Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Practical Guide to Prayer

As "guys", we are supposed to be the problem solvers.  We're supposed to be able to juggle projects and coordinate our personal, professional and family lives.  And for the most part we do a pretty good job.

So why is it that we never seem to have time to pray?

I hear it all the time.  Work is too busy.  Too many personal commitments.  Blah blah blah.  It's all a bunch of hooey.  Let me be completely honest here - these are just excuses.  We will always find time for the things we "want" to do.  Favorite t.v shows.  Sporting activities.  Club meetings.  You know the drill.

So let me offer all of you men a few practical and realistic ways to make time for prayer in your life:

1.  Do you go to the bathroom?  Seriously.  Do you ever go "#2?"  How long does this usually take?  A few minutes?  Five at the most?  Some of us take longer.  What a great time to read scripture.  You're sort of a captive audience at this point.  Put a small copy of the New Testament on top of the tank.  I like the Magnificat magazine.  It has all the daily readings and reflections in one little booklet.

2.  Do you have a computer?  We all do.  Some of us have multiples.  One at home.  One at work.  A laptop.  A PDA.  Have your "hello" screen greet you with a prayer and read along.  Tape a short prayer to the screen.  I have the Memorarae at work, and a picture of the Divine Mercy at home.

3.  Do you have pockets?  If you wear pants on a regular basis, the answer is probably "yes."  Carry a Rosary in your pocket.  Ever time you reach into you pocket and feel the beads, say a quick prayer.  A Hail Mary.  An Our Father.  Glory be is a short one.  Or make up your own.

There is absolutely no reason why we can't add daily reading and prayer to our REGULAR schedule.  No more of this "squeezing it in when we have time" garbage.

When you face God on your judgement day, He will not ask how many soccer games you played in, or what happened on the season finale of "24."  I guarantee that.

Be practical.  Take time to pray.  I promise you will notice a difference in your life.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Moon Crazy

Last night was the full looney... oops, I mean lunar... eclipse.  Here's what scientists had to say about the effect of said eclipse.

Due to the fact that we are made of of mostly water, the moon (especially a full moon... and double especially a full lunar eclipse) has an effect on our behavior just as it does the tides of the ocean.

Nice.  So essentially we're no more in control of ourselves than a salt-water deposit.

It's so good to hear that science puts the same value on human beings, their life and their ability to reason as they do for a chemical compound.

No wonder a pre-born baby is only seen as a "mass of tissue."

No wonder our bodies are "sexual playgrounds."

No wonder the handicapped are "burdens."

No wonder women are bought and sold in prostitution.

No wonder Jesus was "just a good guy."

I'm sorry, but I am more than the sum of my parts.  I am not just skin, bone, muscle and organs.  I am a child of the Most High, created in the image and likeness of God.

I don't think our Heavenly Father's "mood" is affected by the moon, do you?

Oh, yeah - he made it.  And us.  We are fearful and wonderfully made.  Take that, science.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Are You Kidding Me?

I got this off the internet today.

YBOR CITY, Fla. - A southwest Florida church issued a challenge for its married members this past Sunday: Hanky-panky every day. Relevant Church head pastor Paul Wirth says the 50 percent divorce rate was the catalyst for The 30-Day Sex Challenge.

"And that's no different for people who attend church," Wirth said. "Sometimes life gets in the way. Our jobs get in the way."

Oh, and the flip side of the challenge? No rolling in the sheets for the unwed.

Church member Tim Jones and his fiancée agreed to take on the challenge, though he acknowledges it'll be a tough month. But he added: "I think it's worth trying to find out other things about each other."

Where do I begin with this one?  

Calling the Marital Embrace "Hanky-panky" and  somehow correlating the divorce rate to the amount of sex a couple is having is mind-boggling.  So periods of abstinence between husband and wife equals a miserable marriage?  Now I get it!  That's why the Protestants and Evangelicals (for the most part) are just fine with birth control.  That way there is no need for the mutual respect of each other's bodies.  We're just our spouses personal playground.

And, duh, "No rolling in the sheets for the unwed."  Are you kidding me?

Don't get me started on Mr. Jones in the last part.  He is clearly lost.

I've heard it said that the biggest reasons the secular world doesn't take the Christian world seriously is due to our own hypocrisy.  We parade around as the arbiters of morality, yet we have no concept of God's plan for us in the area of sexuality any more than MTV does.

Catholic men - are you ready to speak the truth no matter what the cost?  This is one area where we all need to be educated, so that we can educate others.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Is It 2009 Yet?

With plans for the 2008 Real Catholic Men Conference in high gear, I am already planning for 2009.  

Why?  Well, because the best speakers in the world get booked very far in advance.  And if I want to make the RCM conference a "must-see" event, I need to get the best.

To that end, I have confirmed my first speaker for the 2009 conference.

Father Donald Calloway was introduced to me by my spiritual father, Steve Abrams.  I listened to Fr. Calloway's conversion story and his understanding of the message of the Gospel and was blown away.  Recently, I saw a DVD of an appearance he did in Spokane, Washington.  His insight to Mary's role in our salvation made my jaw drop.  I knew I had to get in contact with him.

One simple e-mail later, we were planning for a 2009 appearance.  You will not want to miss this.  Mark your calendars now for June 20th, 2009.

Below is a short biography I got off a website which gives you a brief example of what you can expect.

No Turning Back: Confessions of a Catholic Priest
Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC

What does it take to transform a die-hard agnostic into a fervent apostle of Christ? How does God's grace literally transform hearts - one step at a time? In this amazing new conversion testimony , you'll literally be on the edge of your seat as a former "Deadhead" and drug-addict candidly shares how he was unexpectedly led to the Roman Catholic Church and eventually into a Roman collar as an ordained priest. An incredible odyssey of faith, Fr. Donald Calloway's radical conversion can be compared to that of a modern St. Augustine as chronicled in his famous Confessions.

Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll

The son of self-proclaimed "hillbillies" from the back woods of West Virginia, Donald Calloway was raised without any religion or a father figure to model. Finally baptized as a Protestant at the age of ten, he never received any formal Christian instruction. And when his family moved to California, he slipped into the "MTV lifestyle" - sex, drugs and rock music. This pagan rebellion intensified to total mayhem when his family relocated to Japan and he ran away from home.

Satisfaction of the senses became young Donald's rule of life that escalated to a life of crime. Constantly on the move to avoid arrest, he and his friends soon got connected with the Japanese Mafia. During this time of endless wanton wandering filled with wine, women and song, Donald's mother became Catholic and fervently prayed for her fifteen-year-old prodigal son to return home. Like a modern-day St. Monica, she trusted that God would touch his soul with the grace of repentance.

Embrace the Grace

After many failures at drug rehab, Donald sought solace as a Grateful Dead groupie even as God was miraculously moving his entire family to convert to Catholicism! Resisting any attempts to be evangelized and turning once again to petty robbery in order to survive, in 1992 this rebel without a cause reached a breaking point in his life. Fortunately, he discovered a book on Marian apparitions and devoured its powerful message of repentance. The Blessed Virgin Mary had literally stolen his heart and introduced spiritual concepts like heaven, hell, repentance and sin. There was no turning back!

Full of unexpected twists and turns, No Turning Back will inspire you to recognize and embrace the countless graces God grants in your own life. Part of a new generation of priests, Fr. Calloway's amazing story powerfully manifests Our Lord's infinite mercy and faithfulness. Order No Turning Back: Confessions of a Catholic Priest today and share this inspiring and unforgettable journey with your lukewarm family members, fallen-away friends and any lost souls that need a powerful reminder of God's love and faithfulness.

Rev. Donald Calloway, M.I.C., is the assistant rector of the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA. As a convert to the Catholic Faith, Father Calloway left a rebellious life of wine, women and song to embrace God's saving truth. After studying at the Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH and the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., he was ordained to the sacred priesthood in 2003.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why, Hollywood? Why?

I used to work in Hollywood.  Seriously.  Not just the area, but in "The Biz".  I worked with, and for, a lot of famous people.  I wanted to be wealthy and well-known.  I wanted to be admired for my talent.

I gave up that "dream" when it became apparent that my faith was more important than my social status.  Thank God for the grace of seeing things clearly.

I've seen literally thousands of movies.  Now I hardly even watch any.  They are increasingly evil - depicting sex, drugs, deviant behavior... and even anti-Catholicism... as hip.

I see that they are in the process of making another Dan Brown book.  He of the infamous DiVinci Code.  This one, entitled Angels and Demons, once again uncovers secrets and lies in and around the Vatican.

With any luck, this flic will fall on it's face like The Golden Compass.  But me thinks it will be a success.  Our little friend Opie (Ron Howard) is once again behind this little gem.  Innocence lost, I say.

I just wonder why the overly tolerant Hollywood-types (i.e. gay marriage, abortion, drug use, divorce and illegitimate children) don't grant the same freedom to our faith.  Oh... that's right.  The Catholic Church is in the business of "controlling" people.  We are "brainwashed".  Just mindless sheep.

Well, I'm glad to be a sheep.  I know my master's voice.  This knowledge gives me more freedom than they could ever get out of money or fame.  They are slaves of those things.  They're slaves to society.  To fashion.  To their station.  To the population.

I have a freedom in my God.  Because Jesus in the Truth.  And the truth shall set you free.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lent - The Journey Continues

"What are you going to give up for Lent?"

That was always the Big Question as I was growing up.  Usually is was soft drinks.  Or candy. Whoopdie Do, huh?  For some, sure.  But the real question is, "Does giving something up bring us closer to Jesus during this time?"  I can attest that the soda and candy thing didn't do it for me when I was younger.

Last year, I gave up sweets again.  I have developed quite a sweet tooth over the years, so this became a bigger deal for me.  But the real difference was that every time I saw a cookie or piece of candy (and believe me... I saw a lot) it reminded me of Christ, and the sacrifices he underwent for our redemption and salvation.

What a small price to pay for my soul... to give up Snickers bars or brownies to bring me closer to the heart of my God.

Additionally, I have taken on fasting.  True fasting.  Water only from sunrise to sunset.  Each pang of hunger again reminds me of Christ's suffering.  I pray more.  I reflect more.  I don't pass the time by planning my next meal.  I embrace each moment when I can think about God and His son.

I heartily urge fasting for all men.  At least once a month.  E5 Men ( shows how fasting - especially for one's spouse - can bring amazing, and life-altering, changes to your spiritual life and your family.

Sacrifice.  It's an easy word to talk about.  We use it to refer to many things.  Athletes sacrifice to be the best.  Parents sacrifice for their children.  The military sacrifice for our freedom.

But we all know that Christ's was the ultimate sacrifice.  So let's embrace ours a little more gladly, and turn the focus from ourselves to the one whose sacrifice made ours even possible.

A blessed Lenten season to you all.