Catholic vs. Catholic - 2019-06-23 - Aidan Lisney

Author Recorded Sunday June 23rd, 2019

There are 44 episodes in the Versus:Catholic series.

Recorded September 13th, 2017

Catholic vs. Catholic - 2017-09-13 - Thomas

I recently interviewed Aidan's younger brother, Kieran Lisney, and asked if Aidan would be willing to share his faith journey. Aidan is a recent revert to the Catholic faith of his childhood. I enjoyed chatting with him.


Catholic vs. Catholic - 2019-06-23 - Aidan Lisney

Author Recorded July 26th, 2017

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hi my name is Aidan Liz knee and you're listening to Catholic vs. Catholic tell the listeners a little bit about yourself who you are what you believe and why you believe it um my name is Aidan Liz knee I live in Redding Pennsylvania I am a Catholic I wasn't born Catholic I suppose you would say my parents divorced when we were little and so they both had their separate belief systems and my dad had a conversion when I was about seven he reverted back to the catheter and so I had that as the backdrop for my entire life and of course I had my grandmother's influence throughout my whole life and so I have had like a pretty peculiar picture painted for me because I lived with my mother and my mother was I don't even want to say nondenominational because they took us to it a church called UCC and are you familiar with the United Church of Christ no no but they're pretty progressive Bible alone is what they would they would call themselves but I don't know if that's actually what UCC subscribes to it's just one of those types of churches that was very normalized you know Sunday school go to church there was a group of people there I I never really got into it because at that point I was so groomed to be quiet and church and respectful and I actually really even as a kid I wasn't allowed to receive Communion and I wasn't catechized into the Catholic Church but because of my dad and his really beautiful relationship of Jesus I had a good idea of what the truth was and my grandmother was a living Saint I'm quite confident that my grandmother is a saint and intercedes for me often she was just this really beautiful person that spoke the name of Jesus without having to speak it and it was in her her silence and her love that she really showed this and it was beautiful she was one of the most unique human beings I've ever had the pleasure of being around and she shared this kindness with every human being it was respectful it didn't condone bad behavior but it definitely welcomed all walks of life to her table and she never had a mean thing to say about anybody but at the same time she also wasn't soft so she didn't sugarcoat things and she wasn't surprised by the capacity for evil in the world so she was this incredibly balanced human being and in my later years reflecting back on it especially the past couple of years now that I've come back to the faith I remember that she would sit at the table and she would pray the rosary and I'm pretty sure she prayed the rosary daily but she would hide it she wouldn't make a big deal out of it and if you walked into the room she would put it away and she would engage with you and she very much understood her vocation and would always relinquish whatever type of devotion she had to give to the people around her but not only that she also served everybody before herself she was incredibly humble I didn't realize that until one day when I was done eating dinner and we were all done eating dinner and she was sitting down and she had a light salad and she did that often but it was it struck me because it looked like such a boring meal and she made us giant meals that she herself wouldn't actually eat she would eat something very humble in and of itself and looking back on this it's like oh oh wow and then Anne was was giving to everybody but herself and really truly living the prescribed Christian life and I had this burned into me of what it was to be a true Christian it was to be that way it was to be willing to be last and to love everybody else and to serve everybody else so I I got married a couple of years ago and I became profoundly aware of my responsibilities to my wife and one day she sat me down and she said I'm a Christian my wife's a non-denominational Christian and she said this is really important for me and I know that you really worry about your salvation and I won't even know that this means this means a lot to me and I said okay I've been thinking about this too I you know really should have a good look at my life and where I'm at but I've always known that if I was going to be a Christian I wanted to be what I would always say in my mind is a true Christian and that would be a Catholic Christian which encompasses the entire face and I guess that might sound offensive to certain people and it's not it's not meant to be offensive but it's what I've always taken to be true that apostolic succession and history has shown that the Catholic faith is the one true faith and while I did see divides in the faith I mean I'm at a point in my life where I'm trying to be as open as I possibly can to people that are non Catholic Christians and trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and trying to see where they come from because I realize that so many of them are so much smarter than me like my wife's father who could quote scripture backwards in front and it makes me feel disappointed in my poultry ability to recite Scripture I think it's something that's really lacking in the Catholic faith would you agree with that there's a lot of Catholic Christians out there that don't know their Bible very well yeah especially with cradle Catholics there's a tendency to sort of get comfortable and just sort of go through the motions but it's a danger for everyone it's a danger even for converts - yeah absolutely I found myself there because you can do it with the Bible as well where you can like say that like well memorizing the Word of God so I'm okay and it's like well you have to nurture this personal relationship with the Lord for anything to do Earth's anything and then go even further you have to put that into action in your actual life so like my faith doesn't do me any good if I'm just gonna act like a selfish human being and and treat people poorly you know and I think that's also a temptation and I suffer from that all the time because I'm irritable towards humans and I I get sucked into things and it's probably actually why I don't have Facebook or Instagram because there exists the temptation to like have that outlet to argue back with people and it's like you know what I think this is all just a waste of time and I really think I need to be focusing more on how I can help people and how I can give back rather than trying to convince them of anything or be witty you know it's like I gotta I gotta let that person know how unthought out they are and it's like that that doesn't do anything maybe you should just try to be as good as you possibly can to not be a part of the problem can we talk just a little bit more about your transition from whatever you were before being an adult Catholic were you a generic Christian or were you ever an atheist were you agnostic just talk a little bit about where you were beforehand yeah sure absolutely I never had an issue believing in God but I had a major issue when I was a teenager of reconciling what he wanted from me and what I was actually wanted to do myself so there was a time period from 13 to 25 I want to say of just I'll do what I want as long as as long as nobody knows that I'm a terrible person and of course you know even putting that kind of boundary on it it didn't work so you know I have a very similar story to my little brother where drugs and alcohol came into the picture and when I was about 21 I want to say no no 23 excuse me I found this type of yoga called Bikram yoga it's a form of yoga that's done in the heated room and it's incredibly rigorous and it didn't take me very long I read a couple of books and I was like this is it this is this is the coolest thing ever I felt invigorated and body and mind and for the first time in my life I didn't want to kill people on the road and I felt constantly euphoric so yoga is known to produce a large amount of GA ba which is the same chemical that's released in your brain when you drink alcohol and so I'm a person that suffers from tremendous anxiety and I got hooked on this this stuff really worked and I did it so much I did it I practiced almost every day and on certain days I practiced twice a day and these are hour and a half long classes and so it's a big chunk of your time and you're just in this room sweating and eventually I got pretty good at it and I decided that I wanted to be a teacher so I stopped my schooling and I went to Thailand for just about three months and I learned how to teach Bikram yoga and I came back and I taught and that's actually where I met my wife I met my wife at the yoga studio I used to work at and you know eventually it just became such a it was actually think I think it was it was mother Mary who saved me from this to be honest with you because I I got married and I found the Lord and I knew that I wanted to pursue him but I just didn't know how this was going to work because I just felt so immersed in this Eastern type of culture and I was I really thought that Harry Christian movement was pretty cool and I had spent some time at one of my yoga teachers house I was sleeping on his floor for a while and one morning I woke up and he was chanting Hare Krishna and it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever heard and this guy is just a he's a he's a really strange guy his name's Joel Pierre and he's a really big yoga teacher in the Philadelphia area and so I had this a really confused idea what I was expecting from spirituality and from religion and around that time I was still thinking about my salvation and you know I knew that I had mortal sin on my soul that I that was unrepented and it wasn't clean and and I knew that you know any type of spiritual pursue would be dead in the water if I have this this terrible sin on my consciousness because even at that point I knew that being a Catholic is the only way and going to confession is the only way to have truly from your sins and have true freedom from your sins and and so like all this stuff is tucked away in the back of my head but I'm still doing yoga and I'm still immersed in this Yaga culture and I was in Brighton this is other studio that's actually nearing my brother and I was like googling different devotionals that I could do that would like help me feel better I'm like I do what if I get killed before I come back to the Catholic space which is kind of one of those thoughts that it's like I don't know if it's silly now in hindsight or if it was smart but I found the three Hail Mary devotion that you say three Hail Marys when waking and you say three Hail Marys before bed and you ask the Blessed Mother to keep you out of morals and for that day and for that for that evening when you see the players and there's some promises attached to it one of them is that if you say these prayers faithfully till death the Blessed Mother will come and she will give you assurance at the final hour and will take you home and and I did it and after every yoga class I would lay on my mat and I'd be sweating profusely and I would say my three Hail Marys and this it was really funny because it transpired and it just like it just snowballed because I went from not being able to pray at all having a monkey mind being incredibly anxious all the time I mean severe anxiety anxiety like you wouldn't believe to do developing a real prayer life and I found the rosary at some point my dad I think I'm gonna blame my dad on this one because he slips me all of these things throughout my life and then I find them later or sometimes they're just explicit moments where he gives me something and I happen to just be receptive to it but I think he gave me champions of the rosary by father Callaway before I started practicing the devotion and Padre Pio and Saint Bartolo Longo they both promised me that like if you promise this every day you will have salvation and let me tell you I've seen some dark stuff and I was thinking that you know while there's no salvation for me I'm unsavable but I saw these really cool dudes you know and read their words and they said just do this and you will be okay and sure enough the rosary has been a staple in my life every every day since that occurred and I'm gonna write to actively go back I want to want to tell you a story because when I was about 19 I was working a job at a fast food restaurant and they were working in crazy hours and I wasn't using any drugs at this point or at least not regularly I wasn't smoking pot every day or binge drinking but I was on this weird work schedule and I was losing sleep and I was suffering from these these are really weird dreams and hallucinations right before bed and these bizarre things kept happening to me and this big baby here would appear at the end of my bed and it would just stand there and watch me it was absolutely terrifying it was it was oppressive and this force had followed me around in my dreams for years it started when I was 17 it would happen for a couple months and then it would stop again and so at this time period this thing came back and one night I had maybe about an hour to sleep I had to close down the restaurant and then I had to go back in to open it back up and I fell asleep for maybe an hour and I experienced sleep paralysis and it was terrifying and it felt like somebody took a tuning fork and it felt like they banged it on my spine and my spine vibrated and my skin got icy cold and hot at the same time and I started sweating profusely and this giant black cloud appeared and I had a vague face on it and it was the most terrifying thing ever it told me it had seven different names and it spoke in this bizarre I want to say language but I could understand it and I eventually shook myself out of this and I woke up but that stayed with me and I didn't know what this phenomenon was and I just didn't want it to happen anymore but years later when I found yoga I started reading about it and I realized that people chase this type of stuff they chased astral projection they chase Kundalini energy they chase these things and so I always had this song in the back of my head that like this is probably not healthy and this could definitely open doors but as crazy as that experience sounds because I saw something so negative happen spiritually I understood that there was the spiritual reality that existed and it reveals itself to us every now and then and so that kind of also selected the fact that I believed in God I'm like well if there's evil stuff out there that exists on a spiritual plane then there's good stuff too it wouldn't make sense to have one without the other so I started praying the rosary daily and I started feeling true peace and I started to participate in RCIA classes and I completed it and I became back to the Catholic Church last March and it's been lovely I mean it's I have moments of difficulty and I kind of came back to the church at like a really turbulent time but my whole life is pretty turbulent and pretty crazy most of the time so it's nothing new to me so how did you stumble upon blessed Bartolo Longo can you tell me about that was it your father directing you to him yeah it was but it was through that book the champions of the rosary and just to get the straight you you were an atheistic Satanist correct yeah and Bartolo Longo was a Satanist yeah I have a strong devotion to him and the church that I go to during the week Our Lady of Pompey has a connection with him so yeah I'm very I'm very excited to hear that it's not often that I hear people mention this blessed oh he's he's brilliant and I felt such a connection to him because of my dabbling in this other side of things and because of my I'm gonna just say stupidity but yeah he's so yeah my dad gave me this book right and this book has all of these champions of the rosary and he's one of them and it gives his biography and once I read his biography I was like wow this guy is amazing I want to read more about him so even if you you aren't specifically involved in something that dark there are so many things that people feel that make them unlovable things that are just like well that just cross the line and I think he's one of those examples of well there there is a line but it's it's you know sin and holiness and so whatever the sinfulness is it's bad but that doesn't mean that there's no redemption available to us so Bartolo long ago and like I said Padre Pio Padre Pio's one of my favorites but it's it's funny you said you I think I I heard in another podcast you said you you came to the Saints first then you came to the church and then through that you came to Jesus yeah the only people I've ever respected are the Saints and of course now that I'm Catholic I'm obliged to respect the infinite dignity of every human be because they're ontologically good they're created by an all good God but in a theistic satanism of course there is no God and there is no say so it's all about you and this is a very popular religion Anton LaVey who founded the Church of Satan he said that Satanism is very popular but it's under the guise very often under the guise of mainstream Christianity a lot of these so-called Christians are really worshipping themselves they're doing their own will but under the guise of Christianity of course it's easier to move in social circles under the label of Christian than it is under the label of atheistic Satanist right basically what it comes down to I think that we're all susceptible to that violation of the first commandment the danger is always with us until death right I mean but we also have the hope we have to focus on the hope we're forbidden to despair of our own salvation and were forbidden to despair of other people's salvation and we have to trust God so right now I'm reading st. Faustina's diary and all if you've read that but she's The Divine Mercy Saint yeah I'm looking at it right now it's sitting on my bookshelf it's one of those that I've picked up like read 50 pages from and then put back down because I have a terrible habit of surrounding myself with good books and then not knowing which one to commit to but yeah yeah it's funny you say that because I was thinking about the Divine Mercy devotion and the chaplet which Kieran and I actually say quite a bit together there's certain days when we chat I'm like hey you wanna you want to say this one for such-and-such a reason he's like yeah man I'll pray it operate at this time and you pray it at that time type of thing and it's like one of those things that like bridges the gap between our denominations which is pretty cool yeah it seems interesting that you have people that are very close to you your wife and your brother who are Protestant for lack of a better word but it's all very amicable so I don't know I don't know what the rules are on this but my spiritual director never seems to care but I go to Mass on Sunday mornings and then afterwards we go to church together a non-denominational Church down the street and so we try to we try to keep our spiritual eyes as close together as possible and I think that that's really important to be able to do that to try to bridge those gaps can you talk to me your first confession has an adult-like when you sort of came back into the fold what was that like preparing for it and then getting into the box and then how did it feel coming out oh man I probably have an interesting experience with this because for a while I was intentionally working a 12-step program and I had to go through and I had to take account for my entire life in this 12-step program and my uncle was my sponsor and he's a lapsed Catholic but he's still very Catholic in his thinking if you will and so I took account of everything brought it to my uncle mark and I had a really good time being able to just bare my soul to another human being and just like get this stuff out but I knew of course that spiritually didn't count it was just you know like the dry run so to speak so when I took this to father gravich I had really heavy sins that I had to confess stuff that would shame any human being you know and real dark stuff my soul and he he heard it and just let it go and I walked out of there feeling light and giddy and there were sins that were causing so much anguish in my life that i sat with ever since I was a child and being able to just systematically go through and give that to somebody else and hear them say hey God forgives you it was one of the best gifts I could ever receive it's funny because as a kid though when I was doing all these things in my teenage years confession was the one thing barring me from coming back to church because I was getting a good catechesis from my father and he is like you should really think about this and while I did believe in God and while I did respect towards that my father said all I could think of was I can't tell my whole self to another human being there's absolutely no way I'm disgusting and you know that curse rotted me from the inside out for years and years and years and then it ended up being the one that was the biggest gift and so I know a lot of people hear about that and they're like why would you ever want to confess your sins to another person and it's like I look forward to it it's one of the like the best gifts the Catholic Church could give anybody freedom from your sinfulness and you get to shine a light in Word and it's basically like a radicand is ease in a sense it's like it's medicine and I wish that people could see that for what it is what did you think of the penance you got for your general confession you know I can't remember what the penance was I think it was a it was an our Father in a knot and that one on our father one Hail Mary focus on that daily bread what he said something along the line and that's what that's what the Father grandma says all the time and I'm like really sure but I'm tell you I'm also a really scrupulous person and you know touchwood I haven't had any issues so far with dependences they've given me because I know some people really struggle with like did I do my penance right and I struggle with everything else but that's one of those things and I'm like nope you know what I said this this is done giving it to the Lord I'm good to go so yeah when I think about scrupulosity I think about Luther and that cures me instantly how so because he was very very scrupulous and that just perverted him in his heart his mind were twisted because of his scrupulous 'ti oh really I didn't know that oh yeah yeah yeah so that that just instantly makes me relax and say that's not the way to go well he was actually like a funny dude that's so funny the only things I really know about Luther are the fact that he spoke about using his farts to ward off the devil and I also know that when he's discussing the Lord's Supper discussing the Eucharist and everybody wanted to take away the validity of that and he was like the sole person who wanted to preserve that for what it was so like thinking about that it's like okay well at least he still had that in his mind that that for him was sacred and untouchable I I could I could have been misinformed no no no for sure there are many many many doctrines like the perpetual virginity of Mary for example I don't think you'll find too many Protestants today that accept that but Luther accepted it and did he really yeah you know he believed in transubstantiation and everything but with time as he drifted away in his rebellion he really went to the dark side and his sexual license that he gave himself that alone I think is enough to condemn him not to hell but just to say that this is not someone we want to imitate right oh you mean he had like mistresses or he was just leased so he broke his vows of celibacy and he married a nun and they of course were breaking their vows of celibacy together oh he married a nun that sounds like an FX show but he also hated on the Rosary pretty hard and that's one of those prayers that's really sacred to me do you pray the rosary yeah I pray the rosary it took me a long time to get in the habit I was struggling ever since I converted I was struggling to pray the rosary and some of the people I encountered said oh don't bother with that that's just for old women but the more I read especially st. Louie de Mol for that really affected me have you read that yeah yeah I've read the secret of the Rosary and I've read true devotion to Mary and I love the information that he has to offer but some of the ways he writes really like you know makes you kind of like are you sure that seems a little extreme you know and so like he trust me I have tons of doubts I and and I struggle with that all the time and tenants of the Catholic faith there are things that I that I struggle with and that sometimes I pick up and sometimes I put back down and but I did the the 333 days to Morning Glory which is a Marian consecration and I did that what my wife was in California for a couple weeks at a yoga teacher training and I I loved it and I was exposed to all types of Marian teaching and I devoted myself to Mary and I did the full consecration and I accepted it and I kind of like no I didn't fall away from it but I didn't like respect it in the way that I that I should and I picked it back up at some point and I probably from champions of the Rosary and it was because Padre Pio told me to and I just listened to that dude whenever I read something I'm like you know what that old man he's got got something going on that I better listen to what he has to say so I read 'vote admire her but I have terribly cyclical thinking that occurs and that's how my anxiety works so like I read the secret of the rosary first and then I read true devotion and I really just gripped on to it and I you know what my mistake was that I did it in a reactionary manner I did it because I'm like well I'm already doing this so I better do it hard which is such an addict way of thinking and and I just like latched on to that and so with it it's you do everything with her in her by her and for her and you give yourself to her as her slaves and like thinking about that like I don't know like when it was but I read a piece of scripture that talks about being slaves of Christ and Jesus says I don't want to thank you use my slaves I want to think of you as my friend and so like that kind of corrupted my way of thinking and it was like was this an unhealthy way of thinking of my Blessed Mother and I got to this terrible scrupulous habit of like finding all of these Marian prayers and just like adding them on to my daily prayer schedule until eventually I was overwhelmed and bogged down by and I'm like this is extraneous all I want is a pure relationship with God and I just want peace in my heart so I dumped all of it except for my rosary devotion and my three Hail Mary devotion and I didn't think too deeply into my devotions and I focused my time back on Jesus and I'm not quite sure what healed that but in the process I still picked up this whole weariness around mother and so I still I still do with that on a daily basis I'm like I wish to serve you I wish to strip myself of all of my good for the day but point me towards your son you know I know that's the attitude you're supposed to have but I have it because i partially have trouble trusting fully and it's you know it's like are you sure that you want us to look at your son cuz cuz you know it feels to me like like you're taking the spotlight here and so I struggle with that and I know better intellectually I understand that mother points us towards Jesus always do whatever he tells you you know she doesn't say much in the Bible but she certainly says that yeah my advice to you is to just relax don't worry and don't try to force yourself to be something you're not you know so can I ask you this and Kieran Kieran worded this to me before too and and Kieran is like a piece of my brain he's like an extension of it which is I love that guy so much but he said to me so like certain things like when it's given the impromptu at the beginning of the book it says that this is free from doctrinal error and you can choose to accept it if you'd like to or not but you don't you don't have to so you're free to accept Fatima as you know as private revelation but you don't have to believe in it and but a lot of people do and Kieran's thought process behind this is well okay so I'm free to believe this but isn't it kind of terrifying that it might not be true and that like what if it's not true and we're giving people permission to believe it do you know what I mean and it's like that that kind of thought seeps in and it's like yeah that's actually a perfectly legitimate way to be and you know I understand that I have reason I have the ability to reason and so I just employ that ability and it's cool that the the church gives us the ability to use that reason in those circumstances I just think it's kind of like I wonder why there isn't a more definitive ruling on that and I guess that's also the piece of us that just wants concrete we want black and white this is okay this is not okay and that's not always going to happen yeah this freedom that we have is wonderful provided that that freedom is referred to Jesus Christ and we have our freedom in Jesus Christ and something if I can give you a little piece of advice take it or leave it it would be to be more physical and tactile in your Catholicism so what I do because I tend to be cerebral and intellectual and I don't have trying to connect to my heart so I do silent prayers without any intellectual content my favorite silent prayers are the sign of the Cross and gazing on the crucifix or kissing the crucifix or kissing whatever holy images I have so these are silent prayers if I say anything or if I think anything at all it's very very simple it's like the prayers of an infant I love you thank you please help me that that's it limit the dialogue to a very very simple set of ejaculatory prayers I love you thank you please help me I'm sorry you don't have to get into a big convoluted argument with yourself about all kinds of doctrines so really simplify make it tactile if that idea appeals to you can try it there's no harm in trying it anyway no actually it does it's funny you say that because I just read the Catechism of mental prayer which is this little booklet from like 1898 and question-answer format it is brilliant and it speaks about ejaculatory prayers and so from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to bed I'm trying to talk to Jesus I have a real devotion to the Holy Family in general and specifically to their hearts there's something about part that fascinates me and so the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary and the most chaste heart of st. Joseph there's something really good there and so whenever I speak to the Lord or look upon the Lord it's always the the very Eastern Churches way of dropping the head down into the heart and I'm gonna talk talk to the Holy Family and we're gonna and I'm gonna be with them and I'm gonna see what they have to say to me and most of the time it's you know I love you Jesus I love you Mary I love you Joseph save souls and that's like the very simple prayer that I have and I like that yours is even more simple than that because even when I take something that's quote-unquote simple I really complicated with like how many more words can I stuff into this and it's like that's not what it's about it's about the attitude it's about turning the heart towards them and constantly like looking in their direction and opening your ears to because like I don't know if you do this you said your cerebral but like I'll talk to Jesus and I'll just talk my face off and then I realize that it I didn't give him any time to talk back to me you know it's funny because it's like why don't you just stop talking for a second Aidan and just like let him say something to you or just like hold your hand you know and cuz sometimes that's all I really want it's just somebody that's gonna sit there and like you know be there with me and you know I get that whenever I asked for it I'm a very fortunate man in that sense where I've begged for a relationship with the Lord in that manner and and I'm so far I'm receiving it I want to ask you something um were you ever into drugs or alcohol or or a combination of the both not really because I have a very weak Constitution so I I've dabbled but I'm not going to impress anyone with my statistics that's for sure yeah and neither would i but III always just did enough of whatever it was to step outside of myself and not have to I always just wanted to take my head brain out of my head and then put it on the shelf and not be me for a while and and then that turned into every day and several times a day and so growing out of that you know when I got married I knew I can't be I can't be doing this anymore and so I put stuff down and I really enjoyed marijuana and as a result it's made me this very experiential type of person where I'm always like alright I want I love those moments I love those mystical moments of like they're out of the ordinary they reshape the mind they change processing you feel physically good but you also perceive things in this in this manner that you don't normally get treated to when you just have you know your normal faculties and so when I first came back to the Lord I felt really depressed in a lot of ways which is not everyone typical experience but I'd you know sit there and look humus weed and it's like it's like okay that's that's really pathetic basically you're just telling God what you've given me isn't good enough and you know I still have these moments from time to time where I hear a song that I used to listen to in the past or all like I'll smell something you know I'm on the wind and the colors of the trees will look a certain way and all mine me of like if I was stoned right now this moment would be you know something that I would have what a gripped on to it do you think that there is something to be said about that type of yearning for you know that though I I guess I'm not wording myself very well here I can't really get it out no I understand what you're saying and the basic longing will always be there and because you know what ultimate reality is you're not an atheist you know that God exists you know that the second person of the Trinity incarnated he suffered and died for you and he rose again and you can partake of his eternal life by uniting your sufferings to his sufferings and by giving yourself to him completely and by loving him and serving him and knowing him because you know all of that these longings that you have they're not going to disappear but they're going to be transformed it's an opportunity to give that to Jesus you know he took on our flesh he's human in all things but sin so he felt longings he said on the cross I thirst so when you find yourself thirsting like that don't shy away from it don't turn away from it and say oh this is the old man that I'm supposed to have killed no just give it to Jesus just say this is part of what Jesus experienced and that the funny thing is that it's not an abstract academic experience that Jesus Christ had on earth he lived your life he went through every temptation every trial every pain every suffering and every joy and every longing that you have lived and that you are living now and that you will live in the future he lived at all the only way to remove this sacred from your life is to refuse to give it to Jesus but if you give everything to Jesus he has permission to be there ahead of you walking this path that you're walking so when you feel longings if you feel a temptation if you feel a hunger or thirst a desire just know that he went before you because you're uniting yourself to him do you understand yeah absolutely well and you know what my real question here is so like when priests talk about like a longing for sex they say actually the deeper longing when you have sexual desires or unchaste sexual desires is actually your longing for community and they're saying that's the real root of the issue there that you need that you need community fulfilled and at first I was thinking nah I think it's just sex and but but but then then I was thinking about it I might actually know there's something there that needs to be fulfilled by community by feeling a connection and so I guess what I'm getting to is using mine expanding drugs creates this void we're like I miss those experiences so if there's that desire there for those experiences what's the true antidote for those experience are for does that mean that there's going to be bigger reality that exists outside of that that is going to cure that desire and then some and you know cuz people talk about the afterlife they talk about heaven and they say it will be cyclical and ever-changing and beautiful and something you can never fully wrap your mind around and I think wow that sounds like something that I forever want to chase after and I wonder why people aren't like chasing down the beatific vision and I just didn't know if there's something inherently linked to that desire for maybe I don't know a lot of people do psychedelic you know drugs or they they just want to be outside of themselves for a moment and so they you know they drink but do you think that that is supposed to be fulfilled by God of course oh yeah of course of course yeah every longing we have is always for the good everything that we want everything we desire is good and God created our human nature he knows our human nature not only that he took on our human nature so this is what I'm trying to emphasize with you is that you should never shy away from anything that's human it's all wonderful now if you want to be able to manage these so that you don't get overwhelmed and then fall into sin that's a different question right but the basic academic question are these longings pointing me to God yes every single time and it's the case for everyone even the atheist that has these longings and it's fulfilling these in a way that is a short-term fulfillment and it's not going to last and they're going to just build with different addictions in order to try to fill that void that only God can fill even they are being directed toward God but they just are on a wayward path at least for the moment god help them but it's the same with the greatest of the Saints - they had longings they had desires but they knew that that could only be fulfilled by God right yeah no I suppose I've always known the answer to that it's just kind of funny to think that like your desire for something that seems incredibly selfish is actually something that's really just it can be used as a beacon to turn you back to to the truth I wanted to mention one thing if it's possible I think it's relevant and I think it might help you with your sort of addictive personality and this sort of void filling tendency that we all have I don't think there's anyone on the planet that doesn't have addictive tendencies but what I want to talk about is the first commandment it's something I really love meditating on and that's that you should love God with your whole heart your whole mind your whole strength and everything and it's understood in the context of the Ten Commandments by looking at the ninth and tenth Commandments so this is something I want you to think about I want you think about the intimacy that is involved with the first commandment because of that ninth commandment coveting the neighbor's wife and then I want you to think about the power that's involved in the first commandment which is connected with the tenth commandment which is to covet the neighbor's ox which is a big strong beast that can plow your field and make you the produce to get rich so I want you to think about intimacy and power in Jesus Christ and particularly in the wounded heart of Jesus Christ and I want you to think about your sins and how you wounded the Heart of Jesus Christ and the more sinful you were in your past the deeper those wounds are into the Heart of Jesus Christ and the deeper that you can snuggle in and hide in those wounds of Jesus Christ that you created in his heart by your sins so the deeper and darker your sins were the deeper and darker this hiding place is in the heart of Jesus Christ and it's in there that you will have the intimacy with God and the power of God and this is a very powerful meditation I want you to think about it the first commandment and how it relates to the ninth and tenth commandments and how you you yourself by your sin have created a very special place in the heart of Jesus Christ this is something that I think about often and then that need for intimacy that need for power and these are two very strong engines in society if you just look at any sociological documentary about how people behave why are they doing what they're doing it always comes down to intimacy it always comes down to power so if you think about the infinite intimacy and power of God and how you have access to that because of your sinfulness you can thank God for everything including the fact that he let you straight he let you rebel he let you go on a wayward path and he let you come back and now that you're back you have a place in his hurt and so you have to find that place and you need to go to that place and you're gonna have all the intimacy you want and all the power you want but it won't be complete in this life it will only be complete in the life to come and you're gonna have to struggle with that longing but at least now you know to give it back to Jesus that's very same Faustina love you actually that's great so um at the end of my episodes I do ask the guests to wrap up with a little positive message of hope just something nice for the listener so what do you think you might be able to say to anyone that don't ever say oh that's a big question actually no you know what it would be to continue asking questions no matter no matter what you're doing always always ask questions I think that's very important that even if you accept something as truth to continue to pursue it the way you might pursue it might change and you might start pursuing things that you hated with with true joy and I and I hope that's the case for everybody out there that something that you were asking questions to aggressively turns into something and that brings you you true piece and continues to evolve from there but we don't ever stop moving and we don't ever stop asking questions and so don't think that that's what faith is faith isn't the end of questioning it's actually just the beginning of better questions yeah you like it we'll do some questions yeah all you got to do is ask all you got to do do

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