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40 New Ways To Get The Most Out Of Lent

 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak will host his annual Lenten Radio Retreat beginning on Feb 18

I have to admit that for many years, I was stuck in a rut for Lent. On those occasions when I did try to do something (not all that many), I generally gave up sweets. While there’s no doubt that it was a sacrifice (those who know me will realize just how big of a sacrifice!), I found myself focusing more on what I was giving than the one for whom I was giving it up. As Lent progressed, I could sometimes be seen drooling (I would like to say that I’m not speaking literally, but I’m not sure I can) over supermarket displays of donuts and pastries. As the season drew to a close, I was so happy to be able to indulge in sweets that I often forgot about my relationship with the Lord!

In recent years, I’ve modified my Lenten practices and now try to include some spiritual practices. I try to do things which will lead me closer to the Lord. I’m happy to report that it has worked out well. This year, I’ll once be leading my annual Lenten Radio Retreat nightly on The Gary Zimak Show and will make it a point to include some of these concepts in my discussion. Sometimes, however, I’m not the most creative person in the world and could use some help in coming up with new ways to get the most out of Lent…

In an answer to a prayer, I was contacted by Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio who offered to send me a complimentary copy of his book, 40 Days, 40 Ways: A New Look at Lent.

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak reviews a great book for Lent - 40 Days 40 Ways by Marcellino D'Ambrosio

Well, the book came in the mail yesterday and I honestly haven’t been able to put it down. This is just what I was looking for! D’Ambrosio offers 40 Lenten practices, many of which would never have occurred to me. Some of his suggestions are committing to daily prayer, examining your media consumption, praying the Our Father slowly and thoughtfully, initiating a family rosary, reaching out to the least popular person you know, spending time with the Lord in Eucharistic adoration or devoting the first 10 minutes of your day to thanking God for the blessings He has given you. Each of the recommended practices is supplemented with a brief meditation and explanation. Every one of his suggestions is not only spiritually beneficial, but very doable.

If you’re looking for a great book to help you get the most out of Lent, check out 40 Days, 40 Ways – A New Look At Lent by Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio. I plan to use some of his suggestions over the next several weeks – possibly on my nightly radio show!

You can order the book from Amazon by clicking on the following image:

Finally…A Catholic Retreat For Worriers!

 

Catholic speaker and retreat leader Gary Zimak will be leading a Pray, Hope and Don't Worry retreat at the Malvern Retreat House in Malvern, PA on August 14-16,2015

Are you tired of worrying?

Would you like to feel greater peace in your life?

Do you sometimes wish you could get to know Jesus better?

Does the idea of getting away for a few days of peaceful reflection and relaxation sound good to you?

I am thrilled to announce that on Aug 14 – Aug 16, 2015, I will be leading the first ever Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry retreat at the Malvern Retreat House in Malvern, PA! Located in the Philadelphia suburbs, the Malvern Retreat House is the oldest and largest Catholic retreat center in the United States. I have a great deal of respect for the work that Msgr. Marino and his staff do and I am honored to be working with them on this retreat.

So what will we do on the retreat? Simply put, we’ll get to know Jesus and Mary better and ask them to help us to stop worrying. We’ll have Confession, Mass, Eucharistic adoration, quiet time and lots of great food! I’ll also be giving several presentations and will be available for questions or consultation. We’ll begin on Friday evening with registration, dinner, a talk and night prayer. On Saturday, I’ll be giving several talks and we’ll have confession, adoration and time for meditation. On Sunday, we’ll conclude with breakfast, followed by a short talk and Mass. The event will wrap up at approximately 11 AM.

Open to both men and women, this retreat will help you to finally break away from worrying by growing closer to the Lord. The cost for the weekend retreat (including meals and lodging) is $240. Please email me if you have any questions or need additional information.

Click on the following image to register for the Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry retreat. Space is limited, so make it a point to register today!

Register today for the Pray, Hope and Don't Worry retreat led by Catholic speaker Gary Zimak at the Malvern Retreat House

(NOTE: Be sure to watch Msgr. Joseph Marino, Duane McCarthy and Jacqueline Delaney on EWTN Live on Wednesday, Feb 11 at 8 PM Eastern as they discuss the programs offered at the Malvern Retreat House.)

Dear God, I Don’t Get It…A Book Review By A Special Guest Blogger!

 

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak presents a special guest book review of Dear God, I Don't Get It by Patti Armstrong

My daughter Elizabeth is a big fan of Patti Maguire Armstrong (me too!) and she is especially fond of her Dear God, I Don’t Get It book. Rather than me tell you about how much she likes the book, let me turn you over to today’s guest blogger – Elizabeth Zimak!

Dear God, I Don’t Get It – Patti Maguire Armstrong

Elizabeth Zimak writes about her favorite book by Patti Maguire Armstrong - Dear God, I Don't Get It

A Book Review by Elizabeth Zimak

When twelve-year-old Aaron Ajax discovers that his family will be moving from Kalispell, Montana to Bismarck, North Dakota, he can hardly believe it. Aaron has to leave his old friends, school, and lifestyle behind…how could God do this to him?

Aaron struggles to adjust to his new life in North Dakota, and he is faced with several obstacles. One of these obstacles is a boy named Josh who acts like a bully towards everyone. At first, Aaron has trouble making friends, but eventually befriends several boys while playing football at recess. Aaron’s new friends encourage him to join the boys’ football game after school and he excitedly agrees to participate in the game. Finally, he is fitting in at his new school!

During the football game, however, Aaron accidentally stumbles over Josh. The other boys, thinking Josh tripped Aaron on purpose, are tired of this boy’s nasty behavior. They kick Josh out of the game, and Aaron has to decide whether or not to stand up for this bully and put his new friendships at risk.
I won’t give away the ending, but I will tell you that things do work out well.

I really could not put this book down the first time I read it. I’ve read it several times since and never tire of it. It is a wonderful book for all ages. It is filled with great lessons for people to learn, as well as several humorous scenes. The characters in the story seem very real to me, as if I know them. Patti Armstrong is a very talented writer, and I look forward to reading more of her books in the future!

You can purchase the book at the following link:

Learning The Difference Between Our Needs And Our Wants

 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak appears each Wednesday on The Son Rise Morning Show on EWTN Radio with his series "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled"

Here’s the Bible verse I discussed on EWTN Radio’s The Son Rise Morning Show today:

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never fail you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

In an especially comforting part of His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25-34) for those of us who tend to be anxious, Jesus tells us that we shouldn’t be anxious about our material needs. Our Heavenly Father knows what we need and will provide. Do you believe Him?

In the above Bible verse, we’re once again encouraged to trust that the Lord will provide for our needs. We’re also told to be “content with what we have” for it’s often what we don’t have that causes us to be anxious. That sounds good, but let’s be honest…we all have material needs. Even Jesus acknowledged that. Furthermore, He told us to ask for what we need. How can we ask God for our needs if we’re supposed to be content with what we have?

Basically, this verse is warning us of the danger of greed. It’s the same message delivered by St. Paul when he wrote that “the love of money is the root of all evils” (1 Timothy 6:10). Very often, we confuse our needs with our wants and we dwell on what we don’t have rather than what we have. By doing this, we often become sad and anxious. So, what’s the solution?

I believe that incorporating thanksgiving into our prayers is a step in the right direction. While the Lord wants us to ask Him for what we need, it’s always a good idea to begin our prayers by thanking Him for the blessings that we already have. In your prayers, do you ever thank Him for giving you another day? Do you thank Him for loving you unconditionally? Do you thank Him for redeeming you? Do you thank Him for the many blessings in your life? If you’re like me, you probably forget sometimes and start right in with all of your needs. In the words of EWTN’s Mother Angelica, “God wants to hear us, but He wants to hear something more than ‘Gimme’”!

Today, let’s all try to be thankful for our blessings and make it a point to ask Jesus to help us to avoid greed. When we do this, we’re bound to be much more grateful…

and peaceful!

(Gary Zimak is a Catholic speaker and author who travels throughout the US and Canada proclaiming the “Good News” of Jesus Christ. In addition to being the leading Catholic speaker on the topic of overcoming anxiety, Gary is the author of the soon to be released book – Faith, Hope, & Clarity: How To Know God’s Will.)

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

Are You Afraid Of Life’s Big Waves? Jesus Can Help!

 

Catholic speaker and retreat leader Gary Zimak is leading a Pray, Hope and Don't Worry retreat at the Malvern Retreat House in August 2015

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak giving a high five to his friend and fellow evangelist Bear Woznick

Are you someone who is constantly afraid of the “storms” in your life? Are you especially frightened by the “big waves”? I recently had the chance to visit with my buddy Bear Woznick on his Deep Adventure radio show. Bear is someone who knows all about waves and rough seas, but more importantly knows what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We discussed how worrying is always useless and I shared the story of my lifelong struggle to overcome anxiety. I also offered some secrets that have allowed me to experience peace in my life.

If you’re tired of worrying and looking for peace or if you’d just like to hear two friends and brothers in Christ talk about the Lord, be sure to check out the show. You can listen to the podcast here. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Aloha!

Talking Books on EWTN!

 

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

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak discusses his books on the EWTN Bookmark television show

While attending the Catholic Leadership Conference in Birmingham last year, I had the opportunity to appear on the EWTN TV program Bookmark and discuss two of my books with host Doug Keck. I shared some information on what motivated me to write A Worrier’s Guide To The Bible and Listen To Your Blessed Mother and what I hoped readers would get from the books. That episode will air this weekend on EWTN TV (the schedule appears below). I hope you’ll be able to tune in!

Catholic Speaker and author Gary Zimak will appear on the EWTN TV show Bookmark this week to discuss two of his books

The 2 Things That Drive Worriers Crazy…

 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak appears each Wednesday on The Son Rise Morning Show on EWTN Radio with his series "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled"

Here’s the Bible verse I discussed on The Son Rise Morning Show today on EWTN Radio:

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. (Psalm 37:7)

There are two things that those of us who are “worriers” don’t like – being still and being patient. We prefer to be in control and, as a result, have a tendency to run around and “do things”. We also don’t like to wait. When we want something, we want it now !

In this verse, the Lord lets us know that He wants us to give Him a little room to work in our lives. While He certainly expects us to do what we can to solve our problems, there comes a time when we have to turn control over to Him. After we’ve taken care of the things in our control, we need to step back and let God do His job. The other thing He asks for is “time”. There is no doubt that the Lord operates according to His own schedule. We can see this by looking at the coming of the Messiah. People waited for thousands of years for Him, but Jesus wasn’t born until the time was right – in God’s eyes. Many times the Lord is fully prepared to grant our requests, but He wants us to wait. Why? Sometimes because He wants us to learn something and other times because the time isn’t right.

Although it sometimes doesn’t feel like it, God always knows what He’s doing. This verse contains excellent advice. Give it a try in your life and I bet you’ll be a lot more peaceful!

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

Sometimes Prayer Doesn’t Take Away Our Suffering…Just Ask Jesus!

 

Catholic speaker and retreat leader Gary Zimak is leading a Pray, Hope and Don't Worry retreat at the Malvern Retreat House in August 2015

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak offers advice for those who are suffering or struggling with worry or anxiety.

This morning on my weekly “Be Not Afraid” segment on Catholic Community Radio in Baton Rouge, LA I discussed a powerful Bible passage that never fails to bring me great comfort. As I mentioned on the show, I turned to this verse last week when I was struggling with some issues that were making me feel anxious. If you are suffering, I strongly believe that this passage will help you.

And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this chalice from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground. (Luke 22:41-44)

When faced with His upcoming death and the cause of that death (all the sins that were ever committed or would be committed), Jesus suffered greatly. Because He was fully human (as well as fully divine), He was able to experience the same agony that you and I feel when we suffer. By His actions, the Lord teaches us the importance of prayer when faced with suffering or anxiety. When He prayed, Jesus asked His Father to remove His suffering, but only if it was the Father’s will (another great lesson for us). Now, here’s where it gets interesting. In response to Jesus’ prayer, an angel was sent “strengthening Him”. The Greek word used here is “enischu√≥”, which means “to strengthen or invigorate”.

Immediately after telling us about the angel, St. Luke writes that Jesus was in agony (the Greek word used is “ag√≥nia”, which means great fear, terror, anxiety or agony) and “prayed more earnestly”. Wait a minute! You mean to tell me that Jesus was still in agony even after the angel was sent to strengthen Him? You better believe He was! But what’s important is that He had the strength to pray “more earnestly”.

Why is this important to us? Because sometimes prayer doesn’t take away our suffering. Sometimes it doesn’t even make us feel any better. What it does do is give us the strength to endure any catastrophe or predicament that we can ever face. It unites us closely with Someone who knows what it’s like to suffer and can help us to get through even the most painful experience. We often think that we’re doing something wrong if we don’t feel better when we pray. We believe that our faith must be lacking. As we can see from looking at Jesus, that’s not always the case.

If you are suffering, make it a point to imitate Jesus and pray for relief. If that relief doesn’t come and you are still in agony, make it a point to imitate Him again by embracing your suffering and praying “more earnestly”. You’ll receive the strength that you need and, one day, you’ll see just how your suffering helped you and many others!

NOTE: I’m excited to announce that I’ll be appearing on EWTN TV’s The Journey Home tonight at 8 PM Eastern. I’ll tell the story of how, as a cradle Catholic who never stopped going to Mass, I really never knew Jesus for many years. I’ll also discuss how He kept reaching out to me over and over, until I finally accepted His offer of friendship. I hope you can tune in!

I’d Like To Share Something Personal With You…

 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak will be the guest of Marcus Grodi on EWTN's The Journey Home on Monday night

When I look at the above EWTN program listing I feel like scratching my head and saying, “Is this for real? ME…on The Journey Home?!!!”

On Monday, January 26, I will tell my story on EWTN TV’s The Journey Home with Marcus Grodi. I have to be honest and tell you that I never thought that I would appear on this program. In fact, I never even thought that I had a “story”. After all, I’m a cradle Catholic who never fell away from the Church. I went to Mass every week for as long as I can remember. Big deal, right? Not much of a story…

Over the past year or so, I’ve accepted the fact that I do have a “story” and I want to share it with the world. As you watch the program (which we taped in December), here’s what I hope you’ll take away from the interview:

1. It is totally possible to go to Mass week after week and have no (or a very limited) personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

2. The Lord is so merciful and loves us so much that He never ceases to reach out to us over and over again. Even when we repeatedly ignore Him, He continues to call us in new and creative ways.

3. It is not only possible to meet Jesus Christ and have a personal relationship with Him through the Catholic Church, it is the best place to have that encounter!

4. Having a close, personal relationship with Jesus is a life changing experience that will fill your life with great joy…even if you are struggling with many difficulties.

I hope you’ll tune in and let me share my story with you. You’ll hear all about how lukewarm and self-centered I was for many years. As the details unfold, you’ll be able to see how the Lord continually reached out to me and, for the most part, how I ignored Him. What’s really important, however, is the fact that I finally accepted His amazing offer and invited Him into my life. I now have a personal relationship with Jesus and I’m really glad that I do. In fact, I plan to spend the rest of my life working on that relationship and telling others about my friend Jesus.

Please join me on Monday night as I share my personal story with Marcus Grodi…and with you!

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

Some Saintly Advice That Can Help You To Stop Worrying

 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak appears each Wednesday on The Son Rise Morning Show on EWTN Radio with his series "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled"

Here’s the verse I discussed on The Son Rise Morning Show today on EWTN Radio:

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)

One of the biggest sources of anxiety in our lives is worrying about earthly “things” (people, possessions, events, etc.). In this verse, Saint Paul reminds us of the importance of focusing on heavenly things. When we start thinking about the “things that are above”, we are reminded that this life (and it’s problems and difficulties) won’t last forever. When we ask the Lord for spiritual gifts (instead of only earthly ones), He gives us the grace to cope with the difficulties that are causing us to worry.

Today, let’s take St. Paul’s advice and concentrate on the “things that are above”. I have a feeling that we’re all going to be more peaceful as a result!

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