One of the many lessons I have learned in my life is – don’t do things for appreciation. First, because you should be doing it out of the goodness of your heart for Jesus Christ. Second, you’ll end up utterly disappointed at the lack of appreciation that the person actually has with what you did for them.
Us as humans have many weaknesses that we have to constantly fight against in order to become who Christ wants us to be. Wanting admiration or feeling the need to be recognized to feel accomplished is one of them. I am sure that we can all attest to feeling this way and then ending up extremely hurt if our actions are not appreciated. Especially when the actions are extremely charitable for a person who may not have deserved it.
This is exactly what my parents are going through with my brother and sister as well. Time, money and health all spent on making sure that he would be okay. Days were filled with bedside vigils, prayers and time in order that if he should pass away, he wouldn’t do so alone. My father took leave without pay driving 2 ½ hours both ways and spending the night at the hospital. My mother has Parkinson’s and was sleeping on a cot, “showering” in a hospital bathroom, barely eating anything and making some pretty tough decisions. Also, growing up, we were given a good life filled with love, good times and family unity. My parents sacrificed so much for us children, which half of them don’t appreciate.
Many people are faced with this complicated, often times delicate balance. You want to feel appreciated but you don’t want to outright ask for appreciation. In reality, we don’t need that human level appreciation to determine our actions. The action in and of itself is what should provide us with the level of satisfaction that we need. Our sacrifices no matter how big or small are seen and felt by God. He is the one that truly matters in the end, that we do the right thing for Him.
What if someone tries to undermine your act of charity or sacrifice? Ignore them. I know this sounds like a silly way to do this but it is ultimately the best way to go about it. People with the kind of attitude, where there is no appreciation, are allowing themselves to spread evil. God wants us to love each other and to live our lives according to the Gospel. That is why we help others, why we go out of our way to help our neighbor, to speak up when there is an injustice and to be beacons of Jesus’ hope. When others don’t see that and fail to show their appreciation, will have to deal with those consequences, there is nothing we can do to change their view point on the situation. It will only cause us even more heartache and pain. So we can always hold on to the fact that we did what we had to and we did it for Christ. He above all is the most important and He appreciates what you did.
Please mend my torn heart,
That is hurt because of the actions of others.
This life is not an easy one,
But with You we are never alone.
I give all my pains, sorrows and hurt to You,
Please wrap me in Your loving and healing embrace.
The New Year is hear and the first few weeks of the month are filled with a sense of having to accomplish all your New Year resolutions. By the time February rolls around everyone’s lost their steam and then we wait until next year to attempt more resolutions, only this time we resolve to be more steadfast in our resolutions. It’s an endless cycle that goes around each year, so how do we become successful? It’s really easy, put Christ first!
When we decided to become true followers of Christ, we set ourselves up for a difficult road. “We know that we belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the evil one” 1 John 5:19. With that understanding, the evil one hates-with-a-capital-H anything that has to do with God – most specifically Jesus Christ. Simply because of who He is and most importantly because of what He stands for, Salvation.
When we make resolutions for the New Year we have to make sure that they align with what Christ would want for us. For example, let’s say you vow you want to go into the New Year and enjoy life to the fullest. There’s no specific goal or idea, just you wanting to do what you want and have fun. The big red flag here is the focus on you. We talked previously in a post about JOY – Jesus Others and Yourself. When you live your life like that, then you will find true joy. So, we should look at a New Year resolution as how can I better myself through Christ. So this resolution won’t actually bring any real lasting joy or you may find yourself not being able to accomplish as much as you wanted.
Some common resolutions are weight loss, spending more time with family, travel more, get a new hobby, etc. These can all be really great resolutions but make sure you are doing them for the right reason. If you want to travel more, travel to areas you are not familiar with and bring some evangelizing materials along with you. If funds and time permit make a pilgrimage to some religious shrines. If you want to lose weight and be healthy, that’s perfectly okay and actually quite important. However, again make sure that you are doing it to be healthy for a pure purpose and not so you can look good in a bikini for the upcoming swimsuit season. If you want to spend more time with your family, start adding in family prayer, read the Bible together and if you are able to, go to weekday masses as well.
When you put Christ in the center of your life, even your New Year resolutions, then you will be successful. Just remember, don’t ever get despairing if things aren’t coming together exactly as you had planned or how quickly as you had planned. We have to keep our head up, keep on moving and try the best we can. This is a New Year and a new opportunity for you to become Christ centered and become the way that Jesus wants you.
Please help me to completely dedicate my life to You,
Give me the courage to do all things through you.
If it is Your will, then please let me be successful with my New Year resolutions.
I give You glory and praise.
Just a little announcement to all my readers. Last year has been crazy but this year will be better! With that being said, I have been neglecting posts and I really feel bad about it. I will start posting regularly with 4 posts a week. You guys have been great and your support is awesome! I am spreading God’s message and hopefully touching some lives along the way
Dear Mom and Dad,
The seasons change, leaves fall away, the sun sets and rises but one thing remains the same – your love. A love that I was surrounded in when growing up and that I still continue to feel. Many children are neglected, either their parents just don’t feed them or are too poor to afford food. You sacrificed your food for your children’s, opting to go hungry instead of letting your little ones have an empty stomach. Many children are not shown love and are made to feel worthless. You let us kids know that if we worked hard enough, then we can and will accomplish our dreams. Dad worked hard in the military, sacrificing so much to ensure that his children had a roof over their head, clothes on their back and food in their tummy. Mom worked hard taking care of the children, showering them with love, cooking, cleaning and playing with them. Many kids are beaten for the mere fact of breathing wrong and just existing, other kids are left to their own devices with no direction. You instilled a discipline of respecting adults, being responsible and respecting ourselves. You gave us chores that we learned to complete and were rewarded for. One time we had a ticketing system where you went out and bought a bunch of cool toys. We all worked hard to earn tickets, then had an auction on the goodies that we wanted. We learned that by dedicating ourselves to a task, completing it thoroughly and working hard will lead to success. I respect you two for what you have done for me and how you have helped me, even if most of the time I didn’t deserve it.
Since the fall of Eden people have always have their weaknesses, their struggles. None of us are free from that. That is why Jesus came, to help us work through these weaknesses and to find salvation. This world is one that we must carry our cross, walk with Jesus and follow the path He has for us. We are so often overcome by the temptations of the devil that we lose our way. That was me. I was tempted by wanting so badly to be a part of the world, which is what I did. My parents had brought me to God and helped me to develop a faith within the Catholic Church. When I reached a certain point in my life I rebelled against the idea of the Church and what faith was; so much so that I was wicked to my parents. I did everything to keep my heart in the world that I didn’t realize how much damage I was really doing. So much so that twice in my life I really had to face reality and it wasn’t until the second time that I truly took what Jesus was giving me. I changed my life so much because I knew that was what had to be done, when in doing so I found true happiness. So much tragedy has struck in my life since my transformation that I can’t help but to see that the path I have chosen is the one that Christ has wanted for me. It is through these tragic events that I see Jesus smiling at me because I know that He holds me, that through these sufferings something beautiful is being made.
My parents are a big part of why I am where I am now. They have helped me and all their children through their falls because that is the type of people they are. Not all their children appreciate the sacrifices and support they have made but Jesus knows the truth. We can create wicked scenarios that are completely false but in the end, God knows. You can smear someone’s name as much as you want in false lies but it won’t last forever. The light will always overcome the dark and the lies will always be made known.
Help us to appreciate the love a parent has for us.
When they try to guide us, help us to listen to them,
Not to fight against the wisdom they offer.
Bring peace and comfort,
When children are wicked to their parents,
Please wrap your arms around the parents to comfort them.
Help give parents the strength to stand tall against the attacks of Satan.
Living for Jesus means making sacrifices and living in a state of the unknown. This world is a brutal one, particularly for the followers of God and those who proclaim Jesus message. Sure, we can live in the comfort of our lives and go to church on Sunday and holy days of obligation – stopping there. But is that really living for Christ? We can’t hold back in our beliefs and we have to live by them if we want to be followers of Christ.
When I say that we live in the state of the unknown when we are followers of Jesus Christ, it is the unknown of how the world will react to us – usually with aggression. People who don’t have Jesus or who have him in the wrong way will more than likely react in a negative way when you proclaim the word. This doesn’t mean standing on the street corner holding a sign but rather trying to connect with people and teach them about the true way of Jesus.
People will oppose you, so be ready! My ultimate goal is to open up a retreat center and while I have a ton of support someone told me the other day that it would be a waste of my life, that I should do something more stable. I wasn’t surprised that someone would say this because looking at things from a worldly perspective it isn’t necessarily stable and I am taking a huge leap. However, I am not alone and I do not live for this world.
That is something that we so often forget sometimes is that we do not live for this world. So while a stable 9 to 5 job is good for some people and Jesus may call you to do that, He calls others to do something different. We should be out there preaching the good news of our God and our faith. Instead sometimes we keep it to ourselves because it is taboo to share your religion with others or it is okay to do it just on Sundays.
The apostles were from all different walks of life, fisherman, tax collectors, etc. who had comfortable jobs in their time. When Jesus called them they left that to follow Him and once He died, they spread His message to those who did not have it – even at the cost of death they did it. What this shows me is that we have to step outside of our comfort zone to truly follow Jesus, we have to risk all kinds of things to follow Him. They are not done in vain because our life here on earth is small compared to that of eternity in Heaven. If we live only for this world and find comfort in this world, it will eventually die and we will be cut off from eternity.
Please help me to follow you,
The road is not easy but through you it is possible.
Give me the strength to stand and preach your word,
To bring the souls you love back to you.
Give me courage and strength to take the path that you have for me,
To open my heart to your will.
A new band called We Are Messengers inspired this blog post. I was listening to their album when some of the lyrics really stuck out to me – I see that love is a man hanging on a tree, With his heart poured out for me, Love is a king watching over me, And when I look up, He’s all I see, So when I walk through the valley I will not be afraid.
If you just stop and soak up what the words mean then it is truly invigorating. Jesus, fully God and Fully man died for us by hanging on a tree. Think about it, how truly painful it must have been to be nailed to a tree and beaten just minutes prior. To be spit upon and taunted relentlessly only to meet your end through being nailed to a tree and slowly bleeding out, waiting until you suffocate for the pain to go away.
He knew everything that was going to happen and exactly how painful it was going to be. In this life we go through trials and hard times but our faith should help us get through. Jesus Himself tells us that times in this world will not be easy because we are not living for this world but for the next. If life were easy in this world then what will be gained for the next? We use our sufferings to save souls for the Glory of God. Through our suffering, if we keep our faith, then we will be made stronger.
Today’s society has a problem with instant gratification and expecting immediate results. This is why many are disheartened when the prayers they want answered, are not answered in the way they want. God knows what is best for us but we have to trust that God knows what is best for us. God always answers our prayers but it is up to us to listen and to see what the answer is.
We so often forget that not only did Jesus die for us but that He suffered for our sins to be forgiven – which is exactly what is conveyed in the song. This isn’t an automatic path to redemption as many of the Protestants think. Instead, it is a journey and a continuous process of acknowledging the wrongs that are committed and seeking forgiveness. Acknowledgement is a huge part of the Catholic faith and being a follower of Jesus. It is through acknowledging what we have done wrong that we can truly find forgiveness and redemption. The sacrifice that Jesus made was not a free pass for getting away with whatever you want but rather it was a new chance to find forgiveness.
We walk through a valley every day when we are followers of Christ. Today’s world is a dangerous one that needs the word of God even more now. We can’t and shouldn’t be afraid to spread His message, to spread His Glory. Even if we are harassed and treated poorly we shouldn’t be afraid because God is always with us.
You gave your Son so that we could spend eternity with you,
Help me to appreciate the sacrifice,
To live my life for the glory of You.
Give me the strength to spread Your message through the land,
To help others understand Your Word.
The last two daily readings from Mass have centered on Job and the constant struggles that he goes through. It highlights particularly how he reacted to losing his whole family, animals, livelihood and ultimately himself getting sick. He never once blamed God but he did have moments where he wondered why he was even born and the purpose of his life.
When he was first struck with the deaths of his children, loss of his animals and the destruction of his livelihood – he said something that still holds significant meaning. He said “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back again. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD”. He understood that we come into this world completely helpless and are naked. This can be taken literally as naked or we can look at it figuratively. When we come into this world we have absolutely nothing but what God created us with; hence being naked. Through death we are made naked again because we enter into eternity with nothing but what God created us with.
Let that sit for a minute and process it. When we are born we have the body that God created specifically for us. When we die, we have the soul that God has created specifically for us. We don’t have money, cars, phones, jewels, etc. We have nothing but what God has given us, thus we are naked. We can look at it as if the Lord has given us a loan on our body. We are not the owners of our body, God us the ultimate owner. It is our job to take care of it, keep it clean from sin and follow the rules that God has set forth. At any moment God can call His loan back. The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away.
One of the most pertinent parts of that is when he says Blessed be the name of the Lord. He still blesses God even though he is going through these hardships and he lost his children. This is something we should all do when going through a tragic time, bless the name of the Lord. God didn’t have to give us all life but He did, He didn’t have to die for our sins but He did. We sometimes take for granted everything that God has given us and expect it to always be ours when in reality it was never ours to begin with. The lives of our loved ones are not ours nor is it theirs, they and we belong to the Lord. That is why loss can sometimes be so crippling and hard to understand. God has a purpose for everything that happens and that purpose could be to help us become better people. Now, we have to remember that while God controls everything He also allows humans to pick their own path and He allows for nature to take its course. It’s not God’s will for someone to have a heart attack, rather it’s His will that nature and human choices take front and center. It could have been that the person’s heart was just weak or they ate the wrong foods and didn’t have a healthy lifestyle.
When more occurrences happen to Job, he turns the focus on himself and says “Perish the day on which I was born”, he then goes on to wonder why he was even born. Again, the focus in purely on his self and not directed towards God. He had a moment where he was feeling sorry for himself because of all the bad stuff that was happening to him. We all have periods of time in our life where a tragedy has occurred and it seems life one thing after another is going wrong. It can be frustrating, mind boggling and quite saddening but one thing we must never do is lose our faith. We should never blame God and turn our backs on Him. We count our blessings, raise our heads to God and say anything through you is possible
To you I raise my hands in praise,
Even if I feel pain and loss today.
I want your strength to get me through,
I will never lose my faith in you.
You are my love, my life and father,
I will stay strong through you and will not falter.
The war between good and evil has already been won but the battle will rage on until the end of time. Every time a new soul is born they become a target to be won for the side of evil. This is a concept that to many seems very barbaric and ancient – just not fitting into the mold of today’s society. This couldn’t be further from the truth and is the cause of many souls losing the battle. How do we win our battle? It is very simply actually, always hold your faith in Christ dear and never turn your back on God.
Those 2 simple truths will help you win the battle against evil but it doesn’t make it easy. This life will never be easy because if it was then we would never learn anything, we would never be for Christ. The purpose of the devil is to destroy the inner peace that all people hold within their hearts when they have Jesus Christ. When we choose to let events dictate our inner peace, then we are letting the devil control it and this begins the downward spiral of losing the battle.
Bad things are bound to happen in this life, they are inevitable. It is how we react to these events that determines the lasting outcome of them. Evil cannot eternally damage you unless you give it permission to do so. Now, this doesn’t mean blatant sign on this line permission – it’s more of permission that can be seen in our actions. For example, someone is downright mean to you, how do you react? With anger and fight back or do you wish them peace and simply walk away. The immediate reaction is to get defensive and give back what you are getting. We have to get ourselves in the frame of mind that we don’t need to get even or get on someone’s level to defeat them.
What we have to realize is that people are not always going to follow Christ and are not going to accept His Will. When this happens they are more open to being influenced in the wrong direction, which means that will not always be the nicest – specifically when you are dedicating your life to Christ. We can look at everything on a spiritual level because ultimately that is what we are. When we die in this world we become our souls; our bodies, worries and materialistic possessions are left in this world. We won’t take anything with us but our souls which is why we have to protect them. We are vulnerable because of our human weaknesses that came about when Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge. We have to continue to work towards overcoming these weaknesses which is where Christ’s sacrifice can be an extremely important tool.
Jesus Christ is fully divine but is also fully man and made a true sacrifice for that which benefited others, a selfless act of love. He felt every pain, every insult, every drop of spit and the heavy weight of the cross which was on Him. Instead of quitting and asking God to take away the pain, He continued on His way of the Cross to save us from damnation. This needs to be a focal point for us when we are going through life and faced with difficult choices.
Your sacrifice saved the eternal lives of all those seeking your mercy,
Please help me to spread the message of your saving grace.
Help me to banish the evil attacks from my heart,
To not let them disturb my inner peace.
Give me the grace to look to you when facing trying times,
To not let my human weakness become a crutch but to overcome it.
We all have a purpose because God loves us enough to give us each a purpose. Sometimes it may be difficult to understand what that purpose is and we may struggle to find the meaning of what our life is. It is not because God wants to see us struggle but rather because we are consumed with earthly desires and problems – so much so that it blinds us spiritually.
We should allow ourselves to be guided spiritually through Gods desire for us but sometimes our hearts and minds are so noisy that we can’t hear God. He knows what is best for us, so it is up to us to be willing to listen to God. Often times when we don’t listen to God and something goes wrong, we don’t have the confidence to understand that everything happens for a reason. We feel put upon as if everything wrong that could happen is happening to you. During this time, instead of turning to God we turn away from God.
Speaking from personal experience I didn’t always listen to God, like I do now. Times were not always easy because I would constantly doubt myself, in turn doubting God. It is like a horrible cycle that can only be broken when you completely follow Gods Will. In today’s society it is easy to ignore Him and simply say the idea of following Gods Will is out of fashion.
Can you imagine? Standing in front of God and saying the reason that you won’t listen to Him or follow His way, is because He is “out of fashion”. It’s not the hip and cool thing to follow God because He doesn’t fit into our modern society. That is something I can’t quite wrap my mind around simply because of how much God loves us. He created us out of love, sent down His Son out of Love and continues to guide us because of His unending love for us.
We blindly follow stars because of their status, we constantly listen to music because we like it. Why can’t we follow God? Why can’t we listen to Him? We can’t let the draw of this world overcome our spiritual desire to draw close to God. When we do that, then we risk eternally damning our souls and being cut off from God. He never asks of us more than we can handle – we just have to be willing to listen and actually follow His commands. Think of how easy it is to listen to a star go on about their favorite charity, then it makes you want to donate to their cause. If we could give God that much room in our heart, then think of all the wonderful things that we can accomplish.
Open my heart to the wonders of your word,
Allow me to listen to the teachings you have set forth.
Help me to open my heart and ears to your unending love,
And envelop me with your grace and love.
It is so easy in today’s society to get so wrapped up in things that we miss what is important around us. Something as simple as watching the sun set or the sun rise is a gift from God. It shows us just how much God loves us because He gives us another day to start anew. We often times don’t see that because we are still stuck living in yesterday which is not a good way to be. For example, if we commit a sin and go to confession, we are forgiven. There is a certain amount of guilt that is necessary to fully embrace the forgiveness that Jesus gave us. As soon as we enter confession and truly, with our hearts confess then we should no longer be controlled by the chains of that sin.
When the sun rises on another day, it is a fresh start to praise God and spread His word. We are so stuck living in the past or worrying about what the future holds that we miss out on the now. We miss out on spreading God’s word because when you hold onto that then there is no room for God to work. I realized myself when you fill your mind with senseless stuff there is no room for Jesus. I was too worried about everything instead of just focusing on the love of Jesus. When you focus just on yourself, you miss out on so much that you could be gaining from following Jesus.
We live in a society where everything is disposable, even people! Once we get done with something we just throw it aside. Instead of realizing what God has given us, we always want more. Something as simple as a shirt could be worn only once, deemed out of style then thrown into the back of a closet. Instead of taking gratitude in the fact that you have clothes that you are able to wear. We become too self-involved in this instance because we are thinking more of ourselves and how we will fit into the mold.
The same goes for many aspects of the next bigger and “better” thing, when in retrospect, it really never was better. It is that simple gratification we feel when we get that item, that we finally belong in society. We are Christians though and we are not supposed to feel like that because of material possessions. When you hand out food to the homeless or lend an ear to someone in need that is how we belong with our peers. It is not about living for this word but for the next.
That is what it all boils down to is instant gratification, the feeling of bliss when you have what you want when you want it – even if you don’t need it. Needs and wants are two very different things and should be viewed with Christ in mind. Okay, I need food and can have a simple meal but I want caviar – what would Christ prefer you to choose? It’s okay to have a treat once in a while but to live with always having what you want is not the best way to be. That is how our society is, without cease they are never satisfied until they have what they want. I used to be the same way, controlled by the thought that I wanted to be just like everyone else so I needed certain things to be that way. I draw my joy through Christ and living His way which is what we as a society need to get back to. Even if we as Christians start the movement, then others will follow.
Thank you for giving me the grace to live another day.
To spread your message of grace throughout the world.
To not be consumed with the wants of this world,
But rather to be filled with your peace and love.
Let me live my life through the teachings of your Son Jesus Christ,
And to be a living message for Your Word.