Holy Communion

February 17, 2018

The Challenge of Being in a Service Business

Last month, on January 21, 2018, I celebrated the 35th anniversary of the opening my law practice. I graduated from law school in May 1982, and received my license to practice law in November 1982. Two months later, on January 21, 1983, I rented an office from an established Peoria attorney.

Nine years later (1992), I hired my first associate attorney. At that time, I was 35 years old. The attorney that I hired was 10 years younger than me, and had just graduated from law school.

At the time that I hired the attorney, I had an office manager, two full-time secretaries, a full-time receptionist, and a part-time secretary. Hiring an attorney was a big step for me, and I didn’t feel as though I knew enough about running a business to continue to move forward without some assistance.

The same year that I hired the attorney, I signed a contract with Gerber Business Development Corporation to provide me with coaching on how to properly run and grow my business. I had committed to paying the attorney a large salary and I didn’t want to make any catastrophic mistakes in managing and growing my law firm.

I found out about the Gerber company when I read a book that was written by its founder, Michael Gerber. The title of the book was, The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. What Gerber said in his book about small businesses in America hit a raw nerve with me.

I had previously represented several business clients who had done well for a while and then, for one reason or another, had made mistakes that caused their businesses to fail. I had also handled several bankruptcies for individuals who had failed in their own businesses. Many of the businessmen that Gerber wrote about in his book reminded me of my own clients and their failure to succeed in their businesses.

February 10, 2018

The Death of a Special Christ-Like Priest

Georgette and I met on August 4, 1978, when we were both 21 years old. We were married in June 1980, while I was on break from law school. Ten months later, in March 1981, we had our first child, Harry. I graduated from law school in May of the following year.

We moved back to Peoria during the summer of 1982. At that time, Georgette was pregnant with our second child, Anna. I started my law practice in January 1983, and Anna was born the following month. We had our third child, Maria, 13 months later, in March 1984. When Maria was born, I was 26 years old.

It was during this period of time that my mom and my sister Colleen started commenting about how I had become too serious and I needed to lighten up. Colleen is a year and a half younger than me, and of my eight sisters, she was the one I was closest to while we were growing up.

When my mom and sister told me that I had become too serious, I hadn’t realized that my behavior had changed from the young, carefree guy who liked to have a good time and tease other people to an older guy who felt overwhelmed by the burdens of life.

But I wasn’t bothered by their comments about my being too serious. To me, that was what responsible adults did — they grew up and did their best to care for and support their families. In some respects, my mom and my sister were correct. My newfound responsibilities made me feel overwhelmed. At times, I felt as though I was doing well just to keep my head above water. Georgette and I had three babies in three years — Maria was born on Harry’s third birthday — and I was doing my best to support my family while managing my law practice.

Now, more than 30 years later, Georgette and I have 13 grandchildren, with three more on the way. I’m still serious, but I’m having more fun now than I’ve had in years. I’ve given myself permission to lighten up and revert to my childhood when I’m around my grandchildren. Their parents sometimes get irritated with me because they think I get their children riled up too much. But that’s OK with me, because I’m finally able to do what my mom and my sister wanted me to do all those years ago.

February 3, 2018

A Dream & The Greatest Showman

I recently joined my wife and some of our children at a local theater to see the movie, The Greatest Showman. The movie is a musical about the life of P.T. Barnum. It begins when Barnum is a boy. He is the son of a poor tailor who does work for a wealthy man. The man looks down on Barnum and his father, because of their lower-class status.

Barnum is a fun-loving boy who is infatuated with the wealthy man’s daughter. The man knows that Barnum likes his daughter and makes it clear to Barnum that he’ll never be good enough for her. After that, the daughter is sent to finishing school for several years. While she is away at school, she and Barnum continue to keep in contact by writing letters to each other.

Years later, when the daughter returns home from school, she is reunited with Barnum. They end up getting married and starting a family. After borrowing money from a local bank, Barnum buys an old museum building in downtown Manhattan. He then sets up Barnum’s American Museum, which showcases wax figures.

After struggling to make his new business work, Barnum’s children tell him that instead of featuring wax figures, he needs to have characters who are “alive.” Barnum likes the idea and begins searching for and hiring “freaks” to serve as performers. As he is rounding up his new cast of characters, Barnum sings the unique and mesmerizing song, Come Alive.

As Barnum’s new show gains popularity in New York, a reporter for the New York Herald is highly critical of Barnum and his “freak show.” The reporter’s columns about Barnum and his show stir up trouble among certain people in the community, including the upper-class members of the community.

To enhance his reputation with the upper-class, Barnum convinces Philip Carlisle, a local playwright from a wealthy family, to join him in his business. To raise Barnum’s status, Carlisle arranges a trip to Europe for Barnum and his cast of characters to meet Queen Victoria.

January 27, 2018

Why is That Church in a Music Video?

I’ve written before about how I was involved in music during my high school and college years. When I was a senior in high school, I formed a barbershop quartet with three of my friends. I did the same thing in college. While my high school quartet had a limited number of performances, my college quartet performed at several community functions and events.

I’ve always been a big fan of quartets and other a cappella groups. One of the groups that I currently pay attention to is Home Free, an American a cappella singing group that consists of five young men. Home Free got its big break in 2013, when it won a competition on the NBC television show, The Sing-Off. The grand prize that year was $100,000, plus a recording contract with Sony.

Last month, Home Free performed at the Peoria Civic Center. Georgette and I attended the show with some friends. My favorite Home Free song is How Great Thou Art. The music video of the song is posted on YouTube. The video has generated more than 13 million views.

In the video, the group is standing on a hill that is surrounded by several hundred acres of land. The scenery in the background includes cascading slopes and mountains. The beautiful harmony of the group is matched by the gorgeous land that surrounds them. The only building in the video is a small country church, which shows up in a field near the end of the video.

I have the video saved on an iPad that sits on a stand on my bathroom counter. Ordinarily, when I’m in the bathroom in the morning getting ready for work, I use the iPad to play educational, self-improvement, or religious recordings. In the evening while I’m getting ready for bed, I usually use the iPad to listen to music.

My son, Harry, and his wife Kathryn live about five minutes away from where my wife and I live. Because they live so close to us, they’re able to stop by our house to visit on a regular basis. Whenever they stop by for a visit, their two oldest sons, Harry and Liam, immediately start looking around the house for me. Harry is 5 years old and Liam is 3 years old.

January 20, 2018

Why Is It So Hard To Practice Patience?

It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while, I complain directly to God about something that’s bothering me. Last week, my frustration with an ongoing issue finally got to the point that one of my thoughts went up to God in the form of a question: Why can’t you just have an angel appear to me in a dream and tell me what to do? I’m tired of playing these cat and mouse games where I’m always struggling to try to figure out what I should do.

Of course, I immediately felt guilty about addressing God in this manner. Who did I think I was? A prophet? King Solomon? Saint Joseph?

But I get extremely frustrated at times, because while I want to do the right thing, I often feel as though I need specific direction from God. Although I’ve always been good at solving problems, I don’t like it when I have to wait on God to reveal pieces of the puzzle that are needed to solve the problem I’m struggling with.

I’m convinced that one of the primary reasons God operates this way is to teach me the virtues of humility and patience. If He sent an angel to tell me how to solve my problems, I wouldn’t need to learn and practice humility and patience. I would simply wait for instructions from the angel and then take credit for being a special child of God.

Most of us fail to realize that in order to really be humble, we must first suffer humiliations. And we must accept whatever humiliations that come our way with love and gratitude. While humility is the most important of all virtues, the virtue of patience has to be among the top five virtues. Why? Because it’s so difficult to put into practice.

Last week, I wrote about the three grades of patience, which are, to bear difficulties without interior complaint, to use hardships to make progress in virtue, and to desire the cross and afflictions out of love for God and accept them with spiritual joy. It would be impossible to put the three grades of patience into practice if we were to try to do it without God’s assistance.

January 13, 2018

The Difficulties That Arise After Years of Marriage

Last week, I wrote about a couple who was having financial problems because of the husband’s inability to work. Here’s what I wrote at the end of the article:
I’ve been a lawyer for more than 35 years. I’ve dealt with hundreds of couples who, after years of marriage, are facing an unexpected crisis. You would think that after being married for 20 or more years, married couples would be more patient and forgiving of each other than they were when they were newly married. But that’s usually not the case. The fact that they’ve spent years together seems to somehow inhibit their ability to practice real patience and forgiveness toward each other.

Instead of being patient and forgiving, they’re extremely frustrated and angry with each other. Why?

When couples get married, there’s always great hope for the future. With that hope comes the expectation that they will be able to work out all their problems. There is also an expectation that they will someday be able to overcome whatever bad habits or deficiencies they have.

Unfortunately, as each year passes, nothing really changes. Husbands and wives stop making the effort that is required to please each other. It’s almost as if they’ve been through too much together. They’re worn out and exhausted. They’ve run out of patience.

I’ve written before about a saying that is common in the business world: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” This saying stands for the proposition that the more familiar you are with a person, the more contemptible that person becomes.

Over time, as people in the business world become more familiar with each other, their defects and weaknesses become more evident. They are exposed to and become tired of each other’s excuses, bad habits, broken promises, lack of respect, mood swings, angry outbursts, and lack of appreciation. Before long, their patience wears thin, and the slightest infraction causes them to treat each other with contempt.

January 6, 2018

Something Married Couples Face After Years of Marriage

Last week, I had an appointment with a man — I’ll call him Jim — who hired me eight months ago to represent him on a personal injury case. As usual, Jim brought his wife with him to the appointment. I’ve met with Jim and his wife on four occasions over the past eight months. Jim was injured when a large truck disregarded a stop sign and collided with his vehicle in the middle of an intersection. Because of his injuries, Jim has not been able to return to work. He’s been without an income for eight months.

Jim and his wife are in their late 30s. He’s a skilled tradesman who has been a member of a trade union for more than 20 years. Jim has never had any problem finding work, primarily because he is willing to travel to other states to work, when necessary. Since the accident, Jim’s financial situation has become progressively worse. He has had to borrow money to support his wife and children, and he also recently cashed in part of his retirement, so he could keep up with his bills.

Prior to the accident, Jim’s wife did not work outside the home. A few months after the accident, she felt that she had no other choice but to get a job, so she applied for and secured a job at a local business.

Each of the times I’ve met with Jim, he’s been upbeat and happy. He’s an intelligent, good-natured person who likes to talk and tell stories. His wife has come to all his appointments and has always been courteous and friendly — until last week.

Last week, when I entered the conference room to meet with them, Jim was the same as he’s always been, but his wife was quiet and had an angry look on her face. Her demeanor indicated to me that she and Jim either argued on the way to my office, or she was fed up with his situation.

I talked to Jim about his condition and he indicated to me that he was still receiving physical therapy three times a week. He said that he probably wasn’t going to be able to return to work for at least another 10 to 12 months. He told me that before the accident, he worked at the same trade for 20 years.

December 30, 2017

What Did Mary Really Know?

Every year during the Christmas Season, there are articles published that are critical of the song, Mary Did You Know. As expected, in early December, Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ, published an article with the title, “The Problem With ‘Mary Did You Know.’” In the article, Fr. McTeigue criticized the following lyrics: “Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new? This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.”

Fr. McTeigue’s complaint was that the lyrics imply that Mary was a sinner who needed to be delivered from her sins. This is contrary to Catholic doctrine which states that Mary was preserved free from all stain of original sin from the moment of her immaculate conception, which allowed her to be a pure vessel in which the Son of God could be conceived and born without ever having come into contact with sin.

Another article that was published before Christmas stated that the song implies that Mary was not fully aware that she was the mother of God. The article went on to say that anyone who is familiar with the Bible knows that Mary possessed knowledge that she was the Mother of God, not only because of the Angel Gabriel’s announcement (Luke 1:26-56), but also because of her “song of praise” — known as “The Magnificat” — which indicated that she was aware of her role in the salvation of mankind. Here are the first two sentences of the Magnificat:

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his handmaid. For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; for he who is mighty, has done great things for me and holy is his name. (Luke 1:46-49)

Whenever I read anything about the life of Mary, I think about a book that I read in the early 1980s, while I was in law school. The title of the book was, The Life of The Blessed Virgin Mary. The content for the book was taken from the recorded visions of the well-known 19th-century Catholic mystic, Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774 – 1824).

December 2, 2017

Disney World, Casinos, and Advent

If you’ve ever been to Disney World, you may have noticed that all the rides have one thing in common. At the end of each ride, there is no way for you to immediately get back into the open, where you’re allowed to roam around and look for another ride. Before you can do that, you have to walk through a gift shop. The end of each ride is set up so that you are forced to exit into a gift shop.

Disney does a masterful job of controlling the flow of its customers, who are forced to walk past merchandise that is related to the ride they exited from. At every opportunity, Disney tempts and entices its customers to purchase items for themselves and their loved ones. Of all the businesses in the world, Disney is the best at extracting large amounts of money from people.

But Disney isn’t the only company that has the money game figured out. If you’ve ever been in a casino, you know that if you have to go to the restroom, there’s no easy way to get there. Instead of taking a direct route to the restroom, you have no other choice but to walk through a maze of slot machines, video poker machines, and other gaming devices.

Like Disney, the casino owners know that people can be tempted to take part in one more money-extracting event before proceeding to their final destination.

It’s no secret that people can easily be distracted and their attention diverted so they can engage in an activity that they believe will be more enjoyable and pleasurable than what they are doing at the moment.

Some of the highest paid professionals in the United States are the men and women who write advertisements and sales letters for the top companies in the world. These professionals are called “copywriters” and they are experts on human nature and the psychology behind why people buy.

With one compelling headline and sub-headline, a good copywriter can figuratively grab people by the collar and pull them into an advertisement or sales letter and then convince them to buy a product or a service that they may not actually need.

November 18, 2017

Thank God I’m a Catholic Boy

In March 1975, during my senior year in high school, country music singer John Denver released a new single record with the song, Thank God I’m a Country Boy. That year, only six songs made it to the top of both the Billboard Hot Country Singles Charts and the Billboard Hot 100.

At that time, the Billboard Hot 100 included the week’s most popular songs across all genres. Rankings were based on record sales, radio airplay, and jukebox activity.

To this day, whenever I hear Thank God I’m a Country Boy, my spirits are lifted and I feel grateful for what I have.

There’s a video on YouTube of a 1977 TV special, where John Denver performed the song with a backup group that was made up of three additional great country music performers: Johnny Cash, playing the guitar; Roger Miller, playing the fiddle; and Glen Campbell, playing the banjo.

In the area below the YouTube video is a comment from one of Denver’s fans: “I wish I had a time machine, so I could go back and be there.” Most people who were teenagers during the 1970s (including me) would love to go back and “be there” for a performance of their favorite musician.

Denver’s Thank God I’m a Country Boy came to my mind last week when I realized that Thanksgiving Day was right around the corner.

While it’s good that we have a day set aside each year to reflect and be thankful for everything that we have, one day a year is not enough. Unfortunately, most of us are so busy that it’s easy to go several days without consciously giving thanks for what we have.

If you’re familiar with Thank God I’m a Country Boy, you’ll recognize a refrain that’s repeated throughout the song:

Well, I got me a fine wife, I got me old fiddle
When the sun’s comin’ up I got cakes on the griddle
Life ain’t nothin’ but a funny, funny riddle
Thank God I’m a country boy

October 14, 2017

Wild Fires, Calamities, and Climate Change

If you pay attention to the news, you know about the wildfires in California. I’m writing this article on Friday, October 13, 2017. There are currently several fires that are burning out of control in California. Firefighters have not been able to contain any of the fires. So far, more than 5,700 buildings have been destroyed and 34 people have died as a result of the fires.

Thousands of homes are still in danger of being burned to the ground. The path of the fires is completely unpredictable because no one knows how strong the winds are going to get or when the winds will shift course. One of my older brothers, Mike, lives with his wife in Santa Rosa, California, which is one of the cities that was hit by the wildfires. While several areas that surround my brother’s neighborhood were destroyed by fire, his neighborhood was spared. Unfortunately, there’s still a chance that the fire will come roaring back into his neighborhood. I would appreciate it if you would say a prayer that everything will go well for my brother, his wife, and their property.

The wildfires in California came only a month after Hurricane Irma left a devastating path of destruction in the Caribbean, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. In addition to the widespread destruction that was caused by Hurricane Irma, there were 134 deaths, most of which occurred in the United States. A month before Hurricane Irma arrived, hurricane Harvey barreled through Texas causing extensive property damage, flooding, and 77 confirmed deaths.

Of course, each time one of these devastating natural disasters occurs, we are lectured by Hollywood celebrities, the talking heads in the media, and various “experts” from around the world that the disasters are being caused by climate change. We are then told that we should listen to these so-called experts, so they can tell us what needs to be done to eliminate future catastrophic events.

September 17, 2016

Can God’s Grace Be “Banked”?

bank-accountLast month, I made a telephone call to a man I’ve known for more than 20 years. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to call him “Luke.” I hadn’t seen Luke for several months. I had been accustomed to seeing him at least once a week in the adoration chapel, then he stopped showing up.

After Luke stopped coming to the chapel, I asked another person who knows him what happened to him. The person told me that he had heard that a priest at Luke’s church had said something that humiliated Luke in front of some other people. After that, Luke stopped going to church. He also stopped going to the adoration chapel. In case you’re curious, the priest who made the comment was not associated with Saint Philomena Church, where I’m a member.

I had planned on calling Luke a couple of months ago, but I didn’t get around to it until Monday, August 15, the feast day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven. Every year on August 15, I renew my consecration to the Blessed Mother. I made my first consecration on August 15, 1985, and have renewed it every year since then.

I learned how to make the consecration by reading Saint Louis de Montfort’s book, True Devotion to Mary. One of the guidelines that Saint Louis de Montfort has for individuals who renew their consecration each year is to perform a spiritual or corporal work of mercy on the day of the consecration.

On the day of my renewal, I thought about Luke. When I called him, he didn’t answer. I left a message for him to call me. He tried calling me back, but we weren’t able to match up until later in the week. When I finally reached him, I asked him why he was no longer going to the chapel. He said that he had developed a new devotion to Saint Sharbel.

I’m familiar with Saint Sharbel because I used to be a member of Saint Sharbel Catholic Church in Peoria. Saint Sharbel was born in Lebanon and later became a Maronite Catholic monk and priest. He died on December 24, 1898. For 23 years prior to his death, he lived as a solitary hermit.

August 27, 2016

From Fat Man To Body Builder

Pat Brocco

Before and After Pictures of Pat Brocco

Earlier this month, there was a story on the internet about an Arizona man who had lost 335 pounds. His name is Pasquale “Pat” Brocco, and he’s 31 years old. His nickname used to be “Fat Pat.”

Three years ago, Pat was warned by his doctor that because of health-related problems associated with his obese condition, there was a strong likelihood that he was going to die in his sleep at an early age.

After meeting with his doctor, Pat went home, put on a pair of shorts, and took a side view picture of himself in the mirror. At that time, he weighed 605 pounds.

Pat commented on the picture during a recent interview with an ABC News reporter. He told the reporter that when he took the picture, he was disgusted with himself. His stomach was down to his thighs, and his chest was down to the top of his stomach.

After Pat took the picture of himself in the mirror, he threw out all his food and made a commitment to himself that he was going to walk to the local Walmart, and then back home, every time he wanted to eat something. The Walmart was a mile away, so every time he wanted to eat, he had to walk two miles, which meant that he began walking at least six miles every day.

Over time, Pat modified his diet. He said that he came to the conclusion that he needed to stop eating dairy products. After that, he started losing weight. He eventually added vegetables, meats, sweet potatoes, and steel-cut oatmeal to his diet.

After Pat lost about 200 pounds, he began working out at a local gym. Instead of walking to Walmart, he walked on a treadmill and lifted weights.

Now, three years later, he is 335 pounds lighter and weighs 270 pounds. When he began walking, he looked like a whale. Now he looks like a bodybuilder.

Because he lost so much weight, Pat ended up with about 30 pounds of excess skin. The extra skin was recently removed by a plastic surgeon, which reduced his weight even further.

July 30, 2016

An Epidemic of Obesity

Fat PeopleLast month, the Journal of the American Medical Association published two studies that showed that the obesity problem in America is getting worse. The first study focused on American adults and the second study focused on American children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 19.

The results of the adult study were that 40% of American women are obese, a 5% increase over the past 10 years. The study also concluded that the rate of obesity among American men is 35%, a rate that has remained consistent over the past 10 years.

The children and adolescents study concluded that 17% of young Americans are obese, and nearly 6% are extremely obese. While the obesity rates among teenagers have increased slightly, the rates among young children were about the same as previous studies.

Why do so many Americans have weight problems? Neither one of the studies provided any theories as to why obesity among Americans is so high.

If you Google “number of diets,” the first link on the search-results page is to a Wikipedia page with the title “List of Diets.” The list includes more than 100 versions of vegetarian diets, low-calorie diets, low-carbohydrate diets, low-fat diets, crash diets, detox diets, belief-based diets, medical-reason diets, and an “other diets” category that includes numerous additional diets.

According to a 20/20 ABC News report from a few years ago, the annual revenue of the U.S. weight-loss industry — which includes diet books, diet drugs, and weight-loss surgeries — is more than $20 billion. At any given time, there are 108 million people in the United States who are on diets. The majority of dieters make four to five attempts each year.

One revealing fact that was disclosed in the ABC News report was that people who lose and keep off at least 30 pounds of excess weight for five years or longer, spend a minimum of one hour each day on exercise. Another interesting fact was that the average amount of money paid to celebrity endorsers of major weight-loss products ranges from $500,000 to $3 million.

May 21, 2016

Food From The Angels

Angel Food CakeHave you ever wondered who came up with the name “Angel Food Cake”? I was curious about it, so I did some research. While you would think that an advertising and marketing genius came up with the name, it appears as though it was a woman who was baking a cake in her kitchen who thought of the name.

The first known recipe for Angel Food Cake was a recipe for “Amanda’s Angel Food Cake” which was included in the Pennsylvania Dutch Cook Book of Time Old Recipes, Culinary Arts Press, in 1936.

In his book, American Food: The Gastronomic Story, Evan Jones speculated that “angel cakes may have evolved as the result of numerous egg whites left over after the making of noodles, and may or may not be the brainchild of thrifty Pennsylvania cooks who considered it sinful to waste anything.”

What if an angel were to appear in your kitchen and teach you what you should eat and how you should prepare your food? Wouldn’t that be great? Then we wouldn’t have to rely on the government to tell us what we should and should not eat.

What if that same angel appeared to you and taught you the best way to pray to God?

While there is no record of an angel ever appearing in someone’s kitchen to teach them how to cook, there were three occasions 100 years ago when an Angel of God appeared to three young children and taught them how to pray.

The Angel’s appearances occurred in 1916, the year before the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to the same three young children in Fatima, Portugal. The purpose of the Angel’s appearances was to teach them how to pray so they would be prepared for the apparitions of the Mother of God that occurred in 1917.

Traditionally, we Catholics are accustomed to reciting four types of prayers:

  1. Adoration – prayer that praises and adores God.
  2. Contrition – prayer that asks God for forgiveness.
  3. Petition – prayer that asks God for a favor.
  4. Thanksgiving – prayer that shows gratitude to God for what He has done.

There is a fifth type of prayer that we don’t hear much about — Reparation — which is prayer that makes amends for the sins of others.

December 26, 2015

A Thief in the Church

ThiefDuring the week, I do my best to attend Mass every day. Because Sacred Heart Church is only three blocks from my office, I usually end up walking there for the midday Mass, which starts at 12:05 p.m. Ordinarily there are 30 to 50 people who attend that particular Mass. About half of the people work downtown and the other half are people who are either retired or do not have a job that keeps them from driving downtown to attend the Mass.

About eight years ago, something very unusual happened while I was at Mass at Sacred Heart. After I got in line to walk up the center aisle to receive Holy Communion, I looked ahead to the front of the line and saw a man who received Holy Communion in his hand and then walked away without putting the Consecrated Host in his mouth. The man looked like he was in his 50s.

I watched the man walk back to where he had been sitting. I waited for him to put the Host in his mouth, but he knelt down with the Host still in his hand. The pew that he was sitting in was about ten rows back from the front of the church.

As I moved forward in the communion line, I watched to see if he was going to put the Host in his mouth. He kept his head facing down as though he was praying. When I passed him, I looked to see where his hands were. They were clenched together and resting on his lap.

I stepped into the pew directly in front of the man and sat down. I turned around to the left and placed my elbow on the back of the pew I was sitting in, next to the man’s face. I looked at him and when his eyes caught my eyes, I said, “Do you plan on consuming that Host?” He was startled by my question and responded, “What?” I asked again, “Do you plan on consuming the Host that you’re holding in your hand?”

The man looked as though he was stunned by my question. After hesitating, he replied, “Yes.” I immediately followed up by saying, “Okay, that’s good. I’m going to sit here and watch you until you place the Host in your mouth.” He looked at me, looked down at his hands, looked at me again, and then shoved the Host into his mouth. When I saw that he was chewing the Host, I said, “Thank you.” He replied in a sarcastic tone of voice, “You’re welcome.”

September 19, 2015

A Perfect Line of Communication

Lines of CommunicationLast week I wrote about what motivates me to write a religious article every week. After providing the definition of the word “motivate” — “to provide a reason for doing something” — I listed several reasons why I continue to write every week. After listing my reasons, I wrote:

In addition to my own personal reasons for writing, there’s another motivating force that is invisible to me and others.   It’s a force that I am unable to explain or understand. It’s the same force that transforms sinners into saints.

The force I’m referring to is the Holy Spirit who acts to motivate devout Catholics who are willing and eager to go above and beyond what the church requires of them.


But He won’t act unless and until we open up a special line of communication with Him. What is the most efficient and effective line of communication that we can establish with the Holy Spirit?

Can you think of the best way to get a message through to the Holy Spirit?

Last year, I received a letter and a large package of materials in the mail from a man I haven’t seen or talked to for more than 15 years. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to call him “Bret.”

I met Bret during the 1980s when he worked for the Diocese of Peoria. When we met, he was in his 20s and was married. Shortly after we met, Bret and his wife had their first child. A year later they had a second child. Then their marriage fell apart and they subsequently divorced. After the divorce, Bret’s wife moved to another state so she could be closer to her parents. Within a year of his ex-wife moving, Bret moved to where she was living so he could be near his children.

Prior to the divorce, Bret told me that he was addicted to pornography. That was one of the factors that contributed to the break up with his wife. After Bret moved, I didn’t hear from him again until last year when his letter and package arrived at my office.