Look at me – Here I am

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Here we are, Holy Saturday, and I only kept one of my lenten promises and it wasn’t the one that I was going to write a blog post for each day of lent. I didn’t make the Good Friday “Celebration of the Passion” either. Maybe next year but I will be going to Easter Mass tomorrow morning.  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.

The Lord is My Shephard

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One of the readings at Mass Sunday was Psalm 23. This psalm is mostly known from being  read at funerals. Depending on the particular bible translation you use, the NABRE used at Mass reads differently than the RSVCE. The difference is verse 4:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – RSVCE

Even though I walk in the dark valley – NABRE

Not being a biblical scholar I guess this can be taken as the psalmist is on his deathbed, but I look at it differently. I look at Palm 23 as talking about our journey through life in general. It describes what trusting in God is like, how your life journey will be.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.

When you trust in the Lord, you shall not want, He will give you what you need, it may not be what you want, but it will be what you need. He will protect you from harm, he will guide you through the storms. He will lead you to green pastures where you can rest peacefully, with plenty of food and out of harm’s way. He will lead you to restful waters where you will be able to drink without worrying about being washed away by rough currents. You will also be able to cross these streams without difficulty. Because your journey is made easier by following Him, your soul will be refreshed and rested.

He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.

The Lord will guide you, making sure you are on the right path. He will make sure you don’t stray from the path, becoming lost, abducted or misled. Even when you are in a dark valley, even after death, He will be right with you and you do not need to fear evil. All you need to do is look at Him, see Him next to you and you can get through anything. I know this has certainly worked for me. I have been on a pretty rough journey, and once I began to trust in Him, letting Him guide me, I was no longer afraid of where I was going or what was going to happen to me. I was always afraid, uncertain of the future, not knowing what was coming next, and what I would do when something happened. No longer do I feel that way for I know God has my back. He has given me the strength and courage I never had before.

You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come.

When you follow the Lord, he spreads his table before you, all the gifts you could want, all you need. He does this in front of your enemies so they can see what He has to offer and they will realize they cannot compare. You will see that your cup will truly overflow.Because you follow Him, goodness and kindness will always be with you. You come into the world with nothing and you will go out with nothing. All you can leave behind you is the good works you have done, and a legacy of all the good you have done.

Are you following the shepherd?

Strong Roots and a Good Foundation

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Let’s change course for a post or two since I am sure you are tired of hearing about my signs. Don’t worry though, I have plenty more of them to share. Today I want to talk about Jeremiah 17: 5 – 10.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.

This is one of those passages that you need to read more than once to get the meaning. Not that you won’t get anything from it when you read it just once, but each time you read it you’ll get more. What does it tell us? To plant trees near water? Not exactly. It tells us to trust in the Lord and no matter what happens we will be okay.

When we trust in the Lord we are like a tree planted near the water. The tree will flourish because it has a good water supply. The roots will stretch to the stream and it will be strong and healthy. Because it is so strong, it will be able to withstand any stress that may come upon it, for example a drought. It will also be able to withstand storms, wind and ice. All because it has a strong foundation – the root system. This is no different with us.

If we have strong roots – if we believe in God – we will be able to withstand stress as well. In this case it is the stress brought on by Satan. Satan will try everything to get us to sin. He wants us for himself, he doesn’t want God to have our souls. He will do everything in his power to take over our souls. The harder we fight to keep sin and temptation away, the harder he will fight to get us to sin. But if we have strong roots, like the tree planted next to water, we will be able to withstand anything that Satan throws at us. God is our water. He is the one who gives us the strength to fight Satan We just need to ask for his help.

To reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds.

God will reward or punish us for the deeds we do. Remember how I say “Live with the end in mind”? This is God’s plan for us – to spend eternity with him. Since He is the one who decides, we need to do what He wants. We need to get that water to make those strong roots.

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.” – MT 7:24 – 27

Build your house on a solid foundation.

No Temptation Shall Overcome You

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My last two posts discussed the first instance I remember God giving me a sign, other than falling off the truck and watching as that machine suddenly veered to the left just before it was going to land on me. The reason I began thinking about these things was I was questioning, not only if God is real, but if it is true that He watches over us and both answers our prayers and sends a guardian angel to watch over us.

My first step in the fact-finding mission on guardian angels was to see if there has been anything written about them. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

328 The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.

That doesn’t really say much about guardian angels however, just that there are angels. We can also confirm there are angels by what is written in the Nicene Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

with angels included in the “all things visible and invisible”. Then of course there are the three angels mentioned specifically in the Bible by name:

  • St. Michael
  • St. Gabriel
  • St. Raphael

Of these three St. Raphael is certainly the one we can most clearly see is a Guardian Angel. We read about him in the Old Testament book of Tobit. There are also other references such as in the writings of St. Augustine among others. But then there are those who would say that the Bible and anything related to it is fake anyway. Okay fair enough, so that is when I decided to look for some concrete examples in my own life, other times when a guardian angel may have been watching over me. I already mentioned the falling off the back of the truck incident, and the story of me opening the door, although I am not really sure if that would be considered a Guardian angel incident or not.

But there were others, most notably dealing with my drinking. As I have mentioned I was quite the drinker. Whether I could be classified as an alcoholic or not is a matter of definition. If anything I guess I was a functional alcoholic, although I never missed work because of drinking, and I was never dependent on it. Also, I could quit any time I wished. Like the time when I received the message I already described. I woke up that morning and didn’t have a drink for a few weeks. But when I drank, I drank and it caused many problems. I had quit and restarted several times. It seemed I would also quit before I got past the point of no return. It is said that an alcoholic won’t quit until he reaches the bottom, yet I never did. I always wondered why.

As I reflected on this I asked God about it. Could He have had something to do with it? Other than that first time I never asked him for help so it wasn’t like he would know. I had no answer, until… I had some down time during the day and randomly opened my bible. I opened it to 1 Corinthians Chapter 10 and here is what it said:

No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.

God will not let you be tried beyond your strength, how true that is. I know I am weak, and my guardian angel knew that if I sank too low I would never get out. Whenever I stopped drinking it was for some reason, whether I was low on money, having marital problems or out of work. I now know that each time, it was my guardian angel sticking his or her nose into my business, and that’s alright with me.

Knock and it will be open part 2

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Let’s continue with yesterday’s theme. Was this really a sign from God or was it just a coincidence? I am 95% sure it was a sign from God, especially now that I look back on other signs God has giving me.

I will be getting into those other times as we go along but for right now I do believe it was a sign. As I said yesterday I also believe that had I really listened and learned from that side my life would be entirely different. However I don’t want you to get the wrong impression about my current life I am very happy, in fact I can say now that I have found God plus with some other events in my life I am happier than I have ever been. I don’t live in the past. you can’t, even though Satan wants us to. What’s done is done, we can only live for today.

What is the lesson I could have learned from that experience? What is the lesson I should have learned? I mentioned yesterday one lesson was ask and you will receive, you only need to ask and God will give you what you need. But now I believe there is also another lesson I should have learned.

Let’s look at Luke 6:37 – 38. Especially line 38 “for the measure with which you measure will return be measured out to you”. What is it telling us? It is telling us what Jesus tried to get through to all of us and that is do you want to others as you would have them do unto you. In other words when you do good things, good works etc. then good things will happen to you. You reap what you sow, if you plant good seeds then you will harvest good crops. When I began my journey and started doing good things that is when my life turned around and I begin to have good things happen to me.

Why else should this matter? We need to live each day with one goal in mind, to fulfill God’s plan for us. But wait… didn’t I say that we don’t know what God’s plan for us is? Yes I did, we don’t know his EXACT plan for us but we know what his general goal for us is. He wants us to spend eternity with him in Heaven. That means that we need to do everything we can to get there. We need to live each day with the end in mind. This doesn’t mean to live each day like it is your last, or to decide to end it all. We don’t know when exactly our last day is going to be. It could be today, it could be a long time from now. The point is we don’t know so we need to be ready.

When you are called to judgement will you be ready? Can you say I did my best? I know I can for the last few years, but before that I wasted a lot of days. This is why I say had I listened all those years ago, and lived as the best Catholic, Christian, person I could have my life would be different. But at least now I am on the straight and narrow path. The path to eternity, I know I will need to make a stop in purgatory along the way, and then it is still up to God, but at least I know what I got to do.

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