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Get Ready, Alabama…Here I Come!


 

Catholic Speaker and anxiety expert Gary Zimak will be visiting Alabama to discuss moving from fear to faith.

Catholic speaker and Marian authority Gary Zimak will be visiting Alabama to discuss his book Listen To Your Blessed Mother

It’s time for me to hit the road again! I’m looking forward to giving two talks in Birmingham, AL on April 29 and May 2. I’ll be speaking on two of my favorite topics: overcoming anxiety and The Blessed Mother. If you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by and say “Hi”!

Win A FREE Copy Of God’s Bucket List By Teresa Tomeo!


 

“God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another” (Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman)

What does God want me to do with my life? All too often this question gets ignored and we simply do what WE want to do. While sometimes our will is united with God’s will, there are occasions when this is not the case. As Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman reminds us above, God has a unique plan for each of our lives. How much effort have we put into discovering that plan?

Based on her own experience, Teresa Tomeo will guide you through the process of discerning God’s will for your life. In a very open and revealing manner, she’ll explain why true peace can only be found by following God’s will in your life. Best of all, Teresa backs up her assertions with Bible verses and citations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, I am honored that Teresa includes my own personal discernment story in her book! If you truly care about discovering God’s will for your life, I HIGHLY recommend that you read this book.

Would you like to win a copy of God’s Bucket List? Simply comment on this blog post and you’ll be entered in a drawing. Five winners will be chosen at random to receive a free copy of Teresa’s book. The contest closes at 12 midnight Eastern on November 30, 2013. Don’t miss out on the chance to discern God’s bucket list for YOUR life!

Listen to Gary and Teresa discuss God’s Bucket List on Following The Truth on BlogTalkRadio. To listen live at 8 PM Eastern on Nov 26, 2013 or to download the podcast, click HERE.

Listen To Your Blessed Mother – She Has A Message For You!


 

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. I think you’ll agree that she has a powerful message for you!

Here’s what other Catholic authors are saying about my new 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!!!

Listen To Your Blessed Mother: Confusion


 

“How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” (Luke 1:34)

One day, God dispatched an angel named Gabriel to a city of Galilee named Nazareth. He urged her to not be afraid and assured Mary that she had found favor with God. Then he proceeded to explain the purpose of his visit, a purpose which would be enough to make most people afraid. Mary was given the details of a plan that would have her conceiving a son. That son, named Jesus, “will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Lk 1:32-33) While you and I may look at these words and be confused as to what’s being asked, a devout Jewish girl would have known exactly what was being stated. Mary was being asked to become the mother of the Messiah!

After the angel finished speaking, Mary was confused and asked a simple question – “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” (Lk 1:34) Some people will look at Mary’s words and wrongly conclude that her faith was weak. She’ll be compared to Zechariah who, a few verses earlier, doubted Gabriel’s prophecy about the pregnancy of his wife. Didn’t Mary and Zechariah both doubt the angel’s message? Not at all. Mary believed and Zechariah doubted. How do I know, you might ask? The answer lies in Gabriel’s reaction. After Zechariah’s question, the angel stated that he “didn’t believe his words” (Lk 1:20). Mary received no such rebuke because, unlike Zechariah, she was simply asking for details.

Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that, although Mary was sinless, she was still human. Being chosen to become the mother of God didn’t automatically give her all the answers. Like us, there were times when Mary had questions about God’s will. Even though she always wanted to follow the Lord’s plan for her life, she was sometimes confused and needed to discern His will. As for Our Lady’s question to the angel, some background is necessary in order to understand what she is asking. The common belief of many theologians throughout the years (including Blessed Pope John Paul II, St. Augustine and St. Gregory of Nyssa) is that Mary was confused because she had consecrated her virginity to the Lord. Although unusual for married people, this practice was not unheard of in Mary’s time. This theory is supported by looking at Gabriel’s words. He told Mary that she would conceive and bear a son named Jesus. He didn’t say when, only that it would happen at some point in time. Since Mary was engaged to Joseph, it would be expected that she’d bear his children, therefore there’s nothing unusual about the message…unless she vowed to remain a virgin. Always desiring to do what’s right, Mary made a decision to do what she thought was best, but then Gabriel appeared with some new information. When informed that God wanted her to have a child, Mary needed to reevaluate her plan. Wanting to fulfill the will of God in her life, she needed to ask the important question. How can this be? Please tell me the details so I can cooperate with God’s plan. Far from doubting, Our Lady was pondering Gabriel’s astonishing message and was asking for guidance in carrying out God’s will.

Mary’s words to the angel remind us that it’s perfectly acceptable to ask questions. If you feel that God is asking you to do something, but you’re not sure how it’s possible, go ahead and ask Him for details. Mary did. If you’re carrying a heavy cross and can’t understand why, ask the Lord to enlighten you. Unfortunately, I can’t promise that you’ll get the answer you want. Instead, the Lord’s answer may be, “trust me”. If that’s the case, you may be asked (like Mary) to go along with His plan without knowing all of the fine details. If you have a difficult time doing that…join the club! However, don’t ever forget that Mary can help you tremendously. As someone who’s “been there, done that”, she knows exactly what you’re going through. Turn to her and ask her to share some of her faith with you. I can guarantee you that, as stated in the Memorare, “never was it known that anyone who fled to her protection, implored her help, or sought her intercession was left unaided.”

The Message: God has a plan for my life and wants to make it known to me. Through prayer and careful listening, I can become aware of that plan and put it into action.

(The above is an excerpt from Listen To Your Blessed Mother – Mary’s Words In Scripture, the latest book from Gary Zimak. As someone who always sought to follow God’s will, Mary can teach us how to be better Christians and will help us to grow closer to Jesus. By looking very carefully at Our Lady’s words and actions as recorded in the Bible, we can “hear” her voice and benefit greatly from her motherly advice.)

PREORDER NOW AT A 20 % DISCOUNT!!!

Confused About Eucharistic Adoration? Vinny Flynn Can Help!


 

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Eucharistic Adoration. I greatly look forward to the time that I spend before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. When I’m with Him, I feel at peace and the time seems to fly. That wasn’t always the case with me, however. I used to be very confused about the idea of praying before the Blessed Sacrament. I had trouble understanding the point. Isn’t Jesus everywhere? Why do I need to go to the adoration chapel to speak with Him?

Fortunately for me, I was influenced by some very holy people, including my late Mother-In-Law, Betty. She would faithfully pay visits to the chapel to spend time with Jesus. After listening to her speak about the experience, I decided that I needed to give it a try. Although I’d been to adoration in the past and found it to be rather dry , I thought that things would now be different. I heard Betty speak about how great it is to spend time with Jesus, so I was all ready to experience the same thing. I signed up for a regular holy hour and when I got to the chapel, I sat down and thought to myself, “Now what”? I’ve got an hour…do I pray? Do I talk? Do I listen? Do I just sit here? I was completely frozen!

It took me a long time and a lot of research to answer those questions and, to be honest, I still wonder about these things sometimes. That’s why I was so pleased when I was asked to host the initial stop on Vinny Flynn’s blog tour for his new book, 21 Ways To Worship (A Guide To Eucharistic Adoration). I was even more pleased as I read the book and discovered that he answered ALL of my questions – past and present!

In an easy to read and entertaining way, Vinny Flynn gives us 21 different suggestions for what to do while we’re adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. More importantly, he makes a strong case for WHY we should adore Our Lord in this manner. I know it’s a well used cliche, but this is one book “you won’t be able to put down”! Once I started reading, I kept saying, “I’ll read one more chapter” and, before you know it, I was finished the book. I’m also looking forward to my next visit with Jesus so I can put some of these suggestions into practice.

Whether you’re struggling to understand why to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament or simply looking for suggestions on how to worship Him once you’re there, this book will satisfy your needs in a BIG way. I highly recommend it and urge you to not only buy a copy, but to move it to the top of your “reading stack” as soon as you do!

Want to win a free copy of 21 Ways To Worship? Just comment on this post and I’ll randomly select one winner, who will receive a copy. The contest closes at 12 Midnight (Eastern Time) on Saturday, May 25, 2013.

Coming Soon…Listen To Your Blessed Mother!

 

I’m excited to officially announce my second book, Listen To Your Blessed Mother (Mary’s Words In Scripture). Coming in August 2013 from Liguori Publications, it will be a reflection on Mary’s words in the Bible. Matt Swaim, author and producer of EWTN Radio’s Son Rise Morning Show, has graciously agreed to write the foreword.

This book has been a labor of love and I’m anxious to share my thoughts on my Blessed Mother with you. The idea started when I did a series of blog posts and segments on The Son Rise Morning Show. When we listen to Mary’s words and observe her actions, we can learn more about our Faith than from a library full of books. I can personally attest to the fact that the more we love Mary, the more we will love Jesus.

I’d appreciate it if you’d keep this project in your prayers and help me to spread the word. I’ll provide more details as soon as I can.

Five Ways To Stop Worrying TODAY!

 

“Let not your hearts be troubled.” (John 14:1)

Easy for Him to say, right? If you’re someone who has a tendency to worry, even the words of Jesus aren’t enough to allow you to remain calm in the midst of a crisis. Is it really possible for those of us who are habitual worriers to “let not our hearts be troubled”? After years of torturing myself, I’ve discovered that not only is it possible, but by following 5 simple steps, you can experience peace in your life TODAY!

Oh sure, I know what you’re thinking…I’m probably someone who never worried a day in my life. It’s easy for me to talk about being peaceful because I’m one of those people who breezes through life without a care in the world. WRONG! I can assure you that I have a plaque in the Worrier’s Hall of Fame. There’s a reason that I’m the author of A Worrier’s Guide To The Bible! Throughout my life, I have a history of worrying about things that are happening, things that could happen and things that have the possibility of happening if the things that I’m worrying about happening do actually happen. In other words, I can worry with the best of them IF I let myself. However, I no longer let myself worry (well, maybe for a minute or two 🙂 ) The first step to breaking the worrying habit involves some behavior modification. The minute you find yourself firing up the “worrying engine”, try the following steps and see what happens. Incidentally, to give my advice a little more credibility, I’ve included some supporting comments from a well-known figure, who knows a little more about this subject than I do!

1. Focus On Today – One of the big mistakes that “professional” worriers make is looking too far into the future. When my father was diagnosed with cancer several years ago, I made a decision to enjoy each of our remaining days together and not focus on the future. Even though he died suddenly one month later, we had a peaceful and memorable experience during those thirty days. When my wife and I were told that our now 14 year old twins, Mary and Elizabeth, would probably not be born alive, we learned to thank God for each day that they survived. We didn’t dwell on the uncertainty of the future. As a result, we experienced peace in the midst of a traumatic situation.

Jesus’ Advice: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” (Matthew 6:34)

2. Don’t Worry About “What If’s” – What if my husband gets sick and we can’t afford our mortgage and then we’ll have to sell our house which will be impossible because of the real estate market, etc. Although this scenario can create much anxiety, it is a completely imaginary situation. None of these events have taken place, but yet we often worry about what will happen IF they occur. The reason that these problems seem so insurmountable is because God doesn’t give us the grace to deal with imaginary problems. You can be sure that if any of these problems did exist in your life, the Lord would provide you with all the grace needed to cope with the situation.

Jesus’ Advice: “And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:27)

3. Pray – Despite our claims to the contrary, worrying involves making a conscious decision. We have to decide that we’re going to worry. Although this decision can be almost involuntary, we still have the ability to choose to NOT worry. One of the easiest ways to stop worrying is to choose something else in it’s place. Whenever you feel the desire to worry, why not choose to pray instead? Unlike worrying (which is useless), prayer is ALWAYS effective. Even though all of your problems may not disappear, you will always receive the grace needed to deal with them. As a result, you will be able to experience the Lord’s peace while you are carrying your cross. If you’re struggling, ask the Lord for help!

Jesus’ Advice: “Ask and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10)

4. Let Jesus Speak To You Through Scripture – One of the biggest mistakes that we can make is to treat the Bible as an ordinary book. Although it may look like a book, it is so much more. When we open up the pages of Sacred Scripture, we can actually hear Jesus speaking directly to us. All of us, no matter what we are going though, have the ability to open up the Bible. DO IT! Jesus will take care of the rest!

Jesus’ Advice: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

5. Keep Your Eye On the Prize – No matter how much you are suffering and how many difficulties you are facing in your life, they will one day pass. Although it may not seem like it, all of our problems will one day come to an end once we depart from this life. Saint Paul assures us that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). The next life will not only be better, it’s “not even worth comparing”! When you don’t think you can make it through another day, let this be your focus.

Jesus’ Advice: “So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (John 16:22)

I’ve never met a single person who enjoyed being anxious. We all strive for peace in our lives, but often fall victim to excessive worry. I guarantee that if you try these steps today, you will instantly feel some degree of peace in your life. If you keep repeating them each day, that peace will grow stronger. In the meantime, I’ll be praying for each of you every day.

A Worrier’s Guide To The Bible (50 Verses To Ease Anxieties) by Gary Zimak (with Foreword by Teresa Tomeo) is now available for preorder here.

Welcome To Aquinas & More Catholic Goods!

 

I’m pleased to announce that Following The Truth has become an official affiliate of Aquinas & More Catholic Goods! This means that every time you visit their site (by using the link from Following The Truth), I will earn a commission from your purchases. This will help to ensure that my full time work spreading the “Good News” of the Catholic Faith will continue!

When I originally founded Following The Truth, one of my goals was to recommend AUTHENTIC Catholic resources (books, websites, religious items) to help people learn more about the Catholic Faith and enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As a result, I carefully screen each recommended vendor or product to ensure that they are not in conflict with Catholic teaching. In addition to the fact that your purchases will help keep Following The Truth and Aquinas & More alive, here are a few reasons (taken directly from their website) why I’m so pleased to be associated with Aquinas & More and why I’d encourage you to purchase your Catholic goods from them:

About Aquinas and More
Aquinas and More Catholic Goods is centrally located in Colorado Springs, CO. We carry thousands of products ranging from books and videos to chalices and church furnishings. The store was started by Ian Rutherford in 2002 and is owned and run by his family and friends. The store name comes from two famous Catholic saints, Thomas Aquinas and Thomas More. The ox head in our logo is a symbol of St. Thomas Aquinas who was called “The Dumb Ox” because he was a very quiet student, and rather large.

Their Mission
Our mission is to provide the tools necessary for Catholics and non-Catholics to learn more about the Faith and for Catholics to deepen their Faith. This goal will be achieved by providing a clear, unapologetic presentation of the faith and quality Catholic products that are beautiful, fairly priced and helpful to those who want to get to Heaven.

Good Faith Guarantee
Our Good Faith Guarantee is our latest way to help you, our customers, feel secure when shopping on our website. We always want you to rest assured that we are carefully screening the material we carry so you don’t have to. Any item that carries this logo on its details page next to the item’s picture is guaranteed to be in conformity with official Church teaching. We believe that as a Catholic store our mission is to clearly present the Faith, not to confuse people or promote material just because it is popular. When you see this logo next to a vestment or liturgical vessel, it means that the item conforms to current liturgical norms.

We will not carry products that:

Are written by dissident authors
Concern unapproved apparitions
Concern visions and locutions by people who have not been declared at least Venerable by the Church
Promote heretical theology

Examples of authors, subjects and titles we will not carry:

Fr. Richard Rohr
Fr. Charles Curran
Sr. Chittister
Fr. Richard McBrien
Poem of the Man God
Mejugorje
Bayside

If you’d like some more reasons to shop at Aquinas & More, you can read them here. I have never seen a Catholic goods store so careful about the products that they carry. I’d kindly ask you to use them as your source of Catholic goods and please remember to access their site from the Following The Truth website. By doing so, you’ll help keep us both afloat as we continue to proclaim the Gospel message. THANK YOU!!!

Some Recommended Books On The Mass

 

On tonight’s episode of Following The Truth, I mentioned that there are several good books to help you better understand the Mass. Here are a few that I recommend:

Hearing God Speak Is Easier Than You Think!

 

One of the biggest mistakes many Catholics make is to treat the Bible as “just another book”. We sometimes (and I have been guilty of this for many years) ignore the fact that God does actually speak to us through the pages of Sacred Scripture. Furthermore, many people are unaware that the Bible can be used to speak with God. We can actually enter into a conversation with the Lord simply by opening up the pages of the Bible!

As many of you know, I’ve written a book A Worrier’s Guide to the Bible: 50 Verses to Ease Anxieties which provides an alternative to worry. I’ve been a worrier for many years and I wanted to provide some relief to my fellow worriers. More importantly, I want the book to be a reminder that God is waiting to speak to us in the Bible. When we open its pages and read the inspired words, the Lord is speaking directly to us and that’s powerful!

Listening to God speak through the Bible was not something that I always understood. There are 2 books, however, which helped me to first understand the idea of God speaking through Scripture. Both of these books are very easy to read and contain information that will change the way you view the Bible.

Conversing with God in Scripture: A Contemporary Approach to Lectio Divina – The title says it all! In this 150 page book, Stephen Binz presents a step by step plan for learning to converse with God using the pages of the Bible. He discusses the ancient practice of “Lectio Divina” (Latin for “Sacred Reading”), which not only allows us the hear God speak, but enables us to speak with Him using the inspired words of His Book! Some time ago, I used the concepts presented in this book in an adult faith formation class and the students were astounded. In less than an hour, they learned how God truly does speak to each one of us in the Bible and how they could use the Sacred words to speak with Him.

Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina – On the back cover of this book by Dr. Tim Gray, we’re told that this book will teach us:

How God speaks directly to each of us in His Word.

How to overcome the obstacles to a consistent and fruitful prayer life.

Strategies for reading and praying the Bible fruitfully.

What Christian meditation is and how it differs from non-Christian approaches.

This book promises a lot and it DOES deliver! This book is short (127 pages) and easy to read, but provides a wealth of information that will help you in your relationship with the Lord. In Chapter One (The Secret of the Saints), Dr. Gray starts off with a bang as he reveals, “the great – and simple – secret of the saints is that they realized that God’s word was addressed to them“. That simple, but profound, statement is the secret to unlocking the power of the Bible. Understanding that fact will completely transform your spiritual life and bring you closer to the Lord.

Learning to converse with God by using the Bible is a valuable practice that will help you every day of your life. These books have helped me and can quickly help you to master this important technique. When faced with decisions, problems and temptations, why not turn to God and ask for advice? Hearing His voice can be as simple as opening up the pages of your Bible!