Awkward Catholic

Living my faith as the awkward man of God that I am.


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Listen to Him

Here I sit, at 2:50AM and I can’t sleep. Why? Because it’s been 5 months since my last post and I can no longer ignore the almost silent, yet unmistakable whisper in the back of my mind that I need to write. I pray that this will bless someone tonight, tomorrow or in the future, whenever really.

Really that’s why I write. I want nothing more than to bring others to a deep and intimate knowledge and relationship with Christ. I don’t really have that myself but I have glimpses of it throughout my life and I can grasp the beauty and glory of it. So I want to share that with others, these glimpses of eternity, hope, and love. I know God has gifted me with the ability to write, even though it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere (of course it would help if I actually got around to writing more than every 5 months).

Well then, why haven’t I written in the last five months? The long version is because a lot has happened and I was going through a really rough patch of self-doubt, depression, fear and rejection. But the short version is that I stopped listening to that still, small voice in my heart that was encouraging me and practically yelling at me to keep writing. So I find myself sitting here at 2:55AM writing about it all, rambling on about how I refused to listen to that still small voice screaming in my heart.

As with the rest of the world, these last five months have been something for the history books. Our world has shut down and fear, chaos and sickness have run rampant. And for these last five months I feel as if I’ve done nothing, as if God had given this time to me (and to most of us) to accomplish all those things that we’ve been putting off because we’re too tired, too busy or too distracted to accomplish. It’s as if He was so sick of our excuses he finally had enough and just wiped away all of our silly excuses so we could sit back and enjoy His unadulterated love.

But what did I do with this gift? I squandered it. I let it slip through my fingers like water and made new excuses, continued to put off till tomorrow what I could do today. So I find myself sitting here at 3AM in the morning finally coming around to write and respond to God’s call.

And there in lies the profundity of it all. I squandered five months of grace only to find myself responding to that very same grace, that still small voice and I discover that I actually did learn and grow in grace, despite my best efforts. I guess I’m discovering the truth of the Scripture passage of Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

I won’t go into the details, but two things converged that woke me up to my foolish slumber, fear and St. Joseph*. In that moment I heard a voice that encouraged me to go to bed early. I did, then woke up the next morning before everyone else and the passing thought occurred to me to spend the next hour in a holy hour. I almost ignored that thought, like I so often ignore promptings to pray or fast. But this time I didn’t. I found a perpetual Eucharistic Adoration website, knelt down and spent the next hour in prayer (yes I fell asleep three separate time just like the Apostles). And it was beautiful!! I actually heard and responded to God’s voice in my life! This was a remarkable grace. And often, since then, I have had similar experiences. Of course I keep ignoring it (like earlier this evening when I felt the urge to write a post, I ignored it and kept scrolling through social media. Hence, it’s 3:05AM and I’m sitting here just now writing this post).

But within these last few weeks I’ve begun to discover the joy and beauty of hearing his voice and responding yes to it! It’s amazing!! Now, to be clear, it isn’t a neon sign, voice out of the clouds type of thing. Rather it is an impulse, a thought or idea that pops into my head, and inspiration that enlightens my mind about something, a person I haven’t heard from or spoken to in awhile. It’s those simple little promptings that we tend to write off as weird, random crazy and fleeting thoughts. These are, in my experience, often the still small voice of God calling me to listen and respond. As the voice of the Father said to the three Apostles in Matthew 17:1-9, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

So let us strive to listen and hear His voice in our lives and go where he calls us, serve and love where he leads us, that we may be his voice and hands for others to hear and respond; even if it is 3:20AM.

Jesus, I trust in you.

Mama Mary, pray for us.

Papa Joseph, pray for us.


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Feel Like It Syndrome

So I just realized I haven’t posted anything on my blog for five months! Wow! Well, not to make excuse (which means, here comes an excuse) I recently discerned that I suffer from something called “Feel Like It Syndrome”. During a Men’s retreat I attended, the first personal retreat I’ve attended in almost 20 years (because of FLIS), I read about something called “Root Sins”.

I don’t have my reading material with me as I write this, but I found this article that correlates to what I discovered. Basically, there are three core Root Sins: Pride, Vanity and Sensuality. Each person has a root sin that manifests itself in various ways. As I read through the various manifestations of these sins, I was struck deeply by how much I connected to the root sin of Sensuality. I always just thought I was lazy and tried to make myself be less so. But constantly failed. Now I better understand why. Laziness was just a fruit of the root, not the source.

In discovering this concept of root sins, I was taught that to find healing from this brokenness, I need to strive to practice the opposite virtues. And let me tell you, it seems to be working. The opposite of FLIS (Feel like it syndrome) is to practice discipline and self-sacrifice. And so I’ve started saying yes to my kids when they ask to play (even when it’s 95 degrees out and my boy wants to play basketball). And after a couple of months I’ve experienced more victories than ever over my laziness and excuses.

The moral of this story is this, go find read and pray about your Root Sin, then continue to pray about the virtues you need to find healing from it. Then begin practicing those virtues and find freedom and hope that you may just become the saint God has called you to be.

FYI, here’s a follow up article on finding those virtues you need to practice to combat the Root sin of Sensuality. Perhaps you could help me find resources on the other Root Sins.

P.S., I was originally going to write about the tremendous struggle our nation finds itself in, for the soul of our nation (abortion) but was suddenly struck with the need for me to write this post.