052: Catholic Q&A – Mary/Contraception/Suffering

catholic_FINAL_150We’ve all got questions. None more important then those dealing with our faith.

Not long ago, I invited listeners to send me questions or issues with which they’re dealing. I got some great responses from all over the world. So in this special episode of The Art of Catholic, we’re going to deal with a few of them.

(Some of these I deal with in my first book Louder Than Words: The Art of Living as a Catholic…the book which inspired the podcast!)

Some of the important issues we’ll discuss include:T1324

  • What to do when you really don’t feel a relationship with Mary.
  • How Mary makes sense in God’s family
  • The underlying reason for contraception in our culture
  • Why contraception isn’t even on the radar of most Protestants
  • The insane end result of a contraceptive culture
  • A response to a Protestant’s inquiry regarding redemptive suffering including why and how it works
  • The problem with “penal substitution” (a Protestant teaching about the Cross) and its relation to redemptive suffering

This is an episode for Catholic and Protestant alike. Share it with friends!

God bless!


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Lourdes Basilica

Want to tour Catholic Europe’s most beautiful holy sites? Join Matthew on a  St. Paul Center pilgrimage to Fatima, Spain, Lourdes, and other amazing holy sites this October 23rd to November 1st. Click here for details.

Did You Have A “Rash Wednesday”?

“I’m giving up all tv, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter…Super CatholicNothing edible will enter my body for forty days. And I’m going to read all 150 Psalms daily while wearing a hair shirt that would bring Bigfoot to tears.”

Sound familiar? We’re all big talkers at the beginning of Lent, aren’t we? We’re going to get really holy, get really in touch with our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross. We’re strong enough! Who needs food! (It’s a scientific fact that most rash Lenten resolutions are made on a full stomach.)

So how’s it going? Uh-huh…thought so.

If you’ve struggled to keep up with your lenten resolutions just take a deep breath and relax. It’s hard to sacrifice. It’s meant to be hard. And for those of us who bit off more than we could chew, it can be discouraging because we weren’t able to perfectly keep our promises. We failed!

But let’s keep a couple things in mind.

First of all, be realistic. If you’re trying to do too much, take a step back and get real. I’m not trying to get anyone off the hook, because the whole point is to be sacrificial and it’s never easy. But at the same time, it would do us good to recall the famous line from Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry character in Magnum Force: “Man’s got to know his limitations…”

Second, the Lord is merciful. He’s not mad at you for failing. He might be chuckling at your inability to put down the Oreo and walk away, but he’s not mad. He’s the most merciful person in the world!

Remember, Lenten sacrifice isn’t for him. It’s for us. It’s meant to help us take our eyes off of this world and focus on the next. It’s meant to help us love Christ more, not get down on ourselves.

So if you’ve fallen a few times already, stand up and brush the Little Debbie crumbs off your pants. Then pick up your Lenten cross and start again…but maybe with one made from a little lighter wood.

God bless!


Get Big or Get Out! Why Lent Should Hurt So Good

So Lent continues…Isn’t it funny that we shudder at the thought of suffering in general terms, but many of us are more than willing to endure it for specific reasons like rippling abs, bulging biceps, and toned legs?

Man weightlifting

Having spent a fair bit of time of my youth in weight rooms, I often heard my fellow gym rats screaming at each other what can only be described as motivation to suffer: “Feel the burn!” “Make it hurt, man!” “If you’re not sore, you’re not growing!”

These “encouragements” (often accompanied by large amounts of spittle), were generally welcomed by the person exercising. They knew it was true. They knew they had to embrace the suffering so as to grow. (“Get big or get out!”)

It’s the same in the spiritual life.

Just as we give up certain foods and force ourselves to exercise for our physical well-being, we need to wean ourselves from worldly fat and work out our spiritual muscles for our eternal well-being. That’s what Lent does. It makes us lean, mean spiritual machines more focused on God.

Keep up the workout and God bless!


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