Monday, January 13, 2014

Dear Catholic Sisters - Your Prayers Can Turn Everything Around.

At the beginning of August of 2011, I lost my job. Not long after that, I read an article on the Catholic Match dating website blog by Jessica Zimanske titled, “Study: 75% of women would not marry a jobless boyfriend.” It was hard to read, being freshly unemployed, so I started to dismantle my profile and delete my photo, but something couldn't bring me to finish. 

I quickly found another part-time job to scrape by on and joined the ranks of the underemployed. So much of our identity is wrapped up in our work, and a man feels the responsibility before God to provide for his future family. That's not a little pressure. Every day, I find myself surrounded by women whose values don't reflect those of my Catholic faith. Being around women who swear like sailors and are unconcerned about their purity or the state of their soul continues to drive me to Catholic Match to find someone more like-minded. 

However, it has become painful for me to see so many beautiful Catholic women on the site while I feel paralyzed and unable to communicate with them. I feel like a prisoner trapped behind a wall of underemployment. I feel so powerless. 

In this prison, the advantage is that I have a new understanding of and appreciation about Catholic women as I view their profiles. Their beauty and faith, their prayer and modesty, their grace and desire for natural family planning, their desire to save souls, their intelligence and compassion, their soft voice, their whole selves. This is so precious to me. A Catholic woman is that rare jewel or diamond you find in the sand that you didn't expect. They're worth more than words can say, because they're the fullness of woman. 

Every day, I scanned through profiles on Catholic Match and added women I felt most interested in to my favorites list. I longed to protect one of these Catholic women and to gaze into her eyes. I wanted to see her beyond the image on a screen, or to know her beyond an online profile. I desired to touch her hand and console her, to dance with her and bare my soul to her. I wished I could write her notes and letters about how I felt about her. I wanted for her to be safe, secure and happy. But is all this just a dream? What is real is my aching heart that longs for her.

As I continue my job search through every hour, every day, and every week that passes; I must endure every closed door, rejected phone call and letter. I recite countless novenas and pleas to God, but to no avail. For some mystery, God doesn't give the green light, and He doesn't open the door. He holds me in my place, but the desire in my heart remains, so I can’t leave Catholic Match fully. 

Fasting from her is the only true fast, for no amount of cold or heat, no foul weather nor can lack of sleep keep me from a chance to love her. I don't know the will of God tomorrow and I don't have much except a ton of hope. I wonder if hope will finally break through the wall that keeps me from her. 

Fire proves true worth, and passing through the burning is for a reason, but still I wonder if I will ever come out of the burning. Will I ever see the water again?
Then, as the morning light dawns, I find an emotigram sent from a beautiful female member of Catholic Match. I renew membership and my strength is renewed. She doesn't reject me because of my employment status. We become friends.  

If you're a Catholic woman and alone and suffering, know that your devotion is not un-noticed, that you're not un-loved. You're more than worth the burning and I bow to you. I truly honor you. I thank God He made you. In the walls of this prison, I have learned truly what you are, and what you are is truly God's masterpiece. I didn't know that outside these walls. In here, apart from you, it is forever burned in my heart. 

Although we may have to wait for that job, Catholic Match members can continue to make friends on the site until God gives the green light. I'm glad I didn't leave Catholic Match fully, for the friend I made accepts me as I am now, and not for what I can become, and that was what I needed most. 

Please dear Catholic sisters, pray for us to find stable employment so we can court you and no longer be inhibited from pursuing and loving you. Your prayers can turn everything around.

Last Day of Religious Life, Now What?

It was around 8:00 pm and my last night at the Monastery. I knew I had gone as far as I could in the religious life and I decided it was time to leave. I had everything packed. Our Major Superior was gone overseas for a few weeks so the Father in charge announced to the brothers after evening prayer that I would be leaving tomorrow. He let me say goodbye to each one. I was in a small visitor’s room as one by one each brother came in to say goodbye. Some seemed shocked and confused, others angry, which made me feel like I was some kind of traitor, and still one brother happy oddly enough. Maybe I was too rough with him at sports I thought?  
 
My brother and nephew finally arrived after a 10 hour drive to pick me up. My Superior had told me previously that I was on my own in getting back home. The community would not help me. I was grateful my bro came for me. It would have been a long, cold, hike back in the middle of December. 
 
The next morning around 6:00 am before silent prayer I left my cell for the last time. I met my brother and nephew in the back of the Monastery near the kitchen where his truck was parked.  
 
I was also told to meet in the back without my habit so the novices wouldn’t see me or be scandalized. It made me feel like a criminal. I followed orders and put my luggage in the back of my brother’s truck. The Father came and said one last thing to me as I left that I will never forget, he said, “I hope you get to Heaven.”  
 
It was a bizarre time in my life. Like living a dream or being a character in some strange movie.  
 
As we headed past endless corn fields I doubted I would ever return to that place that had been my home for the last two years. For over a year I had been wearing the habit and going by a religious name. It was an adjustment to be wearing blue jeans and being called by my real name again. 
 
As we cruised along the highway, I saw a billboard with our newly elected President Obama on it. When I had entered religious life in 2007 things were good, the economy was fine, jobs were plentiful, but now in “09,I saw how much the world had changed since I left it. For two years no TV, internet, phone calls, or newspapers. Seeing Obama’s face on the billboard made me feel like we were traveling through some foreign occupied country at war. There was no sun that day, just overcast gloom, like how I felt inside. 
 
We stopped to eat at an Arby’s. People looked anxious to me. So many unhappy faces. My brother told me of the many long lines in front of Subways and other fast food places were common as many people hoped for any kind of work. In this part of the country, jobs had become real scarce since the housing market crashed the previous year. 
 
I was going back to a place where there wasn’t much work. Many in my family were either laid off or looking for work. When we finally arrived home there was snow everywhere. There were some changes to the city. A new bank I noticed. I can’t say that I was thrilled to be back. What are they going to think of me at Church without the habit I wondered 
 
I had no car. I gave away a lot of my stuff. I had no plan. My post religious life began that day and continues. Waiting for restoration. Trying for a comeback. In between the religious life and the world is not easy. I truly felt like an exile, forsaken. I came across a devotional prayer book to Our Lady of Sorrows during Christmas. She and Joseph were exiles around this time many centuries ago. Did they have a plan? Did anyone support them? Weren’t they forsaken as well? 
 
Within the prayer book I found a litany to Our Lady of Sorrows. She had the title “Protectress of the Forsaken.” I took her as my own that night. Although I know God never forsakes us, the world can, so for all those suffering a divorce, a death of a loved one, being without work, or lost after religious life or seminary experiences and back in the tumultuous seas of the world, take Our Lady as your special Protectress. She, who suffered exile like us, can protect forsaken souls struggling in the world as they try to find their way Home. 

Doc Baker On The Age Difference In Dating

Often, singles bump into members of the opposite sex that they’re attracted to, but are either much older or younger than themselves. How big can that age difference be before it is considered taboo? Is seven years acceptable, ten, fifteen? More?

It was during my days as a dishwasher at a casino restaurant, years ago, that led me to seek an answer to this question. I had made many visits to a religious community and was preparing to enter, but before I left, I met a woman who nearly derailed my plans. Carrie was hired to work at the casino’s snack bar. She was a 19 year old blonde bombshell. I was 31.

Carrie’s red lips, and the way the sun was caught in her beautiful hair, infatuated every guy who laid eyes on her, and I was no different. She was outgoing, never had anything negative to say, and had a way of making you feel so good. We talked a lot during downtime and became good friends. Over a short period of time, I began to have strong feelings for her. 

I thought she was too young for me, but everyone else said it was fine. My heart became divided between Carrie and the religious life. I wrestled with the decision for months. Then, one day while I was channel surfing before work, I came across an episode of Little House On The Prairie called, “Doctors Lady.”
It was about a girl named Kate who was in town to visit her aunt, Mrs. Oleson. Kate was around 18 years old, but she fell in love with Doc Baker, of all people, and he with her. As the show progressed, Doc Baker became tortured by the fact that he, a middle-aged man, was in love with a woman several decades younger than himself. He liked being loved by her and knew it was good for him, but he realized it wasn’t good for her.

At the end of the show, good Doc told Kate they couldn’t marry and broke her heart. As she left town on a stage coach, a sad Doc Baker watched from his bedroom window. The show had a huge impact on me. Carrie was an awesome girl, but I felt the same way about her that Doc had felt about Kate. I looked up at the stars one night, saw what was before me, and made my decision. On my last day of work, I saw Carrie and told her I was leaving. She smiled and didn’t seem sad at all; she gave me a hug that melted my heart and felt so good that I asked for another, and then another. As the Beetles’ “Don’t Leave Me Standing Here,” blared in the background, I left that girl happy that she would be fine. I loved her the same way Doc loved Kate, and we both expressed our love by letting go.

So how many years can separate a couple? There really doesn't seem to be a rule except for the one you find within your conscience. Only you can know if a person is right for you or not. Some, you have to let go.

Guys from Christian Dating Sites: The Top 10 Reasons Why She Doesn't Respond to You:

1. She’s not into your career choice: Professional Adventurer.

2. She's not buying into the red-hot Porsche you’re standing in front of in your profile photo when your career description is Sheep Herder.

3. The digitized halo over your head and aura of sanctifying light you photo shopped into your picture is freaking her out.

4. She thinks it’s a stretch that you live in Milwaukee and she lives in Turkmenistan.

5. You say you're a pious Christian boy, yet your body is covered with Mega-Death tattoos.

6. You have given the name and exact number of kids you want, four: - Gino, Tito, Biff, and Rocky.

7. You say you finally got women figured out-after 40 girlfriends.

8. Your profile says you don't drink, yet every scrapbook photo shows you holding a Budweiser.

9. Unfortunately, she likes the Green Bay Packers while you like the awesome Detroit Lions!

10. You have lived through five decades - she only two.

Fellows, if you're not getting results from your profile, keep it real, fly low and under the radar, and never tell women you're a non-committal. There is only one James Bond, one Bear Grylls, and one Jean Claude Van Damme, and none of us are any of them. So be yourself, pray for a miracle, and hope one of these girls is desperate enough to give you a chance.

The White Rose

The white rose is a mystical ring of love,
a symbol of hope that will forever warm your heart.
Even though that flower soon fades,
the petals fall, the stem withers,
the bond of faith between you and your Beloved 
will remain, always and forever. 

When two souls love each either, 
they need fewer and fewer words 
to express their love for one another. 
You know what your Beloved is thinking 
before a single word is spoken. 
You're His song now, His every breath.

Your spouse, you see Him when you close your eyes, 
there you find Him waiting for you, 
His gaze always on you, at every moment. 

The white rose from whence the two have become one.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Her Name was Joan

I wrote this article about a co-worker who suffered the wound of a divorced heart. The link takes you to Catholic Lane - a blog with cool articles on current issues in faith.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Crusade For Life.

On Friday January 25th 2013, I joined over 650,000 anti-abortion protestors in the March for Life in Washington D.C. I had arrived the day before with 150 other pro-lifers on three buses from Upper Michigan. We gathered in the morning despite below freezing temperatures in the Washington mall and listened to one dynamic pro-life speaker after another. Once we started marching, I saw the US Capitol building looming before us and felt something watching us from above its dome where legislation is enacted that either destroys or protects life. That sinister presence watching us, kept me praying, but did not deter us from going forward.

Pilgrims from all over the US left the safety and warmth of their homes to march for life. We endured cold weather and sleepless nights on buses to reach our destination. When I looked around me amidst a sea of signs and banners, I saw that the majority of marchers were youth. I was emboldened by their courageous hearts.

As we continued the march, I saw a digital billboard that showed the horrific reality of abortion. It showed a bloodied and mangled body of an aborted fetus. Many thought it was too much, but for me, I flashbacked 13 years earlier when I had viewed these billboards for the first time. I walked outside my work place and saw a group of people raising similar signs along the main street so cars passing by could see the aborted fetus and the baby’s bloodied hand. Those graphic but truth filled images activated me and brought the abstract concept of the abortion issue to a flesh and blood reality that was now my problem.

After the March was over and having finished dinner with the youth group I was with, we gathered for a late night rosary in one of our hotel rooms at the Hyatt. There were about a dozen of us. We turned off all the lights and put a prayer card of the Blessed Mother up against the TV and illuminated her with an i-phone light. Together, amidst empty pizza boxes, and sprawled out luggage, we prayed the rosary for all those we met along the way and for an end to abortion. We prayed all huddled together on two beds. I looked at these teenagers and saw something that made my heart heavy. I saw fatigue in their faces, exhaustion, uncertainty, and so many threats to their future like the HHS mandate, abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia, the dire economy, the debt, and the continual attacks on the Church and family. Such a hostile world they have inherited.

One girl in our youth group had gotten sick and was unable to march with us. Her face was pale and she was unable to eat, but she joined us in the rosary and fell asleep on the floor. She was the chosen victim soul for our group. I was proud to have fellowship with these modern day crusaders and face whatever end they would.

On the bus ride home I reflected on two pro-life speakers who had impacted me the most. The first woman gave testimony that her mother had been raped and tried to have her aborted twice but was unable to. She was that one percent where so many think it is acceptable to abort because her mother was raped.

The second woman spoke about how she soaked for five days in saline in her mother’s womb, but miraculously survived the abortion. She is a part of that invisible population of abortion survivors whose stories need to be heard. There weren’t too many dry eyes listening to these women express how much they loved their life, even though the second woman would carry the physical scars from the abortion and both of them would carry the emotional scars of not being wanted by their parents for the rest of their lives.

I also realized that the invisible presence near the US Capitol, may not be affected by bumper stickers, letters to the editor, marches, or votes, but is affected by prayer and fasting, which is a important task we all can undertake until the next march keeping that Red Eyed Dragon against the ropes as we continue to crusade for a culture of life.

sag


 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Rising Shadow Of The HHS Mandate (Obamacare).

In January of 1999, I had the privilege of jogging a lap around the inner rim half way up the remains of the Roman Colosseum. I gazed downward from where spectators viewed into the maze-like ruins that were left of the arena floor, and saw where countless early-century Christians lost their lives to the cheers of the Roman Emperors of that time.


The Arena - inside the Colosseum

Now, all these years later, I see the United States divided between Christian and atheist, conservative and liberal, blue and red. I see so much anger and slander volleyed from one side to the other, as brother was pitted against brother during the Presidential election. Now that America has decided for President, I wonder about my fate, I who am a Christian.

All of my life I have enjoyed the protection of my Christian values and the freedoms our country was founded upon, but now that time seems to be over with many of today's politicians and judges challenging individual conscience and religious freedoms like never before.

In the end, I answer to God for my conscience, not to any man. Did I protect the unborn and the sanctity of human life? Did I fight for the protection of religious freedoms? Did I defend traditional marriage? Did I stand up for the freedom of individual conscience?

Another threat to our religious freedoms is from the Department of Health and Human Services – (the HHS Mandate) or Obamacare – a law that forces countless employers and religious institutions such as Catholic hospitals, schools and other religious organizations and businesses “to carry health insurance plans that provides free contraception services, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs regardless of their moral and religious objections.”(1) Nearly all employers and employees not in compliance with Obamacare may face fines and lawsuits in the near future.

Now with the HHS Mandate looming ever closer like a rising shadow, then possibly that day so many early-century Christians faced will face me too. A day in which it will be my turn standing in that arena, and challenged to either bow to Caesar, deny my faith and accept the Mandate, or else pay the consequences.

My hope is like that of all the early Christian martyrs who were decapitated, fed to lions, torn apart by beasts, and burned at the stake. They paid the ultimate price for remaining steadfast in their religious beliefs. I hope I will share the same courage they had in obeying God's Commands to the end. Is our trust in God or in Caesar? Do we know better than the Creator of the Universe about these issues and the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, when so clearly, Thou shalt not kill...is etched within all our hearts?

There can be no compromise with the Commandments of God. It is all or nothing. If politicians and judges continue to oppose my Christian beliefs and challenge our freedoms by enforcing the HHS Mandate, then I hope I'm strong for you. I hope I don't falter. I hope to show the witness of what my faith and obedience to God's Commandments means to me. I hope I am brave for you.

Will there be new martyrs in 2013? Will Colosseums be drenched in blood again? One way or the other, it will soon be time for Christians to show the world what they truly believe, what they're made of, to turn the other cheek and shed their blood once again for a new harvest.



Christians don't face this challenge alone, for our hope is in our Captain Martyr who is with us until the end of the age. The Church will never be defeated, because it is His power and grace that will free us from fear, and fuel us with courage in laying down our lives for Him; The Christ, who did so for us first, for our example!

America needs to look to courageous Christians to show them the way to Christ, even if our Government takes our religious freedoms from us, kills our babies, and spills our blood for what we believe; we still must love these modern-day Romans the same way our early Christian brothers and sisters did, with prayer and fasting, peaceful protest of the Mandate, and with the shedding of our blood if need be.



For more information about the rising HHS Mandate check out: www.standupforreligiousfreedom.com 


(1)  from: www.standupforreligiousfreedom.com/docs/HHSMandateFactSheet.pdf
Stop Obama’s HHS Mandate
Copyright 2012 Pro-Life Action League – ProLifeAction.org and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society – ProLifeSociety.com

sag

And Just What Does It Mean To Be Noble?

Live Action article

Many articles focus on how abortion affects women, and her choice, but for the moment, my focus is on men who are pro-choice and who often remain silent on the sidelines, even though they’re involved in the creation of human life just as much as she is. On January 22nd – the anniversary of Roe v Wade – the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in this country, I continue to ask myself, how has this tragedy continued for so long?

Is it in part because the virtue of nobility has disappeared from the actions and hearts of men?

How does a man fulfill his obligation to protect women and the weakest of society – the unborn? Wasn't that what he was designed for, to defend his family, his wife, his children? So where is it noble for a man to destroy his own child by pushing for an abortion, or for male politicians including the President, to promote abortion with the use of tax payer money?

Wouldn’t it be ideal to live in a society where an unplanned pregnancy is not seen as a crisis, but a blessing? Instead of families turning to Planned Parenthood* for relief by killing the baby, they would find it from family support, religious organizations, and politicians who work to provide support programs for such families, so that it is never a crisis or inconvenience to have a child under any circumstance.
 
Men with noble hearts are ready at any moment to lay down their lives for those they're called to protect, but instead, in this inverted culture, many men would rather preserve their own life while letting those they were called to protect perish. Abortion not only destroys the unborn child, but it damages the woman's body and mental health**, and at times, terminates her own life. The abortion-inducing drugs also have the same damaging effects on women's bodies.

The lost virtue of nobility can be won back by men showing women, that they will take care of them and their children, not abandon them because of a pregnancy, but show them what a true protector and provider is like. That is noble! Maybe then, with much hope and healing, women who for so long have bought into the pro-abortion mentality will be rescued back from it, and the culture of death, and finally be able to live in peace in a culture of life.

Men too have allowed Roe V Wade to continue for as long as it has, but it can end when they shine forth the virtue of nobility once again!


*(“In many cities Planned Parenthood has a monopoly on the abortion industry and reported 87.4 million in surplus revenue despite receiving 45% of their income from Uncle Sam(Obama). Last year 333,964 abortions were performed through Planned Parenthood affiliates.” (1) Planned Parenthood helped design the HHS Mandate – Obabmacare – “a law that forces countless employers and religious institutions to carry health insurance plans that provides free contraception services, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs regardless of their moral and religious objections.”(2)

(1) from Susan Michelle Tyrell: www.liveactionnews.org/planned-parenthood-report-reveals-87-4-million-excess-revenue-1-2-billion-assets/

(2) from: www.standupforreligiousfreedom.com/docs/HHSMandateFactSheet.pdf

**(“Studies show that the cells from aborted babies have been found living in their mother’s brains, and some for decades. How that affects her mind will be the thrust of new research to come.” from Jill Stanek: www.lifesitenews.com/blog/scientists-discover-aborted-baby-cells-living-in-mothers39-brains

sag

The Last Word.

Wouldn't be odd if an artist working for months on a dazzling sculpture, suddenly threw their masterpiece to the ground, shattering it in a thousand pieces?

A few years ago I found a woman alone and sobbing uncontrollably on her knees in a chapel. Her anguish was inconsolable. She had had an abortion. There wasn't anything I could do to help her. I felt bad for her...my heart hurt too.

For all women who carry a wound from a past abortion, whether it was done during a traumatic and anxiety-filled time, pressured by others and deceived by the culture of death: know that choice is never the last word.

 
God the Father forgives all his prodigal sons and daughters returning home to Him from yet another disaster. There is a long line of us. In the Heavenly Father's embrace, I'm redeemed with hope that my error wasn't the last word, nor the last of me. Mercy can blast the walls that hold you captive by guilt and shame. Live life, start over, and make another masterpiece. God will forgive you, and dwell on your past no more. Christ's Mercy is the last word, are you ready for it to heal your life?



sag

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Why Not Say "I Love You" With a Digital Daisy?

This article is about on-line dating with the use of emoticons.

Many on-line dating sites, including Catholic sites, have various emoticons to help speed up the love connection. An emoticon is a digital picture or symbol of a smiley face, wink, flower, or hand wave just to name a few. They can be sent to someone you're interested in at the touch of a button, and hopefully they send one back reciprocating.

I have heard various opinions on the use of emoticons on dating sites. Some say they wouldn't respond to one because it's not as respectful as a message. In other cases, emoticons can be a sign of something to come. I look back on a girl I was once attracted to. Before I met her, I had been praying through the intercession of St. Therese of Lisieux for a girlfriend who would not damage me spiritually. The Fourth of July came and I had a love-at-first-sight-moment with a simple farm girl from Oklahoma named Mandy. It was a great friendship that developed quickly.

As I tried to fall asleep that night, I wondered if she was the one I had been praying for. I knew that people often asked St. Therese for a flower to confirm what they were asking for in prayer. I asked St. Therese that she pray to God that if anyone gave me a flower the next day, I would know that Mandy would be the one who I had been praying for, because no one had ever given me a flower before. The next day Mandy and I spent the day picking strawberries and sharing our faith and dreams about the future. 

On the way back home, I felt inspiration and drove to the river. We took a walk, and on the way, she smiled and picked me a daisy. I still remember that moment clearly, even though it was twelve years ago. When I looked at her, it was with awe. I didn't tell her about the sign I had prayed for. Later that evening, when we were headed back to our friend's house to make short-cake, Mandy gave all her strawberries away to a bag lady we bumped into. That spontaneous charity attracted me to her even more. After that, I pursued her passionately and tried to win her heart. Once she had returned home, we corresponded for several months through letters, and later I flew down to see her. I told her I loved her. But this story did not have a made-for-TV ending, even with the flower. Because she was meant for, and married, another man.

Years later, I found myself thinking again about that daisy. Hadn't God answered my prayer? Why did she not choose me? As I thought about it, I realized that the significance of the daisy was that it activated my will. It caused me to pursue her, to try to win her heart. My habit before that was never to be spontaneous in pursuing a woman I was attracted to. I would have never dreamt of jumping on a plane to see her, or tell her how I felt about her. The daisy was meant for me and it was a sign that broke my inhibitions. Even now, I thank God for it every day, because that simple little flower encouraged me, a guy who would have never shaken the cobwebs from his heart had it been otherwise, to love.

We can all be held back from finding love by our inhibitions that we aren't even aware of. With modern technology in on-line dating, we have digital emoticons to provide us another avenue to meet our soul mate and another remedy to break through the barriers of our inhibitions. Although I don't need an emoticon to activate my will, when someone sends me one, or responds to one I sent, it sure does help! Like the sign we ask for in prayer, we sometimes need that little something extra to activate our hearts to love again, after they have been dormant so long in a loveless slumber. Don't be turned off to the possibilities. A simple handpicked flower from the field or one fresh from digitized cyber-space could be that which wakes up your heart.



Friday, October 19, 2012

Hey, Cover Girl

I wrote this article about those women's magazines you see at supermarket checkouts.

The Real Hero

This article is about those phony Hollywood movie star heroes.

Many women feel pressured to focus much of their time on their appearances to attract attention and live up to cover girl standards. The same is true for guys who use weight training and protein drinks to beef up to mirror the ripped actors they see in action films. 

As a teenager, I idolized movie stars like Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jean Claude Van Damme. Their bulging biceps and explosive firepower left me hungry to blow up something Communist and kept me watching their movies over and over again.

In those movies the testosterone meter was through the roof and the more missiles, exploding tanks, and roundhouse kicks, the better. For me, movies defined a hero as a man with overpowering physical presence who carried a lot of guns, was immune to fear, was unfazed by shrapnel, and rarely ate or slept. You never saw indecisiveness or panic attacks in these guys, because from Captain Kirk to Bruce Lee, they were always winning to the end credits.

During my twenties, I started traveling the world wearing my Indiana Jones hat going from one adventure to another, while seeking a Mordor to conquer or Vietnam vets to rescue. As the years went by, I realized life's realities didn't match the movie scripts my exemplars followed. Unlike them, I failed at learning foreign languages easily, struggled with unemployment, suffered long-term physical injuries that interfered with my body building, and found that globetrotting and adventuring didn't compare to the stable family life other men had. 

I felt betrayed by movies that seduced me with their musical scores and choreographed fight scenes, portraying violence in an artistic way. I realized many Hollywood heroes lacked true virtue, mercy, compassion, and faith in God. Instead they had indecent relationships with women, they sought vengeance and glorified violence and they distorted in young impressionable minds what a true hero looks like.

Every man desires to be a hero, but what is the mold that they're cast from and who is the original model? After a series of trials, including losing my job and feeling hopeless, I was thrown into a pit and sank into darkness. I was unable to help myself. A hero wants everyone to admire their vast display of power, while I, weak and scared, wanted to be hidden. Unlike John McClane or Mad Max, my worries about the future and mistakes from my past held me prisoner. I found my limitations crushing.

Movie heroes depend on no one, but I couldn't get out of the pit alone. The pain became so bad, the nightmare so real, that I cried in desperation to a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus hanging on my wall, "What do you want me to do?" I cried unheroically and laid down, defeated. The next day I got a phone call about a job. That phone call was the hand that pulled me out of the pit and brought me back to life. As I hung up the phone, I stared in awe at the same picture of Jesus. Jesus found true worth in me when I didn't. 

We don't need another hero. Jesus is the only real hero, and although He doesn't bristle with muscles, nor gleam with armor, nor one arm an M-60, He saves us when we cry out to Him, in all the many ways He can. He shows Himself in the darkness and casts away our fears with His light. He washes away our sins with His blood, heals us with His wounds, restores us with His Sacraments, and guides us with inspirations. What would our world be like if all heroes acted like Him, were cut from His mold instead of being the phony versions?

Real heroes strive for virtue, takes care of their families, stand up for the weak, honor women, and when they are overwhelmed, drops to their knees in prayer.

For the guys who didn't get the girl, never hit the ball over the fence, or missed the game winning jumper, don't worry. If you blew itand ended up in a pit, don't give up. Remember that in one prayer, God can save you too, teaching us all once again, who the real Hero is.