Friday, December 30, 2011

Quick Takes: End-of-year random

Wrapping up the Old Year with some randomness for you to savor.

1. Looooooved this article about introverts, and all you sassy little extroverts out there need to read it and digest!

I especially love #2. I could scream it from the rooftops: "INTROVERTED DOES NOT MEAN SHY!!" If I had a dime for every extrovert who has said to friendly, talkative me, "Whaaaat?? No way! You're not an introvert!" even though I am about as classic an introvert as they come, I would have at least 37 dimes. Yes, I am an introvert, and introverts are not necessarily shy. Introverts can even be the life of the party. If they feel like it. Tell your friends.

2) Y'all have probably seen this one, but it's just so… right

Here's a peek. See if it doesn't resonate with you:
Once upon a time, women wanted to project an innocence.  I am not idealizing another age and I have no illusions about the virtues of our grandparents, concupiscence being what it is.  But some things were different in the back then.  First and foremost, many beautiful women, whatever the state of their souls, still wished to project a public innocence and virtue.  And that combination of beauty and innocence is what I define as pretty. 
By nature, generally when men see this combination in women it brings out their better qualities, their best in fact.  That special combination of beauty and innocence, the pretty inspires men to protect and defend it. 
Young women today do not seem to aspire to pretty, they prefer to be regarded as hot. Hotness is something altogether different.  When women want to be hot instead of pretty, they must view themselves in a certain way and consequently men view them differently as well.
Read it all, and with apologies to Justin Timberlake, let's bring pretty back!

3) Here is family law attorney Rebecca Kiessling who should have never been born:

Mother of five

Well, at least according to most folks. You see, Rebecca, like many other people in this world, was conceived in rape. A violent rape by a serial rapist. She is only alive today because abortion was illegal when she was conceived. For everyone who says, "I am pro-life, except in cases of rape", I hope you will read her story and those of the others like her, and never say those words again. I applaud their courage, as it must feel pretty yucky living in a culture that believes you should have been killed. There are stories, as well, from courageous mothers who gave birth to their children conceived in rape

4) I saw from Betty Beguiles that some bloggers are ending their year with links back to their favorite 2011 posts. Well, I am notorious for linking certain of my posts all over the blasted universe, but some of the lesser known ones would be fun to revisit. Many of which I'd forgotten I'd written!

2011, you had your moments. There was...

My correspondence with a sex educator (in three parts)

and also...

Answering "L": The Culture War and more

Oh, and this was a good one...

The power of a nun in a habit

…which in turn made me think of this next post to which no secularist or pro-"choicer" even responded (other than to suggest these women were lying). The total silence from the left honestly shocked the heck out of me:

Laughing at dead babies and the avenging conscience

And then...

Who is obsessed with sex?

And of course this one is becoming scarily more true by the day:

Catholics: Your misguided compassion will come back to bite you in the rear

So, let's end with a funny one that makes me smile:

Motherhood: It ain't all wine and roses

5) Speaking of funny, Andrew Centrella (who let several of us bloggers hog tie whip his butt lovingly mother him back into the Church) made a funny comic for me a few weeks ago. I especially love the way he incorporated the new mass translation confusion into the strip. Am I the only one who loves Catholic humor?? Cracks me up, I tell you!

(Why yes, that is Danya's left ear in the third frame!)

Thanks, Andrew! And the world thanks you for not going with your original idea of drawing me in a trashy-looking superhero bikini costume.

6) No words needed. Just read it:

See, we Catholics have real superheroes.

7) So excited! Tomorrow we will meet my daughter's boyfriend Carter, who arrives in town to stay with us for a week! We will be trying desperately to convince him that we are normal. But the fun part is that he and my daughter were introduced a year ago by a fellow blogger, the lovely Mary at the Screllos (now private). The Catholic bloggy world is amazing, people! 

Happy New Year, and thanks to Jen for hosting!!!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Can non-Catholics be saved?

The short answer is yes. Non-Catholics and non-Christians can be saved.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church sums it up this way:
1260 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.
This is known as the "baptism of desire", an extra-ordinary way of salvation that occurs outside of the sacramental system. The Catechism also says:
1281 [A]ll those who, without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, can be saved even if they have not been baptized.
Now I'll attempt to explain this in my own words. Catholics may correct or clarify what I am about to say, but Feeneyism (the belief that only card-carrying Catholics can be saved) will not be accepted. That is a heresy, and we don't do heresy here in the Bubble. At least not on purpose. :)

First, the foundation.

Every human soul is made for one end: Union with God for all eternity. However, as we've discussed before, union with God cannot be achieved without the grace of Christ, which was won for us on the Cross.

There is no salvation except through Christ Jesus, and it is simply impossible for anyone to get to Heaven without Him.

(That's the basic, immovable ground rule for the rest of what I have to say, so if you forget that as we go along, I will refer you back to it.)

Human beings are hardwired for God. Every man is expected in his lifetime to seek truth, and to do the will of God as best he understands it. People who daily strive to discover what is true, good and beautiful, and who risk great suffering to conform their minds, hearts and lives to God, are rightly called men of good will. During this Christmas season, we should recall the words of the angels who announced Christ's birth (correctly translated in Catholic Bibles but mistranslated in some Protestant Bibles*):

Glory to God in the highest; 
and on earth peace to men of good will. 
-- Luke 2:14

As we discussed recently, God gives everyone the actual grace to seek Him and to desire to do His will. An open heart will naturally search for truth, and as Jesus promised: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you." -- Matthew 7:7

Those who were raised up in the Catholic Faith have easier access to the fullness of truth than others, with a quicker route to sanctifying grace. That is a blessing beyond words. However, "to whom much is given, much will be required". Those who know more will be accountable for more. To know God's will and yet neglect our duties as Catholics is to act in bad faith, and we become men of bad will. (We should tremble at the thought!)

But non-Catholics who are sincerely ignorant of the necessity of baptism or who have never heard the Gospel are not responsible for the things they -- through no fault of their own -- do not know. After all, God is perfect Justice. He reads each human heart and knows who is truly seeking Him (even if that person hasn't quite found Him yet), and who desires to do His will (even if that person has it wrong at the moment).

This is the soul who would without hesitation ask to be baptized if he knew that baptism was the will of God. This is the soul who might never actually hear the name of Jesus Christ on this earth, but will see Jesus upon his death and say, "It is You! You were the One I was seeking all my life!" He will know Jesus, and Jesus will know him.

So yes, non-Catholics can be saved. And when these "men of good will" reach Heaven, when they are counted among the saints, every one of them (and us) will be of one mind and heart, one big Catholic family, professing Jesus Christ as Lord of all.

*Many Protestant translations are built upon bad theology, and thus many of their Bibles read: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. As you can see, that changes the meaning completely!

Monday, December 26, 2011

What I learned on my Advent vacation!


Anyone still out there?

I'm baaaack!

I missed you!

I thought I'd jump back in by telling you what I learned on my Advent vacation (and other random thoughts), in no particular order:

1) I really enjoyed the time off, and I realized I can live without the blog quite happily. But at the same time, I truly missed what we do here, and I'm excited to be back in action!!

2) Okay, actually, I didn't take time off in quite the way I should have: For a couple of weeks I simply moved all the debates over to my (and others') facebook pages! Ack! When will I learn? I need to be able to walk away from contention sometimes. "Leila, put the controversy down on the ground, raise your hands in the air, and slowly back away. Do that, and no one will get hurt."

3) I discovered that I use the Bubble as a way to avoid repeating myself. The same old stuff (atheist and Protestant objections to the Church; challenges to the moral law; misunderstandings of Church teaching, etc.) comes up on facebook and everywhere else on the web, and I like that I can just link 'em to something I've already written. Do they read what I link? Eh, probably not. But I'm lazy and it saves me time. Besides, who knows? Maybe the detractors (or some lurkers) will providentially take a peak and start to think a little deeper about these things. 

4) I have learned that I need to be more disciplined in every area of my life contributing to the comments on my own blog. I love engaging in fruitful discussions, especially for the lurkers, but it's crucial that I learn to identify those rabbit trails that need not be followed. Many of you have commented on my "patience" in going over and over certain ideas, but I don't think it's been patience at all. I think it's been a combination of incredulity ("Wait, does he/she really believe that?!") and my own stubborn pride (I'm like a dog with a bone). I do wish I had a minder who could keep me away from fruitless discussions and rabbit trails, but since I don't, I will try to be strong and disciplined on my own.

5) I have to chuckle when I think of how desperately some atheists want to rid public places of Nativity scenes. I mean, think about it: Christmas is a government holiday. The Nativity depicts the first Christmas. The Nativity is the historical event behind the very Christmas that we celebrate as a federal holiday (yes, I am being redundant). So, it's bizarre that atheists want Nativity scenes banished, but they don't seem to be lobbying for a revocation of the actual federal holiday that is called Christmas, which is commemorating the Nativity. Do you get how silly that is? 

6) I occasionally add new "Bloggers' Faith Stories" at the top of my blog. The newest ones are at the end of the list. Check 'em out! 

7) A few days ago I was shocked to learn that a dear friend had passed away. She and I had never met in person (much like the great blogger friends I have made in the past two years), but we had a special friendship nonetheless, which spanned almost ten years. She hadn't let me know that she was fighting cancer for the past year and a half. I will keep her name anonymous, but you all can read her words (in blue) in this Bubble post about scrupulosity. May God rest her soul. She was a dear woman with a deep love for Christ who leaves behind a grieving family. Thank you for your prayers.

8) During Advent and Christmas I put a metallic "Keep Christ in Christmas" decal on the back of my Suburban. However, I like what I read on Brent Stubb's Almost Not Catholic blog even better: 

Keep "Mass" in Christ-mas

Christmas is, literally, the Christ's Mass. It is the Mass that commemorates the Nativity of the Lord. Anyone celebrating this holy day (i.e., "holiday") is celebrating a Feast Day of the Catholic Church, and the Church is so pleased that they do! The Lord Jesus came to save everyone, and it is right and just that all Christians -- and all humanity, frankly -- would celebrate His birth. But Christ and the Mass go together, so don't take one without the other. ;)

9) Just a reminder that although most of the world believes that the Christmas Season is now over, the reality is quite different: The Advent Season -- our time of waiting, penance and preparation -- has just ended, and finally Christmas begins! 

10) And on that note, the Millers are not at all late in wishing you a very merry Christmas!

Why yes, it does look like the baby is giving a Papal blessing! Future Pontiff, perhaps?