Manhood Monday: Being Light Through the Gospel

Your weekly dose of “Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man”.

From Today’s Readings:

Monday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Alleluia See 2 Tm 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Consider the deplorable conditions of life and political turmoil and crime that result in the massive trek of people from their homelands looking for relief and safety and a future for their children. We think of the children in cities across the country when they explode in racially charged violence. We think of Christian communities in Syria and Iraq who are remembered for their founding back in the days of St. Paul, but are today destroyed by unconscionable acts of fanaticism. We think of Bethlehem where the Christ savior was born mandated as a ghetto populated by a people who trace their lineage to Christ’s ancestors but who are pushed to the margins of society. All of this begs for prayer and a Christian voice. ….

Thank you, brothers and sisters, for your faith and hope, your sober words of calm in the midst of conflict and mistaken reference. Thank you for your generosity so eloquently evident with various causes and programs that lift people to see more clearly the light of Christ in their lives.

From the CMCS archives by Bishop Joseph Perry

God bless your day.

Catholic Men Chicago Southland Apostolate (CMCS)


Frank’s Photo of the Week

Photo: ‘In Daddy’s Arms‘ Copyright 2012 Frank J Casella

Instead of death and sorrow, let us bring peace and joy to the world. To do this we must beg God for His gift of peace and learn to love and accept each other as brothers and sisters, children of God. We know that the best place for children to learn how to love and to pray is in the family, by seeing the love and prayer of their mother and father. When families are broken or disunited, many children grow up not knowing how to love and pray. A country where many families have been destroyed like this will have many problems. I have often seen, especially in the rich countries, how children turn to drugs or other things to escape feeling unloved and rejected.

But when families are strong and united, children can see God’s special love in the love of their father and mother and can grow to make their country a loving and prayerful place. The child is God’s best gift to the family and needs both mother and father because each one shows God’s love in a special way. The family that prays together stays together, and if they stay together they will love one another as God has loved each one of them. And works of love are always works of peace.

– Saint ( Mother ) Teresa

Thanks for Reading.

Make it a great week. See you back here again next Monday.

Frank J Casella,
CMCS Executive Director

A larger collection of photographs can be viewed on my portfolio.


Not signed up yet? Click here.

Please Donate What You Can

We rely on contributions from readers and members of our community to keep Catholic Chicago Men Blog free. If you’d like to pay what you can for the service, we’d greatly appreciate it. These contributions touch the lives of many and help us keep investing in new technologies and better content.

Thank you for being the best part of Catholic Chicago Men Blog! Your contributions make a difference. From all of us at Catholic Men Chicago Southland and all of those that will be helped, thank you.

True Friendship

If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce…. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.

Zig Ziglar

I love this quote, because I find it to be so true.  What do you think?

So the story goes, there were two teen-age friends who passed each other on a Sunday morning. One friend said to the other, “I’m going fishing, would you like to go with me?” The other friend replied, “No, I’m on my way to Sunday Mass.” This same thing happened for a month of Sunday’s until the one friend said to the other, “You know, I’ve invited you for several Sunday’s to go fishing with me, but never once have you invited me to go to Mass with you.”

The Catholic word for invitation can be evangelization.

So the question here is, what is a true friend?  The Lord Jesus Christ gave us the definition of a true friend: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:13-15). Jesus is the pure example of a true friend, for He laid down His life for His “friends.” What is more, anyone may become His friend by trusting in Him as their personal savior, being born (again) into new life in Him.

Proverbs is another good source of wisdom regarding friends. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17). “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). The issue here is that in order have a friend, one must be a friend. “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” (Proverbs 27:6). “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

So to have a true friend means that you have to be one. I first learned how to be a true friend by the example of my father with his friendships. I consider myself fortunate.  I learned too that sometimes to have true friendship is easier said than done.  I stopped counting the number of times that I’ve been honest with a friend – someone I cared much about – who gave me the (trust or) permission to speak to them about their life …. as others have done with me … only to find the person doesn’t want to hear it or talk about it, or becomes hurt or offended by what I said – but this also taught me how to say things better. 

I’ve learned the hard way that either few people today know what a true friend is, or we are fortunate to have one person in our lives that we consider a true friend  – someone that we trust to be matter of fact with us, loyal, and to share our deepest secrets with.  And often (sadly) this is someone other than a sibling or our wife, rather than in addition to.

As I’ve said before in other blog posts, Jesus confronted people because he loved them. However, you don’t have to look real hard to see in our self-gratification culture today that many friendships are on the basis of “if you don’t tell me what I want to hear, then you’re not my friend”.  It’s common today to work at giving others their own space and not offending them. Even spouses are to be the best of friends – a gift to each other – yet many marriages I find have too many stressors and distractions to even think about working at friendship, much less marriage.  This can be one reason many couples today live together without marriage vows.

With marriage especially, the important thing about friendships, and relationships, is to be embracing differences. In marriage there really is not irreconcilable differences, only people who refuse to reconcile. It all begins by accepting our differences as an asset to each other in the marriage, rather than a liability.

Said another way, reconciliation and forgiveness is the most important action in maintaining a true friendship …. and marriage.  It happens when we care about others and their feelings before our own, when we have to put our pride and our personal agenda on the back burner, so to speak.  I have discovered that unless it hurts it’s not true friendship, for God gives us true friends not only to inspire each other, but to help us to grow and to strengthen our trust and faith in Him and the power of prayer. 

Sometimes this process of God “pruning” our lives can take years.  It means going through – as many times as it takes – the process of working through misconceptions, barriers, etc. when society says walk away and move on to another relationship.

In the Gospels (Mark 12:41), the poor widow gave two small coins worth a few cents, and Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.  For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”

True friendship gives from it’s poverty, from what we don’t have.  Not financially, but from our ‘unfamiliar territory’ – when our conscience and our will tell us to do what the Lord commands us, despite our own human understanding. 

The way to know you have a true friendship is that, a true friend keeps coming back. It’s usually a person whom you’ve never known anyone like them …  And you know that you never will again. That you are both better persons for knowing each other.  Someone you can thank God for bringing into each others lives. And this can also be several people, each, throughout the seasons of life.

All of this reminds me of the old James Taylor song, “You’ve Got A Friend”.  The lyrics go something like:

” You just call out my name

And you know wherever I am

I’ll come running, to see you again

…. You’ve Got A Friend”.

How many of us have a friend like that?  Or even, how many of us ARE a friend like this?

Today, ask your wife, your kids, and your friends, “How can I be a better friend to you?”

I know that I’ve only scratched the surface here about true friendship.  So, I would like to learn what true friendship means to you? Make a comment below, or send a private email on the Contact Us page. I will share (anonymous if you say so) response to this question in an future blog post.

Frank J Casella

Manhood Monday: The Importance of Church, and the Sunday Mass

Your weekly dose of “Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man”.

From Today’s Readings:

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles

Alleluia MT 16:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus’ church means the community that he will gather and that, like a building, will have Peter as its solid foundation. That function of Peter consists in his being witness to Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of the living God. The gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it: the netherworld (Greek Hadēs, the abode of the dead) is conceived of as a walled city whose gates will not close in upon the church of Jesus, i.e., it will not be overcome by the power of death.

From the CMCS Video Archive: Bishop Joseph Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, reflects on the importance of Sunday Mass to Catholic men and their families. Bishop Perry oversees Catholic Men Chicago Southland, an Apostolate that works to encourage Catholic men to grow spiritually and to bring Christ into their daily lives. This reflection was recorded in Saint James Chapel during the Year of Sunday Mass.

God bless your day.

Catholic Men Chicago Southland Apostolate (CMCS)


Frank’s Photo of the Week

Truth & Freedom:

Words of John Paul The Great from World Youth Day 1999 in St. Louis: “True freedom is a wonderful gift from God, and it has been a cherished part of your country’s history. But when freedom is separated from truth, individuals lose their moral direction and the very fabric of society begins to unravel.

Freedom is not the ability to do anything we want, whenever we want. Rather, freedom is the ability to live responsibly the truth of our relationship with God and with one another. Remember what Jesus said: “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32). Let no one mislead you or prevent you from seeing what really matters. Turn to Jesus, listen to him, and discover the true meaning and direction of your lives.”

Thanks for Reading.

Make it a great week. See you back here again next Monday.

Frank J Casella,
CMCS Executive Director

A larger collection of photographs can be viewed on my portfolio.


Not signed up yet? Click here.

Please Donate What You Can

We rely on contributions from readers and members of our community to keep Catholic Chicago Men Blog free. If you’d like to pay what you can for the service, we’d greatly appreciate it. These contributions touch the lives of many and help us keep investing in new technologies and better content.

Thank you for being the best part of Catholic Chicago Men Blog! Your contributions make a difference. From all of us at Catholic Men Chicago Southland and all of those that will be helped, thank you.

The SALT Principle

The highest and best way to love others is to apply the SALT Principle:

See others as Jesus sees them.

Accept others as Jesus accepts them.

Love others as Jesus loves them.

Touch others as Jesus touches them.

Ike Reighard

Too often we get wrapped up in our own little world, and we’re consumed with our own needs without even noticing the needs of those around us. Or we’re so exhausted at the end of each day that we can’t imagine giving out to anyone else, especially to demanding kids or a spouse who is at least as tired as we are.

We have to break this cycle, back up, regroup, and bring some sanity to our lives so we’ll have the perspective, energy, and compassion for the people we see each day, and especially those who live under the same roof with us.

Then we can love them like we love ourselves. ….

God created us to function best when we are fully devoted to Him. When we do that, each part of our lives comes into alignment – or drops away because it’s no longer important. When we fail to put God first, everything seems equally important, and we spend all our energies trying to please people, proving ourselves, or hiding from risks. God’s first commandment demands complete devotion, and it makes perfect sense. It’s the way he created us to live.

From The One Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Dr. Ike Reighard.

Manhood Monday: To Judge Wisely and Discern Truthfully

Your weekly dose of “Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man”.

From Today’s Readings:

Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time.

Alleluia HEB 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

O dear Lord, thou didst suffer in no ordinary way but unheard of and extreme torments. Indeed your agony still cries from the streets where we labor. This is the truth of the Gospel which has shaped my vision and my hope for all that is meaningful to me. You are the one foundation, Jesus Christ crucified. I know it O Lord, I believe it and I place this faith steadily before my eyes and heart. …


… I cannot do this task alone. All I know is that I am in sore need of your guidance and direction that I may judge wisely and discern truthfully; that especially in times of danger I may offer my life to you and for others and that in face of genuine encounters with the virtue of citizens I may praise them and be for them myself a symbol of honor and justice.

Bishop Joseph Perry – Prayer Of One Who Serves As A Member Of The Police

God bless your day.

Catholic Men Chicago Southland Apostolate (CMCS)


Frank’s Photo of the Week

Photo: ‘Keep Going’ – Copyright 2016 Frank J Casella

Thanks for Reading.

Make it a great week. See you back here again next Monday.

Frank J Casella,
CMCS Executive Director

A larger collection of photographs can be viewed on my portfolio.


Not signed up yet? Click here.

Dear Friends and Followers of Catholic Men Chicago Southland (CMCS),

The gospel of John (13) gives us a small clue to the financial needs Jesus and his apostles incurred with the ministry. There was a purse, undoubtedly supplied by the donations of sympathizers and friends who supported Jesus and his apostles as they traveled up and down the roads of Palestine spreading the Good News. That purse was kept by Judas, who unfortunately, turned traitor (John 18). Nonetheless, we are reminded that ministry has its expenses. Not that this is the focus of spreading the Word of God, but also in our modern world there are expenditures connected with ministry. And we strive to keep those modest and accountable to those who generously support what we do to make the Lord better known by others.

What can you give to keep the purse of CMCS functional to deliver that WORD that changes your life?

What price can anyone place on the Lord’s message?

~ Bishop Joseph Perry, CMCS Episcopal Liaison and Co-Founder

Bishop Joseph Perry: It Is a Graced Moment

Crossing the Line – Photo Copyright 2018 Frank J Casella

A range of emotions stir inside us these days and admittedly it’s a challenge sorting through these feelings.  We might ask ourselves – ‘what should be the response of Christians in times such as these?’

Thank you, each of you, for your efforts all along at bringing people together. It’s part of our job description as Christian leaders.  We cannot rest assured that neighborly regard is structured effectively – even within the Christian community.

As if the health crisis wasn’t enough to stretch nerves to the breaking point; a series of policing incidents around the nation resulting in the deaths of several African Americans have ignited a powder-keg of frustration – exposing wounds festering for months, years and beyond with no clear solutions in sight. 

We have so much in common as human beings but are shortchanged by our lack of contact, lack of mutual understanding, people with different experiences, different world views and even different assessments as to the foundations of today’s unrest.  We are reminded that bigotry and indifference are woven in the fabric of America. Racial and economic inequality goes on. Systems and institutions and government have historically different approaches to white, black and brown thus erupting in situations out of control. 

To make matters worse, COVID-19 alone has left untold numbers unemployed, under-employed, numbers ineligible for government stimulus, leaving people with no money yet with families to feed and mortgages and rents to pay. And when black and brown people push back hard mainstream America wonders why everyone’s upset. The surprise itself becomes an insult.

It is consoling to see the many people from around the country, white, brown, black, Asian, as peaceful protestors in wake of the Breona Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd killings.  It is an encouraging sign that the concern is widespread and that there are many people out there wanting to be agents of good-will.

We are faced with the unfinished business of race in this country, the unsolved issues of poverty, opportunity vs lack of opportunity.  We have hardly given second thought to the stratified society we live in thinking it to be normal –if you people would just pull yourself up by your bootstraps, it is often commented. But untold numbers of people have no boots with which to pull up straps.  

Structures in a materially rich society have left large numbers disenfranchised from life such that they cannot, to use the words, “breathe” the air of a free and prosperous society like ours. While we are all the same, humans with sweat and tears, the differences allowed to fester among us are huge.  And some insidious factions looking on are intent on keeping it that way.

We are believers.  Instead of focusing on our anger, or attributing blame to whomever, feeling inconvenienced by the recent mayhem, maybe empathy is the right feeling for the moment – for the poor and the displaced and the mistreated and the forgotten are always just around the corner, down the street, and even the next door neighbor.  How can law enforcement reorient themselves in face of individuals and communities in crisis so that the dignity of human life remains uppermost with methods of keeping order?  How can we re-educate ourselves away from the visual and emotional dissonance provoked by skin color?

Our Church lives and works amidst these realities. Our gestures in all instances must be welcoming of everyone, corrective in face of injustice, formative in bringing people together across neighborhoods and natural boundaries and separate enclaves we have built for ourselves.  We should be busy about the business of defying our comfort levels with single-racial churches, ministries and projects and going out of our way to schedule diversity in the things we are and do as church.  It’s a daunting task in respects with its own level of fatigue. But we can’t give up. So much is at stake as evidenced by the messages issuing forth from the protests and demonstrations crying for something different. We Catholics can help lead the way.

An old rabbi once asked one of his students, “How can you tell when night is over and day has begun?”  The student thought a moment and said, “Could it be when you see an animal in the distance and can tell if it is a sheep or a dog?”  “No,” answered the rabbi, “think again!”  The student did, but to no avail.  The rabbi then said, ‘It’s when you can look into the face of another and see that it’s your brother or sister. If you can’t see this, it’s still night.”

So, what tends to keep me from seeing a brother or sister in the face of another?  We are frightened when the image from close-up or from afar is black!  Martin Luther King once said: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Thank you, each of you, for your efforts all along at bringing people together.

May your gift of the Spirit O God continue to enflame our hearts, that we might bring your peace and justice to a troubled world.  Instill in people of every language, race and culture, a commitment to live justly and a desire to be one with you and with your Son, Jesus Christ.  We acknowledge You to be Lord, forever and ever.  AMEN

Bishop Joseph N Perry

2020

Manhood Monday: How to Keep Your Faith Burning

Your weekly dose of “Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man”.

From Today’s Readings:

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Alleluia  PS 119:105

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A lamp to my feet is your word,
a light to my path.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it.”

Saint (Mother) Teresa

To keep our Faith burning we have to keep putting work/effort in it.

“faith without works is dead.” James 2:26

God bless your day.

Catholic Men Chicago Southland Apostolate (CMCS)


Frank’s Photo of the Week

Scout’s Pancake Breakfast – Black and White Photograph Copyright Frank J Casella

“Outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission.”

“The more you are grateful for what you have the more you will have to be grateful for”

“Do more than you are being paid to do, and you’ll eventually be paid more for what you do.”

“A manager is not a person who can do the work better than his men; he is a person who can get his men to do the work better than he can.”

― Zig Ziglar, Top Performance

Thanks for Reading.

Make it a great week. See you back here again next Monday.

Frank J Casella,
CMCS Executive Director

A larger collection of photographs can be viewed on my portfolio.


Not signed up yet? Click here.

Dear Friends and Followers of Catholic Men Chicago Southland (CMCS),

The gospel of John (13) gives us a small clue to the financial needs Jesus and his apostles incurred with the ministry. There was a purse, undoubtedly supplied by the donations of sympathizers and friends who supported Jesus and his apostles as they traveled up and down the roads of Palestine spreading the Good News. That purse was kept by Judas, who unfortunately, turned traitor (John 18). Nonetheless, we are reminded that ministry has its expenses. Not that this is the focus of spreading the Word of God, but also in our modern world there are expenditures connected with ministry. And we strive to keep those modest and accountable to those who generously support what we do to make the Lord better known by others.

What can you give to keep the purse of CMCS functional to deliver that WORD that changes your life?

What price can anyone place on the Lord’s message?

~ Bishop Joseph Perry, CMCS Episcopal Liaison and Co-Founder