The Catholic Defender: This Much

Posted by John Benko - June 5th, 2013

St. John writes, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16).

There is so much to say about this verse. It use to be popular to see “John 3:16″ on television watching football games. You could see this sign with John 3:16 on it as you watch the football being kicked through the uprights.

Many people have had terrible things happen to them. I ask God to deliver them giving them the healing of memory. People carry terrible memories in their heart making it difficult to forgive. Love can transform the heart, the mind, and the soul.

Jesus says, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:13-14).

I have seen men die giving their all for their friends and their Country. I have also seen men and women who have held on to the cross to help them through another day.

Jesus also said, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).

St. Paul writes, “Consequently, brothers, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Roman 8:12-13).

We must die to self to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. Through Baptism and Confirmation, God plants in us the grace necessary for us to enter in upon his rest.

Through the Sacraments, God offers his divine life that cleanses us and makes us whole. No matter what you have done, God loves you and invites you to a life with Him.

It says in James 5:19-20, “My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins”.

Is there anyone out there that have struggled to forgive because of something that has happened to you in the past?

Is there anyone out there who have had trouble forgiving themselves for what you have done?

Is there anyone out there who have been angry at God for a loved ones death in the past?

Jesus asks us to keep holding on, that he does love you. I ask you all to make the Mass the center of your life.

If you have been healed of anything or have had answered prayers, go to Mass and be thankful to Jesus for your grace he has given you.

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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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