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Catholic Answers Invades Spirit In The Morning!

 

Catholic speaker and radio host Gary Zimak with Jimmy Akin and Tim Staples from Catholic Answers on Spirit In The Morning

Tim Staples and Jimmy Akin…

You’ve read their books…

You’ve heard them on Catholic Answers Live…

You’ve seen them at live at Catholic conferences around the country…

And now, for the first time ever, you’ll be able to experience both of them together on Spirit In The Morning, the fastest growing morning show on Catholic Radio. Join me as I sit down with each of them on July 31, 2017 in a powerful Catholic apologetics double header.

Gary Zimak, Tim Staples, Jimmy Akin together on Spirit In The Morning. Listen live Monday July 31 at 7 AM ET on Holy Spirit Radio. You can listen online at SpiritInTheMorning.com!

Announcement Number Three – My Most Ambitious Project Ever!


 

Catholic Speaker Gary Zimak will begin discussing the Catechism of the Catholic Church on his BlogTalkRadio show

Happy New Year! Here’s the third in a series of four announcements that I’ve been making all week…

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get to know God better in 2015? Have you ever wished that you could know Jesus personally and ask Him to become intimately involved in every area of your life? Do you sometimes feel that you should know more about the teachings of the Catholic Church?

Here’s some good news for you. The Catechism of the Catholic Church will help you with each of those areas. Unfortunately, the size of the book (900+ pages) and our busy schedules can easily make us believe that it’s not practical to read through it. No problem!

On January 5, 2015 on The Gary Zimak Show on BlogTalkRadio I will begin walking through the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Together, we’ll discuss this great document for 30 minutes each night. I’ll start at the beginning and keep going until I reach the end. Whether you’ve read the Catechism before or never even looked at it, I can promise you that you’re going to hear the contents presented in a new and practical way. I’ll make every effort to ensure that you have a better understanding of God, a better relationship with Christ, a clearer understanding of the teachings of the Catholic Church and the ability to apply them to your daily life. I hope you can tune in on Monday, January 5 at 8 PM Eastern. All programs will be archived and can be downloaded from my BlogTalkRadio page and iTunes. See you on Monday!

Announcement #4 is coming tomorrow…

Struggling To Live Your Faith In The Workplace? Here’s A Book That Will Help!


 

Catholic Speaker and author Gary Zimak reviews Faith At Work by Kevin Lowry.

As someone who worked in the corporate world for thirty years, I understand the challenges of integrating faith and work. Despite the difficulties, however, it’s something that must be done if we are to authentically live out our Catholic Faith. Recently, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Kevin Lowry. I emerged from our meeting a better man, as he is one of the kindest and most genuine individuals I’ve ever met. In addition to being the Chief Operating Officer of The Coming Home Network International and a popular Catholic speaker, Kevin is the author of Faith At Work: Finding Purpose Beyond The Paycheck (published by Our Sunday Visitor).

If you are looking for concrete suggestions to live your Catholic Faith in the work place, you need to read this book. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. Kevin has a great deal of experience as an executive manager and has developed effective methods of integrating faith and work. Each chapter ends with a series of action steps and reflection questions, making it perfect for today’s busy worker. You can find out more about Kevin Lowry (and order the book) by visiting his website.

Do it today. You WON’T be sorry!

Are You A Lukewarm Catholic? You Better Read This!


 

“I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rv 3:15-16)

For the majority of my life, I was a lukewarm Catholic. I went to Mass each Sunday, received Holy Communion and even went to Confession a few times each year. What’s interesting is that I thought I was being a good Catholic. My attitude at the time – “Hey, I go to Mass each week…what more do you want?”

My problem was that I…

1. Only prayed when I needed something.
2. Repeatedly committed many serious sins even though I knew they were wrong.
3. Didn’t care about serving others, just myself.
4. Did not read the Bible or any spiritual books.
5. Didn’t feel the need to learn about my Catholic Faith.
6. Never spoke about my Faith to anyone…(c’mon, Catholics don’t evangelize!)
7. Looked down on other Catholics who didn’t attend Mass.

But most of all, my most pathetic quality as a Catholic was that I just didn’t care about my Faith…AT ALL!

Fortunately, I am still alive and have not yet been judged by the Lord. Furthermore, I now do care about my Faith, but I need to be careful each day that I continue to care! When I look at Our Lord’s words about the lukewarm (in the Book of Revelation), I cringe because I know that some people will not take them seriously. If you’re a lukewarm Catholic, please listen to what Jesus is saying. You do not want to hear these words on your judgment day (which could come at any time). I encourage you instead to accept His offer, which appears a few verses later. It is something you’ll never regret!

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne.” (Rv 3:20-21)

The Year Of Faith – 10 Things You Should Know


 

In his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith), Pope Benedict XVI explained his reasoning behind declaring the Year of Faith (Oct 11, 2012 – November 24, 2013). While I recommend that you read the full document, here are 10 highlights that every Catholic should know.

1. The Door of Faith Is Always Open – Although we may choose to resist, the Lord’s door is always open and He waits patiently for us to enter.

2. The Journey of Faith Lasts A Lifetime – We start on this journey at baptism and complete it at our death. Faith is not a destination, but a journey – one which lasts a lifetime!

3. Lukewarmness is Not an Option! – The Holy Father states that we “cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or the light be kept hidden”. We are called to live and share our Catholic Faith and can’t get complacent.

4. Belief In Jesus Is the Way to Salvation – Want to know the way to “arrive definitively at salvation”? Believe in Jesus Christ and follow the teachings of His Church.

5. Vatican II Meant Something – As Catholics, we should all become familiar with the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Reading them will teach us much about our Catholic Faith.

6. Read The Catechism – It’s been 20 years since the new Catechism of the Catholic Church was published. If you’re serious about living your Catholic Faith, it’s time to either get a copy, take your copy off of the bookshelf or read it online. It is a treasure and summarizes 2000 years of Church teaching!

7. Share Your Faith – According to Pope Benedict, “A Christian may never think of belief as a private act”. While that’s exactly the opposite of what the world tells us, who are you gonna believe – the pope or the world?

8. Look To The Past – By faith…Mary accepted the angel’s word and believed the message, the Apostles left everything to follow Jesus, the disciples formed the first community and the martyrs gave their lives. These men and women are our role models and show us what it means to truly believe. Imitate their lives!

9. Be Nice – Faith and charity go hand in hand. We can believe all we want, but it is meaningless without love.

10. Trust in Mary – When we begin to stumble, we should turn to the Mother of God, who was proclaimed “blessed because she believed” (Luke 1:45). She’ll help you to overcome your doubts and continue on your journey of faith.

This Year of Faith provides us with an excellent opportunity to learn, live and share our Catholic Faith. Let’s not pass up the chance. Jesus is holding the door open for us. Let’s be sure to enter in!

Mark Houck – Rallying Men For The Kingdom


 

As a full time Catholic Evangelist, I have the privilege of meeting and working with many people who share the “Good News” of Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church. Although they preach a common message, their styles often differ dramatically. I find that to be a good thing because different approaches are often needed. On a personal level, some of these folks inspire me more than others. As a result, I have a set of “go to” people who I turn to when I need to get “fired up” about my faith.

A few years ago, while still working as a computer programmer, I was driving home from the office and tuned into Holy Spirit Radio (a Catholic station based in the Philadelphia area). Fully expecting to listen to an EWTN program, I was surprised to hear a local show – The King’s Men. As I started to listen, I was drawn in by the sincerity and passion of the host, Mark Houck. As a man, it meant a lot to hear another male openly proclaim His love for Christ and the Catholic Church.

In the months that followed, I investigated Mark’s apostolate and continued to be inspired. I was especially excited when I discovered that Mark was scheduled to appear on EWTN’s Life On The Rock. I watched with admiration as Mark spoke about the need for men to embrace their faith and be witnesses to the world. He spoke about the King’s Men and their mission to combat the evil of pornography and abortion. He also explained the concept of authentic male spirituality, which was something that I needed to hear. After I finished watching the show, I told my wife that more men need to speak like this…I was energized!

As I got more involved in Catholic evangelization, I eventually was able to meet Mark. Since we both live in the Philadelphia area, I was invited to speak at a King’s Men meeting and I had the opportunity to witness the great work that these men were doing. I saw how Mark Houck and Damian Wargo (the co-founder of the King’s Men) encouraged and supported men who were struggling to live Christ-like lives. I listened as men shared their stories of struggling with pornography and the evils of the world, only to be comforted and strengthened by Mark and Damian. I left the meeting feeling inspired and confident.

When I made the decision to venture into the scary world of full time Catholic evangelization, Mark was one of the first people to volunteer his assistance. “Let me know whatever I can do for you, brother” (BTW, it’s not a coincidence that Mark calls every man he meets “brother”. He REALLY believes that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ!). After that initial offer, he continued to reach out to me and my apostolate. He had me as a guest on his radio show and even allowed me to guest host the program while he was on vacation. Unlike some people in the public eye who disappoint you once you get to know them, the private Mark Houck is every bit as passionate and caring as the public persona. He is “the real deal”!

If you ever have the opportunity to listen to Mark Houck speak…do it! If you are looking for a speaker to fire up the men in your parish or conference, Mark is your man. He will encourage you, he will inspire you and, most of all, he will help you to do what all Christians are called to do…become imitators of Jesus Christ!

(This post was written as part of Support a Catholic Speaker Month 2012)

Attention Catholics…It’s Time To Get Serious About Evangelization!


 

“The task of preaching, teaching, growing and living the Catholic faith in our time, in this country, belongs to you and me. No one else can do it.” (Archbishop Charles Chaput at the Los Angeles Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Sept. 18,2012)

On October 11, 2012 we officially begin the celebration of the Year of Faith, as promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI in his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei. The Holy Father has declared that the Year of Faith is “a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Saviour of the world”. His hope is that this commemoration will “arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope.” If you’re Catholic, there’s a good chance that the Holy Father’s words about professing the faith will make you a little uncomfortable. Why?

Catholics are known for many things, such as novenas, devotions to saints, love for the Blessed Mother, and abstaining from meat on Lenten Fridays. One thing that generally doesn’t come to mind when we hear the word “Catholic” is evangelization. To be totally honest, the vast majority of Catholics view evangelization as a negative thing. There is a belief among many Catholics that our relationship with God is a highly personal matter and that “we shouldn’t impose our religious beliefs on others”. I must admit that I felt this way for many years. Even though I went to Mass every Sunday, talking about God to others was something for Protestants and “Jesus Freaks”. I considered it offensive to tell others how they should believe. Furthermore, I didn’t want others to think I was strange. Evangelization is “not something that Catholics do”. To take it a step further, many Catholics don’t feel the need to learn or understand their faith, let alone share it with others. While that may be a common opinion, is it really what the Church teaches? Not at all! As Catholics, we are not only called to study and understand our faith, but we are mandated to evangelize.

Now that I’ve either piqued your curiosity or caused you to suffer a panic attack, let me present some evidence to support my claim and give you some simple and painless ways to fulfill the Church’s instructions. On December 8, 1975, Pope Paul VI issued an Apostolic Exhortation entitled Evangelii Nuntiandi (EN), which addresses evangelization in the modern world. In this document, the Holy Father explains the importance of Christian evangelization:

…the presentation of the Gospel message is not an optional contribution for the Church. It is the duty incumbent on her by the command of the Lord Jesus, so that people can believe and be saved. This message is indeed necessary. It is unique. It cannot be replaced. It does not permit either indifference, syncretism or accommodation. It is a question of people’s salvation. (EN, Paragraph 5)

The above paragraph spells out the importance of proclaiming the “Good News” of Jesus Christ. It is not something that is “nice to have”, but is necessary for people’s salvation! That’s all well and good, but isn’t evangelization the job of priests, religious and deacons? Not exactly…

Thus it is the whole Church that receives the mission to evangelize, and the work of each individual member is important for the whole. (EN, Paragraph 15)

In other words, evangelization is not only the responsibility of the religious and clergy; it is a requirement for the laity as well. Every member of the Catholic Church is personally responsible for sharing the gospel message with others. The Vatican II document, Lumen Gentium, teaches that all baptized Christians “must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church and participate in the apostolic and missionary activity of the People of God”. This profession of faith involves both actions and words. While it is crucial to set a good example, the Church teaches that we must also share our faith verbally.

…even the finest witness will prove ineffective in the long run if it is not explained, justified – what Peter called always having “your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have” – and made explicit by a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the Lord Jesus. The Good News proclaimed by the witness of life sooner or later has to be proclaimed by the word of life. There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed. (EN, Paragraph 22)

Now that we know what is expected of us, do we need to stand on street corners and hand out Bibles? Are we required to preach at the office and quote scripture all day long? While there is a time and a place for that approach, there are simpler and less threatening ways to “get our feet wet” in the world of Catholic evangelization. Here are some simple ways to get started:

1. Learn – We need to learn about the Catholic Faith. There is no way that we’ll ever be able to share what we don’t know. There are many great online resources to assist you in learning about the Catholic Faith. Among them are the USCCB and Vatican websites. Additionally, my Recommended Resouces page lists many authentically Catholic websites and books, all geared toward individuals with a basic or intermediate understanding of the Faith.

2. Witness – Christian witness lays the foundation for evangelization. Avoiding foul language, making the sign of the cross and saying grace before meals, having a positive disposition, and avoiding gossip are all ways that can be used to set a positive example for others. These techniques can be used anywhere: in the workplace, at school, in the home, even at the grocery store. People may notice that there is something “different” about us and could begin to ask questions. This provides the opening to share our “secret”, which is the Catholic Faith.

3. Share – There are many painless (but effective) ways to verbally share our faith with others. We can offer to say a prayer for a coworker who is sick or in a painful situation. We can explain how our faith comforts or sustains us in time of need. We can casually relate a message heard in a homily at Sunday Mass. This technique not only gives us the opportunity to share a positive thought, but it also sends the message that we attend Sunday Mass. Non-threatening techniques such as these are often very effective because they do not involve “beating people over the head” with our Bibles.

4. Pray – The most important step in being an effective evangelist is often the most neglected. We should always remember to pray, especially for an increase in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Everyone who is baptized and confirmed has received the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but we need prayer and grace to help them grow. Prayer and frequent reception of the Sacraments will allow these gifts to grow and will ultimately lead to greater success of our efforts. We should also pray for the individuals to whom we are evangelizing.

As we begin to follow the Church’s command to spread the gospel in the world, there are a few things that are important to remember. We should not become impatient or discouraged if our efforts don’t appear to be effective. The Lord never asks us to be successful, instead He asks us to be faithful. In the end, any success we have should be attributed to God alone. Also, we must never forget to be charitable when sharing God’s message with others. Our goal must be to win souls, not arguments. Turning to Sacred Scripture, St. Peter provides an excellent one sentence summary of what is expected of us as Catholic evangelists. Staying faithful to his instruction will ensure that we are fulfilling the Lord’s command of charitably spreading the gospel to all nations:

“Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15)

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!!!

Why I Wear A Scapular


 

On this day, the Church celebrates the Memorial of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Tradition tells us that Our Lady presented St. Simon Stock with the brown scapular in 1251. Just what is a scapular? According to the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy:

The scapular is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.

Even though I am a cradle Catholic and have always gone to Mass regularly, I used to think that people who wore scapulars were a little flaky. Rather than just be “normal” like me, I believed that those “scapular wearers” were oddballs who embraced apparitions and phony visions of the Blessed Mother. Why can’t they just be “regular” Catholics, like me instead of believing in something superstitious like the scapular? Most of all, I would never wear a scapular because someone might see it and think I’m weird.

How do I feel now? Every morning I kiss my brown scapular and say to Our Lady, “Blessed Mother, I am all thine and all that I have is thine!” I then put on the powerful sacramental knowing that Mary will help me to stay close to Jesus as I do battle with the forces of evil (and don’t kid yourself…they are all around us!) that threaten me constantly. I wear Our Lady’s scapular because it is a sacramental which better disposes me to receive the grace that I need to be a better Christian. I am proud that I wear the scapular and I hope people see it for what it is, a visible sign of my love for Mary and my trust in her intercessory powers. Most importantly, I wear the scapular because I am a comfort-loving, cowardly, self-centered sinner and I desperately need Mary’s help to keep me close to her Son and help me remain on the road that will lead to Eternal Life in Heaven.

That’s why I wear a scapular!

This Week On Following The Truth With Gary Zimak…

 

It’s going to be an exciting week (7/8 – 7/13) on the Following The Truth radio show.

Here’s the lineup…

Sunday (Sunday Sunset) – A 15 minute show designed to close out the Lord’s Day and get you ready for the week to come. We’ll pray the Night Prayer (from the Liturgy of the Hours) and briefly reflect on Sunday’s readings.

Monday (Understanding The Mass – The Introductory Rites) – Why do we now say “And With Your Spirit” instead of “And Also With You”? Why do we ask for mercy 3 times? What is the purpose of the Gloria? We’ll answer these and many more questions, using the book, A Biblical Walk Through the Mass (Book): Understanding What We Say and Do In The Liturgy by Dr. Edward Sri.

Tuesday (How To Listen When God Is Speaking) – How come God never speaks to me? That question can often be answered with another question…are you listening? Join us as we begin looking at the book, How to Listen When God Is Speaking: A Guide for Modern-Day Catholics by Fr. Mitch Pacwa. If you are trying to make a decision in accordance with God’s Will, you don’t want to miss this weekly series!

Wednesday (The Importance Of Silence And Solitude) – In an increasingly noisy and busy world, it’s difficult to find the time or the place to be silent. In his book, Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis has a lot to say about the importance of silence and solitude. We’ll discuss it on this show.

Thursday (10 Tips For Praying The Rosary) – Taken from various sources, we’ll present 10 great tips to help you PRAY and not just SAY the rosary. If you struggle with this great prayer, be sure to listen!

Friday (Learning To Deny Yourself) – In his book, The Hidden Power of Kindness: A Practical Handbook for Souls Who Dare to Transform the World, One Deed at a Time, Fr. Lawrence Lovasik discusses the importance of learning to deny ourselves. In the second half of the show, we’ll read and discuss the Mass Readings for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Now approaching 50,000 listens since first going on the air in late 2010, the Following The Truth radio show has become a nightly part of many people’s spiritual routine. Listen for yourself and see what all the fuss is about!