And That’s a Wrap…

Just a quick note to let folks know that the speakers are now done for the day.

We are praying a Divine Mercy Chaplet together (sung), to be followed by a break (to give everyone time for confession, adoration, and so forth), and then the celebration of the Holy Mass.

Please pray that men’s hearts will be open to whatever God call’s us to today, and in our days remaining.

Later on tonight or tomorrow I’ll go through these posts and clean them up a bit, then post some reflections on the event and the people involved.

Blessed Miguel Pro, pray for us.

All you holy men and women, saints of the Living God, pray for us.

Mary, Star of the New Evangelization, pray for us.

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And That’s a Wrap…

Monsignor Eugene Morris – The Cost of Discipleship

Monsignor Eugene Morris

“Rise, get up, and let us be on our way. See, my betrayer is here.” Mark 14:x.

Our Lord has agonized in the garden, and decided to do the Father’s will. Peter, James, and John are sound asleep under the tree.

How often have we done that at the very moment when God called us, when he was passing by?

Fortunately, the Lord is undeterred, he is resolved … he will carry the cross. The sign of mercy, forgiveness, and reconcilliation.

The Lord sees Peter, James, & john asleep, Judas coming around the bend with the mob of soldiers and what does he say? “rise…

Nothing short of the sacrifice of the cross will do. Period.

We must leave our places of comfort and peace and go forth into the world. No indifference, no mediocrity allowed. Sacrifice required.

A call to more intense, to more radical discipleship. We resolve to follow after him anywhere he leads us. The resolutions must be concrete, tangible, and real.

Told a great story about his first meeting with a new spiritual director … “I want to be holy… THEN WHAT”.

Sometimes we take on things in our life that make it difficult to achieve the big things that we say that we want to do.

What must be done in me before I can do what God calls me to do? First, we must submit ourselves completely to God’s divine providence. Then, we must joyfully and willingly carry our crosses.

All the things we do must be rooted in a radical interior transformation.

Otherwise, we will always be in tension with God, our neighbors, and ourselves.

We must always be searching for his will, always be submitting to it willingly.

“In the encounter with Christ, every man discovers the mystery of his own life. Man fully alive is only so in relationship with Christ” – JP2

That is, without Christ no human being can understand themselves without the reality of Jesus Christ.

The Father sent the Son to do his will, and the Son does so freely and willingly. That is the model for our own response to Jesus Christ.

To know Christ is to know his Father, to see Christ and to know his life is to be drawn into the life of the Father.

What more do we want than what God has already done for us? We struggle with the basics just as the apostles did. Jesus is the only thing that is real, all is else is passing, or only has meaning in him.

Yet Christ is there to bring us peace, to bring us comfort. We must entirely abandon ourselves to him in order to receive this peace, this comfort.

Matthew 16: “… who do people say that I am? … You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God…”

Our answer to this question will come from our intimate contact with him, from time spent with Christ.

Therefore, we must submit to God’s will.

Submission to God’s will is more than doing, it’s a whole way of being. God’s will for us is that we be saved, to know love and serve him, that spend eternity from Him.

At some level it makes no sense, to simply give back to him the very life that he gave us. All we have to do is to enter into that gift which has already been given to use, which has already been done for us.

Yet we forget the reality of Christ right there in front of us.

Faith is a gift of life, a gift from God, but it requires something of us … we must respond.

Our response must be a full consent, a gift of our lives back … full submission to God and His Church.

We must also be men of hope, and men of love … love as revealed on the cross.

We must begin by practicing virtue daily, from there we will become aware of God daily … practice the presence of God.

Then we can live in the world detached from all that swirls around us. This can be done not because we don’t care, but because we know that whatever happens will be His perfect will.

This will involve the cross, it will involve sacrifice.

What will change in our lives? Lent is 10 days away. What will we do?

Stop talking … we must do, we must let God’s grace do what He intends, and that beings by putting ourselves into his hands.

Little by little we will be configured to his will in this manner.

Our Lord began and ended his public ministry by enduring temptation, and in doing so he is saying yes to God. This is something that we must do every, single day.

Not just the big moments, but we must start with the little battles. These little sacrifices, daily practiced, prepare us for the big ones when they are asked of us.

Dying with Christ in order that we can rise with Him. Look at the example of St. Maximillian Kolbe.

Our lives must be like this as well.

When we submit to God’s will and embrace our crosses daily, we are open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to do whatever he prompts us to do.

Our model in this is St. Joseph – his example helps us to understand that it is only by complete submission to the will of God that we can become effective workers in the kingdom of God.

This will mean that anything accomplished will be done entirely by the grace of God. This is how the transformation of the world will be accomplished.

Rise, and let us be on our way.

Amen.

Monsignor Eugene Morris – The Cost of Discipleship

Fr. Bill Casey – What do you know about Marriage?

Fr. Bill Casey

Fr. Bill Casey gets the “after lunch” talk … great choice to combat the carbo-induced dullness that can happen…

Hold on!

The defense of marriage … one of the most pressing issues of our day. All things related to this.

Now we see all the rotten fruits of the new attitudes towards marriage and all things sexuality … exactly as predicted in Humana Vitae in 1966.

Married couples now under 50% of American couples. This is a sociological time bomb.

All of us have the most grave and moral obligation to defend the sancitty of marriage – the most attacked institution in society today, second only to the Church itself.

The redefinition of marriage is precisely in the crosshairs of many – gay activists and more.

Yet it cannot be done, despite the persecution that the Church (and ourselves who stand up with her) will inevitably undergo.

The supreme gift of marriage is a human person (CCC). God expects our gift to be a an example of the marriage of God and his Church.

This is going to become one of the defining issues of our day. What will we do about this? How will America respond?

Fr. John Hardon (the greatest dogmatic theologian of the 20th century)  “we get in trouble when we tell God to go away and mind his own divine business.”

This is precisely what dissenting Catholics have been saying for years … and look at the fruits.

We all have a stake in this battle, since the state of marriage and family life because peoples, nations, cultures, and civilizations stand or fall, live or die on the state of marriage and the family.

History has proven this time and time again. No great civilization has ever survived the downfall of marriage and the family. That is why the Church will always have a stake in this fight.

The family is the “domestic church” – St. Augustine.

“Without God, man will revert back to barbarism in three generations” – St. John Vianney, the Cur ‘d Ars.

“The most fundamental mission for the Church is the renewal of family life.. we are living in a moment of history when the family is the object target of numerous forces who seek to destroy it.” JP2 Familias Consortio.

No peace in the family, no peace in society.

This is done by Satan one argument at a time, infidelity, curelty, and so forth.

“In this culture today adultery has taken on the status of indoor sport” Bishop of Rockford, IL.

Adultery is a mortal sin, it’s a cold-bledded killer … kills marriage, the life of grace, trust in a marriage, and ultimately the souls.

One of the devil’s primary objectives is to get us fighting with our spouses. If we don’t pray together then we will be extremely setup for this, especially if we make the fatal mistake of expecting perfection from our spouse.

Sowing the seeds of discontent, discord, and ultimately destruction of a marriage.

Pride is a deadly poison in marriage, and facilitates this discord.

The only weapon in response is the grace of the sacrament, accessed by praying together.

This is a matter of life and death … for individuals, for families, for society, and for our nation as a whole.

This began in earnest with the so-called “sexual revolution” of the 1960s, when the connection between sex and life was broken.

Contraception was the great enabler of this mindset.

80% of the sexual relationships depicted in television and films are outside of marriage.

Leading causes of divorce: adultery, alcoholism, and then money.

At the root of all this is pride, egotism, lust, and so forth. This all leads to the single greatest destroyer of marriage … the lack of forgiveness, rooted in pride.

That is why marriage must be a sacrament … so that marriage may be even possible.

Healing in marriage so often can begin in humility.

What did Jesus say about marriage?

Matthew 19:4 “have you not read that from the beginning … what God has joined together no human being can separate…”

The best thing that a man can do for his kids is to love their mother, and vice-versa. Walk with God, get each other to heaven.

Arch. Fulton Sheen wrote the classic “Three to Get Married”. True marriage is from God … not the state, not the Church, not even just the spouses … but from God.

A covenant … not just a contract, or an agreement, an arrangement … but a covenant.

An attitude that is anything less than this does not make for a valid assent to marriage. Marriage must be permanent.

Why? Because it is inexorably tied in with the gift of life, a permanent gift.

In any culture in where there is widespread divorce and remarriage, such a society will begin to unravel in two or three generations. That process is well underway for America.

Charity is loving the way God does.

“Love means what is truly best for others, for truly best for your neighbor and especially for those that you love.” – St. Thomas Aquinas.

Therefore, the first desire that we should have for our spouse and kids is to get them to heaven.

Malachi 2:13-16 “The altar of the Lord you cover with tears …for I hate divorce says the Lord your God” (condemn adultery, divorce, and more).

Sirach “Worst of all wounds is that of the heart”.

God hates the divorce because of the scars and damage done to those that he loves .. in other words, all of the people involved.

Children often leave the Church because they did not see the love in their home, and also because of scandal.

Kids without fathers … 3 x more likely to be expelled from school, … from Our Sunday Visitor last year.

24% of divorced women live below the poverty line, outside of divorce only 1%.

This is what happens without good men, men of virtue, men of faith.

Eph 5: “Out of reverence for Christ, …husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the Church…this is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and his Church.”

Couple of points about this verse. First, what does this say to women?  Have the humility to accept this as designed.

Men will be strictly accountable for this responsibility. How did Christ love the Church? He DIED FOR HER. This might be as simple as dying to ourselves, to selfishness, to our critical spirit, criticism, lack of kindness, …. that all must go. We must die to sin and be the holy men that God calls us to be.

Marriage must be total, mutual, self-giving with openness to come what may. This is the concept of self-donation, sacrificial self-giving, may mean the way of the cross.

The test of true love will come in the “come what mays” of life. The gift of life, a debilitating disease, the faults, the hard times, …

Time is running short. God is calling us to be strong, Godly men who will not only keep the faith, but we must defend the faith.

“Marriage is one man, one woman, with God for life”. St. John Chrysostum.

Fr. Bill Casey – What do you know about Marriage?

Bishop Robert Hermann and a Rattlesnake

Bishop Robert Hermann

The only reason that Jesus came was to deal with sin. The sacrament for dealing with this is confession.

That then, is the topic for this talk: the universal need for confession, as welcome as a rattlesnake in the Church today.

Bishop’s role today is to help us access the mercy of Jesus, to become fully alive.

Consider two kings: David and Herod. Both committed adultery, both committed murder, both did more … and were then confronted. David repented, came back (wrote Psalm 51), and was restored to life. Herod did not.

Why do we find it so hard to go to confession?

One reason is that we want control over what is right and wrong, and so we make up our own rules. We live in a society that says that God does not exist. We act as society acts, then we go to church on Sunday.

Doesn’t think that it’s the people’s fault. The Cur ‘d Ars went into a similar situation, but he began fasting, praying and all sorts of serious sacrifice … eventually he was hearing confession 16 hours a day.

From the CCC, according to the Church’s command, each of the faithful are obligated to confess sins at least once a year…

People who continue to receive Communion with serious sin in their soul will eventually leave the Church, because the sacraments aren’t doing anything for them. But the actual underlying reason is the un-repented serious sin on their souls.

Consider the mercy that Peter and the rest of the Apostles received after abandoning Jesus during his Passion … after that they would do anything for Jesus.

Sin is the fruit of pride, and that is precisely why we struggle with confession.

The theme song in hell is “I did it my way” … in heaven, “Not my will, but your will be done”. To those headed to hell, God says “thy will be done”.

Humility enables us to acknowledge our offenses. Think simply of David and his repentance (Psalm 51).

We don’t want to admit that sin is bigger than we are … but it is.

We don’t want to admit that we need divine help, and that we are struggling with more than simply the physical.

St. Paul tells that we struggle against the “principalities and powers…”

Forgiveness is enormously powerful. People never came to Jesus asking for forgiveness because they were bound in their sins. The woman at the well, Zecchias in the tree, and so on and so forth.

Bishop Hermann told a great story about a big conflict in which he was involved, and how God changed his heart by prodding him to forgive the other guy first, which then led to total conversion for them both.

That could never have happened as long as Bishop Hermann held on to his spirit of resentment, his spirit of un-forgiveness that he held onto so tightly initially.

Then told several powerful stories about forgiveness and the subsequent healings and conversions that followed.

The gift of forgiveness is just that … a gift.

The name, the power and name of Jesus is more powerful than even our own compulsions and addictions.

When we kick an addiction, then we need to replace that with the exact opposite – prayer, such as the Sorrowful Mysteries.

So often in all of these were are dealing than more than simply flesh and blood.

When you have a real resentment against somebody, then have a “prayer party” for them … ask God to bless them immensely.

When we say no to sin, yes to forgiveness, and ask God for his mercy we are downloading power from on high … one of the most energizing experiences possible.

Address these issues don’t become victims of habits … rather, become victorious through prayer, repentance, and conversion.

This will always be the foundation for change in relationships … never coincidence, the direct result of divine grace.

Power of Frequent Confession
Going to confession out of routine is no good. Must ask for God’s help to make a good confession.

Unconfessed sin condemn, weakens us.

Opens the door to the Holy Spirit. Repentance turns us into evangelizers, attracts others.

To prepare for confession, pray to the Holy Spirit to convict us to lead and guide us. Conviction is very different than condemnation. He will lead us to the holiness of God, which will convict us while we feel lover – that leads us to repentance.

Do an examination of concience, start with an inventory of relationships.

Let the mercy of Jesus take the pain, accept us, convert us and bring us to him.

We need genuine sorrow for our sins, in humility.

Strongly recommends weekly confession, particularly when struggling / dealing with addictions. A way of loving ourselves, allowing God to love us.

Develop a firm purpose of amendment. Without this, we can’t go further in our relationship with God and others.

Remember what Mary told the servants at the wedding feast at Cana … “do whatever he tells you”.

That is the same for us.

Bishop Robert Hermann and a Rattlesnake

First Up: Patrick Madrid

Patrick Madrid

Patrick Madrid is first up and did a nice job with a couple of jokes.

Starting with with 1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child …” . This is the theme for his talk – growing up to spiritual maturity, to being a man in Christ … really the definition of conversion.

Three particular types of conversion – spiritual, intellectual, and moral conversions. Speaking not as a bishop or priest, but from one layman to another.

Spiritual Conversion
Patrick himself is not a convert, but of course as a full-time apologist that’s not all that common these days. He was born and raised with Catholicism as an identity, not just a mask to put on every Sunday for an hour.

Wandered away from this into the music scene, drifting into narcism and worse. Eventually got married and then underwent a deep re-conversion to Jesus Christ through his Church. Lasted about a year, with a deep realization that he was only Catholic on the surface, but not inside.

He realized that in reality, he wasn’t really a Catholic, not really a man. Then he began a gradual process of examiniation and turning away from these things. By the last month he spent daily time doing a rosary in front of the Blessed Sacrament, seeking God and what his will would be for him.

Eventually that led him to the work of apologetics, and through the grace of God met up with Karl Keating as he founded Catholic Answers.

Then he started hearing many stories of profound conversion. Great story about an angry former Catholic who confronted him at a conference with an immense out of anger with the Church, eventually went back to confession and spewed out all of the venom of her past. When she permitted the Lord to heal her, then tons of great things happened.

Intellectual Conversion
Most Catholic adults have about an 8th grade education in the Catholic faith – i.e., most folks stop studying the faith at about confirmation.

That leads to enormous problems and complications – such as the inability to defend the faith, and many end up at a mega-church and unfortunately turn away from the fullness of the faith.

Good intentions, sincere hearts, just intellectually unprepared.

Take a cue from St. Francis deSales. He was assigned to a staunchly Calvinist, very anti-Catholic region in France (about 60-70 years after the reformation). He volunteered for the assignment to re-evangelize the area (at about 27). After much frustration he began to write tracts and distribute them … taking advantage of the new technology of the day (the printing press).

After a year or so of doing this people began attending his lectures, attend the sacraments, and so forth. In his lifetime he was responsible for almost 60,000 reversions to the Church.

Moral Conversion
This will determine how we act. In essence, this is the turning away from childish things and turning towards the things of God.

Could be pornography, anger, the way we treat our wives, children, absolutely anything that is not of the good things of God.

Confession is crucial in this, of course.

We need to do three practical things in the area of moral conversion.

  1. Not be afraid to live the truth. For example, the nearly universal dissension from the teaching on contraception. This is a serious sin – therefore mortal – and can (and will if un-reprented) lead people to hell. This is true for anything in which we dissent from the teachings of the Church.
  2. Not be afraid to speak the truth. Even when the situation may be uncomfortable. Great story about Fr. Corapi at a really dissenting parish. These are times when we simply need to be men. He finished with a great story of he and his wife witnessing to the truth of being opening to life – in gentleness and truth, hearts can be changed.
  3. Not be afraid to suffer for the truth. Are we willing to stand up for all of those in our lives who are being accosted by evil? Are we willing to jump in and do what’s right … even if we may suffer.

Finished with The Fellowship of the Unashamed.

I AM A PART of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I wonít look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is in Godís hands. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, the bare minimum, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, frivolous living, selfish giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, applause, or popularity. I donít have to be right, first, the best, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith. I lean on Christís presence. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with the power of Godís grace.

My face is set. My gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give until I drop, speak out until all know, and work until He stops me.

And when He returns for His own, He will have no difficulty recognizing me. My banner is clear: I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

Well worth pondering, and living.

First Up: Patrick Madrid

Live-blogging the Catholic Men for Christ Conference

2010 Catholic Men for Christ Conference

Excited to be live-blogging the 2010 Catholic Men for Christ Conference in St. Louis, Mo.

Looks to be a cool day with easily more than 1,000 guys here. It’ll be interesting to see what the final attendance turns out to be.

Good friends and family here, guys at every stage of the spiritual journey and here for tons of different reasons … all unified by a desire, perhaps even only a vague awareness that something more is possible, that there must be a real meaning to life.

Cool.

Fr. Joe Classen is the master of ceremonies this year and just got stuff kicked off. Now Bishop Hermann is introducing a video from Archbishop Carlson.

His message is focusing on prayer, on bringing ourselves before God and tossing out the things that block that meeting. Archbishop Carlson is challenging us to go for the tough stuff

May the Holy Spirit move through all today and change our hearts.

Blessed Miguel Pro, pray for us.

Live-blogging the Catholic Men for Christ Conference

Power, Not Weakness

1878-1-photoAs John Paul II aged so publicly, with Parkinson’s and much other wear and tear taking their very obvious tolls, he continued to proclaim the Gospel with remarkable vigor.

Just two and a half years before he died, he gave us a hint as to how this was possible …

The indispensable source of energy and renewal, when frailty and weakness increase, is the encounter with the living Christ, Lord of the covenant. This is why you must develop an intense spiritual life and open your soul to the word of life.

– John Paul II, from an address to the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, October 18, 2002

Amen.

Power, Not Weakness