Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Thank God!

Hello all,

First of all, I would like to personally thank all the people who take time each day to read what I write. It's humbling to know that people all over the world are viewing what I have to say. A couple of things that I need to constantly remind myself of:

1. I am writing this for God and for God alone. If no one reads these posts, that should not affect me writing it. As more and more people start reading, I may feel the urge to write for the wrong reasons. i.e. Maybe writing for myself instead of for Him.

2. I am writing this to bring all people closer to God. If what I am writing is not doing that, then I truly and sincerely apologize.

In that spirit, I ask the readers of this blog to please GENTLY remind me in my comment sections if I ever fail in either of my two objectives. e.g. I grandstand or say something really stupid that just isn't right (and you'll know it when you read it). I would greatly appreciate it.

I know that I can have a tendency to start trying to "show off" and that's what I really don't want to do. I want to try and stay humble before God.

In my life, I have received some very overwhelming graces. Things have happened that have made me very grateful for a loving God.

What is grace? Well, I've been thinking about it for the last few days and researching to make sure I was correct in my thinking.

Grace is a gratuitous gift from God. It's freely given out of love from Him and He has graced all of us (and I mean the entire world here) with everything that we have.

He's graced us with our lives.
He's graced us with our faith.
He's graced us with our families.
He's graced us with our friends.
The list goes on and on.

But above all, He's graced us with His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ who redeemed the world through His death and resurrection. As you reflect on the Old Testament, you realize that God keeps giving us chances and we keep screwing up. We screwed up in Eden. He gave us another chance with Noah. We still kept on screwing up and then He gave us Abraham and made a covenant with Him. We still screwed up and finally it got so bad that He sent His son down here to fix things because of how screwed up the world was.

He could have just as easily left us wallowing in our sins and forgotten about us or just wiped us out entirely.

What makes us so worthy of salvation?

God's love for us. He didn't have to do this. This was a gift that was freely given by Him. The chance at eternal life through His beloved Son.

So salvation is a gift from God and as all gifts, they're not earned through works as what Paul says. They're freely given by God because He loves us. Of course, we still have to love Him back.

My view of grace is like a father who tells his child that if he's good, he'll get a bicycle for Christmas, does the father buy the bicycle for the child because the little boy or girl is good? No, the father buys the bicycle because he loves his child. However, if the kid's a real brat--self centered and spoiled--you know the type. Maybe the dad won't buy the bike for him or maybe he will--that's his choice; however, that dad still loves his kid just as much as if the kid were good and what's important isn't the bicycle but rather the relationship between the father and his child.

Most importantly, as when anyone gives us a gift, we have to say thank you to Him. Not just for the gift of salvation but for all of the other graces He's given us throughout our lives. Our life, our family, our faith and of course for loving us so much.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Greetings all,

Modern Day Magi from Australia and I have been communicating these past few days in his and my comment sections. I've been contemplating his name and it's meaning.

From what I can tell, he is a very humble Christian who, like the Magi from Matthew, is on a journey and that journey will ultimately lead him to our Lord where he will be able to gaze at his presence.

Why is he doing this? Is it for salvation? Is it so that he can exalt himself in front of all of us who aren't doing that? No. He's doing it because he loves God and that's good enough for him.

What a truly honorable and heroic example of witness this is. For today, we live in a world and society that thinks, "What's in it for me?" There's a humble man living on the other end of the world from me who's so truly searching for God. And when he gets there, he's not going to ask God, "Where's my reward!" Instead, he will kneel in front of him in awe and say, "God, I've brought you a gift."

MDM, we may differ on some doctrinal issues. But thank you for being such a heroic witness to the Truth.

The Good Shepherd

"The sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice."

Hello all,

Well, it's been a week since I've officially started blogging. I can honestly say that I've been feeling truly graced by God in that time. I'm reading the Bible a lot more than I ever have and I am communicating with other Christians from all over the world. I have a feeling that there are readers out there whom God is reaching or will reach through me. Praise Him! I feel a calling that this is truly what God wants me to do and I have to respond.

I have a confession to make. When I read Scripture (and believe me, there's a lot of it that I haven't read yet), I look at it with a jaundiced eye. I think most of us do that. It's inherent with our humanity.

When I read Scripture, I go in with the following premise:

1. God loves you
2. He wants you to love Him back

Everything I read in Scripture is colored by that assumption. I'm reasonably sure that this is the message of the early Christians. It's the message when they decided what books were considered Scripture. And it's the message of John Paul and Benedict.

I intended to write on something totally different tonight; however, I feel as if God is pushing me in a different direction. In one of my comments yesterday, a fellow Christian pointed me towards John 10. Before his comment, I'd read it but never really reflected on it. So tonight, I want to share some of my reflections on John 10: 1-17 and also on Matthew 25: 33-46.

What does it mean to be a sheep?

In case you don't know, I'm from Detroit. There aren't too many sheep around here and my knowledge about them is somewhat limited. If you asked me about cars, I could offer an opinion. Sheep...not so much.

What I think I know about sheep is that they are very easily led. They will follow the shepherd to wherever he goes. Why? Because he's their shepherd and he's calling them.

That's what God wants from us. He wants that kind of blind obedience. He wants us to follow Him and do His will and become His sheep. What's in it for us? He will lay down His life for us because His concern for us is so great.

Contrast that to Matthew 25: 33 where God will separate the sheep from the goats. Why does Jesus use sheep and goats?

Again, I'm not a goatherder and really don't know much about goats but what I think I know about them is that they are very stubborn and when the goatherder calls them, they probably don't listen all that well.

God wants us to be sheep. Who are the goats? From the way that I see it, they're the ones who don't have the blind obedience to Him. i.e. They are not following His will and thus not loving Him.

And from my perspective, he's not talking about non-Christians. The sheep and the goats know who He is and call Him Lord. And interestingly enough, He's not talking about loving God.

He's talking about loving one another. He says that it's not enough just to love God. We need to do more than minister to God. We need to love all people. Not just Christians either. He's talking about the very worst people on the face of the earth (There probably aren't too many righteous in prison). We need to love them. Care for them. Clothe them. Feed them.


Because they are God's people too. They may not be saved by God (that's God's judgement not ours) but they are made in the image and likeness of God and we need to know that. Because if we treat them like dirt, we treat God like dirt.

And we lose our righteousness.

Friday, January 27, 2006

I am a Catholic who believes in Justification by Faith and Not Works

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast." (Ephesians 2: 8-9)
Hello all,

I bet most of you are probably surprised to see this on a Catholic blog. I started reading blogs last month and have stumbled on a few that don't think too kindly of us Catholics. Saying that, I have also come across a lot of really good Protestant blogs too. i.e. Regardless of what the writer's opinion may be about Catholics, their main objective is to love and serve the Lord and they very humbly try to bring people closer to Him.

I'd like to start this post by mentioning that I don't care if you're Catholic or Protestant. My objective in my posts is to point people to God. Please don't think I'm trying to convert people to Catholicism or that I'm trying to pick an argument. I'm just offering my opinion. You, the reader, can choose to agree or disagree.

I guess I should start out by saying that I absolutely agree with Ephesians 2: 8-9!!! I, however, have a bit of a different take on it than my Protestant brothers in Christ.

Do I have that faith?

I wish I did.

What did Paul mean when he wrote those famous words? Well, to answer that, I have been focusing my thoughts on Romans. As most of you know, Paul is trying to deliver the Truth to the gentiles. He tells us that all men are under the "domination of sin." (Romans 3:9) And that we need to turn to Christ for salvation.

By the time of Christ, the Pharisees and Sadducees had "forgotten" about God. They were still following the Mosaic laws (like circumcision for example) but they really lost the faith that Abraham had. They were following the law for the law's sake and not because of God. This is why Jesus was so angry with them in Matthew 23. (Of course, He still loves them for you can be angry at someone and still love them. I can't tell you the number of times that my parents were so pissed at me--for my own fault--and yet, they never stopped loving me. Alas, another post for another time). They lost their righteousness when they stopped believing (Matthew 23: 28) and thus broke God's covenant with them from Genesis (Romans 9: 7).

They were filled with so much pride and sin that they stood in the presence of the Lord God and nailed Him to a tree.


Because they had lost their righteousness; they lost their faith; and they didn't love God. They were still doing the things that a good Jew should do. But it's not enough.

Who did have this righteousness? Abraham.

God made Abraham a promise.

"I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you." (Genesis 12: 2-3)
That's a pretty big promise! How did Abraham respond? By doing everything that God asked of him through faith. (Hebrews 11: 8-17)

Why did he do this? Because he had hope in the promise that God made to him. That he would be the father of nations. And also because this man truly loved God.

So, what does it mean to have faith? It means to be fully obedient to God's will as Abraham was fully obedient. God kept testing him and Abraham continued to respond.

So when Paul talks about faith and belief, he's not talking about simply believing in God. The Pharisees believed in God. That's not enough. Paul's faith is a faith of obedience (Romans 1: 5/Romans 16:26) to completely conform yourself to the will of Jesus Christ. To follow ALL of His commandments as Abraham followed ALL of God's. Honestly, I struggle with that every day for I am a sinner and I need to be forgiven by Him.


What does Paul mean when he talks about works? Well, again with Abraham, in Romans 4, Paul says that Abraham isn't the Father of Nations because of his actions. It's because he had that faith in God to do His will and not argue or object to any of His commands. Because he believed what God told him; he had hope in His promise and because he loved God. (Faith, Hope, and Love...the greatest of these is love) So, it wasn't his actions highlighted in Hebrews 11: 8-17 that made him righteous. It was his faith.

But above all, God didn't make him a Father of Nations because of his righteousness or his faith (or his works) but rather because of God's grace. As our faith doesn't deliver us eternal salvation but rather His grace.

So what's Paul telling us?

Well, for the gentiles, he's telling them that they don't have to get circumcised to be a Christian (which was probably a huge relief to all of those Roman guys) for Abraham was given the promise before he was circumcised and that that's not important because it's not the works of the Mosaic law which are important, but rather the obedience of faith.

Do I ever do works without faith? All the time--unfortunately. When I go to church because I have to and not because I love God. When I'm "just going through the motions" of my Christian life and not actively loving Him.

I guess in conclusion, Faith is being completely obedient to the will of God.

And as Abraham had faith in God (through his total obedience) and believed in his promise to him about becoming a father of nations, we must have faith in Christ (through total obedience to Him) and believe in His promise for everlasting life.

For anyone who has accomplished this, praise God and please pray for me for I am a humble sinner who yearns for everlasting life.

May the Lord God bless all who read this.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Wonder of God

Hello all,

My initial plan was to write on Faith tonight and what it means but as I struggled to write it, I realized that maybe it's not what God wanted. The thoughts are in my head but I just couldn't put it on the blog. Maybe my planned writing wouldn't bring people closer to Him. Maybe I'm wrong in my thinking. I guess I just have do His will and not mine.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. I wanted to share a couple of personal experiences that have happened in the last 24 hours.

1. Yesterday, I came across a very nice Christian blog called Anchor for the Soul and read a post regarding John Donne and also about God's calling. Anyhow, last night, I heard a talk from a Priest and the first thing he did was referenced the poem that I had just read and then talked very insightfully about God's calling.

2. In my post yesterday, I briefly discuss Genesis 22 and in a comment, I commented on Luke 14. Well, today, I randomly hit a Christian blog called One Bread (1 Corinthians 10:17) and the writer referenced the Exact same readings!

Was this coincidence or did God have a hand in this? I know what I think.

God has done some amazing things in my life that I hope to share with everyone at a future time. These last few days as I've been writing, I have been really feeling His presence. What a great feeling.

Have a great day.

God is Love

This was written by a man far more intelligent than I am. I haven't read it yet but plan to shortly.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

God's Love

Hello all,

I have to admit, this is pretty fun writing in a blog. I'm relatively new to it and enjoy reading the different comments. I just hope that I'm giving people something interesting to think about (and of course bringing them closer to God).

Regarding God's love. How can we know that God loves us all?

Because the Bible tells us so...

In order to do this, I am going to use the Book of Genesis and how it points us to the Gospels. I'm summarizing in the next few paragraphs something that I could write about for hours.

Genesis 1-3

In the beginning, God created Adam in His image and likeness with access to the Tree of Life. Because of selfishness (he actively chose to do what God told him not to do...i.e. sinned), he ate from the Tree of Knowledge and was kicked out of the Garden of Eden and banned from the Tree of Life and thus brought death into the world. (Genesis 2-3)

God, however, loved the world so much that He gave us a second chance. (John 3:16) He sent Jesus Christ, His Son who doesn't know sin, to die for our sins and restore the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life (discussed in Revelation 22) is His cross as His death is what restored us.

How do we get to the Tree of Life?

By following God's commandments. He gives us the opportunity/path to salvation. We have to choose that path. If we don't follow God's will, then we will follow the same fate as Adam.

Jesus is the "New Adam" who unlike the original Adam, follows God's will obediently even to death. (Romans 5: 12-21)

Genesis 22

God asks Abraham to take his son Isaac whom he loves and offer him up as a sacrifice. Abraham is willing to offer his beloved son as a sacrifice. Think about that. Could you do that? Why does Abraham? Because he loves God so much that he will follow God's will even if it means killing his son. Fortunately, He spares Abraham from the sacrifice.

1800 years later, God sends His own beloved Son down and we nail Him to a tree not all that far from the original spot where Abraham and Isaac were. Why? Because God loves us so much that He was willing to sacrifice His Son--descended from Abraham-- for all men; so that we can be offered the chance at eternal life.

This is why Matthew starts with the Genealogy of Jesus starting with Abraham and Isaac. And this is what He means in John 3:16.

He loves the world.

Monday, January 23, 2006

What is Love?

"This is my commandment: love one another as I love you." (John 15:12)

Did you ever ask yourself, "What is love?" It's a daunting question that people seem to have different answers. We are all called to love one another. What does that mean? Am I supposed to love a stranger as much as my family? What does it mean to love my wife?

Well, we can look towards 1 Corinthians 13 for the definition of love but that really only gives attributes more than a definition. In my 36 years, I've been searching for the answer and I think I've found it.

God is love. (1 John 4:8)

He loves all people. How can He hate anyone? To have a God who hates is illogical. If He did hate anyone, they'd be dead. He loves us so much that He gave us the gift of free will. Why would He do that?

So that we can freely choose to love Him back.

When we are in relationship with people, we are called by Jesus to bring them closer to God. That's what love is. A husband is called to bring his wife closer to God. ("Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church...") And we are all called to love one another as Christ loved us. How? By bringing the people you meet closer to God. Sometimes through words but mostly through actions.

This is what Jesus Christ calls us to do throughout His gospel and it's hard.

How is this done? By placing God in the center of all of your relationships. You start with your spouse and work your way outward. And the people you care most about are the people whom you bring closer to Him. So, in answer to my earlier question, I can love my wife more than a stranger; however, I'm still called to bring the stranger closer to God through love.

Well, it's getting late and that's about all I can type for now. Until the next time.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Just very recently, my wife and daughter (Michele and Juliana) made it into our local paper. They are the ones in the second picture.

Aren't they adorable!!!

As important as my relationships are with them, I always need to remember that God is more important to me than they are. I am thankful and constantly need to be reminded that I am married to my wife because of God and I am a father because of Him.

In the Catholic Church, marriage is a sacrament. If you asked most Catholics, they probably wouldn't know what that means. I know it's easy for me to forget at times. Some may talk about the wedding or the honeymoon but it's more than that.

God has a love for me that knows no ends. He knows me better than my wife, my daughter, my mother, or my father. He knows every hair on my head and He wants me to better understand my love for Him and His love for me. Which is why marriage and family are so important. Through my wife and daughter, I have a much better understanding of God's love for me. Through the intimacies, the joy, sorrow, and the pains, I learn about His love every day. Every day my daughter looks into my eyes with unconditional love that words can't express, I learn that I need to learn to love God that way....and sometimes it's difficult.

In my previous post, I mentioned that placing God in the center of your life is a decision that needs to be made on a daily basis. Some of my Protestant brothers would probably disagree with this as they may believe that once saved always saved. That all we need to do is accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and we are saved.

I believe it takes more. Saying otherwise would be like me telling my wife that I love her on our wedding day and then feel that I don't need to put forth any effort into the marriage after that. She would be very angry. A marriage takes work as any married person should know. And our relationship with God is so much more important than our marriage.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The secret on how to live life to its fullest.

One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, "Which is the first of all the commandments?" Jesus replied, "The first is this: 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' (Mark 12: 28-30)
Well, here goes...

A lot of people in this world and this culture struggle with how to live their lives. They look for it in the latest fashions and trends. They think money will bring them happiness or perhaps they'll find it in the arms of a beautiful woman. Maybe they turn to drugs or alcohol because of the sheer euphoria of it all. Or they go watch sports on TV and root for their home team because it makes them feel good.

And then there's the Truth.

The fact of the matter is that while all of these things can make you feel really good. There's only one reality that is worth it. God is worth it. He is the be all and end all. He is the Alpha and the Omega. And if you place Him in the center of your world, you will feel a joy and euphoria that no drug will match, no Super Bowl Victory can deliver and what no woman can promise you. Keep Him as your #1 priority and everything else falls into place.

Unfortunately, this isn't a one time thing. Every day, when you wake up in the morning, you have to make a choice. Will your decisions be centered around what He wants or will your decisions be based on what you want?

The decision is yours.

Go in peace.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hello World

Hello All,

My name is Dennis and I'm very excited to be in the world of blogs. As all blogs, I'll comment on stuff that interests me and maybe stuff that doesn't (although highly unlikely.)

My main topics of interest are various and include:

The automotive industry
Family Life

What my main focus for this blog; however is to try to bring people closer to God. How? I don't know yet. I figure I'll just follow God's will and see what happens.