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Have you ever seen “It’s A Wonderful Life“?

In despair, George Bailey, played by the iconic Jimmy Stewart, offered a simple prayer that changed the direction of his life — and became the turning point of this classic film.

God … oh God … Dear Father in Heaven, I’m not a praying man, but if You’re up there and You can hear me, show me the way. I’m at the end of my rope. Show me the way, Oh God.

It took less than 40 seconds (and less than 40 words, as well) for God to change George Bailey’s life. So, if that’s all it takes, why do we keep praying? Why do we keep asking God for things? Many times, we keep asking for the same thing, and we keep asking day in and day out. Why?

I’ve been struggling with this question lately.

Ironically, I’ve been struggling with this question just around the same time that I traded my theology books for a small 15-page book of prayers and dedicated my mornings to spiritual devotion.

Daily, I just silently read each prayer, many prepared by our great Saints, as I sip a warm cup of coffee. I sit downstairs in my EZ-Chair or outside as the sun rises, alone with only my most loyal family member at my feet.

The words of the prayers don’t change. My requests are usually the same.

I don’t ask for richness or success. I simply ask for guidance, Heavenly protection from the Evil One, and the will to be an example of Christ’s Love if and when called upon. And I do this every day. I do this every day, even though I know God is Ever-present, All-Knowing.

I do this knowing, as a Father, God is always there, always watching, always willing and prepared to help.

Every day, I repeat my prayers even though I know that God does not exist in time. I repeat my prayers even though I know God heard and remembered every word I spoke the day before. And I do this knowing that, just like George Bailey, all it takes is less than 40 seconds and less than 40 words to get my point across.

If fact, God knows exactly what I am going to say and exactly what I’m going to ask. So why do I do it? Why do I pray every single day and dedicate so much of my morning to prayer?

I do it because…

I need to remind myself that God is always watching. I need to keep close to God, not the other way around. Prayer keeps me connected to the Father. Prayer keeps me close to Him and to the Heavenly Hosts. Prayer keeps the temptations of the Evil One at bay — for just a little while, at least.

Prayer doesn’t change God. Prayer changes you and me. Prayer helps you and me “change and become like children” so one day we can “enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Sure, God can change one’s life in less than 40 seconds — and so can Satan.

So, through prayer, I choose to spend my time with the Father. As His child, I seek His loving guidance and protection, daily, the same way my children seek my guidance and protection. In prayer, I willingly accept His loving hand as I cross this chaotic, traffic-filled road called life until I get safely to the other side — and He will do the same for you.

That’s why we pray! Amen.

_______________________<>_______________________

James is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, The Christmas Save, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL 

As a writer, James has been featured on The Inside Success Show, Bob Salter (CBS Radio),  Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.  

Beyond writing, James worked with At-Risk youth in Southern California for over six years.  His contributions to the classroom — featured on local television and in the LA Daily News and the Los Angeles Times’ Burbank Leader — earned him the honors of “Teacher of the Year”.    James was also twice honored by a CASDA Scholar as the teacher who had the greatest influence on that student.   As an educator, James also appeared twice on America Live with Megyn Kelly. 

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.   Besides his books, you can follow his musing on this blog Corporation You.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

The photo of Jimmy Stewart is from “It’s a Wonderful Life”. George Bailey’s Prayer. (1946) Fair Use: The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

About a year ago, I stumbled across Matt Pratt’s “Pints with Aquinas.” He’s my new late-night go-to entertainment after my wife falls asleep while we watch something on Prime, Netflix, or The Peacock.

Recently, I tapped into his talk with Fr. Thomas Joseph White titled “What is Predestination?”

Though informative, I have to admit that most of it was above my pay grade. About 43 minutes in, however, everything changed. Matt asked Fr. White, “How does this affect our spiritual lives… What would you say to those struggling with scrupulosity?”

Full disclosure, though I had heard of the word scruples, I had to look up the definition of scrupulosity and see how it connected with my Catholic Christian faith.

Fr. White began to describe the no-brainers: Prayers to Christ; going to the sacraments — especially Confession and Communion; and trying to live the moral teachings of the Church with Hope.

Like he said, no-brainers. It all begins here. CLICK.

Things began to change for me when Fr. White said that he tells people that they have to make seven acts of Hope a day.

“What does that look like?” Matt Pratt quickly added to which Fr. White presented a simple scenario.

When you arrive at your desk and before you start your day, you say something like this:

“Lord Jesus Christ, I hope in You, my Savior. I want to devote my day of work to You. I believe in Your Providence. I trust in You. I trust in Your Mercy. I trust in You to forgive my sins. I’m going to try to forgive other people for their sins. I want to live in Your Mercy. I want to hope in You. Everything that happens to me and everything I do can be a means that can conduct me to Sanctification and Salvation.

I’m going to use everything you give me today to try to be conformed to the Mystery of the Cross and Resurrection. I hope in You.

From there, the gems of salvation started to overflow.

  • Hope is the spiritual boxer’s virtue.
  • Develop that boxer’s perseverance stance of Hope throughout the day.
  • If you get punched by the Devil, you hit back with hope.
  • Learn not to talk back to the Devil, but talk to Christ and say “I hope in You.”
  • Hope is the fighter’s virtue that gets you through the fog of war of day-to-day life.
  • Of Faith, Hope, and Charity, Hope is the under-nourished virtue.
  • Dive into the safety net of God’s Mercy.
  • Radically Trust in the Mercy of Christ.
  • Live with the vulnerability that you can’t save yourself!
  • Learn to treat Christ as a person and trust unconditionally in the Mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Wow!

So, starting today: If you get punched by the Devil, get up! and hit back with Hope. Jesus, I trust in YOU! Amen!

Corporation YOU!

James is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, The Christmas Save, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL 

As a writer, James has been featured on The Inside Success Show, Bob Salter (CBS Radio),  Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.  

Beyond writing, James worked with At-Risk youth in Southern California for over six years.  His contributions to the classroom — featured on local television and in the LA Daily News and the Los Angeles Times’ Burbank Leader — earned him the honors of “Teacher of the Year”.    James was also twice honored by a CASDA Scholar as the teacher who had the greatest influence on that student.   As an educator, James also appeared twice on America Live with Megyn Kelly. 

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.   Besides his books, you can follow his musing on this blog Corporation You.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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ash-wednesday-corporation-you

 

Today is Ash Wednesday.

For six years, I lived and worked in Southern California, within the bounds of the largest Catholic archdiocese in United States where I attended Mass and services at the parish of St. Finbar in Burbank.

Almost 5 million Catholics work, live, and worship in the Los Angeles community of 11 million people which prides itself on its embrace of multiculturalism.

Oddly enough, when I lived in So Cal, not one Ash Wednesday passed without someone pointing out that I had “something” on my forehead.

The first time it occurred, I was in a Target. The person was kind and concerned as she approached and expressed her concern.

“Excuse me, sir,” she said. “You have something on your forehead.”
“It’s Ashes,” I replied, believing she would then know what I was talking about. She didn’t. “It’s Ash Wednesday,” I continued. Still nothing. “I’m Catholic,” I added. “We put Ashes on our forehead to mark the beginning of the season called Lent.”
“Wow, that’s cool,” she smiled, then walked off.

I have to admit; though I chuckled, I was equally amazed that she didn’t know. The following year, it occurred again.

My wife and I went to have sushi after receiving ashes to meet our holy obligation of eating fish. (And yes, I’m aware that sushi is not the true intended act of penance imposed by the Church to commemorate the day.)

As we we’re leaving the restaurant, the Japanese-accented Sushi Chef called out to us.

“Thank you for coming,” he said. “Have good day.”
“You too!” my wife and I added in unison.
“Excuse me, you have something on you –,” he added, pointing to his forehead.
“Yes, thank you,” I replied. “It’s ashes. It’s Ash Wednesday.”
“Oh my goodness,” he humbly replied seemingly losing his accent. “I’m a lapsed Catholic.”

We chuckled. First at the loss of the shame-filled Sushi’s Chef’s Japanese accent; but also at the fact that it happened again!

I was equally amazed that he didn’t know.

IMG_1351The most noted case of mistaken ashes came when British Sky News reporters, on Ash Wednesday, thought the dirty mark above the brow of then Vice-President Joe Biden was also just something on his forehead.

It’s quite humorous. The reporter, another self-proclaimed lapsed Catholic, finally realizes three minutes and 10 seconds into the broadcast that Joe Biden’s something is, in fact, ashes, and humbly apologizes.

Take a look at it HERE.

In her defense, and the defense of the others, our ashes often lose their intended shape, that of a cross — especially by the end of the day.  (See below)

Though I no longer live in Los Angeles, I, oddly enough, miss those awkward Ash Wednesday incidents.

I don’t miss them because they made me laugh — even though they did.  I miss them because they revealed, to me, the true nature of the season of Lent that lives in the heart of those of goodwill.

Lent is a season of Penance, yes; but it’s also a season of Reflection.

But what exactly should we reflect on?

Well, how about we reflect on being more Holy, more Christ-like; we can do this by reflecting His loving character more.

In fact, I’d argue that the motivation behind these well-intended interactions were, for the most part, just as Christian as the act of receiving and wearing ashes.

How so?

Then let me start with this question: If Jesus was walking down the street and he saw a smudge on someone’s forehead, what would He do? What would He say?

I think that Jesus would stop, point, and say, “Excuse me, sir. You have something on your forehead.”

So, if today, if you are stopped by a well-intended non-believer or non Church-goer, simply smile and say, “No, that’s not dirt on my forehead. It’s Ashes … but thank you!”

Maybe, you could even take this opportunity to start a conversation — and possibly take the first step in introducing someone else to the Love of Christ.

IMG_1353James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

Lent Fun Fact:
The Catholic practice of abstaining from meat on Friday was the reason for the creation of McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish sandwich.

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Every year, we bless our home. Or at least we try. This year, we were a week late. It’s a beautiful tradition, inspired by the Book of Exodus, that you can do with your kids.

First, find some chalk. If you’re house is like ours, there’s a piece of chalk somewhere. Under a couch cushion, under the kids bed, in the garage, on the driveway. The list is endless.

According to Aleteia, a priest traditionally, blesses chalk on the Feast of the Epiphany by saying the following prayer (from the Roman Ritual):

Bless, + O Lord God, this creature, chalk, and let it be a help to mankind. Grant that those who will use it with faith in your most holy name, and with it inscribe on the doors of their homes the names of your saints, Casper, Melchior, and Baltassar, may through their merits and intercession enjoy health in body and protection of soul; through Christ our Lord.

Being the head of the household, I usually bless the chalk, then while marking the doors 20 +C +M +B 21 with chalk, I pray the blessing.

Bless, + O Lord God almighty, this home, that in it there may be health, purity, the strength of victory, humility, goodness and mercy, the fulfillment of Thy law, the thanksgiving to God the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. And may this blessing remain upon this home and upon all who dwell herein. Through Christ our Lord.

20 +C +M +B 21

As the article in Aleteia clearly states, [t]here is no “guarantee” that a home marked with Epiphany chalk will be protected from all illnesses, it does remind us that God is the giver of all gifts and he can lead us into good health. The spiritual needs of the family should always be in the forefront of our mind, knowing that God will lead us through every dark valley — and from the looks of things, it may take us all of 2021 to climb out of the dark valley of 2020.

Thank you to Aleteia for reminding us to bless our house again this year. The steps and prayers below come directly from their website. So, please, support them by visiting their website.

I hope you take the time to bless your home. God bless!

James is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, The Christmas Save, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL 

As a writer, James has been featured on The Inside Success Show, Bob Salter (CBS Radio),  Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.  

Beyond writing, James worked with At-Risk youth in Southern California for over six years.  His contributions to the classroom — featured on local television and in the LA Daily News and the Los Angeles Times’ Burbank Leader — earned him the honors of “Teacher of the Year”.    James was also twice honored by a CASDA Scholar as the teacher who had the greatest influenced that student.   As an educator, James also appeared twice on America Live with Megyn Kelly. 

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.   Besides his books, you can follow his musing on this blog Corporation You.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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When I first moved to Los Angeles, I got a job teaching kids at a charter school in the San Fernando Valley. This wasn’t your typical Charter School. It was more like the school of last chances.

After my first year, I was asked to take on the responsibility of Dean of Discipline, a position I would share with the school’s English Teacher who had beliefs in religion, politics, etcetera completely opposite to mine. Professionally, however, we shared the same goals and outside of religion and politics, we got along just fine. We also shared some of the same interests.

Additionally, we also both went to Yale. (More on that in a later blog post.)

One day, while we were conversing with the school principal, she said the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.

Before I meet you, I hated men, Catholics, and Republicans — and you’re all three … but I kind of like you.”

It’s been more than 15 years since we both worked with each other. I have since moved back East. And, except for a comment here and there on Facebook, we don’t really communicate much anymore. But for a brief time, we worked closely together and occasionally socialized. When my wife was out-of-town, she and I would grab a bite to eat and truly enjoyed each other’s company. (At least I believe we did.)

In today’s world, I wonder if such a relationship of opposites would ever be able to flourish or grow?

That makes me sad. How else can we truly learn to “love one another”?

James is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul The Christmas Save, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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Sex. Kind of an odd topic for someone who muses often on Faith. Heck, I just recently I reposted a piece on the Mary’s Perpetual Virginity. So, why am I now focusing on sex?

Well, I’m actually focusing on sex within marriage, namely the Heavenly-designed marital embrace.

Truth be told: Christians have sex. Next to evangelization, it is another way we make more Christians — and probably the most popular. Books like Emerson Eggerichs’ Love & Respect and Dietrich von Hildebrand’s In Defense of Purity, which influenced the theological works by Pope St. John Paul II, such as Love and Responsibility and Theology of the Body, have highlighted the importance of love making in a healthy marriage.

However, life changes in a marriage after you have kids — and so do priorities. Sadly, one of those priorities is sex.

Though many people feel that planning a tryst with your spouse removes the romance from the encounter — and maybe it does for some — it can also also add a bit of excitement and make every encounter feel like a honeymoon.

But men and women are wired differently.

Men have the capacity to push every thought to the side and focus solely on one thing, if need be. In fact, we can focus on nothing if we have to, blocking out the whole world simply by venturing into the “Nothing Box” in our brains. Our wives brains, however, are built differently.

Women’s brains have a box for everything. [1] The only box a woman’s brain doesn’t have is a “Nothing Box.”

Without the risk of being crude, the roof could be leaking, the neighbor’s house could be on fire, and a man could push everything to the side and be prepared to make love. Women on the other hand — moms especially — often come to bed with a checklist of unfinished business in their heads and every neuron afire.

So Gentlemen, if you want to bring the excitement back into your love life; if you want your next romantic encounter with your bride to be something beyond a night of Netflix and chill; if you want to have amazing sex with your wife, then…

Empty out the dishwasher!

Vacuum the living room before she gets home. Clear off the kitchen counter. Make the bed. Do a load of laundry or two. If you really want to go to the extreme, learn how to fold fitted-sheets.

Give her nothing to think about. Give her nothing else to focus on except for you and her body.

If you want to have an amazing love life with your bride, get to work and make your home her “Nothing Box.”

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, The Christmas Save and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. James would like to thank congerdesign from Pixabay for contributing the image for this blog post. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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After reading a passage in the Gospel of Matthew, the pastor of my Church challenged the congregation to keep a Tithe Journal.

He suggested that if we kept a tally of all that which we donated financially to the Church, then wrote down everything we received in return during the week.

“If someone buys you a coffee, write it down,” he said. “If the parking meter ran out and you didn’t get a ticket, write it down.

“I guarantee that God will reward your giving,” he told the Collect. “In fact, if you keep a journal and you don’t get a return 10 times the amount of your giving, I will return everything you gave to the Church.”

Everyone one sat silently impressed at the Pastor’s faith in the scriptures. You can actually say that he was less-than-confident in his challenge because Matthew promises, in Chapter 13, a return of at least 30 times for some, and up to a hundredfold for others.

In Matthew 19:29, the Gospel author again repeats a hundredfold reward, as does Luke in Chapter 8 verse 8.

Though I never kept a Tithe Journal, I have kept a mindful account of my returns.

Recently, my wife and I decided to contact a electrician to check out our home’s electrical system. Though I often brag that our house is state-of-the-art, I quickly remind everyone listening that its state-of-the-art 1970’s!

The first estimate we received was north of $4,000. Though costly, we value our family’s safety. However, before moving forward, we decided to get a second bid.

At the end of a Knights of Columbus meeting, I asked some of the older gentlemen if they had the name of a reliable electrician. One quickly came to mind.

The next day, I called and spoke to the wife of the electrician who promised that her husband would call and set up an appointment when he came home from work. I didn’t expect a phone call that evening, but I did expect a call within a day or so.

After a week went by, I was surprised that I didn’t receive a call. So, after almost two weeks of waiting, I decided to try again — solely because the electrician was so highly recommended.

Again the wife answer. She recognized my name — there are not too many Dobkowskis around here or anywhere, except maybe Poland — and she sincerely apologized. Her husband called me the next day, on a Saturday, and asked if he could come over right away.

He arrived shortly and knocked firmly on our front door.

I quickly opened the door and we exchanged greetings. Afterwards, he pointed to the markings on my door. You see, every Christmas on the Epiphany, we mark our front door with chalk and pray a blessing.

Bless, + O Lord God almighty, this home, that in it there may be health, purity, the strength of victory, humility, goodness and mercy, the fulfillment of Thy law, the thanksgiving to God the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. And may this blessing remain upon this home and upon all who dwell herein. Through Christ our Lord.

“Are you Catholic?” he asked.

“I am,” I added. “In fact, I got your name from the Knights.”

After discussing our problem, I escorted the electrician to the circuit breaker box.

“This can be an easy fix or a bleep show,” he said as he pulled out his screwdriver and went to work. A few minutes later, he was done. Next he check the lights and tested the surge I was concerned about.

“Everything looks good,” he said.

“What about updating everything?” I asked, referring to the earlier estimate I received.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he concluded.

“Okay, what do I owe you?”

He calculated his time in his head, then said, “Forty dollars.”

I gladly paid him and escorted him outside. We chatted as he smoked a cigarette, then went on his way.

Forty times 100 is 4,000! That’s a’hundred fold in savings — and almost 100 fold of my weekly tithe.

We tend to overlook the little things. The penny tray on the counter of the convenience store. The loose change found in your pants pocket. The unexpected gift like when a former student of mine who stepped forward on the line at Stewart’s to purchase my morning cup of Joe.

The list goes on and on.

You many be skeptical, as was I, sitting in that pew so many years ago. So, do what I did. Stop taking just taking account of what you give and start taking account of every thing you receive — everything!

You may very well discover that it may be 10, 30, or a hundred fold of what you gave.

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, The Christmas Save and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. James would like to thank Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay for contributing the image for this blog post. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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God finally called Home my hometown neighbor Mr. Tom Cornelia, one of the toughest men I ever knew.

After my dad died, when me and my brother didn’t see “eye-to-eye”, my mom would call Tom to “step in” and break us up — and we’d listen or he’d break us!

There’s too many stories to tell.

All I can say is that I always knew he had our backs! No threat would come upon us kids on North Kings Avenue as long as Mr. Cornelia was on watch. He is proof that God does not call the perfect. He calls the best! He calls on warriors! Those, regardless of their flaws, do God’s Will when called upon.

It was like living next-door to a super hero. It was like living next-door to Superman!

Like the rest of us, he had his Kryptonite. But even in those times of weakness, his will to protect and defend was far beyond that of mortal men!

Now that he is with the Lord, I have no doubt he will continue to keep watch over us and our children from above.

Rest In Peace! — and say hi to my Dad for me.

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the SoulThe Christmas Save, and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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I’m sure this post will get many likes by my “Title-Reading Only” Christians brothers and sisters simply based on their interpretation (or misinterpretation) of Mathieu 23:9: “Call no man father….”

First off, if that interpretation was accurate, St. Stephan committed blasphemy in Scripture when he refers to “our father Abraham” in Acts 7:2; as did St. Paul in Romans 9:10, where he speaks of “our father Isaac.”

The custom of Catholics reverently referring to priests as “Father” is biblical.

According to Catholic.com, Paul refers to the spiritual fatherhood of priests with his statement, “I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:14–15).

Peter followed the same custom, referring to Mark as his son: “She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark” (1 Pet. 5:13).

Additionally, John said, “My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1); “No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children follow the truth” (3 John 4). In fact, John also addresses men in his congregations as “fathers” (1 John 2:13–14).

By referring to these people as their spiritual sons and spiritual children, Peter, Paul, and John imply their own roles as spiritual fathers. Since the Bible frequently speaks of this spiritual fatherhood, we Catholics acknowledge it and follow the custom of the apostles by calling priests “father.” 

Failure to acknowledge this is a failure to recognize and honor a great gift God has bestowed on the Church: the spiritual fatherhood of the priesthood. [1]

I get all that, but here’s something else fathers do — they stick around!

When I was a kid, priests came to a parish and stayed long enough where you could develop a sense of security in their fatherhood. Unless something tragic happened, they just didn’t leave. And if they had to leave, they left you in the hands of another strong father-figure.

That doesn’t happen today. Priest come and go. Sure, we can blame the priest shortage, but is there really a world-wide shortage of priests?

Between 1970 and 2017, the number of priests has declined from 419,728 to 414,582. At the same time, the Catholic population has nearly doubled, growing from 653.6 million in 1970 to 1.229 billion in 2012. Those combined stats, however, are quite misleading since Mass attendance in most nations is substantially down, around or below 40%.

Today, there are actually more priests for the Collect in attendance, per ratio, worldwide, than there were in 1970.

That doesn’t mean we stop praying for more vocations to the priesthood. We also don’t punt and come complacent, relying solely on Deacons, Pastoral Associates, and alike. The Catholic Church needs her priests!

When I asked my parish pastor why we don’t invite foreign priests to fill in the void, his response was shocking.

“No one would show up,” he said. He went on to explain how a visiting priest with an accent stood in for him one weekend (I believe the priest was Irish) and the parishioners did nothing but complain. Imagine, he continued, if it was someone without a strong command of English.

What?!

In my childhood parish, we had a priest who did not have a strong command of English. He also spoke softly. You had to really struggle to listen to his sermons. However, he had such a love for the Eucharist and his ministry that parishioners fell in love with this father-figure. Many began to weep at Mass when he announced his transfer from the parish. Thankfully, back then, we had other parish priests, so his departure did not tear apart the congregation.

However, when there’s just one priest for a parish, their departure can be devastating.

A family needs both a mother and father, who are present, attentive, and faithful to each other and the Church. We have so many studies that shows what happens to families when a father is not present — especially its negative effects it has on boys. We can also see the negative effects the lack of Fathers is having on the Catholic Church.

We venerate Saints like Patrick, Xavier, Isaac Jogues, Ignatius of Loyola, Junipero Serra who traveled to foreign lands to spread the Word. Unless given the gift of tongues, they most likely had to learn the native languages and spoke with an accent. Yet, there are Dioceses in the United States that continue to limit the number of foreign priests who can come to our shores, bringing the strength of their belief with them.

That’s not only UnAmerican; that’s downright unCatholic!

Until we have enough priests that can tend to one spiritual family and stay, just like all Judeo-Christian fathers are called to do, maybe — just maybe — we should stop calling Catholic priests “Father”?

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. With sincere thanks, James would like to thank Zoltan Suga from Pixabay for providing the image for this blog post on CorporationYOU.com.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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“Meet them where they are.” It’s a reference to Luke 24:13-35.

It’s often used by Christians who are more patient than I with other Christians who are not quite there yet.

“We’re all sinners” is another one.

I get it. Christians are supposed to be kind and loving. All I can say is that I try. However, that’s not to say that we’re also not supposed to be truthful when it comes to our Faith.

Let me give you a perfect example.

Almost a decade ago, my wife and I moved to Los Angeles so I could pursue a writing career. I’ve written about that pursuit several times in this blog, so I’m not going to repeat myself here. With that said, I quickly found myself swimming with the big fish.

A few months in, I was talking on the phone with Monsignor James McDonald, a Catholic priest with who I stayed in contact with most of my life. Filled with pride, I began discussing my accomplishments. As I began to describe the storyline behind the screenplay that was giving me the most accolades, a horror film titled Fortune Five, about a serial killer written in the same vein of Silence of the Lambs, Fr. McDonald quickly interrupted me.

“Jimmy … YOU’RE A WHORE!” he shouted over the phone. “You’re nothing but a whore!”

Though most people are shocked when they hear my story, I very much appreciated Fr. McDonald’s candor. After the initial smackdown, I explain, Fr. McDonald proceeded to catechize me. However, most folks can’t get over a priest seemingly being so unkind.

I am often reminded of this experience when I hear or read the discourse between Jesus and Cleopas & gang on the road to Emmaus.

After listening to the disciples, Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are….”

Much like Fr. McDonald, the Risen Lord gave them a bit of a tongue-lashing before proceeding to catechize them. He catechized them for hours.

Jesus did not just teach the disciples about Himself and His ministry, He started “with Moses and the Prophets [and] explained how the Old Testament is in the New concealed and the New Testament is in the Old revealed.

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.”

Luke 24:27

St. Augustine put it this way. “This grace hid itself under a veil in the Old Testament, but it has been revealed in the New Testament according to the most perfectly ordered dispensation of the ages, forasmuch as God knew how to dispose of all things.” [On the Spirit and the Letter. Chapter 27.]

Only after Our Lord “opened the scriptures to them” that “He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.” Only after the disciples were catechized did they come to the table to celebrate the Eucharist.

Have you ever noticed that the first reading is always the Old Testament? It is where the New is concealed. The Gospel reading is where the Old is revealed. The readings are a road map to Emmaus, a pathway to the table of the Lord and the Supper of the Lamb.

Every Mass we journey on the road to Emmaus.

Come to the Lord prepared. Every week walk with Him. Learn from Him. Live your life like you’re on the road to Emmaus — because you really are!

Dr. Brant Pitre offers this in-depth explanation on Understanding the Sunday Readings. Watch it!

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. With sincere gratitude, James would like to thank 👀 Mabel Amber, from Pixabay, for providing the image for this blog post on CorporationYou.com.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

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