meet once a month during the first weekend of the month. Yesterday, I came home from a class on the liturgy and I was totally feeling the theology geek moment coming. And I just couldn’t help myself. So I ran into the kitchen and (admittedly) shouted at my mother, “IT’S A DIALOGUE! THE LITURGY OF THE WORD IS A DIALOGUE BETWEEN GOD AND HIS PEOPLE! HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!”. Well, she didn’t really want to hear about it, and I ended up texting two Episcopalian friends of mine, one of whom is a deacon, and having my theology moment that way because I just couldn’t seem to hold in my excitement about what I had learned in class.
Now that I’ve told that story, I am going to proceed to have a theology geek moment in this post. I’m just going to number some things that are buzzing through my head that I just need to get rid of.
1) THE LITURGY OF THE WORD IS A DIALOGUE!!!! HOW AWESOMELY COOL IS THAT?!?!?!?!?! Yes, I have a fascination with liturgy now. Before this weekend, I hadn’t had any instruction whatsoever in liturgy and now…can’t stop thinking about it. But one of the things our professor talked about was how the Liturgy of the Word is structured as a dialogue between God and us, His people. And I just thought that was SO COOL. God starts the dialogue with the First Reading, then we respond with the Responsorial Psalm (which is cool because we’re responding to God with His Word), then God speaks again in the Second Reading, we respond with the Acclamation, God speaks again in the Gospel and in the homily, then we respond with the Creed and the intercessions.
So it’s like…after God has spoken to us and revealed Himself finally in the Gospel through Jesus, we respond by professing our faith in Him because of what He has done for us and we then ask for more of His love and mercy, trusting that He is good and will answer our prayers. TELL ME THAT ISN’T COOL.
2) I had NO IDEA that the entire liturgical year is ordered around the Paschal Mystery. The date for Easter is set first…and then the dates for everything else are set. MIND = BLOWN.
3) I loved how our professor this weekend stressed the community during liturgy. The songs, the postures, the responses are all meant to unite us together as the Body of Christ and help us to act as one in offering praise and thanks to God.
4) On another note…I love Vatican II. Maybe not the way everything was implemented, but the Council itself has a really interesting story to tell us. The documents that came out of the Council make for fascinating reading and the events of the Council…lots of drama.
5) THE GOSPELS, OH MY GOSH. I have this thing with the Gospels…well, it’s an obsession. It is just so cool to me how the audience affected the way in which the evangelists presented the Gospel message. Jewish audience? Okay, let’s show Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. Gentile audience? Okay, let’s show how Jesus is more powerful even than Caesar. I love how we don’t have to put the Gospel accounts into this little box and then just forget everything that appears to be contradictory. We can say that the message the evangelists conveyed was true while also saying that they were true human authors who adapted images and concepts to the audiences they addressed.
*END THEOLOGY GEEK MOMENT*
This past year was pretty hectic with a lot going on all the time. I was a little worried that I wasn’t keeping up with my blog enough in the midst of everything else…but apparently some viewers really enjoyed it, which I was glad to find out! 1catholicsalmon recently nominated this site for the Blog of the Year Award. Thanks so much for the nomination! It is greatly appreciated.
Here are the “rules” for this reward, as per the site:
1) Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award
2) Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen — there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required — and ‘present’ them with their award.
3) Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award —http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/ and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
4) Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them
5) You can now also join our Facebook group — click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience
6) As a winner of the award — please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award — and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…
Yes — that’s right — there are stars to collect!
Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once — this award is different!
When you begin you will receive the ’1 star’ award — and every time you are given the award by another blog — you can add another star!
There are a total of 6 stars to collect.
Which means that you can check out your favorite blogs — and even if they have already been given the award by someone else — you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!
So, Here Are My Nominees:
1) 1catholicsalmon: This blog has some REALLY interesting material that you guys should be sure to check out. Highly recommended!
2) Biltrix: Okay…this site is wonderful. The posts on this blog are always informative, well-written, and relevant. Be sure to check it out!
3) Patrick Vandapool: An apologist who approaches every question with a healthy dose of satire. If you’re going crazy and need a laugh…this is your guy.
4) Where the Light Meets the Dark: A site by a Catholic teen like myself. Check it out, you guys! The posts are really interesting.
5) Life Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This: This site has some content related to living life as a Catholic teen and offers a cool perspective on a lot of the topics addressed.
Those are just 5 of the many bloggers who deserve this award. But I would especially like to recognize these bloggers for their dedication and zeal.
Thanks again to 1catholicsalmon for the nomination! May God bless all of you.
The New Year begins next Sunday…for the Church, anyway. So, in honor of that, I’m making my New Year’s resolution early. And here it is: I’m not going to leave this blog without new material for a solid month like I’ve been doing!
Now…where to begin?
You know how you see or hear things sometimes and you just have to say something about it? Yeah…this is one of those times. This morning, as I was searching Google Images for pictures to use for one of the posts, I came across this image:
Well, this image among many others just like it, but I thought this one was the most direct. And, as has always been my problem, I have a comment. So here’s my two cents.
I think a lot of people get this impression from Christianity. “God loves you…as long as you love Him” or “God loves you…as long as you worship Him” or “God loves you…as long as you do everything He says”. But all of those are wrong. Because when Christians say that God’s love is unconditional, we mean that God’s love is 100% without conditions. You don’t have to love, worship, or obey God for Him to love you because, no matter what you do or where you go, God will always love you regardlessof anything and everything.
If God loves only based on our response, then He is foolish and that would mean He isn’t God. Why is that foolish? Let’s face it: we fall short of God’s Law all the time. If His love for us was determined by our ability to live perfectly, He wouldn’t love any of us. If His love for us came with the condition of having to worship Him, then what about those who have never heard of Him? Did He not also create them, are they not also valuable?
God doesn’t love us because we follow Him perfectly, because we worship Him, or even because we love Him. He loves us because He is infinitely good. He loves us because He created us out of love and continues to love His creation regardless of our sins. Now, that being said, does God desire that we should love Him? Yes, of course He does! But let me ask you this: If your child told you he hated you and refused to have anything to do with you, would you not still love that child and want him to turn back to you? Of course you would. So even when we sin against God, even when we refuse to love and worship Him, His love still goes on. He still loves us even though we refuse to know, love, and serve Him.
Now, of course, in any discussion about God’s love for us, the question of Hell comes up. So here’s a very abbreviated response. Why does a God who loves each person unconditionally even allow the existence of Hell? I’ll answer that question with another question: If your child plays baseball in the house, even though you have repeatedly told him not to, and breaks a window, what do you do? Even if the child apologizes, do you not still punish the child for disobeying you? Is it contrary to your love for your child if you punish him? No. The child chose to disobey you and there are consequences for that.
Let’s apply that scenario to God. We have the ability to make our own choices (which we all know). We can choose good, and we can choose evil. This free will is a gift from God. Without it, we would be little more than robots mechanically following God’s orders, and that’s not what He wants from us. He wants us to choose to love and serve Him because He knows that forced love is no love at all and that forced service is not service–it’s slavery.
We have the ability to choose and God respects those choices. If we refuse to love and follow Him in life, why should we want to be with Him eternally? Essentially, it is not God who sends anyone to Hell because, by our choices, we decide. (Note: The question of Hell has a lot more to it, but for the sake of time, I’m summarizing. I think I’ll address this more fully later on in another post.)
And that’s my two cents’ worth.
One of my favorite topics we covered in the theology classes I took this past year was the Gospel message and how it is presented in each of the four gospel accounts. And I got to thinking…you guys might find this interesting, too.
This is part of the material that I told you I’d be moving over from my other blog, but I’m going to tweak it and spice it up a little so that it’s not just a glob of information. I’ll add some pictures, a little music…and, of course, the complimentary dry humor and sarcasm
So you guys can be looking forward to that. In the meantime, however…
I’d really like some recommendations!
It’s really hard to write a blog when you’re not sure what your topics for posts should be, so if you guys could see fit to comment/email and tell me what you want to hear about, I’d really appreciate it.
My apologies, readers! I can’t believe I haven’t posted on here since the 6th of July. That just seems unreal. You know, I thought that I’d be able to post regularly on here during the summer. That’s what I get for doing my own thinking there! One thing after another has popped up and I’ve just been insanely busy recently. I won’t lie, though…I’ve enjoyed the past two weeks. Why? Well…I’ve been having a blast.
First off, I had the chance to volunteer, along with my best friend, at my parish’s VBS program from the 9th to the 13th. Together, Annie and I ran the Bible story section of the day. So, basically, we told the Bible stories in insane and kid-friendly ways. Now, you’d have to know me to know just how out of character that is for me. I’m not one of those little-kids people who’s great with kids, so I was a little worried about this (as you can imagine). But you know what? I thoroughly enjoyed it. The kids were absolutely great and they really got into the stories Annie and I were telling them. It was awesome! Our parish did the Pandamania theme this year for our VBS program…so we had a wild time.
The best day was Thursday, by far (sadly, I couldn’t be there for Friday…more on that later). Thursday was Gospel story day, and Annie and I dressed up as first century Christians to tell the kids about how Jesus died and rose again…and how it isn’t always easy to follow Him. So, we had a few of the guys from the parish dress up as Roman soldiers and search the rooms where we were hiding just to give the kids an idea of what it was like for the first Christian believers. I was thinking that it would go over pretty well, but did I ever underestimate it! The little kids especially really got into the story. At snack time, the guys were still dressed up as soldiers and Annie and I were walking around the hall talking to the kids. The problem, however, was that the little kids really bought into the idea that the soldiers were trying to kill us. What happened? Annie and I had to spend the day running around the church to hide from the Roman soldiers because the kids were convinced we were in danger. We had SO much fun with that!
Each day, there was a Bible verse and then a “key point” that sort of summed up what that verse meant. Whenever the kids heard the key point for the day, they were supposed to shout in response “Thank you God!”. The verses focused on God’s love for all of us and how He takes care of each one of us. I’m not sure if the kids learned nearly as much from me as I learned from them, to be honest. The simplicity of their faith was something truly beautiful to see. If only we could all possess that simple faith and trust of children, we’d go far spiritually.
So, as if that experience wasn’t enough to make my July wonderful, I went to Boston with my family for six days after VBS (which was why I couldn’t be at VBS on Friday…our flight left for Boston then). If you’ve never been to Boston, I highly recommend it. The city is great because it has a little something for everyone: shows, shopping, history, good food. We had the chance to go to Mass at a Franciscan shrine in Boston as well. Let me tell you, I didn’t know it was possible to say Sunday Mass in 30 minutes…but the Franciscans don’t play.
Personally, I’m a history lover, so walking the Freedom Trail was my favorite part of the trip. A word of caution: the Bunker Hill Monument is indeed as high up as it looks from the ground. Take it from me, you guys. 294 stairs? Psh…don’t do it. I thought I was doing to collapse when I got to the top.
After those two events, I have two more days to breathe before I head off AGAIN. This time, however, I’m headed to a theological debate camp in Tennessee. Basically what we’ll do is receive a week’s worth of courses in logic and debate so that we can debate other groups this coming fall and spring. I believe our topic of debate will be capital punishment…lovely, right?
So, anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to and what I’ll be doing this month. It’s been a little busy/hectic/crazy, but I never did enjoy being idle, so it’s good for me. You guys can expect some new material on here in the coming days, as well as (possibly) some posts from Tennessee.
Hope everyone is having a great summer!
You know, I’ve figured something out recently. It’s really hard to keep two separate blogs updated and interesting for everyone! There aren’t enough hours in the day, especially when the two blogs are geared towards separate audiences and require different material.
So, for this reason, I’m going to be moving content to this site from my other blog. And, if I get tech-savvy and inspired enough, I will probably move that blog to this account and have it re-direct to this site. There should be a lot of content on here by the end of the weekend (as long as I have the time to move it all). So stay tuned!
And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.