Join us as we see where God is present in our lives. We most definitely aren't walking with Him in the Garden of Eden despite the fact that so many are shedding clothes instead of covering themselves up. However I am willing to bet that God is closer to us than we think and that He has genuinely planted truth in the flesh of our hearts.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Couple's Retreat - Joey and Lucy

I know I already wrote about the movie “Couple’s Retreat” last week, but I love that movie so much I think it’s time to revisit it. This time let’s look at another couple, Joey and Lucy, played by Jon Favreau and Kristen Davis. They represent the high school sweethearts who married early, and regret not having their chance to “party it up.” They regularly cheat on each other and seem to be just waiting for their daughter to get to college before filing the divorce. It’s a marriage that is clearly going through some serious issues.

These issues are especially exposed towards the end of the movie when the couples end up on Eden East, the party crazy singles section of the island. Joey starts dancing with some young beautiful girls in bikinis, and Lucy is having a great time with a good looking guy with a six pack that could compete with The Situation! When Dave (Vince Vaughn) tries to convince Joey to stop messing around and find his wife Joey finally spills his guts out with a very open and honest quote…saying “You had your fun, I got married early, I never got to experience any of this.”

Joey and Lucy’s struggle is one that I can honestly say I’ve struggled with. Having joined the seminary right after high school, at times I find myself saying the same exact thing that Joey did in this movie. Sometimes I can’t help but think that I’ll never have my college years to just chill out and have fun. I can’t just head to dinner and a movie with a bunch of friends and get back home at 2 in the morning. I can’t ask a girl out on a date. Heck, I can’t even watch TV without wondering if I’m avoiding more important responsibilities. I can definitely relate to the frustrations that Joey and Lucy are going through in this movie.

Why then did Joey and Lucy marry so early in life? Why did I join the seminary so early in life? The answer can be found in this very movie. During the party scene towards the end of the movie when Lucy sees Dave and Ronnie so happy together, she gives them a look of jealousy and says “They’re so lucky.” Even though Lucy is struggling with having settled down so early, in that moment she shows that her heart won’t ever be fully satisfied by reliving those years of partying, but rather her heart really truly longs for love, true and heartfelt love which she sees in the marriage of Dave and Ronnie. In the same way, although at times I do wish I could have lived the life of a “regular college guy”, I know that the difficult and challenging life that I have chosen will bring me greater inner peace and joy than any number of late nights out with friends ever could. I am human so I will always struggle with this, but through the grace of God I know, and Joey and Lucy realize at the end of the movie, that skipping out on the best party years of life in pursuit of greater love will bring about great sacrifices/challenges, but will also bring about great love, true joy, and inner peace.

“Lord Jesus, you have blessed each and every one of us with a very personal relationship with you. You relate to each of us in a very personal, and therefore a very different, way. Help guide each of us to true love, to you, through the means that will be most beneficial for each of us. Help us to fight through the challenges that life presents to us in order to find your love.”

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Kids are All Right

I am a firm believer that God has inscribed his law within the flesh of our hearts as it says in Paul’s letter to the Romans. I believe that though people may not choose to believe in God (or follow Him) they are still guided by the law He placed in their hearts at creation. That is if they choose to be open to it. Though people do not live their lives in accordance with Church Teaching or God’s law, I still feel that God is present, actively working to reconcile us with Him. He did His part by sending Jesus to die on the Cross for us. Now it’s our turn. Yes it’s a rough journey but that is why we have each other.

The Kids are All Right follows the daily life of a fictional lesbian couple who have created this life described in the movie as a marriage. Now I am not getting into the politics of this matter. That’s your own business. What took my breath away was the monologue by Jules (played by Julianne Moore) which goes a little like this:

Your mom and I are in hell right now and the bottom line is marriage is hard. It’s really f****n’ hard. It’s just two people slogging through the s**t, year after year, getting older, changing — [it’s a] f*****g marathon, okay? So sometimes, you know, you’re together so long you stop seeing the other person, you just see weird projections of your own junk. Instead of talking to each other, you go off the rails, and act grubby, and make stupid choices, which is what I did. And I feel sick about it because I love you guys, and your mom, and that’s the truth. And sometimes you hurt the ones you love the most, and I don’t know why… Anyway… I just wanted to say how sorry I am for what I did. I hope you’ll forgive me eventually. Thank you.

I ask that you look past the language and look past the fact that all this is in reference to the relationship of two women. What does this tell you about the love they share?

First off, marriage is a journey. Any married couple or consecrated religious will tell you that each day is a commitment. Some days (or weeks or months or years) are going to be “hell” but that’s ok because it’s hard, it’s a “marathon”. You work all the way ‘til the end. (Hence in most wedding vows you have “’Til death do us part.”

Now the hard part really comes when “you’re together so long you stop seeing the other person, you just see weird projections of your own junk.” When you stop looking at your spouse  as a person it really becomes hard to fully love them and appreciate them. That’s why Jules pulled away and “instead of talking to each other” she went “off the rails and [acted] grubby, and [made] stupid choices.” How is this different than our relationship with God?

I am a sinner. I lose sight of God and try to do my own thing. Instead of talking with God and trying to live out His will I go an make my own decisions. Typically that involves a lot of failure, impatience with myself and others, not to mention things I later regret. But we all do it. We all sin. We stop seeing our loved one for who they are. We stopped seeing God as our omnipotent Creator somewhere in our history so we veered off track.

Lucky for Jules, she feels sick about her decision because her decision jeopardized her relationship with the ones she loves. How come more of us don’t feel that way with God when we sin? Instead we continue to shrug it off and take our own initiative. But God is at work in Jules’ life because she is open to it. She’s open to doing what is right. She is open to humbling herself so she can fully love her spouse and her family. We need more of that in society. We need more relationships like this one where they are willing to persevere through the hard times, through “hell”. We need to realize that we can’t just live for ourselves and our own desires.

As for her statement, “And sometimes you hurt the ones you love the most and I don’t know why.” That’s something to ponder and chew on. Who do you hurt? Why do you hurt them? Think of the love they have for you by enduring that hurt. Maybe you should ask for forgiveness. It’s never to late, especially if you are asking God.

Love is a crazy topic to consider, but it’s a strong human characteristic. God knows that, hence He inscribed the law on our hearts and gave us the two great commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God from all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind… You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jersey Shore - Looking for Love

The relationships formed on the show Jersey Shore are about as far from perfect as they can get for a number of reasons. Mike sleeping with everything that breathes, Snooki drinking literally all day long, and Sammi being as clingy as humanly possible represent just a few. The cast of Jersey Shore has a hard time finding true love, love that lasts, love that is both self sacrificing and eternal. Fortunately, on last Thursday’s episode one of the characters made a surprisingly profound statement about one struggle that many of us, especially women, often go through when searching for love.

“Do you want me to be blatantly honest? You need to find love and you’ll try to find it in anyone, and like you’ll make guys that aren’t good enough for you good enough for you, you set yourself up for disaster”(-JWOWW to Snooki)

Let’s be honest, everyone is looking for love in one way or another. This is not a bad thing, it’s totally natural. As most people are called to the vocation of marriage, it is only natural for us humans to seek out someone that we can share life with. However, a problem arises when during the search for love we become so desperate to find love that we start to “settle.” This is exactly what JWOWW is telling

Snooki. Snooki wants someone to love her so badly that she compromises herself, settling for “juicehead gorillas” when she should be looking for a good man who will treat her right, not use and abuse her. The thing is as long as she keeps setting her standards so low she will not find true love, she won’t be able to find a guy who will love and respect her.

When we enter into a romantic relationship with another person, we give that person a part of ourselves. We slowly start to make ourselves a gift to that person, letting them into the depths of our hearts. This is why we must hold our relationships to the highest standards and not simply settle for whatever comes along. Think about your own relationships, do you expect your boyfriend/girlfriend to treat you with the dignity that God blessed you with, or do you find yourself settling for guys/girls who really aren’t good enough for you like Snooki? God made you beautiful, with a special dignity that the rest of creation doesn’t have. Any person who won’t recognize that in you has no business being in a romantic relationship with you. If you want a man/woman who will truly love you and treat you right, why settle for any less?

“Lord Jesus, you created us as beings called to love. Help us to keep our relationships pure. Help us to never forget the dignity you blessed all humanity with, and to never take it for granted. Help us to know that we don’t have to sacrifice that dignity to find a suitable relationship, but that if we have patience and trust in your eternal love you will lead us to true happiness.”

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coming Home by Diddy Combs

We all are on a journey in life. We are all at different stops. Few of us share the same track, that doesn't meant there aren't similarities though. Why else would Diddy say, "I hate that song. I always feel like it's talking to me when it's one." That's the power of music; when it flows forth from the heart it touches the lives of many. In my opinion, "Coming Home" will definitely have that same affect upon the present generations.

When I hear this song, I am reminded of the Prodigal Son and similar resurrection stories. I know I don't need to describe the story to you and that you'll agree that the return is made powerful because of the realization of how much has been conquered through the journey. Christ's death and resurrection is so powerful because of the extent to which we, the creation, were separated from God, our Creator. "Coming Home" reminds us of the second chance that God has given us through Christ.

Let me guess, you are still hung up on the fact that Diddy references premarital sex and co-habitation in his song. Not to mention the descriptions of club scenes and playing women all mixed together with crude language. What do you think the Prodigal Son did with his share of inheritance? I'm not trying to justify the wrongs Diddy describes. The sin is sin; there is no doubt about that. What I'm trying to emphasize is the growth the came from it. The understanding of truth and the journey to return to God.

Some key truths in this song:
1.) "It's easy to be Puff. It's harder to be Sean."
The way I understood this line was that Diddy feels it's easy to live as an avatar. No, I'm not talking about the little blue people. I'm trying to convey that it's easy to live a life without responsibilities. To be this fictional made up person. It's hard though to live in reality. It's hard to face the reality of our lives. This is legit. We all know how easy it is to hide, to deny responsibility, and to go out and party. But we can fail to realize that that will not satisfy us.

2.) "Baby we've been living in sin 'cause we've been really in love but we've been living as friends"
Honestly, how often in Hip-Hop/Rap will this line ever be mentioned? Rarely. I personally think this takes great courage to stand up against what culture and society are trying to teach us. Diddy realized that sex and living together require a greater commitment and without that commitment the house can't be a home. All this time they've just been friends. They remained two distinct people. The sacrament of Marriage goes beyond that and makes two people one.

Diddy realized he needed to grow up and mature. He acknowledged that he screwed things up in his life and in order for him to come home he had to right his wrongs. When he gets home though it is key to recognize what he does. Diddy thanks the Lord and then he thanks everyone else for journeying with him.

How is this a resurrection story? The refrain tells it all. This is a journey of returning to the Heavenly Kingdom. A journey where the past is washed away and we learn from our mistakes. It's a journey where we ask for forgiveness and then try and live a better life while helping people along the way.

I'm coming home
Tell the world I'm coming home.
Let the rain wash away all the pain of yesterday.
I know my kingdom awaits
and they've forgiven my mistakes

What truths have you been avoiding? Don't be afraid of the return home. God will work with you no matter your state in life. It'll be a long and rough journey but slowly the rain will wash away the pain of yesterday, you have a community of people journeying with you as well. Hopefully then you can enjoy the Kingdom of Heaven when the time comes.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Harry Potter - Life

If you read the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, one of the subplots that don’t quite appear in the movie is the Death Eater’s plot to rid the world of “Mudbloods”, those witches and wizards who are born of Muggle parents. Their blood is not “pure,” which makes them less than human in the eyes of the Death Eaters. Harry’s quest to defeat Lord Voldemort is much more than trying to defeat a very powerful wizard who seeks his own life, actually the defeat of Lord Voldemort would mean the end of a very oppressive genocide.

In the midst of these very dangerous times, someone poses a very interesting, and honest, question to Kingsley Shacklebolt. Kingsley is known in the wizarding world as an extremely powerful auror, and is one of Harry Potter’s closest allies. He is asked what he would say to people who believe it should be “wizards first” in such dangerous times. People who stood up for the rights of Muggle-Borns were in just as much danger as those people who actually were Muggle Born. Why then should Pure-Blooded wizards stand up for Muggle Borns if it could possibly result in a lifetime in Azkaban Prison?

Kingsley’s response to this honest question is shockingly powerful. He is faced with a question posed entirely out of fear and responds with anything but. Kingsley’s response is “I’d say that it’s one step from ‘Wizards first’ to ‘Purebloods first,” and then to ‘Death Eaters.’ We’re all human aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same and worth saving.”

Every time I read this book I am awestruck at the awesomeness of this quote. Standing up for all forms of human life: the unborn, the elderly, the poor, the rich, the disabled, the mentally ill, men and women of all races is something that is essential to the Christian faith. Human life is sacred in all its forms because God created us in his image and likeness, which we see in the very first chapter of the book of Genesis.

These days we are remembering the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision Roe vs. Wade, the case which made abortion legal throughout all 50 states. Tomorrow hundreds of thousands of people will be attending the March for Life in Washington D.C., trying to tell our governmental leaders the same exact thing that Kingsley Shacklebolt tells us in the seventh Harry Potter book We’re all human aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same and worth saving.”

“Lord Jesus thank you for my life, for creating me in your image and likeness. Bless and protect those whose lives are seen by society to be useless, worthless, secondary. You gave your life on the cross out of love for all human lives; help me to see human life as you do, as a beautiful manifestation of your love.”

Friday, January 21, 2011

F***ing Perfect by P!nk

Cussing is no foreign concept to me. The Lord knows I struggle with it, and most of the guys in my house know i do too. However, I would be so comfortable with singing this song to anyone in need. Yes, the "F" word typically has a negative connotation but look at the emotion behind this song. Yes there are other words that could have been more appropriate, but let's face it, this song screams "P!NK"!

I'm not a girl but I have plenty of girl friends out there who have shared with me the struggles with identity, self image, and self esteem that I know the feeling. Shoot I've even faced all these issues; feeling inadequate, broken, lonely. I was even willing to leave seminary because I didn't feel good enough. I thought the critics wouldn't "like my jeans" or "get my hair" or who I was so I changed. "Why'd I do that?" To be honest I have no idea because I kept hearing God say to me (maybe not in these words) that I'm "f***ing perfect" the way I am. He's begging me (and you too) to realize that! Yes, God is asking us to change and grow and that is difficult, but he knows that we will mess up along the way and he's willing to forgive us. He wants us to be reconciled with him!

Jesus was not sent into a perfect world. He was sent to be the Way, the Truth and the Life. His mission is to help us reach perfection. He was given to us because of the love his father has for us! God wants us to grow in holiness. He wants us to grow in his love. He knows we will face temptations and that we will fall. He's also willing to forgive us for our screw ups. We mean a lot to God. We mean so much that no wrong turn or bad decision will make him turn his back on us! Then why do we beat ourselves up for mistakes we make? Why do we worry so much about what others say? Scripture tells us to fear the one who can kill the body and the soul, not just the one who can kill the body. So worry about what God will say to you about your actions. Worry about your creator's opinion; your Father's opinion. He should be the one you look to when you need advice and help.

Next time you feel belittled, listen to this song. Look at all you've survived. Send a prayer to God begging for forgiveness, asking for strength to persevere, and then thank him for always being by your side! Don't beat yourself up, help yourself move on. God sees all the potential inside you. You can be the best person out there or you can be the worst. What are you going to aim for?

Oh and drink responsibily. You should probably have more than just an ice cold beer (and if your under 21 you should sing ice cold milk).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gil Meche Retires from MLB

Let’s change it up a little and look at something crazy that just happened in the world of sports. Pitcher Gil Meche of the Kansas City Royals has decided to retire from the game of baseball. Two things make this sudden retirement quite unusual. First and foremost, Meche deciding to retire now means he is opting out of the last year of his contract, a year in which he would be earning 12.4 million dollars. Secondly, Meche is retiring at the age of 32, which is fairly young in baseball years. Meche could theoretically play for at least another 4 or 5 years at a decent level and make even more money. What the heck is this guy thinking?

Ever since the Royals gave Meche a huge contract that he didn’t deserve back in 2006 I couldn’t stand the guy. I thought it was despicable that such an average pitcher could sign a deal worth 55 million dollars over 5 years. Unfortunately for Meche, his career didn’t quite pan out as he was overworked by his manager, causing him some shoulder problems over the past few years. Meche knew he had every right to collect that 12.4 million, no matter how poorly he performed, even if it meant being banished to the bullpen. He is also only 32 years old, so he could also have elected to have surgery to fix his shoulder and still come back and try to resurrect his career. So again, why wouldn’t the guy hang around at least for another year to finish off his contract and retire after getting that nice fat paycheck?

The reason is actually quite simple…Gil Meche is a man of real integrity. He has too much respect for himself, for his family, and for the game of baseball to hang around and collect money that he knows he will not truly earn. Meche is not a man who will allow his life to be dictated by money or by the expectations of those around him. Meche knows he could hang around and collect a paycheck, or he could take this time to stay healthy and grow closer to his family. In a recent interview, Meche even said “Yeah, a lot of people might think I’m crazy for not trying to play and making this amount of money. I don’t think I’m ever going to regret it.” I admit I was completely wrong about Gil Meche; he is truly a great man. This is one thing I really love about the world of sports, knowing that for every cocky loudmouth like Terrell Owens there is a quiet, honest man like Gil Meche who is just doing what he thinks is best for him and his family. Gil Meche was nothing but a very average player during his career, but it is his manner of retirement that makes him an all star in my books. (For the full story CLICK HERE )

I think the Gil Meche retirement gives us all a chance to take a minute and think about where our motivations in life truly lie? Why do I get up in the morning and do the things I do. What are the chief motivations behind my day to day decisions? Do I act the way I do simply because I’m looking out for myself and my own wants and desires? Do I act the way I do because I’m looking for the easiest way to get through school, work, etc.? Do I act the way I do because I love my friends and family and want to do what’s best for them? Do I act the way I do because of my love for God and my desire to bring about the kingdom of God wherever I go?

I think today is a good day for us to take a few minutes and think about what the honest answers to the above questions would be. After finding the honest answers, think about whether or not you can call yourself a person of true integrity. Looks like it’s time for another examination of conscience…

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Twilight - The Cullens

I’m not gonna lie I am a huge Twilight fan and I definitely don’t hide this fact. Who doesn’t love a good teenage love story with a human girl stuck between a vampire and a werewolf? Not only does the Twilight saga give us an awesome teenage love story, but it is full of unbelievably rich Catholic imagery! Let’s start with how the very first Twilight movie shows a very powerful, yet oftentimes forgotten, principle in the Catholic Church, the idea of mortification.

When watching the first Twilight movie, there is absolutely no question as to who the good vampires are and who the bad ones are. Without a doubt the Cullens are the good guys, while James and Victoria are the evil ones. Now we need to ask ourselves: what’s the difference between the two groups of vampires? As vampires, both are soulless monsters perfectly designed to kill. However, there is one major difference between the two groups that makes all the difference in the Twilight movies. Coincidentally the very same thing could make all the difference in our relationship with God. What is this magical element you may ask?

The major difference is that the bad vampires indulge in human blood whereas the Cullens only eat animal blood. While the Cullens acknowledge that they can never be fully satisfied by animal blood alone, they make this sacrifice because they don’t want to be monsters like the other vampires.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells us “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23). The Cullens deny themselves the human blood which they crave so much in order to be better and stronger people, in the same way if we Christians would practice the virtue of mortification, denying ourselves some of life’s pleasures that we are constantly craving, we would also become better people, as we would grow closer to Christ. Of course depriving ourselves from some of the pleasurable activities we enjoy so much will leave a hole in ourselves, we will feel unsatisfied in a way, but Christ himself will come down and fill that hole. In this way through fasting we can make room in our heart for Christ to enter and fill us with his love. This of course is much easier said than done, we see how Edward Cullen longs for Bella’s blood throughout the Twilight movie, but Edward is a better person for practicing the virtue of mortification. With God’s help, we too can practice this very powerful virtue.

Some simple ways to put this into practice in our daily lives: don’t reach for that second helping of food or dessert after dinner, give up some time normally spent in front of the computer or television, don’t complain after someone mistreats you in some way, offer to help your parents with some more of the chores around the house. These are clearly not easy things to do, as they all involve denying ourselves, but through this fasting we can each do our part to bringing the love of God to all we meet.

Before you try to deny yourself and practice the virtue of mortification, offer up a prayer like this: “Lord Jesus you know I really desire _____, help me to deny myself and offer up this sacrifice to you. Help me to persevere so that I may offer it up joyfully to you. Allow it to help me to grow closer to you. Amen”


.O.B Performs a song, many of you know it. It's got airplanes in the night sky, shooting stars, and wishes. The message, to me, is a cry for help. A plead for a chance to start over. A yearning for strength to persevere through the hardships of life.

in this passage [Mark 10:28-30], to me, Peter is doubting himself . He just heard that it would be impossible for humans to pass a camel through the eye of a needle. And that man can do nothing to gain entrance into Heaven. This is pretty daunting seeing as he dropped his nets and left his life behind to follow Christ. Peter was probably sitting off to the side thinking to himself, "Can I pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars? I could really use a wish right now." He needs assurance, hope. He's desperate. He's willing to psych himself out for the chance of just having a wish and that it maybe granted.

However, Jesus reassures Peter that all of his sacrifices and obedience will be worth it. He doesn't leave Peter alone in the fields of Ender's Island to look up in the sky for the chance at a wish. Rather Jesus tells him that all of his sacrifices will be worth it because of the spiritual rewards to come.

How often do we face obstacles in our faith journey and yearn for a dream or a genie or a wish? How often do we need the reassurance that everything will be all right or worth it? This journey is rough, we all know that. Sometimes we wish for a do over in a lesson. Sometimes it's a prayer for patience with a kid at youth center or in class. Sometimes it is just a wish that despite our failures God will take us back in his arms and continue to call us his Children.

There are going to be times when we "rap to stay relevant" and work because work needs to be done. It's important though that we keep in mind the fact that though we are giving up and sacrificing a lot of worldly things, we will be rewarded by Christ in the Heavenly kingdom. Be it in an answered prayer today, seeing Christ present here in this world, or a reward only to be received after we die.

Despite all the hardships we may face, it is important that we, like Peter, communicate with God. That we don't leave our life up to chance, or up to a wish we think we get by seeing an airplane in the night sky. Rather let us hold each other accountable to lay whatever it is that bothers us at Christ's feet so that he may fill us.

I'll leave you with a quote from Eat, Pray, Love:

"Groceries...someday you're gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You'll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing and you were in the best possible place in the world for it - in a beautiful place of worship, surrounded by grace. Take this time, every minute of it... But here's what you gotta understand Groceries. If you clear out all that space in your mind that your using right now to obsess about this, you'll have a vacuum there, an open spot - a doorway. And guess what the universe will do with that doorway? It'll rush in - God will rush in - and fill you with more love than you've ever dreamed."


Couple's Retreat - Dave and Ronnie

I recently saw the movie “Couples Retreat”, a hilarious film about 4 couples who attend a retreat at a tropical island resort.  If you haven’t seen it you can get a decent plot summary here

I want to focus on one of the couples in particular, Dave and Ronnie (played by Vince Vaughn and Malin Akerman).  They are supposed to portray the average, old fashioned, married couple: Dave is a working class man, a videogame salesman, while Ronnie is a stay at home mom caring for their two kids.  When their friends Jason and Cynthia ask them to go to the couples retreat with them, Dave and Ronnie both agree that they can’t go for various reasons, most importantly that both Dave and Ronnie agree they have no need for therapy, their marriage is fine, and they truly love each other. 

Obviously they end up going on the trip, otherwise there would be no movie, but upon arriving at the island they are shocked, and quite pissed, to see that therapy sessions are not optional, which was the reason why they decided to go on the retreat.  They begrudgingly attend these sessions, still convinced that no major issues exist in their marriage.  However, to their surprise the therapist uncovers some real issues that prevent Dave and Ronnie from truly loving each other, issues that they are forced to talk about and deal with throughout the movie.  In the end, Dave admits to his wife that they have a million problems, but that is life! He tells her that no marriage is perfect, that they will have their problems and that they won’t solve all of them, and that’s ok.  What is important is that they never forget the commitment that they made to themselves and to their families.  This is an incredibly beautiful moment where love is portrayed not as sex, pleasure, or fun, but as commitment!


This retreat was a sort of examination of conscience for Dave and Ronnie.  They took a period of time, though unexpected, to examine what is good and bad in their relationship and to renew their commitment to each other.  Should we not do the same in our own relationship with God?  Through a simple examination of conscience each day we may discover things that, like Dave and Ronnie, may be stopping our relationship with God from truly growing.  This examination of conscience is very simple: just take a few minutes before bed and think about some positives and negatives that happened throughout the day.  At the end of the reflection make the same promise to God that Dave made to Ronnie: acknowledge that there will always be problems in the relationship, but promise to work hard and renew the commitment that you made to God in your baptism.

PS…if you liked this movie, keep checking in…analysis of the other 3 couples in the movie will be coming soon!

Jar of Hearts

Satan's attacks are legit. I know it's cliched but everyday is a battle. Sadly we don't recognize half the time that a war is going on. We become so engulfed in a new technology or in the latest fashion or video game or even some crush. Satan is a sly one and he'll work his way in.

Now I doubt that "Jar of Hearts" by Christina Perri is in reference to a sense of defeat from one of Satan's tricks. No it is probably more along the lines of purging herself of a man who played tricks with her heart strings. Is that not how Satan intrudes in our relationship with God though? He meddles with something that's not his, causing a lot of pain, suffering, confusion and distrust.
"Who do you think you are/ running 'round leavin' scars/ collecting your jar of hearts/ tearing love apart?" Satan gives himself the right to meddle with our relationship with God. Start with his fall from Heaven. In a nut shell Satan wanted more praise, honor, glory and power. He became greedy and that got him kicked out. To get back at God he makes it his mission to pull souls out of eternal bliss and into eternal despair in an absence of God otherwise known as Hell. Satan's first collected hearts were Adam and Eve's. 

Picture the beginning of Genesis. Adam and Eve are walking with God, conversing, doing his will to till and protect the garden. The light was in their eyes. Then Satan comes in the form of a serpent-like creature, tempting Eve as Adam sits off to the side. What makes Satan feel like he has the right to intervene? That I don't know, but he broke them of their communion with God, tearing love apart. It killed them, and humanity. Since then we've persistently fought to reach God, to be fully reconciled with our Father.

Jesus came to heal our broken hearts. We've grown so strong because of him, the God-Man, the Word Incarnate. Without him we couldn't tell Satan to not come back for us. With out Christ dying and rising again we wouldn't be capable of finding our way into Heaven. Let's take comfort in knowing we are in God's presence; in knowing he is always at our side.

Knowing this why don't we just scream at Satan to not come back at all? We constantly strive to be strong to resist his temptation. We constantly strive to place our broken hearts in God's hands. So do it!

Let Satan "catch a cold from the ice inside [his] soul." Move on in your relationship with God. Go to confession (if your Catholic). Take it as a chance to ask for forgiveness. Take it as a chance to no longer sing this song. Be beyond the pain of having a broken heart.