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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

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Image by Picography from Pixabay

About five years ago, I had hip-resurfacing surgery.  Though my condition was congenital, I lived a fairly active life until my mid-thirties.

I tried everything possible to heal myself, but could not.  I was nearly crippled by the time I decided to put my fate in someone else’s hands and go under the knife.

My post-surgical transformation has been nothing but miraculous; there’s really no activity I cannot do with my kids.

You can say that I have been physically reborn!

A day doesn’t go by that I’m not thankful to this man who healed me.  Today, I continue to go out of my way to talk to anyone I see on crutches or with a limp, to tell them about this miracle worker and the hospital where he practices.

It made me start to think: Isn’t this how the earlier Christians acted; those who saw Jesus perform His miracles?

Maybe that’s why they were so fearless in their praise and worship?

So, what about us?  Why are so many of us not talking to everybody about the miraculous transformation Jesus’ has had on our life?

Well, maybe you haven’t experienced a miracle in your life?

Okay…

Instead, imagine that this miracle worker just saved a life?   Maybe it’s your life? Or a life of a loved one?

What would you do FIRST?

In the initial moment, I would guess that you would be beyond grateful. Most likely, you’d be thankful to that person for the rest of your life.

I’d suspect that you wouldn’t be afraid to go around telling everybody you could about this person.  You’d most likely tell anyone who would listen how he or she saved you — and not worry if some people weren’t interest in what you had to say or were even put off by it.

It wouldn’t surprise anyone if you set aside a day to give that person thanks.  Maybe you might even ask the local government to honor him or her?

Eventually, however, you’ll come to realize that there’s really no way to pay this person back; or anyway to even pay forward on something like this.

Besides the honor and praise, you might start to evaluate your own life.  You might even change your habits.  Eat better.  Exercise.

Love deeper.  Speak sweeter.  Give forgiveness to those you’ve been denying.

You know how the song goes…

But the reality is: beside giving this person the honor and praise they rightfully deserve, there’s nothing you can do to express your gratitude except, maybe, to start valuing life over all other things.

But being human, you may finally feel a need to do something.  So, you might ask that person what they need? Or ask one or two of his or her friends?

These desires are all innate, given to us by the God who created us, as is the natural order of this process that begins with thanksgiving and followed by continuous honor and praise, and ends with the action to please.

As a Catholic Christian, when catechizing our children, I feel that we are no longer properly fostering the natural order of  desire when it comes to the One who saved us.

Instead, we have moved the need to do something, first and foremost, and with that, we have placed the teaching and practice of social justice before the praise and honor of the Savior.

Unlike the Social Justice teachings given to us by Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum and expanded upon by Pius XI in Quadragesimo anno, today’s social justice catechism perpetuates the gross misunderstanding that our Christian life and salvation starts and ends with acts of good works, a teaching supported and promoted by the “good feelings” such acts of kindness bring.

The Church does not teach this — nor has it ever!

In fact, the Church teaches that “[w]e cannot therefore rely on our feelings or our works to conclude that we are justified and saved” [Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1533-1534]. CCC 2005

We are saved solely by the Grace of God; the God who so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Much like our poorly catechized 16th century brothers and sisters, this present-day catechism, taught in many of our parishes across the United States, has appeared to repackaged “good works” under the guise of true social justice.

In today’s social justice catechism, however, there’s little talk about the Son as the Christ who saved us, and therefore, even less discussion on why He deserves our daily devotion, let alone a day of Thanksgiving (Eucharist) during the week where we put aside all things  to honor and praise Him.

When discussing this, I can’t stop thinking about the last scene of Saving Private Ryan.   

After watching Captain John H. Miller, played by Tom Hanks, take his last breath, Matt Damon’s character morphs on screen to the present.   We discover that citizen Ryan has brought his entire family to pay homage — not because they were commanded to come, but because they wanted to join their father in this moment of honor and praise.

As he kneels in front of the stone-carved ivory cross that bears the name of the man who saved him, he humbly states, “Every day, I think of about what you said to me….”  Finally, he turns to his beloved wife and says, “Tell me I’m a good man”.

Absent such honor and praise, Religion becomes nothing more than a venue for service projects that anyone can do anywhere turning our service to  God into a mode of self-gratification — feelings and works — absent of a true reason or holy cause.

This is why, I believe, so many of our young people are leaving the Church in droves.

You cannot proclaim the nature of your service. You cannot say: This is what I will do!  This is how! and when! and why!  [As if] you are trying to match your will with God’s and call it service. [1]

Such service lacks Truth.  You know it and the Nones certainly know it.  And, that’s the  betrayal of the social justice catechism.

The only Truth is that there’s no possible way to pay back the One who has saved you — especially the One Who gave His life while trying to save yours.

All you can do is act like someone who truly believes that your life has been saved.

 

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

 

1.  Taken from The Staircase (1998) about the Miraculous Staircase of the Loretto Chapel in New Mexico, USA.

 

 

 

 

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Every time that I kiss my kids goodbye or good night, I say this very simple prayer:

Mother Mary look after you;

Saint Joseph pray for you;

Jesus guide you;

And St. Michael the Archangel protect you.

May the Sign of the Cross be your salvation, your protection, and your guide.

Amen.

I love you!

 

That’s my simple daily prayer.

James Henry is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, James DobkowskiTwasHail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  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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Man Angel

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

There has been a lot of people that have influenced my life.  In fact, you can say that I’ve been blessed with an over-abundance of role models and influential friends.

Today, when people meet me, they see a person that is fairly self-assured.  Truth be told, however, I wasn’t always.

For the most part, I am overly shy.

Though I’ve overcome my shyness for the most part.  I still needed to crawl back into my shell at the end of most days and re-generate.

However, of all the people who, arguably, greatly contributed to my life, there is but one person, today, I credit for my confidence.  A man named Mike Lavorata.

The story leading up to my life path becoming entwined with his is long and convoluted.

To make a long story short, let’s just say that one day I found myself in the limelight under the direction of Mike, a wildly enthusiastic man.

Now, there’s nothing more uncomfortable for an introvert, like I was, to be tossed into the limelight — unless you add over-enthusiasm to the mix.  But there I was — or should I say we.

For the longest time, I avoided meeting Mike’s wife, though he constantly invited me over for dinner, fearing a double dose of enthusiasm.    However, it’s hard to say “no” to Mike, so one day I accepted his invitation.

Finally, I met Mike’s wife, Helen.  Much to my surprise, I discovered a soft-spoken and elegantly beautiful, woman of great faith in total contrast with my overly passionate adviser.

At first glance, they appeared to be polar opposites when in reality they were the perfect compliments of each other.   That evening I came to see Mike, not as an overly ardent devotee, but as Helen saw him, a person with an enormously large heart with a caring and giving nature.

I realized then what I never realized before…

The platitudes coming from his lips were real.  His hugs were sincere.  And though I’ve received hugs and compliments my whole life, they were always from someone who I knew; someone who had to love me.

I never really believed in myself.

Finally, I stopped looking at myself through my own eyes and I started looking at myself through Mike Lavorata’s eyes — and I saw the person that he saw, the man I am today!

I’m writing this because, without getting into details, Mike and his wife need your prayers.  There’s no other way that I can think of to pay Mike back then to ask those who read my blog to pray for him and his wife — and pray with great devotion.

And, if you are shy, like I am,  insecure or lack a lot of confidence like I once was, then find your own Mike Lavorata and look at yourself through his or her eyes.

I promise: you’re going to find someone you really like and another person who is always worth praying for!

UPDATE:

If you would like do more for Mike and his wife, go to MealTrain.com.  I will be donating 100% of my profits from my book Corporation YOU to MealTrain.com on behalf of the Lavarata family.

James Henry is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, James DobkowskiTwasHail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  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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Faith Ties (Smaller)

It seems like a lifetime ago since my wife and I moved to Los Angeles so I could pursue a career as a screenplay writer.  You can kinda, sorta read about it here.

I experienced a modicum of success in Hollywood, but not the kind I had hoped.

Before we moved West, my wife and I made a deal: Once my name appeared on the silver screen, we would come home.

I came close — several times.

However, be it the Writer’s Strike, egos, whathaveyou, something always impeded my ultimate success.  Eventually, I had to come home to take care of family.  Since I did so, without keeping my promise,  there has always been that emptiness; that sense of what if

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Recently, my cohort in Cali, John “Rusty” Proctor, has taken a scene from a project he and I co-created, called Faith Ties, and turned it into a short that has been making it big.  Here’s a clip.

Around the same time, my wife noticed a change in me.

“You seem happier,” she told me. “More focused.” More focused on me, I believe she meant to say.

It’s all kind of ironic since recently I’ve let go of so much.  Letting go and letting God, you might say.  It’s kind of ironic because Faith Ties is simply a story about “Letting go and letting God.”

The truth was that I appeared more focused because I had stopped following rainbows and looking for greener pastures.

Not that I was giving up.  I’ll never give up!

But by letting go and letting God, the Almighty gave me new lenses to clearly see what I should have been seeing all along — that I was already standing on the greener side of life and I had found my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow on the day I said “I do” to my beloved wife!   (He also gave me two beautiful Leprechauns to go along with my good fortune.)

All that self-awareness, however, and I still wasn’t feeling like I was really home.

Maybe that’s because I have always felt that my promise, to come home, was truly unfulfilled — until now!

Now, my name finally has appeared on the silver screen.

And there something else I discovered. The more I let go, the more my name keeps appearing on screens in film festivals across the nation.

So yes, I’m noticeably happier.

I’m noticeably happier because finally … I’m home!

James Henry is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, James DobkowskiTwasHail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

 

Postscript:  If you think the short film Faith Ties – The Alley is tearing it up, wait until the complete film comes out in 2021!  I’ll keep you posted.

 

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My blog this week was to mark the 40th year of my Dad’s premature passing from cancer.  It started sadly like this…

It always begins around the end of April.

Right around the time the snow melts and the trees begin to bud, the itch begins.  It’s hardly noticeable at first, then it begins to intensify.  Over time, an abrasion shows.  Soon, it becomes sore and finally, it opens into a small wound.

It’s been going on like this for years — 40 years exactly this week.

The more I try not to notice it, the harder it is to ignore.  Soon, I am reminded of the scar it left behind.

I stopped there — at a loss for words.  The plan was to write about the sadness of losing a loved one.  The continual pain it causes; its lasting side-effects, especially when a child loses a parent.

But I just could not find the words or the strength to continue. Then it happened…

On the anniversary of my dad’s death, I received a text from a close childhood friend, whose wife, also a dear friend, has been in her own grudge-match with cancer.   

In short, it read:

We went to the doctor on Monday and … the tumor has disappeared!

Coincidence?  There are no coincidences with God.

The day that has been marked by sadness for decades now has been transformed into a day of celebration; and like that, the words came to me:

A song of praise rose from the silence, gliding on the wind, capturing my full attention.  and these words were whispered into my ear.

“Rejoice!  Your Dad is up here with Me!”

 

James Henry is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, James DobkowskiTwasHail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  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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Image by Oleg Ilyushin from Pixabay

Every now and then, I get into a religious chat.

And, every now and then, the person I’m talking to will pause in the middle of the conversation, lean forward, and politely ask me, “You really don’t believe the Catholic Church is the One, True Faith, do you?”

The first time that it happened I was caught off guard.

I found it odd that the person thought that under a shroud of secrecy I would come clean and denounce the faith I dutifully promote publicly.

Today, I’m better prepared for the question then I was that day.  However, my response remains the same:

Don’t you believe the church you attend is the One, True Faith? … If not, then why do you belong to it?”

Disagreements, like this, among Christians are not new.

In his Commentary on Galatians, the prolific St. Jerome wrote about a minor squabble between some early Christians in Ephesus and St. John the Apostle.

The blessed John the Evangelist lived in Ephesus until extreme old age. His disciples could barely carry him to church and he could not muster the voice to speak many words. During individual gatherings he usually said nothing but, “Little children, love one another.” The disciples and brothers in attendance, annoyed because they always heard the same words, finally said, “Teacher, why do you always say this?” He replied with a line worthy of John: “Because it is the Lord’s commandment and if it alone is kept, it is sufficient.”

This example of St. John should remind us that we must let our conversations always be full of grace.   As apocryphal as it may be, this lesson taught by St. John is applicable even today.

Simply put, it doesn’t matter what you believe — be it Faith Alone, Grace Alone, Scripture Alone or any other dogma de Fide.   You are only truly of the One, True Faith when your daily practice starts and ends with the simple commandment to Love Alone!

Sola Caritas!  Blessed Pascha!

 

James DobkowskiJames 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.

 

 

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Recently, I started following an admitted atheist on Twitter after s/he challenged me because I put a #Faith in one of my tweets. @[anonymous] Atheist showed an almost Christian brand of kindness when I revealed my #Faith became unshakeable after I felt the physical presence of God lift a major burden off of me.

Nota bene: I respectfully changed the person’s Twitter handle @[anonymous] Atheist.

Things were amicable and soon, we started following each other.  From time-to-time, I would respond to a tweet that I disagreed with. And s/he would respond in kind.

It all appeared cordial.

For the proof of God, I introduced [anonymous] Atheist to Fr. Robert Spitzer S.J. PhD, President of Gonzaga University from 1998 to 2009.  Fr. Spitzer had a series on EWTN titled ‘Finding God Through Faith and Reason’.  Today, he is the President of the Magis Center of Reason and Faith and President of the Spitzer Center.

He’s pretty deep and science-based, which speaks to my science background.  For the repliability of the Gospels, I posted this lecture by Dr. Brant Pitre.

I can’t say enough good things about Dr. Pitre and often refer to him as the “new Scott Hahn.”  (If you’re into Catholic Christian apologetics, you know what I mean.)

However, after I responded to these two response tweets — where [anonymous] Atheist asked someone in the twittersphere to present proof that God existed — s/he blocked me.

I didn’t realize it at first. I’m not very twitter-savvy.  I only discovered that I was blocked after I searched for the [anonymous] Atheist.

[anonymous] Atheist posted often and when I didn’t see any recent tweets, I grew concerned.  When I discovered that I was blocked for seeing his/her tweets, I tweeted:

Blocked? Really? I really enjoyed your tweets.

Soon after that, I couldn’t even find the [anonymous] Atheist on Twitter, altogether.  So, I thought, either there’s a nuclear blocking option or s/he has left the twitter world completely.

So, I used another Twitter account — and that’s when I discovered I was nuked!

Again, I’m not Twitter-savvy, so forgive me if these are not the proper Twitter-terms.

For a moment, I was sad. Did I say something offensive? I don’t believe I did.

Finally, I had to chuckle.

Wouldn’t that be ironic, I thought, offending someone who makes it a daily ritual trying to offend people — particularly people of #Faith?

Then it hit me: Isn’t that what is happening across this nation?

Social media has given everyone a soapbox to stand on.  [anonymous] Atheist is probably still out there, and still challenging people of #Faith.

Today, we are all truly globally connecting, yet sadly no one is really communicating.

James DobkowskiJames 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.

 

Suggested Reading:

Atheism Is Inconsistent with the Scientific Method, Prizewinning Physicist Says. Lee Billings.  Scientific America.  2019.

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