Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just when I thought I could be Tiger Woods...

I played in a golf tournament on Monday for our parish school.  And it was such good times.  I was in an awesome group.  The weather was great.  The food was abundant.  And the beverages were cold.


I did not play up to what I expected.  And, let me tell you, that sucks.  The thing of it is that I really felt good about my swing and my ball striking and my putting and that I would put together a pretty decent round.  It didn't take very long for that to all come crashing down.

I guess the beautiful thing about humility is that it brings you to the real reality of your life, who you are, and who you aren't.

So, I suppose I shouldn't be too bent out of shape that I won't be quitting my "day job" for the PGA Tour.

It just sure would have been nice to hit a few more fairways and greens...

The beauty of life, no matter how long or short

Our culture and our entire civilization revolves around this one simple fact, regardless of your religion, race or political party:  life is a precious gift from someone who loves us.  And when we recognize the love our Creator has for us, we are changed.  And sanctified.  And made beautiful.  For some of us, it will take 29,200ish days to understand this.  For the couple in this video, all they needed was 99 days...

A moment with our "good angel/bad angel"

I've always loved this image of the interior tug-of-war of our consciences.  And while the good angel/bad angel speak to us daily (bringing peace or unrest, depending on which of the angels we listen to), we will collectively experience THE tug-of-war as Americans on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

So, as Election Day looms, and our political alliances, cultural understanding and desire for happiness influence our vote, may we all, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, consider a vote for THE one, holy truth that does exist inside of all of us.  We just have to listen to the right voice.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Winning = losing?

In one week, the people of the United States of America will be electing a new president, as well as voting on the wide array of local offices and propositions.

Americans will be asked to dig into their individual and collective consciousnesses to decide on the many important issues that face our great nation.

However, if a candidate is elected into office, or a proposition passed (or defeated, depending on one's perspective), does that mean that God's Will was incarnated?

Have we, as Christians, become so caught up in politics of our country that winning is more important than truth?

Will hearts be converted because of a new law, a newly elected public servant or the life-giving, compassionate love that flows from Jesus Christ and through the Church and her people?

As Christians, our passion for pro-life, pro-family issues must serve as an authentic witness of our love for and obedience to God's loving blueprint for humanity.  And we know that there are particular candidates and propositions in this election that are contrary to this blueprint.  

But, we must remember that God is bigger than politics.  And as such, shouldn't we see this election as bigger than just the choices we make on list of candidates and other ballot items?

We should give our agendas to "Caesar".  Our votes are essential and valuable to the democratic process.  And our desire to have civil laws that reflect the dignity of humans is a way for us to live out our Christian vocation.  

But to God, we must give - and share - His love and mercy, at all times and in every situation to every person regardless of their political stance.   Because even if the candidate/proposition we want receives the most votes, but the electorate is not sanctified, can we really celebrate a victory?

What a difference a year makes

Basketball season started tonight.  And the Lakers soundly defeated the Portland Trail Blazers.  But what struck me the most as I watched the end of the game was how different last year's season opener was.

Last year, the home fans booed its star player because he wanted to be traded.

This year, they celebrated not only his redemption, but the hope that another championship banner will be hung.

Oh forgiveness is a beautiful thing!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Poured out like a libation...

I was sitting in Mass tonight and honestly felt like I wasn't going to make it through.  Call it fatigue.  Call it low blood sugar.  Call it nerves.  Call it all three.  But I really thought I was going to faint or throw up or something.

And while this was happening, all I could think about was what St. Paul said when he wrote to Timothy about being poured out like a libation.

I was empty.

But, what happened after realizing that was most certainly God blessing my attempt to offer my emptiness to Him.

If He can use my "poured-out-ness" to bring about "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" and "love your neighbor as yourself", he can make beauty out of anything, even beauty doesn't seem possible.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Long time no blog...

I hope I don't use that as a title of my blog very often.  It's been almost two weeks since I've posted.  And it's not for lack of topics.  It's just been that hectic.

Let's take this weekend, for instance.  It was non-stop from early Friday morning to late Sunday night.

Helping someone from church prepare a mission trip video, preparing our school of the week video, meeting with the principal of our elementary school, high school homecoming, parish festival (which included my visit to the dunk tank), Life Mass, youth group...

I'd have to say the highlight for sure was attending a conference with Christopher West.  I've never seen him in person (although, when he first started his presentation, I laughed because he sounds exactly like he does on the CDs my brother Steve gave me).  Christopher is a Catholic theologian and considered an expert on Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body.  The purpose of his presentation was to address the raging debate on the definition of marriage.

He made such a convincing argument for marriage as between a man and a woman.  It was rooted in the beauty of our Catholic teaching.  Yet he said that we can't enter into dialogue or change hearts by using the "because the Church says so" approach.  

He used so much "data" from non-religious sources: the development of civilization, dictionary definitions, the body of a male and female human being to make his point.  And he said, "Let the data speak".

But it was interesting that, as he developed his presentation, it became more of a blueprint for something bigger that just Prop 8.  He gave us insight into being authentically Catholic in the world today, being evangelizers, for serving in a ministry.

And it also affirmed something that has been in my heart and on my mind...that maybe, just maybe, I'm supposed to help give life to this blueprint.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Set your DVRs NOW!!!

All I can say is...WOWZERS!!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Money matters?

I honestly don't even know if I completely grasp the financial crisis we are in.  At the minimum, it is what everyone wants to talk about, whether it affects them or not.  So, my understanding of the whole situation is based on what I read about in the news and hear from other people.  My dad and I were talking about just hanging on and making it through to the other side.

But, make no mistake, you know it's bad when the question "Are you prepared for a depression?" is being asked seriously.

As always, however, the Church has a response.  It might not be the response that people want to hear.  But it is certainly the one way out of this mess.  It's a solution for all of us: financial people, government leaders, Christian and non-Christians alike:

A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist...

With those words, every episode of the 80s version of Knight Rider began.  Yes, I will admit to being a fan of the show.  The car was cool.  The character, Michael Knight, was cool.  He was the PG version of Jack Bauer (with a car as a sick-kick).  And the supporting characters were cool.

So, now there is a 2008 version of the show, with a new car for KITT, and a new protagonist, who happens to be the son of Michael Knight.

I have seen the first two episodes.  It has a lot of the similar plot lines as the original, but with some different mythology and the use of the current production techniques to make the action sequences interesting.

But, any show is successful because of the writers' ability to engage us with the characters.  So, no matter how cool of a car KITT is, we are really more interested in Michael and Sarah and their adventures.

P.S.  You need to play the Turbo Boost game.  It's just silly fun!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Home is where the heart is

Twenty years ago, I was a sophomore at St. Francis High School in La Canada, California.  While my life is much, much different now in 2008 than it was in 1988, there is at least one thing that is the same: the Los Angeles Dodgers winning a playoff series.

In '88, the Dodgers went on to win the World Series, with the help of the famous Kirk Gibson home run in Game 1.  With last night's victory over the Cubs, Joe Torre's team is one step closer to repeating that success.

Now, even though I've become a Padres fan, I cannot but help and root for the team of my childhood.  And this has made me reflect on something deeper.  Maybe, just maybe, "home" invites us back for a visit every now and then, not just to remind us who we were, but to teach us that who we are is because of who we were.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Theology of the Body is not just for Catholics

Wow, I think Miles has read JPII's TOB.

He just talked about one flesh union between man and woman, AND between us and God (can you say Eucharist?).

He referenced marriage as life giving...which JPII called the 'fruitful' quality of the sexual union.

The other thing he said was cool was calling out people who are 'church-goers' and those who are Christians.

Church-goers hear the Word. Christians live the Word.

Church-goers desire courage. Christians live in courage.

Church-goers want to trust in God's love and faithfulness. Christians live in that trust.

We humans are wired for life. When we live in the Word, when we live in trust, when we live in courage, we are free, total, faithful, fruitful.

Thank you John Paul the Great!

Guess marriage is a big deal

I just got into a longer than expected line at the Rock Church in Point Loma to listen to a presentation on Proposition 8,the initiative to keep marriage defined as a man and woman.

I had no idea this would be such a big deal: the huge crowd (the sanctuary seats 5,000 will be close to capacity for sure), the news trucks, the protestors.

So, what's a good Catholic boy like me doing at a mega-church event like this?

Curiosity, mostly.

I want to get more info. I want to see what people's reactions are to this whole issue. I want to see the presentation (which you can see from the pic above...that's Miles McPhearson talking).

I'll write more later (I love mobile blogging)....