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

Concentration is hard work

By Frank J Casella

Finding it hard to spend time with God, and to listen, is one of the responses that came from the recent Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum, about The Restless Journey of Life. That Eucharistic Adoration is one of the methods suggested for calming us down.

It turns our that Monks shared the same experience years ago, says Cal Newport in his recent blog article:

The monks were on to something. Concentration is hard work. It requires, for lack of a better word, more serious attention.

I too have found a calming during Adoration time, though I had to figure out that spending quiet time every day to ‘drain my brain’ helped to focus my concentration once I got to the Adoration Chapel. Otherwise all these thoughts and concerns would occupy my thinking and I had a hard time tuning in and listening to God speak. Many men at the Forum it seems resonate with this, as we were able to connect the dots to confirm we are not alone.

When you give God the space to speak, He has a lot to say.

I also find with men, that when we do sit down guy’s say they don’t hear God. The answer I found to this is when you think it is time to get up from prayer, that is actually the time that God is ready to speak, so stay put. Usually what happens then is all these phrases enter your brain that you better have pen and paper ready or you won’t remember it all.

You don’t rush this. Don’t treat God like a drive-up. He wants to know your intentional, and not distracted, because what He has to say is always something constructive. Many blog posts here, for example, have come from my Adoration time. Usually as a side thought, while themes and words from God fill my head on what I need to think about, instead of what I am thinking about.

Distractions today are, or at least they seem, at an all time high today considering technology. But, again, the Monks shared the same concerns, so I think it is a matter of being intentional about our concentration so that we can be the Catholic Man that God calls us to be. For example, I shared at the Forum how I use a flip-phone, because I said smartphones can steal our attention.

I didn’t mention that a main reason for my opinion on this is because I have lived through several car accidents where the other drivers where distracted by the smartphone. But I have also found that having a flip phone keeps me focused on my own thoughts, instead of spending time like on social media channels to see what others think instead.

I find that I am writing better because of more concentration or, rather, I feel better about my writing (whether or not it’s better is not for me to decide). I am writing on the thoughts God is placing in my heart, and not so much what others are saying. I’m always impressed with Bishop Perry, for example, because he does not own any social media account yet the thoughts and direction he provides for this apostolate are profound and you’d think he was (part of the conversation on Twitter or Facebook and) in the know.

Rather, he is out in the ministry field and has his finger on the pulse of his Vicariate. I also have several pictures of him alone in prayer at our events with the Rosary and with God. Doing the work of a bishop leading his flock and being with the people when he needs to be, otherwise he is in prayer. He works at it, and so can we. What more example do we need men because of the responsibility we have in the work place, at home with our family, and if we are married.

It is easier to be distracted, and that is what makes (the hard work of) concentration to cause more serious attention.


Thanks for reading. Find me on LinkedIn linkedin.frankjcasella.com

Holy Mass. Holy Eucharist.

Are you leading your family to Mass at least every Sunday?  It’s not what you get from the Mass but what you bring to it …. How you bring yourself to the Altar as a Living Sacrifice to Jesus.

10 Quotes That Will Change the Way You Attend Holy Mass

1. When the Eucharist is being celebrated, the sanctuary is filled with countless angels who adore the divine victim immolated on the altar. ~ St. John Chrysostom

2. The angels surround and help the priest when he is celebrating Mass. ~ St. Augustine

3. The celebration of Holy Mass is as valuable as the death of Jesus on the cross. ~ Saint Thomas Aquinas

4. Once, St. Teresa was overwhelmed with God’s Goodness and asked Our Lord “How can I thank you?” Our Lord replied, “ATTEND ONE MASS.”

5. “My Son so loves those who assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that, if it were necessary He would die for them as many times as they’ve heard Masses.” ~ Our Lady to Blessed Alan

6. When we receive Holy Communion, we experience something extraordinary – a joy, a fragrance, a well-being that thrills the whole body and causes it to exalt. ~ Saint Jean Vianney

7. There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, He would have given it to us. ~ Saint Jean Vianney

8. When we have been to Holy Communion, the balm of love envelops the soul as the flower envelops the bee. ~ Saint Jean Vianney

9. It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do without Holy Mass. ~ St. Pio of Pietrelcina

10. If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy. ~ Saint Jean Vianney

Bonus. 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

Bishop Joseph N. Perry: The Eucharist

Let me tell you a true story of a 6-year old Jewish boy named Mortakai who refused to go to school.  Each day, despite his protests, his mother walked him to school but as soon as she left him, he ran back home only to have his mother bring him back to the school once again.

This scenario played itself out for several days with Mortakai continuing to refuse to stay in school and his parents refusing to acquiesce to his desires.  No bribe or threat could convince Mortakai to change his mind.

Finally, in desperation, the boy’s parents took him to their rabbi, who said, “If the boy won’t listen to words, bring him to me.”

When the parents brought their son into the rabbi’s study he said not a word.  He simply picked up the boy and held him to his heart for a long time.  Then, without speaking a word, he set the boy down.

What words alone could not accomplish a silent embrace did.

Not only did Mortakai go to school willingly he went on to become a great scholar and rabbi.

This parable wonderfully expresses the essence of the Holy Eucharist.  Through the Eucharist, and through all the sacraments for that matter, God physically embraces the believer and holds the believer close to the divine heart.

Words remain important, of course, but at times and in the most critical situations, words can fail us.  When this occurs, we have recourse to another language – the language of ritual which can say what words cannot.

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.

Another illustration:

There comes a time, usually late in the afternoon, when children tire of playing with their regular amusements.  It is then that a little one begins to torment his brother or sister.  Mothers are all too familiar with this particular dynamic. The day has been long and supper time is drawing near, the child is tired and begins to whine. The mother, too, is tired, but must turn her attention to supper.  She begins to scold. The child, tense and miserable, begins to whimper. The mother, in that moment, knows exactly what to do. She scoops up the child and without speaking holds the child to her heart.

This is an apt image for the Eucharist. Each of us comes to the Eucharist, at times tense, overwrought and needy.  We have devolved into torturing one another and are unhappy with ourselves.  Misery sometimes loves company.

There are times when we have no words, want to hear no words, will not heed any words.  Nevertheless, in that wordless moment, God picks us up and, like a mother calming her child, touches us.  In that moment, only physical embrace, physical touch will suffice.

This is why God, in Jesus, gave us the Eucharist and it is this physical embrace by the divine that we celebrate today, all the while remembering that when we are sacramentally and physically embraced at Eucharist we become one with the One who nourishes us and one with all other believers in the embrace of the One Spirit.

The sacred writers of the New Testament advanced forward the idea of life in the sacramental blood, offered by Jesus to his followers.

There is no make-believe here, no pageantry, no play acting.  This is real.  This is Real Presence.  We hold not a wafer in our hands but the body and blood of the Lord. We hold not a cup of wine in our hands but the chalice which holds the blood of Jesus spilled that we might be rescued.  Eucharist is Jesus’ choice to remain with us in breathtaking intimacy, in his Eucharistic body and blood.

Something takes place on that altar only God can do!  Real Presence, therefore, is distinct from mere memorial presence.

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.

At the cross, God wrapped his heart in flesh and blood and let it be nailed to the cross for our ransom

2009 CMCS

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Dear Friend,
Welcome to our blog – Catholic Chicago Men; our way of connecting with you and letting you know about the spiritual direction of Catholic men wishing to live the gospel in their lives.  This is a way also where you can keep in touch with us, let us know what you are thinking.  We hope you check us out regularly for updates!
Sincerely in the Lord,
Rev. Bishop Joseph Perry, Archdiocese of Chicago

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