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.


Are You Ready?

03/11/2016

It’s the Fourth Friday of Lent. Only two weeks until Good Friday.

Are you ready to meet Christ at the foot of the cross?

How do you do that?

Here’s one thing you can do.

Show mercy.

That’s one way we can lift up our cross.

Jesus taught Saint Faustina that we have three ways of expressing mercy toward our neighbors. By deed, word, and prayer.

That’s how we can share in the burden of the cross.

As soon as we suffer with Jesus, we need to prepare for the celebration of the Feast of Divine Mercy! Never a dull moment.

Hear today’s message from the shore of Lake Michigan in Gillson Park, Wilmette, Illinois:

 

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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 Hear Voices!

03/05/2016

Okay, I’ll admit it. Not always. Sometimes not too distinctly. But yeah… I do.

Do you? How do you know? Are you sure the voice is genuine?

To hear what I have to say about hearing voices, go here:

As I’ve gotten older, my hearing is not as good as it used to be. I blame lots of loud music and lack of discipline for contributing to my diminished hearing. Also likely to be a little age related.

Sometimes, I think my wife said something to me. Sometimes, I hear nothing and she’s been talking to me for half a minute. NO….. it’s not that selective spousal hearing! It’s genuinely physical “I can’t hear you!” hearing. Er… non-hearing.

Do You Hear the Voice of God?

Do you ever feel like you’ve had a divine revelation? Or not sure about it?

Do you ask God for inspiration? For guidance? Frustrated because you don’t get it? Not sure if the thoughts in your head are your thoughts or His thoughts?

How do you know?

Want some help?

First, you need to listen. You have to free up space in your noggin so that He can get in there with you.

Need something? Want something?

ASK!

He tells you to ask. So ask already.

But then… ya gotta listen!

How?

Immerse yourself in scripture. Or prayer. Keep reading. Keep praying. Get lost in it.

Answers will come to you.

Trust me.

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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.


Crashing Waves, A Plot to Kill, and Humility Revisited

02/24/2016

A crazy windy day on the lakefront. What Jeremiah had in common with the current political process. And maybe the mother of Zebedee’s sons should have watched yesterday’s video.

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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.


Santana and the King of the Ninevites

02/17/2016

What do Santana and the King of the Ninevites have in common?

Would you believe that in some parallel universe, Back to the Future-ish, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure sort of way, the King of Nineveh may have been channeling the Latin rock group, Santana, when he proclaimed to the Ninevites “you’ve got to change your Evil Ways…?”

No?

Me either.

But hey, that’s the that immediately coursed through my brain matter as I listened to today’s reading from Jonah:

The irritable, reluctant prophet, Jonah begrudgingly accepts God’s call to trudge through Nineveh to warn the people of God’s imminent wrath. The King gets word of Jonah’s warning and proclaims a fast for humans and animals alike. He dons sackcloth and dives into the ash heap, hoping against hope that God relents.

Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh: “By decree of the king and his nobles, neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep, shall taste anything; they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.

Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God; every man shall turn from his evil way and from the violence he has in hand. Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath, so that we shall not perish.”

When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.   –  Jonah 3:7-10

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls the generation of the time “an evil generation,” and today’s Gospel concludes with Jesus saying:

“At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”  –  Luke 11:32

What about our generation? Do we need to repent? Will we? What will happen to us?

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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.


Done Your Spring Pruning Yet?

05/03/2015

At the fitness studio in Wilmette, we look out at the corner of 4th and Linden. Trees line the sidewalk and there’s a large area — almost like a planter — at the corner next to the stop sign.

About a month ago, one of my clients and I watched as the village maintenance guys gave the rose bushes in this planter a serious haircut. Trimmed way back! Looked like they left a bunch of sticks that we would look at all summer long.

Friday, same client and I marveled at the new growth on the bushes. They look great!

Kathy has a raspberry bush planted at the front of the house. It’s her pride and joy. Like the village maintenance guys, she trimmed the heck out of the plant.

Yesterday, we admired her handiwork. The raspberry bush is in bloom.

So, yesterday’s meditation considered how to know truth.

Remain in God’s word.

In today’s Second Reading (First Letter of John 3:18-24), the beloved disciple tells us

Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he gave us. – 1 John 3:24

The Alleluia verse says

Remain in me as I remain in you, says the Lord. Whoever remains in me will bear much fruit. – Gospel of John 15:4a, 5b

And Jesus says in today’s Gospel

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.

I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” – John 15:1-8

Getting pruned sucks. (Can I say that in a meditation?)

But it’s necessary.

We get so wrapped up in this life. In minor disappointments. In personal grief. Relationship struggles and break ups.

In sin.

And then the pruning begins.

And it hurts.

But it’s necessary.

God has a plan for each of us. How often do we resist His plan for our life?

When the pruning starts, remember that we can’t bear fruit without it.

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Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, 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.

 

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