COR THOUGHTS 230: Surface-Love v. Heart-Love

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This weekend’s first reading provides important insight into the difference between what we might call “surface-love” and “heart-love.” Addressed to men, Proverbs presents this just warning: “Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Our culture today is fixated on the deceptive and the fleeting, molding us to prize a person’s outward charm and beauty above all, but it’s a failing prize. While it’s true that such “surface-love” can mature into a deeper “heart-love,” if love stops at outward charm and beauty, it too will be deceptive and fleeting. Only the inner values of the person can sustain a stable relationship. To get to those inner values, lovers have to learn how to entrust their hearts to one another; they have to learn how to take their walls down, let their masks fall, and entrust their real humanity, warts and all, to each other. The value of a wife who loves her husband in this way is “far beyond pearls,” Proverbs tells us. “Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize.”

COR THOUGHTS 229: The Wise Virgins Are Thirsting for You, O Lord My God!

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“My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God,” as we sing in this Sunday’s Responsorial Psalm. The Church calls that thirst eros. Tragically, because we so rarely connect the dots between eros and God, “man unknowingly stretches out in search of the Infinite, but in misguided directions: in drugs, in sexuality lived in a disordered manner, in all-encompassing technologies, in success at any cost, and even in deceptive forms of religiosity,” says Pope Benedict XVI. Jesus refers to one of these deceptive forms of religiosity in this Sunday’s gospel, namely, those virgins who, while supposedly devoting their whole lives to God, “have no oil for their lamps.” Father Raniero Cantalamessa describes these unwise virgins as those who offer the counter witness of a “cold love.” He compares them to “poor lovers who write to the beloved letters copied from a handbook.” If the affections and desires of the heart connected with eros are “systematically denied or repressed” in the name of celibacy, states Fr. Cantalamessa, “the result will be double: either one goes on in a tired way, out of a sense of duty, to defend one’s image, or more or less licit compensations are sought, to the point of the very painful cases that are afflicting the Church.” Wise virgins do not repress eros. Rather, they allow their eros to become what it truly is: a pure, burning, wild, aching longing for God. In other words, their lamps are lit on fire and they are witnesses to the whole world of the eternal marriage that awaits us in heaven.

Made for More: A Plea from Father Paul

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Brothers and Sisters, Husbands and Wives, Mothers and Fathers, Teachers and Catechists, Priest and Religious,

The reason why I have been so passionate about promoting the MADE FOR MORE event with Christopher West and Mike Mangione is because I honestly don’t know of another topic or presentation that gives me more zeal and passion and purpose for my life.

My main desire from the very beginning was for the people of St. Paul and our local community to learn about this life-giving teaching, and for your hearts to be touched and set ablaze with love and passionate purpose.

This evening is going to be much more than simply a “sex talk”, I assure you, however the Theology of the Body is certainly a teaching that attempts to explain the meaning and purpose of human sexuality.

As I know from personal experience, but also from my pastoral experience as a priest, this is a topic that most of us Catholics hide our heads in the sand about. We feel uncomfortable with it because we probably don’t know how to talk about it. And this is probably because it hasn’t been explained to us in a healthy, truthful, and beautiful way….not just by our parents growing up, but even by members of the Church itself. Many of us may have been forcefully told about the WHAT of the Church’s teachings on sex, but NOT the WHY behind the WHAT, and even then, perhaps not in an accurate, attractive, and appealing way.

The Church is for us, not against us. St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body is absolutely revolutionary in the sense that while it builds upon the traditional teachings of the Church, it develops further some of it’s thought, but also widens our perspective and helps us to see it with new “lenses”.

You and I can continue to be afraid to talk about it, or think that its a “personal thing”, but if we don’t learn and teach this view of human sexuality, you can bet that we and our children are learning about it (wrongly) from so many other sources in our secular society today. Should MTV, Netflix, HBO, Instagram, so on and so forth really be teaching our kids about human sexuality? How has this been going so far? Do these mediums promote the respect and dignity of the female and male body, or rather the opposite?

Did you know that the pornography industry makes more money annually then the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL combined? Why is this? Because we are staying ignorant and keeping silent. We are sexually human beings…male and female…we are all born with a passionate desire to be with the opposite sex.

My point is this: this desire we all have isn’t something to be ashamed about. It’s not something that is dirty, to be kept hidden. We must “go somewhere” with this desire, but the pivotal question is “to whom or to where shall we go?”

This is where the Theology of the Body guides us. It guides us like a compass pointing to true north, but it also helps us know how to get there. Most of are are not heading in the right direction. Do you know how much it sickens and saddens my heart to hear about “rainbow parties” with junior high school kids. I also hear about “key parties” with adults. This is completely sick and twisted, only leading us towards destruction and death rather than life and freedom.

Do you want to be free? Do you want to have peace? What do you want for your children? The meaning and purpose of the human body is the most important topic that should be talked about with our kids, yet it is the number one thing that is skipped. If I only knew the truths that I know now, I may have saved myself alot of heartache and misery, and I wouldn’t have emotionally hurt and wounded my fellow female peers when I was a youth In my ignorance. Ignorance surely isn’t bliss…especially in the area of sexuality..it’s death.

If you wanna know the truth, learn about the Theology of the Body. This is why Christopher West is coming to St. Paul’s.

If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet for Made for More at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, please do so ASAP. If you believe that I love you…if you believe that I truly care about you and the human person, then trust me and attend.

You can get your tickets at the end of Masses this weekend, at our parish center, or online here. We aren’t in this for the money. In fact, St. Paul’s isn’t making one cent from these events, all ticket proceeds go to The Cor Project to further the mission of spreading the Theology of the Body throughout the world. I love you and I hope to see you there.

Let’s not be afraid…lets get our heads out of the sand…let us be revitalized and bring forth a culture of life and love…not of abuse, shame, fear, and death. Let the only rainbows we see be the ones in the sky…and the keys we use be the ones that open the doors to our hearts with the Father’s truth and love for us.

Fr. Paul

228. #MeToo — Are Men Willing to Take Responsibility for How We Have Pained Women?

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I’ve had multiple requests to offer some commentary on the “#MeToo” phenomenon. Because of an incredibly busy schedule, this has been my first opportunity.

If you’ve been living on a deserted island for the last few weeks, the Me Too movement (originally launched 10 years ago by Tarana Burke) launched into hyper-drive recently when, in response to the sexual assault charges against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, actress Alyssa Milano invited women who had been sexually assaulted or harassed to write “#MeToo” in response to her tweet. Millions have done just that.

I pray this becomes an opportunity for our entire culture to take an honest look at the roots of the crisis. Does anyone take us to these roots more directly than Christ in his teaching from the Sermon on the Mount? “You have heard the commandment not to commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Mt 5:27-28).

227. All Souls: Do You Need to Be Purged of a Faulty Understanding of Purgatory?

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Today is the Feast of All Souls. It’s distinguished from the feast of “All Saints” by the fact that most of us do not die as saints and are still in need of purification. Protestant reformers used the image of a dung-heap covered by white snow to convey their understanding of what sin has done to us and how Christ saves us. If that’s an accurate image, the idea of purgatory makes no sense: once you say “yes” to Jesus, you’re “covered.”