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.

Evangelize From Anywhere

Some people have a problem with Disney and anything associated with them. To each their own. I’m not a huge fan but my family is and I enjoy seeing them happy considering how I failed to do so in the early years of being a husband and father and I didn’t make them happy then but that’s another story for another time.

People have their reasons for their dislike of Disney and some use their religion to push their agenda on others; “They support same sex marriage,” or “They support Planned Parenthood.” If those are your main reasons for not supporting a company, better do your homework Jack! There are many companies who do the same thing and unless you are living off the grid, you should re-evaluate your argument or learn what it means to be a Christian.

Christians should be able to evangelize from anywhere under any circumstances. What you do says more than what you say, you know the old cliché; “actions speak louder than words.”

While on our family break here at Disneyland, every time I saw a young couple (male & female) attempting to take a selfie while trying to capture the background, I stepped up and offered to take the picture. Each time the couples were ecstatic that I offered and were pleased with the photo(s). When I handed the phone back back I said the same thing, “have an awesome day and God bless you.” Simple right?

My bride and I walked around holding hands and by our actions, we showed our love for each other and what true Christian matrimony is all about. Simple, easy and fun to do.

So, whether you’re at Disneyland or out on the streets, profess your love of God. Bless others, express generosity, and be the person God made you to be.

Two Years Down

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Two years down, two years to go. My journey towards becoming a permanent deacon has been…well, a journey. There have been highs and lows but the journey has been awesome so far.

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There’s an old saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” I really wish I remembered that one before I started the diaconate formation program LOL. I had already started to plot out what I was going to do if and when I became ordained a deacon. I’m laughing about it now because two years into the program, I don’t have a single plan and I’m going to leave it all in the hands of God…just like I should have all along.

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Obedience & being a servant have been the keys all along. Being obedient to the changes that you need to go through, obedient and a servant to your priest, your wife, your family and others.

Some of the best words of advice in regards to diaconate formation came from my deacon adviser, he said, “Be like clay.” I try my hardest everyday to do just that. Everyday I learn something new about my faith and quite often, about myself. Today is a great day…it’s a great day to be a Christian! Buen Camino everyone & God bless.

2018: The Year of Lost Friends

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Any other day, I would be here at work with some music playing and going through my normal everyday routine but, today is different. It’s so quiet, you could literally hear a pin drop.

Yesterday my bride and I found out that a friend of ours passed away. This was all due to a freak accident. So yesterday we were in shock and today is no different. There is no making sense of this whole thing, this I know, but it doesn’t make it any easier knowing that.

I’ve lost two dear friends this year and the year is half way over. I’ve seen many people on social media say things like “I’m done with 2018” and messages that are more derogatory than that. It just seems that 2018 has not been a good year for some people and I get it. I usually don’t place any emphasis on a year, month, date, etc… based off of emotions or life events but I get why people do.

Keep this in mind people, we are only on this earth for a very short time. Even if we live to be 100 years old, it is minuscule compared to eternity. I for one believe in heaven and hell and I believe that what we do, what we say, how we live our lives to serve God will determine where we spend eternity. I truly believe that my friends are with God and I for one want to do what I need to so that when my time comes, I will be able to see them and my family members who have gone before them.

I know that God had his reason for taking her, the human part of me is angry because of it but I trust God and I know that all things are done for His greater glory and our friend believed that too. Her faith is what got her through life and I’m sure that she has heard God say, “Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into the kingdom.”

Life is precious, life is too short to hold onto resentment, anger, jealousy, etc… Jesus Christ gave us one commandment and that was to “Love each other as I have loved you” John 15:12. Love one another, forgive one another and pray for one another.

Rest In Peace, My Dear Freind

Evangelize: But be yourself

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Upon my return back to the Catholic Church, I came across an abundance of Catholic Evangelist that heavily influenced me during that time. Names like Joe McClane, Scott Hahn, Jesse Romero, Bear Woznick, Fr. Mitch Pacwa, Fr. Larry Richards, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and many more. Their words, their charisma, their message, the whole package of what they had to offer inspired me and motivated me to do the same thing…go out an evangelize.

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The problem with that though is I was going out and trying to sound like them. My thought process was “If what they say has such an impact on me, I can say the same things they are saying to others and impact them!” WRONG! This is a cardinal mistake made by a person who is so full of zeal and so fresh into the Catholic Church or returning to the Church. That was me at the time. I should’ve been recommending people to listen to their message instead of trying to be a poor clone of them.

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Funny thing is that I see others doing the same thing. STOP! That’s not you. You are not Joe McClane, you are not Scott Hahn and you sure aren’t Jesse Romero. Just be you.

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I’ve since learned just to evangelize and to do it as John. That is who God made me to be…John. Not Father Larry or Deacon Harold, just John. And you know what? Evangelizing as just John is alright because that was God’s plan all along.

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Remembering to do His will instead of ours places the focus back on where it needs to be, the message of God and not the messenger. If we are truly to evangelize then we must realize that it isn’t about us…it’s about Him and His message. We are just the tools that He uses to get that message out to the people we encounter.

 

May God continue to bless you and all that you do for His Kingdom! Buen Camino.

Fixing the Problem aka: I’m What!

 

Last week I had a really bad day, I was frustrated and angry at some things that took place over the prior weekend. The short of it, some people said some things that upset me. I was having such an issue with it that I called my deacon adviser to see what he thought. After telling him everything that happened, he did what he’s always done when I talk to him about situations like these, “Why is it bothering you John? It seems to be their issue but you let it bother you.” Now keep in mind, I purposely picked this individual because I knew they would be brutally honest with me and my journey into the permanent diaconate.

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He then proceeded to tell me that I was not a nice or kind person, that it is just not in my nature, that I’m big and can come across as intimidating. He also said that if that is the way I am, it’s ok because not everyone can be all lovey dubby and huggy. On the outside I was like “OK” but inside my head ha ha ha, I was like WTH! I’m What! It was one of those moments where I just wanted to hit something, kinda like Robert DeNiro in Analyze This.

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He then continued to say, “It’s not in what they are saying or what the situation is John, it is all in the way you react to it. During moments like these you have to ask yourself, would Jesus react like this.” Of course the answer was no. He advised me to read a book called The Four Agreements. He said it helped him quite a bit because he too can be just like me. I think there are many of us who “over react” or “blow a fuse” more times than we would like to admit. So far, there are quite a few points in that book that make sense that I can and will apply to my life.

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I was still kind of taken back by the statement he made of “You are not a nice or kind person” and that is because although I know I have a rough exterior at times, I am a nice person and I am kind too but, I can be ugly…but can’t we all? Then I thought, “maybe he said that just to shake me up?” Then my bride said, “maybe he said that to bring the conversation back to you instead of them!” Another Analyze This moment came to my head, “You! You! You’re good! Whatever the reason behind it, it worked. It has made me look at myself and the way I react to people and situations. Fast forward to lent which starts tomorrow.

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I, like many Catholics out there, will be doing multiple things for lent. There of course are the main 3 things that we should all do, Prayer, Fasting and Alms giving. But I am going to tailor these to my specific situation right now on bettering myself so that I can better serve the people in my life. For now I will share with you one of the prayers that I will be reciting daily to bring me back to earth, to ground myself and help me remember that “John, you aren’t special.” It is the Litany of Humility.

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O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others…Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised…Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged …Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected …Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may increase and I may decrease …Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside …Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything…Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I,
 provided that I may become as holy as I should…Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

As always, pray for me and my journey and know that I am praying for you. May God continue to bless you and all that you do for his kingdom. Buen Camino!

Slow Down

In the military we were taught to eat our food without tasting it. “Hurry up and inhale that chow! Don’t chew!” That is kind of what Advent has turned into as well. We are in such a rush that we don’t get to savor the true meaning of the season. Society starts pushing Christmas on us in July (Christmas in July) and then goes full force in October and they completely and purposely leave out Advent.

Advent is a time of waiting, prayerful anticipation for the coming of Jesus Christ. We should take our time, slow down, enjoy the journey and savor each moment of Advent.

As we await the birth of Our King Jesus Christ, let us contemplate on how we arrived at this moment. Did we do so prayerfully? Were we slothful on our journey? Did we give into the will of society and bypass Advent all together?

For the remainder of the Christmas season, let us slow things down, rejoice the birth of Christ Our Savior, and prayerfully journey with him! Merry Christmas and may God continue to bless you and all that you do for His Kingdom.