Manhood Monday: The Words of Eternal Life

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

From Today’s Readings:

Monday of the Second Week in Lent.

Verse Before the Gospe l Jn 6:63c, 68c

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

Spirit and life: all Jesus said about the bread of life is the revelation of the Spirit.

Needing to go to Confession is like needing to check in with a doctor regarding our physical health.  We cannot afford to neglect spiritual doctoring of our souls any more than we can afford to neglect a physical doctor of our bodies.  The Sacrament of Penance also works for a healthy life.  Mature and healthy men are men who can take themselves to task, recognize their mistakes and take aim to correct those mistakes for the sake of positive connections with their spouse, their children, their friends, the people they work with and, therefore our God.

Check your parish confession schedule or some parish, shrine or oratory that has a regular confession schedule.

Bishop Joseph Perry: ‘Haven’t Been To Confession In A While?’

God bless your day.

The CMCS-Team


Frank’s Photo of the Week

Photo: ‘Swing’ by Frank J Casella on Fine Art America
The Playground of Life

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that the world is our playground? Though, I’ve noticed that many times we can learn from a playground about how to live in the world.

One day as I was taking the dog for a walk by a playground, I couldn’t help but notice a young brother and sister being corrected by their parent about sharing a swing.

The older child said somthing to tease the younger, causing the younger to slug the older. The parent corrected the younger about making a bad decision, yet didn’t correct the older, and then asking the two to appologize to each other.

This incident made me wonder how these two children will behave when they grow up, and what the world would be like without forgiveness.

Then the answer came to just look around us. How many people do you know who’ve shared their life experiences about others, where there wouln’nt be an issue if they’d just say “I’m Sorry” and forgive?

So, it seems that saying “I’m sorry” is a key to making life easier as we play in the playground of life.

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.


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

Trust In God

The thing we have as Catholic men is to live out our salvation in Christ through the Sacraments.

20 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid, for God has come only to test you and put the fear of him upon you so you do not sin.”
21 So the people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the dark cloud where God was.

Exodus 20:20-21

How is the battle going?

I met with Deacon Coleman one day, from Zacchaeus House ministry, he is a member of the CMCS-Team. We got to talking about ministry to men, how guys worry about work and family, about providing and how to live their faith.

Like how many guys need jobs, and how some union guys go into poverty because they can’t do side-work while waiting their turn on the list for a job. There are marriages and relationships with strife because of worry and (living up to) expectations, feelings that we are all falling short of our goal.

The answer to all of this is to slow down and trust in God. Simply said but not simple to do.

Why?

Because do you find most of us guys are spending too much time not trusting in God, though we say that we do, but trusting in ourselves? Or listening to others on social media instead of listening to God?

Once we realize our way isn’t working is when we seek God and pray for answers. And anger happens usually when things are not going our way.

Many of us too fear silence … quiet time with the Lord.

This is where CMCS comes in. Here is a movement of men who, whether online or one-on-one, or through our annual events, is a place where we learn about the common challenges we face as men in the workplace and at home, on our spiritual journey.

I, as Director, struggle with trusting in God too…. For one, how to be the voice of reason here after meeting with several of you one-on-one about developing your holiness. Sometimes I try too hard to get it right, instead of trusting the Holy Spirit to speak to you through me.

You see,  God designed us men as problem solvers, and the best way to solve a problem is to spend time in prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit so we can meet God where He is at work .

… that is our goal as Catholic men. Yes, easier said than done.

Embrace the darkness. If we have developed trust in God in the light, we’ll embrace Him in the darkness, and in fact, we’ll even embrace the darkness as His path for us.

In other words, when we experience darkness, we’ll back away if our faith is weak, but we’ll move into it if our faith has been strengthened by years of experience in seeing God’s faithfulness, grace, and power.

The thing we have as Catholic men is to live out our salvation in Christ through the Sacraments.

Here is one tip:

“It is a defined dogma of the Catholic Church, revealed by the Holy Spirit and preserved from any possibility of error, that the Body and Blood,Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ are truly and substantially present in the Most Holy Eucharist.”  CCC 1373-1375. Eucharist is not a symbol. The Mass is not a pageant or play acting or a skit anymore than the Lord’s horrendous death on the cross was a skit.

Now what are you waiting for? Go into battle!

Frank J Casella

Be in the Moment and Meet God Where He is at Work

Going through my LinkedIn feed, I came across this post by Father Michael Sliney which caught my eye. It says:

Not meeting expectations?
Start with human relations…,
Telecommunications…,
Feelings and fluctuations…,
But where is your foundation?

Life is messy…filled with bumps,
Never a “hop, skip and jump”,
Jesus had his share of lumps,
He’s not focused on your slump,
Accept his love and fist pump!

Then the graphic reads:

“At some point you just have to let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening. “

This caught my attention because it made me think of all the people I know who need to let go of their agendas.  But then the thought came to me, call it my years in men’s ministry or wisdom from the Holy Spirit, that said ‘the best way to change others is to change myself first’.

This caused me to think deeper into all the ways that I am stubborn about how things should go, and all the things that are not working because I’ve maybe not let go of them, and instead just live in the moment and see what God does with it.

Case in point, there is this thing about me that when I decide to do something, I do it with great passion or I just don’t do it. And the thought occurred to me that maybe my job is to just plant the seeds in the process of these opportunities instead. To be a contributor of the process, but not the one to bring the process to completion, that may allow the Holy Spirit to open up the heart to hearing the Gospel though we may not see it in the moment.

Do you think?

How many times do we as men find a project and take charge, or fix things or situations with the confidence that we don’t need any help? We know what needs to be done, and how to do it.  And, so, when we see this it should first trigger us to seek what God says about it, even if it takes more time to meet the goal.

When I have done this, other people or circumstances come into the fold that shows a better direction. This is God at work, and we have to be attuned to His voice in these matters.

“But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. “ Matthew 6:33


Frank J Casella

LinkedIn.com/in/frankjcasella

The CMCS-Team contributed to this article.

How do you know what God asks of you?

Husbands – If your love is motivated by God, your Wife will know it, and it will be reflected in the climate of your relationship.

Likewise – A Woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to see Him just to find Her.

When I’m talking with Catholic men about their personal holiness, one of the most common things that comes up is how a man says that he can never make his Wife happy. That no matter what he does to stay one step ahead of her, to fix things as us men are wired to do, she is often telling him what he is doing wrong.

My answer to this is simply to please God before your Wife. In other words, when we decide that we want to live life God’s way instead of our way, we are going to have to give up our way and trust that God’s way is better.

Our wives will see in due time how we’ve abandoned our own selfish ways, and get our ego out of our own way, and are waiting on the Lord to show us the better way. In other words, please God in all we do, before others, and your Wife will follow your lead.

God does not need you to do His work. He needs you do be obedient to His will. God’s will is that we depend on Him.

How do you know what God asks of you to please him?

Silence.

The Holy Spirit is a very powerful aspect of the Holy Trinity, but I believe is taken too much for granted. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “listen to your gut”. What this means in the spiritual life is to listen to your ‘knower’. The Holy Spirit is the communicator for the Father and the Son, and lets you know what they are saying to you.

But the problem we have in our culture today is too many distractions. Things that keep us from true solitude to listen to our own thoughts and what we believe truly, and what God is saying to us truly.

We allow the news media and social media, and opinions of others, to influence what we think and all of this waters down what God is trying to say to us.

Jesus is the source of true power in life, and with your wife. Yet, when we seek our own power outside God’s will is to serve Satan, to be blunt with you.

Ultimately, us men live for an audience of One. God is the only One who is worthy of our affections and allegiance. When we compare ourselves with others, we quickly become consumed with pride or envy, and our passion for Christ quickly fades. To make the choice for Godly passion, we need to value God’s purposes more than distractions and getting ahead of others, and we need to care about people’s souls (including our own) than cars, clothes, and vacations.

It doesn’t come easy because, like the example of Jesus, it is through our struggles and being tempted by Satan beyond our self control that we locate the source of real strength, power, and true freedom in Jesus.

The benefits, as ‘they’ say, are out of this world!

You shall worship the Lord, your God,
and him alone shall you serve.” Luke 4:1


Frank J Casella is a photographer, and co-founder of Bishop Perry’s Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum.