Jesus and Coffee

The impact of Dad’s, the Mass, and the Eucharist.

Glorious Morning – A breakfast sandwich with coffee and the morning sunlight.
Copyright 2015 Frank J Casella on Fine Art America

It is the job of the husband and father, as the priest of his family, to make sure his family goes to church, goes to religious ed, follows the sacraments, and prays together.

I often say, that when a Man leads his family to the pew and lives The Virtues of a Catholic Man it will transform the Church and the Community like no other movement.  Studies tell us that Dad’s determine the church habits of their children and thus to a significant degree their eternal destiny.  According to one study, if a father doesnʼt go to church no matter how faithful the mother is, only one child in fifty will become regular church goers.

If only we knew how God regards this Sacrifice, we would risk our lives to be present at a single Mass.

St. Padre Pio 1887-1968

A few short years ago had to give up coffee as a sacrifice to provide more important needs for my family.  I know coffee seems to be simply an everyday commodity but, when you separate your needs from wants, and when you need to put gas in your car (among other things), you look at what is really important. 

This sacrifice has helped me to realize one thing I put before my relationship with Jesus Christ – we all have a hole in our hearts, and we choose to either fill that hole with Jesus and the Eucharist, or something else – coffee is a want that provides me a temporary fix, and the Eucharist is a need that provides me lasting benefits out of this world!

The gift of the Eucharist clearly gives evidence that Jesus incorporated such ritual into his interaction with his disciples. Jesus made powerful use of parables, metaphors and similes to communicate his message and he obviously used words with untold skill and charisma to comfort, to chastise, to challenge and to command, to teach and to guide his own. It is clear, though, that the gift of his body and blood is a ritual, a physical embrace, a kiss that holds us to his heart.

Bishop Joseph Perry

We are blessed so far to live in a country that we’re not forced to give up the Eucharist for some government regulation or more transient pleasure of this world! If you’re not going to Mass on Sunday or bringing your family with you – your legacy – what has stopped that from happening?

As a husband and Father we’re to get our family to Heaven.

The striking thing about the Holy Eucharist is the bond it establishes between love and suffering in the Lord’s own life and in our experience.

Bishop Joseph Perry

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Frank J Casella

Children and Church

The impact Dad’s have in children going to church.

When I was a kid we always went to Mass each Sunday, though it was hard to keep my siblings together because our ages spanned over fifteen years. My oldest sibling is ten years older than me.

I also remember at church how Dad would step out of the pew to serve as an usher. And, as things changed with the worship, both my parent’s served as Ministers of the Eucharist. It was also important to be silent in church, or you’d hear about it when you got home.

My wife and I continued this with our children, though our practice in the pew was a bit different. Today our children are old enough to worship at their own parish, and God is very important in their lives.

Guys, it is really important that you lead your family to Mass. If you are leaving this for your wife to do, step up!

This all came to mind because now I spend a few times a year in the “cry room” when going to Mass. Because after I visit my spine doctor it takes a few days for my bones to settle, and it’s easier to sit in the chairs in the cry room than pull myself out of the style of pews we have in church. So I’ve noticed some things and suspect it might be this way in the cry rooms across the country.

Guys, it is really important that you lead your family to Mass. If you are leaving this for your wife to do, step up! A lot of times I hear, and see, that parents find it too much of a chore to bring our children to church and, when they get old enough, to just drop them off at religious education without going to Mass.

Research has proven that, although a Mother (a woman) nurtures her children, the decisions that a child makes throughout their lives is based on the positive example and leadership from their Father (a Man).

It’s simple really. The things that matter the most to our children are the giving of self, they need a role model, they need supportive behavior, expressions of love, and they need physical contact.

A Swiss study found that the one overwhelming pivotal factor is the religious practice of the father. Dads determine the church habits of their children, and thus, to a significant degree, their eternal destiny.

I remember when my children were young, there was another family at Mass who had at least seven children. The dad led them into the pew, and if one of the kids acted up they found his hand pull them over to sit next to him. If there was an outburst from the toddlers, they would be taken by mom out of the worship area, and dad always kept the kids (who were) in the pew to focus on the altar.

My wife and I were not this “strict”, but I have to admit this other family was impressive to watch.

My children were raised in the front pew (or at least one of the first three). The rule was that if they acted up we move to the back of the church. Of course this was after the toddler years, once we brought them out from the cry room. And so they didn’t act up that often.

Because the first times they did, I would bring them outside the doors, stand them against the wall, and remind them of the rules of being in the church asking if they want to move to the back. The other factor was they liked to watch all that was going on at the altar, which is the reason for being in the front pews.

When you sit more than half-way back in the pews with your children, they can’t always see what is going on, and this is cause of them to distract us during Mass. Our job as parents, I think, is make our children’s worship experience more important than our own, because it’s a few short years before they get older and out on their own.

We need to separate the cry room from the day care room.

This also applies to the cry room. Many times I find parents using the cry room today as a holding room for their own worship experience. They give their kids something to occupy them, usually a smartphone, that has nothing related to Jesus. Fortunately, my parish provides print-outs for coloring with illustrations of the days Gospel.

Once the child grows out of the baby carrier, this can be a time to teach them how to behave in church so that we can move the family from the cry room and into the pew. To do this, we need to separate the cry room from the day care room. And much of this can be established at home, before getting to church.

This is done by giving our time and nurturing in the cry room, instead of worrying about our own worship experience. Dad’s, if you page through a ‘Jesus book’ in church, this needs to be practiced each day at home so they know how to behave in church.

I’m sharing these nuggets of thought both from how I was raised, and the experiences from my wife and I both raising our own children.

As parent’s if we don’t have influence on our children that God has given to us, someone or something else else will. It’s also our gift back to God.

We are responsible for the Souls of this generation.

Frank J Casella

Life’s Proven Character: Forgive, Encourage, Love

Therefore, I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, to know your proven character, whether you were obedient in everything. 2 Cor. 2:8-9

Bad things were going on in the church in Corinth — really bad things. Sexual sin was rampant, and Paul intended to put an end to it. He wrote a scathing letter intructing the church to discipline a man who had committed a particularly heinous sexual sin. Paul told them to kick him out of the church.

A few months later, a report came back that the church had done what he told them to do, and the man had repented! Church leaders, though, weren’t sure what to do. Should they keep him out or invite him back into the fold?

Paul judges the measures adequate to right the situation (2 Cor 2:6). The follow-up directives he now gives are entirely positive: forgive, encourage, love.

Paul’s stern demeanor dissolved with the news of the repentant heart. Now, he begged them to accept the man back with open hearts. Forgive him, restore him, and accept him as their brother again.

But Paul also gave them a new insight about his intentions: His directive to discipline the sinning brother was a test for the church as much as it was a test for the man. He knew that it would be easier for them to excuse him and act as if his sin were no big deal rather than to blast him and refuse to love him if he repented. But they passed the test.

Dealing with others’ sins is always a test for us. Will we be firm enough to require change in these people, and will we forgive them if they admit they were wrong? Handling sin is life’s biggest test for churches — and for families.

 

Comment questions:

How did your family handle significant sins like addictions, abuse, and rebellion (if they were present in your family)

Describe the purpose and process of dealing with other’s sins.

 

“If you’re not living in the will of God, you are uncomfortable in the Word of God.”

— Zig Ziglar

 

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*Portions of this article are from the book ‘Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar and Ike Reighard

 

The Head of the Household Leads!

Imagine yourself 2000 years ago visiting relatives in Galilee, maybe even the village of Capernaum and a buddy of yours approaches you wishing to introduce you to Jesus of Nazareth who hangs around Capernaum pretty frequently when he’s not at the lakeshore fishing with the men he has chosen to himself, teaching them and throwing in little anecdotes and parables absorbing their attention.

Your friend introduces you to Jesus one afternoon and you find his manner and bearing something that draws you in.  Jesus greets you and calls you by your name, surprisingly.  You don’t say much to the Lord, you are simply fascinated by his person and what he has to say, how he interprets the times and the lessons he offers on how to live uprightly.  You are so drawn to the rabbi from Nazareth you run home and tell your wife about the man you met in Capernaum.  After a sleepless night you decide to drag your wife and children the next day to one of the rallying spots where Jesus teaches.  You so want your wife and children to meet this rabbi who is attracting crowds to himself and lifting hearts.

If you can imagine such a random encounter with Jesus Christ, can you also imagine yourself bringing your wife and children to mass to meet Jesus in the place where he teaches and feeds the crowd – your parish church?

Bishop Joseph N Perry

 

 

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Called To Holiness – Tools For The Catholic Man

Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and supplications with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. – Daniel 9:3

By Frank J Casela

“Some day I want to be like him”.  Have you ever said those words about your Dad?  “Some day I want to be like him”.
 
If your answer is ‘Yes’, consider yourself blessed.  In our culture, boy’s (and girls) with Fathers absent in homes, or who do not have presence, usually beget Father’s absent in homes.

The same is true for teaching (by example) the Catholic Faith in our home. Recent studies tell us that Dads determine the church habits of their children and thus to a significant degree their eternal destiny.  According to one study, if a father does not go to church no matter how faithful the mother is, only one child in fifty will become regular church goers.

Many Men who are high-powered in the board room, are passive in the family room. We come home from work and – like a big kid – veg out and play games first with our kids, instead of mentoring them by giving our wife time (if she is home from also working) – and cultivate the marriage.  You know how it goes: “the best gift that a Father can give his kids is to love their Mother”.

Men — In the home moms do the nurturing … dads build identity.

Whether or not you are married, what is your character as a man?  What is Character?  Character is what you do when no body is looking. In other words, what are you thinking when you see a woman in church wearing (immodest) flip-flops and short shorts?  Do you think about your own needs and desires or, do you view her as a person and women, another man’s daughter, and see her heart? (It is known in the Vatican for women to ‘cover-up’ their beauty, as to not distract from the Mass)

Men — In the Bible, Eve sinned because Adam was silent …. are you silent?

… Or are you holy and courageous, work to improve your marriage, be better father to your children, grow in virtue, serve the needs of others more generously, be active participants in your parish, and be a better citizen.
 
Here is my short list of tools for the Catholic Man:

When I meet Dad’s for coffee each week, many of them admit to me their kids get everything they want, more than they themselves ever had as a kid … but they don’t do anything about it.   The Catholic Bible says “Do not withhold discipline from youths; if you beat them with the rod, they will not die”. Prov. 23:13  In other words, men, it’s okay … give yourself permission to tell your child “NO”. Your kids will respect you for it.
… Pope Francis said on February 8th, 2015: “Effective fathers do not create robot sons who merely repeat verbatim what has been drilled into them. Rather, an effective father transmits wisdom right into his son’s core, enabling him to feel and act, to speak and judge with wisdom and righteousness.”  It is not easy to transmit this heritage of wisdom; a father must be close, gentle but firm with his children.

Penetrate and fill your wife’s heart with your love an affection.  Because, guy’s, when we don’t fill our wives heart, someone or something else will.  It goes back to Adam and Eve: Adam was not protecting Eve’s heart. Women share with me about their husbands saying that “I don’t want his money …as much as I want HIM”.  In other words, men, what she means is that when she doesn’t have YOU … she wants your money.

Read your Bible daily.  Don’t have one?  Start with the “Today’s Reading” on USCCB.org.  Make sure that what you’re reading is a Catholic Bible, as it has the added books called the Apocrypha giving you the fullness of our Catholic Faith. The Bears’ Pat McCaskey shared at our Chicago Men’s Conference that you can read the Bible in a year and still have time off for Christmas.   Don’t forget to have a copy of the Catechism too.

Live the Virtues of a Catholic Man by Bishop Joseph Perry.  Men — Start with one virtue and don’t move to the next until you have it mastered. Download it here.  Live them!

Join or start a Parish Men’s Small Group.  This is where a half-dozen or so Catholic Men meet to share and encourage each other about the challenges they face in the workplace and at home. Contact us for information.

Spend time with your children every day.  Either reading to them if they are young, or in a meaningful conversation.
MEN — The average Dad spends only seven minutes a day with each of his children.
… Pope Francis, in fact, said “To form a child with a wise heart, a father must be present to his children, he has to “be there” for them. This presence is exemplified by Joseph, who famously, never speaks,  yet he provides a silent witness which is powerful.”  Pope Francis understands the dynamics of good fathering – To be present.

Embrace your Catholic Faith. Trust it, and make your life – more of Christ and less of you.   Many of us Men identify ourselves by our paycheck or the sports Jersey we wear, instead of being a child of God, Husband, or Father. Where do we turn when we lose our job or that Jersey gets too small for us to wear?
Men — Give your personal agenda to God … don’t take it back … then watch what He does with it.

Attend weekly Mass or regular Adoration with the Eucharist.  …. and pray for and WITH your wife and family.  Click for A Man’s Prayer by Bishop Perry.  For example, the greatest image I have of my late father is how he prayed each morning in in a room with the lights out – just him and God – before leaving for work. The greatest image my boys say they have of me is how I kiss the crucifix each morning as soon as I wake up.
Men — When you go to Mass each Sunday, bring yourselves to the Altar … to the Eucharist … as a living sacrifice.

Turn off the TV and read some books!  ‘Journey to Heaven’  — Randy Hain  or  ‘Be A Man’ —  Fr. Larry Richards  Don’t have time …. again, turn off the TV.  Find resources for Catholic men here.

Men — in the end, life is God’s gift to you … what you do with your life is your gift to God.

Make a commitment to holiness …. In the words of Pope Francis “The Church, our Mother, is committed to supporting with all her strength the good and generous presence of fathers in families, because they are, for the new generations, irreplaceable custodians and mediators of faith in goodness, in justice and in the protection of God, as Saint Joseph.”

Thus the mission of CMCS — Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man.

 
Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and supplications with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. – Daniel 9:3

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Frank J Casella is Executive Director of Catholic Men Chicago Southland CMCSVirtues.org

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The Catholic Catechism says at paragraph 1193 ” Sunday, the “Lord’s Day,” is the principal day for the celebration of the Eucharist because it is the day of the Resurrection. It is the pre-eminent day of the liturgical assembly, the day of the Christian family, and the day of joy and rest from work. Sunday is “the foundation and kernel of the whole liturgical year” (SC 106).    What this says is that NOTHING should distract you from the Eucharist unless it is absolutely necessary. That Sunday and the Eucharist is the nucleolus of your life where the ripple effect comes from to all of your other relationships and activities.

— Frank J Casella, CMCS Executive Director