Archive for August, 2010

The Tripod

The Cursillo Center in Prairie Ronde, Louisiana just held and completed a four day weekend during which 43 men were given a crash course in Catholicism. One of those men was a nephew of mine whom I sponsored.
The Cursillo Movement teaches and promotes living out our Catholic faith using the image of a tripod which is a very effective way for remembering and implementing the beautiful teachings of the Catholic Church. It is a proven method for fulfilling the commitment we make as Catholics when we are confirmed. The 3 legs of the tripod are piety (prayer), study and action. Typical of any tripod dependent on all 3 legs to remain standing, if any one of these areas of our spiritual life are lacking or even nonexistent, our union with God and our effectiveness in living an authentic christian life will be comprimised. The problem with us poor mortal human beings is that the effort required to live the tripod and be holy requires discipline and a strong commitment – not to mention a heart centered on Almighty God and His will for us. With the world, the flesh and the devil all working against us, the battle we fight can be quite treacherous. Because of the effects of original sin, we are prone to thirst for comfort and an easy life – to avoid the difficulty involved in bending our will to the will of God. The saints in heaven realized the discipline and hard work required and they cooperated with the graces which God makes available to each and every soul – they did what we all say we do – they loved God and His will more than their own. They lived for eternity, for Heaven – most of us live for the world – for earthly satisfaction and enjoyment.
The tripod of piety, study and action is a battle plan, a program which can mitigate and circumvent our natural tendency to backslide. Each day, a healthy dose of prayer, a few minutes of studying the faith, and an honest, humble effort to lead others to Christ by either word or example will keep the little fire in our souls burning – that little fire placed there during our baptism and stoked at our confirmation.
This method of living the tripod is stressed throughout the entire Cursillo weekend because the Holy Spirit has revealed to us that we have to seek Him and make the effort for union with Him – He will not force Himself on us. We have to make those baby steps toward Him and He will make God steps towards us.
The Cursillo Movement seeks to make leaders of men who will go out and re-Christianize our society. A dynamic man who truly loves God and seeks to fulfill His will knows the necessity of cultivating holiness in his soul so that he has the qualities which make a Man of God attractive to others. His study of the faith and his life of prayer will prepare him to be ready when the Lord sends those souls in his path who need what he has been given.
To view good, solid, short videos on these and other issues – especially family life, visit YouTube and enter Citadel Catholic Media in the search box.
God bless.

Dads – The Time Is Now!

This post comes as a result of several conversations with my wife and members of my family as this school year begins. Very simply: our society,
our Church, our institutions are STARVING for masculine leadership – men who will realize the role that God has given them, educate themselves and rise up to take on the great challenge of leadership. Our wives and mothers were not intended by Almighty God to shoulder these heavy responsibilities.
But almost by default, they have labored exponentially more than they could or should. A man is given the gift of masculinity for many reasons, one of which is that this gift enables him, equips him to learn the hard lessons that life has to teach. Once he knows his role, his quest, his mission – he can arm himself with the sacramental life of the Church and make his way in the world – with his family securely behind him confident of his ability to lead.
I will focus on one aspect of this masculine leadership – the rearing of Godly children for Christ and His Church. When I hear of discipline problems and unruly children, I can safely assume that Dad is pretty much unaware or unconcerned about what is taking place in his home. He also could be unable or ill-equipped to handle the situation. One thing is for sure: Mom IS aware and IS concerned and tension is mounting. If Mom senses or feels or KNOWS that her sweet husband will not step in and lead, and if Mom has not been informed of the danger of her assuming his duty – well, in the short term, the situation might be brought under control – but in the long run, a dangerous and harmful trend is being set in stone. That trend is this: Dad is merely a spectator in this family drama and Mom is the authority in this home. So, God’s appointed leader – Dad – is relegated to the back bench and the children are subjected to Mom’s frustration. Her intentions are good – the formation of her children – but her methods might further push her husband into the background. The point is: we want to have the order God established in place and functioning as well as can be expected with sinful human beings running things. Children NEED a firm, unemotional hand to correct and guide them. There was a time when men were truly the heads of their homes and they were the patriarch, the big boss who the children KNEW they would answer to for any misbehavior. We can get back to a sane way of living our lives – the information is available – God is waiting for men to rise up and do His bidding. A good friend of mine is in the process of filming short videos dealing with these very issues and other concerns for families. These videos will be posted on Youtube and I will make the information on how to access them available when the time comes. Stay tuned. God Bless.

A Married Little Boy

Just spoke to a good friend about his brother and the current troubled state of his brother’s marriage. It seems this young man works a 28 day shift for a boating company and then returns home for a two week period. In recent months, he has begun arriving home from work and then shortly after taking off for weekend jaunts with unknown “friends”.
This raised my eyebrows as these activities are a sure sign of trouble brewing or trouble already begun. I asked my friend a few questions and the ever-present, all too common problem reared its ugly head: his brother’s wife is ruling the house with an iron hand and his brother is like a little boy who just wants to play. So, he avoids her wrath and runs off to play on the weekends with his other playmates. My friend with whom I was having lunch recently told the wife in this situation that they are not living the way they were intended to live and their problems are not surprising and will continue to worsen if steps are not taken to remedy this situation.
I said in an earlier post that we as a society are blind and we have fallen into a pit. This story illustrates that point very well. The vast majority of couples who marry today do so in a state of complete ignorance of God’s design for marriage and family life. There is a giant chasm or void in the area of instruction for how to construct and build a marriage. Success and happiness are nearly impossible when we enter a situation as profound and demanding as marriage and the parenting of children in a state of ignorance.
If we could open these young people’s eyes, what would they see? The wife would see that God made her to be her husband’s helpmeet, his companion,
his cheerleader. She would see the need for her to be feminine, nurturing and supportive. The husband would see that God intended for him to lead, to be masculine, firm, dignified – someone that his wife KNOWS she can count on and follow with confident assurance. When and if their eyes are opened to these beautiful truths, life will take on a new radiance, even excitement. The alternative is the sad case described above in a high percentage of our marriages today and we are suffering because of it. Our Church leaders should be boldly and loudly proclaiming God’s simple plan for successful, happy marriages – maybe that’s why it has been discarded – it’s just so simple. Please visit christianfamilyoutreach.com to learn the Church’s teachings and philosophy for successful marriage – we owe it to our children to change this unfortunate trend NOW.
God Bless.

Holy Mass

St. John Vianney wrote that if we could get a glimpse – just a glimpse – of what the angels see at Mass, we would die of love. To die of love – that phrase alone is worth a good meditation. I attended Mass this morning at a church approximately 15 minutes from my home – a very traditional church with a somewhat liberal, modernist priest. This priest is trying hard, he is very earnest in the manner that he offers the Mass. But it is painfully obvious what the liberal atmosphere in this country and throughout the world – especially in our seminaries – has done to these young priests. What is frustrating is to attend Mass in a church that seats around 500 people with 10 souls present. Our churches are empty not because of some mysterious cause, not some unsolvable problem – our churches are empty because the Holy Mass which was handed down for many centuries has been protestantized and watered down to the point of being banal and uninspiring. It is a sacrifice and not some community meal or celebration – those things are good in and of themselves but they lack the power to transform our lives and inspire us to seek holiness. The Mass can have – if we are properly disposed – lasting, even eternal effects in our souls – a community meal or a simple celebration of our fraternal feelings towards one another is a temporary fluffing up of emotions, a shot in the arm of our senses. The saints entered the church for Holy Mass keenly aware of what was about to take place – the ultimate sacrifice on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins. It should be a solemn, serious, beautiful thing to witness this miracle which occurs on our altars. But, sadly, over the last 40 years, the attempt has been made to drag the Mass down into the earthly realm in which we all dwell – how can it lift our souls when it has been stripped of the intended beauty it should be permeated with?
There were people in the Church 40 years ago who wanted to modernize the Mass, to bring it into the modern age. Never mind that the modern age was taking a hard turn into laxity, casualness and the subsequent lowering of standards – to the point of millions of souls losing their faith, leaving the Church and thinking they were entering greener pastures. This mass exodus, no pun intended, has caused havoc and confusion in the Church. The folks in the pews are demoralized when the Mass is stripped of its beauty, its “Catholicness” The communion rail, the incense, the traditional vestments, the beautiful latin – all of these precious things served to send a loud reminder that the Mass is divine, that Jesus Christ is truly and really present in the Blessed Sacrament and that we are in His awesome presence.
The Catholic laity should leave Mass KNOWING that they have been touched by God Himself and have witnessed what the angels see in heaven. Pray for our priests and leaders in the Church – ask Mary to bring back the beautiful rites of the Church. God Bless.