Rick McHenry

Exploring Love and Truth

Five Ploys of Satan


Binding Satan is always a matter of faith and prayer, yet it also helps to be aware of his strategies, such as the following.

Tempts us to question God’s Word and his goodness, forgiveness, and love.

Tempts us to focus intently on our problems rather than entrusting them to God’s care.

Tempts us to see the wrong things as attractive so that we will want them more than the right things. Read the rest of this entry »

Celibacy and the Child Abuse Scandal


Several people have asked me recently why the Roman Catholic Church (Latin Rite) doesn’t allow priests to be married and contend that if they did, there wouldn’t be such a big problem with priestly sexual abuse.  What role does celibacy play in the recent child sexual abuse scandal?

In order to answer, let’s take a look at what celibacy is and why Roman Catholic priests are required to be celibate.

What is celibacy?

Celibacy, by definition, is the abstaining from marriage and sexual relations for religious reasons.

Why does the Roman Catholic Church require priests to be celibate?

For this answer, I Read the rest of this entry »

A View of Your Birthday

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A letter to a friend on her birthday…

My Dear Friend,

I realize that the last thing you may have wanted today was another birthday card; another reminder that you have grown a year older.  I won’t presume to understand exactly why or how it bothers you, but I wanted to share this perspective with you.

So, close your eyes and imagine – No wait!  If you close your eyes you won’t be able to finish reading this.  Ok…, read the following with your eyes open and try to visualize in your mind what I’m describing below.  Are you ready?  Remember – try to visualize…

It’s your birthday.  The nurse just handed your tiny little self into your mother’s arms.  She’s crying with joy and Read the rest of this entry »

Ask and Keep on Asking…


Have you ever had someone ask, “Why pray?  Doesn’t God already know what I need?”  If we listen to what Jesus says about prayer, we see that God wants us to ask Him for our wants and needs – and, moreover, He wants us to ask repeatedly.

In Luke 11:5-13, Jesus provides two teachings that stress the point of being persistent in prayer.  The instructions immediately follow The Lord’s Prayer; Jesus’ response to the disciples’ request for Him to “teach us how to pray”.

The first teaching is The Shameless Prayer, also known as The Friend at Midnight.  We learn that a friend will help another – if not out of friendship, then out of sheer persistence (Read here).  It’s called The Shameless Prayer because the word persistence (in Greek, anaideia) means “unrestrained persistence” …to the point of shamelessness, or even the idea of being embarrassed for not taking “no” for Read the rest of this entry »

Cross of Christ

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I received this reflection on the Cross of Christ from my friend, Daneil S. Spatafora, JD.  Thanks, Dan!

I have been trying to focus especially on the Cross of Christ this week and just what it meant. We are reminded that Jesus loved not only those immediately surrounding that cross at Calvary who loved Jesus, but the crowd and the Roman soldiers who did not love Jesus, especially when

Our Lord said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”.  That is we will never fully grasp on this side of eternity just how wide and deep the Father’s love was for us at that moment. That is why the Father could not look on Jesus on that cross when he took on the sins of the whole world and why Jesus cried out to his Father, “why have you forsaken me”. We are so Read the rest of this entry »

Satan Called a Worldwide Convention


I read this every few months to remind myself.  I wish I knew exactly where it came from.  It sounds like C.S. Lewis and the Screwtape Letters, but I haven’t been able to determine its source for sure…

Satan called a worldwide convention.  In his opening address to his demons he said:

“We can’t keep Christians from going to church.  We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth.  We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with Christ.  We can’t stop them from going to their churches, and trying to lead good lives, but we can interfere with their lives, making it difficult to have a relationship with Jesus.  This is what I want you to do.  Distract them from connecting with their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day.”

“How shall we do this?” asked the demons.

“Keep them busy with the non-essentials of life, and Read the rest of this entry »

Do It Anyway


Here is a cool video.  A slightly different translation is attributed to Mother Teresa.

Difficult Diagnosis

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A Letter to my dear friend upon your difficult news…

Hello, my dear friend.  I’m very sorry to hear about your situation.  I prayed for you last night, and again today at Mass.  I asked that God would strengthen you with courage and faith so that you may get through this.  I also prayed that you would be healed and that you would not suffer.

Mt 9:20

I wondered what God might want you to know?  If I were a messenger, what would He have me tell you?  In my heart, I heard Him answer.  “Tell her I love her very much.  Let her know that I am with her always and that I’m with her now in the midst of all this.  Be not afraid.”

We don’t always know why we are to suffer.  Why would God allow this?  Sometimes (maybe) we might see the greater good that God has planned.  Other times, it’s just difficult and requires us to have lots of faith.

I have seen some people suffer and I have seen greater good.  I know that there is a purpose – and a benefit – when we allow our experience to glorify God.  You’ve maybe seen the incredible cancer patient who never complains, or the little child who was burned yet still smiles every day.  Those heroic people that seem to let God’s love shine through their suffering.

I got to thinking about you specifically …you, a much-loved woman with many friends and admirers.  How might God be asking you to show His power and love to others? Read the rest of this entry »

Are You on the Anvil?


At what was probably the most challenging time in my life, God granted me an abundance of grace to get through it.  Surely as I live and breathe today, I would never have made it through without God’s gentle and caring touch.

No one likes to go through dark times, but sometimes – when we’re in the midst of the darkness, we see God’s hand at work in us.  We discover strength to endure, comfort in knowing that we’re never alone …He is always with us.  And for this special closeness that we feel with the Almighty, we can be grateful …even joyful, for this temporary darkness.

I have the fortune of having a terrific friend, Chris Malin, who found this note about “God’s Anvil”.  He shared it with me at just the right time.   Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to the Exploration

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Primacy of Peter

Statue of Jesus and Peter in Tabgha, near the Sea of Galilee

Welcome to my blog.  My name is Rick McHenry.

All humanity shares a common calling to be “good”.  For Christians, this calling is extended by Jesus Christ when He instructs us to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).  Having been blessed throughout my life (and today) with many wonderful people …people who have shared the love of Christ with me in their words and their actions, I desire wholeheartedly to share God’s love and truth with as many people as I can.  I feel that is my own personal, albeit not uncommon, calling.  My hope is that, by God’s grace and despite my own personal weaknesses, this blog will allow me and others to humbly strive for that truth and love and share it with each other.

I am not a theologian or a Biblical scholar.  I am a life-long Catholic and expect to spend the rest of my life learning about Jesus through the lens of the Catholic Church.  I do study Sacred Scripture and I do teach religious education to junior high students, but Read the rest of this entry »

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