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Called to Evangelize

Called to Evangelize

June 5, 2019

evangelize

As Christians, as Catholics, we are called to witness. We are called to share our faith with the people around us. So why is evangelization so hard for most Christians? Why are we so afraid to share our beautiful faith with others? In this pod cast Tony discusses the call to evangelize.

Scripture: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.” –1 Peter 3:15-16

For, I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. -–Romans 1:16

Quotes: “Sometimes I ask myself, “Do I have the courage to do the right thing when it matters most?” And that answer, I’m afraid, is silence.” ― Jarod Kintz

Reflections: Are you reluctant to discuss Jesus for fear of offending someone? Is evangelization something you take seriously? Do you leave evangelization to others more qualified?

Life Lessons on the Journey

Life Lessons on the Journey

May 29, 2019

Last week, I received a note from a reader who asked, “What are some life lessons you would share with your new grandson?” I replied that I began writing my stories with that thought in mind. Is there anything I can share that might help the next generation avoid some of the pitfalls that I’ve experienced that would help them lead happier lives? In this podcast, Tony discusses life lessons.

Here are 14 life lessons from along the journey of life:

 

1. Live in the moment. We spend so much of our lives reliving the past or anxiously awaiting tomorrow that we fail to live today. Life is short; it passes us by in the wink of an eye. As the old saying goes, Life is lived in the moment between each breath. We need to live today, enjoy ourselves today, and drink in today’s wonder, savor today’s moments.
2. Relationships are everything. We need to put our relationships ahead of everything else in our lives, before jobs, homes, cars, hobbies, sports, or smart phones. Our relationship with God, our spouse, children, parents, siblings trump everything else. We need to be there for our children when they need us. And, remember, friendships require time and attention. One of the regrets of the dying is they didn’t work at their friendships.
3. Slow down. We live in a world that has no patience. We are always moving at the speed of light, often cramming our calendars with so many tasks and appointments that we never give enough time to anything.
4. Less is more. We are always in the pursuit of more. A bigger house, a more expensive car, a bigger television screen, electronics, gadgets, shoes, and clothes. Whenever you do some house cleaning what you will find is that things just gather dust! If you eliminated everything from your house that is gathering dust, you’ll be surprised at freeing power of less stuff.
5. Giving is better than receiving. This runs contrary to everything we are bombarded with in the media. But, I promise you there is no better feeling that giving to someone that can never repay you and having a positive effect on someone’s life.
6. Practice Gratitude. If we aren’t grateful for what we already have, then how can we expect to be grateful for those things we want? Start the day with thanking our Lord for life, for the day ahead, for family friends and a job. The greater the gratitude to greater our happiness.
7. Be compassionate and show empathy. To have concerns for the sufferings and misfortune of others, and the ability to understand and share the feelings of others will motivate us to desire to help those less fortunate.
8. Be forgiving Anger and resentment will harm your health, get in the way of your happiness, and cause you to live in the past. It is said that anger and resentment are like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. It will kill you if you can’t find a way to forgive.
9. Be passionate. Over the years I have had the opportunity to hire many people and I can say that passion is the one thing that stands out above everything else. Find something you really enjoy doing, then, be passionate about it!
10. Be Kind. The smallest act of kindness can change a person’s life forever. It costs nothing to be kind, and it sends a powerful message.
11. Say I’m sorry. When you’ve done something that needs an apology, say it! Don’t assume the person knows your feelings. Say I’m sorry, and mean it.
12. Fear is an illusion. Fear will paralyze you, it will cause you hesitate, stay in the wrong situations. The fear of taking action is always debilitating. Take small steps, take pride in your taking action, it builds confidence.
13. Failures are life lessons. If we don’t take action because we fear failure, then we don’t understand that failures are simply lessons. Failure often puts you one step closer to success. History is filled with people who failed many times before they succeeded.
14. Pain is a normal part of life. We all will experience pain in our lives. Physical pain, mental pain, sickness, injury, a job loss, a bad marriage or a financial setback. Embrace pain as part of life. We all will deal with it sooner or later. Our attitude will do wonders to help us get through the pain.

Friendship Deficiency

Friendship Deficiency

May 22, 2019

One Thursday morning, waiting for 8AM mass to begin, I realized that I was surrounded by eight male friends. Thursday’s are special because after mass we all go to breakfast together. It’s a time to share stories and tell jokes, but it’s also a time for prayer and concern for others. In this podcast Tony discusses friendships.

Scripture: This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another. John 15:12-17

“There are friends who bring ruin, but there are true friends more loyal than a brother.” –Proverbs 18:24

Reflections: Do you work at making new friends? Do you feel “Friendship Deficient?” What about accountability, do you like it when a friend holds you accountable?

Open the Door to Your Heart

Open the Door to Your Heart

May 15, 2019

One of my fellow jail ministers, George, likes to use the painting “The Light of the World” by William Holman Hunt to make the point of inviting Jesus into our hearts and lives. It’s a wonderful way to illustrate that WE must ask Jesus into our lives. Our Lord never forces himself on us, but is always waiting for an invitation to open the door to our heart. In this podcast, Tony talks about opening that door.

Scripture: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” — Revelation 3:20

Reflection: Are you opening the door to your heart? Have you made the first move to meet Jesus waiting at the door of your heart? Do you see the symbolism in the painting?

*The Light of the World (1853–54) is an allegorical painting by William Holman Hunt.

Thank God for Crying Babies

Thank God for Crying Babies

May 8, 2019

I’ve learned to love it whenever I hear babies crying at church. I like it when a toddler asks his mom a question with a voice to loud to be church worthy. And, my heart is warmed when I hear the cooing, giggling, and silly baby laughter especially during the quiet time following communion. To me, it’s like the angels speaking from heaven. In this podcast, Tony discusses babies crying at church.

Scripture: “Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” –Matthew 19:13-14

“Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me.” –Mark 9:36-37

Reflections: Are you willing to hear some crying to know the church has a future? Do you ever thank a parent for bringing their kids to mass? As a young parent, do you ever feel unwelcome at mass?

Doing vs. Being

Doing vs. Being

May 1, 2019

Doing is easier that being. Doing is quantifiable. We can measure our productivity in a big promotion, a cleaner house, a better report card or a bigger paycheck. Doing is what we are taught to do from the time we are old enough to understand. But where is the balance in our lives? After all, we are Human Beings, not Human Doings! In this podcast, Tony discusses the difference between doing and being.

Scripture: But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil. Matthew 6:33-34

Quote: “We are warned not to waste time, but we are brought up to waste our lives.” –Eric Hoffer

Reflections: Are you doing or being? What do you do to be a more being person? Do you agree that “Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play, and to play at their worship?"

Married and Lonely

Married and Lonely

April 24, 2019

Why is it that so many married people feel alone and lonely? They feel like they are living together separately. No love, no kisses, no sex, no communication. Rather than oneness, they feel like ships crossing in the night. In this podcast, Tony discusses what has happened?

Scripture: He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” Matthew 19:4-6

Quote: “When you make the sacrifice in marriage, you’re sacrificing not to each other but to unity in a relationship.” Joseph Campbell

Reflections: What measures have you taken to keep the fires of unity in your marriage burning? Is Christ at the center of your marriage? Do you pray together?

It Only Takes One

It Only Takes One

April 17, 2019

have always been impressed with the power in the number one. It only takes one person, one kind word, one thought, or one good deed to change the world. One is a very powerful number. In this podcast Tony talks about the power of one.

Quote: It only takes one smile to offer welcome and blessed be the person who shares it. It only takes one moment to be helpful, and blessed be the person who will spare it. It only takes one joy to lift a spirit, and blessed be the person who will give it. It only takes one life to make a difference, and blessed be the person who will live it. --Amanda Bradley

Scripture: “Do not fear: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. –Isaiah 41:10

Reflections: Have you ever been that one person for another? Can you remember the one teacher, coach or friend that helped you become the person you are today? Have you ever mentored a friend?

We Celebrate

We Celebrate

April 10, 2019

A few months ago, Diane and I had a very busy weekend. We celebrated the baptism of a niece’s son. We celebrated the lives of a husband and wife who had died only hours apart. And, we celebrated our mutual birthday (we were both born on February 23rd) with four other couples that share the same birthday week, an annual tradition for over 20 years. In this podcast, Tony discusses celebrating.

Scripture: Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy sanctuary; give praise in the mighty dome of heaven. Give praise for his mighty deeds, praise him for his great majesty. Give praise with blasts upon the horn, praise him with harp and lyre. Give praise with tambourines and dance, praise him with strings and pipes. Give praise with crashing cymbals, praise him with sounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath give praise to the LORD! Hallelujah! –Psalm 150 1:6

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, 1 Peter 3:15

Quote: The best way to live life is to celebrate life. –Matthew Kelly
Book: Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly, Beacon Publishing, 2012

Reflection: What do you celebrate? Is celebration at the center of your Catholic life? How do family traditions become our celebration?

Girls with Purple Hair

Girls with Purple Hair

April 3, 2019

As I approached the scene, I couldn’t help but notice that cars were swerving to avoid the driver, who lay in pain in the middle of the street, and his bike that was now a twisted mess. No one was stopping to help! In this podcast, Tony discusses unlikely hero’s, girls with purple hair!

Scripture: “Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things. –Romans 2:1

Quotes: If you judge people you have no time to love them. –-Mother Teresa

The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people are the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do. –Tony Agnesi

Reflections: Do we often judge people by their looks? Does purple hair or a tattoo affect the way you look at someone? Have you ever found the most unlikely people to be the most caring?

That’s Not Who You Are

That’s Not Who You Are

March 27, 2019

As I sat there, a male technician came out to the waiting room and in a loud clear voice said, “The colon cancer!” He repeated himself, “which one of you is the colon cancer? A few seconds passed before I realized that he was referring to me. As my anger grew, I rose to my feet and said, “My name is Tony, not the colon cancer! He sheepishly apologized. In this podcast, Tony discusses who you are.

 

Scripture: With all vigilance guard your heart, for in it are the sources of life. Proverbs 4:23

For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. –Galatians 3:26

Quote: “You are a child of God. You’re playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure about you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us.”  –Marianne Williamson

Reflections: Have you been guilty of putting yourself down?  Have you ever allowed someone else to define who you are?  Do you ever feel unworthy of happiness?

The Devil on My Shoulder

The Devil on My Shoulder

March 20, 2019

I remembered as a kid the cartoon that depicted the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. The devil is whispering in one ear and the angel in the other. The devil is suggesting sin and the angel suggesting goodness.  In this podcast, Tony discusses good and evil.

Scripture: Consequently, brothers, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  Romans 8:12-13

Quote:  An Old Cherokee told his grandson, “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all.”

One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility kindness, empathy and truth.

The boy thought about it and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

Reflection: Do you feel this struggle with the wolves within you?  Is there one person, place or thing that you 

30 Days to Live

30 Days to Live

March 13, 2019

What if you only had one month to live? What would you do if the doctor said to get your affairs in order in the next 30 days? How would you live your life if you knew with certainty that your days on earth were numbered? In this podcast, Tony discusses the most authentic you.

Scripture: “Make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart.” Psalm 90:12 (Grail)

Quotes: “Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.” – Alan Sachs

Reflections: Have you ever had a life changing experience that changed the way you think about death?  What would you do differently if you only had one month to live?  Are you living as the most authentic version of yourself?

Too Busy to Pray

Too Busy to Pray

March 6, 2019

We all wish we had more time to pray. Ask 100 Christians if they would like more prayer time and most would answer yes. But, most would say that a robust prayer life is difficult.  In this podcast, Tony talks about being too busy to pray and how we can find the time for a better prayer life.

Scripture: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.   Matthew 7:7-8

“Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.” Matthew 21:22

Quotes: “Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.” -St. Padre Pio

The fruit of prayer is a deepening of faith. And the fruit of faith is love. And the fruit of love is service.” –Mother Teresa

“If you are too busy to pray, you are too busy!” –Mother Teresa

Reflections: What can you do to find more time to pray?  How important is prayer time to your well-being?  How do you find some extra time to pray?

We Never Forget Kindness

We Never Forget Kindness

February 27, 2019

There is something wonderful about kindness. We remember for years kindnesses that we received, many unexpectedly, some a needed blessing, others true miracles. Kindness is not easily forgotten.  In this podcast, Tony discusses random acts of kindness.

Scripture: “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” –Luke 6:38

I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.  –John 13:15

Quote: “You don’t pay love back, you pay it forward.” --Lily Hardy Hammond

Reflections:  Have you ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness? Does it make you feel like "paying it forward?"  Can you remember someone in your past because of their kindness?

That Your Joy May Be Complete

That Your Joy May Be Complete

February 20, 2019

Joy, the second fruit of the spirit from Galatians 5:22, a word used over 100 times in the old and new testaments, but what is it? What is joy?  Ask most people and they will say that it is happiness; but a true Christian understanding of joy goes beyond happiness.  In this Five Minutes with Tony podcast, Tony discusses joy.

Scripture: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” John 15:9-11

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:11

Reflections:  What makes happiness different than joy?  Have you ever felt true joy?  What was the occasion and how did it make you feel?  What can we do to have more joy in our lives?

Mothers and Sons

Mothers and Sons

February 13, 2019

There is something special about mothers and sons. It is an unexplainable bond that only they share. She gave him birth, nursed him, wiped his slobbered chin, and held the tissue when he blew his nose.  In this podcast, Tony discusses the special bond between mothers and sons.

Scripture: Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19:25-27

Quote: There has never been, nor will there ever be anything quite so special as the love between a mother and son. –Anonymous

Reflection:  What is your relationship with your mother?  What is the special bond you share?  What are the things you can share with your mom and no one else?

Br Not Afraid

Br Not Afraid

February 6, 2019

I read a while back that the Bible has 365 uses of the phrase “fear not” or “be not afraid.” I haven’t been able to verify that, but I can tell you that it is one of the most used themes in the bible.  In this podcast, Tony discusses fear and how it can paralyze our actions.

Quote:  If anyone on the verge of action should judge himself according to the outcome, he would never begin. Even though the result may gladden the whole world, that cannot help the hero; for he knows the result only when the whole thing is over, and that is not how he became a hero, but by virtue of the fact that he began.” — Søren Kierkegaard from Fear and Trembling

Scripture:  The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

The LORD is with me; I am not afraid; what can mortals do against me? Psalm 118:6

Reflection: Do you feel your inaction is keeping you from achieving your goals? Do you feel you are moving in the direction of your goals?  What about the idea of baby steps?

Be Passionate

Be Passionate

January 30, 2019

I am a passionate person. I live life passionately. I am passionate about my marriage, my family, friends, my work, my writing and speaking, fishing, golf, and most importantly, I am passionate about my Catholic faith.  In this podcast Tony talks about the importance of passion.

Scripture: He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it:You shall love your neighbor as yourself. –Matthew 22:37-39

Quote: “It is obvious that we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.” – T.S. Elliot

Reflections: What are you passionate about?  Are you passionate about your faith?  What drives your passions?

Embrace the Ordinary

Embrace the Ordinary

January 23, 2019

Most people spend their lives in pursuit of the extraordinary. We look at the lives of celebrities, glorify their excesses, and wish that our lives could be more like theirs.  In this podcast, Tony talks about the ordinary moments that represent 99% of our time on earth.

Quote: For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his [or her] happiness on major events like a great job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.        – -Andy Rooney

The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things. – – Veronique Vienne

Reflection:  Do you find yourself missing the ordinary in search of the extraordinary?  What can we do to embrace the ordinary occurrences in life?  Are you comfortable with your ordinary life?