Negative Influences

stop_negativity

This is the day. This is the day that I say “NO” to negativity! This is the day that I stop falling for the nonsense that enters into my life. This is the day that I stand by Jesus Christ and ask him to help me be a better man.

cropped-1-112.png

This journey with Christ has not been an easy one but then again, nobody ever said it would be. As a matter of fact, some of the most influential people that I have met so far in my journey with Christ have told me how hard it is and how much harder it will get for me. One of my earlier spiritual directors told me, “The closer you get to God, the harder Satan will try to trip you up.” Some days the devil can’t trip me up for nothing, and others days, it’s not even a challenge for him. So what is a person to do?

angel

Ugh. There he goes again

There are some people in my life who I dearly love but at times, they can be a negative influence on me. I fall into their trap and end up acting the fool. I know the problems that have been plaguing me lately. Listening to gossip or doing it myself, feeding into negative actions such as cursing and being inconsiderate towards others feelings or being spurned onto these actions by friends and family. It’s as though I can hear my guardian angel say, “Hey look out there’s a ….. never mind, too late” and I fall again. This is the day that it ends. As my bride likes to say, “one can not walk with the Lord while holding hands with the devil.”

 

sin kills

Sin kills. When we give into what the devil is feeding us, we die. Sin kills, plain and simple. Have you ever payed attention to your sinful patterns? One little venial sin here, another one there, and another and another and another until there is this big pile of venial sins. When there is no more room for venial sins we end up giving into mortal sins, sins that separate us from or push us away from Christ. The more we give into venial sin, the easier it is to fall into the trap of mortal sin. Sin is the thing that keeps me away from the peace, the peace of Christ that I am looking for. That quiet, peace. Only through the grace of God will I be able to turn over a new leaf. And although I have calmed down quite a bit compared to my old self, that “old self” likes to try and sneak in from time to time to cause havoc.

2000summer_finding-peace-of-mind_1920x1080

I want that peace of Christ and I want it now. In a world full of noise, sometimes noise that I create myself, I want peace. I’m tired of the negativity. It’s like carrying a heavy load and I don’t want to carry it any longer. So, to my family & friends who are having issues in their lives, I’m sorry you are going through what you are going through and I pray that you get through it soon, but your negativity is not helping me so I will take a step back, I will pray for you, and I will be there when you need to talk. If I want to find peace in myself, I need to look for it through and with Christ. You are always welcomed to join us.

 

 

 

 

One Size Does Not Fit All

 

one size does not

One Size Does Not Fit All

One of my favorite experiences along my journey with Christ so far has been attending a men’s retreat. The funny part of it all is that “retreats” are also a pet peeve of mine when it comes to our Catholic Faith. Let me explain why.

My first men’s retreat was Into the Wild, a retreat put on by The King’s Men (TKM); a Catholic men’s lay apostolate created in PA. I absolutely loved it! It was rough, manly, and rugged. It was Christ centered and it revolved around male spirituality and the lack of it in the Church today. When the time came that Into the Wild would be holding a retreat near my neck of the woods, I invited a few men from our local TKM group to attend. I showed them the video explaining what Into the Wild was and they said yes.

When it was all said and done, a couple of the men who had been to other retreats before didn’t care for Into the Wild and a few who had never been to a retreat loved it.  When I asked the men who didn’t enjoy why they didn’t enjoy, they told me why and I said, “Cool. I understand” and I thanked them for joining me during that weekend.

handshake

I’ve been approached to attend other retreats and when I respectfully decline, I am looked upon as though I am lacking in spirituality and in some cases, I have even been told that, just because I declined to attend. I can appreciate the zeal that these individuals have for the retreat that they are trying to promote but to demean a person because they don’t want to attend is not Christian at all.

snob-professor

Retreats are a great tool that we can use in our walk with Christ but they are by no means the “be all end all” of a Catholics spiritual life. They are a tool and should be used just as that, kind of like a walking stick.

A walking stick can help lift you up when you fall, it can help you to keep your balance, it can help you climb those hard paths, and it can be used to rest on when you need a break.

walking stick

When it comes to retreats, one size does not fit all and if you are involved in planning or running retreats, here are a few things to remember:

  • Retreats aren’t for everyone. Just because a person doesn’t want to attend a retreat does not mean they are lacking in their spirituality.
  • Don’t Be A PUSHER! It is great to be excited about your retreat but don’t push it on people. Invite them and be ready to answer questions they may have about the retreat.
  • Don’t be secretive. There are a few retreats who would rather not tell you what goes on at their retreat and will use terms like “you have to live it” or “I can’t tell you about it.” You can sell a product easier when you are able to list all the highlights about it. The more questions you answer the better the chance that someone will take interest in attending.
  • Be helpful and attentive to the needs of the individual during the retreat. Be observant of what is going on with each individual and if they need time away for reflection or a break from activities, don’t force them to adhere to the schedule. They are on a spiritual retreat that works on Gods time, not yours.

So the next time you are asked to go on a retreat or you are the person doing the asking, I pray that it is a positive experience.