I am Orthodox Catholic and follow Church teaching 100% of the time, all the time. I am in full communion with the Magisterium of the Church, which is the Church Heirarchy meaning the Pope and bishops.
Following Church teaching all the way without deviating or being what we call a cafeteria Catholic has brought me great and total peace and joy. Nothing else can.
The Church is here to save souls in and through Jesus Christ, but following Church teaching does not only bring eternal salvation it brings peace and happiness in this life like nothing else can, and I speak from personal experience, because I tried to find peace and happiness in other areas of life, or in other people or in things, and it did not work.
Not food, not alcohol, not drugs, not in smoking, nor in cars, houses, boats, vacations, relationships: nothing else provides peace and happiness like walking in, living in and growing in Christ. It took me 50 years to get it, and I only got it by finally cooperating with God’s grace and totally surrendering my will to the will of the Father and taking up my cross daily and allowing Jesus to live and grow in me through the power of The Holy Spirit. Oh what JOY it brings!
Let me point out that I continue to be a work in progress. I am clay in the hands of the potter, God, my Heavenly Father and today I am still struggling with overcoming pride and growing in humility.
The only way I was able to overcome previous vices of selfishness, self centredness, lack of chastity and purity, lack of self control and discipline and becoming obedient was through the Sacraments of the Church, ongoing. Frequent and numerous public confession of sin to God’s priests are the only way! Daily Mass and Communion is the only way. Anointing of the Sick on March 19, 2015, not coincidently the feast of St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, husband to Our Blessed Mother, and worker who is one of my role models, changed me. I believe God put me in the hospital because he knew I needed to receive this Sacrament; as only the sick can receive it.
I wanted to change my sinful ways and was led by The Spirit to attend an overnight retreat on New Year’s eve 2014, so on 12/31/2014 I went overnight to St. Rafael retreat center in Havertown, PA and the dots of my life toward holiness began to connect. I was a lifelong, faithful and practicing Catholic prior to this as well. I was going to confession frequently, attending Mass regularly, reading my Bible, studying my faith, meeting with small faith groups and doing good works as well as loving my family as best I could, but something was still missing. I was not content and I was unwilling to surrender my entire will to the will of the Father. I thought in some areas of my life I knew better and God could not help me. Boy was I wrong!
I was unwilling to deny myself certain so called pleasures like food for instance. Yes, we need food and water to survive but we need temperance in our eating habits and in every area of life to grow closer to God. So now, I eat less, leave a little on the plate as reminder, skip dessert or skip a meal to feel the hunger pangs. The hunger pangs remind me to pray for those starving and for the poor and homeless. I abstain from eating meat on every Friday throughout the entire year as The Church instructs and I do it only to glorify God! In denying ourselves anything we glorify God and fill our emptiness and hunger only with Him if we do it prayerfully. I also felt after a hard day’s work I needed a couple alcoholic drinks; no more, I stopped that. I am not saying everyone needs to give up food and alcohol, but we must temper our desires if we want to grow in holiness. Doing so enabled me to grow in holiness and find real truth and happiness and peace.
Drugs and smoking anything are a no in my opinion and only result in death and destruction and I strongly encourage all those using to stop.
Now I would like to turn to the subject of sexual desire. I honestly believe too many of us are stuck in an adolescent mind frame when it comes to sexual desire, especially men; I was, and it was a process, and took me 50 years to really understand sexual desire and how to control it instead of it controlling me.
First and foremost we need the desire to be Catechized properly and the Church needs to Cathechize properly. Catechesis is religious instruction.
When it comes to sexual desire we need to read Church documents like Humana Vitae by Pope Blessed Paul VI and Theology of The Body by Pope St. John Paul II.
We need to read from the Bible, the first book called Genesis and we need to read the last book of the Bible called Revelation. The Bible ends with Revelation and the wedding feast of The Lamb.
Jesus Christ is the bridegroom, and the ultimate man, the Alpha and Omega. He showed us the way and the path to holiness and He is who we are to follow. The Church is His bride and it’s all written there in Revelation and explained by His Church in The Catechism. That is why I always say My Bible is my playbook and my Catechism is my weekly game plan. We need both and we need to read and study both.
Until we study and understand the Church Documents I mention above and The Bible Books I mention above we will be stuck in the adolescent mindset of human sexuality.
God made us male and female, uniquely created and different, but both man and woman are created in His image. We are complimentary beings in body , mind and soul. I am blessed to be part of a Catholic group, which is more an Apostolate and think tank, on human sexuality called The Masculine Genius Institute or MGI as we refer to it. The group is made up of mostly Catholic Theologian’s and clergy with PhD’s in Theology whose life work or mission is to seek the truth in Human Sexuality. We do have non-Catholic’s in this group as well and all the presenters and attendees are striving for Holiness.
Even though I had periods of chastity throughout my life I never embraced God’s proper plan for Human sexuality until my conversion last year that I mention above, and it cost me my marriage, however, all is not lost as although I am separated, we are not divorced and have amicability and we love our children and operate as a family, even under these difficult circumstances. God, has even used this event in my life to bring me closer to Him and I am thankful for it. I am thankful for my wife also as she challenges me and in these challenges I grow spiritually.
He has given me, through the power of His Holy Spirit, and unquenchable thirst and desire to seek truth and study, so I am now enrolled in courses to attain my Masters in Theology.
I write and speak out and stand up for Life, marriage between a man and woman as God ordained it as well as defend Church teaching and serve the poor, homeless, addicted and my family , friends and acquaintances just by being present mostly.
I turned over my sexual desire to God during my hospital stay last year, and he took care of it, really, I am not kidding, God really does provide what Romans 8:28 tells us, He makes all things good for those who love Him and His righteousness and are called according to His decrees. Not some things either, God makes all things GOOD, if we cooperate with His grace. So, I said, “here I am Lord, I come to do your will”. After that He showed me the path to break free from all sexual sin. I had to look for it, and still do. I had to seek it daily, and still do.
No Adultery, No Fornication, No Homosexuality, No Porn, No Masterbation, No Lustful looks or desires, No Strip clubs, No Prostitutes. Nothing that lead us to sin through the door of sexual immorality even once! No nothing, ever, plain and simple. Guard your eyes! Job 31:1 explains, I made an agreement with my eyes. Jesus explains, if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out! Heavy words, but needed. Not even once ladies and gentlemen; do not deceive yourselves, turn away from sin and remain faithful to the Gospel. Do not play with fire or you will get burned! Make your hearts, minds, bodies and souls pure in everything you do! Run from temptation, resist the devil and he will flee, use the weapons of The Lord and stop staring into the gates of Hell because sin can be intoxicating as we learned from Ulysses in The Odyssey in the passage of the beautiful Sirens, sin can be so intoxicating, therefore, we must put on the full breastplate and armor of Jesus Christ, our Lord, King and Everything, daily to overcome temptation and sin!
Holiness is not for wussies! Stand up and be a Man or Woman that God created you to be. And, it’s not hard, only if you rely on and lean on God and others in the faith every second of the day through prayer, communion and faith.
Sex is for Marriage and marriage is between one man and one woman. A marriage should be open to children and never using artificial contraception. The mere words artificial contraception means against Life and therefore against God. I encourage all to conduct your own research on Natural Family Planning, the only Church approved way to plan for a family, and it brings peace, harmony and joy to the marital relationship and the family.
No Marriage, no sex! and this includes no porn and no masterbation. Live chastely and purely and rely on God’s help. You can and will experience Joy in chastity as I do. Husbands and wives love each other as Christ loves His bride the Church and live chastely within the marriage as well.
I also need my fellow men and women Christians for support. I am a lay Dominican, a Kingsmen, a Knight of Columbus, a man of faith in our formal men’s faith group in my parish, a member of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, the Chaplain in The Catholic Business Network of greater Philadelphia, a Catechist, A Lector and a weekly Eucharist Adorer in addition to my Apostolates and ministries. It all holds me accountable! I also have a friend whereby we are accountability partners to each other.
Live the Corporal and Spiritual works of Mercy daily to obtain God’s grace. He will delight in us if we do. We receive God’s grace in and through the Sacraments and Works of Mercy. God’s grace is His life in us.
I thank and praise God every day for a new beginning. I am a new creation every day! He makes all things new regardless of your age. You can change like I did if you desire to and cooperate with His grace, obey and seek out others of faith to help you and walk with you.
“Create in me a clean heart , O God, and refresh and renew a steadfast Spirit within me”. – Psalm 51:10.
Let go and Let God create you anew today! I am praying for you! Please pray for me! and continue to Walk By Faith To Live!!!
One thought on “Why I follow Church Teaching”
Charlie, Awesome!!! – I told you God would use your past failures to help others in the future. God always brings something good out of the worst evil. Stay open as you are to the grace God so desires to give you. Fr. Jim
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