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 – 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.

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!

Thou Shalt Not Steal

How many of you have gone to your local store to purchase toilet paper only to find an empty aisle? What’s up with that? I think the meme that I shared above says it all.

Almost empty bathroom aisle

During a time of crisis, like the one that we are currently in, it is wise to buy a few extra items to see you through it. You should have enough food and household supplies (this includes toilet paper) to last you at least a month. There is no reason that you should be buying 8 32-roll packs of toilet paper. If so, well…like the meme at the top says, you should’ve seen your doctor long before COVID-19.

If you are purchasing more than what you need, you are hoarding and you are also stealing. That’s right, I said that you are stealing! You may not be stealing from the store (but then again some of you might be) but, you are stealing from those who will need these items and will not be able to find them at the store, like those who are elderly and are on a tight budget. Because of their budgets, some people can only afford to shop at certain times of the month. If you are Christian, and you are one of the people hoarding items, shame on you! If you are Catholic, and you are one of the people hoarding items, not only shame on you but, you need to take your butt to confession. If you are not a believer in Christ and you are one of the people hoarding these items, there is a special place in hell for you all. Just kidding. No, I’m not.

Think about others before yourself, especially during times like these. Can you imagine if Jesus had been selfish and thought of only himself? He thought about others rather than himself and his actions show it. Now I’m no Jesus myself but I do my best to follow his example, you should too. This is what he commands us to do; John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” There it is, in black and white.

Until next time, be excellent to each other.

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.

angry tony soprano

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.

hit the pillow

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.

you

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.

image12

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!