Tag Archives: Catholic Church

Ep98 Listening Is Loving



Father Len helps us grapple with what it means to truly listen and why God calls us to be professional listeners.

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Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Shema Prayer: “Listen O Israel, the LORD your God is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength and your neighbor as yourself.”
  • Shema means listen, but it really means pay attention.
  • The Shema is the central prayer of Judaism and Catholicism.
  • The Bible says, ears that Shema will discover God and what God has made known.
  • Our society is not trained to listen, but to overpower each other with counter accusations.
  • God meant us to become professional listeners, listening to the word of God and the voice of God in other people.
  • Listening forms community.
  • Not listening or paying full attention destroys community.
  • Marriage is a type of community.
  • The gift of hospitality is your full attention.
  • We can become what we listen to so we must be careful what not to listen to.
  • “First seek to understand, then to be understood.” – Stephen Covey
  • “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R Covey
  • “The only commandment I ever obeyed – ‘Consider the lilies.’” – Emily Dickinson
  • “The number one sin that people are confessing these days is anger.” – Father Len
  • “All morality comes down to attentiveness, attentiveness to God, attentiveness to other people. The essence of immorality is not to be attentive to others or God, not to see or hear other people.” – Iris Murdoch, Irish philosopher
  • “Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention—and How to Think Deeply Again” by Johann Hari

We welcome your questions and comments:

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Ep97 We need a Savior



Father Len explains why we need a Savior now more than ever and why many of us don’t know it.

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Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • “Now that we have science, we no longer need religion.” – Chris Hayes, MSNBC Host
  • “God of the Gaps” theory: People invented God and religion began because there was a lack of scientific knowledge to explain things like lightning and wind.
  • Science wouldn’t exist without the Catholic Church.
  • For the Catholic Church science has always been a way of studying and understanding God.
  • All early major scientists believed in God including Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Roger Bacon, Louis Pasteur, Nicholas Copernicus and Blaise Pascal. They came to God because of science. Many were Catholic priests.
  • Religion began out of gratitude and awe for God.
  • Those who believe there is no greater power in the universe than the human person must ignore humanity’s long history of ignorance, violence and shocking denials of the truth.
  • Those who believe science can answer every question won’t be able to find God or recognize the need for a Savior because they have too much ego.
  • Our country has a depression and suicide crisis.
  • Our society has become narcissistic. Narcissism steals our joy. Narcissists believe they have no need for a Savior.
  • Much of our country no longer trusts in God. It trusts in science, technology, and government programs.
  • If God doesn’t exist and life on earth is all there is, why not cheat, be cruel, or commit suicide?
  • There is a difference between joy and pleasure. Meth addicts have plenty of pleasure, but no joy.
  • Even with all the knowledge of science and the power of technology, we do not have the power to overcome death.
  • “Our country has the highest standard of living in human history and the greatest technological inventions. So, why do we have such high suicide and depression rates? That just proves humanity needs a Savior.” – Father Len

We welcome your questions and comments:

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Ep96 We Are Our Culture



Father Len invites us to grapple with the virtues and character we value, permit, model and promote and the effect they have on us and those around us.

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Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Culture over time is the most important force in shaping our identity. When an entire community prizes certain things, these things just seep into our pores.
  • Our emotions and values are very infectious. They move through a community faster than a virus.
  • Change happens, for better or worse, when entire communities unite around virtues and character they value.
  • There’s undeniable proof that an individual’s character and values effect all of society.
  • We take on the values of the communities to which we belong.
  • Virtues and character that are valued by a community are inherited by the community’s children.
  • If we want to change the world, we have to change our hearts. We are the culture. We are the system.
  • What impedes us empowers us.
  • Failure and struggle cause the hero in every hero story to become a hero.
  • Grit is frequently a greater predictor of success than talent.
  • Grit or fortitude is a gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • You need grit to become a spiritual person.
    • It takes grit to forgive when you’ve been wounded.
    • It takes grit to become prudent and know how and when to hold your tongue.
    • It takes grit to become patient.
  • We can lose our grit when life is good.
  • Grit is like a muscle. You’re not born with it. You train yourself into it.
  • “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth
  • “Democracy in America” by Alexis De Tocqueville
  • Beatrice Webb
  • Patrick Lencioni
  • What virtues and character do you value, permit, model and promote and how do they match up with the values of the communities to which you belong and, importantly, what are you going to do if they don’t?
  • We all have a big stake in our community’s culture and the effect it has on us and those around us.

We welcome your questions and comments:

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Ep94 Encore: Is there an afterlife?



Father Len presents stunning evidence from hundreds of personal experiences that supports the reality of an afterlife.

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Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Consciously or unconsciously, how we operate in this life has a lot to do with whether we believe there is an afterlife.
  • Father Len reflects on hundreds of personal experiences with death and dying, during 30 years of priesthood, that offer compelling, inspiring and uplifting evidence that there is an afterlife.
  • Catholics believe that nobody dies alone. The moment you die, the dead are there to welcome you to the afterlife. Father Len shares some amazing stories that totally support this belief.
  • There is a thin veil between heaven and earth.
  • Catholics believe the Holy Spirit creates this mysterious and unbreakable bond between the living, the dead, and God that is stronger than death.
  • The dying process produces healing that can’t be accomplished during our ordinary lives.
  • All the evidence that there’s far more to life than just the here and now begs us to be more attentive to the sacred and the mysteries of life.
  • Heaven is a great feast of love.
  • If there is a hint that all those who loved in this life go to heaven, why wouldn’t you want to be in that community? Why wouldn’t you change your behavior now?
  • In one sense, death is always kind of ugly, but at the same time it produces great beauty.
  • There’s very little evidence that death leads to oblivion.
  • Being fully present while witnessing death and dying will almost always give you a sense of the afterlife.

We welcome your questions and comments:

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Ep93 Encore: Sex before Marriage



A high school listener asks, “Will I go to hell if I have sex before marriage?” Father Len offers some sober, surprising, and humorous answers and insight about passion, sex, and promiscuity.

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Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • There’s nothing wrong with sex. It’s so natural. Nothing could be more natural. It’s part of the drive of life that God gives us.
  • Sexual passion is good. It drives us to seek each other out. It brings us together, but there’s something better.
  • Augustine’s highly promiscuous life taught him what was missing in his life.
  • Sometimes things are wrong, not because they’re evil, but because they’re not good enough.
  • Promiscuity is wrong because it can train you to use and hurt other people and not be committed.
  • Being sexual is part of what it means to be a human being, but the best part of being human is something greater. Commitment and love.
  • Passion and pleasure can be blinding, but also be very enlightening. True passion opens you up for God.

We welcome your questions and comments:

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Ep90 Encore: Imagine a World without Jesus



Father Len explains how the radical ideas Jesus introduced 2000 years ago and the church he established to spread those ideas have changed the world forever.

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Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • “You’re talking about the single event that probably influenced civilization as we know it now. It’s created our laws and behavior. The knowledge of good and evil. It’s influenced art and literature. It’s affected every possible aspect of anyone’s life, whether they know it or not. It’s absolutely everything. If it wasn’t, what would there be? – Mel Gibson, producer/director, The Passion of the Christ
  • The Gospel of Luke describes how Jesus changed morality and remapped society around meals.
  • In Jesus’s time there were meal codes about how you eat and who you eat with. Jews ate with Jews, never with Gentiles. Jews ate as a family. Men, women, and children together. Gentiles, the Romans and the Greeks, ate with people of their own class and caste system. Rich and poor never ate together. Men and women didn’t eat together. Men ate first and then women because men were considered superior to women.
  • Jesus broke all the meal codes of his time drawing people together by a much different morality. He offered radical hospitality to everyone. He welcomed men and women, rich and poor to sit at table with him.
  • The one person who changed the world the most was not a king or an inventor. The greatest mark on history was made by a traveling preacher named Jesus who established a church community and gave it the responsibility to redraw the world according to hospitality.
  • “I am an historian. I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all of history. Is it any wonder that to this day, this Galilean is too much for our small hearts?” – HG Wells
  • Jesus broke all the rules on how to treat women. Prior to Jesus women were treated inhumanely. They were viewed as inferior to men and nothing more than property. In Jesus’s eyes, women and men are equally valuable. Jesus was friends and ministry partners with women. He treated them with dignity and respect.
  • The idea that all humans – men and women, rich and poor, rulers and peasants – are equally valuable and should be treated with dignity and respect was extremely rare before Christianity.
  • The church Jesus founded, the Catholic Church, started hospitals, universities, and food banks.
  • Jesus started an organized movement to care for the poor and the needy. Religion before Christianity, except for Judaism, wasn’t really concerned with morality or taking care of the poor.
  • The origins of science are rooted in Christian belief. All the early scientists were religious. They were inspired by their faith in Christ to do science. They all viewed science as a means of uncovering the traces of Christ’s handiwork in the universe.
  • The concepts of social justice, education, human rights, women’s rights, and freedom all fit into the idea of radical hospitality that Jesus introduced to the world.
  • Jesus has changed the personal lives of billions of people throughout the world by introducing the theology of the cross. Dying to yourself, dying to your ego, becoming a whole new person by living a life of sacrificial love.
  • Wisdom is path, not a door. The path of daily choices you make on how to live your life.
  • Wisdom is gained through daily small activities. Small choices that become the whole direction of your life.
  • The way of the cross is daily making moral choices, making small choices of virtue. Dying to your pettiness, anger, and selfishness.

We welcome your questions and comments:

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Ep89 Encore: The Real Christmas Story and Its True Meaning



Father Len reveals the real “reason for the season” is us.

Make a financial donation here: https://www.GiveSendGo.com/WWGProductions

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • “When I look at the world upside down, that’s when it seems right to me.” – Jeret “Speedy” Peterson
  • Father Len tells a story about geese to illustrate why God became a human being.
  • Christmas is a revelation of who we are meant to be.
  • To be good is to become a true human being.
  • Our true humanity is to live like Christ.
  • “Christianity is the attitude of amazement at the dignity of the human person.” – Pope John Paul II
  • “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” – Irenaeus
  • “Paradise Lost” by John Milton
  • “Faust” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Sin is the temptation to stop being a true human being.
  • Evil is the no to human goodness. Evil is the no to all that is good.
  • Satan is not one who hates God. Satan is one who believes that God can’t love him or us.
  • The good news of Christmas is that God became one of us to show us how to become true human beings and discover the goodness of being a true human being.
  • Salvation is not the story of God rescuing us from an evil universe. Salvation is the story of God coming as one like us to teach us what true goodness looks like.
  • Absolute love will embrace death.
  • Absolute love cannot be contained by the tomb.
  • Sin is anything that deprives us of our full humanity.
  • Christmas is the beginning of the journey to our true humanity to love and to be connected.

Ep85 Irish’s Story: The Inspiration for the Wrestling with God Show



Irish shares the journey that led him to Father Len and the creation of the Wrestling with God Show. He also reveals plans for Wrestling with God Productions, the new association he’s founded to build bridges to faith, religion, and the Catholic Church.

Show Notes


Ep81 Good News



Irish shares some good news about the return of the Wrestling with God Show and the new podcast from Wrestling with God Productions featuring Father Len.


Ep80 The Purpose of Prayer



Father Len explores two Bible stories about the purpose of prayer beginning with the time the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. This is a preview of episode 3 of the new podcast from Wrestling with God Productions, featuring Father Len, titled “Life Lessons from Jesus and the Church He Founded.”

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len shares a fun story about his experience with a Protestant minister and his wife who have a very different idea than Jesus about the purpose of prayer.
  • The purpose of prayer is not to ask God for help getting something as if God is the big Santa Claus in the sky.
  • We don’t pray to get something. We pray to become something.
  • “If your definition of prayer is to get something you want, you better be careful. You may become a very self-absorbed person and then call it religion.” – Father Len
  • We pray for the bread of life so that our lives become bread for other people. We hand on the bread of life to other people in the way that we live our lives.
  • Becoming the bread of life for other people requires persistent prayer, day after day, year after year.
  • The Lord’s Prayer in the Gospel of Luke refers to the forgiveness God gives us when our lives become a force of forgiveness and we free ourselves from all grudges and resentments.
  • Becoming a constant force of forgiveness isn’t easy and takes a lifetime of prayer.
  • Prayer is a type of hospitality.
  • The prayer life of the prophet Abraham, the father of religion and hospitality, was all about welcoming and praying for the life of other people, not for himself.
  • True prayer is not being concerned about yourself. True prayer is this hospitality where your prayer life feeds other people.
  • “You have a choice. When you offer hospitality to other people, God grants you greater life. When you only care for your own life, God will take away the little life you have.” – Father Len
  • Prayer is a constant lifelong dialogue with God about becoming holy.
  • Bible stories explored in this episode:
    • Book of Genesis 18:20-32
    • Gospel According to Luke 11:1-13