Monday, August 30, 2010

Cult of Feelings

I just read my husband's excellent post on just one of the many current scourges upon the world in this time - what I have come to call the "cult of feelings" Far too many in our times have lost what so many in the past once took as a truth - that reason and the will must rule the emotions. The higher self must rule over the lower more base part of ourselves. Our will to live in virture must rule the physical desires of the body to wallow in passion. Emotions have their place, but they ought never to rule the soul.

Over my desk at work I have a list of things our Lord said to St. Faustina - one statement sums it up nicely:

"Do not be guided by feeling, because it is not always under your control; but all merit lies in the will."

~Our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Faustina.

Forgetting Ourselves and Finding Healing in the Divine

I was reading a fascinating and orthodox book titled: "Leave your Life Alone by Hubert Van Zeller. Most surprising was that fact that it was written in the 1970s, a time of turmoil and descent from the Church. He writes:" In spite of its concern with outward things, western society has ever been so concerned about its inward troubles. Escape into materialism has shown itself to be a boomerang and we are all more locked up inside ourselves than ever: the boomerang has come back in the form of a ball and chain. That is why we bore one another so incessantly: we are fellow prisoners whose recreation is to talk about ourselves . We revel in our prison sentences while preaching freedom, we are so earger to outdo one another with our permissiveness that the only real freedom worth having is missed." Indeed, it seems that the pop-psychology approach of caring for ourselves first, has led us into an obsession about self that has taken the form of "self-consciousness", "self-determination" and self-evaluation". Aldous Huxley writes wisely of the negative impact of self-empowerment and caring for self philosophies--a widely misguided cultural phenomenon that has perhaps lead us into becoming a society afflicted with clinical depression. Huxley writes: "The systematic cultivation of self-awareness may as easily produce undesireable as desirable results. Where personality is developed for its own sake, and not in order that it may be transcended, there tends to be a rising of the barriers of separateness and an increase of egotism". The evidence, right now, points towards this separateness pervading the American landscape and causing isolation and a notable increase in depression and anxiety. The National Institute of Mental Health, reported in 2004, that approximately 26% of adult Americans suffered from a variety of mood and anxiety disorders, representing close to 58 million Americans. There is indeed a malaise sweeping through American society, causing a restlessness of the soul, and compromising the individual's ability to cope with the demands of daily life. A data health management firm, IMF Health, estimates that in 2007, pharmaceutical sales of antidepressants in the US topped $11.9 billion, an amount that should cause alarm. The talk of treatments and remedies for depression remain centered on the prescription of antidepressants and on coping mechanisms for getting through the day. For those who are spiritually minded, the culture contaminates Church teachings regarding selfless charity as a remedy for ailing souls, and whispers to the soul the perverted notion that an inward examination will bring peace. There is something to an inward examination of conscience that is good, but Van Zeller cautions the reader that there is a danger, when seeking knowedge of self with too much zeal, that can lead the individual into discouragement and confusion. Van Zeller claims that when an individual looks inward and asks the question: "What do I feel bout the problem?" rather than "What does God feel about these things?, "he ceases to be a spirtual person". He further writes "Among the first fallacies of today is the one which believes that worry and fear and guilt can be exorcized by talking about them. Do you wonder that we all become bores?" Could it be that the cure for our depression epidemic is to not worry about our own situation, but to simply feed the hungry and clothe the poor? for in doing so we feed and clothe Jesus himself?

Our Lady's Tears Productions has begun the filming of our second documentary which will explore the depression epidemic in American society. Pray for our endeavor and help us, if you can, by visiting our website: and purchasing our documentary on the Theology of Human Suffering, in addition to chaplets and rosary beads.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Remember our Lady's Tears

In all the business of life, with all your stress and difficulties - remember there was a darker day. No one suffered more than Our Lord. Secondly suffered His holy Mother - no mere human suffered more than she and for her the grace of God sufficed. Is shall suffice for you and me as well. When darkness comes to your soul, go to her feet and pour out your suffering to her. She understands suffering well and will obtain assistance in all your needs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Understanding Human Suffering: The Germaine Cousin Paradox

As Christians we struggle with the understanding of suffering. We love the glory of the resurrection and we are delighted by the wonder of the transfiguration, but we struggle with the implications of the Holy Cross. The life of Saint Germaine Cousin, a Catholic saint whose life is virtually unknown, [click here to view the short produced by Our Lady's Tears Productions], is a paradox that leaves us restless for we have trouble understanding how an all loving God could allow an innocent child to suffer. We are appalled and silenced in the face of such a mystery. I would like to engage the reader to share how such suffering could be allowed. To give some fuel for discussion, I would like to quote Fr William of Saint Thierry, a 12th Century Cisterian abbot, theologian and mystic, who rightly discerned what hindered the human spirit from understanding these mysteries, that only angels seem to contemplate joyfully. “The unclean soul, the impure conscience, the proud mind, and curious conceit are rightly kept at a distance from the quest of the divine sacraments and mysteries. For the spirit of discernment flees anything false and will not dwell in a body subject to sin. Wisdom will not enter into an ill-disposed soul” [Fr William of Saint Thierry † 1148; Cistercian Abbot].

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Catholic Film Company

My wife and I were concerned about the quality of the films produced by Hollywood and their impact on the minds of our children. We discussed, late into the night, that the Lord would ask us at the moment of our death: "Where are your children? and where is your wife or husband?" We knew that we would have to say: "Watching TV or a movie, Lord". The next question would invariably be: "..and what are they watching?" This idea of the Lord Jesus holding me accountable for what my family was viewing on TV frightened me because I knew that I could not be certain that the programs they were were viewing were not scandalizing them with images of impurity. Sensuality and impurity in film, stick to a child's brain like tar and is removed only with great difficulty. Movies today, even Disney productions, are laced with sensuality. When I looked more closely at what my children were viewing, I was shocked by the degree to which Hollywood was successfully endocrinating my children into the ideals of sensuality, and ultimately into the notion that feelings, not reason, should govern ones life. We also felt that Hollywood was convincing our children that God did not exist, and that their Catholic faith was a lie. Films like "The DeVinci Code" created great controversy and doubt around the Catholic church, and we found that it was difficult to protect our children from the lies. As Catholics we felt deeply called to counter Hollywood and its lies about religion, God and Catholicism. We decided to form this new film company, using our retirement money, and drew our community into action. We convinced them that we can make a difference as individuals. It is true that countering Hollywood is a little bit like David facing Goliath, but we understood that this call was real and powerfully strong. Many times I have asked the Lord to remove this desire if it was not from Him, but that if it was His inspiration, then to quadruple the intensity of the fire so that I could not stand it anymore. He answered my prayer with the latter. Using our church scola choir, we recorded the Miserere Mei as the theme song for our first movie short on the life of Saint Germaine Cousin. We wrote the script on the life of saint Germaine Cousin who lived in Pibrac France during the 17th century. Then we requested volunteer actors from our state university Theater and Dance department, and hired a professional crew of camera, sound and light specialists. With three days of filming we completed the short and then realized that a full motion picture needed to be done in order to fully reveal the miraculous life of this unknown Catholic saint. Sometimes called the ‘True-Life Cinderella’, Germaine Cousin grew up as a poor shepherd girl in 16th century France. Burdened with an unsightly and painful skin condition called scrofula, she was ostracized by her community and feared by her peers. After the death of her kind mother, her over-worked father remarried. His new wife was cruel and selfish, and beat little Germaine ceaselessly. Germaine was forced to sleep in the icy barn, year after year, and was required to do all of the work around her stepmother’s house. She was given barely enough food to eat, and was constantly subjected to horrible physical and emotional abuse. Her days were filled with back breaking labor and devastating isolation. Despite all this, Germaine’s heart was filled with love and forgiveness. Starving, she nevertheless shared her food with the desperate poor. Rejected by the town's people, she still prayed for her community’s well being, and for the souls of her tormentors. Her selflessness and love of Christ brought her closer to the most holy cross, and to a greater understanding of the redemptive nature of suffering. She soon began to perform miracles that wonderously transformed the people around her. She parted waters, turned bread to flower blossoms, healed the sick, and was protected from from hungry wolves by powerful angels. Constantly sick herself, she died at the age of 22. Approximately 43 years later, her body was exhumed in an incorrupt state, thus demonstrating her sanctity and holiness. Hers is a story of courage, love, and dedication to a holy life in which could be found the three pillars that hold up all saints, namely: prayer, charity and suffering. You can view the movie short: here: GERMAINE: Requiem of a Soul. From the movie we created a documentary on suffering. The idea came from the realization that deep human suffering permeates our entire culture as evidenced by the epidemics of obesity, depression and sexually transmitted infections. Using medical experts and researchers in the fields of medicine, nutrition and sexual health, we produced a 96 minute documentary that explores the prevalence of the epidemics of obesity and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in American society, and their relationship with deep moral, physical and spiritual sufferings which have now insidiously found their way into the lives of the American populace. The fabric of society is now changing into a culture guided by a dictatorship of relativism, for which no moral standards exist. The consequence is a youth that engages in lifestyles that rob them of the flame of purity and innocence, corrupting, as it were, their very souls and casting a shadow that blocks their access to life giving joy. This documentary is a must see for those searching for deep meaning and hope in life's journey and its many sufferings. It invites the audience to embrace a life in Jesus Christ and open their minds to new possibilities of experiencing joy in this life as well as in the next. Using footage from the Germaine movie short, the viewer can understand how suffering often results from abandoning ourselves to the Lord's perfect and holy will so that we may be able to also participate in the suffering of Christ on the cross. You can view the trailer to the Theology of Human Suffering. .

David James

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My husband

Been a long time since I've posted. This can be attributed to my being too busy and also my own lack of inspiration and dryness. Anyway, my husband who is working diligently on Our Lady's Tears Productions will now also be writing and posting to this blog. I will be back, maybe with him joining me here I'll feel more inspired!