Posted by: matt25 | August 28, 2015

The Struggle To Live With Integrity

I could really beat myself up over this one.  I am sure you probably could too.  After all, when we look in the mirror can we honestly say we are seeing someone who lives constantly as a person of integrity?  Do we always think, speak, and act according to the dictates of our ideals, even when we think nobody can see us or will ever know what we did?   I got to thinking about this when I reading about the life of St. Augustine of Hippo on his memorial today.

An ambitious school-boy of brilliant talents and violent passions, he early lost both his faith and his innocence. He persisted in his irregular life until he was thirty-two. Being then at Milan professing rhetoric, he tells us that the faith of his childhood had regained possession of his intellect, but that he could not as yet resolve to break the chains of evil habit. One day, however, stung to the heart by the account of some sudden conversions, he cried out, “The unlearned rise and storm heaven, and we, with all our learning, for lack of heart lie wallowing here.” He then withdrew into a garden, when a long and terrible conflict ensued. Suddenly a young fresh voice (he knows not whose) breaks in upon his strife with the words, “Take and read;” and he lights upon the passage beginning, “Walk honestly as in the day.” The battle was won.   – Pictorial Life of the Saints, Shea, John Gilmary

While it would be easy to draw some loose comparisons to the trajectory of our young adult lives, that was not what initially drew my attention.  No, what I was drawn to was the “young fresh voice” and “Walk honestly as in the day.”

This was the main point for me.  I thought about how it is impossible to live with true integrity when we try to do it on the merits of our own strengths. It was not Augustine’s brilliant intellect which brought him to live a life of heroic virtue, nor was it an ardent desire to follow a way of life to which he was committed.  It was an act of grace which Jesus spoke about to his apostles:  

24 …“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to pass through [the] eye of [a] needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.” – Mark:10 NABRE

And here:  44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day.”  John:6 NABRE

For me, for Augustine, and for you if you are a Christian, living with integrity is impossible without allowing ourselves to surrender to the promptings of the Father and the guidance of the Holy Spirit which brings us into relationship with the person of Jesus Christ.  When the great gift of that grace is received and embraced it becomes the foundation of everything that we are.

Living with integrity doesn’t mean that we live flawlessly, never stumbling or falling on our journey.  It means that we strive for perfection while knowing we will make mistakes.  It means living as if Jesus is always with us to see everything we say and do, because he does.  It means that when we choose to do something that saddens him, we are sorry and seek to restore our friendship with Jesus as we rely completely upon his mercy.

That reminds me, I have not been to Confession for awhile.  I had better make time for that on my calendar this week.  As a Catholic Christian I am being invited by the Father to restore my relationship with Jesus in this way.

Okay Integrity, let’s do it.


Posted by: matt25 | August 9, 2015

It’s The End of the World!

Gasp!! We must run to our churches and pray! The world is teetering on the brink of extinction, multiple gmail accounts are not functioning. If Google servers are off line… What other explanation is possible? LOL.  
Well it is Sunday so if you are a Christian it is a great day to worship God in community with your church family. If you haven’t been attending, go today. I promise the ceiling won’t fall in because of your attendance. Gmail servers set aside, we don’t know the day or the hour the end will come for each of us. We only have this moment now. We have no guarantee that we will awaken tomorrow; so connect, reconnect, or take a step to heal your relationship with Jesus while it is still today. There is nothing you could possibly have done that is bigger than his love for you. THAT, is a guarantee.  

Posted by: matt25 | July 25, 2015

Do It Now

One morning, after working all night, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, heard Jesus call to them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

Sometimes I hear in my heart that I should do something,  say something,  forgive someone, but my response is less than immediate.   In fact, saddening God, sometimes I even turn away and say no. But, other times I say yes and immediately respond to my heart’s calling.   Those times gladden the Lord.  I am sure of this because of the great joy it invariably brings me.

On this feast of St James,  stop hanging on to the boat you are in.   Listen for God’s calling in your heart and respond completely and immediately with your uncompromising yes!

St James, pray for us.

Posted by: matt25 | July 7, 2015

We Forget To Remember 

Lord, we forget that you are love and life itself, and we are created in your image and likeness.  Grant us the grace of remembering that it is only by losing ourselves in you that we find our most truly authentic being, and burst forth in joy to heal others in forgetfulness.  


For a Greek this is not an issue of potential portfolio impact. It is a gritty reality of life.

Originally posted on The Irate Greek:

These last few days must be the worst I have had the misfortune to live through since I came into this world forty-one years ago, and that’s not because Greece is heading towards total economic collapse. It’s because the small modicum of democracy we had in this country since six months after I was born has collapsed, with no hope of revival in the immediate future.

There’s a tragic irony to the fact that the nail in the coffin of democracy came from what should have been the ultimate democratic act: a call for a referendum. Of course, a referendum announced at nine days’ notice about an offer that doesn’t stand is a farce in and of itself, and when the deputy prime minister states on public television that the announcement was merely a negotiating tool, it only adds insult to injury. But in the wider context, this is only…

View original 1,050 more words

Posted by: matt25 | July 3, 2015

A Little Help Please

St Thomas on this your feast day, pray for us. Intercede with the Lord on our behalf that we may walk by faith and courageously hear and follow with integrity the authentic call that we were created to fulfill.  Ask that we be given abundantly of all that we need to joyfully accept and carry the crosses prepared for us.  Plead that our minds may be opened to understand the guidance offered to us by our angel guardians.   Most of all, beg for us that we may have a heart so in love with Jesus that we see him in, and become his presence to, our world and every living person and creature in it.  Help us to join you and all the saints of heaven when it is our time to come home.

Posted by: matt25 | June 29, 2015

Hard, Harder, Hardest

Although it is a joyful neccessity, sometimes I find it hard to spend time in prayer as I want and ought.

It is then, when I need most to pray.  It is then when I need to pray the hardest.


O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.  Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.  So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.  Psalm 63:1-4

Posted by: matt25 | June 19, 2015

Do what you do with integrity and excell

Do what you do with integrity and excellence.

Posted by: matt25 | June 19, 2015

I Invite You To Nine With Me

Will you join me?  That is not a typo in the title.  I have decided that my response the tragic shooting in Charlston which has devastated the family of Emanuel A.M.E. [African Methodist Episcopal] Church will be the number nine for the nine new martyrs of charity who were killed as they opened their hearts and shared their faith with their killer.

Please join me and do one or more of the following:

  1. Pray 9 times today for the families of all involved for healing and forgivness.
  2. Pray for 9 days for peace and for an end to racial and religious violence.
  3. Give $9 to support the families of the victims.  Information on how at this link.
  4. Talk to 9 people about your faith and whether you would be able to keep it in the face of death.
  5. Share 9 times that the only appropriate response to hatred is love.
  6. Invite 9 people to join you in a scripture study or to come to church with you.
  7. Perform 9 random acts of mercy.
  8. Call 9 people to tell them that you love them.  If you are estranged from one, call them first.
  9. Make a list of 9 people who have done you wrong, pray for them, forgive them, and burn the list.

Mourners Ashley Edge (L) and Brad Hutchinson hold one another outside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina (REUTERS)

Posted by: matt25 | June 15, 2015

Temporal Perspective

Time flies when you are having fun!  A watched pot never boils.  The days drag, but the years fly.  We have all kinds of sayings to deal with the passage of time but they all seem to be joined to our perception rather than time itself.  That makes complete sense to me as a parent.  After all, a couple of hours with a colicky baby is an incredibly long time yet that same child’s entire time of being raised passed so quickly when remembered by their parents who are now grandparents.  

No matter what your current perspective on time may be, remember to fill your minutes with love in order to build a life of joy.

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