You Can Act Like a Man – Wrath

One of the most dangerous sins for men is the sin of wrath. It has fueled war, hatred, and violence towards their fellow man. Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines wrath as 1: strong vengeful anger or indignation. 2: retributory punishment for an offense or a crime : divine chastisement

The wrath that men most commonly experience is the one described in the first definition; strong vengeful anger or indignation. How many times have you ever said “I really hate that….?” I’m not just talking about words, but a real deep hatred that boils up within you towards another person.

This type of anger can lead to domestic violence. Recovery from domestic violence takes a long time to heal; both for the victim and the offender, if the offender has sought help. This can take years to recover from, sometimes decades. Most of the time domestic violence is a learned behavior, more than likely stemming from a mans childhood.

If you are a man who’s abusing his significant other, Stop! There is help. If you are a man and are the victim of abuse, Stop! There is help. use the information above.

Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Talking from experience, letting go of anger and hatred towards individuals will bring you a peace within that you’ve never known. I used to harbor it, hold onto it like an obsession. It did nothing for me except create damage to my soul and create a heaviness that was at times unbearable. Now, I do my best to let it go and give it to God. I remind myself that I’m not God, so why am I allowing this individual, this circumstance to get the better of me? God will handle it, if we allow him.

The Devil knows our weaknesses, and he uses them against us. Be strong, resist, fight back. Prayer is a powerful weapon against anger. When you find yourself getting angry, say one decade of the rosary, especially before you go to sleep. Do not let the sun set while you are still angry.

Next Friday I will talk about the most deadliest sin to men today (in my opinion), the sin of lust. Until then, Buen Camino.

What a Wonderful World…NOT!

4:00am and I’m scrolling through Facebook like I sometimes do when I wake up too early. Occasionally I will stop to read people’s comments to various posts and I’m reminded how hateful many people are with each other.

It’s not good enough to just disagree anymore. Now it’s all about who can comeback with the most vile retort. Even when one truly feels that they are correct and have this conviction deep within, a simple “I disagree” is not good enough and they proceed to belittle the other individual because of their view on a topic.

All hope is not lost however. If you are that type of individual in the aforementioned paragraph, you too can change, but only if you realize and accept the fact that you want to change. I was that type of person for quite some time. Oh how I lived for the argument and an opportunity to put someone down for their thoughts, and for what? I didn’t like the person I was and realized that I needed change.

But you’re not a tiger.

You’ve heard the cliche “a tiger can’t change its stripes”, but you are not a tiger, you are a human being with the capabilities of changing yourself. Sometimes change is hard but anything worth having comes with a little hardship.

How do you change? There are many ways but here are a few suggestions.

1. Steer away from posts or stories on social media that bring out anger.

2. Willpower is not your friend. Habit is the key. Do or say something kind for someone each day, everyday until it becomes a habit.

3. Remind yourself daily that you want to change and become a better, more positive person.

In a world that seems to be full of lies, deceit, and negativity, you can make that change and make a difference. Be a part of the solution, not the problem.

Until next time, God bless s as and Buen Camino!

Thankful

Every year around this time, people start to look inward and share what they are thankful for. Some do it in person and many do it through social media. It’s that time where the year is coming to an end and we look back on all the things that have taken place in the world, our country, and our lives.

This year has been a rough one to say the least. The majority of our country has been shut down since Early 2020 due to COVID-19 and that has impacted millions of Americans in one way or another. People have lost jobs, businesses, hope, and there are those who’ve died from the virus or underlying conditions with the virus added to them.

Add to that a presidential election that brought out the ugliness in many people on both sides of the aisle. Friendships ended and family feuds started or escalated all because people have forgotten how to disagree and move on.

What are your thoughts at this point of this year? Are you hopeful? Are you scared?

I think that 2020 gave us an opportunity to take a step back and be thankful for the smallest things in life, like waking up this morning. Sadly, many people have missed that message because they were too caught up in the election, or being told what to think from mainstream or social media.

Since the start of this virus, I’ve managed to keep a positive attitude, even in the face of losing our business, I remained optimistic. Months later with a new job and new challenges, I still remain optimistic. Why? For me, it’s keeping my eyes on Christ. I can’t do it all alone but as Paul says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”

What or who is it that strengthens you? Is it working? Are you content with the way your life is going?

This year, like every other year, I’m thankful for my beautiful bride, my wonderful children, family and friends. I’m also thankful for my new job and new opportunities but most of all, I’m thankful for having Jesus Christ at the center of my life because without him, none of this is possible.

May you be blessed, safe, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

On the Topic of Pro-Life and the Hatred Towards President Trump

When discussing pro life issues, stating that we should be concerned about the dignity of all lives is an imbecilic thing to say. We should always be taking care of our fellow man. We should always have in mind the dignity of our fellow man, be it the poor, the elderly, the immigrant, etc. By saying that the dignity of all lives matters is using it as a scapegoat to justify voting for a party who supports the murder of the unborn.

Once again I say, if we do not stress the importance of the dignity of life from the beginning, nothing else matters.

Mark 14:7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you will, you can do good to them.

Matthew 25:35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

The aforementioned scripture verses are examples of how we should always be taking care of our fellow man.

Now let’s look at a couple of other examples of scripture that refer to the laws of man and God.

Exodus 20:13 You shall not kill.

1 Timothy 1:9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient.

There are many “Christians” out there who absolutely, undeniably, and abhorrently hate President Donald Trump. To them I pose this question; how can you hate someone that you do not know?

What does scripture say about hate?

1 John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

1 John 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Hate comes from fear. Fear comes from the devil. Ask yourselves who you serve?

I know hate. I know the evil of hate and how it can consume a person and blind them from the truth.

Anyone that I’ve ever “hated” in my life was a lie that was constantly being fed to me by the evil one. How could I hate someone I didn’t know? I couldn’t. The truth was I didn’t like the action(s) of the person and instead of saying that, I went beyond the dislike of an action to hatred for the person.

If someone brings up the name Donald Trump, and you cannot have a rational conversation with that person without allowing your feelings to get involved, pray. Pray that God will give you clarity. I had to because I was allowing my feelings to get involved while defending the President. Now, I point out what he has done to help our nation to try to become great again. Let’s face it, other countries used to look up to us or looked at us with envy and jealousy. Now they laugh at us and that was long before President Trump.

Do we take a chance and vote in a party who wants socialism to be the new norm? Or do we vote for the man who has his own “personal” faults that are between he and God, not he and me. The same man who has brought Christianity back into the vocabulary of politics. The same man who defends the dignity of the unborn and is not ashamed to say so.

Remember, 95% of what we say and do is based on feelings. Use that untapped 5% when it come time to vote. Open your eyes and your hearts. Do not trust your feelings when you vote but vote on the issues at hand.

Four Things I Learned From Last Week

If last week were a test for our country from God, then we utterly failed as a nation. Here are 4 things that I learned about our country based off the actions of the past week.

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Division

We are still more divided in this country than we think we are and it’s not all about race. Yes there is still racism in our country but it’s not as bad as what mainstream media wants you to believe it is. Right before the murder of George Floyd, Americans were divided about wearing a mask due to the Coronavirus. People with mask were being disrespectful to those without and vice versa. When people are arguing about something as petty as wearing a mask and being driven towards division over it, there is a problem.

With the murder of George Floyd, it has fueled that “us against them” mentality among many individuals, which leads to my next topic, hate.

 

 

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Hate

We all know the opposite of hate is love. Love builds, love cares, and love strives for the betterment of mankind. God is love. Hate destroys, period! Hate is Satan. Satan has been roaming the world destroying everything in his path. As the bible says, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8. The devil has set his sight on the ruin of families, creating division along the way and instilling hate in individuals that they just can’t shake on their own.

Hate driven rioters have taken to the streets of America burning and looting along the way. Fueled by a false sense of fear within them, they listen to what is being fed to them on TV and this fuels the hate towards “X” whatever X may be. “I hate him because X!”  Hate is a feeling; Love is an Action.

Resist him (the devil), be firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. 1 Peter 5:9

 

 

MSM

Mainstream Media Still Rules

No matter how many people like myself try to educate others to think for themselves instead of being told how, what, and when to think by Mainstream Media, the proof is still there that Mainstream Media continues to dictate the path of far too many Americans. I still would like to encourage these individuals to shut off their televisions or whatever news sources they are using and take a step back, clear the emotions from your head so that you will have an unobscured vision of the truth, then look at what is really going on in America. You will be able to see who the people are that are pulling the strings of society and then you will be able to make better choices in how you receive your news and you will sever the ties that bind you to Mainstream Media.

 

 

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Lack of Dignity of Life

Just like everyone else that saw the video of the detainment of George Floyd, I was sickened to see him slowly being murdered by a law enforcement officer, someone who is supposed to be there to protect and serve their community. I was angry, but I wasn’t shocked. I’ll explain that later. It is what I do with that anger that will determine what type of person I am. Will I be self-serving and use it like the looters and rioters or will I use it for positive change in a negative situation. I’ve chosen to write this today and share my thoughts. Maybe it will make somebody think along the way and change their outlook on mankind, maybe?

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Every year approximately one million unborn children are murdered in America. There are very few protests, there is no rioting or looting done because of their deaths. They are the voiceless individuals that far too many people forget about or speak up for. So if we don’t have respect for the dignity of the unborn, we shouldn’t be shocked at the actions of that officer who murdered George Floyd. That is why I mentioned earlier that I was angry, but not shocked.

In my opinion and based on observations in my life, there are far too many people who don’t care about the dignity of life. Be it humans or animals, these people have the mentality that “some” of these; humans, animals, are expendable or are not needed. As a society, if we don’t care for the lesser of these, what makes you think that we will care for the greater of them? We need hearts to be changed. We need to respect the dignity of life.

 

WhatDoNowAbstr

So what now?

All these things that I mentioned can be fixed but it takes a change of heart and, in my opinion, it takes God to be in the center of your lives.

I am Roman Catholic and I stand firm in my faith. My job is not to convince you to become a Roman Catholic. My job is not to convince you that God does exist. My job is to be the best version of who God created me to be and to share his message with others, to share my experiences about him with others and this is what I try to do on a daily basis, this is what I try to do with my blog.

Do I always have God at the center of my life? No. Sometimes he gets pushed to the side but he never gets pushed out of my life. I’m a sinner, and I know my sins, but it doesn’t make me quit, it makes me strive harder to be that better person that God created me to be.

I’ve shared this once and I’ll share it again now. Jesus gave us one commandment and that was to “love others as I have loved you.” John 15:12

Be that version that God created you to be. Love one another as he has loved us. Be that better person.

Until next time, Buen Camino and God bless.

53

As I sit here in my recliner, front door open, cool evening air blowing inside, 11:30 PM, my mind went back to Ft. Stockton, TX 1979, cool summer evening just like tonight but back then, you could sleep with your front door open. Man have times changed.

I miss the simpler times in life. I didn’t have the best life growing up but I did have some good memories here and there. It’s those memories, those times and places that I miss during times like these.

And here I am now, just turned 53 this month, living a life that I would’ve never imagined, in what some people are calling a “COVID world.” Well, I don’t want to live in a “COVID world.” What does that mean? I don’t know. What I do know is that for some, this virus has made them look at themselves and they are trying to become better humans. And then there are others, who just like demons, look for any opportunity to make others lives miserable. I try to be that first type of person but there are times that I fail.

I’ve kept this picture up as my Facebook cover as a reminder to just live. Some days I’m like Keith Richards and other days I’m like the other guys but the one thing that I strive for daily is to do what they are doing in the picture, smiling and laughing. Even with the masks on, you can see the smiles, the laughter, and the happiness on their faces.

Will our world ever get back to normal? I don’t know. For now, I will live my life the best way I know how, and I will laugh and smile along the way. Until next time, buen camino & God bless.

52 Years

 

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I’ve spent 52 years on this earth and my life has been…less than. I really don’t know how to explain it but let’s just say that recent events that have happened in my life throw light upon why I have not been happy.

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I’ve been saying it for some time now; “I’m sure that I don’t have 52 years left in me, so the time that I do have, I want to be happy.” I don’t want to spend the rest of my days wishing that I was a happier or better person, I want to be that person.

I believe that there are three key components to making this a reality.

  1. Spiritual Health – Getting my prayer life back in order. Realizing that I don’t have full control of my life as much as I’d like to think I do. Placing God back at the center of my life. Remembering to thank God for the blessings in my life. Working with other men to help each other in our journeys and hold each other accountable. Being the leader, protector, and provider of my family; being the priest of my household and setting that example.
  2. Mental Health – Continuing with my therapy and doing the exercises that my therapist has asked me to do. Remind myself daily that I am not the same person that I was as a child, teen, or young adult. And the hardest part for me, forgiving myself.
  3. Physical Health – This is an area that I desperately need to address. I need to find that motivation to get out, get up and be active for a bit instead of getting home, kicking off my shoes, changing into my comfortable clothes and laying down. No matter how much I wish it, fat won’t come off by wishing it away.

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This is my plan for now. Why for now? Because like any good plan, you have to allow room for adjustments. For those of you who are going through something similar, you can do it! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Know that I will be praying for you and I ask you all to pray for me as well.

Until next time, Buen Camino.

 

When you start to lose your faith

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Coming back to Jesus Christ and His Church was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. I remember the tears of joy, the feeling of an enormous weight being lifted from my shoulders, the weight of sin and doubt; I finally felt free and felt loved

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Over the years after coming back to my faith, I got myself involved in many ministries; I believe I was trying to find a way to make up for the lost time and for not doing what I felt that I should’ve been doing for Christ all along. I got to a point where I overdid it and got involved in too many ministries and became overburdened. Another thing that happened is that I started to notice the people involved in these ministries, and what I noticed was not good. Over pious, self-serving, self-righteous, holier than thou individuals who were in these ministries for all the wrong reasons. All of a sudden there was too much noise, far too many voices of who was right and what was right. I didn’t realize then that I couldn’t hear or see God because of the static and that my attention was elsewhere.

The-Lost-Sheep

As I stated earlier, even I got involved for some wrong reasons, thinking that I owed Christ something for all of my wasted time. I’ve come to learn through time that I didn’t owe Christ anything. I’m sure that he was happy I, the lost black sheep, returned back to him. Remember, he also gave us the gift of free will to do what we want; to turn away from him or to turn back towards him. No matter what is going on in our lives, he is always there. “I will never forsake you or abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5

Wolves-Sheep

During this journey I’ve taken, I have met many people who are not the picture-perfect Catholic/Christian. Honestly, none of us are. What I’m talking about though are those individuals that I mentioned before, and then there are the supposed leaders, those who are supposed to be our shepherds, and currently, they are misleading the flock. Not all of them are bad but there are far too many who are noticeably wrong in their actions and words. When you are informing your parishioners that voting for someone who is pro-abortion is better than voting for an individual who has cheated on three of his wives, there is a serious problem there. When you admit to voting for someone who is openly pro-abortion, you have made yourself a part of their sin and are misleading your flock. When you are doing everything in your power to fast forward the agenda of the LGBTQ and use it to twist the words of Christ, you too are misleading your flock.

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I’ve found myself being angry, disheartened, and depressed about my journey with Christ. Then like a rock falling on my head, (which is usually the way God has to get my attention), I realized that it is not Christ that I’m disappointed with, it is the men who are in leadership positions that are making me feel this way. I’m too focused on them and not focused enough on Christ. I’ve been focused far too much on what they are doing wrong instead of on what Christ has done right. When we place our trust in men, we will be let down for sure.

God is calling

So, once again, I am at the crossroads. Which way will I go? Will I continue to fall for the foolishness of men or will I return to how I was when I first came back, like a child yearning to learn, wanting to serve Christ as best as I can? How will I do this? I really don’t know right now. Will I start another men’s group or will Christ lead me in another direction? Only God knows. One thing that I do know is that I’m tired of being angry, disheartened and depressed about my faith and I refuse to lose it! I will do my best to serve, I will do my best to let my actions speak louder than my words, and I will do my best to spread the joy of Christ with others as often as I can.

I saw this passage today which served as my inspiration for writing this. I hope that it moves you as much as it moved me. For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” 1 Corinthians 1:17.

Buen Camino & God Bless

Negative Influences

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This is the day. This is the day that I say “NO” to negativity! This is the day that I stop falling for the nonsense that enters into my life. This is the day that I stand by Jesus Christ and ask him to help me be a better man.

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This journey with Christ has not been an easy one but then again, nobody ever said it would be. As a matter of fact, some of the most influential people that I have met so far in my journey with Christ have told me how hard it is and how much harder it will get for me. One of my earlier spiritual directors told me, “The closer you get to God, the harder Satan will try to trip you up.” Some days the devil can’t trip me up for nothing, and others days, it’s not even a challenge for him. So what is a person to do?

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Ugh. There he goes again

There are some people in my life who I dearly love but at times, they can be a negative influence on me. I fall into their trap and end up acting the fool. I know the problems that have been plaguing me lately. Listening to gossip or doing it myself, feeding into negative actions such as cursing and being inconsiderate towards others feelings or being spurned onto these actions by friends and family. It’s as though I can hear my guardian angel say, “Hey look out there’s a ….. never mind, too late” and I fall again. This is the day that it ends. As my bride likes to say, “one can not walk with the Lord while holding hands with the devil.”

 

sin kills

Sin kills. When we give into what the devil is feeding us, we die. Sin kills, plain and simple. Have you ever payed attention to your sinful patterns? One little venial sin here, another one there, and another and another and another until there is this big pile of venial sins. When there is no more room for venial sins we end up giving into mortal sins, sins that separate us from or push us away from Christ. The more we give into venial sin, the easier it is to fall into the trap of mortal sin. Sin is the thing that keeps me away from the peace, the peace of Christ that I am looking for. That quiet, peace. Only through the grace of God will I be able to turn over a new leaf. And although I have calmed down quite a bit compared to my old self, that “old self” likes to try and sneak in from time to time to cause havoc.

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I want that peace of Christ and I want it now. In a world full of noise, sometimes noise that I create myself, I want peace. I’m tired of the negativity. It’s like carrying a heavy load and I don’t want to carry it any longer. So, to my family & friends who are having issues in their lives, I’m sorry you are going through what you are going through and I pray that you get through it soon, but your negativity is not helping me so I will take a step back, I will pray for you, and I will be there when you need to talk. If I want to find peace in myself, I need to look for it through and with Christ. You are always welcomed to join us.

 

 

 

 

Fixing the Problem aka: I’m What!

 

Last week I had a really bad day, I was frustrated and angry at some things that took place over the prior weekend. The short of it, some people said some things that upset me. I was having such an issue with it that I called my deacon adviser to see what he thought. After telling him everything that happened, he did what he’s always done when I talk to him about situations like these, “Why is it bothering you John? It seems to be their issue but you let it bother you.” Now keep in mind, I purposely picked this individual because I knew they would be brutally honest with me and my journey into the permanent diaconate.

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He then proceeded to tell me that I was not a nice or kind person, that it is just not in my nature, that I’m big and can come across as intimidating. He also said that if that is the way I am, it’s ok because not everyone can be all lovey dubby and huggy. On the outside I was like “OK” but inside my head ha ha ha, I was like WTH! I’m What! It was one of those moments where I just wanted to hit something, kinda like Robert DeNiro in Analyze This.

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He then continued to say, “It’s not in what they are saying or what the situation is John, it is all in the way you react to it. During moments like these you have to ask yourself, would Jesus react like this.” Of course the answer was no. He advised me to read a book called The Four Agreements. He said it helped him quite a bit because he too can be just like me. I think there are many of us who “over react” or “blow a fuse” more times than we would like to admit. So far, there are quite a few points in that book that make sense that I can and will apply to my life.

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I was still kind of taken back by the statement he made of “You are not a nice or kind person” and that is because although I know I have a rough exterior at times, I am a nice person and I am kind too but, I can be ugly…but can’t we all? Then I thought, “maybe he said that just to shake me up?” Then my bride said, “maybe he said that to bring the conversation back to you instead of them!” Another Analyze This moment came to my head, “You! You! You’re good! Whatever the reason behind it, it worked. It has made me look at myself and the way I react to people and situations. Fast forward to lent which starts tomorrow.

lent

I, like many Catholics out there, will be doing multiple things for lent. There of course are the main 3 things that we should all do, Prayer, Fasting and Alms giving. But I am going to tailor these to my specific situation right now on bettering myself so that I can better serve the people in my life. For now I will share with you one of the prayers that I will be reciting daily to bring me back to earth, to ground myself and help me remember that “John, you aren’t special.” It is the Litany of Humility.

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O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others…Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised…Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected …Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may increase and I may decrease …Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside …Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything…Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I,
 provided that I may become as holy as I should…Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

As always, pray for me and my journey and know that I am praying for you. May God continue to bless you and all that you do for his kingdom. Buen Camino!