You Can Act Like A Man – Lust Part 1

Wikipedia definition of lust – Lust is a psychological force producing intense desire for an object, or circumstance while already having a significant amount of the desired object. Lust can take any form such as the lust for sexuality, money, or power.

A sin is a sin is a sin. However, the biggest sin amongst men, young and old, is the sin of the flesh. It’s in our DNA, to admire the beauty of women. But there is a point when admiration turns into lustful desire and that’s when sin takes place.

Some guys are like, “I didn’t even touch her.” you didn’t have to, it was your thoughts that got you to sin.

Even in the beginning, when God created the world, he felt pity for Adam and from one of his ribs, he created Eve. Remember how excited Adam got? Finally, Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh! I will call her woman!

And it seemed like everything was perfect, and it was…until Adam let the serpent in.

You see, the devil is clever. He doesn’t come into the story looking like the boogie man. He comes in like one of the animals but with an agenda. How does he look like when he enters into your world?

We’ll talk more about that on Part 2. Until then, Buen Camino.

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.

You Can Act Like A Man – Greed

Today we are going to talk about the din of greed.

When you hear the word “greed”, you probably think of money, or someone who’s rich, but it is much more than that. Greed – is an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.

Remember Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory? She wanted everything, and she wanted it right away! Does it remind you of anybody you know, possibly yourself at times?

We live in an age of instant gratification. “I want it, and I want it now” or “I deserve it.” I know that I’ve been that person in my life, more times than I’d like to admit. As a matter of fact, I think it is my generations fault, Generation X, that we live in the era of instant gratification. Many of us didn’t have the discipline or skills to just say NO! Others had the notion of not raising their children in the manner that they were ere brought up; they’d be kinder, gentler, more understanding. And in time, we’ve raised a generation of slothful greedy brats.

Change isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s necessary, and other times it’s forced upon us. Either way, you become a stronger person after it’s done.

Through the grace of God, you can change your greedy behavior. Hebrews 13:16 – Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

I’m not insisting that we become a Socialist Government. If we have, and if we can, we should give to those in need. But they in turn should do their part as well, for the Bible also says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat.

It’s all about balance. Give to much, you become an enabler; give to little and you become a miser.

I pray that this has helped you to think about the sin of greed in a different light than before. Next Friday I’ll talk about the sin of wrath.

Until next time, Buen Camino.

You Can Act Like a Man – Sloth

When people think of the sin of sloth, they tend to think about laziness, idleness, or indolence. They are partly right because sloth is much more than that.

The Latin term for sloth is acedia which means “without care.” Spirituality it’s referred to people who’ve become indifferent to their obligations to God. Mentally, acedia has many facets; affectlessness, a lack of any feeling about a person’s self or others, a state of mind that welcomes boredom, apathy, and sluggish mentation.

In his Summa Theologica, Saint Thomas Aquinasdefined sloth as “sorrow about spiritual good” and as “facetiousness of the mind which neglects to begin good… [it] is evil in its effect, if it so oppresses men as to draw him away entirely from good deeds.”

In a nutshell, sloth is the sin of omission; failure to do the things that one should do, turning a blind eye to what is right. Sins of omission can be the worst because it is not what you do, but what you failed to do.

One of the best ways to combat sloth is to pray the rosary; focusing on each mystery of Jesus’ life. Contemplating on how Jesus lived his life, how he’s given us the example of what a prayerful man is. With that being said, let’s practice right now by saying the Lords Prayer slowly.

Our Father (pause)………..who art in heaven…………..hallowed be thy name…………………..thy kingdom come………….thy will be done……………….on earth……………as it is in heaven……………….Give us this day………………….Our daily bread………….and forgive us our tresspasses………as we forgive those………….who trespass against us……………..and lead us not………..into temptation…………..but deliver us………from evil……..Amen.

The “You Can Act Like a Man” series continues next Friday where the topic will be greed. Until then, Buen Camino.

You can act like a man – Pride

To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man. – Ric Flair

In order to change yourself, you have to acknowledge your brokenness and identify those areas.

Our first topic in the “You can act like a man” series is Pride.

Pride is sometimes viewed as corrupt or as a vice, sometimes as proper or as a virtue. … When viewed as a virtue, pride in one’s abilities is known as virtuous pride, the greatness of soul or magnanimity, but when viewed as a vice it is often known to be self-idolatry, sadistic contempt, vanity or vainglory.

When I came back to the Catholic Church in late 2012, the thing that held me back from going back sooner was fear. I was afraid to give my life to God. I was afraid that I would change and become less of a man, but I knew deep in my heart, that I had to make the move.

As I sat there in front of the tabernacle that day, I was having a long overdue conversation with Jesus Christ. I wanted to know why I wasn’t happy, content, and at peace with myself or the current state of my life. I was still fairly young, 46 years old, successful, had a good marriage, but yet, I knew something was missing. I knew the answer without Him saying a word to me. He, Jesus Christ, was the answer.

I asked Jesus to come into my life, to send the Holy Spirit down upon me. Suddenly, I started to cry. I could feel an intense love like I’ve never felt before. My inner cup was overflowing with His grace, and I knew, this was it, this was Him. I remember saying “if you come into my life, I will no longer live it for myself, but for you.”

For once, I humbled myself before the Lord. I’ve never been a humble person, and I still continue to work at it, but that day, I found something, someone, greater than myself, and I let go of my pride, and allowed Jesus Christ into my life.

The opposite of pride is humility, humbleness. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that approximately 80% of men today, know nothing or very little about humility. Take a look at the state of the world these days.

I’m a firm believer that all of the world’s problems are the result of men not knowing their role or doing what God created them for, but I’ll save that for later on the topic of sloth.

Humility and humbleness allow a man to realize that there is something bigger than him or his ego, and that there are others who need help, guidance, assistance, and love that he can offer when he’s not focused on himself. You may have heard the saying. “It takes a real man to recognize his mistakes.” I say that it takes a “humble” man to be able to identify, acknowledge, and work towards fixing those mistakes.

Look upon the cross and you will see authentic masculinity, authentic humility, from Our Lord Jesus Christ, who humbled himself to death, death on a cross, for all of us, and all of our sins. “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

God, I am far too often influenced by what others think of me. I am always pretending to be either richer or smarter or nicer than I really am. Please prevent me from trying to attract attention. Don’t let me gloat over praise on one hand or be discouraged by criticism on the other. Nor let me waste time weaving imaginary situations in which the most heroic, charming, witty person present is myself. Show me how to be humble of heart, like you.

The Litany of Humility

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, 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, 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.

– Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val

Until next Friday, Buen Camino.

Finding God…again.

I’m on a new journey in search of God. Now I know that God is everywhere and, he is within us. However, over the past two years, I’ve allowed the secular world to cloud my vision. So what happened?

First was leaving Deacon Formation in early 2019. It was something that needed to happen but, it was still a hard pill to swallow. The hardest part for me back then, and still is today, is how can God allow evil into his Church? In the Catholic Church we have less than desirable clergy members who appear to be more concerned about their own agendas than with the Gospel. I know (now) that there’s nothing that I can do to change that or them, but I still wonder why God allows it. So why is there so much conflict within me?

2020 brought in depression and anger. Not just for me, but for many people that I know. It was the year of the COVID 19 pandemic that was hyper politicized and continued to divide Americans. I turned to music to escape but in doing so, I placed God on the shelf. It was another question; how could God allow people to be so evil with each other? I know that it’s free will but I know there is more to it. I love music. I love playing live or on Facebook. But I love God too, not like before but, I am trying to find my way back to God.

The longer I’m away from God, the easier it is to fall into sin. Sin is not a good place to be; it’s like wallowing around in your own feces, surrounded by demons.

A Time For Healing. A Time For Action.

Yesterday my fellow brother candidates and I were installed in the Ministry of the Lectorate. It was another great day and another accomplishment on our journey towards the Holy Order of Deacon.

As we sat and listened to a Bishop Cantú’s homily, he reminded us that we are to go out and “profess the word of God” and how we need to do so, not only by words but through our actions. Our lives should reflect the word of God in everything we say and do, in every aspect of our lives, at home, at work and in our communities. This isn’t just a good reminder for us deacon candidates but for everyone especially during this dark time of the Church.

This is a time where we need to step up and lead the Church back into the light, to encourage others not to despair and to be that light of Christ for others to see the path that leads back to Jesus Christ and His Church. This is not a time to sit back and ignore what happened, nor is it a time to remain in despair because of the horrific actions that happened at the hands of a few. I am not diminishing the events that took place. Even if it was one person who committed these acts, that is one too many. It is time to start the healing process.

Let us pray for those who were victimized, that God will heal them. Let us pray for those who committed these atrocities, that they will ask for forgiveness and atone for their sins. And finally, let us pray for our Church, that during these dark times people will turn to Jesus and his Church instead of turning away because of what the world says. The voice of a God speaks louder than the voice of man.

Evangelize From Anywhere

Some people have a problem with Disney and anything associated with them. To each their own. I’m not a huge fan but my family is and I enjoy seeing them happy considering how I failed to do so in the early years of being a husband and father and I didn’t make them happy then but that’s another story for another time.

People have their reasons for their dislike of Disney and some use their religion to push their agenda on others; “They support same sex marriage,” or “They support Planned Parenthood.” If those are your main reasons for not supporting a company, better do your homework Jack! There are many companies who do the same thing and unless you are living off the grid, you should re-evaluate your argument or learn what it means to be a Christian.

Christians should be able to evangelize from anywhere under any circumstances. What you do says more than what you say, you know the old cliché; “actions speak louder than words.”

While on our family break here at Disneyland, every time I saw a young couple (male & female) attempting to take a selfie while trying to capture the background, I stepped up and offered to take the picture. Each time the couples were ecstatic that I offered and were pleased with the photo(s). When I handed the phone back back I said the same thing, “have an awesome day and God bless you.” Simple right?

My bride and I walked around holding hands and by our actions, we showed our love for each other and what true Christian matrimony is all about. Simple, easy and fun to do.

So, whether you’re at Disneyland or out on the streets, profess your love of God. Bless others, express generosity, and be the person God made you to be.

It’s A Battle Out There Men. Fight!

 

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Real Christian men pick up their sword and their shield and go into battle daily. As a man of God, stepping outside your door is going into battle. Take a look at what society has deemed “acceptable” by today’s standards. I remember a time when if you heard the word “bitch” on television, it was scandalous. Now you hear so much more than that with the justification that it is on “cable TV” or that it is during “Prime Time” hours. There was a time when a long kiss on TV was “pushing the limits.” Now, people are having sex during “Prime Time” shows on cable TV. So yes, it’s a battle out there, a spiritual one where Satan is going to bombard you with everything he has in his arsenal.

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What is your downfall? Lust, pornography, drugs, alcohol, money, fame and notoriety, whatever it is, Satan knows and he will hurl those temptations at you like grenades. Will you be able to shield them off or will you fall victim to them? Will you stand and fight against them or will you cower like Adam in the Garden of Eden?

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It is time to kneel before the cross of our savior Jesus Christ and answer the call to Christian Manhood. Devote yourself to being that leader, protector, provider, priest, prophet and king that God has called you to be. You are a son of the most high God, an heir to heaven! Isn’t it time that you start acting like it! Isn’t it time that you start carrying yourself like it! When you hear the voice of the Lord say “Whom shall I send?” You should answer just like Isaiah, “Here I am! Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8). Go out there and fight!

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And when your daily battle has ended, and you come home bloodied, bruised and tired, give thanks to God for getting you through this day. Wash yourself in prayer and spiritual reading and ponder on the things that you did right and wrong this day and make a vow to God that you will go out and do better tomorrow. Protect yourself, protect your family, protect the innocent so at the end of your war, you too will hear those words that we all long to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

It’s a God thing

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Ever have one of those days where your run into the right person at the right time? That happened to me this morning. It’s a God thing.

I ran into one of my Cursillo brothers and we got to talking about so many things. We hadn’t seen each other since my Cursillo so we had some catching up to do. We got into some deep conversation about Christianity, more specifically about male spirituality.

He had a couple of employees with him and we got to talking about how I’ve been involved with the Catholic Men’s Movement in our area but how I’ve gotten to the point of being burnt out! I was curious how they felt about it so I posed the question, “What would you like to see in a Catholic Men’s Group?”

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Their answers blew me away! One of them mentioned that he would like to see more men come together as Christians and set denominations aside. He mentioned how he was involved in a group similar to that but he would like to see Catholic men embrace that and their fellow Christian brothers. The next one told me that he loved the prior man’s idea but he’d like to expand on it by having men go out into the forest for masculine activities out there with a spiritual twist. He also mentioned that one of the things that he found troubling about the Cursillo movement was the fact that it is “Catholic Only.” I told him that I agreed with him. All of us agreed that placing the “Catholics Only” label on groups, organizations, clubs, etc… is actually more detrimental to the faith than it is helpful. It limits your ability to evangelize when you place a label on it. “It’s an amazing experience and it is awesome how you can experience the Holy Spirit but, you can’t do this unless you are Catholic.” Maybe it’s just me but it doesn’t sound very Christian does it?

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It’s a God thing. If you get it….you get it. We all agreed that we’d love to see a Christian Brotherhood emerge out of our meeting this morning and through the grace of God and the Holy Spirit, it will happen. In all that we do, we do for the glory of God 1Cor 10:31. We are brothers and sisters and children of God…isn’t it about time we start acting like it and not like a dysfunctional family. We are called to be like Christ in all that we do. How can we call ourselves “Christians” if we are going throughout our day condemning people for not being Catholic or making radical claims that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church. As Catholics we believe that our Church, the Catholic Church is the one true faith and we are to do our best as Christians to evangelize that faith and not twist it to fit what we interpret it as.

Well, that’s all for today folks. It’s been a great Holy Spirit filled day Praise Jesus alleluia!!! May God continue to bless you and all that you do to further His Kingdom.

Viva Cristo Rey!