Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Spiritual "Tune Up"

Cars have batteries that die. They cough and sputter. Backfire. Hesitate. Go a little. Jerk forward. Conk out. Start again. Die. Pull off to the side of the road.

When this happens we take them to a mechanic who does some diagnostic things (I guess) and determines a course of action. Fix this. Replace that. Scrap the whole thing. Whatever it may be.

I don't know about you, but my faith-life is more like a 1974 Dodge Dart (my first car) than a 2011 Honda Civic.

It runs well for a while, then begins to "act up." Sometimes I want to trade it in for a newer model, but I know that what it really needs is a tune up. It's a good car, afterall. It's been with me for so long. I can't just toss it in the heap with the others.

For me, spiritual direction is that tune up. It gives me the "manual" for taking care of my spirituality.

Recently I have been instructed by my spirtual director to do the morning and eveing prayers. And I have been. For the most part. And when I don't - guess what happens?

Yep, you're right. Cough. Chug. Jerk. Sputter. Die.

Time to take the car back to the shop. Confession. Mass. Prayer. Meditation. Reading the Word of God. Those morning and evening prayers.

Pray for me that I can keep my engine running. I'll do the same for you.

Vroom vroom!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

When You're Down and Out...

The Sisters at Our Lady of Peace Retreat Center have been so supportive to Real Catholic Ministries.

I attended my first retreat there about 6 years ago. It was a married couples retreat with fellow Teams of Our Lady members. I remember not wanting to leave. The place is so serene and it gave me a quiet place to contemplate my marriage and my manhood.

I've been back many times. And not just for retreats, but to say "hello" and lend a hand when needed.

One of my favorite things to do at OLP is to go to their annual BBQ. So many great people having nothing but good food and fun. Music, games for the kids, raffles. All the things you'd expect.

This year, the Sisters offered to let me have a spot to put up a table to help promote RCM. And what a spot it was. Right by where everyone had to purchase their food tickets. No one could get in without going by me!

Now I must admit, I've been having a rough time of it lately. Both personally and spiritually. Wondering what God is wanting from me. Dealing (again) with disappointments. Sometimes it's hard to be the "face" of RCM when you're not "feeling it."

But this BBQ, this table and this exposure was exactly what I needed.

So many people came up to me to shake my hand and thank me for the ministry. People who are enjoying the radio show. People who are just glad that someone - anyone - is out there on the frontlines giving it a try.

It's true that the laborers are few. And there is much work to me done.

Thank you for your prayers of support. I honestly don't know where I'd be without them.

God bless you all!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How Lame Am I?

I just wanted to post this "quickie" to let you all know that I (and this Blog) are indeed alive and well.

I will be posting something longer (and definitely more spiritually "deep") very soon.

Thank you for your patience - and your feedback on the previous entry. I can't believe it's been almost 3 months! Sheesh!

Oh, to be more disciplined.

God bless you all.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Gettin It (Somewhat) Right

Yesterday was my wife's birthday. She turned...

Do you really think I was going to tell you? After being married for 8 1/2 years, I have learned SOME things. One thing is that birthdays are more important to some than others.

I've never been one for ceremonies, pomp and circumstance or "tradition." It wasn't really played up in the house I grew up in, so it has been (and still is) tough to make the transition for those who DO find it important.

Here's an example: my wife's family were/are big "stocking" people. By that I mean that at Christmas, what was/is in your stocking was/is a big deal. Treats and little do-dads were always a hit. Now, in my house, there were more Christmases than not where there was nothing in our stockings. Not due to being poor, but just because it wasn't what we did.

The same focus goes for birthdays. For my family they were important, but not all consuming. That's not to say that it was an obsession for my wife's family - just different.

So for 7 1/2 yeas it has been hit-and-miss for me when it comes to birthdays. Some years it's okay. Some years, not. It gets harder with more kids and projects. Hey, isn't mowing the lawn a GREAT birthday gift?

Anyway, this year, I decided to do it right. Not "BIG." Just right.

It is a birth"day," right - not a birth"moment." So my wife's birthday started in the morning with breakfast and ended with a nice dinner. Some cool stuff in between as well.

Oh, one more important thing. My wife was adopted. And after the passage of Roe v. Wade. So the fact that she's even here is a miracle. Something to be celebrated EVERY day, not just May 6th.

Happy Birthday, honey. Let's do this again next year!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coming Up for Air

Phew! That's all I can say.

Oh - that and "AMEN!!!!"

This past weekend, 41 men from Oregon and SW Washington attended the first (of many, I hope) Real Catholic Men Retreat. It was an amazing time. Faith. Food. Fellowship. What more could one want.

Rather than me telling you what a great experience it was, I want to let you read some of the responses I have received over the past few days.

"Thanks for an excellent weekend. I was inspired, motivated and challenged."

"I can't thank you enough for the retreat this weekend. I will never look at the Mass the same way again. The graces I received this weekend and the strength I feel renewed me like no other experience I have ever been blessed with."

"You and Deacon Harold (Burke-Sivers) were like the Apostles, helping us (the disciples) open our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit, His Holy will and His plan for us."

"The retreat was great. I couldn't have asked for more. Thanks for an unforgettable weekend."

"I feel alive, at peace, confident, and I have more courage to bring my faith into the world."

"I recommend men from every walk of life to attend next year."

Wow! I am humbled and honored to be fighting the good fight of faith with men like these. Please don't miss opportunities like this - wherever you are! Find a men's group, a retreat, a conference, and make yourself available to the graces of the Holy Spirit in your lives.

Special thanks to Deacon Harold (http://www.auremcordis.com/) for his participation. We ALL need to hear the messages his is sharing around the world.

God bless you all. Happy Easter!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Events a'plenty

There's a lot going on right now.

I guess the first thing on the list is to finish up all of the work that goes into putting on a retreat.

A while back I agreed to create a game for the April retreat called "Faith Football." In its simplest form, it's a glorified trivia game. But it's based on football: with a field, running and passing plays, penalties, etc.

It's fun, but daunting trying to create something from scratch.

There is also the wondering if anyone is going to show up! So far, response has been "okay." But that's not for me to worry about. I need to prepare, not watch the numbers.

That's hard to do, considering I'm the one putting the money and time into the planning and execution. It's times like these that I need to pray more.

Then there is the conference. It's VERY difficult to plan one "big thing" while you're planning another "big thing." But I love this conference. I wish I could work on it year-round.
This years' guests are going to be awesome. Check out the website for more info: http://www.realcatholicmen.com/.
I ask for all your prayers as well. Lord knows I can't do this
myself. I need to rely on Him more- and less on myself.
Stress can create an ugly monster. I probably don't have to tell you that. I suppose I need to pray to St. Michael more often too.
Sheesh- at this rate (with all this praying) I may never get anything done. Oh yeah, except for my eternal salvation.
God bless you all. I hope you're having a great Lent.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Realities of Lent

Okay, so I put on a men's conference. I lead men's groups. I do a radio show and talk to others about the Faith.

Does that mean the devil leaves me alone? On the contrary. Those who do the work of God are attacked even more. Wonder why there were "priest scandals" all over the world? See previous comment.

Does this excuse us from our sins. Absolutely not. But the reality is - just like Jesus - those who "come in the name of the Lord" usually have Satan walking close by.

In Lent, we are called to strip away all those things that distract us from our God. Maybe that's television, or drinking, or going to the movies. In that sense, some of the devil's "tools" are put aside. And that's when he uses other means.

My friend, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers is fond of saying, "If the devil isn't attacking you, you're not doing your Faith right."

Well if that's the case, I must be doing VERY well;-) 'Cause I have been battered and bruised lately.

As I write this blog, I am getting ready to leave for a men's conference in Pendleton, Oregon. Not to speak, or to coordinate - but just to be there. Like the rest of the guys. Looking for peace, joy, or anything else we may be "searching" for. For me it's a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. I have come to discover recently that I love "The Church" more than I love Christ. I'll fight to the death to defend my Faith, but I won't die to self for my savior.

So,I'm still growing. No one is fully formed while alive. That is why there are no living saints.

The race is not won until the race is done. I just hope I have a lot more laps to go before my finish line comes into view.

God bless you all. Keep praying for me, and I'll keep praying for you.