A Journey of Faith Starts with a Humble Heart

Most men know it is important to begin any project with the end in mind.  As I continue to answer what I believe is the Lord's call to share "Faith formation is job #1", I find upon reflection, this theme is pervasive throughout the course of my life.  The destination undeniable.  It is unshakable. I have my grandparents to thank for that.  I share this as a reminder that when one comes to the knowledge of Christ, one must make a daily decision about how to relate to him, the Father and the Holy Spirit.  And, one has to make a decision if that relationship is worth growing and sharing with others.  Now, I believe it is.

I wish I could say I have always had that conviction, but I can't.  I have been that Prodigal Son (Pope: In Forgiveness We See the True Heart of God) at various moments in my life, as most have to some degree or another; I have gone away from a relationship with the Lord and have had to deal with the consequences.  However, as in the story, there is a road back.  All that is necessary is for one to have a humble heart to get back on the road and begin the long walk home, dirty, fatigued, bruised and often times with regrets.  In any case, all hope is not lost.  On the contrary, there is great hope that is gained.

One of the most vivid impressions on my mind and heart is experiencing the open arms of my then priest, "Fr. Don", at St. Elizabeth Seton (in about the year 2004), when I heard him say after confession,"Welcome home."  There was nothing more refreshing to my soul than those two words, "Welcome home" (for more information, see The Sacrament of Penance).

Are you far from home?  If so, ask yourself, "Where am I headed?  What is my destination?  Do I want my children to follow me here?"  The answer to your questions may take some time, or not.  In any case, an answer is needed (The Coming Home Network International).

May this blog and what I share be a help to you as others have been to me on the journey of faith; and, may it point you to Christ, who will provide you all the inspiration, comfort and guidance you will ever need.

God bless, Ed.

P.S. I placed this timeline at the beginning of this blog, as I will modify it as the Lord permits.



A Man Fell in a Hole




+

1964 - Baptized in the Church of St. Alphonsus, Los Angeles, CA

1969 - I have a "spiritual awakening".

1973 - "Something inside calls" to become a priest.  The dream never materializes.  At that time, I thought, "What greater calling is there than to service our Lord."  Later spent some time with a mentor at St. Vincent's Seminary (now De Paul Evangelization Center), however the doors to education do not open here for unknown reasons.  Attend with grandmother St. Benedict Catholic Church, Montebello, CA, where one priest is not so pleased I have many questions about the Catholic faith.  A few other priests don't mind, however, attending to a voracious appetite for answers.  Later, one in particular, "Fr. Bernie", welcomes and encourages my questions; he later becomes a spiritual mentor and friend.

1979 - Received the Holy Sacrament of Confirmation.  Volunteer at Beverly Hospital and begin to learn about the temporal aspects of life and reality of death.

1980 - Participated in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.  Learned the Bible had an Old and New Testament.  Spiritual advisor, Dave M., "Coach" (P.E. coach of Montebello High School, Los Angels, CA), teaches me how to find scripture and why there are so many books in the Bible.  With his guidance, participate and study in small student prayer group.

1982 - Fr. Bernard O'Rorouke, "Bernie", gifts to me The Art of Christian Listening (1980), signed to him by the author, Thomas N. Hart, with the inscription, "It's been a pleasure having you in the course, Bernie.  Blessings on you and your ministry. - Tom Hart"

1984 - Left the Catholic faith in favor of a Calvary Chapel (Downey, CA) approach to worship.  I desire to study Christian apologetics at Weaton Collge (the door remains closed).  Reading Evidence that Demands a Verdict (Josh McDowell) and learn "To every man an answer" (Dr. Walter Martin).

1985 - Dear friend and mentor, Fr. Bernard O'Rorouke dies from Multiple Sclerosis.

1991
  • Following personal loss, begins a period of several years when I leave the faith and deny the existence of God.
  • Many years pass without a firm belief in anything "spiritual" except that it is important to always pursue the truth and deal with whatever is revealed.

1998 - I remain agnostic and mindful of what I have learned.  An appropriate scripture for this time is, "The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts more incisively than any two-edged sword: it can seek out the place where soul is divided from spirit, or joints from marrow; it can pass judgement on secret emotions and thoughts" (Hebrews 4:12).

2000 - Reading Evidence that Demands a Verdict and lean the historical significance of the life of Christ and to defend the faith with rational thought.

2002
2003
2004
  • Reading More than a Carpenter (Josh McDowell, 2004).
  • 1st child, "Baby 'B'" is born.  First blog entry as a Catholic dad, mindful of a new role and responsibility to receiving the gift of a child.  Blog is under another name, which I will give to my children when older.
  • My faith is solidified as I feel at home and after going to confession, which I had not done since my youth.
  • Prayer and reflection on scripture is more and more important, as are fellowship and learning about Catholic authors.

2005

2006 - 2nd child, "My Dewdrop" is born.  I find "My Breath" (Images).

2008
  • Discuss extensively with colleague, professor and friend, Donna E. the value to parents having a "Life Story" for their children and subsequent generations.  We discuss using blogs and other medium to tell "Our Stories, Our Lives".
  • CatholicDads.org is registered.
  • YouTube account established to integrate and utilize "multi-media" outreach. 
  • The issues related to promoting the sanctity of life dominate my mind and attention. My Christian brother, Steve F. educates me extensively on this topic and I become actively involved in promoting the dignity of life.
  • Understanding about Mary the Mother of God becomes more and more clear.

2009
2010
  • CatholicDads.org registers 50,000 page views prior to migrating from a static site to blog format.
  • CatholicDadsHQ.com is registered following conviction a more active role in sharing the Catholic faith is essential to continued spiritual growth and meeting the needs of the Catholic dads community.
  • Establish local Catholic business owners network (currently at 35 members) to promote B2B support and exchange of information and to mentor next generation of Catholic professionals.
  • Identify need for Catholic counselors to network via one online publication to promote all aspects of mental health. Launch Catholic Counseling Today - "The question confronting the Church today is not any longer whether the man in the street can grasp a religious message, but how to employ the communication media so as to let him have the full impact of the Gospel message."  -- Pope John Paul II
    • The Lord's impression is everywhere and in "Reflections of Faith" (Images).
    • Service to the Catholic dads community continues.  - "Faith formation is job #1"
    2011

    • After eight years of prayer, answer found through Saint John Chrysostom (Magnificat. Vol. 13,     No. 7. Tuesday, September 13), to continue on present course / ministry to meet the needs of individuals and families everywhere at risk of impaired functioning.


    Photo Journal




       
    1964 - Baptized in the Church of St. AlphonsusLos Angeles, CA (Contemporary photo).






    1982 - "Bernie" gives me a book that I hold onto for over a decade and proves to be a seed to a career yet undetermined. Now, the year is 2011 and I curiously discover on page 39, the scripture Mark 12:29-31 is bracketed: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength...You shall love your neighbor as yourself."  In 2010, Catholic Dads HQ is established with the tagline, "Strengthening: Heart, Soul and Mind".





    1985 - Dear friend and mentor, Fr. Bernard O'Rorouke - "I miss you brother.  You were an inspiration to my life and you showed me God was not afraid of my doubts."








    2004 - My first child teaches me how to love beyond self.









    2005 - Image used for San Diego Catholic Dads flyer.








    2006 - My second child teach me love has no limits.