Before introducing Greg Wasinski, guest speaker at the Jan. 7 First Friday Club of Cleveland virtual program, Bill Prebel, the new club president, shared a story about a boy who saw thousands of starfish on a beach after a storm and started tossing them back into the water. When asked why, he replied, “Because it makes a difference for that starfish.”
After a difficult time in 2020, we are embarking on a new year during the Christmas season – a year filled with hope.
Prebel’s wife Millie offered the opening prayer and introduced the guest speaker, Greg Wasinski, who talked about why we believe what we believe, finding the positive and inspiring hope in today’s world. Wasinski is executive director of Let Me Be Ministries, a 10-year-old nonprofit that helps people find hope through faith. He’s also an author, radio host, speaker and podcast host, along with Millie Prebel.
Wasinski said people should look for the positive in everything they do, noting that faith is integrated into “the real-life work of faith and family.”
There’s one thing about that that no one can deny, Wasinski said: “God’s grace is always there.”
When he receives Communion, Wasinski said he always tells the Lord, “Amen. I’m all in. Every time you live your faith or show excitement about your religion, you have the ability to impact someone else – to open their eyes,” he said, explaining that it took an encounter with a young girl to help him realize that.
“Faith is about the salvation of souls. It’s about getting those we love into heaven and making sure we’re at their side when the time comes,” he added.
Wasinski the way to achieve this goal can be found in the Scriptures and Catechism of the Catholic Church.
“It’s about how we live the faith,” he said.
One day while attending Mass, Wasinski said he scanned the congregation and wondered if everyone truly believed that Jesus was present.
“We must wear our hearts on our sleeve. Don’t be afraid to go deeper; be confident about what you believe and never take your faith for granted,” he said.
He asked the group what it meant to be a Catholic Christian, explaining it’s more than just baking for a funeral, going to Mass or writing a check to help with something at the church. “We have to go deeper.”
Many people are just learning about Scripture, which gives us a deeper insight into our faith and helps us develop “so we can ignite the fire, so we can explain why we are a Catholic Christian.” He said it’s also important for us to return to church – when it’s safe because of the pandemic – because finding a preacher on TV isn’t enough.
Many people have family members or friends who have fallen away from the Church and they need to help them find their way back, he said, using the analogy of a leaking tire. We can lose a little faith, but it can be refilled by going to church (Mass). “We have to help energize, recharge these people so they don’t go completely flat,” he said.
Going to Mass, working on our relationship with God and praying will help that relationship with God grow. And love goes beyond the church walls, he said, noting it’s a 24/7 task that involves loving/forgiving our neighbor, growing in our faith and sharing our gift of faith.
He talked about his own journey, growing up in Garfield Heights and receiving he gift of faith from his grandmother and mother. “But as I grew older, it was my responsibility to grow in faith.”
He described a Christian family as a communion of persons and said we all are tasked with being missionaries and evangelizing. The sacramental grace we receive helps recharge and guide us, he explained, adding that this is why “being a Catholic Christian is such a beautiful thing. It goes beyond reading and sharing the word of God.”
Putting our faith into action requires us to be happy, healthy and holy, which he acknowledged can be challenging during a pandemic. But conversation and conversion are related – a difference of just a few letters. When a good conversation happens, he said a conversion can follow, but we need to “let God be God. You don’t need to know everything. Wherever you are in your faith, you have something to share.”
Wasinski said the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. He offered these five tips for moving forward in faith:
- Take inventory about who and what you allow in your life. Do these things/people make you better or pull you away from God?
- Commit time to those and what you love.
- Be part of the community; don’t just attend Mass.
- Seek others who will be positive influences on you.
- Have a deeper and new relationship with Christ.
“Our faith is more than just Mass. We meet Christ everywhere,” he said.
The next virtual program at noon Feb. 4 will feature Gary Zimak, an author, speaker and podcast/radio host who will discuss “Giving up Worry for Lent.” Click here for more information on the First Friday Club of Cleveland or to register for the program.