Ep62 The Dangers of Anger



Father Len reveals his 30 year battle with anger and explains why it’s like a cancer that can destroy you unless you learn how to respond to it.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len responds to an email from the mother of a 15-year-old daughter who became depressed and filled with rage over the death of George Floyd.
  • Father Len reveals that anger has been one of his most common sins throughout his life.
  • Research has shown that nothing rots your body like anger.
  • “Anger is rottenness to your bones.” – Proverbs
  • “Anger disintegrates community.” – Proverbs
  • “A hot tempered man stirs up dissension.” – Proverbs
  • Anger destroys wisdom and the ability to make wise choices.
  • “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick tempered man displays foolishness, even after he cools down.” – Proverbs
  • Anger is blinding. When you’re angry, you always think you’re completely right.
  • Anger distorts your view of situations, yourself, your view of the world, and your view of your family. It can make you really stupid.
  • “A hot tempered man must pay a penalty. If you rescue him, you’ll just have to do it again and again and again.” – Proverbs
  • Anger is very addictive. It’s like the cocaine of emotions.
  • Anger feeds on itself. Anger begets anger.
  • Anger often obscures truth and leads to denial.
  • COVID 19 has become an excuse for anger about almost everything.
  • When you’re angry, it’s very difficult to recognize that you may be the problem.
  • Sometimes anger is love in motion to a threat to someone you love.
  • “Be angry, but sin not.” – St. Paul
  • “He that is angry without cause, sins. He who is not angry when there is cause, sins.” – St. John Chrysostom
  • The best response to anger is prayer, self-examination, self-discipline, and sacrifice.
  • Unreasonable impatience is the hotbed of vices.
  • Anger tends to focus you on the problem and obscures the solution.
  • Studies have shown that compassionate people are better at defining boundaries of unacceptable behavior.
  • “Compassion is the strong man’s tool. Anger is the weak man’s tool.” – Father Len

Ep61 True Friendship



Father Len takes a deep and challenging dive into the nature of true friendship and its profound effects on us throughout our lives. 

Highlights, Ideas and Wisdom

  • In Greek, the word friend or friendship is another word for love.
  • The word love in English is just another word for sex, not friendship.
  • Greeks believe there are four types of love. Love of one’s family, love of one’s friends, romantic love, and unconditional love.
  • Catholics believe friendship love prepares us for heaven.
  • Catholics believe all types of love speak about the great mystery of God.
  • Father Len explains why he believes the United States has a crisis of friendship.
  • Father Len describes much of the friendship present in the United States as what he calls cultural friendship. Relationships based not on reciprocal love, but on getting some sort of advantage, either economically or socially.
  • “Amen with many companions comes to ruin, but there’s a friend who sticks closer to you than a brother.” – Book of Proverbs
  • Today the word friend has been turned into a verb. We “friend” people we don’t really know on social media.
  • Friendship brings something into your life that family and romance can’t.
  • True friendship helps form us.
  • We are formed by God and the community of our family and friends.
  • “One can perish for lack of true friends or for making the wrong friends.” – Book of Proverbs
  • True friendship has a foundation that you discover. Some common interest, love, passion, vision, or truth.
  • Father Len explains the difference between friendship love and romantic love.

Ep60 The History of Marriage and What Makes It Work



Father Len explores the history of marriage, our changing attitudes and expectations about it, God’s expectations for marriage, and what makes marriage so difficult yet so worthwhile.

Highlights, Ideas and Wisdom

  • Ancient marriages were rarely about love and had little to do with religion. Marriages were pragmatic contracts between families about such things as wealth, political alliances, childbearing, and, for poor and working-class families, acquiring a work partner.
  • Christ revolutionized expectations for marriage. Declaring it to be about unity, love, and becoming a true human being, having nothing to do with legal rights.
  • Modern expectations for marriage revolve around happiness. Finding the one person that’s going to make me happy until they don’t. Then, it’s time to find a new partner.
  • Marriage is a pathway to becoming the image of God, the image of love.
  • Marriage involves a death, dying to ego and selfishness.
  • “True love doesn’t make up for all your faults. True love exposes all your faults.” – Dante Alighieri
  • You can’t work on your faults until they’re exposed.
  • True love demands constant sacrifice.
  • Marriage is about sacrificing your ego and learning to think as two rather than one.
  • Unmarried people often have difficulty thinking about other people because they don’t have to.
  • Marriage is a way to holiness because it is about the way of self-sacrificing love.
  • God can save you, but your spouse gets you in the best shape to be saved.
  • Marriage gets you ready for heaven.
  • Marriage is about sacrificing everything for the sake of love.

Ep59 Understanding the Language of God



Responding to a listener’s question about whether God’s teachings are black and white, Father Len explains why it’s difficult for us to fully understand the language of God’s love.

Highlights, Ideas and Wisdom

  • God’s morality and teachings are black and white and pure because God is love, without ego and without corruption.
  • Our interpretation of God’s morality and teachings is often wrong because it is viewed through the prisms of our egos and agendas.
  • Father Len illustrates the dangers of interpreting God’s word through ego by pointing out how wrong the Jews were in their interpretations of the Bible’s prophecies about Christ’s purpose on earth.
  • Jesus interprets morality and laws from the perspective of love.
  • Father Len points out that Jesus welcomed prostitutes and adulterers in his life knowing that prostitution and adultery are wrong because that’s what love does.
  • Love perfects us.
  • The Bible tells us that anyone who does not love and proclaims that they know God is a liar.
  • Our black and white view of morality often errs on the side of being harsh and judgmental, void of love.
  • Black and white morality can be very seductive because we can proclaim it to be justice, but without compassion it can be very wrong.
  • There are two kinds of moral extremes: black and white and relativism. Both are based a lot on ego.
  • Moral relativism is morality based solely on personal feelings and choice usually driven by ego or agenda.
  • Reacting to immoral behavior with love forces us to have empathy and compassion.
  • Father Len uses the Bible’s various perspectives on slavery to illustrate how God is constantly trying to help us evolve in our morality understanding we can’t always accept the whole truth all at once.
  • Fully understanding God’s language of love and morality is a lifelong process.

Ep58 The Big Mysteries of Christianity



Father Len and Irish grapple with the mystery of the three big events that are the foundation of Christianity: God taking on human flesh and living among us, God being tortured and killed by us, and God’s miraculous resurrection from the dead.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len explains why we should view these events as a whole, as one.
  • Father Len identifies three groups of Christians and their sensibilities: Christmas Christians, Good Friday Christians, and Easter Christians.
  • Christmas Christians love the idea of God becoming a human being and the practice of giving and receiving gifts as a way of showing appreciation for the gift of people in their lives.
  • God recognizes there’s a problem in creation and it’s us. We don’t realize that being a true human being means living a life of love. So God takes on human flesh to teach us the way of love.
  • Good Friday Christians see the brokenness in the world. They have a deep awareness of sin in the world. They recognize the fight between goodness and corruption and injustice, even in ourselves. They see and understand the need to “die” for what is right.
  • Atheists, like Richard Dawkins, believe that we can solve the problems of the world, on our own, with education and our intellect. Father Len explains why this is a big lie.
  • We have to be able to see sin and corruption in the world and realize that it’s not the world that needs to change, it’s us. We’re the ones that have to change.
  • Father Len uses the movie “The Help” to illustrate how Christ’s model for becoming a true human being and living a life of love actually works.
  • The struggle against injustice and oppression and dying to our ego purifies the soul. It gets us ready to enter the kingdom of God here and now.
  • Christ’s resurrection from the dead is not just a singular event. It represents a whole way of life that begins for us right here and now and is fulfilled in heaven when we die.
  • If Christ didn’t die, he couldn’t have been resurrected.
  • Resurrection for us is not returning back to our former life. That’s resuscitation. That’s continuing to live like zombies with half a conscience.
  • The resurrection for us is a whole new life. It’s Christ putting his life in our hearts. It’s freedom from all the shame and darkness in the world. It’s so extreme that in the early church those who were resurrected were called “new persons.”
  • Easter Christians live in the resurrection. Their hope is in them and beyond them. They live with love and joy inside them that can’t be taken away because they’ve died to anger and fear.
  • “The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • All our sins begin on the inside, in our hearts.
  • Our modern culture tells us that the problems in the world are outside of us. Therapists believe this is the result of a generation raised with the idea that self-esteem is all important. A generation constantly told, “you’re smart, you’re good, you’re beautiful, you’re special, you’re a winner, you can’t be the problem.”
  • If you’re not participating in the resurrection, right here and now, why do you think that you’ll be participating in it in heaven? If you spend your whole life denying your own brokenness, not becoming something new, better, and connected, what makes you think that you will be ready for heaven?

Ep57 The Real Story of St. Patrick’s Day



Father Len explains how a Roman citizen named Patrick became a great saint and hero to Ireland and the real reason we celebrate him and his life.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Patrick was the child of a very religious Roman family, but he had no use for religion until he was captured by pirates on a beach in England and sent to Ireland as a slave to care for sheep and dogs.
  • Patrick discovered and fell in love with God while caring for sheep.
  • A voice in St. Patrick’s head guided him to escape slavery and return to his homeland where he decided to become a priest. The same voice convinced him to accept an assignment as a missionary and return to Ireland though he knew most missionaries in Ireland were being killed at the time.
  • Father Len explains how the Roman named Patrick, who had no interest in religion as a young man, goes on to use a special talent to help evangelize Ireland and become a great saint.
  • Father Len muses about how our culture ends up taming religious celebrations into secular celebrations like Easter becoming about the Easter Bunny, Christmas becoming about Santa Claus, and Valentine’s Day becoming about chocolates and roses.

Ep56 Bible Symbols Revealed and Explained-Part 2 Trees



Father Len reveals that trees are symbols for God and human beings and trees represent the most important choices we make in life.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Trees are the third most common thing mentioned in the Bible.
  • God loves trees and gives them a ring every year on their birthdays.
  • Trees are places where human beings choose to worship or reject God.
  • There is a tree present at every major event in the Bible.
  • Every major character in the Bible is associated with a type of tree.
  • The only thing Jesus ever harmed was a tree that produced no fruit.
  • The Bible begins and ends with the “tree of life” and trees are present throughout the Bible.
  • The story of human history is choosing between two trees: the tree of life and the tree of good and selfishness.
  • There are two types of food. One gives us physical life. The other gives us spiritual life.
  • If we eat the fruit of the tree of good and selfishness we are cut off from the covenant with God and disconnected from the source of life.
  • The temptation to eat the fruit of the tree of good and selfishness is the promise of the power to define what is good and evil for ourselves rather than God.
  • We don’t have to earn the fruit from the tree of life. God gives it freely to us.
  • When anybody makes a commitment to God in the Bible there’s always a tree, an altar, and water present.
  • The tree of good and selfishness often appears in the form of an Idol in the Bible. The Idol is a false tree we create to define our own version of morality.
  • The Hebrews called idols “luxuriant trees” representing the pursuit of power, sex, and money for happiness. The Hebrew letters for “luxuriant tree” cleverly spell Garden of Eden backwards.
  • Addictions always promise happiness, but in the end leave us destroyed.
  • Trees in the Bible symbolize commitments and altars represent the rituals around the commitments.
  • The spiritual life in the Bible is pictured as a tree that must push its roots down deep to find the water of life necessary to produce good fruit in all seasons of life.
  • Jesus’ cross is called a tree in the Bible representing the tree of life. That’s why there is one cross next to or above the altar in every Catholic Church. It’s a reminder of the tree we should be eating from each day for eternal life.

Ep55 What Is Salvation?



Father Len reveals the meaning of the salvation God seeks for all of us.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Salvation is about freedom and belonging and being saved from harm.
  • Freedom doesn’t mean doing whatever selfish thing you want to do. That’s merely a form of slavery to the ego.
  • Salvation is freedom to be with and for others. It’s a whole lot of dying to your ego.
  • Salvation is not just about me being free. It’s about me and everybody else becoming free. I’m not free unless you’re free.
  • There is an unease in human beings, an innate desire to escape from freedom. Sometimes being confined is less fearful than being loosed. Being restricted can feel better than being free because freedom means choices and choices and choices. And, choices can be difficult.
  • Human beings really want freedom and structure. Structure that makes it possible for us to be free and at the same time feel safe.
  • “The Fear of Freedom” by Erich Fromm
  • Freedom without structure is just chaos. It’s emptiness.
  • The Catholic Mass is a prayer for the order in the kingdom of God, not the order created by human structures or capricious living.
  • There’s always this tug-of-war in the human heart between freedom and safety, between freedom and structure, between chaos and order.
  • Salvation is just another word for freedom, but it’s freedom with structure.
  • Totalitarian lifestyles and their appeal are created by the fear of freedom without structure.
  • God gives us the law to grant us freedom with structure that liberates our spirit for the service of love and community.
  • The ultimate place of freedom and order is heaven where everyone is completely free, but not self-absorbed.
  • Jesus came to show us the way to salvation; freedom from our ultimate enemies of hate, injustice, selfishness, and ego.
  • There is no such thing as personal salvation. Salvation is always tied to belonging to a family and community and everyone in the family and community being free.
  • Salvation is a mix of freedom, structure, responsibility, and belonging.
  • Catholics believe three things are needed for salvation.
    • Repentance: leaving our old life and slavery to our sins behind.
    • Trust and faith in God.
    • Baptism and the new life it brings.
  • Nowhere in the Bible does God save an individual. God always saves a community.

Ep54 Humility is a Superpower



Father Len explains why humility is the foundation for success in life.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • There is an epidemic of narcissism in our current culture fueled by social media.
  • Humility is the cure for narcissism.
  • Father Len discusses the dangers of ego and self-obsession by comparing the psyche of movie stars to people in prison.
  • Father Len shares the story of three superstars, Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, who joined the Miami Heat NBA basketball team thinking winning a championship would be easy with all their talent. Turns out it wasn’t so easy until humility became a key ingredient of the team.
  • Human beings are very communal and emotions run through a community faster than a virus.
  • Because of our communal nature, it turns out that when people see other people behaving morally or immorally, it’s likely they will mirror that behavior.
  • Father Len shares the story of how tiny Butler University is able to compete and win against the much larger major powers in college basketball because of its team culture of humility.
  • “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit” – sign on former president Ronald Reagan’s desk
  • Ego destroys community because it traps people in a prison of self-obsession.
  • Humility is not low self-esteem. It’s low self-preoccupation.
  • The less we are preoccupied with thinking about ourselves the more room we have in our heads and hearts to think of others.
  • Humility helps us connect emotionally with others.
  • “Humility is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age” by Edward D Hess & Katherine Ludwig
  • Pride causes more problems than it solves.
  • Humility is the gateway to an open mind because it allows us to process information without being defensive and reacting in fear.
  • Humility allows us to see and accept reality.
  • Humility inspires success.
  • Success in life without humility can ruin you.
  • The Bible is filled with stories about how God hates pride and arrogance and how and why humility makes us true human beings.
  • The Bible says all those in heaven have humility written across their foreheads indicating the ultimate victory belongs to the humble.
  • The proud want glory for themselves, not for the community, not for the business, not for the team, and not for God.
  • Intelligence is not just being able to think and learn, but also the ability to unlearn and rethink. That requires humility.
  • “Prayer is unlearning what the world has taught you.” – St. Bernard of Clairvaux
  • We should feel as much joy in learning that we’re wrong as we felt in learning a truth.
  • “I have this voice in my head telling me 20% of everything I think is right might be wrong.” – Father Len
  • “Seek first to understand, then seek to be understood.” – Dr Stephen R Covey
  • “Think Again: the Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know” by Adam Grant

Ep53 Becoming the Best Possible Version of You



Father Len explains the Catholic tradition of Lent, an annual 40 day journey of recognizing and facing our flaws and weaknesses in order to become who we are meant to be.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • To illustrate the Lenten journey, Father Len shares the inspiring story of two childhood friends from Idaho who decide to go on a 500 mile pilgrimage in Italy with one pushing the other in a wheelchair the entire way.
  • “I’ll Push You: A Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends, and One Wheelchair” by Patrick Gray & Justin Skeesuck
  • The Way of St. James, Camino de Santiago
  • Lent is a journey in the heart to becoming more loving and compassionate.
  • Lent is a death process where we die to our old flawed selves in order to make room for different, changed, and better selves.
  • Lent is about recognizing and giving up personal flaws and weaknesses like pride, anger, anxiety, addictions, and selfishness in order to grow in compassion, gratitude, love and holiness.
  • The modern myth of following your bliss, doing only what makes you happy, and avoiding whatever makes you uncomfortable leads to self-destruction rather than happiness.
  • Facing and entering our darkest part, our greatest weakness leads to enlightenment and discovering the divine.
  • Running away from everything that makes you uncomfortable ensures that you will never discover who you are meant to be.
  • Lent is a time to die to superficial faith and discover what real faith and religion is about.
  • Lent is about self-examination and transformation.
  • “You only get one crack at life. Why go for the comfortable? Why not become the best possible version of yourself?” – Father Len