Viva Cristo Rey

“Viva Cristo Rey”

These were the last words of blessed Miguel Pro before he faced a firing squad in Mexico in 1927. Ever since I heard the heroic story of his life and death, I’ve remembered these words. There is even a small part of me that hopes to echo them one day.

Today, whilst perusing Facebook, I saw a picture depicting the heads of six men who’d been killed by ISIS for being Christian. At first I didn’t know it was real. I actually thought it was an advertisement for the next zombie movie or video game. Then it finally sunk in that I was looking at real men. I weep for the lives of those men, I weep for their mothers, for their wives, and children. I weep because they are my brothers in Christ, but most of all I weep for their persecutors. The death of Martyrs is a mysterious thing; sad and yet filled with victory and joy. Oh, what great company those six men, and many more like them, walk in.  When I am tempted to hate, fear, and become angry, I remember the words of Blessed Miguel. “Long live Christ the King.”

I’ve written many things about Christ as King and we as royal children. But it is in times like these, when blood is spilled, that it is most difficult to grasp this intense reality. So what are we to do as royal children? How are we to handle the deaths of the royal family? Admittedly, somewhere inside me I hear the Queen of Hearts piping up and screaming, “off with their heads.” Oh, yes I am so tempted to return violence for violence. But how long can that satisfy? And what would it accomplish?

Our role as children of the King is simple. We were given one command and we must not fail, especially not now. We were told to love as Christ loves. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

There is something much more dangerous afoot than Muslim extremists. More dangerous than any gun-carrying, machete-swinging Jihadists, I fear complacent Christians. It is at the hands of these men that the world will most suffer. They ‘know not what they do.’ It is these hearts that caused Christ to cry, “I thirst,” and still he goes thirsty.

 Now more than ever we need to offer our prayers to a God who thirsts for our love.  We need to pray for the persecuted along with the persecutors. I will not accept that they cannot change. No heart is too hard for the love of Christ. Let us be the biggest stumbling block to their hearts of stone. Let us storm heaven with impassioned pleas for grace and the help of the angels. Let every act of kindness and every little prayer fill our world with hope. We must rise to this occasion. We must pray.

 I call on all of you today to step up and be what you were created to be.   Rise out of the depths of your complacency and be Christians, the great chosen people of God. Do you know who you are and what you are capable of? Now is the time for the people of God to stand in solidarity, to rejoice because our King is victorious!

 Viva Cristo Rey

Emotional Chastity

The vocation of every man is the dignity of every woman.  The calling of every woman is the integrity of every man.

 ~ Pope St. John Paul the Great

What is emotional chastity?

The question above was once posed to me and at the time I had an inadequate answer.   After spending time in prayer and asking myself some tough questions, I’ve come up with 3 problems I see in the male-female dynamic that gives rise to emotional promiscuity.  What I have to offer is a list of specific needs from the men around me.

NOTE: Gentlemen, this blog is by no means meant to throw you under a bus. I think we are ALL lost on this issue. I write it knowing that you are good. And most of the time when you fall its because we have fallen with you. Ladies, I DO NOT think men do the following things with the intention to harm. Let’s be patient and prayerful upholding the dignity of who they were created to be.

 

First we need to understand something primal about Woman!

Woman bears the image of God by being a “Life Giver.” In fact this is what the Hebrew word Ezer or Helper means. Woman has a beautiful and deep capacity for unselfish and unconditional love. (This does not mean that we always live this out … just that its there). This is why in scripture we see a 3:1 ratio of women to men at the foot of the cross. SHE LOVES BIG!! Women show the world how God loves. God wants you! He wants to be in a relationship with you. Trust me He’s not thinking about much else, nor do you want Him to be. Ladies, if you feel stupid for this desire, DON’T! Gentlemen I know this can be a bit intimidating and pressure filled. I’ve heard so many men say, “She just wants to get married.” I know she can be a bit scary when she gets like this; but I have confidence that you can handle it. You bear the image of God’s strength; fear is okay, cowardice is not. St. Joesmarie says, “Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the refusal to be mastered by it!”

1.   The “friend” zone. I am not saying that men and women cannot be friends. I am saying that these are murky waters and your intentions need to be clear. Gentlemen please do not assume that she knows your intentions. Furthermore, I hear men say things like, “well, I’m just going to get to know her and we’ll see what happens.” Sorry to say it men but this is cowardly. If you are interested in getting to know her because you may want to date her then what is stopping you from asking her out on a date? Your intentions are not honest and friends do not treat each other like this. Imagine your grandchildren asking you how you met their grandmother. Do you really want to be left saying, “I just kinda waited to see what would happen.” Is that the kind of story that makes you proud? No way! Undoubtedly your grandchildren want to hear a rivetting story. They want to hear that you swept her off her feet.

Lastly, Actions Speak Louder Than Words always. If you have told a girl that you are not interested and continued to flirt, rely on, hang out, and confide in her, etc. Chances are she’s not going to hear your words she is going to see your actions. Make sure that those two are in accord. What we need: Communicate your intentions VERY clearly from the start and follow through.

2.  Pseudo-Dating. This is when an adult man an adult woman “hang out” by themselves. Why is this not okay?? Our lives are sacraments; outward signs that convey an internal reality. If the outside is conveying something different than what the internal reality actually is, something is wrong or they very least, something is off. If it looks to the outside world like you are on a date but that’s not what really is going on then something is off. Gentlemen please do not make liars out of yourselves or others. Ladies, it is beneath your dignity to allow this. Man was made for more. Give him the opportunity to be more.

Man bears the image of God by being the purser. He is supposed to go outside of himself to capture your heart. THIS IS WHAT JESUS DOES!! He came to humanity, as we are, to capture our hearts. What We Need: If you have the desire to “hang out” with a girl all by yourself. Ask her out properly or avoid the “hang out” entirely.  

3.  Lengthy and intimate conversations about your spiritual life and/or your “heart.”  Unfortunately, men in our culture have been stripped of their emotions. Society tells them not to have emotions or worse, to just be the funny guy. If a man shows for a second any sort of emotion other men look at him likes he’s a weird. Consequently men seek this kind of “emotional release from the women in their life. Guys, this is okay if that woman is a sister (not a sister in Christ but the actual biological kind) a sister-in-law, mom, grandma, ETC.   In other words FAMILY.

The problem with having friendships like this is that the man is anchoring himself inside of a woman’s heart. And if you are spiritually inside her you should be physically inside her (or at the very least headed in that direction). Women have an ability to draw people into themselves. That being said it is not always good that we do. Often times men do not understand this aspect of a woman’s make-up. Sexuality for her is directly connected to her insides. She is an internal being.   These conversations with her can be like emotional sex. There are certain spaces inside us that should be reserved and guarded for certain people only. Jesus says, “Do not throw your pearls before swine.”  Even in dating certain conversations need not take place. In the Christian world we seem to understand where the physical line is with intimacy but we need to think about the emotional line as well. I once heard a priest say, “If you wake-up the morning after your wedding and nothing is different; there’s a problem.” We get it, no sex before marriage. We need to consider this analogy when it comes to our emotions. There are just some things that are reserved for marriage alone.   Marriage is a beginning. Allow some knowledge for the engagment and married life alone. Need: Please do not tell the women in your life things that you wouldn’t tell the men in your life. Furthermore ask yourself, “is what I am communicating something that should only be shared with family?”

 

A few last thoughts for the men…

  1. Please do not allow us to play games with you. We are good at manipulating. We were made for more. Please expect it from us. We need for you to challenge us in this area specifically.   The more intentional you are the less room we will have to play games.
  2. Please do not allow us to boss you around. We were made to follow you. Give us something to follow.  So if that means you need to politely (and with such gentleness) tell a woman to dial it back, then please do.
  3. Please be patient with us. It is so very hard to spend a life-time waiting. Society tells us that we should not wait. It encourages this constant grasping after what you want, kinda like a pirate. But we know we were made for more. So if you catch us “racing to the altar” don’t be afraid. Just say a prayer for us.

So what is emotional chastity?  Plain and simply, emotional chastity is acknowledging the truth in a particular relationship and walking in it.

 

Alleluia Is Our Song

Besides receiving communion, singing the alelluia is my favorite part of the Mass.   When you think about it the word “alleulia” sums up the whole life of a Christian.

Lately, I’ve really been struggling to balance work, family, friends, Out of Eden, exercise, prayer, etc.   In my rush to simply get things done I sometimes slip into the vice of treating people and prayer like they are something to check off a list. But today in Mass I was reminded of who I am, and it only took one word:

Alleluia!

At that moment I saw in my mind an image of the angels. They were rejoicing! Now, if you are not aquainted with the angels, allow me to introduce you.   We are not talking about little fat naked babies with wings or poised looking ballarinas with song books. We are talking ANGELS!! The kind that kicked Satan out of Heaven, the kind that restled with Daniel, the kind that claimed the first born of the Egyptians and roasted Sodom and Gamorrah, the kind that left shephards awe-struck and the priest Zachariah mute, the kind that announced the birth and resurrection of the LORD.  ANGELS!  When they rejoice the Heavens shake.  They are more numerous than the stars in the sky and each one more unique than we could imagine. These magnificent beings were shouting, flipping and fist pumping. They’re laughter pierecd my heart and soul, it reminided me of what we were singing and why we were singing it. I spent the rest of mass trying very hard not to burst into laughter and/or tears. I was so overwhelmed with their jovial presence; with their alleluia!

It was just a moment, a passing refleciton; simple for sure but the message was powerful and clear.

JESUS WON!

And I wasn’t in mass because we go every Sunday, or becase of the new priests excellent homilies, or even beause of the music. The sole reason I was with the angels today is because Jesus won.  I had to ask myself why I had been taking life so seriously? What could possibly be more important than joining those beings in their song; in our song?  G.K. Chesterton once said, “angels fly because they take themselves lightly.”  Today I understood the expression.

JP II reminds us , “We are the Easter people and Alleluia is our song.” Most of the time I do not feel very “Eastery.” Most of the time the hope is that I’ll just get through the day. What a great reminder and invitation from Christ’s Holy ones today!  Are you living burdened by the cares of this world? Or, Do you walk like you’ve inherited a Kingdom with an eternally victorious King?  Do you walk like the angels light and unburdened?  Sure we will suffer and sometimes things will get really hard but isn’t that what gives this song meaning?  Infact, the more we suffer the louder our song should be.  Think of the Martyrs.

My prayer for us this week will be that, like the angels, we learn to enter into Christ’s victory by accepting the cross.  I pray that we too learn to fly like the angels.  I pray that we don’t just sing but live that glorious song.

Alleluia!