Love Your Enemies

How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt.

Watch Arthur Brooks’ Keynote Speech at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 6, 2020 via. C-SPAN. Question: How can we do our part as Catholic men?

Click to view 15 minute video.

More about Arthur Brooks.

Full 2020 National Prayer Breafast Video.

Learning to Love

Do you feel loved by anybody?

Do you believe God loves you?

St. John wrote about love 72 times, and Love is mentioned in the Bible over 400 times.


For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

John 3:16

If love is missing in your life, a vital part of your life is missing, because Love is a vital part of life.


Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.

1 John 4:7-11

Love is more than an emotion. It is a commitment to another person.

Love can also discern true love in others.

Love is not free. God’s love for us is free from Him, otherwise it demands something from us.

God’s creation was an act of Love. Genesis 1:1

God didn’t create us to live without Love.

If you feel loved by someone you feel complete, competent, and feel worthy.

Love is generous, unselfish. It doesn’t say ‘I’, it is always thinking about the other person.

Love is more fulfilled because it is giving. Love does not give in order to receive.

Love is forgiving. The crucifix, what did He do for you?

Love desires to express itself. It is like an emotional spring, it keeps on flowing.

Our needs are not material, physical, or financial, but a need to love and be loved.

If you see someone hurting and don’t have love you walk away.

Love does not keep count. Love is in the business of giving.

Sometimes love is very painful. You can love someone who doesn’t love you, and you have to keep loving and forgiving. Because it hurts people want to give up and quit. But love always wins when you keep giving.

Love another because who they are as a person. Jesus loves you because you are you.

Love is patient. Love knows how to wait.

Love does not hold grudges, it is willing to keep forgiving.

Jesus is a perfect example of love, He loves the world. Just keep on loving and you are the most like Jesus.

Love is not all about ‘me’. When you read the Bible you will find how Jesus has the most ultimate way to love.

When we go to confession, all that we have done in life that falls short of God’s Love for us is washed away.

Look at the crucifix, and put on Love.


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Love and Marriage Support

This collection of Catholic marriage quotes and resources from a variety of Church documents and Saints, and authors of marriage books, can be read, shared, and reflected upon by married couples and couples preparing for marriage, as well as the parishioners who support them on their journey.

First a scripture on marriage and divorce that you often hear at weddings:

When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.

Great crowds followed him, and he cured them there.

Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”

He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’

and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.

They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss [her]?”

He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.

I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”

[His] disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.

He answered, “Not all can accept [this] word, but only those to whom that is granted.

Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.” — Matthew 19:1


Marriage is not only a sacrament, but a very serious commitment as well. We only should enter into this relationship when we can accept all that it brings. In our present day more people seem to divorce, for example, but in the ‘old days’ people stuck with their marriage no matter what. For this reason it is important for us men to consistently be a Man of God, and to surround ourselves with people who are solid pro-marriage. Below are some scriptures and quotes to support love and the marriage covenant:

Love that leads to marriage is a gift from God and a great act of faith toward other human beings.

St. Pope John Paul II

Just as God’s love is stable and lasts forever, we want the love on which a family is based to be stable and to last forever. We must not allow ourselves to be conquered by a ‘throwaway culture.’

Pope Francis Meeting with Engaged Couples at the Vatican, St. Valentine’s Day 2014.

Website – Marriage: Unique for a Reason is an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. The gift of grace increases as the struggle increases.

St. Rose of Lima

A woman’s most security need is often for her assistance that her husband is committed to her.

Dr. Gary Chapman

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love

Saint Mother Teresa

The saints did not all begin well, but they ended well.

St. John Vianney

Often a matter of focus: Why is it when we are dating, we focus time and attention on each other. But after a few years of marriage we focus on everything else. Fact is, we desperately need each other.

Dr. Gary Chapman

Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in You.

St. Augustine of Hippo

Any rejection of bodiliness will immediately target two beautiful but demanding and sometimes inconvenient realities: marriage and the child.

Bishop Olmstead at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast 2019

Archdiocese of Chicago Marriage and Family Ministry Team.

Finally, enter the word marriage, love, or divorce into the search box on this blog for the latest articles and resources.

National Marriage Week

The observances of National Marriage Week and World Marriage Day are an opportunity to focus on building a culture of life and love that begins with supporting and promoting marriage and the family.

Also, the website For Your Marriage, is a resource of the US Catholic Bishops and, helps couples at all stages of life to understand and live God’s plan for happy, holy marriages by providing educational and spiritual resources.

National Marriage Week USA is every February 4th to the 17th.


On Living Our Lives To Bring Goodness Into The World

Branch Out
Photo © Frank J Casella All Rights Reserved here

 

Branch Out

By Frank J Casella

When I saw this moment of the golden hour morning sunlight illuminate the twisting branches of a tree, it made me think about family, friends, and the (end of year) holidays.

Our lives are a work in progress, they take many twists and turns, and each of us takes a different direction in life.

As we gather for the holidays, sometimes it can be very trying. Said another way, sometimes our friends can be more like family than our own family.

My take on it — branch out.

My late brother used to pick on me often at family gatherings, almost to the point that I didn’t show up at times. After he passed away it hit me in a big way what he was doing. That he was trying to express how much he believed in me but didn’t know how say it or show it. He really loved me as a brother.

Two days before he passed, it was he who called me to tell me how much he loved me.

If we allow the actions of others to build resentment towards them, we face the danger of spending the rest of our lives judging them instead of loving them for the person they are.

It is said that ‘hate corrupts the container it is in.’

All this to say, we branch out when our actions are what bring Family together or not. Be patient and try to see what others are saying or where they are coming from.

I learned from a very important friend the hard way, that every person has a right to their opinion. We also have a right to accept it or progress on without it.

For those of us who live our Faith, to branch out means that He is the vine and we are the branches. See everyone through the eyes of Christ. Love them, don’t judge them …

Yes, easier said than done. But unless we are on the edge of our chair, then we are not depending on God’s will and living our faith.

 

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

 

If you found this article meaningful please rate it below. 

 

 

 

The Secret Formula In Friendship Love

By Frank J Casella

I’ve heard it said often, the best way to find a girlfriend or boyfriend is at church. I often chuckle at this, because many couples I talk to who’ve been married a long times says the best way is to remove the “girl” and the “boy’ and just be ‘friends’.

In our culture today if you’re dating someone it usually means you are having sex with them. The interesting thing I find is that when you remove the sex from dating how fast the “boy” and “girl” talk about marriage.  For this reason ….

Read the rest of the story on CMCS Flickr

Jesus’ Love has No Boundaries

Note: This blog entry is from the authors homily archives.

By Deacon John Rangel

The Scripture selections for the 20th Sunday of Ordinary Times contain several themes and images for our consideration. As I reflected on and prayed over the readings during the past two weeks, images of certain people lodged in my mind …foreigners, immigrants, Gentiles, the Canaanite woman and other outsiders. Classes of people that Scripture tells us were excluded from temple worship, social and cultural participation and discriminated against in many other ways. They were not invited in but rather held in distain, contempt and hatred. Today, as we survey the current social, civic, moral, religious and political conditions in our country and abroad not much has changed over 4,000 years.

I have to be honest and say that the horrific and tragic events of the past ten days
have been very unsettling for me, and I suspect for all people of good will, and
people who know, love and serve God. My initial homily focus was on themes
drawn from today’s readings like: “All are Welcome”, “Jesus’ love has no
Boundaries”, “Persistence in Prayer”, “Make room for Others”, and Insiders and
Outsiders”. I thought… surely I can craft a homily around one of these themes that
speaks to the heart of people through the word of God in this time and place.

Then Charlottesville happened – August 12, three dead many injured. August 17
Barcelona, Spain, 17 dead, hundreds injured. Both deadly events triggered by
hatred, anger, bigotry, racism and religious fanatics. Then on August 16 mudslides
in Sierra Leon killed hundreds and hundreds more are missing. And yes the sun
will disappear in our area Monday, August 21 beginning at 11:54AM. Tranquility
and peacefulness are missing in so much of our world. But the evil one is gleeful!

Not surprising, my mind became clouded, my heart heavy because of these events
so I turned to God and prayed .” God what can I say? Holy Spirit what should I
say? The answer came in a Sunday reflection I happened to read this week on a
Catholic web site (LPI) by Fr. Mark Suslenko. His thoughts and words about Life
with Conflicting Opposites spoke directly to my heart.

I will share Fr. Mark’s reflection now for your prayerful consideration.

Life with Conflicting Opposites
One of the graced blessings of Christianity is learning how to develop and sharpen the gift of discernment in the face of opposites. As believers we are asked to internalize the Gospel message, allowing it to enlighten our minds and inform our actions.

A simple authentic and honest encounter with another human being can reveal hidden truths, allow enemies to embrace, and mutual respect to flourish. It is necessary to journey into the heart of a person in order for walls, prejudices, and antiquated barriers to be removed. Inclusivity has been one of the hallmarks of God’s agenda from the beginning of time. His house is intended to be “a house of prayer for all peoples” where human dignity is safeguarded regardless of who we are, where we come from, and what we believe.

It sometimes requires that we take a radical stance in order to catch people’s attention and reveal the smallness and ego-centeredness of their thinking—whether this be a religious community of nuns deciding to construct a new outdoor chapel in order to protect the sacredness of their ground from the path of an intended pipeline; a bride-to-be who calls off her wedding and invites the homeless to her reception; two known enemies sitting down and finding resolution to a common issue; restructuring our priorities to give more service to the poor and vulnerable; learning how to offer the hand of forgiveness and mercy rather than anger, resentment, hatred and bitterness; or embracing the agony and suffering of crucifixion on the cross.

We live with seemingly conflicting opposites all of the time. Jesus’ message offers us a way to bring two distinct realities together and discover a central, healing, and harmonious meeting place. We are people of the “already and the not yet” who are called to live in this tension regardless of the cost. We are asked to love as God loves as we live in the broken, the contradictory, the mundane, the silly, and even evil.

It is not our task to get everyone on the same page, to create some uniform and consistent way of thinking, or become robotic in our approach to life. It is, however, our call to be open to God’s surprises, to be vehicles of healing, to discern what God has in mind for our world and for us, to challenge conventional and outdated ways of thinking and being, and becoming risk-takers whose thoughts and actions catch people’s attention and cause them to think.

It requires that we drop the exaggerated concern we have with ourselves and the impressions people may have of us and risk looking silly as we find our way through this often silly but graced world.

As our relationship with God unfolds and we begin to celebrate the love relationship we have with our Creator, we will lose our preoccupation with trying to score points for heaven or achieving some personal satisfaction and learn how to love and embrace all things and people as God does. We will understand that the primary task of discipleship is learning how to discern and cooperate with God’s life-giving, loving, and all unifying plan of salvation. Only a contemplative heart can love those most difficult to love and do what is most challenging and risky to do. O God, let all the nations praise you!
Rev. Mark Suslenko

 

Brothers and sisters the events of the past ten days should be troubling and disturbing to all God’s people. As disciples of Jesus Christ we are called to be witnesses of love and forgiveness, to oppose hatred and bigotry and other evils against humanity whenever and wherever it occurs, to stand with all our marginalized brothers and sisters.

We need the persistence of the Canaanite woman. We should talk to people about the sinful nature of hatred, bigotry, and anger and its destructive power and explain to them how we can overcome it.

Let that Canaanite woman be our example and let us be quick with our arguments and have answers ready for those who dismiss our faith and belittle our beliefs.

Christ was a bit off-hand with that woman as a way of getting her to express her faith. Let us be like her and be fearless in explaining to others those things that bring true meaning and purpose to our lives.

 

Deacon John Rangel is Director of Mission for Catholic Men Chicago Southland Apostolate

 

PRAYER
What we would like to do is change the world—
Make it a little simpler for people
To feed, clothe and shelter themselves
As God intended them to do…
We can to a certain extent change the world;
We can work for the oasis,
The little cell of joy and peace in a harried world.
We can throw our pebble in the pond
And be confident that its ever widening circle
Will reach around the world…
There is nothing that we can do but love,
And dear God—please enlarge our hearts
To love each other, to love our neighbor,
To love our enemy as well as our friend.

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