Shouting Grounds

Okay, it’s time to return to regular blogging. To kick things off, let’s begin with some heart-thumping music from Crowder’s “Shouting Grounds”:

Take me to the shouting grounds
A prodigal lost was found
I should be dead right now
But I am alive

I just want to see your face
You’re calling me from my grave
Take me to the shouting grounds
It’s gonna get loud

Dead man come walkin’ out
When you hear the sound of mercy
Dead man come shouting out
Get out the ground you’re breathing
All who were once asleep are waking up to sing

No grave gonna hold me down
Can you hear the sound of saving?
No grave gonna hold me down
Can you feel the ground it’s shaking?
All who were once asleep are waking up to sing

Wise Words On Wednesday: A Life of Praise

I will give praise during my lifetime, I will not be a dead person among the living

– St. Ephraim

Wise Words on Wednesday: Evidence of Life

Newman

Growth is the only evidence of life.

– Cardinal Henry Newman

Quick Apology: Doing whatever you want with your body?

MyBodyMyChoice

Today’s post is a follow-up to the one last Thursday. In response to my comments about the differences between circumcision and abortion, a friend-of-a-friend offered a reply. However, rather than responding to what I said, he simply trotted out a favourite slogan of the pro-choice moment. Here was our exchange:

Bodies

“My body, my choice” is one of the favourite sayings of those who favour the continued legal access to abortion. However, the statement is patently false and I would suggest that nobody really believes it.

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Sunday School: The Resurrection

EmptyTomb

As Pascha nears we will contemplate the Resurrection, the witness to it and the key arguments against it.

Our Holy Faith teaches us Jesus, suffered, died and rose in accordance with God’s plan. Christ’s entering into our suffering was half of the story. The story of man’s redemption didn’t end with Christ’ suffering and death, even if we choose to focus on His Death as the perfect sacrifice. It ends with Christ’s triumphal Resurrection, the conquering of death, His ascension and His reigning at the right hand of the Father and eventual return as ultimate Victor. This is what motivated the Apostles, disciples and early Christian martyrs to give everything – even to the point of dying to bring even us the full Gospel, the “good news” of His death and resurrection.

So while it’s true that seeing Jesus’ sufferings helps us bear our own, there’s the added boost that we know all this suffering is temporary. All will be made right some day and then we will have joy that we cannot even imagine now. “O Death, where is thy sting? Grave, where is thy victory?” – 1 Corinthians 15:55

God raised Christ up putting an end to the agony of death since it was impossible for him to be held in it’s power. It was impossible because He was the righteous God-man and had given himself over in perfect love to God the Father. Not only did Jesus surrender his immortality and die on the cross, he rose with supreme authority over the whole realm of the dead. He burst out of the prison of death, breaking the chains and locks of all those held in captivity and carrying the keys of the prison with him.

Think of the triumphant icon of Christ standing over the gates of Hades and death, gripping Adam’s and Eve’s wrist in one hand while their other is outstretched in supplication. Look closely, you will see little keys and broken locks strewn about in the darkness around a prostate and bound Hades. Each of the keys is the key of death and Hades for each one of us. Hades is not destroyed – it is still there – but its power to bind people is gone. There are no chains, no locked doors. If only we raise our hands in supplication and longing for Jesus Christ, He is there to lift us from the grave. “…By death He trampled death…” we sing the hymn of victory!

Without the bodily resurrection, Christianity is a cruel hoax and our Faith is useless. Christ’s Holy Resurrection is a new experience of grace in the world. It was a completely, stunning, and shocking revelation.

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Quick Apology: Potential Life?

unborn

In January there was the annual “March For Life” in Washington DC. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go this year, but thanks to Facebook, I got to defend life in a different way, through Facebook. Many of my pro-life friends posted about the March on Facebook, and these posts were not without their detractors…

unborn

The Objection

As I browsed my newsfeed, one objection which was made repeatedly was some variation of the following:

“The fetus is a potential life”

Is this true? How might we respond to this statement?
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Sunday School: The Meaningful Life

What path will you choose? How will you live out a meaningful life? Who wants to be a failure?

Aren’t the accomplishments that are most satisfying those requiring sacrifice and effort, the meeting of a challenge and overcoming it? Isn’t this the theme of inspiring movies we love and just about every sports movie ever made? Rarely do we tire of moving stories where the little guy conquers against all odds or where truth and justice persevere. How interesting would movies be if the main characters regularly failed to succeed in their quest to overcome and succeed?

Flip it around now; how inspiring would a movie be if the supposed “hero” had everything handed to them without effort and gained everything they desired. Would you take them seriously? Would you respect a person that achieved much from nothing? Wouldn’t you come to dislike this person if they insisted they deserved it?

Christ is our role model and He calls us to practice His witness of self-sacrificial love in both small and large ways. Denying ourselves what we desire at times to sacrifice for the other helps us to grow stronger in faith and as a human person… really they are inseparable, just as we are body and soul, a mystery of unity.

There is something deeply interwoven into each of us that understands to truly value something, whether it be an accomplishment, honor, title or even physical item, it must have come at some cost or with some struggle. One of the great lies straight from the pit of hell is happiness is a state derived from pleasure and leisure. The really profound moments of life only occur after sacrifice, this is why we fast before great feasts. In fasting we prepare ourselves for the great feast we are to participate in. We struggle to empty ourselves from all of the “junk” we hang onto that is of the world in order to have the space be filled with the life and gifts of God. Recall also when celebrating a great feast, or struggling to fast before one, you are doing so in communion with those who came before you and even those who have yet to come. Truth be told, we are only capable of small glimpses of true sheer joy. These fleeting moments can have life altering consequence urging you forward to become closer to God the source of all life. Were it not this way, we would develop a spiritual sweet tooth or that of an entitled child expecting a treat at every turn and focus on the gift and forget the Giver. It’s normal to feel periods of spiritual dryness and distance. The voice of the saints and mystics is to just keep going. Struggle and sacrifice always wins out in the end and you can write a new story of valor in your own family and community.

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