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

Taking it all in stride

God’s will is that we depend on Him.

Taking things in your stride means, as you go along the bumpy road of life, which most people will inevitably experience, you endeavor not to let the more challenging events you encounter blow you off course.

Much of the strength I get to take things in stride is through my faith and relationship with Jesus Christ. Just because I am a Christian doesn’t mean I don’t have problems. In fact, I probably have more. Because people it seems test you to see the power of your belief.

Anger, worry, struggles and the like are revelations that things are not going our way, and that we are not in control of everything. When I take things in stride, and wait on God and meet Him where He is at work (in my life), it’s always amazing how things unfold and come together in ways that I could never do myself.

Try it. Pray for your circumstances. Ask God to show you what to do. Wait for the answer. Don’t take it back … just wait … in HIS time not yours. You will see.

God’s will is that we depend on Him. So keep it all in perspective and take in all in stride.

Frank J Casella

Bishop Joseph Perry: Our Families

Each day gives us a moment to contemplate our families and what we really want them to be… to ask the blessing of God who has brought us together and appointed each one of us to be in this family.

Referencing  our religious roots … in Jesus’ day… each member of the family did something to produce food, practically the only industry.  Carpenters like Joseph would have spent as much, if not more, time building or repairing farming implements.  Jesus would have learned his father’s trade.  Jewish society was a lot simpler than anything we know.  From the moment they were physically able, children worked.  The men ploughed and planted, made repairs, shepherded the flocks and whatever else was needed.  Boys stayed with the men learning the crafts and trades of their fathers and other men in the family.  Girls stayed with the women learning how to turn wool into cloth and grain into flour.

In Jesus day, people lived in very small dwellings in extended family groups. They survived only by recognizing that their survival depended upon each other.  They lived in the same rooms, ate and worked together, prayed together.  It was the values of their religion that created their strongest bonds. Except for daughters who married, few left the home.

Our scriptures and church teaching emphasize the need for exemplary behavior on each our part in order to survive.  This call to proper daily behavior is a Call rooted in faith.  A strong family relies on its faith to guide and direct it.

A family is a living, breathing organism.  Members of the family live off each other; they cope, assist each other and aggravate each other.  They make the best of a situation; they invest in it, get to like it, maybe even need it.  Sometimes families live with situations they shouldn’t; and make bad human investments; and learn to tolerate unlikable things.

Families must be flexible, but within limits. Nothing is ever what it used to be, nor is it entirely different.  Each member needs room to grow.  Families need to expect change and crises as a way of life.  Our Church teaches that the purposes of marriage are mutual love and raising children.  Love is always stretched.  We have to discover new ways to express old love or loved ones begin to feel taken for granted. And children are naturally bundles of constant change. This makes the family a change agent, a growth industry!

Sometimes, families need to face the truth, to avoid a future catastrophe by bearing a present pain or embarrassment.  We need to allow ourselves to be in trouble.  If Mary was found a pregnant teen and Jesus was a runaway teen then we are allowed a scandal or two in the family.  A good rule in family life – all life – is to play the problem where it lies.  We almost always make it worse by trying to improve on our lie.

And, of course, families, like individuals, live on appreciation, without which even the best arrangements fall apart.  Because the family is not an institution; it is an occasion if not an unfolding drama of love.

We worry about our families.  We desire our children to have the best influences, the best education and a reasonable walk through adult life free of trauma and pain if at all possible. We want our families to be wrapped in the blessings of God.  These are good things to ask for.  For these reasons we fall to our knees asking God to keep us in His care.•

Bishop Joseph N. Perry

JNP 2009

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

Kingdom of Heaven is Like…

by Deacon John Rangel, CMCS Director of Mission

The Gospel readings from Matthew Chapter 13. During this time we hear three parables to describe the Kingdom of Heaven, the Man Sowing Good Seed, the Mustard Seed and the Yeast. I love Jesus’ parables. I hope you appreciate them as well.

If we take time to reflect on these stories, they’re sure to challenge our thinking about certain moral or religious points. Dr. Megan McKenna, author, popular speaker and storyteller wrote a book she titled “Parables The Arrows of God”. She notes that like arrows parables pierce straight to the truth, and straight to the heart of the listener, opening up new understanding of our lives as Christians. Parables intrigue and inspire, sometimes puzzle, but always, always point us directly toward the Kingdom.

Jesus’ agricultural images are obviously very appropriate to his listeners who were much closer to the land than most of us are. He uses many other easily understandable images in his parables; for example, today we have the mustard seed and the yeast in the flour. And there are many, many more images recorded in the Gospels. Perhaps in our day and age, we might more easily understand the wheat and weeds story if the opening line was something like this, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a 401K portfolio that has some good stocks (wheat) and bad stocks (weeds). When do we pull up the losers and get rid of them?”

In his teaching ministry, Jesus’ used a completely different approach from the scribes and the Pharisees of his day who tended to work from the Law. I believe Jesus takes the figurative approach because all his listeners, from the most sophisticated to the simplest, can understand them. But that does not mean that Jesus is making things easier for the people of his time or for us. By making things understandable for them, and us, the moral choices we have to make in life become much clearer, much starker.

So let’s consider how two of these parables might be working in our lives.

Our learning all began in a small way. The Kingdom of God is like a child learning his or her letters.  Time goes on and Mom and Dad and teachers work with the child, and the child’s ability to read grows so great that the child becomes a professor of English Literature. And so it is with the Kingdom of God.  Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa taught their children their prayers. They brought their children to Church and taught them with their lives to value their relationship with the Lord. And their children became parents and did the same. And their children are now the moms and dads of our parish. The Church is full of good Christian men and woman, people of all walks of life, all living the values of the Kingdom of God, the spiritual realities of life.

And now you are doing the same. You are teaching the ABC’s of religion to your children. You have faith that the Kingdom of God will spread through them. So, don’t wonder if anything is getting through to the children. Don’t allow yourself to think that maybe nothing is happening for your children.  Trust in God.  If a child who learns his letters can become a professor of English Literature, a child who learns the simplest lessons of faith can become a great force of love for the Kingdom of God.  Say prayers with your children. Allow God to turn the tiny mustard seed into a great plant.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like the life of every man and every woman. There is that in each of us, which is wheat. There is that which is weed. Should God destroy us because of the weed in us? Or should he give us time? Perhaps that which is weed in us can be overtaken by that which is wheat. A strong prayer life goes a long way in preventing serious sin. The Divine Farmer isn’t ready to give up on the crop. We shouldn’t give up on ourselves. God knows that what may appear to be weed is in reality wheat.

For example, a man has a drinking problem. His drinking is destroying himself and his family.  Through prayer and the determination to change his life and through his own openness to the grace of God, he goes for help.  He first becomes a member of AA. Then he is active in helping others. Now for the last fifteen years he is dry. He is still an alcoholic, but his condition has resulted in virtue overcoming vice. Now he helps others. God didn’t give up on him. The man didn’t give up on himself. What looked like weed, the disease of alcoholism, turned out to be wheat as he brings God’s healing to other alcoholics.

Or the Kingdom of Heaven is like the school where we send our treasures, our children. They are not finished products when they get there. They have to do a lot of growing. They are still our treasures, and we love them.  Perhaps in the school there are other children who may not have experienced basic human values. Perhaps, they have been raised in violent households, or households torn apart by some form of chemical dependency. Perhaps, they have witnessed people hurting others, taking what is not theirs, using bad language, and doing terrible things. As a result, these children may have some pretty rough edges. Should the principal of the school throw the children from dysfunctional homes out before they cause serious problems, or should he give them the opportunity to learn basic values from the school and even from their classmates?  Yes, children need to be removed from the mainstream if they do something that threatens the welfare of the other children, but they should not be removed if they have not offended gravely, because the plants are still young and there may be wheat where we think there is weed.

The parable of the mustard seed: the little efforts we make for the Kingdom of God have a tremendous impact upon the world.  The parable of the weeds and wheat:  God has infinite patience. He is not about to give up on his people. We should not give up on others. And we should not give up on ourselves.

The parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the weeds and the wheat. Two simple parables. Two simple stories. Two tremendous sources of encouragement for us. We truly have a just and kind God.

7 Scripture Principles for Business Leadership

Did you know that the Bible says more about money than any other subject? Even more than love!

Why do you think this is?

This may bring to mind your thinking that money is the root of evil, but, that’s not quite it. “For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.”1Tim 6:10

God knows that to fully love we have to put money into perspective.

So lets jump in with both feet…..

7 Business Leadership Principles from God’s Word:

1) God owns our money and trusts us to be a good steward of what He owns. See the Parable of the Talents in Matt. 25: 14-30 Likewise, God is so generous that he only asks that we tithe a small portion back to Him, and then gives us the rest to manage.

2) Who or what do we worship. When we look in our checkbook, where does most of our money go? Temporal things of this world, or do we channel our resources to bring value to the lives of others and thus share the Gospel?

3) Pay your obligations before yourself. I was raised in a family business, my parents made sure their vendors and employees were paid before themselves. Would you go without a paycheck to fulfill your vows as a business leader? See The Workers in the Vineyard in Matt. 20:1-16

4) When we donate our business resources what is our motive? Do we do it sincerely from our heart to serve the Lord, or to serve our business? Though, there is nothing wrong with the by-product of our sincerity to donate to also benefit our business, as long as we keep it in right perspective.

5) Business partnerships, is our first partner in business Jesus Christ? Do we read the Bible for principles and seek God through prayer to solve our problems?

6) Is our purpose of a Catholic in business to glorify God? Everything we say or do must be weighed against our purpose – does it glorify God? Read Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others”. If we are an employee then do we view our paycheck as a certificate of performance?

7) Share the Gospel in the Workplace. At one of the Parish Small Men’s Groups a man shared how his signature in company email “God Bless” got him in deep hot water. Does the culture of our workplace allow us to share the Gospel in word or only in action? What would Jesus do?

There is a delicate balance in sharing and living the Gospel in business today. And, as Catholic Men, we must walk our talk and seek to meet God where He is at work while we are at work.

Frank J Casella
CMCS Executive Director

Understanding Faith

Faith is the highest form of knowledge to guide our path. Faith provides visible understanding from the invisible. When we have Faith we can see the world through God’s eyes. …

Many times when I’m trying to put my finger on a thought or a direction in life, but can’t seem to connect the dots, I look to the Holy Spirit to communicate with God and to show me the way.

For example, while struggling with a behavior from a co-worker, I felt a certain way about how to respond but didn’t have the confidence yet to act on the way I felt. The next day an article came across my path (I wasn’t looking for it) confirming my thoughts, so I then acted on my convictions.

I simply reflected on this article through my knowledge of the Bible and the Catechism on what God says.

When God wants to reveal, He does so ‘on the mountain’. It takes effort and silence for us to listen to God, away from noise and social media and daily life. There is no other way to hear God’s voice but to be away from the noise, I have found.

For example, one day a week I am completely offline. I am also intentional when online no more than a cumulative one hour a day. Part of this, each morning, is to spend time listening to the Holy Spirit, even if only ten minutes… but it usually goes for an hour.

I also spend time each Sunday prostrate before the Crucifix, as well as monthly in Holy Adoration at my parish before the exposed Eucharist. You don’t have to do all of this that I do, in fact, you don’t have to do any of it.

The point is God want’s us to depend on Him – Faith.

Jesus invites us to join Him in the Bible to study the scriptures, the Catholic Catechism in understanding His Word and our Church, and to be silent so He can reveal Himself to us. This must be ingrained in us so that we have it as our filter to see life.

What would you do if the Bible or Catechism where taken away from you? Make it the center of your life today … we should live our faith to the point that Christ lives in us!

This is the only way I know to do God’s work, and to meet Him in His work – His agenda and not mine.

It is also important to have a roll model, who precedes us in Faith, to ask for intersession. This could be a Catholic Saint or late family member, like our earthly father or grandfather, who has gone before us.

My personal favorite is the late Francis Cardinal George, and his tremendous example of Faith through his life, many people feel that he will become a Saint. Now the Church says to ask for intersession from Father Augustus Tolton.

Saint Fra Angelico, for example, brought glory to God through his paintings. His life and work is a tremendous roll model to me, so that my life, too, may be an encouragement to the world through my Artwork.

We come to a full understanding of our Faith when we transition from self, to giving it away to others.

What is your talent or gift so others may see the glory of God through your Faith?

Frank J Casella