Three truth bombs for today’s Christians

What is the result when Christians stay passive in a society full of sin, confusion and disorder? Well, Father Mariano has some thoughts. 

 Jesus said: If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples; you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:31-32

 Before my flight today, Sunday, my husband and I worshipped at the early Mass where we had one of the most brutally honest and motivating homilies in a good while. We attended Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kissimmee, Florida.

(Side note: Catholics don’t go to Mass for preaching or music or entertainment, we go for veneration of Jesus’ Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. Therefore, I don’t “rate” sermons, but today’s homily spoke profoundly to my soul – more so than usual.)

Father was dropping truth bombs like the mailman delivering gifts during Christmas. 

Here are the pointed phrases that landed on my conscience. (I paraphrase for him in quotations.)

1. The ease of going along with the popular ways of the world is dangerous. “The road to salvation is narrow, steep, and difficult; and the road to damnation is smooth and wide – much easier to take. More people are on the easy road.” This means that while we may have a prideful desire to go along with the times, our faith is calling us to be counter-cultural. We must speak out against the tough but pervasive social issues of our time including abortion, contraception, divorce, and same-sex “marriage.” Staying quiet or neutral is not optional. In fact, the faithful always endure ostracizing, humiliation, pain, and sometimes execution. It’s our call to suffering.

2. Being passive. “Some people would never offend their neighbor so instead they choose to offend God.” Our society is wrapped up in the need to make everyone feel good all the time. This behavior is so prevalent that most people mistake affirmation for love! Instead of agreeing with sinful behavior, we should be charitably pointing it out and calling sin the evil that it is.

3. Noticing the sign you’re on the incorrect path. “If circumstances start to seem easier, you’re probably going downhill.” Father is saying when we avoid suffering from our inconveniences, grief, or personal sins/sins of others, our life may seem “happier” or smooth for our time on Earth. But the easy path is not The Way of Eternal Life! We are called to humbly accept suffering as Christ accepted the sins of the world. Reminder: He did so willing, lovingly, humbly, and selflessly. 
Respect our important call as Christians. As Father says, when you take away “Christ-” you’re left with “-ian”. 

I-Am-Nothing without Christ. 

Go in peace, with faith and courage, to the challenging road of salvation.

Happy Father’s Day!

My imperfect dad is an instrument of God who teaches love, respect and appreciation. Father’s Day is the perfect time to recall the actionable ways my dad practices fatherhood.

  1. He stays. In staying, he protects and provides for the family. Less than 57% of children can make this claim of their father [US Census]. A father who fails to remain in the home exposes his children to a higher risk of becoming incarcerated, quitting school, committing suicide, and suffering from child abuse. More statistics were compiled here.
  2. Loyal to my mom. He lovingly sacrifices himself for his children through his unwavering commitment to our mother. He is dutiful and honorable; he loathes dishonesty and facade. Their marriage paves the way to a secure childhood.

    “The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children.”
    G.K. Chesterton

  3. Ushered me out of victimhood. My dad has a saying, “Are you a Schwietert, or a wimp?!” I heard it as a youth when I took a fastball to the chin or was playfully teased. My adult brain recites it during moments of defeat. I am not a helpless victim. I am capable, and my father tells me so. Rather, he asks me. The choice is mine. So cheers to firm confidence, no whining allowed.
  4. Open to changing himself for the better. He’s a fine wine who just gets sweeter with time! (You’re welcome, Pops.) Two years ago he suddenly decided to become Catholic. I assure you, this is nothing short of a miracle from the man who preferred Sunday football over worship. While he missed opportunities to teach me about God, I witnessed such grace the year of his conversion that will sustain for years to come. Total peace.

You might be thinking that your dad is none of these things, and that is ok. Forgive him. Pray for him. Recall his positive attributes and praise him. Keep in mind that no one has a perfect dad. 

For those raised without a father, forgive the absent man. Get to know St. Joseph and never forget that you matter to God the Father.

If you are a father who is lacking qualities listed, have hope. As Christians we are repeatedly called to repentance to our Heavenly Father. The timing is perfect to enact #4. Today, forgive yourself and apologize to your child(ren). Do better starting now.

As Catholics, we honor all fathers today: natural fathers, adoptive fathers, our priests, and our Father in Heaven. If your father is deceased, offer a novena to St. Joseph (patron saint of fathers) in his honor and tell someone about your dad this Father’s Day.

Thank you, dads! And cheers to you, Jeff Schwietert!

Additions to the list are welcome, so drop a comment!  I would love to hear from you!