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My Transformation from Catholicism to Christianity


cross_4_youHow many times do you recall as a youth being advised, “Never talk about Religion and Politics“?  Assuredly, like most of us, probably more times than you have fingers and toes, yes?

Yet there comes a time in each of our lives when we reach a plateau of sorts that represents a plane of existence, comprising our ideals, core values, fervent beliefs and yes, religious and political advocacy.  You may reach the plateau at any age, however, typically, and more often than not, it will be some time after you’re out of the K-12 school system.

“Truly, it is completely normal and entirely expected that we will (and should) be challenged about our beliefs, for it is in these “Moments of Truth” when we learn more about who are; as sons and daughters, as husbands and wives, as mothers and fathers… most importantly, as spiritual beings.  For if our beliefs are never or seldom challenged, we lose focus, motivation, self-awareness and yes, direction in our lives.”

st_peters_basilicaAnd without question, my childhood was no exception.  Born and raised a Catholic, I regularly attended church, was educated for five years in a Parochial elementary school, served as an Altar Boy, learned the Mass in Latin, and of course, was instructed in the constructs, requirements, expectations and directives of living as a Catholic.

I began to seriously question, for lack of a better word, the validity of Catholicism as contrasted to other “alternatives” within the Grand scheme of the world, even universe.  Keeping in mind this is MY personal journey; upon inquiry, discussion, research and comparison, the Catholic Religion emphasized an inordinately large amount on finances/”dues”, spent an equally small amount of time on the Bible, and ubiquitously created the mental hierarchy of Church, Priest, Catholicism and lastly, Jesus Christ (in that order).  Needless to say, this troubled me in a deep and huge way.

bibleAnd then, I began to read the Bible on my own.  I began to personally experience Jesus Christ in the most wholesome, reverent and meaningful way, like I had never envisioned before.  It was as if I had just discovered that Santa Claus (Catholic Church) was not the real deal.  It caused me to feel betrayed, angered, frightened and anxious about my future.  In short, it challenged my core values to the point of nearly destroying my sense of self, value and being.

I have always been, and am, however, a Survivor.  Throughout my life, I’ve trusted my instincts and my gut, to analyze, make decisions and move forward in my mortal journey.  Truthfully, my transformation from Catholicism to Christianity occurred well into my 30’s, as it simply took my faith that long to mature.  And I remain confident in my path, who I am, who is Jesus Christ, what our relationship has become, and what my expectations are of myself to effectively and successfully live life as a Christian and Child of God.

Am I perfect?  HARDLY.  I struggle, like everyone else, with the sins of humanity.  Yet, that realization does not hinder nor prevent me from striving with every breath I take, to live my life in His image.  Do I have guilt as a father for not having done a better “job” raising my children as Christians?  EVERY DAY.  Yet, that reality, when examined, yields the conclusion and belief that every human being has a Free Will and uses it to form their own thoughts, make their own decisions, create their own behaviors, future and certainly, their personal accountability for their life.

Celtic_Eternal_LifeAs a father, I provided the toolbox and attempted to teach my children (and myself) how to use the tools of life; compassion, integrity, accountability, motivation, enthusiasm, reverence, humility and forgiveness.  Now, it is their choice which tools to use and how to use them; or whether to use them.

Does the Catholic Church serve a purpose?  Absolutely, as a resource about Jesus Christ, history, self-discipline and community.  My most trusted reference, however, is the Bible, for it represents the unequivocal “Word of God” and when viewed holistically, is the ultimate Book of Life.

I am a Christian and I live to become exclusively like Jesus Christ.  There is no other.  I humbly ask that you pray for me as a Christian to continue down the righteous path.  God Bless You all in finding yourself; in finding Peace, Love, Joy; in finding your Savior and Salvation.  There is definitely something in the water.  Be well.

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When Life Hangs In The Balance – I’ll Follow The Son


Golden_WaveI’ve wondered many times when I was a child, what life would be like when I was an adult; a husband; a father.  My imagination would conjure up visions of a burly man, physically fit, yet understanding, compassionate and loving.  I would shudder at the thought of the tremendous responsibility of marriage, and even more, of fatherhood.  The mere thought of this “serious” future that awaited me would quickly bring me back to reality; the reality of an eight-year-old boy at the precipice of manhood, or so I thought.

My journey was far from over, yet I have always been able to visualize it, almost touch it.  Growing up in a small town Salvation_Crossafforded much of the quality of life that people today cherish and search for when raising a family.  Surely, it lacked in cultural variety and experience, yet it grounded me in a forged way that would serve me well in my life ahead.

“Like most other boys growing up in the 60’s, there was beer, a bit of cursing, plenty of outdoor sports, bikes to ride, movies to see and girls to gawk.  And these things were indeed memorable, yet in my family, one thing trumped them all and that was Church on Sunday.”

At the time, even being an altar boy, I missed much of the essence of what having faith is all about.  Perhaps it was mired in the overtures of the Catholic Church financial bulletins, where your family name was used as a club by disclosing your contributions.  Perhaps it was overshadowed by the procedure, rigidity and absence of emotion by the clergy.  Perhaps it was a victim of an emphasis on Catholicism and not of Jesus Christ and the Bible.  But it was there to be discovered, experienced and revered, nonetheless.

I’ve always been one to pray, heavily in times of “need”, but also in times of blessing, bounty and benefit.  And even though every child, adult and Catholic saw the same crucifix and Jesus, my Jesus was special because He spoke and listened to me.

Fishing_SunsetIn all my years, I’ve yet to be disappointed, angered or spiteful by my Jesus Christ.  For even though my prayers weren’t always answered in MY timeframe, I accepted whatever response I received from my Jesus Christ, because I knew he was Almighty, Omnipotent and Kind.  That faith, attitude or core value system has saved my life many times; from preventing me from making mistakes, to my physical safety to being the recipient of good things happening to me as a result of my “choices”.

You see, each of us must find our own path, one bridled in our own sense of morality, and bounded by God’s grace.  A path only limited by our imagination.   I simply can’t imagine living a worthwhile life without the guidance, feedback and love of God.  I know not everyone shares that same belief, and that is ok, for the essence of our being is that of choice.  To a degree, we create our own future by the choices we make.  And for me, what better resource could one have, than Jesus Christ as your mentor, friend, Master and Creator?

As it was for me and as it will continue, when in doubt, I’ll follow the Son.  It’s a highly personal matter and it will remain that way.  Be well and choose wisely.   God Bless you.

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If I Were To Die Today – Living Life in Reverse


sunset_last_day_on_earthLife has a funny way of creating habits, routines and the resulting preoccupation with keeping busy.  We have routines for getting up, getting dressed, getting breakfast, getting to work, getting tasks completed, getting things done.   All this getting, getting, getting, however, is quite in contrast to that of Being.

The primary outcome of the “getting” is simply a preoccupation of our time here in this life; an Oh So Precious (and finite) time.  It is this mindset that inevitably results in the demeanor we subsequently create when there is loss; loss of a job, loss of a possession, but most critically, loss of human life.  We lament at funerals how we need to spend more time “living” and less time spending it on trivial matters.

So, in that light, this author offers an acute illustration of Being; “If I Were To Die Today”.

If I were to die today, I would let every person I meet, know that this life is simply too precious, complex and purposeful to be a cosmic Death_Ascension_Spiritcoincidence or accident.  Rather, it is a preparatory phase toward eternal life, one born of spirit and soul.  Our physical bodies were obviously not intended (by design) to last forever.  Our souls, however, are another story.  Pure energy is maintained eternally, so the key point are the transformations that occur along the way of our eternal existence.  Some call it consciousness.

  • Accordingly, spend more time with those you love, acknowledge the presence of Jesus Christ in your life and never, EVER, be ashamed or afraid to profess your faith;  For it is your spiritual legacy, birthright and destiny.  I refer to it as spiritual maturity.
  • Express your heart’s feelings to those on the receiving end, whether they be friends, neighbors, co-workers, family or role models and mentors.  They need to understand not only who you are, but equally important, who they are because of your presence in the world.  Humanity is but a web of inter-connectedness, an interactive and impactful experience that helps us to define and develop ourselves as eternal beings.  Communication is the vehicle that moves us forward toward realizing our potential as human beings.
  • Behave with intent, purpose and a deliberateness that unequivocally demonstrates your essence for others to witness and be likewise changed.  Help other people whenever you can as it cleanses the soul and elevates your spirit.  Have you ever felt badly after having helped another person?   And in contrast, have you ever felt good as a result of hurting another person?  That is precisely the eternal struggle of Good and Evil.  And, it is as Real as the water in the oceans.
  • Do the things that fuel your passions in life, don’t wait for the bucket to empty itself or be emptied by someone else.  Regularly attend to your “bucket list“.

Headstone_in_MemoryPerhaps most significant, is to leave the world a better place than you found it; by your definition and not by that of anyone else.  Life is to be lived on your terms as opposed to that of any other person(s) or the expectations of society.

If I were to die today, I would be satisfied with my life, sorrowful for any hurt I had caused others, blessed by the presence and guidance of God and most notably, prepared for death’s transformation and passageway into the eternity of tomorrow.  I would gracefully ascend having known I spent every breath of life focused on actualizing my soul.

What would you do if you were to die today?  Be well.

 

ABC’s of the Redemptive Alphabet


BXP26284In so many ways, each of us gets caught up in the hectic, decision-laden and stressful aspects of that 24-hour experience called Life.  And then, we “Rinse and Repeat”.  We juggle multiple priorities and tasks, we are required to make numerous decisions (some as a result of technology) and we allow ourselves to be distracted, agitated and stressed by far too many things.  As much as we are each unique in the eyes of God, we are patently similar in this regard.

The solution to this dilemma, this seemingly never-ending maze of confusion, frustration and bombardment of information by the outside world; is amazingly simple, if only we internalize it, focus on it and most importantly, apply it as we navigate the oft-time rough seas of daily life.

That solution I call the “ABC’s of the Redemptive Alphabet” and it goes something like this:

  • [A] Altruism – The principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others.
  • [B] Benevolence – Desire to do good to others; goodwill; charitableness: to be filled with benevolence toward one’s fellow creatures.
  • [C] Compassion – Feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

Most importantly, the common thread or vein running through these synergistic behaviors is a focus on others.  I’ve found this path to be, against all temptations, the most surefire and effective method of personal development.  At first glance it appears to be counter-intuitive, however, after some deep reflection about it, hopefully it will become obvious that the essence of focusing on others, in addition to actually becoming aware of their needs, strengths and behaviors, is to become aware of your own unique and special digestion, processing and reaction to them.  In short, the recognition, awareness and acceptance of your core values, ideas and beliefs.Mahatma-Gandhi

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”Mahatma Gandhi

Paradoxically, it is only by paying attention to others, that we learn about ourselves and also about humility and servant leadership.  And oh, what enormously powerful knowledge that self-awareness truly is!  Many people spend a lifetime attempting to learn who they are, or at a minimum, simply learning how important it is to know yourself.  Once armed with that sacred knowledge, we can effectively align our thoughts, ideas, reactions and behaviors toward living a focused and disciplined life, ultimately realizing our true calling, spirit, nature and authenticity.

For those that haven’t yet begun or are in the midst of that journey, there is no time like the present to embark on it.

Christopher-Columbus“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore” Christopher Columbus

Godspeed and health to you on your Journey…

Excerpt from ‘Not in Vein – Miracle within my Soul’


Writing a book is much akin to telling a story.  The true challenge is to be able to effectively create the images, logic and train of thought, and emotions in the reader as you possess as the author.  It is about describing, creating, remembering and planning just how you want to communicate your thoughts.

Below is an excerpt from my first book, “Not in Vein – Miracle within my Soul”.  I offer it to you as an opportunity to witness my writing style, hear my story and provide an opportunity to send me feedback, ideas, suggestions, etc.  As a writer, I continuously seek feedback as a path toward improvement and growth.  Above all, it is an opportunity for me to share some of my life with you.

Please take a moment to review these few sentences and reflect upon the intended meaning and message.  I hope you enjoy it; more to come as this project develops.  Be well.

———————————————————————-

Consider these man-made marvels; the microwave oven, cell-phones, x-rays and nuclear power.  Except for a few highly trained minds, most people could not explain and do not fully comprehend how these things empirically work.  All we know is that they indeed work and are real. 

None the less, they in reality, DO exist, much less, we accept their existence at face value, believe in that existence without first-hand understanding of it, and in the bigger picture, have become quite dependent upon the consequence of their existence and factually, need the outcomes they respectively create.  In effect, we have faith that they exist as a result of seeing the implications of their existence. 

Why, then, should the concept of God and eternal life be considered any different?  Why is it so difficult to accept the existence and presence of Jesus Christ?  Mostly, because we have not been very well taught to recognize and trust His presence and existence in everyday life; that and the oldest emotion since the beginning of mankind, i.e., FEAR.

Many of us live a majority of our lives without regularly taking or making time to authentically contemplate our being and self.  Consequently, we have a somewhat limited and less than ideal knowledge and perception of who we are as human beings, not to mention why we are. 

Then, consider the scenario of whether or not we have come to a conclusion and acceptance of where we are going after we leave this life.  Collectively, many if not most people have starved their spiritual being, resulting in a reduced awareness and sense of self, spirit, soul, potential, purpose and future.

This starvation has become an epidemic in our world and culture to the point that our mortal lives here on earth have grossly overshadowed our spiritual lives and the gift of consciousness we all possess; a gift that has gone grossly unnoticed, under-appreciated and overlooked as the true miracle that it is.

Awareness of self, much less consciousness, has blended into the background of most people’s existence like white noise at the office.  

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Be kind, but be candid…

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