Tag Archives: Jesus

Ep37 Fear of God



Father Len reveals what fear of God really means and why it’s awesome.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len uses a story about Avalon the lion from the CS Lewis Chronicles of Narnia collection of books to begin to illustrate what fear of God is and isn’t.
  • Fear of the Lord is one of the top seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  • Father Len explains the difference between terror and Fear of the Lord.
  • Fear of the Lord is actually about awe and respect.
  • Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
  • Father Len shares a fun personal story about swimming with Dolphins to illustrate what awe feels like.
  • “Be not afraid” is a common greeting from Jesus because he does not take pleasure in people fearing him.
  • God is definitely not a tyrant.
  • Father Len exposes what narcissists fear to explain the difference between healthy and unhealthy fear.
  • Father Len reveals how awe and intrigue helped famous scientists and philosophers like Albert Einstein and Socrates discover the existence of God.
  • The book of Deuteronomy connects the Fear of God to the observance of morality.
  • The real experience of God is unnameable because there is no thing in creation that is like God.
  • Mystic Meister Eckhart would often pray, “God cleanse me of God,” which meant cleanse me of false notions of God.

Ep36 Anger and Fear Are Not the Answer to Loss and Disappointment



Father Len offers perspective and advice to those who feel anger and fear after the recent national election or following any loss or disappointment in life.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len’s concerns about the effects of what he refers to as “post traumatic election syndrome” inspired this episode.
  • Father Len shares a personal experience from a trip to Colombia to put election induced anger, fear, and anxiety in perspective.
  • Father Len explains why joy, determination and patience, not anger, are the remedy for injustice.
  • Jesus implores us to responsibly control the emotions in our hearts, without excuse.
  • Anger clouds our hearts and minds.
  • When you’re angry is not the time to figure out how to respond to what’s causing your anger.
  • “When you’re angry or in a bad mood at work, just go home because you’re just gonna make everyone you work with miserable.” – Sage advice from Father Len’s former bookkeeper
  • History is not logical. One of the best things that ever happened to Christianity was the fall of Rome. It actually helped Christianity spread.
  • History’s greatest and most effective activists, like Martin Luther King Jr and Dorothy Day, turned their anger into steely determination based on prayer and peace.
  • Anger often turns people away from your cause.
  • We need to place our hopes in eternal truths:
    • Christ is our King, not a political group, political faction, or any nation.
    • Faith and love, not anger will unite our country.
  • Father Len’s tips for calming anger:
    • Breathe deeply through your nose.
    • Pray
    • Place the source of your anger in a world 10 years from now and try to imagine if it will really be the big deal or emergency you think it is now.
    • Stop or limit your “doom scrolling” (constantly checking the news for stories that will trigger your anger and anxiety)
    • Focus on an upcoming joyful event in your life.
  • Father Len introduces his “St. Jolly Project” to add more fun and joy to life.
  • It’s the little things in life that make a real difference. Like a song that suddenly puts you in a good mood.
  • Prayer to Fast from Incivility

Ep31 What Death and Funerals Teach Us about Life



Father Len and Irish explore the life-changing benefits of death and funerals.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len shares his moving and powerful tradition for commemorating the victims and heroes of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and what it reveals about life and death.
  • Father Len explains how funerals make us better human beings.
  • Father Len spells out the difference between a funeral and a “celebration of life.”
  • Father Len tells the story of how comedian Garry Shandling’s parent’s decision not to allow him to attend his older brother’s funeral screwed him up.
  • Father Len shares the story of what comedian Stephen Colbert learned from his mother at his father’s funeral.
  • Funerals are incredibly healthy because they provide closure, a sense of meaning, and a perspective on what’s really important and enduring in life.
  • “Something about death makes us wise—we suddenly become high-minded, forgiving and focused on the best in people. How can we do better at seeing living people through the “eulogy lens”? – Tim Urban Twitter: @waitbutwhy
  • Funerals reveal human connection and the value and importance of community.
  • Father Len tells the story of a funeral for a young father’s dad that revealed what kind of dad he wanted to be for his three boys.
  • Funerals are an essential tool for passing on important values from one generation to the next.
  • Funeral rituals have been around for 10,000 years as a means to say goodbye, mourn what has been lost and to forgive.

Ep29 Winning, Gratitude, Happiness, and Jesus



Father Len explores the relationship between gratitude, happiness, and finding the presence of God in everyday life.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • The custom of athletes and entertainers thanking Jesus after winning games and awards inspired this episode.
  • Father Len uses the ancient Jewish feast that celebrates the birthdays of trees to reveal the importance and value of gratitude.
  • Gratitude helps prevent narcissism and entitlement.
  • Gratitude helps us grow and mature as true human beings.
  • Gratitude makes us happy.
  • Gratitude improves our health.
  • Gratitude makes us more compassionate.
  • “It’s impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” – Naomi Williams
  • Father Len introduces “The Daily Examen” gratitude exercise created by St. Ignatius.

Ep27 How to Forgive



Father Len shares the forgiveness method he uses along with his experiences learning to forgive.

Highlights, Ideas and Wisdom

  • Father Len confesses that he is “not great at forgiving,” but he’s working on it.
  • Forgiveness is a skill that can be learned just like all the other virtues.
  • Forgiving is like an exercise, the more you do it, the better you get.
  • If you learn to forgive small things, you build up the forgiveness muscle so that later you can forgive other things.
  • The LETGO forgiveness method Father Len uses has five steps:
    • L – Look deeply at what went wrong.
    • E – Apply Empathy
    • T – Tell a better story
    • G – Give forgiveness
    • O – One more day to remember choosing to forgive.
  • You may not be able to forgive immediately after an insult or injury because you need time to mourn.
  • Anger prevents forgiveness.
  • Prolonged anger can turn into bitterness.
  • Anger is a reaction to a feeling. You can train yourself to replace anger with forgiveness.
  • Forgetting the insult or injury is not the same as forgiveness.
  • If you don’t give yourself time to really feel the pain of the injury or insult, it can become easy to hide behind anger.
  • Quick compulsive forgiveness may actually be fake forgiveness and a form of denial of the insult or injury as well as a sign that you’re more comfortable being a doormat.
  • Empathy is thinking about what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes and awareness of their pain.
  • Stories change our opinions, not evidence.
  • Stories with a message of hope cause the greatest change.
  • Telling the same story to yourself over and over carves a deep rut in your memory. That can be good or bad.
  • We must learn how to forgive ourselves for stupid things we’ve done.
  • Praying that you’ll have a sincere desire for forgiveness, even if you don’t have the ability, God will answer that prayer.
  • Releasing an expectation that is causing you to suffer is a significant element in the forgiveness process.

Ep25 Tour of Hell



Father Len takes us on a tour of hell exploring its origin and history providing glimpses of heaven along the way.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Hell can be hot and cold.
  • Hell is complete separation from God.
  • Heaven is complete union with God.
  • God is the source of life, love, community, justice, and compassion.
  • Hell is being separated from life, love, and community.
  • God offers life and love to all people as a free gift, but that doesn’t mean all people accept the gift.
  • Hell is often associated with fire, but in the Bible it is also depicted as a cold and lonely place.
  • The image of fire is also connected to heaven in the Bible.
  • Could it be that the fire of heaven and hell is the same, the fire of God’s love?
  • Life is a matter of preparing to live in the fire of God’s love or forever rejecting it.
  • If you live your life with hatred and selfishness, maybe pure love is something that you can’t stand.
  • People can create their own hell right here on earth. It’s not just an imaginary place where we might end up.
  • You separate yourself from God when you fail to live a life of love.
  • God wants everybody united in heaven, but that doesn’t mean everybody will be in heaven.
  • “The gates of hell are locked from the inside” – CS Lewis
  • Hell is something we create by our own choices, not something created by God.
  • God permits those who reject community, justice, compassion, and love, which is God, to live in the hell they create.
  • The images of heaven and hell help point our lives in the right direction.
  • Hell is a choice of selfishness and cruelty over love.
  • The gates of heaven are always open for those who love.

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.

Ep17 Race, Culture, and Jesus



Father Len reveals why Jesus came into the world as a Jew and why God created multiple races and cultures.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • God chose an enslaved, weak, and hated people to show God’s strength and bring love into the world.
  • Father Len reveals his joke about every Jewish feast.
  • The Bible constantly wrestles with racism.
  • There is just one race in the Bible. That’s humanity. There are many different nations, but they’re all part of one family.
  • Humanity is united by the language of love not rules, regulations, politics and technology.
  • Father Len tells his favorite racism story where God’s punishment for a Middle Eastern woman’s racism is to make her skin white as snow.
  • The Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus, has made dozens of appearances around the world over time. Always appearing as a person of the nation in which she appears. This to signify that Christ is present in all of us no matter what the color of our skin or our country of origin.
  • If Jesus came into the world today he might well have black skin and be of African descent.

Ep9 What is the Bible and why does it matter?



Father Len explains what the Bible is, where it came from, why it matters and how to use it.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • The Bible is a collection of books of sacred stories that span thousands of years.
  • The Bible is not a rule book. There are rules in the Bible, but they only make sense in the context of the stories in which they are contained.
  • The stories in the Bible give meaning to why we’re here and help us understand the purpose of our lives.
  • Bible stories are stories of a community written by a community explaining sacred reality from many viewpoints, different viewpoints, and even opposing viewpoints.
    • The wisdom contained in the “Book of Proverbs” is innocent and sweet like a young teenage girl.
    • The “Book of Ecclesiastes” critiques everything in the “Book of Proverbs.” Imagine a 40-year-old guy with a cigarette in one hand and a tumbler of whiskey in the other sitting down to share his perspective on life with the innocent and sweet teenage girl.
  • The Bible tests our ideas about life and reveals truth from many different angles. It offers the wisdom of generations and generations.
  • Wisdom grows over time. Wisdom at one part of your life may not work at another. Your truth at age 18 might be true, but it’s a limited truth. Your truth at 50 is another type of truth and it might be true. When you get to 90, you’ll see the world much differently than you did at 18 or 50.
  • The Bible uses many genres to reveal truth. It contains large amounts of poetry, historical facts, myths, and fiction. All are sacred stories.
  • The Bible is inspired by God and directed by God, but written by human beings for human beings.
  • The Bible should be used as stories. Complete stories. Isolating and quoting individual chapters and verses from Bible stories can be problematic. Even though the words are correct, their meaning can easily be misunderstood or misinterpreted when removed from the context of the overall story and its meaning.
  • The Bible disagrees with itself at certain points, and it’s meant to, because then you have to change your thinking.
  • If you’re going to study the Bible, read it regularly in a community with a community’s perspective. Read it slow. Let it challenge you.