Giving Thanks. Living In Peace.

Life, and the persons we share it with, is too short.

12We ask you, brothers, to respect those who are laboring among you and who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you, 13and to show esteem for them with special love on account of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, cheer the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient with all. 15See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good [both] for each other and for all. 16Rejoice always. 17Pray without ceasing. 18In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

1 THES Chapter 5:12-18

I have a confession to make. I have lived through at least seven car accidents while I was the driver. None of them have I caused, just my being in the wrong place at the ‘right’ time. However, all of them caused me to reflect on me asking “why did that happen”?!!

But that’s not the real confession ….

The confession is that all of those accidents revealed my unfinished business in that moment had I died, and how I needed to work on each day to correct things that went wrong ‘yesterday’ … and (do that) for the rest of my life. As a Catholic man, it is my responsibility, as it is yours, to be a spiritual leader for our family and an example of our relationship with Christ!

Our first ministry is to get our faimily to Heaven.

I’m sure if you ask your priest or deacon they will tell you the number of people they see at funerals who’ve gone up to bodies and weeping over unsettled issues. The closer you get to people, the more you have disagreements.

It seems that everywhere you look people want to fight you. And today both online and offline. Conflict resolution involves making right towards others to be at peace with all people – and we can’t change others until we can change ourself first.

Bishop Perry’s Men’s Forum 2018

Every day you and I need to work toward living and being “The Goodness of a Catholic Man”, and a servant leader after God’s own heart. Many times we have good intentions but hide behind, or allow, things that distract us to never take action on our responsibilities: prayers or the Cross, the TV clicker, your fears, gossip, sports, money, pornography, work …. the list goes on.

What do you hide behind ?

If you are married, are you and your wife a “gift” to each other, or do you repay evil for evil? Do either or both of you withdraw from the other to make them “pay the price”? Do you threaten divorce instead of work on better communication, no matter what it takes? If so, what is it going to take for you to look at each other in the eyes and say ” YOU ARE NOT MY ENEMY!!! “

Men – how do you talk to your wife? You may have issues, but she is the ONE (that you married and thus God gave to you), and so treat her like the queen of your household. Because she is!! I have learned, when our wives are unhappy, more often than not it’s because of our selfishness (just saying), by not filling her with our love and affection in the way God that made her.

What about your family members: children, siblings, parents, cousins, uncles and aunts … and even close friends … to name a few? As Father Larry Richards says, “the best way to set people free is with your love, not your judgement”. Yes, sometimes we need to tolerate family or friends, and other times we need to remove persons from our lives because they cause a threat to our health or to our life. But, otherwise, Christ calls us in all things to respect each other as a person, as a man or as a woman, no matter how we feel about them.

The reality is that God doesn’t need you or me to do His work! He needs us to love people and let them experience an example of what it is to be Catholic! To be contagious with our Faith!! Spiritual poverty is very common because of our hard hearts. To become the body of Christ we all need to be renewed in prayer.

Let us bring our questions to Jesus. Let Him show us through this renewal how to witness the way in His love.

…. So, going forward, I challenge you to take the steps needed to take care of unfinished business! You know what it is.

Instead of tolerating those persons or issues, this time tackle them like a football superstar … even if it means to make a stop at confession as a first step. Reconciliation and Forgiveness is not a bad thing. Pride and dictating is. In your position of spiritual leadership in the home, responsibility and integrity matters!

Pray is the best way. God, through our action, will then show us how to do the rest.

Life, and the persons we share it with, is too short. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

Frank J Casella

Author: Catholic Men Chicago Southland

Catholic Men Chicago Southland fosters Catholic Men in personal holiness, to make Jesus Christ the center of our daily lives, and sponsors the Catholic Chicago Men's Forum, a Catholic Apostolate of Most Reverend Joseph N. Perry of Chicago. Executive Director, Frank J. Casella Vision: To Nurture Catholic Men's Spirituality in the Chicago Southland