Giving credit where credit is due, I think Billy Joel is one of the greatest entertainers of our time. He is “The Piano Man”. I consider myself a big fan of his music. His music was important in my formative years as an adolescent. I remember listening to “Only the good die young”. Great song! But as a teenager, I felt that it was a little weird how he talked about “catholic girls starting too late”. I loved the song, and I know he’s Jewish, but I as a Catholic boy, I did not quite get the message he was telling me at the time. It was a good song….I left it at that….that is until now! I will include some lyrics of the song in italics and then my comments in regular print.
Come out, Virginia, don’t let me wait. You Catholic girls start much too late. Sooner or later it comes down to fate. I might as well be the one.
So, we have a young boy (Jewish, as I said) trying to convince a young catholic girl to have sex with him….and be the first “one”. Okay, fine. part of growing up. I may have encountered similar situations….I’m not throwing stones here. But I do wonder how old the girl is in the song.
They showed you a statue, told you to pray, they built you a temple and locked you away. Ah but they never told you the price that you’d pay for things that you might have done. Only the good die young.
Okay, we all know we do not pray TO statues, they are used in remembrance of who we are praying to. I find it interesting that Mr. Joel says her parents built her a “temple”….and not a “church”. Or how about “castle”, as a princess being locked in a castle? Temple is where Jewish folks go to worship God. Her parents have made efforts to keep their daughter “chaste”, or pure, a virgin….hence the name “Virginia”. What “price’ is the singer talking about? Could it be denying yourself the pleasure of the flesh? Pre-marital sex? Who does the singer sound like? Like a devil in disguise.
The stained glass window you’re hiding behind, never lets in the sun.
Correction Mr. Joel, the symbolic window is Catholicism and the sun (also SON) shines brightly through it down on us with mercy and love. We are all sinners, we all need a Saviour, and Jesus shines on us to help us get to heaven. God has a plan for all of us, and having sex at an early age, is NOT part of His plan.
You got a nice white dress and a party on your confirmation. You got a brand new soul, mmm and a cross of gold. But Virginia, they didn’t give you quite enough information. You didn’t count on me…when you were counting on your rosary.
Correction again, Mr. Joel… parents DID give her enough information. Plenty of it. When you are only considering your selfish sexual wants/needs, Virginia was warned about the mess she could get herself into if she let herself get into a vulnerable situation. Her parents warned her of the dangers…the chance of getting a bad reputation (as is stated in another part of the song), the chance of pregnancy, or sexually transmitted diseases. Oh they gave her information alright. They instilled in her, values she would need to fight off boys like you. Call it old fashioned, or what ever, but we (now as parents) need to instill in our kids that having sex is something to be saved for love within a marriage. It’s not a game. Lives are at stake.
They say there’s a heaven for those who will wait. Some say its better but I say it ain’t. I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners have much more fun. You know that only the good die young.
FYI, you are so wrong about heaven. Heaven IS better! Infinitely better. Indescribably better. Absolutely no comparison. Oh, but you are just thinking about worldly stuff, natural stuff….trying to make it with a young Catholic girl. Don’t think naturally! Think Supernaturally! We must NOT set our sights on worldly, natural things…things of the earth. Our goal in this life should be to attain heaven. And for us to attain heaven, we must be perfect like our Father in heaven is perfect. And believe me, Mr. Joel, the sinners in hell are not laughing and they are not having more fun.
By the way, your rule that only the good die young is false. Plenty of good men and women have lived into their 80’s, 90’s and even 100’s so don’t try to fool us with your scary tactics. To me, when you say “Only the good die young”… its just your feeble attempt to try to convince this young girl to be “bad” now before she dies, so she can enjoy it….correction, so YOU can enjoy it.. Well, she’s not falling for it. Her reputation is not stained. And you can take your false propositions elsewhere.
Let me segue to recent news: Plan B One step, AKA the morning after pill, scientifically known as LEVONORGESTREL will soon be available as an over-the-counter medication. Yes, available to girls and women of all ages. It is a pill that is intended to be taken within 72 hours after having unprotected sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy. Presently, only women/girls age 17 and over can get it. But after a 10 year fight, it will soon be OTC. How convenient! How crazy is it that this abortifacient drug will be more available than some cold medicines containing pseudophed? How insane is our government? Our society? Even President Obama, who I don’t care for, is in favor of keeping it restricted to girls 17 and over. Having this drug available to girls of all ages, will this contribute to more “kids” having sex? It seems so. If I can change the words to Mr. Joel’s song, I would tell Virginia to make him wait….and its okay for Catholic girls to start much too late. Keep yourself holy and chaste for your spouse within marriage.
PS. I have three daughters. I hope I can instill in them the values of chastity and love.
I have three daughters. Emma who is almost 12*: Morgan who is 8*: and Aimee who is almost 4*. (*At the time of this writing)
Before I became a father, I most assuredly knew I was going to have boys. Of course I would have boys…I played football, basketball, baseball, track and field growing up. I was a sports kinda guy and I knew I would have boys to pass along my fairly decent athletic abilities. I would be able to teach them the intricasies of fielding a ground ball on the baseball field, or how to throw a perfect spiral on the gridiron, or how to get just the right touch from the foul line on the basketball court. I could also teach them how to throw the discus or the javelin, or how to shotput. I was all set, and it was gonna be easy.
God had different plans for me. God knows whats best for me at all times and He knew I was not going to have boys. When we did the drugstore test which said we were pregnant, I said my little prayer…”God, I pray for a healthy baby, but please let it be a boy!” Well, three times we went for “that first prenatal ultrasound” and three times the technician told us we were having a girl. Although I wanted a boy, I was not dissappointed by the news….well maybe for half a second, but I knew I would be receptive to whatever news God had in store for us. Needless to say, there was a lot of pink onesies, jammies, and blankets at my house.
So here I am at 50…(I used to think being 50 was so old), with my three daughters and my wife. I love them all more than life. I’d like to share with you something very personal. I give my daughters three blessings every night before they go to sleep. After saying prayers I hold each of them close and say,
“May the Lord bless you always, keep you safe and free from harm, and may you always know how much mommy and daddy love you.”
Next….”May the blessing of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit decend upon you and keep you safe this night and every night of your life.”
And finally, “Holy Mary, Blessed Virgin, I consecrate my daughters to you so that you may lead them closer to your Son, Jesus and keep them safe for the rest of their life.”
I know that Mary, with her grace, will lead them to Jesus and that they will know Him. Mary is our spiritual Mother who, like the moon, reflects the light from the sun (her Son). She is so important to us, a resource that people sometimes forget. But she is our Mother, looking out for her children.
I know God has blessed me. I started this post by saying that I wanted to have boys. Let me say to you now that I have three beautiful girls and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Sleep well, Emma, Morgan, and Aimee. I love you so much. God Bless you, my little ones.
And God Bless you, too.
In 2 Timothy 2:24-26, we are encouraged to be courteous in our discussions and teachings of the Truth. “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may pehaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
So, what is the truth when it comes to our Catholic faith versus the countless other religious faiths? I have to admit that I don’t believe in relativism. What is relativism, you ask? Well, in a nut shell, relativism is the concept that what is truth for you is not truth for me. Believers in relativism say there is no such thing as absolute truth and that everyone can have his or her own form of truth, which may be in opposition to each other. Believers in relativism say that the “truth” depends on ones opinions and beliefs and can vary when opinions and beliefs vary. But I ask you, is truth (like beauty) really in the eye of the beholder?
Unfortunately, much of the world thinks it is. You may think like this also. I am not here to tell you if you are wrong or right in your thinking about the truth. But I would like you to know that what someone may think is the truth may, in fact, simply be his or her private beliefs….what he/she believes to be true. My Jewish friends don’t believe Jesus was the Messiah and they are still waiting for the King to come. My muslim friends believe Mohammed is the messiah who will lead them to heaven. My protestant friends don’t believe Mary is the Mother of God, they don’t believe that Peter was the first Pope, they don’t believe in purgatory, (etc. I could go on with our differences, but I’ll stop here). Jehovahs Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, etc. all have different beliefs of what truth is. There are literally thousands of very different churches in this world which all claim to be teaching the truth to their congregations. Can they ALL be correct? How do we know, as Catholics, that we are the bearers of the REAL TRUTH, the ABSOLUTE TRUTH? Well, let me back track a little….take your bible and look at it. We should all have bibles and be familiar with some, if not most of the stories therein…. the Good Samaritan, the transfiguration, the curing of the crippled man, raising Lazarus from the dead, the holy family’s plight into Bethlehem, etc. There are popular stories and not so popular stories, but they are all stories written down many many years ago. We must ask ourselves, how and why did these stories get written? The TRUTH is that these are documented stories of people who actually lived. Just as we have a history books that tell us about what happened many years ago, we have the bible (and other ancient writings, by the way) to tell us what went on when Jesus lived on Earth. Although the bible was not meant to be a history book, it does communicate to us some history of life back in Jesus’ day. We must look at our bibles as accurate accounts of the truth written for us, all these years later…just as we see in a history textbook. We need to approach our bibles and say to ourselves, “this stuff actually happened.” These words, the words inspired by God, are actual documentation of what happened! We must see our bibles as “true stories”.
But can we, as Catholics, say that we are bearers of the truth. Is the Catholic Faith the TRUE faith of Jesus, the TRUE religion that Jesus, Himself began. Or put another way…..can there be other religions that are also TRUE and teach the truth?
Truth is a fact (statement) which describes or corresponds to actual state of affairs…it describes or corresponds to reality. To some people’s dismay, It is narrow and exclusive since anything that opposes it is false.
There are two main laws about truth. 1) The Law of Excluded Middle, meaning that if we look at these two statements – “God exists”, and the opposing statement, “There is no God”. One of these statements is true the other is false. This law states there is no middle ground for the false statement….there are no “maybe’s”. 2) The Law of Non-Contradiction, which states that two opposing statements cannot both be true. God cannot both ‘exist’ and ‘not exist’. So it is with this knowledge and confidence that I can say…(pay attention here because this is a biggy)… that if the truth lies in the Catholic Church and in its teachings ( and it does), THERE CAN BE NO OTHER TRUTH! Did you catch that? It’s narrow thinking, I agree…but it is amazing. There can be NO other true church!
God, who IS truth, communicated his truth to His people, who were created in His image. Our Catholic beliefs were true and in place two thousand years ago thanks to the teachings of Jesus, who taught His apostles, who passed it on to their disciples, who formed the Catholic or Universal Church. Two thousand years ago, Christians were going to mass, receiving the body and blood of Jesus, confessing their sins to presbyters (priests), receiving the sacraments, and propagating this faith that would lead to us here today. You must know this! You must know that Jesus formed the Catholic Church and He gave the keys of that Church to Peter to build upon a rock a faith so strong that no efforts from Satan would ever be able to tear it down. Praise Jesus!
Its too bad that human opinions, freedom of choice, and relativism have also proliferated and thus have created multiple detractions from the absolute truth. But maybe God had that in mind in order to test our strength in Him. Do you believe the Catholic Church is the church that Jesus created? Do you believe that we (Catholics) are witness to the ONE TRUTH? I hope you do, because it is and we are. Please remember, I don’t make the rules, God does.
Ad Mayorum Dei Glorium
“As the Father has sent me, so now I send you”. Jesus told His apostles in John 20:19. You must ask yourself, “How did God the Father send Jesus?” Only then we can know how Jesus sent His apostles. Simply put, God sent Jesus to be the Annointed one….The Messiah. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus was sent to reveal the truth and to lead us to heaven. He was sent to forgive our sins and unlock the gates of heaven. You must agree that Jesus’ purpose was to get us to heaven. Right?
Well, then…we must also agree that Jesus sent out His apostles in the same way. Jesus knew He was not “of this world” and He wasn’t going to be “in this world” for very long. He commissioned a group of dedicated men to help carry on His message. He commissioned them to do what He had been doing for the last 3 or so years of His life.
He breathed on them and told them to receive the Holy Spirit….as John continues. The amazing thing is that He then told them if they forgive sins of any, then they are forgiven. And if they retain sins of any, they are retained.
Do you understand the power in Jesus’ words?
Do you see that Jesus was giving His friends, who would carry on His church teachings, the power to forgive sins and to open the gates of heaven to people?
And in turn, Jesus wanted them to empower other men who would cary on the church teachings after them. This is how He knew that the Gates of hell would not prevail…because He gave His apostles “Power”. But how would the apostles forgive sins? Why, in those early days, would someone confess their sins to Peter or John or Bartholomew? Because of the grace of the Holy Spirit Jesus breathed on them. Jesus knew that people had to repent of their sins and be baptised. But He also knew that in order to repent, those people must tell their sins to the Presbyters who, in this early time of the church, were the apostles.
In todays world, through apostolic succession, we have priests and bishops who have a continous connection dating back to those early apostles, those first priests who preached and heard confessions of ancient Christians and forgave them their sins. So many people today do not go to confession and I cannot understand why. Some say that they can go directly to God, “why do I need a priest?” I say “sure you can go directly to God, but if you read your bible, Jesus said tell your sins to a priest. And as fas as I’m concerned, Jesus is God….and God makes the rules, not you. Get yourself to confession if you haven’t been there in a while. Be contrite, be humble, but be glad that Jesus has given His gift of forgiveness to our priests so that they may pass along Gods grace to us. God Bless You.
With all the bad things happening in our world…the culture of death and secular media has basically taken over most, if not all, of our thinking. It has taken hold of our most basic thoughts and turned them away from God.
Case in point#1: it is legal to have an abortion….so it must be okay, right?
Case in point #2: If my marriage is going bad, I’m getting a divorce…everyone else is doing it…it must be okay, right?
Case in point #3: Everyone is saying “Oh my God!” or “Jesus H. Christ!” Even on TV shows you hear people cursing and showing off their bodies illicitly….it must be okay, right?
Wrong! We are being brain washed. We are being shown that sin is okay. We are being forced into thinking that God’s standards have been lowered. This is a very self-centered society and instant gratification is the only option. “Oh,” we say, “He’s a loving God. He wouldn’t send me to hell for this…or that….I mean c’mon everyone is doing it. There sex all around….they show it on TV….we hear it on the radio, it doesn’t hurt anyone…and I don’t even think its a sin anyway“. Well if that’s the way you think, please wake up and smell the Sulfur burning! Hell is in your future and eternity is a very long time. Newspapers print ads that show scantily clad men or women. Sex is all over the place and almost required for an R rated movie to be successful. Commercials for condoms and lubricating jelly now dot the airwaves. “Hey, if they’re on TV, well they must be okay, right?” I’m going to borrow a phrase from fitness instructor Susan Powder who would say, “STOP THE MADNESS”. Please folks….get back to God. Get back to Jesus. Pray to Mary. Pray for forgiveness of this world. Pray the Rosary. Do something to grow closer to Christ because we are slowly losing our salvation by becoming accustomed to the secular world….the culture of death. Prayers work. Pray for those who don’t. Pray for those who refuse.
With that being said, and I am not a movie critic, I would like to recommend a new, very good, very catholic movie which is out on DVD. The name of this movie is “Vito Bonafacci”. Oh, how you need to see this this film!!!!!!!!!! Let me descibe it………A man, Vito Bonafacci, who is a successfull contractor, has grown so attached to his worldly possessions, he lost track of his Catholic upbringing and his morals. After a very scary dream, and visit from his deceased italian mother, he is compelled to search for and find the truth and the meaning of his life. He wonders about heaven and hell and where he will end up. With out going into too much detail, he finds what he is looking for in the Catholic Church…in the rituals, in the sacrements, and in the eucharist. The beauty of this film struck me and brought me to tears because I believe, so greatly, in the message it was giving me and I sat there with my eyes soaked and prayed that people all over the world could see this. So I am writing this to recommend that you go to www.vitobonafacci.com and order yourself a copy of this awesome and awe inspiring Catholic film. And if you can, buy two so you can share with your friends. I promise you won’t be dissapointed. I think Jesus would approve of this film. I think this film will bring people back to Christ. I think this movie will create in its viewers a real need to be closer to Jesus. Please, enjoy it. Please see this movie.
In the United States, our president, Mr. Barack Obama is trying to pass a law to mandate Catholic and Christian businesses, (including Churches and hospitals) to provide health care coverage for contraception and abortion to all women employees. This includes the “morning after” pill. He is violating our First Ammendment rights in our constitution that allows us religious freedom. Catholic bishops and clergy are all vehemently opposed to this bill. Lawsuits against our government are forthcoming….the Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) is among those suing. The Catholic church has been, and always will be, against abortion and contraception from the earliest times. There is evidence written in the Didache, around the first century, that this was in place back then.
I am therefore calling on ALL Catholics and Christians everywhere to educate yourselves in the matters of faith of our Catholic Church. Understand that contraception is NOT what God wants from us! Understand that abortion is murder! Realize how ridiculous Mr. Obama is in pursuing this mandate! He is caving in to “culture of death” and the secular world and has created a very big chasm between himself and the Christian world. I URGE EVERY CATHOLIC AND CHRISTIAN OUT THERE WHO IS ABLE TO READ MY BLOG TO SUPPORT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THIS MATTER AS WE TAKE ON OUR OWN AMERICAN GOVERNMENT IN AN IMPORTANT FIGHT. STAND TOGETHER! DO NOT LET MR. OBAMA AND HIS FEMINIST CRONIES GAIN ANY GROUND IN THIS FIGHT! DO NOT ALLOW OUR FREEDOM OF RELIGION TO BE VIOLATED! VOTE AGAINST THIS BILL! VOTE AGAINST MR.OBAMA!
There will be an election for President of the United States of America in November 2012. I pray to God in heaven that Barack Obama will not be re-elected. Please pray with me.
“Our Father, in heaven. We come to you humbly and ask that You continue to reign over us and be with us. We ask for Your divine intervention to prevent Mr. Obamas’ plan from materializing. We need You. We need Your Son, Jesus Christ. We need Your Holy Spirit. We are “One Nation Under God”. Give us the strength to uphold the faith and teachings of Your church. Protect us from the evil on the horizon. Amen.”
Dear Sue and Jim, ( an imaginary couple)
I’m writing to you today because I believe there is much confusion in our world…with many questions….. and everyone thinks they have the right answer. Lets cut to the chase. It’s about sex. It’s about how every one in our society thinks that having sex is simply an exciting, passionate activity to do between two people who “love” each other. It’s all good. Both parties enjoy it. No one gets hurt…in fact, one person gives a special joy to the other person, and vice versa. It’s the natural thing to do. When the relationship progresses to more intense feelings, hey, why not have sex? Right? Well, lets slow it down a little bit and think about the sixth commandment. You shall not commit adultery. You are not married…if you are having sex…it IS adultery. Sorry but its true. And Jim, if you just think about Sue in a sexual-sort of way, that is also adultery. Jesus said that Himself. The passions that are stirred that lead to sexual arousal and intercourse are reserved specifically for married couples. Now I know what you’re thinking….”That is so old fashioned…this is 2012! We can do it when we want to!” Not really. Oh, you can do it…physically…but morally, it is a sin and should be avoided at all costs. Also, there seems to be some disconnect about conception and having babies. If you have sexual relations, you and your partner may concieve a baby. If you and your partner abstain from these relations, there is a 100% chance that you won’t concieve a baby. Using a condom or taking birth control pills is not an option. Abstaining from sex is THE option. So unwanted pregnancy will not be a possibility for you. And because there will be no unwanted pregnancy, abortion will never be considered. Abortion is NOT a form of birth control. Although many woman today use it as such. “Woops! I got pregnant….better get an abortion!” Abortion is the murder of an unborn child. Did you hear me? Murder! And that’s breaking the fifth commandment. Oh sure, there are many doctors and agencies out there who are very willing to take your money and kill your baby. Heck, in the United States, our president Barack Obama wants to force all businesses including Catholic churches to offer some kind of reimbursement coverage for abortions and contraception. And there are those who agree with him. Well, I don’t and I’m sure God is not thrilled about it either. So many unmarried couples procede to make their own rules and move into a “sexual” relationship, not realizing the consequences. Contraception is not allowed. It is a sin. Abortion is not allowed. It is murder and it is a sin.
Let go of earthly, human desires…latch on to heavenly desires. I know it’s difficult. But He wants us to be perfect as He is perfect. Do not allow the passions of pre-marital sex overtake you and put your eternity is jeopardy. And to those of you who think that “we’ll just get married so we can have sex, and then get divorced when we get tired of each other”. It doesn’t work that way. You get married for life. There is no other option.
I know we are human. We all are “with sin”….If you have committed these sins….and I’m not innocent either……let’s get ourselves to confession and really REPENT! Really turn away from our sins and turn back to God. He’s waiting for us.
Hey, as I always say….I didn’t make the rules………
Sincerely, in Christ. Ron
Recently, I found out that David Miscavige, the international head of the church of scientology, the pseudo-religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard, grew up in my hometown, Willingboro, NJ. A friend of mine on Facebook, sent me a link that discussed his ‘rise to the top’. Oh sure he and his family moved around a bit but he spent about 10 or 12 years in the old ‘Boro. He was the best man at Tom Cruise’s third marriage to Katie Holmes. And speaking of movie stars, John Travolta, is also a scientologist. Both of these guys have reached the pinnacle of status in this (so called) church and are “cleared”….meaning they are at the highest level. I think both of these men are terrific actors and it would probably be a very cool thing to have a beer with them. But I think they are sadly on their way to fire and brimstone. Oh I’m sure scientologists would disagree. I’m sure they are some very nice people with high moral standards, but having good morals means nothing if God/Jesus is not a part of your life. Remember, who is the truth and who is the way? It is certainly not Mr. Hubbard, Mr. Miscavige, Mr. Cruise or Mr. Travolta
The church of Scientology is a cult, not a religion. It costs members a ton of money to advance in this cult as Mr. Cruise and Mr. Travolta have done. Of course, money is no object to them and there they sit on the top rung of the so-called hierarchy of scientology. There is so much mystery surrounding this sect, it is almost to the extent of the freemasons. David Miscavige will never do a TV interview because there is simply too much to hide. The church, however, is international and has groups on almost every continent… but luckily, I read that its growth has slowed in recent years. Although I have just looked into this and don’t know ‘everything’ about scientology, the fact is that it is a sham based on aliens coming to this world. There is absolutely no room in their teaching for God. Every member is his or her own god. The true God of the universe does not exist for them. If I may borrow a fact from Fr. Larry Richards, Tom Cruise was actually a seminarian in the Catholic Church before he became an actor. When asked why he switched to scientology, he replied…’within the Catholic Church, there are so many restrictive rules to follow: within scientology, we make our own rules.’ The ultimate sin of pride, replacing God with yourself….putting yourself higher than God. Isn’t that what got Adam and Eve in trouble?
Again, this leads me back to the title of this blog….God makes the rules, Not us. We as Catholics have a gold mine within our grasp. It is the promise of heaven with Jesus showing us the way. It is an undisputed fact that Jesus founded the Catholic church. Some may call it man-made. I call it “GodMan-made” because Jesus was/is the GodMan. We may not be able to convince Tom or John to reconsider and convert back to Catholicism, but we can pray for their conversion and the conversion of all other non-Catholics. With our prayers, the Holy Spirit, in his time, will unite us all.
In the United States, we have many multimillionaires even some billionaires living here in this great country. Conversely, we have an unfortunately large amount of people living at or below the poverty line. I’m sure the statistics are about the same in all non-third world countries.
And here we are…just celebrated Thanksgiving 2011. As I was eating my plate of turkey that was perfectly cooked, with gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, I was wondering what those folks who are less fortunate were eating on this Thanksgiving for their dinner… or IF they were eating a dinner at all.
I am, by no means, “rich”, but we do all right…. smack-dab in the middle of the upper-middle class. I make a good living. I can provide for my wonderful family. We have two cars, (although my wife drives a company car). And we have a nice house in a nice neighborhood. So taking all that into consideration, and how lucky and thankful I am, I was just wondering how a man or woman who does not have a job, or a nice house or a car….who can barely scrounge up enough money to buy a loaf of bread and some peanut butter….can be thankful for what they have. I wonder if they get mad because of all they DON’T have. How can a very poor, poverty-stricken, jobless man be thankful?
Something to thing about, right?
Well, I don’t have an answer to this question. I can only hope that God holds them close to Him. Jesus did not tend to the rich, He reached out to the poor…and He also said “….the last shall be first.” I think He holds the poor folks in the palms of His hands, although its hard to imagine that with all the struggles they go through. I wonder if they feel blessed….but I think they are.
So I prayed my own little prayer at bedtime onThanksgiving night. It went sort of like this…
Dear God, I have so many things to be thankful for. You have blessed me with so many good things in life. And everything I have, everything I own, comes from You. Without You, there is no house, no car, no job. WIthout You, I have no intelligence for You have given me a good brain to use. Without You, I am nothing so I am very thankful for everything. I am so thankful because Jesus died for me and opened the gates to heaven. But also Lord, just as I am thankful for all the GOOD things You have given me, I am also thankful for all the not-so-good things you have sent my way. Yes, I thank You for those moments most of all because they bring me closer to you. You’ve provided me with a cross to bear on many occasions and I thank you because Jesus told us that to follow HIm, we must bear our cross daily. I thank You for the hardships and the struggles you have put in front of me. Although I did not know it at the time, and I may have hated You for what was happening to me. But You sent me opportunities to grow closer to You. And during those times, I probably cursed You and used Your Holy name in vain, I am sorry and I’ll try not to do that anymore. Please Lord, forgive me for my sins. Bring us all into Your Light and help all people, rich and poor, find their way to you and your Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Thank You. Amen. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
It is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I prayed for someone who I dislike very much. He has used his position to be verbally abusive to me and my coworkers. He is in a position of power (I am not). Many people complain about his antics. He has a long list of reports against him. I can’t go into detail here, but suffice it to say that he has pushed me to my proverbial limits…and then some. I know it’s difficult to understand this without all the details, but I do not like this man. I do not want to be near him. I do not want to talk to him.
I am not proud of my anger for this man. I hope it will go away. But it is a real situation that I need to deal with now. I know that I must part with this anger and I pray that God will take it from me and that I will be able to deal with this hardship in the workplace and transcend the nonsense of it all.
A little background…..I played football as a kid in grade school up through college. There were always situations in which competition would lead to altercations and soon punches would be thrown and a fight would start. That’s how I remember dealing with adversity…to fight for your honor. Football is a tough sport and you need to show how tough you are sometimes by fighting for yourself. Well, in the corporate world, you just can’t do that because you’d be out the door in a flash, fired….and there goes your paycheck and your pension. Too much to lose, too little to gain by using fisticuffs. (I know that is being weak…even mentioning fighting but, I am human, and the thought crossed my mind…happy to say it is only a thought.) But that’s what I was used to. That’s how I was brought up….to be a tough kid, to be aggressive. You had to be aggressive to play football! Now, I have to be politically correct and be professional and be Christ-like. Let me tell you, it’s not easy in the heat of the moment to turn the other cheek! It kind of makes you wonder how difficult it must have been for Jesus to say, “Forgive them, they know not what they do.” I mean, He could have had all the centurions destroyed with a blink of his eye. But He obviously had a greater goal in mind, we all know.
If you are like me, you are struggling to lead a good life, knowing that you are a sinner, faltering at times, but always coming back to God for His mercy and love. This is my life, in a nut-shell. But I have to remember that in this life, I must do what God wants, NOT what I want. God makes the rules, right!
I struggle to be Christ-like every day and I don’t do a very good job of it.
Here is Matthew 5:43 and following…..”You have heard it was said, ‘Love you friends, hate your enemies’. But I tell you now, love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you so that you may become the sons of your Father in heaven. For He makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and who gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil. Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you? Even the tax collectors do that! And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary? Even pagans do that! You must be perfect – just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Talk about “hard teaching” (reference to John 6:53). This might be one of the hardest teachings in the bible…especially if you are”living it” like I am doing as I write this. I am sure many of you have also encountered or are encountering difficult people at work or in other aspects of your lives who have angered you….who really push your buttons and try your patience. Do you pray for them? If not, start today! It’s not easy to be perfect….but don’t ever stop trying! Love your enemies by praying for them. As Nike says, “Just do it”.