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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.)

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Lord…Thank You For My Enemies!

 

For the most part, people who read my blog care about becoming more spiritual. If I had to guess, I’d say that the vast majority of my readers are just like me…Catholics who want to learn more about the Church’s teachings and grow closer to Christ. Despite wanting to follow the Lord’s commands, however, some of us tend to struggle with pride and often have a bit of a short fuse. Speaking for myself, there are times when I conveniently overlook (or even ignore) some of the core teachings of Jesus Christ because of my pride. In my opinion, one of the Lord’s most difficult teachings is the following:

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

The words of Christ are clear and there’s really no wiggle room…He’s telling us to love not just those who love us back, not just those who ignore us, not just those who annoy us, but OUR ENEMIES! That means those who threaten us, insult us, curse at us and even want to harm us physically. That’s a really powerful and challenging commandment. It’s also one I fail at (to some degree) every day and I know I’m not alone. If we’re going to get to Heaven, however, this is a command that we’re going to have to understand and follow. Rather than look at this challenge negatively, let’s turn the tables and address it in a more positive way. As crazy as it sounds, I propose that we learn to thank God for our enemies. Once we begin to do so, we’ll find it a lot easier to love them. Why should we be thankful for our enemies?

They Allow Us To Be More Like Christ – As Christians, we should be striving to imitate Jesus at all times. Reading through the Bible will remind us of just how many enemies He had. His teaching was rejected, He was thrown out of towns, He was threatened and challenged, and finally, He was humiliated, tortured and put to death. By experiencing rejection and hatred, we can share in Our Lord’s suffering and understand some of what He experienced. Without enemies, this would not be possible.

They Let Us Love As Jesus Loved – Can you imagine enduring what Jesus went through and still being able to say, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34)? To a lesser degree, every time we love someone who offends us, we love as Christ loved. When we forgive those who offend us, we imitate Jesus.

They Help Us Conquer Our Pride – I like to be “right”, especially when someone tells me that I’m “wrong”. When challenged about a variety of issues, I have a tendency to want to win the argument. Often that desire (even when trying to defend the Faith) causes me to fall into sin. By learning to walk away and let someone else “win”, I become a bit more humble. Now, this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t proclaim the truth – not at all! We should (especially when it comes to the teachings of the Church), but we must always keep in mind that our words aren’t responsible for converting others. Rather, it’s the work of the Holy Spirit. If we plant some seeds and get rejected, that’s OK. We did our job…God will do the rest.

They Remind Us Of God’s Mercy – When people attack me, I remember all of the times that I attacked others. Throughout my life, I’ve treated many people unfairly. My words and actions have often be hurtful and offensive. I’ve been sarcastic and arrogant. But, in spite of it all, Jesus never stopped loving me and was always ready to forgive me. I should do the same for others.

They Are Often Right – Although it can be sheer torture, the accusations and insults of our enemies often open our eyes to the fact that we’re wrong. We can become so blinded by our sinful habits that we don’t even notice them. Sincerely listening to the words of our enemies, even though they may sting, can make us see that we need to make some changes in our lives. That is an invaluable gift.

Loving our enemies is challenging, but is necessary if we expect to get to Heaven. With God’s grace and by learning to appreciate their presence in our lives, we can better live our Catholic Faith and be an example to those around us. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to have enemies!

Moment Of Truth with Gary Zimak 1-27-12

 
Moment Of Truth with Gary Zimak 1-27-12 (mp3)