Scrivener Giveaway

03/19/2016

Christine Royce Niles is giving away a copy of Scrivener writing software.

http://riverofthoughts.com/giveaways/march-16-scrivener-giveaway/?lucky=304

It’s the best software for writing and organizing your writing. Christine says if enough people enter, she may also offer a free Scrivener training.

As a new “professional” writer, I have much to learn and much to learn about this software. I know it’s capabilities and my potential for using it correctly.

If you write and have difficulty staying organized, I wholeheartedly endorse the software and encourage you to enter.

This is also an unpaid endorsement.

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Who Was the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved?

03/17/2016

If you spent a few years with Mary, the mother of God, would your life be any different?

Kind of a crazy question, right?

Of course you would be different!

So was John, author of the fourth Gospel and other New Testament writings, and the disciple whom Jesus loved.

Not everyone agrees with this assessment.

Here are some thoughts about it:

 

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


Stay in the Present

03/16/2016

If you continue to dwell on a past failure, what are you going to miss?

That’s right! The here and now!

And who wants you in the here and now?

Perhaps the omnipresent Lord, Jesus Christ?

And who wants you out of the here and now?

Perhaps the evil one, Satan, who wants you to have nothing to do with Jesus?

I heard an excellent confession story today, told by Johnnette Benkovic on the EWTN Radio program, Women of Grace. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

 

Satan’s helpers treat you like a volleyball, batting you back and forth between the past and the future. All to keep you out of the present.

And away from the omnipresent Lord, Jesus.

The Catholic Church requires us to go to confession at least once a year. That’s all.

That’s all I did in the last year, despite my “good intentions” to go more frequently.

Theoretically, we can go to confession as often as we can receive Holy Communion. Daily.

Once a year is far from daily.

As Father Patrick told me yesterday, not going to confession keeps me battling with myself.

Go to confession.

And do it more frequently than once a year.

I need to add it to my calendar.

You, too.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


“I Forgive You”

03/15/2016

Tonight is our Parish Reconciliation Service. I guess it’s good to get together as a community to pray for forgiveness of our sins. But I’ve gotta tell you… there’s nothing better than what follows the communal service.

As painful as it is to personally confess your sins to a priest — either face to face or behind a screen in a darkened confessional — with words that pour out of your own mouth, admitting your failings and shortcomings, acknowledging them out loud (well… okay, in a whispered hush, but nonetheless audible)…

the joy that washes over you when you realize that your sins are wiped away, your soul is clean, when Jesus says

“I forgive you…”

… that joy is truly indescribable.

Recognize confession for what it is. It’s not a psychoanalysis session. It’s not supposed to be a litany of your shortcomings, said for the purpose of making you feel bad or horrible or evil. It’s not a public flogging.

Confession, or penance, or reconciliation — whatever you want to call it — is an chance to say

“I’ve failed. And I’m sorry.”

It’s an opportunity to ask Jesus Christ to forgive you. It’s a one-on-one encounter with Jesus, through His Earthly representative, much the same as Holy Communion is a one-on-one encounter with Him.

Here’s what Pope Paul VI in 1968 said about confession.

“Let us examine the way in which we confess our sins, not in order to be over scrupulous in analyzing our faults, but in order to recognize the greatness of man on his knees before God.

“… In this way, God’s mercy… will… blow over us like a beneficial breeze, alleviating our sorrows.” (Ash Wednesday message, 1968)

God’s mercy!

When you think about the Creator of the Universe living just like you live, feeling the same human emotions, the same impulses, the same thoughts, what thoughts go through your head?

Can you contemplate it? Do you?

Why don’t you?

Go ahead.

If the Creator of the Universe, if the God who knew you before you were conceived, knows how easy it is to sin, don’t you think He can show you mercy? Don’t you think He can forgive you?

No matter what?

Hear what I have to say about the most joyous confession I ever experienced:

I hadn’t been to confession in years. I was harboring an “unforgivable sin.”

I couldn’t bring myself to face Christ — in the person of the priest. I was ashamed. I knew I could never get the words out of my mouth.

It was a period of great introspection. I searched my soul for answers that I couldn’t find. I was sad. I knew God loved me. I knew God forgave me.

But I also knew He expected me to use the Sacrament of Confession, too. To humbly and contritely acknowledge my failing.

I guess most importantly, I knew in my heart of hearts that not confessing my sins was ultimately separating me from God.

And it was my choice.

God gives us the tools and the resources. He gives us the freedom to make choices. He gives us the free will to do what’s right or wrong.

And He knows we will screw up.

We’re human. Just as He was in the person of Jesus. Just as He still is in the person of Jesus Christ present in every tabernacle in every sort of Catholic Church… in every church that carries on the ancient tradition of offertory and consecration and distribution of Holy Eucharist.

Only now His body is glorified. It’s been cleansed of its humanness.

But He knows our human shortcomings. He experienced them, too. Without sinning.

We sin. We are born with original sin. We’re not born with a divine nature. We’re born in the divine image, but we’re born with the capacity to sin.

I reflect on these things now. They were not part of my consciousness when I made this confession. At the time, my anxiety level overwhelmed me. Often.

It was at a Parish Reconciliation Service. I can’t recall whether it was Advent or Lent. All I know is I finally made it to one.

Then came time for individual confessions for those who wished to make one.

I wasn’t going to do it. I was afraid. Thanks to God, I overcame my fear and stepped into a line.

When it was my turn, I poured my heart out to the priest, my confessor. I barely made eye contact.

I finished and waited for my penance. Father absolved me of my sins. I looked at him. His eyes pierced my soul. He smiled and said something. I don’t remember what.

But I knew I was forgiven. The weight of a thousand chains was gone!

It was almost like his eyes said “You’re done! You’re free! Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? I’m so happy to forgive you. I’ve been waiting for you so long. And now, it’s over. You did it. Thank you.”

Go to confession.

Remember what Pope Paul VI said. Don’t be OCD about categorizing and listing your sins. Instead, consider how you approach your sins, how you approach Jesus through the priest, and how remorseful you are.

Don’t get me wrong. Don’t gloss over an examination of conscience! Be thorough! Just make sure you examine patterns. Your major failings. Why you do what you do. How you can avoid repeating the patterns and failings.

You’re going to sin again.

We all do.

Don’t beat yourself up. Resolve to persevere.

None of us are perfect until our heavenly Father perfects us. In heaven.

 

The Act of Contrition I’ve said since I made my First Confession and First Holy Communion in 1965:

Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee. And I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishment. But most of all, because they have offended Thee, my God, who art so good and so deserving of all my love, I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


Another Sex Scandal

03/14/2016

The more things change, the more things stay the same. Despite the “sexual revolution” we’ve experienced in the past fifty or sixty years, we’re really no different than we were thousands of years ago.

We obsess over sex. We want what we can’t have. And when we’re caught with our figurative (or literal) pants down…

*******   don’t jump all over me, grammar police  *******

… we lie.

We compound the problem.

We compound our sin.

 

The two guys in the reading from Daniel really get their pants in a knot today.

Susanna is accused by two elders. They were lying. They sought to have her put to death for not having sex with them. The people believed them. They were elders. They were respected. Daniel didn’t. Somehow, he saw through their false testimony. The men perjured themselves when Daniel cross-examined them.

The result was their death, not Susanna’s.

So what do we do with this?

Hear my case for confessing sins to a priest:

Correction (times two):
Okay, I apparently cannot speak coherently today. Correction #1: We are in the season of Lent. We are getting closer to Easter. And… Correction #2: I was speaking about going to confession and then referred to your parish’s Communion Service when I meant to say Penance (or Confession) Service. A thousand pardons.

 

There is no better feeling than the forgiveness you experience after confessing your sins. Getting the words out of your mouth. To another human being. And knowing you have been forgiven.

There is no greater freedom.

Is your parish conducting a Communal Penance Service?

GO!

Try it. You’ll like it.

Not kidding.

Try it once. Then tell me about your experience.

Try it.

 

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


Confession and the Future

03/13/2016

The adulterous woman gets a pardon. Jesus points her to the future and doesn’t want her to dwell in the past. He also demands deeds of mercy from her accusers. Do you confess your sins? Do it! There is an incredible wave of freedom that washes over you. Try it. You’ll like it.

I’m not kidding. And I don’t say it lightly.

 

 

Jesus promised Saint Faustina that even the greatest sinner had hope of redemption if they would only confess their sins and ask the Lord for mercy.

Just ask.

 

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


Donal Trump, Chicago’s Blackhawks and Rioters Are Just Like You and Me

03/13/2016

The Chicago Blackhawks, my favorite professional team playing my favorite sport — hockey — act like human beings, lose badly, and I get pissed off at them.

Rioters and protesters shut down a political event in the city of Chicago and I get all bent out of shape.

A man attempts to launch an assault on Donald Trump at one of his rallies and we see a vulnerable, human side of him. And ponder along with him whether the run for the White House is worth the sizable risk.

An infant girl dies. A father posts the horribly sad details and share a family photo. Amidst the heartbreaking sadness, there is a beauty in all of it… truly a peace that passes all understanding.

Hear me talk about all of it:

 

These are the events that occur in a period of 15 or 16 hours of my life. And I slept for seven of those hours!

All the events tie together. They are all part of this grand human experience. There’s a reason for everything.

And there’s an inevitability that we will experience pain, suffering, heartbreak, anger, annoyance, sadness.

And death.

It’s because we are human, imperfect, and finite.

It’s all a metaphor for Lent.

We are brought into this world. As Christians, we have a role to play in the world. As humans, we experience an imperfect existence. We will endure hardship of one sort or another. We will suffer. Our hearts will be broken, because we are loving creatures. And we will die.

For what?

Because we are imperfect. Because the world is imperfect. Because the real call… the true call… is to become holy as Jesus is holy so that we can enter heaven.

Remember, the one who dies with the most dies doesn’t win. It’s the person who dies with a heart full of love who wins.

The suffering perfects us. Like iron strengthens iron, suffering strengthens the human spirit.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski

I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.


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