A Better Life

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

Archive for August, 2010

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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