Monday, October 17, 2016

Courageous Truth Follow-up

Friends in Christ:
It seems everyone wants to make everything be a "political" statement these days and then when we try to remain politically correct we forget that speaking God's truth isn't political at all. And that God is the one who gives us life, real liberty and true freedom.
So I've been having difficulty finding the RIGHT words to explain what it means to be an informed Christian-Catholic voter to other Christians who have different viewpoints than I do, but yet who are what I would call very faithful Christians. In that search I was sent this link to an awesome sermon -- Homily starts at 18:26, lasts about 20 minutes. I think it is the best I have heard on which issues should be and are of greatest importance in determining our vote.I pray that each of you are courageous enough to watch the entire message and to share it with others. 
My hope is that all Christians will be moved to vote to protect the most innocent, so that instead of being divided by politics, we and this country will be united in the only way possible-- for, in and by Christ. If you listen to the end you will also hear that the message is not just this priests own but comes from his bishop, so I forward it to you so that possibly you might be able to propose the same to others. This is the youtube link to only the homily.

Please go here to hear Fr. John Lankeit speak at Mass on October 2, 2016.  Advance the video to 18:26 to begin his sermon. It takes about 20 minutes.

In light of this week's gospel 2 Tim3:14-4:2 Do NOT be afraid to speak the truth and remain faithful. Please find it in your heart not to be swayed by the secular press and the secular culture which has confused their law on "freedom" with God's law of love and life. 
Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed,
because you know from whom you learned it,
and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures,
which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction,
and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent,
equipped for every good work.

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Time to Change the World

Friends of Faith:

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for everything under the heavens. ….a time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Ecc 3: 1-11 (beginning)

Would you like to change the world, but feel like it is impossible? It is not a time to be silent, it is a time to speak. It is always a time to love, unfortunately there is a lot of hate. And we are in a time of war: against the devil in who is tearing down our Christian moral values, taking away our religious freedom and imposing Islamic terrorism, but God reminds us that if we speak to promote his truth it should give us peace.

But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession, to keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ that the blessed and only ruler will make manifest at the proper time, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, and whom no human being has seen or can see.  To him be honor and eternal power. Amen. 1 Tm: 6: 11-16

Just as I was ready to turn off the politics these were the readings I heard and then I heard a homily which I hope you’ll take the time to listen to as hopefully it will give you peace as it did me:  Daily Catholic Mass - 2016-09-20 - Fr. Miguel.

Simply put God asks us to speak as our religious liberties allow – by voting –while making our decision as to how to vote using our faithful Christian conscience in making a just decision. We must not be discouraged and irritated by personalities or the current state of the morals in our nation. Instead, we are to use due diligence and form our conscience based on the Five non- negotiable Christian values -abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and same-sex “so called marriage". More at . 

Focus on the Family also reminded me that voting isn’t just about choosing a personality or the lesser of two evils in the presidential race, but rather it is about determining policies at all levels of society: local, state and national – because probably as important as the presidential race are races for our state representatives and the nomination of the judges made at every level, especially for the Supreme and District courts.

If you don’t know where to start here is the direct link to a simple comparative chart on the party platforms. How Do The Party Platforms Compare? We Break It Down. And if you want to verify the comparison copy and paste these direct links to the full platform verbiage. The democratic platform at (in particular pg 19 & 37); and the republican platform at[1]-ben_1468872234.pdf (in particular pg 31-32 & 36)

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for everything under the heavens. ……What advantage has the worker from his toil? He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without man’s ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done. Ecc 3: 1-11 (conclusion)

Heavenly Father, bless our nations people and help them to wisely choose our elected officials. Guide our elected officials to uphold Christian moral values as they have been designed by God. Thank you for the gift of life at all stages from natural conception to natural death. Help us to trust in your timeless power and respect your design even when we cannot fully see it. Amen.

This is our appointed time to speak. It is our time to vote a well formed Christian conscience. May we as Christians do our part to change the world.

Monday, September 12, 2016


Friends of Faith:
I will be Courageous.

Jesus was crowned with thorns. Jesus stayed and ate with sinners while encouraging those sinners to change. Jesus told the Pharisees that it was better to speak the truth on the Sabbath, then to sit back and rest. He showed us how to be morally, ethically, and spiritually courageous.

I cringe whenever I hear someone say we should change something because “our culture says we should change, or the culture is different now than it was “back then.” I cringe when I hear “everyone else is doing it.” I cringe because the culture is far from seeming  to follow God’s design. I cringe because the culture contains obvious lies that conventional wisdom is working to convince us as “normal,” “realistic” or “equalizing.”

I am not afraid of change, but when it comes to changing morals I am glad that I believe in the Word of God, that I trust in the path that Jesus Christ walked ahead of me, and that I have a Church to help me discern the Holy Spirit’s guidance as to what the truth really is.

“Now the one who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a first installment. So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord. Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others.” 2Cor 5: 5-11

I CHOOSE to be courageous. I CHOOSE to pray in public. I CHOOSE to speak the truth to defend Church (God’s) teachings. It’s NOT okay to sit back and rest, even on the Sabbath, if that means that someone will go hungry or to be bullied into believing that they will be punished for choosing to attend a church service before going to a game. I CHOOSE to walk by Faith. I CHOOSE to be courageous.

And I am confident in my prayer that God will put in my path spiritual mentors who will help me “see” the truth (God’s judgment) rather than the way the culture (individuals) wants or is judging me.

And when I am judged by the culture to be weak, old fashioned or even too conservative I will be courageous and accept the criticism with the hope of the promise of Christ Jesus.

Over my lifetime the Supreme Court has ruled that it should be legal to kill a baby because in the womb it’s not yet a person; that it’s not okay for teachers to encourage prayer in school or to sing Christmas carols yet we must make accommodations for non-Christian cultural needs; that marriage is something other than God’s design as the union of a man and a woman; that in the name of equality bathrooms must be open to whatever “sexual orientation” I determine myself to be on any particular day; and it has protected pornography as freedom of speech.

These are cultural lies. These “laws” do not make us free, these “laws” take away our freedom, our dignity, and our choice for God.

LORD, show me your way; lead me on a level path because of my enemies. Do not abandon me to the desire of my foes; malicious and lying witnesses have risen against me. I believe I shall see the LORD’s goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the LORD. Ps 27: 11-14

Heavenly Father, Please help me to be courageous, to discern your truths, to be open to hear and follow the Holy Spirit. Help me to be strong, on guard and to stand firm in faith. Help me to stand firm for the truth and to not be afraid to spread that truth to others with compassion, with mercy and with the confidence of Church teachings. I believe I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Amen.

Don’t believe the lies the culture is impressing upon you. To walk by faith, not by sight means to follow the culture of Jesus, that which is unseen rather than the culture pushed upon us by the propaganda of popular media. Be hopeful and be courageous for our faith is being openly tested.


Monday, September 5, 2016

God First

Friends of Faith:

God First! This may seem like a no-brainer, but if we really think about it – do we really, truly and always put GOD First?

That’s what Jesus meant when he said: ‘Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Lk 14:25-26

Wow – he really does mean we are to put HIM first. Of course, he doesn’t really mean that we are to hate our family, he just means we are to put HIM BEFORE even those we love. And if we are to put Him even before our family and friends then what does that say about all of the “things” we appear to love so much, things like money, cars, furniture, boats, sports, vacations and even abundant food and drink.

How often do we let something besides God make us happy in the moment? How often do we set aside prayer and never get back to it? How often do “things” take away our time with God? How often do we listen to a lie of the culture instead of making a decision based on God’s answer?

Earth is the devils playground. And the devil has been given all the time in the world to tempt us with money and materialism; a “me first,” feel good, culture; and technology which fills our time-- ultimately all of which can lead us to sin. The devil keeps us entertained so that we don’t have time to educate ourselves about God thru the Church or share God’s message of love with others.

The devil uses our selfish human nature and fights us with fire, storms of nature, illness, injury and even death by leading us down a path of despair instead of sacrifice. He uses whatever tactics he can to lead us in a godless culture down an easy street of degradation to our bodies and souls.

It is a constant challenge to remain with God: to take a tough line with our children by standing up to the sports and entertainment gods who insist on using Sunday morning as their playing field and where resources are spent by the millions. It is a fight to spend our time and resources helping the poor, caring for our elderly and encouraging our neighbors when our cell phones and computers keep us from getting to know our spouses, family and friends. It is a fight to choose deep, meaningful, conversations which can lead others closer to God when we are constantly interrupted by our cell phone. And it is easy to lose ourselves in a culture defined by sexual immorality, a lack of discipline and a desire to be materialistically happy.

 If everyone truly put God first (the no brainer) then we would all be on or searching for the same path in seeking truth and compassion. And with the help of God’s grace we would show each other mercy and forgiveness, healing and understanding while growing closer Him, to holiness and to each other. This is how God wants us to win the war against the devil; against powers, principalities and politics.

Putting God first is not just for Sunday morning. It means continuous prayers of thanksgiving and blessing before we eat and before we sleep, before we do anything of any consequence. It means a constant realization that we are here to make each other holy, that God has given us much and that whatever it is we are doing, we should be doing it without regard for our own happiness and comfort and for His greater glory.

If God was first then we could never forget that our time, our talents, and our treasures, our very lives are all a rich blessing, a blessing which no one can truly live without?

Several years ago I heard this wisdom: Happiness is fleeting, Joy is forever. God brings joy!

“Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord. They are happy, who dwell in your house, for ever singing your praise. They are happy, whose strength is in you, in whose hearts are the road to Zion.” Psalm 84

I know I am happiest when I am putting God first. I feel the most joy when I give up my time to help a friend in need; when I take the time to pray the rosary while I am traveling; and when ministry work comes before my job.

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ …. And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Mt 25: 34-40

Without putting God first I cannot be instructed in his ways and without putting God first it is difficult to walk in his path. “That he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” Is 2: 3

“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, bless his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his marvelous deeds. For great is the LORD and highly to be praised, to be feared above all gods. For the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and power go before him; power and grandeur are in his holy place. Give to the LORD, you families of nations, give to the LORD glory and might; give to the LORD the glory due his name! Bring gifts and enter his courts; bow down to the LORD, splendid in holiness. Tremble before him, all the earth; declare among the nations: The LORD is king. The world will surely stand fast, never to be shaken. He rules the peoples with fairness. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them. Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice before the LORD who comes, who comes to govern the earth, To govern the world with justice and the peoples with faithfulness.”  Amen. Psalm 96

Am I really putting God first? Be joyful, not happy. Be for God, not for yourself. For if God is for us, who can be against us?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

In Humble Service

Friends of Faith:
For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Lk 1: 11

God has a unique way of showing us right from wrong; of humbling us when we feel “good;” of guiding us on HIS path of righteousness; of asking us to learn His wisdom; of guiding us to understand others and of putting us in places which remind us to be more Christlike.

“My child, conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God. What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not.” Sir 3: 17-18, 20

It isn’t easy to humble myself and let God determine if I have done right. I can’t just say I am saved and then make choices that are against God’s law; and being “good” doesn’t save me if I know that Christ wants me to profess to others His life (by living in His footsteps). So I must learn to be faithful and obedient, if that is what I profess to be. I must continue to pray (listen) to God, serve like Christ, discern through the Holy Spirit and ask His Church for guidance.

Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” …. “For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Lk 13: 22-30

Like many people I want to be assured that I am saved. I want to know I am right. I have a tendency to judge myself as “deserving” salvation rather than learning the patience, humility and courage that comes from knowing that I must allow God alone to judge me and that I may not always get what I want. I may even have to suffer here on earth to receive the rewards in heaven for DOing the work of BEing a Christian.

“For they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

God asks us not to love ourselves, but to make ourselves humble by loving Him and loving others. 

Jesus could have been taken the crown of the righteous King of the Jews. Instead he bore a crown of thorns and died on the cross, showing us how to suffer, showing us how to give up everything we want and have by dying to our own selfish desires for the sake of others. And Jesus showed us how to love by allowing God to have the ultimate control that He modeled to us by doing the works of a Christian.

Jesus gave up everything because love doesn’t come from a feeling, love comes from a service, that of serving others, of serving those who have less. Love is shown when the first become last, when those who have give to those who don’t; when those who are first give to those who are last; and when those who have wisdom find compassion – seeking to understand the foolish and downtrodden.

Love is shown in families when we say “I’m sorry for hurting you;” “I will take care of you even when I have something else planned;” “for better, for worse; for richer for poorer; in sickness and in health;” and when we forgive “seven times seventy” the spouse or the child who continues to (by our standards) to make a mess (of their rooms, or their lives). THIS is true love. This is God’s love. This is how God teaches us right from wrong, humbles us and shows us the straight and narrow path.

Heavenly Father, Mold and fashion me into someone who trusts you with humble innocence and a childlike faith. May my faith be so strong that it obeys with courage when I am asked to put my own desires last and others needs first. Help me to find peace in being powerless and joy in giving others the hope of seeing beyond this life into the next. Amen.

Be humble. Be last. Serve others. God will not forsake, for eternal, not earthly, happiness is His promise.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Countercultural Truth

Friends of Faith:
Cultural and political voices have us believing that we are our own gods; that we can be, should be, and are in control of our destiny. They have us acquiring whatever it is to please ourselves and believing that a simple desire, a faithful promise, will makes us worthy (deserving) of every treasure – even God’s.

God gives us the message much differently. He created us in Love and said He would provide everything for us that we need. But even in the beginning, before today’s political and cultural voices, instead of believing that God would provide every gift, humans chose to be in control and to believe a deceitful being (Genesis, original sin). 

So, in fact we are not as worthy as we were originally created, nor are we all deserving.

And God continues to be countercultural.

So as discouraging as the culture can seem I am constantly affirmed by His one resounding message, that He is waiting for me to ask Him for Him. Because He, God is Love. And Love Never Fails.

He says we must ask Him for His love, that He GIVES all gifts, and that He is the only truth. He promises us heaven IF we affirm Him. And to affirm Him we must live in, with and for Him – in Love. We must not only say we are faithful to Him, we must seek to live in a way that is faithful to him, we must become Holy. And we are called to bring others to Him and to holiness.

True love isn’t controversial nor is it divisive. Love is caring and sharing; giving and serving.  Love is entirely different than sex; has nothing to do with equality; and is completely intertwined with His design of the free, faithful, fruitful, and totally committed, unitive, and procreative marriage. A marriage which can only happen between a man and a woman and which faithfully continues His own creation story.

God tells us in a very direct way what is right and what is wrong; how to love like a saint and how to avoid being a sinner. He uses the verb, love, to mean a total gift of oneself to another so that when we give love we feel long term joy vs the fleeting happiness we feel by when we “feel the pleasure” of love.

Evil is the unfaithful, untruthful, search for a self satisfying love, a love which doesn’t satisfy. 

The issue, as I see it, is that the culture, politics and powers of the world lie to us about what God intended about love. The culture tells us that love is a feeling, a happiness that we deserve and that our success is measured by how I feel individually, what I have individually, and how I can get others to give me what will make ME “feel” good.

Our current culture has us believing that everyone should feel good equally, and that if I feel good all will be right regardless if someone else is slighted, walked on, or even denied life itself. AND in order to feel good I must get what I want as quickly as I want without regard and respect for the human being He created in His image or the creation He put here to serve us and give us our daily bread.

My favorite Scripture verse simply says it all:
If I speak in human and angelic tongues  but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. 
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1Cor: 1-8

Heavenly Father: Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Help me to avoid worry, rudeness, and self-righteous behavior. Give me the grace to be patient and kind to others, loving them as you love me. Forgive me when I fail, and help those I hurt to be tolerant of my shortcomings. Please also help me to be tolerant and forgiving of others especially when the temptations of the culture pull us away from each other. Help me to seek, share and find peace and joy thru love. Amen.

As countercultural as it is, may we strive for the truth that is in God’s voice, remember how he served (loved) us with his gruesome death on the cross and seek the only truth that will get us to heaven: love Him and love one another.


Monday, April 11, 2016


Friends of Faith:

I am convicted in my faith. And I, like Jesus and His followers, will be convicted (judged and persecuted) because of my faith. Sadly enough I will even be convicted and judged by other believers because of the faith which allows me to “be silent no more.”

If you, like me, find yourself feeling saddened by our nations seemingly Godless views, discouraged by today’s political division, and with a sense of powerless to protect basic human rights then I would encourage you to go see the movie “God’s NOT Dead 2.”

The knowledge alone that a movie with this title is in the theatre gives me hope, and reminds me that I must constantly champion the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion and find a voice in today’s all too secular society for God. The movie proves God’s existence using means other than the Bible and promotes and gives courage to Christians that there is strength in prayer and in the support of a community.
As Christians we must not be silent – we must be convicted in, even persecuted by, and for our faith in God.

“The high priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that name? Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” …..So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. Acts 5: 27-41
There are days when I, like Jesus and the main character in God’s NOT dead, Grace Wesley, pray: “God, please don’t forsake me.” There are moments when I hear the truth of the teachings of the Catholic Church challenged and I find myself with the faith to rejoice because I am “suffering dishonor for the sake of the name.” And there are times when I am challenged by some of my closest Christian friends who are either complacent, “stuck” or in denial of the power of Jesus; who believe that standing up for life, marriage, prayer or even the sanctity of Sunday worship time must be politically correct, non judgmental, and is a “freedom of choice.”

But, thankfully, God constantly allows me an awareness that He is in charge. I see the Spirit opening hearts and minds that are willing to take on the challenges of growing deeper in faith, answering His call and saying Yes to His will. I see religious leaders who are reaching out to each other, finding common ground and speaking common truths. And I rejoice when I hear those who openly witness to their faith and ultimately seek to return to the fullness of the Church.

My faith is a relationship with Jesus that gives me the courage to say: “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.” Nicene Creed, 4th Century Statement of Belief

And the more I learn and the more as I study, the more convicted I become and unfortunately, just like Christian followers before me, the more dishonored by human judgment I will become. And in those times I will rejoice because I have been chosen to suffer for the sake of His name.
Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the] flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Eph 6: 10-17

Am I convicted enough that I am willing to be convicted? Will I stand up for my faith? Can I defend what I believe against the tactics of the devil, even in a court of law?

Lord, I call on your name because I am weak. But because I am weak, I know it is in your power that I will become strong. Give me the courage to stand up and say I am Your follower forever. Give me the strength to stand up and say YOU are the Truth. Give me Hope so that I will “not be afraid.” Dear God, make me strong, make me yours, help me to do Your will, in Your name. Amen.
Is my faith in God’s protection, in God’s power, in His truth, enough to shout to the world: “God’s Not Dead –because His Church is Alive?”

Will my choices be done because of faith in the power of His Way, His Truth and His Life?
May you receive the grace and peace of living in the conviction of Jesus’ hope and help,