Tag Archives: good

The Friday Abstention – Why I do it

28 Jan

kippers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi,

Colin

The Pope Tweets on Marriage!

9 May

For my readers –
This will sound very familiar. Please share as widely as possible so that everyone might be blessed by this wonderful truth!

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

 

My Wife’s Surprise Facebook Post

26 Apr

Before you get all excited – the surprise was not in the content of the post. The surprise was in the eloquence and simplicity of the presentation. While our society may not agree, they would have to experience it first to have any basis for comparison.

Here’s her post –

Marriage isn’t just another relationship. It isn’t just about making you happy or making sure you always get yours. It isn’t about finding the perfect person who has nary a fault to annoy you. There is no room for selfishness in marriage. It is a sacrament, a life long covenant of love and service to one another, and a vocation, just as is the priesthood. It is not meant to be broken when you are no longer getting what you want. It is all about giving selflessly, 100%, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It’s about lifting each other up, facing all life’s challenges as one, caring for one another, and loving despite our faults. Marriage is not about you. It is about committing yourself to another, and the ultimate goal is to love your spouse right into heaven.

In our materialistic society, where it seems everyone is concerned with the question, “what’s in it for me?” this kind of relationship seems impossible. But with Christ’s grace, it is not only possible, but a little glimpse of heaven on earth. It will require, though, that you make a total commitment to your spouse. Give everything! Yes, this makes us frighteningly vulnerable, and you must trust your spouse to do the same. Therefore, choose wisely, not based on hormones and fleeting emotions alone, and pray for one another that you may keep Christ before you and both remain steadfast in your commitment to Christ and each other.

I am bothered by how often I hear things like, “I’m not doing that for him. If he wants it, he can do it himself.” Marriage is about what we can do for *each other* not because we can’t live without the other, but because we choose to live with and for each other! Or worse still, I hear, “If I do that for her, what’s in it for me?” A stronger marriage and more love in your life! Yes, you have to be willing to sacrifice for each other! We don’t get to plan on having only the better and never the worse, only the richer and never the poorer, or only health and never sickness! If you aren’t willing to go all in for your spouse, whether there’s something in it for you or not, you aren’t ready for marriage. If you’re already married and finding keeping it together a struggle, time to change your perspective! First thing to banish? Keeping score! It’s not a sports event.

Pax Christi,

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.

The Dignity of Work – “Work is for man, not man for work.”

24 Jan

Dignity of Work

I saw some interviews with Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” fame recently. Apparently he has developed quite a deep understanding of the dignity of work. Over the years I too learned to appreciate the dignity of work and the rewards of a job well done. I think it was in the military that I had the biggest impression made on me. You see in a military unit – every single piece is important. If any one piece falls down on the job people die. It’s not a joke or a game, it literally is life and death. You might think a the drudgery of standing a firewatch is intolerable until you are the nozzleman on the firefighting team because someone else didn’t do their job and people are now dead and injured, property is destroyed, and the entire unit is exhausted all because one person did not think his job was important enough to pay attention and do it well. The Captain of a ship may be the “Quarterback” of the team, but he is also master and commander under God. You learn quickly that you work together or you die together – and make no mistake, people die in the military in peacetime as well as war. This means everybody – even the seaman recruit standing the fire watch is critical. There is no unimportant job.

Well that’s great you say, this isn’t the military and I’m not in the military. True for some of you. However, you could still take away a lesson from my experience. Treat every worker with dignity, their job is important whether you see it or not. Treat every job you do with the care, dignity, and love due it. Imagine how many would go hungry if there were no cashiers at the grocery store, or how many would starve if there were no more farmers, the sanitation disaster if there were no trash people, and so forth. We all labor together to make our society function and no person’s labor should be considered less than another person’s, in short we need to bring pride and dignity back to work, rather than glorify those who manage to avoid it or live off the labors of others without laboring themselves.

If you don’t believe me then here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say on the subject:

2426 The development of economic activity and growth in production are meant to provide for the needs of human beings. Economic life is not meant solely to multiply goods produced and increase profit or power; it is ordered first of all to the service of persons, of the whole man, and of the entire human community. Economic activity, conducted according to its own proper methods, is to be exercised within the limits of the moral order, in keeping with social justice so as to correspond to God’s plan for man. 209

2427 Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another. 210Hence work is a duty: “If any one will not work, let him not eat.” 211 Work honors the Creator’s gifts and the talents received from him. It can also be redemptive. By enduring the hardship of work 212 in union with Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth and the one crucified on Calvary, man collaborates in a certain fashion with the Son of God in his redemptive work. He shows himself to be a disciple of Christ by carrying the cross, daily, in the work he is called to accomplish. 213 Work can be a means of sanctification and a way of animating earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ.

2428 In work, the person exercises and fulfills in part the potential inscribed in his nature. The primordial value of labor stems from man himself, its author and its beneficiary. Work is for man, not man for work. 214 Everyone should be able to draw from work the means of providing for his life and that of his family, and of serving the human community.

I’m especially enamored with that second to last part – “Work is for man, not man for work”.  There is a serious misunderstanding about providing for a family in America today. They need to have food, a roof over their heads, a warm and safe place to sleep, healthcare, transportation as necessary, and the ability to pursue their dreams. What they do not need is a plethora of useless things, faster cars, million dollar houses, etc… All provided by money which is earned by sacrificing yourself to your job. You see, the most important thing your family needs is YOU. I suspect a great many marriages fail because people don’t get this one simple fact, money is not a substitute for “being there”. You can only take love, memories, and regrets when you leave this life – don’t let your love die because you mistakenly thought that all that “stuff” was making up for it. Don’t miss out on memories just to get more “stuff” which will end up going to a landfill someday, or a taxman if you don’t spend it all. Most importantly, remember this life can end at any time – find a job that you love to do, that provides so that you can live without need without having to violate your family time, personal goals, or most importantly you relationship with your wife. Remember your wedding vows to Love, Honor, and Cherish did not include getting filthy rich while destroying your marriage in the process. Do something you enjoy. Not only will you do better at it, but you will enjoy it more and your work will be a joy instead of a burden to share with your beloved.

This is one I had to learn the hard way; Please avoid that path for your sake, your wife’s sake, and the sake of your children. They need YOU as a father, not the just the money you generate as only a provider. Your marital responsibilities cannot be abrogated by a check. Please think about it. Nobody has “He worked really hard and ignored his family” on their tombstone. What do you want yours to say?

Prayerfully Yours,

Colin

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 Finally Home – On Outpatient Chemo

6 Jan

Kathryn

All,

I wanted to make sure I passed on this latest update that Kathryn is finally home and doing outpatient Chemotherapy. It is truly a wonder to watch prayer work in the lives of others around you. It is a reminder of God’s love ,and in the inherent goodness of humanity. I hope that those of you who have prayed for her find great joy and reinforcement in of your faith in her recovery, as I do. When so many pray together the heavens are stormed, and when they pray in humility and God chooses to grant their request it is an amazing thing. Please continue to pray for her and her family, and remember that each of you had a part in both her survival and her recovery. Whatsoever you have done for the least of his people – THAT you have done for him.

PLEASE REPOST OR REBLOG AS WIDELY AS POSSIBLE  TO SPREAD THE WORD TO ALL WHO HAVE BEEN PRAYING.

With the Greatest Love – and Deepest Faith –

-Colin

POSTED 01.06.14 @ 8:29 PM.

Kathryn went back to the hospital for her two hour chemo treatment today and her body handled the treatment without any complications and she was able to come back home tonight. Her blood levels continue to improve. Kathryn will be doing these two hour chemo treatment twice a week for the next eight weeks.

Kathy will be meeting with Kathryn’s school teachers tomorrow to start setting up the home study program for Kathryn so that she can get back on track with her education.

If anyone can help with dinner for the family on Monday’s and Thursday’s That would be AWESOME. These are the two days each week that Kathryn has to go to her chemo treatment and it is an all day affair.

PLEASE CONTACT MARIANNE BELL @ 985.285.5359 SHE WILL BE COORDINATING THE MEAL SCHEDULE FOR THESE TWO DAYS.

Please continue to pray that Kathryn’s body can continue to handled all the chemo treatments over the course of the next eight weeks. The treatments are making her weak, but she is in good spirits, so your prayers are definitely working!!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE, SUPPORT, AND PRAYERS!!

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UPDATE POSTED 01.05.14 @ 9:38 pm.

GREAT NEWS!!!
The doctors have allowed Kathryn to come home today. Her blood level and her liver indicators are all starting to get down to normal levels.

She will have to go back tomorrow, Monday, January 6 ,2014 for a two hour chemo treatment again, but they are hoping that it will be as an outpatient only and that she will not have to stay in the hospital. She will then have to go back again on Thursday for another chemo treatment. For now the doctors are thinking she will have two chemo treatments a week for eight weeks.

During this time period her immune system will be very weak and vulnerable to any sickness, so please call the house before you just pop in for a visit, as the chemo treatment will be very exhausting for Kathryn.

PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY THAT KATHRYN CAN HANDLE THE CHEMO TREATMENTS AND THAT THEY WORK!!

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UPDATE 1.4.14 @ 9:18pm

The Gardner Family, want to thank all of you who were able to attend the prayer service last night as well as those who prayed with us from home. Kathy was overjoyed to hear us recount the details of the evening. Today Father Rareshide visited Kathryn! What a blessing! She was also visited by her sisters and cousins. I am sure that wore her out.

Kathy told us the most recent blood tests revealed that the liver enzymes are still going down and are now at 98!That is almost normal.
Her Ferritin level is down to 15,000 from 40,000.

Because these numbers continue to go down, it looks good that she will be able to go home tomorrow. Then she will have to return for outpatient chemotherapy treatments on Monday.

Prayer Warriors, she is not out of the woods yet. Kathryn still has a long way to go. We do know that GOD is on our side and He is definitely walking with Kathryn on this difficult path. Please continue to pray that Kathryn stays strong and her body will handle these treatments.

I encourage each of you to write her a letter or have your little ones draw a picture (her favorite color is purple) and mail it to her at the following address:

KATHRYN GARDNER
857 Brownswitch PMB # 335
Slidell, Louisiana 70458

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!!

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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

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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

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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.

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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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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

Sex Every Day for a Year!

11 Sep

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WARNING: This post contains subject matter suited only to married couples. I’m interested in my readers thoughts on this one (especially those of the Catholic clergy, or those that have tried and succeeded or failed trying this). For me this is a thought experiment only, where I’m working through all the pros and cons and researching aspects of it in the Cathechism (as the author is a Baptist apparently). Confidential submissions/reports will be kept so and can be sent to cc70458@gmail.com

I had heard of this a while back, http://www.amazon.com/365-Nights-Intimacy-Charla-Muller/dp/0425222578, when the book was being promoted. It’s hit the news again recently on CNN too.  Seems a couple made a splash announcing their success at completing the program and decided to interview on national television. Warning book spoiler – A wife makes “sex every day for an entire year” a gift to her husband for his 40th birthday, then writes a bestseller from the diary she kept on her effort. She also keeps an ongoing Blog here on WordPress (http://charlamuller.wordpress.com/) that details what follows that rather large experiment.

Some of my initial thoughts on this are:

  • A year is a very long time. I would think making it a whole month might be a reasonable while very challenging goal
  • The author of the book gave this to her husband as a GIFT, as all sexual relations in a marriage should be given in that spirit. I suspect that to make it through any period of time each would be in a position of truly making a gift to the other of themselves, possibly for the first time in their marriage as physical gratification gives way to emotional gratification as the primary driver
  • The author made a big deal of effective birth control. As a Catholic, pregnancy is pretty darned likely under these circumstances. Birth Control is RIGHT OUT – So this is a great challenge if you are hoping to have children, but not so practical for those who are not open to life.
  • Performing on command can be equally difficult for both spouses, men too after the first week or two (just being honest here). This will probably mean that both spouses will have to find ways to build the desire in each other up each day through looks, touches, calls, notes, etc…
  • I cannot argue with the underlying premise, that an accelerated level of sexual coupling will have rather dramatic effects on the sacrament of marriage if the marriage is stable, but if it is unstable it could also be the catalyst for the demise of the sacramental bond
  • It can take lust out of the equation over time – letting people explore love and intimacy without raging hormones dictating words or actions
  • It can be a huge learning experience for both parties about themselves and each other as pretenses are dropped and honesty is injected into the lovemaking process about our likes, dislikes, and feelings about sex
  • It does force a habit of making time to be intimate with each other, and keeps people thinking about how to fulfill the commitment each day
  • It poses a risk of resentment when either party learns enough about the other that they no longer see submission and participation as the same thing. If either party realizes that the other is regularly just submitting it can be either very educational or very damaging to the marriage depending on the real reason
  • It can have positive effects of encouraging spontaneity and enable people to learn to enjoy their spouses pleasure and excitement as much or more than your own, learning to sacrifice yourself joyfully is key to marriage in general for both spouses. Its not that you have to necessarily want the sex itself, so much as you necessarily have to want to be emotionally close and bring joy to another (husband or wife). If you just want to get it over with before your gum looses flavor it’s going to have a detrimental effect

While I can see the potential good, I fear the potential emotional and spiritual damage many could be exposed to as the barriers so carefully erected to preserve their true feelings about the marital embrace and their spouse will be eroded away not like a sand castle washed away by an incoming tide, but instead destroyed by a tidal wave. While washing away those barriers is not necessarily bad, if we are not willing to accept what we learn in a loving and constructive manner and do something to fix it then disaster looms. This can be much harder when it happens very quickly. Our emotions often run very high and close to the surface when it comes to sex, and when humans get emotional they often say exactly what they mean in the worst possible and least constructive manner. Here thar be Dragons…

The honest truth is that I want my wife to be with me intimately not because she is obligated to by a promise or a vow, but because she wants to and can think of nowhere in the world she would rather be physically or emotionally. After almost 22 years of marriage this conviction has only gotten stronger over time. Anything forced from within or without, I fear would do more harm than good – no matter who does the forcing.

Food for thought,

Colin

For My Beloved Wife

31 Aug

My Wife With Mickey Mouse

My Wife With Mickey Mouse

For my beloved wife:

I would like to take a moment to “out” myself as being hopelessly in love with my wife of over 21 years. Call me crazy, but I look at her and still see the lovely girl I married all those years ago. Of course, it’s one thing to say it to her in in our home, on the phone, when passing her in kitchen, when waking up, or going to bed – but I wanted to say it more loudly, without shouting it from the rooftop.

My wife is a woman of very deep emotion, and often few words to indicate what swirls in those depths. I cannot usually read the details, but the emotions are loud and clear most of the time. This year her birthday was a milestone at that point in life when birthdays just serve as a reminder how much older you’re getting. As usual, disasters tend occur on her birthday – either environmentally catastrophic ones like Hurricanes Isaac and Katrina, or personal ones like children destroying old photographs, the cat shredding the VHS video of her wedding, or the children shattering one of her favorite things. This year circumstances conspired with me to do something for her and the children simultaneously (our youngest daughter would turn 7 our first day at Disney!) and avoid the birthday disaster zone for her. I wanted to give her memories, happy ones. Both of us are big fans of Disney in general and I dare say we would both call it our “Happy Place”. Her parents never took her as a child. So when we first went to the one in Anaheim while I was stationed in San Diego, she too was hooked. I thought about this beforehand and moved heaven and earth in the background to make it happen for the whole family – so we would all have those memories together.

You see, of all the things I could give to her or the children – happy memories are one thing they can never break, never lose, and they can never be stolen. The best part is that when viewed in hindsight even the small burbles in the trip are filtered out by the brain and the happiest moments are the ones in sharp focus. We have both reached a point where neither of us want things anymore. I still bought her a bouquet of flowers on her actual birthday and took her to dinner – but did not bother with trying to purchase useless trinkets to clutter our lives or desk drawers. One day both of us will be gone, and unless we are very lucky (like a few recent couples in the news) we will endure some period of time on earth with nothing but our memories of each other to sustain us outside of God. After we are gone from this world, we will only exist in the memories of our children and the memories of people whose lives we managed to touch in some special way. Make those memories happy ones.

Literally a couple of weeks prior I had taken her and the whole brood, unexpected by everyone in both the style we stayed and the timing, to DisneyWorld in Florida. Our 7 year old got to eat with Winnie the pooh for lunch, and attended Cinderella’s wedding banquet and got to meet the entire wedding party for dinner! My wife loves the characters, as much as the children – and all the roller coasters you can find. I saw to it that they got to eat lunch and dinner almost every day in a character dining experience and put them in an upscale resort, instead of the value resort or the Days Inn an hour away. Having done Disney many times over the years – this was by far the best trip of them all. We had time in the middle of our park hopping to enjoy the nice resort, and with the deluxe dining plan the ability to sample restaurants and cuisine at the parks finer venues which thrilled my culinarily inclined wife to no end. The children cheered over not having to eat chicken nuggets or Pizza every time we supped, as the quick service value dining plan reduced us to previously. Most importantly, the week was filled with smiles and happy memories of time together for all from end to end. (Highly recommend the Port Orleans Riverside Resort, Park Hopper passes, and the Deluxe Dining Plan!)

Whether you are a Catholic or not, there is a lesson here. Life is not about money or things, it’s about experiences and memories. Whether they be catching a fish, floating a river, exploring a cave, hiking in the woods, throwing a ball, playing a game, floating down a river, going to the beach, or going to Disney World. Memories are more valuable than things – all the expensive gifts in the world will never make up for your presence, for saying I love you, and for all those moments we fail to take the opportunity to make a happy memory. What do you think?

Yours in Christ,

Colin

My Birthday, and The Gift that Keeps on Giving

24 Aug

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Today I get another day older. I’m a little wiser, and a lot less narcissistic. I also know that nothing material of this world will last, but that small things done with great love are eternal. One small act of kindness, love, or compassion can change a persons life. At the very least it can bring a moment of happiness to another.

That said, my birthday wish this year is that everyone who reads this post might perform some small act for another with great love. It can be something as small as a kind word to someone in need or as large as you desire, as everyone has different gifts and different means at their disposal. Be creative, and bring a moment of happiness or solace to another – I promise you that you will not regret these actions when you face judgement.

This does not have to be to a stranger. Learning to love, be kind, and be compassionate begins at home – but it should not stop there as we are all God’s children. Even the grandest designs are accomplished in steps. If you finds it suits you, then by all means keep walking – we all have a long journey together ahead.

Pax Christi,
Colin

“I can’t believe I married him/her!”

21 Aug

couple-fighting-on-couch

Recently I have had more than a few husbands and wives ask a similar question. It basically boils down to this:

“He/She was great before we got married but now that the honeymoon is over I feel like I don’t even know this man or woman sharing my life, my home, my bed. This isn’t the person I thought I was marrying, what recourse do I have?”

Or this:

“He/She isn’t the person, I married and I don’t even know them anymore – much less love them. I’m unhappy, this is not what I signed up for and I want out!”

I have some feelings many would consider unduly harsh about breaking a sacramental vow. Unless the persons discovered flaws are serious enough to warrant an annulment, I tend to believe they should let duty, honor, loyalty, and sacrifice carry them until they establish the intimacy from which love is born. People change every day, they will never be static and we have to make a decision to love them as they are every morning. I can attest that the love of a good woman will change a man in ways he cannot imagine, and the inverse is true as well. However, people seem to be making a veiled request for absolution or an excuse to break a holy vow because is inconvenient. I wish people took their vows more seriously.

That said, this article is not intended to address issues involving violence, spousal abuse, and any circumstances which constitute grounds for the annulment of the marriage.

Now to actually deal with the situation. I know this is not what you want to hear, I can almost see you putting your fingers in your ears and singing at the top of your lungs, but here it is. When you married in the Catholic church you made a gift of yourself and your service to your spouse for life before God, and they did the same for you. It’s not a you do for me, and I’ll do for you agreement. Your obligation to your spouse nor to God is abrogated because they are not keeping their vow. Every marriage has ups and downs. I recall time when my wife told me “I still love you, but I don’t like you very much right now”.

Love is a choice. What most think of as love are the heady feelings that are a just a symptom of true love and not love itself. If you don’t know you spouse anymore, make it a point to get to know them. Take the time to talk, touch, and bond anew. Make a choice to adapt and grow together. This is what you promised on your wedding day. People will grow and change; and just as your spouse has changed, so have you. Accept them as they are. Make a choice to love and serve them each morning, put their needs before your own, and do whatever is in your power to brighten their day or bring them a moment of happiness. If your spouse isn’t coming around then pray for them. Recriminations and fighting simply tear you apart, and words blurted out in anger are the leading cause of broken and wounded hearts and marriages. Act toward your spouse with the love and compassion of Christ in all things, and leave room for God to work in both your lives – if you do so, He will.

Marriage is only a rose garden if you make it so. It is a consecrated life of service to your spouse. That service can be joyful or miserable, the choice is made by your attitude, your thoughts, your actions – all things you have control over. Your service to your spouse is consecrated to God, as is theirs. Never forget that in serving your spouse you are serving God in a Holy calling, a calling harder than it is given credit for.

Choose your thoughts, words, and actions carefully to cultivate friendship, intimacy, and love (in that order) with your spouse. Always remember that your spouse is a consecrated servant and not a slave, and never forget that you are as well – neither of you are slaves to the other. Every day make a decision to serve joyfully, enjoy their companionship, abide in friendship, find comfort in intimacy, and joy in love. Just as you expect God to love you in spite of your faults, so he expects you to love your spouse in spite of theirs.

Yours in Christ,

Colin

The Veil – A Husbands Experience

6 Aug

Beautiful Mantilla image from http://rosamysticamantilla.com/

Beautiful Mantilla image from http://rosamysticamantilla.com/

When I was a boy, I remember that women in the church always wore the most beautiful chapel veils at mass. Never to hide themselves, as the veils were generally fine lace, but rather to stand out as women of faith.

1 Corinthians 11:10
Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

Paul was very specific about this because it was important. The apparitions of the Virgin Mary are always veiled as well. There is a very good history on the veil here: http://christianfamilyoutreach.com/pamphlets/theveil.pdf. It’s a good read and will clear up many incorrect assumptions and impressions people have about the use of the veil in the church.

The issue of the veil (or Mantilla) is making all kinds of waves in the church right now. Long favored by “traddies” and the old alone, many of the younger Catholic women have been adopting the veil in a growing movement. This movement has not been pressed by priests or husbands. It has not been pushed onto women by peer pressure, but rather peer pressure has been applied to women to abandon it. As their numbers have grown in many parishes, the snide comments and the murderous glances get more frequent – yet they persevere. My wife is one of those women who felt this call, I’m going to do my best to tell her story as seen through my eyes in the hope that others will better understand the veil and the power of the Lord’s call to those who wear it.

One day my wife came back from her adoration hour very troubled, she felt the Lord was calling her to cover her head during adoration. This carried into later evenings until one night she grabbed a floppy tigger hat because it was the only one she could find and an went back into His presence. It was at that moment that she knew. She knew that she should always have her head covered in the Lord’s presence as a sign of her submission and obedience to God. To her it became a strong outward sign of God’s authority over her.

Over the intervening weeks she used a variety of makeshift methods for covering her head. Hats, scarves, bandannas, and other options were tried but she was mesmerized by an old lady who came to pray in the middle of the night wearing a mantilla. The beauty of it and the grace it seemed to endow this woman with made a tremendous impression on her and she resolved to get her own mantilla. At this time we were attending a Novus Ordo parish primarily and veils were almost never seen at mass. Worse, nobody locally carried one for her to purchase. We searched the internet and quickly found several locations from which they could be reasonably purchased. She choose one that suited her and ordered it.

At first, she would wear it only during adoration and switch to a hat or scarf at mass. Even then, she could sense the stares and uneasiness especially among the women wearing tanks tops, short shorts, and miniskirts at mass.  She looked so very pretty in her sunday dress with her scarf or hat that she did stand out. From my perspective she practically shone, and it was as if whenever a beam of light entered it fell on her. Yet she was still troubled. The Lord was still calling her to obedience it seemed, and very the next week she took a very deep breath as we left the car and put her Mantilla over her head and walked into the church.

I don’t know which of us was more uncomfortable with the initial stares, but I do know this – she was much more at ease in the Lords house than I had ever seen her. She had a peace and serenity I  had never seen before when she prayed, and I was stuck with a sense of awe and beauty just watching her. Then reality struck and on my way to the lavatory as I was pulled aside and admonished to “get that rag off my wife’s head before she embarrassed herself”, on the way back another person informed me that I was a “neanderthal for making her wear the veil” and that she was “setting women back 100 years” by wearing it. I was shocked – the veil wasn’t my idea, I would never have forced any such thing on her, nor even thought to ask it of her. I couldn’t understand the hostility until the following mass when one or two more women showed up with their heads covered, then a few more, soon a small cadre of veils dotted the congregation. It didn’t take me long to find out that it was the courage of the first few who listened to the call which paved the way for the others to act as well. This call had not been exclusively to my wife but to many women throughout the parish. A few thanked me for “allowing” my wife to wear the veil, as it set the example they needed to see. Apparently, many husbands had forgotten that God’s calling to their wives was far more important than their desire not to make waves. I was never against her following both her heart and The Lord’s instruction on this issue.

My wife still veils, as do my daughters – and we usually attend the Latin Mass where the veil is the norm, rather than the exception to the rule. To be honest she was not the only one of us feeling the Lords clarion call to orthodoxy in our Catholicism. Both of us have felt the call – not to practice our religion, but rather to live our religion – and there is a difference. For me the chapel veil represents more than her commitment to God, it represents the commitment of our entire family to the obedience of God. Whenever I see another woman entering the chapel with her husband and children in tow with all the girls wearing their veils, it gives me hope. Hope for the church and the world, that if only a few have to respond to the call that it will give others the courage to follow. Her example of leadership has taught me that I can make a difference in the smallest ways, even if I influence only a few other people in being a faithful Catholic husband. It is by doing the little things in obedience with great love that we build a sense of community and an understanding of who we are as Catholics. We also serve as a candle in the darkness for those trying to discern their path – and like candles, the more of us that stand together the brighter our light becomes.

When I think of the candle analogy I remember the last time a hurricane took the power out. When you’re used to being in brightly lit areas a single candle does not seem to give off much light. However, when you are accustomed to the darkness the light from one candle is enough to bring calm, hope, and light to every corner of the room – the darkness is dispelled with just a single flame.

Sincerely,

Colin

Expectations of A Catholic Husband

4 Aug

God holding your Marriage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours in Christ,

Colin

Treatise on Tolerance

13 Jul

Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Many of you know my thoughts on tolerance. Some even question them on occasion. In truth I am not a very tolerant person, its just that I am not tolerant of Ideals. People are imperfect, they utilize their free will to make bad choices which I believe are part of God’s plan to bring them back to Moral Truth and the Natural Law. I try very hard to be tolerant of people (I don’t always succeed – but that is not for lack of effort). I think of Jesus words NOT condemning the adulteress, he was clearly condemning the ideal and not the person. Then one day I stumbled across this particular gem from Archbishop Sheen and it went straight to my heart, where it has since taken up residence, along with the St. Bernadette’s “Mine is not to convince, but only to inform”.

In 1931, Monsignor Fulton J. Sheen wrote the following essay:

“America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance-it is not. It is suffering from tolerance. Tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded.”

“Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil … a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. Tolerance applies only to persons … never to truth. Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error … Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory.

Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability.”

Given my own imperfections, I feel incompetent to judge others. I have made my share of mistakes and it took more than a tap on the shoulder by God to bring me to my senses. As he loves each of us unconditionally, I strive to do the same for each person – not their actions, and not their ideals. By separating the two and focusing on individuals, I find the task much less insurmountable. Not condemning a person is not the same as condoning their actions and I frequently find myself in a position where I have to stop for a moment and remember to separate the two. This can take some practice, but it can also bring you greater peace – especially when espousing uncomfortable moral truths in the hopes that others might avoid the rocks and shoals in the sea of life.

Sincerely,

Colin

The Rationale of the Pro-Abortion Movement

10 Jul

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Alrighty then!!!

Now follows something I never thought I would do. I am going to re-blog the opposition. Why would I do this you ask? It’s simple, after reading their rationale for abortion I came to the conclusion that none of them took a single course in classical humanities. I’m going to call this the “Lysistrata defense” after a play by Aristophanes. I’ve never been so shocked at how far we were gone as a society before.

Read this from The Burnt Orange Report:

“For those of us guys who like girls — you know, like them like them — and want to have relationships with them that may last anywhere from a few minutes to many years, we need to think about how this bill, by curtailing the bodily autonomy and sexual freedom of women, hurts us, too. We need to stand with women in their fight to control their own bodies.

How #HB2 Hurts Straight Texas Men

Your girlfriend’s/wife’s life will be in danger. Making abortion inaccessible for millions of Texas women is going to put them in danger if they ever need to terminate a pregnancy. Black markets for unsafe abortions will emerge, and women will be pushed into potentially fatal back-alley abortions. That’s your girlfriend’s life we’re talking about.

Your freedom to choose is at stake, too. While it is ultimately a woman’s choice whether to have an abortion, many women choose to make that decision with the man involved. Do you want that decision ready-made for you by politicians in state government? Not if you value freedom, you don’t.

You want to decide when and if to have kids. This bill will force thousands of Texas men into unplanned fatherhood by making it impossible for women to access an abortion in the event of an unplanned pregnancy. Even if you want to have kids, you probably don’t want an accident to make you a father before you’re psychologically ready and able to care for a child. If you don’t want kids, you don’t want the narrow, personal views of politicians in the state government to force you to have them.

Your sex life is at stake. Can you think of anything that kills the vibe faster than a woman fearing a back-alley abortion? Making abortion essentially inaccessible in Texas will add an anxiety to sex that will drastically undercut its joys. And don’t be surprised if casual sex outside of relationships becomes far more difficult to come by.
It’s clear: if the Legislature basically takes away a Texas woman’s right to choose, having sex becomes a much, much riskier proposition for women and men.

It becomes much, much riskier for women who currently count on access to safe, legal abortion because now an accidental pregnancy could mean death or serious infection. It also becomes riskier for us men, who may well end up fathers well before we intend.

Almost half of all pregnancies are unplanned and unintended. Of those, over 40% currently end in abortion. What happens to those 40% if this law passes? Are you willing to roll the dice with your girlfriend’s health and safety?

So, my fellow men, listen up. We need to stand with our Texas women in this fight: for our sisters, mothers, friends, girlfriends, and wives, so that they can have the freedom to control their bodies.”

If you can stomach further reading, need a few laughs, just want to see for yourself that someone actually posted tripe of that ilk, or just want to leave the original author a thank you note for being so helpful in making my point about how contraception and abortion degrade women then click here.

If you that that was sad and funny at the same time then check out their follow up here.

Yours in Christ,

Colin Corcoran

cc70458@gmail.com

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

Monogamy or Monotony – It’s up to you…

22 Jun

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I read a very disturbing article on CNN today, and another on the Huffington Post, about monogamy being unnatural, it compares mankind to other animals and tries to justify immoral behavior by arguing that we are simple creatures among creation and are only driven by instinct and untouched by God with a special gift – free will. However, no other animal bears live young so helpless and dependent for so long a time as humans, in this we are unique; this dependence requires long term commitment and cooperation for the offspring to survive and thrive. This alone could explain why we need monogamy. We can choose a path other than instinct, and that one small thing is responsible for all that is good and noble in this world. We were given this gift primarily so that we could choose to love God, choose to abide in his plan, and choose to follow the path to true happiness which he has laid out for us.

Satan laces the path with all manner of distractions, all of which seem designed to trap us by leveraging our instinct to make us into nothing more than talking pigs with a poor sense of fashion. Greed, lust, avarice, envy, and more are around us always. We are tempted by Satan to succumb, in essence to sell our souls for the baubles and trinkets of instinctual gratification which provide only a hollow sustenance, from which a vicious addiction forms and our souls are blackened before judgement. Don’t allow yourself into thinking that the ability to have entanglement free sex is raising women up or freeing them, it does not. It lowers them to the level of sexual playthings for men, frees the father of responsibility for assisting with the offspring, and allows the father to impregnate as many women as possible – creating offspring he cannot hope to support or assist with. The women are left holding the bag, raising the child or children alone, and our society crumbles. Degrading ever more with each woman whose husband treats her this way, or who chooses this sad and tumultuous path on the advice of misguided and yet vocal individuals. Yet, there are those who mistakenly call this “enlightenment”‘, “progress”, and “women’s liberation”.

A woman should never fool herself into thinking she is truly empowered because she gives away sexual gratification liberally. Those men she services do not love or respect her and they would never take her home to the family or consider marriage. They forget quickly after climax and seek new conquests. When it comes to commitment, men want a partner they can trust, who they can see as a mother to their children and not sloppy seconds or thirds from a plaything passed around the community like a party favor. The worst part is that as men’s attitudes toward women have been changed for the worse by vocal women espousing their beliefs as pseudo-scientific fact by comparing apples and oranges and as they do men’s respect for women is generally diminished. How many hold the door for any lady, give up a bus seat, or offer to assist with obvious needs? Are not sexual assault and violence against women becoming more prevalent as the sense of entitlement to sexual gratification on demand and without strings sets in? Additionally, the mass media would have you believe true love involves hidden disco balls, bikinis, “dream weaver” playing in the background, and that it is always instantaneous – creating unrealistic expectations on both sides.

If you are a woman reading this and you consider yourself “sexually liberated”, know this – you are perishable and sometime around age 40 your expiration date comes up. Set aside after being traded in for a younger prettier model, you are likely to live out your remaining time alone, or with a male rejected by one or more previous women for good reason. You will have gained nothing of value: no children, no home, no husband, no true love, and none of the bonds of surety that those things entail in this life. You will also have inadvertently dragged other members of your sex down in the process.

Enough about that, lets talk about monogamy. So why is it that monogamy would be a problem? Truth be told, all women have the same basic equipment. Though they may vary somewhat in shape and size, the most important aspect of your sexual relationship with your wife is you mutual desire to bond more closely together and please each other while being open to life. While technical skill at lovemaking is important, it is best learned with and tailored to your spouse. Every woman is unique, and as a husband you need to focus on listening and paying attention to your wife. Not just what she says, but what she does not say – and not what “Mr. Winkie” is screaming in your ear. Try just once making love with your wife, and focusing every ounce of your attention and enthusiasm on her. Listen to her voice, breathe her in, feel her lips, touch her gently – explore her all of her, not just her erogenous zones. Slow down, savor the moment and do your best to give yourself over completely to serving her needs and desires both spoken and unspoken. You must be the servant and not the master, this is not about you – so lose yourself sharing the joy you are bringing to her and never assume that you thrusting, sweating, and grunting while squishing her beneath you is a gift from you to her, unless it is done at the right time in the right way. Otherwise that part is all about your physical gratification, so don’t fool yourself. Make sure she feels free to express her desires and fantasies without ridicule or dismissal. As a man, you know just how damaging it can be to express an interest and be told outright “when hell freezes”, or worse laughed at. I also know that the marital embrace for a woman is a deeply emotional experience you should be striving to share, and if you make her feel loved, wanted, desired, and fulfilled then her desire to return that gift knows no bounds. In the end she may discover her own unique ways to touch your body, heart, and soul beyond your wildest imaginings. Once you can do this for each other in the context of a deep emotionally bonding experience, plain old sex as you once knew it will be never again hold the same luster.

You see, the act of sex itself is never boring, but apathy, indifference and rejection are. Put yourself in her place and ask yourself how you might feel if your positions were reversed. If she feels that she’s always making a sacrifice for you, and receiving little to nothing in return then just imagine what it would do to your enthusiasm to be in her shoes. Quiet resignation, apathy, or even avoidance will eventually settle in – you’ll feel unloved and unwanted, blame her for being frigid, or worse suspect her faithfulness. How are you going to feel about it when she submits but her mind is elsewhere, or she shows no interest or active participation – if you are truly paying attention you might realize that she is enduring your advance and not enthusiastically welcoming it. Truth be known this condition is as contagious as any other shared emotion including joy. Soon you too will loose interest in her and then Satan can work in your marriage and provide the coup de gras for the condition. Loosing the bonds that bind you both, and victoriously destroying a sacrament in the process.

For those that choose the path of infidelity as a solution, the excitement and eagerness you seek are invariably temporary, something you may not realize until you have lost everything at Satan’s behest – you marriage, children, job, home, savings, etc… We have all seen too many people go down that road. You know exactly where it leads them and there is no easy return, and rarely is return even possible. It’s not just the betrayal of trust, and the decimated bonding that prevents healing. The feelings of anger and rejection can be insurmountable and lead the aggrieved party down a self-destructive path that will endanger their soul.

Lets be clear, things are always dependent on both partners. It’s up to you to set an example and take the lead as the husband. If you start by changing how you approach lovemaking so that rather than focusing on your needs as instincts would dictate, and instead focusing on her needs which go far beyond sex, then you will quickly find boredom impossible. Dispose of the birth control and use NFP, you have no idea how exciting sex can be until you remove the barriers between you. Unlike infidelity, this excitement never wains and it’s one you can share together. Lovemaking is a simmering pot you bring to a boil on occasion, so keep it simmering. Use your words and actions to remind her how you feel away from the bedroom and away from immediate sexual intention. Learn to enjoy a kiss, a gentle caress of a non-erogenous zone, or the glow she gets from being reminded how pretty you find her. She might surprise you once she feels comfortable doing so, by following your lead and keeping you simmering as well.

Learning to give is much easier than learning to receive, I suspect it is probably the hardest thing to accomplish for men. Allow her to learn your intimate needs and secrets and what you respond to without trying to make demands or give detailed instructions. You have to remember that just as your role is to serve her, so hers is also to serve you – so let her, and let her have the joy of discovery and exploration. This is a journey you take together and it will forge a bond deeper than you can fathom without having experienced it.

The one thing I know, after over 20 years I’m still learning new things and she is still surprising me. Monotony nor boredom are present, or even concerns. More importantly, the bond between us has simply continued to grow without boundaries. This journey fosters deep trust and takes time. It is one thing to trust a person with your life or safety, and quite another to trust them with your heart. Your greatest enemies are selfishness, greed, and narcissism. Keep these animal instincts in check and you can demonstrate free will. I might define it as the ability to make a moral choice contrary to instinct, in accordance with God’s plan. Fail to do so and you will become the very reason you hear so many women say that “men are pigs”.

Monogamy is the cornerstone of the family and the family is the cornerstone of society. Looking outside your marriage like an animal in rut damages not only yourself buy your entire family. When you married, you vowed yourself before God to one woman and she to you. If breaking a promise to God doesn’t concern you, then nothing else will phase you either. The Romans went down this same road right before their fall. They realized the mistake and passed laws to encourage and even require marriage, children, family, and chastity but it was too little – too late, and Rome fell into decline and the dark ages were the result. In short – if you want to live in a world like that, if you want that for your children and their children, then make the choice to follow your instinct like a selfish dumb animal. If you want to experience the greatest gift of our creator then make the choice to love your wife, and in doing so to choose to love God as well.

Sincerely,

Colin Corcoran
cc70458@gmail.com

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

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