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The End Is Near!

As the liturgical year winds down, the Church wants to be sure that we don’t forget a critical fact – this life is temporary and will come to an end. Furthermore, at the end of our life, we will be judged and our eternal destiny will be determined. If that’s not enough, Jesus emphasizes in this Sunday’s gospel that we don’t know the day or the hour when this will occur. You don’t need to be a Scripture scholar or theologian to know that this is a serious message. How does it make you feel?

Some will hear this and brush it off, assuming that it won’t happen anytime soon and there are more pressing matters to contend with, such as lunch, football or any number of worldly issues. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those who will hear this and begin to worry or plunge into despair. Both of these positions are extreme and should be avoided.

I believe that the best way to view this message is to treat it as a wake up call. We often lose sight of what really matters in life and focus on what doesn’t matter. We spend a great deal of time of things that may feel good now, but don’t really matter in the long run. By choosing these readings, the Church wants to help us focus on the Lord and eternity. What can we do to help us remember? I think the answer can be found in a verse taken from Sunday’s Responsorial Psalm:

I set the LORD ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. (Psalm 16:8)

Each day, Jesus calls us to follow Him. Doing so will not only ensure that you’ll spend eternity in the right place, but will help you avoid being disturbed by all of the craziness in the world. Spend some time each day in prayer, reading the Bible and being kind to those around you. It will keep you focused and you’ll be in great shape.

Do You Trust God?

A man fell over a cliff and, as he tumbled down, managed to grab on to a bush growing from the side of the rock. Terrified, he hung in space, his life flashing before him. In desperation, he shouted toward heaven, “Is there anyone up there?” To his astonished delight, a voice floated down: “I am the Lord God, and I am here.” “What should I do?” called the man. The voice replied, “Let go of the branch and, with my protection, you will float harmlessly down to the beach below.” The man glanced under his feet to the jagged rocks at the foot of the cliff, hundreds of feet below. He gulped, and looked back toward heaven.

“Is there anyone else up there?”

It’s easy to trust God when there isn’t too much at stake. When putting your faith in Him involves parting with your money or trusting Him with your future, however, it becomes increasingly difficult. Why is that? Essentially, it happens because of a lack of trust. Even though Jesus promised that those who sacrifice for His sake in this life (Mark 10:29-30) will be rewarded in Heaven, we struggle to believe His words. Instant gratification, on the other hand, requires no trust and delivers a lesser (but immediate) reward. It seems like a safer option.

In today’s First Reading, we learn of a widow who used all of her flour and oil to bake bread for the prophet Elijah. Even though it could have caused the woman and her son to starve, she obeyed the command of the prophet. Why? Because she trusted that God would provide, as promised by Elijah. Her trust was rewarded and their supply of oil and flour did not run out. Similarly, in today’s Gospel, a poor widow gave all that she had because of her trust in God’s providence.

According to the dictionary, trust is defined as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something; one in which confidence is placed”. Every day we have the opportunity to trust God with our finances, relationships and future. Today we learned of two widows who trusted that the Lord was good for His word. There may have been fear involved, but they trusted anyway. Their faith was rewarded. God is asking you to trust Him in some way today.

Are you willing to imitate the widows or would you rather play it safe?

Finding Jesus In The Storm

Then he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. (Matthew 14:22)

You are probably familiar with the story of St. Peter getting out of the boat and walking (briefly) on the water. Responding to the call of Jesus, the fisherman turned Apostle did something that should have been impossible. It’s a dramatic and powerful saga that most of us have heard many times.

What often gets missed in this story, however, is the verse at the top of page. Take note that Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and sent them right into a storm. He literally “set them up” without warning them of what they would be facing. I know it sounds nasty, but it ended up being a great blessing. Although Peter’s faith certainly faltered (as evidenced by the panic that set in when he felt the wind and saw the waves), he learned that Jesus was present, even in the midst of the storm. He also discovered that ALL things (even walking on water or calming the sea) are possible for the Lord. Matthew ends this story by stating that everyone in the boat worshiped Jesus and acknowledged that He was the Son of God. Good stuff, right? Now, let me ask you a question. Despite the happy ending, do you think the disciples would have gotten into the boat if they knew that a life threatening storm was waiting for them?

Being a follower of Christ means more than just going to Mass on Sunday and saying some prayers. It involves waking up each day and letting Him lead you. Just like the disciples, He may lead you right into a storm. Sometimes the entire Church is asked to get into the boat and head into stormy seas. The Lord doesn’t necessarily cause the storms, but He does allow them to exist. That’s okay. There is a reason. The fact that we may not understand or approve doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Jesus loves us and is present in the midst of the storm. As long as we keep focused on Him, we’ll be fine. Rather than concentrating on the waves and the wind, keep your eyes on Jesus and borrow the words of St. Peter as he began to sink. It’s one of the most powerful prayers imaginable:

“Lord, save me!”

Give Up Worry For Lent – Let’s Do This!

Isn’t it time your church heard this message?


Click on the above image to bring Gary Zimak to your church in Lent of 2019. He will show you that it is possible to give up worry for Lent. Selected dates for Lent 2019 are still available. Let 2019 be the year that you finally give up worrying for good!

(Gary Zimak is the author of several books, a frequent speaker at churches and conferences across the country and is recognized as the leading Catholic speaker on the topic of overcoming anxiety. In addition, Gary is a regular guest on Catholic TV & Radio and the creator and host of Spirit In The Morning which aired on Holy Spirit Radio in Philadelphia from 2016-2018)

Jesus, Are You Listening?

One of the most challenging narratives in the Bible involves a Canaanite woman who approached Jesus and asked Him to heal her daughter (Matthew 15:21-28). When reading about this encounter, our attention is typically drawn to the seemingly harsh words used by Christ when he states that it isn’t fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs. While there are many things I could say about what the Lord said when approached by the desperate woman, let’s first focus on what He didn’t say.

But he did not say a word in answer to her. (Matthew 15:23)

Wow! This poor woman is begging for her daughter to be healed from demonic possession and Jesus didn’t even answer her. How would you react to that kind of response? I agree that it sounds brutal, but let’s dig a little deeper. Scripture tells us that Jesus did not answer the woman, but it says nothing about His non verbal response. Did He smile, nod His head, close His eyes thoughtfully, turn around and glance at her with compassion? It’s certainly possible.

Are you frustrated that Jesus isn’t responding to your cries for help? You pour out your heart and all you hear is silence. The fact that Jesus isn’t responding in the way you expect does not imply that He isn’t listening or doesn’t care. If you have any doubt, think about His death on the Cross. That was done out of love for you. Rather than accuse Him of ignoring you or not caring, try to imagine Him looking at you with compassion, gently holding your hand or giving you a big hug. Let your imagination help you to see how much He cares.

As for the Canaanite woman, the Lord was giving her a chance to put her faith into action. She knew Jesus could make her daughter well and her persistence was rewarded with a total healing. Jesus loves you and wants to help you with your problems. Whatever you do, don’t stop asking!

Is There A Wrong Way To Pray?

When you pray, how do you begin? Do you launch right in to your list of intentions or do you take a few minutes to recognize the fact that you’re speaking to the creator of the Universe who loves you unconditionally? Don’t feel bad. We often get so caught up in our needs that we lose sight of some basic concepts. While it’s true that there is no “wrong” way to pray, it’s also true that the prayer of Jesus should be looked at as the “gold standard” of prayer. With that in mind, let’s look at how the Lord prayed on the night before He died:

 “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” (Mk 14:36)

We can learn a great deal about prayer by analyzing His words…

1. We are not speaking to an impersonal force or distant being, but a Father who loves us unconditionally. When praying to His Father, Jesus uses the Aramaic word “Abba”. It implies a deep personal, relationship with a loving Father. St. Paul encourages us to use the same title when speaking to our Heavenly Father (Romans 8:15).

2. God can do all things. The word “impossible” doesn’t exist in His vocabulary. Remembering this allows us to pray with great confidence.

3. Jesus makes it clear that there is nothing wrong with asking for an end to suffering. Our Father wants us to ask for the desires of our heart. Go ahead and do it!

4. Ultimately, we should be willing to accept whatever our Father gives us. “Yes”, “No” and “Not Yet” are all valid answers to prayer. Because the Father loves us, we will always receive what we need.

Can prayer really be that simple? You bet! Learning to pray like Jesus will transform your life. Give it a try and see what happens. I know you won’t be disappointed!

Now, That’s What I Call Love!

Looking for something to cheer you up? Take a look at the opening paragraph of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church (CCC):

God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life. (CCC 1)

Your Father in Heaven created you so that He can enter into an intimate relationship with you. He did this fully understanding that you could reject His offer and ignore Him. He was willing to take that risk because He loves you and wants to share His life with you. His love for you is so strong that He sent His Son to suffer, die and rise from the dead so that you could live forever in Heaven. It was a radical move, but in his eyes you’re worth it!

Sometimes we get confused when difficulties arise, thinking that God has abandoned us or doesn’t love us. Nothing could be further from the truth. You are so important to Him that He will do anything necessary to get your attention. God loves you and nothing you can do will ever change that. That makes me very happy. How about you?

An Update On The Status Of My Ministry

Gary Zimak and family in the studios of Holy Spirit Radio

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to give birth, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak.A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

On January 6, 2012, a job layoff presented me with the chance to do “the impossible” – get out of the boat and enter into full time Catholic ministry. Over the course of the past six years, I have been blessed with many opportunities – numerous appearances on Catholic TV and Radio, speaking engagements from coast to coast and six published books. In addition, I have witnessed God provide for the needs of my family over and over.

Last year, the “full time” status of my ministry changed when I accepted a dream job as the host of Spirit In The Morning on Holy Spirit Radio in Philadelphia. Even though I hosted the program every morning, I continued to travel around the country leading parish missions and retreats. In the past several months, however, I have been feeling the call of the Holy Spirit to move away from the traveling and spend more time at home with my family. One day I’ll write more extensively about it, but the Lord spoke loud and clear through people, circumstances and feelings. It was time to move on.

Earlier this week I accepted a full time position as Director of Parish Services at Mary, Mother of the Redeemer Parish in North Wales, PA. I will be responsible for adult faith formation, RCIA, parish missions, retreats and much more. It is a fantastic job that will allow me to do what I love the most – lead souls to Christ. In addition, I will continue to host Spirit In The Morning and do my weekly segments on EWTN Radio’s The Son Rise Morning Show. My daily podcasts (Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled and The Gary Zimak Show) will be discontinued, as will any speaking engagements that require travel and monthly segments on Catholic Community Radio and Iowa Catholic Radio.

I can’t begin to express my gratitude to the Lord, my Blessed Mother, my family (especially my incredibly supportive wife Eileen) and all of you who supported me with your donations, prayers and words of encouragement. I am in awe of what God has done in my life. Take it from me, He can and will perform miracles in your life if you give him the chance. Even though things are changing for me, it’s all good and I am totally peaceful with the changes.

Please pray for me as I enter into a new and exciting phase of ministry. As long as I’m following His lead, I know I’ll be just fine!

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Spirit In The Morning – Catholic Radio’s Most Unique Program!

 

Catholic Speaker Gary Zimak is the host of Spirit In The Morning On Holy Spirit Radio in Philadelphia

It’s hard to believe that we just celebrated the one year anniversary of Spirit In The Morning on Holy Spirit Radio in Philadelphia. When I first presented the concept to station management in September of 2016, I had no idea just how successful the show would become.

What Makes Spirit In The Morning Unique?

It’s simple. We are the only Catholic radio show in the country that offers a mix of Contemporary Christian Music, Scripture and today’s leading Catholic personalities. Our goal is to lead you into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ and get you excited about being Catholic!

Who Has Appeared On The Show?

In the past year, the guests on Spirit In The Morning have included:

Fr. Larry Richards
Fr. Donald Calloway
Bear Woznick
Teresa Tomeo
Johnnette Benkovic
Dr. Ray Guarendi
Raymond Arroyo
Michael Warsaw
Fr. Mitch Pacwa
Marge Fenelon
Jimmy Akin
Tim Staples
Trent Horn
Cy Kellett
Christopher Check
Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers
Matt Swaim
Lisa Hendey
Dr. Gregory Popcak
Jacon Popcak
Anna Mitchell
Debbie Georgianni
Tony Agnesi
Fr. Edward Looney
Fr. Jim Sichko
Drew Mariani
Kelly Wahlquist
Marcellino D’Ambrosio
Tony Rossi
Fr. Jeffrey Kirby
Kevin Lowry
Marty Rotella
Christopher Bell
Fr. Frank Pavone
Jeanne Mancini
Bryan Kemper
Dr. Alveda King
Bobby Schindler
Dr. Kevin Vost
Dan Burke
Coleen Kelly Mast
Danielle Bean
Kate Wicker
Deacon Greg Kandra
Fr. Joseph Mary
Fr. Leonard Mary
Fr. Mark Mary
Fr. John Paul Mary
Sister Ann Shields
Chris Stepien
Karlo Broussard
Dr. Edward Sri
Dr. John Bergsma
Dr. Alan Schreck
Lisa Madrid Duffy
Bryan Mercier
Marybeth Hicks
Tom Peterson
Pat Gohn
Mike Aquilina
Dr. Matthew Bunson
Steve Bollman
Eric Sammons
Catherine Szeltner
Fr. Paul Scalia
Hector Molina
Chris Stewart
Fr. Thomas Dailey
Mark Poletunow
Lee Strobel
Thom Price
Jack Williams
Diana Von Glahn
Dina Dwyer-Owens
Elizabeth Scalia
Randy Hain
Sonja Corbitt
Justin Fatica
Mary Lou Rosien
Jennifer Hubbard
Jeannie Ewing
Fr. Chris Alar
Dr. Paul Kengor
Greg Willits

And that is just a PARTIAL list! The Holy Spirit has provided (and continues to provide) a “who’s who” of All Star guests on daily basis.

What’s Next?

Only the Holy Spirit knows for sure, but my goal is to continue to seek out the best guests/music possible in order to help you grow closer to the Lord. With the invaluable assistance of Dave Parker, Frank Eliason and the management of Holy Spirit Radio the future looks bright for Spirit In The Morning!

Listen to Spirit In The Morning with Gary Zimak on 1570 AM (Philadelphia/Doylestown) or 1420 AM (Coatesville). You can also listen online at HolySpiritRadio.org or TuneIn Radio

The Total Consecration Prayer

 

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak is available to speak at your parish or conference

Congratulations to everyone who has completed the 33 day preparation for Total Consecration To Jesus Through Mary! It is a BIG accomplishment and you definitely deserve to be commended for your perseverance. In order to officially consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary, please recite the following prayer. While it is strongly recommended that you perform the consecration at Mass (after Communion), it isn’t an absolute necessity.

Consecration of Oneself to Jesus Christ, Wisdom Incarnate,
Through the Hands of Mary
(St. Louis de Montfort’s Consecration Prayer)

Eternal and incarnate Wisdom, most lovable and adorable Jesus, true God and true man, only Son of the eternal Father and of Mary always Virgin, I adore you profoundly, dwelling in the splendor of your Father from all eternity, and in the virginal womb of Mary, your most worthy Mother, at the time of your Incarnation.

I thank you for having emptied yourself in assuming the condition of a slave to set me free from the cruel slavery of the evil one.

I praise and glorify you for having willingly chosen to obey Mary, your holy Mother, in all things, so that through her I may be your faithful slave of love.

But I must confess that I have not kept the vows and promises which I made to you so solemnly at my baptism. I have not fulfilled my obligations, and I do not deserve to be called your child or even your slave.

Since I cannot lay claim to anything except what merits your rejection and displeasure, I dare no longer approach the holiness of your majesty on my own. That is why I turn to the intercession and the mercy of your holy Mother, whom you yourself have given me to mediate with you. Through her I hope to obtain from you contrition and pardon for my sins, and that Wisdom whom I desire to dwell in me always.

I turn to you, then, Mary Immaculate, living tabernacle of God, in whom Eternal wisdom willed to receive the adoration of both men and angels.

I greet you as Queen of heaven and earth, for all that is under God has been made subject to your sovereignty.

I call upon you, the unfailing refuge of sinners, confident in your mercy that has never forsaken anyone.

Grant my desire for divine Wisdom and, in support of my petition, accept the promises and the offering of myself which I now make, conscious of my unworthiness.

I ___________________, an unfaithful sinner, renew and ratify today through you my baptismal promises. I renounce forever Satan, his empty promises, and his evil designs, and I give myself completely to Jesus Christ, the incarnate Wisdom, to carry my cross after Him for the rest of my life, and to be more faithful to Him than I have been till now.

This day, with the whole court of heaven as witness, I choose you, Mary, as my Mother and Queen. I surrender and consecrate myself to you, body and soul, as your slave, with all that I possess, both spiritual and material, even including the value of all my good actions, past, present, and to come. I give you the full right to dispose of me and all that belongs to me, without any reservations, in whatever way you please, for the greater glory of God in time and throughout eternity.

Accept, gracious Virgin, this little offering of my slavery to honor and imitate the obedience which Eternal Wisdom willingly chose to have towards you, his Mother. I wish to acknowledge the authority which both of you have over this pitiful sinner. By it, I wish also to thank God for the privileges bestowed on you by the Blessed Trinity. I declare that for the future, I will try to honor and obey you in all things, as your true slave of love.

O admirable Mother, present me to your dear Son as His slave, now and for always, so that He who redeemed me through you, will now receive me through you.

Mother of mercy, grant me the favor of obtaining the true Wisdom of God, and so make me one of those whom you love, teach and guide, whom you nourish and protect as your children and slaves.

Virgin most faithful, make me in everything so committed a disciple, imitator, and slave of Jesus, your Son, incarnate Wisdom, that I may become, through your intercession and example, fully mature with the fullness which Jesus possessed on earth, and with the fullness of His glory in heaven. Amen.

_______________________________________________ (Signature)

_______________________________________________ (Date)

I will be reading and discussing this prayer on the October 7th edition of The Gary Zimak Show and invite you to join me. Get ready…this will be the start of an exciting journey!