The Secret to Your Identity as a Child of God

How to experience the journey of spiritual transformation.

Photo: ‘Flowers in the Woods’ Copyright 2017 Frank J Casella on Fine Art America

It is said, as I shared in my last post, 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!

Silence can be scary, I know. Especially when you haven’t done it in a while, or you may have thoughts of it causing your skeletons in the closet to come to the surface of things.

This is where prayer comes in.

It is like walking through the forest or woods. At first you notice the beauty of the trees, and how the sunlight interplays with the branches. Then as you walk down the trail, and listen to the birds and sounds of nature, your brain starts to shift to the peacefulness as your surroundings fall into the background.

Things start to enter your brain about your deeper thoughts that do not have a chance to surface because of all the distractions in life. The secret here is to seek what God says about these thoughts.

How do you learn to understand the Word of God? By reading it and by trusting the Holy Spirit.

Reading the Word of God can be as Fr. Larry Richards says “Bible before breakfast and Bible before bed”, or it can be just spending time with the daily Mass readings. The important thing is to put our thoughts in right perspective, because when we remove the Word of God from our lives we can feel overwhelmed and on our own.

Remember that God uses people and our circumstances to do His work. This is all a journey, and not a destination.

Check out this 2-minute video where Father Burke Masters shares his journey from knowing to believing his true identity in Christ. You may recall he shared something like this with us at our Men’s Forum a few years ago.

The world can have us confused in everyday life about our true identity as men. It can be from what we do for a living, to our image through the things we own. We may love God, but do we truly have Christ in our hearts?

Once we experience the journey of allowing God to transform our us, we begin to see our lives, and the world, through His eyes and our true identity as a child of God. And this can only come through the silence of deep thinking and prayer.

Thanks for reading.

Frank J Casella

Silence is (still) golden

How often do you spend time in silence, talking to yourself, or just thinking?

Once a day?

A few times a week?

A few times a day?

A proverbial saying ‘Silence is golden’ is often used in circumstances where it is thought that saying nothing is preferable to speaking, the origin of this phrase is obscured by the mists of time. The first example of it in English is from the poet Thomas Carlyle.

There is also the golden value of spending time in silence.

With all of the information we have available to us now, through technology, we can easily be engaged, or distracted, every hour of the day and night. This is why it is even more important today to practice solitude, even if just for 10 minutes.

Solitude is the time in which you have no other input. Not even reading a book, or listening to music, when you truly experience the value of silence (which is golden).

There is a report that says the average teen in the US spends nine hours on media per day, and another that says mental health disorders are on the rise among children. Both state how our brains are not set up for this much activity. Adults are not far behind, even though not exposed to it through our childhood

Silence can be scary, I know. Especially when you haven’t done it in a while, or you may have thoughts of it causing your skeletons in the closet to come to the surface of things. This is where prayer comes in.

You don’t have to cut the noise cold turkey. Detox is different than declutter. There is a practice coming to be known as Digital Minimalism, where you end up choosing to have a focused life in a noisy world.

You might want to pray about how to approach this, and ask God to give you wisdom and strength, or ask others to pray for you. We all need each other to make it through this world, and we’re not meant to go it alone.

I’ve been noticing around the internet this theme recently of the cutting back on technology and replacing it with more human interaction; finding a new hobby or cause to be engaged with …. offline. For us adults, who have kids with screens, the benefits could be more time with family, or that our family might resist tech addiction.

A couple things I am working on, for example, are spending reduced times online by making notes throughout the day for when next online, and, as a photographer I’ve started a new photo series called Sunday Silence: Views From My Backyard. Because I, for one, need to go back to looking at the things we see everyday but fail to notice, and no better place to do this than your own backyard.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church reads that we are to practice all things in moderation, and that, I think, should include making time for prayer and a good dose of silence.

–Frank J Casella

Every Catholic Man Wants to Learn how to Pray to Prepare for Advent Better

Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.

How do you wait in a culture that is instant information? Every Man I talk with it seems tells me they don’t pray as often as they aught to.  If you are married, when it comes to our Faith we usually depend on our wives to set the tone.

Amidst the holiday noise and chaos from the commercial industries, the Advent season is a time to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ.  If you are a husband and father, your family looks toward you especially at times like this for spiritual leadership and direction.

We hear about providing for our families financially and in other ways but, rarely do we hear about, or focus, provision and protection as prayer.

“Silence is so lacking in this world which is often too noisy, which is not favorable to recollection and listening to the voice of God,” Pope Benedict XVI said. “In this time of preparation for Christmas, let us cultivate interior recollection so as to receive and keep Jesus in our lives.”

It’s not so much then about learning to pray to prepare for advent, but leading an example of silence that makes a positive and lasting impression on you and your family. Like the Nun’s used to tell me in 1st Grade ”God gave you two ears and one mouth, so that you listen more than talk”

Prepare your heart and minds for Christmas with daily resources, prayer and activities at usccb.org/advent.

What would it take for you to have the best Christmas of your life?

Learn about BEST ADVENT EVER from Dynamic Catholic.

Spend your time with Advent Gospel Reflections from Bishop Barron.

Advent provides a reason to try new habits. One we strongly suggest is the “Family Prayer Before Meals” by Bishop Joseph Perry.  Statistics tells us that when a family breaks bread and prays together at least 3 times per week, it makes a noticeable difference in your children’s stability and security as a family unit.

This Advent, GIVE yourself deliberate time of silence and resolute to bring yourself  – and your family – closer to Christ!

Frank J Casella, Catholic Men Chicago Southland

 

PS. Now it is your turn. What are some ways that you practice Advent in your home?  Please write a comment below.

 

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