Embrace Suffering

03/24/2016

Think about Jesus as He was going to Calvary.

Think of the different accounts of people saying “he’s not going to make it to the cross, he’s going to die before that,” so they had to have Simon of Cyrene help Him carry the cross…

The lashings… the beatings were so severe…

But Jesus made it to Calvary.

Then… He died. And the soldier’s couldn’t believe He was dead so quickly.

So… seemingly contradictory, right?

But what does it mean?

God’s Divine Love carried His Son through His suffering.

Or… the Divine Love of the Holy Spirit… or Divine Will of the Holy Spirit…

carried Him through to complete His suffering…

so He could complete what He was destined to do…

and once He had accomplished it, He died.

That quickly.

The Divine’s Love escorted the human Jesus through the beatings…

through the torture…

through the suffering…

through the carrying of the cross…

all the way to Calvary…

so He could die when and where He was supposed to die.

Will we embrace our suffering? Will we wrap ourselves in that suffering?

When people say:

“I can’t believe that she stays with her husband!”

“How does she handle the chemo and radiation with such grace?”

“I can’t believe he has the patience to stay with her!”

“I can never imagine losing a child…”

“I can’t believe that she still dotes over her parents so much… the laundry, the bills, the housekeeping… where does she find the energy?”

“Look at what he does for his mother. He changes his mother’s diaper!”

And looking from afar, what should our response be for those people?

Compassion.

Like the women on the way to Calvary when Jesus carried His cross. The women who wept for Him. Veronica, who took the time to wipe the sweat and blood and mud from Jesus’ face.

That’s how we can participate in their suffering. And pray for them.

Say a Rosary. Or a Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

That’s the meaning of it all.

That’s how we can embrace the suffering of Jesus.

That’s one way that we can show mercy for our neighbor. Try to bear their burden, either practically or if that’s not an option, at least symbolically.

Or if we’re living that suffering, to embrace it the best way we can. To ask Jesus… to ask Mary to help us embrace it.

We’re probably going to suffer.

Will we turn it into a redemptive act? Or will we refuse to bear 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.


Why I Posted a Video a Day for Lent

03/23/2016

Today is the last full day of Lent. Tomorrow evening, Holy Thursday, at the evening Mass, Lent officially ends and we begin the Triduum, the three days that unfold the unity of Christ’s Paschal Mystery.

We’ve walked through Lent together. Thanks for enduring this daily video series. The genesis for this excursion began — unknowingly — in January 2014.

It may have been a few months before that, when Dad’s health really began to decline. But the decision that he made to endure life-changing surgery touched my life more than I could have ever anticipated.

We had no idea what he would endure.

What he would suffer.

What Mom would endure. What she would suffer.

What we would endure. What we would suffer.

Not that he needed it, but Dad had the blessing and support of Mom, Karen, Stephanie, me, and our families. We were there for him, for Mom, for each other.

Dad had the freedom to say no. He didn’t. He wasn’t ready to let his heart fail and give up the chance for a few better years or months.

None of us knew.

We had the freedom to say no. But how could we? Dad… always so full of life. The past six to twelve months had been rough.

His heart wasn’t pumping the way it needed. The left ventricle had grown too weak to squeeze the blood into the aorta. He had heart failure. His body retained fluid. We could see it. Just looking at him. Seeing him move slower and slower.

Then, during another stay in the hospital, Dad was presented with a life-saving option.

How could any of us say no if Dad said yes?

Walking with Dad as he lie nearly motionless for days on end, no signs of improvement imminent. Five times when we were sure he was going to die and we’d never talk to him again.

Hearing no words of comfort from his doctors, nurses, surgeons. They wouldn’t even utter the word “hopeful.” I’ll never forget it.

Watching Mom keep vigil. Seeing her hurt. Feeling her love for him. Feeling her sorrow. Feeling her numbness.

My entire concept of life and what the hell is really important and what it all comes down to in the end changed forever.

Yes, I had experienced the death of a loved one. Even the unexpected death of a loved one. Never my parent. This, however, made all previous experiences pale in comparison.

It was the worst time of my life.

And I never want to forget it.

It changed the way I prayed. It changed the way I approached my day, my family, my work.

I’m still the same ol’ cranky, obsessive compulsive, intense, sarcastic, prideful son of a buck that I’ve always been.

I ain’t no holy roller and I don’t mean to come across as one. I’m just a guy trying to figure it out, one step at a time.

I’ve been blessed with such a variety of experiences in my life. I’ve been blessed to get away with making so many mistakes… more than I can possibly remember… and having the opportunity to ask God for forgiveness.

And I wanted to, in some meager way, start to share my thoughts.

What better time than Lent?

What better way than video? The real me. All the blemishes.

This isn’t the end, this end of Lent.

This is just the beginning. God willing.

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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.


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.


Is It Okay To Sin?

03/21/2016

Do you suppose Jesus was surprised that Judas was stealing from the treasury?

Or do you think He knew it all along?

I’m pretty sure He knew.

So… let’s say Jesus did know. Why didn’t he stop Judas from stealing? Isn’t that one of the profound mysteries of our life?

Of all our lives?

Does Jesus know that you sin? Or are you doing a better job of hiding it from Him?

Why doesn’t He prevent you from doing it?

Same profound mystery.

God gave each of us free will. Along with Original Sin.

Oh, great… so He punishes us by making us sinful.

No. He gave us freedom of choice. Freedom to choose right or wrong. So we control our own eternal destiny.

But wait. If we’re born with Original Sin, aren’t we doomed to hell right off the bat?

Again, no. Because we are free to choose right from wrong.

Original Sin means we have the propensity to sin.

Original Sin means we are not perfect.

Only our Heavenly Father is perfect.

Original Sin means we are likely to suffer at the hands of other human beings or some other force of nature.

Original Sin means we are subject to the risks of the Earth.

Original Sin means we need to be perfected.

Original Sin means we have choices to make which will either draw us closer to God and heaven or separate us farther from Him.

Bottom line: Jesus knows that we sin. And he accepts that. Because we are human.

That doesn’t mean our sins are acceptable.

But it does make us eligible to receive God’s endless mercy.

And that’s what our journey through life, this profound mystery that’s unique to each person, teaches us.

We continue toward Calvary. Happy Monday of 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.


Actions Speak Louder Than Words

03/19/2016

I take a ton of comfort knowing St. Joseph was a stepfather, too.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I measure up in any way, shape, or form. But I do look to him as an example.

Today, March 19, is the Feast of St. Joseph. It’s a Solemnity in the Catholic Church. As a day of solemnity, we’re excused from our Lenten observances so we can celebrate him.

Here’s what I have to say about the feast and the life of St. Joseph.

 

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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.


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.


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