A Companion of the Cross
It was almost a year ago when I ran across an exhibition of relics on the internet that was being sponsored by a community of priests and brothers called “Companions of the Cross.” I don’t know why but at the time I was deeply drawn to them so I started looking over their site at http://www.companionscross.org/. I had been discerning a calling to join a lay apostolate for some time (year’s in-fact) and had tried The Holy Name Society but they are a failing confraternity whose members would not help me in bringing the order to AR. It hurt me deeply to have given almost a year of my life over to them and to have performed services for them yet received no cooperation in spreading the message of Jesus and His Holy Name across Central Arkansas.
A few months later I made my decision to call the Companions of the Cross and see just what they had to say. I first spoke with a woman named Mary and she was a great help in explaining to me just what this Order was all about and she sent me some material from their late founder Fr. Bob Bedard who in my opinion was an extraordinary man. It seems as though he not only left behind a great personal legacy but left everyone whose life he touched forever the better for it. So far in all of the reading I have done I have yet to hear anything negative from this man and all the advice of his has proved to be of great value. I must also compliment Mary on the personal interest she has shown and she truly cares about the lives of our members. Here is another person I have yet to hear anything negative from and believe me, I look closely at people and notice these traits. My paternal grandfather, God bless him and rest his soul never once in my life time ever said anything negative about anyone or about anyone’s life and that’s a hell of a statement to make about someone. There are many things in this life I have aspired to be and these traits are at the top of the list.
Well a few weeks later and many phone conversations with Mary I finally received the phone call from Fr. Terry Donahue and I made my promise as a lay associate and I cannot tell you how overjoyed I was at this. For the first time in my life I felt as though I were a real part of something, a family if you will and I for one plan on making the most of it. I realize I have a lot of reading and learning to do along with a lot of evangelization if I wish the men of my parish and those that I do business with as a sales rep for Lighthouse Catholic Media to stand up and take notice of this wonderful order. So many of us just don’t even know what’s going on around us it’s a crying shame but I am going to do my very best to shine like that beacon on the hill, an example of what it means to be a Companion of the Cross.
I have read that Fr. Bob said “we are going through a crisis of faith” and that the only way to turn this around is through evangelization. Why do the Protestant Churches continue to grow, and to grow into these “Mega-Churches” we see? It is because they are out there involved in the community and they are evangelizing. We Catholics have become so complacent that we rely simply on our shear number to carry us from generation to generation. I am telling you, this will not hold true forever. Pope Benedict XVI sees this and has called for evangelization and now it is the duty, the responsibility of every Catholic to do this. Oh I hear many saying that they don’t know where to begin but I am telling you that you can start in your own backyard.
When was the last time you really spoke of your faith with a family member? I do not mean an argument or just words in passing but about the depth of your faith. How about your neighbors, a fellow parish member? Many of us just don’t do this and many of the people we talk to really do not wish to take the time to involve themselves in a deep conversation. We just don’t have time for God anymore do we? So what is it we should do?
First off we must become faithful to the Word of God and to the traditions of Holy Mother Church. Then we must find a place where we can share these things and difficult it may be I promise you it can be done. You can find a Bible study somewhere; you can volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry. You can find street missionaries and share your faith or maybe you could just tell someone one day that you care about the and even love them with the eyes of Christ.
I have recently started a Prison Ministry and a Legacy Foundation; I am a stage 4 pancreatic patient/survivor and am very proud to have my family of The Companions of the Cross with me as I go about bringing the Word of God into some dismal places and uplifting the terminally ill. God loves us all no matter what and His love is unconditional. When I begin my preaching of the Word I know that this family is with me in all that I do and this alone gives me, a lowly sinner the power to go on. When they pump me full of chemo and I become ill I know I can go on because of those who stand with me and wish me only the best. I would love to travel to Houston one day soon to see the men there and spend some time with them getting to know them and to gain a deeper understanding of our calling. For me now I must go it alone but I know they are with me and together we can and will spread the Word of God in many places to many people.
I know that this cancer will take me one day and all I can think about are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ when he said: “A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.” And this is what I am going to live by until that day comes when I can go on no longer.
Yes, today I have a home and a family and that is what it means to me to be A Companion of the Cross.
May God Bless you all and may your prayers be answered by our Father in Heaven, the author of all of creation.
Sincerely in Christ Jesus
Wm. (Bill) Karabinus
Lay Associate, Companions of the Cross
**The Living Through Faith Foundation**
**Central Arkansas Prison Ministries**
2012 has been pretty good so far and I am really looking forward to the moment when “real spring” shows itself in the buds of the trees and the new grasses. The wildflowers are blooming now so I can actually feel it right around the corner. My new projects though starting out slowly do show promise in the future and I do have many more things to accomplish this year but I must say that all in all I am comfortable with everything.
My biggest project though will be my small garden. This year it’s all going to have to be done in containers and I have never done this one before. I have had a little experience with a few vegetable plants but they just do not seem to produce as well in pots. I must be very picky in what I use so that I can get a maximum yield from the little I am going to grow. I have started out with small peppers (Tabasco) and some nice purple decorative peppers. I also started some cherry tomatoes, some early tomatoes (medium size) and some pickling cucumbers. All of these ought to grow nicely in containers and I even have some upside down, hanging baskets that I will put the Tabasco Peppers in, really out to be fun growing this stuff so wish me luck and I will be making some killer salsa by the 4th of July!!!
The other big projects I have going are still my prison ministry and my legacy foundation. The prison ministry seems to be doing well on its own so far and these last couple of months have seen a real boom in participation from people both inside and outside of the walls. One of my best friends just wrote me from the Pine Bluff Unit and told me he would like me to fill a spot in the re-entry group coming up and I am sure this is something I will do. Now that I am free of the system it seems that everyone wants to see how I am doing and hear something successful from one of the older guys. Well I hope that I can show them that they have nothing to fear once they are out and it’s a big old world out here and things are indeed looking up. I believe with a change in the Washington Administration in November things will be even better and then look out! Many people will be making a real success of their lives!!!
Now as for the legacy foundation well, it’s not doing as well. I have realized that this will require a lot more work on my part and a whole lot of patience. Getting backers and funding is no easy trick and my lack of experience show at every turn. Next month I will be going to the Diocese of Little Rock to inquire with Catholic Charities of Arkansas just how to go about this. I need some guidance and that’s where I believe I will receive the very best!
If you can please take some time out to visit my website and maybe donate a dollar or two. It does not take that much to run it, a few tanks of gas, envelopes, stamps, printer ink and a bunch of my time. Either way please give it some thought and pray about it. So many are looking for help as they sit and wait for death to take them.
**The Living Through Faith Foundation**
Now as for the rest of the spring and maybe to the start of summer, my big goal is to make it to Indiana to visit my daughter and my grandson. I miss them terribly and that from the pictures I see the boy is growing like a whirlwind! I have so much I want to share with them and I want to see how they are doing and how Alisha is getting along in grad school. Oh such regrets I have for not finishing college and I kick my own but over it every day. Maybe before my time comes I can take a little Associates program online and give myself some satisfaction and peace of mind! Yes, my advice to all of you is to spend your life learning all you can as you will be so much the better for it and will be such a great help to those in need. Yes, YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE if you put your mind to it!
Well I am off for now to tend my little garden and I hope and pray that all of you enjoy the spring. Do something nice for yourself this weekend and relax and enjoy!!!
May God Bless you all here in 2012 and beyond…..
Support is needed so very badly and there are so many out there who need your help before they die in seclusion……
Yes, there are people out there dying today and you, yes YOU can help today!!
Please help us today…
**The Living Through Faith Foundation**
As a Catholic I have heard about suffering all of my life. I never though gave it any real thought outside of Christ’s Passion until I was diagnosed with cancer and really started feeling the pain of this horrible disease.
“Now I rejoice in my suffering for your sake, and in my flesh and I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body which is the Church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past.”
Colossians 1:24-26 (Douay-Rheims)
Amazing to think of it in this context and much easier to understand when we are told to “offer up our sufferings” for the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ok, now you will ask, “Offer it Up?” yes we offer it up in order to join our sufferings to those of Jesus in order to complete the circle of salvation that he indeed fulfilled on Calvary 2000 plus years ago. When we join our suffering to His it gives us a sense of being complete within the mystery of the Mass and how our sufferings are just as important to the Father as He is our Father as well.
I remember as a child asking why we kept the Crucifixes around the house and I, like many or most children was told that it is to remind us of the suffering of Christ, the suffering He went through for our salvation. Well as an adult I have learned that it is so very true this answer but it goes so much deeper and so much farther. The Crucifix stands as a reminder of all suffering throughout humanity so that we bring the very mystery of salvation to fruition.
I was listening to a CD the other day by Dr. Scott Hahn that was about this very topic, Suffering and that is what gave me that push I needed to complete this story that I had intended to write a week or so ago. Now I understand that most of you who go on to read the rest of this post will ask, “How can we, just regular people begin to compare our small suffering to those of our Savior?” Well I am not asking you to compare, I am asking you to join yours to His, a very simple thing…
Is it not amazing how we shrink away from suffering of any kind in order to protect our own balance in life? Now don’t get me wrong here, balance in life is a great thing but sometimes we get thrown a curveball. So our first reaction is to run away from anything that might cause us suffering but, what if its God trying to point us in a direction we never wanted to go. Yes, that is indeed possible, that through your own suffering God can bring you to a place where you may very well find that peace of mind that you have searched for all of your life.
This is the beginning of our own suffering being brought together with His in order that it may be used as a tool, a tool called redemptive suffering where it becomes a weapon against evil in your life. Your suffering should bring you closer to the Father not push you away. This is also how we come to share in the complete life of Jesus, His life, death and resurrection. We have lived our life and our suffering can become a death of sorts when we offer it up to God to do with what He wills and we die to our own life choices and begin to do His will in its entirety. That for us is the beginning of resurrection in a complete life in Christ! What a wonderful feeling….
That is what I have come to know in my very own battle with cancer and the suffering I went through at the very beginning when I was lost in my pain trying to run away or blame it on something or someone who would take it from me. In the end I turned to God and was again (like so many times before) saved in Christ Jesus and I became a new creation of sorts who had joined his own pain to that of the world through our Lord.
You know, even your small daily sufferings can lead you to a place where you have never been before if you turn it over to God, offer it up as you will and let Him guide you to a more comfortable place. Suffering as we all know is not just about physical pain it’s about emotional pain as well and we all know that it can be very intense at times. We get hurt in so many different ways and many of those times are by the ones we love the most. I know that some of most intense times of suffering have been more on an emotional and spiritual level and they are very hard to overcome. The death of a loved one, divorce, addictions, incarceration and many more I have seen in my lifetime either directly or to someone very close to me and it hurts especially when you are limited as to what you can do about it. Yes, that’s when God comes in and we seek out His love and comfort. Now I have learned that when something starts to hurt or even bother me I immediately turn it over to my Heavenly Father for care and He never lets me down. I am not saying that the pain might not stay for a while but sometimes pain is good for us and can be a process in which we come to understand healing more intimately.
I know that in the end what is lacking is our suffering joined to that of Christ’s suffering so that we may be made whole thus joining us to that mystical body of Christ, right where we need to be….
The Living Through Faith Foundation
To remember where we have been and where we will go by maintaining positive relationships with family, friends and the business community. To always choose the ethical way, by making a personal commitment to honesty and integrity. To find peacefulness within ourselves by looking inward while using our God given hearts to guide our dreams and desires, and our minds to pursue knowledge, creating balance among all of our obligations. To content ourselves in our surroundings so we will always know where security lies within our lives. To build a reputation of fairness dedicating our very best to every goal we choose to pursue while having success in both our personal and professional lives. To enjoy every moment along life’s journey finding laughter, love and happiness with each day that passes.
To help guide and strengthen those in need and to boldly proclaim our faith in God in all areas of our lives giving hope to those who feel forgotten and unloved and to respond with a loving heart of faith to the least, to the last and to the lost.
Wm. (Bill) Karabinus,NAHNS
Hello to you all and I wish to thank you for reading my posts concerning my battle with cancer and my hopes for the future. At this time I am asking for your support so that my Legacy Foundation, “The Living Through Faith Foundation” may come to fruition. We believe that our message of “No Fear of Death” will resonate throughout the terminal illness community bringing those with terminal illness closer to God and an understanding that Eternal life is a free gift to all and that fear need not rule your lives.
We wish to take this message into hospitals, hospices and nursing homes offering strength along with a shoulder to lean on in times of need. We also supply resources to those in need assisting them with medications, insurance and housing needs. WK Enterprises is a multi-faceted organization providing services to the state of Arkansas and with your help, to the world.
I have lived through this past year battling this disease (pancreatic cancer) and have come out on the winning end and I beg you to help me share my life with those that are suffering today. I cannot do this alone so I am asking for any type of donation, large or small as anything will get us just one more mile closer to helping those who seek our assistance.
Wm. (Bill) Karabinus,NAHNS
**The Living Through Faith Foundation**
Many years ago when living out a very difficult few years of my life the Corporal Works of Mercy remained on my mind almost daily, today as I see society unravel at the seams I find myself floating back to those moments in time where I was the one in need of said mercy….
It’s not hard to figure that for many of us the Bible is a constant companion in our life and that it is the guidepost we use along our journey of life but for me it is much, much more. In January of last year (2011) I found myself in the hospital on the receiving end of a diagnoses from a specialist in oncology, a cancer doctor. I was told that I had pancreatic cancer and that from this moment on my life would never be the same. Well those words that day were pretty accurate and indeed my life has not been the same at all. It has become better in so many ways it’s even hard for me to believe at times. That day in my life took me back to the times when I felt truly alone and unsure of anything and that my life had been just one big waste of time with no meaning and no fruitfulness. For the next few days I sat in that hospital bed wondering just what would happen to me and what would people say. Most I was sure would simply say “Oh, I am so sorry to hear that” and go on about their business. But really, what had I done to cause people to take notice?
Well today I have set that aside and have moved on. I truly believe and embrace the words in Matthew 25 when Jesus talks about serving others less fortunate than I. I believe that there are so many out there that are in need of a simple loving glance their way that it truly makes me wonder about our very human condition. We as Christians should take a look at our own lives every day and make some choices that would help those around us. I am not talking about sending a check to some organization then patting ourselves on the back for that “Job Well Done,” I am talking about rolling up your sleeves and doing something that might very well have a monumental impact on someone’s life.
“Oh,” but you say “there are so many choices out there that I don’t even know where to start!” Yes, I know what you are talking about. All those commercials you see on TV and all the places they tell you that you can make a difference in the lives of so many. Well that’s back to the check writing thing again and that’s not what I am talking about. Have you ever looked in your local newspaper and checked out that social section where they have volunteer opportunities? How about asking your priest about what’s taking place in your parish today, something you might have missed? How about simply telling him that YOU wish to help in some area and let him choose for you? This one causes me to look back and laugh at myself for ending up on the serving end of a spoon in a homeless shelter one night. Earlier that week I had gone to confession and had been truthful about the way I felt about a certain subject, (no, I’m not telling) and my penance ended up being, “you need to volunteer at a homeless kitchen and find out what’s really out there before you make rash judgments of others…” Well I did just that and that night my eyes were opened like those of the blind man seeing for the first time the world around him. This was another point in my life that made a big change….
In 2010 during the Christmas season I worked with a local Baptist Church handing out gifts to families that could not afford a Christmas for their children and that too was an experience I will never forget. The sight of a child so filled with joy over the simplest things we take for granted moved me to tears many times that day and I will never be able to repay the joy that my heart felt during those moments. Now in 2012 after working with a local homeless ministry I have launched a Prison Ministry of my own in hopes of bringing these same works of mercy inside the walls of the state’s prisons. In addition to that I have begun a legacy foundation that I pray will aid the terminally ill in losing their fears of death because I believe, even as a cancer patient myself that I will never die. That is just what God has promised me, eternal life and that is what I wish to see others understand. So you see, there are many things that you can do by simply putting your own life experience to work and think of the many you can help today…..
Remember, God gave you this life to live with freedom of choice so please exercise this and choose the things that are pleasing to your Heavenly Father. Your reward in the end will be worth so much and the things you do today will in turn change the lives of many so please, do not be afraid to step up to the plate and play ball. I promise that you will love the effects it will have on your life!
Do me a favor, pick up the phone and call your pastor today and ask, “What can I do to make a difference?” I promise he will lead you into a life so filled with wonder you will not ever look back!
At the end of our lives, we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received how much money we have or by how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by, “I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in, I was sick and imprisoned and you visited me…”
And the King shall say, “Whomsoever has done this for these least brethren of mine you have done for me…”
I am sure that if you look close enough there is someone in your life today that needs you, needs your help and needs your love. Please step up and be that one that follows along the path that our Savior trod loving those in need and offering a hand up to those who so deserve it, our poor and our suffering….
Believing in and practicing “unconditional love” is a wonderful thing, enhance YOUR life with it today!