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Friday, October 30, 2015

John Boehner, Faith and the Holy Spirit...

A moving experience...
It took former House Speaker, John Boehner, a devout Catholic, about twenty years to get a Pope to speak before Congress, and one day after making it happen, in what was an emotional encounter with Pope Francis at the Capitol, the Ohio Representative decided to step down as both the Speaker of the House and U.S. Congressman, a position he had held since 1991.

On his way out, before fellow Roman Catholic Paul Ryan was sworn in as his replacement, his office posted this message by Boehner on what may have moved him to make his decision...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Watching Baseball with My Daughter Between Viagra Ads...

Golden arm and locks... 
This has been a banner week at the Espinosa household.  Win or lose on Thursday, the Mets made the playoffs for the first time since 2006 and my family, with the exception of my independent thinking 11-year-old middle daughter, who likes the home team, has jumped on the Mets' bandwagon.  And, I am reveling in it.

This has been a calculated and longstanding effort on my part. In fact, it started when my oldest daughter was still in my wife's belly.  I used to recite the Mets lineup (back then) to her almost every night.  I figured if other parents play Beethoven to their unborn children, I can recite the Amazin's starting lineup; maybe that's why she's always done so well in school!

It continued through the years with the arrival of our second daughter and son; Mets baseball talk around the house, even when nobody seemed to care, games playing on TV, spring training visits, hats, shirts, autographed photos and baseballs, etc.

Slowly but surely, it began paying off.  Today, my 14-year-old daughter is wearing Mets' gear to Spirit Week at school and has a developed a crush on rookie pitcher, Steven Matz, which I don't discourage, since what are the chances she's actually going to meet the guy before she outgrows the crush?  Meanwhile, my son is a huge Matt Harvey fan.  Not that he doesn't like Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright, Curtis Granderson, Jeurys Familia and Noah Syndegaard any less.

In any case, last Friday night was a special night.  For the first time, since before my son was born, the Mets were in a playoff game.  We ordered pizza.  My wife and I had wine (I know, metrosexual of me, but my wife has me trying to cut down on beer; meaning the beer belly!). And, we huddled around the TV to watch the start of the game.  However, the West Coast start (9:30p EST) discouraged my wife and the little ones to stick around.  After having dinner and watching the first few innings, they bolted for their rooms.

But, my teenage daughter stayed up with me.  Ah, the good life.  Me and my girl just sitting on the couch watching Mets ace, Jacob deGrom, and his long locks of hair, face off against three-time National League Cy Young winner and 2014 NL Most Valuable Player, Clayton Kershaw, with a glass of wine (me) and having Chocolate Mint ice cream (Don't tell my wife).  Life couldn't get any better.

That is until I started noticing a disturbing trend.

Every time there was a commercial break, a beautiful woman in a football jersey came on talking about Viagra and erectile dysfunction, opening a ceiling-to-floor length curtain, with all sorts of subliminal meaning, and an announcer telling viewers to ask their doctor if their heart is healthy enough for sex.

I was aghast!  I started changing the channel every time I saw the Viagra woman with the football in her hand but it got ridiculous.  When it wasn't Viagra, it was Cialis, another erectile dysfunction drug.

It came to a point, where it was obvious I was turning the channel and, as the night dragged on, and I started getting sleepy (and my reactions got slower to change the remote), we got a good dose of masculine impotence issues.  It was embarrassing.  My poor girl!

Apparently, I wasn't the only one complaining.  St. Louis Cardinals pitcher, Adam Wainwright (Yes, the same Adam Wainwright who struck out Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran with the their bats on their shoulders and the winning run on base the last time the Mets made the playoffs), tweeted:

What have we come to as a culture?  In the old days, it was beer and cars they would target at men. Now, it's about keeping an erection?  On a nationally televised game with millions of boys, staying up with their dads to watch, especially in the West Coast, where the game was three hours earlier?

Here I am trying to promote chastity to my kids.  I send them to Catholic school to reinforce the message and the culture undermines it at every turn, by selling sex, even in the most wholesome of sports; America's game!  I was upset.

I realized most kids may have gone to bed in the East Coast but I'm sure many were watching, including my daughter.

As a matter of fact, at one point, when the Mets loaded the bases and David Wright was coming up to hit, I dozed off (Don't judge me.  I wake up early!) and must have snored because my daughter asked, "Are you awake?"  I said, "No," and just as my vision cleared from my slumber, Wright hit a line drive up the middle, driving in two runs.  Thank you, for waking me up!

At the end of the night, the Mets won 3 to 1, my daughter and I gave each other a high five and went to bed, having spent a great night of bonding watching our favorite team, me having a glass of wine (or two) and watching a plethora of Viagra commercials.

On a positive note, I guess, after a night full of erectile dysfunction ads, she shouldn't be getting any funky thoughts of mom and dad in the bedroom...



Friday, October 9, 2015

Fox Analyst: I'm Becoming Catholic...

Leap of faith...
Fox Political Analyst Kirsten Powers announced she was converting to the Catholic faith during The Five on Friday.

In her final thoughts, as the show was ending, the Democratic Contributor, who once worked for the Clinton Administration, said, "I have a little news. Tomorrow night at 7 o'clock, I'm becoming Catholic."

"Oh my God that's fantastic," Kimberly Guilfoyle blurted out as she gave Powers a high five, along with fellow host, Eric Bolling, "A Republican is next," Guilfoyle continued, as they laughed.

"I don't know about that," Powers answered, "But, for ten years I have been an Evangelical.  About ten years ago, I came to faith and it's been a wonderful journey.  And, I'm looking forward to the next step."

"God bless you," Guilfoyle offered, as she did the sign of the cross and the show ended.

For Powers, it has truly been a journey.  She was brought up in an Episcopalian household but somewhere along the line became an Atheist, until meeting a man a decade ago, who led her to Christianity.

In an article on her conversion, she wrote of the moment it all became real, "I'll never forget standing outside that apartment on the Upper East Side and saying to myself, 'It's true.  It's completely true.' The world looked entirely different, like a veil had been lifted off it.  I had not an iota of doubt.  I was filled with indescribable joy."

Since then, it appears, her search has continued.

It takes courage to profess your faith on national television, especially coming from where Powers comes from.  Furthermore, conversion in the Catholic Church is not something taken lightly.  It is usually preceded by a six-month (or more) discernment process, where a candidate is introduced to every aspect of Church teaching to make sure there is a sincere commitment and desire to be part of the Church.  The fact that she endured, and made it public, says a lot about her passion for the faith.

Welcome home Kirsten Powers.  May the Lord continue to work in your heart and draw you closer to Him each and every day, and, as you receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist on a regular basis, you are transformed...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mark Wahlberg's Public Confession to the Pope...

"That right there was truly the voice of an angel.  But then he whispered in my ear that he loved the movie, Ted.  I told him that was not appropriate for a boy of his age.  Holy Father, please forgive me. I've always hoped that the good Lord has a sense of humor when it comes and pertains to many of the movies that I've made."

Mark Wahlberg's unscripted and earnest confession to Pope Francis (and the world), that left everyone chuckling, after his brief exchange with 14-year-old Bobby Hill at Festival of Families in Philadelphia, was a vivid reminder of the struggle Christians face trying to reconcile sin and faith.

In an article on National Catholic Register, Sussie Lloyd writes:  
"He gave the world a momentary glimpse into his conscience, a Catholic conscience.
Walhberg showed that even when sin is paying off, even in the midst of it, we're not entirely fooled.  All of us have our attachments to wrong things that we justify to ourselves, but we know that these things don't stand up in the light of our faith.  And it matters." 
Marky Mark, as he was once known, has come a long way.  I blogged about him several years ago. Despite his rough edges (like most of us), Wahlberg takes his faith seriously and, in that brief moment of levity, as Lloyd pointed out, his humility shed light on a truth we all live with...