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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

 

 

On “Keeping Score” in Matrimony

6 Aug

1024px-Peoples_Bank_Field_Scoreboard

One of the biggest things to avoid in marriage is keeping score. It’s also one of the things we seem to do the most. Nothing is “Fair” and marriage is NEVER 50/50.

Marriage is 100/100 – It’s an ALL IN proposition.

Take your scoreboard down. You are supposed to be on the same team, not in competition. Think about how you can help each other – and don’t worry about who helps who more. It’s not about YOU anymore after you enter the sacrament of matrimony – you are third in line or further down in your own priority list which starts with God, goes to Spouse, then Children (if any), and then YOU, after all that – everyone and everything else. (YES I DID! I put Spouse before Children in that list!)

Take a moment out of each morning to recommit yourself to loving and serving God and your Spouse (Yes Husbands are bound by the SAME RULES). Much of the time when I see scorekeeping happening it is because the husband or wife is not putting their spouse first and compounded by a spouse who is keeping score – for what constructive purpose I cannot fathom.

Communication plays a critical role. Even the best husbands can be both oblivious and dense at the same time (as can the best wives). Is your scorecard part of a plan to humiliate them to action? Is it to prove how much more virtuous you are carrying most of the load? Could it be that it’s just being saved up for the next disagreement, where it will be used as a club in an unrelated argument? — No… Stop… Don’t…

I think I like my wifes method best – she has refined it over the years mind you, and it works well when I use it too. It goes something like this “Dear, WE need to (Accomplish X), could you be a love and (Do X) for/with me. I don’t think I can get this done without you.”. What I love about this approach is that there is no snip or ugliness, there is instead:

  • a term of endearment sincerely expressed (often with a pat or kiss)
  • a reminder that we are both one flesh with the word WE
  • a specific goal is laid out
  • a request – not an order to do a specific task accompanied by another term of endearment
  • A very truthful declaration that the help from me is necessary

Now for the good part – it works on Wives and Husbands equally well. compare your own response to the above method vs. “Get off your fat lazy backside, clear the table and do the cursed dishes or we just won’t eat tonight lazybones”.  *I’d like to think I can rest my case on this one example – but it applies in all kinds of ways in your marriage.

However if you must keep score – start keeping track of the random acts of kindness you perform for your spouse every day. Every morning, look at yesterdays total – and try to better it.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Important Thoughts about Things…

24 Mar

tombstone

Yes things, material things. This means money, cars, boats, houses, furniture, art, electronics, etc…

Right up front, I myself am guilty of this. More so that I wanted to admit to myself, and it is very hard thing to eliminate from ones life. The nature of our society makes some materialism both inevitable and necessary. The important thing is to keep it in perspective and to keep your priorities straight. There is no evil inherent in becoming fiscally wealthy through industriousness nor in being fiscally poor inspite of industriousness. All of us must provide for our families to the best of abilities and according to our needs. What we must do to keep our perspective and priorities straight is not to allow wealth to be defined by material things. Love is wealth, Faith is wealth, and children are our greatest wealth. For in the end – how do your accomplishments profit you if you have no family of your own to share them with. What profit is there in acquiring those material things if your wife and children become part of the price you must pay – it would seem a hollow victory to me. I did learn one thing for myself – my happiness is not to be found in material things, but rather in true love both given and received.

In truth, my greatest wealth is in the love of my God, my wife, and my children. My greatest accomplishment is the title of Husband she bestowed on me, and the children she blessed us both with. Everything else pales to mere shadows in comparison. It can be a humbling thing when your whole life comes into perspective and you realize what really is important to you, I pray that you will not be at death’s door when you receive this revelation.

Do you judge the success or quality of your marriage by the material possessions it accumulates or the position it gains you? Then why would you judge your own success by that measure?

Have you stopped to consider how little in this life is truly important. Your body will die – none of us is immune, everything dies. It is a natural (if uncomfortable to talk about) part of our lives. After you are dead – what will you leave behind? Memories and an epitaph on a tombstone.

What do you want your tombstone to say? “Successful <Insert your Occupation or Profession Here>” or “loving husband and father”.

What memories will you leave behind? Will they be memories of  a man that the widow and her children hardly saw because he was always working or travelling in order to be “Successful”. Will you children have more memories of nannies and alternative caregivers than you? What will they remember about you?

Being hardworking and industrious is always a good thing – but as is necessary to provide for your family. At some point it becomes greed and vanity. You begin to amass wealth in large quantities, purchase things you don’t need or even want just to make an impression on others. Often people sacrifice the one treasure permitted you on earth that can survive your death – Children. A precious Gift from God that assures even the non-believer a modicum of immortality in knowing that part of them remains alive in each of their children. We are convinced to sacrifice that joy and certitude for hollow material things that will crumble to dust or disuse in mere years. Our wives are often convinced by society that their natural purpose for which they alone are biologically equipped (birthing and nursing our children) is a waste of their time and talents. Ask yourself if your wife would prefer “Devoted Wife and Mother” instead of “#1 Accountant 1982-1995” on her tombstone.

While I have you thinking about this – ask yourself which is more important to you, a sacramental marriage and children or a successful career. If you chose the career then you have my most earnest prayers. A sacramental marriage requires that you put your wife before yourself in all things – this is a beautiful and noble thing even when done by just one of you, and wonderful beyond all description when it is returned in kind. Children are a gift to each of you from the other, representing the physical embodiment of that sacramental love – they are an investment in the future of all humanity. To a child – an afternoon at the park with their father is worth more than all the tea in China.

If you think you are wealthy, ask yourself who will truly mourn your passing? Were you ever truly loved even once in your life and did your bind that love in the Sacrament of Matrimony or let it go in order to finish and education or pursue other things? Did you ever have twinges of regret wondering what could have been? Imagine how unimportant so many of the things we commonly hold dear will be to you at the moment of death. Remember that when you leave this life, you can only take memories and regrets. What harm is there in trying to make a few happy memories -and potentially resolve some regrets ahead of time, after all one can never know the day or the hour when death will come.

Ask yourself one final question – Why am I here? If you can’t say that God put you on this Earth to dominate other men, to acquire fleeting material wealth then you might also want to consider some thoughtful prayers requesting guidance from God on the direction of your life.

I will be praying for everyone who is discerning their purpose and direction in life this Lenten season. If you have your priorities in order and are happy and at peace then please join me in prayer for others.

Colin

Basic Catholic Cryptography

30 Jan

Basic Cipher Puzzle

The image about is a puzzle, it’s a very basic exercise in cryptography. I thought some might enjoy the challenge of uncovering an authentically Catholic message for our times by solving a puzzle. While I can’t promise money or even fleeting worldwide fame. I will blog the name of the first person to post the correct answer along with the solution, in the comments section of this post – I will also tweet that they were the first to solve the puzzle from my Twitter account (@cc70458) where you can also follow the Catholic Husband. Happy decrypting!

Good Luck and God Bless You,

-Colin

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