Tag Archives: Faith

Ep74 Is there an afterlife?



Father Len presents stunning evidence that he’s experienced that supports the reality of an afterlife.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • The WWG Show has been downloaded more than 38,000 times with regular listeners in 49 states and 11 countries.
  • Thanks for listening to the podcast and sharing it with friends and family.
  • Irish is forming “Wrestling with God Productions,” a nonprofit company, to expand and enhance what we’re doing with the WWG Show podcast. The intention is to build an interactive community where listeners can share experiences and ideas with us and each other. In addition, we want to publish hundreds of hours of talks given by Father Len about faith, religion, and life that have been recorded over the past few years.
  • Bringing “Wrestling with God Productions” to life will require money and resources. If you or anyone you know would like to help and support our mission, please email Irish at questions@wwgshow.com We welcome your contributions big or small. Thanks in advance for anything you can do to help us.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

Ep52 Dying to Live



Father Len reveals the path to a happy, healthy, and holy life involves multiple deaths and funerals.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len shares the story of an alcoholic to illustrate the consequences of denying death in life.
  • The “gospel of prosperity,” which professes that if you’re good God will give you health and stuff throughout your life without sacrifice, is a hoax.
  • To get to happy and holy requires doing a lot of funerals.
  • Change is easy, transitions are hard.
  • Every change in life involves a death. Every step forward involves a loss.
  • Money can be like steroids for your worst vices.
  • It is dangerous not to accept the many deaths and funerals required to get to a better life.
  • People want change in their lives, but what they can’t stand is the transition to the change.
  • The way of the cross means dying to your ego, selfishness, greed, and fears; dying to all those things that prevent the fullness of life.
  • The opposite of the way of the cross is a constant need and desire for more – more wealth, more security, more stuff – and a constant fear of losing anything we have which actually makes us prisoners of fear and greed.
  • The spiritual life is not about addition, but subtraction. The way of the cross is the way of subtraction.
  • Christ shows us that the way of life is through the cross.
  • “Litany of Humility” Prayer
  • The spiritual life is this choice between death and life. It’s kind of a trick question. Those who choose a type of death, dying to things like hate, selfishness, fear, addictions, and their own agenda are choosing life. Those who choose life as it is right now will experience no change, no growth, no increase in love or compassion. What they’re really choosing is death.
  • “If you die before you die, when you die, you will not die.” – Sign at the Monastery of St. Paul in Greece.
  • TED Talk from Jia Jiang about conquering fear by dying to it: “What I learned from 100 days of rejection”
  • Dying to fear sets us free.
  • There are lots of funerals on the bridge to happiness.

Ep49 Howard Stern’s Religion Dilemma



Father Len responds to Howard’s conflicted thoughts and feelings about faith and religion and his strong desire to figure out what he believes about the existence of God. 

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • “Howard Stern Comes Again” by Howard Stern
  • Exploring the mysteries of life puts us on the road to wisdom.
  • Curiosity is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  • Humanity tends to pervert most things like politics, nature, marriage, and religion.
  • Religion is mandated to try to clean up the corrupting impulses of human beings.
  • Spirituality is not an alternative to hypocrisy in religion. Spiritual integrity is dependent on what each individual declares it to be. Spirituality is accountable only to the individual. Religion is accountable to God. Spirituality is not a meaningful alternative to religion.
  • Our brains are hardwired to seek meaning and connection with God.
  • “Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science And the Biology of Belief” by  Andrew Newberg, Eugene D’Aquili, Vince Rause
  • The fact that there are sociopaths in religion and business and schools doesn’t invalidate religion any more than it does business and education.
  • You don’t enter religion because you’re perfect. You enter religion as a way to become a better person.
  • Howard wonders if all the hours he spent studying Scripture as a kid were a waste of time and why his parents, who weren’t living a spiritual life, would make him do that.
  • Parents who preach religion to their kids, but don’t practice it, introduce their children to a life of hypocrisy.
  • Howard struggles to understand the meaning of the Bible story of Abraham, Sarah and their “miracle” son Isaac.
  • Mothers tend to be the teachers of faith to their children, but if they see their fathers not practicing religion, they probably won’t either.
  • Wrestling with difficult to understand passages in the Bible helps develop the skill of looking at things differently and discovering their true meaning.
  • Real faith and religion are often best demonstrated by the elderly.
  • Howard wonders if logic will help him decide whether to believe in God.
  • Human beings seldom make decisions based on logic.
  • The Dunning-Kruger Effect states that “dumb” people think they are smarter than they are and truly smart people are awed by how much they need to learn.
  • “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” – Confucius
  • “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.” – Charles Darwin
  • “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” – William Shakespeare
  • The greatest scientists in history used logic and faith to come to their belief in God.
  • The greatest mystery of all is God. Even the Angels in the Bible, when seeing God, kept repeating, you are different, you are different, you are different. There is no way to adequately define God.
  • Heaven is this community of unconditional love that narcissists are unlikely to understand because in their world everything is about them.

Ep40 Doubt Can Be a Virtue



Father Len reveals how doubts and questions about how God works in the world lead to wisdom and faith.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len explains the difference between doubt that is healthy and holy and doubt that is not healthy or holy.
  • True faith is believing in a God of love and impossibilities.
  • Doubt can be a blessing or a curse. Doubt about how God is working in your life and why is a blessing. Doubt about God’s love and your relationship with God is a curse.
  • “Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.” – Paul Tillich
  • “If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts, but if he will content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.” – Francis Bacon
  • Doubt can be a great friend of the truth.
  • Real learning occurs when we allow doubts and questions to arise.
  • The Greek word for doubt means two separate views. So, doubt is being torn apart by seeing two opposite things and trying to reconcile them.
  • “Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.” – Khalil Gibran
  • Jesus allows and encourages people to challenge and question him throughout the Bible. Jesus is comfortable with questions because he wants them to lead to wisdom and certainty.
  • “People should question what’s going on in the world, question church authority, but not question that they’re in an unbreakable relationship with God.” – Father Len

Ep20 Good and Evil Are Hard to Define and Fully Understand



Father Len explains why defining and fully understanding good and evil is pretty much beyond our ability as humans.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • The only wise reaction to evil is faith in God.
  • The mystery of what seems like evil to us may actually be something used by God for our good.
  • Father Len explains why we shouldn’t settle for cheap and easy answers for why evil and suffering exist in the world and instead humbly ask questions and more questions.
  • We will not understand evil until we can have the same perspective as God.
  • There might not be answers about good and evil that we can see and understand until we get to heaven and can look back in time.
  • Real wisdom is acquired through intimate experience with suffering.
  • What we proclaim as good may actually be bad for us.
  • What we proclaim as evil may actually be good for us.

Ep14 Finding Lost Faith



Father Len explains what causes a loss of faith and gives listener Jennifer some ideas for finding her lost faith.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len explains the difference between faith and belief.
  • Faith is like a muscle. If you don’t use it, it will atrophy and you’ll lose it.
  • Faith is like a seed. It’s a gift from God. We must prepare the soil in which it grows. The soil is our hearts. The best means for preparing the soil is prayer and reflection.
  • Faith is like water. It needs a path to flow. Prayer and reflection dig the “trench” that allows faith to flow.
  • Prayer and reflection are habits that give birth to faith.
  • Father Len introduces one of his favorite tools for feeding and deepening his faith, “The Daily Examen” created by St. Ignatius.
  • The daily practice of gratitude will make you a happier person and deepen your faith.
  • “Feeling Good: the New Mood Therapy” by David D Burns M.D.
  • Life is a matter of negotiating problems.
  • Troubles in life do not cause faith to evaporate. Quite the opposite. We can find the presence of Christ in all of our problems.
  • “God whispers to us in our good times, but shouts to us in our pain.” – CS Lewis