Category Archives: Personal Witness

On the road to sainthood and not silent about it

hypocrites in church

I had an interesting conversation with a podcast listener about a week ago.  They had listened to some of the podcasts and were accusing me of being “holier than thou” when in fact I was a hypocrite.  Their conclusion was that I was in no position to tell anyone anything related to faith and morals because of my own imperfections.

Were they right?

Saints did not get that way because God zapped them and suddenly all their imperfections were gone.  They are saints because they cooperated with the grace of God and grew in holiness.  Read their stories.  You’ll find real people with real struggles.  You’ll also find that they were still sharing their faith as they struggled.  People didn’t only start listening to them after they had been canonized saints by the Church.  Folks were listening to them the whole time, even in the tough times.

Here’s what I have to say to the ones wishing to point out my faults.  Do I have them?  Loads of imperfections and lots of mistakes are mine on a near daily basis.  Here’s the difference: I don’t claim perfection.  In fact, I tend to use my constant idiocy as proof that God’s grace and mercy still work.  Listen to the podcast often enough and you’ll hear it.  His discipline and correction in my life is proof to me that God still loves me and wants me to be part of his kingdom.  Otherwise, He’d leave me alone to pursue whatever and end up dead and separated from Him forever.  But He doesn’t.

I’m not perfect.  I sin often.  But I go to confession.  I do penance.  I work at growing in holiness.  All the while I share the faith. I’m fortunate to have been taught a great deal by the saints, my pastors, my spiritual director, and scads of good books.  When I fail I cannot plead ignorance.  So I struggle on.  God has been good to me, not only to forgive me and put me on the right path, but also to provide me with a community in which to grow.

For those who wish to be left alone and not be faced with a moral obligation, be it from me, the Pope, or anyone else, let me encourage you to avoid isolation.  Let me further encourage you to seek Christian community where you can be challenged to be the person you were created to be.  Community makes the difference, and you need it as much as I do.

Chances are good that there are opportunities for building community in your home parish, and there are good places online to find additional folks to help you with whatever you might be facing.  Of course, you can always hook up with us at The Tactical Catholic Podcast or any of the programs at the Fiat Ministry Network.  We would love to talk to you, pray with you, and get to know you.  Just don’t go at it alone.

And don’t wait until you’re perfect before you share your faith.  Your real struggles might be the key to helping someone else find the hope they need.

 

Tactical Catholic Podcast 030: RACK Em!

Tonight on the Tactical Catholic Podcast we are talking about Random Acts of Christian Kindness. This is the simplest way you and I can share the faith. Join us tonight at 9pm central with your own ideas. http://www.fiatministrynetwork.tv/live

Tactical Catholic Podcast #027 is Available for Download

Episode 027 is ready for download.  You can get it at iTunes or you can download it directly from the rss feed.  In this episode we talk about Age of Ultron, Bass Pro Pyramid, and the Bass-o-Vator!

Please subscribe and never miss an episode at work, while you drive, or gathered around the family internet radio.  And leave us some feedback, would ya?

Brotherhood and Community are Worth the Effort

I had a super busy weekend, and I hope that your weekend was a good one. If not, please consider leaving a prayer request.

Read the rest of this entry

Entitlement Should Not Be a Thing

entitled pigs

Today is Free Comic Book Day.  So, I took two of my kiddos to the comic book store.  By the way, if you’re reading this on May 2, there is still time to get to your shop and take advantage of this really cool offer (at least one free comic book and usually great deals on other stuff).  Back to my story.  So, I was at the comic shop and I was super excited to know that there was a Captain Canuck as well as a Doctor Who comic in the freebie list.  I was walking around and looking at the books, both free and non, and then I heard something irritating.

Ugh!  Your free wi-fi signal is too slow.  This is really bad.

I thought to myself, “This is a public commercial property.  They are under no obligation to provide you ANY wi-fi, and you are complaining about the speed?  Don’t you have a smartphone in your hand…the kind that requires a data plan?”

This woman and her husband walked past the cool cosplayers in their hand made outfits (really good job, folks!) to the rack containing the selection of free comics.  The owner explained the rules to a group of us who had walked in.  Everyone gets a free comic just for breathing and being inside the store.  If you purchase $4 of merchandise, you get one of each of the free titles.  That means 50 comic books for $4.  Can you guess where this story is going?

Ugh!  That is ridiculous.  You mean they are not all free?  I have never had to pay for any of the comics on free comic book day.  The other stores don’t make you pay to get more than one [Yes, they do].  We have done this for years and they never made us pay.  Are you serious?

Hulk……anger……rising………Must……not……smash……larynx.

The more I listened to the lame rant of this lying “customer” the more I suspected that she was likely going to each of the area comic stores to get additional copies of the comics for resale later.  That made me a little angry, but I also thought to myself, “Wifi Lady just has to pluck down $4 (buy the new Iron Fist) and she gets 50 COMIC BOOKS FOR FREE!  So if she goes to the 3 local stores that I know of, for a mere $12, she can walk out with 153 COMIC BOOKS.  Greed much, lady?”

After that rant, the lady and her companions took their one free book each and departed.  Guess $4 was too much to pay for 51 comics.  I just consulted my calculator.  That comes down to 7.8 cents per comic!   Guess what we did.  We bought some comics.  In fact, my son bought 3 books anyway and got one for his sister.  So we left with 53 books that my kids (after I filter the stack) can share.  I also learned that Q from STNG will be coming to the Memphis Con in November.

There is a disease in this country (possibly others, but I only really know about ‘murica) called entitlement.  Here, that means that men, women, and children are being taught that they are owed something for which they themselves did not work, toil, or prepare.  They merely want it and expect someone else to provide it.  Entitlement is closely related to greed, sloth, gluttony, and consumerism.  All are disordered and sinful.  They fail to take into account the feelings or work of another in order that they may mindlessly consume, in this case, comic books.  The disease of entitlement runs rampant in America.  In fact, in some areas of our country, entitlement is used as a means to build a dependent class of society, a voting block that has been indoctrinated to believe that apart from the government’s hand they can do nothing.  Entitlement unchecked grows like a cancer.  It fuels illogical resentment and creates enemies out of everyone.

What can we do to stop this?

It starts at home, and by “home” I mean wherever you happen to be.  You can be at Wal-Mart, your house, your office, or the ballpark.  Start with yourself and your own attitude towards goods and services.  Know and appreciate the things you have and the means by which they arrived at your disposal.  Refuse to abuse goods and services.  Say THANK YOU.  Don’t be a butt to persons.  In fact, be a good tipper and a courteous customer.  Teach your kids the value of goods, services and the virtues of a hard day’s work.  Be a good example of hard work to your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, and especially your family.  We can do this.

Don’t be like the wifi lady.  Be better than that.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to write a note of thanks to the owners of my local comic shop.

Scheduling Good Catholic Podcasts

We have been working hard to get our Tactical Catholic Podcast schedule complete through the summer. We are all set through end of July now. Every topic and every guest is set, with a little flexibility built in in case we need to adjust on the fly.

We are grateful to all of our listeners and podcast subscribers for making the Tactical Catholic Podcast so much fun to do each week.

Click the links on the left to subscribe today. Your subscription via iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS helps us to increase our visibility on those sites, which means more people have a chance to join us in community!

The Catholic Fellows

I just met these guys through the interwebs and I’d like for you to visit their site.  The Catholic Fellows is about building strong Christian men through community, and you know the Tactical Catholic is all for that.  Check their mission statement.

Empowering men through His Most Holy Church. We are individual fellows at varying stages in life who all want to grow to be more like Christ. God is our greatest strength, and he has given us his saints for standards. The Catholic Fellows aim to empower other fellows, wherever they are in this world, to take up their cross, and walk in love with Christ.

Guys, this is a well designed site with a strong concept. They are building content and an audience and YOU are going to take some time to visit their site and be encouraged.  I would also challenge you to consider joining their fellowship.  The bar is high, my friends, but that is the way it should be, challenging each other to do more and be more.

Now why would Tactical Catholic promote a site that is doing the SAME THING as he’s doing?  Well, for starters, they have better art.  Seriously, men, there is no such thing as competition when it comes to laboring in the mission fields.  We are all fellow laborers and working for the same Jewish carpenter.  Far be it from me to try to horde my readers and podcast listeners.  My goals are similar to theirs, to help us all to grow together in Christ.  Plus, they advocate meeting in pubs!  You can’t argue with theology on tap (no trademark infringement intended), my brethren.

Don’t take my word for it.  Pop over to The Catholic Fellows and give a look.  Please tell them that I sent you and that I’m happy to have met more good men from JP Catholic!

To learn more about The Catholic Fellows, visit their website.

Tactical Catholic Episode 026: Mystery Guest

We have a special guest tonight on Tactical Catholic Podcast. Who is it? A Bird told me our guest is an artist, a convert, and I can’t tell you everything. Come on over tonight at 9pm central.

http://www.fiatministrynetwork.tv/live

Personal Piety vs the Missal

I feel as though sometimes people pit the Missal (and the General Instruction on the Roman Missal) against their own personal piety as well as their own tastes.  Truth be told, there is a great deal of flexibility in the Mass.  All one has to do is read the Missal and the GIRM to see this.  That is not to say that Mass is a free-for-all.  Far from it.  There is a proper form and proper matter to the Mass.  Within these constructs there is freedom and choice.  For example, there are several different Eucharistic Prayers that may be employed in a Mass.  The Prayer of the Faithful is guided but not dictated.  The music is not specified.  There’s some room, folks.

So maybe you can feel me when I say that equating your choices and your likes with “the voice of God” is a dumb thing to do.  I’ve never been to a Mass in which every single thing tickled my fancy.  I don’t always like the music, or the lector’s pace, or the homily, or the choice of crucifix, or the type of kneeler.  But you know what?  I don’t come to Mass for any of those things.  No, they are tools in the hands of the Lord to move me toward the source and summit which is the Eucharist.  Christ is going to show up.  He has promised us that.  Even if someone intended to attempt invalidation, God still supplies the grace.  It’s on their head, not yours or mine.  I am here to receive Jesus.  Keep your steel guitar.

Let’s talk about gestures, shall we?  Do you bow your head at the name of Jesus or cross yourself at varied times during the Mass?  There are some times that the faithful are instructed to do so (beginning and ending of Mass signs of the cross, bowing during the three lines in the Creed regarding the Incarnation) but there is no rule prohibiting you from crossing yourself at other times.  In fact, I’m often baffled that folks at Mass seem to be more vigilent about crossing themselves before the Gospel (a sign prescribed for the Deacon/Priest/Bishop at that time) and holding hands during the our Father (not prescribed at all) than bowing for the Incarnation in the Creed, “…and by the power of the Holy Spirit, was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.” which is prescribed.  I say, be as pious as you wanna be, just so long as you keep the main thing the main thing.

If an extra crossing here and there and holding your neighbor’s hand helps you draw nearer to our Eucharistic Lord, then go for it.  We all need to do all we can to prepare our hearts to receive Him.  Don’t get bent out of shape, however, if your neighbor has his hands together in prayer during the Our Father, or that he chooses to kneel and pray after Mass.  Let’s keep the main thing the main thing, alright?

—————————

On a side note, how did you do with your Easter Mass assignments?  I hope you were able to be the welcoming and kind face that visitors to your parish need to see.  May they be moved to return to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass next week and renew their faithful walk with Christ.

I’m proud to be Irish, and you’re welcome!

saint patrick of irelandSt. Patrick’s Day is upon us and plenty of people across the United States will use today as an excuse to do things that are certainly NOT Irish or related to this slave become saint of the emerald isle. Regardless of your stance on alcohol, there is never a justification for drunkenness.  Drunkenness is a sin and we stand opposed to it.  Furthermore, we oppose the early American prejudice and caricature of the Irish as drunkards, propagated as a justification to not hire them.

Be you reminded that a great number of Ireland’s men and women came across this pond looking for enterprise and freedom long before the potato famine.  My family was one of that first batch who helped to establish the colonies and who fought in this nation’s revolutionary war to gain independence.  It is a crying shame that when our former countrymen came to America in a time of such great need as the potato famine that they were treated so very poorly.  Nevertheless, the Irish found ways to rise above their humble circumstance and to achieve great things in this land of opportunity.

I will claim a tie to Saint Patrick, not because I am a native Irishman, because I am not.  My family moved to Ireland from Scotland as farmers. Then they moved to the United States. My tie to Saint Patrick is the bond of faith.  Patrick was a slave who found Christ and then returned to the land of his imprisonment as a missionary and Bishop.  His goal was to see men and women embrace the faith that had changed his life for the better.  As imperfect and sinful as I am, my goal is to point men and women toward the faith that is daily changing my life.  I’m no saint, but I want to be one, and through the encouragement of this great cloud of witnesses such as Saint Patrick, I believe I have a good shot.

Today, while others are doing stupid things, let us exercise wisdom in our revelry.  Let us use opportunities like this to share our living faith in the one true hope, Jesus Christ.