I Like to Smile

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Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

I don’t smile a lot or at least I never used to smile a lot. Lately though, I’ve been finding quite a few times when I just smile. When I smile, I feel happy, I feel like I’m at peace. Coming off of our last diaconate formation where we had a one day retreat, I was smiling and truly happy. I was at peace. I then went on to the Long Ride Home shoot and the smiling continued and the peace grew. And then, I returned home and started to notice the things that were stealing my peace.

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John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Sometimes peace isn’t the easiest thing to find. Most of the time it is because we have to find that peace within ourselves. In such a fast paced world we tend to be stressed out with all of the things going on in our lives and what peace we have within us tends to dissipate without us even knowing. A lot of times, it is the things of the world that distract us from the true happiness and that true happiness is in Jesus Christ. For a person with depression, it’s even harder. I have bouts of depression just like most people but I’m talking about those who suffer with it daily. I know some of these people and I see the struggles that they go though. To those people I say this, “Jesus loves you! I may not know what you are feeling or understand completely but Jesus does and He loves you. Let him just hold you, embrace you and love you.” Know that I and many others are praying for you all.

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In my business I get to see a lot of people daily. Some of them I see multiple times in a year because of my business. Most of them are really nice people but there are some that no matter what, they never smile. I have one in particular who I had recently and this person just doesn’t smile at all. I knew who this person even before I started my business and even then, no smile. I used to think, “man that must suck to have a life that bad that you can’t smile, say thank you, respond to have a nice day, etc, etc…..” but now I think, “how sad.” Maybe he has a good reason not to smile and be grouchy all the time but I really don’t understand how a person could go through life that way. To me, that’s no life at all.

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Proverbs 15:13 A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.

At some point in your life, I’m sure you too have discovered that “grumpy” person. Don’t allow that person to take away your peace or set your mood. You continue to smile and go about your day as nothing is wrong.  If you are the person walking around always grumpy, then you need to make a self evaluation of why you are this way. I know because I had to do that and I still have to do it every once in a while. I’m in the middle of doing one of those self evaluations right now and I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will guide me in the right direction.

May God continue to bless you all and all that you do for His Kingdom! Viva Cristo Rey!

It’s a God thing

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Ever have one of those days where your run into the right person at the right time? That happened to me this morning. It’s a God thing.

I ran into one of my Cursillo brothers and we got to talking about so many things. We hadn’t seen each other since my Cursillo so we had some catching up to do. We got into some deep conversation about Christianity, more specifically about male spirituality.

He had a couple of employees with him and we got to talking about how I’ve been involved with the Catholic Men’s Movement in our area but how I’ve gotten to the point of being burnt out! I was curious how they felt about it so I posed the question, “What would you like to see in a Catholic Men’s Group?”

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Their answers blew me away! One of them mentioned that he would like to see more men come together as Christians and set denominations aside. He mentioned how he was involved in a group similar to that but he would like to see Catholic men embrace that and their fellow Christian brothers. The next one told me that he loved the prior man’s idea but he’d like to expand on it by having men go out into the forest for masculine activities out there with a spiritual twist. He also mentioned that one of the things that he found troubling about the Cursillo movement was the fact that it is “Catholic Only.” I told him that I agreed with him. All of us agreed that placing the “Catholics Only” label on groups, organizations, clubs, etc… is actually more detrimental to the faith than it is helpful. It limits your ability to evangelize when you place a label on it. “It’s an amazing experience and it is awesome how you can experience the Holy Spirit but, you can’t do this unless you are Catholic.” Maybe it’s just me but it doesn’t sound very Christian does it?

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It’s a God thing. If you get it….you get it. We all agreed that we’d love to see a Christian Brotherhood emerge out of our meeting this morning and through the grace of God and the Holy Spirit, it will happen. In all that we do, we do for the glory of God 1Cor 10:31. We are brothers and sisters and children of God…isn’t it about time we start acting like it and not like a dysfunctional family. We are called to be like Christ in all that we do. How can we call ourselves “Christians” if we are going throughout our day condemning people for not being Catholic or making radical claims that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church. As Catholics we believe that our Church, the Catholic Church is the one true faith and we are to do our best as Christians to evangelize that faith and not twist it to fit what we interpret it as.

Well, that’s all for today folks. It’s been a great Holy Spirit filled day Praise Jesus alleluia!!! May God continue to bless you and all that you do to further His Kingdom.

Viva Cristo Rey!

 

 

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.

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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.

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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. 

 

Courtesy….What Happened To It?

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As a kid, I wouldn’t say that I was a PIA but I did tend to push my limits. However, I still had respect for my elders and for most other people as well…keyword, most lol. I’m not trying to excuse my behavior either but you expect that out of a punk kid, an adolescent. In a couple of days I will be turning 50 and even though that is not old, I’ve seen a lot of changes in this world and from my point of view, they haven’t been for the best, especially here in the United States.

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As you look around our country today, you see this “entitlement” generation, most of them in their late teens up to their late twenties. They all want the “big money” but don’t want to work for it. Once again, I expect that out of young people. I don’t like it or approve of it but it doesn’t surprise me when I see it from this generation. Lately though, it seems to be like a virus that is infecting the older generation, people from the ages of 30 to 70 and it’s actually worse when it comes to them. They tend to have this “I don’t give a ****!” mentality and they don’t care who gets in the way.

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Example: I live in a small town in southwest NM. On a busy day you can still make it from one side of town to the other in about 20 minutes. Yesterday as I was telling my bride how an older man in his brand new truck almost ran me off the road the other day just because he “needed” to be in the right lane, and then bam! It happens right before our eyes again but this person decides to cut across three lanes just to turn off to go to the bowling alley. Then about 5 minutes later, here comes Ricky Bobby cutting off people left and right like if his car was on fire!

Is it any wonder why some people go all William Foster. But I digress.

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Life is short. Even if we live to be 120 years old, our lives are but a micron of what our eternal lives will be. The hard part for a lot of us is praying for that person that cuts us off instead of cussing them. Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. God gave us the gift of free will. We can choose heaven or hell, it’s up to us. I’m not sure about you but, I think I’d rather go to heaven if you know what I mean.

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How about starting today, let’s make that conscious decision to go out and be courteous to one another. Let’s use words like please and thank you. Let’s open doors for each other and let that other person go ahead of you in line at the supermarket. When all else fails, ask yourself this one question, “What would Jesus do?”

May God continue to bless you in all that you do for his Kingdom folks. Viva Cristo Rey!

Me? On EWTN!

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As most of you know, I’ve been an aspirant in the permanent diaconate program for the Diocese of Las Cruces. Next month will be our final month and then we break for the summer and come back as candidates. During the beginning of our process, I was following Bear Woznick and his crew on their Youtube channel as they were filming a series for EWTN called “Long Ride Home.” Little did I know that Bear and his crew would be stopping in Las Cruces for fuel when my bride and I were going to have dinner before our diaconate weekend. Long story short, I introduced myself to them and told them that I’d been following their journey on Youtube. I tripped out that Bear recognized me as one of his friends on Facebook. We had a short chat before Bear asked if my bride and I would like to be interviewed for the show they were filming. Me being the extrovert was like “HECK YEAH” and my bride being more reserved I’m sure was yelling “HECK NO” in her head. Unfortunately for her, I have a big mouth and a “YES” came out before she could breath lol.

They interviewed us and by the time I knew it, it was done and it was time for all of us to move on. I was stoked that I got to meet Bear and Tony and was wondering if our clip would make the cut. A few months back, I was informed that we would be on episode 8. I was really excited about that. Since it was all a blur to me (being star struck) I can’t wait to see it cause I honestly can’t remember everything I said.

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Bear, Me and Tony

Fast forward to a couple of days ago. I get a message from Bear asking if I could break away in May to be on Season 2 of Long Ride Home. In my head I was like “yeah” thinking “OK, they will probably call you up and do an interview over the phone.” Wrong! Bear told me that he was looking at the episode of my bride and I and that he thought it would be cool to have me on the show or to be part of it. This is definitely the work of the Holy Spirit because as you can tell, I’m the ugly one in the middle on the photo above…I’m no Tom Cruise lol. After discussing it further with my bride and with the help from Bear and his crew, I am happy to say that I will be joining them for Season 2 of Long Ride Home which will air on EWTN!

Just like with the call to the diaconate, I am nervous yet excited about this opportunity and I definitely trust in God that he will use me however he wants. Thanks to my brother Bear and the cast and crew for allowing a knucklehead like me be part of their journey.

Don’t forget to check out Season 1 of Long Ride Home on EWTN June 4th!

May God continue to bless you all in all that you do for his Kingdom. Viva Cristo Rey!

Maundy Thursday not Monday Thursday

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Matthew 26:20 When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples

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John 13:3-5 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.

The Triduum is upon us now beginning with Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday. If you’ve never been to a Holy Thursday Mass, I would highly encourage you to attend one tonight. It is not just a recreation of the last supper, all the actions that take place in the mass have so much significance. The washing of the feet for example is one of the things that takes place that some people just see as that, the priest washing a persons feet but, there is so much more to it than that. It is just like in the scripture verse above when Jesus humbled himself and washed the feet of his apostles. John 13:12-15 When he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. He was giving us an “example” of what we are to do…serve our fellow man.

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Luke 22:19-20 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. Jesus said “This is my body, my blood.” He didn’t say this was a symbol of his body and blood, he said “This is.” This is also the time where Jesus instituted the priesthood by his words “Do this in remembrance of me.” He is telling the apostles who to go out and “Do this.”

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The action of the Church on this night also witnesses to the Church’s esteem for Christ’s Body present in the consecrated Host in the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, carried in solemn procession to the flower-bedecked Altar of Repose, where it will remain ‘entombed’ until the communion service on Good Friday. No Mass will be celebrated again in the Church until the Easter Vigil proclaims the Resurrection. This is the time that we get to spend with Jesus in the garden.

So when you attend mass this evening, let’s us understand the true meaning of why we are there to celebrate Holy Thursday. God bless & Viva Cristo Rey!

 

What’s Your Anchor?

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Many Catholic men would like to have a better relationship with Jesus but they still have something holding them back, an anchor if you will. What is your anchor?

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Prior to my reversion, I had multiple anchors. My biggest one though was just being selfish, my pride. Although I was married, I lived my life for the unholy trinity of me, myself and I. I caused so much turmoil in my marriage and with the relationship or lack thereof with my children. Those are the years that I wasted and can’t get back but as one priest told me, they are the years that helped to make you the man you are today. We can continue to focus on our regrets or we can move forward. The best way to move forward is through the grace of God.

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So what is your anchor? Do you have multiple ones? Is it lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy or pride? Chances are, whatever your anchor(s) it will fall into one of the categories of the seven deadly sins.

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It takes surrender. You have to surrender your life or the life you are living and give it to Jesus Christ and start living your life for Him. Allow Him to cut those chains off the anchors in your life. Be bold, be brave and take that leap of faith. Let Jesus mold you into the person He made you to be and quit being the person that “you” want to be.

Enjoy the journey with Him. God bless.