Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why is it so difficult??

God created the world. He created the universe. From the depths of the sea to the farthest reaches of space He created. It is a pretty safe bet to say that He is pretty darn powerful and pretty darn smart. He offers us so much. He offers us His neverending love. There is nothing more powerful than that. We spend our whole lives looking for love, looking for tenderness, looking for compassion. When all the time, He is right there offering His love to us.
Somehow, we think we know more than God. Somehow we think that we know better than Him what we need or what is better for us. Why is that??
Is it pride?? Do we as mortal men, who have learned everthing we know from other mortal men, think that we know more that God who is eternal, who always has been and always will be? When we read the storey of Adam and Eve don't we scoff and ponder at the ignorance of Adam and Eve who chose to eat from the Tree of Knowledge so that they could be like God instead of listening to God? Yet we do that on a daily basis.
Is it lack of faith?? Even if we are self-proclaimed Christians who believe in Jesus often have doubts that He will take care of us and answer our prayers. He has told us that he cares for all of the birds of the sky and we are much more valuable than those. All we have to do is have faith that he will take care of us. But we don't think He answers our prayers because He does not necessarily answer them they way that we want Him too. We must trust that He will take care of us and give us what we need.
Is it because it is just so darn difficult to follow Him. Sure, He offers us eternal salvation but what He asks from us in return seems so difficult to give up. It would be nice to say that He just wants a lit bit of us. Just to say a short prayer and bam--eternally saved--no more worries. But He wants more than that. He wants ALL of us. Everything we have has been given to us from Him and He wants it all in return. He wants us to die to ourselves and to serve Him. In Sunday's gospel reading, Jesus tells us that unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies it will not bear fruit. That is the same way with us. Unless we die to ourselves and offer everything to Christ we will not bear fruit. Every day we must have a new conversion, a new offering to Jesus. Every day we must pick up our crosses and follow Him.
This is not to say that anything we can do saves us. Jesus was the perfect offering that saves us. It is only through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection that we have the opprotunity to spend eternity in the presence of God.
But, Jesus never tells us that it is easy to be His follower. He must chose that thin path. We can expect to suffer. If Jesus himself suffered persecution and torture and a horrific death on the cross who are we to expect any better. He does offer us eternal happiness in the next life though.
We are only pilgrims on this earth, pilgrims trying to get home. A pilgrimage is never easy. It's a rough road. We MUST turn to God for His love and support. We must put aside our pride, have faith and accept the difficulties that come to our way. Accept the graces that He freely gives in the sacraments and trust in Him.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Who Am I??

In my last post, I mentioned that I, by no means, am anybody special. I'm as big of a sinner as anyone else. But I think it was C.S. Lewis who said, "Church is less of a museum for saints as it is a hospital for sinners."
So who am I?? Where have I been?? Where have I come from?? Where am I on my spiritual journey?
I grew up an only child to a single mom in a small town in northwest Missouri named Tarkio. My family has always maintained a Catholic identity. Like many Catholics though, we seldom went to mass. We went as a family on Christmas and I do recall my grandfather occasionally taking me to mass. I knew enough how to follow along in the misselette.
Most children received first communion in second grade but I did not. It was not until I was in seventh grade that I went to catechism classes and went to reconciliation and received communion for the first time.
My pattern of seldom attending mass continued. I do remember going to mass occasionally--we only lived across the street from the church but definitely not on a consistent basis.
The next time I went to mass on a consistent basis was while I was in Marine Corps boot camp. That was very enjoyable--but only because it got us away from our drill instructors. I normally wrote letters or did anything but pay attention during mass.
After boot camp, I went back home as a Marine Reservist and again returned to my pattern of rarely receiving the sacraments. I went to college, fell in love and moved in with the girl. A year later we got married at the Platte County courthouse. Abby was Methodist and she was like me and we rarely went to church. Are you noticing a pattern??
We had our first daughter Emma and then a few years later our son Max. Abby's family started going back to church and Abby would occasionally go with them. I still firmly identified myself as Catholic and wanted to raise my children as Catholic and get them baptized. But I didn't think it would be fair to expect Abby to go along having our children baptized Catholic if I did not ever go to mass.
I started attending mass and getting myself right in the Church. I received the sacrament of confirmation and Max and Emma were baptized. That fall, Abby started RCIA classes (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) and began the road to coming into the Catholic Church. At Easter Vigil, 2001 Abby came into the church.
We attended mass fairly regularly but it was still common for us to miss church for a month at a time, go for several weeks, miss a couple weeks etc etc. Sporadic at best is how I would describe it.
All this time, I was helping out in Senior high youth group and teaching confirmation courses to high school kids. This caused me to want to know more about my faith so that I could be a better teacher. About four years ago, I started reading books and listening to CD's about the Catholic church and became hooked. I was on the road to Catholic geek. I gobbled up books, listened to a ton of CD's and really started learning. Three years ago, I started taking online courses through the Bishop Helmsing Institute.
At this point, I had become fairly knowledgeable about my faith. At least enough to be dangerous. In December, 2005, I went to reconciliation and confessed my sin of missing mass. Since that time I have only missed Sunday mass two or three times. I think at this point my spiritual life went from a cerebral level to a more spiritual level.
Today, I am by no where close to where I want to be. My prayer life still sucks (that's a technical term) but the advancement I've made in the last few years are further than I ever thought I could be. I attend mass regularly and sometimes even to daily mass. I go to reconciliation every month or so and am trying to pray regularly. Most importantly, I find myself free from the desire to sin like never before. Sins that I used to commit regularly I no longer have the desire to commit. I am passionate about God and now no longer embarrassed to show off my faith. (Obvious by the fact that I'm blogging about it.)
What does my future hold? Hopefully more advancements and less back sliding. I want people to see Christ in me. I think I am going to start the next class to the deaconate. I'm still not sure that's what I want to do but I feel that I need to at least start the process and discern whether I want to become an ordained deacon. Obviously, my ultimate goal is Heaven but I want to take as many of you with I can. My fear is that I go in front of God and He asks me, "what have you done with the talents I've given to you?"
Well, that in a nutshell is where I've come in a spiritual life. Obviously, I could go more in depth, but I might write something that I can cover later.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


So why am I staring a blog? Who am I and why would I think that anyone cares what I think especially when it comes to my spiritual life??
I am a 37 year old police sergeant who's been married for fifteen years and have three kids. So, I'm no body special. I have no theology background. I'm just a normal schmoo off of the street who is doing his best to please God and finds himself failing more often than succeeding.
About a year ago, I found out that a sergeant from the Omaha Police Department that I had known for years was also Catholic. We started talking and I discovered that he was a recent convert and he was so comfortable with his faith that he had a blog that talked about his conversion and faith journey.
I was intrigued that someone new so to the faith had no problem broadcasting his faith to the world while I was hesitant to let anyone know about my faith. So I changed my myspace blog from boring posts about what I did the previous week-end and discussed my own spiritual journey and different teachings of the Catholic Church.
I was pleasantly surprised. I received several favorable comments from people telling me how I had helped them on their own spiritual journey. This was pleasing to me because I really want to be like a stained glass window and let the light of Christ shine through me.
So, I decided to take my blog to a different level and put it on it's own page. I don't know if it will be better or worse but I thought it would encourage myself to post more often and be available to people who may not have myspace.
In this blog, I plan on posting about my basic thoughts and ideas on matters of faith and morals. I consider myself a pretty orthodox Catholic. I put my trust in the Church that she will lead me down the right path. I may not understand all of her teachings, but but I believe that it's my responsibility to find out why she teaches what she teaches and to pray to God for understanding. I also consider myself to be pretty fun loving and I believe that the Catholic Church is perceived to be too dull and boring. One of my favorite quotes from the movie Dogma is "too many mourn their faith instead of celebrating it." I truly love my faith and think that it's amazing. There are so many things about it that are difficult for our finite minds to wrap around.
I hope you turn in, learn something, are encouraged and ask any questions that you may have. As I stated above, I don't have an education in theology but I know where to go to find the answers!