Monday, January 30, 2017

Fact or Fiction

Friends of Faith:
There is so much talk about what is fact or fiction. It has become increasingly difficult to know what is the truth and what is a lie. The passage of unnatural and self-serving laws and the influence of popular media have blurred the lines so much between right and wrong that this difficulty has multiplied exponentially (one lie building upon another) in the last few years. So what is fact, what is fiction and what and who should we believe?

“Seek the LORD, all you humble of the earth, who have observed His law; seek justice, seek humility;
perhaps you may be sheltered on the day of the LORD's anger.
“But I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD: the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong and speak no lies; nor shall there be found in their mouths a deceitful tongue; they shall pasture and couch their flocks with none to disturb them.” Zep 2:3, 3:12-13

Fiction: Popular news media, reality TV and most of what the culture wants us to believe. (I find myself in disgust of not only of the lies I can easily discern, but of our vulnerability to believe, without further research, everything we are told.)

Fact:  God’s Word, Scripture, Jesus & the Church He left here under the guidance of the Holy Spirit are always right.

These two alone might be enough to convince you that we need to be much more discerning about what we believe and who we trust; that the propaganda we are hearing and are subjected to by popular culture is a lie and that God is the Way, the Truth AND the Life. But if you either have time, or yearn to be further convicted in truth, please read on….

Fiction: Wealth creates happiness and we have a “right” to happiness so happiness can be bought with money or should be given to us because we “deserve” it.

Fact: We deserve an opportunity to attain knowledge of riches and we will be judged by what we do with that knowledge because our greatest responsibility is to love God and our neighbor and to do whatever God asks. If we are blessed with money it is our duty to do “good” with it. (Know who it is that you donate to – this is a great area of hidden deceit).

Fiction: The sports god, entertainment god, Facebook god, shopping god, food god, envy god, or any other addiction god that consumes us and blinds us from the needs of others and makes us self-centered in our thoughts and actions.

Fact: Spending a few minutes in prayer, an hour in church, or some time helping a neighbor will gain us more peace, joy on earth and happiness in a day than hours, days or years of time spent with the above mentioned gods. And time with God and service for his “least ones” will be doing the will of the Father while offering us a glimpse of the peace and joy in heaven.

Fiction: Freedom means the right to choose without responsibility or consequences. And women and men lack this freedom, this “right,” when they are asked to do something contrary to what they feel like doing.

Fact: God equally gave all women and all men life, liberty (free will) – the freedom to choose between right or wrong --and the ability to pursue eternal happiness. To choose between God’s will and the devil’s temptations; to choose between eternal life or death; and to choose to live by God’s law or man’s. And every choice we make has a consequence and a responsibility. True freedom is to be free of the grip of sin allowing us to focus on the “good of the other” which is true love.

Fiction: Men and women are created exactly the same.

Fact: Every man and every woman is extremely different. In fact, even twins aren’t exactly the same. That is a fact of nature and of God’s design. Male and female are created uniquely Holy and supremely sacred. As such male and female together are designed to give life and have been given the responsibility to protect human life while subduing and having dominion over all other forms of life (Gn 1:28).

Fiction: Sex is free. Sex is without responsibility, consequences or cost. Sex isn’t a choice, it’s a right.

Fact: Sex is a gift given to us by God when HE chose to create a man AND a woman. Choosing to act sexually as God intended: for the binding of a man and a woman in marriage and for the continuation of His creation story through procreation is Good (Gn 1:28). And like all good choices it comes with a responsibility: to love the person we are bound to by it’s unifying nature and to love the gift of life which might be created by the act itself. Choosing to “use” sex for any other reason is to scorn God’s design.

And lastly: Fiction: Making it a law makes it right.

Fact: Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right and/or just.

He is and He will always Be the Way, the Truth and the Life.



Monday, January 23, 2017

To Know Him

Friends of Faith:

The first of the 100 confirmation questions I was required to memorize when I was just 9 years old was from the very first paragraph of the Catechism: “What does God want from us?” The answer: “To seek Him, to know Him, and to love Him.” CCC1

And although I was baptized when I was just a few days old, have gone to mass at least once a week forever, attended Catholic school, have taken part in several retreats and more recently have attended diaconate formation classes with Stan for the past 4 years, I continue to be constantly in awe of the miracles God has performed and the prayers that I see answered.

And, I am constantly reminded of the many things about God I do not know.

Unfortunately I am also reminded of that first question and answer when I am asked why more don’t come to church, attend date nights, retreats or other faith sharing groups.

Is it because we are afraid to “know him;” afraid of what we might learn, or afraid of what we might have to change in our lives? Or is it because we are apathetic to anything beyond today, not caring what eternal life might look like and preferring instead to be unchallenged, avoid suffering, and to serve mostly ourselves?

One of the greatest gifts we have received in diaconate formation is the opportunity to meet very wise and well educated theologians and to be blessed with bookshelves full of resources. But if we don’t use these resources to deepen our faith in some way, and if all we do is put the books on a shelf and file away our notes, never praying to have the strength to do God’s will and never seeking to love others as He loved us then we too will have gained nothing.

So the even greater gift I have been given is the wisdom to KNOW that in order to KNOW God I must constantly strive to know Him by taking every opportunity possible: by taking time to pray (personal relationship), by reading Scripture and early Church writings (history), by making time to attend days of reflection and retreat (heart growth), and by attending faith sharing groups (such as date night) to share this journey with others (growing a community of support and love).

In order to grow, and in order to keep up with the times I am reminded by the questions I am asked that I, too, still have much to learn, about God, about the history of the Church, about how the Church has evolved, about Scripture, the Saints, and even the sinners and especially about God’s design and purpose for my life.

So, I seek Him and I yearn to Know and love Him – because in Him all things are possible, today, tomorrow and forever.

Be blessed in your journey to seek, to know and to love, because Learning to Know God never ends. 
Seeking God never ends. Loving God never ends.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Friends of Faith:
In Saint Mother Theresa’s words: “Everything starts from prayer. Without asking God for love, we cannot possess love and still less are we able to give it to others. Just as people today are speaking so much about the poor, we too cannot talk too much about prayer and yet not know how to pray.”

We can’t be close to God without prayer, because although God knows us, we can’t know him without listening to him once in a while (we talk a lot, but since God already knows what we are thinking, it’s much more important that we “tune-in” to him and listen than the other way around.)

But he still wants us to tell him that we need him, that we love him, that we want his forgiveness and that we appreciate all that he has given to us. He is waiting patiently for our prayers, both those we speak aloud and those in the silence of our hearts.

First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone. 1Tim 2:1

God is love, and without prayer we cannot truly KNOW His love. And without knowing God’s love it is difficult, if not impossible to give love to others.

Saint Mother Theresa also says: “Once in a while we should ask ourselves several questions in order to guide our actions. We should ask questions like: Do I know the poor? Do I know, in the first place, the poor in my family, those who are closest to me—people who are poor, but not because they lack bread? There are other types of poverty just as painful because they are more intrinsic. Perhaps, what my husband or wife lacks, what my children lack, what my parents lack, is not clothes or food. Perhaps they lack love, because I do not give it to them!”

Are those closest to us one of God’s poor? It is something to ponder.

Do we love enough? Do we pray for and love those closest to us so that they too will know God, or are they poor in Spirit and poor in love?

Do we pray? Do we pray enough? Do we pray for those we love? Do we truly know God? Do we ACT on what God is asking of us?
Give your spouse and children a hug; give them love and pray for them today.