Writer’s Block

Yes, it happens to all of us, but seriously guys…this is a problem. And instead of wallowing in self-pity or going out and getting crazy to get my (our?) creative juices flowing, I’m trying an alternative method.

Introducing… READER INPUT!

This is the first image that came up on Google Image when I googled “READER INPUT.” I have no idea either.

After that weirdness…here it comes.

We here at TwoCatholicGirls want YOUR input.

Much more relevant graphic, Hannah. Thank you for not being so weird all the time.

No, but seriously – we want your input!

What do you want to hear us blabber on – I mean talk – about?

What questions have you always been dying to ask two Catholic college girls?

Send ’em forth through the literally unexplainable magic of the Internet. (And don’t bother trying to explain the Internet to me. You have no idea how many times I’ve googled it, and I STILL don’t get it. So don’t try.) Comment on this post and let us know.

So there’s your challenge for the week. Come up with awesome, non-boring topics for Caitlin and I to talk about. We will pay you back in spiritual goods, also known as we aren’t rich enough to give out awards so we’ll pray for you instead.

Ready, set, COMMENT!

Oh, and ye-who-shall-not-be-heeded (Internet trolls)? Don’t even bother. Still praying for you though.

Pax tecum – and happy Lent, by the way!

Hannah

Divine medicine

I read that depression affects 21 million American children and adults and is the leading cause of occupational disability in the United States. 

I also learned that Nebraska is ranked tenth highest for suicide rates (source).

Normally, people don’t like to talk about depression because it is a sad and harsh reality that many would rather just ignore. But when 21 million of our brothers and sisters (in the US alone) are suffering, I think we need to start talking about it.

I realize this will be the 3rd post I’ve written about spiritual warfare…and I’m not even sorry.

Depression has many causes and many of them are biological. But I think we often forget or ignore the spiritual aspect to depression.

A very wise person once told me that the Devil is like a greasy and creepy secret seducer. He comes around when you are weakest and alone, knowing that you are too ashamed or too scared to tell someone about him. He knows our weaknesses, he also knows that in order to stop him we need to acknowledge our weaknesses. In fact, we are suppose to tell people about our weaknesses:

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. –2 Cor 12:9

But so often we lock ourselves away in our sadness, we don’t want to seem weak or to have needs. We become upset at ourselves for our inexplicable sadness, if I was stronger I could overcome this.

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. –Exodus 14:14

God wants us to be free from our fears and anxieties. He wants it more than we can ever want it ourselves. But God is a gentleman and He will never force us. He loves us so much that He won’t make us do anything, even those things that are best for us.

So what should we do? Open the door.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock –Revelation 3:20

It’s time for us to acknowledge that the Devil has a deeper hold on us than we like to admit.  Then with that knowledge, we demand that he leave. Go to Christ and give Him the authority

…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. –Philippians 2:10

The devil and his demons have to bow to the name of Jesus. That’s some serious authority.

Now, I’m not saying that you go to the chapel once, ask Jesus to throw out your demons, and you are instantly healed. BUT that totally could happen. Do we have enough faith to believe that He can do that?

Just like the devil moving in was a process, getting him leave will be a process as well. But Jesus is totally ready to clean house.

Cleaning house like a boss.

So while I respect and give credit to modern medicine and the immense gift it is, I also hope and pray that we remember the Divine physician and how much more powerful He can be.

Lenten challenge: take your weakness to Him and ask Him to heal you. And then be ready to be healed. Those who came to Christ to be healed were healed…and then Christ gives credit to their faith.

Prayer Against Depression

O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.

By Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Peace

Caitlin

This is War

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind.”  James 4:7-9

I totally get why Protestants don’t like James since he’s all “works and faith, duh”. But man, I love James.

That’s not what I’m going to write about, I just wanted to put that out there.

Something that blows my mind is that people don’t believe in the devil. They don’t believe in his tricks, his twists, his lies, his schemes, his demons. And another thing, they don’t want to believe in him.

Now, I realize that sounds weird. Caitlin, you want people to want to believe in the devil?

Yes.

Here’s why.

Promise me you will take two minutes to read the whole quote. I know it’s long. It’s Lent so put on your big person pants and hunker down.

“If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hated. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church that is accused of being behind the times, as our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned. Look for the Church which men sneer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth. Look for the Church which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils. Look for the Church which, in seasons of bigotry, men say must be destroyed in the name of God as men crucified Christ and thought they had done a service to God. Look for the Church which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because He called Himself the Truth. Look for the Church which is rejected by the world as Our Lord was rejected by men. Look for the Church which amid the confusions of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its Voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly it is other worldly. since it is other-worldly, it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself. But only that which is Divine can be infinitely hated and infinitely loved. Therefore the Church is Divine.” 

–Fulton Sheen

He (obviously) is so right.

What makes Catholicism so awesome? EVERYTHING. But the fact that there is an entire army fighting against us makes it even more legit.

Imagine this…

Bilbo Baggins entrust Frodo with the one Ring. Gandalf comes to aid Frodo in his journey to Mt. Doom. So they set off…and no one tries to stop them.

No orcs, no Ring Wraiths, no greedy humans, nada, zilch. How freakin’ boring would that be?

Harry Potter? No Voldemort.

Aslan and his human comrades? No White Witch.

USA Miracle hockey team without the jacked-up Soviets? Lame.

A bunch of flawed children of God striving for Heaven without an army of demons bend on their eternal damnation? Not worth it.

Maybe it’s the nerd in me but stories are exciting when the protagonist is pitted against a deadly, cunning, and down right evil villain.

Who are the bad guys to atheists? Religious folk. I mean, we are scary but nothing compared to pissed off fallen angels with all of eternity to plot out our demise.

Someone handed you a pamphlet today? Tempted in the desert, son.

Just saying.

Fr. Mike Schmitz of UMD has an incredible homily about being children of light and our battle with the Prince of Darkness. I highly recommend listening to it, and then listening to all of his homilies.

Best news ever?

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of hell shall not prevail against it” Matthew 16:18

So get up everyone morning remembering that the Sign of the Cross makes demons tremble (St. Ireneaus), that every knee must bend at the name of Jesus, and that we are children of the light.

LENT IT UP

Caitlin

It’s Okay To Make Fun Of Catholicism…Right?

The other night, in one of my classes, I got the angriest I think I’ve ever been in my entire life. I’m not an angry person, but I was about to explode because of the injustice and unfairness of what happened.

A little background…I go to a public university and was fully prepared for the education I’ve received in its English department. We’ve discussed touchy subjects on any level in almost every class I’ve taken in the department. We’ve talked about racism, politics, euthanasia, abortion, birth control, educationism, the death penalty, political upheaval, inequality, gender stereotypes, sexism, rape, gay marriage, and pretty much anything you can think of that’s controversial. And don’t get me wrong, I love discussing these things and learning more about the world I’ve grown up in and the world my generation is forming for the future.

But to this incident that occurred… I was in my night class, a 400-level class that doubles as a graduate class. And I adore the class. Please don’t let anything I say convince you that I don’t adore the class. I look forward to it every week. Our class is composed of the most diversified group of people I’ve ever been in class with. As we discussed the other day, we are Socialists, Buddhists, Republicans, Democrats, Caucasian, Indian, Latino/a, Swedish, gay, straight, racist, homophobic, etc. etc.. My teacher from the first day of class told us all that she’s a racist and a lesbian, and made sure that we all knew we had signed up to be in an open, accepting class when we signed up. We’re studying American literature, and our discussions have been the most eye-opening of my college career to this point.

There’s a woman in my class with whom I do not get along; we’ll call her Betty for anonymity’s sake. Betty is a graduate student who obviously has faced diversity and adversity in her life because of her race and gender. And in response to this, she has felt the need (in previous classes) to bring to light when others have been unintentionally offensive – either towards her or perhaps towards someone else.

When it comes to English classes, I have up to this point understood where she is coming from. At times it seemed her comments were a little bit of a stretch, taking offense at things that seemed irrelevant from my perspective, but every time I thought that, I told myself that I hadn’t walked in her shoes or lived her life, so I shouldn’t be the one to decide what offended her or not.

Yet during our class break last night, my teacher started talking to a couple of students about her upbringing, and how she had attended a liberal Catholic grade school in California. She was explaining her experience with Catholicism when she was young, and she treated it very respectfully even while admitting that she was no longer Catholic. Betty took this opportunity to practically POUNCE on Catholicism. I won’t go into detail, because even thinking about it right now makes my hands shake with righteous anger, but she began bashing her experience at Catholic school and how much she “hated” Catholicism and everything it stood for.

As she was talking, the entire class became focused on her, and soon enough her words developed into a Catholic-bashing party. I’m not kidding – for about 10 solid minutes, our class traded horror stories of being involved with Catholicism and were very, very offensive to me (and to another Catholic guy who’s in my class). They ridiculed Catholicism, and no one blinked an eye.

I couldn’t believe it! Betty was a woman who had previously stood out to the class as someone who stood up for those being persecuted. She defended herself for many of her own beliefs, and multiple times in the past weeks had stopped discussion in the class to point out an offense that someone might be taking. Yet there she was, crying out to the class about how she had been mistreated, and practically egging everyone on to do the same to a group of people.

I couldn’t understand it. Now, I understand that she is perfectly entitled to her own opinion. I’m not assuming that everyone has had wonderful experiences with the Catholic Church – we are a flawed, human institution that has made many, many mistakes. But to hear her blatantly making fun of Catholicism as insensitively as she was struck me deeply – not only her, but my entire class.

I didn’t understand how everyone could sit there in such an “open” environment and not one single comment was made on how much they were offending Catholics. We’ve spent the last six weeks discussing the different forms of oppression and hatred that groups experienced in the United States history, but nah, making fun of Catholicism is fine, nobody who is intelligent enough to be in English classes could possibly still believe in that…stuff. It was incredibly frustrating and incredibly hypocritical.

UGH. I sat there in disbelief as the conversation continued. As soon as I had controlled my righteous anger to formulate some sort of response, we had to start class again, so the subject was dropped.

I’m sure my experience isn’t unique. I know that Christianity gets made fun of all the time – even at a time when being politically correct is one of the top concerns of anyone in academia or politics. Take, for example, Nicki Minaj’s most recent appearance at the Grammy’s that was supposed to be a Versace nun accompanied by a pope. What do you think the media did? Absolutely NOTHING. No, it’s perfectly fine to make fun of Christianity, didn’t you know, Hannah? Okay, I’m sorry but NO. If Nicki had shown up in a hijab, brandishing a gun and a Koran, the media would be absolutely up in arms at such an offensive costume – as they very well should be. Heck, I’m not Islamic, but I would have been offended at that.

As Christians, we strive to be accepting and loving towards people of all race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, culture, and background because Jesus loved everyone – He got made fun of for associating with people of a different background than him, but did He care? Nah, man. We try to do the same – not perfectly, but we try.

Betty, I’m sorry you had a bad experience with the Catholic church. I can’t fix whatever damage you’ve acquired from it, but I can apologize. I just hope that someday in the future, you will see that making fun of something that seems unaccepted or unbelieved may be what all discrimination has been from the beginning of time, and that you’ll try to change your behavior to affect that. I’m praying for you.

John 15:18 “If the world hates you, remember that it has hated Me first.”

Hannah