The Best in Catholic Memes: Summer 2020 Part I

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Editor’s Note: All memes directed at other religious traditions are meant in good fun. We love and respect people from all faith backgrounds. Furthermore, some of the theological opinions expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of Clarifying Catholicism as a whole.

by Nick Jones, University of Rhode Island

To say there’s a lot going on right now would be a major understatement. The world seems to be changing for the worse every day. But, we know that there is no change in Jesus Christ (cf. Hebrews 13:8). So, let’s enjoy this extra-long meme review and use humor to more fully apprehend the truths of our Faith in the Lord.


Source: Catechesis Memes, on Facebook

Think we don’t need a central authority to define and explain Scripture? Try asking each of the tens of thousands of Protestant denominations about any one given verse in the Bible. Chances are you’ll end up with thousands of different answers and interpretations. Certainly, they cannot all be true. Luckily, Our Lord left us a Church, not a Bible. By means of oral Sacred Tradition, Jesus Christ transmitted the truth of the Faith to human beings, who then were guided by the Holy Spirit in writing it down. It stands to reason that their successors, the bishops, should have the final say over the meanings of different verses.  


Source: Catechesis Memes, on Facebook

As the meme suggests, Purgatory is NOT a fun place. But, those souls are still in better shape than us at least in the sense that their salvation is certain. They know that they will reach Heaven. We ought to pray for them so that they can come at last to their final reward and intercede for us whose salvation is still at risk. 


Source: Catechesis Memes, on Facebook

Let’s all try to shed the baggage that would preclude us from entering by the narrow gate. We only need to have one thing when we die to have lived a good life: Sanctifying Grace. Anything that frustrates that isn’t worth it. Countless many have died without it. For them, the Lord’s death was in vain. Will we likewise mock Him and allow that for ourselves?


Source: SpongeBob Memes with Catholic Themes, on Facebook

When we say that something cannot come from nothing, we are not exempting God. Rather, we mean that no thing which could not exist can come into existence by itself. Thus, there must be some source of origin which itself exists necessarily and perpetually.  There must be something which could not not exist from which all things that could not exist take their existence. This is What we call God. 


Source: Tom Gould, on-line somewhere

I once read somewhere on the internet that if we’re always reading ourselves as the good guys in Jesus’ parables, we’re doing something wrong. The Tax Collector’s disposition should always be our own. The fact that our utterly transcendent God desires to relate to us at all is remarkable. No one deserves God’s love and mercy and yet we receive it. How can we delude ourselves into thinking that our own virtue comes only from ourselves. Always humble yourself before God, and let Him exalt you as you see fit.


Source: @litcatholicmemes, on Instagram

Blessed Rosaries are sacramentals. This means that they open up those who utilize them with the correct disposition to obtain more Grace. In this case we are talking about Actual Grace, the kind which is offered moment-to-moment and enables us to act in accordance with God’s will. This is available to all people, including those who have not been Baptized or who are in a state of Mortal Sin. This is the typical means by which someone who lacks Sanctifying Grace, or the indwelling of God in the soul comes to repent or see the need for Baptism. Thus, even if you only use one or two of them, you could always give a blessed Rosary to a stranger or to a friend in need of Grace and help them on the path of salvation. 


Source: u/the_boy92, r/CatholicMemes, on Reddit

OOF. We’ve all been there. When we have come to habitually possess Sanctifying Grace, it might be easy for us to breeze through our Examinations of Conscience. We think, “I don’t steal or fornicate or kill.” Of course, even our venial sin wounds our relationship with the Lord. We should all be doing a deep examination at least once a month, Confessing even the pettiest of sins, recognizing that Our Lord agonized over those as well. If he died for them, then we should seek forgiveness for them and receive the counsel of the priest confessor as to how to avoid them. 


Source: u/chris72521, r/CatholicMemes, on Reddit 

The Incarnation is one of the most absolutely fantastic events of human history. It seems reasonable to me that we should order our calendar around it. The ironic part about atheists or secularists deciding to rename AD to CE is that they’re still acknowledging the advent of our salvation as the point reference for all of history. 


Source: u/phaeroskhan, r/CatholicMemes, on Reddit

Two little nuggets stand out to me here. Firstly, there is the fact that the ordinary means of obtaining forgiveness of Mortal Sin is sacramental Confession and Absolution. Secondly, there is the fact that only the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church established by Our Lord and Savior the God-Man Jesus Christ, has been vested with the authority to dispense this power to forgive and absolve (cf. John 20:19-23). 


Source: Unknown maker, via @catholic_teen_posts on Instagram

I’ll expound upon this even further. Our daily prayer should not consist merely of asking things of God. Our most fervent and frequent prayers should be acts of Adoration. When we do this, rendering the praise that is so befitting of God to Him, we act in accordance with the virtue of Justice, which renders do persons that which is their due. By continuously striving to adore the Lord, we are able to more fully understand our nature as creatures and his as the transcendent God Whom we someday hope to reach. 


Source: @catholic_teen_posts, on Instagram

We all like to flame Saint Peter for denying Our Lord three times. We tend to forget that Peter also was reconciled to Our Lord three times, and later was crucified for love of Him. Imagine how much better our lives would be if we begged forgiveness each and every time we offended Him. 


C.S. Lewis wrote a wonderful book called The Screwtape Letters. The basic summary is that an older demon, Screwtape, writes letters to his nephew Wormwood, teaching him how to be a better tempter of men. From our perspective, the book was written to give us an understanding of the nature of sin and temptation. Some of the advice given by the elder demon to his nephew is absolutely chilling when we consider its implications in our lives. At one point, Screwtape advises Wormwood that, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…” How scary is that? And how often do we find ourselves there? What’s the best way to avoid the subtle descent into Hell? At the risk of sounding like a broken record, frequent sacramental Confession of even venial sin. 


Source: @litcatholicmemes, on Instagram

This issue always ruffles feathers. But, I think that’s because our society has very much lost the sense of decorum. We all should attend Holy Mass wearing the nicest, most modest clothes we have. Let’s qualify those two conditions. If someone dresses business casual every day to go sell cars, why should that individual not wear the same to go meet God? Obviously, He loves us no matter what we look like. But shouldn’t we try to put our best foot forward? We are sensory creatures. Our sensory perception can affect our dispositions. When we wear our nicer clothing, we subconsciously reorder our brains to be more attentive at Mass. We can train ourselves to associate formal clothing with solemn, recollected participation at Mass. Now onto the issue of modesty. The simple fact of the matter is that both men and women have an obligation to dress in a manner that glorifies God. Again, notice, men AND women have this obligation. It is certain that lust and coveting can be committed even if all we see is someone’s eyes and everything else is covered. That’s on the offender. If we dress provocatively, even if we do not intend to attract the attention of others, we need to understand the weakness of ourselves and fellow humans. So if someone strips naked and struts through town, of course it is still the fault of someone who might lust after that individual. But, is it not also the fault of someone who is becoming an occasion of sin for someone else? Obviously that’s an extreme example, but we should all take care that our attire at Holy Mass does not turn the greatest act of religion into a time of temptation for someone else. I feel the need to restate that we cannot ever control how someone else acts, but we also need to be prudent and pragmatic. Once again, for anyone who thinks that I’m singling women out, this applies to men and women, because no one is exempt from the Seven Capital Sins, of which lust is included. 


Source: @litcatholicmemes, on Instagram

What if I were to tell you that the fact that Latin is a dead language is precisely why it’s the best language for the [Roman] Catholic liturgy? Think about it. The priest who celebrates Mass in Latin is never going to hear a dirty joke or cuss in the same language he uses for Mass. There’s no slang in Latin, so a priest can’t cut corners. Additionally, the text never becomes outdated because there’s no development in Latin’s speaking population. Since there’s no one who speaks it as vernacular, it becomes truly universal. I always wonder at those quadlingual Masses. Why should different parts of the diverse congregation each have to feel ostracized at different moments throughout the liturgy? Wouldn’t it be better if we could all enjoy the same language for the entire Mass without preference towards or prejudice against any ethnic group? Think that we don’t need Latin because Vatican 2 cancelled it? Read Sacrosanctum Concilium and the standard Latin version of the 2002 Roman Missal; then get back to me. 


Source: Chad from the Parish Council, unknown platform

Yours truly stands guilty as charged. Theological studies and formation in the liturgical arts is wonderful and necessary. But, if we can’t hold a simple conversation with a soul still in need of Sanctifying Grace, we’ll never be successful in our evangelistic efforts. 


Source: @katolikomemes, unknown platform

This is one of my favorite themes for apologetics. The Church has always believed in a manner that would be described as Catholic. We have accounts from the earliest centuries of Christianity about the veneration of Mary, the primacy of the Pope, the literal understanding of the Eucharist, threefold Holy Orders, and so much more. So our options are to believe that either the Church has constantly taught the same orthodox, Catholic theology or that somewhere along the line there was a great loss of Faith that was only recovered later. I don’t know about you, but that second option sounds a lot like the Gates of Hell prevailing against the Church for a time. Of course, we know that won’t ever happen, since Our Lord promised it when He made Peter the first Pope (cf. Matthew 16:13-20). 


Source: Catechesis Memes, on Facebook

Save the external congratulations for reception of Sacraments or good sermons for after Mass outside the church. We ought not let our own societal mores affect the celebration of Holy Mass. Hear the words of the greatest theologian pope of our times: “Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly – it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation.” -Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy


Source: Unknown maker, via @catholic_teen_posts on Instagram

Haven’t been to Confession in a really long time? Don’t receive. Know you’ve committed a mortal sin or broken the 1-hour fast? Don’t receive. Aren’t Catholic or otherwise don’t believe in the Eucharist? Don’t receive. “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the Body and Blood of the Lord.” -1 Corinthians 11:27


Source: Unknown maker, via @catholic_teen_posts on Instagram

Think you don’t deserve God’s love? Think you could ever lose it? Think that there’s no hope for you while you’re still alive on this Earth? Reread Luke 15:11-32 and try to tell me that any of those are true. The only sin that can’t be forgiven is the one we won’t allow God to forgive. If we humbly beg for that forgiveness which we know we could never earn, God will never let us down. 


Source: Chad from the Parish Council, unknown platform

The Greek word for eat that Our Lord uses when He says “Eat My flesh” can be translated as gnaw. He wasn’t suggesting that we merely take His Body symbolically into ourselves. He literally meant that we need to eat His Flesh. The Jewish crowds left Him after this. Why would they have been in such an uproar if they did not think He was speaking literally? If the ineffable Word of God isn’t enough to convince you, read the early Church Fathers, especially Saint Justin Martyr. The Eucharist was always regarded as the literal Body and Blood of Christ. Who are we to argue with God about what He meant?

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