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How Not to Degrade Women

10 Oct

WikiImages / Pixabay

We have all heard the excuse of “Locker Room Talk” given for some of the most inhuman and degrading commentary on women I have ever heard. More disturbingly, now I am hearing more and more people say “All men do it”. That is a lie; all men do not do it. I will not deny that in our debauched society that many men do it, but not all – not by a long shot.

Let us be clear when I say this. I was a sailor on a US Navy destroyer in a much less politically correct time. Was foul language common? Absolutely. Did anyone ever use that language or any other language, to brag about assaulting a woman? Never did I hear anything like it, not even through shipboard gossip. Such an act would have shamed a man terribly.

Just those few decades ago we knew that some things were just wrong and indefensible. Now we are losing our way. It’s time we set ourselves a course away from the place where men can brag about sexually assaulting a woman and not be immediately put down by the men around him, who then walk away leaving the offender alone to consider his trespass.

This is a behaviour that must never be tolerated by Catholics. You have a duty to not engage in the behaviour and if possible to let the person(s) doing so know that you wonder how they would feel if someone talked like that about their mother, their wife, their sister, or their daughter? I know this works. I’ve done this before. It’s not jocularity at play, but rather Satan creeping into our words. Through our words he creeps into our thoughts, and through our thoughts he affects our actions.

I have a rule of thumb that has worked well. Never speak about women in public or private in words that you would be embarrassed for your wife or daughter to hear. By controlling your words, you will control your mind, and by controlling your mind you will control your actions. This is not a road we should be going down at all, but you have the power to stop it. Asking the offender to examine his conscience (how would he feel it is was a female family member of his) is a form of admonition that is relatively gentle, and admonishing the sinner is a spiritual work of mercy.

Take a moment and think about the way you speak about women in public and in private, and ask yourself if there is room for improvement. Once you start focusing on controlling your words, they way you think will follow. Remember no woman wants a husband that demeans her by demeaning women, so be mindful always of what you say.

Men who will say these things in a locker room, or otherwise amongst themselves, are likely to say it to the ones they love because they failed to filter their thoughts and thereby their words. Don’t risk the respect of your mothers, your wives and your daughters by speaking of women in a way that you would regret them hearing.

Chastity

26 Apr

We live in a wicked world. That is a simple fact. Our fallen world is full of adultery, fornication, and other sexual debauchery most of which used to be unmentionable in polite company. The spread of disease is only the physical toll, the emotional toll has been much greater and left our civilization greatly damaged, especially the Sacrament of Matrimony. All of that pales in comparison to the spiritual toll the debauchery of the sexual revolution has taken with so many souls hurtling headlong toward Hell, having chosen debauchery over God. Chastity is not abstinence from all sexual intercourse, but rather the recognition of the sacredness of the marital embrace and keeping it within the proper context of sacramental marriage. These sins of the flesh expand to include our thoughts, as Jesus made very clear in Matthew 5:27-29 where he also gave a grave warning on the consequences of such actions and the importance of eliminating them from yourself.

27“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell

Because we live in a fallen world, many people struggle with sins against Chastity. In order to wage war against this sin it is better to face it with an army rather than alone. Even if you have a special gift of chastity, where you yourself are free of most or all temptations against Chastity, you should consider joining the army fighting to defeat this debauchery as there are special graces to be obtained. The army of which I speak is the Angelic Warfare Confraternity. It is an Official Confraternity of the Catholic Church and was founded as such by Benedict XII in 1757. It’s patron Saint is St. Thomas Aquinas. You can read more about the history of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity here. The short version is below.

The roots of the devotion began sometime after St. Thomas Aquinas died. People began wearing a cord around their waist in imitation of the grace and revelation that St. Thomas had received from the 2 angels who had appeared to him after he was tempted severely with a prostitution by his two brothers. St. THomas knelt down a prayed to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary to maintain his purity. The Queen of Angels heard him and sent her angels to tell him that if he wore the cord and cooperated with God’s grace he would maintain holy chastity throughout his life, which he did. People then began imitating him after he died, especially people who had struggled with sexual sins. And they received healing. So the roots of the devotion are very ancient. However, the devotion was not formally established until the 16th  century by Friar Francis Duerwerdes, O.P. Afterwards in 1727 Pope Benedict XIII would officially establish it as a Confraternity under the direction of the Master of the Order of Preachers. There is a ritual for chastity that is celebrated, which only Dominicans have the Church’s authority to do in virtue of our profession and ordination.Friar Mariano D Veliz  (<- Click for his facebook page) or email him at friarmarianoveliz@preachmypsalter.org

Struggling against the wickedness in this world alone is a daunting prospect, but when you have an army of people supporting you with their prayers and their friendship, it can be done. Choose today to make a decision to support chastity – in your marriage, in your life, and in your thoughts. Choose God over the wickedness of the world, and save yourself the physical, emotional, and spiritual quagmire you would otherwise be mired in – or better still get free of the quagmire if you are there now.

 

Pornography and Marriage

24 Feb

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Let us start with the very basics – sex is not just about a biological drive especially for husbands! Husbands see sex as an affirmation of their worth as human beings, a confirmation of the love of their wives, and the sexual act as proof that they are still loved and desireable. Any honest husband will not deny this. Guess what, the vast majority of the wives see it the same way. While we are vastly different in the nature and mechanics of our physical needs from our spouses – our emotional and spiritual needs are the same.

I want you to stop and think, remove the idea of one person being a victim and one person being an aggressor in this whole debate. Married couples are one flesh – so the couple is essentially one person hurting itself. Blame neither solves the problem, nor does it improve the odds for a successful resolution. Second, we need to understand that you cannot change another person’s behaviour by force or coercion of any kind and have any real or lasting positive effect. Third, we need to accept the truth that love is a choice we have promised to make every day as part of our sacramental matrimonial vows.

Most men and women who feel driven to this are longing as much for the emotional and spiritual side of the marital act as they are the physical release it brings. Unable to obtain what they really need – they often start with substitution by self-pleasuring. Husbands are especially prone to this because their emotions become volatile – not because they feel pent up sexual need, but in reality because the sting of the rejection by their spouse they feel. Do not think women are immune – in the long course of writing this blog and in my personal experience and observation I have seen more wives needs ignored, than I have husbands needs ignored. If your wife needs your undivided attention, your love, and your acceptance – you turn off the Super Bowl and give it to her. Let her know that she is important and desirable. Not in your words, but in your actions. If you are choosing a game, Facebook, or a television show over intimacy with your wife then what are you saying to her about your love or her importance?

Wives, the same applies to you. Imagine how you would feel if it took two hours of begging or badgering to get him to agree, now hold that thought. Whatever that would do to your self esteem it does the same to him because a man in a sacramental marriage is not expecting every woman in the world to love him – and yes, find him desirable. He is hanging a great deal of his self-image and self-esteem on your response to him. If you want a husband who is bold and confident then you need to build him up and not tear him down with rejection or criticisms. Too many times I hear things like “He just needs to deal with it”. I think it is time for women who think that way put on their big-girl panties and deal with their issues preventing them from committing to love their husbands every day without laying all the blame and responsibility on him. This commitment both parties must make every morning to love each other is imperative because Love is a Choice. It’s long past time for both men and women to discover the joy of lighting up another person’s face, or making their day with a kind word, romantic gesture, or enthusiastic intimate affirmation. This would be in contrast to doing what is necessary only to fill our own desires as the need builds, which focuses only on what we want and is not service to another – but rather is use of another.

Rejection is the next phase. This is where the husband or wife has now tried repeatedly, even if unclearly, to initiate intimacy and failed or been rebuffed. Each time the rebuff happens without a clearly stated and valid reason, a piece of your spouse’s self esteem is torn away. Even worse are situations where one spouse submits half-heartedly or less, which often leaves the other spouse feeling used and dirty. Husbands are as susceptible as wives to this feeling, and it cannot be fixed with any words afterwards. Further, it does lasting serious damage to the marital relationship. It leaves husbands feeling filthy like they just had sex unfaithfully with an unenthusiastic gum chewing prostitute, or worse have just raped their wives. Women end up feeling either raped or used and dirty. When sex is not a gift to your spouse given out of love, such results are inevitable. The self esteem of both parties is diminished, and the intimacy dies little more with each passing day. Until one day nothing remains of it.

When the rejection becomes more than they think they can handle – they will withdraw. At this point the spouse that has withdrawn will either lash out in anger, and/or turn to masterbation and pornography in a misguided belief that it is less harmful than adultery. It is adultery, Jesus was clear about that. When they withdraw they will cease to initiate intimacy because they cling to the idea that if they do not allow themselves to be rejected again that there is still some vestige of the intimacy they can later salvage. It is of of course a self-defense mechanism and not an attempt to hurt their spouse. It is a thorny problem to solve when dealing with husbands, as too many wives will watch the spiral and refuse to initiate intimacy boldly enough to convince the husband they truly want to unite with him and that they do not act out of a sense of pity or duty (as some husbands also do to their wives gravely damaging their self-esteem). No self-respecting husband wants just sex, nor does he want just sex under those circumstances. For that matter, no spouse would want the other to consider intimacy an unpleasant chore or duty. To reach such a point is to admit there is no love left between you and in sacramental marriage that is a terrible and devastating thing to be faced with.

Once both sides have rejected each other long enough, and torn down their spouses self esteem in the process, they leave each other vulnerable to outside temptations. While the spouse pulling the trigger is responsible for their actions, there was a great sin against them done by the spouse who helped to load and hold the gun that shot both of them in the head. Both of them are inevitably deeply or gravely wounded. The children are deeply wounded and will bear scars from that wound their whole lives. What is even sadder is that the marriage rarely recovers, even if the couple is later reconciled. If they are not, a divorce simply leaves both parties unhappy and in relative poverty dragging any children along on the downward emotional and financial spiral. I find that the end results are generally horrific for both parties and any children involved. Of course – if one spouse rejects and disparages the other being overweight, some facet of their appearance, or other superficial physical attribute; Then the need for that spouse to find validation, acceptance, and desirability comes much more quickly because their self esteem has been ripped apart much more quickly and directly. Regardless of their gender, infidelity follows almost invariably as the disparaged and rejected spouse seek to confirm their desirability with a member of the opposite sex, or to find the intimacy lacking at home with a person outside their marriage.

The solution is easier said than done. Always make a choice each morning when you first wake to love your spouse, body and soul, without reservation. Always speak well of your spouse, to them and to others. Build your spouse up, as they will rise to meet your expectations if praised honestly and spoken to kindly. Always be affectionate with your spouse. Always remember you cannot fix your spouse – but you can inspire them to greatness. Always accommodate your spouse when they initiate intimacy or explain why you cannot and set up a rain check so they do not think it is a rejection of their person – then keep the rain check with joy and enthusiasm to remove all doubt.

Give it some thought. It costs nothing to make time for intimacy, but you must make the time and the effort so that your spouse feels wanted and desired. Make a point of giving you spouse a gift when and where you can. Remember that not only will it create a much deeper bond between you, but it will also ease so many other facts of marital life and communication. You may even find a joy in each other long forgotten when sex stops being driven by biology, and begins to be driven by love – and no man willingly trades a woman who loves him for his hand and a wrinkled magazine or dim computer monitor, nor does any woman trade a husband who loves her for a harlequin romance novel and a massaging shower head.

Pax Christi…

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

Truth vs. Emotion

10 Nov

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We live in a society that has become obsessed with emotion and feelings. This has resulted in lasting damage, not only to the Institution of Marriage, but to the faithful as well. Before you can combat an enemy, you must first recognize it. This means you must recognize when you are being driven by emotions and feelings instead of by Moral Truth. This can be harder than it sounds when you are immersed in a wicked society that insists moral truth is determined by feelings, instead of a set marks determined by God, the Church, and the Natural Law.

Marriage is about Moral Truth. The vow you make when accepting the sacrament of matrimony stands alone. Let us be honest – whatever feeling you that you thought was “love” that caused you to get married is gone by the end of the honeymoon phase or rapidly fading. If you do not refill the emptying cup of emotion, with the endless cup of truth then you will be unhappy and estranged in no time. Your “feelings” are transient and thus irrelevant. Whether the other person keeps their vows is also irrelevant so long as the marriage is valid and sacramental. This means that the proper intent existed at the time of the marriage itself. I know, you think I’m being harsh. I’ve been married about 25 years and I’m speaking from experience when I tell you that if you think marriage is about romantic love, your happiness, sex, marital bliss, convenience, the mother or father you never had, or the parent that failed you.

Now I will move to the most uncomfortable truth of all – marriage is not about your happiness, it is not about your sense of satisfaction, and it has nothing to do with making your burden lighter in this world. Matrimony is a sacrament – and like all sacraments, it is based on solid truth regarding faith and morals. It’s not based on, nor is it dependent on your emotions or feelings. It is dependent only on your commitment and obedience. Let that sink in while you head shakes side to side so fast that your eyeballs spin.

You do know that if your head is going side to side right now and your eyes are wide with disbelief, that you have work to do. You need to start defining your emotions and feelings, and stop letting your emotions and feelings define you. You need to make the choice to love your wife each morning, make the choice to avoid conflict, make the choice to speak well of her, make the choice to smile, and make the choice to obey your holy vows at the bestowal of the sacrament of Matrimony. Moral truth will then dictate your actions and emotions, you will do what is required of you, accepting that you are bound whether or not your spouse keeps her vows. You will now waggle you head and say – “No way – that’s not fair!”. Neither was Jesus dying on the cross to save your bacon. Your human sense of justice is rather infantile – in marriage we are called to something higher. You might think of it as “Duty”, but it is a mandate from God that you freely accepted.

Now I’ll tell you the good news. Most of the time – and I do mean “most”, and not all of the time – because we live in a wicked world. Doing this will change everything in your marriage for the better in ways you cannot possibly imagine. No, it will not happen overnight. It will not happen in just 1 week, or 30 days. It will be a process. A process in which you will change your life, and the lives of you and your spouse in the process. Things will improve over time, To be truthful, after about 25 years things are still improving. I don’t even know where it stops. When you base you marriage on truth – things start changing for the better. When you base your marriage on emotion then everything becomes a drama laden and stressful mess. I also know that when you live a marriage based on truth, then your own emotions and feelings are much more balanced, pleasant, and satisfying. In doing so you will have a distinct positive effect on those around you, especially on your spouse. You will feel a growing sense of contentment and happiness in your service. Romantic love will still come and go in an ebb and flow over the years – sometimes like a gentle breeze, and sometimes like a hurricane. However, if you base your marriage on Truth then your “love” in the “agape” and “storge” senses of the Greek words for love will never waver. It is then only “eros” that bandies about, rising and falling. When everything else is in balance with truth, then even “Eros” spends far more time up than down.

Imagine what might happen if you lived other aspects of your faith in Truth, instead of feelings or emotions?

Pax Christi,

Cardinal Burke Addresses Marriage at Steubenville

8 Sep

Given that so many progressives and others seem to think I fail to grasp properly the concept of what marriage is because they chose to define it differently than the Catholic Church always has. Given that I found the recent Motu Proprio on Annulments to be alarming on many levels, and given that my understanding of what the sacrament of marriage entails and “is” in it’s fullness is something I am unwilling to compromise or redefine in the name of false mercy, dialogue, or pastoral practice, I invite you to hear it explained in great detail by Cardinal Burke with a follow up discussion at Stubenville University held today. (*Note that these discussions were about the Relatio and Instrumentum Laboris of the Synod in progress and it must be assumed a coincidence that that the long planned discussion was held on the date of the released of the Motu Proprios. No questions were taken about the Motu Proprios directly, though the ideals therein were part of the relation and Instrumentum Laboris.)

I have to tell you up front, I found this video edifying and uplifting. I realize that others will feel convicted when they see it – but the only real charity lies in truth. I hope you enjoy it with an open heart, and share it that it might open minds. I hope you all find it educational.

The celestial battle for the very souls of men is raging around you – choose wisely.

Pax Christi

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

miscarriage-sculpture

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.

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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!….

How to do an Inexpensive and Wholesome Family Vacation

27 Jul

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I know, you’re the dad. They expect great things from you when it comes to vacations. If you are like me then Disney World in Florida with a deluxe meal plan, park hopper passes for all, and an upscale resort in the park is the “Gold Standard”. I call it that because it will seriously deplete your supply of Gold for other things the family desperately needs, and though the fun and the memories are great, there are better options – ones that are extremely attractive from a cost perspective, and because they involve family activities and lots of very educational fun that will inspire everyone and still leave you the hero. I’m going to detail one for you now (This one we’ve done more than once on the cheap).

Full disclosure is in order here. We discussed when and where to go – once we decided on where, the question became WHEN? My lovely wife planned our whole vacation on a ridiculously short timeline. All I really did was battle to get the time off work, and use some of those hotel points earned working away from home long stretches to get us nice free rooms on our 2 day drive each way there and back! It was a team effort. As I was fresh off my latest work trip before we went, I did what I could.

Take them to North Arkansas/Southern Missouri. No, I’m not kidding. In fact Branson, MO, has a very nice Airport if you’re the flying kind. It’s a place where they still deeply respect veterans, everyone calls you “Sir” and not just because you clearly not a young man – but because it’s the respectful thing to do. Where people hold doors and elevators for ladies. It’s a place where the local Sheriffs put “In God We Trust” on their cars, and the police are wearing real uniforms and very helpful – not looking like some post apocalyptic para-military outfit. This is a place where there are lots of radio stations playing christian music, virtually no rap with it’s destructive anti-social messages, and of course people still openly embrace their guns and religion.

Now – I’ll grant you it’s not mostly Catholics, but you won’t be seeing LGBT Pride days celebrated at Silver Dollar City. There will however, be a heavenly Gospel Choir group singing at one of their free shows in the park if your lucky. What you will find in Branson is shows, activities, museums, etc… Think of it as Vegas without all the bars and casinos, a family friendly place to go. Check out what Trip Advisor says about what there is to do in Branson!

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($-$$ Depending on Discounts and Military Status)
Silver Dollar City is actually one of the top 10 Theme parks in the nation, I put the link to the park in above so you can check it out. While they have thrill rides that will curl your toes – they also have enough family and kids rides to keep everyone busy. You cannot see it all in one day no matter how determined you are to do so. The ride lines are much shorter than Disney and the rides are on-par with Disney’s in both character and quality – with some significantly better like THUNDERATION (Click the name for Video of the ride: Note that in the summer, the trees have leaves and the entire park is lush and shaded!)

The Costumes are wonderful – the food is much cheaper and plentiful than you would expect – so it is not worth eating outside the park. As if that weren’t enough, they have a sister water park right nearby and you can buy a pass for both, so you can splash off there and come back. I didn’t feel a need to do so this last time because so many of the rides in the park will leave you thrilled, laughing, and “Bathtub Wet”! Being damp sounds awful, until you realize how much cooler you feel in the summer with a damp shirt in the shade with a breeze.

*** Note – the Veterans Discounts and Deals at Silver Dollar City meant that the kids under 12 got free passes, I paid for the older child as an adult, and on the tickets I bought I bought one day passes and got the second day free. Saved a bundle. If you’re a veteran – bring proof (My VA ID Worked just fine), and ask about the discounts at the ticket window or call first! We spent 2 days at the Park for the whole family for the price of our condo rental for 1 night – AWESOME!

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($$$)
As I have young children that often excitedly accompany me to the train station to see me off or pick me up for one of my cross country work adventures (every trip is an adventure waiting to happen). They have longed to go on a train with me. A “Real Train”. In Branson, they got to do just that! There is a train in Branson called the “Branson Scenic Railway” it does a 40 mile trip on a real train with some vintage cars – and some cars clearly from Amtrak whom I travel with often. The children were thrilled, the views awesome, and the expression on their faces was priceless. Not terribly cheap, but this one was about fulfilling a child’s dreams and turning them into a real experience. On the plus side for this one, they get you with the ticket pretty good – instead of by charging exorbitant prices at the snack bar. I highly recommend their coffee – and as I roast my own beans, I am picky about that. Theirs is fantastic and cheap.

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(FREE)
The Stone Hill Winery is also right there in Branson and does a kid friendly tour that also includes letting the kids taste the most amazing Concord Grape Juice you have ever had. Their tour starts with engaging and hilariously funny hosts, a movie about the Missouri Wine Industry (before Prohibition the largest in America), and it’s resurrection in the late 1960’s – present. The wine tasting covers about 20 of their wines. If you are going to try every one, even just a sip – don’t plan on driving for awhile. I’m not usually a big wine person. I am picky about the wines I like, as is my wife. We don’t always agree on what we can both enjoy wine wise. By the end of the wine tour we both thought several wines were the “schnizzel”, and we ended up doing some shopping for things we knew we both liked while there – including smoked cheeses from their refrigerator, and several bottles of wine at amazing prices as well as some of the concord gape juice for the kids at their insistence. We also noted many people stopping in, skipping the tour and just buying buying entire cases of certain wines. I can’t blame them.

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($)
You killed 2 or three days you you likely have 2 or 3 more you can afford to spend – don’t miss the best part. Take you kids out to see real nature, as God created it. There is no cell service and I still haven’t located a wifi hotspot out at the Buffalo River in northern Arkansas about 2 hours south of Branson. Rent yourself a Cabin, and book some Canoes for a day of floating down the Buffalo River. Watch the wildlife on the banks, gaze at the monster trout winning under your canoe as you count the stones on the rocky bottom through the crystal clear, cool water. See a nice pool, or beach? Pull over – have a sandwich, splash, play, stay hydrated – then go down the river 10 minutes and find yet another interesting spot to stop. Make a whole day of it and do it at your own pace. When you get to the end, beach the canoes and walk up to your car. Wild Bill’s does this best they pick you up at the point you come out of the water and drive you upriver to put you in with your canoes. We had a lovely Englishman expatriate, who has made a new home in rural Arkansas sure he discovered heaven on earth, handle our canoes and transportation this last time. I’ve used Wild Bill’s multiple times and they always do right by us. The key to a good trip is a good outfitter who can make sure you are prepared – because unless you go to the outdoors often, you likely aren’t. They also have one of the few places when you can get the key items you forgot, from a waterproof phone case to sunscreen and towels for the kids.

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(FREE)
Turn at Wild Bill’s (You can only turn one way) and there is a swimming beach beach down the way in the Buffalo Point State Park (that is a picture of the swimming beach on below!). This swimming hole is absolutely free and has good parking, changing rooms and public restroom fascilities. You can also camp here as they have a campground and be in close proximity to all the local attractions without the expense of renting a cabin! Highly recommend it – kids choose this over Disney hands down every year, and yes – we did Disney a few years back.

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($)
Now show off your manly mettle by taking a tour of Blanchard Caverns (North Arkansas). I’ve done both trails and I’m a “Gipper”, needing at minimum a cane to walk – so I’ll be totally honest – the Discovery trail at Blanchard Springs Caverns is totally awesome! But, it’s 2 hours of solid walking up and down stairs and through some dark spaces. I made it, but it hurt so bad I was laid up the next 2 days until the swelling came down. On the flip side it was totally worth it. The “Dripstone trail” is much more beauty concentrated in one place, and easy enough do even in a wheelchair – shorter too. The Park Rangers are helpful and awesome, having patience when I just cannot move as fast as everyone else no matter who hard I try. The dripstone also has something critical with kids in tow – seating spots and lots of stops to explain what you’re seeing in front of you. ***Note: The “White Nose” fungus infecting the bats has not caused the closure of these caves, unlike many others across the nation, but you will be sanitizing your shoes as you leave the cave in a Woolite solution. The rangers explain all about it.
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($$-$$$$ Cabin rentals vary widely – this one was $130 a night log cabin way back in the woods near the river – very comfortable, and slept 6)
Go back to your cabin – tired, hungry, excited. You can’t talk on the phone, you can’t play on the internet or check Facebook. Your phone is still a great camera though! Most of the cabin rentals we’ve done have a selection of board games and a few decks of cards. Bring some books. Play games, cook together, eats some meals together, read stories aloud, play so hard the kids are asleep exhausted by 7 pm, make S’Mores that would infuriate Michelle Obama with real Chocolate and Marshmallows. Buy some of the fine beers or wines available locally and after the kids are asleep, collapse outside on the front porch with a glass in your hand, put your arm around your wife and count the fireflies together until the snoring starts in the cabin. Take the time to just admire and enjoy creation without distractions.

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It’s not perfect – but it’s as close as it gets for us. I hope you too have the opportunity for a very inexpensive, very educational, and very exciting vacation with your family.

PS: In the interests of the fullest possible disclosure, I have no business or financial interest in any of the above named places. These are all pictures I personally took while there, and I have been in no way compensated for any endorsements of products, goods, or services. The ones I mentioned are just so great that I thought everybody should know about some of the best kept secrets in middle America! 

God Bless your family,

Colin

Beyond – Chapters 1 & 2

16 Jul

Below are the next two chapters, please like, share widely, and comment if you wish to continue reading more – this is only the very beginning. The working title for the Book is “Beyond”…

The entirety of this work as published in this blog is Copyrighted by myself and may not be republished or distributed without my permission (You may link to this page and share a paragraph or two as a lead in).

The Experience of Death and Sermons

When people who knew what had happened would ask me about my experiences, the first question was invariably “What do you remember?”. Of course I suspect they were expecting a detailed description of my observations and perceptions about my immediate surroundings after discorperation, but in truth – what I remembered most strongly were the collections of truths that I recounted to myself over and over that I might not forget them – as my memories of that time faded away like a dream begins to do in the moments following awakening.

To that end I have divided this book into two parts, the first of which will address to the best of my ability the more physical aspects of the death experience and I will endeavor to provide as accurate a description as my language and memory allow. The second part of this book is dedicated to the many truths I was forced to condense to short phrases and simply memorize.

Though my understanding of the truths is no longer complete, I am all too aware that I remembered these specific ones because they were key to my salvation – not necessarily yours or anyone else’s. I was also aware that I would not recall the reasons why they were important and thus would have to take on faith that I remembered them because they were truly that important and accept them at face value whether or not my human mind could even begin to grasp their true importance.

I’m afraid that there will be some overlap, as the two items are so very intertwined and I beg the readers indulgence for those times when I may seemingly go afield from the intended path.

As for the “Sermons”, though I make no pretense that they are centered on me and my life, I am still confident that much can be gleaned from that part of my experience by anyone who is so inclined. Therefore, I have included those things I committed to memory, and what understanding I have remaining of many philosophical questions.

The Moment of Death – and Beyond

“Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit…”

I believe with all my heart that what happened to me, is not something that is intended for everyone. However, it seems that morbid curiosity prevents people from not asking questions about it. In many ways I suspect it was a most unusual situation in that there was no tunnel, no light, no relatives waiting to greet me. I remember briefly a short moment of lucidity before the actual event, like the engine on a small model plane revving up into high warble as the last vapors of its fuel enter the carburetor. I came aware with a start – but I was unable to communicate effectively, so the moment of forewarning was useless. I had no idea that this was to be the moment, either–that realization came only later.

I was in the operating room undergoing a pituitary resection surgery.  I became aware momentarily of the voices of the surgeons and nurses talking around me. I could hear their conversations and hear the gentle thrumming of the soft-rock music playing in the background. The was a moment of apparent panic in around me and many different people started shouting all at once so quickly I couldn’t understand or keep up with that they were saying.

I could feel my body being repositioned and I could feel horrific pain in my chest and my left side. A driving thirst filled me, and I wanted nothing more than to wet my lips and mouth, I would have given anything for a swallow of water. My whole face felt strangely like my teeth do when I would let them dry in the cold winter air as a child and then suck my breath over them. There was a sensation like being kicked while lying prone on the ground, followed by a sensation I can only describe as drowning in a sea of sand while being bound and dragged behind a fast moving vehicle.

Then I felt the sensation of being squeezed and compressed into a little ball. It was a sensation that was both cold and hot, with a gripping paralysis and a prickling pain, which accompanied it. This prickling was less like your foot going to sleep after sitting too long and much more like falling asleep on a golf course and having a soused greens keeper trowel you under with the aerator attachment on his tractor.

This continued until I was sure I could stand it no more and then increased. I wondered why I did not loose consciousness – and realized that I wanted more than anything for the pain to stop. Then began a throbbing pain, and I felt so tightly bound that I couldn’t decide if I was about to burst outwards or implode. My chest was so tightly bound that I could not breathe in or out and the throbbing had become a pounding thumping. My heart was beating so hard that I was sure it would leap from my chest at any moment, as though shot from a 9 pound cannon.

Just as the agony reached a lilting crescendo, a feeling much like a sharp blow struck me about the crown of my head and I felt myself separated from my flesh in much the same way as a nail might feel if it was driven completely through the wood and not simply into it. The body was gone and yet I remained.

Darkness surrounds me, and if I was floating or falling I could not tell, nor had I any inkling of the amount of time that might have passed. I was thinking, even ruminating on my current situation, wondering if the power at the hospital had gone out or thinking that this was just some horrible nightmare from which my current level of sedation prevented me from waking. The soundless void threatened me with imminent madness and I struggled mightily to grasp for any sensation that might provide a frame of reference.

Everything was black – any inky darkness into which I was unable to peer. I assumed I had appendages and attempted to move them but I could not even make contact with my own body, at least not at the location I was sure my body should be. I was neither hot nor cold, and I was sure I was not breathing – but wondered at my own lack of distress about that fact. In spite of the lack of distress, my whole being was filled with a feeling of abject panic. I could feel the sensation of tears welling up which simply would not come. I could feel my heart rending, but was unable to detect it beating. The longer this persisted the more agitated I became. My thirst was still present but greatly muted, and a sensation of weightlessness enveloped me as though I was falling into a deep chasm on a moonless and starless night; without even the wind to blow against me and provide some sensory input. No up, no down, spinning or still – disoriented and unable to focus on anything.

My mind was still blank at this point and much too focused on simply regaining my equilibrium to worry about anything else. I was aware that I existed and that I was disoriented and no more. At this point I wanted nothing more than to come to rest and take a physical inventory of myself. I was also peering intently, squinting as if i had eyes and as if it would have helped if I had – to discern anything about my surroundings which could provide me a frame of reference.

This state persisted for some time. I might have been there only minutes or it could have been days – my sense of time was simply not up to the task of quantifying any questions of “when” for me at the moment. I recall waving my arms and kicking my legs but feeling no wind, or resistance to their motion of any kind, when suddenly emotions washed over me like breakers pounding into a narrow inlet.

My life decisions did not play before me so to speak, but were all brought to mind. Like a slideshow, playing in a round theater I could not look away or close my eyes as every emotionally significant event in my life was reviewed for my benefit. These were the memories and moments that shaped my current existence. All of my experiences bonding together in a streaming whole and creating a mold for my character, and in doing so – my immortal soul.

Sadness, regret, and fear, all plagued me at once in an intoxicating smother. It reminded me of the run-in I had had with a bottle of mescal tequila in my youth that had turned me away from alcohol in general, and tequila in all forms. The world began to spin madly and I twirled in a seeming vacuum for an indeterminate length of time, with hot salty tears flying from my cheeks as fast as they could be produced. My heart felt rent from my chest, and the regret weighed on me like the weight of the world.

Only the happy and the sad truly stuck out, and I am not proud to say that the sad outweighed the happy by many times. Many of my happy memories centered around common themes and people, especially one person. Memorable experiences played as well – moments of wonder and awe, beauty and inspiration, and excitement and exhilaration all wove themselves into the tapestry and every so often I would feel myself sucked into one of the moments playing, reliving it as a third party watching from the sidelines. In doing so I would re-experience the emotional flood that I had felt at that moment and then emerge again, stolid from the moment I disengaged, feeling the emotions drain away like water flowing down a shower drain.

For so many I felt shame, sadness, and regret continuing on until all I did was hope that soon I would stop remembering. I furtively tried to peer out into the darkness, searching for any change in the contrast of inky blackness that might give some clue as to my location, but nothing–nothing at all was visible to comfort me.

I thought for a brief moment of Alice who briefly feared she would not stop shrinking, and much like Alice at that moment, I cheered at the thought that I might wink out of existence. And then as suddenly as it had started, it stopped. In an instant I was standing on firm ground – still surrounded by a congealed and inky blackness nothing could penetrate. I could feel legs beneath me, air blowing past the hairs on my arms as I waved them, and gravity. I knew which way was up. Not only that, I knew so much more, so very much more than I have the language to describe, or even now have the capacity to imagine, all in an instant. It seemed as though an understanding beyond my earthly capacity flooded into my mind overwhelming it. I felt like my head would explode and I reached to my head with my hands and touched nothing. It took an indeterminate period of time for the headache to subside, and I could feel knowledge beyond my capability to comprehend swimming through my thoughts and coloring my perceptions. I was changing, my understanding of all things was changing, and the realizations which emerged gnawed like rats at the core of my very being. It was at this moment that I began to realize this wasn’t a bad dream, and I wasn’t going to wake up safe in the hospital ICU.

I fell to one knee in shame and horror – a life totally wasted, a seeming comedy of errors. My only purpose to that point was to serve as a bad example. The little in my life I felt pride in, my lovely wife, my beautiful children – they deserved so much better. In the same instant I knew I was dead, and hoped they realized how much better off they were without me. The feelings of inadequacy and smallness were overwhelming me. I felt as though I were drowning, the expansion of my understanding was not a painless process, and i felt as if my skull had burst at the seams and my brain had extruded itself through the cracks – and then just kept expanding. The sensation of pressure was intense and almost unbearable. I cried out in pain and anguish and as suddenly as it had started it stopped. I felt a soothing presence nearby which I could not directly discern. It’s effect was calming and reassuring, and I could not help but begin to feel better about everything and I quickly ceased to focus on the pain, and instead began to focus on myself.

In truth if you would have asked me before all this happened I would have been reasonably sure I was going right to Heaven. I was absolutely for sure I was doing so much better than the next person that there was basically “no contest”. I knew I wasn’t perfect, but I was closer than 99.999% of the rest of the world… Or so I thought, I so very arrogantly thought.

The mind of Man is not the Mind of God – and what God and Man find pleasing differ. Always be mindful of this, I chanted this to myself as an eternal reminder to be obedient to his will regardless of what I thought he would want. It’s always better to listen, wait for instructions if you are unsure. He has ways of communicating with you that you cannot truly appreciate until you sit and listen. I have found that the local Eucharistic Adoration Chapel at my Parish provides me the best environment possible for him to communicate with me, which is why I am so often silent in his presence. But now to continue…

I had fallen to my knees, barely noticing that I had done so without any of the arthritic discomfort or jarring pain that always accompanied such motions before. My despair only grew with the certain knowledge that I had failed my creator in every way possible and I suspected in some ways that had managed to surprise even him. I was truly so very sorry – and not for fear of punishment, but because I had disappointed. I had been given such opportunity and potential – yet this life was my accounting of his gifts to me, and it was a pitiful accounting; which left a balance far in arrears.

I was suddenly trapped in the terror of the certain understanding that I was now immortal, and that I would now have to endure eternity in this state. Adam and Eve’s nakedness had nothing on me. My body heaved, as it was racked with sobs that pulled so hard as to try to rip me apart. If I could have winked out of existence on my own, I would have.

In my anguish I cried out to the Lord, meaning to beg him to have mercy and extinguish this derelict flame; but I was only able to utter a guttural noise that sounded like the wind whipping past a piece of loose rubber trim on an old car – traveling down the interstate highway far to quickly. The presence moved closer, I could feel him but not see him.

I collapsed in agony, unwilling to live, and unable to die. I buried my face into my crossed arms and before I could do anything more I was enveloped by two strong arms, which gently lifted me upright, set my feet on the ground, and then proceeded to wipe the tears from my eyes. Through all this I could not discern his form, though I tried and tried I was unable to gain even a glimpse of him. I could sense him and feel him but I could not see him, or touch him when I reached out. He, however, seemed to be able to touch me at will.

The tears disappeared, and with them the emotions that spawned them. He held me there for some time until I was well enough comforted to be objective and reasonable again, if such was possible. And though I never saw him, I felt his presence so very directly and tangibly that there was no question in my mind that my creator himself had taken a moment from eternity to comfort me.

About the Experience that brought me back to the Church

16 Jul

As some of you know I had a direct experience with death that brought me back to the Catholic Church about 10 years ago. What most of you likely do not know is that I wrote the whole thing down as soon as I could to record everything while it was still fresh in my mind, and shortly after the physical therapy got my hands working well enough to type again.

It’s more than a bit on the personal side, and as complete as I can make it. I am thinking to serialize some or all of it here in oder to determine if it is a story of interest to you. Remember to click like or leave comments if you want me to keep publishing after the first chapter or two. If not I will have no choice but to assume that it is not of interest. If you like it – please tweet this link, share it on Facebook, and share it on other social media.

The entirety of this work as published in this blog is Copyrighted by myself and may not be republished or distributed without my permission (You may link to this page and share a paragraph or two as a lead in).

In order to get the preliminaries out of the way I will put the foreword here:

Foreword and Introduction

It is with some degree of reluctance that I pen this narrative in an attempt to record my experiences. I am not of the belief that the things I experienced were intended for a wider audience, and more importantly I fear the possible misinterpretation of my words by Sophists who would use them to lead people astray, an issue I will address right now.

Due to a combination of the amount and types of medications I have required for some time, as well as to organic brain damage, and both long-term and intermittent hypoxia – I am simply not in a position to have a detailed accurate recollection which will stand up to a Sophist style scrutiny. If it is your intent to try to pick apart every word seeking inconsistencies then please do not bother to read further, you will find them – and because of your mindset I fear the contents of this book will only do you more harm than good. For the sake of your immortal soul, and mine, I implore you to move on and seek the fulfillment of your curiosity elsewhere.

I’m sure there are those that are looking for complicated answers – assuming a complex universe requires complicated explanation. I assure you it does not, but all you have are my assurances. It is not my goal or mission to convince you, nor is it my concern so long as you do not use my words as a vehicle for the promotion of heresy. Through diligent effort I was able to retain just mere fragments of what was revealed to me at the moment of death, and those fragments I retained were the ones I clung to because I felt them to be the ones that would be most essential to my personal salvation.

I find myself drawn to the quote from Philippians which says, “..work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you..”. Maybe simple answers are best because they permit us the joy of wonder. This quote speaks to me not about the kind of fear one feels when confronted with evil, but the respectful trepidation one feels when facing the unknown. It speaks to me about courage – when we tremble in awe, and yet we step forward in an act of nobility. Our capacity to act with nobility being one of our more endearing features, yet it is one exercised so infrequently. Courage and nobility are seemingly different faces of the same coin.

Letting the chips fall where they may, if an explanation is short on detail it is only because I do not have it to impart. I have not left anything out on purpose, nor have I added anything extraneous. I hope that you will read this not as a sophist, but with an open heart and an open mind.

(Continued in Next Post…)

Colin

7 Jul

Adrift in a mad world
Seduced by demons and the pleasure of every imaginable sin,
I am reduced to nothing.
I am but a tender sapling,
Easily blown by the passing winds
Uprooted and trampled into dust.
Alone I cannot stand.
Without you I am but a desolation,
Empty and dry
As dead leaves blowing along across scorched asphalt,
Or parched earth, cracked and hardened where nothing may grow.
Pour your life and strength into me, my Lord.
In You is my only hope.
I thirst for You.
I hunger for Your strength.
I need Your perfect wisdom and just counsel.
Your Precious Blood is water to my burning soul.
Consume me completely in the fires of Your love.
Do with me whatever You will;
Make me entirely Your own.
Only grant me the strength to endure Your just chastisements,
The resolve to offer my life as penance,
And grace to remain in obedience to You.
Grant me the courage to defend your tenets;
Arm and strengthen me for the battle.
And keep me always broken and humble before You
That I may be faithful to the end.

The New Golden Calf – Gay Marriage

24 May

In Ireland today we saw yesterday the fullness of the failure of the Bishops and priests in their duties to protect the faith and instruct the faithful. We heard crass dialogue about the new realities the Church should adjust her teaching to accomodate from the Bishop of Dublin who refused to tell Catholics it was wrong to vote for Gay Marriage. We saw gold poured into the Idol of Gay Marriage in ridiculous quantities by a single American Group. We have entered the age of the Golden Calf and abandoned God for idols like “Marriage Equality”. I don’t know about you – but trading God’s grace for progressive ideals is not something I am willing to do.

I’d ask you to read this passage form the bible and see if you think it applies:

Exodus 32
And the people seeing that Moses delayed to come down from the mount, gathering together against Aaron, said: Arise, make us gods, that may go before us: for as to this Moses, the man that brought us out of the land of Egypt, we know not what has befallen him.

2 And Aaron said to them: Take the golden earrings from the ears of your wives, and your sons and daughters, and bring them to me.

3 And the people did what he had commanded, bringing the earrings to Aaron.

4 And when he had received them, he fashioned them by founders’ work, and made of them a molten calf. And they said: These are thy gods, O Israel, that have brought thee out of the land of Egypt.

5 And when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it, and made proclamation by a crier’s voice, saying: To morrow is the solemnity of the Lord.

6 And rising in the morning, they offered holocausts, and peace victims, and the people sat down to eat, and drink, and they rose up to play.

7 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Go, get thee down: thy people, which thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt, hath sinned.

8 They have quickly strayed from the way which thou didst shew them: and they have made to themselves a molten calf, and have adored it, and sacrificing victims to it, have said: These are thy gods, O Israel, that have brought thee out of the land of Egypt.

9 And again the Lord said to Moses: See that this people is stiffnecked:

10 Let me alone, that my wrath may be kindled against them, and that I may destroy them, and I will make of thee a great nation.

11 But Moses besought the Lord his God, saying: Why, O Lord, is thy indignation kindled against thy people, whom thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and with a mighty hand?

12 Let not the Egyptians say, I beseech thee: He craftily brought them out, that he might kill them in the mountains, and destroy them from the earth: let thy anger cease, and be appeased upon the wickedness of thy people.

13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou sworest by thy own self, saying: I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven: and this whole land that I have spoken of, I will give to you seed, and you shall possess it for ever.

14 And the Lord was appeased from doing the evil which he had spoken against his people.

15 And Moses returned from the mount, carrying the two tables of the testimony in his hand, written on both sides,

16 And made by the work of God: the writing also of God was graven in the tables.

17 And Josue hearing the noise of the people shouting, said to Moses: The noise of battle is heard in the camp.

18 But he answered: It is not the cry of men encouraging to fight, nor the shout of men compelling to flee: but I hear the voice of singers.

19 And when he came nigh to the camp, he saw the calf, and the dances: and being very angry, he threw the tables out of his hand, and broke them at the foot of the mount:

20 And laying hold of the calf which they had made, he burnt it, and beat it to powder, which he strowed into water, and gave thereof to the children of Israel to drink.

21 And he said to Aaron: What has this people done to thee, that thou shouldst bring upon them a most heinous sin?

22 And he answered him: Let not my lord be offended: for thou knowest this people, that they are prone to evil.

23 They said to me: Make us gods, that may go before us: for as to this Moses, who brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, we know not what is befallen him.

24 And I said to them: Which of you hath any gold? and they took and brought it to me: and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.

25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked, (for Aaron had stripped them by occasion of the shame of the filth, and had set them naked among their enemies,)

26 Then standing in the gate of the camp, he said: If any man be on the Lord’s side let him join with me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him:

27 And he said to them: Thus saith the Lord God of Israel: Put every man his sword upon his thigh: go, and return from gate to gate through the midst of the camp, and let every man kill his brother, and friend, and neighbour.

28 And the sons of Levi did according to the words of Moses, and there were slain that day about three and twenty thousand men.

29 And Moses said: You have consecrated your hands this day to the Lord, every man in his son and in his brother, that a blessing may be given to you.

30 And when the next day was come, Moses spoke to the people: You have sinned a very great sin: I will go up to the Lord, if by any means I may be able to entreat him for your crime.

31 And returning to the Lord, he said: I beseech thee: this people hath sinned a heinous sin, and they have made to themselves gods of gold: either forgive them this trespass,

32 Or if thou do not, strike me out of the book that thou hast written.

33 And the Lord answered him: He that hath sinned against me, him will I strike out of my book:

34 But go thou, and lead this people whither I have told thee: my angel shall go before thee. And I in the day of revenge will visit this sin also of theirs.

35 The Lord therefore struck the people for the guilt on occasion of the calf which Aaron had made.

Exodus 33
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: God, get thee up from this place, thou and thy people which thou has brought out of the land of Egypt, into the land concerning which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying: To thy seed I will give it.
We are about to be chastised – stay strong, it’s going to be a bad one.

2 And I will send an angel before thee, that I may cast out the Chanaanite, and the Amorrhite, and the Hethite, and the Pherezite, and the Hevite, and the Jebusite.

3 That thou mayst enter into the land that floweth with milk and honey. For I will not go up with thee, because thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I destroy thee in the way.

4 And the people hearing these very bad tidings, mourned: and no man put on his ornaments according to custom.

5 And the Lord said to Moses: Say to the children of Israel: Thou are a stiffnecked people; once I shall come up in the midst of thee, and shall destroy thee. Now presently lay aside thy ornaments, that I may know what to do with thee.

 

 

Pax Christi

How we lost Marriage

6 May

Wait! I know what you’re going to say about how Marriage is alive and well. It’s not alive and well, it is fractured and broken. The Church has been cleaved in two by political activism and social progressives recently in an effort to finish Sacramentally what was started in the late 60’s civilly by recognizing the divorced and remarried without annulments which effectively lays the same waste to Sacramental Marriage, just as no fault divorce did to the civil side of marriage.

We lost Marriage when we allowed No Fault Divorce. Since so many don’t understand what no fault divorce meant here is a definition from Wikipedia:

No-fault divorce is a divorce in which the dissolution of a marriage does not require a showing of wrongdoing by either party.[1] Laws providing for no-fault divorce allow a family court to grant a divorce in response to a petition by either party of the marriage without requiring the petitioner to provide evidence that the defendant has committed a breach of the marital contract.

California started the downward spiral of marriage in 1969 by making the marital contracts, both social and legal, unenforceable. In fact the state now had effectively redefined the contract as only binding on the man who was responsible to fork over half the assets and pay child support in addition – adding insult to previous injury when an unfaithful spouse decided to leave him for her lover.

Lost to history was the fact that feminists opposed no fault divorce unsuccessfully, as they saw it leaving women vunerable. I will repost the arguments against it here – also from Wikipedia:

The National Organization for Women opposed the introduction of no-fault divorce in New York state because it would allow a party who actually is at fault to obtain a divorce in which “alimony, maintenance [and] property division” would be determined without the judge considering “the facts, behavior and circumstances that led to the break-up of the marriage”.[10] A paper published in The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, written by Douglas Allen, on the economics of same-sex marriage, argues that the introduction of no-fault divorce led to a six-fold increase in just two years, after a century of rather stable divorce rates. Also, the law increased the rate at which women entered the workforce, increased the number of hours worked in a week, increased the feminization of poverty, and increased the age at which people married.[11] Stephen Baskerville, a political scientist at Howard University, argues that no-fault divorce rewards wrongdoers, reduces the need of marital binding agreement contracts at the public’s expense, and helps women take custody of their children at the husbands’ expense in many cases where the man has done nothing wrong. He also adds that a ban on divorce will not work, because people will separate themselves and be in a permanent state of adultery, or they will create a hostile home environment for the children.[12]

If one is to be truthful – the divorce rate has soared, the number one factor in the poverty of women and children is single motherhood. Marriage not only lifts women and children out of poverty but also lifts the father up socially and economically as well.

I know some readers will be defensive about single mothers claiming this is a fallacy, but the facts get in the way and the facts constitute a damning indictment of single motherhood and out of wedlock births. I suggest you read this study from Ohio State University.

Once the marriage contract became unenforceable – it was left to rely only on the commitment of the spouses which was often based on a feeling of being in love, and not a binding lifetime commitment from which true love would grow over time. This led to more divorce, more single motherhood, more broken homes, and more hurt children.

It also led to most men in the current generation choosing not to marry – as freely available birth control has lowered the price of sex from a lifetime bonded commitment before God and enforced by the state to as little as 15 mins conversation and a cup of coffee. The financial risks of marriage to men, as well as the emotional devastation wrought by the ability of their spouses to tear their lives and finances apart, keep them from their children, and have the same state who refuses to enforce the marriage contract enforce child support laws with an cruel iron fist. It took longer than I expected for men to catch on.

This was exacerbated by the state taking over the husbands role as provider – allowing a woman to cast off her husband without cause and then be supported by public assistance so that all taxpayers in the country can then support them.

If we had at fault divorce – women who were wronged would be much better protected and could receive alimony preventing them from being wrongly cast off, men who were wronged would be much better protected and not lose their home and retirement, and Marriage would become the refuge it once was – based on a committed partnership raising the whole family up. What we have now is destroying our society.

I don’t know that there is a way back — and if gay marriage is allowed it will further trivialize marriage and result in continued poverty for women and children. and the side effect that men no longer revere women, but in general use them until they are tired of them and cast them off. I suspect it will do marriage in entirely – outside of strictly sacramental marriages. The consequences to women and children – as well as to men are too dire to ignore.

Ask yourself what possible benefit does no-fault divorce offer? When you realize it does not offer any benefit to men, women, or children, but instead harms them all. Then you work with your state legislators to repeal it state by state.

We will have to take back one thing at a time to retake our society. Since the family is the building block of society, let us start with taking back marriage and restore the building block by getting rid of the failed no-fault divorce experiment.

Prayerfully,

Colin

Supreme Court Arguments – What I heard

28 Apr

I listened today to all of the arguments on both questions before the Supreme Court. You can and should listen to them – either streaming or as a download you can put on your media device. To be honest in Question 1 there is a rather exciting part with a very zealous man who informs the court in a high warble and very energetically that they will all go to hell if they rule for same sex marriage.

Arguments for Question #1:
http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/audio/2014/14-556-q1

Arguments for Question #2:
http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/audio/2014/14-556-q2

Now – here is the fun part. Question #1 is to determine if there is a constitutional right to Gay Marriage. It is a lively debate, where one of the defenders of marriage (from Michigan) did a horrible job IMHO. He danced around issues, was unclear, and took off on tangents. His circular arguments consistently seemed to make the case for Gay Marriage, whether it was his intention or not. In the end I found myself asking what the people who selected the lawyers were thinking! The Justices seemed to have a better grasp on the issues than he did and had to use leading questions to draw him to the correct argument — or away from a quagmire of an argument.

Now- Here is the Scary part. The justices under Question #1 clearly laid out the case that if they ruled that there was a constitutional right to gay marriage, then it would have wide ranging ramifications. Those ramifications would include all clergy performing marriage would be required to marry gay people regardless of their religious beliefs in order to protect the civil rights of Gay people. The idea of exceptions for religious reasons while interesting would only institutionalize the very discrimination and marginalization that Gay Marriage proponents have made the basis of their case. The justices pointed out that it would leave priests who refused subject to arrest and prosecution for violating the new civil right of Gay People to marry.

Maybe Cardinal George was more correct than we knew when he said that his successor would die in prison, his successor would be martyred in the public square, and his successor would pick up the shattered pieces of society and begin rebuilding as the Catholic Church has done for 2000 years.

Question #2 is not a fun part – it deals with the aftermath should the court rule that there is not right to gay marriage and thereby nullify all the gay marriages performed. IMHO this is a conundrum of the courts own making by refusing to hear the case earlier, or issue stays to stop gay marriages from occurring until the issue could be resolved. I think the group defending marriage missed the key point, which I felt was that if one state redefines marriage unilaterally – should all states be forced to accept their redefinition? What if a state allowed people to marry horses? Would all states have to recognize that marriage? The bias of the liberal judges like Sotomayor and Ginsberg is clear in their questioning. In truth I would have to admit that the same is true of Alito and Scalia whose bias is also evident from their line of questioning. The swing judges were hard to read and as usual Clarence Thomas said nothing.

In conclusion – Pray for America, The Court, and the Church. Based on what I heard today my only hope for marriage or religious freedom is now in prayer. In the event we loose at the supreme court the first and foremost political action should be to get our states out of the marriage business. Set it back to the Churches who have governed it since long before the federal court “invented” civil marriage. Our priests will be forced to follow in the footsteps of the orthodox church in Chicago that simply no longer performs civil marriages – only sacramental ones.

Pax Christi,

Colin

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

Sweet Cakes – A Christian Family Under Attack by Evil.

25 Apr

Sweet Cakes by Melissa as a business is gone, close, shuttered by the state. The $135,000 fine is against a family of 7 with no business anymore who now stand to lose everything they own and their childrens home for refusing to bake a gay wedding cake because it would constitute a great sin to facilitate or participate in a homosexual wedding.

The Gay people still had a cake and wedding from another baker. What they are doing here is nothing less than hateful and evil. This is about destroying families that stand up for the Christian faith.

We CAN make a difference. We CAN make them whole if everyone who reads this gives a small amount, we can change this tragedy into joy for this family.

If we are the Body of Christ – then he are his Hands, and we should be healing this family.

DONATE HERE: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/christian-couple-faces-135000-fine/

GoFundMe killed their Campaign – claiming it was somehow “illegal”, but then claims it is going to give them the finds previously collected? When their own policy says all funds in such situations should be refunded. All I can see in this is more LGBT Bullying. This the move to Samaritans Purse, where the LGBT lobby has no power. Lets make this family whole. A few dollars for each of us together will make a huge difference for this faithful family.

From: The Daily Signal

An Oregon administrative law judge recommended today that the bakers who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding should be fined $135,000.

“[T]he forum concludes that $75,000 and $60,000, are appropriate awards to compensate [the same-sex couple] for the emotional suffering they experienced,” wrote Alan McCullough, administrative law judge for Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries in his proposed order.

Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa located in Gresham, Ore., say the fine is enough to potentially bankrupt their family of seven.

The dispute began in January 2013, when Aaron denied Rachel Cryer a wedding cake after learning there would be two brides in her wedding.

…………
One of the women, whose name was redacted to protect her privacy, listed 88 symptoms as grounds for compensation. The other, whose name was also redacted, listed 90.

Examples of symptoms include “acute loss of confidence,” “doubt,” “excessive sleep,” “felt mentally raped, dirty and shameful,” “high blood pressure,” “impaired digestion,” “loss of appetite,” “migraine headaches,” “pale and sick at home after work,” “resumption of smoking habit,” “shock” “stunned,” “surprise,” “uncertainty,” “weight gain” and “worry.”

Harmon, the Kleins’ lawyer, told The Daily Signal that during the hearing “there was no expert testimony.”

The witnesses at the hearing were the two women who were requesting a cake, one of their mothers, one of their brothers and another family member. There was no doctor, there was no psychologist, no expert testimony at all.

In collecting the fine, Harmon said the state isn’t just pursuing the Kleins’ business assets, but their personal livelihood as well.

“An important thing to understand about the damages the state is claiming in this case is that the [fine] isn’t going to come from liquidating business assets,” she said.

Their business is gone. They don’t have business assets so when we talk about [the fine], it’s personal. It means that’s money they would have used to feed their children that they can’t use anymore.

In September 2013, after facing public backlash, the Kleins had to close their bakery.

From Sweet Cakes by Melissa’s Facebook Page:

The gofundme account that was set up to help our family was shut down by the administrators of gofundme because they claimed it was raising money for an illegal purpose. We have told gofundme that the money is simply going to be used to help our family, and there is no legitimate breach of their terms and conditions. We are working to get the account reinstated.
However, in the mean time, if you would like to donate, you can do so here:http://www.samaritanspurse.org/…/christian-couple-faces-13…/
For all of you who gave to the gofundme account before it was shut down, we so appreciate your love and generosity. Gofundme has told us that we will still receive those funds.

Sincerely,

Colin

PRAYER REQUEST FOR RONNIE M.

3 Apr

405524

I have a prayer request for everyone willing to stop for even a moment and say a prayer from Ronnie M.
Then please also say one for his wife Lisa, and their children.

Ronnie is currently in the ICU at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. He has small cell Lung Cancer that has moved to his pancreas and he is currently on a ventilator which doctors cannot seem to wean him off. His family are being told by doctors that the situation is hopeless, but those who believe in Christ know that nothing is truly hopeless and they are staying with him and praying for him continually. They are hoping for a miracle to prove the doctors wrong, but willing to accept God’s will should he not recover.

As I have been in his position and survived,  and then recovered against all medical science; and since a young girl Kathryn who was in the same position and from my town was also prayed for – she recovered against all odds. We know that prayer works! In truth the family needs the prayers just as much. It is physically and emotionally exhausting to deal with a critically ill family member for weeks on end.

Today being Good Friday, it is a wonderful day to stop and pray for another – just as Jesus prayed for his executioners saying “Forgive them Lord, They know not what they do”.

If anyone feels inclined to offer some assistance to the overwhelmed family like feeding pets, or making meals, or just providing a human shoulder to lean on – by all means please contact me via email, Facebook, or comments here and I will pass your information to Lisa M.

Thank You in Advance for your Prayers!

Colin

St. Jerome on Both Marriage & Divorce and Remarriage

2 Apr

Caravaggio_-_San_Gerolamo

Of late I have heard many people spouting that the prohibition on Divorce and remarriage was not always so in the Catholic Church. I have heard them say that the early church was not firm in it’s teachings on this matter. I have heard it said that Jesus taught “compassion” trumped the Sacrament of Matrimony.

I beg to differ. More importantly, St. Jerome himself (author of the Latin Vulgate Bible), very strenuously objects. Read what he had to say on the indissolubility of marriage and then ask yourself if you truly accept and believe authentic Catholic Teaching from the very beginning of the Church.

There is a gem in the last paragraph that explains exactly why celibacy was considered better, because in the Catholic Church the Yoke of Marriage is a very heavy one, as the Apostles themselves realized.  It can be a joyful one only if men and women work together in marriage. This letter makes clear just how seriously Christians took marriage in great contrast to societies they lived in who openly supported divorce (romans, jewish people, etc..)

Oh yes – there is one other item to be pointed out – if the wife is put away for “fornication” it would mean that she was put away because it was discovered that she had been unknowingly promiscuous before the marriage. After the marriage it would have been properly termed “adultery”. Misrepresentation is one of the clear grounds for declaring the marriage nullified – meaning it never happened and thus she would not be an adulterer because her husband put her away and she remarried. St. Jerome is wonderful in his clarity.

Letters of St. Jerome 360 AD. Letter #55 Paragraph 3

3. I find joined to your letter of inquiries a short paper containing the following words: ask him, (that is me,) whether a woman who has left her husband on the ground that he is an adulterer and sodomite and has found herself compelled to take another may in the lifetime of him whom she first left be in communion with the church without doing penance for her fault. As I read the case put I recall the verse they make excuses for their sins.We are all human and all indulgent to our own faults; and what our own will leads us to do we attribute to a necessity of nature. It is as though a young man were to say, I am over-borne by my body, the glow of nature kindles my passions, the structure of my frame and its reproductive organs call for sexual intercourse. Or again a murderer might say, I was in want, I stood in need of food, I had nothing to cover me. If I shed the blood of another, it was to save myself from dying of cold and hunger. Tell the sister, therefore, who thus enquires of me concerning her condition, not my sentence but that of the apostle. Do you not know, brethren (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman which has an husband is bound by the law to her husband, so long as he lives; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then, if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress.Romans 7:1-3 And in another place: the wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.1 Corinthians 7:39 The apostle has thus cut away every plea and has clearly declared that, if a woman marries again while her husband is living, she is an adulteress. You must not speak to me of the violence of a ravisher, a mother’s pleading, a father’s bidding, the influence of relatives, the insolence and the intrigues of servants, household losses. A husband may be an adulterer or a sodomite, he may be stained with every crime and may have been left by his wife because of his sins; yet he is still her husband and, so long as he lives, she may not marry another. The apostle does not promulgate this decree on his own authority but on that of Christ who speaks in him. For he has followed the words of Christ in the gospel: whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, commits adultery.Matthew 5:32 Mark what he says: whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.Whether she has put away her husband or her husband her, the man who marries her is still an adulterer. Wherefore the apostles seeing how heavy the yoke of marriage was thus made said to Him: if the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry, and the Lord replied, he that is able to receive it, let him receive it. And immediately by the instance of the three eunuchs he shows the blessedness of virginity which is bound by no carnal tie. Matthew 19:10-12

Pax Christi,

Colin

Clarifying the RFRA Disinformation

30 Mar

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On the RFRA – so many are missing the point. This is not about hate.  Baking a wedding cake for a gay wedding is an act of facilitation or participation in an invalid sacrament, namely a gay wedding, as is catering, photographing, floristry. That is the core objection. It is not about their gayness, it is about the grave mortal sin of participation in an INVALID SACRAMENT of Marriage. This whole debate is so distorted by off topic rhetoric that it’s gotten ridiculous.

This is no different than it being a mortal sin to facilitate or participate in an abortion – meaning if you even if you just provide gas money or loan the car to transport someone to an abortion then you committed grave mortal sin.

If I was a baker I wouldn’t bake a wedding cake for a divorced couple marrying without annulments in place either. No Christian pastor should marry them either unless he bases his religion on his feelings, rather than the direct teaching of Christ.

Luke 16:18
Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.

This should not be hard to understand. There is no prohibition on selling them most any other things, or providing services that don’t cross the line (IVF and Abortion being examples of a service that crosses the line – because of the Doctrinal Teaching in Humane Vitae). This does not mean Catholics are going to refuse to serve them lunch, save their lives in a hospital,  sell them a stereo, or allow them to use a laundromat.

What this does mean is that no Catholic business owner will be sued for refusing to facilitate or participate in an invalid sacrament or a mortal sin like IVF or Abortion. If only we could get those protections to employees.

This law is not about Christians in particular. This law will also protect a Jewish or Muslim butcher from having to slaughter a pig – which is a grave mortal sin in both religions.

These laws are already in place in 40% of states, and most of them have been since the Clinton administration for many of them. Bill Clinton (D POTUS) signed the federal version of this law, and Chuck Schumer  (D, NY) (another liberal) was the one who sponsored the bill. So it confuses me as to why liberals and Democrats would be angry over a law that their own like minded people championed.Professor-Marci-A.-Hamilton-RFRA-State-Map-October-2014-MEDIUM

I’m filled with a combination of sorrow and disgust that people just don’t seem to get it, and keep banging on the “Hate” drum without even knowing what they are talking about. There are days I wish people would read the Catechism cover to cover before delving into public debate about Catholics, or what they believe.

Pax Christi –

Colin

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Cardinal Burke is the Archbishop Sheen for our times

8 Mar

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A PRIEST’S CONVERSION – “I GET IT NOW!” (Reblog)

8 Mar

 

I saw this and had to share:

A few days ago, I encouraged the pest control guy (while he was setting traps in my house) to come and check out the Mass on Sunday morning. Just yesterday, I said the same thing to the checkout guy at Kwik Trip. Both of these guys had admitted that they had left the Church years ago.
Two days ago, I was standing in someone’s kitchen with a couple of guys, and I got talking about how Confession is so amazing and, with that simple prayer of absolution, we get “do-overs;” we are made a brand new person. They both admitted they had not gone in decades and, two minutes later, we were stepping into the next room to celebrate that Sacrament. They both emerged with HUGE smiles on their faces and, I believe, a new incentive to get back into their faith. I’ve been doing stuff like this a lot lately.
Something is happening in the Church and in the world today. And, I know something is happening with me. I can’t recall many times (any?) in my priesthood that I would unabashedly – with great confidence and joy – invite people on the street to these amazing sacraments. Instead, I guess we priests felt that, “if you build it, they will come.” But, build what?

Continue Reading this Amazing Story at http://www.romancatholicman.com/a-priests-conversion-i-get-it-now/

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

Catholicism is Countercultural

22 Feb

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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.” Jesus also reminds us that we will be hated for following him – so we should never bother to pursue the worlds adoration and acceptance. What we should do is adore God and do as Jesus commanded, “If you love me, follow my commandments”. He did not say to do what pleased the world or to do what is popular, but to do as he commanded. This is a lot harder than it sounds.

You should understand that it is not in being easy that it holds great value. Instead, it holds great value and appeal because it is hard to follow Jesus. It is difficult to be bound to a separate set of morals and ethics from the people and the society in which you must exist. It is trying to be invested in obligations like Sacramental Marriage, that the world around you cannot even comprehend since they have only the palest of analogues in what they also call Matrimony. They will even think you crazy or daft because your understanding of the marital obligation is so far out of phase with theirs.

Yes, to be Catholic is Countercultural. It sets you apart from the world. It leaves you heading in one direction while the world heads another. It very often leads you in opposition to the world and social norms around you. From things as simple as not eating meat on Fridays (at least in Lent – if not year round), opposing abortion, refusing artificial birth control, to things as complicated as refusing to participate in an invalid marriage (Divorced and remarried without an annulment, Catholics marrying outside the church without dispensation, gay marriages, etc…) even when family are involved. It means running to an adoration chapel instead of the local bar when you have seemingly insoluble problems.

It is a life of sacrifice and service for those of us called to marriage. However, with that sacrifice and service also comes the greatest fulfillment and joy a human can feel. While at times the obligations of the faith can seem to weigh you down and expose you to all manner of ridicule and degradation – it is those moments when it lifts you to heights you never imagined that stick in your mind and set your soul ablaze. The rewards of following His commandments can be beyond your capacity to imagine, especially when you come from a social system that thinks you simple or worse, deluded for not following them in their defiance of God. You see the unhappiness, and the misery they suffer with daily for choosing against God and yet still they persist. They become like a man banging his head into a brick wall until he passes out from the pain and falls bloodied to the ground.

You have a choice – choose fulfillment or emptiness. Oh, you may think the other life is full – but it’s nothing more than an illusion. Some of us have to take that path a long time before we learn that there is no real fulfillment there, but many of us have already figured that out. If you’re ready, it’s time to try something new and different– something that goes against the grain and all progressive logic. Be countercultural and live the Catholic faith in your daily life. It will not be easy. It will not draw the worlds accolades, but it will fill you to overflowing from the inside out with both purpose and joy, even through the pain in your life.

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

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