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Enough Is Enough

I am Catholic. I was raised Catholic, cherishing my faith now today more than ever. If I had to guess, 98%+ of the readers of this blog are Catholic. Those who aren’t, are Christian. Consistent with our faith, we are pro-life, treasuring the human person from the point of conception to natural death. 

Some of us, like me, although pro-life don’t do a lot about addressing the issue, other than with occasional discussion…probably with those who are already in agreement with us (again…that’s me). There are others who have the conviction to do something about it. Those things could be regular prayer for the unborn, working at a pregnancy crisis center, or going on the March of Life. 

Then there are those who have the courage to do the tough stuff, i.e., commuting 4 hours round trip every Wednesday, to spend 6-8 hours praying and promoting life outside an inner-city abortion clinic. That would be Mark Houck, founder of The Kings Men and good friend to Catholic Men’s Fellowship of Pittsburgh. 


On Friday, September 23rd, 20+ armed FBI agents surrounded Mark’s house for a 7AM raid in Bucks County, PA. With them pounding on the door, Mark’s 7 young children were crying frantically. When Mark opened the door, he, his wife, and children were faced with rifles in their faces. For what you might ask…a dispute at an abortion clinic that Mark had months earlier, that was already thrown out of court. Check the details here.

Just fill your car with gas or go to the grocery store…we live in a country where inflation is out of control. Crime, especially violent crime, has risen dramatically over the last 2 years. With the 200,000 pouring across our southern border every month, we have record levels of illegal drugs (causing record number of overdoses in our country), human trafficking, and known terrorists…all as documented by government statistics. 

So with the above chaos in our country as a backdrop (and I could include more), with so many not facing any consequences for their crimes…Mark Houck, a man dedicated to ministry for his entire adult life, is treated like this, in front of his family. Just another example of how Christians and conservatives are treated totally differently than others in such circumstances. To be clear…Mark’s experience is further evidence of the weaponizing of the Department of Justice and FBI. Sad days in America. 

I have two suggestions in relation to Mark, in addition to reading the article above:

  1. Please consider donating to Mark and his family here
  2. Contact your Senator and Congressperson and express your outrage. Just do an internet search on how to contact them and it will come up. 

You may ask what all this has to do with our faith. Depending on your perspective, maybe it does or doesn’t. To me, enough is enough. I can’t believe this has happened to someone I know personally. We live in a country where our liberties and religious freedoms are openly under attack. Please join me in praying for our country and discerning how you can make a difference. We (including me) can no longer stand on the sidelines. 

As always, feel free to contact me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with comments, questions, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests. 

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph

Categories
Weekly Blog

Some Things Are Different Than They Appear

Things are often different than they appear. A friend (Jack) forwarded the following to me as a good example. I liked the point it made, believing it relates to our faith lives. As such, I wanted to pass it along to you. 

During World War II, fighter planes would come back from battle with bullet holes. The Allies found the areas that were most commonly hit by enemy fire. They sought to strengthen the most commonly damaged parts of the planes to reduce the number that were shot down. A mathematician, Abraham Wald, pointed out that there may be another way to look at the data. Perhaps the reason certain areas of the planes weren’t covered in bullet holes was that planes that were shot in those areas did not return. This insight led to the armor being re-enforced on the parts of the plane where there were no bullet holes. 

The author goes on to make the point on the above…the story behind the data is arguably more important than the data itself. Or more precisely, the reason behind why we are missing certain pieces of data may be more meaningful than the data we have.

Think about the above in relation to your life. If you’re like me, you’ve had things happen and not known why. Sometimes we don’t even know how. It’s difficult to connect the dots. What just happened? How? Why? The same can apply to what we’re seeing go on around us, in our country or world. 

A week ago Sunday, we observed the anniversary of 9/11, the day in 2001 that over 3,000 people were killed in the largest terrorist attack in US history on US soil. Given the obvious suffering and tragedy, the question is “why”. 

I have some ideas on why the “why”, given my life experiences, but my real message today is to cling to the Cross. As you’ve read in my blogs, God loves you more than you’ll ever know, no matter what you’ve ever done. You can add to that…no matter what has ever happened to you. My life is way better with Jesus in it than when not. 

“When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead they are more determined to struggle for a better future”. Queen Elizabeth II, who just passed away on September 8th, is quoted as saying that. My cousin (Teri) shared that quote with me, in addition to this from the Queen as well, “It has always been easy to hate and destroy. To build and to cherish is more difficult.”

By NASA/Bill Ingalls 

Lots going on in our country and world. It’s difficult to understand or rationalize much of it. In addition, we have challenges in our personal lives. For me, central to life is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. As Jesus says in Matthew 19:26 (and several other places in Scripture), “with God all things are possible”. With God, we can survive anything. And we can “build and cherish”, as the Queen invites us to do. 

Growing closer to Jesus means growing in faith. There are some great upcoming local opportunities for men (happy to promote some things for the ladies…let me know) to do just that:

I’ve been to all and as such, would highly recommend each. The only thing better than the spiritual experience and great speakers is the fellowship…Men being with Men, all Brothers in Christ.

As always, please feel free to contact me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph

Categories
Weekly Blog

Letting Go of Your Resentments

Letting Go of Your Resentments

Most of us have had the experience of holding a grudge. Many are trapped and overwhelmed by the resulting resentment. If left unaddressed, resentment can consume us. Does this ring true to you?

For quite a while, I was overwhelmed by my wounds and resentments, almost in disbelief that these seeming “injustices” could have happened to me. I experienced a range of emotions and remember being angry and bitter almost on a constant basis. It was real. It was penetrating. And it hurt, sometimes almost physically. I felt very isolated, embarrassed to share the details with anyone.

Swallowing Poison and Waiting for the Other Person to Die

There’s a painfully true saying that “resenting someone else is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die”. In other words, when you harbor resentment, the only person it really hurts is you. Even if the other person knows of it and feels its repercussions, the impact on them pales in comparison to the impact on you.

There is no question that people wrong us, hurt us, sometimes very deeply, whether with malice or not. But when we let this fact get in the way of us living with peace and joy, we only hurt ourselves.

You Can Only Change Yourself

So how do we get out of habits of resentment and hurt? The fact is that the patterns of resentment that weigh us down are often rooted in the false belief that other people have to change in order for us to be happy. And this lie has roots in the lack of self-love suffered by most…if I believe that my whole worth is based on what other people think of me, then it stands to reason that I will resent people when they fail to love me.

Step #1

A first step in healing is moving past the idea that other people have to change. Remember, even when people treat you terribly and hurt you, that does not diminish your worth one bit. Because your worth is rooted in who you are (not in what you do or how you perform), you have the power to take responsibility for your own life, beginning with choosing to let go of resentment and hurt.

Step #2

An important second step has to do with our identity. Our tragedies, wounds, and set-backs are not to define us. When we allow our identity to get wrapped up in our hurts, it makes it difficult to surrender them, to experience healing, and to move on. As such, we need to understand our identity in Christ, each of us made by His Father, perfect in God’s image and likeness.

Step #3

Lastly, it was critical that I take ownership of my role in each of my painful circumstances, recognizing that I bore at least some responsibility for what had happened. It wasn’t until I started the challenging process of fixing myself, and yes forgiving myself, that I could humbly acknowledge my role, allowing me to also forgive others (which doesn’t mean condoning).

In doing all of the above, I let go of my resentments. How about you? What have you done or what are you prepared to do to have peace and joy in your life?

Please share your comments with me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph

Categories
Weekly Blog

Courage is Easy to See….If You Pay Attention

If you’re like me, when you think of courage, the images that come to mind include soldiers going into battle, a police officer rescuing a hostage, firemen pulling people from a burning building, or someone saving a victim from an attacker. These examples and similar ones are what get all of the press coverage. In those stories, whether identifying with the victim or the “hero”, we get a glimpse of “courage”.

Examples of Courage in Everyday Life

The truth is that we have examples of courage all around us, that are far less dramatic than the above. The story I want to share here is very close to home, relating to my wife’s father, who not only showed great courage, but dignity.

When I met Rodney, my father-in-law, then in his 70s, he was still cutting hair in his barber shop of 50+ years, managed his rental properties, golfed and bowled regularly, hunted, raised cows, took care of his 15-acre country property, and spent tons of time with his best friend (my mother-in-law), his daughter (my wife), and the broader family. Rodney was a friend’s friend. Everyone knew him and everyone loved him. 

Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Having experienced tragedy previously in his life, including being thrown from a speeding car as a teenager, breaking his back, and being the lone survivor, Rodney was diagnosed with ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. For those not familiar, ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Early symptoms of ALS include:

  • Tripping and falling
  • Weakness in the hands, legs, feet, or ankles
  • Slurred speech or trouble swallowing
  • Muscle cramps and twitching 

As the disease advances and nerve cells are destroyed, the muscles progressively weaken. This eventually affects overall mobility, chewing, swallowing, speaking, and breathing. With no cure, life expectancy is typically no more than 5 years after diagnosis.

Never Complaining

So as to prolong his retirement, he used rubber bands to help him hold the clippers in his hand while cutting hair. He eventually had to stop working, which was preceded by no longer hunting, golfing, or bowling. He went from a cane to a walker, followed by a scooter and then a powered wheelchair. Over time, he couldn’t do anything for himself. He went from living a healthy, active, vibrant life to realizing that he was dying a slow death.  

From the very beginning of this chapter in his life, Rodney never complained. Never. Not only did he never complain, but he took on every new endeavor (and there were many) without hesitation. From giving up work and all his hobbies, to no longer driving, to being in a wheelchair, and ultimately having his every need taken care of, he did it all with what I view as absolute courage.

No Fear

According to Dictionary.com, courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, or pain without fear. I saw in Rodney a courage that was quiet and calm. He encountered great difficulty, but never feared it. Although ALS patients don’t experience physical pain, the emotional stress is a big issue, but not ever as expressed by Rodney.

He never feared the next thing. He never feared death. In fact, he embraced the journey, showing all of us what a life of courage looks like.

Path to Peace

My father-in-law, ever so courageous and dignified (in a world that so needs it), lived at a place of surrender to God’s will, ever so grateful for the life he lived. He was an incredibly humble man, one who loved all who he encountered. I define these four things as the path to peace. While suffering from the disease that ultimately took his life, he did a wonderful job of exemplifying each. 

Who are the courageous people in your life, not the ones who perform external heroic acts (which shouldn’t be minimized), but live lives with courage, dignity, and faith? I bet you have them. I assure you that you can learn from them.

Please send me your comments at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.

May God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!! 

Mark Joseph