Tag Archives: change

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

The Sorrow of Ashley Madison and How to Fix It

19 Aug

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi,

Colin

Miscarriage – and What She is going through…

7 Aug

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

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

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

Uncertainty, Hope, and Waiting

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

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

              ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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

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

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

CLICK HERE TO KEEP READING!….

The Friday Abstention – Why I do it

28 Jan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi,

Colin

Let your Wife Drive…

15 Jun

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Let’s be realistic here. Too many men think Leading = doing everything for people. This can be especially disastrous in marriage, especially for wives – but also for families should you become ill or incapacitated. It has more localized effects and benefits as well, but the overall benefits to your relationship with you wife are the really important ones.

Have you ever been out fishing on a boat? I have spent an inordinate amount of my life on the water, and I noticed something different about our boat from the others for the first time yesterday. It was the only fishing boat with a woman driving. Why is that important you ask? Well I’ll ask you a few questions. If something happens to you can she pick you up safely and get the boat back to shore even if you’re unconscious? Could she do it in the same adverse conditions you could? In short, how can you truly function as a team if you can’t carry the other when necessary?

Stop for a minute and think how this lesson applies to your life together – everything from finances to basic property maintenance. To work as a team you need to help each other get the work done, not have one person helpless and dependent on the other for everything. A wife is not a thing to be kept, she is a fully capable human being ordained by God to stand beside you and be your helpmate. Don’t cripple her capabilities because of your insecurity and thwart God’s plan. You might even discover your wife is better than you at critical skills – this is a gift and makes you a better team. Never forget that you are on the same team, just as God himself ordained – and act accordingly.

Leadership in the family is not about doing for them and keeping them dependent. Leadership in the family is in loving them and making them fully self-sufficient, and not fully dependent on you. Make sure that you are never in a position where your wife thinks she couldn’t do something without you. Think about this, do you want her bound to you by need or by choice. Me personally – I want my wife to be with me because she wants to be with me more than anything else, not because she feels insecure and incapable of caring for herself. In fact, I have seen a number of relationships experience great difficulties when wives began to explore self-reliance much to the chagrin and disparagement, rather than than the active participation and encouragement, of their husbands.

If you lead your wife and family well, you will never question why your wife is with you, nor what binds you together. Fail to lead them and you will always wonder.

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

 

What the Church really needs IMHO

1 Jun

A meal shared in community after mass. (Local VFW since our parish hall is being renovated)

A meal shared in community after mass. (Local VFW since our parish hall is being renovated)

In a word – COMMUNITY.

I’ve been listening to people that keep espousing tripe like:

  1. Better Bands
  2. Hipper Priests/Married Priests
  3. Nicer buildings
  4. Women Priests
  5. Openly Gay Married Priests
  6. Drop the teachings on… Matrimonial Indissolubility, Artificial Contraception, Fornication, Homosexual Copulation, Homosexual Marriage, Murder and Abortion, Papal Infallibility, The Eucharist, Relic Veneration, Marian Devotion

I’m going to stop there for a reason. For the church to do ANYTHING past #3 it would cease to be the Catholic Church. In essence, most of the proposals I am hearing are superficial or simply out of the question.

Now for a dose of honesty in this conversation. The church teachings are used as an excuse not to come back – but the real reason in my humble opinion is a lack of connection to the Church. The Church is no longer an integral part of the family or the community. Without it families and communities  have fallen apart. The Church is wounded even more deeply by two generations of the poorest quality of catechesis, or lack thereof,  in history. We have too many who claim a lack of participation because they want to rule or govern some aspect of the church rather than humbly submit to her as willing servants and the current structure excludes them from doctrine and policy decisions. The sense of community has been lost. How long has it been since you had a social hour after church before people left? How long has it been since you shared a meal after mass with complete strangers in community (and not as a fundraiser – but one where not a penny was collected nor expected)? When was the last time you performed some act of service for your Church or Parish that involved real work from you – like cleaning the church, mowing the grass, moving things, repairing something — while working as part of a larger group of volunteers. The community must be made of people, not their cheques.

Just as fatherhood in this country has been erroneously abrogated to a monthly support check, so religion seems to have been abrogated to a tithing cheque or pledge. We have allowed both of these to happen. Worse still is a sense of entitlement that has accompanied this change. We have become arrogant and impetuous. Some have decided that because they write a cheque that suddenly they should have a say in Church policy and doctrine. It gets better still when people outside the church think that they too have a say. Acting as if the Church of Christ were a democracy. This represents nothing less than a confederacy of dunces in rebellion against God himself. God who personally founded the Church and set Peter at its helm. At some point it is my hope that we will see though it. Though it will not cure all ills, putting the church back at the center of the community is the surest way to bring people back. We need to have them fully personally invested, and teach the next generation the joys of serving lovingly without expectation or direct remuneration. All while notwithstanding the need for teaching them the faith.

You see the mass isn’t the problem, the doctrine and teaching of the Catholic Church is not the problem, faithful communities disappearing – that is the problem. Without those communities we are left standing alone, against a world which seeks to consume our very souls.  With strong communities we become a rock and the world an ocean, it can dash against us, and cover us, but we remain firm and faithful. Without those communities we are but gravel on a beach at the mercy of waves and tides.

To paraphrase JFK (our only Catholic President), ask not what the Church can do to serve you, but instead what you can do to serve the Church.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Annulment does NOT equal “Catholic Divorce”

7 May

nullcertificate170w170

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

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

Pay special attention to this paragraph from his article:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

A Rash of Unwanted Divorces – Prayers Needed

21 Apr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi,

Colin

How Americans have Failed the Church – and our Children

19 Apr

Buddy_christ

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

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

Pax Christi,

-Colin

40 Days of Fidelity

6 Mar


Fidelity

Now, I know you’re probably expecting a spiel about marital fidelity. That would be both admirable and in keeping with my modus operandi. However, today I think we need to take a moment to think deeply about fidelity in terms of our obedience to the Catholic Church. I want to offer you a challenge for Lent – and instead of asking you to give anything specific up, I’m going to ask you to do something positive that you may find unequalled in it’s therapeutic penitence.

fi·del·i·ty
fəˈdelətē/
noun
noun: fidelity

1. faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support.
“he sought only the strictest fidelity to justice”

I challenge you to Live the Catholic Faith in total obedience for just 40 days. For if you cannot be faithful to God – why should your spouse trust that you can be faithful to her? If you can rationalize away the doctrine of the faith – can you not also rationalize away the sin of marital infidelity? Not just sexual infidelity but emotional, financial, intellectual, and every other way.

It’s only 40 days – you’ll do best to arm yourself with a Catechism and the location of a nearby Adoration Chapel. You will need the first look up all the rules and their basis in scripture and tradition, the second to pray for the grace to joyfully submit to them when you find yourself faltering.

This means you abstain from meat on fridays or offer the alternative penance, that mass becomes more important than a soccer game. It applies to all the rules on how to treat your spouse, how you treat your work, your coworkers, your job, following the 10 commandments, and yes – even the teachings on social justice.

** Disclaimer – you should discuss this with your spouse ahead of time since an amazing benefit can be had if you work through this together, and it will take cooperation for you to fully embrace the teachings on the marital embrace and birth control. You might find this challenge does wonders for your marriage. Check out my post on the Expectations of a Catholic Husband for a primer of the changes you might need to make in that regard. My article on NFP might also provide some insight to help you accept the churches teachings on artificial contraception.

Call it a learning moment that is 40 days long. Don’t rationalize, quit arguing and struggling with your yourself via senseless attempts at human rationalization. Just submit to God’s will for your life as spelled out in the Catechism. Stop trying to be your own pope for a short time, and quiet your mind so you can hear God speaking to you in everyday things. If you falter or fall, get back up and persevere – see it through until the end. You’ll learn a great deal about yourself and your faith during the process.

By all means leave comments on this blog about accepting this challenge, how you are doing with it, and any issues you are having trouble dealing with. I will respond personally to every one I can. Living the faith for 40 days in all that you do will be an amazing experience full of trials and rewards – I hope at the end of it you find that you have gained so much more than you ever anticipated loosing, that you never look back and continue on the path.

God Bless and Keep You,

-Colin

Open Letter to Senators Vitter and Landrieu

7 Feb

Eucharistic Adoration

Senators David Vitter & Mary Landrieu,

I would like to draw your attention to this issue. It would seem that the values of the UN and our Constitution are in juxtaposition. The very foundation of our country is under attack by the new UN world government, which attacks our second amendments rights – compounded by an executive branch that signed the treaty knowing congress could never ratify it.

http://www.lifenews.com/2014/02/05/vatican-blasts-un-panel-demanding-it-change-its-position-against-abortion/

Feeling empowered by this, and using the Catholic Sexual Abuse scandal as a very flimsy and thin guise, they have set out to attempt to direct a religion to modify it’s beliefs to conform to their will. This is in blatant violation of our 1st Amendment rights. It is unthinkable for America or any other government to order a Church which had stood firmly on these foundations for over 2000 years that in order to comply with the new social order being forcibly mandated, they must Change Doctrine and Dogma (something the Church cannot do, even if they wanted to). All done in order to eliminate or reverse the church teachings on Abortion, Divorce and Remarriage, Fornication, Birth Control, Families, Homsexual Sex, and Homosexual Unions. I feel sickened that our government can participate in such a body with no respect for individual rights or freedoms to disagree and pursue a tried and true moral path. This same Institution which has told all the governmental entities before the UN, and it will tell all the ones after the UN, but right now it is telling the UN  – emphatically “NO!”

Make no mistake – it is tyranny when a governmental body starts dictating what doctrine a Church can hold.

I urge you in the strongest terms to take whatever measures are still open to you in our eroded democracy. To subvert the misguided executive power of the pen, the appointment, the executive order, the unratified treaty signing, and the phone – and to put an immediate stop to this by sponsoring a binding US Senate resolution supporting the right of the Catholic Church to maintain their religious and moral values, regardless of popular culture or pop-psychology. In addition, the resolution should condemn the UN body for attempting to impede the free practice of Catholicism – the worlds largest Christian Denomination.

Thank You and I will be praying for you,
Colin
https://catholichusband.wordpress.com

PS: Please share and tag your senators in this post! A Viral response will make it hard to ignore.

Love is Never Wrong? Not Exactly –

3 Feb

Love is Never Wrong“Love is never Wrong” – I keep seeing and hearing this slogan a lot, and it’s being used to justify morally a plethora of belief systems and deviant sexual practices which are immoral according to the Catholic Church. It’s simple, catchy, and even hard to argue about if you don’t think too much in the process. After all, who could stand against “Love” since Christ himself said it was the greatest commandment. However, what constitutes “Love”? When you understand that, then it is simple to love a person while rejecting their perversion of a core teaching of Christ himself. You see, the Greeks know all about “Love” – They even had 4 different words for it – each denoting a kind of “Love”. Jesus never used “Eros”, or intended it’s use, in His greatest commandment..

This brings me to my second point – “Love is always a CHOICE”. Humans have free will and control their actions. If  love were not a choice then Jesus’s admonishment to “Love one another as I have loved you” would have to be pure nonsense – yet it is the very verse which people like to quote the most. I have said this many times before and people still like to disagree on that point. Maybe this will put that disagreement to rest. When Jesus speaks of Loving, he speaks of Agape (Spiritual) Love – Not Eros (Erotic). This post will not even stop to take on the two other Greek words for “Love” Philia (Brotherly) and Storge (Offspring/Familial) – I can handle that in another blog.

So where did this catchy, but incorrect, slogan and de facto excuse for immoral behavior come from? You’ve likely seen it most commonly seen it used in banners, internet memes, and signs promoting gay marriage. However, it also makes appearances from time to time in support the following: Adultery, Pedophilia, Fornication, Bestiality, Divorce and Remarriage, etc… Before you accept this “Slogan” as a moral truth – ask yourself if you think it would be wrong for your wife of 20 years to run off abandoning you and the children to have sex with the milkman because she is in “Love”, a teacher to have sex with your underage daughter because they are in “Love”, if you were a farmer – is it ok to have a naked man with “Wellingtons” on to be out in the fields molesting your sheep? All because he is in “Love”.  Next the same line of thinking will be used to defend a rapist who couldn’t control himself because he was in “Love” with his victim, and since “Love is never wrong” how can we revile his actions or judge them?

You need to keep asking the same question when it comes to homosexual unions, polygamous unions, and  other perversions of the Sacrament of Matrimony. They too are morally wrong. If you allow this ridiculous justification to poison your mind, it opens a Pandora’s box of logical consequences that lead to “Love” being used to justify everything from immoral behaviour between consenting adults – all the way to the unspeakable horrors of pedophilia and rape.

Don’t be deceived – Love is a choice. Choices, by definition, can be wrong. Ergo “Love” is NOT always morally right. Deal with it – and stop pandering to that despicable slogan, while praying very hard for the deceived.

Yours in Christ,

Colin

Morally Speaking

29 Jan

pius-x

There comes a time in each of our lives when we must choose between being faithful to God, and being rejected or abandoned by those we once called friends. We must understand that we are not the ones making this decision – the people who would reject us for not jettisoning our faith to appease their conscience are walking away from us, we are not walking away from them. You see, it’s very hard for those enmeshed in darkness to tolerate the light of truth. Their dark lies are warm and comfortable, like a narcotic high – and just as seductively addictive. The bright light of truth is like a ray of sunshine in the eyes of a man recovering from a hangover. They will wince, and squirm, and even turn away. They will either to return to the bottle or sober up. When you shield that light by denying the example of Christ in confronting wrong then you deny Him. Think about it – every time you say the politically correct thing, rather than the faithful thing, you do nothing more than enable evil. People in darkness want it to feel normal, they want to feel approved of because they know in their hearts what they are doing is wrong. When you tell them what they are doing is not wrong, or that it is not your place to judge their actions (Not their person – Just the actions) then you are acting as an agent against God and helping them into perdition.

If your child was reaching for a hot stove would you not warn them away out of love, would you not comfort them if they failed to heed your warnings and got burned touching the side of a hot stovetop? One thing you would never do is tell them that it was OK to endanger themselves in that way. You would not be judging the child, only their actions. Just as this very basic principle applies to your family, in order to live your faith you need to practice it with those outside your family who you care about. Our priests, and especially our Bishops have this sacred responsibility in a most solemn manner for all humanity – as they must serve as an example of heroic virtue to others – Pope Francis has continually done this despite the media spin doctors attempts to paint him otherwise.

Mark 6:11
And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.

The internet can be befuddling for many Christians, too many voices all throbbing together in a confusing cacophony. However, just like in life – any real friend will accept you or reject you as you are. If you have to pretend to be something you are not, or to put your faith in check to avoid offending them; Well it is time for you to realize that they are NOT your friend. They are your captor, and you have just betrayed God for nothing more than the approval of a person stuck in the same tar pit you are. The person whose approval you need to worry about is God. He is the only person who can get you out of your predicament. However, you must reach out to him and accept his hand – just as they must do. To know what to do, they need to see your example of escape. They do not need to watch you drown in sin with them so that they can think that it is normal or OK to be swallowed up by the inky black tar and lost forever.

Jesus did not instruct that we should be overly persistent in trying to bring them to the truth as evidence by the quote above which is repeated in Matthew 10:14 and Acts 13:51. That said, Jesus also gave us from his personal example that we were not to let wrongs go unchallenged. He did not tell the adulteress that it was her body to do with as she pleased, he did not tell the money changers he respected their choices, and he most certainly did not tell his followers to keep on in their immoral ways and do what thou wilt. He offered mercy to the repentant, remember what he told the adulteress – “Go forth and sin no more”. Yet we have done so in our society, in the misguided sense that we can coexist with those who violate God’s law without upsetting them by calling out sin. Our children have fallen away from the churches because they hear our words, but they do not see any real conviction in our actions. In fact they see the opposite – and instead of 30 pieces of silver, we sell out our faith for the approval of others. We invite unrepentant perpetrators of evil actions into our lives and act surprised when it is we who are corrupted by allowing ourselves to tell the lie that “it does not really matter” so many times we make others and ourselves believe it. We are always called to love the sinner, but also to rebuke the sin. This is one of the Church’s hardest teachings. Hold firm to Church Doctrine. Pray for guidance. Love and know that it may never be returned. Accept that you will be scorned and rejected for doing so, but also know that you are following in His footsteps – and that means that you are surely on the right path.

St. Michael the Archangel, Pray for us all.

Sáncte Míchael Archángele,
defénde nos in proélio,
cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
Ímperet ílli Déus,
súpplices deprecámur: tuque, prínceps milítiæ cæléstis,
Sátanam aliósque spíritus malígnos,
qui ad perditiónem animárum pervagántur in múndo,
divína virtúte, in inférnum detrúde.
Ámen. 

-Colin

Kathryn’s Family Makes a Request

28 Jan

Kathryn

Kathryn’s latest status is below – I understand first hand just how much those cards, letters, and notes can mean. This is a child facing immense physical suffering, and a family faced with watching the child suffer and potentially die. The anguish for both parties is beyond description. It is a time when people feel helpless, afraid, and crushing grief at both the suffering and their inability to alleviate it. If you have a moment – please do send a card, if you have a minute write her a short note, and in you have a few minutes please write her a letter. You might also send a card or note to the whole family – letting them know that others care deeply about what is happening to them and offering what compassion and prayer that we can. No matter what the outcome, the most important things are to make sure that Katheryn feels loved and cared about, and that the family never forgets they are loved and not just held in the bosom of God – but by the arms of the Body of Christ. That last one means you and me.

Prayerfully,

Colin

*** REMINDER*****

A lot of you have asked to be called if we need your help in anyway!

HERE IS WHAT WE NEED FROM ALL OF YOU!!
Please do not count on someone else doing it!
I believe in the motto:

***** “IF IT IS GOING TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME!” *****

Please send NOTES, CARDS, HAND WRITTEN MESSAGES, and anything else that you think would help the family to the address below:

***** LETTERS/CARDS ********
All mail for Kathryn should be mailed to the following address:
KATHRYN GARDNER
857 Brownswitch PMB # 335
Slidell, Louisiana 70458

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!!!

##############################################################################

UPDATE POSTED 01.27.2014 @ 11:30 PM

Kathryn and her mom Kathy arrived at the hospital this morning for her chemo treatment. Over the weekend she developed a cold and so was placed in a small isolation room for her treatment. Her Ferritin level last week had risen to 3200, they are down to 1800 but it is because she is back on the steroids.

Because HLH is so rare, it is very difficult to treat and doctors are having to come up with different ways to attack it. The family has asked you to join them in praying for her doctors that they will think “out of the box”. Today they were told she will be started on 2 new medicines.

The first she will start today. The doctor told Kathy the pharmacy may have to order it since most pharmacies don’t keep it in stock. But as soon as they get it, Kathryn should start it immediately. The second medicine is extremely expensive and has never been approved for HLH patients. The doctors have contacted the insurance company for approval.

The way Kathy explained it was that it is a spectrum disorder with many different levels that range from juvenile onset arthritis to MAS to HLH (roughly).The second medicine has been approved for MAS patients and Kathryn’s doctors are hoping that she will get the approval since HLH is in the spectrum of the disorder. It will take 2 weeks to get the approval.

Another blow today was that they found sugar in her urine and it”s most likely steroid induced diabetes. She will have to start a strict diet and possibly even insulin. Those of you who are bringing dinners, please take this into account and prepare meals accordingly.

Doctors also officially requested approval from the insurance company to have all 4 of the Gardner girls tested by a simple DNA mouth swab. This is the first of several steps in preparation, should Kathryn need a bone marrow transplant in the future.

Kathy says they are emotionally spent and feel like they hit a wall today with this new information. We must not stop praying. Kathryn did not receive this horrific diagnosis alone, the whole family is affected by it. In many ways that we can’t even imagine, they are all suffering. Let’s lift them up daily, all of them. Kyle, Kathy, Kassidy, Brayden, Kathryn, Kymberly, Kristine and Karlie. This beautiful family needs our prayers.

As I write this, we are facing another winter freeze. Many of us will honker down for the next couple of days. If you haven’t done so yet, take some time to write them a letter. Have the kids draw a picture or jot a note. It will let Kathryn and her family know they are not alone, we are all here for them.

REMINDERS:

***** LETTERS/CARDS ********
All mail for Kathryn should be mailed to the following address:
KATHRYN GARDNER
857 Brownswitch PMB # 335
Slidell, Louisiana 70458

A Catholic Wife Responds

27 Jan

My beloved wife came across this article on Facebook, and had no trouble expressing her feelings about it. I’m quoting her here straight from her facebook post with her permission. Like and share if you agree with her. In the meantime, I’ll be praying for the author of the article with her.

This article might be better entitled “Arrogant, Angry, Ultra Feminist Fool Goes Off Half Cocked in a Flurry of Presumption and Cluelessness.”

Indeed I do feel I am just as well off as “women who take care of themselves.” I left a successful career to stay home and raise my children because I believe it is the most important thing I could be doing with my time right now. There is no reason why I cannot resume my career later or even start an entirely new one when the time comes. I am more than capable of thinking, choosing, and taking care of myself, thank you. I simply don’t measure success by money, affluence, or influence alone. I can think of no greater contribution to make of my life than raising my children to be independent, well educated, responsible adults of good character. This is a woman filled with anger and bitterness, and I simply refuse to live my life that way. She has every right to make her own choices. She has no right to make mine.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/01/26/feminist-blogger-titles-post-i-look-down-on-young-women-with-husbands-and-kids-and-im-not-sorry/

– Debra & Colin

PS: If you’d like to hear more from my wife – leave a comment and let her know.

Pray for the Ukrainian Priests and People

26 Jan

Priests of different faiths pray during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014. Thick black smoke from burning tires engulfed parts of downtown Kiev as an ultimatum issued by the opposition to the president to call early elections or face street rage was set to expire with no sign of a compromise on Thursday. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

This is not getting any press attention in our own media. While we are obsessed with Justin Bieber’s latest escapade, people are dying. The situation is dire and is sparking displays of heroism by both Catholic clergy and the laity. When you see the picture of the priests standing between the armed soldiers and protesters praying, remember that these are priests who are acting with heroic virtue. They deserve our prayers of support and our admiration. Take a moment to pray for the priests and the people of Ukraine during this time of turmoil.

Read the Vatican Radio article here (or Listen to it – there’s an Audio link)
http://en.radiovaticana.va/articolo.asp?c=767406

Click any picture on this page to take you to the source and relevant article for it’s original poster. Please take a moment to read some of the articles.

Ukrainian priests stand between protesters and riot police during an anti-government protest Monday in Kiev.

An Ukrainian priest speaks to riot police as they block Pro-European Union activists camping out in their tents on the Independence Square in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Dec. 11, 2013.

Living Faith

21 Jan

Sainte_therese_de_lisieux

Living your faith is something which fewer and fewer of us are doing today. We continually make compromises in our lives and place other things before God. I know, I know – not you right? I used to think so too – I’m still working on fixing it to this day. But seriously, when we fail to live our faith publicly it’s like lighting a candle then covering it a black box so nobody can see it. Faith is not something you practice just on sundays for 45 mins, maybe longer if the priest in long-winded in his homily. Faith is meant to be LIVED and not PRACTICED. Catholicism most especially, is meant to be integrated into our everyday life, in our homes, in our jobs, at the market, in every single thing we do each day.

This does not mean that we carry a bible, wear a honkin’ crucifix, sling a rosary through our belt and wander the streets admonishing sinners. Rather, this means we do the exact opposite. St. Francis said to “Preach the Gospel always, use words when necessary”. This important because we live our faith through our actions, not our words. Modesty is always good. That bible toting routine is not modest – the little rabbit foo foo method of spreading the gospel (by banging people eon the head with it) is not the answer. More importantly, this change is about you and not them. This is about change on the inside more than the outside. It’s a challenge with some fantastic rewards, even if you never get there but just keep trying.

We start with the small things. St. Therese said to do little things with great love. Little things are easier. You can pick just a few and start there, and then expand. You can do them while: preparing a meal, disciplining a child, dealing with a coworker, showing compassion for a stranger, performing your job, cleaning the house, even choosing groceries, or interacting with your spouse. You see those little things form the foundation for the big things. If you can’t take a little step successfully, then how can you expect to make a huge leap? Nobody expects you to be perfect, just to try to do everything with great love – nothing more. It is that conscious effort to do things with great love that is so powerful, and perspective changing. You’ll probably start feeling happier and more content in general after a relatively short time. This is the part where you discover the joy of serving God by serving others.

Next work on the moral conflicts in your life. Anytime you find yourself reasoning out why breaking a small moral rule is alright – STOP RIGHT THERE. Recognize that you are rationalizing it. Then reconcile the fact that you cannot be faithful in big things until you have learned to be faithful in small ones. This can mean many things for many people. Some examples to get you stated are lying, cheating, stealing, imagined adultery, even skipping church on Sunday so you can make a ball game. What are you saying to your children if you do that? That ball games are more important than God? Teach them instead to get up extra early for mass, or attend the vigil the night before. Show them that God comes first, your example will drive their own understanding of the faith – make it a good one. You’ll be amazed at the difference it will make in your faith as well.

You’ll find as you focus on the small things the bigger things seem to fall into place on their own. You’ll be amazed at the difference it will make when you make a conscious effort to do things for your wife with great love, not to just do them. Pretty soon you’ll find yourself doing everything for her with great love, when she sees your example and follows you in this practice it will fundamentally change your relationship for the better. It will improve your performance at work, your interactions with others, your compassion, your faith, and most importantly your happiness.

Yours in Christ,

Colin

Young Love – Young Marriage

7 Jan

Cutting the Wedding Cake as one

Like all of Marriage, How symbolic is the act of cutting the cake together. Showing that everything we do going forward will done by two working as one in purpose.

Young Marriage – This topic comes up a whole bunch. No matter which side you are on, I’m sure you have strong feelings about it. It could be based on what you were taught, or the damning statistics floated before your eyes, or the scary lectures given you by parents/peers/counselors, or on the plus side grandparents who were married at of before 20, parents who married young and made it, and the examples set by other couples you know who have made it work and are deliriously happy.

One thing to keep in mind is that if the person you plan on marrying is NOT the one, then no amount of waiting will make it so. If they ARE the one, then you risk losing them forever and always wondering the rest of your days what would have happened if you had just held that one when you had them. Let’s be honest – there is more to a potential spouse being the ONE than good looks, great pre-marital sex, being pretty, being pregnant, or even wanting to get married. What makes her the one is when you cannot imagine life without her, you are best friends, have no secrets, and the rose colored glasses have been sewn into your head. By that last bit about the glasses, it does not mean that she is without faults or that you cannot see them or are blind to them – but that you are able to effortlessly ignore them as inconsequential – nothing that gives you serious pause and nothing that you would expect to change later in life. In short – you love her exactly as she is, and are accepting of the fact that both of you will do a tremendous amount of growing and changing, over the next few years especially. You must understand that this is a lifetime commitment that cannot be abandoned or broken, that you are choosing your partner for life.

When we think of love, how do you know with all those hormones and so little life experience. I remember the words of my grandmother who raised me, who was also 14 or 16 when she married her soulmate – depending of which of her birth certificates you trusted more. When she asked me what I would do if they (my grandparents) disapproved of us getting married, I told her I would miss them terribly and I would hope for them to come around. She said to me that there were thousands more fish in the sea, was I so certain about his one that I was willing to give up fishing forever – and be always happy with my catch? Was I really that sure? When I looked her in the eye and said YES. She paused for a moment, then with a tear running down her left cheek hugged me and said I had their blessing. I was 19. I would turn 20 before we married, my wife a year younger within a few days! For those that are wondering no she was not pregnant, though it always came up as the first question from people who assumed it would be the reason we married young.

In truth we both KNEW that we had found the ONE and we wanted to be together forever. While it may not be right for everyone, it was right for us – and it has been right for a number of very long married couples I know, in fact the vast majority of them married well before 24. Those horrifying statistics on marriage failure, are reflective of people failing to keep their vows and work to stay in love. Was it rocky at times – VERY. Did both of us have to make unplanned sacrifices – YES. Did either of our lives turn out the way we had originally planned – NO. Hindsight being 20/20 – would we do it all over again if given a chance – WITHOUT HESITATION.

I cannot in good conscience discourage anyone from marrying young if they both have found the right person in each other, fully comprehend sacramental marriage, and at least think they are prepared and willing to face the challenges involved. The amazing bonds which can be formed in those formative years can be a bedrock for your marriage, the shared experiences in learning and growing can bring you closer together than you ever imagined, and as you grow and change you can fall in love with each other over and over again on an endless succession of mornings.

However, if one who wants to marry is selfish, narcissistic, and self-centered then no matter what else is there I suspect you will fail no matter what your age. If there is not a deep and abiding friendship and cooperation between you then you will likely fail – no matter how old you are. If you are not willing to adapt and embrace the changes life throws at you – then you will fail at any age. Most importantly, if either of you is unwilling to submit your will and your life to the service of the other before yourselves in all things then you will likely fail. Being older is going to take away many opportunities to grow together and make adaptation harder as you will both be different people with already set complex expectations – rather than having simple expectations including that you will have to adapt. Most importantly – you must both know in your hearts that you are their ONE and they are yours, marriage is not a place to settle for the “next best thing”.

If you have any doubts, a simple examination of conscious may be of assistance. If you were faced with a grave threat to your future spouse, but any intervention was not assured of success, would you hesitate (even a moment) to place yourself in the path of grave bodily injury or even death to protect her? If you answered yes, then you may have the ONE – since you feel sure that you value her life and well being above your own. If you answered no, you may want to stop and think about why you did not say yes – and whether it is that she is not the one – or whether you are just not ready yet to make such a commitment. Marriage is about readiness and willingness to commit ones life to the service of another and then keep that commitment, not about how old one is.

Please Give it Some thought –
-Colin

Kathryn Gets a Horrific Diagnosis – and Needs a Miracle!

31 Dec

katheryn

Everyone –

Kathryn has had some major setbacks in treatment – Please pray with us.

-Colin

UPDATED 01.01.14 @ 2:06pm.

Kathryn started the chemo treatment late yesterday afternoon. It was suppose to take 9 hours for first treatment. 40 minutes into the treatment Kathryn had an adverse reaction. Her fever spiked, her hands and fingers turned purple and her heart rate went up to 230 beats per minute. She yelled out in pain which awakened Kathy. The doctors immediately stopped the treatment. They got her settled down and were about to restart the chemo, when some of the results came in from an earlier spinal tap, indicating that she had a fungus growing on her brain. The Doctors had to stop all chemo treatments and immediately and start her on a round of antibiotics, which took 1.5 hours. After the antibiotics were administered, they re-started the chemo treatment at a lower rate late last night. The problem with the lower rate is that it will take 22 hours to administer rather than the initial 9 hours. She will have to go through 5 days of this type of treatment in the hospital.

As for the fungus issue, the doctors think it was in very early stages and it has been rectified.

The doctors have decided to do a liver biopsy today to identify what is happening with the liver.

The family is VERY STRESSED!! It seems that there is an obstacle at every turn and it is getting to them. PLEASE PRAY FOR STRENGTH AND COURAGE FOR THE FAMILY!!

##############################################################################

Everyone,

Katheryn has a diagnosis. I have included the infor from the family below. The news is heartbreaking – but in Christ there is always hope. Please keep her in your prayers. Have masses offered, send cards or notes of support, include her in your rosaries and novenas, and/or stop to remember her and that she is fighting for her life each day. Even the smallest actions done with great love will have a positive effect. Please do not forget her family – I know in their position I my suffering would be just as great watching the child suffer (I have been the one suffering in the hospital). I promise that every prayer matters – even small short ones. For many of us Christmas is not over – please continue Christmas by remembering her each day and offering a prayer on behalf of Kathryn and her Family with great love and compassion. Pray for her doctors as well.

Mark Shea offered the most eloquent prayer I think I have seen yet, and I am reposting it here for everyone:

Father, hear our prayer for her complete healing in body, soul, and spirit.  Give her caregivers grace, peace, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, skill, creativity, and the proper technology to assist in your healing work.  Give her and all who love her grace, peace, strength, consolation, faith, hope and love.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Mother Mary and St. Luke, pray for them all.

To everyone who has been praying, sent cards, notes, and even just kept her in their thoughts – thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Please Share or Repost this anywhere you see fit, church bulletin boards, prayer groups on social media, facebook friends, etc…

Yours in Christ –

Colin

##################################################################

REMINDER FOR EVERYONE THAT WANTED TO SEND CARDS:

All mail for Kathryn should be mailed to the following address:

KATHRYN GARDNER
857 Brownswitch Road
PMB # 335
Slidell, Louisiana 70458

##################################################################

UPDATE POSTED 12.31.13 @ 2:03 PM.

HELLO EVERYONE

The final diagnosis is that Kathryn has a very rare blood disorder. It is NOT Cancer, but it is treated in a similar matter.
She has Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH)

Here is some info on HLH and a link for you to read more about the disorder:

“Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare but potentially fatal condition in which certain white blood cells (histiocytes and lymphocytes) build up in organs including the skin, spleen, and liver, and destroy other blood cells. This causes fever and damages the liver and spleen, resulting in enlargement of these organs. HLH may be inherited or it may be caused by certain conditions or diseases including infections and immunodeficiency (inability of the body to fight infections). It most commonly affects young infants and children.[1][2] Treatment includes antibiotics or antiviral medications to treat or prevent infections, and chemotherapy and immunotherapy prior to allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation”

LINK: http://www.histio.org/document.doc?id=243

The good news is that Kathryn’s doctor Dr.Rishikesh Chavan, MD was a resident in Houston and worked under two doctors that wrote the treatment protocol for HLH patients.He is the one that finally identified the disorder when all the other doctors were stumped.

Kyle and Kathy are seeing GOD’s hand in all of this, because if they had not gone to Tulane Hospital, they would never have had Dr. Chavan as Kathryn’s doctor.

Starting today, Kathryn will be treated with chemo over the course of the next eight weeks. The doctors will monitor her progress and how she handles this first treatment. then the decision will be made on how the following treatments will be handled. Whether they will require additional hospital stays or not during the eight weeks of treatment.

One of the biggest concerns, that the doctors have is that her liver enzmes are at 2,000 and they should be at 35.

SO PLEASE PRAY THAT THE LIVER STARTS TO REPAIR ITSELF TO AVOID PERMANENT DAMAGE OR THE NEED FOR A TRANSPLANT.

Also, we have been asked by many people if they can send donations in for the family. I am currently setting up a special benefit account at a local bank for Kathryn. I will update everyone once I have this done.

PLEASE GOD, ALLOW YOUR HEALING MERCY TO FLOW THROUGHOUT KATHRYN’S BODY!!!

Kyle and Kathy Gardner have asked us to continue posting updates for them on this event page to answer the questions that many of us have. This allows them not to have to field so many phone calls.

So I will be posting updates as they call us with any new information. If you would like, please contact us directly via FACEBOOK messaging and we will answer any questions of their behalf for now.

##############################################################################

UPDATE*** POSTED ON 12.31.13 @ 8:56am,

The Gardner family is meeting with the Doctors this morning to go over the treatment plan.

PLEASE PRAY FOR THEIR DISCERNMENT THIS MORNING!!

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Emergency Update on Kathryn 12/30 7:48 pm CDT

30 Dec

Kathryn

I Just received this. For everyone praying for Kathryn – thought you should know ASAP.

EMERGENCY UPDATE!!!!!!!!!!!!
POSTED ON 12.30.13 @ 7:48 pm

The Gardner’s received a call from the doctor about an hour ago and were told to immediately bring Kathryn back to the hospital. Her liver enzyme levels are elevated from the test they ran on some of the blood that was drawn earlier today. They want to get her back on IV medication and prep her for treatment immediately.

THE FAMILY IS VERY CONCERNED, PLEASE PRAY THAT KATHRYN WILL GET THROUGH THIS BATTLE!!!

##############################################################################

POSTED ON 12.30.13 @ 5:16 pm

Today the Gardner Family went back to the hospital to review the diagnosis and discuss the plan of action for Kathryn and here are the results of that meeting.

The doctor’s have identified want she has as:
Systemic Onset – Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (SO-JIA).

This is the umbrella diagnosis under which they are classifying this disease. There are a spectrum of different symptoms and additional diseases under this diagnosis, so the doctors took more blood today and are sending it off to Cincinnati, Ohio for some additional testing to confirm their findings as to what phase/stage Kathryn is in to start the proper treatment. They want her to return in 10 days once those results are in.

This disease has attacked Kathryn’s immune system and muscular system making her weak and susceptible to sickness, therefore she will not be able to attend regular school, so the family is setting up a home study plan with the school system for Kathryn to continue her education, this maybe for approximately four weeks and then maybe she can start back to school on a part-time basis.

PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR KATHRYN!!

##############################################################################

REMINDER FOR EVERYONE THAT WANTED TO SEND CARDS:

All mail for Kathryn should be mailed to the following address:

KATHRYN GARDNER
857 Brownswitch Road
PMB # 335
Slidell, Louisiana 70458

-Colin

Anniversaries and What They Mean

30 Dec

Anniversary Watch

Anniversaries. What do they really mean? Another year has passed and a sacrament has survived?

Let’s be honest we take great pride in hitting milestones like 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, 20, 25 years. We do this because so many marriages do not make these numbers. Too often we place far too much stock in the celebration and recognition of these events – to the point that if one partner forgets the date or does not provide some token of affection a fight ensues and recriminations begin.

I love presents, a nice dinner out, and mind blowing sex as much as the next guy – and likely more. However, these things are not what an anniversary is about for me. Given they joyous effects of neurosurgery on long term memories – our early years are somewhat patchy. Please indulge me while I explain what I have thought of for the last 15 anniversaries.

Yesterday was our 22nd anniversary, and it’s funny that it is a gift I received on my 7th anniversary from my beloved wife that I still wear every day is a continual reminder of her selfless love. It’s a watch, that never needs batteries (Kinetic), like our love it is powered just by being ourselves. To understand I have to explain about me and watches – I kill them. Wind up or digital is no matter – on my wrist they all quit ticking and tocking or beeping in hours – days if I’m lucky. The wind up ones often ended up with hands bent inside the cases. Call it an occupational hazard of sorts. She wanted me so badly to have a watch that she searched high and low. She knew I had pinned a very small ad for this particular watch by the side of my desk among other papers for some years. Sapphire crystal, plain and simple – no “bling” at all, kinetic (No battery – powered by a slow leak capacitor), made of pure titanium (non-ferrous so no magnetic field issues), and more expensive than a used car. The Service Merchandise chain or Jewelers was still going in those days and she went in to look at after Christmas sales – they had one left and it was on clearance, cheap – under $1000 (This was 15 years ago!). It was still very expensive, but she was sure it was for me – her heart told her so. She carefully explained my history with watches, the salesman brought out that very watch and included a promise in writing that they would take it back unconditionally if I managed to kill it. She wanted to have it engraved but the back was sapphire crystal as well so the inner workings could be viewed if one desired and the crystal could not even be scratched by their engraver. She bought the watch and brought it to our dinner out that night.

While we waited for our food I could see fear or trepidation in her eyes. She was nervous and scared, I got nervous – it was the 7th year after all – and things had been rocky at times that year, but I thought we had really grown and bonded more deeply through the adversity. Now I wondered. She turned to me and said “I got you something special, I spent way too much money – please don’t be angry” and passed the box over. I about fell out of my chair when I opened it and the outrageously expensive watch I had admired, but never thought I would own, was in the box. You could have knocked me over with a feather, I was speechless. She was worried and hurriedly explained that she had gotten it on super sale, she could take it back, that it couldn’t be engraved to her disappointment, and that it came with a money back guarantee my body could not kill it. I’ll never forget the look in her eyes. They were truly windows to the soul for her that night. She had done something beyond selfless to make me feel loved and wanted, to let me know that she was not just listening to me – but noting and absorbing every detail of my being and though I had never said a word to anyone – she knew about the watch. She wanted more than anything to make me happy, to know that I was loved, and that she cared very deeply about those things I wanted in the depths of my heart that I had put aside to take care of her and our daughter. Tears welled up, I was touched in a place I had never been touched before – this feeling was new and joyous, and heartrending at the same time. I had no equivalent gift to offer. I looked into my heart, painfully aware that I was lacking and did not deserve this kind of love. I resolved that moment to keep trying to be the husband she deserved – not that I ever was, or have been successful in that endeavor.

I still keep trying. To this very day I still keep trying to match her in just that one moment. I know her moods, her body language, her smell, her eyes to the point I can often know whats she is thinking by a flash or glimmer in her eyes – and just as often as if by telepathy. I have tried my best to return that gift, but nothing will ever be enough. While the watch is a symbol as important to me as my wedding band because of the turning point in our marriage it represents – the gift was knowing unequivocally just how loved I was. Knowing that nobody deserves that kind of love, and that it is a gift to be accepted graciously and returned of the best of your ability. I am still trying to return a gift given 15 years ago – one that opened my eyes and my heart, everyday. She deserves it. In fact, she still deserves better.

That is what anniversaries mean to me. Like New Years they are an opportunity to reflect objectively on our marriages and identify those things we could do better – then resolve to make it so. That doesn’t mean that the other accoutrements are not nice or important – but that we should always use them to look ahead and not behind.

Yours in Christ,

Colin

The Indissolubility of Marriage

3 Dec

conjoined ringsGiven the recent state of the Media and some very suspicious statements from an unidentified Vatican Representative also in the news have led to the wildest of speculation bringing joyful adulation from the progressives and furtive searches for the nearest SSPX parish by faithful “Traddies”. Saying something will be discussed in a Synod is not in any proof that heresy will occur. It is both right and good for the Catholic Church to look for ways to reconcile them or ease the suffering of these divorced and remarried Catholics who have trapped themselves in grave mortal sin while respecting Doctrine and the Sacraments. Nothing has been said thus far which indicates any other purpose to the Synods’s deliberations. In fact the Vatican has already clearly reaffirmed that permitting Divorce is not on the table.

The Indissolubility of Marriage is an Infallible Catholic TeachingBTAR  – Navy Radioman lingo for “Break Text, End Transmission, No Response Required” commonly used by crotchety Chiefs and Petty Officers to quiet the protests of mewling Seamen. It is not up for debate, nor can the Pope change this teaching or attempt to without becoming the first Pope in History to teach Heresy.

Here is the basis for that infallibility –

“Matrimony was not instituted or re-established by men but by God; not men, but God, the Author of nature and Christ our Lord, the restorer of nature, provided marriage with its laws, confirmed it and elevated it; and consequently those laws can in no way be subject to human wills or to any contrary pact made even by the contracting parties themselves.  This is the teaching of Sacred Scripture (Gen. I, 27-28); it is the solemnly defined doctrine of the Council of Trent, which uses the words of Holy Scripture to proclaim and establish that the perpetual indissolubility of the marriage bond, its unity and its stability, derive from God Himself (Council of Trent, Sess. XXIV).”  (Pius XI: Encycl. Casti Connubii, 31 Dec. 1930, M. 267.)

Or we could fall back on the words of Jesus Himself, don’t worry it does not take a rocket scientist to understand this, it’s quite simple and clear –

Luke 16:17-18

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fall.

18 Every one that putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her that is put away from her husband, committeth adultery.

Next, we can discuss about how it is also Infallible Church Doctrine that one must be free of mortal sin in order to receive communion. This poses a serious problem for divorcees who have remarried as they are Adulterers in God’s eyes regardless of society’s permissive attitudes. This means that they are always in a state of GRAVE MORTAL SIN and therefore ineligible for communion. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is abused if the recipient does not truly intend to cease the sin and sin no further – so unless the adulterer discards his false spouse and reconciles with his rightful one or discards his false spouse and lives chastely, there is no valid way to just give them absolution before each mass. Abuse of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is again in itself a GRAVE MORTAL SIN – which would once again prevent participation in the Sacrament of Communion.

There is some hope, as the Catholic Church will grant an Annulment if the marriage can be proven invalid. This is easier said than done, as many will attest. It is a long and painful process designed to heal hearts and restore the spirit. You might think of it like physical therapy for the soul, it hurts – but it is not done to hurt you but to help you. The problem with this approach is that people who have grounds for an annulment usually already have them, those who have no legitimate grounds simply waste their money and the Church’s time needlessly.

Why is this a big deal, you ask? Because, many people end up divorced through no fault of their own, and even over their explicit objection. While the spouse who left goes on to marry their paramour, to keep in communion with the Church and it’s Sacraments they must remain Chaste. They deserve our compassion, our love, our caring, and our community to rally around them. The errant spouse also deserves compassion and love, but never acceptance of their adulterous relationship.

While some might argue that this is an issue of Justice for the aggrieved spouse who must remain single but can still receive the sacraments. A greater injustice is perpetrated by forcing them to sit in Church next to their adulterous spouse and their false spouse/adulterer while they too receive the sacraments in a state of grave mortal sin. It would serve as a tacit endorsement by the Church of Divorce in contradiction of Infallible Doctrine (Heresy). Such a thing demeans The Church, The Sacrament of Marriage, and the Sacrament of Communion, and the Papacy. What does it say to the children in the congregation? What does it say to the other married couples – especially those going through a trying time in their marriage but determined to make it work because their faith requires it of them? In fact, the Church of England was formed over the Church’s refusal to grant a divorce to King Henry VIII – many were martyred for their faith in this infallible teaching at that time. Such an action would be spittle in the eyes of those martyrs. The persecution of Catholics in the UK over the split caused by upholding this doctrine remains to this day, one only needs to think of Ireland or the fact that Tony Blair did not convert until he was out of office because a Catholic cannot be prime minister in the UK.

So what does the Church already do? Those adulterers are always welcome in Church. They may receive a blessing from the priest in lieu of communion. They may sit in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and they may be counseled by a priest about how best to remedy their situation – often one which becomes even more heartbreaking when children are involved. They may receive assistance in filing for an annulment if there are bonafide grounds for such. The Church did not create their sin, they did – and only they can reconcile it with God and the Church. These rules of the faith are so basic and fundamental that even children know them. The Church is eternal and not progressive, God does not change his mind.

The fact is that any solution has to be grounded in doctrine, and not opposed to it. Doctrinally, there can be no Communion for remarried divorcees, nor any other soul with unreconciled mortal sin. As Catholics, we take our Sacraments very seriously because we experience their power in our daily lives. The fact that these people feel the heartbreaking suffering because they have distanced themselves from God by their sin and further still by knowing he is but a decision away. The solution is that a decision must be made, one cannot have their faith and subvert it too. Each person must decide whether or not God is more important than whatever they think their adulterous marriage has gained them and make a choice. It is a basic choice between good and evil – and then they must make penance and reparation as is possible to their spouse and the heart rending suffering they have caused them through their actions. Even if reconciliation is no longer an option.

What we can do as Catholics is to keep all such Catholics, trapped in a living Hell of their own making, in our prayers. Most especially the children and spouses whom have been dragged innocently into this hell with them. I would also pray for the Synod that they can find some way within the confines of Cannon Law to improve the spiritual lives of the afflicted individuals and help them to bring them into full communion. May God grant them the strength and faith to do what is right.

Sincerely,

Colin

Marriage Isn’t For You

3 Nov

This is an excellent post about Marriage which highlights the most important thing everyone should understand going into it – It’s NOT ABOUT YOU.

Marriage Isn’t For You.

Great Job Seth!

Colin

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