Tithing

As a missionary, I’ve encountered a certain part of the faith that most of the laity don’t get too familiar with: dependence on the generosity of others for financial support.

Yep, as a missionary, I have to fund raise everything that I live on. I’m pretty much done with the actual fund raising now, but all summer I was doing it all the time: mailing, calling, visiting, asking. It was a heck of a journey, but praise God I seem to be in the clear!

I learned just how generous people are financially.. people who I know had no business donating to me offered what they could, and people who could have easily given a smaller amount stepped it up and were super generous.

Well, being in a situation where I have to “beg” for money really helped me to realize that I have to be generous myself for others. Even though I have to fund raise, I actually tithe myself! For anyone who isn’t familiar, tithing is offering 10% of what you earn to God- to your church, local ministries, etc. (It’s biblical of course and the Church teaches it doesn’t have to be 10%, but whatever you think is appropriate)

IT IS SO MUCH FUN TO GIVE AWAY MONEY TO GOOD CAUSES!!! It gives me so much joy and now I’m actually looking forward to what causes I’ll donate to next month! Do you guys notice that too?? I guess I can resonate with those groups and people asking for money now.. and realize how much it means to them. So whether or not you’ve ever been in my situation, just try to think of it from their point of view and understand how much it means to them.

So tithing is awesome! Plus it helps keep us from becoming too addicted to our own money. The same way that it’s healthy to pray every day to keep us connected to God throughout the day, tithing helps remind us that our wealth is not actually ours! It’s all God’s and in His generosity He’s given us it. Is money your god or is God your god? That seems easy to answer at first, but think about it.. have there ever been times where you’ve put your financial standing first before God? If so, you might be in danger of committing idolatry of money as your God instead of our Lord. Hard words, but we all need to hear them.

I also can testify that God gives back with abundance what we give Him in donations. I wasn’t doing too hot with my fund raising at first, and was still well below my goal at the time that I first got paid. Well, a week later this was still the case and I was definitely worrying about whether I’d have enough to make it to campus! It was then that I finally got around to tithing that first payment.. and then all of a sudden within the next two or three days I had a few big donors join me and I was in the clear! It was crazy how clearly this stood out to me.. it seemed like I might not make it, and then all of a sudden I had some wiggle room! Praise God, He is generous to generous people!

Thank you so much to all my donors and all those generous people around the world. God is our god, not money 🙂

Too Wise to Get Married?

Many “wise” and “experienced” Americans love to advise young adults to never get married, since “it isn’t worth it.” I may not be as experienced, but I’d like to disagree.

Is this really the best message to be sending to the youth of the world? This message demoralizes young adults, making them think that they are not perfect enough to get married. It makes marriage seem hopeless and a waste of time. “Live for yourself first.” I don’t know about you, but when I live for myself, life is booooorrrriiiinnnggggg. It’s when I’m helping others out that I come alive.

I agree that you need to go into marriage with the right mindset, it is a big responsibility, but you can’t just throw out the baby with the bathwater. Complaining about how bad it is isn’t helping anyone have a better marriage.

A major issue with this line of thinking is that it signals that marriage is only about what is best for ourselves, and if not, we can take the easy way out. If my spouse doesn’t treat me right anymore I should just end it. If I’d rather be with some other woman, I should do that since it’s all about me, right? If my kids are too much work I don’t have to be responsible for them. That’s the line of thinking that has been encouraged, and it leads to bad consequences for spouses and children everywhere.

The ridiculous thing about that line of thinking is that that’s not even LOVE. Our culture likes to say that everything’s about love, right? Well if marriage is all about love, then it shouldn’t be about us. Love isn’t selfish, it’s selfless. Marriage should be about doing all that we can for our spouse and for our children. It’s about doing what is best for them even if it is an inconvenience for you.

Of course marriage is hard. We understand that, and I’m not arguing against that. Often it is not the big decisions but lots of little ones that breeds tension. But that doesn’t mean that marriage doesn’t work. We don’t drop out of school because we have to do homework until late at night every night. We don’t quit work just because it is hard. Living your faith is difficult, but we don’t give that up because of that. If you want to do ANYTHING good in life, it is going to be hard, but it’ll be worth it.

The mindset that marriage is all about us seems to be a reason for many of the problems in our society. Divorce, abortion, contraception, cheating, single parent homes, domestic abuse, and more are the result of me-first marriages.

Instead of complaining about how hard marriage is, we need to encourage each other that marriage and love is worth it. It is about selflessly helping your spouse and children, building a foundation for a great society. A society with strong families has a strong foundation.

Our society needs to learn how to love again. When we learn how to love, we will learn that marriage is worth it. Bashing marriage will not help to foster stronger families and a stronger society. I don’t know about  you, but I’m too wise to not love.

Thoughts on People with Same Sex Attraction

So as a Catholic Christian, Jesus calls me to love everyone. Even people we don’t like, even our enemies, even people who want to kill us (Jesus forgave the soldiers and people who put Him to death- He died for them too!). I don’t mean emotional love necessarily but the type of love where you take care of your neighbor as yourself. So that’s a great rule and all, but in practice it is so hard to live! How often do we argue and bicker with our family and friends, let alone strangers! So we are all hypocrites, we are all sinners. Homosexual sex is a sin just like any sex outside of marriage for Christians. So we don’t promote the gay lifestyle just like we don’t promote cheating on your spouse. BUT ****this is the most important thing that I can say since nobody seems to get this**** having same sex attraction is not a sin. How can we judge someone for what they feel?! This is what Pope Francis said recently that made the news. Even if someone is living a gay lifestyle we still love them! We don’t agree but we love. You don’t deal with people by yelling at them, you share your beliefs out of love. So how do Catholic Christians treat people with same sex attraction? We love them like everyone else. They should not be bullied or made fun of in any way. They have a unique cross to bear but we all have unique crosses, we all need to be courageous in certain parts of our lives. I hope that that made sense and I didn’t offend anyone (love you all 😉 ) The part about homosexual sex being a sin is probably what everyone disagrees with but if you take that premise for granted then the rest of the argument should make sense I’d imagine. I guess I should note here that I have at least one friend with same sex attraction who is a practicing Catholic so this isn’t all just theoretical. Love him the same as the rest of my friends.

“It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.”

Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons

Why Evangelize?

Are you convinced that you are called to evangelize? Hey, I’ll be the first to admit that it scares me. Evangelizing means being weird. Being different. People might make fun of you. They might even persecute you. ..But think about it, wasn’t that what happened to Jesus? Wasn’t Jesus thought of as weird? Wasn’t He different? Didn’t people make fun of Him?

Our Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed, sentenced to an unfair trial, horribly beaten at the pillar, mocked, crowned with thorns, forced to carry his own cross, then crucified.

Jesus Christ, GOD, became one of us so that He could REDEEM us, and THAT was how He was treated.

He would have done it even if it was just for you. Everything that He ever did He did out of love for us. And He paid the ultimate price by dying for us.

How do I respond to love like that? How do you respond to love like that? It was His very command that we go forth and proclaim His word (Matthew 28:19-20). I know that I’ve let Him down. I’ve been too shy and too scared. But we have to be people of courage! Do not be afraid! There are people out there, who are actively searching for the truth, and they don’t know where to go. Our culture is losing it.. The divorce rate is over 50%, pornography generates more revenue in America than any other industry except.. gambling, parents pay to have their children in the womb killed and this is legal, and since the 1950s, the suicide rate among teenagers has gone up 500%. What is the answer to these troubles? The answer is timeless truth and beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s the answer. That’s always the answer. We need to respond Christ’s call that we evangelize if we want to help our families, friends, peers, and society in general.