“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” – 2 Cor. 11:30.
“Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly in my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Cor. 12:7-10.
I am nothing! I am a worm and no man, without Jesus Christ as my Lord, Savior, King, Everything! He is my rock and refuge, my stronghold through trials and tribulations of life.
The world we live in and the signs of our times tell us we can fix ourselves and heal ourselves through psychology, medicine, self help, yoga and a host of other things that take Jesus away from being at the center of our lives instead of putting him directly in the center, which is the better part and what is needed.
The Church is our guide to putting Jesus in the center.
The world tells us, eat, drink and be merry; “it’s all about you, your feelings and doing whatever is needed to make you happy. However, Jesus tells us, take up your cross daily and follow me!
What a juxtaposition!
The world says live carefree, laugh, be strong, buck up, suck it up, but the great Apostle St. Paul says “power is made perfect in weakness”.
The world says, it’s okay for a person not to love their spouse, commit adultery, enter into another relationship with someone who makes you feel good, have sexual intercourse with a person of the same sex, change your sex from man to woman or vice versa, even to the point of mutilation; view pornography, go to strip clubs and seek out prostitutes. All of this is okay if it makes us feel good and we are not harming anybody anyway. Lie and Cheat others; the ends justify the means as long as you get what you want.
Well, let me tell you this, it’s all a big fat lie. When you and I do this, we are not only harming ourselves and our souls but we are harming the body of Christ!
We have the worldly allures, the flesh and the father of lies on one side and we have Christ’s teaching and His Church on the other side.
One side has to be wrong, right? You decide. I have no doubt I have chosen the better part and not part of it, all of it. You and I must follow Church teaching 100% all the way to attain fullness of Joy and the abundant life not just in the next life but in this life as well.
Let me add, I have struggled mightily for most of my life with sexual temptation and sin and I have fallen many times. Jesus also fell many times while he carried his cross on the road to Calvary. He kept getting up and he had Simon of Cyrene help him carry his cross. Only because of Christ, I, too, kept getting up and allowed the Church, His Church, to help in carrying my cross. I returned to the sacrament of Confession frequently and God’s grace became sufficient for me because I accepted and admitted my weakness, I believed in Jesus and His Church and I confessed my sin over and over again within the Sacrament of the Church and before the man, the priest, His priest, In persona Christi, In the person of Christ.
It’s the only way and the true way. I encourage all to please go to the Church and receive the sacraments of confession and holy communion often. It’s the visible face of Christ in the world!
The Church provides order in our lives daily, weekly, monthly and yearly and it keeps repeating year after year through daily mass, Liturgy of the Hours and devotions. The reason the Church has it’s own Calendar, we call it a Liturgical year or calendar is because we need order and it provides it.
Without order, we have chaos. We live in the midst of chaos because so many have left the Church and it’s teaching due to the father of lies, the flesh and worldly allures.
It took me many years to understand it but I persevered and asked questions and listened and read and studied my Catholic Bible and Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is my playbook and weekly game plan to navigate through this life in an orderly manner instead of disorderly manner that I mention above.
I like to call myself a born again Catholic because although I was baptized as an infant and have stayed in the Church and practiced my faith my entire life, never leaving, even in my sins, I have been reborn and chosen Catholicism for myself after much reading, studying, listening, practicing and learning. I am in a sense a convert to Catholicism, even though I am not, because it’s the faith practice I chose on my own and willingly by the grace of God.
Everything in the Old Testament, starting with Genesis, prefigures the coming of Christ, and what I love about Catholicism is that it was born out of Judaism and kept it’s traditions and history from Scripture to priests to vestments to sacrifice, prayer and fasting and to the way we celebrate Mass; it’s all rooted in Judaism!
Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it!
Because of Pentecost and the power of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles after Jesus’ passion, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven they finally understood how to proceed in setting up the Church, even though they had to figure it out and struggle.
They were all Jews! As was Jesus and his parents, Mary and Joseph.
I encourage all to read chapters 9 and 10 in Acts of the Apostles prayefully, where Cornelius, a Roman soldier and Gentile became the first non Jew to be welcomed into the Church. It’s marvelous. God revealed how the Church must proceed in a vision to Peter and Cornelius.
I also encourage you to read the writings of our early Church father’s, the saints and the Popes down through the ages starting in the second century with St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Polycarp, St. Iraneus, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Albert the Great, St. Gregory the Great, St, Thomas Aquinas and St. Catherine of Siena to name a few. Their writings are so beautiful and timeless and give us a lens into how the early Church as well as the Church down through the ages operated and you will find it’s so Eucharistic! It is Catholic, no doubt, starting with the Apostles and it’s so beautiful! Amazingly beautiful and rich!
The Church is here to help us and lift us and carry us when we drop the ball and when we are weak! The history and tradition of the Church is a pearl of great price and so important to be followed and carried on and loved and cherished.
It takes discipline, sacrifice, commitment and giving things up for sure, but like most things in life it takes hard work to accomplish.
As St Paul tells us just as an athlete must train his body and subject himself or herself to the point of torture to achieve greatness so must we in our quest for the Divine nature. We must run the good race and fight the good fight to win the eternal crown of victory and we must persevere to the end regardless of feelings or even through difficult and adverse circumstances as well as the good!
We must be thankful for all of it! As Romans 8:28 tells us, God uses all our circumstances, even the most adverse or hurtful or evil for His good. He makes all things new and all things good if we trust Him and cooperate with His grace and submit our will to His and His Church, instead of expecting Him and His Church to submit their will to ours.
That is why I Walk By Faith to Live Joyfully!!!