Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An Award for Me?

When I originally started this blog on my myspace, it was just a place to put my thoughts down on paper. (I know it's not paper but please--follow along) Then a couple of friends commented saying that it's helped them with their spiritual journey so I moved it to blogger. Now, even though it's still written for my own thoughts and prayers, pride gets to me and I wonder, "Does anyone else read this? Do they like it??

So I was honored, when Sue from In Him We Live and Move and Have Our Being gave me an award for having an "exceedingly charming" blog. Now then--"charming" isn't exactly manly and what a man looks for but I'll let the pride come in and say, "I'LL TAKE IT!!" :-)

Without further ado, here is the text of the award:

"This is how the award works: This award is bestowed on to blogs that are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

Before I list off my 8 choices, it says I am supposed to list seven random fact about myself.

  1. I grew up in a small town in Northwest Missouri named, "Tarkio."

  2. I started out with Excelsior Springs, MO PD and now work for Kansas City, MO

  3. If I had a last meal I would chose steak, baked potato and corn on the cob.

  4. I love listening to "The Catholic Guy Show" on Sirus 159/XM 117

  5. My wife and I met at Missouri Western State College

  6. I have an acute sense of sarcasm

  7. My wife is smoking hot--I could probably walk across a bed of hot coals because I'm accustomed to touching her.

So here are my 8 picks for "Most Charming Blog." Although--I can't say they are charming but I enjoy going to them:

  1. The Deacon's Bench Meet Deacon Greg from Brooklyn, NY

  2. The Curt Jester A guy who tackles serious subjects but doesn't take himself too serious.

  3. Fr. Jim Chern's Blog The homilies of the type of priest you'd like to share a beer with

  4. Catholic Spiritual Direction The type of blog that makes you go, "Whoa!"

  5. Creations Infinite My brother in laws blog showing off his artwork

  6. lolSaints interestingly enough--I can't stand lolcats but this is funny!

  7. American Papist Definitely not charming but the dude keeps you up to date on stuff!

  8. Catholic Cartoon heh heh heh

Twittering in Church??

Okay, I admit it--I am a Facebooking and Twittering fool. Just last night, I was out with my wife on our anniversary date and I went out a couple Facebook/Twitter updates. Of course, I was quick to receive criticism from my cousin Mary Lou, to which my mom commented, "I'm surprised he doesn't Facebook from the confessional. Actually, that is where I draw the line. (although I have been known up send updates prior to going into the church)
I'm a little late on this topic it appears. Time posted on article, "Twittering in Church, with the Pastor's Okay on May 4th. http://bit.ly/D3Czn that discusses how some congregations actually use Twitter during church. For those who don't know, Twitter is a social networking site where users make posts in 140 characters or less. It's been called, "microblogging." You get "Tweets" from people you follow (I can be found @JamieMc4525) and you send out your own thoughts to those who follow you.
Evidently, some pastors think Twitter is a way for some to use technology to get closer to God and use Twitter during their services. Church goers are urged to send tweets asking questions, making comments or just to take notes.
Yesterday, I found a post at http://www.justwallpaper.wordpress.com/, coincidentally dated the same day as the Time article, called "4 Reasons to Stop Twittering at Church" http://bit.ly/OarRh. The author, Curtis Honeycutt points out, four reasons to stop Twittering in church (Hence the name of the article--how genius!) His reasons are:
  1. The Church is not virtual. It's Physical

  2. A key part of having your heart stirred in worship is being fully present.

  3. I don’t want the “greet those around you” time to be usurped by the “tweet those around you” time.

  4. The iPhone Bible app doesn’t have maps.

It is a very intriguing article and I encourage you to go read it for yourself. I could not agree with Mr. Honeycutt more. When I go to mass, I try to leave my Blackberry Storm in the car, lest I be tempted to check it for texts or emails. I told you--I'm a geek! What really interested me was not only the article but the comments left--there were 59 comments!! I'm happy if one person leaves me a comment. Many of the comments agreed with the article and many disagreed. Some comments stated, "you worship how you want to and I'll worship how I want to." Some stated, "Twittering is a way for me to take notes to remember later." If you want to read some, like I said earlier--I encourage you to go read the article.

It's time for me to get on my soapbox now. It really appears to me that there is a difference between some of those church services and the Holy Mass. Hopefully every week, you are able to get some knowledge or assistance in your spiritual life from the priest's homily but it should not be a Bible Study where you feel like you have to take notes. The Holy Mass is literally Heaven on Earth. It is where a miracle happens. If you haven't, you should read Scott Hahn's "The Lamb's Supper" to get an idea how glorious the mass really is you need to because I really cannot do it justice.

Bottom line--there are already enough distractions during mass. There are crying kids, bad singers, boring homilies. It's too hot or it's too cold. The guy next to you probably could have bathed this morning. The attractive girl in front of you is wearing clothes that are a little too tight. My own children are acting like beasts (sorry if you are sitting near us) All that competes with my attention deficit disorder and makes it difficult to be attentive. We are called to be active participants in the mass. During the liturgy, we come together as the Body of Christ and should be focusing all of our attention in the same direction as Heaven and Earth come together. (makes you wonder why the priest faces us then huh? ;-) )It's too glorious of a time to be sending out Tweets. So please---leave your iPhone or Crackberry in the car.

Monday, June 29, 2009

iPhone Spoof

I found this on video on http://www.americanpapist.com/ and loved it. But for some reason I cannot figure out how to embed it (I can only copy about 50 characters at a time) I decided to just post the url.

It's a "A brief spoof on the Apple iPhone ads showing some of the many Catholic-related applications available for the iPhone. "

Why can't the Blackberry have all the apps that the iPhone have?


New Catholic Media and SS. Peter and Paul

On Saturday June 27th the New Catholic Media Celebration was held in San Antonio, TX. According to the Star Quest Production Network website, "it is a day to Learn, Share, and Explore how New Media can help the Catholic Church in the New Evangelization called for by Pope John Paul II." I was not physically there but I was able to follow along by Twitter. The whole program was also streamed live so players at home could watch speakers such as Patrick Madrid, Danielle Bean or Fr. Roderick speak. There were breakout sessions covering topics from blogs to podcasts, from social networking sites to music. According to the Tweets I received people who were there, it seems as if there was a lot of time eating at restaurants on the River Walk.

It's amazing to me how many ways there are to evangelize in today's world. There are so many ways for people to learn about their faith today. The laity (those who are not priests, brothers or sisters) have so many places to go to learn the truths of their faith in ways that are easy and appealing to them. People are able to find information by using simple keystrokes or listening to teachings on their iPod during their morning run. We should be reminded to be careful where we are getting our information though. We should never take the information for granted and we need to go to the source to verify. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (that handy dandy green book) and of course the Bible itself are the sources we need to rely on the most. Of course they can be found on line too at http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/ and http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/.

One other thing that I have found amazing is how MANY people are out there evangelizing. A look at the Catholic New Media Awards website and you get a sampling of how many blogs there are. There are so many people like me who are willing to spend time to help spread the Word of God in the blogosphere. I think this is a result of Vatican II when the Church said that more is expected of the laity than to sit back in the pews and listen. We are all called to be saints and we are all called to spread the Gospel. This is not new teaching and we do not have to use technology to do this. St. Francis of Assisi said way back in the 13th century, "Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words." The best way for us to evangelize isn't by blogs or podcasts, although they are fantastic means, but just by being the Christian we are called to be. We evangelize by being loving and joyous people. We spread the light of Christ by allowing people to see Christ in us.

Two examples of people allowing the Spirit to work through them are SS. Peter and Paul, who we celebrate today. I'm able to blog from the comfort of my nice air conditioned home and I worry about what people will think of me if I try to convey my faith to them. These two show us what it really means to be passionate in their faith. They were thrown in jail, stoned and persecuted. In the end, they were both martyrs for their faith. Peter was crucified upside down and Paul was beheaded.

I think that we need to pray that we are able to use Ss. Peter and Paul for examples on how to be good evangelists and that we ask God that we, like Paul, compete well, finish the race and that keep the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Looking at the Dead Through God's Eyes

Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Montague, Jairus' daughter. All dead. The first three names you probably recognize. The last two probably not.

The first three are celebrities and their deaths have caused many to step back and think. I've heard a variety of things said about them. The things said about Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett were all good. I've heard some bad comments about Michael Jackson. Let's face it--he was an odd duck and accused of some horrible things.

The forth name, Montague, is the first name of a homicide victim on a call that I responded on this week. As police officers, we become cynical about people and unfortunately our first thoughts about people who are gunned down in the middle of the street is that they are probably are not the most stellar citizens. I do not know anything about Montague except this-I met his mom that night. Someone had gone to get her and she came downstairs in her bathrobe. Just before I came into contact with her the paramedics told me that he was dead. Normally, I will try not to do a death notification if I can help it. Figuring her son was about to be covered with a blanket there was no way I could get past telling her. When she asked her he was going to be okay, I had to tell her that he did not make it. Family members shortly started arriving. Ask any cop who's worked a homicide scene and they will tell you that a scene with family members showing up is very tense. There is a lot of screaming, anger, crying and sadness.

No matter what we think of someone we really need to look at them with the eyes of God. We should do this normally but especially when they have passed away. We should remember that they are children of God made in His image and likeness just like we are. We need to remember that God loves them just as He loves us. We need to pray for their families in their time of sadness and we need to pray for the deceased and that they may be in God's loving arms. That is what God wants of everyone and if that is what He wants who are we to want any different.

In this coming Sunday's reading, a synagogue official, Jarius, comes to Jesus because his daughter is ill. By the time they make it to his residence the family tells Jarius that his daughter is dead and that he should not have wasted Jesus' time. Jesus asks, "Why all this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping?" Then after having everyone leave He raises the little girl from the dead.

This passage helps us to remember that Jesus conquered death. Not only was He able to raise Jarius' daughter and later Lazerus from death, but through His own death and resurrection we are made anew and shall live forever with Him.

We are reminded in our first reading from the book of Wisdom that God did not make death and that He does not like it. It was through sin that death entered the world.

Death is a time of sadness and reflection. It's a time for us to see those that have died in a new light--with the loving eyes of God. It's a time for prayer and of hope. Please, in the coming days pray for Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson and Montague. Look past their sins as we ask God to look past our own and pray for God's mercy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Top 10 Favorite Bible Passages

I was wondering today what my top ten Bible verses would be. I know what you are thinking--"But Jamie, you're Catholic--you don't read the Bible!!" If you think that, I have to correct you. The Roman Catholic Church actually decided, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, what books would be canonical way back in 382 a.d. Not only that but scripture is woven through the fabric that is the mass.

Sadly, it is true that many Catholics do not know scripture very well at all and as St Jerome is credited as saying, "Ignorance of scripture is Ignorance of Christ." We need to do a better job at learning scripture and having a love and passion for God's Word.

So, here are my top ten favorite Bible verses. I invite you all to comment with your favorite ones. A small disclaimer--these are subject to change.

Top 10 Favorite Bible Passages

10. Galatians 5:12--if I was an athlete and people wanted my autograph, this is the Bible verse I would put at the end of my signature, just be cause I am ornery like that. :-)

9. Romans 7: 19-20 For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if (I) do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I really feel as if this is something that I could have written. I get so frustrated with myself because I know what the right thing to do is but I always fail and the thing that I do not want to do.

8. John 6: 51. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world. This chapter is call the Bread of Life Discourse. This section of the Bible is where we get our believe that at the Eucharist the bread and wine is transformed into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus.

7. Matt 16: 17-19 Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." These versus describe Jesus giving Peter the keys to the kingdom and His authority. It is the key verse that we go to when we defend the papacy.

6. James 2:24 See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone This always seems like a slam dunk verse against sola fide or salvation by faith alone since catholics believe we are saved by faith AND works. To be honest, the whole sola fide thing has always annoyed me. It seems that it is two sides arguing about the same thing but using different words. I could be wrong though.

5. John 8:10 Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" This is after the Pharisees had brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus and He told them "let he who is without sin cast the first stone." I suppose that should be the important verse to remember but I like this one because it seems to show a little orneriness in Jesus. He knows that everyone has left and I can just here Jesus asking this in a sarcastic tone.

4 John 2:5 His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you. Catholics get a bad rap in their love for Mary but I think this verse simplifies everything about Mary. She is only going to point us towards Jesus and say, "Do whatever he tells you."

3. Luke 22:42 Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done I think this is an important verse for us to remember. It's a simple prayer for us to pray too. Lord, I don't want to do this. This is difficult but let your will be done.

2. Luke 9:23 If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me This is similar to #3 in that it is a reminder to us that following Jesus is not going to be easy but that we have to pick up that cross every single day.

1. Luke 3: 7 He said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Now you might be think this one is odd and it is because the meaning goes beyond what is said. One day I was reading Luke with my handy Navarre Bible Commentary and the description of this passage really hit me. Normally, I read the bible and would pass right over this but the description went into such a deeper meaning and I was blown away about how little passages can have such big meaning.

So that's my list. It's in no particular order. For instance, I would think that Romans 7: 19-20 would be my number 1 passage because that whole section just really speaks to me. I've noticed that many of these passages are based in apologetics and I hope that as I learn more of scripture my favorite passages will speak more to my heart than my head. I pray that God gives me a passion for his Holy Word.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Physical and Spiritual Storms

I realize I'm a day behind on my posts but--well I procrastinate so please forgive me. It IS the Christian way.

It was a blistering hot day here in Missouri yesterday but the Sunday readings were very stormy. The first reading was from Job (Job 38: 8-11) and the Lord talks about how He controls the seas. In the responsorial psalms, the psalmist speaks about a storm in which God saves sailors from a storm and how they rejoiced and gave thanks to the Lord. Finally in the Gospel, (Mark 4:35-41) the disciples were in a boat with Jesus when a storm arose. Jesus was asleep and they woke Him. He rebuked the wind and told the sea, "Quiet, be still." There was calm and Jesus asked the disciples, "Why are you terrified. Do you not yet have faith?" The disciples asked themselves, "Who then is this whom even the wind and sea obey?"

We must maintain our faith even when things are rough. We must realize that God is in control. If He tells the sea where to stop and where to begin, if He can make the wind and sea obey why do we lose faith that He won't take care of us? And do you think he could drop the temperature about 20 degrees?

It's not always an easy task though. We suffer through physical or emotional pain and it's the time when we must show discipline and rededicate ourselves to God instead of trying to do it on our own. St. Josemaria Escriva said, "Some worries can be remedied immediately. Others, not so quickly. But they are all solved if we are faithful, if we obey, and carry out what has been proposed to us." - #376-Furrow.

How we deal with our own personal storms is a reoccurring theme in the interior life and we have to be reminded that God gives us storms but we have remind ourselves that He will see us through them. We need to maintain faith, pray and recall that we know "who then is this whom even the wind and sea obey?"


Friday, June 19, 2009

Year of the Priest

Today is the first day of the "Year of the Priest." It is a time for us to step back and thank our priests for dedicating their life to God.

Unfortunately, in the last several years the priesthood has gotten a bad rap due to the scandals that have rocked the church. The people who think ill of priests because of those scandals and stereotype them are total morons (again with my Christlike thinking, huh). I had to mention that but I want to concentrate on talking about how wonderful priests and what an amazing gift they've given to God.

I am really at a loss of words as to what to say. Should I admire the powers that they have--the powers that they have?? The ability to forgive sins? They ability to change bread and wine into the body, blood soul and divinity of Jesus Christ? No--because when they do they it isn't them that does it--Jesus does it through them.

Should I admire the sacrifice that they've made?? Not having a family??Growing up alone?? I don't know--a lot of priests I've talked to, while realizing it's a huge sacrifice did it because they love God and are married to the Church. We are their spiritual children.

Should I admire the sacrifice of poverty that they've taken?? That no matter how hard they work they will never have riches? I don't know. I think they realize that they will have the riches of Heaven.

Should I admire the vow of servitude and humility they have taken?? Hmmm, I don't know. In my humble opinion they have lots of power and influence. I don't have a congregation of people listening to me every Sunday or every day in some cases.

My priest told a story in a sermon that his dad was disappointed in his choice in the priesthood because he would never have riches, power or influences or something to that effect. I disagree. I think being a priest does have those things you just have to look at it with different eyes.

I think I just admire the fact that they have listened to God and decided to do His will--decided to dedicate their life to God. Priests are cool people. Sure--some are old curmudgeons but the vast majority of priests I've met are just really cool. The type of person I admire, the type of person I trust, the type of person I'd like to sit and have a beer with (hopefully sometime I'll make it to New York)

There are so many things about priests that I admire. So many things that I respect. I think it is a great thing that we have this next year to thank them for their service. Thank you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wasting time

My kids and I have been playing Lego Star Wars on X-box 360. They have never really been exposed to Star Wars so last weekend we went to Blockbuster and started renting them. We started with the first one, well, not the FIRST one but the first one. You know--not Episode IV which was the first one but Episode I which is the first one. We are now up to the third one which is actually the sixth one which---never mind.

During the course of all this Star Wars watching someone had a question about the colors of the light sabers so my wife Abby googled it and found out that Star Wars has it's own Wikipedia BRANCH appropriately titled, "Wookiepedia." A couple days later, I went to Wookipedia and just for fun looked up one of the planet names---Naboo. WOW!! You would have thought this was a real planet with all of the geographical, sociological, and history information on this Wookiepedia page about an imaginary planet!!

I thought to myself, "what type of losers have the time to think of all this??" (I know--not very Christlike of me, huh) I quickly corrected myself though and realized that I waste plenty of time doing my own stupid things. We all waste time one stuff whether it is golf or the internet, comic books or riding motorcycles, television or sports.

We all waste time in our day but amazingly we never seem to have time for God. We always make excuses or we just just blow Him off. We can barely carve an hour into our week to go to mass much less daily prayer. I'm not throwing stones--I'm the worst at it. And to make it worse, I KNOW the tricks such as have set times for prayer, have a prayerful space etc etc. I seem to fail more days in my prayer life than I succeed though. I'm decent at spontaneous prayer. I consider this blog to be my own sort of prayer. I want to do better than that though. I want to have certain times set aside and say, "These are my times for prayer." I do that but when the time comes I'm doing something else and put prayer off until it's too late.

If I was smart, or maybe not so lazy and undisciplined, I would realize that things would probably be better in my interior life if I talked to God like I should. I had a thought once that if we are supposed to tithe 10% of our income shouldn't we give 10% of our time to God too?? That would be 2.4 hours a day. That's a lot of time!!!! Obviously it would be great if we did, but I would think that monks may not spend that much time in prayer. A little more realistic thought is imagine the world if we just gave 1% of our day to God. One stinking percent equals .24 of an hour---less than 15 minutes a day. Imagine if we all took 15 minutes a day and dedicated it to God in either prayer, scripture reading, spiritual reading or even daily mass (okay--it may last 30 minutes) Imagine!!!

Of course, we could spend that 15 minutes playing X-Box, checking our Facebook, or hitting a little ball into the woods with a crooked stick. As for me, I'm going to spend it wasting time with Jesus.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Sometimes it is most difficult to understand the curves that life throws at us. Cancer finds it's way into a loved one. A spouse is unfaithful. Debts mount up and seem as if they will never get paid. It seems as if we are swimming upstream and nothing we can do will ever get us to where we need to be. We have lost all sense of control and despite how hard we try there is nothing we can do to get it back.

What we need to do in these times of struggle is to stop worrying about not being in control and allow God to have all control over our lives. That is most definately easier said than done. We have to maintain hope and allow God to guide us. We know that God loves us and only wants us to spend eternity in Heaven with us. I have found that when I feel like I have the weight of the world bearing down on me I have to step aside and say two little prayers.

The first is, "Jesus, I trust in You." This in itself takes so much weight away from us. We know that Jesus is there for us and won't let us fall if only we trust in Him. If we trust our friends or co-workers to catch us while doing those "trust fall" experiments in those silly team building exercises, how much more should we trust Jesus to catch us in our spirtual life?

The second prayer is, "Lord--not my will, but let Your will be done." We have to let God guide us in everything we do. Every life decision we make we should ask the Lord to guide us--from moving to job changes to relationships. Ask God to guide you.

I wish I could say that life will be just peachy if you trust in God and try to follow His will. Unfortunately, no where in scripture does it say that life will be easy. Quite the contrary it says that whoever shall follow Him will find the same hardships that Jesus did but that we must pick up our cross daily. We are going to have struggles in our life. We are going to face suffering. If the Son of God suffered on the cross who are we to thing that we won't have our own sufferings.

It is most important to follow God though. God led the Israelites through the desert. Imagine how often in those forty years they wanted to find their own way. How many times did they ponder why they left the easy life as slaves in Egypt to follow God into the desert.

God will lead us into the promised land. Our life on Earth may have hardships and suffering but God promises that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. We may struggle but when we follow God we will end up with Him in eternal glory.

When we are suffering it is important to keep our eyes on that cross. When we look upon the cross (doing my best Fr. Corapi imitation) we shouldn't see a negative---we should see a plus sign, brother. Without Good Friday we would never have Easter Sunday.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Corpus Christi

On Sunday, we celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi, or the Body and Blood of Christ. Seems kind of odd to me since we really celebrate that every time we go to mass. I suppose though, that it is a good time for us to sit back and recall and awe at the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

As Catholics we believe that at mass the bread and wine is transformed into the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. This is revealed in scripture in John chapter 6 when Jesus says that "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you." Then at the Last Supper He holds up the bread and the wine and says, "This is my body" and "This is my blood." Obviously, there is much more than that to explain what is the "source and summit of our faith."

The Feast of Corpus Christi is a good time to reflect what a wonderful gift God gave us in the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, we are able to be in the physical presence of Christ as well as be nourished by Him.

What a gift it is for us to be able to go to adoration and spend time in the physical presence of Jesus to pray. Adoration is when the blessed sacrament is displayed. Normally it is put into a monstrance, which is a circular object usually made of gold rays with the blessed sacrament placed in the middle. Adoration is making a come back and today many parishes have weekly, daily or sometimes even perpetual adoration. Talk about a good prayer space--quiet, reverent, Jesus Christ's physical presence. What more do you really need? I encourage everyone to find someplace that has adoration. A good website to find parishes with adoration is www.masstimes.org or you can ask me. I'll help you find someplace. Even if you cannot find a place with adoration, you can spend time in front of the tabernacle which where the consecrated hosts or stored. At the very least--spend time in prayer.

For forty years, God fed the Jews manna during their exodus in the desert. For our exodus on Earth, He has provided the Eucharist to spiritually nourish us. I'm waiting for the time when someone asks me, "Have you accepted Jesus Christ into your life?" Then I can quote Jeff Cavins and say, "Yes I have, and into my heart, my mouth and down into my belly." The Eucharist is the most amazing food. It's the one time that instead of the consumed becoming the consumer the consumer becomes the consumed. (I think Jeff Cavins may have said that too) When we partake in communion Jesus feeds us and we are able to become like him.

What another perfect time for prayer--right after communion when you literally have Jesus inside of you--when you ARE a tabernacle. So don't be a Judas and rush out the back door before supper is over. Hang around for the final five minutes of mass. Spend time in prayer. Heck, did you know that you can even hang around AFTER mass and pray some more. I know, I'm speaking crazy talk aren't I??

Too often we take things for granted. Sometimes we even do that with mass. It's our Sunday obligation so we go, we get distracted and quickly get out of there so we can make it to the restaurant before all the protestants get there. :-) We need to be reminded that when we are at mass and receive the Eucharist we are experiencing a miracle, we are experiencing Heaven on Earth.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Learning to Listen

Three days of Cub Scout Day Camp are in the books and one more to go. I find it interesting how many lessons God can give you in a three day period. Maybe I need to open my eyes and my ears and perhaps I'll find He is giving me lessons like these all of the time.

There are several mud puddles and areas of standing water at the Fair Grounds due to all of the rain we have been having. The other day I saw two little Cubs from my pack standing across the road and right next to one of these puddles. I yelled at them to get back over to where the rest of the pack was. These two proceeded to look right at me, turn around and walk further away. I had to go over and bring them back to the pack area.

Isn't that exactly what we do when we sin?? God has given us knowledge of what is right or wrong either through scripture or through the teachings of the Church. So He is yelling at us to stay the heck away from that puddle and to come back to Him but we choose to do what we want and to continue to walk away. We act like we know better than Him or continue to do what we want despite knowing that He knows better.

I know that He loves us so much that He gives us free will . Sometimes I wish he would march across that road and bring us back to the pack area and make us stand with our nose in the corner so we have time to think about what we've done. Maybe He does in His own way. Maybe that will be my next lesson---I hope I keep my eyes and ears open for it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

To be a child . . .

I just finished day 1 of 4 of Cub Scout Day Camp. This is my third year in a row out there and every time I'm there I'm reminded of one thing---not only is my son normal, he is actually a pretty good kid. I have to admit---most of the time I think of a quote from Hank Hill--"That boy just ain't right."

It's important to spend time with children. It should remind us how child like we are in our own spiritual life. Too often we tend to act like we know everything. We are adults after all aren't we?? We know what we are doing. That is the basis of the original sin though--we thinking that we know things even better than God.

We try to control our lives too much and leave God out of the picture. We try to put an infinite God into a box that our finite minds can understand.

We must live our lives as if we are children--giving our entire trust to God. Humbling ourselves before Him.

St. Josemaria Escriva said, "Don't try to be older. A child, always a child, even when you are dying of old age. When a child stumbles and falls, nobody is surprised, and his Father promptly picks him up.
When the person who stumbles is and falls is older, the immediate reaction is one of laughter. Sometimes, after this first impulse, the laughter gives way to pity. But older people have to get up by themselves.
Your sad experience is that each day is full of stumbles and falls. What would become of you if you were not continually more of a child?
Don't try to be older. Be a child, and when you stumble my your Father God pick you up by the hand."

It is so important that be children like those Cub Scouts at day camp---not by telling fart jokes, rough housing or picking your nose--but by having total trust in the Father, realizing that we don't have all of the answers and by taking joy in the simple things.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Top 5 Saints

Not in the deep thought mindset today but I'm interested---who is every one's favorite saints? Post a comment and let me know.
For the record mine are:

1. St. Michael the Archangel--patron saint of police officers
2. Mary---no brainer. Don't want to tick off Jesus by leaving His mom off of the list
3. St. Josemaria--founder of Opus Dei. I love his readings. Want something to meditate on?? Get "The Way" It have a ton of little quote that are great for meditations.
4. St. Augustine--total sinner turned saint. Gives me hope!
5. St Anthony of Padua--he helps me find things!!! Don't believe me? Check out my story below.

So list your top five saints in the comment section and remember JPII isn't a saint---yet.

St. Anthony of Padua story--several years ago while at work I got into a foot chase. I know--crazy huh?? At some point during the foot chase I lost my personal car keys and didn't realize it until the morning at the end of my shift. My partner and I drove down to where the foot chase and gave it a cursory look with no luck.

So that day I prayed to St. Anthony--the patron saint of lost things.

That night my co-workers and I went back out to look again. Now this was in the fall and the ground was covered with leaves. As I was walking back to where I thought the keys may be I happened to kick a leaf and there my car keys were--in an area that I did not think they would be!! I have no doubt that St. Anthony led me there.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Pro-life vs. Anti-Abortion.

As you probably already know, last Sunday late term abortion doctor George Tiller was murdered while at church. Pro-life advocates were quick to condemn the killing. Pro-abortion advocates were, in some situations, quick to point out that the incident proves that the pro-life people should be considered "domestic terrorists."

The thing that I found interesting were all the labels put on people: pro-life, pro-choice, pro-abortion, anti-abortion etc. The terms "pro-life" and "anti-abortion" really caught my eye and at first a person would think that they were the same thing. After thinking about it I realized that they may not be synonymous. Is seems that pro-life means the person may have a respect for life from the time of conception to the point of natural death while anti-abortion may be better described for those against abortion but for the death penalty or maybe even euthanasia.

Many conservatives take flack because they claim to be pro-life while they are pro-death penalty. I think this is a valid complaint. How can you be considered pro-life when you are for the taking of a human life??

I have to admit that the teaching against the death penalty is something that I have struggled with. For most of my adult life, I've been for the death penalty. I have had to pray for understanding and it's only recently that I've started to understand the Church's teaching against the death penalty. I've come to realize that to be for the death penalty is to have lack in hope in God and to possible condemn someone to Hell. I came to this realization after listening to a talk by a guy by the name of Russell Ford on CD (https://www.lighthousecatholicmedia.com/store/products/no_escape-from_prison_to_the_catholic_faith). Russell Ford is a prisoner in the Alabama prison system. Mr. Ford had a conversion in prison (ya ya ya---I know--don't they all??) But he started a ministry and started converting people to the Catholic faith. One of the people who he converted was one of the biggest, baddest, hardest criminals in the Alabama penal system. I don't recall this guys name but he had been in prison for decades. If memory serves me right, he had been on death row but it got overturned to life when the Supreme Court suspended the death penalty in the US. So for all basic purposes, he should have been executed decades ago. But years later, he came to Christ and not only that--but started turning others to Christ who might not have otherwise.

Some people may be cynical and doubt their sincerity and belief that some crimes are so heinous that they should be put to death. But to do so puts our self in the position of God and I do not think any of us should think our self worthy of that.

We should all strive to follow that teaching of the Roman Catholic Church and have respect for life from conception to natural death. We should all be pro-life and not just anti-abortion.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


A Lutheran friend of mine recently brought up the idea of purgatory on his Facebook. Forgive me but I cannot recall his exact question but it was a pretty basic and just asking people what they thought about it.

First of all, I think the first thing when broaching the topic of purgatory is pointing out what purgatory is NOT. Purgatory is not a second chance. It is not a third place to go when we die because we were not good enough for heaven but not bad enough for hell.

The Catholic Church teaches that when a person dies they are bound for either heaven or hell. The Church teaches that those people who are assured of their salvation but still yet "imperfectly purified" undergo a purification so that they will achieve that holiness that is necessary for entrance into Heaven. This place where we receive this purification is called "purgatory."

Why is it necessary to receive purification if Jesus died for our sins?? Well, Jesus' death and resurrection was the perfect sacrifice that allows us to go to Heaven. Nothing we can do could ever "merit" our going to Heaven---only Jesus' death. In the book of Revelation we are told that "nothing unclean shall enter Heaven." (Rev 21:27) If nothing unclean shall enter Heaven then how are we made clean? We are made clean, or purified, in purgatory.

Let's try to find a simpler way to put it. Our salvation has been bought and paid for by Christ's suffering and death on Calvary. We can lose our salvation though by sinning. When we sin, we are turning away for God and choosing our own way as opposed to His way. We are choosing life without Him. We are all sinners though and thankfully for us, God grants us His mercy and forgiveness and all we have to do is turn back to Him. We are still stained by that sin we committed though even if we are forgiven. There has to be some way to have that stain removed from us prior to entering Heaven. Purgatory is that way that we are purified to free us from the "temporal punishment of sin."

Think of our own children. Imagine they sneak outside and play in the mud even though they were told to stay in the house. They come to us knowing they messed up and are sorrowful. We forgive them but they have to get cleaned up because we are going to church. Wait--going to church won't work. No kid in his right mind wants to go to church. McDonald's!!!! They have to get cleaned up before they go to McDonald's----one with those big playgrounds. The child has been forgiven for getting all muddy but they have to be cleaned up prior to going to play McDonald's. That is like us. God forgives us for our sins but we have to be cleansed prior to going into Heaven. At least according to scripture---if you believe scripture. Purgatory is that cleansing. Is it painful?? I can't say but by reading the passages in the Bible that speak of purification I'm going to guess it isn't exactly pleasant. I would rather be made clean by the blood of the Lamb and be in God's presence than to be considered a pile of dung covered by snow though.

The belief in purgatory is simple and really not something that we should argue over. The Church teaches that prior to getting into Heaven we have to be purified. It doesn't deny Christ's sacrifice or what it did for us. Secondly, we need to be careful that we don't just aim for purgatory----we might miss.

One last thing---I realize that my comparison to us and sin to a child playing in the dirt is not perfect. God gives us free will allows us to wallow in that mud pit if we so choose. At some point we have to get out of it and turn back to Him so that we can go to play McDonalds.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Isn’t it interesting how the same topic seems to pop up sometimes in our lives? I don’t really know why the topic of forgiveness has been popping up. It’s not like there is someone in my life who I’m holding a grudge against. I would say that there are other things in my life that I need to work on. There have been two items that have come up in my life in the last couple weeks that show how important forgiveness is.

The first one is fiction. It occurred in the book, “The Shack.” It was refereed to me by my spiritual director, Fr. Mike, and it is really amazing how one book can cover so many topics and hit you right in the heart so many ways. Basic story line---Mack is on a camp out with his children when his six year old daughter is kidnapped and murdered. The only remains they found was her bloody dress located in a shack in the mountains. A few years later, he is invited to the shack by God. Mack goes and meets with God. I won’t go into details because you really need to read it for yourself. In one of the encounters God encourages Mack to forgive the man who killed his daughter. Mack is encouraged to just say, “I forgive you.” He’s told that he may have to say this every day or several times a day until he truly does start to forgive.

This forgiving is the first step to being free. Mack is released from the prison that he had been in since his daughter’s death. It’s the first step to lifting the sadness and the anger that had enveloped him for the past several years. It’s the first step to reconnecting with the rest of his family and healing. Again—great read. I’m looking forward to discussing the book with Fr. Mike this week but you can check it out at www.theshackbook.com.

The second situation is real and because so I’m not going to be able to be specific. A friend of mine was telling me about her former marriage and how she maintains a good relationship with her ex-husband because she was able to forgive him. This good relationship is good for their two daughters who instead of seeing mommy and daddy as two people who fight and argue see them as two people who still care for each other. She can only do this because she was strong enough to forgive her ex. I think she is an amazing person because she was able to do this. This serves as an example to be because by allowing herself to forgive she is able to let Christ shine through her.

These are lessons for me to take forward because I’m sure sometime in the future someone will anger me or hurt me. I also think it’s important to remember the Lord’s Prayer when we pray, ‘forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORGIVE those who trespass against us.” If we expect God to be loving and forgiving (which He is) it’s equally important for us to forgive those who harm us.