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Every day, it seems, we see a trailer for a remake of a movie or a reboot of an old franchise. In the past few years, Disney has produced Cinderella, The Jungle BookAlice Through the Looking Glass, Beauty and the Beast, Christopher Robin, and Dumbo, and over the next few years plans to release live-action version of Aladdin, The Lion King, Maleficent, Lady and the Tramp, Mulan, Cruella, Pinocchio, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Lilo and Stitch, and The Little Mermaid.

Seriously. I’m not making this up.

And that’s just one part of Disney’s movie division! Let’s not forget about what they’re doing with Pixar, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm.

Of course, Disney doesn’t have a monopoly of remakes and reboots, and a look to the news today shows that Paramount will be releasing Sonic the Hedgehog, a movie based off the 90’s Sega video game, and Warner Brothers will be releasing Pokémon: Detective Pikachu by the end of next month.

And it leaves me with a very important question:

Why?

Why can’t we come up with new ideas? Why do we keep recycling old ones, remaking movies we’ve already seen and rebooting franchises that have no place returning?

While the obvious answer to this question is money, Br. Tito and I think that there might be some other factors to this craze, and that some of them might actually be a good thing.

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Heresies. Statements about God that are, how shall we say… Wrong. A major issue in the early Church as Christianity was still trying to make sense of the reality of a Triune God, many heresies have persisted even to today. They take different forms and go by different names, but their reality is the same.

In this video, I present five of the most common heresies of ancient times and look at how they remain among us today.

After watching this video, you might, as one commenter indicated, think that this is nothing more than theological candy; getting into the technicalities of theological issues are mental gymnastics that have nothing to do with our actual lives, and when we find ourselves in tragedy, with struggles, or facing life’s issues, none of it matters.

It is a common response, I would say, to many forms of art and education. Look to the most recent tragedy at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris and you will find people saying, “why is money being spent on this when people are hungry?” There is a false dichotomy set before people that they may have the basic necessities of life OR they may have thought provoking, transcending art that fills their soul, but the cannot have both. The truth is that we should be funding and caring about both of these issues.

With theology, it is same. People can care about more than one thing at a time. One can at the same time be in a tragic situation with immediate emotional needs and still care about being precise about how we speak of God; one can at the same time care for the poor and still insist that liturgy matters. To say that the two are in any way mutually exclusive or that it is a waste of time to care about one when we face another problem is a false construction.

But it’s even more than that. Not only can we care about two things at once, I think that the two things ultimately lead to one another. Honestly, what could be more important, in the midst of a tragedy, than knowing who God truly is? That is not an exercise of mental gymnastics in which we engage esoteric topics for our own amusement. Knowing who God truly is might be the very thing that gets us through the tragedy. These questions are not escapes, but offer very answers we need.

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As a final note, I would like to point out an issue of sloppy language in this video that does not accurately present what I meant to say. In the video, I state that monophosytism is the “official stance of six current eastern Orthodox Churches.” I did not mean to refer to the Churches of “Eastern Orthodoxy” but rather the eastern Churches in general (sloppy language.) The Churches in question are actually among Oriental Orthodoxy (technically speaking, “eastern” and “oriental” mean the same thing). Further, I did not mean to imply that these Churches, today, are considered heretical, only that monophysitism is. Over the centuries, the stance of these Churches has become refined and they have resolved many, if not all, of the theological problems. Today, they would not consider themselves monophysite, but “miaphysite.”

I apologize for the mistake, and I thank you for understanding.

After two years and many requests… A Friar Life is finally here. Over the past three months, I have been to San Francisco, New Jersey, New York, Cincinnati, and Jamaica filming the brothers in action. Over the next month, I hope to include two more.

And frankly, I’m barely scratching the surface.

When I started planning this project over Christmas, I came up with a list of candidates multiple pages long. There’s just no “prototypical” friar. Each one is unique. Each life is different from the rest. What I hope to show you in this series leaves out so many experiences, so many personalities, so many ministries that just wouldn’t fit.

It’s true what they say: once you’ve met a friar, you’ve met one friar.

When I talk with guys discerning our life I tell them that it’s not about being like me or anyone else. Many will not identify with much of my life, or much of another friar’s life, and that’s fine. Becoming a friar is not about fitting a mold or being like the rest. No, becoming a friar is about identifying the underlying spirit that guides us all and finding a way to live it themselves. Our rule and life is to live the Gospel, and there is no shortage of ways to do that. My hope with this series, once again, is to show people the breadth of our lives, not so that others may imitate it, but so they might make it a part of their own.

This weekend, our Church had the great fortune of welcoming thousands of new members into the body of Christ through the sacrament of baptism. For many, it was the culmination of a process that took many months, if not years, and will forever change their lives: now, they will forever have the mark of Christ on their souls.

Sounds pretty great, right? It is.

But it does raise an interesting question: what actual effect does that mark have on our salvation? What I mean by this is, does one actually have to be baptized, as in, God won’t save them if they don’t enter the waters? And if this isn’t the case and God can save whomever God wants, then what difference does it make if we’re baptized?

Nuanced questions before us this week on Catholicism in Focus! I hope you had (are having!) a great Easter! He is Risen, Alleluia! Alleluia!

The life of a friar is many things, but boring is not one of them. Not in a single day, and certainly not over a lifetime.

I think about my life already. Not even ordained a priest yet, still in studies, I have been on a mission trip to Nicaragua, worked for two months at a refugee center in Mexico, made a pilgrimage to Italy, Austria, and Germany, have given parish missions in 13 different states, and have been on five different road trips in which I traveled more than 1000 miles in a week. I get around.

And it makes me wonder what my future might hold. While there is no formal legislation as to how often I must move, it is not uncommon for friars to change ministries ever 6-9 years. Extend that over a lifetime, and we’re talking 6-10 completely different environments, likely resulting in 6-10 different careers.

And do you know what? If things aren’t working out and there’s a need elsewhere, friars can be transferred in three years or less.

No, friar life is not boring.

To all young people out there thinking about what you might do with your life, afraid to jump in because you’re worried about missing out on great things, let me tell you this: there is nothing lacking from my life. I get to serve God in tremendous, diverse, and unexpected ways, as a part of a brotherhood, doing and experiencing things that I wouldn’t have dreamed of outside of Order. My life is truly an adventure.

Are you looking for some adventure in your life? Maybe it’s time to have a conversation with our vocation director. He’s a nice guy who can help you with any questions you have, no matter where you are in your discernment.