Are God’s Priorities Your Priorities?

Suggestions for making what is important in life, priorities

Photo: ‘Day of Interment‘ – Copyright 2019 Frank J Casella on Fine Art America
No Second Chances

Over the recent months there has been much in the news about the meaning of life. The COVID-19 virus is the one important thing that happened and caused us all to put things into perspective. We are all faced with death like overnight.

I couldn’t help but think of the number of car accidents that I have lived through, and the thoughts on how close those came to put me a similar state of death. We only live one life here on earth, and we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. There are no second chances!

Sometimes we get so busy with our priorities, obligations, and agendas that it is easy to forget what is most important: Relationships.

This is why it is so important to always take care of unfinished business, and to prioritize our relationships? Spending meaningful time with the persons who are important to us and our life, and let them know this. Do the things that show them this.

In the business world we are taught that you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. There is much in life today that recycles but, with the years we have left, God willing, what is the lasting impression that YOUR life makes on this world? If you are a husband or father, your wife or children need your influence more than they may tell you … or even know!

In other words, after you and I die is there evidence that we have lived?

…. or are we just passing through???

God’s Presence In – and Through – Your Life

There was a time in my life when I was allowing myself to be used by technology, especially email. I had several email addresses (at least way more than I have now), and it bothered me when I couldn’t respond to an email within ten minutes. Short of the long, I was having an “affair” with technology and my computer.

Today, I track my computer time, designate “offline times” and make a WBO list (when back online), and shut down my computer at night so that I don’t go back to it. I don’t use a Smartphone, rather a flip phone when out and tablet with WIFI when inside, and I contact my friends the old-fashioned way = I call or visit them to make our relationship benefit from personal touch.

“A Catholic man practices presence with his wife and children”.

Bishop Joseph Perry

This is one of Bishop Perry’s “Virtues of a Catholic Man”. Presence is what technology in our present age cannot replace. With Smartphones the average person today consumes 350 percent more information than someone living just 25 years ago.

This information overload leads to shortened attention spans, memory loss, mental fatigue, and – in some users- a form of addiction. It is said that the average person’s attention span is that of a gold fish: nine seconds. Remember when Facebook was known as the “third largest country”? And Twitter was known as the “water cooler”.

The Pontifical Council for Social Communications addresses the fragile relationship between nature and modernity by reminding us: “Depending on how they use media, people can grow in sympathy and compassion or become isolated in a narcissistic, self-referential world of stimuli with near-narcotic effects”. In a recent poll, one in seven people said they see less of their spouses because of time spent online.

What about you?

One way to determine if technology is in control of your life is to include technology use in your examination of conscience. At the end of each day, and before you (go to) receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation; take a moment to ask yourself:

Have I been using technology to deepen my relationships with God and others, or to avoid them?
Has my time online caused me to neglect anything or anyone that I should be paying attention to?

Remember that God is not flashy, and doesn’t have to “Like” you when you post a prayer request, he is always there. God desires to be present in your life, and to communicate with you, and with others through you. Connection to Him is the one constant that will never depend on a signal, service provider, or even a monthly payment.

Another form of technology that can keep you from balancing your life is the television (or Netflix), and that infamous clicker. Sports engagement, or even that gamming, can become a huge distraction when not kept in check. If your wife or family talks to you while you’re engaged with this stuff and you become hostel or angry for being disturbed, consider that you have an addiction.

Anything that is not in moderation is not of God: food, shopping, children, sports, hobbies, etc.

Here are some suggestions for making what is important in life, priorities. I suspect you might have some more to add to this list:

  • If your wife is disciplining the kids and you don’t stop what you’re doing to back her up, then consider your priorities are off the track.
  • When family is gathered around the dinner table, texting goes into the drawer. Literally! Talking with each other is the game plan.
  • Family prayer….especially nightly with small children…. also spirituality conversations with the older children.
  • Mealtime prayers with children of all ages from small to older …. children learn more from our actions than from our words … even when out to eat.
  • Making prayer and especially conversation about our Lord and Catholic Tradition part of Family ritual.
  • Telling family stories with a “message” of hope especially where God’s hand can be emphasized…
  • Daily praying A Man’s Prayer, and living The Virtues of a Catholic Man.
  • As always: If you’re not filling and penetrating your wife’s heart with your love and affection, someone or something else will.

Frank J Casella

Manhood Monday: The LORD Will Be With You

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

From Today’s Readings:

Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Verse Before the Gospel  Am 5:14

Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the LORD will be with you.

“Indeed, nothing is worthwhile unless we do it intentionally and with fervor as upright Christians.  This is the manner in which Jesus lived and died for us.  It is the only way his disciples can live authentically his legacy.”

Bishop Joseph N. Perry from ‘Taking Life Seriously’

God bless your week.

The CMCS-Team


Frank’s Photo of the Week

Photo: ‘Family Walk to the Park’ Coyright 2016 Frank J Casella on Fine Art America

Daily Video Reflection for March 23, 2020 from the U.S. Catholic Bishops

For the Daily Readings, plus audio and video, please visit http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings

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.


Not signed up yet? Click here.

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.

7 Catholic Manhood Quotes

How living our faith and doing God’s will helps us through difficult times

Photo: ‘When Men Put God First’ Copyright 2014 Frank J Casella on Fine Art America

The theme of the entire New Testament is that the infinite God has shown Himself to us in Christ. Faith thus starts with God who through Jesus opens his heart to us and invites us to share in his own divine life. Faith does not simply provide information about who Jesus is. Rather, our faith involves a personal relationship with Christ, a surrender of our whole person with all our understanding, our will and feelings, to God’s self-revelation of Himself to us.

Bishop Joseph Perry

“Faith is not a contract. Faith is surrender. If no other relationship in our experience is one of self-surrender, if it’s all contractual, people won’t know how to believe.”

Francis Cardinal George

“The human spirit will not even begin to try to surrender self-will as long as all seems to be well with it…. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

C. S. Lewis

It’s really very simple. Am I building up the kingdom of heaven or am I building up my own kingdom? Am I putting God’s name first and proclaiming His name, or am I proclaiming my name? Am I doing everything for God’s glory, or for my glory? We have to focus on this every day. If I am going to live God’s will, it has to be because I first seek the kingdom. Then He promises everything else will fall into place.

Fr. Larry Richards, Surrender! The Life-Changing Power of Doing God’s Will

God’s will is almost always much tougher to do than our will. It requires more effort, more discipline, and it yields much less instant gratification. Most unpleasant of all, doing God’s will requires us to surrender our position as the center of the universe (at least in our own minds). We have to put God at the center of the universe and direct our attention toward Him, rather than sit on our little imaginary thrones and expect others to direct their attention toward us.

Deacon John Rangel

”What this means is if we are going to do the will of God, every day is going to be a day of self-sacrifice. Again, to make this real and practical I tell people that they should examine their consciences every night before they go to bed and ask, “Did I do at least one act of unselfishness today? Did I give my life away at least once today?” If the answer is no, then they squandered the whole day on themselves, only did what they wanted, only took care of themselves. What a waste of a day!

Fr. Larry Richards, Surrender! The Life-Changing Power of Doing God’s Will

Be Pure. Hate evil. Embrace Christ with all your heart! Too many of us men need to surrender our personal agenda to God. We must strive to be transparent with God and with others, and to be more like Christ and less like our old selves.

Frank J Casella

Stability of a Father

How a Father is like a Godly figure to his children.

father daughter child carry shoulders stability photo people
Stability – A Father is like a tower to a child’s life, a Godly figure of carrying us and being our hero. (Copyright 2013 Frank J Casella on Fine Art America)

I yanked this picture out of my archives, because I think it sends an important message. We need to have pictures like this as examples to carry through the generations. Because the importance of this is taken for granted.

I recently went to a parade with my family. Next to us was a little girl who wanted her dad to lift her up onto his shoulders. But dad refused, several times. The girl looked crushed, as did her mom. You might think because she didn’t get what she waned, but what I saw in her eyes was she wanted her Dad, and she wanted him to save the day and not only let her look down the road at the parade coming, but to carry her and be her source of stability.

Instead, Dad would rather stare at his phone, or put his hands on his wife’s butt. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for these, and a parade with family is not it. The roll of the Father is to set the tone for the household and to get his family to Heaven.

Likewise, my family has a rather old Golden Retriever Dog. He has been though so much we call him The Wonder Dog, and his name is Buddy. When Buddy comes into the house now he has trouble going up the three stairs, we have to lift up his butt to provide support because he can’t do it alone.

This got me to thinking how much God is always there to lift us up with a similar kind of support. How, like Buddy, when we are afraid or can’t do it alone, God is there to lift us up and to trust Him. And the same goes for what we do as dad’s, to lift up our family to provide support and stability … and trust.

This doesn’t matter how much money you make, or what your identity in the world is, when you are a dad you will always be a dad, and your children look up to you as a Godly figure no matter if they tell you this or not.

Frank J Casella

Manhood Monday: The Day of Salvation

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

From Today’s Readings:

Monday of the First Week of Lent

Verse Before The Gospel 2 COR 6:2B

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

“People make the decision easily to attend a football or soccer game rather than attend Sunday Mass. People do this and sleep comfortably the same night thinking they can get up the next morning by their own strength. The sweep of the popular culture out there to live life with little or no reference to God or the Church is immensely attractive. It is an undertow that carries men and their families away from the grace of the Gospel and the sacraments. …

Are you interested in saving your wife and your family?

Are you interested in your own salvation?

I know a man who insists that every Sunday evening his family sits down and has dinner together. Nothing, absolutely nothing can interfere with that family-time. The teenagers in the family are welcome to bring a friend to dinner, but everything else must give way to the family being together at table for once in the course of a week. The chaotic schedules that bear down upon each of the family members makes coming together next to impossible on other days of the week. But this husband and father considers the Sabbath sacred for his family and underscores each one’s participation.

~ Bishop Joseph Perry

God bless your week.

The CMCS-Team


Frank’s Photo of the Week

Photo: ‘Pure Beauty‘ by Frank J Casella
Impatience

In our fast paced world of instant gratification and information at our fingertips it’s easy to have impatience.

Impatience is often times associated with anger. We can never make peace with our anger. Anger is caused by hurts and fears in our lives, and when things are not going our way.

On the other hand, when we focus on others and enjoy the beauty of the simple moments, and love people where they are, we see our purpose in life and have more peace.

Likewise, I have learned to have an eternal outlook in life. When we live for eternity we live for others.

If you are a prayerful person, it is important to rest in the Lord for direction. Sometimes the wait may cause impatience, because of not feeling close to God.

When we focus on Jesus, the Father will reveal His presence when we stop looking at self. This is the secret.

God works with us how He wants to work with us — don’t tell him how to do that — it will often happen as a complete surprise as we surrender our will to Him.

All that is not given is lost. It is through our giving that we are blessed, and our impatience for this world goes away.

The only thing we take with us when we die, is what we have given away.

Francis Cardinal George

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.


Not signed up yet? Click here.

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

Manhood Monday: Being a Disciple of Jesus

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

From Today’s Readings:

Alleluia Jn 14:6

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

[14:6] The truth: in John, the divinely revealed reality of the Father manifested in the person and works of Jesus. The possession of truth confers knowledge and liberation from sin (Jn 8:32).

“Truth be told, however, Jesus doesn’t want our admiration of him. He wants our discipleship. There’s a difference. Simply, admiring Jesus Christ will not get you saved. Being a disciple of Jesus demands a conscientious, calculated, intentional and determined commitment made to Him and his counsel.”

Bishop Joseph Perry

God bless your day.

The CMCS-Team


Frank’s Photo of the Week

When I saw this moment in time, of a plow in a garden with a chair, it reminded me of my favorite verse from the Bible. Luke 9:62 – “Jesus Said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God”.

What this means to me is like when a farmer plows a field they must be committed to the task to reap the fruit of their labor. Likewise, Jesus in this scripture speaks of the seriousness, and the unconditional nature, of Christian Discipleship. That we must be committed to, and not distracted from, the proclaiming of the Kingdom of God, no matter how briefly.

So then looking at this picture, and the illumination from the morning sun, it’s as if the Holy Spirit is shining on this field with the plow. That there is no time to rest when it’s time to plow.

A picture with a good reminder that God is with us through our work in this world.

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.


Not signed up yet? Click here.

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

Bishop Joseph Perry: The Relevance of Church

Is it too late to save our families and ourselves for God?

It is not easy proclaiming the Gospel in a secularized world – a world that is of diminished religious tone.

In a recent address, December 21, to the Cardinals and staffs of the Roman Curia at the Vatican, Pope Francis recalled that we are no longer living in a Christian world. 

“Christendom no longer exists. Today, we are no longer the only ones who create culture, nor are we in the forefront or those most listened to … we are no longer living in a Christian world, because faith… is no longer an evident presupposition of social life; indeed, faith is often rejected, derided, marginalized and ridiculed… the faith used to be passed on within families and the example of parents; society too was inspired by Christian principles. Today, this transmission has been interrupted and our social context, if not anti-Christian, appears to be at least impermeable to the Christian faith.  Hence the question … how to proclaim the Gospel where it is no longer known or recognized?  It is pointless getting agitated. There is no need to get organized, or to make a noise. There’s no need for gimmicks or stratagems. In the mission of proclaiming the Gospel, you move because the Holy Spirit pushes you, and carries you.  And when you arrive you realize that He has come before you and is waiting for you.”

“Proclaiming the Gospel,” adds the Pope, “does not consist in besieging others with apologetic speeches … in shouting in peoples’ faces.  Even less is it necessary to fling the truths and doctrinal formulas on others as if they were stones … if people to whom it is addressed have no opportunity to meet and taste in some way God’s tenderness and His healing mercy… to facilitate, that is, make it easy not to put us in the way of Jesus’ desire to embrace everyone, to heal everyone, to save everyone.”  Always aware that without Him we can do nothing.

With these thoughts of the Holy Father in mind, is it too late to save our families and ourselves for God?  How about the evangelization of our households, our friendships.  How about fervent practice of our faith for these times and every time.  How about we men being intentional pastors of our households leading the way?

Bishop Joseph Perry