Overcoming Our Vanity

11 05 2012

I am always hearing, “Oh yeah it’s no big deal, I can deal with it.” How do we find peace in situations that we continue to find ourselves in daily struggles that we can’t overcome. We repeatedly make the same mistakes or sins in the eyes of God and can’t seem to get over the hump. Problem is our vanity or pride in ourselves thinking we can do everything by ourselves without the help of God is the route we often choose. Believe it or not the Devil is out to get you when your down on yourself!! This is when we are most vulnerable to make dumb decisions in which we sincerely regret. Then we have despair and depression to deal with. This is a terrible sin in which we do not have the Hope in the Lord to help us get through these tough times. In the past two weeks I have heard about two suicides. The young adult suicidal rates are through the roof in this country and it mainly due to the pressure put on themselves by society and their peers. Our peace and relationship with the Lord can only be the help of many young adults in these situations. We need to focus on what is important in life and not fall in the pits of societies false lies, that our young adults often find themselves in. Whether it is the lies of pornography, cohabitation, pre-martial sex, immodesty, and the list goes on. So men challenge yourself and get off the mainstream “do whatever feels good” bus and be a man. For women today I hope are looking for someone worthy of their love and should be setting their standards high.

“For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.”   -Eph 2:14-18



Living Example For Life

13 03 2012

This post has special importance to me being that it is the 13th of March, my brother Ben’s Birthday today. Brother Ben had a tough road growing up. I would often beat up on him or pick on him being that he was the next in line. But Ben always could defend himself and loved to give it back right to me. Since he is the second of the clan, we shared a room ever since he was born and for his friendship and brotherhood I am eternally grateful. We have a lot great memories growing up together and have learned much from each other. Brother Ben now is brother with the Home of the Mother, both a religious and lay community in Spain, studying to be priest.

As I said Ben had it tough growing up because he always had to live up to the older brother(myself) and didn’t always make the best decisions. But Ben’s story is one we all go through in some point in our lives, struggling to find the will of God in our lives. He found out that his choices weren’t always what is best for his soul. He had problems with pornography and drugs among others(Ben’s conversion story written by himself will be available to read soon), and are too often thought of as being “no big deal” type of issues in today’s culture. But these are the things that eat through a man’s soul and life. Through all his struggles though, he overcame the fleshly desires of the world and choose holiness. His conversion can be an example for all of us. Why can’t we step out of our comfort zone, sacrifice a little and follow the will God has for us. Conversion is not a easy thing, don’t get me wrong,   both prayer and sacrifices have to be made in order to overcome all our troubles. Whoever would save his life will lose it; and whosoever loses his life for my sake will find it. -Matt 16:24 Sacrificing is inevitable and cannot be done lets say half-heartedly, because many prayers get answered through sacrificing. Too often I have even given into the easy road and need to always remind myself of getting out of my comfort can bring many blessings to myself and those around me. So here is to my bro on his Birthday, “Thanks for being such a great example to us as a man living his faith.”

Conscience The Guiding Light

11 03 2012

Conscience is sometimes a difficult concept to explain to the average Joe. Simply put, “Conscience is the light of the soul, of what is deepest in man’s being; and if this light is put out, man is thrown into darkness and can commit the most dastardly abuses against himself and against others.”(Francis, Ferdinand) Luke 11:34, says Your eye is the lamp of your body, says the Lord. Therefore conscience is the lamp of the soul, and if we form it well its light up the way which leads to God, and we can make progress because of it. We can fall our journey but the good news is that we can get right back up on the path. Those that choose to have their interior sensitivity “drowned out” will lose those signposts and become lost. Those things that surrond us and have a negative impact on our lives have sometimes the upper hand and control our actions. Have the courage to overcome them and challenge yourself to do things out of the ordinary that will help you feel better and not have this “false” sense of happiness that society gives us. You can always tell a false sense of happiness in another person because their lives are left unfulfilled in things that can’t satisfy their souls.    During this period of Lent, our prayer is that our consciences open up to the will of God. That we become more open to his will and follow it without complaint.

All In Good Time

1 03 2012

“Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and  you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.” – Matt 7:7-12

We live in a demanding society where we would like everything now, now, now. As the saying goes, Speed Kills. The spirit of selfishness is out of control these days. It is utterly disgusting. As I was speaking to my friend today as he brought up an important fact that, “Gods time is outside of this world, and he is all-knowing of what will happen tomorrow and in years to come.” So when it comes to prayer and our relationship with God we so often ask for his intercession now and along with that an answer! Asking by no means is of course a good thing because without asking we become victims of our selfishness of having all the answers. And we certainly don’t have all the answers. Asking, makes us more humble human beings and it shows our humanity in its true form. We come to know the love of God, the Father, has for us.

The first condition for any petition to be effective is the that you conform our will to the will of God’s. Every time we acknowledge the fact that this is indeed the will of God we grow in the virtue of humility. Two virtues that help with this understanding is patience and wisdom. Two virtues which I always am praying for an increase for and I recommended for everyone else. And also I recommend saying at the end of every prayer you make, Not your will, but thine be done.-Luke 22:42

And I’ll leave you with this great quote from St. John Vianney:

“Won’t you agree with me that, if we do not receive what we ask God for, it is because we do not pray with faith, with a sufficiently pure hear, with enough trust, or because we don not persevere in prayer as we should? God has never denied and never will deny anything to those who ask for his graces in the right way.” – The Cure’ d’Ars, Sermon on a Prayer 

Big to Small

4 12 2011

“The wisdom of the humble lifts their heads high, and seats them among the great. Do not praise individuals for their good looks, or loathe anyone because of appearance alone. The bee is small among flying creatures, but what it produces is the best of sweet things. Do not boast about wearing fine clothes, and do not exalt yourself when you are honored; for the words of the Lord are wonderful….” ~Sirach 11:1-4

Pride. The first downfall of human beings. Not all pride is bad of course. But this simple word leads to all other evil in today’s world.  Our egocentric driven society doesn’t help much either. Everywhere you go you see advertisements saying, “this is what you have to look like to be hip.” I feel bad for girls because they get the worst of it. From such a young age now, girls are expected to dress a certain way. This goes on to hurt them as they grow up because they learn to not value themselves for who they are. They don’t learn how to love themselves which is a travesty because its causes a lot of heartbreak in the long run. This all goes back to pride. How do we lessen ourselves and produce fruits of humility and generosity?

Being that this is the Christmas season this is a great time to sit back and think of, “How can I better prepare myself for Jesus’s coming?” A good comparison would be saying that going for the big would lead us to prideful decisions. Seeking for the small, in humility offering those gifts that you would normally receive to maybe your friends. Like the verse says above, even the smallest of creatures produces often times the best of things. The simple decision of, “Can I live without this (insert your own craving here) week,” produces often times the most joy and lessons learned in life.

Two Lessons From G.K. Chesterton:

1. Nothing so ridiculous in life than Human Vanity and Pride. – Vanity ruins the good talents we have.

2. The material world is made for Laughter. – We are made and saved for Joy. The joy being the second coming of Christ.

As I have probably mentioned before from one of my friends, “To know how to live, is to know how to receive.” This goes back to the virtue of humility. If we receive with a great deal of thankfulness and appreciation, we grow in virtue.

Proper Place, Proper Order

1 11 2011

Many people today seek the meaning of life with an emphasis on the word “freedom”. As Blessed John Paul II says, “Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” I think that is so true. So often we are in denial of what we think we can and can’t do. Obviously we are very blessed to live in this great country where we have many freedoms in which other people will not see in their lifetime. I think the word has become bent in the wrong direction and used out of context in many situations throughout history and this present time. I want to do this, I want to do that….how many people have heard this. But in fact a lot of the times this is just our pride and egoism taking root in our selfish ways.

Order and discipline I believe are constantly lacking in society today. Many kids are raised today with no manners, let alone discipline. One factor I believe is often the lack of fatherhood in the household. There are so many broken families in society today that fatherhood so often goes unnoticed and is tremendously missed down the road. The devil knows that the Father holds the family together and will attack the root of the family to demise it.

Our passions and desires in life are sometimes both hard to contain and can also be a burden. The evil one knows that our passions and desires can easily be attacked and used against us as we fall daily in life. He has access to our imagination and passions. Its is hard for many to understand that the greater realities of love and forgiveness are won in the will. It is chore for many, sometimes to do good. They are unaware that love is a choice, a decision, a commitment of the will. We can be aware of these passions and temptations and yet still be in conformity with the will of God, living in peace and love, even in the midst of our everyday life struggles. In terms of behavior, if we do not act as we think, we will end up thinking as we act. If we don’t rule our behavior, our behavior will rule our hearts. We need to have a clean heart, or our minds will not function properly. Our belief system and way of thinking will be dictated by the way act. Our minds then become slave to vices(lust, pride, etc) and we constantly have to explain and justify our actions.

Prudence is a virtue of acting and caring for events in the foreseeable future. Sometimes we have to make short-term sacrifices in order to bring out a better result, and that is also part of the virtue. When our passions are in charge, this virtue becomes lost. We may say, “Oh this is just a one-time thing that happens every now and then.” But in fact this is slavery to vice. So we need to have strong foundation. Not a house without windows, blowing things through it causing commotion. If you think about it, everything in life must be in a proper order, otherwise we have chaos. Our actions have consequences. Sin causes sickness. There is no “perfect man.” And none of us can be reprogrammed to become perfected.  We need that living voice that can guide us everyday. With God all things are a reality. Keep your head on straight and with constant help from our Lord we will overcome!

“Don’t you long to shout to those youths who are bustling around you: Fools! Leave those worldly things that shackle the heart – and very often degrade it – leave all that and come with us in search of Love!”
-St. Josemaria Escriva

Firm in the Faith

12 10 2011

As summer has just blown by, I obviously was missing in action! I was extremely blessed the past summer with some tremendous fun times and spiritual graces. I had the opportunity to go to Europe for a month and a half . I visited Rome, Assisi, Padova, in Italy. Then from there I traveled to Madrid, Spain and went to World Youth Day with Pope Benedict and 1.5 million other youth from around the world. And then to cap it off, I traveled to Hamburg, Germany  and visited my cousin who lives there.

I received so many blessings as I traveled throughout Europe. No major mishaps or accidents, which is always a relief. So many highlights from the trip I could write ten pages about it. But the major highlight had to be World Youth Day in Madrid! I was able to join the community that both my brother and cousin are in with a two-week pilgrimage. I was with seventy other guys from around the world and it was just an awesome experience making new friends and sharing in the faith. We checked out some awesome sites around Madrid and were led by the priests of the Home of the Mother throughout the pilgrimage. We all received a lot of spiritual guidance  from all the members of the Home. Certain truths that stood out  as Father explained  were that, “A man will never be a man, unless he is a man of prayer.” The opposite is a man full of “substance”(vices, addictions, etc). We need to be men of the spirit and not of superficiality. We have to have a foundation house of prayer, otherwise we a just a shack blowing down in the wind.

Above is a picture of myself with my Brother Benny, Sr. Sasha and my other brother Spencer.