Manhood Monday: Turn From Your Ways and Live

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

From Today’s Readings:

Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Verse Before The Gospel  EZ 33:11

I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord, but rather in his conversion, that he may live.

“Now, I am not saying my parent’s methods of raising us were the best. All I know is that I did not turn out the worse for it. I believe there is something to be said for steering clear of giving birthday gifts and Christmas gifts and gifts in between that symbolize violence and killing so prevalent in our city and other cities across the country. Follow through with the rearing of your kids and grandkids on this. Support your prayers and messaging by fasting from the images and instruments associated with violence. Then, sooner or later, the kids will understand.”

Bishop Joseph Perry, from ‘We Yearn For Peace!’

God bless your week.

The CMCS-Team


Frank’s Photo of the Week

Photo: ‘Family Out For A Walk’ Copyright 2015 Frank J Casella on Fine Art America

Now that we are all called to the stay-at-home guidelines for the COVID-19 virus, I’m noticing several men are saying how this is causing us to focus on our priorities and purpose, and putting things in a more clear perspective.

One of the things that has helped me to do this is to write my thoughts in a quality notebook that will last a generation or two, but you can also to this digital on a Free priviate blog tool like Tumblr or WordPress.com. The important thing is to get started, because when we write out thoughts is helps us to know where we stand on things, and our children learn from this as well.

For example, after my Father died in 2009 I came to realize that I learned more from him after he died than when he was living. Because as I experienced life his words and lessons began rolling in my head. So I started to write these things down in a notebook, along with my own life lessons, and I plan to leave these for my children and future generations. After they move out of the house will be a good time to hand them over, and I’m excited to see what happens.

Keep this in mind, it is said that if you start to spend ten minutes to an hour a day with your own thoughts, it will take up to sixty days before you remove all the clutter and eventually can start the hour thinking about yesterday and today! I have found this to be so true!

More on this with my blog post for this Thursday .. stay tuned

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.

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

The Culture of Waste and Faith Formation

How to apply tithing to spiritual poverty

Pope Francis is known as “The Quotable Pope”.  An example of this is from each day on Twitter like this one:

” Consumerism has accustomed us to waste. But throwing food away is like stealing it from the poor and hungry. “

,,,, I can relate to this because my family has been in that position of having to turn to our parish and St. Vincent DePaul Ministry or Catholic Charities food pantry to put food on our table.  There is a present statistic out that says the average American family dumps in the trash 140 LBS. of food each year. 

This is food that is paid for from our working incomes. I’m sure we all tithe our cash to give to the church or to further God’s work. Why not make less trash with our food and do the same??

Likewise, when Francis Cardinal George came to be our Ordinary here in Chicago, it wasn’t too long before he said …“The greatest poverty is not to know Jesus Christ” … So, spinning the Popes quote from above, if you will …

” Always be a consistent living example of the Gospel. Because failing to do so is like stealing from the spiritually poor the opportunity to know Jesus’ love”. 

Finally, not too long ago when my son’s were teenagers (they are now in their 20’s) while taking my son to his sports practice, the thought occurred to me how many households in my neighborhood have two parents that work out of the home.  How they put their children into multiple sports programs with the intention of while they are working to “provide” someone else will take their child to the events.

I constantly would get phone calls, emails, etc., (from parents) assuming that since I’m taking my child anyways to take theirs too … and they will lie and rationalize to get it done, without any thought of the liability they put on me in the event something happens to their child.

Personally, my wife and I are that kind of parent who alwyas sat on the sideline even during practices to send the message to our boys they are important to us. Sure we have “better” things to do, but It personally gave me windshield time in the car to talk with them about what they saw happen in practices or in the games, or let them lead the conversation to become more a part of their lives.

We don’t get a second chance at this while they grow up. Sometimes us dad’s, as the priest of our house, have to lead the conversation with our wives about which parent is going to cut back – or cut out – the work load to live on less (maybe less sports programs) to invest more into our children and instilling their faith formation.

“With the “culture of waste”, human life is no longer considered the primary value to be respected and protected.” ~ Pope Francis

By the way, that picture at the top of this article, from the Bishop Perry Men’s Forum, all the left over food goes to the poor.

Frank J Casella

Haven’t been to confession in a while? Click Here

Fatherhood: What is your ID as a Man?

While growing up my Father often said to my siblings and I “You’re a Casella, and Casella’s don’t do that”. He was referring to how our words and actions reflect the identity of our name.

As Men, we carry forward the responsibility to define what our (family) Name means for this generation. Men, we all make mistakes, but we need to example to our kids how to clean it up when we fall, and not cry over spilled milk, and move on.

Our job is to balance out what Mom says, because there is something important about the voice of Dad that determines in our kids the image they see of themselves as a person and member of society.

Recent studies tell us that Dads 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.

In other words, a Father has the power to pass on blessings or curses to his wife and family. In order to be a blessing, though, we as men must first be open to receiving the blessings.

Likewise, the reason I believe that God has his hands on America is that America is pro-Israel. Genesis 48:15 shows how blessing are spoken by Fathers. We shape the image of our wife by what and how we speak to her.

Daughters will marry someone who disrespects her because our actions as her Father (to her Mother) illustrate to her this is how life works. When we speak positive encouragement to our daughters about who she is as a person and a women, it gives her more confidence to be more than just a pretty face to men.

Men, we need to speak to our kids about their future by painting for them a picture of success.

The relationships of parents greatly affects the psyche of our kids. Kids need to see us men hold our wife and kiss her in appropriate ways. Likewise, our sons and daughters need to have from us hugs and meaningful touches of affection otherwise they view us as too authoritative.

Moms do the nurturing, but it is Dad who provides respect and stability in our kids through, not long conversations but, little snippets of (Godly) wisdom.

Guys! we are the domestic priest of our house, and we need to example and speak to our family about identity and what it means to be a _____ [insert your Name here].

Commit to correcting their path. God uses the broken experiences of our lives to turn it into His glory, if we are open to letting Him.

Receive these blessings and pass it on. You only fail when you give up.

Frank J Casella

The way we came to know love was that He laid down His life for us

For Christians, proof of deliverance is love toward others, after the example of Christ. This includes concrete acts of charity, out of our material abundance.

Living a life of faith in Jesus and of Christian love assures us of abiding in God no matter what our feelings may at times tell us. Our obedience gives us confidence in prayer and trust in God’s judgment. This obedience includes our belief in Christ and love for one another.

Read each sentence in the scripture below as a separate thought … absorb it. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart.

 

Beloved:
This is the message you have heard from the beginning:
we should love one another,
unlike Cain who belonged to the Evil One
and slaughtered his brother.
Why did he slaughter him?
Because his own works were evil,
and those of his brother righteous.
Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
We know that we have passed from death to life
because we love our brothers.
Whoever does not love remains in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer,
and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.
The way we came to know love
was that he laid down his life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth. Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth
and reassure our hearts before him
in whatever our hearts condemn,
for God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.
Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence in God.

1 Jn 3:11-21

 

How do you lay down your life for others as Jesus examples to us? One way is to practice the Virtues of a Catholic Man. Another way is to be a living sacrifice for your wife and those in your household. It is not easy, yet Christ led by example and so should we as Catholic Men. Go to Mass every Sunday and bring your family with you, and when you receive the Holy Eucharist bring yourself to the Alter as a living sacrifice. The Mass is not so much what we get out of it, but that we bring ourselves into Communion with the Lord Jesus.

My wife and I have in raising our children always sat in the front pew. From the moment we had our first child we have always sat in the front pew (interesting how no matter when you show up for Mass there is always room in the front pew). When our kids first acted up in church we moved to the very back pew, and they didn’t like it. We told them that when they do behave we sit in the front pew where they can see everything. Now they are young adults, their Faith is important to them as they have their own ministries in everyday life. We always went to Mass as a family, sports and other events took second place.

“Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.” Was it St. Paul who asked at every moment ” do I go Left or do I go Right”?

What direction do you take in the path of life or have you gone? Are you consistent, or do you act like a Chameleon changing your ‘color’ with your environment?
– Frank J. Casella is an artistic photographer and co-founder of Catholic Chicago Men’s Forum.

 

 

 

 

Single Fathers: Parenting Great Kids

Whether or not you are a single Father, us men usually don’t know how to respond to support and embrace single parenting. Face it, most single parents in the home it’s known are women. But not all. So here comes along a wonderful podcast by Dr. Meg Meeker, MD #68: Single Fathers (with guest Robert Beeson), click link and scroll down.

Be sure to listen to the end where Dr. Meeker shares some insightful bullet points for all men to know and remember, in the event we are either faced with ourselves, or encounter other men, in single Fatherhood.

 

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What did your Dad teach you?

Catholic Chicago Men —

With Father’s Day here, we’d thought it be a good idea to do something different for this blog entry.

Instead of an article about the importance of Dad’s, and what we pass on to our children, we’d like to hear from you and let your comments collectively make up a page or ‘article’ about what Father’s Day means to you, or what you learned from your Father or a Father figure in your life.

Are you in?

You know, things like values, virtues, faith etc, and not so much “he taught me to fix a flat tire”, etc.  And limit your responses to 150 words or less.

Think you can do this?

We’ve opened up the comments this time, so just scroll to the bottom of this page, type your sentence in the box below, and follow the prompts. There will be a delayed post when you comment.

We’d like to do this every few weeks, so lets see if we can get a page full of responses!

Happy Father’s Day!