Tuesday, November 7, 2017

It's been long. . .too long

Greetings friends and family!  Peace of Christ be with You!  

I have been away from this blog for too long.  Honestly, I wasn't sure if I had deactivated it.  

I didn't and I'm glad.  

Life is full of ups and downs and the past couple of years have been difficult.  I found myself drifting away from the Church for no good reason.  There was always a reason to not go to Mass or to pray or to focus on "material" things.  No good excuse, simply reasons.  

But, recently, I had a "life event" that I feel helped me course correct.  I left my job.  Yes, it was a really really good job in terms of money and benefits, but the stress and the pressure had become too much.  I was no longer happy and that lack of happiness was impacting my family, my health, and had certainly impacted my relationship with God.  So, I decided to make a change.  I left, on my own, at the end of June to figure out what to do next.  

I wanted to spend time over the summer and early fall with my family, free of stress and distraction.  I got to do that, and I truly valued that time and all of the little things from going to the pool, doing things with my daughter and son, getting them off to the first day of school, and running them to various activities.  I wanted to look at the possibility of starting my own business, buying a business, or starting a franchise.  I looked into all three and though none worked out, I valued the opportunity.  I wanted to figure out what I really wanted out of my life in order to search for a career that fit me best.  But, most importantly, I wanted to reconnect with my faith and renew my relationship with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  And, I feel I've come a long way in the last few months.  I've found my way back to the path, and now I need to stay on it.   

Why am I here?  I like writing, I enjoy connecting with others and I want to share -- thoughts on Faith, personal experiences, and opinions.  Living Catholic Daily, the title of this blog, is not easy in today's world, and this provides an outlet to share and discuss the journey we are all on in our own way.  

So, I am back, and my goal is to commit to posting regularly.  I'm not sure if that will be once a week, multiple times a week, once a month, or what.  I'll let the Holy Spirit help guide me.  But, if you enjoy my blog or have topics you'd like to discuss, please shoot me a comment or e-mail!  I want to know that I'm reaching some of you!!  

Have a great day and week.  God Bless All of You!  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

I have been a bit lax with my blog, but hope to start using it a bit more.  I'll keep today's reflection short, but would like to offer a prayer, a special prayer by my Patron Saint from my Confirmation -- St. Patrick.  This is St. Patrick's Breastplate:

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spic├Ęd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.
I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.
I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.
I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Surrounded by God's Beauty

It seems like I run across non-believers often in today's society.  More and more people my age (39) and younger are atheists and do not believe in a Creator.  I'm not going to get into any of the "proof" in this particular post, but I do wonder how someone can look around and not believe?  In the last several days I've taken a few snapshots with my iPhone showing some of the natural beauty in the world, and they show, to me, in a very simple way, the beauty of God's creation.  Yes, atheists could easily explain these things from a scientific standpoint, and that's okay.  But, what makes it possible in the first place?  Deep down, can someone really believe that all of "this" comes from nothing?  Of course not.  At the beginning, there was a trigger -- something that started everything.  It is scientifically impossible for something to come from nothing, but it is possible, if you believe in a Creator, to believe that something came from "nothing."  After all, even if you believe in the Big Bang Theory, something caused the Big Bang, right?  

On the flip side, some people will show pictures and talk about all of the pain and suffering in the world.  You'll hear non-believers say, "if there is a God, why does He allow all of this?"  Let's not forget that God did not create the world with pain and suffering in mind.  Pain and suffering exists as a result of sin, or separation from God.  The Fall in Genesis 3 is where  it all began.  There are four consequences of Original Sin:  1) A distorted idea of God 2) Fear 3) Unsound judgment 4) Death.  Thank God for sending Jesus to die on the cross and give us the chance for redemption.  If all the people in the world followed Jesus' teachings, wouldn't this world be a better place?  Hard to argue it wouldn't, even if you're an atheist.

Anyway, here's a few images of God's beauty that make me thankful.  Even with all of the pain and suffering in this world, there are reminders every day that God exists.  Give Him thanks and praise.  Amen.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Comeback

It's been over a year and a half since I posted on this blog.  Why?  No good reason(s).  I simply got distracted with life -- work, family, friends, hobbies, and lots of other things.  This is the story for many of us isn't it?  Why didn't we make Church on Sunday?  Why didn't we go to Mass on that Holy Day of Obligation?  When was the last time we went to Confession?  Or, simply visited with Jesus for a few minutes in prayer?  Oftentimes in this life so many things get in the way of what matters most.

Every time I find that I've strayed away from the Church, I always seem to feel a calling back.  There is that voice in the back of my head, a pulling, something that draws me in.  I, personally, think it is the Holy Spirit nudging me -- telling me, "Hey, you!  You're not where you're supposed to be or doing what you should be doing.  Get your act together."  Quite simply, I need to listen and act.  So, here I am.

One thing I intend to do is start writing my blog again.  I don't know if it will be once a week, once a month, or what, but I feel this need to write.  I think A LOT. . .I mean A LOT.  I have questions like many of us do, and sometimes have my own thoughts on what I hear at Church, what I read in the media, and just general things I feel the need, feel the nudge to share.  So, that's exactly what I'm going to do.  I ask for your prayers that I remain focused, on-task, and stay strong to this calling.

This is my comeback. . . be on the look-out!!  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Catching up, checking-in, and the power of prayer

It's been a hectic couple of weeks to start the year.  First there was the family vacation to Michigan, then we all came down with the flu, I was in Vegas last week for the annual Consumer Electronics Show, and work has been just crazy.  So, therein lies the reason why I haven't had time to blog lately -- well, that and the fact that I simply didn't have anything specific to blog about. 

During these crazy weeks, I went through a short stint where I didn't get to go to morning Mass as much as I'd like and where I fell out of the prayer routine I adopted last fall.  I can honestly say that a part of me felt empty -- like something was missing every day.  At first I didn't realize why, I was getting stressed out, angry and upset over silly things with the family, and then I caught myself.  I realized that I had inadvertently and unintentionally started distancing myself from God for no good reason.  Yes, I had reasons, but there was no excuse.  One can always make time to pray.  Prayer can be something as simple as the Jesus Prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner) or lying in bed and having a conversation with God.  Ask yourself, what is preventing me from taking 15-30 minutes a day to spend time with God?  What is more important than this??  Really? 

So, I got my act together. Last Saturday, upon returning from Vegas, I went to Confession, I restarted my daily prayer routine (Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours along with other less formal praying), and have made it back to daily Mass a couple of times (work is still hectic keeping me from going every day).  How do I feel?  MUCH better.  I feel comforted, more relaxed, I don't get as upset and stressed out as easy at work or home, and simply feel like I'm a better person.  Prayer will do that for you.  If you ask for God's help, God's love, God's direction in your life, he will be there.  God always hears our prayers.  Sometimes, He doesn't answer with what we want, but always hears our prayers.

Remember, if you feel lonely, down, or upset, you always have someone to listen.  Just pray. 

God Bless you all. 

Monday, December 31, 2012

Being Thankful. . . Looking back.

As I sit in the coffee shop in Lake Leelanau, MI wrapping up some work on the last day of the year, I can't help but reflect back on what a great year it has been overall.  Were there challenges?  Sure.  Were there certain disappointments at time either professionally or personally?  Yes.  But, I choose to focus on the positives.  I choose to focus on what went well instead of what didn't.  Life is full of ups and downs, but overall it is our choice as to what we focus on and I choose to focus on all the great things.  Here are just a few things that I have to be thankful for:

  1. At the top of the list has to be the adoption of our son, Colten.  The situation came out of tragedy for the family, but has truly been a blessing.  God works in mysterious ways and I love this little guy more than I could have ever imagined possible.  He is pure joy.  
  2. The love of my little girl.  She grows up more and more every day, but I feel so fortunate that she loves me.  This year was her First Confession and I was so proud of how her faith and understanding of God has grown.   
  3. My wife, who has been such a great mother to both of our kids.  I could not do what she does, and I love her for the love that she has given this family.  She is much more patient than I, and I could never do all of this without her.  She is a good partner in life.  
  4. A family, both mine and my wife's, that has been a part of our life and many changes we've enjoyed this year.  
  5. A good job.  In this time when our economy is still struggling, I'm fortunate and thankful to have a career that allows me to provide for my family. 
  6. Friends who are there no matter what.  
  7. Last, but most important, my faith.  This has been such an important year for me in my faith.  As I participated in Abby's First Reconciliation preparation, I found my faith growing again.  I got closer to God and the Church, and it has been such an important part of my life.  I pray more, I think about how God would want me to live my life, and truly feel I have grown spiritually over the last several months.  I am more open than I ever have been to God's hand in my life, and I am grateful to God for all the blessings He has bestowed on me and my family.  
I am looking forward to a great 2013, and leave 2012 behind with no regrets.  Dear Lord, I thank you for many blessings, and ask that I may be open to your guidance in the coming year and follow the plan you have for me.  I ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.  

Happy New Year everyone.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

“Why did this happen?” A reflection on the tragedy in Newton.

It has been a difficult few days for the parents and families of those young children and adults killed in the Newton, CT shooting.    I don’t think I’ve ever been as profoundly impacted to my core as I was this time.  OKC and 9/11 were awful, but for some reason this tragedy touched me deeply.  I’m not sure if it is because of the spiritual renewal I’ve experienced this year or the fact that I’m now a father and my daughter is 7 years old – the same age as some of the children who were murdered.  In whatever event, I’ve caught myself, with news snippets, pictures, and videos on-line, coming to tears on several occasions.  My heart has actually ached for those families, yet I know it is nothing in comparison to what they are feeling.  I am grieving for them and pray that God will send them strength and comfort during this difficult time.

Many people wonder and ask, “where was God” during all of this?  “Why did God allow this to happen?”  “Did God Plan this?”  In spite of the horrendous nature of this tragedy, it is important that we recognize this for what it was – Evil.  God has given us all free will.  Free will is God’s gift to us.  Evil is in this world because of sin and it is temptation and the associated free-will that drives some people to do evil things.  We must not forget that God does not make evil happen.  People CHOSE to do evil things. 

I’ve heard others say that sometimes out of tragedy comes good, but it is hard to imagine what good can come out of this one.  I sincerely believe that many people have good in them already, and it sometimes takes an evil thing like this for those same persons to show what is already there.  There has been an outpouring of love for these victims.  And, I think that while this terrible event shows the evil and hate that humans are capable of, so does it show our capacity for deep love and compassion. 

When we or those around us question “why” this all happened, let us not forget that our Father also gave up his only Son.  He knows what it is like to lose a child.  He did it willingly in order that we all might understand the love He has for us by sacrificing His only Son for man’s salvation. 

As we approach Christmas next week, let’s all take time with our families around the dinner table to give thanks for our many blessings and to pray that God sends his grace to comfort those families and all people saddened by this tragedy.  Lord hear our prayer. . .Amen.