Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fishing with a Fisher of Men

Yesterday the associate pastor of our Church joined us for a day of fishing. Our goal was to go to a reservoir called Deer Creek Reservoir, in the car after buying our licenses we discussed how many fish we wan't to catch. Father German (pronounced her-min) said he was going to catch six fish all over 12 inches. I thought, oh he will be able to catch those no problem!

Once at our fishing site we unloaded our car full of fishing gear, folding chairs and a small portable propane stove. We eagerly raced towards the water and once we have threaded our worms onto our hooks we cast into the water and began reeling. The first few casts we had nothing, I figured this always happens at first so I must be patient. But after a while we were not getting any bites at all, we decided to move down stream to a small piece of land that jutted into the water. Father German stayed back at another site to test his luck but to no avail because it seemed like the fish we not biting their either. Finally we all ended up on the land that was jutting into the water and were casting our lines in, I decided that maybe it was a good idea to change from a hook and worm to a metal lure. After changing my hook Father German and my dad went onto the other side of the piece of land and I cast out with the hopes of catching a fish. As soon as I started reeling, I felt a bite and then another and another, I lifted my rod to sink the hook into the fishes mouth and for awhile I was fighting to bring a fish in. I started to yell for my dad to come over saying, "I got a fish! I got a fish!" but by the time they got there it had gotten off and I was left to clean all the moss off my hook.

After many location changes and absolutely no fish whatsoever we decided to call it a day at this fishing spot and to head to an other. As we were loading our gear into the car my dad managed to drop all of the fruit from its container on the ground. I started to laugh because it was just so funny because we had been fishing for 2 hours and nothing and then we dropped all our fruit on the ground. So after some clean up and about a 20 minute drive we found ourselves at a small pond that I had grew up fishing at as a kid. The first few casts we had nothing, I decided to start to make lunch so my dad got our stove and fired it up. I carefully placed the hot dogs on the grill and a few minutes later Father German was fighting to bring a large fish in!

My dad and I rushed over and watched as he reeled the fish in, finally the fish was on land and after all day fishing we finally had a fish. After my dad bonked it on the head we placed it in our cooler and then had some lunch. Excited because he caught a fish, I cast my line in for a catch, it wasn't until Father German caught two more that I finally caught one that was over 12 inches long. Both Father German and I agreed we should keep it but as my dad unhooked it he let it go and I watched in horror as my prize catch quickly darted back into the depths of the water. A little miffed that my first fish had been put back into the water I redoubled my efforts on catching more. My next catch only made it to the bank where it finally flopped until it unhooked himself and fled with the knowledge never to eat the floating worm in the water again. After a few hours of fishing at this spot we caught 10 fish total and kept 5 to eat, it was a wonderful day and I learned so very valuable lessons.

First, I glimpsed at how St. Peter felt fishing all day and catching nothing, it must have been a let down to put all your might into fishing that day and catching nothing. But in the end Jesus asked him to let his net down into the water for a catch and he caught more than he could handle. I feel that my dad was prompted by Jesus to tell us to keep fishing because when we did, we caught more than we thought we were going to during the whole day.

Second, patience is key if you are trying to do something, if I had just given up after the first two hours of fishing I wouldn't have had a good time and I wouldn't have caught any fish. Patience is key and God brings everything into place in His own time.

Lastly, when trying to teach something about the faith sometimes one approach doesn't work, that is why you have to change up your "lure" and try again, because you can't just use one tactic but many. That is why we have a tackle box full of lures that will help us bring people or interest them in our faith.

God bless you,

Nicholas Charbel






Monday, April 22, 2013

Two Catholic Book Suggestions


Hello everyone! Sorry for not posting in a while, I have been very busy with school and other extracurricular activities. I thought I would suggest a few books to read that I have read in the last few weeks, they really made me think and really helped me understand my faith more. I think they are available either at your parish or online, I got mine at my parish but maybe mine is different?


The first book is called "Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor" and is by a man named Allen Hunt, he used to be a pastor of a very large Methodist Church before he converted to Catholicism. His interest in Catholicism began when he and a Catholic priest were giving lessons to some nuns and one of the nuns asked him why he wasn't a Catholic and he answered because he thought the Eucharist was a symbol. The nun kindly responded why he was wrong by quoting scripture and after about 5 minutes he kinda laughed it off but in his heart it bothered him because he was doubting if his protestant communion was right. What started out as an embarrassing moment led this man on a journey to become Catholic, in the end he became a Catholic and when he received his First Communion he began to cry. This book is very moving, the book is suggested for Protestants, Catholics who have strayed away but I think it is a great book that helps us understand what protestants believe about us and how much these converts appreciate the Catholic Faith. Last word, I feel that it helps us appreciate our faith more and to not take it for granted. 








The second book is called "My Life with the Saints" which a spiritual memoir written by James Martin, SJ (Society of Jesus/Jesuit). The memoir starts with his childhood and meanders through his life, missionary travels, studies, times as a priest and most importantly his devotion to the saints. The book is about his strong devotion to many saints who have tremendously influenced his life for the better. Each chapter is filled with humor and serious stories about how these saints affected his life. If you haven't had a strong devotion to the saints, I assure you that after you read this book you will have a whole new understanding on them!



Monday, April 15, 2013

How to help the Boston Bombing Victims

Would you like to help the victims of the Boston Bombing? The first thing you can do is pray! Payer is our strongest weapon, encourage your friends and family to say the rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet for all of those affected by this bombing especially those injured and for e repose of the souls of those who died.

You can also donate to the Red Cross here: http://www.redcross.org/support/donating-fundraising/donations

Share with your friends, we need lots of people praying.

Boston Marathon Explosion: Pray!!!

I just saw on the news that it seems like two explosions happened at the finish of the Boston Marathon. Already three people have been killed and many injured. This is horrible and we must pray, for it is all we can do to support these people. Pray that those that are dead might be granted entrance into heaven and that those who are suffering from their injuries might be healed by our Lord. Lastly please lay for their families who are struck with grief.

Try to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for Jesus said " Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will."

Trust in God, for everything is possible if we conform ourselves and follow His will.


Pray that is will never happen, for things like this don't deserve to happen to innocent people.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day 101 of Knowing God for Guys

Hopefully you have learned something these last few months and have a better relationship with God. I hope that by your constant prayer and spiritual reading you will be armed to go throughout the world or just your town and spread the gospel that Jesus is Risen and that all who seek forgiveness shall be forgiven. God bless you and may The Lord your God be ever in you heart and mind.

He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Day 100: 101 Days to Knowing God for Guys

Praise The Lord at all times. If you get a chance to pray to God during school or during a time when you are busy, take it! Give thanks to Him for the many blessings He has bestowed upon you!


Praise the Lord. Psalm 149:1

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cathedral

On my visit to the Cathedral, my dad and I saw this seagull which was standing on a cross on tip of the Cathedrals Rectory. Doesn't it look like he's trying to be a gargoyle? :)



Veneration of the Cross

I went to pray at the Cathedral today and here is the cross they used for adoration of the cross. It has the relic of the true cross! So amazing to be so close to such a wonderful relic!

Day 98: 101 Days to Knowing God for Guys

Do you want to live a pure life? Live according to His commandments and His word! You have to put your whole heart and soul into following Him. So what are you waiting for?


How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.

Psalm 119:9

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Day 97: 101 Days to Knowing God for Guys

Is something bothering you? Make it known to God in prayer because he will help you and will answer you. He will shed His mercy upon your soul and you will be comforted because The Lord is kind and merciful.


The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
the Lord accepts my prayer.

Psalm 6:9

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Annunciation




Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation, this day we remember when the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her she was going to bear Gods only Son. On this day, God the Son, the second person in the Blessed Trinity became flesh and was present and growing in the womb of Mary. Let us pray to our mother asking her for her prayers and protection because not only is she the mother of Jesus but our mother too! 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour our death.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.

Jesus and Mary I love you! Save souls!

Amen

Luke 1:26-38 

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail,thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Day 96: 101 Days to Knowing God for Guys

Love the Lord with all your heart, because He loves you beyond all things. Everything you have, He gave you! He blesses you and grants you abundant graces always, everything good in you is because of God. Love God for He is good!

I love you, Lord, my strength. Psalm 18:1

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Day 95:101 Days to Knowing God for Guys

God created you in your mothers womb. He knew you before you were born, thank God everyday for creating you and forming you, because without Him you wouldn't be here!


For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:13

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Divine Mercy Sunday Decorations

Here is what my friend and I did for Divine Mercy Sunday tomorrow. Hope you all like it.







Day 93: 101 Days to Knowing God for Guys

Praise the Lord and pray to Him whenever you can. Your relationship with God is more important than anything else. Spend time in deep prayer getting closer to God and ask Him to change and conform your heart to His will.


My tongue will proclaim your righteousness,
your praises all day long.
Psalm 35:28

Friday, April 5, 2013

Day 92: 101 Days to Knowing God for Guys

Delight in carrying out the Lords will because He always knows what's best for you. Do you not trust that God, our Creator knows what we need and what will happen to us? So trust in Him and follow His will with your whole heart.

I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8

Day 91: 101 Days to Knowing God for Guys

The Lord will always pick you up when you are down you just have to accept His help and His mercy. God will never abandon you so place your trust in Him alone. He will not let you down.


He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

Psalm 40:2

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 90: 101 Days to Knowing God for Guys

Make time for the Lord in your day because He is your God! He loves you and wants to hear from you, pray to Him, spend some time alone just with God. I am sure it will build your relationship and you will feel closer to Him. Always give praise to The Lord because all he does is for your benefit.


Praise be to the Lord forever!
Amen and Amen. Psalm 89:52

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Catholic Memes

Hey everyone! I thought I would share some funny Catholic memes. These are all from catholicmemes.com









Day 89: 101 Days to Knowing God for Guys

Do you think you are alone when you are burdened? The Lord your God is always there helping you bear them. Although it may seem like God is not there, He is actually more presenting your times of suffering than in joy. The reason is, we are weak and without Him we wouldn't be able to go on.

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens. Psalm 68:19

Easter Decorations

I am head of the environmental committee at my church and here is what my dad, my friend and I did for Easter. Note the Divine Mercy Image is up for the Divine Mercy novena.







Monday, April 1, 2013

Confirmation Experience + Saint Explation


My Confirmation Experience
By: Nicholas Halliday

Before I begin talking about my Confirmation experience I would like to reveal some details that will make the story more understandable. First, I joined the Confirmation class and have been going to classes each month. I also went to the RCIA (Right of Christian Initiation of Adults) which was every Thursday to deepen my faith. I went to Confirmation and RCIA but until recently I missed the Confirmation retreat because I was told I could get Confirmed by the Deacon who taught RCIA. I never ended up going to the retreat and was told I was going to be confirmed at the Cathedral on May 18th just one day before the anniversary of my Baptism.
One day while decorating the Church for Palm Sunday the Pastor of our Church Father Stan said that he was going to confirm me on the Easter Vigil with the RCIA class. Now fast forward to Holy Saturday where the RCIA class was holding a retreat for the people going to get Baptized and Confirmed and receive Holy Communion. The retreat was from 8:30-11:30 and it was filled with sharing our experiences of the class, prayer, singing and writing down our thoughts and what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Soon after the retreat was over we headed to the Church to rehearse for the Vigil. It was nerve wracking to rehearse because I realized I would actually have to talk, but after repeating “Amen” and “And with your spirit” a thousand times in my head I felt pretty confident. Although I was used to saying these two things at mass they said sometimes the simple words or phrases are the ones the people forget, so I made sure I didn't forget!
We arrived at 6:45, about an hour before the Easter Vigil started and got our cheat sheets which said something along the lines that I believe whatever the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church teaches and confesses. We shuffled into our seats in the third row and before the service started my friends gave me a medal of St. Nicholas and told me how proud they were of me. It was very touched by this gift and their support helped me to not be nervous.
I sat by my sponsor and my mom and dad in the very first row in the Church, I watched as the Liturgy of the night unfolded and was in awe at the beauty of this day. I watched as the unbaptized were baptized and received the Holy Spirit and I watched with awe as the deacon holding the Paschal Candle led the newly baptized in procession into the gathering space. The people being confirmed, including myself and our sponsors were asked to come and stand in front of the altar. We all turned around and with our sponsors hands on our shoulder we read from our cheat sheet professing our faith. Once we had professed our faith we were asked to split in two to make room for the newly baptized. Once everyone was assembled in front of the Altar our Priest called everyone one by one to stand in front of them so that he could anoint their head with the Sacred Chrism and to give us a hug. When it was my turn I walked towards him and after ascending the steps I stood in front of him with my sponsor and he anointed my head with the Sacred Chrism, I immediately felt calm and very happy. I never remember being nervous during the Vigil and I became even more happy once I was confirmed. I felt as if every worry melted away and all the mattered was that God loved me and I loved Him.
The rest of the Vigil flew by and all I could do was try to calm myself because of my excitement. After the Vigil had ended we processed out with the priest and deacons and they held a reception in our honor. It was truly wonderful and I have to say that it is one of the happiest days since my First Communion; still as I am writing this I feel happy and feel very calm in my soul. God bless you all and may Christ always dwell in your hearts.



Confirmation Saint

My Confirmation Saint is St. Charbel Makhlouf, he was born in Lebanon and after leaving his parents he became a Maronite Monk. During his time at the monastery he was ordained a priest and served God faithfully by living a life of extreme mortification and self-denial. It is told that he would wake at midnight in order to adore the Blessed Sacrament for eleven hours before he felt spiritually fit to celebrate mass. He spent the rest of his life living at a hermitage, and while celebrating mass he was struck with a case of Hemiplegia. During his agony that lasted 8 days he was trying to finish the mass by mumbling it aloud and was also heard to have been murmuring the names of Jesus, Mary, St. Joseph and Sts. Peter and Paul. He died on Christmas Eve at the age of 70, many miracles happened after his death and a strange light emitted from his tomb for a long time. Even Muslims of the time came to him seeking his intercession and he has not failed to intercede for those who ask him to.
I chose this saint because after my great-grandfather died I received a prayer card with a third class relic attached to it that was my great-grandpas. I began to ask this saint for his intercession and I began to research him and to learn about his life. Although reading about him really inspired me to choose him I feel the main reason is that he interceded for me and chose me. Ever since I have had the prayer card I have loved this saint and I am so happy to have found him! 

Day 88: 101 Days to Knowing God for Guys

Place your trust in God, because no one will strengthen you or support you more than The Lord. He is your shepherd, He watches over you and guides you through the open fields, protecting you from the evil ones. Trust in God, For He will not let you down!

In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust. Psalm 25:1


I am Confirmed!

Sorry everyone for not posting for two days. His weekend has been full of excitement and going to mass and a retreat. But I thought I would write today saying that on Saturday at the Easter Vigil I was confirmed! I am so excited to be confirmed and I feel a profound peace right now. It was wonderful to be there at the mass and I was so excited to see some of my older friends get baptized and join the church!

I am so happy to be sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit! Glory to God!

My confirmation name: St. Charbel



-Charbel