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Lent’s Almost Over And I’m Still Not A Nice Person. Thank You, Lord!


 

Catholic Speaker and Evangelist Gary Zimak offers encouragement to those who are struggling with Lent.

I came to a realization over the weekend. Lent’s almost over and I’m still not as nice of a person as I’d like to be. I still spend way too much time thinking about myself and way too little time trying to serve others. What went wrong? Was my Lent a failure? Is there any hope for me?

After spending some time in prayer, I received a comforting answer. First, I now know that I need to work on getting to know Christ better. The fact that I can be very self-centered confirms that I’m lacking in this area. The good news is that it’s something I can work on. Second, if the only fruit that my Lent produced is the realization that I have a LONG way to go before people can look at me and see Jesus, my Lent was VERY successful. Many people never come to this realization. Now that I’m aware that I have a problem, I can continue to work on fixing it.

Those of you who have heard me speak or listen to my radio show know that I don’t pull punches when it comes to our faith. If I think we’re being lazy, I’ll say so. On the other hand, I do believe in offering hope (as does the Lord, who “who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” – 1 TM 2:4). Therefore, I suggest that we look at the glass as being half-full. We still have another week of Lent to go, so let’s keep pushing. On the other hand, the end of Lent doesn’t mean that we’ve lost our window of opportunity. We shouldn’t try to stop growing closer to Christ as soon as Easter rolls around. This is something that we should be working on for the rest of our lives. Therefore, if we recognize that there’s still work to be done…great! Let’s continue to work.

On my radio show this evening, I offered some suggestions for moving forward and becoming more like Jesus. After the Lenten Radio Retreat is finished I plan on helping all of my listeners (and me!) work on this by adding some new daily themes to my show. I’ll be revealing some more details in next few days. For now, however, I recommend that you listen to tonight’s show and try not to get discouraged. If you’re reading this, you’re still alive and that means it’s not to late to become a saint!

“As long as one is alive, each one can become a great saint, so great is the power of God’s grace. It remains only for us not to oppose God’s action.” (St Faustina)

Are You Tired Of Living In Fear? Help Is On The Way!


 

Catholic Speaker and Author Gary Zimak announces his latest book, From Fear To Faith: A Worrier's Guide To Discovering Peace

Are you tired of living in fear? Are you looking for a step-by-step approach to experiencing peace in your daily life? My latest book, From Fear To Faith: A Worrier’s Guide To Discovering Peace will be available in August of 2014. Pre-ordering will begin soon.

Stay tuned for more information!

The “Pray, Hope And Don’t Worry Tour 2014″ Is Coming To North Jersey!


 

Catholic Speaker Gary Zimak will be bringing his "Pray, Hope and Don't Worry Tour 2014" to the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ.

On Thursday, April 10, I’m looking forward to bringing my “Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry Tour 2014″ to the Archdiocese of Newark. I’ll be speaking at Sacred Heart Parish in Lyndhurst, NJ at 7:30 PM. For more details, check out the parish website. If you live in the North Jersey area, stop by and say “hi”. After the talk, I’ll be signing copies of “A Worrier’s Guide To The Bible” and “Listen To Your Blessed Mother” and I’d love to meet you!

It’s “No Complaint Friday” And You’ll Never Guess What Happened To Me So Far…


 

Catholic Speaker, author and evangelist Gary Zimak explains that it's possible to thank God for everything that happens to us - good or bad.

It’s been an interesting “No Complaint Friday” for me so far. Since I woke up, here’s what my day has been like…

It’s cloudy and damp outside.

I’m very tired and could barely get out of bed to go to Mass this morning.

I had a difficult time focusing at Mass.

My sciatica hurts a lot.

I don’t feel especially happy today.

I have a lot of work to do and too little time to do it.

I have to keep standing up because it hurts too much to sit.

I have a wonderful family.

God is available for me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Jesus makes Himself fully present (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity) at every Mass.

Jesus loves me so much that He became man, suffered died and rose from the dead so that I can go to Heaven.

It’s all about learning to focus, my friends. More often than not, it’s the “unimportant” things that bother us the most. And by “unimportant” I mean everything that doesn’t affect our eternal salvation. I complain way too much and I’m going to keep working on it until I get better. The good news is that feelings are neither right nor wrong. Just because I’m feeling down in the dumps doesn’t mean I can’t express gratitude for EVERYTHING that happens in my life. I hope you’ll continue to join me on these “No Complaint Fridays”. Click HERE to find out more.

Book Review: Learning To Pray With Jesus


 

Catholic speaker, author and radio host Gary Zimak reviews Shane Kapler's new book about the prayer life of Jesus

“Since the center of the person of Jesus is prayer, it is essential to participate in his prayer if we are to know and understand him.” (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later known as Pope Benedict XVI)

Who doesn’t want to get to know Jesus better? As Christians, a closer personal relationship with the Lord should be a daily goal. As the above quote from Pope Benedict XVI points out, however, getting to know Jesus involves participating in His prayer life. Unfortunately, many individuals are confused by the prayer life of Jesus. In fact, many people question why Christ (who was Divine) had to pray at all. I have struggled with this question myself and, while I now understand why Jesus prayed, I need to learn more about how He prayed.

In his new book, Through, With, and In Him (The Prayer Life Of Jesus and How To Make It Our Own), author Shane Kapler does a great job unpacking the mystery of Jesus’ prayer life. He also explains that, since we are part of the Mystical Body of Christ (the Church), we are all called to participate in the prayer of Jesus to His Father. Fortunately for us, Kapler not only explains how this is possible, but he does it in very understandable language.

Using Scripture and history, Shane Kapler explores Jesus’ prayer and demonstrates how Catholic liturgy, sacraments, devotions, and practices allow us to not only understand it, but enter into it. I found the in-depth explanation of the Our Father to be especially helpful and I will never look at the Lord’s Prayer in the same way again. This book is definitely a “keeper” and one that I’ll refer to again and again. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to grow closer to Jesus.

For more information or to order Through, With, and In Him by Shane Kapler click HERE.

It’s “No Complaint Friday”…How Are You Doing?


 

Catholic Speaker, Author and Evangelist Gary Zimak announces "No Complaint Friday".

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad. (Psalm 118:24)

Earlier this week on my blog and radio show, I announced my 24 Hour Lenten Challenge, also known as “No Complaint Friday”. You can read the details HERE, but essentially the point is to spend an entire day without complaining about anything. And what better day of the week to choose than Friday, the day that Jesus suffered and died on the Cross in order to make it possible for us to go to Heaven? So, how’s it going? It’s difficult isn’t it? Believe me, I’m struggling with it too. On the other hand, doesn’t it give you a sense of accomplishment and peace? Here’s something to think about. If we can learn to thank God for the trials and suffering in our lives, can you imagine how peaceful we will be and what a great witness we will provide for others?

Keep up the good work and let’s pray for one another as we try (remember that it’s okay to fail, as long as we try) to finish the rest of the day without complaining about anything. And if you can do it for one day, you can probably do it for two, or three. You never know, my friends, we just might be trying this again next week ;-)

Give Up Worrying For Lent…It’s Easier Than You Think!


 

Catholic Speaker, author and leading anxiety expert Gary Zimak offers a simple suggestion for how to eliminate worry.

As I travel the country speaking about how to overcome anxiety, one question comes up repeatedly…

“How can I stop worrying?”

For many anxious individuals, a life without worry seems like an impossibility. The good news is that eliminating worrying is not only possible, but it is a very achievable goal. And that statement is coming from someone who has been a severe worrier for most of his life. In fact, not only have I suffered from anxiety from when I was a child, but I have been to the emergency room several times suffering from severe panic attacks. Therefore, if I can overcome worry so can you!

Here’s what you need to remember. Worrying is a choice. Unlike fear, it is not an emotion. We can’t control fear, but we can control worrying. Every time that we begin to worry about something, it involves a conscious (although for some of us it can become subconscious) decision on our part. Therefore, instead of choosing to worry (when we’re afraid), we can choose to pray, or read the Bible, or go to Mass, or spend time with Jesus in adoration. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Whenever I’m tempted to start worrying, I can just as easily turn to the Lord instead. It also makes sense from a practical point of view. Worrying accomplishes nothing, but prayer always produces results.

Lent is the perfect time to try putting this into practice. And yes, I did say “try”. For many of us, worrying has become a habit. As a result, it will take some work to eliminate it from our lives and we will probably fail more than we succeed. But don’t give up. With God’s help, it is a winnable battle. Why not try it with the next problem that you encounter? Just one time. Try it and see how you feel. If you succeed then you can try it for the next problem, and the next. Before you know it, you’ll be giving up worrying for Lent. And, by the way, if you’re tempted to feel that it’s impossible to give up worrying, remember the words of the angel Gabriel to the Blessed Mother:

“…for nothing will be impossible for God.” (Luke 1:37)

Great Advice From Mom…”Do Whatever He Tells You!”


 

Catholic Speaker, Author and Radio Host Gary Zimak reflects on his book about the Blessed Mother and her words in the Bible

For most of my life as a Catholic, I was confused about the role of Mary. While I accepted the fact that she was important to Catholics, I didn’t understand WHY she was important. That changed BIG TIME for me a few years ago when I finally saw the light and accepted her as my spiritual mother. As a result, my life changed drastically and she has brought me closer to Jesus than I ever thought possible. I’d like to tell you about my “Mom” by looking at what is recorded about her in the Bible. Her message is a powerful one. I think you should listen!

Here’s what other Catholic authors are saying about my book, Listen To Your Blessed Mother:

“Biblical, personal, engaging, and thought provoking are just a few words that come to mind when reading this wonderful book! The Virgin Mary truly is our BLESSED Mother, and listening to her words in Scripture can help us to become blessed, too. Gary Zimak has done a great service for both Catholics and non-Catholics in offering a book that unpacks the biblical words of Mary in a very conversational and easy-to-follow style. The reflection questions and points to ponder at the end of each section will be of great benefit to the reader, too! I highly recommend this book!”

(Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, STL, Author – Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest)

“Listen to your Mother! How many times did we hear those words growing up? How many times did we roll our eyes and ignore the sage advice only to find out later on that Mom indeed did and does know best, especially our Blessed Mother. Now, straight from Scripture, Gary Zimak has given us even more reason to pay close attention to what our Mother, as in Mary has to say about living a grace filled life in this world so we can be with her and her son in the next. This book will definitely bring you closer to the heart of Christ through the Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God.”

(Teresa Tomeo,Syndicated Catholic Talk Show Host,Best Selling Catholic Author)

“In Listen to Your Blessed Mother, using Scripture and personal stories, author Gary Zimak takes us by the hand and unambiguously leads us to a greater appreciation of our Mother in heaven so that we might strive to imitate her virtues while allowing Mary to take us by the hand to her Son Jesus. Highly recommended!”

(Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, EWTN TV Host and author of sixteen Catholic books including The Miraculous Medal: Stories, Prayers, and Devotions)

“With candor and simplicity, Gary Zimak reveals the power of Mary’s words in Sacred Scripture. No matter where you are in your spiritual life — or in your relationship with the Blessed Mother — this book will help you find new meaning and guidance in her words: words that Zimak shows are applicable to any of the problems or decisions you face each day.”

(Vinny Flynn, Author of 7 Secrets of the Eucharist, 7 Secrets of Confession, and 21 Ways to Worship)

“When I was given an opportunity to review Listen to your Blessed Mother, I hesitated only because of the full plate I was dealing with at the time. When I finally dove into this wonderful book, I realized that Gary Zimak has written a beautiful love story about our Blessed Mother and one which needs to be shared with everyone. His description of his growing love of Mary from his childhood to the powerful impact her intercession has had on his life as an adult is riveting. His use of scripture about the Blessed Mother and the few words spoken by her helps the reader share in her life and purpose. The reflection questions at the end of each chapter challenge us to grasp the role of the Blessed Mother in our own lives. I strongly recommend this book!”

(Randy Hain, author of Along the Way: Lessons for an Authentic Journey of Faith and co-founder of Integrated Catholic Life eMagazine)

“Jesus is our brother, and so his Father is our Father, his mother is our mother. How sad that so few Christians know the perfect maternal love that God has given us in his family. Jesus tells us beloved disciples, ‘Behold your mother.’ What a sweet command! And Gary Zimak has made it sweeter still.”

(Mike Aquilina, EWTN host and author of more than 30 books on Catholic history, doctrine and devotion)

“Gary has given us great insights about our Blessed Mother Mary in Scripture which makes this not only a wonderful book for Catholics but also a great resource for evangelizing those outside the Church. This is definitely a book you can share with your evangelical friends to help them come to know and love our Mother Mary.”

(Gail Buckley, Founder & President. Catholic Scripture Study International)

“It’s such an obvious way to follow Jesus through Mary, that I’m surprised this book was not written before. While some think going directly to Jesus is the fastest and surest way, Gary shows us how wrong that thinking is. He shares his own zig-zag journey to Mary as a way to grow closer to Christ. Though Mary in the Bible, Gary helps us to relish her role in salvation history, reflect on her life, and embrace her love for us.”

(Patti Maguire Armstrong, award-winning author and managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’s Amazing Grace Series)

ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!!!

Want To Make This A Great Lent? Try This Challenge…


 

Catholic Speaker and author Gary Zimak discusses the importance of growing close to Jesus during Lent.

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18)

As we approach the halfway point of Lent, I thought it would be a good idea to pose a question and to issue a challenge. Let’s begin with the question. Are you ready? Here goes…

Are you closer to Christ today than you were on Ash Wednesday?

Tricky, isn’t it? If I asked how you were making out with giving up sweets, coffee or Facebook you probably wouldn’t even have to think about it. On the other hand, trying to decide if you’re closer to Jesus than you were a few weeks ago can be challenging. In reality, however, that’s the point of Lent. If you abstained from candy for the entire forty days and ended up no closer to the Lord than when you started, you wasted your time. While fasting is an important part of the Lenten season, it is only part of the overall goal of growing closer to Jesus.

How can we tell if we are growing closer to Jesus? I recently wrote a blog about the topic which was also shared on the Catholic Stand website and linked to by the National Catholic Register. While I would strongly encourage you to read the entire article, I want to focus on my first question, which happens to be the subject for the challenge that I’m about to issue:

Was I grateful for everything that happened to me today (good and bad)?

If you find yourself cringing, don’t panic. That is a normal reaction. On the other hand, we shouldn’t be content with answering “no” to that question. If, for the remainder of Lent, we can make some progress in this area, there’s a very good chance that this could be our best Lent ever. Learning to be grateful for each day that the Lord gives us is a great way of expressing our love for Him. Put yourself in His shoes for a minute and think about what it would feel like to give someone a great gift and hear nothing but complaints. Every day that the Lord gives us is a gift. It is a chance to know, love and serve Him. It is a chance to gain merit and eventually live with Him in Heaven. Instead of being grateful, however, we complain…

It’s too hot.
It’s too cold.
My job is boring.
I’m tired.
I wish I had more money.
My coworkers are annoying.
If only I was better looking.
Everyone treats me unfairly.
My pastor’s homilies are too long.
My pastor’s homilies are too short.

You get the point, right? Now, here’s the challenge. Beginning on Friday, March 28, I challenge you to not complain about anything from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. No negative words, no negative thoughts. If something unpleasant happens to you, make it a point to thank the Lord for allowing it to happen.

What do you think? Are you ready to fast from complaining for one day? I know it will be difficult and many of us will slip up, but there is much to be gained from this sacrifice. If you can’t decide whether or not to participate, here’s something that might help. On the night before He died, Jesus suffered tremendously in the garden. One of the greatest sources of His suffering was the knowledge of all the sins that would be committed by each one of us. Yes, Jesus is God and He knew every sin that you and I would ever commit and it caused Him a great deal of anguish. On the other hand, He also saw every sacrifice and act of love that we would perform until the end of time. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that we were able to ease Jesus’ suffering a bit? Every time we refrain from complaining we do just that.

If you make it through one day without complaining (or maybe complaining a little bit less than normal), the possibilities are endless. How about two, three, four or more days? How about a month, six months or several years. This simple act of self-denial could change your life and the lives of those around us.

I’m going to try it. How about you?

“Living joyful, trustful acceptance isn’t complicated. One simply offers himself to God with confidence and then accepts everything with praise and thanksgiving, seeing all as coming from God’s loving, fatherly hands.” (Fr. Michael Gaitley, Consoling The Heart of Jesus, pg. 96)

Think You’re Doing Well This Lent? Here’s A Challenge…


 

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak reveals the details of his Lenten challenge on his nightly radio show.

How is your Lent going so far? Have you grown closer to Christ? Are you sure?

On Monday, March 24, on my Following The Truth radio show, I will reveal the details of my 24 hour Lenten challenge. While it doesn’t involve fasting from food, money or social media, it will be challenging. In fact, it may be the most challenging fast you’ve ever undertaken. It will also be the most productive.

Think you’re doing well this Lent? Tune in on Monday at 8 PM Eastern and we’ll see…