I Believe

I believe that most people are good

I believe that most people are kind

I believe that most people care

I believe that mainstream media has an agenda

I believe that mainstream media works towards keeping us divided

I believe that mainstream media wants to keep everyone scared

I believe that social media molds individuals into puppets

I believe that social media also strives for division

I believe that social media is not so social anymore

I believe in God and look to him for strength

I believe that most people believe in a higher power

I believe that most people live by the “golden rule.”

I believe that people will wake up one day and realize that we need to become more dependent on each other, instead of depending on politicians who care about power and money instead of the people they serve.

I believe that we can come together and mend the brokenness of this country, only if we don’t listen to the haters, dividers, and non-believers.

I believe that we can make the United States of America great again, but not through any political party or any politicians, but through our own hard work, determination, and God’s grace.

God help us.

Until next time, Buen Camino.

30 Day Retreat Follow Up: Epic Fail or Lesson Learned?

My 30 day retreat ended after 2 days and let me tell you, those were the most intense two days of silence and prayer that I’ve ever experienced, which was a good thing. Overall I’m not looking at this as a failure but rather a taste of things to come in the future. Who knows, maybe next time I will do 3 days or a week.

When I was alone without distractions and my mind started to clear, the more important things in my life started to come up to the forefront. It gave me time to think about what I need to be doing like spending more quality time with family at home and those not at home. I could step up my game at work. I can improve upon my prayer life. I can do more around the house than what I do.

The most important thing that I learned though in those 2 days was to take some time, every day to spend in quiet prayer. That is hard to do for a lot of us with distractions at home, etc… but it can be done, you just need to make it happen.

There is so much more to this 30 day plan that I didn’t get to experience because I stopped so soon. Like I said earlier, maybe next time I’ll shoot for 3 days or a week. Maybe next time I spend those 3 days out in the wilderness with no distractions? Or maybe, I don’t do it at all? Which leads me to my final observation during those 2 days. I asked myself, “Were you doing this because you felt God calling you to do it or was it because a friend of yours did it and you saw the changes in him?” Basically, was I doing this for God or for me? 1 Corinthians 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

So ask yourself, “Do I do all to the glory of God?” Something to think about.

Until next time, Buen Camino and God bless.

A Warrior’s Cry: A Prayer Before Battle

A man holds a rosary in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.

In days of old, warriors used to pray before a battle. As a Christian, you have been fighting a battle ever since the day that you were born. It’s not a physical battle or at least not always; it is spiritual warfare, a battle against Satan and his demons.

Now the time has come to pray to the Lord Our God, to protect us from the evil out there and to give us the strength to go into battle. Are you ready to fight? Let us pray.

For Protection

Psalms 7

O LORD my God, in thee do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers, and deliver me, lest like a lion they rend me, dragging me away, with none to rescue.  O LORD my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands,  if I have requited my friend with evil or plundered my enemy without cause,  let the enemy pursue me and overtake me, and let him trample my life to the ground, and lay my soul in the dust. [Selah]  Arise, O LORD, in thy anger, lift thyself up against the fury of my enemies; awake, O my God; thou hast appointed a judgment.  Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about thee; and over it take thy seat on high.  The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me. O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish thou the righteous, thou who triest the minds and hearts, thou righteous God. My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day.  If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and strung his bow; he has prepared his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts. Behold, the wicked man conceives evil, and is pregnant with mischief, and brings forth lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole which he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own pate his violence descends. I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.

For Strength

Psalms 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;  though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

Proverbs 18:10

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

Isaiah 40:29

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Psalms 28:7-8

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. The LORD is the strength of his people, he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

 

 

Losing it

Well it finally happened today, I lost it. Not “Falling Down” losing it but I went off on quite a few people today. Let me explain.

Earlier in the week a Catholic Persona who I’ve followed for quite sometime on Facebook posted something that I found to be quite disturbing. He was passionate about having the sacraments back and finished his post with the hashtag BishopsBringBackOurSacraments. Well I found this to be quite selfish and started to explain that to him. He wasn’t having it. He was dead set that the saints wouldn’t have put up with this and neither should we. I thought that was a pretty bold statement for him to make considering most saints went through much worse and most, if not all, were obedient to the Church and what was asked of them.

Today I saw another “Catholic a Persona” saying the same thing and he had a petition and a website created for this purpose to petition the bishops to bring back the sacraments. That’s when I lost it and proceeded to unload on him with both barrels like Wyatt Earp did after his brother was killed. I let him and his followers have it, French words and all to get my point across (I know. Not my finest moment) until I finally decided to step away to try to cool off. In the end, I issued many an apology but still cited that I disagreed with his viewpoint on the issue.

Maybe saying that he is being disobedient to the Church was too strong but I don’t think so, some of them might feel that way but I don’t. Let me give an example.

As a parent, if my child who is living at home informed me that they were going to go to Cabo San Lucas for spring break, I would not allow them to go and I would explain how this virus is highly contagious and easily spread, especially when you are in big groups. My Child might not like my decision and may even hate me for making it but as a parent, it is my responsibility to keep them healthy and safe, and as a child living at home, they must obey the laws that we as parents have set forth. It is the same with our bishops; they are looking after our health and well being during these times. They don’t enjoy saying no but it is for the safety of the whole, not the few.

I still say that those who are pushing to have the sacraments back are being disobedient and selfish. What do they think would happen if the bishops caved in and said “Ok! We will give you what you want” and then a parishioner contracts the virus and dies from it. Now the family of the deceased parishioner wants to sue the Church because they knew about the dangers but proceeded to go against the orders set by the states. Do you think they’d care then? It’s not their deceased family member or them being sued.

For those of you who disagree with me and are persistent in asking for the sacraments to be put back, maybe you should take the examples that I gave to heart and pray on them. While your at it, pray for those who’ve died already because of the virus or for those dying from it now who are not allowed to have a family member be with them as they are passing. Pray for those family members who are so grief stricken because of it. Pray for the medical staff who are working diligently to save lives. Pray for the cleaning workers in the hospitals that work ceaselessly to keep their facilities clean. Pray for them and their families who worry that they might bring the virus home. Pray for our safety personnel; law enforce, fire departments, and paramedics who are also coming in contact with some of those who have the virus. And pray for this epidemic to come to an end sooner than later.

This is not a time for disobedience or selfishness but a time to think about our fellow man. Jesus commanded, “Love one another as I have loved you.” John 13:34

May God bless you all, and until next time, been camino.

Another Lenten Journey

 

As Lent begins, let us look at what we can do this year and make it a Lenten journey to remember.

 

 

Lent-

Lent is a time for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving but there are a few more items that you could add onto this list for your Lenten journey; Sacrifice, Reconciliation, and Penance. Take each of these and reflect on them today as you start your Lenten journey. Who or what should I pray for? Fast a meal each day if possible, if not, each Friday at least and offer up that missed meal for those who don’t have enough to eat. Give to the poor, not just financially but spiritually as well. Spiritual giving is sharing the Gospel, the word of God with those who have not heard or need to hear it. Sacrifice something for the 40 days of lent; Many give up something easy like sodas or candy but I would recommend making a harder sacrifice and that doesn’t necessarily mean giving up something, you can take something on like praying a rosary daily, help clean your church, just do something that you know is going to take you out of your routine but is something positive. If you are Catholic, seek the sacrament of reconciliation especially if you haven’t done so in a while. Once you have done so, complete the penance given to you and also, do something extra to avoid the near occasion of sin. Ask God for the grace to help you avoid it and to turn away from the vices that keep you from living the life that he has chosen for you.

Lent2

Take this Lent seriously. Let it be 40 of renewal for you, a new person that will come from this Lenten journey. May God give you the grace to accomplish what you set out to do this Lent and may you be that new person at the end of the 40-day journey.

Until next time, buen camino.

52 Years

 

peaceful

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.

happyball

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.

goodplandrawing

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.

 

Memories from the Past: Part 2

Hello everyone and Happy New Year and Merry Christmas! Yes, the Christmas season is still upon us so Merry Christmas, Christ is born! I’ve been thinking about how I was going to write this post. With that being said, it is going to be a pretty short post.

Let me start by saying that I will not be sharing that other story that I talked about in part 1. The things that have happened to me in my past are things that I would not wish upon my worst enemy, and they explain a lot about how and why I acted and reacted in certain ways.

I’ve been going to therapy for almost a year now and I thank God that I have such an amazing therapist who has been and continues to help me cross these bridges as they arise. She is helping me to create the person who I want to be, not the person who I thought I was.

In closing I would say this:

  1. Don’t be afraid to seek out help for past wounds, especially you men out there. You’d be surprised to see that you aren’t the only one to go through what you’ve been through.
  2. If you are seeing a therapist and feel as though you are not getting the help you need, find another therapist. This is your mental health we are talking about so find the professional who is going to help you best.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for support. I am blessed to have my bride by my side throughout this journey. She always knows the right things to say to me during these times especially when I am overwhelmed with the flood of emotions from these memories.

May God always be by your side and may he guide you get the help that you are looking for and never forget to ask him as well, for he is the eternal physician and he wants you to be the child that he created you to be. Until next time, buen camino.

TRUST

trust-resized

Trust is not something that is handed out on a silver platter, it is something that is earned. Trusting people, especially these days, is getting harder and harder to do. There once was a time where a man’s word was his bond and a handshake is all that it took to seal a deal. Now there are lengthy contracts drawn up by corporate lawyers and professional courtesy is no longer the norm. If we take the time to look at ourselves, I’m sure that most of you, like me, will admit that we aren’t as trustworthy as we think we are. I’m sure there are plenty of times, like myself, where you don’t stick to your word. It is an area that I need to work on again, to stick to my word and mean what I say.

john14 1

Imagine if God was not a man of His word. Thankfully, we don’t have to imagine that. He is and always will be a man of His word. If we take the time to read the bible, we can find multiple verses where we hear about his trust and how we should trust in him. Here are a few examples from the book of Psalms.

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act Psalm 37:5

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. Psalm 13:5

let go let god

Sometimes the hardest person to trust is ourselves. Think about it. How many times have you trusted your “instinct” only to find yourself knee deep in…trouble? I can’t tell you how many times that has happened to me. There are also times when I remember to place my trust in God, lift my prayers to Him, and I am amazed at the results. One of my favorite verses about trust is this one; Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6. It is the perfect example of what not and what to do.

trust-torn

There is a massive lack of trust in the Church today, it has been torn. In my opinion, I feel that it is due to our Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons who have “leaned on their own understanding” instead of on God’s. Speaking for myself, there are many of those men listed above who I’ve lost trust in and it will take time and action for them to regain my trust. I’m sure the same can be said for many of you who have been hurt by someone in the Church. Let us ask God to help us to forgive these individuals, to pray for them to be better shepherds, and to give us the courage to stand up to them and respectfully hold them accountable when they are leading us astray or breaking our trust. And, let us continue to work on ourselves, to be the best version of ourselves, the one that God created us to be. Let us with the grace of God, continue to work on our integrity, sincerity, reliability, consistency, commitment, and competence so that we may regain the trust that others have lost in us.

Buen Camino & God Bless.

When you start to lose your faith

man-praying-knees-sun-ftr

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

anxious-man-1537782840

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.

trust god

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

Noise

When was the last time you lived? Sounds crazy because you are alive right now if you are reading this right? But what I’m talking about is living your life, when was the last time?

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We have so much noise in this world, the noise that keeps us away from experiencing and living our lives to the fullest potential that God created us to live it. Most of the noise is not audible noise at all but just distractions that keep us from living our lives and from listening to God. Our phones, computers, tablets, etc… God forbid we don’t see what’s happening on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the other social media platforms. What about the noise inside our heads? We are a people of worry, doubt, skepticism, just to name a few. We go about our day planning the next step, the next project, the next hour, minute and second.

social-media-1

Instead of picking up our phones to check social media, instead of worrying about what’s in store for today, we should be picking up our bibles and reflecting on what it is God wants to tell us. “The human heart plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.” Proverbs 16:9

prov 169

Allow God to direct your steps, he knows exactly where he needs you. Trust in his will to be done instead of yours. Yes, go through your day but know and trust in God that he is in control. Also, take time to put social media aside and look and listen to what’s going on around you. What are you seeing? What are you hearing? Is it a mountain full of trees where you hear the wind blowing through the branches or is it the sound of the city waking up and coming to life?

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When you get a chance today, set aside all distractions and spend some time looking at your surroundings. Take some time to listen to all the sounds that are around you. And, take some time to just sit there with God, don’t say anything, just sit there and be with him.

walking-with-yahushua2

Enjoy the journey and may God continue to bless you and all that you do for his kingdom.