Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Internet Dating: A Tool To Build Up the Church?

In 2001 the online dating entrepreneur boosted of having successful relationships leading to 10,000 marriages in a single year. Online dating was the fad of 2001, eight years later the meager 3% of Americans who searched for a relationship has grown to over 30%. Worldwide the online dating trend has been catching on; people are not looking to the bars night clubs to hook up; they are making honest profile to form real relationships. China has seen the largest growth of 60% annually; with a net worth of over $81 million dollars in 2008. In the US the reports of profits for online dating in 2007 were nearly $900 million dollars. The US has experienced a growth of 16% annually revealing that 90 million people are seeking their relationships online. CNN news calls online dating a sign of the times; claiming people want less first dates and want to have a wider range of people who share similarities, not wasting money on those not worth-while. An interesting trend that has arisen from this dating phenomenon is a return of the idea of match maker with values cultural background and religion leading the list of qualities for a relationship. JDate (for Jewish Singles), Christian Mingle, and Christian Match are the top three most popular website for 2009 dating. The Catholic Church has always encouraged the faithful to date within their religion. During the twentieth century these views were revoked by most as archaic and out dated. Love at first site became the most popular trend, which spiraled into the U.S. statistics that 50% of marriages end in divorce and 97% will be unhappy. Ignoring values, faith, and addictions Americans fell prey to infatuation, 2009 is revealing that people are returning to love. Couples are learning about one another and taking time to make sure that at the base level they share the same core values. Catholic dating website have exploded over the past eight years; Anthony Buono the president of Ave Maria Singles promises “Hope” with the mission of his site “offer a service solely dedicated to helping faithful, practicing Catholics find their future spouse and help them become a better follower of Christ.” Fr. Benedict Groschel has commended Buono in his work and has endorsed the AMS website as great medium for Catholics to build up the Church through solid marriages. I firmly believe that this return to principles prior to relationships is going to help the Church, and save the family. Marriage is built on the graces of God, and the vow of two people from this love abounds. I know that sometimes every relationship goes through a rough spot, but with God and share principles we can build up the Church and have happier families tomorrow.
Ave Maria Singles

Monday, December 21, 2009

Keeping the Meaning of Christmas Today

Amidst the torrent of sales advertisements, and contiguous list of Government agendas the season of Advent is upon us. Every person is hit with a Santa (& every other so called holiday symbol) seated in the middle of the mall, and a list of presents that never ends... It is difficult to preserve the meaning of Christmas "Christ's birth;" with our culture. In my experience I have found that many people are shying away from the holiday all together, and it is sad that people are sacrificing one of the greatest feasts of Christian tradition to the department store. Families can enjoy the holiday while retaining their Catholic identity. A good way to start is to remind others that Christmas is about the birth of Christ is to say Merry Christmas. Remind yourselves why we as Christians put so much importance on this day. Consider all the energy that the media puts on purchasing gifts; use the same amount of energy to spread Christ's love. Think about the secularization of exchanging Christmas gifts. This change has occurred slowly so that now people incur debt just to keep up with the media's perception of Holiday bliss. Think about the original tradition of gift giving was not to give the most expensive gift; rather it was an imitation of Christ's loving gift of Himself on Christmas. The beginning of our redemption and the manifesting of His love for us. I know that the average jewelry ad tells Americans that love "can be bought." Christ's love is freely given to us everyday and no one is selling it. As Catholics we enjoy the preparation of the advent season, we get to anticipate the coming of Christ's birth at mass in the readings. We can bring these traditions home with an advent wreath on the table. Remind children of the story of St. Nicholas, the bishop of Myra who wanted to help families by leaving anonymous gifts (sometimes down the chimney). we as Catholics need to fight for Christmas, Jesus is the reason for the season. We need to hold on to that significance, and not shy away Christ's birth for the fear of commercialism. Remember the traditions of old, bring them into our culture: a living nativity scene is another means of living the traditions of the Church today. Started first by St. Francis, this tradition of imitating the holy family is a great way to better experience the beauty of this mystery. Have a small nativity scene at home, and keep Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus out until Christmas day, this gives the waiting for Christ another visual dimension, especially for children who are learning the meaning of Christmas. Take time before running to the Christmas tree to rip open gifts to see Jesus in the manger. Take time to prepare this advent for the coming of Christ, give the love of Christ to others and imitate his way; this will give you the most meaningful Christmas because Christ is truly at the heart.