The Best Catholic Articles This Week – February 11

It’s Friday so I am going to share some of the best Catholic posts I have read in the last week. We have a had quite a busy week with the news from Pope Benedict XVI, Ash Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, and the beginning of Lent so there were plenty of really great posts I read throughout the week. Make sure to check out these posts, they are certainly worth while!

Lent: Movies – This post was originally made on Happy Catholic. The author lists several movies that have themes of sin, reparation, and redemption. The author shares links to reviews of the films and talks briefly about what each one is about. I thought this post was awesome, and I am hoping to see some of the films soon. I plan to start with Stranger Than Fiction.

On Valentine’s Day Give Love – I thought the message of this post was fantastic. I came away with the message that on Valentine’s Day many people show love and appreciation to their friends, family, and spouses, but God should not be forgotten. God has such an immense love for us, and we should show him love every day. Valentine’s Day should be a day where you also remember to show God your love!

9 Things You Should Know about Pope Benedict XVI – The news about Pope Benedict XVI shocked the Catholic world earlier this week. In this post found on The Gospel Coalition Blog they talk about Pope Benedict XVI and some things you should know about him and the papacy.

Path to Humility – This post focuses on an integral theme in my opinion, which is humility. I know that I am forever humbled by the great love God has shown me. This post runs along those lines and talks about God’s love for all of us.

Catholicism Through My Eyes: Confession – This post talks about Confession and how other religions ridicule Catholics for believing our priests can absolve our sins. I know I have been asked before why we even have to go to Confession. This article could give you a good basis for explaining that to a non-Catholic friend.

God Makes All Things Beautiful In His Time

A post in Catholic Sistas entitled, “The Deacon’s Wife: Part 2: God Turns All Things Good” reminded me of one of my favorite Bible verses which is Ecclesiastes 3:11: “God makes all things beautiful in His time.”  Isn’t that just the perfect verse for this time of confusion and chaos over our Pope’s resignation? I certainly hope you think so.

This verse has been a great comfort to me. It has helped me through the toughest patches of my life and has always served as a reminder that I have a great God who can turn failure to success, pain to praise, and rejection to rejoicing. Whenever I am faced with a situation that is beyond my understanding, I always remind myself of this Bible text and believe that in time, everything will fall into the right place.

In these trying times, let us not so much seek for discernment but instead put our trust in Him and believe that God has His amazing way of making everything beautiful in His own time.

This Papal Resignation is Not The First

News of the Blessed Father’s resignation shocked me, as with the rest of the world. It never occurred to me that it was actually possible for a Pope to abdicate his position. I have lived to see four Popes father the Catholic Church–Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and the incumbent Benedict XVI. All of Pope Benedict’s predecessors reigned until they passed away, so it really surprised me how something like this could happen.

However, as I read deeper into the issue of papal resignation, I have discovered that although Pope Benedict is the first pope to resign in over 600 years, he is not the only one to have voluntarily stepped down from the position in the entire history of the church. As a matter of fact, there are a handful of others who have resigned before him, namely:

  • Benedict IX (1032-45) – Resigned after selling the papacy to his godfather Gregory VI.
  • Gregory VI (1045-46) – Resigned after being accused of purchasing to papacy.
  • Celestine V (1294) – Resigned for “his longing for the tranquility of his former life.”
  • Gregory XII (1406-15) – Resigned to put an end to Western Schism.

Should you want to know more about Pope Benedict XVI, and his reason for resignation here is a good read: 9 Things You Should Know About Pope Benedict XVI

We are All God’s Beloved Creations

The Pope’s message from the Vatican yesterday really struck a chord with me. With all the theories and stories on how the world began or how humans came into existence, it is wonderful to be reminded of exactly how and why we were all created.

Contrary to the scientific notion that all of us and everything around us came to be by accident and for no reason whatsoever, the Blessed Father’s message said that, “The Scripture tells us that the origin of the world, our origin is not irrational or out of necessity, but reason and love and freedom.” These words really touched my heart. It made me appreciate the profoundness of my existence–why I am here.

God in His greatness created me out of love and with reason. It is the very essence of love to want to have others outside of oneself to love.  If God did not create people, like you and me, His love would have no one to extend towards. And it is this very same love that caused God to send His only son to die on the cross to save you and me from our sins.

If you want to read more of the Pope’s message, you can do so here: Reason and Love are Behind Creation.

Faith: The Key To Happiness in Married Life

My daily reading of Catholic blogs brought me to this one particularly thought provoking post, “Lack of Faith Can Hurt Marriage, May Affect Validity, Pope Says”. The report made me look into my married life and realized just how much faith has contributed to my wonderful years of marriage.

The strength of a marriage is very closely tied to faith. Two people decide to take on the holy sacrament of marriage with the belief that God has brought them together and will keep them together until the end. It would only be right to think that without Him in the center of the marital relationship, it is bound to fall apart. When you come to think of it, to have no faith in Him who created and blessed your marriage is to have no faith in the value of your marriage at all.

It is true that marriage is vital not only because of its spiritual implications, but because of its role in the sustenance of a healthy society. However, I believe that marriage can transcend beyond all human expectations when it draws its strength and inspiration directly from God.

I also want to say that although I believe that it is advantageous for couples to share the same religious affiliation, I do not think it is the main factor for a successful marriage. Rather, it is the strong belief in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that will sustain a harmonious marital relationship. Common religion without strong faith will do very little for a marriage. It is through our faith in the Lord that we walk in the right path and it is only through His strength and power that we are able to wrestle and overcome temptations, sin, selfishness, and interpersonal conflicts.

Pope Benedict Knows the Importance of Evangelizing Online

Yesterday was the feast day of Saint Frances de Sales. Saint Frances is known as the patron saint of writers, and that pertains to authors and people like me who simply blog on the Internet. Saint Frances’ feast day has also become associated with the Pope releasing his World Communications Day message. The Pope usually addresses some form of Evangelization in this message, and yesterday Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the Internet and social media. I thought this was so cool because it is specifically what I try to do. I think social media and blogs are some of the best tools we have to Evangelize with.

In his message the Pope touched on many points that you can read here. He acknowledged the great effort that many have already put into their social media efforts, and the commitment it takes to build online relationships and a following. Pope Benedict XVI also stated that unless the word of God is being spread on the Internet, it may not reach the large portion of the population who rely heavily on these tools. If you are a fellow blogger or just enjoy social media check out the entirety of what Pope Benedict XVI had to say.

Do You Make Room in Your Life For God?: Pope’s Christmas Eve Homily

On Christmas Eve Pope Benedict XVI spoke during Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. His main point was that so many Catholics live hectic and technology driven lives, that he questions whether people are capable of making room for God anymore. This is obviously an issue that people should take seriously. If you cannot find time in your day for God you are not looking close enough. Maybe you spend too much time watching TV or on the computer, there has to be something that can go to make more room for God in your life. Pope Benedict spoke about this during his homily, where he drew a comparison between today’s situation and Joseph and Mary not find room at any of the inns they visited. He stated that “we are so ‘full’ of ourselves that there is no room left for God.” I cannot say that I disagree with this view point, and I think it was a good way to bring up this issue.

Read more about Pope Benedict’s Christmas Eve homily by following this link: “Pope Worries We Are So Full of Ourselves ‘There is No Room For God'”

Pope Paul VI Steps Closer to Beatification

This week Pope Benedict XVI helped to move along the movement to beatify Pope Paul VI. On December 10th all of the Cardinals voted to a unanimous decision that Pope Paul VI should be beatified. There is a collection of documents for those being considered for beatification, and the Cardinals unanimous vote paired with Pope Benedict finding a “heroic virtue” of Pope Paul VI’s means he is just steps away. If everything goes smoothly the beatification will likely be sometime late in 2013, and would be a nice end to the Year of Faith.

To read more about Pope Paul VI and his road to beatification read this: The Cause of Paul VI Proceeds

Growing the Catholic Presence on Social Media Sites

I was recently brought to realization that there is a glaring lack of Catholic presence on social media sites. Too much of the stuff seen on social media every day is negative and evil. Whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or whatever else people are using today there is an alarming amount of negativity. I feel as though it stems from the anonymity the internet creates. You can leave a hate filled comment on a Youtube video and nobody will ever know it was you, or you can tweet mean things at Pope Benedict’s new Twitter account and get away with it. I guess some people get a kick out of saying hurtful things online.

Anyway, what brought my attention to this issue was a positive story concerning social media. I was pleasantly surprised to read about a teenager named Dylana Smith who has taken it upon herself to promote the New Evangelization for the Year of Faith. Pope Benedict XVI called for Catholics to spread the New Evangelization in any way they could this year, and Dylana is using social media to do that. To get more specific she has been using Instagram to create a Catholic presence on the popular app. Dylana noticed a lack of Catholic presence on the app, and figured a good way to celebrate the Year of Faith would be to make a personal mission to create one. I am delighted to see such a young person trying hard to make a difference.

Much like Dylana I was also alerted that groups of Catholic bloggers have been uploading Advent photos of the day. These Catholics are using Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets to share their Advent photos each day. They also include a short Advent thought with their photos. This is a wonderful way to celebrate a season that often times goes overlooked by many people.

I was thrilled to see these efforts to make a bigger and better Catholic presence on social media. All of this news came the same week as Pope Benedict’s Twitter account was activated. I can’t wait to see what his tweets will be like next week!

How are you trying to help grow the Catholic presence on social media sites?

The “Pope App”: There is an App for Everything These Days

There really is an app for everything. Today I found out about the new “Pope App”. This app lets users see live streaming papal events and video feeds webcams around the Vatican. On top of those functions the app will also alert its users of new stories, news, and other interesting information about the Pope. This is part of an effort to document the ongoing Year of Faith in the best way possible. All of the bishops conference in the next year are being asked to document any materials involved with the celebration of the Year of Faith so that they can make an e-Book out of it all. The “Pope App” should be out sometime next week for the iPhone and iPad.

To learn more about this click here: Papal Events, Vatican Webcam Feeds Streamed Live with New “Pope App”