*BEST OF DTB #93* The Catholic Defender: Risk Factors

Posted by John Benko - June 23rd, 2011

For just about anything we do there are constant risk factors.

Whether we are talking business, safety, or health issues. They can certainly be job related.

Risk factors are a part of life to some degree or another.

In the case of a business, risk factors can be those issues that might cause a windfall on profits. Can cause you to lose money.

People take risks hoping that something will sell, or an idea will take off that will make their business prosper.

Health has many risk factors.

The Medical Dictionary states, a Risk Factor is “a characteristic statistically associated with, although not necessarily causally related to, an increased risk of morbidity or mortality, e.g., smoking as a risk factor for heart disease”.

There are many health risks that have risk factors: Premarital sex can increase the risk of a Sexually Transmitted Disease. Abstanance is the only true protection against STD’s.

Diet can impact health as well. Some things that might reduce risk factors in the area of health is to stay physically fit. To have a good work out program. Eat a well balanced diet, never smoke or quit if you do smoke.

In the Army, there are always risk factors that concerns safety that affects any Command when performing any mission. We always had to put together a “Risk Assessment” so that the risk could be reduced when conducting a mission. Marching Soldiers could have high risk factors such as marching across a road with on coming traffic. You reduce the risk by using “Road Guards” that takes a potentially high risk into a low risk classification.

By conducting and putting in place certain precautions, we can have a positive outcome in the management of health and safety in our lives.

In the area of business, our business management tools can help us become more successful in a very competing world.

With this in mind, I was thinking about identifying risk factors that affect our faith. Today, many people’s faith are affected by many risk factors.

Hosea warns us that many are destroyed due to the lack of knowledge. So the lack of knowledge is a high risk factor.

How can this be reduced?

By taking the initiative to know your faith. Studying the Catechism, the bible, reading about the lives of the Saints, reading spiritual books and other publications that increase our understanding. To become better informed in our faith greatly reduces the problem with knowledge.

Catholic Answers, Defenders of the Catholic Faith (DCF) and deepertruth are just three examples of keeping oneself informed on the many topics of our faith.

Jesus warns that a person who is “lukewarm” will not make the grade either.

Apathy, laziness, indifference, compromise with the world, these things attack the very core of faith.

To counter these risk factors, you need to discipline yourself, to commit yourself to follow God’s will.

Sin has many risk factors that leads people astray. St. Paul warns on many occasions that those who live in Mortal sin will not inherit the Kingdom God. Mortal sin leads people away from the Catholic Faith. Leads them away from God.

To reduce these risks factors we would need to avoid the near occasion of sin, to frequent the Sacraments such as Confession often. To be aware of the dangers of sin, and avoid sin.

To follow the teachings of the Catholic Faith is the only true way of surrending to God’s will.

We respect other who may disagree with the Church, but we must be mindful of Christ and His Church.

There are many risk factors that we can identify that lead people astray.

As a CCD teacher for several years, I can tell you that it is noticeable to see children who are simply dropped off for CCD.

Yet at home very little leadership is done to lead these children to a closer understanding of their faith. Many of them abandon the faith later on and will demonstraight hatred towards it. I see this very often.

Many times I come in contact with them and by this time they are already entreanched in heresy.

If Mom and Dad are not being faithful to their marriage vows, it is very difficult on the children.

What is the solution?

How do we rectify this as a Church, a people, a nation?

Is their a risk assessment that can be applied to help in this area?

I cringe when people tell me that they don’t go to Mass because they were “forced” to go growing up. Or that the Mass is boring, that is problematic especially because many people have to be fed energy. They have very little patience with contemplation.

The risk assessment here would be to teach children from an early age the importance of meditation and prayer, especially the Mass.

When children see Mom and Dad living their faith at home in a real way, that helps reduce some of the risk factors giving children a firm foundation.

It is important to note that sometimes, people will turn away from the faith regardless of Mom or Dad.

Peer pressure can be a huge risk factor, so can culture when it is pushing sin. It is important to develop some good “Risk Assessments” to counter this threat.

What might work for one family might not be what is needed for another family. It is important to know the threats and to rely on faith and prayer. Remember St. Monica, she used patience and commitment along with trust in the Lord.

Doctrinally, morally, spiritually, some will fall away. Can we diagnose and detect early warning signs that might help prevent a prodigal journey?

Can truth be hidden from view when it is right in front of you?

What prevents you from seeing? These are questions that need answers, the risk assessments need to be applied to reduce the risk factors. Remember one important proverb: “The family that prays together, stays together”!

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* BEST OF DTB #92* Faith and Love

Posted by John Benko - June 22nd, 2011

I’m a mom, so I know a few secrets about love.

#1 Love isn’t an emotion—it’s a decision.
Love is a day to day, minute to minute decision to serve, to put another person’s needs above your own. That is why it is easier to understand love once you are a parent, once you are required by the helplessness of your child to step up to the altar of self-sacrifice and inconvenience. It’s partly why the intensity of the love is so evident in that relationship—because it is often one-sided, thankless, and physically grueling.
#2 Love doesn’t have to be requited to be true.
Every once in awhile, I’ve had one of the little loves of my life look me right in the eye and scream, “I don’t like you!” My love doesn’t waver one little bit as I put them into their timeout spot. I don’t need them to love me back in any given moment in order to love them. I do it anyway.
I’m a foster mom, so I know a few more secrets about love, too.
#1 That stuff about love not being an emotion is really true.
Love has to be put into action or it does not exist. When a mother tells the court, “I love my child,” and yet she will not seek medical care because the ER is too boring, buy food because she wants the money for Saturday night, or stay away from a child abuser because the sex is good, it’s evident to all within earshot that she really doesn’t. We can delude ourselves, but we all know deep down that love is a decision to serve the beloved or it is nothing.
#2 Love is not a biological imperative either
The idea is ludicrous on it’s face. Wives do not love husbands because of any genetic bonds. I do not love my children because of common genes . I love them because I love them. I was not related to my parents physically (I’m adopted) and I am not related to my adopted daughter genetically, but watch the mother bear in me come out when she is threatened. I’ll show you love in action, then.
Now go back and reread all of that in light of your relationship with God. Do you love Him? Do you serve Him? Do you remember the words, “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:17)
Do you see where I am going? You must love God. You must serve God. The two are the same. My conversion was a gift directly from God, yes. All faith is God’s to give, but you either accept it or you do not and then you either act upon it or you do not.
Like that mom in court will we say, “I love my God, but visiting the sick is too boring” or “I love my God, but I don’t have to give to charity to prove it” or “I love my God, but sex is too fun to wait for marriage!” Think God understands? He does. He knows what you are really saying.
Love Himself knows what Love is. It is a verb. We all fail Him in this. Me in my way and you in yours, but God’s love is like a mother’s in the face of a toddler’s “I don’t like you!” The mother forgives, she knows and hopes for better. God sees the potential for more than we are in this moment.
I’ve been given faith and I’ve been given talents. So have you. You see, in part, what I do with my gifts here in this blog. I write, I ask questions, I point out Truth. What shall you do with yours? Bury them in the dirt and say, “God loves me and that is enough!” Who else shall do God’s work on earth but you? You who have been given the gift of Faith and a gift of talents, my fellow faithful servant, return it a thousand fold!

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The Catholic Defender: Friend like you

Posted by John Benko - June 22nd, 2011

Here at deepertruth, sometimes the days go by and we just kind of glide right on by.

This coming July marks the 1 year anniversary with my joining up with deepertruth and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

To see the effects from all over the world knowing that we have people visiting us and following us as we continue to move forward in our journey of Faith.

I know that I have been enriched tremendously as a result of doing the Lord’s will.

The Holy Father has made it clear that the Church should be visible even on hyberspace.

I want to take this opportunity to say “Thank You” for your continued support and prayers.

May the next coming year be as challenging and fruitful as this past year. Most importantly, may our faith always continue to grow.

If we have shared anything that has helped any one of you, the praise and glory goes to the Lord! We are family no matter where we are planted.

I pulled out an old video I wanted to share today and I hope that you all will enjoy it. May God continue to bless you all!

* BEST OF DTB #90* Secular Judgmentalism! New and Improved!

Posted by John Benko - June 4th, 2011

All right, world out there, you have a real point. We Christians are all hypocrites. We fall miserably short of the goals of our religion. Some of us don’t even seem to be trying. Good point. Excellent.

Most of us are trying, though. That’s the thing. People like me? Yeah, I’d be much worse and harder to deal with without religion. I know from personal experience I was a really awful jerk as an unrepentant heathen. I’m still a really awful jerk, but now I apologize every once in awhile.

It’s not much of a brake on me, but it’s better than the no brakes thing I had going on before my conversion. It’s really not my religion’s fault that I am a jerk. I was a jerk before. I’m a slightly less jerky jerk now. The reason I’m not more improved is because I’m lazy not because of any fault of my religion. My faults are still my fault.

At any rate, for all of you out there holding up your nose, pointing fingers, and calling names like “hypocrite” and “they’re no better than anybody else,” you know you’re right. Thing is, we do, too. We know we aren’t better. We’re trying to be better, but we know we all fall short. Some of us are closer to the mark in some areas, some in others. We’re all pretty bad at this.

The only real difference between a Christian and a nonChristian is Christ, so there you go. Enjoy all the finger pointing and hypocrisy on your side of the fence. We’ll be praying for you. We’ll be over here trying our best at better.

Using other people’s shortcomings as an excuse not to even try is not the best way to live, but you can keep at it. I did for years. I felt really superior doing it, too, so I know just how you feel.

Feel free to be better than me. Anytime!

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