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Lent

Lent Doesn’t Have To Be Painful


 

Catholic Speaker Gary Zimak explains the meaning of Lent

I used to cringe every time Lent rolled around. Actually, I should qualify that statement. Once I started trying to become a better Catholic, I used to cringe every time Lent rolled around. Before that, I just ignored it. Sure, I gave up candy when I was a child, but I stopped doing that when I “grew up”. Eventually I realized my mistake and I learned to “pick up my cross” each Lent. I would generally give up my beloved desserts and it was PAINFUL! And that pain increased as the Lenten season progressed. It wouldn’t be unusual to find me at a convenience store drooling over the pastry display, counting the days until Easter! I know it sounds silly, but it’s a realistic look at my typical Lenten practice. I suspect you may be like me and have a similar story to share. Fortunately, I have good news for you. Lent doesn’t have to be painful!

Our main objective during Lent should be growing closer to Jesus. If we keep that in mind, any suffering that we endure will be outweighed by the sweetness of a close personal relationship with Christ. While there is always some pain involved when we give up something that we enjoy, that pain can be wiped away by the joy experienced when we are close to the Lord. During Lent, the Church encourages us to turn over a new leaf and to become better Christians. We are urged to repent, fast, pray and give alms. As a result, we move away from our sinful ways and grow closer to the Lord. I know that it sounds painful, but that’s the paradox of Christianity. If we are close to Jesus and cooperate with the grace that He gives us, our pain and suffering can be transformed into peace. That’s the effect of a personal encounter with the Lord!

I invite you to join me in the Lenten Radio Retreat that I am leading on my nightly Internet Radio Show. Every Monday thru Friday for the duration of Lent, I’ll read an excerpt from Fr. Larry Richard’s book, “Surrender: The Life Changing Power Of Doing God’s Will“, read and discuss the daily Mass readings and share a series of short (but POWERFUL) meditations entitled “Lenten Lollipops” (from the book of the same name by Fr. Francis Boylan).

Make no mistake about the fact that it won’t be all fun and games. We’ll look at our sinfulness, repent and fast. More importantly, however, we’ll work on growing closer to Jesus during this Lenten season. And that, my friends, will take the sting out of the process. None of us are guaranteed to have another Lent. Let’s make this one count. Together, we can take advantage of this opportunity to grow in holiness. Why not tune in to our Lenten Radio Retreat and give it a try?

“Make this Lent as if it were your first Lent, your last Lent; as if it were to be the only Lent in your lives.” (Fr. Francis Boylan, Lenten Lollipops)

Father Larry Richards To Appear On Following The Truth On Monday, March 3!


 

Catholic Speaker and Radio Host Will Be Hosting His Annual Lenten Radio Retreat With Special Guest Father Larry Richards

On Monday, March 3rd at 8 PM Eastern, I’ll kick off my annual Following The Truth Lenten Radio Retreat with special guest, Father Larry Richards! This year, we’ll be using Father Larry’s book, “Surrender: The Life Changing Power Of Doing God’s Will” as the basis for the retreat. In addition, I’ll be reading and discussing the daily Lenten Mass Readings as well as sharing some thoughts designed to bring you and Christ closer together. Here’s a link to the radio show. Tune in Monday, March 3rd and let’s get started!

Make This Lent Your Best Ever – Learn To Surrender To God’s Will!


 

Father Larry Richards joins Catholic Speaker Gary Zimak on Following The Truth on BlogTalkRadio

Do you want Lent of 2014 to be your best ever?

I have great news for you. On Monday, March 3 at 8 PM Eastern I will kick off the annual Following The Truth Lenten Radio Retreat on my nightly radio show. This year I’ll be using “Surrender: The Life Changing Power Of Doing God’s Will” by Father Larry Richards as the basis for the retreat. To make things even better, Fr. Larry Richards will be joining me on the initial program and will discuss his book, offer some advice and give us his blessing.

During this retreat, we will work on learning to surrender to God’s will. Not only is this the secret to achieving peace in your life, but it’s the secret to getting to Heaven. If you’ve never participated in one of my Lenten retreats before, it’s very simple. All you need to do is listen to my radio show each evening. You can listen live each night at 8 PM Eastern (on BlogTalkRadio) or download the podcast from the BlogTalkRadio archives or on iTunes (click here to access my show on the Internet) You don’t even have to leave your home! Each night, I’ll read an excerpt from Fr. Larry’s book, share the daily Mass readings and offer some special reflections designed to make you think. I also recommend that you sign up for my e-newsletter (in the box to the right) to ensure that you receive any updates as we go through Lent. Here are some comments from previous Following The Truth Lenten Radio Retreat participants:

“I started listening to Following the truth during the Lenten retreat. It was wonderful!!!! I have to say it was my best Lent ever!!!!”

“I want to let you know this has been a fruitful Lent, due in no small part to your efforts in bringing us the Following The Truth Lenten Radio Retreat. It has been a major part of my Lenten observance and has helped me to grow spiritually in unexpected ways.”

“Your Lenten Retreat was responsible for the most significant Lent I ever experienced. I am 59. I learned that Lent was more than sacrifices or extra prayers. Lent actually involved changing one’s life to be more in unison with Jesus’ life.”

If you’re not familiar with “Surrender! The Life-Changing Power Of Doing God’s Will” or with Father Larry Richards, I recommend that you watch the following video. EWTN’s Doug Keck will interview Fr. Larry and discuss the book in detail.

Although it’s not mandatory, it will be helpful if you have a copy of the book for the retreat. You can order it at the following link:

Lent is a special time set aside by the Church to help us grow closer to Christ. We have no idea if this Lent will be our last. Don’t pass up the chance to make it your best Lent ever. Join me as we walk together and learn to surrender our will to the Lord. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. Otherwise, get ready. This is going to be a powerful experience!

Get Ready For The Following The Truth Lenten Radio Retreat!


 

“I started listening to Following the truth during the Lenten retreat. It was wonderful!!!! I have to say it was my best Lent ever!!!!”

“I want to let you know this has been a fruitful Lent, due in no small part to your efforts in bringing us the Following The Truth Lenten Radio Retreat. It has been a major part of my Lenten observance and has helped me to grow spiritually in unexpected ways.”

“Your Lenten Retreat was responsible for the most significant Lent I ever experienced. I am 59. I learned that Lent was more than sacrifices or extra prayers. Lent actually involved changing one’s life to be more in unison with Jesus’ life.”

The comments above are from individuals who participated in previous Following The Truth Lenten Radio Retreats. What do you think? Are you ready to make Lent of 2014 your best one ever? If your answer is “YES!”, I have some great news for you.

Beginning on Monday, March 3 on my nightly Following The Truth radio show, I’ll be using “Surrender: The Life Changing Power Of Doing God’s Will” by Father Larry Richards as the basis for the annual Following The Truth Lenten Radio Retreat. If you’re not familiar with the book or with Fr. Larry, be sure the watch the following video. EWTN’s Doug Keck will interview Fr. Larry and discuss the book in detail.

Although it’s not mandatory, it will be helpful if you have a copy of the book for the retreat. You can order it at the following link:

Lent is a special time set aside by the Church to help us grow closer to Christ. We have no idea if this Lent will be our last. Don’t pass up the chance to make it your best Lent ever. We’ll walk together, assisted by Fr. Larry’s powerful book. Best of all, you won’t even have to leave your home. Get ready…this is going to be powerful.

Stay tuned for more details…

Taking The Passion Personally


 

As we enter into Holy Week, the Church invites us to enter into the experience of Our Lord’s Passion. On Palm Sunday, we’ll listen to the narrative that will detail the events leading up to His agonizing death on Calvary. When we cry out, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” at Mass, we’ll cringe and silently wish that we’d been given another line to proclaim. We’ll hear about how Judas and Peter betrayed the Lord. We’ll have angry thoughts directed toward these “weak” men and wonder just how they could treat Jesus in this way. Once again, Pontius Pilate will get to show us his “Personally, I find nothing against this man, but you can do whatever you want” routine. Finally, the gospel will close with Christ being laid in the tomb. There’s a good chance that we’ll leave Mass with a bad taste in our mouth….at least for a while.

If I’m not careful, however, there’s a good chance that these feelings of sadness can pass before Good Friday rolls around. Why? Possibly because I spent too much time thinking about all of those people who turned against Jesus and murdered Him on the cross. Maybe because I focused on the fact that Pilate was a wimp. Another possibility is that I became distracted with the idea that Christ’s agonizing death was necessary in order to redeem all of mankind. Wait a minute! What could possibly be wrong with any of these things?

While it’s a good idea for me to remember that people conspired against Jesus and that His suffering was necessary in order to bring about the redemption of mankind, I shouldn’t stop there. Why? Because doing that could easily fool me into thinking that the Passion and death of Jesus is all about other people. It’s not! It’s about ME and it’s about YOU. We need to take the Passion of Christ PERSONALLY!

When I’m forced to cry out “Crucify Him” on Palm Sunday, I don’t like it. In reality, however, the Church got the casting right. It’s due to my sins that Our Lord had to suffer and die on the cross. Furthermore, every time I commit another sin I drive the nails more deeply into His bloody hands. And why should I dwell on Judas and Peter’s betrayal when I’ve committed the same offense many times? Pontius Pilate? Sure, he was a coward, but so am I at times. And any talk of redemption should always call to mind the fact that what took place on Calvary 2,000 years ago resulted in the gates of Heaven being opened for Gary Zimak. Provided that I’m willing to cooperate with His grace, our Lord’s great sacrifice could one day result in MY salvation!

As I relive the Lord’s suffering over the course of the next few days, I should take it personally…VERY personally! I was the cause of that suffering and, in spite of that, He loved me so much that He gave me a gift beyond all gifts. All He asks is that I vow to make some changes…to repent of my sins, follow Him and obey His commandments. I hope and pray that you, like me, will come to the same conclusion and take Our Lord’s Passion personally. As a result, we’ll own up to our responsibility for His death and be willing to do whatever is necessary to one day receive the gift of eternal life. Although it might be a bumpy road while we’re here on earth, the end result will be worth it!

“It is you who have crucified Him and crucify Him still, when you delight in your vices and sins.” (St. Francis of Assisi)

Making The Most Of Holy Week


 

As Lent draws to a close, it’s quite possible that full scale panic may begin to set in as you realize that you haven’t done all that much to take advantage of the season. If so, my advice to you is simple…

DON’T PANIC…IT’S NOT TOO LATE!

If you’re reading this, I’m fairly certain that you’re still alive (if not, I’d like to hear from you!) which means that you still have time to make some spiritual progress before Lent is over. The fact that you realize you haven’t done as much as you could have is a BIG step and is one that many people never seem to make. So let me be the first to congratulate you for having the desire to become a better person.

Two of the big themes during the Lenten season are awareness of our sinfulness and repentance. Naturally, we need to be aware of our imperfections before we can work on them. Take a minute and think about one or more ways in which you fall short of God’s plan for your life. Let me help you out with a few ideas…

Impatience
Anger
Excessive Worrying
Lack Of Charity
Over Sensitivity To Criticism

If you’d like to read more about these bad habits, you can do so here. Although this list is not all encompassing, every one of these bad habits will keep you from getting closer to Christ. Do you sometimes fall victim to one or more of these bad habits? Me too! Now what can we do about it? The first thing is to thank God for revealing this knowledge to us. Many people go through life without ever becoming aware of these issues. Secondly, I’d like to call attention to the fact that your Lenten journey just produced some fruit. Becoming aware of our own sinfulness is a BIG step to growing in holiness!

In a few days we’ll enter into Holy Week. During this Sunday’s Mass, we’ll hear the Passion of Our Lord proclaimed during the Gospel Reading (Luke 22:14-23,56). We’ll hear the details of Jesus’ last supper with the Apostles and witness the institution of the Holy Eucharist. The peace of that moment will be shattered by an argument as to which of them should be regarded as the greatest. We’ll listen with sadness as Jesus is not only betrayed by Judas, but by Peter. We’ll get to participate (reluctantly) by joining in with the crowd who wanted to put Jesus to death by proclaiming “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”. In commemoration of His death, we’ll kneel and acknowledge the supreme sacrifice made by the Lord on our behalf. Jesus’ lifeless body will be laid in the tomb and the story will end…for now.

Thankfully, the story will have a happy ending. The Lord will rise from the dead 3 days after that and complete the work of our redemption. In a little over a week, we’ll celebrate that joyous occasion. In the meantime, we’re asked to reflect on our own sinful behavior and resolve to make some changes. We’re also called to pick up our crosses and travel this final journey with the Lord.

As we commemorate the final week of Jesus’ life on earth, let’s make a serious attempt to rid ourselves of our bad habits and become more like Him. I’d also encourage you to participate in the activities of the Paschal Triduum, which begins on Holy Thursday and concludes on Easter Sunday. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in the Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, to remember the death of Our Lord on Good Friday and to celebrate His glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday. Whether you’ve done a little or whether you’ve done a lot during Lent really doesn’t matter at this point, as we can’t change the past. What matters is that we look ahead to this holiest of weeks and try to improve as we travel the journey along with Christ.

Here’s wishing you all a blessed Holy Week and a joyful Easter!

We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. (Romans 6:4-5)

5 Habits That Are Hazardous To Your (Spiritual) Health


 

Although Lent is winding to a close, there is still plenty of time to work on the many bad habits that hurt our relationship with the Lord. If you were to make even the smallest progress overcoming one of your bad habits, then your Lent would be a success. While God never expects us to overcome our imperfections by ourselves, He does expect us to take the first step and try to fight against these tendencies. Here are 5 bad habits that, if not controlled, will keep you from growing closer to Christ. Are they the worst ones in the world? Maybe or maybe not, but every one of these tendencies will keep you from being the best Catholic you can be.

1. Anger – Despite the Lord’s repeated warnings, we often feel justified getting angry with others on a daily basis. Anger can be lethal to our spiritual lives and should be high on our list of faults to eliminate this Lent. How can we overcome it? With lots of prayer, receiving the Sacraments and by reading (and re-reading) the Lord’s words:

“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.” (Mt 5:21-22)

2. Impatience – Although this fault is more subtle than anger, it can be very destructive to our spiritual lives. St. Paul tells us that “love is patient and kind” (1 Cor 13:4) and to “be patient with them all” (1 Thess 5:14), but we tend to lose sight of this when someone doesn’t move fast enough or disagrees with us. Let’s face it, we get annoyed with others several times each day, despite the fact that God is ALWAYS patient with us. For many years, I was a lukewarm, apathetic Catholic who’s purpose in life was to have a good time. By the grace of God, I’m still here and so are you. We should work on becoming more patient while we still have time. As a word of warning, if you pray to become more patient, expect people to pop up in your life who will give you PLENTY of practice!

3. Worry – Often we think of worry as something that’s inevitable. Many people have told me that “everyone worries”. I disagree. I’ve met people who, although they experience fear and even anxiety, don’t worry. Why? Because they have a deep trust in God. This is going to be painful to hear, but when we worry, we tell God that we don’t trust Him. Even though He tells us in Scripture that “all things work for the good” (Rom 8:28), we sometimes worry about events that are happening or MAY happen in our lives. Citing the previous Bible verse in his book Uniformity With God’s Will, St. Alphonsus Liguori stated that if God sends us suffering, it’s for our own good. After proclaiming the famous “Let not your hearts be troubled” (Jn 14:1), Jesus told us to believe in God and to believe in Him. Do we?

4. Lack of Charity – In our zeal to spread the “Good News” of our Faith, we sometimes overlook the need to do it WITH CHARITY. I’ll defer to Sts. Peter and Paul, who make the point more effectively than I ever could:

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 Pt 3:15)

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Cor 13:1-3)

5. Over Sensitivity To Criticism – We sometimes try harder to please others than to please Christ. Many of us “like to be liked” and that desire can sometimes get in the way of our relationship with the Lord. Today’s world is not very friendly to Catholicism and the message of Jesus Christ. When we live and share our faith, we can expect to be criticized. In fact, the Lord told us exactly what would happen when He said “you will be hated by all for my name’s sake” (Mk 13:13). A bitter pill to swallow, right? Maybe, until we hear what He says next. “But he who endures to the end will be saved”! As we continue to travel the road to heaven, we should strive to make all of our actions pleasing to Jesus. As long as we do that, we’re in great shape!

If you’re like me and can identify with more than one of these bad habits, don’t panic! Pick one of them and make up your mind to use the remainder of Lent to work on it. Above all, don’t forget to ask the Lord for the grace needed to improve. Also, make it a point to receive additional grace through the Sacrament of Confession. Once you begin to see good progress (and you will, if you keep at it), tackle another one and keep going. While working on our bad habits should be a year round pursuit, Lent is a great time to get started. When we start to attack our faults like this, Jesus begins to increase (in us) and we begin to decrease (Jn 3:30). Ultimately, we’ll be able to echo the words of St. Paul and proclaim:

“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2:20)

Your Comments About The Lenten Radio Retreat


 

I thought you might enjoy hearing what people have been saying about the Following The Truth Lenten Radio Retreat. When you read these comments, it’s obvious that the Holy Spirit is at work!

I originally signed up for your retreat because I do fear so many things and have for several years. But I love your retreat because the things you focus on seem to go so much deeper than that, although I realize that this is exactly how you overcome the fears. Gotta get on with my day but know that I have gotten so much out of your retreat.

Listening to your retreat talks has opened a new way of looking at the “what if’s” in my life, especially at this time with my husband’s cancer. Every day the devil uses tools on me like: I should be doing more to help him or you are going to be so lonesome if something happens to him. I listened to a short talk today on your archives of a show on the 5 ways to help the troubled heart. You’re so right that during this Lenten retreat (and after) we will get to know God in such a way as never before. I feel like i have a new friend that I can talk to. Thank you for being who you are and sharing with us your love for God.

I have to say thank you again so very much for the work you do and especially this retreat. I have to admit, I feel God more these days; I suppose I am more aware of His presence and my need to rely on Him when I am in need.I also have to thank you once again for the examination of conscience. I am still feeling the graces of confession (almost a whole week later!) By the grace of God, I am more aware of my failings but find myself relying on His grace more to get through the difficult moments when all I want to do is give up. I’ll admit I’ve fallen in the last week since confession but through prayer and God’s grace, I am able to focus again on the Lord and drown out the voice of the evil one who delights in my failures.

I’ve been following the retreat from day 1. Thanks to your encouragement. I went to reconciliation last week. It had been over a year since my last one. The retreat has been a great tool for this Lenten season. When I get paid, I plan on making a donation. God Bless!

Thank you for your work, especially your show!

I am Indonesian now living in China. I just start listen to your podcast. Please subscribe me to the mailing list as u mentioned in your podcasts. Thank you for all what you do. God bless u.

My negative comment was going to be “I just listened to your show on root sins and realized that I’m a horrible person!” but maybe it could be a positive instead, so let me try again: I just listened to your show on root sins, and I’m going to take all that to my next confession and hopefully dig up some of the smaller rocks (to use the analogy of the farmer moving rocks so he could sow the soil). Really, that was a tough show. I had a suspicion about my root sin but when I found myself tearfully saying “yes, yes, yes” to every single question in that category, I knew it for sure. I have had a hard time making a clear examination of conscience and lately I have felt like there is a hard shell around my innermost sins and I can’t quite get to them. (I do hope that makes sense, it’s hard to put into words.) If I could just break through that hard shell – caused by ignorance of my root sin and the snares I’ve fallen into because of it – I could make a very clear examination of conscience and a great confession. I rarely leave the confessional with that “whew, what a load off” feeling that I used to get and maybe now I know why. I know you said that show would be difficult, but maybe I didn’t completely believe you! It really was rough, but I am extremely grateful that I heard it, and even more grateful that I can listen to it again if I need to in order to help it really sink in. I added the book you were using to my Amazon wish list. I need to set up my keyboard so when I push a single button, it will type out “thanks again for a great show,” because I think I might be saying it a lot more! :-)

I just want to say, thank you once again for your show. Although today’s show was painful not because I didn’t know I am a sinner but because it breaks my heart to know that I have failed him who I profess to love above all, so much. Please keep me in your prayers as I struggle each day to ignore the devil and open my heart more and more to the Lord (I feel the devil has really been on my tail lately for some reason).

Your show on Day 7 was fascinating. I have heard a lot about finding your predominate fault, or as I’ve heard it called, your “root sin,” and I honestly couldn’t figure out if it was a real Catholic thing or if it was just another thing to be scrupulous about. The way you described it FINALLY made it click for me after learning about it last year. Thank you!

Pretty powerful, isn’t it? I’d like to thank all of you for participating in this effort. Hang in there, because the best is yet to come! This week we’ve started to look at how to conquer our bad habits. If you haven’t joined in yet, it’s still not too late. Just tune in to Following The Truth on BlogTalkRadio at 8 PM Eastern to get started. You can also listen to current or previously aired podcasts at your convenience. There’s still time to make this Lent a VERY productive one!

Some Info About Our Lenten Retreat


 

I promised that I would provide those of you who are taking part in the Lenten Retreat with some info so here you are…

Dan Burke’s excellent book, Navigating The Interior Life

Here’s a link to the Examination of Conscience used on Friday’s show:

http://www.catholicparents.org/oxcart/Examination%20of%20Conscience.pdf

The opening theme song for Following The Truth is “Jesus Christ Is Lord” by Renee Bondi. Her website is:

https://www.reneebondi.com/

The Facebook group Lenten Retreat created by our friend Monica can be found at:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/154617231359643/?ref=ts&fref=ts

My Daily Bread (the book that I’m using for the retreat) can be purchased from the following sites. While I have no affiliation with any of these sites, I have personally ordered from each of them and experienced no problems. It’s not necessary that you purchase the book, but you will definitely benefit from it (either now or after the retreat is over).

http://www.ewtnreligiouscatalogue.com/MY+DAILY+BREAD/shop.axd/ProductDetails?x=0&y=0&keywords=my+daily+bread&edp_no=1469

http://www.catholicfreeshipping.com/gensym-152.html

http://www.confraternitypb.org/books.html

Hope this helps!

Give Up Worrying For Lent!


 

Since A Worrier’s Guide To The Bible was released, I’ve been doing a lot of speaking about anxiety. As I visit various parishes, I encounter many people who are worried about a variety of things. And I have to admit that some of their problems are monumental. I have also met several individuals who have serious problems, but who are at peace. What gives? How can some people be peaceful even though storms are raging around them.

In his letter to the church at Corinth, St. Paul touches on the key to achieving this kind of peace. It’s something that he knew about first hand and it enabled him to remain calm and peaceful in the midst of many sufferings:

Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor 4:16-18)

Despite all the suffering that Paul endured, he understood that there was a bigger picture. Looking at that big picture, and not focusing on our problems, can allow us to feel peaceful even though the waves are crashing around us.

So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord. Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Cor 5:6-10)

Mindful of the fact that this life is temporary, St. Paul confidently states that “we walk by faith, not by sight”. Or do we? Whenever we begin to worry about the problems in our lives and lose sight of the fact that our ultimate goal is to reach heaven, we do the opposite of what Paul recommends. So many of us are anxious and miserable precisely because we are not walking by faith. Instead, we are walking by sight. When we do that, we allow the problems we see in our lives to rob us of God’s peace.

So, what’s the answer? As I mention many times in my talks, FAITH is the answer to FEAR! If our faith is strong, our fear will fade away. A strong faith allows us to trust in God and His providence. We know that everything happens for a reason (Romans 8:28) and that everything that happens in our lives can help us to achieve our ultimate destiny – life in heaven! If you’re looking for some Biblical evidence to substantiate my claim, try this on for size:

He got into a boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. (Matthew 8:23-27)

Why were they afraid? Because they had little faith! Despite the fact that we many not want to admit it, fear and faith are at two opposite ends of the spectrum. Given that this is the Year of Faith (as declared by our Holy Father) and that we are entering into the season of Lent, wouldn’t it be great if we could use this holy season to move from FEAR to FAITH? Well, the good news is that we can and I’m going to be doing something on my daily radio show to help us achieve that goal!

Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Feb 13, I’ll be leading a Lenten Retreat which will help us journey from FEAR to FAITH. The theme will be “Purification” (don’t worry…it’s not as bad as it sounds!) and it is designed to help us take our eyes off of earthly attachments and focus on our heavenly destination. In addition to the daily Mass readings, I’ll be using the book My Daily Bread by Fr. Anthony Paone, SJ as the basis for the retreat. Originally written in 1954, this outstanding little book uses Ignatian principles to help free us from our inordinate attachment to “things”. The basic format of the retreat will be as follows:

Week 1 – Conversion (A Thoughtful Look At Human Life)
Week 2 – After Conversion (Facing The Old Routine With A New Spirit)
Week 3 – Temptations (Their Nature and How To Control Them)
Week 4 – Conquering Bad Habits
Week 5 – Self Conquest Through Mortification

As we walk through this Lenten retreat together, we’ll find ourselves concentrating more on the things of heaven and less on the things of earth. As a result, we’ll not only grow closer to the Lord, but we’ll experience a great deal of peace. If you’re interested in participating in the retreat, please
email me
(gary@followingthetruth.com) and put “Lent” in the subject. I’ll send you further directions and let you know how you can listen to my radio show. It will cost you nothing. Why not make a pledge to make this your best Lent ever? Together we can travel the road…

From FEAR To FAITH!