Sunday, February 28, 2010

CrossFit--6 Week Check-in

Last Friday was the end of the sixth week of the 12 week CrossFit pilot program for the PD.
I lost 5 lbs
2 1/2 inches around the belly
1/2 around the wrist
lost 4 % body fat
10 lbs of fat
and finally, I gained 5 lbs of lean body mass.

I have to say, I wasn't pleased Friday morning at the check-in. I thought I has lost more than a few lbs but after they plugged in the numbers and email them to me I am pretty pleased.

A special thanks to all of the trainers who have taken this on and do this on their time. Thanks to all the participants who encourage me and keep me going when I just want to die right there and a great big thanks to Jim Keller who asked me to become part of the pilot group.

Can't wait to see what the 12 week results are. I still don't want to wake up tomorrow morning and go though.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Transfiguration and the Tabernacle

Okay, I'll give you a little confession that displays my Catholic geekiness (Catholic--not regular geekiness) Last Saturday night, my Cub Scout Pack held it's Blue and Gold banquet at St. Charles Boremeo. Afterwards, everyone had cleaned the hall and had left and I was collecting some items before locking up and leaving. I was in the part of the school called "The Commons." All of the lights were turned off. The school was dark. The church was dark. But coming through the cracks of door that separates the school from the church was a bright light. I thought to myself, "Self, all of the lights are turned off in the church. Why is that bright light shining though the cracks. Maybe--just maybe, it's Jesus in all his Glory just like during the transfiguration and I can talk to him and my concerns and worries about my future will be wiped away." I went over the door, took a deep breath, grasped the handle, yanked open the door and saw . . . . . . that there just happened to be a light right next to the door that was on.

So much for my vision of Jesus. I just blessed myself in the holy water and went on my way. Interestingly enough, a week later we are celebrating the Transfiguration this week-end at mass. Jesus takes Peter, James and John up the mountain and as he was praying face turned white and suddenly Moses and Elijah were there talking with him. The disciples had been sleeping (notice they are always sleeping during critical moments--as do we) Peter tells Jesus that they should put up three tents. One for Jesus. One for Moses and one for Elijah. Suddenly a could comes over them and a voice from the cloud says, "This is my chosen son; Listen to Him." Next thing you know, the cloud is gone and they are all alone.

I learned something from listening to Mark Hart, (aka "The Bible Geek") this week. The Greek word for tent is "tabernacle." A tabernacle is the box at the front of the church where the Blessed Sacrament is placed between masses. Peter was wanting to make a tabernacle for Jesus at the top of Mt. Tabor where Jesus revealed Himself in his glorified state.

Just as that tent would have been a place for Jesus to stay atop Mt. Tabor, He has a place to stay in every church. Ironically, just past that door that I walked through with the bright shining light was a small chapel where the tabernacle is placed at St. Charles. No, I did not have a vision of Jesus telling me the secrets of the world but I was still in the presence of Jesus. So, next time you are in need to some time with Jesus, you can go to church and plant yourself in front of the tabernacle and spend some time in prayer with Jesus.

So, even though I realize that I was in the presence of Jesus that night----I still think it would have been pretty cool to see Jesus standing there with a bright light coming from him, robes flowing and saying "Jamie . . . I have something to tell you!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Good In Pride

In the Christian world, we always seem to see pride as a bad thing. We are supposed to be humble right?? After all, the "meek shall inherit the Earth." No one likes an egotistical guy right? They are jerks. We are all supposed to be humble servants of God. But can pride be okay?? Is pride bad or is there a mis-use of pride? I think pride can be a good thing, as long as that pride is put in the correct place. It's okay as long as you know that you have what you are bragging about because of God.

I had an experience of pride last night. I was looking at Max's YouTube videos and saw one that really, seriously impressed me. Monday, on a snow-day, Max and Molly made a video explaining the digestive system---just---for fun. Max, who is only ten years old. He fascinates on things such as anatomy, the solar system or geography but his social skills have a bit to be desired. But after watching the video I experienced a lot of pride.

I think pride in your children are a good thing. It encourages them and can make them feel better. And I do have some great kids--they are good kids, smart, healthy and kind. But, I know that it's by the grace of God that they are like that. Sorry, but we aren't that family that you would expect all the kids to be perfect. And my kids aren't. I want to strangle them sometimes but they have been successful in their lives so far despite my failings as a parent.

There are other things in my life that I have done or that I have that I am proud of. I'm proud of myself for being a Marine, for completing college, for getting a job and becoming a sergeant. I'm proud of my house (at least from the outside--the inside is a disaster thanks to those kids I'm so proud of (and a couple of dogs)) I'm proud that I have a smart, funny caring, smoking hot wife.

I realize though, that I only have those things because of the grace of God. Now I have to figure out how to use those graces to complete God's mission for me. Sometimes that picture is clearer than others.

It's okay to have pride. Often we are proud of things that we had no input on. We can have pride in our city or local sports teams. We can have pride in our heritage. But our pride needs to be healthy and well placed. If it's all about us then it's misplaced, but if we point our successes to He who made those successes possible then it can be a good thing.

What things are you proud of?? What things humble you?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pornography Shows Too Little

I heard a quote last week on The Catholic Guy Show that was attributed to Pope John Paul II. The pope was quoted as saying, "The problem with pornography isn't that it shows too much, it's that it shows too little." It's one of those quote that kind of makes you stop and think about what is being said. Over the centuries, too many prudes have portrayed the naked human body itself as something dirty or sacreligous. The pope is saying it isn't the naked body that in the pornography that is wrong it's how it is being portrayed.

The human body itself is a very beautiful thing. It was designed and created by God. Granted, it may not always be pleasant to look at as I realized when I caught myself in the mirror getting out of the shower once. Other times, they can be very pleasant to look at. Don't get me wrong--I don't mean in a sexual or lustful way but in the same way that it is beautiful to look upon a valley from a high peak. It's makes you wonder about God's grandeur.

I think that is what the pope is saying--the naked human body isn't wrong. It's the fact that it's being portrayed in an exploitive way. In a way that causes men or women to have lustful thoughts. In a way that makes the human body just a thing without taking into account the person that the body belongs too.

As human's we are very special. We are made in the image and likeness of God. We are body AND soul. That is how we are supposed to see other people--as someone made in the image and likeness of God. If we do that then we will see Jesus in everyone.

But with pornography--you see the naked body there and you don't see the soul inside. It is simply a piece of flesh to be used for the other's sexual pleasure. Don't take that to mean that sexual pleasure is wrong. When it comes about in the correct manner it can be one of the most amazing things but it has to come about in the right way--between a married man and his wife as they are giving love and pleasure to each other. Not in a way that is selfish.

The idea of seeing Jesus in everyone and not just seeing them as objects to be used should go beyond sex or pornography though. It should be an idea that we have in our every day existence. Am I seeing the person across from me as a child of God or as someone to be used. Am I judging them because of their appearance or seeing them as a brother or sister in Christ?

"The problem with pornography isn't that it shows to much. It is that is shows too little." A short little quote that gets the mind to thinking--

What do you think about it??

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I found this fabulous YouTube channel by an enterprising and intelligent young man. I can neither confirm or deny that I am related to him.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Six Simple Ideas of Adoration

I've been trying to go to daily mass a couple times a week while I am in this ten week Spanish course. It's really difficult to say "no" when mass starts at noon and my lunch hour lasts from 11:30 to 1:00. An extra advantage of doing this is that this church has Eucharistic Adoration prior to mass. Eucharistic Adoration is of course when the Blessed Sacrament is placed in a device called a "Monstrance." It is then placed in a suitable place so that the faithful can be in the presence of God to spend time in prayer. Often people will make a Holy Hour and spend an hour with Jesus. Sometimes people may step in for just a short prayer. There are some chapels that have perpetual adoration and the Blessed Sacrament in on display 24 hours a day seven days a week, always with someone in attendance.

What can you do while you are there? Well, I expect that you could make a long LONG list since there are many type of prayer. But, I decided to make a short little list of things you can do while at adoration. I am a novice at adoration so by no means should this list be considered all-conclusive.

  1. Be reverent--this should be first and foremost in your mind. You are, after all, in the presence of God.
  2. Pray--I expect you are saying, "duh--no kidding." But this could be a stumbling block for some people. They may be asking, "how am I expect to pray?" Anyway you feel comfortable. Maybe you aren't big into prayer and all you can muster are some Hail Mary's or some Our Fathers. That's fine. Saying a rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Stations of the Cross. You may be into meditative prayer--that's fine.
  3. Read--Bring a spirtual book with you. Maybe St Josemaria's "The Way." Maybe this is a good time to do some Bible reading. What a great place to break open scripture. Whatever you are reading may have a bigger impact if you are reading it in front of Jesus.
  4. Just talk--This probably goes under prayer but I don't mean prayer in the normal sense. I mean talk to Jesus like he is your friend, a brother. He is after all. Share your day with him. Tell him your joys, your sorrows and our concerns, but talk to Him as if your were talking to a buddy. Sure, he already knows but who cares. He wants to hear if from you.
  5. Listen--I read something last week and I apologize because I don't remember where I heard it but it said, "God gave you two ears and one mouth so shut up and listen." You can tell God all your problems and ask for his advice but you need to shut up and hear what he may be saying back to you. This is difficult because our minds are used to always being on the go. You may be shocked as to what God has to tell you though.
  6. Just bask in His glory--Just sit back, realize that you are in the physical presence of God and enjoy it, let all of your everyday worries just drip away. Again, you have to shut up--but sit back and enjoy it.
Like I said, I am an Adoration novice. I hope I gave some good advice but I'm looking for some tips from the pros. What do those who go to adoration often do that I didn't put?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This Time of Forty Days

I found this artist and this song last Lent while I was on a little social networking site called "MySpace." I've been dying to share with anyone. It's from an artist named Nick Alexander, the "Catholic Weird Al." More about him can be found at his website here.

Now, should I go to Ash Wednesday service in the morning (and miss CrossFit), at lunch time, or evening (and miss mass and wearing my ashes all day)?)


Monday, February 15, 2010

When Prayer Doesn't Seem to Work

I've heard it before. I've said it before. "If something is bothering offer it up to God." "Give God all of your trials." "Trust in Him." All of these are true and valuable statements. If something is bothering you then you should take it to God and trust in Him. Here is the thing. You have to be patient. You have to have trust. You have to have faith. He WILL answer your prayers.

Unfortunately, just not as quickly as you might hope. For instance, let's say something is bothering you. It could be big. It could be small. You think to yourself, "Self, something is bothering me. What should we do? We should take it to God and give Him all of our troubles because that's what I read on Roman Catholic Cop's blog." So, you go pray. Maybe you do it right there or maybe you actually go to church. You kneel down and you say, "God, I've got this problem. I'm trusting you with it. It's in your court now. I'm not going to worry about it anymore. Oh yeah---Amen." And you get up to leave and . . . .

Crud! My feeling of anxiety and woe are still with me! I don't feel any better! You turn around, kneel back down and try it again. "Umm, God, it's me again--maybe you didn't hear me the first time. I have this problem--I'm giving them to you. Please take my problems from me now."

Patience young Jedi. Yes, it would be nice if suddenly all your cares and worries were gone and you could go back out into the world all care-free. But, you are probably going to need repeated prayers. Perhaps, this is a way God is helping you to grow closer to him. It may not make you suddenly feel better and I realize it's not a magic pill that's going to make you feel better. I realize that afterwards things may still stink. You must press on. Continue praying. Let out a big sigh, and pray some more.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Only One Time for Communion

I got a "Tweet" from @EscrivaWorks today that listed a quote from St. Josemaria. Like most of his quotes this one really got me to thinking:

Have you ever thought how you would prepare yourself to receive Our Lord if you could go to Communion only once in your life? We must be thankful to God that he makes it so easy for us to come to him: but we should show our gratitude by preparing ourselves to receive him very well. (The Forge, 828)

How would I prepare myself? How would I react? You see, one thing I always take to confession with me is that I've been inattentive at mass. Oh, I could very easily blame my kids on this. There is always some battle going on with a ten year old and a six year old or maybe I'm just a horrible parent and have undisciplined children because every one else's behaves, right? The problem is--I could be alone at mass and my mind starts wandering. I think about my family. I think about where we are going to dinner after mass. I think about class. I think about that lady in the tight sweater a few rows over (great! distraction AND lust!). Maybe I should follow my own advice in 15 Ways to Pay Attention at Mass. I actually do when I REALIZE I'm my mind is wondering.

Am I spoiled? Do I not fully appreciate the Eucharist and what is going on before me?? I don't know. I think I do. Perhaps I should add a 16th way---and imagine if this is the only mass I could receive our Lord in communion. Would my attention waver then? I don't know.

Does anyone else have difficulties? Do I need A.D.D. medication?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Desear y Que' Deseo

As I mentioned last week, while I am going through Spanish Immersion classes I am trying to get things in order physically, nutrition wise and spiritually. One of the ways I'm trying to get things together is by going to daily mass a couple times a week. Fortunately, one of my favorite churches (Our Lady of Good Counsel) has mass every day at noon. That gives me the perfect chance to make it there, spend some time at adoration, attend mass and make it back in time for class to start.

So yesterday, I'm sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Have you ever spent time in prayer and other things keep popping into your head?? Yeah--well, it happens to me all the time. And what is going through my head? Why Spanish words of course!! Just random Spanish Words. One of the words was "desear" which means "to desire" or "to wish." My mind just went from there . . .

What do I desire? What do I wish? Hopefully, everyone's answer to that while at adoration is "to be a saint." What do I want? To love God--to have that thirst for God . . . for the Bible. I want to be one of those people who think, "I can't wait to get to mass." Instead of "let's go--it will be good for you." I want to be one of those people who are just so passionate for the Lord that it shows on their face--but not in a curmudgeon or pious way. Someone who just cringes at the idea of sin.

I suppose it's possible. Hopefully before I'm 85 years old though. I know I've made grounds in the last ten years. Heck, I've made grounds in the last five years. But I'm impatient. Patience is a virtue, huh? I need to take a lesson from St. Therese and her little ways. Do the small things. Short prayers like, "Jesus, I love you" or "God, help me. Be with me."

What are you desires? What do you want to be like?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Einstein and God

I have someone on my Facebook that likes to post quotes from atheists or quotes that question the existence of God. I don't know why. I don't know if he tries to bait people into an argument or if he just likes to be a stinker. Last week, he posted a quote from Albert Einstein that said, "I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my compression, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls." A little debate did ensue and I did a quick Google search on Albert Einstein and religion and found an interesting article on

What I found interesting is that, despite the fact that my friend was trying to push an atheistic agenda, Albert Einstein was not an atheist. He did believe in God. Einstein stated, "I'm not an atheist. I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws."

The thing is, he did not believe in God as Christianity or Judism teaches. He didn't believe that God gave people free will. He believed that everything had order and people do what they do because it's ordered by God. This makes sense when you consider that he was a physicist and for him order probably reigned. It probably didn't make sense that humans would have free-will and go around all "willy-nilly" when he is used to looking at the world in an ordered fashion.

We believe, of course, that God loves us so much that we do have free-will. We have the capacity to love him or deny Him. We can make our own choices and because of this we have to face the repercussions of our choices. I hope and pray that my Facebook friend realizes the repercussions instead of flippantly saying, "See ya in Hell!"

Friday, February 5, 2010

Structure in My Life

I have worked the overnight shift (or Dog Watch as we call it) for eleven years now. I worked the PM shift for six months before that. My job before that was at a police department where I worked all types of shifts and days off. Now that I think about it. I have never had a Monday-Friday, 9-5 job. The only time I have ever had anything that resembled that was when I was in school of some sort. The police academy was six months. I had done another police academy before that. I was also M-F days while doing training in the Marine Corps. I've had twenty years of instability as far as work shifts, times and days off. Let's just say, I would like to have some structure!.

I believe I am going to get something like that for the next ten weeks. I am in the police department's "Spanish Immersion" program. There are twenty of us sitting in an elementary school learning Spanish. It is basically four semesters of college Spanish in ten short weeks. Five of us will have the opportunity to go to Mexico for an additional five weeks. It is a great opportunity for me and I'm looking forward to the next nine weeks.

The one thing that I have loved this week is the structure I've had. I've woken up at 5 am, gone to my CrossFit work out program, class at 8, a lunch hour, off at 5, home to study and get ready for the next day and off to bed at nine. I've had structure in my work-out life (CrossFit at 6 a.m.) I've had structure in my sleep (9pm to 5am) I've had structure in my nutrition (meals are planned out and eating at the right times) Most importantly, I've gotten some structure in my spiritual life (morning prayer, evening prayer and even daily mass a couple times a week.

I can't tell you how great it is to have this structure. Maybe it's difficult to understand if you have not ever worked this shift but it really stinks working over night this night, and the next night trying to sleep at home and the next night working over night again. It's difficult to find time to work out because you don't know when you'll be sleeping. You don't know when to eat because you will up for 24 hours in a row some time, And prayer time is crazy. Do I do morning prayer even though I'm about to go to bed? What about evening prayer? I just woke up.

So my goal is for the next ten weeks to make as many grounds in those categories as I can. I think it's important to have this structure and I need to do something to continue to have structure when, in April, I go back to dog watch.

What do you do for structure? Do you have problems keeping order in your life?