A Better Life

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

Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

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!


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.


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.


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.

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!

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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.

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TV and Prayer

Posted by Aaron on January 13, 2010

I spoke to my wife about the whole TV thing last night, and I think I came to the conclusion that I am going to drop all TV from my schedule, and if there is some free time in the evenings, after everything is calm, I can load up the computer, and watch any of the old episodes I want, similar to what Jay mentioned in an earlier post about using the TV only for Netflix. BUT, this TV/Computer watching will only come after other more important stuff is taken care of. I think this is a reasonable “compromise” with myself over the want to watch certain programming and time constraints and consumption it puts on my life. There is the Internet and even TiVo these days to store the info, and retrieve on an as-wanted basis….

As for prayer in my life…more personal prayer is needed.
Another idea discussed last night with my wife…for the past couple of months, as a family, we have been trying to pray one decade of the rosary each evening after dinner with the kids. I suggested that maybe in order to better dedicate ourselves to the Blessed Mother, we as a family sit down after dinner to start praying the WHOLE rosary (5 decades) each evening, and ask that the kids only have to stick around for the 1st decade, and then they would be free to go, and play/read/whatever quietly in their rooms while we finished the rosary. Of course they would be welcome to stay (our oldest, definitely would probably complete it with us). This would be not only be good for us as individuals (my wife and me) but also be a good example for our children to see us praying even if they are not there…

I got up early this morning, but just not early enough to hit the gym with enough time. I am going to make extra efforts to get there tomorrow am. – so again, a loss on that one.
I didn’t make it to Mass today due to obligations at work, too. – loss, but ok and understandable.

Some exciting news….for me and my family, at least. As any of you who know me, myself and my family are really into following Major League Baseball each year. Having lived in Arizona for the past couple of years, we always make it to at least a couple of Cactus League (spring training) games in March….it is coming fast! The 1st game is coming on March 3rd! Only a little ways away from the American Pastime being back in our lives! Lets see if someone can de-throne the Yankees! (Btw, my wife is an Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fan, and while living in CA I was, but now being in Arizona I have slowly switched over to the D-Backs – I figure they are the hometown team, right??)

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