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.

Forcing square pegs into round holes…doesn’t work.

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My best friend, my bride, is an introvert. For those of you who don’t know what an introvert is, here is an explanation of it.  Introvert – comes from Latin intro-, “inward,” and vertere, “turning.” It describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally. Introverts sometimes avoid large groups of people, feeling more energized by time alone. The opposite of an introvert is an extrovert, who finds energy in interactions with others.

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There is nothing wrong with being an introvert just like there is nothing wrong with being an extrovert. The problem is when extroverts tend to force their ways and beliefs on introverts and make them feel less than or not normal. What is normal though? The dictionary has it’s definition of normal however, normal is in the eye of the beholder. What’s normal to you may not be normal to me. I know many people who are introverts and I don’t find them odd or weird, I actually tend to be jealous of them because I too would like to be more alone and reserved at times, not in a bad or selfish way, but in a peaceful meditative way in prayer. Far to often, extroverts tend to be to presumptuous towards introverts and are often very judgmental. Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

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I am definitely an extrovert. That’s not saying that I get my energy from being in large crowds or around people but I enjoy being in a crowd from time to time. I do see myself drifting towards becoming more introverted as time goes on. I love the times that I can be alone with Jesus and just rest in his arms. Introvert, extrovert, we are all children of God and didn’t Christ give us a message or rather a commandment to do: John 15:12 – My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

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There is a fine line between being zealous and over zealous. There is also a fine line between being an extrovert and being dictator. If you are wanting to bring others to the light of Christ, be the light of Christ. If you are wanting them to feel the love of Christ, be the love of Christ. If you want them to see Christ, let them see Christ in you. Jesus wants us all to be Christians but, he doesn’t want us to be carbon copies of each other. There is only one person we should try to emulate and that is Jesus Christ. God made us in his own image but he gave us different characteristics and that is what makes each of us unique. Quit trying to force a square peg into a round hole. Instead, love that person where they are and for who they are. Viva Cristo Rey! God bless.

His love is greater than your sin

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I hear this from men far too often, “You have no idea how bad of a person I am. Jesus would laugh at me if I asked for forgiveness.” Sound familiar? Nothing could be further from the truth though. Jesus longs to forgive us and he never tires of doing so, just like he did with the woman caught in adultery:  John 8:10-11 Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”

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Jesus’ love is greater than any sin you may have. Always remember this, Jesus loves you, and he wants to forgive you. All you have to do is ask. Sounds simple and that’s because it is simple. As humans, and especially as men, we tend to complicate things, make them harder than what they are or make the situation harder than what it is. The Lord longs to forgive us and we must share that message with everyone. Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you; therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. We must humble ourselves before the Lord our God and approach the Sacrament of Penance so that we can be healed of our sins.  CCC 1422 “Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion.”

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Going to confession can be unsettling, especially if it has been a while since you’ve been. Have no fear for God is with you. Remember that you are not confessing your sins to just a priest, in that moment, he is in the person of Christ – In Persona Christi and you are confessing your sins to Jesus Christ. How Awesome is that! Sin separates us from God and all it takes is one mortal sin. Should we die with that one mortal sin in our soul, we will spend the rest of eternity in hell. God gave us the gift of free will men. Let us use it wisely and come back to the state of grace. God bless.

 

This story comes from my new blog for men called Forging Men. Please visit and follow my blog at https://forgingmen.wordpress.com/and https://www.facebook.com/forgingmen2717