The Lies Catholics Face

Gil Alderete, the new President for CMF California, joined us this morning for what was another very well-attended Fellowship Breakfast. Due to the Single & Parenting class happening in Room A, we were moved to rooms B & C, which is always a nice change for us due to the larger size of the space. Our Scripture verse got us started well for our topic of looking at the lies we all face as Catholics, and there was a lot of sharing from the men. One of the best things about the St. Denis CMF group is the diversity in the ages of men. Luis joined us this morning as another college-aged young man, and it’s always great to hear from him (and Cody & Anthony) for us to better understand what is making the younger generation tick. But then it’s also wonderful to hear the wisdom of some of the older gents, like Chuck and Bill, to be able to learn from them as well. This group truly is a “hidden jewel” within our Parish.

Featured Scripture

Genesis 3:1-7

Featured Song

“Jesus Loves You” by Sanctus Real (Music Video)

Expand the Band: Cultivating Healthy Relationships

For a Labor Day weekend, we had a surprisingly nice turnout of men attend this morning’s meeting. It was wonderful to have Fr. Dennis hang around for our song and opening prayer, and we were very happy to welcome first-timer Chuck to our Fellowship. Our Scripture reading seemed to really resonate with the men this morning, as we spent quite a long time reflecting on it. Jack had very limited time remaining to get into the topic discussion he had prepared, but he did have the men read a Brother’s Creed that he brought along, and the men even signed it at the end. It’s always great to gather with these Brothers in Christ!

Featured Scripture

Matthew 23:1-12, 23-26

Featured Song

“Litany of Humility” by Danielle Rose (Music Video)

Expand the Band: Building Your Band of Brothers

This was another well-attended and wonderful gathering. Chris presented some insightful scriptures and thoughts regarding the importance of sharing our lives with our Brothers in Christ, instead of trying to do things on our own (95% of men claim they do not have a “Best Friend” they share their struggles/pain with). The guys seemed to really respond to the topic. It was also great to have the support of our priests… Fr. Dennis made his rounds greeting everyone at the beginning, and Fr. John arrived just in time for the topic presentation.

Featured Scripture

Matthew 11:28-30

Featured Song

“Well Done” by The Afters (Music Video)

I Need A Friend (helpful video link)

Finding Happiness in Your Work

We had a wonderful and well-attended gathering this morning. It was great to see some brand new faces, as well as some faces we haven’t seen in a while. The morning started off on a very special note as we welcomed Fr. Dennis back to St. Denis, and then we were blessed to be able to wish our brother Bill White a Happy 87th Birthday!

Finding happiness in your work begins with finding God in your work - remembering that our jobs are a gift from Him, and that He wants us to be doing the jobs He has led us to. A wonderful way to help get into the practice of bringing God into your work - which leads to you finding happiness in your work - is by praying at the top of your work day. The Prayer Before Work is one beautiful way to do this.

Featured Scripture

Ephesians 2:8-10

Featured Song

“Here for a Reason” by Ashes Remain (Music Video)

Spirituality of the Ordinary

Very well attended meeting this month. We had to move to Rooms B & C due to the Padre Pio event happening in the Hall, but this made for a nice change because of how much room it gave us. The topic was very well received, as we looked at the ways we can find Christ - Spirituality - in our every-day lives. Sarge shared a beautiful story of how a person he had arrested in the past approached him years later and thanked him for the kindness he showed the man during his arrest. David also shared a powerful story of witnessing Christ to a young woman at his clinic who was about to make a very bad decision with her life…and then David had to defend his actions to the girl’s mother - bringing Christ to both women in the process. It’s these every-day moments when we let Christ shine through us that we can make a difference in this world.

Featured Scripture

Luke 5:1-11

Featured Song

“Sovereign Over Us” by Michael W. Smith (Music Video)

Holy Saturday

It was great to be back together with the guys after skipping the meeting in March due to all the other CMF events happening. We had a wonderful morning of catching-up, and our Scripture (the resurrection of Lazarus) sparked a terrific conversation. It’s always cool when a room of guys can hear the same Scripture words, but come out with entirely different individual messages.

Featured Scripture

John 11:21-27, 38-44

Featured Song

“Is He Worthy?” by Chris Tomlin (Music Video)

Dignity of Women

The dignity of every woman is the task of every man.
— Pope St. John Paul II

That wonderful quote from our beloved Pope was introduced at last week’s Into The Breach conference, and we used it as a springboard for today’s topic discussion.

Today we were blessed to have Fr. Joe join us again, and Deacon Phil was also there. It was also wonderful to have our newest Knight, Brock, join us. Brock led many of his friends to the ITB meeting last week, so it was great to have him join us this morning.

The dignity of every woman truly is the task of every man. This goes beyond just not looking at women with lustful eyes. It means looking at women through the eyes of Christ, and treating them all the way Christ would treat them. Jesus restored the dignity of the woman caught in adultery, in the midst of an angry crowd that was ready to stone her. Deacon Phil shared a powerful story of how he stood up for the wives of his co-workers by removing pornography from his former workplace and changing the culture of the environment at his work. We are all called to stand up for our sisters and defend/restore their dignity.

Featured Scripture

John 8:2-11

Featured Song

“Priceless” by For King & Country (Music Video)

Forgiveness

It was so great to welcome back our brother, Dale, after being away for a while. He was truly missed, and it was so wonderful to have him join us again this morning. It was also great to welcome our new Core Team member, Chris, who got this year started off with a bang thanks to his wonderful presentation about forgiveness. Fr. Joe, who also joined us this morning, brought up a great visual image of the two-sided coin: with Forgiveness on one side, and Love on the other…and how we all need both to be true Christian men.

Featured Scripture

Matthew 18:21-35

Featured Song

“Forgiveness” by Matthew West (Music Video)

Christmas Reflections

After not meeting in November, it was great to be back together with the guys. Today we shared some beautiful reflections of how our lives were impacted in a positive way during the Christmas season (past or present). It was also nice to be able to share this day with Bill H as he celebrated his birthday. Today we also recognized Bill W and Greg C for having not missed a single meeting (Greg hasn’t missed in two years, and Bill has only missed one - back in 2017). Both men were presented with CMF T-shirts as a show of appreciation for their dedication to our ministry.

Featured Scripture

Isaiah 9:1-7

Featured Song

“No Matter What” by Ryan Stevenson (Music Video)

Be More For Women

Last month we looked at how not to look at women (through lustful eyes), and this month our focus was on how we should look at women. Jesus taught us, and Joseph modeled for us how we should value women, honor women, and help the women in our lives to thrive.

  • Be more than the man who is faithful to his wife; be the man who values the lives of women and helps them thrive

  • Be more than the man who talks about deplorable behavior of sexual predators; be the man who confronts them

  • Be more than the man who teaches his son to respect his mother; be the man who honors his wife

  • Be more than the man who doesn’t sexually harass women at work; be the man who creates a culture at his workplace for women to thrive because they feel safe

Reference Material: Christian Men: Be Different - Be More

Michael’s Discussion Outline: Mary Through the Eyes of Joseph

Featured Scripture

Ephesians 5:21, 25-33

Featured Song

“Lead Me” by Sanctus Real (Music Video)

Lust: Can There Be Victory?

This morning we began by sharing some wonderful stories about Msgr Jim’s life, as well as what moved each of us during his funeral services. That all led into some wonderful dialogue about the importance for us all to be sure we are having regular check-ups, and that we listen to our doctors. It was very helpful to have David Picella to lead that part of the discussion for us.
After that, we got into our main topic which was on Lust. Lust speaks of a craving or any desire which is outside the perfect will of God for your life, and is one of the most formidable foes for Christian men…

  • “Secret Sin” – it is a sin of thoughts rather than a specific act.

  • Unconfessed Sin – because of the sensitive/embarrassing nature of lust, a person often tells no one.  Therefore, they do not receive the support they truly need.

  • Impossible to avoid all forms of temptation – just look around you, and on the media

  • It is addictive – lust and accompanying masturbation is self-perpetuating: the more you do it, the more you want to do it and with lessening enjoyment

  • Some teach that moderate lust and masturbation are “normal and healthy” – not according to God.  The guilt you feel comes from Him.

Everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)

And for those who think masturbation is a private thing and doesn’t hurt anyone, CS Lewis beautiful explains just how destructive this act is:

“For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back; sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides.  And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman.  For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no woman can rival.  Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover; no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity.  In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself. . .  After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.” - Personal Letter From Lewis to Keith Masson (found in The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3)

Pattern For Victory:

  • Confess your bondage to the Lord

  • Ask God for His strength to overcome in this area (see “Surrender Prayer”)

  • Walk by the Spirit – constantly “check-in” with the Holy Spirit

  • Guard your thoughts

  • Keep your eyes on Jesus

Recommended Reading: “Delivered” by Matt Fradd

Fr. John’s Homily (Sunday, September 30, 2018): Homily

RECLAIM Sexual Health

Featured Scripture

Tobit 8:1-14

(No song this month due to time constraints)

Trust in God

It was wonderful today to have Fr. John join us and introduce himself to our men.  The Holy Spirit then took over and we began having a powerful conversation about the scandals that continue to plague our Church - and the importance for us to not desert Jesus in this time of struggle.  Our Faith begins and ends with Him - not with the flawed human leaders of the Church.  The men who fell to sin and corruption are NOT our Faith, and we need to hold strongly to Jesus' hand as our Church goes through this time of purification.  It all requires a trust in God that He is still in control, and that things are happening according to His will.  He doesn't will the sin, but He definitely wills the exposure of the sin; because from the exposure and removal of this rot, true healing can begin - making way for an even stronger Body of Christ in the end.

Sex Abuse Scandal - By Fr. Mike

Featured Scripture

2 Corinthians 12:6-10

Featured Song

"Strong Enough" by Matthew West     (Music Video)

Jesus: Our Model Of Manhood

Another well-attended morning of Faith, Food & Fellowship.  Today's topic looked into what is causing the extinction of the real man in our culture.  Distractions that lead to the downfall include (but are not limited to):

  • Video games and media
  • Missing fathers
  • Lack of strong, positive role models
  • Lack of true friends
  • Sexual temptation/pornography
  • Men are too easily pleased with material possesions

In spite of all of these distractions, we still have a model of what it means to be a real man:
Jesus Christ
Through Jesus, we know the following truths:

  • Real men prepare themselves in their youth
  • Real men work
  • Real men respect women
  • Real men love kids
  • Real men control themselves
  • Real men are humble
  • Real men pray

Jesus was a leader and also a servant; He was incredibly bold and also lovingly gentle; He worked hard, loved all, and never deviated from His mission.  His is the only path to becoming a real man.

Source Material:

Why Real Men Are Becoming Extinct
Jesus Christ: The True Model for Manhood

Featured Scripture

Matthew 6:24-34

Featured Song

"I Get What I Need" by Collin Raye     (Music Video)

Uniformity With God's Will

Today was our highest-attended Fellowship meeting of the year so far.  It was wonderful to have guys return after being away for a few months, and we were also grateful to Ben and Gil for joining us from neighboring CMF chapters.  Today's topic on the Uniformity With God's Will was a particularly challenging topic because of the difficulty involved in making God's will the focal point of our daily lives...but the men received the information beautifully and reflectively.

Pray for the light to know the will of God; for the love to accept the will of God; and for the way to do the will of God.
— St. Teresa of Calcutta

Featured Scripture

Isaiah 41:8-13

Featured Song

"There's A Light" by Todd Smith     (Music Video)

Good Good Father

Such a powerful Fellowship meeting this morning!  The Holy Spirit came into the room and just tossed out the script the Core Team had prepared and instead touched the hearts of the men to discuss their feelings on the story of the Prodigal Son.  Listening to how the men related to the different characters within that story was heartwarming and enlightening.  "Just love everyone  because you really don't know their story/struggles" was a powerful message that came out of the discussions.

Featured Scripture

Luke 15:20-32

Featured Song

"Good Good Father" by Chris Tomlin    (Music Video)

 

Rolling Away The Stone

Today was a really well-attended Fellowship Breakfast, and we welcomed two brand-new men to our group (welcome Joe & Bill!).  Our scripture reading sparked a wonderful conversation about how God designed things so that we never try to do things alone - that we are built to succeed best with the help of others: "Two are better than one, because they have good return for their labor.  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up."  And as we are now half-way through this Easter season, today's topic was about rolling away the boulders of our lives that prevent us from becoming the men God wants us to be; and also learning how to live in a life where we have the hope and joy in the Resurrection.

Featured Scripture

Ecclesiastes 4:8-12

Featured Song

"Jesus" by Chris Tomlin     (Music Video)

 

Holy Saturday

This was a beautiful Holy Saturday, and we spent quite a bit of time talking about today's Scripture selection which focused on listening to God's voice, and acting on His will for us.  We also re-capped how everyone did for this past Lent, and guys also shared about their experiences at the recent Mater Dolorosa retreat.  Special blessings to our brother, Larry Church, who officially becomes Catholic at tonight's Easter Vigil Mass!

Featured Scripture

James 1:19-21, 2:14-17

Featured Song

"Lay Down My Life" by Sidewalk Prophets     (Music Video)

Resisting Temptation

Another wonderful breakfast of fellowship, and today we focused on resisting temptation - and how to turn temptation into a prayer instead.  We also discussed some challenges we face along our journeys and some of the tools we have been given by Jesus to overcome those challenges - like renouncing evil spirits in the name of Christ.  It was nice to have such an open discussion with the guys, and many voices spoke up this morning with questions, suggestions, and affirmation.

Featured Scripture

James 1: 12-18

Featured Song

"You Love Me Anyway" by Sidewalk Prophets     (Music Video)


Milton shared the story of Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme and his vision of Christ leading him to pray the Rosary because that was the key to ridding Nigeria of the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram.  If you would like to hear more about this story, please click this link:  Rosary Heals

Society of St. Vincent de Paul

We enjoyed a really wonderful Fellowship Meeting this morning.  We welcomed back some brothers we haven't seen in a really long time, and we also welcomed some brand new men to our group (thanks for joining us, Phil and Ray!). 

Today's meeting featured a presentation from some Guests from St. Vincent de Paul.  Chris Sariego, Director of Public Relations & Marking for SVDPLA, gave us a terrific overview of the history of this ministry, and what they do for the homeless of Los Angeles.  Chris brought with him two volunteers who work with the local SVDP chapter at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church,  Dr. George Gabison and Deacon Steve Hillmann.  All three men gave inspiring talks, and challenged us to do more than simply pray (which is still very powerful) - but to try stepping out of our comfort zone and physically act to do something to help the homeless in our area.  For more information, please check out the St. Vincent de Paul website: svdpla.org

Featured Scripture

Matthew 25:34-36, 40

Featured Song

"We Are The Light Of The World" by Jean Anthony Grief   (Music Clip)

Why Worry?

Today, Michael unpacked the last chapter from Matthew Kelly's "Perfectly Yourself".  We discussed the causes for worry/stress, and the importance of "lengthening your fuse" so that you can react to difficult situations from a more reflective space, instead of reacting from all of your "practiced" methods of anger, frustration, etc.  As Matthew suggests, we need to maintain inner peace; and a great way to keep that inner peace is by finding a place of gratitude for God - in all things.

Recommended Reading

"Perfectly Yourself" by Matthew Kelly     (Purchase)
"Searching for and Maintaining Peace" by Fr. Jacques Philippe     (Purchase)

Featured Scripture

1 Thessalonians 5:11-22

Featured Song

"All Things New" by Sidewalk Prophets    (Music Video)