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How Mother Angelica And EWTN Saved My Life

 

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

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak at EWTN studios

On May 2, 2014, I was invited to give a talk to a group of Catholic leaders in Birmingham, AL. In attendance were many of my heroes, including Catholic TV/Radio personalities, EWTN executives and founders of Catholic ministries from around the world. At first, I was overwhelmed. What could I possibly offer to these individuals? I was relatively new to full time ministry and (in my opinion) hardly successful. Since the conference was sponsored by EWTN, I decided to talk about Mother Angelica and how she inspired me to get to know Jesus and to respond when I felt Him calling me to full time ministry. I shared how Mother helped me to keep going, even when I felt like quitting. As a tribute to the life of Mother Angelica, I am sharing a transcript of my talk with you. Even if you are not involved in full time ministry, there is a message here for you. Jesus loves you and wants to be your friend. He is the answer to any problem you will ever face and through Him you can have eternal life in Heaven. As you grow closer to the Lord, you may be asked to carry a cross or take on a task that seems impossible. That is never the case. The life of Mother Angelica gives us proof that all things are possible with God!

Walking By Faith With Mother Angelica


(Transcript of a talk by Gary Zimak to a gathering of Catholic leaders in Birmingham, AL on May 2, 2014)

After being asked to do this talk, I was concerned. What can I say to a room full of All-Stars? Then I realized that I do have a very important message and it’s one that only I can deliver. It’s the story of how I’m trying to follow God’s plan for my life even though, on the surface, it doesn’t make sense. It’s a message that I hope will inspire you to continue doing what you’re doing and to remind you that “with God, all things are possible”! As the author of “A Worrier’s Guide To The Bible” and “From Fear To Faith” and someone who travels around the country speaking about overcoming anxiety, I feel a little funny admitting this, but…

I have a BIG FEAR!

What makes me feel a little more comfortable is that someone I admire greatly also has the same fear. I’d like to share a quote from that person and let’s see if you know who it is…

“I’m not afraid to fail, because I’ve always learned something when I failed. I’ll tell you what I’m afraid of – and when I think about it I break into a cold sweat – I’m scared to death of dying and having the Lord say to me, ‘Angelica, this is what you might have done had you trusted more’. I’m petrified of that.”

My Story

Let me tell you my story…

I have suffered from anxiety from the time that I was very young. I am a hypochondriac, a coward, I love comfort and I am not a risk taker. I am a cradle Catholic who up until late 2004 (with the exception of a few brief periods) was very lukewarm about my faith and had no personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I went to Mass each week and was too lazy to even pursue other denominations. In late 2004, a mystery ailment scared me and I thought that I was going to die. I knew that I wasn’t a good Catholic and was afraid to be judged. I was determined to learn more about my Catholic Faith. I began to listen to EWTN Radio, watch EWTN TV, attend daily Mass and pray the Liturgy of the Hours.

A couple of interesting things happened…

I felt great peace even though I still thought I was going to die.

I started out thinking I was going to learn more about my Catholic Faith and become a better Catholic, but I also ended up meeting and growing to love JESUS CHRIST!

Eventually, the symptoms went away and no diagnosis was ever made. I resolved never to go back to my lukewarm way of life.

In 2008, I felt the need to share what I learned with other lukewarm Catholics and FollowingTheTruth.com was created. I started blogging, doing numerous EWTN radio/TV programs and signed a contract to write a book, all while working full time as a project manager. I began to feel a call to work full time for the Lord and went on numerous Church related job interviews, getting turned down for each one. My wife Eileen and I prayed that I could work full time for the Lord, however, we thought that it would be in some sort of traditional job.

In January 2012, our prayers were answered in an unexpected way. I was laid off! For the first time in 30 years, I was not collecting a weekly paycheck.

Eileen and I prayed about it and reached the decision that I should do the “impossible” – become a FULL TIME Catholic Evangelist. In my mind, it was “impossible” to make a full time living and support my family as a Catholic Evangelist, but this is what I felt the Lord was calling me to do. The first year was difficult for me, as I struggled to obtain paid speaking engagements. Fortunately, we had some savings. I continued to pray and asked the Lord to “let it all fall apart” if it wasn’t His will for me. New doors kept opening up, but very little money was coming in.

At The End Of My Rope

Last year, I attended this conference for the first time and I was very discouraged. I was just about out of money, had very few speaking engagements lined up and spoke to several of you saying the same thing:

“My apostolate is on life support. Anything you can do to help me get more speaking engagements would be greatly appreciated”.

When I arrived home, I spoke with my spiritual director and he thought that maybe the Lord was telling me that it’s time to move on and get a more traditional job. He told me to pray about it and give it a little more time. I decided to take a ride to one of my favorite places, The Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, PA. As I sat in front of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and glanced at the image of Our Lady with the Baby Jesus, a very strong message came to me:

“It’s going to be okay”.

While I still didn’t have any new speaking engagements or guarantees, I left there feeling that I was doing what God wanted me to do and things would somehow work out for me.

Mother Angelica To The Rescue

I decided that I should finally read Mother Angelica’s biography so that I could look for signs that I was on the right or the wrong track. After all, she was asked by the Lord to do “the impossible” and maybe I could learn from her story. Before I read the book, I assumed that everything always worked out perfectly as she built EWTN. I thought that if God wants you to do something, then everything just falls into place. I thought that if you run into problems and that you don’t get a lot of donations or if you’re not booked solidly for the next year then the Lord is telling you it’s time to move on. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Mother Angelica failed sometimes. I also learned that the network that the network was on “life support” many times. The most important lesson that I learned from Mother is that quitting is not an option. I asked myself the question, “Did I really give it my best shot?” I kept saying I did, but did my actions support my words?

I needed to make sure that I truly “gave it my best shot”and realized that there were still some things that I could do. I started mailing books, letters, making phone calls and networking. I also kept praying and asking Our Lady and Our Lord for guidance. By the grace of God, I am still working in full time ministry. We live month to month, but my family and I have never been more peaceful. We are all learning what it means to TRULY trust in God and I will not quit. I’m willing to fail or be defeated, but I won’t quit until I have done all that I can.

If God Brings You To It, He Will See You Through It!

Many of you know this, but I’m going to say it anyway. The fact that I’m able to be here today and address you is proof that if God asks you to do something, He will give you what you need to do the job. My job (and your job) is to let Him work through us.

I also want to emphasize that I am doing something which the world says is “impossible”. I have a business degree. I have no radio, television or writing credentials. I am a shy person by nature who has always been afraid to speak in public. On the surface what I’m doing for a living makes no sense, but somehow it’s working.

I can totally relate to Mother Angelica’s statement, “We don’t know what we’re doing, but we’re getting pretty good at it.”

I know my work will come to an end one day, as will yours. My goal is to make sure that I don’t quit due to lack of trust. I pray every day that I will continue to say “Yes”, just like Abraham, just like Moses, just like Our Lady, just like Mother Angelica did and just like each of you. Through my two plus years in full time ministry, I have learned a valuable lesson. It’s a lesson that I try to learn better each day. It’s a lesson that Mother learned and lived every day:

“Never put a lid on God. You can’t give God a thimble and ask for a quart. It won’t work. Your plans, your projects, your dreams have to always be bigger than you, so God has room to operate.”

Final Thoughts

Now I would like to briefly speak to each of you. No matter how successful your apostolates are, you have probably experienced moments of discouragement. You may be tempted to give up, thinking that you’re not making a difference. I’m here to tell you that you ARE making a difference and many of you have impacted my life. I’d like to speak to those of you who are involved in any way with EWTN. Mother Angelica has expressed the opinion that the whole network may have been created to help one soul. I would like to thank you for being a part of that network and to let you know that EWTN has saved my soul. Without EWTN, not only would I not be addressing you today, but I would never have gotten to know Jesus personally.

Thank you for saving my life, Mother Angelica. I will continue to do my best to continue your work of bringing souls to Jesus Christ. May you rest in peace.

“You may be the only Jesus your neighbor will ever see.” (Mother Angelica)

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

Before You Label Yourself A Hopeless Sinner, Consider This…

 

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:

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)

Catholic speaker and author Gary Zimak reminds EWTN listeners on The Son Rise Morning Show that Jesus came to call sinners

With all of the emphasis on self-examination and turning away from sin, sometimes Lent can get a little depressing. Due to the fact that we have a natural tendency to overlook and excuse our less than perfect behavior, the sudden realization that we are sinners can be disturbing. It can even make us feel hopeless. But, just as pain or discomfort lets us know we may be ill, the knowledge that we are sinners can help us to understand that we are in need of spiritual healing. In other words…

It’s a good thing!

In the above Bible verse, Jesus makes it clear that He has come to save sinners – like us. Instead of letting your sinfulness make you feel hopeless and defeated, allow it to motivate you to seek the Lord’s forgiveness in the sacrament of Confession. Not only will you receive absolution for your sins, but you’ll receive the grace to help you sin less in the future.

While there is no doubt that we are all sinners, there is no such thing as “hopeless” when it comes to the Lord. He’s waiting for you in the confessional. Make it a point to visit Him soon!

(Gary Zimak is a Catholic speaker and author who travels throughout the United States and Canada giving inspirational talks and leading parish missions and retreats. Click HERE to invite Gary to speak at your parish or conference or to inquire about his availability.)

Here’s How I Came To Know And Love Jesus Christ

 

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

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak tells how he met Jesus on the EWTN program The Journey Home with Marcus Grodi

My name is Gary Zimak and I love Jesus Christ! Even though I went to church every week for all of my life, I never had a personal relationship with Jesus . I didn’t know Him and, furthermore, I didn’t think it was possible to know Him personally. All of that changed in 2004, when a medical scare got my attention and motivated me to seek the Lord. I now can say that I not only know Jesus personally, but I love Him and we speak every day! I recently sat down with Marcus Grodi on the TV series The Journey Home to share the my conversion story. You can watch the episode by clicking on the image below.

I hope you enjoy the story of how I found Jesus Christ. You know what’s funny? As I look back now, I realize that He was there all along!

Change Is A Part Of Life, But One Thing Never Changes…

 

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:

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak shares his weekly Bible verse on The Son Rise Morning Show on EWTN Radio.

For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my mercy shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10)

It’s very easy for us to forget just how much the Lord loves us, especially when we’re faced with many problems. As we struggle to deal with change and suffering in our lives, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that Jesus is right with us. This verse acknowledges a few important facts:

1. Change is a part of life.

2. The Lord cares about us.

3. He wants us to turn to Him daily and He will share the gift of peace with us.

4. His offer will never expire or be revoked.

Today, as you struggle to deal with the difficulties in your life, make it a point to turn to Jesus and ask for help. I guarantee that He won’t let you down!

Catholic speaker and retreat leader Gary Zimak announces the annual Lenten Radio Retreat which begins on February 18 on Blogtalkradio

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

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

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

Marcus Grodi On Faith, Hope, And Clarity…

 

EWTN Television host Marcus Grodi recommends the new book by Catholic speaker Gary Zimak - Faith, Hope, and Clarity

“There has never been a time in history when our lives have been more inundated with voices—the world, the flesh, and the devil—yelling at us, trying to convince us what we must do to be happy. So what is a person to do if in the midst of this cacophony he or she wants to be faithful to God, to one day stand before Him without embarrassment? In Gary Zimak’s fine book, we have a clear and trustworthy road map for discerning the simple and difficult steps of hearing God’s will for our lives.”

Marcus Grodi, President/Founder of The Coming Home Network International

Thank you, Marcus, for recommending my new book – Faith, Hope, and Clarity: How to Know God’s Will. You can pre-order it at a discounted price by clicking on the image below. Stay tuned for more endorsements!

Guess What God Wants Us To Do When We’re Anxious Or Worried?

 

Catholic Speaker and Author Gary Zimak appears each Wednesday on EWTN Radio's The Son Rise Morning Show with his series Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

Here’s the verse I shared on my weekly “Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled” segment on EWTN Radio’s Son Rise Morning Show today…

Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7)

When we’re anxious or feeling like we’re not in control, we sometimes think that worrying is our only option. Not true! In this powerful verse, St. Peter reminds us to give our anxieties to the Lord because He cares about us. Wow! No matter what you’re going through today, make it a point to give it to the Lord. He doesn’t want you to be anxious. He wants you to turn to Him because He loves you.

Give it a try and see what happens!

Announcement Number Four – My Journey To Jesus!


 

Catholic Speaker Gary Zimak tells his conversion story on EWTN TV's The Journey Home with Marcus Grodi

Here’s my final announcement (for this week, anyway!)

As many of you know, I am a cradle Catholic and I have attended Mass every Sunday for as long as I can remember. Given that information, it may come as a surprise if I tell you that for most of my life I never knew Christ personally, worried constantly, rarely prayed and made no effort to live out my Catholic Faith in the world.

On January 26 at 8 PM Eastern, you’ll have a chance to hear my conversion story as I visit Marcus Grodi on the EWTN TV series, The Journey Home. I hope you’ll be able to watch the show, especially if you’re eager to have a closer personal relationship with Jesus. No matter how distant the Lord seems to you, He is closer than you think and He wants to be your friend. Tune in on January 26 and let me share my story with you!