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.

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.

All About the Journey

So what is lent to you? How are you doing so far this lent? What type of journey are you on?

In this week’s readings we hear about two journeys. We journey with Abraham who is asked to sacrifice his son Isaac. When the arrive at the top of the mountain to the place of sacrifice he is told by the Lord’s messenger not to lay a hand on the boy. Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said:
“I swear by myself, declares the LORD,
that because you acted as you did
in not withholding from me your beloved son,
I will bless you abundantly
and make your descendants as countless
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore;
your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies,
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth
shall find blessing—
all this because you obeyed my command.”

In the second journey (Mark 9:2-10) Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.

Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, 
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents: 
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; 
from the cloud came a voice, 
“This is my beloved Son.  Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.

As we go out this week, let us listen to what it is the Lord is asking of us, and let us obey Him and trust Him to lead this journey that we’re on.

Until next time, Buen Camino and God bless.

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!

What Have We Learned So Far?

We are now weeks into this epidemic and what have we learned from all of what’s going on with the coronavirus in the United States?

We’ve learned that when push comes to shove, Americans are still strong. Our hospitals, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and rescue personnel are placing themselves in harms way for the health and safety of their communities first. They deserve our thanks and prayers for their health, safety, and for them to continue their work.

We should also thank and pray for our truckers who are working to bring supplies to those in need. Thank and pray for the American worker, who’s job has been deemed “essential” and are still doing their part to keep the country going.

Pray for and look after those who’ve lost their jobs and businesses. During times like these, stress, anxiety, and depression can hit home hard leading to drinking, drug use, and sometimes suicide. Be kind to and look out for each other. Help your fellow man.

The biggest thing that I’ve noticed throughout this whole ordeal, in my opinion, is the fact that we to place God back in the center of our lives. I honestly feel that he’s been warning us over these past few decades and instead of getting better, as a whole, we are getting worse. Disobeying his laws, making a mockery out of the sacrament of marriage, the continued murdering of the unborn, and countless other acts that snub our noses at God. God is a loving God, but he is also a just God.

What have I learned about myself during this time? A lot! I’ve noticed where the lack of God is in my life. I’ve learned that although I’ve come to grips with certain areas in my life, more work is needed to attain the peace that I’ve desperately searched for. Day by day and with the grace of God, I will achieve my goals too.

God bless you all, be safe, and Buen Camino.

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.

TRUST

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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.

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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.

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.

Lights, Camera, Action!

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Bear Woznick, John Prejean and Tony Orband

The picture above is how it all started. A chance encounter with Bear and Tony? No. It was the Holy Spirit Action Plan.

LRH Patch

I just got home from spending a week shooting Season 2 of Long Ride Home which by the way, Season 1 will be airing on EWTN June 4th at 6PM.

When Bear asked me, I was ecstatic! I really was looking forward to being able to be a part of a a Catholic Show on EWTN. I thanked God for giving me this opportunity to do so but of course the question that was roaming though my head was “why me?” I didn’t know exactly what I would be doing but Bear told me that it was not going to be all fun and games. He said “this will be work” and he was absolutely right.

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When it’s all said and done, everyone gets to look at the finished product and are “wowed” at what they see. Little do they know how much time, dedication, determination, finances and hard work have gone on behind the scenes. Everyone on set gave all that they had to the shoot and when Season 2 airs, I’m sure you will all be blown away.

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One of the hardest and scariest days of shooting was the “Tail of the Dragon” which started for us in North Carolina and ended in Tennessee. Absolutely some of the most beautiful country you will see but if you are not careful, it can also be some of the most deadliest.

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This is what can happen in the blink of an eye. This driver was waving at the camera and drifted into the lane of the Corvette. These are pictures from killboy.com and not from our drive but I wanted to show you just how quick a nice ride can turn into a scary one.

The Dragon-Deals Gap 5

Some of the drivers survive and return to place a part of their bike on the “Tree of Shame” or as others call it “The Tree of Woe.”

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We knew that Christ would be watching over us but we still had to do our part and be observant to the dangers of the road. The footage that was shot that day is going to be some of the most amazing riding that you will see from 6 men on cruisers on a road that was built more for touring bikes. We had a mission to bring the word of God to the masses and this was one of the rides that would show it the most.

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I went in with no expectations, not knowing what I would be doing and I came out with so many messages from God, my colors, and a new group of friends. I took a chance and stepped outside of my comfort zone and am glad that I did. How many times have you uttered the words “Jesus I trust you” only to cower away from what it is He is calling you to? As a Catholic Evangelist and God willing a future Deacon, I can’t just talk the talk, I must walk the walk.

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I emptied my cup before leaving on my trip to allow room for the Grace and Mercy of God to fill it up. He pointed out some areas that I still need to work on and there were literally countless times where we all saw the hand of God and the Holy Spirit do Their work on set. I leave you with this my friends, so that you too will have courage and trust in the Lord. May God continue to bless you and all that you do for his Kingdom.

Proverbs 3:5-6 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. 

 

Patience

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Patience…not one of my strongest suits but only through the grace of God have I gotten better at and continue to get better at it. So what is patience? Let’s look at the definition of the word. Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. So why is it so hard to be patient? I have a couple of thoughts on why it is.

Society – Most of the time when I catch myself losing my cool or getting irritated, it is due to the fact that I am being impatient about something or I am upset because the results aren’t turning out in my favor or “my way.” That’s when I notice the “world” pulling me in. As Christians, even though we are in this world, we are not meant for it. John 15:19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. The world wants to tell you that it is ok to do what you want and when you want to and that it’s nobodys business but my own! The world is wrong. What I do doesn’t just impact me, it impacts those around me, which leads to my next thought.

Lack of Discipline – I am an overweight man. I struggle daily with my carb intake and I like sweets. I know that if I have that donut or that ice cream, it is only going to bring me pleasure momentarily. It is a feeling of gratification not accomplishment. When I give in to my wants, it doesn’t last and leaves me wanting more and more and more. When I don’t give in and I discipline myself, it might bother me at first but I know deep inside, that I’ve accomplished a goal of being able to say “NO!” Hebrews 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

When I look at the crucifix, that is where I see patience. Jesus took on his passion and did so without getting angry or upset. He did so because he loves us. 1 Corrinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends. Let’s go out today and everyday and strive to be patient and love one another. God bless.