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

My Happy Place


Every once ina while, I return to my happy place…the Pacific Ocean. Right now I’m at Laguna Beach.


The sights, the smells….the life.


The feeling of the sand between your toes

And the ocean too


Until next time my friend.

Removing the Johnson Amendment and the Impact I Believe It Will Have On the Catholic Church.

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President Lyndon B. Johnson

Below is an explanation of the Johnson Amendment via Wikipedia.

The Johnson Amendment is a provision in the U.S. tax code that prohibits all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. 501(c)(3) organizations are the most common type of nonprofit organization the United States, ranging from charitable foundations to universities and churches. The amendment is named for then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas. In recent years many Republicans have sought to repeal it, arguing that it restricts the free speech rights of churches and other religious groups.

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President Donald J. Trump

During the Republican National Convention, now President Donald Trump said: “An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. Their voice has been taken away,” Trump said. “I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and to protect free speech for all Americans.”

If this does happen, and President Donald Trump does rescind the rule, it will be very interesting to see how the Catholic Church, as well as other Christian denominations, will proceed in regards to future elections. Will they allow their pastors, priest, ordained, etc… to promote a certain electoral party or individual?

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Fr. Joseph Ratzinger

“The Church will become small.” This was part of a prophetic statement made by then Fr. Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) in 1969. Now you realize why it is called a “prophetic”statement. When you look at the state of the Church now, this statement of his is not that far fetched at all. From the outside looking in, especially on social media, one would think that there are more interpretations of Catholicism than there are Protestant denominations. One person says “This is what the Catholic Church is about” while another person says, “Don’t listen to him, he’s one of those Church of Nice people. We need to be more like Vatican I” and yet you have another person saying something else, and another, and another and so on and so on. In this day and age, everyone is an expert in Catholicism. Personally, I am in favor of President Trump rescinding that law and allowing our Church Leaders to start informing us who is indeed the correct politician to vote for.

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Broken Church

If that ends up being the case, and our Church Leaders are allowed to inform us who we should vote for from a “Catholic” point of view, things are going to get very ugly, very hectic, very troublesome and very frightening. It will let us know who is leading us to Christ and who is deceiving us. However, in the end, and it may not be in my lifetime, the truth will come out. The Church may indeed be very small at that time and I’m sure it will have gone through many trials and tribulations worse than ever before, but it will come out stronger, a beacon of light for those who are lost.

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The Parousia – The Second Coming

In the end, truth will always prevail. The horrors that we are going through as Christians will come to pass and we will all come together under the Cross of Jesus Christ as One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church as we await the Parousia, the second coming of Jesus Christ, King of Kings. This I pray for. Viva Cristo Rey!

 

I’m Freaking Out!!!

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Yup. That picture sums up just about how I’m feeling inside. I honestly can’t remember the last time that I have felt this stressed out. I can’t give out details but it revolves around our business. Being a small business owner can be good and bad. Lately, it’s been very challenging.

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With all the stress and anxiety lately, I hate to admit it but, I’ve been pretty short with a lot of people. Not very Christ like at all.

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Right when I think that I’m lost, Jesus has to remind me that He has been there the whole time and that even though I’m going through some tough times in my life, He will be with me. I met with my fellow diaconate brothers yesterday afternoon to practice the Liturgy of Hours that we will be doing at our next meeting in February. (The men are grouped into groups of 3 men based on their location and each group of men lead the Liturgy of the Hours every weekend we meet) If you are not familiar with the Litany of the Hours, there is a short reading in the prayer. We are to come up with a 3 minute reflection based on the reading and we are to share that reflection (kind of like a short homily) with the whole group. I told the men that I hadn’t read mine yet. I saw it and noticed that it was a lot bigger than normal. It kind of freaked me out because it wasn’t as short as the usual ones. I went ahead and read it yesterday and was blown away. I’d like to share it with you now.

Romans 12:13-21

Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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Jesus has always walked with me, I just forget at times. As soon as I finished reading that verse from scripture, I looked up at the crucifix in the Church and said, “Thank you.” No matter how many times I feel like I’m being persecuted or being taken advantage of, I shall look to Christ for the answer and remember to treat others with respect and dignity.

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Pray for me brothers and sisters that I may get through this rough time in my life and know that I too will be praying for you. Viva Cristo Rey!