Who Are You When Nobody is Watching?

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.

You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Peter asked Jesus if this was directed at the apostles, or was that message meant for the entire crowd?
The message Jesus gave to Peter was (essentially), don’t be a slacker! You have to be prepared, because you don’t know the day when we will be called.

I’ve heard it said the true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching. I think this is very true. So who are you when nobody is watching? I like to keep this thought in my mind throughout my day as a reminder, but I digress. I think that message of character applies here as well. Jesus is telling us, through parables, that we can’t just “act the part” at the end. It’s not enough to stand up straight and look ready when the master appears — that will be too late. You need to be ready and doing what is right ALL the time.

The parable ends with a mightier message: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” We interpret that to mean, God expects ALL of us to lead good lives and follow his commandments. But even more will be demanded of the leaders.

Who is a leader? In the church, we have the priests, bishops, deacons, as well as other members of the church leadership. And on a higher level of the church here on earth, we have the cardinals and the pope. But even on the lowest level, Jesus is referring to anyone who might be (or could be) a role model: parents, teachers, leaders in the community.

Keep in mind, we go to church to give praise to God and participate in the Eucharist. But when mass is over, WE become the church. It is our mission to carry. Who are you when nobody is watching? I think we should all strive to be as hardworking and faithful as possible at all times. That would be a good start. You need to be ready and doing what is right ALL the time, not just when it’s convenient or when it’s comfortable to.

It’s important to remember we can’t just be slackers, and show up on the last day expecting a ticket to the show. We have to earn our way in.

Defining Vigilance: What Does It Mean to You?

Have you ever stayed up into the night to care for someone in your family who was ill? Or, if you are a parent, have you stayed up late, waiting for a child to arrive home safely?

Vigilance is defined as the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties. Defining vigilance personally can lead us to different meanings of the word.

What’s that over-riding feeling you have at those moments? When your parent’s fever spikes to 101, or your baby won’t stop coughing? I just want my loved one to be safe, I don’t want them to be harmed in any way.

I know, personally, as a parent, I’ve actually stood by the window waiting to see that pair of headlights to come down our street, late at night. You just want your children to get home safely, even if it is a half-hour beyond the time you wanted them home from a party.

It’s a nervous emotion, this feeling of vigilance. You need to be prepared.
And that’s what Jesus meant in the message today from Luke:

“Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.”

Jesus then goes on to add that the master will then wait on THEM, those who are vigilant. Indeed, even if the Master arrives in the second or third watch (meaning, later in the night), those who are vigilant, ready and prepared, will be rewarded.

What is the meaning behind the message? Is it to prepare for the end of the world? No. My understanding is first, there is no timetable for His return (it could be in the second or third watch — later than you want!). Regardless, you must remain prepared every day to ward off temptation. You must be ready and prepared to avoid the evil that exists in the world, to continue to persevere in your belief in God and the Holy Family. When personally defining vigilance, that is my definition.

How would you define vigilance, in your words?

The Devil Attacks Us Through Greed and Fear

 

Saint Augustine said the devil attacks us through fear and greed.

Saint Augustine said the devil attacks us through fear and greed.

Saint Augustine said the devil attacks us through greed and fear. When we don’t have possessions we pursue them (with greed). Yet, when we have accumulated possessions, we choke on the fear of losing them.

Throughout our lives, we often form these mental impressions that the devil is “personified” taking the form of a person. But yet the devil’s work can be found when we exercise feelings like greed. But fear as well can be an overwhelming feeling, and can be the work of the devil.

As human beings, we become weak and open to the worries that come along with fear. Those fear-driven decisions can often wind up being disasters. Isn’t worrying about what others may say, or what others may think always driven by fear? Why do we worry about things we cannot control?

We’ve all heard greed is the root of evil — because greed blocks our view (our path) to charity. On the flip side, charity is the root of all that is good.

Jesus told this parable:

“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’

And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’

But God said to him,‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”

Greed really IS a silly vice, and Saint Augustine was correct the devil attacks us through greed and fear. When the time comes, as your life here on earth slips away, to what good was accumulating, hoarding, not sharing all these earthly possessions? All you have, before you approach the next phase of your life, is yourself, your decisions, your soul. No possessions.

Being the Bad Guy is Not Fun: Parenting

Have you reprimanded your son or daughter from playing video games all night or stopped them from going to an overnight sleepover at a friend’s house when “everybody was going”? I’m sure you have. What did your children do? Maybe some form of a  tantrum ensued. All parents know that when we see our children suffer we feel the pain a hundred times over. Restrictions, regulations, and discipline should be a part of how you raise your children. No matter how tiresome or painful it might become. Being the bad guy is not fun, but as a parent sometimes it is necessary.

There’s a great point stressed in the blog post Someday You’ll Thank Me:

“No matter the age of our kids, they need us to make decisions in their best interest. They need the wisdom and perspective that our longer lives and increased experience bring. They need us to offer advice, make rules, and keep them from harm. They need us to be their parents, not their friends — even if the thanks for those decisions never comes. “

I do believe that appreciation will come, when your children grows older, they will realize how thankful they are because you have helped made them a better person. Being the bad guy is not fun, but feeling that gratitude when your child has grown up and realized these things is rewarding.

Being a Good Parent Means Being a Good Role Model

How many times have you caught yourself sounding like your mother? It has been said many times that children are a reflection of their parents and this is true. Children mirror what their parents do, both the good and the bad. Being a good parent means being a good role model for your kids. Consciously and subconsciously your child keeps that memory of how you acted when you dealt with this and how you acted when you dealt with that. Later in life, those actions and even decisions will then be their exact guiding light as to how they will be solving their own problems. A great blog post You Are Their Role Model says:

“Those are “words” or “thoughts” embedded in your subconscious mind and will reveal themselves when a situation triggers the memory of a similar thought, feeling or a situation. The precise words that were used by your mum or dad that were in your subconscious mind will automatically reveal themselves.”

Lesson? Work hard to be a good role model to your children. These rules also apply for mom and dad more than it applies to their kids:

  • Mind your language
  • Be honest
  • Walk your talk
  • Keep your promises
  • Always do what is right and just

Needless to say, amazing children are products of equally amazing parents.

God Always Accepts Us Back

Sin, it tears us away from God. While it tears us away from God, many forget that God always accepts. It is our guilt that keeps us from going back to God. God always accepts us back when we have strayed. A terrific post, titled What God Thinks of Sinners (Luke 15:1-10) shared a very wonderful verse that I wanted to share with you:

Luke 15:3-7

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

It justifies the love that God has for each and everyone of us. He does not give premature judgement but accepts us, gives us a chance and welcomes us back into His arms when we go astray. Our God is the God of love and forgiveness. There is none greater than the One True God. There is no love greater than His love. God always accepts us back because he is so great.

Leading Means to Serve, Not to Be Served: Pope Francis

Pope Francis is a man of humility and no one can deny that. Leading means to serve, not to be served and he shows that each day. He chose to live in a humble home, commute, and carry his own luggage. He is a person who does not want to be served. He is a real and great example of a leader whose heart’s desire is to serve and not to be served. He renewed the faith of many Catholics who had lost some of their faith. A great blog: Beyond Hemlines: What A Pope Can Teach Us About Modesty by Deborah Farmer Kris perfectly pointed out how Pope Francis has restored the meaning of humility in its truest sense.

“Pope Francis’ news-making decisions to shun certain “allurements of fashion” is what first endeared him to his new flock. He carries his own bags, swapped the apostolic palace for a room at the Inn of Saint Martha, celebrates mass each morning with rank-and-file Vatican employees, and is driven around in a Ford Focus.”

The Pope’s call for the Catholic Church to be a Church of the poor is a reminder to all Catholics to remain humble and to share. He is a great example to world leaders, that leading means to serve, not to be served.

Keeping Germs Away From Your Baby

Babies are cute. This is the reason why a lot of people want to hold them, hug them, and carry them around. Holding and hugging a baby is a great way to express love and affection. However, you have to put some limits out there when it comes to your baby. The hands can carry a lot of germs that can be passed from one person to another. These germs can be passed on to your child if you are not careful. Keeping germs away from your baby is not a laughing matter. There are some great tips from a post titled Don’t Touch That Baby to help keep dirty hands from touching your baby. Here are some more:

  1. Keep a hand sanitizer or alcohol handy. If relatives want to hold your baby and you can’t stop them from doing it, then have them sanitize their hands before doing so.
  2. Have them use a baby blanket to cover their shirts. Make use of the baby blanket to cover their shirt before letting them carry your baby.

It might sound a bit paranoid but parents want nothing but the best for their kids, more so if it concerns their health. Keeping germs away from your baby should be a priority as a parent.

Make Strides in Your Daily Life

Today I read an interesting post titled, There Is No “Catholic Awareness” Ribbon. Upon reading it, a realization came to light that would probably answer why Catholics are often fond of symbolism. Most of the time, we see pictures of saints, a crucifix, and statues in Catholic homes. This sparks constant arguments with non-Catholics. While I was thinking of this fact, I thought of something else.

Andrew, the author of the blog was offered a pink ribbon for cancer awareness and he declined because he said he already knew about breast cancer and there was no reason for him to be wearing the ribbon. He also wrote about how he bought a new car and hung a rosary in the rear view mirror. The rosary ended up being a reminder for him to be kind on the road.

So my realization was that crosses, rosaries, and statues of saints can help make strides in your daily life. These strides can be like Andrew being kinder on the road, or they can be seeing a rosary and deciding to pray more that day. They help us be aware, and be constantly reminded that we should love our daily lives according to our faith and according to the teachings of God.

The Beautiful Life of Mary: Our Blessed Mother

The 8th of September was the celebrated birthday of the Blessed Mother. I took the opportunity on that day to reflect on the beautiful life of Mary. However, according to The Virgin Mary’s Birthday

“When was the Mother of God born? We can’t know for certain, of course, but for almost 15 centuries now, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been celebrated on September 8.”

The birth of the Blessed Virgin was planned and directed by the Almighty Creator. From the very start, her life was destined for both greatness and suffering. She knew that when she said ‘yes’ to the command of God, she also said yes to knowing that her son would face many trials, and that he would also sacrifice his life to wash away the sins of the world. Mother Mary is woman of contemplation and woman of prayer. Jesus loves his mother so much that he performed a miracle at the wedding in Cana even though it was not yet time for him to make his miracle. If Jesus loves his mother, how can we resist not loving her?

May you continue to guide us and protect us our Blessed Mother, especially in these trying times.