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?

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.

Let Us Not Be Divided

The blog post One in Christ featured on Roses Near Running Waters, gave new insight today. Well, perhaps not that new but an age long plea. The blog post shared a wonderful verse:

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)”

God has called all of his believers to be united in the name of Jesus. Let us not be divided! No matter what the religion and the differences in beliefs and traditions, all Christians believe in one true God and the God of salvation. God calls for unity of those who believe in him, and I am hoping that people will listen and understand that it is now more than ever that we need to be united in the name of Christ. I believe that what keeps us all divided is pride, we need to recognize this and set it aside. This should be so, so that we Christians, the warriors of Christ might begin our true purpose as servants and disciples of the Lord. The faith is waning and more people are tearing themselves away from our faith while we stand and watch doing nothing.

May God give us the strength to recognize our weakness, accept it, and correct it for the glory of God. Let us not be divided, we are so much stronger together.

Martyrdom Through the Ages: From Ancient Japan to Today

We are all lucky because we do not have to go through the same form of persecution that some Japanese Christians had to endure long ago. Back in ancient Japan, Christian believers were tortured and killed just because of their faith in God. It surprised me to read about martyrdom through the ages because it has been so vicious and cruel. When St. Francis Xavier went to Japan, he planted the seed of Christianity well into the minds and hearts of Japanese people. So well in fact, that it grew to great numbers. The believers increased to two hundred thousand strong and that alarmed the authorities. Deviating from the religion that they were used to, these numbers were seen as a threat. Many were punished and tortured to death.

Today we are faced with a different kinds of torture. The media, the people, and the ways of the community are constantly enticing us to deviate from the teachings of Christianity. We may not be physically tortured but we are constantly tried. We do not need to run away from soldiers, but we need to keep away from the things that break our souls and weaken our faith. Read more from an inspiring blog post featured on Crisis Magazine called Lessons Drawn From The Japanese Martyrs. Of course, martyrdom has existed since even earlier than ancient Japan. However, my main point was to show that martyrdom has existed for a long time, and despite its changing form it will exist forever.

Miracles Happen All Around Us, Take Notice

A car accident happened in Missouri recently, and a pretty miraculous story has come from this tragic event. A head on collision occurred causing Katie Lentz to be crushed and trapped inside the vehicle. Katie was obviously distraught, but she managed to keep herself calm and asked her rescuers to pray aloud with her. Not long after this, a priest approached the rescuers and Katie at the scene. The priest prayed with them. Everyone felt a sense of calmness from the prayer and the priest’s presence.

Not long after the rescue team successfully freed Katie from the car. She has gone through several surgeries and is now on her way to recovery. She wanted to find the priest who came to the accident scene to thank him but no one knows him and did not know where to look for him. It was then that they realized that the priest might have been an angel in disguise, there to save her and guide her rescuers. Miracles happen all around us during life, sometimes we just aren’t paying attention.

“About an hour into the rescue, Katie asked rescue workers to pray out loud with her. That’s when a priest appeared out of nowhere.”He came up and approached the patient, and offered a prayer. It was a Catholic priest who had anointing oil with him. A sense of calmness came over her, and it did us as well. I can’t be for certain how it was said, but myself and another firefighter, we very plainly heard that we should remain calm, that our tools would now work and that we would get her out of that vehicle.Where did this guy come from? We’re looking for the priest and so far, no one has seen him. Whether it was a priest as an angel or an actual angel, he was an angel to all those and to Katie. We would like to find this gentleman and be able to thank him,” “

You can read more about this story at Catholic Online by clicking here. This amazing story is proof that God does not abandon us, and that prayer is quite powerful. Miracles happen all around us, we just need to take notice of these great works.

Selective Catholicism is Not Okay

An article from the National Catholic Register titled, “The 12 Most Popular Catholic Buts” inspired this post today. Although brief, the article paints a clear picture of the the attitude and perspective of a lot of “Catholics” nowadays. Many people live their lives thinking that Catholicism or even Christianity is like eating in a buffet where you are free to choose which food to eat and which not to eat–that they can just freely pick the aspects of Catholicism that they want to follow.

This attitude is termed by some writers as “selective Catholicism.” Simply put, a selective Catholic is someone who just chooses a few bits and pieces of doctrines and teachings the church and the Bible to believe in, adhere to and live by. For instance, someone who says, “I’m a Catholic but I don’t go to church” or “I’m a Catholic but I don’t find value in confession.” My opinion, selective Catholicism is not okay. We shouldn’t be watering down our faith by saying what is and is not important. Everything about the Catholic faith is important.

Being a follower of Christ requires you to live your life just as Christ lived his. We have the Bible and the doctrines of the Church to guide us. The Lord has laid down his commandments in hopes that we will live by them and find ourselves worthy of life eternal in the end. The choice is whether we will follow his words or the dictation of our erring minds. Selective Catholicism is not okay. This is not a buffet, this is our faith!

The Best Tool For Sharing Christ With The Youth

The World Youth Day celebration in Brazil was a huge success! Thanks to the millions of enthusiastic young faithfuls who made the effort to make the pilgrimage to Rio. The Pope gave strong and uplifting messages all throughout his trip in Rio, but I would like to give emphasis to what he said about how we can best evangelize to young people.

During the culmination mass of the World Youth Day, the Pope said, “Do you know what the best tool is for evangelizing the young? Another young person. This is the path to follow! It’s so simple really. The best tool for sharing Christ with the youth is other young people. 

As we all must know, the most effective way to lead a person to Christ is to reach them where they are and communicate with them in a way they can relate to. Who could possibly communicate and relate better to young people than their fellow youths? So if you are wondering why your parish is not drawing a lot of young people in, you might want to look into this counsel by our Pope. The best tool for sharing Christ with the youth is by having other young people talk with them. One dedicated Catholic teen can turn friends into faithful Catholics quickly.

Allow Yourself To Be Surprised By God

God Acts, and He Surprises Us,” this is Pope Francis’ message from when he visited the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. The message of the Pope wonderfully reminded all Christians of our need to constantly trust in the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness to us, his children.

No matter what difficulties may come our way, we should never lose hope and allow ourselves to be surprised by the ways of our mighty God. In the Pope’s words, he said, “Always know in your hearts that God is by your side; he never abandons you.” It is only with complete submission and trust to the plans of our Father can we live a joyful life.

For every trial that you face, patiently wait for God’s help–be open to his surprises. As he promised in Deuteronomy 31:8, “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Allow yourself to be surprised by God and his amazing ways.

Trying To Understand Eternity

Have you tried understanding the concept of eternity? It’s kind of hard isn’t it? I have tried a few times to wrap my mind around the concept of eternity or living forever with the Lord. I can never seem to put together a solid picture. Today, I found the answer to why I am finding it so hard to understand the promised life eternal of the Lord. Trying to understand eternity is not possible for humans to do.

In a blog post titled, “Describing The Internet To An Ant,” the author said that us trying to imagine and comprehend what eternity would be like is the same as an ant trying to understand the concept of the internet. No matter how hard a tiny ant tries to use whatever thinking faculties it has, it will never really understand the complexity of the internet or even simply understand how it works. Just like us, no matter how much we try, we will never be able to fully comprehend the eternity.

So the next time you think about life eternal and find yourself faced with more questions than answers, remember the ant that’s trying to understand the internet. I thought this was a perfect comparison to trying to understand eternity.