The Islamic State and the Banality of Evil

The Islamic State and the Banality of Evil

Lately, I have found myself lacking motivation to do my daily activities. It all seems somewhat pointless when I compare my life of relative ease to the lives of the Christians who are dying for their faith in Iraq and in other countries at the hands of Islamic extremists. I go about caring for my children and the house, and wondering why I am here, safe, with all my needs met while others are hungry, thirsty, fleeing for their lives, and dying at the hands of merciless persecutors. Then part of me rejoices for them, because they, as martyrs for their faith, have earned a Heavenly reward that I daily lose sight of. They have what so many saints have aspired to: martyrdom. More often than not, I quake at the thought of it. I quake because when I used to desire martyrdom, I was a child with no one dependent on me, and now I have a full life before me with so many dependent on me. And I look at my life of attachment to creatures, and realize how far I have to go in the spiritual life. It especially hit home one afternoon when I came across a photograph of a mother and her children in a refugee camp outside of Iraq. They had escaped from those who wanted to harm them, but they had suffered so much already. But they are freer than I am, because they have left everything behind for the sake of Jesus. Christians in Iraq are fleeing their homes and dying because of their faith, and their children are being beheaded,...
Let not your heart be troubled

Let not your heart be troubled

In light of recent court decisions, legislative events, and various haughty celebrations which followed, a great many of my friends expressed dismay, distress, and despair, especially concerning the future of Catholics and religious freedom in America. While I have experienced great disappointment with the five tyrants on the court calling those who oppose “gay marriage” as “enemies of the human race,” I was reminded by a little bird that my trust belongs in God, not in men. My cohort, Micah, wrote a post titled To Heaven with Us! at the beginning of last year explaining what Catholics must do in the face of an increasingly hostile society and government.  In keeping with his penchant for numbered lists, he included seven things we can do, which are particularly relevant for today.  His advice basically boiled down to frequent reception of sacraments, prayer, and scripture, which feed the soul so the soul may spread the Gospel and be a beacon to the wayward and the faithful, and a source of encouragement to clergy. It seems to many that it can’t get too much worse than it is now.  I believe this is only the beginning of a war by our government to remove God from society and replace it with government.  I fear things will get far worse.  I fear for my children and the persecution the may have to endure.  Those thoughts are hard to bear, even harder if you have no faith. What? I’m an eternal optimist.  I think things will always work out for the best, and often times I’m crushed when they don’t, but I always have...
The Light of St. Lucy

The Light of St. Lucy

Advent is full of great feast days, including today’s feast of St. Lucy whose name literally means “light.” St. Lucy’s (283-304 A.D.) life and death were a shining light in the darkness of the secular Sicily where she lived. After her mother was healed through the intercession of St. Agatha, Lucy vowed to remain a virgin and distributed her money, including her dowry, to the poor. When the young man who wanted to marry her heard what she had done, he brought her before the Roman prefect accusing her of being a Christian; and when induced to worship pagan idols, Lucy refused, quoting Christ to the prefect, “You will stand before kings and governors for my sake, to bear testimony before them…When they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given you at that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit”(Mark 13:9, 11).  He asked her if the Holy Spirit was in her to which she replied, “Those who live chastely and piously, are the temple of the Holy Spirit.” He then commanded her to be taken to work in a brothel, but miraculously, the soldiers could not move her from where she stood. After a failed attempt to burn her and other forms of torture, Lucy was eventually beheaded. Part of her tortures was the removal of her eyes, which were then miraculously restored to her, and this is why she is portrayed in statues and paintings holding a plate with an extra set of eyes. A verse in...
Fortnight for Freedom: Do we really believe?

Fortnight for Freedom: Do we really believe?

Probably most of our readers understand that the Obama Administration has imposed restrictions on the freedom of religion, forcing Catholic institutions to provide health insurance plans which pay for contraception and abortion drugs.  This of course is contrary to Church teaching, and after it all blows over, the Church will be the one left standing.  It always is. Compared to other persecutions, this period is relatively mild.  So far we have no mass martyrdom, priests are not being imprisoned or dragged out into the street and shot.  However, the unborn are being slaughtered at breakneck pace, and the Catholic Church is being compelled to pay for it. Over the course of the last few weeks, I have had occasion to attend Mass at a handful of Catholic parishes.  At two of the parishes, the Creed was omitted.  I do not know the intent of the priests or whether the omission was deliberate or accidental.  At one of the parishes, omitting the Creed is commonplace to make room for non-liturgical events during the Mass, such as a post-communion speech on mission work, or a video presentation of the new church design.  While there exists a debate among Catholics as to whether or not these events are liturgically appropriate, one thing is certain, the Creed is not to be omitted.In certain instances, the profession of faith takes a different form through a renewal of Baptismal promises During this time of persecution, Catholics are challenged and charged with the duty of living our faith and not cowering at the slightest chance of confrontation.  If we are to stand up for what we...
Movie Review: For Greater Glory

Movie Review: For Greater Glory

Three Catholic friends and I had the great fortune of seeing For Greater Glory on opening night.  Of course, this is no great feat considering we live in the middle of Baptist country. For those of you who are unfamiliar, For Greater Glory is based on real life events during the Cristero’s War, a rebellion against persecution of Christians by the atheistic Mexican government resulting in over 100,000 deaths.  The movie follows various characters in the rebellion, primarily General Velarde and his young little friend, Jose, as well as various other members of the Cristeros. After returning home from the movie, I found an anti-review by Frank Weathers titled Why I Won’t Be Seeing “For Greater Glory”, in which the blogger bases his entire refusal on a movie critic site Metacritic, which gave For Greater Glory a 35.  (For a little perspective, Metacritic awarded the blasphemy-laced Dogma a 62.) Last Sunday, while folding laundry, I watched a documentary called FUBARIf you don't know what FUBAR means, go watch Saving Private Ryanabout WWII.  At one point, an interviewee recounts going to the theater and the audience erupting with applause when John Wayne shoots down the Japanese pilots in Flying Tigers, not because the quality of the movie-making was unsurpassed, but because the audience related to and celebrated the triumph of good over evil.  The nation was at war, Japan was the enemy, and the audience loved it because they could relate to the story. The same is true with For Greater Glory.  Certainly it’s not Oscar material, but the characters were endearing and the message of the movie is certainly...