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Carrying A Spouse – Hard Truth about Marriage

18 Jan

 

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It will happen to you. That is just a fact. At some point in your marriage you will either carry your spouse, or be carried by your spouse. In reality – you will probably both spend a good deal of time carrying each other.

All to often today we see this as a major imposition. When we marry we do not think too deeply about the “in sickness or health, for better or for worse” part of our vows. Then when a spouse needs to be carried any significant period, we think it’s ok to tell ourselves “this isn’t what we signed up for”, or the even more nefarious “I deserve better than this”. I’m telling you now – this is exactly what you signed up for, and your spouse deserves better if you think you can come up with an excuse not to carry them.

Most of the time, it is not just physically – but emotionally that we must carry each other. It is in those times that the need for God in your marriage becomes the most obvious, followed only by a willingness to sacrifice everything for your wife or husband for as long as it takes.

For my wife it was several years of carrying… recurring tumors in my head, and then neurosurgery, radiation, chemo drugs, medical complications, and strokes that accompanied them made her life a living hell. She nursed me back to health when the doctors sent me home to die, she changed my bedsheets, bathed me, helped me every time I needed to use the bathroom, and worked with me for long hours each day – long after the physical therapy coverage had run out. All of this while I had mood swings, depression, and massive memory loss.

I was frustrated, angry, and often downright belligerent. I had trouble speaking – much less speaking clearly, and when I did I had trouble finding the right words. Even when I did find them – they came out wrong, word salad and endless stuttering were some of the joys of brain surgery. I was in and out of the hospital time and again – and always she was by my side and holding my hand.

She was infinitely patient, and though I am sure she sobbed herself to sleep many nights, and prayed all night on others. All I saw was an angel sent by God, ministering to me every day with infinite love and patience. She had a developed a glow about her, as if lit from behind with soft light.

I’m telling you this because of the effect it had on me. It made me wonder even in the deepest recesses of my soul what I could have possibly done to deserve her love and dedication. The kinder she was, the more loving and tender, the harder it was to hate myself for my inability to do common things. The more difficult it was to even think of letting go, and the more I really loved her. I’m ashamed to say that I did not love her in the way I had loved her before she carried me, as that was so much more superficial and pedestrian than this and I had no basis for comparison beforehand.

I fell in love all with her over again and resolved myself to love her as she loved me – which was the closest reflection to the love of Christ I had ever been personal witness to. I’m still not there. I strive everyday just to be worthy of her – but I keep trying. It changed everything for the better, in the midst of tragedy God worked a miracle on my body and mind, while working the most amazing miracle on my heart – and He did it through her, and her love.

The next time you encounter a time when you must carry your spouse through a bad patch (no matter the reason), especially an extended one… It is not a truly a burden, but an opportunity for your spouse to see Christ in you, and add a whole new dimension to the agape, storge, and eros love in your marital relationship. It will also deeply bond you together in new ways you cannot yet even imagine.

Pax Christi

Colin

Abandonment

5 Dec

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Abandonment… No single issue in Sacramental Marriage troubles me more greatly than this issue. Spouses of both sexes are equally represented when they have told me of their circumstances.  The suffering caused by this grave sin never ceases to tear my own heart asunder, just hearing about it is deeply moving.

Often, people do not seem to understand what love is. I think this is an issue compounded by the fact that we have only one word for love in English. Therefore, we cannot easily separate whether we are talking about Eros (Erotic/Romantic love), Agape (Unconditional Love), or Storge (Familial Love) when we discuss “Love”.

More importantly they fail to understand the obligations of Sacramental Marriage properly and their views of marriage are based on current civil interpretations of marriage wholly incompatible with Catholic Sacramental Marriage. This is likely based on the fact that in western society people frequently enter the sacrament of marriage under the influence solely of Eros and the misguided notion that the sole purpose of marriage is to make them happy. Such emotional attitudes are the primary cause of many failed marriages.

As I am going to shock many people – let me detail the purpose of marriage according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1601 “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”84

But wait, I see “the good of the spouses”! Does that not mean I am supposed to get everything I want and be happy in marriage? The answer is absolutely not. Marriage is for the spiritual good of the spouses, not to cater to their whims, extramarital lusts, or material gain. This means, in short, that one of your key jobs in marriage is to get your spouse to heaven!

What of happiness? Does it also have a place in Sacramental Marriage? Of course, but it is not the kind of happiness that lets you changes spouses frequently, nor is it the kind of happiness that comes from putting your interests first at the expense of your spouse and children. It is a deeper and more abiding happiness found in reciprocated service to the spouse. My grandmother expressed it best as she often reiterated that “We make ourselves happy.  Your husband or wife simply shares the joy you create.”

Then of course we come to the crux of the matter. The fact is that marriages, even Sacramental ones suffer from the grave mortal sin of abandonment. The Catechism has some harsh words for those who abandon spouses:

2386 It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.178

Read it again… Sobering is it not. Sacramental Marriage is bound by the MORAL LAW, not the civil law. The moral law is God’s law, and the civil law is just made up by men.

Now I want you to stop and think about why this would be a grave mortal sin that imperils your soul. We could start with the emotional and financial hardships it imposes on the abandoned spouse. It might be good to think of the effect of abandonment on the children. Liberal news outlets and talking heads will tell you how it does not affect or damage children – but I have seen this evil firsthand. It does tremendous damage to the children. But I will let the facts speak for themselves because in all honesty, someone reading this is going to be in denial of the truth.

No matter which spouse abandons the other – the net effect on the family is disastrous all around, especially with the odious no-fault divorce laws across the country which make a spouse as disposable as a tissue paper. To understand just how disastrous this is you need to understand the facts and the statistics on the effect that a choice to end the marriage will have. Effects not just on your spouse, but on your children. After reading this study linked to through the quote below, you will be unable to claim that a spouse dissolving a marriage does not harm the children, or the other spouse.

Child poverty is an ongoing national concern, but few are aware of its principal cause: the absence of married fathers in the home. According to the U.S. Census, the poverty rate for single parents with children in the United States in 2009 was 37.1 percent. The rate for married couples with children was 6.8 percent. Being raised in a married family reduced a child’s probability of living in poverty by about 82 percent.[1]

Now consider that the damage you are doing to your spouse and children is simply an additional sin against God, your spouse, and the children. Then take a selfish moment and consider you immortal soul. To repent this sin you must seek to sin no more. That means that the only path to repentance and reconciliation with God is to return to your spouse and reconcile, and if reconciliation is impossible to live your life chastely and pray for your spouse daily after making every possible attempt at reconciliation.

I know, it comes across as harsh. I would remind those in sacramental marriages that they entered them freely and accepted the responsibilities that the Sacrament of Matrimony entails. I would also remind those same people, that upon hearing Jesus declare that divorce was impossible his own disciples exclaimed “then it is better not to marry!”

Jesus’ Teaching about Divorce
9“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” 10The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” 11But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.…

The solution is easy. Make the commitment each morning to Love your spouse in the sense of Agape and Storge Love. Eros will come and go throughout a marriage. Marriage requires a choice to have a greater love than mere erotic or romantic love. If your relationship is damaged such that your trust is broken and your spouse is distant – I highly recommend reading and following The Love Dare a 40 day program to help rebuild your marriage. If you want to see what the love dare is about you can watch the movie Fireproof (unfortunately DVD only on netflix right now). In addition you should speak to your priest about what programs or ministries are available through your parish or diocese to assist you.

For the love of God, the welfare of your Husband or Wife, and for your Children, please make that commitment right now and again each morning to love your Spouse as Christ loves you. If you are separated or divorced this still applies to you as no Sacramental marriage can be dissolved by civil laws. Take a moment to save your family and your immortal soul and return to your rightful spouse and reunite your family.

Pax Christi,

Colin

The Sorrow of Ashley Madison and How to Fix It

19 Aug

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I know many of you have heard the news that Ashley Madison’s entire client list was hacked and published. That sheer number of people involved is staggering at 37 million! I find myself at a total loss to describe the level of failure the the replacement of Sacramental Matrimony with civil marriage has been. Clearly people are not happy, and clearly people (especially children) are being harmed by this abusive and destructive behaviour. The saddest part – there is an easier path to marital happiness.

While I can do nothing about what is happening on a national level – You can. Start with yourself, and pay it forward. I would like to relate to you a true story about what HAS HAPPENED that I was personally involved in many years ago. It even has a happy ending.

Almost 20 years ago I was working remotely on a job and was travelling quite frequently. One of the men under my direction was clearly having trouble with being away from his family and began to flirt with a waitresses. He was firmly rebuffed – being an engineer without the good looks, charm, or social graces necessary to entice a waitress to divulge her phone number after dozens of failed attempts. Yes I admit – I laughed about a few – and you would be rolling on the floor if you had witnessed some of the ludicrous and inept attempts. One evening he came to me, trying to set up an account on a website for cheaters but frightened to death because he didn’t want for his wife to see the credit card charge. There was a look of desperation in his eyes. His marriage was hurting with their first child recently delivered, a wife with no sleep and alone at home time, and the sexual rejection he thought he was receiving at home because he was too selfish to think past the end of his wee-wee and realize both of them were in the same exhausted boat.

When I found out the child was being bottle fed thanks to his mewling, I had an idea – and it didn’t involve helping him hide a credit card charge. With some help from his coworkers we got together and hatched a plan. I called the father in law from his phone left behind at dinner. I explained the plan, and got his support (seems the wife was feeling very down as well – and he loved the plan). Next we pitched in to buy the wife a round trip weekend ticket ($39 on southwest – like I said years ago) to be picked up at the airport, and then arranged for a dozen roses to be delivered with a note including the flight information Friday morning. I scheduled myself that weekend in his place to give him Friday night through Sunday night off. One of the guys also made a reservation at a romantic and moderately priced restaurant for him with a gift card to cover dinner, another pitched in a set of movie ticket gift certificates from the theater around the corner….

Friday morning and he didn’t know anything yet, on our way in to work I handed the hotel concierge the envelope with the dinner and movie things and explained why it had to be “hush hush”. Come dinner Friday night I ordered a large Guinness, and about 90% finished said, “Oh my lord, look at the time! I have a VIP to pick up at the airport!” I grabbed him and said, “I need a favor, you have to drive me to the airport to pick up the VIP. I can’t let a bigwig even think I would drink and drive!” He said, “Sure, my weekend is shot stuck here with you lot again… so whatever.” I stayed composed, openly fretting about whether I smelled of the luscious creamy stout I had downed, while we waited for our VIP at the gate (You could actually wait at the gate back then!)

When she came out of the gate, he almost knocked me off the seat running. Grandpa and Grandma had the baby for the weekend, and he had no idea she was coming. Surprise, joy, even kissing and hugging involving lifting people off their feet (not me).

I dozed in the back seat on the hours drive back to the hotel hoping and praying he would have a good weekend, and his wife too. When he got to his room the key didn’t work, he had to go back to the front desk – only to find out the concierge had moved them to a luxury suite for the weekend at no charge (including all his things), and thrown in a fruit basket and champagne. In all fairness we had almost lived in that hotel for most of the year – but this was above and beyond even for them. We didn’t see them until after lunchtime when they headed out for coffee, a walk, and a movie before dinner. Sunday night when it was time to take her to the airport, I drove them as they whispered in the back seat and held hands. He kissed her goodbye and put her on a plane. We went back to the car.

It was the trip home, amidst his gushing thanks – that I reminded him that only a few days ago he was willing to risk his marriage and his relationship with a woman who clearly loved him and thought he hung the moon – for a waitress he didn’t know, and then a stranger on a website. It hit him like a ton of bricks… his face fell and he started sobbing. I stopped in a parking lot and explained to him that he just learned the most valuable lesson a man can know at his age without actually screwing things up, and for that he should be profoundly happy that he had dodged that particular bullet. I also pointed out that the cost and effort to make such arrangements was trivial for someone at his salary level and he needed to focus on just putting a fraction of the effort into wooing his wife as he did trying to find some woman to provide sex. I told him truly that if he would do that he would have all the sex he could handle, and a wife that would never look at another man the way she looked at him.

2 Years later – The grandparents were still helping out with the kids (yes they had another) and the wife was living her dream of seeing the world, as the husband uses his frequent flyer miles on companion tickets and free flights for her to visit him in countries across the globe. Instead of being estranged, they are still like two teenagers in love.

Many years later – We run into each other on a large job where he is working under me again. After the others filtered off after dinner, he waited behind to thank me. He told me, “I could never repay what you did for me and my wife, so I am doing it for others.” I think I had some beer foam in my eye and I had to wipe it away, but I thanked him and wished him a very long, prosperous, and happy life and marriage.

If you somehow missed the moral of this true story – and no, it has nothing to do with having a stout with dinner. It is that if you would put half the effort you put into attracting other women’s attention, and directed it instead into your wife and marriage then everything changes. It’s a matter of priorities. When you invest in your wife and your family you always come out way ahead, and you simply can’t lose because there are never any regrets when you act honorably.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Miscarriage – and What She is going through…

7 Aug

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I know this one is going to be uncomfortable for a whole lot of people. As a husband, I hope you never go through this tragedy – but if you do, you need to know this. I know, because I’ve been through this myself. You’ll wonder what she is thinking. You ask yourself what you can do? You’ll be mourning for yourself the whole time.

Hopefully this brutally honest insight from a good friend of my wife and I who just had a miscarriage, will be a window into a woman’s soul for you at a time when you need it most. Your wife may be days, weeks, or even months after the miscarriage before she can even begin try to explain her feelings, as she has to understand them herself first.

When you’re done – please say a prayer for their very recently lost child, Francis Anthony (Last name Omitted to respect the Family’s Privacy)…

Uncertainty, Hope, and Waiting

This is a somewhat graphic, quite long, and emotionally charged post.

It was drafted as I traveled this journey over the course of several days. I am baring my soul in this post, and this is part of how I work to heal. My pain is not unlike almost every other woman’s in the world. There are millions suffering in silence. I refuse to be one of them. I will use my big mouth to help others. The world needs to know how this affects those around them, and that certain comments are best left completely unsaid. Be respectful in your comments, and if you have a point of disagreement, choose your words carefully.

              ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

All I am able to do at this point is pray, hope, and wait. And repeat.

As I type this while lying down, I am completely uncertain. I think my brain knows more than my heart wants to admit. And I hate that this is where I am.

I am on doctor’s orders for rest, and a follow up with my regular doctor in a few days. I am home from the emergency room because of spotting. I thought it was just because I overdid it on Sunday after church, shopping with 2 kids in tow while wearing wedge heeled shoes. Seeing it when I went to use the bathroom made me gasp loudly, and Devildog came to check on me. It was brown and it subsided after several hours of rest and plenty of water. Spotting is considered a normal occurrence in this situation, and as long as it’s not red, and cramping is not involved, it could just be a slight swish in the cycle. And then today, it resumed, increased, and at some moments blood-tinged. Plus there has been some cramping that feels like dull pressure. I was advised to go to the E.R. because all diagnostic tools were there, and if this was an ectopic pregnancy, I would need to be there anyway. It’s not ectopic. But I didn’t see a heartbeat in the ultrasound. I don’t have a trained eye, but having had 5 children before, I know what to look for and where. To the best of my ability, I was unable to see what I’d hoped to see. Every ultrasound tech is quick to point out fetal heart rate. There was no such point of conversation today.

CLICK HERE TO KEEP READING!….

The Riots in Baltimore – An Opinion

27 Apr

The Baltimore Riots highlight something for me. America does not suffer as much from fiscal poverty as it does from Moral and Spiritual Poverty. So many have watched the changes in America in the last two decades with a sense of loss and shock that such anthropological regression could happen here. It is, but how do we stop it?

I think the solution lies in restoring a moral and spiritual base to the American people. You feed their bodies, but without feeding them morally and spiritually they will never feed themselves. You become and enabler of their anthropological regression which has enslaved them instead of leading them to freedom and self-respect by weaning them from government dependance. We must work to restore people dignity and their hope. What you are seeing in Baltimore is the incoherent misdirected rage of hopelessness. Their spirits are broken and shackled by their utter dependence on government, and their souls are lost from decades of progressive attacks on religion. Their bodies are broken by AIDS, drugs, violence, homelessness, and hunger. Most importantly, the very formation of these young men and women is damaged by the notable absence of stable two parent families. There needs to be a father in the home, or the thug culture that has captured so many young minds will be inextinguishable.

Today though, thanks to “Uncle Sugar,” a husband has become a disposable commodity. Enshrined into law by no-fault divorce, the marriage contract is only as good as the whim of one’s spouse. While women will say they take the brunt of the damage, I have seen too many men deeply financially damaged and emotionally shattered through no fault of their own to accept that women are the only ones hurt and the men are fine. In the inner cities, it has often been generations since the majority of households had a father and mother in a stable marriage in the home. This is possible because if a woman decides to leave her husband, no matter what her reason, the government offers support to her and any children. The husband gets a child support judgement and a shattered soul. It does not take long before this results in men unwilling to commit to marriage and women being used in a marital fashion and bearing children from multiple men without a husband. They raise these children on welfare at the taxpayers expense and receive larger payements for each child they bear out of wedlock. The Government, in effect, encourages immoral behavior. These children grow up in a multigenerational welfare family with no hope because the help they needed was not provided, nor did they have a successful role model to emulate. As Americans, we all too often get the idea that money can solve all problems, and, if it doesn’t turn out the way you expected, more money will make it better. That is arrogance. We all pay the price when these children grow up uneducated, violent, and socially disruptive just as we pay the price for the system that makes them that way.

How to fix it? What would I do? I’d bring back SHAME. Yes SHAME. Shame is a good thing. It reminds us when someone has broken the moral rules of our society, and a people without shame are a people without any moral compass. I would ban no-fault divorce because it is destructive to families and teach that civil marriage is a binding social contract, the breaking of which brings shame on the family. I would put the adultery criminal statutes back on the books. Too often, I have to read in the news about a man who catches his wife with another man and kills her or both of them. I read similar stories about women. On this issue there is no legal justice available to the aggrieved spouse. Civil and criminal penalties will offer a man recourse to restore his stolen honor and see the guilty punished. It will slow the rate of the murders of errant spouses, eventually seeing it end as people obey the morality requirements of the marital social contract. For those that find this reprehensible, I suggest never to marry and never to have sex with another person’s spouse. Society needs marriage as an anchor. Marriage is a crucible that forms men, creating a need in them to put their family before them, and focuses them on their home and family instead of what gets them the most pleasure for the least amount of effort.

Next, we need to give people hope. I worry less about wether it is Catholics, Sikhs, Buddhists, Protestants, or Mormons that bring spirituality, morality, and hope to these aggrieved people than that it is done. The churches must supplant the state in caring for the morally and spiritually poor. To truly give hope, we must teach them the value of work and help provide a viable path to self sufficiency.  This means education, apprenticeship, and job training programs instead of simple welfare payments. Anything less, is nothing more than continued slavery and subservience to the state. It robs them of their dignity, and we must help them get their dignity and hope back.

The stakes are too high to ignore this problem.  The alternatives are to help them in this way now, incarcerate them, or keep them on the dole for life. I would hope we chose to help.

Pax Christi –

Colin

Give up SELFISHNESS in your Marriage for Lent

20 Feb

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To understand what marriage is – we must first understand what it is not: It is not dependent on romantic love, it is not dependent on your spouse doing their fair share, it is not dependent on your spouse not making mistakes – even grave ones that wound you deeply.

What marriage is about: a vow you took before God when you bestowed freely the sacrament of Marriage on your spouse and gave yourself to her in service until your death, marriage is about forgiveness, marriage is about loving even when that love is not returned, marriage is about remaining faithful even when your spouse is not, marriage is about doing whatever is best for your spouse instead of what you think is best for you, marriage is about putting your spouse above everything else save God in your life.

By now you are likely angry. Obviously, you have not stopped reading. Let me explain as Jesus did in the beatitudes – to become first, we must make ourselves last; To become the master, we must become the slave.

What that means in practical terms is that marriage is not about YOU. It is a vow of perpetual service, and when that vow is practiced by both parties simultaneously unfathomable joy and love bloom like roses in the desert. You should also be realistic and understand that any marriage will have it’s ups and downs – some very severe. In order to achieve those joys one must often endure hardship and even sorrow with dignity and commitment. There will be times when nothing but your commitment to your promise and Christ himself carry you in your marriage.

Let your marriage be a reflection of the Love of Christ for humanity. For if you cannot love your wife, how can you hope to love God, much less the world.

Your impediment to doing this is SELFISHNESS. For Lent, please consider giving it up in your marriage and see the difference it can make in 40 days. Then stop and imagine the difference it can make over a lifetime.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Harvesting Organs from the Unborn for Profit

9 Feb

Of all things that can turn my stomach, this one crosses so many lines in doing so that I don’t know where to start. Suffice it to say that harvesting organs for transplants from children murdered in the womb and growing them larger in rats before transplant just sickens me beyond reason. I can only hope that America is as sickened by this as I am and stops these murder factories from becoming even more profitable by selling organs as a sideline. At some point we must say enough is enough. Lets hope that this research and proposal to turn murdered babies into profit is enough to make America realize how disgusting the whole culture of death is and end it once and for all.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ORIGINAL ARTICLE FROM TEXAS RIGHT TO LIFE QUOTED BELOW

Researchers are studying effective ways to take kidneys from aborted unborn humans, transfer them into lab rats, and grow them large enough for transplantation into older humans. Researchers feign concern for children and adults in need of new kidneys, but their sentiments are belied by their intention of [ab]using the most vulnerable humans to accomplish the goal.

The ethical system at-work here is consequentialism, summarized by the aphorism, the ends justify the means. In this case, the end of providing a living person with healthier kidneys than the ones they already have justifies the brutal destruction of smaller, more helpless humans. When this ethical system governs medical science, a massive omission is committed: that is, when medical professionals do not recognize the inherent value of all human beings, medicine has failed in the most fundamental duty of protecting every human life.

A consequence (or, perhaps, a catalyst) of this ethical system is the profit-centric business model that governs modern medicine. Replacing the basic altruism that motivated physicians for millennia, many factions within the modern health care industry view humans as profit machines instead of persons. NPR iterated this trend in 2012 with a feature entitled,Calculating the Value of Human Tissue Donation. In the piece, Chris Truitt shares his unsettling experience over the course of several years in the tissue donation industry (to be distinguished from the organ donation industry – ‘tissue’ includes bones, skin, veins, etc.).

The full article is a real eye opener into just how far we have allowed humanity to fall. Not by what we have done, but by what we have failed to do – Stopping the murder of innocents. Please share this most especially with those who claim to be Catholic, yet support a farcical supposed right to murder children in the mother’s womb.

Think on it, Pray on it, Act on it to help end all abortion.

Pax Christi,

Colin

The Friday Abstention – Why I do it

28 Jan

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I’ve been seeing this come up a good bit in social media lately. I think my favorite comment about it is when people say “How can it be a penance! I love seafood”. To be honest, whenever I see that I think the person has missed the point. Given how pervasive that seems to be, an explanation is in order.

I keep the Friday abstention from meat as a penance. Abstaining from meat that day is only part of it though, the other part for me is the prayer that goes on that day apologizing to God for my shortcomings in the week and the reflection on how I can do better. So why skip the meat, you can pray anytime! What difference does it make what you eat?

Let me explain further – it is not for me so much about what I eat as being always mindful the entire day of every action and forcing me to ask myself “IF” I should do something like eat a sausage McMuffin when I am dashing off early. Being mindful reminds me I should NOT do that and instead choose another menu item or go with a cup of coffee and a potato cake instead. This is important because I consider the Friday Abstention a spiritual exercise more than a discipline. I have been using it for many years to train myself to consider my faith always before acting.

I know. I know. That sounds crazy. If you think it’s an easy thing to do, then try keeping a meatless Friday yourself. About the time you think you have it made or get distracted, you will slip up. Don’t worry it happens to the best of us. This is a learning experience about self discipline and Catholic spirituality you can do yourself. It’s not nearly as easy as it sounds either. It is a penance for me in that I am repenting what I have done wrong the previous week, and stay focused on God the entire day thanks to this discipline.

The road to holiness is long, and I am not as strong as I would like to be. There is a feeling of accomplishment and joy at being able to accomplish just morning and evening prayers and make it to the following morning without having broken the fast. The purpose is not to mortify the flesh, but rather to mortify the soul and build up my mindfulness of God. In that sense it has been more successful than I had hoped and more trying than I anticipated. I do not do it because I expect some heavenly reward – but rather because the discipline brings me closer to God in a way I can feel. It can also draw you closer to the confessional when you reflect on yourself more often. Imagine if you had such mindfulness in everything you did all week long, not just in what you ate. Imagine applying it to your thoughts, speech, actions, and interactions. I’m not there yet, but I’m trying.

Please consider this before denigrating people who keep traditional practices. There is great joy and wisdom to be found in many of them, if we just stop to look.

Pax Christi,

Colin

The Tea Party and Catholicism are Incompatible

24 Jan

Gadsden-FlagMany Catholics have felt alienated and betrayed by both the Republicans and the Democrats for many years now. This is not just an observation, but a fact. However, we learned a lesson yesterday about the Tea Party that should give every single one of the practicing Catholic supporters serious pause enough to re-evaluate whether a practicing Catholic can support the Tea Party.

Stop for a moment and rethink your position if you support a party that is not committed to supporting life, but rather is more concerned with changing the movements of small green pieces of paper. Why do they have that focus? Because we let them have it, by voting for them even though they did not declare their support for life as the primary objective.

Tea Party is not PRO-LIFE, and never have been. They take “no official stand” on social and moral issues. They are happy to let you mislead yourself in irrational exuberance if you are Pro-Life. You need to understand that they cannot win without Pro-Life support. However, they are Pro-Abortion as far as I’m concerned and my concern was proven yesterday.

I’m much more worried about human lives than the unhappy movements of little green pieces of paper. Further, if you are not against abortion, then you are not for life. You are just a moral coward refusing to take a stand. If you had told me before yesterday that a Republican (and Tea Party Congresswoman from NC) would be the new face of “Abortion Barbie” I would have laughed at you. I thought they understood. I was sure one look out their windows or congresses doorway at the hundreds of thousands (650,000-800,000) marching and praying from across the country on a weekday would send a message they could not ignore. I thought the fact that a large majority of the marchers were women and young people would make a statement. Guess what – they did not understand – and they refused to face the music with Abortion Barbie running after the vote. They marginalized our faith in God, in Moral Truth, and in their promises – and reneged on the passing of the bill at the last minute.

There was no rioting, looting, or threats. Complete order was maintained and the March for Life continued. In 2 years when the elections are held, do not think for an instant that this moment of betrayal will be forgotten. Just because we are not violent or disorderly does not mean we lack conviction. What it does mean is that we have discipline and deep conviction. This betrayal was a mistake to be dealt with at the ballot box at each and every election.

“But they passed another bill stopping funding…”

Yes they did, that same restriction has been in place since Ronald Reagan in the 80’s. More importantly – no matter what they passed the president is going to VETO it. We knew that going in. We wanted a statement about the sanctity of LIFE and the DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON. What we did not want was a statement about reducing “funding”…. That was not the point.

The Republican Party itself showed extreme disunity and disorganization on this key issue of LIFE which IS part of their official platform. It is the fault of pro-life people who do not confirm the pro-life credentials of the representation they elect. It is also the Catholics and other Christians who allow their concerns about small green pieces of inanimate paper to trump the concern for the life of a child.

Think about it, pray about it, and remind your elected representatives that human life is more important than financial goals. Remind them that we must see real effort, not last minute moral abdication. Remind them that the bait and switch tactics on legislation will be remembered at the next election and followed through on.

We threw the last set of congressmen out of office in the elections sweep – we can do it again in 2 years, but only if we are a force to be reckoned with who are willing to put human life above all other considerations. Together we can do great things. Disparate and passive, we are reduced to an inconsequential demographic that will be pandered to at election time. Test our resolve on Protecting Life, and you will fail.

Keep Praying, and remember that PROTECTING LIFE trumps everything when it comes time to vote.

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

My Hopes for the Synod on the Family

16 Oct

game night

I had very high hopes for the Synod on the Family. To help you understand I will list many of the things I had hoped for.

  • I was hoping for a reaffirmation of traditional marriage, along with vast improvements to the pre-cana process.
  • I was praying for a recommended framework to establish parish marriage ministries that would facilitate young and troubled couples being paired with a long married couple to act as mentors.
  • I longed deeply to see both men and women’s marital support groups formed and led by priests or deacons (no lay leadership) to help people work through conflicts in marriage according to Catholic principles and provide a peer support group.
  • I wanted to see the tradition of a get together after mass either for a meal or just coffee and doughnuts brought back so that the faithful can meet in a social setting and really get to know each other and spend time together.
  • I prayed for list of family activities that should be preached from the pulpit such as families sharing meals at a common table, spending one evening a week playing games or reading books or plays together.
  • Spouses being strongly encouraged to spend one night a week as date night with the local Church helping with childcare arrangements and potential affordable activities.
  • The incorporation of NFP classes into pre-cana because most men are woefully ignorant of a woman’s reproductive system and how it really works.
  • New Catechesis books to emphasize the indissolubility of marriage and the true nature of marital love.

Instead I got an infallible doctrine defying progressive pro-homosexual marriage acceptance, pro-divorce, pro-broken family acceptance instead of healing diatribe. The best was yet to come, as apparently the Synod is being hijacked and there is an ongoing battle for control while Pope Francis who was always good for an off the cuff remark to the press now remains stoically silent. Cardinal Kasper makes horrifically offensive statements about African, Asian, and Middle Eastern Catholics. Faithful Cardinals like Pell, Burke, and Napier are fervently defending the doctrine and the Catholic faith against progressive heresies instead of discussing real solutions for improving Catholic Families.

At this point, I do not see real solutions to bind families closer, prepare people for marriage, and heal wounded families. More importantly, I do not see that such solutions can come forward. They did not even make the agenda according to the discussion points. I am saddened that such a wonderful opportunity was lost to anti-doctrinal political machinations which only damaged the faith and brought scandal on the church.

Pray for the Catholic Church,  pray early and often.
Then take one or more items from my list that you agree with to your pastor or make up your own, and ask your pastor to prayerfully consider implementing them under the principle subsidiarity. Good and workable ideas will shine through, and if they are repeatable they will spread on their own. Maybe while the Cardinals are still duking it out in the synod next year we can actually already have some viable solutions in place for the real problems families face. Solutions that don’t contradict infallible doctrine.

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

 

Dear Pope Francis

18 Sep

Pope Francis

I am writing this seeking understanding and clarification on the “new evangelization.” Many things are being attributed to Pope Francis in the media – and many clergy, bishops, and faithful are acting on them. The most concerning of these outcomes has been the vilification of traditional Catholics in the media and by other Catholics, and the foreshadowing of the elimination of sacramental marriage by either allowing divorce and remarriage or changing the basis of annulments so that they become the equivalent of a Catholic Divorce.

As a traditional catholic, I would like to assure you that our faith is not dead, we are not uncompassionate or unforgiving. Though our loyal devotion to the catechism leaves us open to ridicule when we refuse artificial birth control and have large families in our openness to life. We are thought mentally simple when we profess a deep and abiding belief in the real presence in the Eucharist. We are ridiculed when our wives and daughters wear mantillas in the presence of the Lord in the Eucharist and at Mass. Many of our wives are looked down upon because they find fulfillment as stay-at-home wives and mothers.  We are seen as deluded for considering the sacramental marriage covenant as much a promise to God, as to each other. I have been scolded many times for kneeling when taking communion, because I was holding up the line. We are derided for preferring the awe and majesty of the Tridentine Mass because it fills our souls. It is a mystical and moving experience beyond words to be joined to the sacrifice of the holy Mass in quiet and stillness, and allow yourself to be filled with God’s presence.

Often, we are accused of being intolerant as a group, especially of sexually active homosexuals, the divorced and remarried without annulments, and other people who are in less than fortunate circumstances. I reject this as patently untrue. We love the person, but we find the sin objectionable. For those seeking participation in the sacraments, we will provide whatever help we can to help them resolve their impediments. For some, that is helping find an annulment workshop, for others it is healing broken marriages, and for others providing loving support as they work to make a break from their sinful activities or attractions. Those who come to us are broken and contrite – they are seeking His Love and forgiveness. They know that to receive Him they must be free of mortal sin. I have a brother who struggles with homosexuality whom I love very deeply, and even now he struggles to be worthy of the sacraments. It is his certain knowledge of God’s real presence in the Eucharist that both pains him for his sins, and motivates him to be worthy to receive Him.

My own return to the Church necessitated deep personal change before I could be admitted to the sacraments. This process included months of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament for me to fully accept and comply with the teachings of the church, even if I could not fully understand. This was a painful  journey, whose value to the faithful should not be diminished just because it is so difficult. True love and compassion are shown by the support of penitents through the process of reconciliation for admission to sacraments.

Here in America the new evangelization is giving many people the impression that the Church is advocating that being free of mortal sin is no longer necessary to receive the sacraments. It has encouraged a revolution by the sheep against their shepherds, demanding change in infallible doctrine. I believe that God is everlasting and unchanging. His Church has survived the rise and fall of states, empires, anthropological regression, and has endured according to to the promise of Christ for over 2000 years. I am convinced that it our loyal devotion to the beautiful teachings of our Church that has brought unparalleled grace and joy into our family.

The curtailment of the Tridentine Mass or the devaluing of sacramental marriage would be devastating to the faithful. After many years of poor catechesis, I often wonder if many see the Church for what she truly is. I wonder if many Catholics are left unsure or, worse yet, in obstinate disobedience to the faith. It seems that a growing number of people want us to resemble the world rather than Jesus Christ. Whether it is Gay Marriage, Ordaining Women, allowing artificial birth control, or allowing abortion, they want God to “get with times.”. In St. John’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” Please, Holy Father, help us to strive for a holiness that “sets us apart.” Lead us to our heavenly reward! I am praying for your strong leadership each and every day!

Pax Christi,

Colin

PS: I hope everyone who reads this takes a moment to pray for the Pope.

 

Tail Wags Dog!

1 Aug

I don’t whether to laugh or cry that so many have been led so far astray from the faith that they now think the Catholic Church is a “Democracy” led by the will of the mob instead of guided by the Holy Spirit. Thinking that Holy Doctrine on Faith and Morals is molded by society, rather than society being molded by Infallible Doctrine. I guess I missed the part of the bible where Jesus asked the crowds what he should say or do and then catered to their whims in order to be popular. This is the worst kind of tail wagging the dog I have ever seen. This should be a call to arms for every priest and bishop to start attending their own Catechism classes (teaching them personally if necessary), to start Catechising from the pulpit every Mass, and to start stressing to the faithful that Moral Truth is NEVER determined by a majority vote.

From the Wisconsin State Journal:

In the Spirit: Petitions with more than 20,000 signatures to be delivered to Bishop Robert Morlino

Read more: http://host.madison.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/religion/in-the-spirit-petitions-with-more-than-signatures-to-be/article_d89014d3-94b9-58b8-ad5f-82b2120357e4.html#ixzz39C7y2syt

Pax Christi,

Colin

Why Traditional Marriage is NOT Discrimination

25 Jul

 

This video answers the question with Charity, Clarity, and Catholic Principles.
Fantastic! #DefendMarriage

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

Annulment does NOT equal “Catholic Divorce”

7 May

nullcertificate170w170

There is a lot of talk about making annulments making more easily available, easing the annulment process and how it will fix all the churches problems. I would venture to say that people that make such proclamations ignore 50 years of history, and fail to understand just what an annulment is (Hint – it is NOT “Catholic Divorce”). In fact, divorce is a civil proceeding in which civil authorities terminate a marriage in direct contradiction of Christ’s admonition that “What GOD has joined, let NO MAN put asunder”. The very idea that a state has any authority as regards a Catholic Sacrament is both offensive and ludicrous. The state is simply terminating a civil contract – but the Sacramental Marriage remains. God not only does not recognize a civil divorce approved by men, but specifically forbade it. A Civil divorce does not dissolve an existing Catholic Sacramental Marriage – nothing can. An annulment is a finding by the Church that there was never a sacramental marriage in the first place (so in essence the marriage never happened and therefore rendering the ideal of dissolution a moot issue).

In order to make my point more saliently, I would ask you to to read this article by Msgr. Pope at the Archdiocese of Washington website here: http://blog.adw.org/2014/05/the-church-cannot-change-her-doctrine-on-marriage-and-divorce-concerns-for-the-upcoming-synod/

Pay special attention to this paragraph from his article:

Many troubling statistics could be presented to show that there has been a true explosion in the number of annulments granted. In the early 1960s, there were about 300 annulments granted per year in the United States. Today that number is over 60,000!

Stew on it it a bit. This is the number granted not the number applied for or appealed, and people are screaming and clamoring for many more to be granted for an ever expanding number of new reasons. They do not want to obey their vows or the Church – they want a shortcut back into communion with the Church that somehow makes their ongoing sin clean – or frees them from a binding commitment to God and their rightful spouse so that they can re-enter the Sacrament of Matrimony with another. The fact is that the church is granting more and more annulments every year – so many that even Pope Benedict Ordered a review of the process and criteria used in the US for granting them since our nation/society seems to be in the lead on this. Note that rather than slowing the disintegration of the Catholic families down, it has been like throwing gasoline on a fire to douse it. So much so that an exponential explosion of civil divorces and associated annulment requests continues to expand.

The rapid expansion in the numbers of annulment application has presented challenges for the Church aside from the increasing numbers of divorces by Catholics. This is before we address the very uncomfortable issue of the costs associated with obtaining an annulment. I know personally a number of people who spent huge sums on canon lawyers, application fees and appeals. I also know personally, that by the current levels of decentralizing the process,  people have been denied in their own archdiocese – even through the appeals process. Only to apply in another diocese where annulments are known to be more liberally approved, and quickly receive their annulment. Many of these people have come away with the impression that an annulment is something to be purchased at great fiscal cost from the correct diocese – even if the grounds for the annulment were solid. This impression must be combated with all vigor – as it brings scandal on the Church. The idea of further decentralization to increase volume and limit review is fraught with greater issues – not the least of which is inconsistent applications of standards and scandal in the Church. With proper Pre-Cana counseling, the ability of a couple to get an annulment should be extremely limited (all but non-existent without fraud being committed) – all because Pre-Cana properly documented that all steps were taken to ensure the validity of the sacrament up front.

An annulment is not a divorce – an annulment means that the marriage was invalid on it’s face. Invalid because it did not meet the requirements specified in the CCC 1625-1632. Annulment means that sacramental marriage never happened because of some impediment to sacramental marriage in place at the time of the original marriage. The idea of claiming youth as an impediment I personally view as a cop-out. Young people do stupid things, but an annulment is not a vehicle to undo a choice you regret. An annulment is supposed to be based on whether you understood the Catholic Teaching on Sacramental Marriage and had no impediments when you entered into it – nothing more.

Marriage is very hard work, you are essentially committing to serve your spouse (husband or wife) in union and fidelity no matter what happens in the future. People will change over time, this is not a reason for an annulment. People will be unfaithful, once again not a reason for an annulment. People will complain they do not “love” their spouse anymore. Love is a choice we make every day . The feeling we so often mistake for love is the hormonal rush that is a result of the hormones released when we successfully make that choice – but it is just a feeling, not love itself. Marriage is not about being in love – it is about service to God through the service to one’s spouse. Sacramental Marriage is about consecrating one’s words, actions, body, and heart to God and their spouse every single morning and then working together with a single purpose to achieve your shared goals.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have an answer people will like regarding this teaching of Jesus Christ himself on Marriage, but I will also be one the first to admit that it is through Sacramental Marriage that I maintain God in my daily life. I would remind people that even the Apostles were shocked and made Jesus repeat for clarity his statement on the indissolubility of Marriage. Jesus did not promise us the path would be wide, or pleasant – just that it would be worth it, nothing more. As for those claiming compassion as an excuse to contradict Christ himself – I would ask them if giving an alcoholic another bottle is true compassion. I would ask them if Christ himself made such a teaching crystal clear from his own lips; Then whom do they really serve that would propose to change it in His name, under the banner of “compassion”?

The indissolubility of sacramental marriage is a continual reminder of the indissolubility of God’s love for us, and serves as my compass and my shield. Take these from Matrimony and what you have left is no longer something precious and priceless which is beyond any earthly power to purchase, and instead it becomes something common, base, worldly, and pedestrian that can be bought and sold – and given and taken by mere men. Sacramental Marriage is a great gift from God – we should treat it accordingly with the respect and reverence it is due. In my humble opinion – Until the Church solidifies this teaching by requiring strict observance of the grounds for invalidity, the faithful will continue to waiver. Only when the magisterium takes a hard stance, will the faithful will start to take the teaching very seriously once again.

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

A Rash of Unwanted Divorces – Prayers Needed

21 Apr

Recently I have personally witness a seeming rash of divorces by long married couples with wives leaving husbands of 20-34 years. The wives have left without saying a single word prior – and in several cases gutting the couples financial resources just before retirement. The husbands are left confused and conflicted. One thing that has stood out to me is that the husbands all did not see any signs that the divorce was coming – until the day it happened.

This is a subject near and dear to my heart. My wife has pointed out that there is definitely a failure to communicate in many instances and cited some examples for me. I was not shocked by anything she said. I was however shocked that small wounds were allowed to fester to a boiling point before anything was said. Often, these women have suffered in silence for years. It was not generally the size of the wounds which were killing the marriage, but rather the untreated festering infection.

What is the solution? As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. One thing I observed is that some of these women feared their husbands in some way – some even physically. These bother me the most – your wife should never fear being physically harmed by you as her husband.  Others were just averse to conflict. You need to learn to listen carefully, and reply thoughtfully. You can chew your food before you swallow – do the same with your thoughts – chew on them a bit before you blurt them out. Words are the single most dangerous thing we have in a marriage. Be careful with yours always, think before you speak – and speak kindly always. We can blame the wives all we want for what they did or did not do, but it won’t save your marriage from divorce or make your wife happy. The fix requires more than being attentive, it means serious effort on your part. Remember that you cannot change other people – you must accept and love her as she is. Instead change yourself as that is something you do have control over and can change.

Trust is paramount. She has to be sure she can share honest feelings with you without facing retaliation emotionally, verbally, or physically. You have to listen, consider, and find ways to address her concerns in a matter that resolves them to both of your satisfaction. I highly recommend the tactical approach of listening carefully while repressing negative facial expressions or comments, then thinking carefully about how to respond, only after that – do you open your mouth and do so. Peoples tongues are the source of more self inflicted marital wounds than many realize. DO NOT tell her it is her fault, denigrate her, or blame her in your response. Focus your response solely on what you can do to alleviate her concerns and then do it. This is NOT a negotiation, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT say things like I’ll do X if you do Y.

Keep in mind that often women just need to vent their feelings in a safe environment. They do not expect you to necessarily fix it – what they want is for you to listen. Letting her get her feeling out by listening attentively. Act when it is appropriate, and listen and hold her when action is not required.

Your wife might trust you with her life and well being, yet not trust you with her heart. This is where the problems fester and grow. You need to regain her faith in you to counter this, and open deep lines of communication. While you might want to say that telling her to make changes would make more sense – it does not. The only person you can change is you, so work with what you have. Make sure you are attentive to her feelings, emotions, and the little things she says. You won’t get this right most of the time being male, but she will appreciate sincere interest in her and her feelings. For what you have done, and what you have failed to do… Often we hear Catholics say this mantra, but fail to heed it. Have you given your wife cause to think that there are things important to her that she cannot accomplish within marriage – things in keeping with sacramental marriage, of course? Maybe it’s travel, education, learning to play an instrument, learning to ride a motorcycle, learning to hunt/shoot/fish, or becoming a HAM radio operator. Don’t fail her by ruling things out. Don’t put unnecessary impediments or barriers on your marriage. Married life is like a dance, it works best if both parties move together as one. If your wife takes the time to tell you about her dreams and goals – listen and then start working to make them happen. Learn to take a hint, and act on it.  Where such is feasible it is an opportunity for you to grow together – find joy in it. Service to your wife does not have to be a sacrifice – it can be a source of unending joy and discovery for both of you. Don’t fail to make sure your wife knows that there is nothing she can accomplish outside marriage that cannot be accomplished within marriage more easily. Don’t fail to support and work towards her goals as well – after all you expect her to work towards and support yours.

Intimacy is always of paramount importance – I cannot stress this enough. It is through intimacy that the bond between man and woman is strengthened and maintained. Sexual relations are a byproduct of intimacy, not the other way around.  So many marriages suffer from unresolved sexual issues because people refuse to communicate. Do not assume you are “doing it right” – even after years of marriage. Do not ask for a critique of your performance. Instead, do ask your wife what would please her – and then follow her guidance exactly and without hesitation. Too often women are shortchanged here because they are making a sacrifice to protect their husbands ego and self-image. Frustration builds over time, never deny her the marital embrace and accompanying intimacy – ignoring her or refusing her is a rejection. Rejection destroys intimacy at the root.. Give her the opportunity to protect your self-esteem, your marriage, and have her needs met by opening lines of communication. You may find yourself surprised at the changes in your experience when you stop worrying about yourself and focus every fiber of your being on pleasing her. You may also be astounded by the levels of intimacy that can be achieved when she does not feel sex is a sacrifice or worse that she is being used as a repository for your sexual angst. It is that intimacy that will keep your bond both sealed and renewed.

Pax Christi,

Colin

How Americans have Failed the Church – and our Children

19 Apr

Buddy_christ

You know, I keep hearing people arguing about the Church losing a whole generation because it was focused on moral issues out of tune with society and not focused on serving as the public demanded, and ignoring their lesser sins to keep people interested.

Crap – Total crap. When we lose young people it is because we have failed to instill proper moral and ethical values through religious education. When we waffle on issues of doctrine and faith, how can we expect them to hold firm? When we embrace with open arms and acceptance that which is antithetical to our faith and tell them it is good and must be accepted outside the Church, but inside the Church say something else – our faith loses both credibility and moral authority. We are losing because we do not follow our own faith except on Easter and Christmas. Our children do not go to church because we do not. They do not share Catholic Values when their parents and peers do not. They divorce because they came from broken homes and that’s what their parents did – you can fool yourself but the statistics are clear that children of broken homes are far more likely to end up divorced. If you don’t have an annulment don’t remarry. All of these kids rejecting the Church means more than a few Parents are failing to instill not just the values, but display an open example of faith for their children. When we don’t properly Cathechize our children we make them easy pickings for those who would talk them out of their faith with lies and misconceptions. When we ignore our faith – they see it. When we place God first in all things they see that too. America must accept that God has not failed us, nor has the Church failed us – WE FAILED THEM. Stop passing the blame to others, address the issue penitently and start LIVING OUR FAITH IN OUR DAILY LIVES!

Pax Christi,

-Colin

3/30/2014 Kathryn Update (By popular Request)

7 Apr

I have had a large number of requests for further updates on Kathryn’s status. She is still in my prayers every day. She remains extremely ill and requires a bone marrow transplant from her youngest sister who is a compatible donor. The Gardeners and her doctors are getting her ready for that. The local community is also sponsoring fundraisers and events to try to help offset the crushing medical bills. You can follow it all on Facebook in near real time here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/GForcePage/

Please keep her in your prayers – and join the group on Facebook to show your support (as well as see updates in real time)

Pax Christi,

Colin

** 3.30.14 ++++ MEDICAL UPDATE ++++

This past week has been a little rough for Kathryn. Since they are slowly taking her off of the steroids, she is feeling her body more and more. She is experiencing headaches, and all over body aches so much so that she switched beds with one of her sisters in attempts to get some sleep. That did not work. She is just feeling cruddy.

On Thursday, she received the 3rd of 5 shots of the new chemotherapy. Blood results showed that her Ferritin is back up to 540 but they were told that it may fluctuate some weeks. The blood results from Karlie have not come in yet.

On April 2, Kathryn will have to have 4 baby teeth pulled. Since dental work can pose a bacterial risk, they were waiting for her medical doctor to give her dentist approval for the extractions.

At a recent doctor’s check for Kathy, she was diagnosed with High Blood Pressure (HBP). She was given medicine and told to change her eating habits. She is supposed to record her pressure daily and go in for a followup appointment in 2 weeks. She told me that even on medication her daily pressure is 150 over 100. Unfortunately, caregivers all over are so frazzled, they forget to take care of themselves and this sort of thing can happen. Her eldest daughter, Kassidy who is an EMT, will be taking her pressure daily.

Starting in April, the Gardner’s will NOT need meals for Monday’s and Thursday’s because Kathy and Kathryn will be in the hospital for the bone marrow transplant. What they need during this time will be meals that can be frozen. Meals like Chili, Lasagna, Meatballs, Roast, Beef/Chicken Enchiladas, any type of casserole. Anything that can be defrosted and popped into the oven quickly. Again contact Marianne Bell the food coordinator @ 985-285-5359, if you can help in this area.

Kathy and Kyle have been Eucharistic Adorers for over 20 years. Kyle sits with Jesus every Friday morning from 3am to 4am. and Kathy sits every Saturday from 3am to 4am. While in the hospital with Kathryn, Kathy would like to have someone take her Saturday hour. The weeks we need covered are April 26, May 3, May 17, May 24, May 31, June 7, June 14, June 21, June 28. (9 weeks).

Please contact me if you can cover her adoration hour during this 9 week time frame. My cell is 985.502.6412.

Ideally Kathy would like 1 person to cover the first half of the 9 weeks then a second person to cover the last half. We are hoping that Kathryn will be home by the end of June and Kathy will be able to return to adoration then.

I hope that everyone is getting the word out about our big Dinner/Comedy Night on April 25 and 26 at St. Margaret Mary. It’s going to be a wonderful event and I can’t wait to meet all of you. Tickets go on sale April 1, and the G-Force T-shirts should be arriving by the end of this week.

Husbands Love Your Wives…

7 Apr

ephesians

This seems to be a serious issue in marital relationships.  Lets be honest for  a moment. I have gotten dozens of emails over the last few months about this particular issue and a shocking number of personal inquiries, especially over the last few months on the subject of husbands denying wives intimacy. Not exactly what you might expect to hear – but the complaints against husbands are running 5 to 1 or so over complaints about wives withholding intimacy.

Lets put the locker room talk and jocular speech on hold. Let’s not pretend this isn’t happening, or that it is not embarrassing for the men involved. Both are true, and both are deeply hurting marriages. I will explain. Embarrassment over an inability to perform due to any variety of valid reasons, is the leading cause of the rejection of intimacy. The sad side effect is that it also is something men don’t want to discuss even with their wives or doctors. As was so aptly put in the movie Cool Hand Luke, “What we have here, is a failure to communicate”. Seriously,  secrets are bad for marriages. Anything which affects you is your wife’s business, especially when it affects her too.

She cannot nurture, comfort, or help you if she does not understand what is wrong or what is going on – nor can she help. In all fairness, there may be nothing more she can do than hold your hand – but let her at least do that. Do not dismiss her and ignore her ever. Such a course of action simply leaves her mind reeling with possibilities (none of them good) for why you are suddenly detaching yourself from marital intimacy. Marital Intimacy is not just sex! It is holding hands, displays of affection, cuddling, touching – not necessarily involving coitus. To deny your wife all these things because you are for some reason incapable on the action you consider the “Big One” is deadly sin in a selfish wrapper. Marital intimacy is not about you, or your groin. It’s about sharing and being close to each other, touching, caressing, and in general emotionally, physically, and spiritually bonding.

In short – you need to take care of your wife both physically and emotionally, intimacy is critical to marriage. Carefully explain the issue(s). Work through what you can. Work around what you cannot work through, and tackle the problem as partners like God intended. Your wife cannot support you if you do not tell her where to raise you up! Stop and think for just a moment how you would feel if she suddenly refused you for weeks on or months on end, gave you the silent treatment, and offered no real explanation? Now be honest with yourself, and tell me that you would intentionally inflict such hurt into your marriage as actions like that cause. If you do not already do it – I strongly urge you to consider prayer together. A strong marital bond requires physical, spiritual, and emotional intimacy. Husbands, even if it is just holding her hand and saying responses as your wife leads a rosary, or for the more adventurous – a recitation of the wedding night prayers from Tobit. Keep spirituality in your marital intimacy. Personally, I keep a crucifix up in the bedroom as a reminder never to act or not to act towards my wife in a manner that I would be ashamed for Christ to witness. Remember, God is always watching.

Wives – the reverse applies to you as well. Men tend to react very quickly and negatively to a sudden disconnect in emotional and physical intimacy. Communicate if accommodations for some issue are necessary – allow them to be part of the solution and not yet another problem.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Quit Apologizing for the Catholic Faith

6 Apr

CATHOLIC AND NOT AFRAIDI have been watching events unfold in more than one arena inside the Catholic Faith. Too often we have allowed ourselves to be bullied into apologizing for our Doctrine on issues of faith and morals. Things like the prohibition on Gay Marriage, the belief the homosexual sex is intrinsically evil and a mortal sin, remarriage without an annulment leaving people doomed for the unrepentant and willful mortal sin of adultery. Need I really go on?

People try to engage Catholics in debate about doctrinal and dogmatic issues like abortion or birth control, or some aspect of the Mass. Even though science and history support our Doctrine the faithful mistakenly think that their position needs to be justified to those outside the faith with some rational explanation. It does not. When that fails, either the name calling or the demanding of an apology begins. Don’t even go there!

Don’t ever apologize for the faith. Don’t allow people to blame the actions of a few bad priests on the theology and doctrine of the Church – you are dealing with criminal actions by individuals and not a matter of faith, morals, or dogma which has caused their criminal behaviour -rather a lack of those things is at the problems root. Don’t apologize because remarried people without annulments are offended because they cannot partake of the sacraments. They freely chose to remarry, in willful defiance of the Church Christ founded. Why should anyone apologize for another person’s sin? Pushing their guilt onto you and “making you the bad person” for not telling them it is A-OK to willfully be in mortal sin. To  just pretend like they are any other couple, is NOT OK.

Next we hear the compassion argument – we must show compassion. Jesus himself offered the rich man a place following him, but the man turned away. Did Jesus grab his shoulder and say wait a minute – you can keep all you money and things and it will be just the same, come on. No he did not – he watched the man make his choice and walk away. We have a society today addicted to sin. Just as they people are addicted to any combination of drugs and alcohol. Their sin like the other addictions. It brings them pleasure and the removal of it will cause them discomfort. Would you ever think that providing an alcoholic, puking and dirty in the gutter begging for money and booze, with another fifth of liquor was an act of compassion? I wouldn’t either. Would you give a heroin addict in withdrawals in an alley a big bag of heroin and call it compassion? I wouldn’t either. Such things are not what they need, in fact – they are just exactly what they do not need.

Then why on earth would you give a person in willful mortal sin a pass either – the compassionate thing to do is to save their immortal soul, not to pander to their feelings. Never say you’re sorry that the Church’s belief is “such and such”. Never acknowledge that there are special circumstances that make willful mortal sin OK. Never assume that someone’s suffering or discomfort because of the doctrine of the faith is truly assuaged by you demeaning the Church or the faith in an effort to make them feel better. In fact, when you do that you actually make it worse and just make the recovery harder. Love them support them and assist them in reconciling their sin with the Church – this is compassion that saves the soul. Telling them it’s OK, that their circumstances are special, or that “rules were made to be broken” – that is not an act of compassion, but the facilitation of evil, and I want no part of it.

Think about it –
Pray about it –
Act on it –

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

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