Lost but not Forgotten

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When I first began this wonderful journey back to God, one of the first things I decided to do was to not only read the bible but also to determine if it is real. There are many who claim that it is a myth and that it was written in order to somehow control the world. After all, if these people could instill a sense of fear into others, convincing them there is an all-powerful “being” that will punish them for doing wrong, they could then control those same people. More

Damn Those Churchy People

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You just can’t trust those churchy people. That’s what I was told in a conversation I had a while back, the person who said it shall remain anonymous. I asked what exactly was meant by “churchy people.” He said, “You know, those people that go to church and are always trying to do good when they really aren’t.”

“So someone who is churchy and does good can’t be trusted because they do good?” 

“No, it’s because they preach about things but they don’t always practice what they preach.”

“So they don’t do good?”

“No, no, no, they do good but they also don’t do what they say others should do.”

“Like?”

“Well some of them go to church but will cheat on their spouses.”

“So that means they are all bad because some of them cheat on their wives? Does this mean that because some German guy named Hitler killed a bunch of innocent people that all Germans are bad?”

“That’s not the same thing. End of discussion”

Now what is even more interesting is that same person and I were talking about a married couple who are also co-workers of ours, and how they were always the first ones to do for others. I was going to remind him that they were what he called “churchy” people but then I thought better of it.

Evidently, this person doesn’t see the correlation between people who follow Jesus and good works.

Are the Animals Lining Up

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As I am sitting here listening to the rain tattooing the roof of the building I am in I am wondering if  this will be going on for another 39 days. Of course, I know that God promised Noah that it wouldn’t happen again, but could he change His mind? No, because he doesn’t renege on His promises.

I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth. – Genesis 9:11

Now that isn’t to say that the end isn’t going to come some other way, in fact, we can pretty much count on it. When it will come we
do not, nor will we ever know, but it will come. Which is another reason to live each day as if it will be our last, always keeping the end goal in mind. What is that end goal? Come on, you know, I’ve told you before. Anyone? The end goal is to do whatever we can to get us to heaven so we can spend eternity with the Lord.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;  and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. – John 10:27-28

Follow Him and receive eternal life. What a deal.

The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore. – Psalm 121:8

Life is what you make it. About five or six years ago I was diagnosed with fibro
myalgia. It basically drains the life out of you. (Yes, you can buy my book here). I decided I had two choices, I could be miserable and let it beat me, or I could go on living and beat it. I beat it. It is the same with anything we do. We can wake up and decide we will have a good day or a bad day, it is our choice. We can decide if we are going to live as a good Catholic and Christian or if we will follow Satan. In other words, we can choose to live with the end goal in mind or not.

Who Am I to Judge

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It’s been a frustrating couple of days here in my little corner of the world. How can you stay positive when you are surrounded by negative energy? I work in a very negative environment and I would say that most of this feeds off of my direct boss. Since I can’t afford to lose my job I just keep quiet and call on God to keep me calm. But I almost lost it today.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” – Matthew 7:1

I try very hard not to judge anyone. This was not always the case but over the last few years and all the things I have gone through, I realize that I know nothing about someone else. I don’t know what their life is like or what problems they may be dealing with. Yes, there are many people who will certainly tell you their problems, but still I don’t really know, and I can’t judge them. My boss on the other hand has no problem passing judgement on others whether he knows the truth or not. So much so that it wouldn’t surprise me if there would be a lawsuit coming over this last incident.

How do I deal with this? Do I say something and risk my job? Jobs are not easy to get for a 60 year old. Should I go over his head? This is something I have been praying about for the last few days. Even without having to listen to the teachings of Jesus I know this is wrong. Spreading rumors and negativity is not in the best interest of the workplace.

God wants us to be that beacon of light for him. He wants His light to shine through us, but how can you do this, especially in a small workplace like this? How can you shine His Light through the darkness? I have come such a long way in the past ten years. I have found my way to God and although I am far from where I need to be, I am closer than I have ever been. The one thing I still need to work towards is being able to spread His Word, whether through writing, speaking or more importantly through actions. There are good people here, but yet…

This makes me start thinking about this question:

Since we have pushed God out of our lives and replaced His morality with a moral relativism where everyone feels what is best for them is what is right. For two or more generations now people have not learned true morality, or even learned who God is, so how can we be the shining light on the top of the bushel basket when no one knows what the light is?

I know I have to be positive and not give up. I know that even if know one understands why I live the way I do, I still need to live as the best Christian and Catholic I can. God – I just ask that you help me to make a difference.

You Just Never Know

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First I must apologize for yesterday’s post. In reviewing it today i realized there were numerous typo’s. This is what happens when you are rushing to get the post done.

Today’s gospel is Matthew 25: 31 – 46. “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” We never know when Jesus will be standing before us. We never know if that is him standing on a street corner and begging for spare change. We never know if that is him over there struggling to change a flat tire. We never know if that is him asking us for directions. We never know and we never take the time to even fleetingly think it might be.

We may never know but when it comes time to separate the sheep from the goats, the shepherd will know.

Can you give to every pan handler? Can you help everyone in need? Of course not, but let me ask you this – do you even bother to wonder? Do you at least pause or do you just keep walking or driving, going about your business? Do you even see or does it all just blend into the landscape? Is there so much (okay you know what’s coming) noise that you don’t even see?

So that brings up this question: Obviously you can’t help every beggar you see. There are some pan handlers out there who are probably making more money than you or I are, they are just scammers. I remember on in particular who used to stand on a corner in Harvard Square in Cambridge. One afternoon I saw her packing up her cardboard sign and other goodies into a shiny new BMW. I am pretty sure she wasn’t living in the beamer. So how can you tell? How do you know which one might be Jesus?

This brings up another interesting, almost related thought. I was listening to a Catholic talk radio show this morning and the host was discussing a new movie called “The Shack”. Since I was only half listening I am not quite sure what the discussion was about except for one thing I caught. Evidently God appears to the main character in several different human forms. One was as a old black woman and another was as a Muslim I believe. There seems to be some controversy among Catholics about this since this is not how God is generally pictured. What do you think about this? What do you think God looks like? Can not God manifest in any shape or form he wishes to? Read today’s gospel reading again, it sounds like he is appearing in different forms to me.

As I said I really wasn’t paying full attention as to why people were upset about this, but I look at it like this, God can be anything he wants to be, or more accurately He can be “in” any form he wants to. I think of God as a being, definitely real but not necessarily something you can see or touch. I also think of Him as being in all things, in everything you see, touch and hear. I guess it’s hard to explain, but when you actually take the time to look, you’ll see God everywhere.

 

Are you Rolling the Dice

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Last week I talked about the sin of sloth. I followed that up with a post about choices. What better way to follow up than to write about making the best choices.

While we may or may not agree that we all have free will and are able to make our own choices, there is something we should all remember that with every choice we make, comes responsibility. We are responsible for our actions, and the affect they may have on both ourselves and on others. We live in a time when many people no longer take responsibility for their actions, always blaming their problems on someone else.

If we are able to make choices, freely, then we should be held responsible for the consequences of these actions. That isn’t the way it is in these times. Instead we live in a world where it is all about “me” and nothing is my fault. Parents no longer discipline their children, we don’t keep score in games, teachers aren’t allowed to use red ink and nothing bad is allowed to happen, at least we won’t blame anyone for anything bad that happens. This is a problem.

Here is the catch however, even when we don’t take responsibility for our choices, we still are responsible. We may be able to deflect blame to others, but in the end, when, as the old song goes, “When the roll is called up yonder” we will be held responsible. This leads us to the question: Does it matter, should it matter?

Yes and yes.

How can we learn to make choices? This isn’t as easy to answer as one might think, especially in today’s world. It really depends on what our end goal is. Where do we want to end up? When we decide that, then we can better decide what choices we should make.

When you look at the title of this blog, it says “The Wayward Catholic” which means I am Catholic. Catholics believe in life after death. We believe that when we die we have a chance to go to heaven and live there for eternity, which  is a good thing. We believe the way we can do this is to follow the teachings of Jesus and live like he did.  This leads to a problem because not everyone feels the same.

There is no God, there is no Heaven there is no Hell, is how many people think. If this is true why should we follow these rules? We should just do what we want because once we die, that’s it. Let’s look at this. The other word in the title of my blog, is wayward. Here is the definition of Wayward from Dictionary.com:

way·ward

1. turned or turning away from what is right or proper; willful; disobedient.

This is what I was, I turned away from the CAtholic faith, which means when I began my journey back, one of the questions I had to ask myself was “Is there a Heaven and a Hell?” Obviously I believe there is. But if you don’t, that’s fine, but I want you to think about something. When I was researching all these questions I had, I came across something called “Pascal’s Wager” You can click on the link to get the info on Pacal, but I will give you what you need to know.

When we look at what Heaven and Hell are, whether or not you believe they are real or just fiction, Heaven seems a lot better than Hell. Read Dantes Inferno  if you want to get a description of Hell. Therefore, if there is a chance there is life after death, and Heaven and Hell exists, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to do whatever you could to get there? What Pascal believed, and what makes perfect sense when you really think about it, is this.

You have a fifty/fifty chance of being right, either there is an after-life or there isn’t. I admit, it is a crap shoot. But wouldn’t it be better to bet there is an after-life and be wrong, than to bet there isn’t one and find out there really is? As I said above, in order to get to Heaven we need to live a Christ-like life, or at least as close to it as we can. If we do this, we would certainly be living a good, honest, caring life. We would be doing good things, treating others kindly, etc. and we will be a good person. On the other hand if we don’t live a Christ-like way, we might not necessarily be a good person. We would live for today, we would  probably be very materialistic and do anything to get ahead. There is a pretty good chance you wouldn’t be a good person.

Now, here is the point. Wouldn’t it be better to live a Christ-like life with the hope of getting to Heaven and what it has to offer and be wrong, than to not live a Christ-like life figuring there is no Heaven and find out there is a Heaven and conversely Hell? After all if you live a good life and find out Heaven doesn’t exist, at least you lived a good, honest life and were considered good. Whereas if you don’t live a Christ-like life and Hell exists, well, you will end up there. Which is the better bet?

This is where making the right choices is important. We should bet there is a Heaven and do whatever we can to make sure we will get there. This should be our guide.

See No Evil, See No Good

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I guess when Atheists claim they don’t believe, they really don’t believe. I ran across this post today from the “Friendly Atheist” on Patheos discussing a recent photo purported to be of persecuted Christians which the author has proved to be fake. I certainly can see where the evidence proves it is fake, like so many other “viral” photos on the internet and how other groups have used this same photo to prove persecution of whatever cause they happen to believe in.

But what disturbs me is the author doesn’t seem to believe there is any Christian persecution, writing:

“As for the meme at the top of this post, given that there’s no dearth of actual oppression of Christians in most majority-Muslim countries, it’s galling — and a disservice to real victims of religious persecution — that these lies are considered necessary at all.”

I decided to do some checking and see if there is or is not persecution of Christians.

From the National Catholic Reporter:

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity in the United States estimates that in the last decade, an average of 100,000 Christians have died each year in what the center calls a “situation of witness,” meaning for motives related to their faith.

Although some experts regard that estimate as inflated, it works out to an average of 11 Christians killed each hour throughout the past decade.

There is even a website which chronicles all incidents each month.

But I guess no amount of evidence would be enough for the atheists to believe, which is certainly their right.  I wonder – are there many atheists living in Muslim countries?

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