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.

 

 

 

 

Eve Sinned Because Adam Was Silent.

This is an update from the article archives for Catholic Men Chicago Southland.

By Frank J Casella

My youngest son has always had a love for basketball. When he was 10 years old he called me over to show me how he could make ten free throws in a row.  Not impressed, I said “nice job … now raise the net up to where it belongs”.  Impatient to grow taller, he lowered his goal.

Men, is this what you do?  We lower our standards and then become proud of our accomplishments. What would God be saying to you?

All of this goes back to Adam and Eve in the garden.  Eve sinned because Adam was not protecting her heart.  Adam lowered God’s standards by being silent when the serpent was having conversation with Eve (Genesis 3:6).

Up until that point Adam was talking and leading his life based on his relationship with God (Genesis 3:6). He was a Man who lead in such a way that Eve could not resist him.

Men, are you the priest of your house in such a way that your wife (or future wife) cannot resist you? God created Adam before Eve because Adam was to be responsible to both rule and lead.

Even though it was Eve whom the serpent tempted to eat the fruit that had been forbidden in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-6), it was Adam whom God went looking for. It was Adam who was responsible (Genesis 3:9).

The way to be a servant leader is to align yourself with God and know His will for your life.  When you have this goal, everyone in your life then benefits.  Our culture, on the other hand, would rather you be silent .. and serve your own selfish needs.

The reason so many men today are living without is because we misunderstand our goal and settle for trinkets, sports jerseys, TV remotes, golf clubs, nice cars, video games, careers, and vacations.  Those things are okay – unless they cause you to be misaligned with God and His will and take you off course of pursuing God’s own heart.

Look at it another way, many sports games have an official who prevents chaos by following the rules from the playbook – not his own ‘book’.  Men, is your playbook the Bible, or your own – chaos – human understanding?

Many men today are feeling smothered and gasping within because we do not know how to be a man. One thing that happens to a man when he can no longer breathe is that he will try to live vicariously through others. It is this man who, for example, will wear another man’s jersey with another man’s name and number on the back of it. Regularly.

Any man who has to all the time wear another man’s name on the back of his shirt may need to ask himself how he views his own manhood, and identity in Jesus Christ. Instead, we need to strive to wear our own jersey, and create our own identity in Jesus Christ.

Men, God has a standard. He has a goal in mind for your life: To be a servant leader after God’s own heart is that goal.

Yet what so many us men have done is lowered our standard. The results of this lowered standard affect so many more than just you and me. This lowered standard affects us all.

It shows up in our country. In our culture. In the economics of our world. You don’t have to look any farther than our homes, churches, communities, and globe to discover that men – not all, but many – have missed the goal to live as a servant leader after God’s own heart. The impact of a lower standard leaves its scars no matter what race, income bracket, or community a person is in.

The outcomes are different depending the the location, but they are devastating none the less. Some of which are Inadequacy, promiscuity, emptiness, depression, chronic irresponsibility, family breakup, misuse of finances, divorce, violence, chemical addition, overeating, indulgence, bankruptcy, low self-esteem, and general aimlessness plague our society as a direct result of the abuse or neglect of being the man that God calls us to be.

The call for men to come forth and stand for servant leadership, and being a man that God calls him to be, has never rung louder. Our world is on a path of self-destructive behavior. That must change. Yet that change will not occur unless us men – YOU – will raise the standard to where God had originally placed it.

My son is now 19 and still shooting free-throws. He is a coach for a basketball school. But it’s about more than being a coach. It’s about developing relationships with kids half his age, and showing them how to raise the standard too.

Because, since he was a kid himself, he’s raised the basket (standard) to where it belongs and has made hundreds of shots with the net at the right height – but he had to work at it.

One drill that we played along the way is to shoot ten in a row.  If you miss one shot, you start over.  My son rarely has to start over.  He now shoots over 200 free throws in a row. He tells me once you have the basic (free throw) down, other shots fall into place.

He has raised his goal and maintained that higher standard. Not in his strength, but through Christ who strengthens him (1 Timothy 1:12).  He has applied this standard to his life as well.
You can too. Will you?

 

Frank J Casella is co-founder of Catholic Chicago Men’s Conference, and Executive Direcor of Catholic Men Chicago Southland Apostolate.

 

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How Do You Witness Jesus as a Catholic Man?

Many of us Men who are in sales (aren’t we all in sales in some form or way?) know about having an elevator pitch. This is usually a ten-second statement about what we do for a living or the services we provide. Well, guy’s, what is your elevator pitch for Jesus? Some people call this your spiritual mission statement.

Back in the day when I was involved with a Business Men’s Bible Study, represented by several Christian faiths, there was a saying we had that went something like “You know a Christian when he walks through a room”. So, reflecting on this, how does your life as a Catholic Man serve as a witness to your circle of influence, your co-workers, and as spiritual leader of your family?

For example, one day I was listening to a podcast by Bishop Robert Barron about Evangelizing through Social Media. What it came down to, as he put it, is you don’t only look at the comments on your SM posts but, know that for every Comment, Like, or Share there are twenty-five or more who’ve seen it.

And so goes with walking through a room. If it were Jesus don’t you think His presence in a room today would make a statement, no matter if the people in the room knew it where Him or not?

No, you’re not Jesus, but, how’s it going for you?

For example, when I met St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta you could feel ‘LOVE’ radiate from them. Do people know you’re a Christian by your love, as the song goes?

The bottom line is, I think, that all of our lives are a work in progress, helping each other make it through life.

It’s what our Episcopal Liaison, Bishop Joseph Perry, calls “intentional discipleship“. Do we really love Jesus as a Catholic man, with Christ in our hearts? In other words, is Jesus the center of our life or do we just have good intentions without right-action?

So, what about that elevator pitch … do you have one? Do you have a life mission statement?

For example, my life mission is “To be the best version of the Man that God has called me to be, the best husband and father for my family, and to be a ‘real’ person to those around me”. A Life Mission is making the Mission Statement personal to the point of living it, eating it, breathing it, sleeping it, etc. (you get the point). It’s transforming Holy Church into Holy Life(style).

If you’re interested in how to find your spiritual elevator pitch or mission statement, a good place to start is with cleansing your Soul through Confession. The next step is to work slowly, day-by-day, to develop the Virtues of a Catholic Man. Many of the Saints, for example, transformed their shortcomings into Virtues. Learn more on the CMCS Website.

Finally, make time to pray each day and ask Jesus to speak to you; and go to Mass on a regular basis. Work to be the spiritual leader in your household (if married) and in the community – There’s no greater and fulfilling a challenge for a man than to be a Catholic.

Men in the church (pews) is seen less than in the sports stadium, have you noticed?

Why is that?

What do you think would happen if your love for Jesus was MORE than your love for [enter sport here] ??

And when you’re in the stadium, how do you witness Jesus as a Catholic Man?

 

Frank J Casella is Executive Director of Catholic Men Chicago Southland, and co-founder of Cathoic Chicago Men’s Confernece.

 

 

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CHICAGO PIZZA HEADED TO TAMPA BAY

Published on Jun 17, 2015

The leaders of the home Catholic dioceses for the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning say the poor in both cities will win as a result of their Stanley Cup wager. Archbishop Blase Cupich had promised enough Chicago deep dish pizzas to feed the 300 guests of Pinellas Hope, a shelter for homeless people in Clearwater, Florida, if the Blackhawks lost. Bishop Robert Lynch offered to ship cases of fruit to St. Leo’s Residence for Veterans, a Catholic Charities ministry in Chicago, if the Lightning were defeated.

Archbishop Cupich and Marc Malnati, CEO of Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, told news media that pizzas will be shipped to both Pinella’s Hope and to the St. Leo Residence as a way to celebrate the Blackhawks victory. Florida fruit also will be sent to both locations.

CMCSVirtues for December 4, 2014

You know him.  You might even be him.  They guy who is the die hard sports fan … sold out for his team.

He wears the jersey. Maybe the license plate frame on the car. Spends hundreds of dollars going to the games and, when he overhears a conversation about his team, jumps in uninvited.

The question I have is, if you are this guy, is Christ not the center of your life?  Why is that?

Become a die hard Jesus fan and watch what happens!!

— Frank J Casella, CMCS Executive Director