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All personal blog posts that are my own opinion.

Conversations with Saints

Conversations with Saints

For a long time in my spirituality I looked at the saints as great role models, but I never really went past that line with them. In many ways, it was as if I was looking at them as dead members of the Church. That might sound strange considering they have all died, many of them centuries ago, but my eyes have since been opened to see this great cloud of witnesses.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
-Hebrews 12:1-2

These great witnesses may have passed, but the saints are alive.

But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him.”

Luke 20:37-38

In the past few years that I truly began to embrace the saints, my faith has found more comfort  and encouragement being actively involved in their prayers for me. These great heroes became more than old stories of history, and I was able to enter into conversation with them.

and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.

Revelation 8:4

The beauty of having perfect friends is that they only point me to Jesus. This is part of the reason I find it odd/interesting that some protestants accuse us of worshiping idols.

How do we talk to the saints? Well… we pray. Not to them, but with them.

Looking at the surface, I can kind of see how it could be confused as idol worship, but our prayers are more than remembrance of loved ones passed. Our prayers with saints are live conversations with those that have already finished the race. They know the struggles – they know the suffering. I can think of no one better to ask for prayers.

Last year, I only finished one painting so that I could take a break and focus on large design projects like Austin Catholic New Media. I also felt like taking a break from religious themed art, which has dominated most of my works. Now after much discernment, I realized that promoting the faith through my art is more important than ever.

Now that my angel series has come to a stopping point, I am very excited to work on my new works that will focus on the saints. I hope that I am able to create works unique to my style and in ways that celebrate the great legacies of these men and women that know a life and love deeper than we can imagine here on earth.

May it be done for the greater glory of God.

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Hope In Death [A Review of Give Us Rest]

Hope In Death [A Review of Give Us Rest]

Great music can be some of the most beautiful art, and Christianity is in great need of more of it today. It’s no secret that in contemporary music the Catholic Church is not at its high mark. Personally, I think that Gregorian chant from the Traditional Latin Mass is hard to beat, but I also believe that well executed contemporary Christian music can be just as powerful to the average person of today.

The band of one of the most famous protestant residents of the Diocese of Austin just released an album that perked my attention when I first heard about the theme. The Waco-based, David Crowder Band’s newly released Give us Rest or (a Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]) album is definitely worth some attention beyond its cumbersome title and into its surprising contents.

The 34 track album crosses multiple genres from rock to bluegrass, mixed in with elements of chant that even includes Latin and Greek. Every track on this album may not be to your taste, but chances are that there’s something you will enjoy.

Continue Reading…

GiveUsRest

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The Need for Catechist

The Need for Catechist

Throughout the world, ordinary people carry out an important mission of the Church – catechises. I am no priest or doctor of theology, but I am a catechist for high school students. Often times, people will ask me why I would ever want to do such a thing, as if it were some kind of cruel and unusual punishment. Personally, I find it to be quite the opposite.We all remember the raging hormones, ADD-like attention span, and the all out awkwardness of growing up and trying to find yourself. These teens live in a world that is trying to confuse them and distract them from God.

The thought of even more un-catechised generations is not very reassuring that we would be doing God’s work. They need Jesus. Teenagers today are starving for Truth after being fed so much that has left them hungry for more. Sure, they don’t always openly verbalize their desire for Jesus and Truth, but they do express it in more subtle ways.

Continue Reading…

Ccc

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Prayer to St Joseph by Pope John Paul II

Most beloved father, St Joseph, dispel the evil of falsehood and sin in me, graciously assist me from heaven in my struggle with the powers of darkness and just as once you saved the child Jesus from mortal danger, so now defend me from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity. Teach me to be the father that I ought to be in words and in deeds. Amen.

(Modified by Deacon Emmanuel)

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My Prayer of Humility

My Prayer of Humility

Recently I haven’t published any new posts on my personal blog for many reasons. I actually have a long list of started, but still unfinished drafts because I’ve had many concerns about everything from search engine optimization, conflicts of interest, and many other technical issues. I realized how much pressure I was putting on myself for no real reasons.

Last weekend, I was greatly motivated by a presentation I heard at CatholiCon Expo in Houston. It helped to liberate my approach from being so confined to a strict, strategized approach to my online presence. In the grand scheme of eternity, I do a greater disservice if I am afraid of being who I am.

I look forward to starting to post more, even if some are short. Some may call it lazy, but I call it prudent. 2011 has definitely been a working year, and God has provided plenty for me to do. With all of that, I have to be careful to keep it all balanced. Many great things have happened by the grace of God, but there are many times that it’s easy to forget who’s in charge.

My penance from confession last week really resounded with me. I only had to do it once, but he recommended adding it to my regular prayers. It is absolutely the perfect prayer for the different work that I am called to do right now. I highly recommend it for everyone.

Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

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The Feast of St Justin Martyr

The Feast of St Justin Martyr

June 1st if the feast day of St Justin Martyr in the Roman Catholic Church. It saddens me that many people don’t know who he is. I have a personal mission to make sure more people get to know him, and I hope he can be knows as more than just one of the early, obscure Church martyrs.

St Justin is considered the first great apologist of the Church. He was a pagan philosopher that converted to Christianity after he could not find satisfaction in other philosophies and traditions. In his heart of hearts, he knew that all his studies in Rome would lead him nowhere, even when he didn’t know of God. Through conversations with a Christian, he came to discover Jesus and sacred scripture. It was then that the Truth spoke to him so clearly, and he knew that it was undeniable. After his conversion, he used his love of reason to teach a pagan world about the Truth that lives in Christianity.

It was his writings on the Eucharist that touched my heart the most when I began to do research on why he was a saint. In the second century, he brought light to the Truth in a world full of darkness, and he did it all as a layman. He fell in love so deeply with The Logos, Jesus, that he willingly died defending it. Although, he did not die before converting many hearts through his preaching, writing, personal conversations, and simply sharing the love of Christ.

St Justin is also very special to me because he is my patron saint from confirmation. There were many reasons why we connected, but it was his unwavering passion for Truth that really inspired me. At the time, I wasn’t sure that I could truly believe in something so deeply that I would tell the world and even die for its sake. It was his testament that inflamed my desire to love the faith as much as he did.

In September 2006, I was on a private tour of  Immaculate Conception Church in Rome with some seminarian friends. This church is famous for a crypt-ossarium that consists of bones from 4,000 different Capuchin friars that died in the 16th-19th centuries. It a little odd, but it has really interesting art and powerful message for our mortal bodies and imminent end. I recommend reading this interesting post from Cardinal O’Malley’s blog about his visit there (half-way into the post). He also has some good pictures of the site.

When the Capuchin Friar leading the tour got to the altar of the back chapel, I read the Latin wording on the altar that indicated it was the tomb St Justin, and I fell to my knees. It felt like suddenly running into a long lost friend. It was a moment of pure joy and thanksgiving.

The power of the communion of saints hit me at that moment, and I was deeply touched at the blessing of visiting where his relics lay. To this day, it is one of the most beautiful blessings that I have personally experienced – to visit an old friend and thank him for his prayers for me during some of the most pivotal points in my life.

Some may find it weird, even down right morbid, that I would kneel in prayer in the place of where a man’s remains are stored. It may be even harder for some to understand that I feel such a deep and personal friendship with a man that died over a millennium before I was even born.

This mystery is the beauty of the communion of saints. It is the mystical body of Christ that unites us all beyond our current state and surpasses all space and time. I will come back to this point at a later post and expand upon it, but currently I don’t have the time to do so here.

In the meantime, I will leave you with the video featuring some texts from St Justin.

St Justin, Ora pro nobis.

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Death and the End of the World

Death and the End of the World

Last week I wrote a post about the current state of the world and the possibility of the end of the world.

Read the article at Austin Catholic New Media

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Why Does the Media Not Support the Church?

Why Does the Media Not Support the Church?

 

Last Week’s Post on Austin Catholic New Media,  I address a question that is often asked by Christians. As a media professional, I have a lot of thoughts on this issue. What I have to say may not be what you’re expecting. Read the post at ACNM.

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Finding Jesus

Finding Jesus

Last week I wrote a post about the strange situation of loosing sight of Jesus in our religion. Read the full post at Austin Catholic New Media.

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New Media is Becoming an Old Term

New Media is Becoming an Old Term

At the end of March I wrote a post for Austin Catholic New Media about the expectations of users and relationships with content providers and what we should learn from it. Read the full article.

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