How Ron Paul, the Philadelphia Flyers and Falling Off a Bridge Saved My Soul – Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

The bridge I worked on in New York City was movable.  It rotated about its center. We were at the end of the project so I spent a lot of my time alone.  I had to take some measurements one day from inside the bridge where the steel beams ran.  There was about a four foot drop so you really had to be careful while you were in there.  I miss-stepped and landed hard on one foot.  My back and legs felt severe pain.  I felt embarrassed, so I shook it off and forgot about it.  Months later I started to date the woman who would become my wife.  She was worried about my health, she was an organic vegetarian and got me to stop eating so bad and drinking so much.  In a couple months I dropped 30 pounds.  One night while on the bridge I felt for the first time what I later pieced together was a problem I assume was caused by the fall. I ended up being out of work for a while because of it.

While out of work, I thought it prudent to do two things in between my physical therapy sessions.  I read about Libertarianism and Catholicism.  I was convinced there had to be a connection. I also prayed more rosaries. What I read convinced me of three things; I was never going to miss mass on Sunday again, I was going to join the Ron Paul Revolution, and I knew that my girlfriend was the one who I was going to marry.  I proposed to her soon after and we got married, my life changed so fast I could hardly keep up. It has been an exhilarating and amazing ride. A house, a son and a daughter on the way, new job, I even wrote a book!

Thank you Ron Paul.

Thank you Philadelphia Flyers.

Thank you Bridge.

Thank you mom for never giving up on me.

Thank you to my wife for joining me on this journey.

Thank you Jesus, Mary and Joseph for bringing me back to you.

How Ron Paul, the Philadelphia Flyers and Falling Off a Bridge Saved My Soul – Part 2

Part 1

It was the last game of the regular season for my team, the Philadelphia Flyers, in 2010.  They were playing their fierce rival, the New York Rangers. It was a very important game because whomever won would go to the Stanley Cup playoffs, the loser would go to the golf course.  After three periods and an overtime, there was still not a winner.  This meant the game would go into a shootout. The Flyers were awful at shootouts, all year I watched them lose to a shootout.  The Rangers on the other hand, were one of the best in the League in the shootout, my team was as good as done.

I was watching the game at my parents’ house with my cousin.  Things had started to settle down after my grandmother passed away.  My cousin and I were nervously awaiting the shootout when my Mom got home from some retreat.  She told me she brought back some rosaries, and gave us each a rosary that had been blessed by a priest. I remembered when I was a kid and our family of 6 would sit around and pray whenever there was a bad storm or my mom felt that she needed extra prayers. My mom reminded us that with a rosary you can move mountains, so immediately my cousin took his out of a bag and said “Maybe they will help the Flyers win this shootout!” So we clinched them into our hands as we watched what can only be described as a miracle. I learned to pray them when I got back home in north jersey, I prayed that the Flyers would win after they went down 0-3 in a best of 7 tournament. I even went to church with my cousin and a friend to try and make sure the Flyers would win. Again, a miraculous comeback, and in game 7 they even went down in the game 0-3, only to win the game, and the series 4-3! After that, they blew through the next team and made it into the Stanley Cup Finals.

It was then that I had the crazy idea that maybe I should be using these rosaries for something a little more important. I started to pray them for direction, for a wife, and to get my life back.

Unfortunately, without me praying for the Flyers they ended up losing the series in probably the most embarrassing way possible. No one even knew he scored for like 30 seconds…


How Ron Paul, the Philadelphia Flyers and Falling Off a Bridge Saved My Soul – Part 1

In light of a recent attack on my beloved libertarianism by the Pope, I have decided this was a good time to write about how I turned my life around.

I had heard about Ron Paul on a train heading into New Jersey from Philadelphia on my way home from college during the 2008 election cycle. I was never one to pay much attention to politics and voiced my frustration at people trying to get me to choose a side, “I think they are all [donkeys]!” I would say.  That’s when a friend told me to check out Ron Paul, he was different.  He told me a little more but I wasn’t comprehending what he was saying.  I ended up voting for Ron Paul in the primaries, but for Obama in the final vote.  I wasn’t fully convinced that Ron Paul was telling the truth, I saw McCain as just another Bush, so I said to myself “If Obama gets in and does the same things as Bush, I know Ron Paul is the real deal.”  Well, if you haven’t buried your head under a rock, you know that I soon had no choice but to trust and learn from Ron Paul. I bought a shirt that said “Don’t blame me, I voted for Ron Paul” that had the “Ron Paul Revolution” logo. (I know not completely honest, but I did vote for him in the primaries!)

The years surrounding this event is when my soul really took a nose dive. My family got torn apart, my fiance dumped me, and I started drinking and partying more and more.  I stopped going to church because I didn’t feel worthy, I knew I was doing wrong but didn’t have any motivation to stop myself. At one point I even told someone that my life song was Bother by Stone Sour, released on the 2002 Spider Man album.

Then one day I was brushing my teeth while wearing my Ron Paul Revolution T-shirt.  I looked into the mirror at my shirt and I discovered the simple brilliance of the logo.  the “evol” in revolution was inverted and cast in a red box, so when looking at it in a mirror the word “LOVE” stood out.  I cringed at the site of that word. At this point in my life I had graduated from college, moved north while working on a bridge in New York City for a heavy civil engineering company. I had spent many nights tossing and turning, unable to sleep.  I felt lost. I thought I would be happy by partying and having relations with many women.  I was miserable, and I turned into something I didn’t recognize.

What ‘Death to Smoochy’ can teach Prodigal Catholics

I recently watched an older movie named Death to Smoochy.  It starred Robin Williams, Ed Norton, Danny DeVito and a bunch more.  It was about a wannabe kids star, think Barney but with a Rhino named Smoochy.  He was plucked up by a mob type kids programming ring after their best star got arrested.  Hilarity ensued and the good guy somehow wins in the end.

What got my attention had nothing to do with the plot or anything to do with religion.  There was a scene where Smoochy the Rhino was out to lunch with another character and was asking for some weird vegany food.  Ended up with black stuff all over his teeth and was pretty much laughed at by everyone.  This movie was released in 2002.  It wasn’t that long ago that organic foods and healthy snacks was something only complete weirdos were into.  Now, it’s gone mainstream.

It got me thinking about the state of the Catholic Church.  I wondered why the church seems so concerned with going with the downhill flow of modern society instead of sticking to its centuries old method of holding to the truth that God has revealed to us.  So many Catholics just go along with what the TV tells them they should think about certain topics that are at odds to Catholic teaching, then wonder out loud why the world is in such a terrible state right now.

In order to change the world I think Catholics should stick to what always works:  Unconventional thinking.  We have the truth on our side.  We only need to listen, and act, the right way.

In case you need a refresher on what, exactly, a Catholic needs to be, well Catholic, then buy my book Found:Prodigal Catholic, available on Kindle and paperback through Amazon. 

A Lesson in Hate

One of the events that marked the beginning of my prodigal life was when I decided that it was right to have hatred in my heart for certain members of my family.  It shook my faith.  I stopped going to church. I started hanging out with people who had no religion.  I drank too much.  I used women.  Eventually I looked back at myself and realized that through my hatred, I had become the very thing I hated so many years before. A Prodigal Catholic.

I see this dynamic in the “politically correct” arena of society, mostly the so-called “left” or “liberal” spheres.  I see a hatred of Christianity.  The Catholic Church is hated even by other “Christian” religions.  I remember back in my school days learning about how the Catholic Church hinders scientific progress;  how backwards ideas from popes and priests were the cause for such calamity;  that the churches intolerance led to the cruel punishment of many.  These ideas fuel the hatred that pushes the agenda of those who wish to tell us that the churches view of sex and marriage is wrong and they will prove it with a bat and a bullet if they have to.

They are so inundated with their hatred that they do not see their own intolerance and violence is exactly what they are so vehemently pushing against.  Perhaps the saddest thing about all of this is the fact that their hatred of the church is misguided.  The Catholic Church can be credited with the building of Western Civilization.  If you don’t believe me, then read Tom Woods’ book How the Catholic Church Built Western CivilizationAnd if you prefer a DVD, he also made a series of videos for EWTN Titled The Catholic Church Builder of Civilization.

Scientists aren’t the only one’s who play God.

Embryonic Stem Cells and Cloning are two big topics that  question the limits to what humans should be pursuing.  The idea that these scientists are trying to play God is nothing new.  But I want to look at a group of people who gave themselves the ability to literally create something out of nothing.  This creation effects the livelihood of virtually everyone on Earth. With this power come winners and losers, and the great majority of people are definitely not winners.  These people I am referring to are Central Bankers.

Money is something we use everyday.  We go to work and expect that we are paid in a sum of money.  But what is money?

–It all started with the trade of one good for another, the barter economy.  Over time, some products became preferred over others.  Eventually, gold was the go-to product to be traded everywhere.  But as governments grew larger, so did the need to buy things that were more costly than the amount of gold in their vaults.  Conveniently enough, the public was already using paper bills that were meant to be redeemable for an amount of gold.  Governments then lowered how much gold could be redeemed and eventually broke all ties to a gold standard.  During this transition period, private banks were created (the Federal Reserve) to have the unique ability to create money.  They use a lot of funky terms and slight of hand maneuvers, but in the end they are literally creating money out of nothing.

My Grandmothers Final Moments

I have been thinking a lot about my grandmother who died while I was in my prodigal years.  The weekend before she died I had a feeling that I should go see her.  I made plans with her to visit that Sunday. Instead of going to see her, I went to the bar the night before and drank so much I was too hungover to go.

Later that week I received a phone call from my father that she had been in a car accident and wasn’t doing well.  When I got to the hospital she was hooked to a breathing tube and couldn’t talk.  I walked up to see her and when she looked at me it was as if she didn’t know who I was. If she did know who I was, she didn’t look too happy to see me.  I left the room feeling awful.  My brother in law, a churchgoing man, had gone in after me. I heard my mom saying how my grandmother jumped up with joy when she saw him.  I felt worse. I would like to say that this event is what snapped me out of my prodigal life, but it didn’t.

As I reflect on this event, I realize an important thing.  My grandmother may have been on her deathbed, and I was a young man with my whole life ahead of me.  But I was the one who was dead; my great grandmother was alive.  Her soul was good.  When I was a kid she used to sing in the church choir.  I remember when her car broke down when she was babysitting and my sisters and I had to go to CCD.  Instead of taking care of her car she marched us all up the road, a good 20 minute hike, to make sure we learned about God.  She was well prepared for her eternal reward.  I, on the other hand, had many mortal sins on my soul.  I was a dead man walking.

I have since left all that sin behind.  I confessed my sins and gained absolution.  It was difficult for me to figure out what a Catholic is supposed to do.  I found confusion and contradiction everywhere I looked.  I kept digging.  I finally figured out what it means to be a Catholic through various catechisms and writings from good Priests.  I decided that since there wasn’t a useful resource to help people in my situation then I would make one.  My book, Found: Prodigal Catholic, is available for purchase on Amazon.

I hope it will help many souls find salvation.  God Bless.