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It didn’t appear as much of a gift when I first received it. In fact, I might’ve even scoffed when it was handed to me.

Oddly enough, I can tell you everything about my surroundings when this little green Bible was placed in my hand. The location: The Oval at the University of Montana campus. The weather: It was a warm Spring day. The grass was green. The sky was bright blue. And there was a worm crawling in the grass centimeters from my left foot.

Still, with all of that, I couldn’t tell you anything about the person who handed me the little green Bible except that he was male. Nor could I tell you why I kept it. In fact, I still have it decades later.

For the longest time, I never read it or even opened it. Yet, I never threw it away. Oddly enough, it always remained with me on the nightstand of every bed I slept in from the time I received it to the day I finally turned to it for help.

Like the day I received it, I can recall all the sites, smells, and sounds around me. I can also recall the heaviness of the darkness that weighed me down and made it near impossible to stretch out my arm. In a last attempt to hold onto life, I reached for the little green Bible and pulled it in.

I opened the Good Book and read the first passage my eyes fell upon searching for a sign of Hope.

I don’t truly remember reading the whole parable. I just recall reading about Peter getting out of the boat and walking on water until he became afraid, started to sink, and cried out “Lord, save me!” — and was rescued.

It gave me just enough of a push to find the strength to get out of bed and turn on the television.

It was days before the universal remote, so I kept it on Channel 9. Soon, a television evangelist came on the air and began to preach. Too tired to get up and change the station, I just sat and watched. The music ended and as the congregation settled, the pastor opened the Scriptures and began to read.

Much to my surprise, it was the same exact passage!

It inspired me enough to shower for the first time in days and go to Church for the first time in months. I went to my childhood Parish, OLPH, and sat in the back. I listened to the first two readings and the Responsorial Psalm. Finally, the priest began to read the Gospel — and again it was the same.

Today, I know the passage as Matthew 14:22. Many of you may recognize the scene from the Season 3 Finale of The Chosen.

Like Peter, I took my eyes off Christ. Instead, I focused on the storm that surrounded me and quickly began to sink. In despair, I reached out for the Lord, the Logos, the Word Made Flesh — and was rescued.

I can’t say I jettisoned forward into a saintly lifestyle. My “Road to Emmaus” has been long and winding, and I continue to stumble time and time again.

However, I often wonder if my journey would have ever begun if someone didn’t place the tiny green Bible in my hand?

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

As a writer, James’s appearances include Newsweek, 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) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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There’s a Liturgy War in the Catholic Church.

On one side are the Traditionalists. On the other are the Modernists. In short, Traditionalists are usually Ultra-Right. Modernists are most often Ultra-Left. In the middle are the A&Pers, Cafeteria Catholics, and the now infamous Nones.

Then there are folks like us.

Loyalists to the living Magisterium and Apostolic Tradition on Faith and Morals who are stuck somewhere in liturgical limbo. We accept the changes in the Mass since Vatican II. All we ask for our loyalty is a more bit of Latin, here and there, and the return of reverence in Mass — especially reverence to the Eucharist.

Though this is not a knock on the clergy, the truth of the matter is that reverence for the Eucharist starts and ends with the clergy. So, when we get it, we are drawn to that reverent priest like a magnet to metal.

So, we became somewhat overly excited when a new priest entered the fold who is a most reverent celebrant. News spread among us. Weekly, we began checking the Mass schedule and adjusting our schedule, when possible, to be led in prayer by this holy priest.

Trust me, I struggled with this “priest preference” as well and have brought this struggle into the confessional.

Then, just last week, my wife received a text from one of the moms in our home school groups which read, “Did you hear about Father…?” It was Sunday and we were just leaving Mass at a neighboring parish which has a late Sunday Mass. (So, we don’t follow our reverent celebrant religiously.)

It took some time for my wife to get an answer to her inquiry so we do what most people do and speculated on what might be.

First, we thought that he was transferred. “The Good Ones” as we call them, don’t stay very long in our area – especially the young “Good Ones.” Next, we thought that Father may have fallen — again.

You see, this wonderfully reverent priest had suffered from addiction. Or should I say “suffers”? — because in reality the addiction, though controlled, never goes away.

Sadly, he became addicted to painkillers. I don’t mind mentioning it because he was very open about it and often brought it up at the pulpit. Oh, there was something else about this holy and reverent priest, his homilies were amazing!

Personally, I have great sympathy for those who sadly get hooked on prescription drugs. My Aunt, who I loved, died because some doctor got her hook on oxycontin. The same doctor did the same to two of my cousins.

Both still suffer the effects of their additions.

Today, one cousin is now in hospice. We converse often as she prepares for the inevitable. The other has been told to prepare for hospice. None three of these fallen beloveds willfully sought out drugs for recreational use from some dealer on a street corner.

The drugs were prescribed!

Likewise, our beloved priest, a reverent man who brought many into the bosom of the Church and the arms of Christ, became addicted … recovered … and has again, recently, fallen.

“We need to pray Father,” I mentioned before grace. “Satan goes after all our priests, but he really attacks the Good Ones.”

The next day, after I came home from work, my wife greeted me with a kiss. After I took off my shoes and got settled, I return to the kitchen to finish our conversation.

“I was thinking about what you said last night about Father…,” she said. “I feel like sending him a Get-Well card and writing in,

“Congratulations, the Devil punched you in the face because you’re on the right path.”

“You should,” I added.

Maybe she will. Maybe she won’t. My wife is a supporting spouse and homeschool mom who has her own business. So, I’m telling the world for her, just in case she never gets a chance to.

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

As a writer, James’s appearances include Newsweek, 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) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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Photo: Ghirella Rosary on Jonathon Roumie’s Facebook page.

In our family, we have a new weekly tradition. We gather for the Rosary and after our prayers, we watch the next version of The Chosen. Immediately, my youngest started calling it “The Chosary.”

First, the Rosary is more than just a series of rote prayers. It is a meditation on the Divine Mysterious of Our Lord.

Depending on what day you watch the latest episode, you journey through the Joyous, Glorious, Luminous, or Sorrowful Mysteries, reflecting on the life and times of Jesus.

The Rosaries and The Chosen go perfectly together. You can also mix it up like we do.

Sometimes we pray the Rosary ourselves, where each person in our family circle prays a decade, and our children alternate reading one of the five Mysteries. Or we pray along with someone reciting the Rosary online. For example, we sometimes pray as we watch The Rosary by Bishop Barron. (My personal favorite.)

Not only is Bishop Barron reverent as he prays, but his sermons on the Mysteries are also a mini-catechism. Further, as Bishop Barron recites the next decade of prayers, the TV screen is filled with a montage of artwork, all focusing on the specific mystery — a storyboard, if you will, of that Divine and Holy scene.

Much like Dallas, you will see how artists for centuries have been trying to interpret the life of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and all the chosen!

There are other online options besides Bishop Barron. You can pray The Rosary with Jonathon Roumie, the actor who plays Jesus on The Chosen. (But of course, you know who he is.) There’s also the Divine Mercy Chaplet Rosary.

Again, you can pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet along with Jonathon Roumie.

Here’s a Divine Mercy Chaplet with great imagery of Jesus’s Passion. If you only have a few minutes before the episode begins, here are two DM chaplets that are less than 10 minutes. (One is by the Franciscan Friars. The other is by Ascension Press.) Finally, if you’re looking for a Gregorian-style Divine Mercy Chaplet, may I recommend this one done by one of our local parish priests.

No matter what you choose, praying the Rosary quiets our minds and perfectly prepares our souls to be focused on the next episode of The Chosen.

So, this week, join me and my family in “The Chosary”.

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

As a writer, James’s appearances include Newsweek, The Inside Success Show, Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, Megyn Kelly, 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) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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Photo credit: By Kancelaria Prezydenta RP – prezydent.pl, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11813191

It’s not constant, but this week we’ve kept ETWN on in our home to watch the coverage of the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict.

Last night, before grace, we prayed for the repose of his soul with little doubt that this philosopher-king has been granted entry into the Eternal. After we prayed, I couldn’t help to notice how different things were this time.

I’ve lived through the passing of four Popes: Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and now Pope Benedict. The difference now, however, is the absence of anticipation of who will be Peter’s successor.

I’m not saying that’s good or bad. Just different.

I remember crying after hearing that Pope John Paul II died. His papacy had such an impact on my life. Maybe that’s why I cried? But I also felt a paternal loss. I cried at the passing of my hometown parish priest, Monsignor James McDonald, and I cried again, recently, when our present parish priest, Fr. Tom Morrette, announced that he was being transferred.

Each time, I felt like my dad had died all over again. However, I didn’t cry when I heard the news about Pope Benedict’s death. As much as I was connected with Pope John Paul II and the other two priests, I identified more with Pope Benedict.

An avid reader of all things Catholic, I felt a much greater connection to the works of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger than the writings of Saint John Paul the Great, which greatly inspired me. And while the election of Pope John Paul II surprised and captivated me (along with the rest of the world), I felt so connected to Cardinal Ratzinger that I predicted his election as Pope and subsequently, defended him throughout his papacy — though he truly needed no defending.

Yet, even though I feel like we have suffered a great loss with his passing, I didn’t cry. I didn’t cry and haven’t cried because I am still torn over the fact that he resigned.

I understand that he was wanting to retire before his election as Holy Father and that, he felt that was getting too old to continue as Pope. Maybe, if I am blessed with old age, and make it to 85, I’ll have a stronger understanding. But right now, I don’t.

Let me make it clear. I’m not judging Pope Benedict XVI. I’m just torn.

Should the successor of Peter be allowed to quit? Priests and bishops are required to retire. Why not Popes?

According to news reports, Pope Francis has a letter of resignation prepared. This is not a Benedictine trend continued by Pope Francis. Pope Paul also had one as did Pope Pius VII and Pius XXII, both were concerned about being kidnapped; and Pope John Paul II wrote two. [1]

The Apostle John, who according to St. Epiphanius lived to 94, appeared to pass the reigns to his successors in his old age.

St. Jerome handed down the story that when Saint John “was no longer able to preach or make long discourses to the people, he used always to be carried to the assembly of the faithful by his disciples with great difficulty; and every time said to his flock only these words, ‘My dear children, love one another‘.”

Though not the Pope at the time, the office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head. (CCC 1444). So, passing on the keys has to fall under Apostolic Tradition?

So then, what present-day lesson are we supposed to take from this “new” tradition in the reign of Peter? Always the teacher, with Joseph Ratzinger, there always is a lesson somewhere. What is it?

Has he prepared us for a world where the position of the Holy Father is fraught with danger? Where the concern of kidnapping that Popes Pius VII, XXII, and maybe even John Paul II felt become real and possibly constant? Or maybe it’s something simpler? Something paternal and not so apocalyptic?

Fathers, in many of our child-like eyes, appear somewhat invincible like kings who reign mightily until the end.

However, a father’s job is actually a short-lived task. It is to raise strong, faithful Christians and prepare them for adulthood. Most dads, though available when needed, inwardly hope for an early retirement. One enjoyed in comfort with their beloved spouse. He is not a King. For that matter, either is the Pope. He’s a Prime Minister at best.

There is only one True Father and one Reigning King, Jesus Christ Our Lord.

That being the case, then our dearly departed brother Joseph and spiritual father and teacher, Benedict, has carried out his role as Holy Father faithfully and was greeted at the Gate of St. Peter with the heavenly proclamation we all long to hear, “Well done, Faithful Servant.”

So then, why am I still torn? Maybe, just maybe, I’m not ready to cry again.

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

As a writer, James’s appearances include Newsweek, The Inside Success Show, Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, Megyn Kelly, 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) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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It’s New Year’s Day and social media is overflowing with posts about fresh starts. Well, if you’re a follower of this blog or have read my book, Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, I’m living proof that anyone can make a fresh start — over and over.

It’s all about having enough Faith to know that all is going to work out as planned. It just might not be your plan. Having the right person at your side sure is helpful.

You see, life is like a whitewater rafting trip. There’s the preparation. The anticipation. The excitement of the unknown. Once you’re in the water, however, there’s no turning back.

As in life, you go from calm to rapids to calm, again and again. Along the way, there’s laughter and screams — much like a rollercoaster ride. However, with a rollercoaster, you can see the challenge before it starts and for the most part, you see what’s up ahead.

Photo by Hilmi Iu015fu0131lak on Pexels.com

Not so with whitewater rafting. Trees, rocks, and bends often block your view as you edge forward.

Try as you might, you’re still going to hit rocks along the way. The key to success is to wear a life jacket, listen to your guide, and stay in the raft.

So, if you’re hesitant about starting anew, go on a Whitewater rafting trip.

It all makes sense when you make Jesus your life jacket, the Holy Spirit your guide, and the Church your raft. And if you allow it to work out as God planned, the Father will greet you at the shore along with the warmth of a campfire at the end.

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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’s appearances include Newsweek, The Inside Success Show, Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and Megyn Kelly 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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Full disclosure, when I received a list of questions from my friend (and publicist) Mark Goldman, I didn’t think Newsweek would choose any of my replies. Much to my surprise, they did. In fact, I was one of only two Christian authors for this article: Should Christians Watch ‘Yellowstone?’ Religious Authors Weigh In.

Out of respect for Newsweek, I’ll just post the link to the article here. At a later date, I’ll update this post with all the questions and every one of my responses.

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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’s appearances include Newsweek, The Inside Success Show, Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and Megyn Kelly 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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December is a great time of year. It also brings us the celebration of Advent, a time to prepare for the birth of Our Lord.

Along with Thanksgiving, Advent is sadly becoming all but a forgotten celebration. What better way to revive Advent and prepare “The Way” than with mini-celebrations as we go forth. It is also a great Catechism, as well as a trip around the World!

Here’s a short list of saintly meals to put the focus back on Advent.

December 5: Saint Nicholas Day Eve

No saint captures the Spirit of Christmas more than St. Nicholas. So, on the Eve of his Feast Day, read a short story to your children about the legend of Old Saint Nick. The St. Nicholas Center is a great resource. Then, before getting nestled in bed, have your kids put their shoes outside their bedroom door to be filled with gold chocolate coins, a candy cane, and an orange or tangerine.

December 6: Saint Nicholas Day

Last night, we had a debate at the dinner table on the BEST way to celebrate St. Nicholas Day. You can choose something more traditional. According to Mango, a traditional table might have Bishop’s wine, bread, St. Nicholas-shaped cookies, and a special main dish reserved for the holiday. In France, that might be pork with mustard and apples. In Germany, you might enjoy Pfannkuchen, or German pancakes. Around the world, there are traditional St. Nicholas pizzas, soups, and pastries.

Since he was the Bishop of Myra, one of my boys asked Alexa for a list of foods eaten in present-day Turkey. You can serve Shish Kebab, Roast Lamb, and White Bean Stew; the list goes on and on. I voted for something personally more cultural, like my grandmother’s Potato Pancakes.

Desserts for Saint Nicholas Day abound. As in my house, Alexa is all too willing to help. You can also go to the Catholic Digest for their list of St. Nicholas cookies like these and also these from Catholic Cuisine. Or celebrate with a fantastic breakfast featuring St. Nicholas pancakes or a cherry cheese coffee cake in the shape of a candy cane. St. Nicholas strawberries are a great treat

Here’s another great list of traditional desserts from the Saint Nicholas Center, including this Biloxi, Mississippi tradition called the St. Nicholas String.

December 8: Immaculate Conception

Taylor Marshall suggested “White food. Our Lady is without stain of sin. She is all pure.” Some meal suggestions: spaghetti with white sauce, chicken breasts, or my favorite Baked Halibut. Or you can just keep it simple with a white cake dessert after dinner or some vanilla ice cream.

December 9: San Juan Diego

You can start preparing the Feast of Our Lady pf Guadalupe on this Feast day. You can begin by buying a bouquet of roses. (Gents, this is a perfect gift for your wife!) It’s also a great way to recall the miracle of the tilma and Our Lady. As you plan for the Feast of Our Lady, you can honor San Juan Diego by enjoying some Xocolatl (Aztec Chocolate). If you want to take a deep dive into this feast, you can purchase the book “Amazing Aztec Recipes: A Complete Cookbook of Native Mexican Dish Ideas!

December 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe

Catholic Cuisine has a lot of great ideas for this Fiesta! So go there and learn more. In our household, we stick with tacos served with Catholic Cuisine’s “A Woman Clothed In Sun” Taco Dip!

Here are other great recipes, as well.

December 13: Saint Lucia

Many of us know the song “Sanka Lucia” which says Christmas lasts until Easter. (Now, you have a faith-based excuse for not taking down your outdoor Christmas lights until March or April.) The Swedish celebration focuses on service. Though in the past, the Feast of Saint Lucia focused on the eldest daughter serving the family. Today is the perfect day to put Mom first — at least in the morning — by getting her morning coffee prepared. Thought the Swedes usually serve coffee and baked goods, such as saffron bread (lussekatter) and ginger biscuits. The s-shaped Stella D’ora Breakfast Treats seem to be the perfect substitute! The

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Though many associate St. Lucia with Sweden, she was born in Sicily. Sicilians celebrate St. Lucia Day, as they celebrate most feasts — large! Folks in Palmero also practice a somewhat somber devotional on December 13. According to Scent of Sicily, in Palermo though the day of Saint Lucy is related to another tradition: every 13th of December everything the locals eat according to the tradition is rice, actually, a special street food prepared with rice, that has become famous all over the world: the arancina. In 1646 Palermo had been hit by an awful famine, on December 13 a bunch of fishermen was praying, asking for the intercession of Saint Lucy, when something happened: a big ship full of corn arrived unexpectedly at the port of the city saving people from certain death. Since then, Saint Lucy Day has been celebrated every year on that day avoiding eating pasta and bread. The tradition of eating corn and rice changed over the years, and at some point, arancina came in. Arancinas are delicious rice balls, fried and usually filled with two typical dressings: butter, mozzarella, and ham (Arancina al burro) or rough Bolognese sauce (Arancina alla carne).

4-formaggi

December 21: St. Thomas the Apostle (Old Calendar)

Here’s another Taylor Marshall suggestion: Since Saint Thomas is the patron of India, it’s a perfect time to eat Indian food. Saint Thomas’ feast was moved to July 3 on the Ordinary Novus Ordo calendar. However, the Latin Mass calendar remembers Saint Thomas on this day. So, if you need an excuse to eat Indian food and you want to feel a little nostalgic (or rebellious), explore Indian cuisine. You can stay at home or go to your local Indian restaurant.

Channukah

We also light the menorah in our household in December. It’s a great way to connect with our Jewish Roots of the Faith and to share the story of the Festival of Lamps or Lights. The story of Hanukkah is preserved in the books of the First and Second Maccabees, which describe in detail the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the lighting of the menorah, making it a very Catholic story, as well. So, spin a dreidel, enjoy some halvah, and sit back and do as I do — watch the classic movie musical “Fiddle on the Roof.”

Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on Pexels.com

You can do all of these, just one, or nothing at all. The choice is yours. In trying to decide what works for you, remember to only do that which brings you closer to Our Lord! Special thanks to all the helpful Catholic blogs out there that are trying to keep our traditions alive.

Here’s a great video to watch if you want some more Advent Traditions.

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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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The 2022 World Cup is in full swing and Team USA has, so far, stepped up to the challenge exciting the American fan base. We all know the ups and downs of being a fan. As a life-long Mets fan, I can only say that its not always easy being a true fan.

Most of us have heard of “The Bible in a Year” podcast, as well as the face (or voice) of the podcast, Fr. Mike Schmidtz. As dynamic as that series is, it was an interview with the podcast’s lesser-known contributor, Jeff Cavins that had one of the most significant impacts on my life.

Jeff Cavins proposed a very simple question: Are you a fan of Jesus or are you a follower?

I’m not sure whether I heard Jeff Cavins say it during his interview on Pints with Aquinas or someplace else. All I know is that it affected me profoundly.

First, I am definitely a fan of Jesus — or, at least, the Theology on Jesus Christ. In my late teens, I was oddly drawn to the Christian Theology section in bookstores. When many of my high school peers were reading Christian allegory through the works of J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis, I was delving into hermeneutics and the first three books of Jaroslaw Pelikan’s “The Christian Tradition.”

I just couldn’t get enough!

I couldn’t get enough until Jeff Cavins asked, “Are you a fan or a follower of Jesus?” Something like this once happened before. It was the time described in my book, Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, when the mysterious man in the King Kullen parking lot “set his words and propelled at me with precision and grace … [and] pierce my heart with pointed love.”

Back then, I wasn’t sure if it was my imagination playing tricks on me. This time, however, I was certain. Like before, my life changed after hearing Jeff Cavins asked “Are you a fan of Jesus or a follower?”

Before hearing those words, I would gravitate to book racks and old bookstores searching for hardcovers to offer me the perfect words. Since I just spend most of my time in prayer and quiet contemplation.

I’m still a fan of Our Lord. I think in all relationships, there first has to be a sense of admiration of some kind. And, I can’t say I’m always a good follower of Christ. Some days are better than others.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep trying — and I’ll also keep praying for miracles as a fan of my beloved Amazing Mets.

________

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@goldma

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Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

Pope Francis recently stated in essence that if you don’t believe in Vatican II, you don’t believe in the work of the Holy Spirit.

If you dig deep into the Vatican II documents, I feel there is nothing that any devout Christian wouldn’t agree with.  In fact, my buddy often reads the Vatican II documents to his congregation — which is a non-denominational congregation with a weekly service with little remnants of the Latin Rite liturgy.

How Vatican II was implemented, on the other hand, may be another story — and most likely not the work of the Holy Spirit.

Archbishop Karol Wojtyla appeared to properly prepare the Polish during the implementation of Vatican II — which is probably why the Polish people are so faithfully loyal and reverent.   (Though I’m obviously biased). Pope Benedict XVI believed giving priests “options” in Mass was possibly a mistake. As Cardinal Ratzinger, he stated in an interview in “L’homme Nouveau,” he thought that the door [was] left open to a false creativity on the part of the celebrants. And though the press has focused mainly on Pope Francis limiting the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM), he also spoke about abuses in the “New Order” Mass and the need for Masses to be uniformly reverent.

In his letter accompanying Traditionis Custodes, his motu proprio restricting the celebration of the TLM, Pope Francis wrote, “At the same time, I am saddened by abuses in the celebration of the liturgy on all sides. In common with Benedict XVI, I deplore the fact that ‘in many places, the prescriptions of the new Missal are not observed in celebration, but indeed come to be interpreted as an authorization for or even a requirement of creativity, which leads to almost unbearable distortions.’” [1]

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum on religious rituals.

Many believe they are a hindrance. Some of my closest Christian brothers and sisters completely denounce rituals of any kind. However, they somehow ignore the fact that their worship services are somewhat programmed with weekly familiarity. They also tend to ignore the fact that the celebrations of Christmas and Pascha (Easter) are rituals, deeply rooted in ancient tradition.

So where does that leave things in regard to rituals?

Many of us have had or are in careers where certain steps seem trite or ritualistic, but in the larger scheme, if removed, could cause havoc or possibly a fatal flaw down the road. Think of surgeons, airplane pilots, law enforcement officers, and the daily rituals or safety checks and precautions they carry out routinely throughout the day.

Ritualism, for the sake of ritualism, has little spiritual value — yet, it can still prevent serious error or possible death. 

However, knowing why the rituals were put in place and knowing their importance, leads to greater understanding and an elevation of one’s performance.  This not only applies to both a person’s career — but to one’s spiritual life, as well. So, rituals — especially spiritual rituals — are important!

Sacred rituals given to us by ancient tradition are a gift to be treasured, preserved, and passed on.

_______________________<>_______________________

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@goldma

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Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Life is not easy and not everyone attains their goals. Trust me, I had some lofty goals — and I came close to attaining many of them. As a father, I hope my boys have lofty goals, as well.

However, the other day, when trying to talk my youngest through a tantrum (a minor one) I let him know about my “ultimate goal.”

“You know what my goal in life is? The only thing I care about?” I asked. “My goal is to get to Heaven. And when I arrive and I open my eyes and see Jesus, I will turn to my left and to my right and look for you … and your brother … and for mommy.

“If you or your brother are not there, then I’ll consider my life a failure.”

Sure, I need to make sure my children have a roof over their heads and food on their plates. However, my ultimate goal in life is to make sure they make it to Heaven!

______________<>_______________________

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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