What’s Your Anchor?

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Many Catholic men would like to have a better relationship with Jesus but they still have something holding them back, an anchor if you will. What is your anchor?

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Prior to my reversion, I had multiple anchors. My biggest one though was just being selfish, my pride. Although I was married, I lived my life for the unholy trinity of me, myself and I. I caused so much turmoil in my marriage and with the relationship or lack thereof with my children. Those are the years that I wasted and can’t get back but as one priest told me, they are the years that helped to make you the man you are today. We can continue to focus on our regrets or we can move forward. The best way to move forward is through the grace of God.

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So what is your anchor? Do you have multiple ones? Is it lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy or pride? Chances are, whatever your anchor(s) it will fall into one of the categories of the seven deadly sins.

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It takes surrender. You have to surrender your life or the life you are living and give it to Jesus Christ and start living your life for Him. Allow Him to cut those chains off the anchors in your life. Be bold, be brave and take that leap of faith. Let Jesus mold you into the person He made you to be and quit being the person that “you” want to be.

God Bless.

Confession and Men

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One of the toughest things for men to do is go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) especially if they haven’t been in years. It is hard for us as men to go before another man and confess our sins. So many thoughts go through our head when we think about confession like, “the priest is going to yell at me when he hears what I’ve done” or, “there is no way he will forgive me for my sins.” Believe me, there is nothing that you can confess to a priest that he hasn’t heard before or that will shock him. In regards to the second comment, the person who says that is absolutely correct. The priest himself can’t forgive or absolve the person of their sins, however, when he gives absolution, it is the priest acting “In Persona Cristi,” in the Person of Christ that gives absolution and forgiveness. So you are not confessing to a man. Jesus granted the apostles permission to forgive sins. The priests are following in the footsteps of the apostles. John 20:21,23  As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

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CCC 1422 “Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion.” We must humble ourselves before Our Lord and place our fears aside and go to confession on a regular schedule. When you get dirty and stinky, you take a shower right? Confession is the way that we clean our dirty and stinky soul. Let go of your pride and seek the healing that is needed to repair your soul.

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Whether you realize it or not, we are in a spiritual battle and the enemy is doing everything in his power to take us with him. He and his demons are launching a full assault on us daily with grenades of pornography and lust, bullets of anger, hate, envy and wrath, and booby traps of drugs, alcohol, food, money and other vices. The only way to win is to know your enemy and be prepared. One of the best ways to prepare yourselves is through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.

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The time for healing is now. Always remember this, while you are out there fighting the good fight, you will get injured (fall to temptation) and will need to get medical attention to get patched up (confession). Once you get the medical attention you need, get back in the fight! We’ve read the book and heard the stories so we already know who wins in the end. The question is, what side will you be on? God bless.

De Colores

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From the first time that I was asked, I swore that I would never and I mean NEVER do a Cursillo. Never say never lol.

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In the picture above embracing me is my brother Rich. He may not be my flesh and blood but he is definitely my brother and I love him more than words can say. We have known each other now for the better part of 5 years and God has placed us on this journey together in the Permanent Deacon Formation Program. We are almost done with our first year of aspirancy (discernment) and it has been an Awesome journey so far. If God wills it, we will write our letters to continue our journey and we will be accepted as diaconate candidates in August/September.

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“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17. This verse of scripture holds a special place in my life because I see it everyday. My brother Richard has always been there for me when I needed him and I for him and it will always be that way. We’ve been building this friendship, this brotherhood, that through the grace of God will stand the tests of time and flourish into an unbreakable bond. Proverbs 27:17 is not just a verse that we like, it is a verse that we live by. Faith into action brothers, that is what Christ’s love is all about!

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Back to the never say never thing. I was never hip to Cursillo because of the way I was asked and treated after I said I wasn’t interested. There is a good zeal and bad zeal but that will be another topic for another day. I felt as though the men who asked me were very demeaning to me after I said no. There was pride and immaturity of faith on both sides. Through the years, I’ve taken a step back a time or two to look and see, truthfully and honestly how I’ve been progressing in my journey with Christ and I feel that I am headed in the right direction and that my spiritual maturity continues to grow daily all through Jesus Christ.

My brother Rich invited me a few months back, actually, it was more like just briefly mentioning it lol. I think he thought I was still upset about Cursillo. I told him that I would pray on it and consider it but that my schedule might be hectic come March. About a month ago, another diaconate brother of ours, Danny, was inviting me to go as well. I told him that day that it probably wasn’t going to happen. He was a little pushy but in a good way. Two weeks later I called Richard and told him I’d go. He was so excited and happy that I was going to go. I decided to go because he was the assistant lector of the retreat. A week before the retreat he came to pick up the registration and the money.  I asked him what time we needed to be there Friday. He was shocked and looked at me and said, “it starts on Thursday evening brother.” I told him that I wouldn’t be able to attend the retreat after all. I own a small business where it’s just my wife and I who run it. She would be out of town on Friday meaning I’d have to watch shop. Well, God had other plans. The schedule cleared up and I called him back and said “I’ll be there brother!” Once again, he was ecstatic!

De Colores can take on so many different meanings: how are you doing, yes, hello, and I love you just to name a few. To me, it was all about LOVE. That was the message that I received this weekend and it was on the last morning of the retreat. Christ was telling me that I need to love and take care of myself (not sure if you can tell but I’m a bit on the hefty side lol) for myself, my family but mostly for Him. I know some of you might be thinking, “Christ talked to you?” Yes. He speaks to all of us daily. The problem is that we are so busy with our lives that we don’t take the time to listen to Jesus asking us how are we doing or saying yes to us or a simple hello or like in my case, “John, I love you my brother, my friend, my son.”

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Jesus Christ is Love and Mercy my friends. Take the time to sit down and allow Christ to tell you De Colores. God Bless!

 

 

His love is greater than your sin

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I hear this from men far too often, “You have no idea how bad of a person I am. Jesus would laugh at me if I asked for forgiveness.” Sound familiar? Nothing could be further from the truth though. Jesus longs to forgive us and he never tires of doing so, just like he did with the woman caught in adultery:  John 8:10-11 Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”

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Jesus’ love is greater than any sin you may have. Always remember this, Jesus loves you, and he wants to forgive you. All you have to do is ask. Sounds simple and that’s because it is simple. As humans, and especially as men, we tend to complicate things, make them harder than what they are or make the situation harder than what it is. The Lord longs to forgive us and we must share that message with everyone. Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you; therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. We must humble ourselves before the Lord our God and approach the Sacrament of Penance so that we can be healed of our sins.  CCC 1422 “Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion.”

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Going to confession can be unsettling, especially if it has been a while since you’ve been. Have no fear for God is with you. Remember that you are not confessing your sins to just a priest, in that moment, he is in the person of Christ – In Persona Christi and you are confessing your sins to Jesus Christ. How Awesome is that! Sin separates us from God and all it takes is one mortal sin. Should we die with that one mortal sin in our soul, we will spend the rest of eternity in hell. God gave us the gift of free will men. Let us use it wisely and come back to the state of grace. God bless.

 

 

Why Are You Afraid?

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I’m no psychologist or any other type of expert when it comes to the male mind. All my theories are based on self experience and observations. With that being said, why is it that men are so afraid of God? Now some of you all may be saying to yourselves, and especially the ladies, “if you all are so afraid of God, why do you all do such stupid things?” We are wired that way but that’s another discussion all together. Actually the fear that I am referring to is total surrender to God.

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We were set up for failure from the get go. When the serpent entered the garden and tempted the woman, where was Adam? Was he out doing as he was told to do which was to abdad and shamar – to serve and protect? No! He was standing right by her watching it all unfold. When the serpent tempted the woman to eat of the forbidden fruit did he rise up and bash the serpents head in? No! Instead, it kind of went like this, “Hey honey, can I have a bite too?” He failed. He failed to be that protector and provider. He then became a slave to the world, a slave to sin.

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How often are we enslaved by our sins men? How often do we turn from the face of God when we sin instead of running to him? And the question that hurts most, especially if you are a husband and or a father, how often have we failed to be that leader, protector and provider? If you are not headed in the right direction then how can you expect to lead? Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

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Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
“Present your bodies as a living sacrifice.” Surrender! When you surrender to God and become a living sacrifice your life as you once knew it will be turned around. Does this mean that life will then be easier? No, but through the grace of God and trusting in him, you will make it through those hard times. “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Ask God and allow him to imbue you with the Holy Spirit and be transformed both mind and body. Let go of your pride and let God do his work with you and through you. It’s time that men quit being followers and start to become the priests, the leaders of their homes.

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There are so many examples that we can follow. We have an Army of saints in heaven but most of all or rather, the biggest example we have of what it is to be spiritually masculine is Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was strong when he needed to be yet merciful all of the time. We have a lot to learn men but it’s all there in the gospels for us to read, to learn, and to do our best to imitate the example of Christ. He is calling us to go out and become “fishers of men.” Let us go out then, and do his will. God bless.