Feeding Our Habits

Eggs with Steam – Copyright 2019 Frank J Casella

Habits are an important part of our lives, when put in right perspective. Just like in the business world, systems are another word for business habits. It is said the fastest way to success in life, is to replace bad habits with good habits.

As Catholic men, we know that whatever we feed our brains is what forms our habits. Our Faith promotes through the sacraments a method to develop the good habit of study and living the scriptures everyday.

The daily readings feed us like a dinner plate of different foods: Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament, and prayers for adoration and supplication. But we have to develop the habits and spend time with it each day, and then practice it in our lives. Baby steps lead to walking our spiritual journey with the Lord.

When we make the decision to go off this path, and do things in our own thinking, it is known as sin. Feeding our habits with things like pornography, too much booze, abuse of others verbally or physically, or getting sucked into the drama of things shared on social media, can take us to a visit with our priest for confession. The good thing is that God is a God of second chances.

But the thing about second chances is we have to make the corrections so that we don’t keep going back. As Henry Ford once said, “Failure is an opportunity to begin again, only more intelligently”. Our shortcomings serve the purpose to embrace God and depend on His will for our lives.

Feeding our good habits, with Christ as the center of our lives, is what helps to transform our bad habits into virtues, and is what makes working towards being a saint is all about.

“Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us;
make our hearts burn while you speak to us.”

Manhood Monday: The Words of Eternal Life

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

From Today’s Readings:

Monday of the Second Week in Lent.

Verse Before the Gospe l Jn 6:63c, 68c

Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

Spirit and life: all Jesus said about the bread of life is the revelation of the Spirit.

Needing to go to Confession is like needing to check in with a doctor regarding our physical health.  We cannot afford to neglect spiritual doctoring of our souls any more than we can afford to neglect a physical doctor of our bodies.  The Sacrament of Penance also works for a healthy life.  Mature and healthy men are men who can take themselves to task, recognize their mistakes and take aim to correct those mistakes for the sake of positive connections with their spouse, their children, their friends, the people they work with and, therefore our God.

Check your parish confession schedule or some parish, shrine or oratory that has a regular confession schedule.

Bishop Joseph Perry: ‘Haven’t Been To Confession In A While?’

God bless your day.

The CMCS-Team

Frank’s Photo of the Week

Photo: ‘Swing’ by Frank J Casella on Fine Art America
The Playground of Life

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that the world is our playground? Though, I’ve noticed that many times we can learn from a playground about how to live in the world.

One day as I was taking the dog for a walk by a playground, I couldn’t help but notice a young brother and sister being corrected by their parent about sharing a swing.

The older child said somthing to tease the younger, causing the younger to slug the older. The parent corrected the younger about making a bad decision, yet didn’t correct the older, and then asking the two to appologize to each other.

This incident made me wonder how these two children will behave when they grow up, and what the world would be like without forgiveness.

Then the answer came to just look around us. How many people do you know who’ve shared their life experiences about others, where there wouln’nt be an issue if they’d just say “I’m Sorry” and forgive?

So, it seems that saying “I’m sorry” is a key to making life easier as we play in the playground of life.

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.

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

A Man that Believes …. Hears the Word of God

By Deacon Alfred Coleman II

When I started going to church and wanting to understand the bible I had no clue to what to do or were to look. There are so many definitions of what a Christian man should be and was shared by both Christians and non Christians. Life has many ways to pull us away from God, church and of Family, do not let the world say what is a Man, God created us and only he can truly define us.

I went to Mass on the U.S.A. army base Fort Jackson South Carolina, it was a field mass. No choir, no seats, no building and the Mass was unbelievable. I wanted more, I needed more and God was real and this church the Catholic Church was my home. So, I handle my search for God the same way I did when I looked at the Military.

  • Made a commitment
  • Went to basic training
  • Went to A.I.T : Amy Individual Training
  • Joined my company and did my part

So, I

  • Committed to RCIA
  • Went to the Parish Bible study
  • Went to Leadership day for more faith development and jointed a men’s group
  • Asked the parish priest how could I help?

I began to learn a lot from the Christian men that have been where I was and done and seen it all and lived to talk about it. They shared their lives openly with wisdom and humor the way men share over coffee and donuts. They talked about family life, working in this world as a believer in God with friends and co-worker living worldly. I came to learn that at times the life of a Christian man feels and looks lonely but they reassured me the pain would pass. Also, family leadership is not based on who makes the most money; the presence of a Christian Man is priceless. Sadly our family will not truly fill the fullness of our life until we are back home with God, our presence shells our family for evil. Yes, the world has so many definitions of what a man should do, how a man should talk and how a man should lead his family. Our society is doing its best to direct and push men in to a mode that changes every time the current social trend bend to it’s worldly desires. We must always stay on guard, satan is a slick, slimy sucker and he will lie to us each time.

Fatherhood is a vocation a calling to a distinctive state of life that will bless, support and care for the family life, and the further of the Church. Men do not pray like women, we may not look like we are spiritually concerned or hurting and looking for God’s direction. But we are concerned about our love ones, our community and our place in this world. Yes we hold thoughts in and do not talk openly about our feelings but we do care and sadly at times to the point that it will look as if we do not care.

When our families turn to us in times of trouble we must turn our family troubles over to the lord, we can’t hold what is not ours. When they throw it to us – we must throw it to God, put it where it belongs.

There are four things that we must do for our family:

  • Protector: Shell our family from the world; we should always be on watch.
  • Provider: Be a giver of Wisdom, friendship, and to add to our family life
  • Promoter: Help your family look good, help their light shine better
  • Prayer: We need a prayer life

To be true and live healthy, men need to stay connected with the Church and other Christian men so they can stay fed spiritually. Men’s prayer groups, Men’s Choirs, Knights of Columbus, Knights of Peter Claver and other group that openly share the faith are a Blessing to any man wanting to hear the word of God. Every CMCS conference provides Christian men with support, wisdom and a place to see and feel what a Christian mans life is about. It is great for a new seeker to men with great wisdom to share to take some to time to give time for your family and community. The better you are in your faith, the better your family and community will be so, let God use you to Bless his people.

Deacon Alfred Coleman is Director of Zacchaeus House, and a member of the CMCS-Team as nonprofit advisor.

Be in the Moment and Meet God Where He is at Work

Going through my LinkedIn feed, I came across this post by Father Michael Sliney which caught my eye. It says:

Not meeting expectations?
Start with human relations…,
Feelings and fluctuations…,
But where is your foundation?

Life is messy…filled with bumps,
Never a “hop, skip and jump”,
Jesus had his share of lumps,
He’s not focused on your slump,
Accept his love and fist pump!

Then the graphic reads:

“At some point you just have to let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening. “

This caught my attention because it made me think of all the people I know who need to let go of their agendas.  But then the thought came to me, call it my years in men’s ministry or wisdom from the Holy Spirit, that said ‘the best way to change others is to change myself first’.

This caused me to think deeper into all the ways that I am stubborn about how things should go, and all the things that are not working because I’ve maybe not let go of them, and instead just live in the moment and see what God does with it.

Case in point, there is this thing about me that when I decide to do something, I do it with great passion or I just don’t do it. And the thought occurred to me that maybe my job is to just plant the seeds in the process of these opportunities instead. To be a contributor of the process, but not the one to bring the process to completion, that may allow the Holy Spirit to open up the heart to hearing the Gospel though we may not see it in the moment.

Do you think?

How many times do we as men find a project and take charge, or fix things or situations with the confidence that we don’t need any help? We know what needs to be done, and how to do it.  And, so, when we see this it should first trigger us to seek what God says about it, even if it takes more time to meet the goal.

When I have done this, other people or circumstances come into the fold that shows a better direction. This is God at work, and we have to be attuned to His voice in these matters.

“But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. “ Matthew 6:33

Frank J Casella


The CMCS-Team contributed to this article.

Help Catholic Men Nurture Their Spirituality in Chicago Year Round

Since the Catholic Chicago Men Blog has become such a popular facet of Catholic Men Chicago Southland Apostolate (CMCS), we decided to take it a step further and create this donate page which will allow you to directly support the online resources, and the next phase of this apostolate.

From the very beginning we wanted the online resources like this to be free. We’ve never charged for it, and don’t plan to—not only for you, but for readers across the Archdiocese of Chicago and beyond.

Likewise, in 2020 we’re ready for a new decade of encouragement and support for “Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man” But to get there, we need your help!

Don’t delay. Make your gift to CMCS Apostolate online or by using this mail-in form (PDF File).

Donate to CMCS with a Debit or Credit Card or with PayPal

Since 2004, Catholic Men Chicago Southland (CMCS) started as an inspiration of a Catholic laymen and a Catholic deacon, who shared their vision with their local Vicar – Bishop Joseph Perry.

Since 2009 this Catholic Chicago Men Blog has reminded men and helped them to do what is in their power to do, namely, be holy and courageous men, to improve their marriages, be better fathers to their children, grow in virtue, serve the needs of others more generously, be active participants in their parishes, and be better citizens.

CMCS has a practical way of evangelizing Catholic men young and old, and their families, of helping them to understand what the culture often rejects – how men and women should relate to one another in complementary ways and how important husbands and fathers are to children – every single day.

This blog is designed then to further the CMCS mission and help foster Catholic Men in personal holiness, to make Jesus Christ the center of our daily lives.

Here you will find encouragement and support for “Living the Goodness of a Catholic Man”, as well as Catholic information and updates and articles to support the CMCS Vision: To Nurture Catholic Men’s Spirituality.

And we can’t do this critically important work without you.

Would you consider helping more Catholic Men grow in their love and understanding of God through a gift to CMCS today?

Your gift to CMCS will not only help us reach more men with original Catholic content, plus articles from Bishop Joseph Perry, but it will ultimately:

  • Continue the experience from the annual CMCS Forum, for Catholic men in Vicariate VI in the archdiocese, to help us make life adjustments that can be felt for three generations.
  • Solid input to men across the Archdiocese on how we can live faithfully the implications of our baptism and discipleship in Christ for these times. What CMCS is doing in Vicariate VI is not for everyone, and men in other Vicariates in the archdiocese want to see all we’re doing.
  • Help Catholic Men to be the priest of our household and deepen personal devotion to the Sacraments
  • Provide hope and restoration of marriages and families, and live out the Bishop Perry’s Virtues of a Catholic man with Jesus Christ and His Word.

Don’t delay. Make your gift to CMCS online or by using this mail-in form (PDF File).

PS. Please consider sending a monthly donation, so that we can have steady income to plan on. Makes a huge difference to concentrate more on the blog and the apostolate than on the business of the blog and the apostolate.

CMCS is an Illinois State recognized nonprofit, and is not an IRS-certified charity. No revenue is generated by advertising, and funded only by individual support. Operation of CMCS is debt free, and administration is done by the CMCS-Team who gain no financial benefit from their engagement for this apostolate. Donations above CMCS expenses contribute towards the part-time work of the director.

15 Ways to Be the Man God Calls You to Be

  1. Admit your weaknesses and limitations, while finding strength in faith and genuine love to overcome your sins and faults.
  2. Men need confession regularly. Also, ask your wife and children for forgiveness when you fail them.
  3. Learn what being a real man is all about, study and live-out the Virtues of a Catholic Man.
  4. Be leery of the demonic influences which destroys men and their homes.
  5. Be strong, without putting on a mask of false strength. Persevere and don’t quit.
  6. Focus on the right goal, live as a beloved son of God, and be a man that can become a saint.
  7. Acknowledge one’s faults and live according to the Holy Spirit. Trust in and live God’s agenda, and not in your own human understanding.
  8. Appreciate properly the differences between men and women, and how God made you to be a gift to each other.
  9. Be a man of true love and of wisdom, pursue holiness, and make a difference in the world.
  10. Be a roll model to your children, so they don’t have to look elsewhere for a mentor. Bring them to the pew on Sunday, and encourage this when they are out on their own.
  11. True manliness is not opposed to love but thrives on it, and knows the place of sexuality for the unmarried man as well as for the married man.
  12. Maintain your children’s trust by how you love their mother.  Date your daughters, example to them what to expect from a man.
  13. Catch your kids doing something right.
  14. Develop a relationship with Christ that reveals your meaning and identity as a man.
  15. Enthrone your home to the Lordship of Christ! Has your Priest or Deacon blessed your house?

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

What are some other ways God calls you to be a Catholic Men? Comment below.