Archive for February, 2015


Spiritual But Not Religious, Really?

I meet so many young adults who are “spiritual but not religious.” What does that mean? It is like saying I love coffee but I don’t drink it. I love to experience nature but I don’t leave my house. I love God….but I can’t imagine actually going to church and worshiping him.

What we keep in our heads ONLY, what we keep in our hearts ONLY, what we keep private and between me and Jesus ONLY; is NOT faith at all. It is laziness. Sound harsh? It may be.  But let me put something out there for you to think about.

Faith requires action!

God is faithful. God is always at work in his creation and with his children. ALWAYS! What’s our problem? If God kept his faith to himself, it would be a very bleak and dark world.

Faith requires action!

“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:14-18)

Spiritual but not religious is a cop out.

Our world is degrading morally at an increasing rate. Imagine if those who claim to be Christian actually lived their faith out loud, fed the poor, clothed the naked, spoke openly with love about Jesus Christ, shared how God works in their lives AND worshiped together weekly.

Imagine!

Listening to Christian songs, getting a big tattoo of a cross on your body, claiming Christianity without actually living Christianity is one thing. Doing Christianity is quite another. Its messy. It requires an integrity of word and deed, it requires courage in the face of a world that screams “keep it to yourself!”

The world will change for the better when we Christians are authentically following Christ. When we are not hypocrites and privately hiding Jesus from the world. Nine out of ten couples I meet do not even pray together. They don’t talk about their faith to each other, they don’t practice their faith.

Lent is a great time to practice that faith you have forgotten about, ignored or hidden away. If you only know a little bit ABOUT Jesus, but you don’t KNOW Jesus it may be more difficult. Prayer is a great place to begin.

God is always listening, always reaching out to us, always waiting to have a relationship with each of us. Simply say, “God, I want you to come and wrap your love around me. I want you to show me who you are, what your plans are for me, and the wonderful relationship we can have together.” That’s all. Say it everyday. Heck, say it a hundred times a day!

Your life will begin to change in a wonderfully surprising way. I promise. Be diligent, hopeful, expectant! This great little clip speaks more about prayer in context of the mass and how you can begin to live that faith out loud with others.

 

What’s the Deal With Lent?

What’s the big deal anyway with Lent? Why does it matter, isn’t that pa-say, old school, a practice best left in the Dark Ages? What ever difference does it make to give up chocolate, or candy or beer or coffee? How will that make the world a better place? How will that feed starving children, cure the sick, or fill the churches?

Lent is about me and you personally. It is about looking inside myself and seeing what attachments have become obstacles to my relationship with God and my growth in holiness. It is an inward glance that should be penetrating, honest, and intentional.

WHY?

Because when we each individually take the time to do this, and do it really well; we can begin to see where our faults have become our failings.

“Failings?”Seriously?

Failure to love properly and without limit in imitation of God.

Failure to see that we are interconnected as the One Body of Christ, meaning what I do and do not do affects us ALL.

Failure to realize that this is the journey of a lifetime in preparation for eternal destinations. Heaven and hell decisions are made right here.

Failure to see my hungry, hurting, brother or sister as I busy myself with me, myself, and I.

Need I go on?

This is a time that is a gift given by the Church, if we use it properly to reflect, to change to begin anew.

Yes, I have failed miserably in the past. Lents have come and gone. I have remained the same. It is good to know that I am given lots of opportunities to turn back, reach out, and start again. I invite you to do the same.

Many organizations are offering ways this Lent to help us grow. See if there is something here that might benefit you in your journey to holiness this Lent.

Matthew Kelly: Dynamic Catholic

Sharing Jesus on social media, 2 minute videos to share, sent to your email: #ShareJesus

Daily quotes and beautiful images: Daily Lenten E-Spiration

40 Day Spiritual Workout, Bob Rice

I know there is much more to offer but here is a great start.

Make this Lent count! Grow in love! Grow in holiness! Change the world, by starting with yourself!

 

No Good Excuse

I admire those who can speak the truth in all seasons. Those whom I am bringing to mind have a holy zeal that doesn’t allow them to remain silent in the face of untruths. They are bold in their love of the Lord.

Thank you for your witness.

It seems for years that my lips were sewed shut in the face of overwhelming dissent. Part of the problem was that I too was overwhelmed by the unexpected realization that we Catholics were NOT all on the same page in the basic beliefs and tenants of the faith. (big belly laugh from the peanut gallery!) It is an especially hard lesson when one works for the Church. It is there, I feel, that we meet at times, the most resistance. What my experience has shown me too is that “personal theologies” don’t always mesh with Church teachings.

Another important lesson I continue to learn is there may be many ways to look at the same truth. Not that I have gone from black and white to grey, but to realize more specifically, that my measure is not THE measure. My expectations are not God’s expectations, and most importantly, people don’t know what they don’t know. Their family and formation (or lack there of) plays a huge role. The outside voices, (and there are many in our current times), can actually speak untruths, misguided tolerance, and out right lies.

To whom do we listen? Where do we seek truth?

What saddens me most, is we cannot always expect to hear the complete truth from those we should expect to hear it from. Those whose lives are dedicated to work in the Church, those who collect a paycheck from the Church and have a perceived  hot line to heaven, and those who who are at times wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Perhaps it was poor formation, poor role models, decades of misinformation passed down in an attempt to make the load a little lighter on the faithful, to not judge too harshly, so instead hand out lollipops where a good spiritual whooping was required.

I don’t know?

Servant of God, Madeline Delbrel wrote this, “For, even in the midst of a world populated with good people, the goodness of a heart converted to Christ does not resemble other forms of goodness…It demands that we love no matter whom, all the way to the end, and no matter when it may be. It accepts no good excuse for not being good.

Yes the world is populated with lots of good people. What she is writing about I believe, is there still is a distinction between ordinary worldly perceived goodness and God’s goodness and light in someone. What convicted my heart more than anything was this little line, “…it accepts no good excuse for not being good.”

I’ve used a lot of excuses over the years.  What I even felt were good excuses for not speaking up when I should have; even if it meant the loss of a job or a thousand arrows in my heart. I have found new courage again and again when the brave, bold voices of truth do not remain silent.

Thank you for your witness, for it gives us all courage to go and do the same.