Be Quiet and You Will Hear

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When I take a look at the world around me I just have to wonder what happened. There is hatred and violence where ever we turn. It doesn’t matter who you are, what race, religion or political affiliation, someone out there hates you. Who is to blame?  More

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It’s All About the Noise

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Yesterday I mentioned the seven deadly sins: pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia. . How many of these have you had problems with? If you are anything like me you have probably struggled with all seven. have you ever noticed that when they are listed pride is always at the top? There is a reason for this, pride leads to all the others. Okay, I don’t really know if that is true or not, but I will do to get to five hundred words.

When you are vain or prideful, you usually suffer from envy, after all you want to be better than the next guy. You always need to be one step above everybody else. Of course the problem is the next guy want to always be one step ahead of you. Envy eventually leads you to lust after what someone else has. It could be his wife, it could be his life, you feel you need this in order to feed your pride. This will sooner or later lead you to gluttony. Next you will suffer from the sin of avarice or greed. You will have so much, yet still want more and soon you have too much. This then turns to wrath when you get angry because you can’t have every thing you want. Soon you become slothful or lazy because you either have so much you don’t care to get any more or you realize you can’t reach your goals, you can’t get ahead of the next guy and you give up.

Have you been down that road? I have. And going back to something I said yesterday, when you are surrounded by noise, by people telling you how you need this and that, how you need more than the next guy, and on and on. No wonder we fall into these seven sins. And this is exactly what Satan wants. He wants this noise. He wants us to not be able to hear God speaking to us. Satan doesn’t want us to take the time to listen to God, he doesn’t want us to look around at the beauty that God has made, instead he wants us to always be busy and out of control. He wants us angry and bitter and scared. When he does this then he knows we won’t have time to listen or even talk to God.

This is what I learned after falling off that truck. Getting knocked in the head is what finally caused me to listen. And when you listen and read and learn you realize that this is Satan’s plan and that you can beat him. How? By cutting out the noise and listening to God. As I said, when you put your trust in God, you won’t need to worry about what Satan is going to do, you can and will beat him.

When you cut out the noise and listen you will also learn how to tackle those seven sins, one at a time.

The good news is that God will forgive our sins and all we have to do is confess them. With a lot of patience and faith you will be able to beat each one, one at a time. I know, I’ve mostly done it. Yes I still sin but certainly not like I used to. You can live with out sinning, you can beat temptation, you can beat Satan and still enjoy life. In fact I love life more now than I ever did when I was drinking and whoring around.

 

Lent Starts Today

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Okay here it is the first day of Lent and it is required that I do something for Lent, either fast or some other “penance” for the next forty days. After thinking about it I have decided on exactly what I will try to do.

It won’t be fasting since I am already on a diet after having been recently diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic. So I already have given up all the foods I love. And since I already live a pretty simple life there really isn’t any one thing I can cut down on. So my idea will be to write at least 500 words each day of Lent. I am guessing this should put me back into writing mode, which I haven’t been in lately. Like anything once you get out of the habit of doing something, it is hard to get back into it, you know, like exercising. (Yes, I have started that again as well, I’ll show that doctor I can get off the Diabetes meds.) And since I have always felt that God has been calling me to write about different things, like the story of my journey back to Him and all the things I have learned along the way.

Whether this means I will post something every day or not I am not sure yet. Of course if I don’t post something that people can see each day then who knows if I am writing? Well He knows. At one time I have several outlets for my writing, but they have all kind of fallen by the wayside, but I will think of something. Maybe I will get back to the book I have started and stopped about thirty times. Let me tell you about the time I fell off the back of a truck….

One thing is definitely true, and that is I have simplified my life considerably over the last year. I sold the little house on the lake and moved into a small apartment with my better half (soon to be official), downsized to one vehicle and pretty much decided to follow the advice of Jesus to life a simple life. By doing so I have removed 90% of the stress from my life. It’s funny how when you don’t have all kinds of material things to worry about that stress just melts away. When you don’t have to worry about things you can’t control, stress goes out the door. When you trust in the Lord to guide you (now I didn’t say take care of you, just to guide you) you will be surprised how you will be filled with an inner peace and know that no matter what happens you will be okay.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” – Mt 6:25

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” – Mt 6:34

Two verses from the same paragraph that pretty much explain it all, at least my philosophy on life. Take it one day at time, listen to what God is trying to tell you, and you will be surprised at how things will work out. Sometime during the next 40 days I will discuss this further but for now I have over-written my 500 words.

What’s in it for Me

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Back in November of 2013, Pope Francis wrote an apostolic exhortation titled “Evangelii Gaudium” which I believe means the “Joy of the Gospel.” In it the Pope exhorts Catholics to spread the Gospel to all. This is part of what has been called “The New Evangelization.”
One of the problems I encounter when I read any of these papal documents or the writings of the Church Fathers, is there is so much to think about, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to spend on them. I could spend the rest of my life reading these and writing reflections on just one paragraph at a time. Hmm, a new career maybe? If only I were qualified as an expert. Which actually brings up another thought, does one need to be an expert to interpret these writings? I’ll have to make a note of that and maybe write a post on it. But now, back to Evangelii Gaudium.

The second paragraph fits in so well with the way I feel about our world today that, well, I just have to comment on it.

2. The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.

Doesn’t this describe many, if not most of us? Be honest now. Aren’t we all caught up in the “Gotta have it” mentality of today? Don’t we all believe we need more and more stuff to be happy? I was like this, my ex-wife was certainly like this, and I honestly believe this was one of the things that led to our divorce after 23 years or marriage. Whatever we had was never enough, it was never as good as what someone else had.

Because we were both always worried about getting more, we never took time for each other. When the kids were grown, and we had the time for each other, we had grown apart, our lives had diverged in different directions, leading to sins for both of us. Pope Francis describes me perfectly, “resentful, angry and listless.”And since I strayed from my religious roots, I didn’t have God to fall back on.

We don’t care about each other, certainly not like we should. Many of us only care about someone else when it will benefit us. “What can they do for me?” “How can I use them for my personal gain?” Even when we perform acts of charity, we feel the need to let everyone know about it.  “See how good I am,” we say, “see what I did?”

“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 6:1

The voice of God is no longer heard. We have shut Him out of our lives and replaced Him with things. We have replaced our desire to do good with the desire to get more and more. Is it too late for us? That is the question, one for which I don’t have an answer.

The End of the World Again

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Blizzard

As I sit in my living room, feeling the heat from the wood stove warming my old bones, the television is on and I am listening to the folks on the Weather Channel reporting on the latest “End of the World.” I am not sure how many ends have come this winter but it sure seems like a lot. While I know winter storms, especially ice storms in the south, can be bad, and they can certainly be destructive, but I can’t help wondering if the constant hype really helps or if it just creates more panic. 

I also wonder something else, something way more important. The reporters for the Weather Channel are talking about “a catastrophic event” and are preaching what people need to do to prepare. They need to get flashlights, batteries, generators, gasoline, non-perishable food, and on and on. Again, all good advice, but what about the real “catastrophic event” that is coming? Who is preparing for that? Where are the reporters and their live shots? Where is the expert to explain what is happening?

Look at the world around us, we kill our children through abortion, we are passing laws allowing us to kill the weak and infirm, we are destroying the true purpose of marriage, yet we don’t hear an outcry about that. We aren’t being told how to prepare for that “catastrophic event.”

The snow will melt, the power will be restored, the roads will be opened, and life will go on, but is that true with our morality? Will the culture of death be reversed? Will we continue to live in a world where we no longer put others before ourselves? Will we continue to live in a world where money is the God we worship? How do we prepare for that, how do we restore our “power” from that storm?

He answered me and said, “Measure carefully in your mind, and when you see that some of the predicted signs have occurred,  then you will know that it is the very time when the Most High is about to visit the world that he has made.  So when there shall appear in the world earthquakes, tumult of peoples, intrigues of nations, wavering of leaders, confusion of princes,  then you will know that it was of these that the Most High spoke from the days that were of old, from the beginning.  For just as with everything that has occurred in the world, the beginning is evident, and the end manifest;  so also are the times of the Most High: the beginnings are manifest in wonders and mighty works, and the end in penalties and in signs. – 2 Esdras 9:1 – 6

What’s in It for Me?

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This is a question which has become more and more common in the last few decades. Everyone wants to know what they will get out of something, whether it is their work, school or a relationship. It seems to be very rare these days when someone will do something for nothing.

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