Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Remember We Are Dust

Today is Ash Wednesday. That means several things. It is the beginning of the new Lenten season. It is a day of fast and abstinence from meat. It is not a holy day of obligation, but it is a wonderful day to participate in the mass and receive ashes on our forehead. These ashes are a remembrance of our own mortality. It is also a witness of our faith and an opportunity to be missionaries for others. It offers us an opportunity to explain our faith, discuss the purpose of the ashes, and bring attention to the season of Lent.

Life is short. Time flies. We don’t know the time or the hour of our death, but we do know that our earthly life will not be eternal. We will die. Once we accept and understand this fact, we should think about how we should live our lives so that we will have eternal life in heaven. This requires us to constantly work on improving ourselves, seeking forgiveness for our sins, and living our lives as if today is our last. This does not mean we should go jump off a cliff, but we should seek to grow spiritually every day and always desire to be in a state of grace. The glory of this world is temporary. We must not get caught up in the daily struggles of our lives, but look at the bigger picture and offer our pains and sufferings as a small sacrifice to God. It gives us a chance to say a quick prayer and remember the greatest sacrifice of all; Jesus’ death on the cross. We should also never forget that he rose from the dead and that ultimately victory over sin and death has been won. We should live our lives joyfully with this hope in mind.

Lent is a great opportunity to grow in faith and love. Lent often receives a negative connotation because people often look at what we are required to give up rather than the great graces we can receive. When we give something up for lent, we should do so in the spirit of self sacrifice and with the intention of coming closer to God. Lent should not be seen simply as a chance to improve our diet. Lent is not only a sacrificial time, but we can use this time to take on new activities that we don’t normally do that will bring us closer to God. One example might be to spend an hour a week in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. You could pray the rosary daily, volunteer at a soup kitchen or charitable organization. I’d like to recommend that you visit the 40 Day’s for Life website. Ash Wednesday is the first day of the spring 40 Day’s for Life campaign. When you click on the 40 Day’s for Life link, I’ve directed you to their website which has a list of participating locations. With over 150 locations across the United States, you should be able to find a participating location near you; I see there is even a location in Muncie, IN. I recommend spending even just 1 hour during this Lenten season praying at one of these locations. I assure you that the graces you will receive from this experience will be great, and you may even be an instrument in saving a life.

Whatever it is you decide to do this Lent, remember to do it for the right reason. Don’t do it simply out of a sense of obligation, but see it as an opportunity to grow in faith. Don’t try to do more than you can succeed at doing, but be faithful to the sacrifices you choose. God does not want us to harm ourselves mentally or physically, but when we voluntarily give up something that we have a right to do or have with the intention of growing closer to God, we will be richly blessed. God bless!

40 Day's for Life Locations

Friday, February 12, 2010

I am a Sinner

I am a sinner. This should not be a shocking revelation to anyone because of course I’m human. If I were to tell you otherwise, I would be telling an obvious and flat out lie. Why then do I make such an obvious statement? Why did I use this phrase as the title of my post? The mission of this blog is not to condemn people, but rather to lift people up and to bring you closer to God. I believe that the only way that people can find true happiness is to surrender their life to God and live their life not for this world but for the next. Sometimes I state my personal opinions on this blog, but often I also try to share the Truth as revealed to all of us through God in one way or another. We cannot deny some very basic truths which God has revealed to us through divine revelation. There is sin in the world. There is right and wrong. There is a heaven and a hell. These are realities. Deny them at your own peril.
What is the difference between a sinner and a saint? Have you ever heard this question before? I bet you have. In fact, I’ve even watched a movie titled Saints and Sinners. The movie was ok, but that’s not what I want to talk about here. The question in my opinion is flawed, because it assumes that the two are mutually exclusive when in fact they are not. The best answer I could give to the question is this; every saint is a sinner, but not every sinner is a saint. Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, and since that time all of us have been stained with original sin except for Jesus Christ our Lord and His mother Mary. Every saint sinned in their earthly life.
So what distinguishes a saint from someone who is not a saint? It’s pretty simple; a saint is anyone in heaven. Of course we will not know for certain who is and who is not a saint unless and until we ourselves have passed and made it into heaven, but some people the Church have recognized as saints. These people whom the church has recognized we say are canonized saints. In order to become a canonized saint, one must live a life of holiness, but there also must be at least 2 miracles attributed to their name. I am a sinner, but I strive to be a saint. We all should strive to be a saint, because that is why we are here. I cannot imagine what it would be like in hell. I do not want to ever know what it feels like to be in eternal damnation. We all yearn to be close to God whether we know it or not. So why should you listen to me or your parents or your parish priest when we talk about faith and Jesus Christ? After all, we are sinners. What makes our thoughts or words any better than yours? Doesn’t it make us hypocrites to talk about our faith when we don’t live out our lives according to all the teachings we preach?
If failing to live our lives according to God’s word makes us a hypocrite, then we are all hypocrites. But didn’t Jesus condemn the hypocrites, the Pharisees? Is he also condemning all of us? I don’t believe so. In the same scripture passage, he forgives a tax collector and known long time sinner. Why does He forgive the tax collector but condemn the hypocritical Pharisees? The answer is also the difference between those who will become saints and those who will not. The tax collector recognized his sinfulness, was sincerely sorry for his sins, and had faith in Jesus that he was God. The hypocrites were not hypocritical because they were sinners, but rather because they preached but did not recognize their own sinfulness.
On my drive home from work, I usually listen to the Catholic Channel. The Catholic Guy Show is usually on when I listen. It is very entertaining while still offering some good Catholic themes, however sometimes the host Lino gets on my nerves a little. One thing that Lino often complains about is other Catholics who he considers hypocrites. Although I don’t know who he is referring to specifically, I believe it has to do with some catholic radio hosts who base their show around talking about a lot of the important moral issues. Maybe some of these people are hypocritical, but I believe that ignoring the important moral issues of our time is as bad if not worse than being hypocritical. We are already seeing a strong push toward moral relativism, where people try to avoid confrontation by ignoring the faults of others and letting each individual decide for him or herself what is right and wrong. While this sounds good in fantasy land, in reality it is a grave evil. We have a responsibility to proclaim the Truth, to be missionaries, and to recognize and point out faults of others and society at large. It is the charitable thing to do. To ignore the important issues is cowardly and it is the opposite of charity. If we truly care about the well being of others, we should do all that we can to help lead them to a life worthy of gaining them eternal life. Obviously, if we aren’t living our lives in holiness it will be difficult to convince others to follow. We should not lead others toward us however, but we should lead others to God. It is God working through us that we can be missionaries to others.
I hope that as you read my blog, you see it as my way of me trying to live the Gospel of Life and glorifying God. Do not think for a second that I write about what I consider important moral issues because I am condemning you personally, but because I care about you and love you. I want you to feel the comfort and joy of God’s love. It is a great blessing and treasure to live this life for God. Selflessness may seem restricting, but in reality it is freeing. I will not always live up to the words I write, but I hope that I will always recognize my sinfulness, seek forgiveness in the sacrament of confession, and always strive to be a better person. If we do this, our lives will be more joyful, the lives of the people around us will be more joyful, and maybe at the end of our earthly lives we will be saints forever in heaven with God. Only through God’s grace is this possible, but I have faith.
Jesus, you know that I am a sinner. I know that I am a sinner. Help me to avoid occasions of sin. May I seize the opportunity to lead others to you when the opportunity arises. Please protect and bless me, my family and friends. Lord, may you work through me and other people of good will to bring your message of hope and love to those who have lost hope and lost their faith in you, especially those in my own family and close circle. Have mercy on us and on the whole world. Forgive me my sins so that I may have eternal life. Give me strength to fight evil at every turn, never ignoring the truth. May I never take You and your mercy for granted. May your love shine though me. May I always strive to be the saint, not the hypocrite. Lastly, I pray that you inspire me to write the right words and say the right things so that those who read this blog and hear my words will discover your love and find eternal happiness with You. May I never lose sight of the ultimate goal of this blog which is to glorify You. Praise God!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

LDI Letter Writing Campaign: Oracle

Note: Oracle is listed on LDI’s boycott list as of February 9, 2010 for their support of Planned Parenthood. I cannot guarantee that Oracle will continue to be listed on LDI’s boycott list at the time you read this blog post. Please visit Life Decisions International to confirm that the company is still on the boycott list.

Oracle Corporation
Mr. Lawrence J. Ellison, CEO
500 Oracle Parkway
Redwood Shores, CA 94065-1677

Monday, February 8, 2010

And This Commerical is Controversial How?

Women's Media Center, National Organization for Women (NOW), and other organizations that made such a fuss about the Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad before even seeing it have got to be embarrassed a day later after viewing the commerical. Focus on the Family is a great organization that I've supported ever since I found them and I think they did a very smart thing by airing this ad. It did many things. First of all, it exposed some of these so called "women's choice groups" for what they really are; pro-abortion groups that really aren't pro-choice. These groups actually helped the pro-life cause by calling even more attention to the ad than probably would have been the case if they said nothing at all. Thirdly, the add will undoubtedly increase the popularity of their site, and although they didn't go into details about Tim Tebow's remarkable birth story in the commerical they do have the story in more detail on their site. I almost missed this commericial when it aired because it comes and goes by so fast. In case you missed it last night, below is the much talked about Tim Tebow ad.

Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Dan Konopa!

This past weekend I was in St. Louis to celebrate my cousin's wedding. It was a great time and I'm very happy for him and his new bride. Below is a picture I took as they were exiting the church.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It's a first!!!

Julie slept for 9 hours straight last night! She'd never slept for more than 6 hours straight before last night. This week Shelly and I decided we had to let her cry herself to sleep or else we'd never get a full night sleep. At least last night, it worked!