Thoughts on fathering….

I’m reading a novel right now called “The Shack” written by William P. Young. It is a story about one man’s,Mack, encounter with God in the face of a tragedy in his life. In the novel God appears to Mack as a big black woman. It doesn’t bother me that God is a big black woman. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, God is neither male or female. God can be who he needs to be to each and every one of us. In this story, Mack needed a motherly figure, so that is how God appeared to him. There is something that disturbs me about this conversation between God and Mack. Mack asks God, “Why is there such an emphasis on you being a Father? I mean, it seems to be the way you most reveal yourself.” God responds to Mack by saying, “Let me say for now that we knew once the Creation was broken, true fathering would be much more lacking than mothering. Don’t misunderstand me, both are needed–but an emphasis on fathering is necessary because of the enormity of its absence.”

In my opinion, this is a direct attack on fatherhood. It is hard to be a good parent, for both fathers and mothers. I do not believe that God would think, say, or believe that men have a more difficult time being fathers than women being mothers. Our society has created an image of manhood and fatherhood that is negative. Men and fathers are portrayed as sex-crazed idiots. Just turn on the television and you will see example after example of this in the programming and the commercials. This novel, which is supposed to be written from a Christian perspective, is just perpetuating this “absence” of good fatherhood. Fatherhood, and parenthood as a whole, needs to be built up, not torn down. Shame on you, Mr. Young, for perpetuating society’s negative attitude towards men and fatherhood.

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Published in: on September 25, 2008 at 3:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

John 3:16

“…Sin is committed when, by an excessive inclination to them which rank lowest among Your gifts, men forsake the best and highest, You, O Lord our God, and Your Truth, and Your Law.”
–St. Augustine

Think about it. That which causes us to sin is a gift from God. How can that be? It is the things of this world that causes sin. These things are a part of God’s creation. The sin comes in when we “forsake the best and the highest.” When we use these gifts from God for our own glory and our own pleasure we fall into sin. God gave us these gifts. He also gave us the free will to choose what to do with His gifts.

Here’s the amazing part, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him may not die, but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16) I know this passage is overused, but it truly is amazing. No matter how much we fall, God the Father sent His Son to save us–to save us from our own sin. Will we continue to screw thing up? Yep. Does God still love us and forgive us? Absolutely! That is one of the amazing things about the Sacrament of Confession. The slate is wiped clean. God’s grace fill us and we are forgiven our sins.

Published in: on September 18, 2008 at 9:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Which life are you living?

I was out to dinner last night with my wife–something we never get to do with four kids. We were having a conversation about faith and how people of faith live their lives. There are many Christians that seem to be living dual lives. First they have their family and work–their daily obligations. They live this life in the world and are deeply influenced by it. The other world many of us live in is Church. We say that we are Christians and we go to church on Sunday, but do we really live out our Christian obligations?

Many times these two worlds never intersect. People seem to be just fine living in these two worlds. An issue arises here when people search for happiness in their lives. They have a choice to make. Do I seek happiness in the world of my daily life, or do I seek happiness in my “church world”? Oftentimes, we choose to seek out happiness in our worldly lives. And why not? The happiness we seem to get here is instant! We are instantly gratified when we seek out happiness in this world. The problem is that the supposed happiness we find in the world is not lasting–it is not true happiness. True happiness comes when we seek first the Lord. It is only in Him and through Him that we can truly achieve the happiness we all desire.

So, how do we reconcile these two worlds so that we may choose the appropriate path? The answer is simple. INTEGRATE THEM. Make no distinction between your daily life and your faith life. This is accomplished by putting your FAITH FIRST! The Lord will bless us in our daily life if we come to Him before we begin our days. We need to integrate our faith into our daily activities, whether it be work, school, family, etc. This is not as easy as it sounds. I struggle with this on a daily basis. The pull of this world is very strong and hard to resist. We just need to pray that the Lord will bless us and guide us in our efforts to be closer to Him. This is the path to true happiness.

Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 6:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

My glory or His?

I’ve been asking myself lately “Is it for my glory or the glory of God?” I first started pondering this question while talking to my spiritual director about doing something more in my ministry, like doing some public speaking or writing a book. We were discussing how Lucifer works. Lucifer means “angel of light” and he gives the appearance of light while leading us into darkness. So, is this desire that I’m having from the Lord, or from Lucifer. During our discussion I started talking about my decision to leave the seminary. I talked about reasons for leaving that I had long forgotten.

While discerning my call to the priesthood I thought about and prayed about my reasons for wanting to become a priest. One of my struggles in life is a fear of rejection. I discovered that what attracted me most about the priesthood was the “fame and glory” of it. My impression of a priest was a man who was loved by his flock. I wanted to become a priest for my glory, not His, and that is one of the main reasons why I left the seminary.

Since I rediscovered this during spiritual direction, I have been asking this question of myself alot–“Is it for my glory, or Gods?” This applies not just to my desire to public speak or write a book, but to EVERYTHING I do. I am trying to ask myself that question with everything I do, even with starting this blog. It is extremely hard, not only to determine who’s glory I’m seeking, but also to surrender my wants over God’s.

Lord, give me the strength and wisdom to put You first in all I do, to give YOU the glory, and to not seek it for myself.

Published in: on September 5, 2008 at 1:29 pm  Leave a Comment