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

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