I'm back. It's been a long time since my last post, but I hope to be writing consistently again.
In this post I want to touch on the familiar Christian theme of "surrender."
Surrender is a funny word. It has two meanings. On the one hand, it means defeat; losing a battle, or a game. This type of surrender I call resentful surrender since it isn't accomplished out of love. This type of surrender is forced upon a person through circumstance.
On the other hand, the word surrender means acceptance; sometimes even a joyful acceptance. This is the essence of Christian surrender. It combines joy with acceptance. This type of surrender is different from the resentful surrender that requires almost a stoic detachment from events.
Resentful surrender doesn't have hope. The joy that comes from the Christian form of surrender is born out of a solid, supernatural foundation built on hope. I recently wrote a journal entry that dealt with these matters.
After we were married my wife and I, through much prayer developed a family mission statement. It is hanging in a prominent place in our bedroom and we try to abide by its content as best as we can. But my personal mission statement has sadly been under construction since 2001. Sure, I've drafted a few versions over the years, but have always deemed them to be unsatisfactory. I think what may have been lacking in the previous attempts is looking at my life though the lens of virtues. As God would have it, while I was on retreat last week and my mind was more quiet, several ideas began to string together that seemed to create an outline for a personal mission statement. I was also heavily influenced by the book, Virtuous Leadership:An Agenda for Personal Excellence by Alexandre Havard. I definitely recommend this book.
So here is my personal mission statement ( the mini constitution for my life)
"My mission in life is to grow in holiness following God's will through the …
It's been a while since my last post as I just attended an Opus Dei retreat. It's difficult for me to get the writing engines running after they have been turned off. So forgive me if I am a little clumsy in my delivery.
Ah..... silence. I spent much time in the classroom of silence just listening to God's voice. There is nothing like spending some alone time with God. Silence is the gateway to God. Silence is where you hear God's "still small voice" most clearly. Silence is being naked but not ashamed. I was able to ponder a lot in silence. God put many things on my heart during this time; one of them was the message of beauty of God and heaven.
One of the speakers on the retreat made this great point about the mystery and vastness of heaven.
Trying to describe the kingdom of heaven is like trying to describe the outside world to a baby in the womb. If you could communicate intelligently with the baby in utero you could try to explain the amazing world by…
The ideal society is the one which has a healthy fear of God combined with the original vision of governance crafted by our founding fathers in the constitution. No medicine in history has been able to replicate the healing power of laughter. Life is full of humor if you look for it. The truly interesting man is the one who centers his life around God. Vanity of vanities. This whole life is vanity, a chase after the wind. Everything passes away: the seasons, the weather, human life. Everything is always changing and evolving. Strange that we put so much faith in such a transient world. I really hate raccoons. I'm using the word hate here. Big garbage picking rats. Why do people get on each other's nerves? A lot of it probably has to do with people possessing different temperaments. The key to getting along is not focusing on the differences, but focusing instead on a unifying, greater cause. The whole being of a person lies in the spi…
Men, it is time to establish a new Christian patriarchy. It is time to wake up from the muck and mire of the rigors of daily life and fight for a worthwhile cause. It is time to reclaim the ground that has been lost to cultural decline. It is time for us to grow up and start behaving like real men instead of adolescents. The battle is raging and the enemies are fierce. Our woman are waiting. Our country is waiting. Our Church is waiting. We need soldiers. We need good Christian soldiers. We need Christian patriarchs.
So what is a Christian patriarch?
The best way to define Christian patriarchy is to first look at St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians where he writes,
"Wives be subject to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself Savior. As the Church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church …
Let's face it we are a nation in decline. This country is being attacked by outside forces and we are also unwittingly attacking ourselves from within We are being decimated by the two headed monster of radical Islam and secular liberalism.
Against these two forces our nation has little chance of regaining its former glory as a representative government, which was carefully crafted by our nation's founding fathers. We used to be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We now are a people of the government, by the government and "from" the government. We have become a nation led by a growing authoritarian class. We are subjected to the whims of this powerful minority who claims that they know better how to govern our lives than we do. We are selling out daily to that behemoth called the government. We are becoming less reliant on God and ourselves and becoming more reliant on the utopian fantasies of corrupt politicians, whose primary aim…
"No, my children! We cannot lead a double life. We cannot be like schizophrenics, if we want to be Christians. There is only one life, made of flesh and spirit. And it is that life which has to become, in both body and soul, holy and filled with God: we discover the invisible God in the most visible and material things. " St. Josemaria Escriva from "Passionately Loving The World.
Recently I attended a day of recollection through Opus Dei. Something about the talk struck me. The speaker was making points about clericalism that I had never heard before. It made me pause and think about the way I was progressing in my own spiritual life.
So what is Clericalism? The dictionary definition is: a policy of maintaining or increasing the power of a religious hierarchy
During St. Josemaria's time (1930's Spain) clericalism was a big problem. There was the perception that priests lived a comfortable life because of their status in society. Often times these priests li…
Ever channel surf at 3 AM? If you haven't I definitely recommend it. The stuff you find at this hour is ludicrous. This is a brief summary of one of these late night surfing sessions. (and yes I took notes) Surf's up!
Channel 27: There he goes again that damned purple dinosaur. I thought that he was effectively killed 2 decades ago in the Robin Williams movie "Death to Smoochy" But there he was again wiggling, nearly falling down after each step singing some cryptic nursery rhymes. The kids look overly gleeful, almost dazed. I'm sorry but these kids look a little off. I guess they're also secretly traumatized by this fuzzy purple throw back to the early 1970's. Have we not evolved in 40 plus years? Didn't "Puff and Stuff" have the exact same concept: humans wearing large headed dinosaur suits dancing around a bunch of way too happy kids? Is there nothing new under the sun? Troubled, I flick the channel...
Did Jesus really exist? Or was he an ideal that was championed by a poor and desperate class?(as the philosopher Georg Hegel once theorized) Who was this Jesus? Who was this important albeit controversial and divisive, historical figure?
In this post I will try to briefly answer some of these questions about the historicity of Jesus.
1)The life of Jesus was mentioned in non christian sources very early on. Great Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius both speak about Jesus. Tacitus in his Annals (AD 116)writes about Jesus as follows:
"Christus, from whom the name has it origins, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular."
Jesus was also spoken about in the…
Allow me to share some unrelated random thoughts: Youth is the time of ideals, of exciting grand gestures, of unbridled enthusiasm. There is never a time quite like it. Youth is also the time of immaturity, of unrealized hopes, vanquished ideals, of starting and not finishing. I want to be young forever, but with a mix of silver haired wisdom. That is the best combination. What is a person? Is a person simply a collection of cells, molecules, and atoms? No. A person is more than that. A person consists of both physical and spiritual matter. The soul is the part which grants life to our bodies. The soul can't be seen - but like the wind it is there even if we can't see it. Life is a roller coaster: with its anticipation of the ride, its highs and lows, its thrills and leveling off. The only thing is.... that one never knows when the ride will end. I love this country, but it is being run by freaks: by wig wearing politicians, dumb celebritards, a media gone mad and powdered…
My wife has always wondered about God's plan of redemption. Why did God's plan have to be so violent? He's God. Couldn't the creator of the universe hatch a plan to save us in a less horrific way? Another similar question is: Why did salvation have to involve the sacrifice of just one man? Couldn't salvation have been achieved through some communal effort, or movement? Thankfully, these questions are being answered through some of my reading and I can honestly say the explanations make a lot of sense.
I am in no way intimating that I have stumbled upon these answers on my own. I believe that this clarification was a work of the Holy Spirit. The answers aren't novel as they can be found in the scriptures, the catechism, and through the writings of the early church fathers. The thing that makes this discovery new and exciting for me is the context that they provide to one of Christianity's greatest mysteries. I will attempt to answer these 2 questions by…
She did it! She found them. She finally found them in some random store near our house. She found the stylish black rimmed non prescription glasses that I've been wanting for months. I've been driving my wife crazy making her join in my quest to find these glasses. Ah - yes but once I put them on I felt like Batman scaling the walls of Gotham, saving the city from evil goons. My mother in law commented that I looked a little like Russell Crowe. No problem there. I like Russell Crowe. I looked at myself in the mirror so many times I gave Narcissus a run for his money. Ok. enough self aggrandizing. But did I mention I like how I look in these glasses? Ok the larger point that I am trying to make is: that dressing or looking a certain way causes our self perception and moods to change.
Think about it....
Don't you act differently when you are wearing a suit as opposed to wearing sweatpants? Don' t you view yourself differently after getting a facial, haircut or a ma…
"Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Mark 10:24
For years I was troubled by this passage. I always assumed through reading this passage that anyone who was rich would not enter the kingdom of God. But how could this be? Wasn't Jesus the Lord of all? Even the rich also? It just didn't make any sense to his message of good news. Until recently I held the view that the wealthy were the greatest perpetrators of evil in the world. Everywhere where I looked my view seemed to confirmed by seeing wealthy CEO's making billions through breaking the law, greedy corporations treating their employees as dispensable, corrupt politicians passing bills to protect their own coffers. Even Pope Francis seemed to confirm my views as he preached endlessly about the corruption of our capitalist system. Some bishops even preache…
I had this dream the other night and I was in it as the observer. So I'll narrate it for you.
I was walking towards a gazebo overlooking the ocean. It was a beautiful morning. Spring seemed to be everywhere: the sky was clear, the air perfumed by the ocean, the temperature a perfect "island mild." A couple of joggers and bicyclists passed by. I saw their determined Olympic like gazes as they ran and peddled towards their self imposed finish lines. Everyone seemed to be in an optimistic mood which was brought on by the pleasant weather. Strangely, I too was in good morning spirits even though I was a self professed night owl. This morning was a slice of spring heaven.
There were some sounds coming from the left part of the beach. I moved closer and saw the set up for a wedding. The cynical side of me reared its head as I thought... how original - a beach wedding. But I decided to observe this spectacle anyway mostly out of a sense of curiosity but also for a diversi…
In my previous post on this subject I spoke about the uniqueness of Jesus; how Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. To read more click here.
In today's post I will speak about another key element in understanding Jesus; the role of faith.
Karl Adam speaks about the universal desire for God as he writes:
"The human soul is no mere tabula rasa.(blank slate) As a conditioned, finite entity it is of its very nature attracted towards an Absolute which is unconditioned and final, and in the depths of its consciousness it is aware of the attraction as an unrest, as a nostalgia for eternity and completeness, as a state of sickness for God." pg. 30
St. Augustine once famously cried out to God as he wrote in his Confessions, "Our hearts are restless unless they rest in thee." In order for one to understand Christ one must first have the desire to know him. How is this desire manifested? Karl Adam believes it is manifested by a universal hunger for spirituality,…
"Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me." Matt 25:40
Last week my wife told me how she was inspired by God to help a person in need.
The day began like any another day: errands, plans, bills to pay, deadlines to meet, but she was troubled by something. Two weeks prior she had been to confession and her penance was to do something good for someone else. Despite it being two weeks later my wife still felt that she had yet to fulfill her penance. So she prayed that morning for the Lord to grant her an opportunity to fulfill her penance. Her prayer actually was for the Lord to make it "strikingly clear." .
Later that day she walked into a deli to get something for her and her mother to eat. As she was leaving, she saw a man that by all appearances was down on his luck: he wore dirty clothing, looked totally disheveled, and was miserably drunk, so drunk that he couldn't stand up. My wife walked past him w…
"Why believe in Jesus Christ?" This question is not unique in its originality. Every generation since the early disciples of Christ have asked the same question. This question is still being asked today. The fate of the entire civilized world lies in the answer to this question.
What was it about this humble carpenter from Galilee that has set the world aflame? What was it about the teachings of this itinerant carpenter that have persisted for centuries by both those who oppose and believe in him? What makes this God Man figure so unique as to inspire countless masterpieces, in both music and art?
Without bias the simple truth is that Jesus Christ is the most influential man in human history.
In these posts I will try to give several lucid reasons why one must believe in him. I am not a scholar or a theologian. I am just a man in love with the truth which I found through Jesus Christ. It is my hope that through reading these posts that my readers will also come to som…
This will not be a typical blog post. What I am doing instead is posting one of my short stories that I wrote several months ago.
The Old Man
A gruff old man sat in his chair, struggling to breathe and straining to utter a coherent sound. He had lately become accustomed to looking at the clock on the wall, following the minute hand with his eyes. Yet despite his old age, and withering body he still had the surprising wherewithal to be clear about expressing his innocence to a priest sitting across from him. He knew that he had sins, (what human didn't?) But overall he thought of himself as a good and decent man. Yet despite his self assurances he still wasn't peaceful. He was hiding something, something that had plagued him for years. So he was eager to set his soul at peace through going to confession one last time before he died.
" In the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit..." began the priest.
" When was the last time t…
Frankly I am sick and fed up with all of the hoopla surrounding the
Easter bunny. Call me an Ebenezer Scrooge curmudgeon, but I don't think
that bunnies are that cute. I have seen these little glorified rodents
prowling the streets, hopping with reckless impunity; hopping so fast
that each time a cute child wants to see them they are gone. Can you
believe that when my wife Renee was 5 she got a real bunny for Easter
which she named Honey Bunny. Her innocent, adorable grandma went to pet
it and her reward was a nice bite on her finger. Shortly after Honey
Bunny was no more. I believe that this is the path that all Easter
bunnies should take, a quick death. Most of all I hate the Easter Bunny
because it has replaced Christ as a symbol of the Resurrection. So in
light of all this I am proposing one radical measure; Kill The Easter Bunny! In this short video I will show you how. Enjoy...and by the way Happy Easter!
It has been said in the scriptures "that man should love his neighbor as himself." Nothing challenges this exhortation as actually having to be kind to your physical neighbor. In my family's case this wasn't too much a challenge since we had a unique, rare, type of neighbor that impacted all of our lives for the better. Her name was Maria.
Maria was from Portugal. She came to this country for a better life. She was a proud Portuguese woman. She spoke the language fluently, her kids also spoke the language, and she was old school in her thinking. Black was black and white was white there were no other choices.
Maria was also loud. You can hear her from across the block and God forbid you got on her bad side the whole neighborhood would find out.
But Maria possessed an attribute that was rare. She was honest, told the truth like it was, and was very loyal; especially to our family when we needed her help.
One funny memory comes to mind. My father, yes the same…
Have you ever met a person that drained you? A person so powerful in their ability to suck the life blood out of you that you felt like you couldn't fight back? A person with such a heavy presence that you could actually feel the tension when they enter the room? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you have met a leech.
A leech is defined as, "an aquatic or terrestrial annelid worm with suckers at both ends. Many species are bloodsucking parasites, and others are predators. 2.a person who sponges on others" Traditionally a leech was a worm that would inhale the blood of their prey. The interesting part about their feeding was that they would draw blood until they died. Medieval doctors even used leeches to suck the blood of humans because it was believed that they purified the blood of disease.
Regardless of the definition leeches aren't attractive things. What can be attractive about something that gorges to the point of death.
So it turns out that dad wearing a speedo is more unusual than I thought. To me it was just one of the many typical idiosyncrasies of an immigrant family. It was not until many years later when I realized that my dad, though quite successful in business, was a very peculiar man. Maybe wearing speedos in public settings is not that acceptable after all. I guess my dad had a fondness for his blue, barely stretchable speedos. He wore them on vacations, to local beaches, friends' pools and family events. The following incidents are embedded in my poor brain even though I've try hard to forget them. It doesn't matter. The harder I try to erase those images, the more they remain.. I can't get those ridiculously tight blue speedos out of my head. Thanks dad.
There he was in his white hotel robe and leather flip flops. My brothers and I were already in the pool in the hot Florida sun playing our twentieth Marco Polo game. My father kept walking towards us in a confiden…
My friend has this inordinate fear of porcelain dolls. His whole life he has been terrified of them. Him mom had hundreds of them . That's probably the genesis of his fear. I mean come on... the spooky, cockeyed eyes perpetually gazing at you, their blood red lips smiling and frowning at the same time, the pale white complexion like a frozen corpse. It's all bad. Although I share in his hatred, I am not petrified of them. Actually, I find them funny in a Victorian /Goth way. I just don't get why anyone likes these creepy things.
So anyway, one day my brother and I decided that we would prank our porcelainphobic friend.
We went over to the "doll room" where the little creepies were neatly placed in lighted display cases like in a jewelry store. We searched the cases and found the perfect doll. She had a dead white complexion, was cross eyed, and had long, tangled auburn hair. To top things off the doll was in a kneeling position. We pried apart the praying …
I usually don't write too much about a specific subject, but for some strange reason I keep discovering amazing quotes about loving the cross. The quotes that I discovered this morning came from St. Faustina's Divine Mercy in My Soul. These quotes were so profound that I felt compelled to share them. I would advise meditating upon them if time permits.
When pain overwhelms my soul, And the horizon darkens like night, And the heart is torn with the torment of suffering, Jesus Crucified, You are my strength. When the soul, dimmed with pain, Exerts itself in battle without respite, And the heart is in agony and torment, Jesus Crucified, You are the hope of my salvation. And so the days pass, As the soul bathes in a sea of bitterness, And the heart dissolves into tears, Jesus Crucified, You shine for me like the dawn. And when the cup of bitterness brims over, And all things conspire against her, And the soul goes down to the Garden of Olives, Jesus Crucified, in You is my…
Yesterday I wrote about the concept of loving God's will. As I was reading Divine Mercy in My Soul I stumbled upon this poem that I feel best explains this dynamic of a loving surrender. O will of the omnipotent God, You are my delight, You are my joy. Whatever the hand of my lord holds out to me I will accept with gladness, submission and love. Your holy will is my repose; In it is contained all my sanctity, And all my eternal salvation, For doing God's will is the greatest glory. The will of God --those are His various wishes Which my soul carries out without reserve, Because such are His divine desires, In those moments when God shares his confidences with me. Do with me as You will, Lord. I place no obstacles, I make no reservations. For you are my whole delight and the love of my soul, And to You, in turn, I pour out the confidences of my heart. -St. Faustina from Divine Mercy in My Soul, 1004
Let's face who among of us likes to suffer. Resigning our wi…