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Posts Tagged ‘Lent’

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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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Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

This past week marked the start of Spring.  If you had clear skies, you would have enjoyed a double-header of astronomical events, the first full moon on the night of the Vernal Equinox in 19 years.

Each year on the Spring Equinox, Druids and Pagans gather at Stonehenge early in the morning to see the sunrise above the stones.  According to Stonehenge Tours, the ad hoc celebration has become a popular event that it brings together England’s New Age Tribes with ordinary families, tourists, travelers.

The ritual brings to mind one of my favorite TV shows, Vikings, a series packed with the ancient.

Personally, I believed the series was going to jump the shark after Ragnar was killed off, but much to my surprise, it actually got better.  Maybe because Lagertha, Ragnar’s one-time wife,  has become a much better character post-Ragnar — but that’s neither here or there.

I was introduced to Vikings by a very odd source: Fr. Robert Barron (now Bishop Barren).

Besides his very popular DVD series Catholicism, Bishop Barron also has a vlog titled Word on Fire.   In one vlog episode, Bishop Barron on TV’s “Vikings“, Barron stated:

“At the promoting of some of my younger Word on Fire colleagues, I spent the best part of my vacation watching the History Channel series Vikings because they told me that it was the most religious show on television … and I must say to my surprise that they were right.”

So, at the promoting of Bishop Barron, I started watching Vikings.

Now, in this country, when we think of a “religious show”, we tend to think of something faith-based from the likes of Pure Flix.   However, the religion Bishop Barron was referring to was the mainly ancient Norse religion, though Vikings does also showcase the practice of Muslims and early Christians, as well.

Every character in the show, Bishop Barron stated, has a “sense of the divine” — everyone!  And, he was right.

Today, the faithful may be entertained by Vikings one hand; while, on the other hand, we tend to shutter when we see or hear of the modern practice of pagan rituals — like those that take place annually at Stonehenge.   More often than not, it’s because we associate such worship with the demonic.

However, I say to the neo-polytheists of the world:  Embrace your inner paganism!

A recent Pew poll  has revealed that the fastest growing religion is the Nones, people who don’t hold any formal religion.  Not only do these Nones have no association with any formal organized religion, they have no foundation in any faith.

As difficult as it was for the Apostles and the early Christians to evangelize, they were, at least, evangelizing to world of theists.  No matter where they went on the planet,  missionaries came upon a group of people who had a religion with a belief in the transcendent and on a life after death.

But how do you evangelize a group of people who don’t believe in a God? Consider religion irrelevant? Question most religious teachings? and religious leaders? [1]

So, instead of worshipping at the altar of nothingness, embrace something.

Embrace your inner paganism.

Embrace the divine.  Focus on life after-death.   Build a foundation of Faith.  Journey towards true Love! Celebrate ceremony and rituals, like a modern solstice celebration.

So, embrace your inner paganism. In the long run, we know how the story will end.

In the meantime, there’s always  Festivus, the holiday for the rest of us!

 

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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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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Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

Catholics may be onto something.   In fact, they’ve been “onto something” for almost two millennia!

I just can’t believe nobody trademarked this idea yet!

During Lent, most Christians feel called to give up “something”.

In my Catholic Christian family, we were also required to fast, for lack of a better term, for the whole period of Lent.

Everyone knows about Catholic’s Fish Fridays.  My mom just took it a bit further.

She instilled in us that, “If Jesus could give up food and water for 40 days and nights, the least we could do is gives up snacks between meals and desserts.”

Did I mention my mom is Irish Catholic. If you’re Irish Catholic, you know what that means.

So, every Lent we would eat smaller portions, cut out snacks and go without desserts.  I still continue this tradition to this day.

Though now I break fast on Sundays, we carried out this fast, in my childhood home, all the way to Easter Sunday.

As I matured in Faith, I fasted — as in no food — during Holy Week, cleansing my body with Detox Tea until the morning of the Great Sabbath, Holy Saturday aka Easter Eve.

Every year, I lost weight and felt like a million bucks!

Originally, I ended my holy fast on Easter Sunday.  However, here’s why I stopped.

Polish people celebrate Easter with Kielbasa and an cornucopia-kowski of Polish treats: hard-boiled eggs, butter, ham, horseradish, bread, babka and other foods.

Maria Sliwinska, ICIMSS, Poland

Photo: Maria Sliwinska, ICIMSS, Poland

After a week of cleansing my body, a slice of low-end, high-nitrate brand of smoked kielbasa nearly killed me.  My detoxed body went into revolt and I felt like I was going into toxic shock.  The only thing running through my mind as my body struggled to maintain homeostasis was, “They’re going to find me dead on the sofa and they’re going to think it was the fast.”

So, as a precaution, I now start toxifying the day before Easter, so I could feast on the holiest day of the year.

Now that I’m a parent myself, I instill the same sense of sacrifice in my children.  It’s easy to do — with a little help from the Easter Bunny.  I give a few tips here.  One alteration I made from mom is that my kids substitute a healthy snack for the usually after-dinner dessert.  Besides that, its pretty much the same regiment!

Do this for a whole year — and there you have it:  The Lent Diet()

Cut calories, eliminate snacking, and no desserts every day — except on Sundays!

The good thing is that you don’t have to be Catholic to feel good; just eat like one — during Lent and beyond!

As far as the trademark,  I’m working on it.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. 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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ash-wednesday-corporation-you

Ash Wednesday – Corporation YOU © 2017

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.

The 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)

Catholic Guide to Ashes

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.

 

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.

 

 

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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The daffodils that my sons and I planted in the Fall had just started to break through the ground … then the Winter Storm Stella hit dropping over two feet of snow on those budding bulbs extending winter, just as Punxsutawney Phil predicted.

It reminded me of sermon I heard when I was a kid after a very similar late season storm.

That year, the winter was unseasonably warm and the birds, which had began their Spring migration North, got caught off guard.

Standing at the podium, my pastor lamented about trying to save a flock of Canada geese in his yard that were now in jeopardy due to the bitter cold.

“I opened up my garage door and tried to corral the geese inside — to safety,” he said. “The harder I tried, the more the geese ignored me.

“I kept shouting, ‘Don’t you know, I’m trying to save you.’ But they just wouldn’t listen,” he explained. “I must’ve been out there for 30 minutes.

“Finally, I gave up,” he sighed. “As I stood in the garage, I thought ‘If I could only become a goose. I could tell them that I was trying to save them.’ And then it hit me….

“God became human.

“That’s why He became one of us.

“To talk directly to us. To tell us directly that he’s trying to save us.”

Now, all we have to do is start listening.

 

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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Source: Geralt | Pixabay

My Dad died way too young. Ironically, I was the same exact age when it was discovered that I had nodules on the lung. The alignment was interstitial, so doctor’s suspected lung cancer. (It was not.) Still, the disease was rare, non-specific, and I underwent six months of treatment.

Miraculously, I have no signs of it today. Not even scares on my lungs.

When then the doctor gave me the news, he appeared dumbfounded. He became even more perplexed by what he translated as a sense of disappointment.

“Damn,” I sighed.
“Are you okay?” he asked with concern.
“Oh yes,” I said with a smile as I look up at him. “But I’ve been praying to* John Paul, who needs another miracle to be a Saint, but I also used Brother Andre oil and water from Lourdes, given to me by a former student — so I don’t know who to attribute the miracle too. John Paul? Brother Andre? Or Our Lady of Lourdes.”

Needless to say, my physician looked at me as if I was insane.

Regardless, at the time, though I was married and had an established career, I felt like I had much life left — and much more to accomplish. Maybe that’s why there was so much sadness at my Dad’s wake and funeral.

He seemed in good-health. He was strong. He loved life. He had also given so much — to his family, to his community — but he still had so much more to give.

To all who attended his funeral — and there were many, my father’s death was a tremendous loss, a great tragedy.

So, Why Did Jesus Die in His Thirties?

To make sense of it all, Msgr. Charles Pope,the author who first proposed this question in title, immediately quoted St. Thomas Aquinas.

Christ willed to suffer while yet young, for three reasons. First of all, to commend the more His love by giving up His life for us when He was in His most perfect state of life. Secondly, because it was not becoming for Him to show any decay of nature nor to be subject to disease …. Thirdly, that by dying and rising at an early age Christ might exhibit beforehand in His own person the future condition of those who rise again. Hence it is written (Ephesians 4:13), “Until we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ” (Summa Theologica III, 46, 9 ad 4).

So, Why Did Jesus Die in His Thirties?

Christ died in the prime of his life to make His death, on the surface, a tremendous loss, a great tragedy, in turn, making it a greater sacrifice.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

*AUTHOR’S NOTE:

When Catholics say we are praying to a saint we really mean through or with.  Just like you may ask a friend to pray for you, we believe in the Communion of Saints, our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in Heaven.   So, we are literally saying “John Paul, can you pray for me today”.   The answer to that prayer (a miracle) is our proof that they are indeed in Heaven.  If your in Heaven, you are a Saint, regardless whether your name is John Paul, Padre Pio, Mother Theresa — or Chuck.

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