You Know What It Is That Has A Grip On You

By Frank J Casella

In Mark 9: 14-29 the disciples were unable to drive out the demons.  Jesus said “This kind can only come out through prayer” … a variant reading adds “and through fasting.”   

What are your demons? 

What has a grip on you? 

Photo ‘Morning Buzz’ by Frank J Casella on Fine Art America

If you look at what you worry or think about all of the time, or what uses up most of your time, this is what might have a grip on you. This is your demon.  

Said another way, anything that distracts you from growth in holiness with Jesus is your demon.  You know what it is, and you have not been able to get rid of it.  Look what Jesus says: “This kind can only come out through prayer and fasting”.

You don’t have to look very far around you to see that our culture is distracted by consumerism.  Anyone who has a storage shed, or a garage and/or basement packed with stuff is distracted by consumerism. 

Life is not about what clothes you where, or what your body looks like. It’s not about where you work, or what position you hold. Life is not about what college you went to, or what college your kids are going to. Nor what car you drive, or the house you live in. Your identity is not in what sports team you root for, or what jersey you wear. And it’s not about how much money you have, or don’t have.  Life is about the discipline of your identity in Jesus Christ.  Does consumerism have a grip on you, or are you in His grip?

Our culture tells us that we can have what we want, when we want, whenever we want it.  They call it freedom.  Our Church tells us that true freedom comes from our identity in Jesus and discipline … the freedom to have the ability to do what we ought to.

It takes hard work to live the Catholic lifestyle. And the benefits are out of this world!  Our own society tells us to listen to our bodies about what we want in life, and not allow our bodies to be controlled by our soul.  Do you give your body what it wants, or does your soul tell your body “NO”.   One more Coke. One more slice of pizza. Ten more bucks on lotto. Pornography. Gossip. That second helping at dinner. On the couch in front of the TV instead of in a chair reading a spiritual or uplifting book … like the Bible.  Buying that fancy BMW instead of buying a Ford Taurus SHO …. and donating the difference to the poor. 

Having things is not bad, only when we fail to keep them in right perspective.

Our culture tells us that happiness comes from consumerism, and thus our lives are never fulfilled or complete, we always want more.  What we long for is Jesus, but are we afraid?  We as Catholic men are called to change our bad habits into good habits to live a fruitful life.  A happy life.

Look at the sports Champions.  Most of them excel at doing one thing very well, with discipline derived from good habits.  As soon as they lose their focus they suffer.  Whether its your sports or your diet or whatever else, our Church teaches everything in moderation.  Look at the Catholic Saints, the Champions of our Church, they are all known for doing one thing well – transforming their shortcomings into virtues.

What example do we leave our kids when we put them into multiple sporting teams at the same time?  Confusion!  There is a discipline in doing one sport at a time and doing it well.  Sure, they can do them all … just one at a time in different seasons…It’s okay. Each sport activity has its own discipline, and coach, yet we tell our kids they can have what they want, when they want it, instead of inspiring them to make a decision to learn the discipline for one sport / game, and thus for life. 

I saw too many kids a few years back with my son’s basketball team who can’t focus on the basketball game with the rules from one coach because they just came from soccer with rules of a different coach. They don’t make or have time to practice at home, to be prepared, conditioned, and disciplined.  What about you, where or what is the confusion in your life? Are you able to work for two different bosses on the same day? Do you feel that your life is complete and happy?

Faith: Are you going to Mass on Sunday? 

Do you bring your family with you? 

Consumerism wants you to believe that Mass is boring: the Catholic faith is religion and rules. 

Do you go to Mass with an open mind prepared for God to speak to you, or do you just show up? 

Do you remember to take your experience from Mass and share it in everyday life through your thoughts and actions? 

What you think you become. Do you have good intentions … or right-action?

It all starts with prayer and fasting, as Jesus says, then He will come into your life and give you more satisfaction and peace in life than you can imagine.  An hour a week in Holy Adoration.  A day without coffee to sacrifice for someone you know who has a health set back. A day without texting or iPhone … start with two hours … and communicate with Jesus instead.

The Catholic Church says take your eyes off self and put them on serving others. God speaks more through your loving and serving others instead of serving yourself.  Are you listening to your body … or are you listening to your soul? 

Is Love only a feeling to you? Turn Love into an action!  Ask Jesus to reveal to you what your demons are … and what is distracting you fully from passion and purpose in life.  No, don’t tell God what you think it is, but ask Christ to show you your life through His eyes.  Sit in his presence until He speaks to your soul. He has your best interest in His Sacred Heart.  He holds YOU in the palm of His hand.

Do you know what it is that has a grip on you?  Some of you already know, when you begin to live in His grip you will develop growth in Holiness, and become the best man and person that He has called you to be.

Need help getting started?  Do you follow this blog if not alaready? Next study the toolbox for the Catholic man. Questions? Contact us.

Frank J Casella, CMCS Executive Director

Manhood Monday: Living the Christian Lifestyle

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

From Today’s Readings:

Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Alleluia  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.

[1:910] Redemption from sin and the call to holiness of life are not won by personal deeds but are freely and graciously bestowed according to God’s eternal plan.

“If we are going to walk with God and become good Christians we need an inner strength which seems to come from a combination of grace and discipline. This strength is not something we can attain for ourselves; it is a gift God freely gives us when we cooperate with His plan for our lives. When we have this strength within us we will have a Christian effect on our families and other acquaintances. When we don’t have this strength, then the environment has an effect on us. So true is that saying, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything!””

~ Bishop Joseph Perry

God bless your day.

The CMCS-Team


Frank’s Photo of the Week

Are you a holy man?

Catholic Men Chicago Southland is about growing in holiness. No matter if it’s our personal life our our business life, when you grow in holiness the most basic benefits are ethics and integrity. Because when you get the persons right, then you get the life right.

Virtues of a Catholic Man

  • A Catholic man has some sense of what or whom he would die for if necessary.
  • A Catholic man passes his faith to his children and sees to their religious education.
  • A Catholic man informs himself about his faith, reads Scripture, select Catholic literature, and studies the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  • A Catholic man insures that there are sacred symbols in his household, such as, a crucifix(es), Bible, use of sacramentals such as the Advent wreath, Christmas cre`che, etc.
  • A Catholic man leads prayer in his household at significant domestic events, such as, birth, Baptism, graduation, marriage, illness, death, and other special meals and events with use of a passage from Scripture or other Catholic sources.
  • A Catholic man practices presence with his wife and children.
  • A Catholic man invests himself in some project or apostolate at the parish or diocesan level.
  • A catholic man is faithful to his wife, his children, his Church and his friends, indeed all his commitments.

© Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago

Download a PDF copy, click here.

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.

Click here to learn about the annual Bishop Perry’s Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum held on the Saturday after Easter each year. All men from around the Archdiocese of Chicago and surrounding Chicagoland are invited to attend.

Prayer Of One Who Serves As A Member Of The Police

By Bishop Joseph N. Perry

O good Lord, I know well that thou art all perfect and are in need of nothing.  Yet, I know that thou hast taken upon thyself the nature of man and, not only so, but in that nature didst come upon this earth and suffer all manner of evil and didst die for our sake.  This is sacred history which has spilled from the heavens with light and glory and great promise for all who believe in thee.

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.

And, here I am, a member of the police force, sworn to serve and protect the citizens of our city and in so doing bound to meet up with the two glaring portraits of life, sin and evil, goodness and virtue that collide on the streets of the living.  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. 

I left home this day to serve thee and thy people.  I pray you bring me back home safely with my family and loved ones, only to again serve as I am want to do this day and every day. In all things honoring you as the Lord of my life, AMEN

Bishop Joseph N Perry – Archdiocese of Chicago – 2020

Manhood Monday: Being a Disciple of Jesus

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

From Today’s Readings:

Alleluia Jn 14:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

[14:6] The truth: in John, the divinely revealed reality of the Father manifested in the person and works of Jesus. The possession of truth confers knowledge and liberation from sin (Jn 8:32).

“Truth be told, however, Jesus doesn’t want our admiration of him. He wants our discipleship. There’s a difference. Simply, admiring Jesus Christ will not get you saved. Being a disciple of Jesus demands a conscientious, calculated, intentional and determined commitment made to Him and his counsel.”

Bishop Joseph Perry

God bless your day.

The CMCS-Team


Frank’s Photo of the Week

When I saw this moment in time, of a plow in a garden with a chair, it reminded me of my favorite verse from the Bible. Luke 9:62 – “Jesus Said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God”.

What this means to me is like when a farmer plows a field they must be committed to the task to reap the fruit of their labor. Likewise, Jesus in this scripture speaks of the seriousness, and the unconditional nature, of Christian Discipleship. That we must be committed to, and not distracted from, the proclaiming of the Kingdom of God, no matter how briefly.

So then looking at this picture, and the illumination from the morning sun, it’s as if the Holy Spirit is shining on this field with the plow. That there is no time to rest when it’s time to plow.

A picture with a good reminder that God is with us through our work in this world.

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.

Click here to learn about the annual Bishop Perry’s Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum held on the Saturday after Easter each year. All men from around the Archdiocese of Chicago and around Chicagoland are invited to attend.

The Domestic Church: Connecting to Marriage and Family

Where might the word of God be leading us when it comes to our family life?

The word of God leads us to the heart of what it means to be the Church, and therefore also to the heart of what it means to be a Christian family: For the Church and our families to be light, we must be centered on Christ and imitate Him, going out to the peripheries to bring the Gospel.

Marriage and family concerns everyone: Each of us comes from a family. Each of us is a son or a daughter. In God’s plan every child is meant to be the fruit of his or her mother’s and father’s love for each other in the sacred bond of marriage. This is why conversations about marriage and the family in the public square concern all of us, and this is why the Church’s teaching on marriage and family is important for all of us.

Acknowledging the experience and pain of broken marriages and families: Sadly, many of us have experienced or know family or friends who have experienced the pain of a broken marriage and family. Each experience is unique, and the Lord’s mercy is great. Even for those of us who find our family situation difficult –and that probably includes all of us at one time or another! –we each have a role to play in God’s vision of the family. Ultimately, all of us are part of the perfect family –God’s family –as beloved sons and daughters of God the Father.

“Domestic Church”: Very early in the life of the Church, the Christian family, founded upon the covenant of marriage between husband and wife, together with any children they were blessed with, became understood as the domestic church. This understanding has profound implications.

Two – Photograph by Frank J Casella on Fine Art America
Considering particular aspects of the family as the domestic church: What does it mean to call the family the domestic church?

The Catechism of the Catholic Churchspeaks of the family as the place where one learns endurance and the joy ofwork, fraternal love, generous – even repeated -forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life. (CCC, nos. 1656-57). A particular aspect(s) of the domestic church might be highlighted. Concrete stories orexamples could assist as well. Here, let’s take three of the points mentioned in the Catechism as it relates to the family: love, forgiveness, and prayer:

Family as school of love: First, family life is where we are meant to learn to love. The family has its foundation in the promise of lifelong, faithful,and fruitful love between husband and wife.

Family as school of forgiveness: Second, the family, as the domestic church, is called to be a school of forgiveness. Every day, we are reminded that we are far from perfect. We are all sinners in need of mercy, forgiveness, and healing.

Family as school of prayer: And now for the third point, on prayer: to love and to forgive in the way that Christ calls us requires the Lord’s grace. We cannot be salt of the earth and the light of the world without God.

As adomestic church, the family is called to be a school of prayer, keeping the Lord at the center of the home, so that His light will shine brightly throughout the home, into the neighborhood, the community, and the world.

May the Lord be glorified in all our words and deeds, and may our families shine with the light of Christ for all to see.

Resource: World Marriage Sunday 2020 (PDF)

Manhood Monday: Our First Ministry

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

From Today’s Readings:

Memorial of Saint Scholastica, virgin

Alleluia  MT 4:23

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom
and cured every disease among the people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

[4:2325] This summary of Jesus’ ministry concludes the narrative part of the first book of Matthew’s gospel (Mt 34). The activities of his ministry are teaching, proclaiming the gospel, and healing; cf. Mt 9:35.

The time we spend with our family should never be a second thought. It should always be our first thought. ….it is our first ministry.  As husbands and fathers Jesus said we are the priest of our homes, and as dads our job is to get our family members to heaven.

“The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called “the domestic church,” a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.” CCC 1666 and here.

St. Paul said: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church ….. this is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.” Eph. 5:25-32

God bless your day.

The CMCS-Team


Frank’s Photo of the Week

“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

When I see this moment of hands reaching out to God in prayer, in community, it illustrates to me the outword expression of the inner faith of a community of prayers, in belief of what is hoped for.

Said another way, sometimes, when we don’t have answers or can’t provide a soulution, praying to God and trusting Him in faith has proven to do what we can not. In His time and not in ours.

God wants us to depend on Him, and Loves us to the point to provide us the freedom to make that decision.

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.

Click here to learn about the annual Bishop Perry’s Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum held on the Saturday after Easter each year. All men from around the Archdiocese of Chicago and beyond are invited to attend.

Love Your Enemies

How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt.

Watch Arthur Brooks’ Keynote Speech at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 6, 2020 via. C-SPAN. Question: How can we do our part as Catholic men?

Click to view 15 minute video.

More about Arthur Brooks.

Full 2020 National Prayer Breafast Video.