Archive for August, 2013

Victim or Victor?

Posted: August 30, 2013 in World On The Edge

sad child How many people in today’s world would you call ‘damaged?’
Or does life itself just pre-conclude that by the time you leave it you’ll have been damaged in some way?

Life is difficult. For many, it is sometimes dangerous. It’s not a gift, but something to get through. Of course, that’s a depressing view, but many people, especially children, hold it.

Countless children are born into circumstances they did not create, and under circumstances that cause them great pain. Others have been taught to have no faith in anything except themselves, a ‘self’ that is blemished and marred: Trust no one. Everyone is out to get you. Take what you can before it’s taken from you. Grab. Steal. Even kill.

None of us choose the circumstances of our birth, but some appear to be luckier than others—I’m not talking about money here; I’m talking about strong families who support their children. Yes they make mistakes, but they confirm their children as being valuable, and patiently direct them onto non-destructive paths.

I’m talking about one father per family, not a father of ten by ten different women. Appalling? Yes. Yet those young lives are no less valuable in the eyes of God than are the more fortunate children. But how can they know this when their parents slap God in the face by their selfishly stupid behavior?

There is no all-encompassing solution to changing this. More parental responsibility would go a long way, with fathers who not only see life as a gift, but their child and his mother as a gift, rather than a notch on his belt of so-called, ‘baby mamas.’

Every parent is human and often makes poor decisions. There’s no getting around that fact. And sometimes it takes tragedy to see what our mistakes as parents have been. When that happens, we can either fall apart or try to rectify it however we can.

Because life IS a difficult journey for each and every one of us; no matter our parents, no matter our circumstances. It’s little steps, one foot in front of the other without giving up, and all the while thinking of ourselves and our children not as victims, but as victors.


When you’ve lived a lot of life, you tend to see patterns in generations that follow yours. And of course, if you’re like me, you can’t keep from relaying it.

A danger for young girls today is the same danger their mothers and grandmothers once faced: an attraction to ‘bad boys.’ How that fascination comes to sit in a young mind, I honestly don’t know, but long ago, I remember feeling it myself.

You know a particular boy is bad, that he’s made terrible choices, yet you’re drawn to him. Worse, you think you can change him.

He may tell you he really wants to change, yet he never takes the first step. And then, he talks about the freedom to do whatever he wants, as if that sort of freedom is always good. He tries to make you see that you should want it, too.

But be aware. That kind of freedom is far from good. It’s in disguise. It isn’t really freedom. It’s just another case of addiction to drugs, sex, or cheating, just plain laziness, or maybe even fear of the world itself. In any case, stay away. Bad boys hold nothing but grief for you.

This doesn’t mean that they won’t eventually change–without you, by the way. Many honorable men, even many saints, were first horrible sinners. But often bad boys stay that way.

A young teenage girl who thinks she can change a bad boy and shape him into a prince is living a fairytale. And she may live it for a year or two until she matures enough to understand that the boy she needs, the prince for her, won’t be a bad boy at all.

rough water Walking on Water

Beginning something new and unknown is often frightening. We fear the results. We think we don’t know what we’re doing. But not knowing what we’re doing isn’t always a bad thing. Especially if you’re trusting in someone who does.

The trick in beginning anything is not to lose faith. We have to keep our eyes on the prize. And if we need help, ask for it. And who better to ask than Jesus?

So we’ll get our feet wet. We’ll try. And we’ll expect success. Because in our souls, we possess the only real model, and we are made in His image. He will not let us drown.

After feeding the 5000, Jesus sends his disciples ahead of him in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. Later in the night, a storm comes up and the disciples are afraid. Jesus comes to them, walking on the water. This terrifies the disciples who think they are seeing a ghost. Jesus says, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Peter says, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” So Jesus invites Peter to come.

Knocking on Heaven’s Door

Posted: August 28, 2013 in World On The Edge

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALife on Earth is a serious thing. It matters in the long run. But it won’t last for any of us.

And of course, we don’t know when we will leave our lives here. Young or old, we’re always just a breath away from Heaven’s door.

When we get there, some will have already experienced many life-threatening situations. For example, those positions taken on for a greater cause: the men and women who have served in our armed forces, policemen, or firefighters; all who put their lives on the line for others.

When we get to Heaven’s door, each of us will have lived through personal difficulties and disappointments. For the majority of us, our Faith in God will have carried us through those difficulties and disappointments. We will have grown stronger in our everyday lives because of them, and when we stand before the door to Heaven we will be welcomed by loving arms.

Today though, our Faith–I’m talking about the Faith of Catholics, Protestants, and Jews–is the strength that keeps us going. And it is being maligned. No, not just maligned; it’s being attacked by those who would have things ‘their way,’ a selfish way not based on the Truth. These are the faiths of those who founded America, and their principles are those upon which our Constitution and Bill of Rights were written. Some deny that—-but in doing so, they deny the Truth.

Today, all over the world, we see Catholics, Protestants, and Jews viciously and mortally attacked in an attempt to extinguish their Faiths by ‘getting rid’ of the people who hold to them, including the gassing of innocent children in Syria!!

Could the same destructive germ be growing in America? Think about it. We can’t pray or say God’s name in schools. In many places “Under God” has been left out of the Pledge of Allegiance. If we work in public buildings, we can’t wear a Crucifix, or T-shirt with a Menorah, or anything else that proclaims our Faith. We can’t even say ‘Merry Christmas,’ for goodness sake! So yes, the germ is growing.

Does that sound radical? Does it sound ‘intolerant’ of other religions, or ideologies attempting to take hold of our country? Who cares! There’s something much bigger here than political correctness.

So yes, Life on Earth is a serious thing. What’s at stake is at the heart of humanity and personhood itself. We were created with God-given intrinsic rights as human beings, and when we leave this planet, when we inevitably knock on heaven’s door, those inherent rights will still be valid—-even if no one here on Earth recognizes them anymore.

We Will Change the World

Posted: August 27, 2013 in World On The Edge

mirrored face  None of us asked to be here. We had no choice in our making. In fact, no one on earth has ever had that choice, not even our parents who provided the means of our birth. Yet we are here. Don’t you wonder why?

I don’t think that question, “Why?” is asked enough today, yet it is core to our lives and the lives of others.

Why we are here necessarily means, “What is our purpose?” For that question, we have an answer, though we often resist it. Our purpose is to change the world. (more…)


Posted: August 26, 2013 in World On The Edge

laughterMy mother loved to laugh. She passed that to her daughters, especially my sister, Mary. There was nothing my mother went through—and she went through a great deal–that she could not find some humor in it. My sister has carried that gift on. If either she or I feel bad or worried over something, a telephone call between us can help cure it.

In fact, growing up, we laughed a lot as a family. My father was a joker from the word go. I remember one incident during Spring Break in Panama City, Florida, when my parents chaperoned a group of our girlfriends—my sister’s and mine. (more…)

walk while ye have lightWe Christians are in need of a spiritual awakening. We are dulled to our own lives as children of God. We are blunted to examining the actions of our lives in that context. Have we lost our religion, big time?

Catholic historian Christopher Dawson, (1889-1970), an Englishman who strongly believed in the importance of religion’s influence on society, wrote: “A society which has lost its religion becomes sooner or later a society which has lost its culture.”

Look at our culture today. Read about it in the news. We, as human beings, are on front pages and prominent media screens, with scandal after political scandal, murder after gruesome murder–including well over 50 million aborted children since Roe v Wade. Seventy four per cent of students admit to cheating. Premarital and extramarital sex have nearly become the norm.

And still, most people believe in God or in a higher power. At World Youth Day in Brazil an estimated three million people attended!

Of course, we are sinners. We’ve been sinners since evil reared its head in the Garden of Eden. We were sinners before and after the time of Christ and we’re sinners now. But after His awful Crucifixion, Jesus left us with the grace of His Holy Spirit, allowing us to experience moments of awakening if only we choose to recognize and make use of them.

Are there moments in your life when you’ve felt a Spiritual Awakening. Maybe it’s when you take a walk in your mind back to the place of your roots, your upbringing, or even recall a statement someone made that struck you. Have you ever wondered, “Do I really feel the way I feel? Or is there something I should return to, something bigger and more important for me?”

Wolf_in_sheeps_clothingAs human beings, we are inherently good, but unfortunately, we sometimes allow ourselves to be misguided when assessing the “good’ in our society. Today, we are misguided by the trappings of a word: Tolerance.

Do you want to be described as ‘intolerant?’
No, that’s a big negative. It shows us as small and petty.

Do you want to be described as “tolerant?’
Yes, in many circles, that’s a plus. It shows us as large and magnanimous.

But Tolerance is one word that has can have opposite definitions, all according to its relevance in particular situations.

We are tolerant toward our children, even when they are exasperating, because we love them. Yet, we will not tolerate certain kinds of behavior from them—that’s also because we love them, and want to raise them to be good people.

There are some morally ugly, and essentially evil, viewpoints parading around today under the guise of tolerance. For Christians to let these viewpoints go unchallenged, no matter how politically correct those viewpoints have become, is cowardly. Evil must be named, and it must be confronted.

The problem is: “Satan never looks like Satan. He drapes himself in celebrity and humor and humanitarianism, using celebrity to mislead, humor to mock, and humanitarianism to de-humanize.”— Father George Rutler,

Here are more wise words from Bishop Fulton J. Sheen:

“Love is Not Tolerance.
Christian love bears evil, but it does not tolerate it.
It does penance for the sins of others, but it is not broadminded about sin.
The cry for tolerance never induces it to quench its hatred of the evil philosophies that have entered into contest with the Truth.
It forgives the sinner, and it hates the sin; it is unmerciful to the error in his mind.
The sinner it will always take back into the bosom of the Mystical Body; but his lie will never be taken into the treasury of His Wisdom.
Real love involves real hatred: whoever has lost the power of moral indignation and the urge to drive the buyers and sellers from the temples, he has also lost a living, fervent love of Truth.  Charity, then, is not a mild philosophy of “live and let live”;
it is not a species of sloppy sentiment.
Charity is the infusion of the Spirit of God,
which makes us love the beautiful and hate the morally ugly.”

Be aware of a misguided tolerance of evil—-because a wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf.

shadowWhen we follow a person on Twitter, it’s because we either admire him or her, or because we’re curious. We may not be a fan, yet; but we want to see what makes this person tick, how he or she goes about things, even what he has to offer us in return. If we like what we see, we’re enthusiastic. We’re devoted. We are a Fan.

Are we true fans of Jesus? Do we attempt to shadow His goodness?
Shadowing Jesus isn’t about showing up for the church committees we may serve on. Following Him isn’t about putting in an appearance at Mass on Sunday. Following Jesus is personal: Jesus and me.

My path to growth is taken as a child of God. This path involves others, but if it doesn’t begin with me, it is a fruitless and futile effort. Once we have that personal beginning, we will naturally reach out to others.

On our new path, we attempt to emulate–to be like Jesus. In the beginning of our imitation of Him, we discover the stirring of a fact we may not have realized: we are already His. We are made in His image. We are made to be good.

And He wants us. He wants us to freely choose Him. But we have the ability to say yes or no. On our path of following Him, when He turns to us and asks us to be a reflection of His goodness, how many times have we said, no? I would suggest many.
However, each step we take with Him, each communicative step, each conversation with our God—whether positive or negative on our part, is a step to growth. Because God will never leave us, though we may leave Him, time and time again.

The trick is never to give up on the following. To learn what makes Him tick. How He goes about things. We have to understand what He offers us in return.

Outward discipleship can be an off and on thing, like pulling petals off a daisy in a reversed child’s game: I love Him. I don’t love Him. I love Him. I don’t Love Him. After all, we are flawed and fragile.
But God is perfect. God is always. His grace through the Holy Spirit is forever present. We have to choose, and sometimes re-choose it; nevertheless, our genuine path as Human Beings is to continue to follow Truth in our walk with Jesus.

It’s a Wild World

Posted: August 21, 2013 in World On The Edge

maskIt takes a lot of courage to keep our faith in a world such as ours. Day by day, we hear bigger and bigger lies. We see leaders whose ethics we’d like to respect become, instead, so disreputable that we fear for our country. And we feel the pinch of that.

We have been fooled—and we’ve been too involved in ourselves to notice. We have not turned over the tables in the temple. We have not warned the cheaters. We have not called for Truth loud enough to be heard. And it is my belief that, one day, we will regret it terribly.

Let’s wake up, before we can’t wake up at all. Let’s look into ourselves—-unselfishly look–to find even the smallest ways to assist our culture and our country, founded on principles of Faith which we haven’t seen in a long while. Let’s bring them back.

Let’s bring back Honesty as opposed to lies.

Courage as opposed to timidity.

Freedom as opposed to unfounded restrictions.

Let’s eliminate the utilization of people to keep them victims, as opposed to lifting them to their rightful high place as good and dignified human beings created by God.

Let’s secure respect for Life itself.

Because if we don’t, where we end up will be worse than we can even imagine.

Day by day, our world is becoming wilder, and less virtuous.

Day by day, we are drowning, all the while grasping to hang on to what we’re ‘told’ that we need to survive. ‘Told’ not by our own heart and soul, but by people who have only their imprudent interests in mind. ‘Told’ by those who would use us for their own purposes, until the beautiful core values of America become like pieces of chewed-up gum stuck to the dirtied soles of avaricious power-worshippers.

Oh yes. We’ve left principle behind. We’ve left Faith and values behind. It’s a wild world now. Does anyone doubt that we need to change it?