Tag Archives: Catholic Husband

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,

The Holy League – A Catholic Ministry for Men

8 Mar

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This is a project I deeply believe in. It provides an opportunity for Men to become more involved in the local parish in fraternity with other men. The Holy League also provides the ability to sign up and receive updates, as well as instructions and assistance for bringing the Holy League to YOUR PARISH, or a parish near you.

Take a moment today to sign up, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Join the Holy League Information Network: Click Here or Text keyword: EPIC to Short Code 84576 on your cell phone

Holy League Vision 

The Holy League, in fidelity to its mission as a Roman Catholic solidarity movement:

  • provides a Holy Hour format which incorporates: Eucharistic adoration, prayer, short spiritual reflections, the availability of the Sacrament of Confession, Benediction and fraternity;

  • encourages consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Purest Heart of Joseph;

  • promotes the Precepts and Sacraments of the Church; especially through devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and the praying of the Most Holy Rosary;

  • creates a unified front, made up of members of the Church Militant, for spiritual combat;

  • strives to have a regular monthly Holy League Holy Hour available to men in every Roman Catholic parish.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expectations of A Catholic Husband

4 Aug

God holding your Marriage

I’ve been asked more than a few times what the building blocks of a successful marriage are. Recently a few readers have sent questions to me looking for advice in new marriages and prior to marriage on what their future wives will be expecting of them. Aside from some very candid discussions with your current or future spouse, there are some givens that she will expect and from which all the others are merely outgrowths.

I’ve put some real thought into this. That means both brain cells were parallel processing until they started releasing their magic blue smoke. You see, I’ve been married for over 20 years and in terms of expectations – well they seem to change if you focus on the minutiae. However, if you look at the bigger picture, the little things all fall into line, if you remember the big ones. There are a core group of things every woman expects from her husband whether she even realizes it or not.

One major disclaimer – I have no more insight into a womans mind than any other man. Women are like the trinity in that they are a mystery which cannot be understood by man and must simply be accepted. The disclaimer does however, provide me a good segway into expectation number one.

Acceptance – This one seems so obvious, but I hear neverending stories of women whose husbands/fiancee’s threaten a divorce over 5 lbs. or will only marry if she can fit into a certain size dress. Stop and pray before you act, speak, or think like this and here is why. Neither of you know what the future is going to bring, or where it will take you together. Just like with God, you must simply accept each other joyfully. In the long view – your wife is likely going to be like the weather in Louisiana. Don’t like it? Wait a bit, it will change. Your wife will change sizes, her personality will change, her interests will change, her health will change – the one thing that must never change is that you accept and love her for who she is each morning. It’s critically important to both of you that you do. If she was disfigured in a fire or accident would you love her any less? What if she was barren? Would you continue to love and keep her? Time ravages all physical things and she needs to know that regardless of what changes happen to each of you both physically and emotionally, as long as it remains compatible with sacramental marriage, that you will make  anew that decision every morning to accept and love her as she is. Always don your rose colored glasses and see the best in her and about her.

Commitment – Your wife rightfully will expect that that you are fully committed to a lifetime of joyful servitude of her and any children you are blessed with. Your commitment is to the covenant you made with God when you accepted the Sacrament of Marriage from your wife. It is expected that this commitment is unbreakable, treat her accordingly – never make mention of or threaten divorce and choose your words carefully. A man must lead a family and not subjugate them by force or fear. You must nurture your wifes commitment to you, but ensuring that she is always secure in your commitment to her and to your marriage. Never take this commitment lightly, treat your wife, always, as if her commitment must be earned  – through the commitment itself does not need to be earned, her respect and trust do. Know in advance that there will be moments in your marriage when God and commitment will carry you through, and that without commitment to your covenant before God your marriage is doomed to failure – harming both you and your spouse irreparably.

Togetherness – All the hurdles and caveats life throws at you are going to be relying on you facing the challenges together. Whatever comes it is expected that you will work as a team to solve each and every crisis. Regardless of whether that crisis is emotional, physical, financial, professional, sexual, faith based, or something else. She is counting on you to help her, and it will be important to her to also help you. Remember that whatever hurdles you face, you will face them best as a well coordinated team who can react quickly to change, anticipate the other’s moves, and most importantly acknowledge each others strengths and weakness and understand which roles each is best suited to for any given problem. This may mean adjusting roles temporarily or permanently to best face your current situation in life. Work as a team not just to achieve those things necessary to your marriage, but also necessary to each others hearts and souls. The joy of shared experience is just as powerful as the bonding forged between two who share and overcome adversity together. Rather than let adversity tear you apart, let it bind you more tightly together. Rather than allowing marriage to overshadow each of your personal dreams and goals, make it a vehicle for you both to share in achieving them.

Love – Another one that seems obvious, however it is quite critical that you understand what this one means. Love does not mean liking someone, nor is love a feeling – rather that feeling is a symptom of love but not love itself. Love is a choice we make, and we must renew that choice each day. Love endures hardship and pain, it weathers squalls and storms. You cannot love one whom you do not accept as they are.  Your wife must be your best friend, your lover, and your partner through life. You must love God above all things, and love your wife above yourself – not as yourself, but below God and above you. She cannot return to you that which is not given to be returned. While romantic love and erotic love will come and go like squalls, and even hurricanes, throughout your marriage – your true love for each other must be like the ocean, fathomless and unending.

Trust – No love and no marriage can survive without this. Trust has more aspects than verbal honesty. Your wife must know you are being emotionally honest with her at all times. She is not a mind reader or clairvoyant and for her to learn to read you accurately over time she must really understand what you really think and feel. While she too must do the same, you need to make sure she feels free to do so. This means listening without judging her when she opens her heart to you, and for her to understand you – she must do the same for you. This is the basis of intimacy, for without feeling able to truly open up to each other and embrace not just what is outside – but what is inside we can never be truly intimate. Her sense of safety and security depend on her knowing that no harm will come to her. She is entrusting this care to you, you must never betray this sacred duty or her ability to trust in you will be lost. This does not always mean you will succeed, nor that you must do it alone – but together as God intended. By both of you acting selflessly for the good of the other party you will only increase that trust, and either party acting selfishly will serve to decrease or eliminate it. This applies to threats to your marriage that are violent, physical, emotional, financial, and otherwise. In short, she must trust unconditionally that you would never harm her nor knowingly allow her to come to harm.

There are a bunch of other things, I grant you – but after much introspection I believe that these are at the core. If you can manage these the others are extensions of them and will naturally follow.

Yours in Christ,

Colin

Father’s Day – A lesson Learned Far Too Late

10 Jun

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Sometimes you learn something about yourself and the meaning of life, just about the time when it’s usefulness to you is such that if you had been smart enough to figure it out from the start so many things could have been better.

Yesterday I learned something about Father’s Day. You see, I’m about as dense as a rock sometimes and thanks to a hectic work schedule days and weeks often flow together as I move from deadline to deadline. I’m sure a few of you will understand this in todays world. This means that I often lose track of holidays and such, but this past weekend due to some dramatic retooling of children’s activities my wife was equally harried. She lost track and thought Sunday was Father’s Day – and my brain, being like a colander when it comes to dates, didn’t recognize the difference. 

In our defense, the stores seem to start earlier and earlier with their ads and sales. It didn’t take me but a moment to realize that the children didn’t know the exact date either and that Debra could not take them shopping in time – nor dig out the arts and crafts they had so carefully and diligently crafted and painted for me before school had let out for the summer. I wondered if they realized that I had kept every present or keepsake over the years, and with four children I have quite a collection.  The ones not framed and hung in the hall are on the fridge or tucked away in an artists envelope bulging with a plethora of various media sitting on top of my credenza.

I poured over some of the many things that had accrued over the years – turkey’s made of handprints, first pictures, cubist family portraits, and sculptures that would make Ida Kohlmeyer swoon.

These mementos are wonderful, they really are. However, I cannot take them with me when I depart this life. Since I know this firsthand, I realized that I was missing the point of Father’s Day – and if not the point then we could say the real opportunity. It’s not a day so much for handcrafted gifts and dinner out somewhere you usually would not go. Instead, it is a day for making happy memories with your children. With that in mind I went to bed Saturday night, planning to do just that in the morning.

The kids were up early and very excited – but we had a rain interruption we needed to work around. A quick look at the weather forecast said if we hit City Park just between 130pm and 430pm we could nail the sunny patch that afternoon and do so to reduced crowds. Debra packed some snacks and drinks in the cooler and we took off at the appointed time. The children were unusually good because of course they thought it was Father’s Day. Making for a pleasant drive into the city.

We arrived at the park and proceeded to have fun together as a family. I made extra sure to spend one-on-one time doing activities and rides with each of the children. Lots of smiles and laughter for the day, and then about 430 right on queue the rain started and we all ran for the car, piled in, and headed off for a decadent snack at a french bakery (and to find a bathroom to change for Holy Mass).

By the time we got to Mass I was exhausted and sore, I had really overdone it. The children were exhausted too. The mass was beautiful though, and during the consecration I felt a warm glow descend on me with the feeling that next time I stand in judgement – this day would be one of my finest hours and my fondest memories. The best part of that feeling was knowing that while I would loose the keepsakes – the laughter and happy memories created that day were not just mine to keep – but they were also a gift to my children and my wife who seemed to positively glow with pride just watching things unfold.

I learned, and re-learned, a few things that day. First and foremost an appreciation for my mortality and the fact that we cannot count on tomorrows to do things with children, they grow up so quickly that even if we don’t die, their childhood is terminal and though the children will survive – they are only children for a short period of time. The things you possess that you can carry into the next life are love, memories, and regrets. Love your spouse and children as best you are able regardless of how far you fall from from the marks you set for yourself. Make happy memories with those you love whenever you can, they are a gift that pays itself forward and when you bring joy to others lives it not only brightens your life too, but all of God’s creation. As for regrets, choose your actions carefully as you will make enough of these as a consequence of being human and they too are things you will have to live with forever in a very literal sense. As a father, I have often found myself so tied up in providing food, shelter, and other necessities that I failed to take enough time out to provide the joy and attention I really wanted to. I’ve had enough obstacles to doing so in my life outside of my control that I could try to use that as an excuse and probably get away with it, but all that really means is that with fewer opportunities – a missed one counts for even more.

I hope that one day my children will find this post, and know that no matter what else they were loved more dearly than life itself – my sole concern was always for my family. I every effort to make to ensure that they could have a mother at home through their childhood, enough to eat, a safe neighborhood to live in, and a comfortable home. I hope that they remember the joyful times we shared together, the lessons learned the hard way and passed on to them, and most importantly that I was just an imperfect man. A man who realized later than he should have that he was the one missing out when their mother took them to the zoo or the park without him – whatever the reason was. Life hands out enough circumstances when you simply cannot be present to share a simple joy, make an effort to do so that will ensure that you never regret your actions – just the circumstances. Doing so will be its own reward in this life and the next, provide a precious gift to your family, and make you a better Catholic husband.

PS: I hope my daughters’ future husbands and my son read my entire blog – in the hopes that they can use what they find to improve their marriages and in doing so pay it forward to their children as well. There is no need for these lessons to be re-learned the hard way endlessly through the generations that follow.

Sincerely,

Colin Corcoran
cc70458@gmail.com

**Please feel free to write or comment on this post, I’d really like to hear from those that are able to have this experience and how it is changing their marriage, their wives, and their lives.

 

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