FGG-179 Quit Your Complaining!

April 19, 2018

“If you are not grateful for the things you have, what makes you think you will be grateful for the things you want.”  –Tony Agnesi

Every March, Diane and I are blessed to spend the month in sunny Naples, Florida. We love the nearby Vanderbilt Beach and walk the beach every morning for an hour and a half.  We are so grateful to share this time together. Every year, I comment on how I missed my life’s calling as a beach bum!

Naples is an upscale city and most of the people here are retired successful folks from other parts of the country and seasonal vacationers.  I love everything about the area except for one thing. In the 20 plus years we have been coming here I can’t believe is how unfriendly everyone is.

You would think that with the beautiful sunshine and near perfect sunny days everyone would be in a grateful, cheerful mood.  But, that doesn’t seem to be the case. People here are always complaining about something. Somewhere along the way being grateful for your blessings has disappeared.

 

“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” –Colossians 3:17

 

And, what do they complain about? Here is sample of what I overheard in just one day.

A wealthy woman complained that her smart phone battery wasn’t lasting as long as it should. She blamed the sales clerk at the phone store.

A man complained that he had his drink flag up at the Ritz Carlton for over five minutes before the waiter arrived.  He wanted his drink for free.

A woman at the coffee shop complained that the foam heart on her cappuccino was misshapen and wanted it replaced.

A young girl arrived at Dunkin’ Donuts in her daddy’s Tesla and ordered a jelly doughnut with the jelly on the side and was disturbed that they couldn’t fulfill her request. She reluctantly took the regular jelly doughnut (with the jelly inside) and paid for it with Apple Pay on her iPhone 10.

An elderly woman complained that there would be a 30 minute wait to be seated in a popular restaurant.  Her husband offered, “What else do you have to wait for besides death!”  I liked him!

As I walked the beach, I smile and say good morning to everyone I passed.  Of the many people I recently greeted one morning only one responded with a good morning reply.  Most ignored me, turned their heads away or even worse, looked at me in disgust.

My point is that, even in arguably the sunniest, prettiest city on the gulf coast, people can’t even say good morning. And for some reason they are ALWAYS finding something to complain about.

Gratitude and humility just doesn’t seem to exist!

 

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” –2 Corinthians 9:15

 

I was almost ready to give up on humanity when I had an encounter with a migrant worker.

His skin was dark and stained from too much sun exposure. His hands were chapped and cut. His clothes dirty from the fields.

As we made eye contact, I smiled and said “Hello.”

“Hello,” He quickly responded.

“How are you?” was my automatic response.

He paused for a moment, raised his hands toward heaven, tipped back his head and rolled his eyes skyward, and didn’t say a thing; not a single word. Without speaking, he spoke volumes!

Without saying a word I heard;

Thank you God for my life.

Thank you God for being able to support my family.

Thank you for all the blessings you have given me.

Without speaking, he restored my faith in humanity. This man understands that all that we have is a gift from God and gratitude and humility lead to happiness.

Quite a contrast, right? So I ask you, who is happier?

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FGG-178 Who are the Lepers of Today?

April 13, 2018

There is an often told story of St. Francis of Assisi and an encounter with a leper.  I’ve seen many different versions.  The stories might be different but the life lesson is the same. So, who are the lepers of today?  Who are the voiceless, ignored and forgotten among us?  Who does society reject? And, more importantly, what should we as Christians do about it? In this podcast Tony discusses the Lepers of today.

Quotes: “The Lord gave me, Brother Francis, thus to begin doing penance in this way: for when I was in sin, it seemed too bitter for me to see lepers.  And the Lord Himself led me among them and I showed mercy to them.  And when I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was turned into sweetness of soul and body.” –St Francis of Assisi in his Testament

“Among all the awful miseries of this world Francis had a natural horror of lepers, and one day as he was riding his horse near Assisi he met a leper on the road.  He felt terrified and revolted, but not wanting to transgress God’s command and break the sacrament of His word, he dismounted from his horse and ran to kiss him.  As the leper stretched out his hand, expecting something, he received both money and a kiss.  Francis immediately mounted his horse and although the field was wide open, without any obstructions, when he looked around he could not see the leper anywhere.” — Thomas of Selano wrote in his biography of Francis Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul

Reflections: Do you feel that the homeless, handicapped, unborn and incarcerated are the lepers of today?  What can we do to recognize them as God’s children?  Are you ever guilty of shunning these people?

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FGG-177 Scars, We All Have Them

April 8, 2018

As I was shaving in front of the bathroom mirror, I couldn’t help but notice the huge scar on my stomach.  It reminded me that it has been 12 years since I had surgery for colon cancer.  Two feet of colon removed and cancer free for over a decade and the ugly scar to prove it. In this podcast Tony discusses our scars.

QuotesOther times, I look at my scars and see something else: a girl who was trying to cope with something horrible that she should never have had to live through at all. My scars show pain and suffering, but they also show my will to survive. They’re part of my history that’ll always be there.” ― Cheryl Rainfield

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” ― Kahlil Gibran

“Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for divine love?” –Fulton J. Sheen

Reflections: What are your scars?  Have you become stronger when you embraced your scars? Have your personal scars made you more compassionate to others?

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Save It for Easter

March 27, 2018

As a youngster, I remember on my birthday every year (in February, during or near lent), I would always receive some article of clothing as a gift. Whether it was a sweater, a new shirt, pair of pants or a jacket, as I opened the gift, my mother would say, “Save it for Easter!”  In this podcast, Tony discusses the importance of Easter.

Scripture: If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, then empty (too) is our preaching, empty, too, your faith.  …And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is in vain.  1 Corinthians 15:13-14 17

Reflections:  Is Easter just another Sunday to you and your family?  What have you done to make Easter a special day?  Have you explained to your kids the real meaning of Easter?

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FGG-120 The Power of Hope

March 22, 2018

Faith, Hope and Love are the three theological virtues by which we participate in the divine nature of God. But hope is the least understood of these virtues.  Hope is often confused with optimism, of an attitude that things will turn out for the best. Hope is not the result of positive thinking, expecting a good outcome, or denying the reality of a situation.  In this podcast, Tony discusses hope.

Catechism: Into everyone’s heart, God has placed a search for happiness. Hope responds to this desire. It sustains man, frees him from discouragement, preserves him from selfishness, and leads to happiness on earth and in heaven. –CCC 1818

Scripture: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” –Romans 15:13

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:11-12

Quote: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Reflections: Do you understand the difference between optimism and hope? How do we stay positive and still hope for God’s will?  What does it mean to have our hope in God’s promise?

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FGG-119 Wonderfully Flawed

March 22, 2018

A child is born and we look into the bassinet and we say, “she’s perfect!” Ten fingers and ten toes, seven pounds of pure joy, wonderfully made through the miracle of life.  We use the term “perfect” even though we all understand that we are human, we are not perfect, and we all are flawed in some way.  In this podcast, Tony discusses how we are all wonderfully flawed.

Scripture:  But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. –2 Corinthians 4:7-10

I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know. –Psalm 139:1

Reflections:  Do you sometimes feel that you have been dealt a bad hand?  What are your flaws?  Do you ever allow your flaws to define who you are?

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FGG-118 Leave it at the Altar

March 22, 2018

Today, as many of us get ready to go off to Easter mass we are heavily burdened. Easter, the most joyous day of the year, seems to be tainted by the burdens we are carrying.  In this podcast, Tony discusses leaving your problems at the altar this Easter Sunday.

Scripture: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Cast your care upon the LORD, who will give you support. He will never allow the righteous to stumble.” –Psalm 55

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”   2 Timothy 1:7

Reflections:  What burdens are you laying at the altar this Easter Sunday?  Do you place your burdens in God’s loving care?  How can we use Tony’s thoughts to have a happier Easter?

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FGG-176 Behold!

March 10, 2018

One of my favorite words from the bible is behold. In some older translations it is use almost 1300 times. Many of the newer translations use the word less. The meaning is never more relevant than in this distracted world we live in today. Everyone is distracted.  Soccer practice, school plays and gymnastics; it is a wonder we can behold anything. In this podcast Tony discusses how we can make some time this Advent season to behold!

Scripture: “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”  –John 1:29

“The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”  — Luke 2:10

“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”  –Matthew 28:20

Reflections: Are you planning on spending less time on social media this Advent season?  What are a few things that you do to make the season special? As you prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas, what are your favorite family traditions?

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FGG-175 Is Mario Andretti My Guardian Angel?

March 10, 2018

I am a big fan of my Guardian Angel, Mario.  I’ve been praying the Guardian Angel prayer since I was a little kid and still do so every day.  It wasn’t until 9 years ago that I discovered my Guardian Angels name. In this podcast, Tony discusses guardian angels.

Prayer: Angel of God, My Guardian Dear
To whom God’s love commits me here.
Ever this day be at my side
To light and guard and rule and guide.
Amen.

Reflections:  Are you award of your Guardian Angel?  Have you given him/her a name just for fun?  Do you pray the Guardian Angel prayer?

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FGG-174 Occupational Hazards

March 10, 2018

I just reviewed a survey taken on a college campus.  As part of the survey college students were asked of their religious affiliation.  Over 40% replied “none.”  We know that many of these young adults were raised as Christians and Catholics.  Now they have either left the faith or are too embarrassed to admit to being Christian.  In this podcast, Tony discusses the occupational hazards of being a Christian.

Scripture: Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  –Matthew 5:01-12

“Whoever believes themselves just and judges others and scorns them is corrupt and a hypocrite. Arrogance compromises every good action, empties prayer, distances from God and others.” –Pope Francis

Reflections:  Are you reluctant to call yourself a Christian?  Are there people in your life that you avoid sharing your faith?  Are you guilty of the charges that society levels against Christians?

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