051: Clearing Up the Crusades

catholic_FINAL_150We’ve all heard it before – “The Catholic Church is all about violence and power. Just look at the Crusades! They’re a perfect example!”

The problem (for critics of the Church) is that idea is horse-hockey.

That said, most of us have little-to-no understanding of the true heart of the Crusades…which is a complete shame. Because the fact is, the reason and rationale for what Pope Urban II began a thousand years ago is way deeper and more spiritual than what most people ever imagine.

So to enlighten us all, I brought in Dr. Andrew Jones, an expert on the High Middle Ages. We’re going to dive into the incredible history and backstory of the Crusades that no one ever talks about. We’re going to uncover what the Crusades were really about.

Among other things, in this episode we’ll explore:

  • imgresWhy the crusaders actually did it (when it cost most their fortunes, not to mention their lives)
  • The deep connection between monasticism and the Crusades
  • The little understood connection between Islam and the development of the Eastern Church
  • Why truly understanding the Roman Empire is a necessity to understanding the Crusades
  • The fascinating connection between Columbus and the Crusades
  • Why the Crusades were nothing less than a ridiculously hardcore pilgrimage

This is one you don’t want to miss. It’s going to totally transform the way you look at the history and spirituality of the Catholic Church.

God bless!

Matthew

8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life Cover ImageP.S. Don’t just listen to us talk about it. Do it! Grab your FREE copy of my quick guide to deeper prayer 8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life! It’s an easy step-by-step guide to help you rocket to God!

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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.

046: St. John Paul II Through the Eyes of a Swiss Guard

catholic_FINAL_150Pope St. John Paul II is one of the most beloved popes of all time. He touched the lives of millions.

But his impact is far from over.

JPII was a world-class philosopher. He taught us truths about ourselves, and humanity in general, in a way that made sense. He understood our deepest longings and turmoil. He could explain the inner workings of our heart in relation to God. JohannesPaul2-portrait

In a nutshell, he taught us how to be fully human through Jesus Christ.

But while most of us learned this from his speeches, encyclicals, and books, Andreas Widmer, former Swiss Guard and now Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at Catholic University of Americas’ Busch School of Business & Economics, received his instruction in person.

This giant of a man swore to protect and serve the Holy Father with his life.

And in return, he learned what it means to truly live. In fact, he wrote a book about it called The Pope & the CEO: John Paul II’s Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard.

In this special episode of the Art of Catholic, we’re going to:

  • Hear beautiful stories about what JPII was really like in person
  • Learn about the history and duties of the Swiss Guard
  • Discover the relationship between JPII’s famous Theology of the Body and the world of economics
  • Discuss how JPII’s view of poverty and the human person is necessary to understand the heart of Pope Francis
  • Hear this modern saint’s “simple” rule of life he practiced every day

You don’t get too many opportunities to hear personal witness about a saint. Andreas Widmer gives us that and much more!

Matthew

8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life Cover ImageP.S. Don’t just listen to us talk about it. Do it! Grab your FREE copy of my quick guide to deeper prayer 8 Ways To Jumpstart Your Prayer Life! It’s an easy step-by-step guide to help you rocket to God!

Don’t miss a show! Subscribe to The Art of Catholic by clicking this link and then clicking “View in iTunes” under the picture and then “Subscribe”! 

Love the show and want more people to hear the Catholic faith? Leave a review by clicking here and then the “View in iTunes” button under my picture. This pushes the show up the rankings and puts it in front of more people.

Android user? You can listen to The Art of Catholic on the Beyond Pod app from the Google Play Store.

Lourdes BasilicaWant 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.

Apparitions, Tattoos, and St. Juan Diego

If tattoos are a good barometer of Marian piety, then Our Lady of Guadalupe has got to be one of the most popular Marian feast days of them all.St Juan Diego Statue

Lots of people know that in 1531, Our Lady appeared to a peasant man named Juan Diego in Mexico City. And every year, millions of people visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe to see Mary’s image on Juan Diego’s famous tilma.

(Apparently many then head to the ink parlor.)

I actually visited the Basilica as a Protestant missionary to Mexico in the 90s, but obviously didn’t appreciate what I saw back then. I certainly didn’t head to the tattoo parlor. If I had, it probably would have been a Billy Graham tat, and not Our Lady.

While most of the attention of this great feast is rightly focused upon Mary, there’s another aspect to the story that isn’t often considered. Namely, Juan Diego.

What most people don’t realize is that Juan Diego was in his fifties, which made him an old man for that time in history. (Fifty was the new eighty, back then.)

But because of Mary, his evangelistic life was just beginning.

And look what he was able to accomplish. Look what God was able to accomplish through him. Look what his mother inspired him to do.

St. Juan Diego, not to mention Our Lady, is a great reminder that God can use us no matter where we are in life. All we have to be is willing. We have to ask for God’s grace to stop coming up with excuses or allowing distractions to take our focus off of what’s really important.

So ask yourself, are you willing? Are you willing to do whatever God wants? To conform yourself completely and totally to his perfect will like Our Lady? Are you willing to say “yes” (or “si” in Juan Diego’s case), and let God do wonders through you regardless of where you are in life?

Because if you are, he can use you to help change the world, too.

I pray you continue to have a Blessed Advent!

Matthew