Are You Man (or Woman) Enough?

Are you strong enough? Do you think you have it in you? Do you have the guts to take it? These are questions that we hear often, aour way. So, let me ask you…Can you handle it?

Christ is the perfect picture of strength. Many thought that he was weak minded because he didn’t fight for his life in those last days. But he knew what he was doing. He had more strength than anyone could imagine.

Christ rejected the ways of this world. We called to do so as well. Christ endured ridicule. Are you willing to endure ridicule? He endured physical pain. Will you endure physical pain? He went through mental anguish beyond our imagining? Can you endure that same anguish? He suffered on the cross and died. Are you willing to suffer and die? He did all of this for you. He did it all for me. He did it because He loves us. Are you willing to sacrifice it all for your love of Him? That, my friends, is true strength.

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Published in: on April 8, 2009 at 10:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

Holy Week Reflection

“Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness, in your abundant compassion blot out my offense. Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me” (Psalm 51:3-4)

This week we experience the passion and death of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Christ’s ministry was one of self sacrifice, of complete and total giving. He wanted and took nothing for Himself. His whole mission and goal in life was to give to us and, more importantly, give glory to the Father. David, in the above psalm, cries out to God for mercy and forgiveness after his affair with Bathsheba. God the Father answered his prayers through sending His Son to die for us. Christ suffered for you. He suffered for me. Christ gave everything that we may be cleansed from our sins. He died a brutal death for all of us.

We to are called to die as well. Life is not about self-gratification. Life is about having the will to die to the temptations of sin. It is about rejecting this world. It will not be easy. Christ never said following Him will be easy. As a matter of fact, I believe it is the most difficult thing any of us can do–letting go, that is. We will be rejected as Christ was rejected. We will suffer as Christ suffered. We may want to turn away and reject what Christ is asking us to do. Christ didn’t want to suffer and die. In the garden of Gethsemane he cried out “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me” (Luke 22:42). None of us want to suffer either.

But Christ could see beyond the suffering. He knew that after the suffering comes the resurrection! Christ could see beyond the pain, the rejection, the anguish. Likewise, we also need to see beyond the suffering, beyond the rejection. Will this world reject us? YES! Will we be resurrected if we remain faithful to the Lord? YES! We need to focus on our own resurrection, not our own passion. Keeping our eyes focused on the resurrection will allow us to do as David says: “I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.” (Psalm 52:15)

Published in: on April 6, 2009 at 8:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

My Online Rambling Serves a Purpose!!

Writing to me is like therapy. I have found that when I keep a journal that my life is more spiritually enriched. I’m not talking about the type of journal where you write down all the good and bad things that happened to you today, although that can be therapeutic as well. The journal I have kept is more of a spiritual journal.

I have moved beyond the written journal into the realm of blogging. This here is my online journal. I write a blog just as much, if not more, for me than for those who read it. I started it as a way to minister to the teens that are in the parishes I serve as a youth minister, as something extra they could do to strengthen their own faith. What I didn’t expect, however, was for it to strengthen my own faith as well. The spiritual writing I do requires reflection on my part. It requires me to think about the topic I am writing about.

I try every day to find Christ at work in my life. When I encounter those experiences, I reflect on them. Sometimes I read something that touches my heart, whether it be a scripture passage or something from a book I’m reading. Oftentimes I stop whatever I’m doing and write. I feel strengthened when I put pen to paper….I mean when I see the words flow on the screen as I type them. God is truly at work in my life. If I take the time and reflect on it and write about it I will be drawn closer to Him

Why don’t you try it? I’m not saying that you need to start blogging. Just get a notebook or journal and a pen and start writing. Write what is on your heart. It may be only one word. If you keep a spiritual focus on what you write, God will reveal Himself to you.

Published in: on March 29, 2009 at 6:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

What Are You Thinking?

I was deeply affected by something I read the other day in Matthew Kelly’s book Rediscovering Catholicism. It was just one small sentence, but it impacted me tremendously. Here it is:

“The actions of your life are determined by your last most dominant thought.”

Take a moment and reflect on it. Read it two or three times and really discern what it is saying to you.

I first read this sentence about a week and a half ago. It has been with me ever since, almost haunting me. I can’t stop thinking about it and the implications of it. What are my thoughts? Do they really influence my actions and if so, how?

Our thoughts do indeed affect our actions. It is impossible for them to not. We need to make an effort to limit the influences on our thoughts. We are hammered by over 17,000 images, words, and influences every day. These influences are mostly media related–television, internet, music, magazines, etc. Every time we listen to something, see something, or read something it enters into our thought processes. We can’t avoid it. So, the question that remains, what are your most DOMINANT thoughts? Are your most dominant thoughts those of the media with their secular biases, or are your most dominant thoughts those of a Christian worldview? What we can control is which thoughts dominate our minds. If we fill ourselves with the love of Christ and enter into a relationship with Him, then He will dominate our thoughts. I’ve been trying to allow Christ to dominate my thoughts over the past week and I can already feel a difference in my life.

Published in: on March 9, 2009 at 6:49 pm  Comments (2)  

The Gap

I read something the other day that gave a new perspective on the idea of fasting. The premise of what I read was that we fast because something is missing in our lives and we want to remind ourselves of that gap. It made me think a lot about what it was that was missing and how to fill that “gap” in our lives.

Our human nature is one where there is something missing. Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve our lives have been missing that deep, intimate, and personal connection with God the Father. We have been separated from Him through our sin. Our lives are filled with the pursuit of filling that gap in our lives. Everyone is pursuing something to fill themselves. The question is, what are you trying to fill that gap in your life with?

Many people try to fill that gap with things of this world. They pursue power, money, and personal gratification. They are concerned with status and the respect of others. Imagine digging a hole, a gap, in the ground. Now imagine filling that “gap” with water. You can probably fill it up, but it won’t stay filled. Eventually the water will seep into the ground. Filling the gap in your life with things of the world is like trying to fill the gap in the ground with water. You can fill your life up with money, power, status, and personal gratification but eventually the satisfaction you feel from those things will fade. It will seep into the soil and you will be left wanting once again.

Now imagine filling that hole in the ground with concrete. That concrete will not seep into the ground, but it will form a hard, firm foundation. Filling the gap in the ground with concrete is like filling your life with the life of Christ. The more you fill your life with Christ the harder the foundation of your life will become. You will never be left wanting if you fill your life with Christ.

Take the time of fasting and sacrifice this Lent to reflect on the gap in your life. What are you trying to fill that gap with? Use this holy time as an opportunity to reevaluate your life and put your priorities where they belong–with Christ.

Published in: on March 1, 2009 at 1:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Hope

I don’t watch much television, but I’ve heard reports about the Presidential inauguration. I’ve heard that President Obama’s supporters are just ecstatic at the fact that he has officially become president. I did turn the television on this morning, more curious about the weather than politics. I witnessed for myself the joy that people are feeling about the “change” in government. People all over the country are acting like giddy little schoolchildren over the fact that Obama is now the president. They have this hope that things are now going to change. They have placed their faith in this new government. THEY HAVE IT ALL WRONG!

Let us first look at the reasons why people have placed their hope in Obama and the change in the U.S. government. Obama’s supporters, and all people, hope. We hope for security–financial security, physical security, and emotional security. We hope for peace. We hope for happiness. We hope for love. There is nothing wrong in hoping for these things. It’s natural for us to do so. What is wrong, is WHO we place our hope in to bring us these things. No president, no government, no earthly thing or person can ever fulfill our hope. Placing our hope in men of this world will ultimately lead us to disappointment. There is only one Man who will never disappoint us, and that is Jesus Christ. Only Christ can fulfill all we hope for.

So, if you are an Obama supporter, you need to consider what you are hoping for and who you are placing your hope in. If you are placing your hope in the president or the government, you WILL ultimately be disappointed. Only Christ can bring us true security, peace, happiness, and love. Those of you who do not support Obama need to reflect on this as well. Those of you who are fearful of where this country is headed also need to consider where you are placing your hope. Christ says “do not be afraid”. Place your hope in the Lord. Let go of your fears and trust that God will bring us security, peace, happiness, and love.

Published in: on January 21, 2009 at 5:08 pm  Leave a Comment