A Better Life

Just some thoughts on my life…and how I am trying to live it better

Our Relationship With God

Posted by Aaron on July 31, 2011

For all of you Catholics out there, this may be of no real surprise, but for me, I have recently re-discovered a passion for the Sacrament of Reconciliation with our Lord through the act of confession to a priest and penance.

For the last couple of years, it has been my goal to receive this sacrament on a monthly basis, with a young son, who is relatively new to this sacrament, coming along with me to participate in it himself. While from time to time, we have achieved this goal of visiting a priest monthly to do this, often we have failed to come back after 2 months. All in all, a “good” attempt between the two of us.

BUT, as I have recently found, this is not good enough for me. When going this frequently (or infrequently) it has allowed me to consider within myself the major over-riding sins that I have committed, and often repeatedly committed since the last time I went to confession. Sometimes these sins have been weighing on my shoulders (and my soul) since near to the last time I received the sacrament. This has been causing what I have recently been terming as a deep layer of “scum” across the top of the “water” that is my soul. Now while the act of Confession and Reconciliation is meant to clear that scum off the water that is the soul, when it builds up over time to be so deep, it begins to dis-allow me to look further and deeper into my sinfulness as the large amount of scum on top is blocking my sight and thoughts.

Last month I had the opportunity to go to confession 3 times within the same month, perpetuated by attending a couple of retreats on consecutive weekends. I went at the beginning of the month to confession with my son at our local Catholic parish, as we are attempting to do every month. Two weeks later, I was on a Men’s Fellowship retreat at which we were all had the opportunity to go to confession, and I took advantage of. The following week, I was on another retreat. This one was the Family Camp retreat that has become an annual tradition for our family to go on each summer. This is where I had this personal revelation as to the importance of such frequent reception of the sacrament.

As I sat reflecting before meeting with the priest for our conversation, and eventual reception of the sacrament, I realized with having been “wiped clean” and getting a lot out of the way the previous weeks, I was much more easily able to delve further into the root causes of my sin, and begin to understand within myself better what was really causing some of these things that were offensive to God and my own soul. It also provided me more strength through the Grace that comes through the sacrament to better remain away from sin in between the reception of this sacrament.

With this better understanding of these “roots” from which my sin come from I am able during the conversation of confession, both with the priest, and within myself and God, to better understand these roots, and learn how to avoid and even “attack” them. I have found that in my life Pride, or the lack of recognition of the primacy of God in my life and in my abilities, is the biggest root of my sin. This became so much clearer during these weeks of realization for me. I was able to better reflect upon by my self and in discussions with Father, how to work on bringing God more into my life, and allowing him to truly dwell within me, and for me to understand what he was doing!

Sin, even the “little” stuff, builds over time, and really mucks up the waters of our soul. By not going to confession to clear the soul and our relationship with God of these things, the scum becomes thicker, and not only builds up, but builds upon itself, making the relationship that we have with God very difficult from both sides. The scum becomes the wall, or rejection of God in our lives, so we MUST do what we can to bring down these barriers, and fully embrace the love that is God, for He will always be standing on the other side, with open arms, welcoming us back into Him.

As I continue to grow in my personal faith, I continue to understand better that God has put these things in our path to better help us achieve Him in the end. The sacraments are all things that a fill us with His Grace, and we are lucky that he has placed them in our lives to that we can better be reminded of Him, and experience HIM. May He be a constant part of all of our lives, so that we may all continue to experience his love in the next life!

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Iron Sharpens Iron

Posted by Aaron on September 19, 2010

“As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens his fellow man.” – Proverbs 27:17
There are not many statements that can be more true. Weather we learn from ourselves, from our friends, or even from that stranger we passed earlier today, it is our fellow humans that often make us better people!

A friend of mine mentioned this passage to me the other day, and since I have really been taken with it. This, in essence, sums up the purpose of this blog, and this current quest in my life – to be a better or “sharp”er man! I will be the first to admit that I am in no way a bible scholar – I haven’t even taken the time to sit down and read the Gospels, little lone a single one straight through, but every now and again, a verse is presented to me, and it really takes me! This one sure did!

In every sense of this passage, this makes complete sense! It is one of the reasons I so enjoy meeting with the group of men that I do on Saturday mornings. We take time to review our week, talk about it, make suggestions, point out stronger, better ways to live out our lives in His name, and for Him.

I also feel that this passage MUST be taken in the universal sense of “man” as I know my wife does the same for me – “sharpens” me as I can only hope from time to time I can do the same for her! After all, the purpose for marriage is to help each other and our children reach for and make it to heaven in the end.

Think about how others help to sharpen you, and how you can and do sharpen others. Do we even open ourselves up to this?

Have a blessed week!

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Interview with Rick Warren

Posted by Aaron on September 1, 2010

My mom forwarded this to me via e-mail, and it is definately something to think about.  Rick Warren may be someone you enjoy or not, but nonetheless, in my mind he has some inspirational insites on things.

Enjoy!

You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having ‘wealth’ from the book sales. This is an absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren, ‘Purpose Driven Life ‘ author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California.
 
In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:  People ask me, What is the purpose of life?
 
And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.
 
One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body– but not the end of me.
 
I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act – the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.
 
We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn’t going to make sense.
 
Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one.
 
The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.
 
We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.
 
This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.
 
I used to think that life was hills and valleys – you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don’t believe that anymore.
 
Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.
 
No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.
 
And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.
 
You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems:
 
If you focus on your problems, you’re going into self-centeredness, which is ‘my problem, my issues, my pain.’ But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.
 
We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her- It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.
 
You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.
 
Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.
 
It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don’t think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.
 
First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.
 
Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.
 
Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.
 
Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.
 
We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions?  Popularity?
 
Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness?  Materialism?  Or am I going to be driven by God’s purposes (for my life)?
 
When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don’t get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn’t put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He’s more interested in what I am than what I do.
 
That’s why we’re called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
 
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
 
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
 
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
 
Every moment, THANK GOD.
 
God’s Blessings

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In God We Trust

Posted by Aaron on August 29, 2010

“Below is the text that is recited by honor guards when folding the American Flag at the funeral of America’s heroes – those who have died in the cause of our country.
The 1st fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The 2nd fold is a symbol of out believe in the eternal life.
The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country.
The 4th fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for His divine guidance.
The 5th fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.”
The 6th fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The 7th fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, weather they be found within or without the boundaries of our Republic.
The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.
The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.
The 10th fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.
The 11th fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The 12th fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
-When the Flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, ‘In God We Trust.’”

A couple of weeks ago I used the above for the opening of our “Welcome Back” Pack meeting – the 1st pack meeting of the new school year. I found it by chance over the summer in the July issue of The Magnificat. I thought that it was something good to teach even our very young children of the pride and gratitude we have in our veterans.

To watch an honor guard fold the flag with precision and care at the end of a graveside service is extremely impressive and emotional for me. I it is such a wonderful way for our country to show it’s gratitude for the service and sacrifice he or she has given for us as a whole country.

As we are winding down our war in Iraq and attempting to finish another in Afghanistan, we must recognize the total sacrifice that each of our solders, marines, airmen and sailors give for the rest of us and our freedoms. Weather each one who puts on the uniform of our country actually gives their life or not, they each are willing to put their lives in harms way and protect our beloved country for the rest of our freedom as Americans. It is important to recognize this, and each time I meet a veteran I always attempt to shake their hand and thank them for their service to us, and our country. I also try to teach my children the history of our country, and the honor, respect and gratitude these people deserve from us as Americans.

I am very proud of being an American, as it says above, “right or wrong,” the U.S. of A. is still my country!

Have a Blessed and Patriotic week, and say “Thank You” to someone who has helped to defend our freedom!

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Get’cha Head in the Game!

Posted by Aaron on August 21, 2010

One way of truly attempting to better ones life is to do an examination of conscience each day, at the end of the day, like I tell my kids, in order “to review our day, to see what we did that was good, not so good, and how to do better tomorrow.” This is a part of the night prayer we do together each evening, and this is a silent reflection that each of us should do daily.

A couple of months ago, my family went to a “family camp” at the Sacred Heart Camp up in Big Bear, CA. The only camping part was actually sleeping in a tent, the rest was really a retreat for the whole family, broken out into age groups, so my wife an I were grouped with all the rest of the parents on this extended weekend. What a wonderful experience knowing that our kids were getting a retreat at their own level at the same time! Well, that being said, one of the exercises we did (and at the time of doing it, we didn’t know exactly what we were doing) as adults was come up with an examination of conscience based upon the seven sacraments.

Often an examination of conscience is done based upon the Ten Commandments, or on the Beatitudes, but this was an interesting, new perspective that I thought I would share.
Even if you are not Catholic, you can see how this, examining your thoughts and actions based upon a different point of view can be helpful.

Eucharist (Holy Communion)
- Have I been faithful in receiving the Eucharist at the Lord’s Table weekly?
- Do I go to Mass then act uncharitably towards others afterwards (even as soon as the parking lot)?
- Am I unprepared for Mass, coming in late or leaving early on a regular basis?
- Do I text during Mass; chew gum? Not observe the fasting rules?
- Am I dressed modestly?
- What are the things which cause me to miss Sunday Mass?
- Do I use God’s in Vain?
- Do I allow myself to be distracted at Mass?
- Do I show a lack of respect for the Lord or the priest?

Matrimony
- In what ways have I separated myself from my spouse?
- How do I destroy or harm the unity that should exist between me and my wife/husband?
- How do I destroy or harm the unity that should exist between my children and myself?
- What are the patterns in my life that cause separation, not unity?
- Do I withhold myself (thoughts, worries, etc.) from my spouse out of fear of rejection?
- Do I let other activities (work, recreation, etc.) become priorities ahead of my spouse and children?
- Do I fail to respect the trust my spouse and children have given me?
- Do I pray with my family?

Reconciliation
- What are the walls in my life and why did I put them up?
- Are fears controlling my life?
- Do I pile hurt upon hurt?
- When someone has opened a gate for me, did I accept it or did I build a bigger wall?
- Do I harbor unkind thoughts about others?
- Do I hold grudges?
- Do I harbor resentment towards others?
- Is my reconciliation sincere and life giving?
- Have I asked for forgiveness or failed to forgive?

Holy Orders
-Have I supported the priests in my parish, diocese, the Church, and taught that to my children?
- Do I speak well of priests?
- Do I reach out to them?
- Do I see priests as human, and in need of support?
- Do I readily complain about the homily after Mass?
- How do I speak of the priest scandal to others in front of my children?
- Do I promote vocations to the priesthood or religious life in my children?
- Do I pray for vocations to the priesthood or religious life?

Confirmation
- In what ways do I follow MY way, not GOD’s way?
- Do I allow things to happen in God’s time or do I make it my timing?
- Can I let go of my agenda?
- Do I take time to stop and listen to the Holy Spirit speaking (even through others)?
- Do I go to God first when making a decision?
- Do I feel like I have to hold my family together, forgetting about God?
- When did I look for, speak, or listen to untruth and falsehood, rather than truth?

Anointing of the Sick
- When illness or problems overwhelm me, do I give in to discouragement? Do I give up?
- Have I taken care of my body as a temple of God, showing appreciation for the healing gift of health God has given me?
- Do I care for, visit, pray for he sick, physically and/or spiritually?
- How do I treat the sick and elderly in my everyday life?
- Do I value the sanctification of life, from conception until natural death?
- Do I surrender my loved one who is suffering to God?

Baptism
- How have I rejected the life and love of God that He has given me through Baptism?
- Do I too frequently choose my favorite recreational activity over time spent with my family?
- Through my Baptism I am to be light for others. When was I leading others into darkness, not light? Have I asked others to lie for me?
- Do I not behave rightly in front of my children?
- The cleansing waters of Baptism washed away my sins; hw have I allowed sin into my life?

As one of the songs I was listening to earlier today says “Get’cha head in the game”
Maybe we need to not only get our head in it, but our heart and soul as well, and really take a close look at our life and set it back on the right course again….toward HIM!

Have a blessed week!

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Another day in the life…

Posted by Aaron on August 15, 2010

Ok…. I know it has been another week when I didn’t post anything when I had committed to, but, here I am again…two weeks later. Still better than the last time when it has been MONTHS! This one is a little bit of a ramble, but it will give everyone some perspective of some of the things in my life.

Last weekend
My wife and I went to a funeral last Saturday for a former co-worker of mine. He was truly loved! What a service! There must have been a couple of hundred people at the church, and all singing and praising God! Quite an interesting experience, as this was the 1st time I had gone to an evangelical Christian Church. Not really for me, as I do feel very much at home with the liturgical worship we have in the Catholic Church, and of course, Jesus himself in the Eucharist, but you could tell these people really had a “personal relationship” with Jesus!

Saturday mornings
I have found a group of men that meets together on Saturday mornings to share. It is SO good for my soul. I think every man needs something like this. A group of men to sit, drink coffee and listen to your successes, understand your hardships, and share advice on what you and they think. Far too often we, especially as men, get into the routine of …up in the morning, off to work, home for dinner, a little time with the kids, a little time with the wife, and off to bed, only to begin another day. Very little time is spent in “communion” with other men, in the same state as you, living a life with a wife and kids, trying to be a man of God, and seeking support from others like you. This is what we have here. It is awesome! Just thought I would share. I would encourage you men out there to do the same. It is very refreshing to the soul.

Cub Scouts
Cub Scouts is starting back up this week for the school year! If you didn’t know, I am the Cubmaster for our church’s pack, and both of my boys will be active in it this year. We are all looking forward to having another wonderful year of scouting ahead of us! Last year we had 40 really active kids from 1st to 5th grade, and this year we expect to double in size! We have a lot of activities already planned, and are looking forward to implementing a better, more organized program than we had last year, and last year was a real success! Wish us luck and pray for our success this year!

Well…I must go now…I have a Pack meeting to prepare for, some lunches to pack for school, and another week of my own to get started on. Pray that I may get everything I need and want accomplished this week!

God Bless!

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OK…. I really am still here!

Posted by Aaron on July 31, 2010

Ok, so it has been a REALLY long time since the last time I posted (and I thought it was a long time before!)

Well…I want to get back into it, and I think that if I just set a goal of posting every week before the start of the new workweek, that would be a good start. So, I dedicate to get something posted to this blog of my attempts at better personal well being, and other topics I wish to discuss, by each and every Sunday evening.

That being said, my kids are already back in school! We are back to a somewhat “normal” routine. They start school in the last week of July, but are out before Memorial Day Weekend in May, plus have some good, quality time off throughout the year. I am excited as they all begin in their new grades, and finally we have all 3 in full-day school, as our youngest is in all-day kindergarten this year! We love the new school that we have put them in, and they are excited about it, and already have a slue of new friends.

I am back to trying to get to the gym most mornings, and have created a little rotating workout for me to follow each day as a guide and motivator. I think it is working, and helping me some with my much needed activity physical activity, and hopefully it will show in my next doctor’s appointment. I really need to get set in this, and make it work, and keep working. It is just difficult to make it work so early in the morning.

As I go to the gym more, I also am able to get to mass more in the morning. I have found a parish about mid-way into work that has a mass at 6:30am that allows me to get to work just after 7, which works perfectly. Now…I just need to get the timing to work out appropriately so I can make it fit as a regular routine. One positive light was that this morning (a Saturday) I woke up naturally very early, so this indicates that my body is finally adjusting to the early alarm during the week. Of course, I always have my mid-day alternative at the basilica at noon downtown.

Well…don’t want to go on too long, but just wanted to give an update, say that I am still here, that this has been on my mind, and that I am re-committing to doing this, along with other things going forward, and I hope, as I originally stated, to encourage others, and be encouraged!

Peace be with everyone as they enter a new month, and I’ll post again next week!

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It has been a while…

Posted by Aaron on February 9, 2010

It has been a while since I posted…I am still getting used to this thing, the posting and all, but I am truly committed to doing this Blog as it really helps keep me motivated. I promise to get better – I already have 2 other posts in the works, and once I finish writing about the questions from the 1st chapter of the “Be A Man” book, I will begin writing on the 2nd chapter. I have thought about creating deadlines, like I have to post at least on at least 2 different days to give updates and write about my thoughts? It will force me to be sure to sit down and write and thing about at least something thoughtful, and hopefully thought-provoking for all of us.

While today was a good day – I actually made it to mass AND the gym, it has not been so good for the last 2 weeks. Luckily I have a GREAT wife who when I said last night how long it had been since I had been to the gym, she said…it doesn’t matter, go tomorrow and get started again! I have really got to “put my head down” and focus on making the habit stick. I am going to do it again tomorrow…gym in the morning, and mass at lunch! I HAVE to do it!

I also REALLY need to make sure I am not picking up those little things to eat, especially late in the evening!! I really need a stronger will when it comes to that! I have definitely cut back on how much food I am eating, it is just that I still have some “breakdown” moments, and I almost can’t help myself. Well…to that, too, I must re-commit myself to reducing that later food. Overall, I am eating less, and definately more healthy…I mean the few snacks I do take in the day are fruits and veggies…so I am feeling good about that!

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On the prayer front – We need prayer every day. We need to do more than just say prayers. We (I) need to really start taking some time each day and just sit with God. Not saying anything, but just sitting…in His presence, and …well…just focus on his presence. His presence not necessarily in my life, or in others lives, but just allow myself to be consumed with His love. Truly accept His love. I guess this is something that Fr. Larry talks about in Chapter 2, but I have really been thinking of it more and more as I study the book. It is interesting how we really need to allow ourselves to know him, and spend time with him as we would a very good friend or spouse in order to really KNOW his love for us. I will continue talking about this in an upcomming post.

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I am getting excited. Baseball is almost here! The roof of Chase Field (Diamondbacks home stadium) is open nearly every day. The Big-League pitchers and catchers start reporting to their camps in Fla and AZ in less than 8 days!!! Spring training games start in 3 weeks…then only another 5 weeks until Opening Day! Then, 6 months of ‘heaven’ – the season and playoffs, ending with the fall classic in October/November.

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A couple of you have forwarded me some great quotes, and I would like to post them so that all can see. I do enjoy hearing what all of you have to say on this blog. I encourage you to tell your friends about it, too. Tell them to participate and comment! PLEASE!!

“Being happy doesn’t mean everything’s perfect. It means you’ve decided to see beyond the imperfections”.
– Unknown, from a church bulletin

“Anxiety is the soul’s greatest enemy, sin only excepted. When the heart is anxious and disquieted within itself, it looses the power to preserve those virtues which are already acquired, and also the means of resisting the temptations of Satan, who does not fail to test the strength of that rope.”
– St. Francis DeSales

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The Final Goal

Posted by Aaron on February 1, 2010

The title to the 1st chapter in “Be A Man!” by Fr. Richards is entitled, “Be a Man Who Stays Focused on the Final Goal.” The 1st words of this first chapter are, “You are going to die!” Wow…what a way to begin a book…. Truly uplifting, right? Well, as I read further into the chapter, I realized and he wrote about the fact that the sooner you come to the realization of the fact of this statement, the more fully and the better you will live your life.

Death is a fact of life that none of us can control…at all… no matter how we try to live more a more healthy, physically fit life, it could be gone in a flash. You truly never really know if that next breath you want to take will happen. You no matter how carefully you drive, no matter how you protect yourself, you never know when that “time” will come via accident, via force, or naturally. You just never know. Once we realize this, we can begin the process of addressing this truly unknown in our life. We are powerless to avoid it. It is something that happens to everyone…at some point, and none of us know when it will be coming!

So many of us have very timely goals in our lives…striving, practicing to achieve these goals, which in the end are very un-important in the broad scope of even our lives. Fr. Larry uses the example of athletes in high school whose goal is a state championship, but later in life…really, who cares. And yet they practice HARD each and every day to achieve the goal. He then flips that over to our spiritual life and what should our goal be? Heaven! Being with God for eternity, and yet, what do we do? Many, or should I say most of us often spend an hour a week with him at church, when we feel like it, and then, when we remember, we try to think good thoughts through the rest of the week…think about it!! Do we really truly practice and live our lives like we want to achieve this goal of eternal life with Him?? Don’t you think we should put just a little extra effort into it, maybe even a lot!??

Remember, our goal is to live in eternity with Him! – this is not something fading…I really liked his description of eternity, found on page 23, “Eternity can be compared to when a man goes to the beach at Lake Erie, bends down, takes one grain of sand, one tiny, itty-bitty grain of sand, and he slowly takes one step. It takes him ten thousand years to go take another step. This man starts slowly walking and it takes him a billion years to get to the top of Mount Everest. When he gets to the top of Mount Everest, he drops that one grain of sand and slowly, at ten thousand years a step, walks back to the lake. It takes billions of years to get back to Lake Erie and, there, he starts the process again. [He then does this same process with each piece of sand throughout the earth.] When he has every grain of sand at the top of Mount Everest, then eternity is just beginning.” Just beginning!!!! Think of the amount of time we are contemplating here! And, as he continues on to say, “what we do in this little time on earth [our life] determines where our eternity will be.” Interesting…think about it. If we don’t, we won’t like where we are for all that time ahead of us after our death!

But, at the same time, we must know extremely intimately like we know our good friends, our wives, our family! We must take time with him! We cannot just spend an hour a week, and some good thoughts the rest of the time! We need to make a commitment to God of our time so that we can get to know him, and love him like he does us!

“If you want to be a man, then be a man of God. If you want to be a man, then you have to say, ‘It is going to take me time just like it takes me time to make money, time to be healthy, time to watch sports, time to do all of these things. If it takes time to grow in those things, then it is going to take time to get to know God.’ God must become the most important thing in your life. Money isn’t going to keep you alive forever. Being healthy isn’t going to keep you alive forever…Let me give you a hint: nothing will keep you alive forever except God. The most important thing you will ever do is seek God. When you come to know Him, He will teach you how to be a man.”

How more true can these statements be?? Fr. Larry’s writing is filled with thought provoking questions. He is an incredible writer who really makes me think with each of his sentences. One of the things he does in this book, is at the end of each chapter he has “Three tasks you must accomplish” and then offers, “Questions for reflection and discussion”

3 Tasks:
1. Be a man who lives with your end in mind. Write down what you want god and others to say about you when you die. These should be your new goals in life. Now set up a plan on what you need to do to reach these goals. Be practical!
2. Be a man who knows God. If you do not know God yet, then decide today that you are going to go and do whatever it takes to get to know Him. Don’t wait; life is short, and eternity is forever!
3. Be a man of prayer. Commit yourself to spending at least five minutes a day with God in prayer for the rest of your live, beginning today.

Questions
1. Do you live for today or for eternity? Explain.
2. What would a person who was honest say about you if you were died today? What do you want them to say?
3. Read Matthew 25:31-46. What does Jesus say will happen when He “comes in his glory”? If this were to happen today, which side would you be standing on?

In an upcoming section I will comment on these tasks in my life, and answer the questions. I hope you can reflect, too on these and comment here, if you would like!

Posted in "Be A Man!" | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

The Universal Prayer

Posted by Aaron on January 25, 2010

This is a prayer that was introduced to me a couple of weeks ago. I feel it is a very interesting and what I will call “whole” prayer. While long, I think this is very appropriate for what I am trying to do here, now, in my life, and applies very well. So I share it with you. Please read it, and take it to heart. Say it a couple of times in your days, as I will. Maybe we all can become better people as we, with the obvious help of God, heed much of what is contained in this prayer.

THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER (attributed to Pope Clement XI)

Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.

I worship you as my first beginning,
I long for you as my last end,
I praise you as my constant helper,
And call on you as my loving protector.

Guide me by your wisdom,
Correct me with your justice,
Comfort me with your mercy,
Protect me with your power.

I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
My words: to have you for their theme;
My actions: to reflect my love for you;
My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.

I want to do what you ask of me:
In the way you ask,
For as long as you ask,
Because you ask it.

Lord, enlighten my understanding,
Strengthen my will,
Purify my heart,
and make me holy.

Help me to repent of my past sins
And to resist temptation in the future.
Help me to rise above my human weaknesses
And to grow stronger as a Christian.

Let me love you, my Lord and my God,
And see myself as I really am:
A pilgrim in this world,
A Christian called to respect and love
All whose lives I touch,
Those under my authority,
My friends and my enemies.

Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,
Greed by generosity,
Apathy by fervor.
Help me to forget myself
And reach out toward others.

Make me prudent in planning,
Courageous in taking risks.
Make me patient in suffering, unassuming in prosperity.

Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer,
Temperate in food and drink,
Diligent in my work,
Firm in my good intentions.

Let my conscience be clear,
My conduct without fault,
My speech blameless,
My life well-ordered.
Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish your love for me,
Keep your law,
And come at last to your salvation.

Teach me to realize that this world is passing,
That my true future is the happiness of heaven,
That life on earth is short,
And the life to come eternal.

Help me to prepare for death
With a proper fear of judgment,
But a greater trust in your goodness.
Lead me safely through death
To the endless joy of heaven.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

 
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