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Natural Medicine and A Concern for the Soul

May 17, 2019

I am writing that book, as some of you may recall; and I am feverously going through my notes of the last ten years. In the notes I was reminded of this paper that I wrote for my Intro to Theology class almost nine years ago. I believe I have the intro for my book all ready to go!

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Today’s society, more than ever, is living faster, living more, living now. There is fast, fake food. There is spirituality that is aimed at reducing stress. There is instant communication. And there is no God. Everywhere people are in pain; they’re miserable; and they’re looking for relief. Some get prescriptions; some turn to yoga; and some turn to despair. Is there a place that people can turn to that is true to the body and soul as God intended, some place that follows the laws of creation where healing for the body is pure and natural and healing for the soul follows the teachings of the Catholic Church?

I personally have had issues with pain and didn’t get satisfactory suggestions or solutions for my problem, other than take a pill. What appeared to be symptoms of a heart problem was actually a thyroid issue. Seeing no benefit in suppressing symptoms with a pill, I began my journey away from conventional medicine. Still needing a solution to my ills I started to study natural/alternative medicine. Diet and exercise are a big part of it, of course, but once I started searching I discovered there are many pain and stress reducing natural health offerings, some legitimate looking, others very questionable. Everywhere you look these days someone is offering health suggestions.

Prior to my health issues I had started on my faith journey. It’s been a long journey, but God is very patient it seems, always leading me closer to Him. There were many conversations with my Lutheran co- worker; looking back I’m sure there was some proselytizing on his part, but they really got me to think about my own faith and just how much I didn’t know. I started reading the Bible and learning about the Catholic faith, mostly from the internet which ended up being problematic since as a novice I couldn’t differentiate the conflicting Catholic viewpoints. Things changed when my mom had cancer and God showed me a Catholic radio bumper sticker when I was stuck in traffic on the way to the hospital one day. Catholic radio has been the best teacher.

For over twenty years I have been a software engineer, and for the last 15 years I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to be when I grew up; the question was what? So I went to work each day and prayed for something else to do. First God brought me to my faith. I developed a relationship with Him and a basic understanding of His Church. Father Corapi and Catholic Answers taught me a lot via the radio! Next God took me on a health journey. My own problems opened my eyes to what other people were going through. Sadly I saw that most of what conventional medicine has to offer is not very helpful to people (who are suffering chronic conditions), in fact it keeps them sick or makes them sicker. The alternative health industry appears to be thriving, but based on what I have seen so far many aspects of it can be detrimental to a person’s spiritual health since many natural health offerings are associated with new age concepts . And so I find myself at a crossroads, ready for a career change where I can combine natural health and the Catholic faith where people can strive to be healthy in both body and soul. What follows is some of what I have learned.

My cousin suggested I take an on-line homeopathy class. It was an interesting concept with an interesting history, but some of the statements struck me as very non-Christian: “Homeopathy is an energy medicine… and stimulates a person’s own healing energies toward a natural healing process” (Introduction to Homeopathy by Sheri Nakken). Nourished correctly, the body is very much self healing. Homeopathy discovers a root cause for an illness and administers a single dose remedy, usually something that the body is lacking. Ms. Nakken goes on to say, “In homeopathy we talk about the vital force – this is similar to what is called chi in Chinese medicine, ki in Japanese medicine, prana in Indian medicine. It is what is gone when you are dead! It is the energy that maintains life in the individual.” This statement stopped me in my tracks. Just what is homeopathy? Just what is this natural medicine if it has to appeal to our intellect for us to consider trying it (it’s not mainstream), and yet that same intellect, the energy, just goes away when the body dies? Where is the concern for the soul? What do alternative medicine practitioners think happens to it after the body dies?

Based on what I have read, natural healing methods can be very beneficial for physical healing. We are not just a body though; our wellness requires both a healthy body and soul. A number of these healing methods get tangled up in new age and Asian spiritualities. Prior to this theology class I had a basic understanding that the Catholic Church didn’t condone the practice of these spiritualities. I searched around some and wasn’t able to find what the Catholic Church did teach on matters of natural health. The Church has many hospitals under its domain which are all conventional medicine, so it is very active in the medical field. What about natural medicine? I wasn’t sure where to look for Catholic natural healing concepts and associations. Frank Sheed’s Theology for Beginners gave me food for thought. It perplexes me, however, that the Catholic Church doesn’t have an obvious presence in the natural health arena especially considering what Sheed says on page 63: “God, making creatures, built the laws of their being into them… By powers, and by felt needs that will cause us to exercise the powers, God builds his laws into our body; in obedience to them, the body is in health. In the same way, God builds his laws into our souls, too. The laws of justice and purity and worship are as real for the soul as the laws of diet for the body. In obedience to them, the soul is in health.” If we are obedient to God’s laws we can have complete health! Why then is it so difficult to find Catholic natural health practitioners?

Mr. Sheed states “Every living body – plant, animal, man – has a principle of life, that is, it has a constituent which accounts for being alive. This is its soul.” (Theology for Beginners, pg. 60) So here we have the chi, ki, prana and vital force, our soul. Chi, ki, and prana all mean breath, so they seem to have a similarity to the spirit, but it appears that they truly mean breath as in breathing as in the function of the lungs. So vital force is just part of the human body. They teach that when the body stops breathing, when the heart stops, the body is dead with no consideration for the spirit which lives on.

So we have a number of ancient Asian philosophies on health and life. There is much thought involved in the creation of these philosophies yet what do they think the source of their thought is. Mr. Sheed says the spirit produces ideas. “If we are continuously producing things which have no attribute of matter, it seems reasonable to conclude that there is in us some element which is not matter to produce them. This element we call spirit.” (Theology for Beginners, pg. 11) Even today’s science attributes much of our thought process to the brain, with certain areas for memory and others for creativity, etc. But as Sheed commented, if we compartmentalize ideas in various parts of our brain, how do we bring them together to form new ideas? Our ideas are more than our physical self, they are of the spirit.

This spiritual element is what keeps us close to God being that it is our “image and likeness” of Him. God, the infinite spirit, is all knowing and all loving. Our finite spirits have the capability to know and love God and to know and love each other, in our limited ways. We have the capability to know and love, but we also have freedom to not know and not love. Just as we are free to not understand our faith we are also free to not understand our bodily health. Lack of understanding in either is painful.

It is our spirit, then, that gives us the capabilities to know and understand life, which is to know and understand God, to be in union with Him. Aside from the Asian philosophical thought process to generate their healing techniques, they don’t seem to focus on the actions of the spirit at all. True, they do have a few ideas that could be considered spiritual, but from what I have seen, they aren’t developed such that they are completely spiritual, eternally spiritual. These popular Asian philosophies compare the human soul to a supreme soul in some cases, so they do recognize a higher power, but are they concerned with the afterlife, as in, this is your only shot at heaven so make it a good life now? Many believe in reincarnation. As Catholics however, we believe the body and soul are one; there is no hopping from body to body, life to life, to get a second chance at salvation. Our body and soul is a unit; we cannot exchange parts when one or the other wears out.

In Pope John Paul II’s General Audience from April 16, 1986, “Man is a Spiritual and Corporeal Being,” he tells us that man is a unity and a duality. “Man is a unit. He is one in himself. But this unity contains a duality. Sacred Scripture presents both the unity (the person) and the duality (body and soul).” (JPII) God formed us from the earth (the body) and then he breathed life into us (the spirit). We are energized beings that also have understanding. Sadly that spiritual understanding seems to be missing in a lot of people today. They have no idea of what the purpose of life is, and so they run from pleasure to pleasure and seek spiritual healing in the most damaging places when life goes wrong.

In the course of trying to discover what’s available “out there” for people when life gets complicated, I Googled “body and soul” and got over 50 million hits. Granted, not all deal with the care of the person, but a great many do and some create a strange connection between the two such as the Body & Soul Workout. The soul part must be the stress relieving aspect of their workouts. It appears that any mention of soul these days refers to our emotional state. Another Google find was Martha Stewart’s “whole living body + soul in balance” magazine. As expected, she has a lot of articles on physical health with natural remedies and makeup and feel-good “stuff” to deal with emotions. So to understand soul the way most of these body and soul entries use it, our soul must be our feelings. Are we stressed out? Are we in love? Are we having a good day?

People are looking for direction, for the meaning of life, in all the wrong places. One of the places that people can turn to these days is spiritual retreats which focus on yoga and meditation and time away from your usual hectic life. Another place offering spiritual direction is life coaching. Life coaches help people to eliminate negative energies and replace them with positive energies. This sounds a lot like the sacrament of confession, filling the void of confessed sins with God’s grace, yet God isn’t in the picture. People avoid God at all costs and yet they are still looking for Him, they still need Him. They call themselves “spiritual” people but prefer not to be confined by religious “rules” and at the same time seek out imitation sacraments!

Emotional stress and an unhealthy soul are big problems these days in our Godless society. Mankind has always had this problem, as Bishop Fulton Sheen explains in one of his “Life is Worth Living” segments called “Fears and Anxieties.” The bishop is relaying a story about Lady Macbeth’s guilty conscience. He says “She finally develops a compulsion neurosis which prompts her to wash her hands every quarter of an hour. Instead of purifying her conscience, the compulsion neurosis comes out in the purifying of her hands. Many of the compulsion neuroses in our modern world are due to the same cause: a fear of punishment due to some deep, unabsolved sense of guilt. People dread what they deserve, but having denied their sin, they punish themselves instead of seeking the mercy of God. The language of religion talks of the “Justice of God” when He is neglected; the language of psychology can only say that the God-image, when ignored or repressed, acts on the health and disturbs the mind.”

Our society is suffering from its abandonment of God. It is creating imitation sacraments; it is seeking faux spirituality, while hiding its guilt from a merciful God because they are afraid of purification. In addition to bodily breakdown from living fast and easy, this fear is causing spiritual health problems as well.

Faith is a gift from God. We have faith that God will grant us salvation provided we properly respond to Him. We also need to have faith that God created the world and its creatures to be good, in both behavior and function. If we follow God’s laws of creation we should have good health. God has revealed these things to us. Are we open to seeing them? Just as the Church provides the means for salvation and her teaching office provides the guidance to get there, so too do we need Catholic guidance on the natural laws to maintain good health. Ills created by fast food and other neglect which are then suppressed by a pill are not good ways to treat the temple of our soul. We often hear the phrase “heaven on earth.” The Mass of course is a little bit of heaven here on earth, but so is our person, the unity of our body and soul. We must treat it accordingly.

Can we as Catholics create a natural health program and offer both physical and spiritual healing? Catholic faith based natural healing would be a great benefit to society on many levels. Catholics searching for natural healing could receive the care they need and not be tempted by alternative spiritualities. It could potentially draw the secular population to the faith. It is cheaper than conventional medicine and it could alleviate our current health care fiasco. It is a winning combination for our faith, for our health, and for our society.

That Catholic Wellness book I keep typing about…

February 20, 2019

It has been a work in progress for too many years, sad to say. My mind circles on the endless thoughts and notes I have been generating. It also circles on the “who am I?” to write such a book. And then there is the “how to I narrow it down” to a manageable, focused book. And so I think, no, I know, that I am ready. This is the year. I have mountains of notes; I just need to organize them in to ten or so chapters.

This will have to be book One of several. I hope and pray that there will be a following for them once they get published. This first book will appeal to the wellness mindset of Catholics who are interested in natural healing.  Natural healing is a gift from God. All healing is a gift from God, but this will be about using mostly God’s nature-based tool set instead of exclusively the man made tool set.

Healing with God involves many aspects. Trusting in God is key. The healing power of Confession is also key. We can carry a lot of heavy emotional baggage with our unforgiven sins, so heavy that they can weigh us down physically as well as spiritually. Then we need to acknowledge that God gave us all the tools we need: sleep, foods, movement, community, prayer, the sacraments, etc. How we use these tools, how we consider these tools, is part of our wellness plan or lack there of. For instance, food isn’t just something that is supposed to taste good and satisfy our hunger pains. We need more than pleasure and calories from the foods we choose to consume. Food is supposed to be nourishing and provide the building blocks required to sustain and repair our body.

Of course, we mustn’t focus only on bodily wellness. Our wellness plan can’t be the center of our existence; God is. Getting to heaven is. But, if we are well nourished our body and our mind function better, and a well functioning mind can help us to focus on our prayer life better.

We also need to be aware of the sources of our food and drink, the sources of our day to day purchases. Are we complicit in the culture of death by purchasing things that were created in darkness? Even the most average things can be made by slave labor; made with, God-forbid, aborted baby parts. Purchasing these kinds of products hurts the humans on the production side, but it also hurts us, even unknowingly, on the purchaser side. We need to be aware.

I went to a conference last fall. It basically focused on angels and demons and how our prayer life indicates if we have more angels or demons around us. It also talked about possession. Long story short, we can connect with demons in the most unwitting ways, say for example getting a tattoo. While I don’t think tattoos are healthy on any level, the speaker made a point that I hadn’t considered: the tattoo artist may have put a curse on the ink he uses to decorate your body! What else in our world of purchases may be cursed? Again, we need to be aware of all these things and spray all of our purchases with Holy Water.

Many things can damage our health. We need to be aware of this and pray to make the correct choices every day.

This is a tiny subset of my mind for this book. I would appreciate your prayers as I continue on this book writing journey. Come Holy Spirit Come!

Is it okay for Catholics to attend holistic health fairs?

August 13, 2018

The title of this post matches a recent search term to this blog.

Most good Catholics would tell you, “No, don’t go there.”

But why do they say that? Mostly because if you aren’t well grounded in your faith, attending those types of fairs can lead you astray in your spiritual life, and you definitely don’t want that to happen.

Secondly, why do you want to attend a holistic health fair? What are you looking for there? Are you looking for alternatives to the Catholic faith? Really? Why are you looking for an alternative? Are you just curious about what the fair is? Don’t tempt the devil, he will get you if you let him in.

So, begin by getting closer to Jesus. Do you participate in Sunday Mass EVERY Sunday? If you do, great! If not, you are breaking the third commandment! Get yourself to confession and then start participating in Sunday Mass again. Notice that I used the word “participate” in Mass, and not “attend”. We don’t want to just attend Mass. A fly can attend Mass. We want to PARTICIPATE. Participate with our whole heart, mind and soul. We need to pay attention to the prayers that the priest is saying, we need to sing and pray along with the hymns and prayers that the faithful are directed to say, and we need to know and believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist; that we are receiving His Body and Blood in the bread and wine. Do you participate this way at Mass? If you don’t, then don’t attend a holistic health fair. (p.s. Participation isn’t about having a job to do at Mass. This isn’t about being an usher or cantor or anything else. This is for everyone who goes to Mass.)

Also, getting closer to Jesus involves much more than just the Sunday Mass “obligation.” So many people attend, yes attend, Mass just because of some sense of obligation. We should attend Mass because we love Jesus and we want to please Him. At Mass we are participating with the Angels and Saints in the heavenly liturgy! But again, getting closer to Jesus is more than just attending Mass. One hour a week isn’t anyway to develop a relationship with our Lord and Savior! We need to pray daily. Yes, say the Our Father and the Hail Mary daily, they are great prayers. But we also need to spend time with the Word of God, the Bible. And we need to “converse” with Him too; we need to tell Him our hopes and dreams and fears and joys. Tell Him everything. And, the more time we spend with Him the more we will be able to hear Him and discover if we are on the right or wrong path in this life.

Back to the holistic health fairs now that we have some idea as to what it means to be a “good Catholic.” Even being a “good Catholic” most other “good Catholics” will still say don’t attend the fair. And again, we are back to the question of why? Why do you want to attend said fair? I can’t go into that question here because there are too many variables.

But if you are a good Catholic, and you do decide to go to a holistic health fair, you must prepare yourself prior to going because there will be all sorts of people and spiritual entities there, and lots of health modalities that are truly unsafe.

Firstly, find a good Catholic friend or two to go with; do not go alone. We always need to be in a team when confronting unknown entities. Even prayer teams at church prayer services are in teams of two or more. One person does the praying (or conversing at a health fair), and the others are interceding for them, praying that God’s hand will guide them in this effort.

Secondly, pray up before you go. Pray up? This isn’t about positional prayer, but rather protectional prayer. You and your team need to pray before hand. You need to pray together that God will bless you and guide you and protect you on this journey. This isn’t a game; this isn’t something to take lightly. Even carry a properly blessed (by a Catholic priest) Benedictine medal and/or Miraculous Medal.

If you decide to go to the fair, let it be a mission from God, and let Him guide you. You and your team should prepare code words and similar so that when one of you gets a Divine message in your prayer to move on or just get out of the fair. Honor those messages and react promptly.

Once you leave the event, even before you drive away, pray down. Have a prepared prayer of cleansing so that God will remove any evil spirits that may have attached themselves to you before you go. Also as part of the praying down, express gratitude to God and give Him praise for watching over you during your mission.

And so you see, what might be just a fun and interesting event has the potential to damage your soul. You must guard your soul at all times and put it in God’s loving care and protection.

 

Holy Medals and Witches….

May 10, 2018

Hello Blogland,

I haven’t written in a long while in this forum. I’ve been busy, distracted and assorted other things. A lot of my time has been spent helping my parents in their twilight years. All sorts of time and activity are needed there. I took a course on essential oils; still studying all the info actually; oils are a fascinating gift from God. The way nature’s healing powers can be harnessed into a droplet of health assisting oil is awesome! They deserve their own post for sure. I am also selling “stuff” on etsy, which brings me to the reason for this post.

I mostly sell holy medals on etsy. I have been working hard this past year to get my listings more presentable and findable and it seems to be working, thanks be to God! It is also interesting how certain holy medals run in herd-like interest. Some weeks I find that several people buy the same holy medal, and then it stops and another medal comes into the limelight. I created a google survey that I send out in my “thank you for your purchase” note, asking for the inspiration of why a medal was selected. Hopefully I will receive a few replies to learn more about the saintly patterns I am seeing.

But the main etsy reason for this post is that I am also finding that a certain population has “begun” to like my listings. I say begun, because the latest two clearly identify themselves in the witch/wiccan population. If others have liked my listings earlier, they didn’t have such an identifier in their moniker. So, what’s up with this trend? One of the witches has a bunch of sorrowful heart listings liked in her profile. Are these individuals having second thoughts about their chosen religion/spirituality and considering conversion, or are they searching for Catholic paraphernalia for their witch games? Only God knows, and so I am praying for their souls, and I ask that you pray for them as well.

These wonderings about holy medal likes by witches lead me to a Catholic Answers article, Witchcraft 101. It seems like a good introduction to the subject, mainly from an apologetics standpoint, but good none the less.

It also caused me to recall a book I began reading recently, The Myth of Disenchantment. The author of this book is adamant that spirituality is not dead in this modern, scientific world. Sadly, though, the spirituality that he is mostly studying and seemingly promoting is in the world of magic and witches. Mankind needs a connection with the divine; it is written on our soul! But we have to make sure that we connect with THE Divine, the Lord our God, and not just any old spirit that may be floating around us.

There are a lot of “spiritual” people among us. Let us all pray that their spirituality becomes a holy spirituality focused on God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This God of ours brings us great comfort, especially in our times of need and suffering. He doesn’t need a warning notice as noted in the 101 article above. God is Love, and His Love brings us joy.

 

 

Time Spent – with God

September 18, 2016

I found a spreadsheet that I put together a while back. Always lots of ideas, but less making use of them,…. sigh. Well, here we are and I want to share my data about time spent. The bottom line, where do we spend the most of our time, and then why do we think we have no time to do the things that we give the least to.

This data is not scientific. It is based on guesstimate data of a seemingly average 80 year lifespan. Is your life different from this guesstimate life? Of course it is. But hopefully it will give all of us pause as to where we really spend our time, and where we could use our time wiser.

I created eight general categories. Some of them we really can’t change the time usage. We must sleep; it is the body’s time to repair. We must earn a living so that we can pay for things in life, but there is such a thing as working too much, or too little. We must eat to nourish and energize our bodies. We must educate ourselves to be useful contributors to society (what is the nature of that education isn’t up for discussion here). The wild cards are leisure time, conversation/socialization, shopping, and time with God. I didn’t include volunteering, even church activities, in with “time with God” because the end focus of that time isn’t one-on-one with God, even though one may be volunteering to clean the sanctuary or teach catechism. Being with God is much more than “just” one-on-one, but we have to have that time to know how to share Him with others. There are also some activities not mentioned like child care, house work, and other chores. These probably come out of most peoples leisure time….

So what did I come up with?

Sleeping is our biggest time user. Ideally, we sleep every day of our lives. So that is eight hours a day, which adds up to 2920 hours per year. If one lives to a nice age of 80 years, then we sleep for 233,600 hours, or 26.7 years of our life is spent sleeping.

Leisure is next on the list. This mainly refers to TV time, vacations, games, even parties and other social events. Many of us over do the leisure activities, maybe even five hours a day. It may seem excessive for some, and for others it may still be on the light end. Five hours a day is 1800 hours a year plus a week of vacation which is 168 hours (yes, some of that overlaps with sleep and others). That puts us at 157,440 hours of leisure in a lifetime, or 18 years!

A standard worker bee works for eight hours a day, five days a week, basically 2000 hours per year. Most people will be in the workforce for 47 years. We get to 94000 hours or 10.7 years of work.

Eating. We may eat on the run. Or we may cook a full course meal and sit down with the family. Either way we are cooking or waiting in the drive thru. Average it out a bit, and I figured three meals a day which uses three hours a day. 1095 hours per year eating, or 87600 lifetime eating hours which is ten years.

Social time, conversation, something we all love to do… There are multi-tasking conversations, but some are just sit down with a cup of tea and chat. That can be hours! So let’s say two hours a day from age 5 (yes, a little young, but some kids can talk!) to 80. That’s 730 hours per year, 54750 hours per life or 6.25 years.

Shopping. Are you one of those who was born to shop? Then you will have more than this. Just think of all the things we shop for. All the ways that we can shop in this information age. We buy groceries, shampoo, magazines, clothing, household, gasoline, etc. We shop brick and mortar and we shop on-line. That’s a lot of shopping! I guessed twelve hours a week. That’s 624 hours per year. 40560 hours or 4.6 years of shopping per life time.

While most people go to school K-12 and maybe four years of college, we only spend 2.3 solid years in formal education! (Probably a little more for the very studious.) Continuous education is another story. That is even some people’s leisure. So in school and probably some homework time is seven hours per day for nine months. That’s 1260 hours per year for 16 years. 20160 lifetime learning hours.

Finally our time with God. Again, these are numbers for the average person, a church goer who prays regularly, albeit, briefly. Fifteen minutes a day of private prayer which is 91.25 hours per year, plus 60 hours a year for Sunday Mass and holy days. That is 12100 hours per lifetime with God or 1.4 years.

We give our eternity so little time! We barely give God a passing glance within our whole life time. How sad. No wonder we don’t know how to relate to Him. We don’t even give Him the time of day.

While we need to up our personal prayer time. We also need to infuse all of our activities with prayer and the knowledge of God. Yes, volunteer to clean the sanctuary, but also see Jesus in each and every person that we come in contact with. Be Mother Teresa in your own little plot of the world. Don’t just allot God a token of your time, but bring Him with you where ever you go.

Evangelization, Free-Time, and Cultural and Spiritual Sloth

August 24, 2016

I’m reading Evangelii Gaudium as a home work assignment. Today’s reading included a lot of pope@2xhead nodding in agreement with the Pope. In Chapter II, Amid the Crisis of Communal Commitment, Pope Francis writes about “Temptations faced by pastoral workers”; lay, consecrated, and ordained.  He tells us to say “Yes to the challenge of a missionary spirituality” and “No to selfishness and spiritual sloth.”

As children of this age, though, all of us are in some way affected by the present globalized culture which, while offering us values and new possibilities, can also limit, condition and ultimately harm us….

Today we are seeing in many pastoral workers, including consecrated men and women, an inordinate concern for their personal freedom and relaxation, which leads them to see their work as a mere appendage to their life, as if it were not part of their very identity. …

At times our media culture and some intellectual circles convey a marked scepticism with regard to the Church’s message, along with a certain cynicism. As a consequence, many pastoral workers, although they pray, develop a sort of inferiority complex which leads them to relativize or conceal their Christian identity and convictions. This produces a vicious circle. They end up being unhappy with who they are and what they do; they do not identify with their mission of evangelization and this weakens their commitment. …

This practical relativism consists in acting as if God did not exist, making decisions as if the poor did not exist, setting goals as if others did not exist, working as if people who have not received the Gospel did not exist. It is striking that even some who clearly have solid doctrinal and spiritual convictions frequently fall into a lifestyle which leads to an attachment to financial security, or to a desire for power or human glory at all cost, rather than giving their lives to others in mission. …

For example, it has become very difficult today to find trained parish catechists willing to persevere in this work for some years. Something similar is also happening with priests who are obsessed with protecting their free time. This is frequently due to the fact that people feel an overbearing need to guard their personal freedom, as though the task of evangelization was a dangerous poison rather than a joyful response to God’s love which summons us to mission and makes us fulfilled and productive. Some resist giving themselves over completely to mission and thus end up in a state of paralysis and acedia.

Reading assignment over, I got on with the rest of my day. This and that, and the perpetual checking of my email on my phone. (Yes, I know…) But then, one email had a sound of deja vu….

If you want to know the destiny of a business, or an institution, or a society, you only need to look at one thing… The values held by the leaders of those organizations.

Freedom, liberty, honor, and the rule of law… These were the kinds of values that America was founded upon 300 hundred years ago.

And yet in the past 20 years, I’ve watched those values disappear with my very own eyes. When I think of America today, and look at the leadership found in Washington, words like deception, corruption, greed, treason, and secrecy come to mind.

Today our leaders do not do the right things for the right reasons, they do what’s right for them, and when those are the types of values demonstrated by a societies leaders, that society is doomed.

And so we have a choice… We can sellout and follow their lead and drive America into a leaderless, valueless, nation of corruption where it’s every man and woman for themselves, or we can turn back toward the principles that directed this country to greatness.

This email was from Mike Dillard, a self-made entrepreneur, who was advertising his new podcast with Mike Rowe. Neither Mike is Catholic to my knowledge. But the flavor of Mike D’s message is all about the selfishness of our modern culture, beginning with the leadership. The Pope clearly states that this same selfishness is even in our pastoral efforts within the Catholic Church.

So selfishness. The “ME” generation. It’s more than a generational problem these days. It infiltrates every aspect and generation of our culture and our world. How did it get this way?

Certainly there are the Mike Rowe’s of this world who are doing their best to highlight the hard workers in the trenches. But just as the Pope said, even our beloved priests are obsessed with guarding their free time. Some to the point of rarely being present at their parishes!

Then to make my day a little more connected to this line of thought, a friend is trying to convince me to fill a 7th grade catechist opening… Ugh. What about my free time?!

So what are we doing in our free time? What are we selfishly guarding? Do we just need to veg, or are we really being productive with some selfish-culture-breaking break-through?

The ancient Greeks, the “citizens” not the working-class, used a lot of their free time to create their philosophies of life. Plato anyone? The Greeks citizens relished their leisure time, and the philosophers deemed it was the time to be philosophical. Great thought came out of that time. What kind of great thought is coming out of our modern free time?

What is the answer? How do we turn this boat around? I’m sure G.K. Chesterton has an essay on just this topic, but I don’t know which one it is…

Trash to Treasure – Vintage Windows and Screens

June 3, 2016

I’m an old window junkie. I have been collecting them for years.

What to do with themIMG_2089, besides save them from the landfill? A while back someone bought some of my windows to make a little green house. Then last summer I sold several of the classier ones at an antique booth that I had.

Upcycling is all the rage these days, and I am trying to put on my creative hat and make use of my windows. One window became a simple mosaic. Just glass tiles arranged in a linear pattern. The window I’m working on now has three long panes.

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I painted the frame sage and the middle pane has chalk board paint. I’m still trying to decide if I want to embellish it further with some painted flowers or leaves or the like. I also have some nice knobs from Hobby Lobby that I’ll probably add to it as well. So many possibilities!

Windows show up when you’re not looking for them, and sometimes when you are looking for them. Some are pretty beat up and others are in perfect shape for being vintage. My neighbor just got some new windows, and the installers were packing up the old windows. “Do you have any plans for those windows?” “Nope.” Score! The point is, if you’re a window junkie, you take what you find when you find it. Once they get to the garbage truck they are pulp.

Then, a little while later I came across some nice old screens. Hmm, screens? Yep, people are upcycling screens too. Pinterest is just flooded with upcycle ideas! But, in searching for screens, I came across a bit of history, the Painted Screen Society of Baltimore. Screen painting had a very functional and simple artistic purpose in the city of Baltimore, Maryland at the beginning of and for most of the 20th century, until the advent of the window air conditioner. The artwork was a screen for the screen, allowing the air to flow through the house and provide privacy at the same time. Here’s a nice video on the subject:

http://www.cbsnews.com/common/video/cbsnews_video.swf

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