Politics! :o

Okay, I’m just going to jump in here and give my very deep and profound thoughts on this election cycle…



In seriousness, I urge and invite you to take a step back for a few minutes. Put down your arms, unclench your fists, unclench your teeth. Let go of your outrage and disgust. Let go of the fear that Devil 1 may win instead of Devil 2. Let go of your desire to control the outcome. Again, LET. GO. Of. Your. Fear.

This is a safe space – you are free to speak, to take time, to think things through, to be wrong, to not have all the answers, as long as you do so with charity and receptivity. Let’s not assume the worst about each other.

Eight years ago at this time I was a wreck. I was physically ill at the thought of Barack Hussein Obama possibly winning the white house. I’m not exaggerating! When he won I was devastated. It took me days to recover; to think about anything positive; to stop grieving. And indeed since then every single thing that I feared has happened. But I learned something; I have no control over this. The United States is in moral decline and has been for a long time. My measly vote every four years can’t stop the shipwreck. God was and is inviting me to lean on Him more.

Okay. Now I’m going to lay out an argument that I personally find persuasive when it comes to any voting decision. I haven’t had much practice at this, but now seems like a good time to start.

Fact #1: My vote has no impact on the outcome.

Say it with me, “My vote has no impact on the outcome.” I’m serious. Go to your county website and look up the results of the last election you voted in. For example, in 2012, my precinct had 1083 votes, 688 Red and 384 Blue. Fourty-three thousand people voted in my county and 4.7 million in my state. My county went red, my state went blue. My vote would not have changed the precinct result, the county result, the state, or the country result. Not a single tally was within one vote of going a different way. I submit that the same is true for you.

Fact #2: My vote is like any other decision that I make.

I research the issues, being careful to try to understand all arguments and the good motives that are behind them.
I consult the Catholic Church’s non-negotiables.
I consider the candidates; their character, credentials, and position on the issues. I do not consider the color of their skin, their gender, their income, their party, or how much/little media attention they have received.
I pray and choose the person who appears to have the moral strength to make decisions that are in the best interest of the country.

So, let’s recap:

Like any other decision, I will have to answer to God for it. I have to go with what my informed conscience says.

Fact #3: There is no more at stake in this election than any other election.

Do you realize that we have probably thought that every four years since the founding of United States of America? Of course there is a lot at stake. First and foremost is your salvation. Are you voting out of fear and a desire to control? Are you voting for someone who is an advocate or champion of grave evil? Are you ambivalent to their support for one grave evil because they agree with you about another grave evil? Are you voting for someone or against someone? Have you done diligent research? Have you consulted God and the Catholic Church?

Fact #4: People will try to persuade you to make a choice that you are uncomfortable with.

People you love, people you respect, well-known people, people wearing collars, people wielding power and influence… They will endorse and condemn, persuade and promise, and try to sooth that troubled instinct inside of you that says, “I just don’t trust that person…”

Don’t let them. This is YOUR decision, not theirs. They will say that if you don’t vote for so-and-so that you are actually voting for someone else. They will say that if you don’t vote for so-and-so that you are turning your back on innocent victims. They will say you are throwing your vote away, or you’re being impractical, ignorant, self-righteous, etc. Hogwash.

People fought and died for my right to vote, I don’t want to waste it on someone that deserves to be in jail.

Fact #5: People are free to think and choose differently.

You may completely reject the argument that I have put forth above. You have the right and intelligence to respectfully disagree and obviously make your decisions in your own way. I will not blame you for the outcome, and I expect you will give me the same courtesy.

May God bless you abundantly, and save our troubled country.

Posted in R & P | Leave a comment

Fraught With Peril

(This post was intended to be published in February 2016. For some reason that did not happen, but I still would like to share it with you.)

Al Kresta was speaking with someone recently about the in-flight interviews that Pope Francis does with news reporters (many ignorant or hostile to the gospel). He endures these exclusive, intense, merciless interviews on late-night flights on the way home after an exhaustive week in another country. The man is 80 years old. The questions are asked in multiple languages without an interpreter, and they are always about ‘hot-button’ issues, sometimes purposely intended to get him to make a mistake and say something ‘news-worthy.’ And as soon as he says it, it is immediately mis-quoted, taken out of context, and shared with the entire world.

The Catholic world goes into a tizzy when he does this. Our Holy father has truly thrown us for a loop. Many people are upset at his actions; his words can seem careless, confusing people, giving the enemy ammunition against us… Dear Pope Francis, what are you doing?! You’re messing everything up!!

I’ve never been very alarmed at his actions. I can see why his critics are upset. The Pope must be careful to be precise and thorough at all times, safeguarding the reputation and authority of the office, as a position of great significance – he is close to Christ, and is the visible head of His body on earth. He has the charism of Infallibility… stop messing up or they won’t take us or our message seriously!

But the Holy Spirit put him here at this point in time for a reason. He’s not done or said anything contrary to Church teaching, and he’s a fearless witness to love. He’s the successor of Peter, not Jesus. Jesus said and did everything perfectly. Jesus is God. Popes are Not God.

I only know two things about Pope Francis: 1) He is human. 2) He leads by example.

That he would subject himself to such peril is fascinating to me. For someone as timid as me, this decision of his is incredibly dangerous. Under those torturous conditions he’s pretty much guaranteed to say something wrong, or incomplete, or without enough mercy, or without enough knowledge. Which is EXACTLY the kind of thing us wimpy New Evangelization Neophytes need! How many of us simply don’t engage in any faith discussion because we doubt our knowledge and persuasive abilities? Let’s have a show of hands!

Yep, I thought so…

Do you see what he’s doing? If the Pope can make mistakes in faith conversations, so can you! Don’t be afraid to get right in the down and dirty world and try to bring light. If you make a mistake, or they misunderstand, or they trick you and use your words against you, it’s okay. God is bigger than all of it. Do not be afraid.

Posted in R & P, Reflecting, Saints | Comments Off on Fraught With Peril

The Lent of a Few Hundred Half-Distracted Glances Toward Heaven

Well, THAT wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had…

At the end of Day 13 of our 2016 “Lent of A Thousand Sacrifices,” I can say without a doubt that I am WAY BEHIND and failing miserably.

Within two days I realized that I simply don’t have 23 opportunities to suffer each day. I live in America. To focus on my ‘sacrifices’ is dangerously close to feeling sorry for myself and playing the martyr. So I quickly modified the goal to “The Lent of A Thousand Offerings,” which is actually closer to the words of Scripture, and broad enough to cover all the things I can offer God throughout the day – pain, sorry, sacrifice, time, joy, adoration, contrition, petition, and gratitude.

But even with that revelation, I’m still not keeping up with the “pace” I need to cross the “finish line”. Part of it is bad record-keeping. Most of it is downright sloth. I do well at work, when I can sit at my desk all day, next to my notebook, and am pretty much aware of the time. Home is really the struggle – this is exactly where I NEED to rely on the Lord’s help more, but I’m not in the habit of calling out to Him, so I don’t. I just get wrapped up in the things that need to be done. I have to be totally at my wit’s end in order to lock myself in a closet and pray.

I’ve never had this happen before. Usually Lent is a good challenge – I give up something that pushes me and is difficult enough for me to grow in appreciation. This one seems downright impossible. I’ve thought about quitting dozens of times… but for some reason I can’t. It’s still early in the game, and even if I don’t make it to 1000, maybe I’ll be able to make it most of the way… I’m curious to see what will happen.

Please offer a prayer for me – I need all the help I can get!

Posted in Prayers, Reflecting | Comments Off on The Lent of a Few Hundred Half-Distracted Glances Toward Heaven

2016 Satan Is Fat Tuesday

Ahh… Nice try, McFly!

You straddle the mountains, your feet in great craters of lava surrounded by tumultuous twisters, turning and tearing the earth’s fragile soil, you seethe with contempt and bid we all die.

We built with our guilt your colossal legs of brutality, columns of cruelty, discarding the weak and crushing the strong till we break and we cry.

Massive torso of rock, engulfed in hell flames, your wings wide as the oceans and twice as high, violent flapping whirlwinds of fury, as death and debris darken the sky.

And that horrible head, swollen and pussing with pride, the face of a monster hissing and giggling; you imagine we glorify, your embarassment nigh.

You don’t see behind you, bigger brighter and better, your back is to Him: the Great Rabbi.

Use your brain, you dumb demon, loser lunatic, for how could you cast a shadow if Light was not nearby?

And oh, by the by, in all this commotion, in your haste to dominate, you’ve forgotten to fasten your fly.

Posted in Fun | Comments Off on 2016 Satan Is Fat Tuesday

The Lent of A Thousand Sacrifices

First Reading for Saturday Feb 6, 2016

1 Kings 3:4-13

Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice there,
because that was the most renowned high place.
Upon its altar Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings.

In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night.
God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.”

Solomon answered:
“You have shown great favor to your servant, my father David,
because he behaved faithfully toward you,
with justice and an upright heart;
and you have continued this great favor toward him, even today,
seating a son of his on his throne.

O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant,
king to succeed my father David;
but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act.
I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen,
a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted.

Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart
to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong.
For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?”

The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request.

Did you notice that Solomon offered 1000 burnt offerings? One thousand is a LOT! Messy, bloody, smelly, unpleasant time-consuming WORK.

I believe that the Lord has given me a heart like Solomon, a heart that desires understanding and wisdom. And I think this Lent He is calling me to offer 1000 sacrifices just as King Solomon did.

Lent is 44 days this year; that is 23 sacrifices per day. Our deacon gave a homily today and spoke about three necessities for Lent – Love, Listening, and Courage. I think those will be the exact categories that my sacrifices will fall into: Loving & doing for others, Listening to God in prayer, and acting or speaking without fear.

Pray for me!

Posted in Reflecting | Comments Off on The Lent of A Thousand Sacrifices