Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Real Struggle

Earlier this year, I moved away from my family to take a job in a better economy and gratefully fulfill my duty as a provider Husband and Father. That moved has absorbed my time to a large extent and is why writing here ceased for a time.

This is not the subject of this post, but is the backstory.

I have narrated and written about my personal entry into the Christian and Catholic Journey, which has focused (in the past) and still today targets my conscience and the internal truth revealed by conscience. There is a real struggle occurring which I fight that I am confident many Christians are facing and exposing it here I hope to draw out some of your insights, experience and truth.

I have observed in friends, family and myself a material penalty to following Christ. To reinforce that even more, I have, and continue to see that not following Christ apparently does not incur this penalty. My family began to have material and financial hardships after our commitment to Christ became evident and visible. That has been consistent for most of this decade, personally. I have a few other close friends with families who upon conversion and sincere effort to get closer to Christ are experiencing hardships which were not occurring in all the years where the Christian belief and following were non-existent. Beneficial employment, maintaining adequate house ownership, family relationship troubles are persisting or creating themselves day in and day out. I can say for myself those were not even a thought until the last 8 years.

I have conversed with my wife, and she with me that it is obvious that Christians who make real moves to walk in His follow are consistently plagued by hardships that do not occur outside of that intent. We have on our own observed those in our family and our friend circles which are self proclaimed non-believers prosper in their material efforts. These are people who display selfishness and disregard ( and sometimes disrespect) for those who should matter most, or those who are close to them and are in need.

At times it is mid-bending to see the clear divide and ironic backwards results in front of our eyes and hearts.

I have written about my studies in this subject, extensively about Thomas Merton and his ultimate question "will a God save us in spite of our flawed efforts?" The internal benefits to following Christ are clear, and as I have stated here, cannot be equaled materially or otherwise.


Can we follow Him with zeal and passion when this struggle is imposed by that very following? This defies the same logic truth which the conscience reveals. Following the Law written in our own hearts by Him produces distraction and doubt that tomorrow will not leave our minds and spirits free from these stresses that cut into that beneficial bond. It is enough to consider a turn away for any mere Human.

Yet the question remains....why is this struggle imposed on us? It is not a question of reality, that is not disputed. Many of you know exactly what I am pointing to.

While I am far from turning back to secular values, I feel a toll occurring and exponentially building a wall of evidence against this journey. Is my Faith shaken? Not yet...but you can see from this post anything is possible with enough pressure. My internal life change is solid, but is it enough to overcome every new penalty? That I wonder. I find gratitude is at times my only relief albeit momentary, it is my bond and connection when I can produce no other.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cardinal O'Malley at the National Basilica

Cardinal O'Malley (Boston) celebrated the Divine Mercy Sunday Mass at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. this past Sunday. His lengthy homily included personal and devotional references to this special celebration. Incorporated in that liturgy was a communal recitation prayer of Gratitude to our Lord for granting us Mercy, which the Cardinal and several Deacons recited in front of the Immaculate Heart image. A few phone-cam shots of the Basilica and Mass:



The "Crypt Chapel below the main Church:



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Why Go to Mass this Divine Mercy Sunday April 11

...and make Confession and receive the Eucharist. We cannot imagine the personal and individual impact that He said it shall have:

According to the notebooks of Saint Faustina, Jesus made the following statements about this day:

"On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity." (Diary of Saint Faustina, 699)

Have you ever tried Confession and doubted your ability to make any headway against sin? I know I have for many years in the past. My podcasts narrate that reality. St. Faustina was a dedicated vehicle to bring us deeper motivation to keep seeking His Mercy. Here is a suggested path to Celebrate this Sunday:

Observing the Feast of Mercy Sunday:

  1. Celebrate the Feast on the Sunday after Easter.
  2. Sincerely repent of all sins
  3. Place complete trust in Jesus
  4. Go to Confession, preferably before that Sunday due to big crowds
  5. Receive Holy Communion on the day of the Feast if possible
  6. Venerate the image of The Divine Mercy
  7. Be merciful to others through actions, words, and prayers
Everything to gain and nothing to lose in this Sunday April 11, 2010.....do it with me.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Silly Humans Vol. 2 - The "Reformed" Catholic Clergy Scandal

Silly Humans are at it again. They (we) are treating the Catholic Church with the same media artillery fire which they tragically find so superficially effective on TMZ or in the Enquirer. I'm not just talking about the old and tired paintbrush of heresy on the Priests at fault themselves, those are predictable and correctly aimed at least. I am talking about the media taking aim at Pope B16 and calling him out to proclaim the buck stops with him, that B16 will let the hammer down, take personal responsibility, blah, blah blah, as if the Church were Enron.

In Faith, it doesn't work that way, sorry.

B16 did take the media's card deck with urgency and cut it, playing the current cultural card game of issuing a statement of visible Authority to the level it made sense to the Secular outcry, however, B16 cannot "fire" the perps in a retributive bloodletting that the Secular world thirsts for. The Secular Silly Humans cannot understand how accountability works between our Lord and Father and the sinner at fault. The Father (IE. God) calls for obedience, and when the Sinner turns to Him in sincere effort to obey, that's when our Faith in mercy matters. Can any Catholic minimize or tolerate Clergy sex abuse? No. I wrote extensively @ The Circle about this last month which covers how members of the Body should treat the issue amongst any Christian Faithful.

My point here is they (we) Silly Humans need to stop acting like rabid journalists viewing the Vatican as the source or prevention of this shameful abuse of Religious position. It is not effective to publish cultural sanctions on the Church. We Humans appointed ourselves as followers, flawed ones, and we will fail on our way to forming a worthy relationship with our Almighty Father. The Church is not a failing profit center falsifying its annual report, and the Pope is not Chairman of its Board.

The media needs to realize this actuality, and act accordingly.

Just sayin'

Monday, March 1, 2010

Exponential Catechesis

For over a year, I have been attending a weekly Apologetics study class by a group of Catholics who are blessed to have one of the finest and most articulate DRE's in the Country. Mind you, from the time I started, I could not participate as the class is in Virginia and I was in Florida, so I could only listen in on this group via podcast and wish I was there.

Last night, that changed.

I relocated to Maryland a week ago and last night set out to Stafford Va. to attend my weekly class this time in person. Dr. Jim Dobbins and his group felt like old friends and at the same time, I was excited to explore new territory with them. Dr. Jim and his class have been ongoing weekly for a few years now, while posting the audio of whatever happened, whatever was said, whatever was questioned during each outlined series of discussions on aspects of Catholicism. If you are interested in real dialogue by everyday Catholics who are authentic in discovering and practicing the most penetrating virtues of the Faith, listen and subscribe to Dr. James Dobbins Catholic Apologetics Podcast.

A series on Revelation is just beginning.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Ever have to step back and rethink your whole approach to a particular thing? Thats what I've been doing with the Catholic Journeyman podcast (since 08 apparently). I initially barreled into narrating the discovery of Conscience as the map to my heart (in a broad view), and what stopped production was studying and living this new perspective, new constant insight, new ongoing reality of the Conscience effect.

It became confusing at times tracking a coherent path that I could fit into a narrative, that is, my conscience became such an active driver of all the human levels of living. This way of thinking continued evolving. This led down several different, but individually critical means of living out the new internal reality of the rightly forming conscience.

Upon discernment of the aspect that the conscience, motives and behaviors were under a consistent right formation, my outlines for future podcast episodes had to be put aside. They went too quickly into the intellectual and theological areas of study, at the expense of that which is more personal, meaningful and revealing. There was an overwhelming amount of Grace evidence to be mined, organized into narratives and then shared.

It is here that I begin back to the Cast Anew. Retracing the meaningful changes and endless affects of rightly forming Conscience. Brushing against it without sufficient depth would diminish the intimate for the theological and intellectual.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Altar Call fails

If all Christians, Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox believe that Salvation is purely due to Gods Grace alone, isnt the human act of "accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior" a work in itself...contradicting this core biblical understanding?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

An Essay on a Path to Christian Unity

I have been blessed to participate in the vigorous work over at Called To Communion, where they have chosen my Essay as considerable. While the challenge to unite remains elusive, the steep climb is being made by both sides. This excerpt provides the size of the slope and why it is critical that real efforts like CTC are mandated:

"In an interview in 2003, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus said the following:
“The Catholic Church preserves itself as the most fully and rightly ordered through time and this in no way means that the Church is the totality of Jesus Christ. Vat II says everyone who is baptized and accepts Christ as their Savior is truly, but, imperfectly in union with the Catholic Church (sic). A lot of Conservative and Orthodox Catholics are nervous about Unity and Ecumenism and they view Ecumenism as a liberal project and a very suspect one riddled with people who want to water down the Catholic Faith in order to agree on doctrines. But In fact, JP II had one of the most striking and persistent and strongest efforts in Ut Unum Sint. The quest for Christian Unity is not a program of The Catholic Church, it is inherent in being the Catholic Church. If we have this deeply biblical Christ centered understanding of what “The Church” is, then we have the key to that door. (Neuhaus continues his take further): We should say to our Protestant friends ” Look, we’re not engaged in this quest for Christian unity because it is something we have to create, we have already a unity in Christ which is the gift of God. The reason ecumenism is necessary is not that we are not Brothers and Sisters in Christ, it is rather because we are Brothers and Sisters in Christ , but live as though we are not.”