Should We Pray For People After They Die?

04/03/2016

Catholics say “pray for souls in Purgatory.”

Non-Catholic Christians say “there’s no need to pray for souls after they’re dead.”

In this final video of the 2016 Lent and Easter season, I ask some basic questions about this dichotomy.

Happy Feast of the Divine Mercy!

Pray the Chaplet. Today and every day.

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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 and continuing through Divine Mercy Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter, is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday, and finally to the Feast of Mercy. 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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Can Slaving Over the Cat Boxes Save Me From Purgatory?

03/22/2016

All I did was express a simple hope. And you scoffed at me.

All I did was jokingly suggest that my cat box penance might help me out in Purgatory.

And then we got into this huge discussion about the existence of Purgatory and hell isn’t real and this concept of the devil is so Middle Ages… and Original Sin? That’s some Catholic concoction; get real.

Okay, okay… believe what you want. But if you think Purgatory is a crock and hell and the devil are primitive concepts with no basis in reality and Original Sin is part of that whole Mary obsession that Catholics invented, then we better keep talking after Lent.

Which technically ends tomorrow, by the way. But never fear, you’re going to keep hearing from me daily until Easter.

The Sunday after Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday.

We’ll have a ton to discuss about Divine Mercy beginning this Friday, Good Friday, which is the first day of the nine-day Divine Mercy Novena.

Until then, you’ll have to watch the video to get the full gist of today’s message.

It’s Tax Season. Did I mention?

Yes, still a recovering CPA.

And writer.

And personal fitness trainer.

And cat lover. Trapped in a dog lover’s body.

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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.


Setting the Stage

03/20/2016

The pilgrims make their way to Jerusalem, a crowded place during Passover Week, as Jesus rides into town.

Today’s video describes the scene for Holy Week.

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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.


In The Dark

03/08/2016

What do you do when you don’t know what to say?

Have you ever had to write a paper … maybe an article … a speech … and your mind went completely blank?

I’m blaming this sinus thingy.

Can I say “thingy” and retain my Man Card?

Go ahead. Tweet that!

Sometimes you need a scapegoat.

Go ahead. Tweet that!

I read today’s long readings. Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12, the response from Psalm 46, and the Gospel According to John 5:1-16.

I have a video to shoot. I have a blog post to write.

Nothing.

Here’s what I have to say when I don’t know what to say:

Here’s the extent of my thoughts on today’s readings:

  1. Hey! They changed the psalm response in the new lectionary! Huh… (It was “The mighty Lord is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge,” but now it’s exactly Psalm 46:8: “The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.”)
  2. I’ve read this reading from Ezekiel several times at Mass, and I have absolutely nothing to say about it right now.
  3. The gospel is about the crippled man who cannot get anyone to help him into the pool of water. He wants to bathe in hopes of being cured. Jesus asks him if he wants to be well, then cures him. The “Jews,” as John refers to the scribes and Pharisees, are only interested in chastising the man for carrying his mat on the Sabbath and learning who cured him on the Sabbath. All I can think about is “how ridiculous.” Not deep thoughts.

It’s days like this that make me truly happy that I’m Catholic.

When I have difficulty expressing myself, clearing my head, collecting my thoughts, I can rely on repetitive prayers like the Holy Rosary or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and just pour myself out in groans or a sincere earnestness as I recite the prayers that have been so beautifully prepared and organized for me.

All I need to do is attempt to focus my attention on the Lord, on God, on Jesus, on asking Mary to intercede for me. That’s all.

That’s all I need to do.

The Lord sees into my heart. The Lord hears what’s in my mind. I can rely on Him, confidently, to get me through this.

When I can’t get myself to the cleansing pool, He knows what I desire. He knows what I need.

If I’m in earnest, I’ll get 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.


Tradition!

03/02/2016

What’s your favorite family tradition?

If you prefer to watch and listen to a slightly different version of this message, here’s a link:

We’ve had so many fun and touching family traditions. I’m blessed beyond belief to still be able to share holidays with Mom and Dad. We go to their house for the annual Fourth of July family bash. Thanksgiving dinner is Mom’s signature day. She still does almost all the cooking and most of the work. She is so in her element.

Growing up, we spent Christmases together with my grandparents, Christmas Eve at Babcia and Dziadzia Kwiecinski’s house and Christmas Day at Babcia and Dziadzia Konieczka’s house.

Without a doubt, my favorite Christmas tradition was and still is sharing oplatki. Oplatki is a flat wafer, resembling Communion wafer, although the texture and taste of oplatki is more like the wafer that those flying saucer candies came in.

Remember those?

Anyway, our oplatki tradition was — and still is — just before the meal, each of us takes a large piece of the wafer. Then we go around the room, breaking off a small piece of oplatki  and offering a handshake, a hug, a kiss, or any combination thereof with each other. It’s crowded. It can get a little raucous, but it is a deliberate exchange of love and good wishes with those we love.

I look forward to that as much as anything else every year. It’s so special to me.

Today’s two readings for the Catholic Mass focus on the commandments and expectations that God has for each of our lives.

Moses instructs the people of Israel (Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9) about the statutes and decrees that the Lord commanded him to teach them. Keeping the commandments was one means to demonstrate to other nations that they were a “wise and intelligent people.”

And Jesus tells His disciples (Matthew 5:17-19) that He has not come “to abolish the law or the prophets… but to fulfill.”

But what strikes me today is that both Jesus and Moses emphasize tradition.

The first reading particularly speaks to this. The reading from Deuteronomy closes with Moses saying:

“However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”  –  Deuteronomy 4:9

Moses is talking about the traditions of the Israelites. Sharing the stories of their time in Egypt and their time in the desert. I’d argue that this could include all the traditions of the Old Testament, although this is not what Moses says.

The Catholic Church is rich in tradition. It is truly the Christian tradition. Our traditions separated and segmented thousands of years after Moses, but the traditions of the Bible are ours.

I couldn’t help but think of the passionate song from Fiddler on the Roof when I read and listened to Moses.

Tradition!

We share a rich and glorious Judeo-Christian history and tradition. The commandments of God are woven into these traditions. The extension of Jesus’ command that the Ten Commandments are merely the baseline of how we’re to behave as Christians in order to gain entrance to Heaven.

Remember when I mentioned Purgatory yesterday?

Let’s consider that for just a second and consider what Jesus told the disciples.

Matthew’s Gospel, just after today’s Gospel passage, says:

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill…'”  –  Matthew 5:21

“But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment…”  –  Matthew 5:22

and later,

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not commit adultery.'”  –  Matthew 5:27

“But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  –  Matthew 5:28

So… if every time I have looked cross-eyed at a pretty girl, I’ve committed adultery, if every time I’ve become angry with someone, I have essentially committed murder, my soul will require a whole lot of cleansing.

How long will I endure Purgatory when I die? If I’m not clean, if I’m not perfect, I cannot enter Heaven.

How am I cleansed? What will it take?

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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.


What to do NOW if you are hurting

02/13/2016


The “Big Bang” and the Vast Universe

10/27/2015

Scientists and philosophers throughout the ages of recorded human history have debated the questions:

  • “How did the universe come to be formed?”
  • “Was there a beginning?”
  • “Will there be an end?”
  • “Is the universe spherical or flat?”
  • “Was The Big Bang really a BANG?”
  • “Is The Big Bang Theory at odds with Creationism?”

No way am I going to get into a discussion about all of that today, but maybe some day. Today, let’s consider the formation of the Universe and the Kingdom of God. And let’s stick with the basic essentials.

NASA has their own, scientifically dense, explanation of The Big Bang.

A site called (what else?) Big Bang Theory has a more layman-friendly discussion. They even pose the question about the existence of God and how that theological discussion integrates into the purely scientific theory.

The scientific theory rattles the mind. It can be confusing. It tends to overwhelm us in its complexity. Or its implications.

But does it have to?

Must we be confused and overwhelmed by the concepts?

Let’s consider one fact, mind-blowing though it is, about the universe.

We’re told the universe sprang into existence at a single moment in time. We’re told that at the beginning, the matter (particles, etc.) that make up everything we know was “infinitesimally small” and “infinitely hot.”

We’re told that the universe expanded and cooled to what we know today and that it is currently expanding every second with no signs of that expansion slowing.

Digest that for a moment.

The universe sprang forth from something very, very small.

–   And it is expanding.   –

2012-09-15_06-37-25_922

Did Jesus tell us this?

Today’s Gospel (Luke 13:18-21) gives us a clue.

Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.”

Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.”

Pretty cool, huh?


Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating. And for still not posting daily.

This is where Kit Kat is buried. R.I.P. little buddy.


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