Tag Archives: joy

Pornography and Marriage

24 Feb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi…

Carrying A Spouse – Hard Truth about Marriage

18 Jan

 

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It will happen to you. That is just a fact. At some point in your marriage you will either carry your spouse, or be carried by your spouse. In reality – you will probably both spend a good deal of time carrying each other.

All to often today we see this as a major imposition. When we marry we do not think too deeply about the “in sickness or health, for better or for worse” part of our vows. Then when a spouse needs to be carried any significant period, we think it’s ok to tell ourselves “this isn’t what we signed up for”, or the even more nefarious “I deserve better than this”. I’m telling you now – this is exactly what you signed up for, and your spouse deserves better if you think you can come up with an excuse not to carry them.

Most of the time, it is not just physically – but emotionally that we must carry each other. It is in those times that the need for God in your marriage becomes the most obvious, followed only by a willingness to sacrifice everything for your wife or husband for as long as it takes.

For my wife it was several years of carrying… recurring tumors in my head, and then neurosurgery, radiation, chemo drugs, medical complications, and strokes that accompanied them made her life a living hell. She nursed me back to health when the doctors sent me home to die, she changed my bedsheets, bathed me, helped me every time I needed to use the bathroom, and worked with me for long hours each day – long after the physical therapy coverage had run out. All of this while I had mood swings, depression, and massive memory loss.

I was frustrated, angry, and often downright belligerent. I had trouble speaking – much less speaking clearly, and when I did I had trouble finding the right words. Even when I did find them – they came out wrong, word salad and endless stuttering were some of the joys of brain surgery. I was in and out of the hospital time and again – and always she was by my side and holding my hand.

She was infinitely patient, and though I am sure she sobbed herself to sleep many nights, and prayed all night on others. All I saw was an angel sent by God, ministering to me every day with infinite love and patience. She had a developed a glow about her, as if lit from behind with soft light.

I’m telling you this because of the effect it had on me. It made me wonder even in the deepest recesses of my soul what I could have possibly done to deserve her love and dedication. The kinder she was, the more loving and tender, the harder it was to hate myself for my inability to do common things. The more difficult it was to even think of letting go, and the more I really loved her. I’m ashamed to say that I did not love her in the way I had loved her before she carried me, as that was so much more superficial and pedestrian than this and I had no basis for comparison beforehand.

I fell in love all with her over again and resolved myself to love her as she loved me – which was the closest reflection to the love of Christ I had ever been personal witness to. I’m still not there. I strive everyday just to be worthy of her – but I keep trying. It changed everything for the better, in the midst of tragedy God worked a miracle on my body and mind, while working the most amazing miracle on my heart – and He did it through her, and her love.

The next time you encounter a time when you must carry your spouse through a bad patch (no matter the reason), especially an extended one… It is not a truly a burden, but an opportunity for your spouse to see Christ in you, and add a whole new dimension to the agape, storge, and eros love in your marital relationship. It will also deeply bond you together in new ways you cannot yet even imagine.

Pax Christi

Colin

Abandonment

5 Dec

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Abandonment… No single issue in Sacramental Marriage troubles me more greatly than this issue. Spouses of both sexes are equally represented when they have told me of their circumstances.  The suffering caused by this grave sin never ceases to tear my own heart asunder, just hearing about it is deeply moving.

Often, people do not seem to understand what love is. I think this is an issue compounded by the fact that we have only one word for love in English. Therefore, we cannot easily separate whether we are talking about Eros (Erotic/Romantic love), Agape (Unconditional Love), or Storge (Familial Love) when we discuss “Love”.

More importantly they fail to understand the obligations of Sacramental Marriage properly and their views of marriage are based on current civil interpretations of marriage wholly incompatible with Catholic Sacramental Marriage. This is likely based on the fact that in western society people frequently enter the sacrament of marriage under the influence solely of Eros and the misguided notion that the sole purpose of marriage is to make them happy. Such emotional attitudes are the primary cause of many failed marriages.

As I am going to shock many people – let me detail the purpose of marriage according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1601 “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”84

But wait, I see “the good of the spouses”! Does that not mean I am supposed to get everything I want and be happy in marriage? The answer is absolutely not. Marriage is for the spiritual good of the spouses, not to cater to their whims, extramarital lusts, or material gain. This means, in short, that one of your key jobs in marriage is to get your spouse to heaven!

What of happiness? Does it also have a place in Sacramental Marriage? Of course, but it is not the kind of happiness that lets you changes spouses frequently, nor is it the kind of happiness that comes from putting your interests first at the expense of your spouse and children. It is a deeper and more abiding happiness found in reciprocated service to the spouse. My grandmother expressed it best as she often reiterated that “We make ourselves happy.  Your husband or wife simply shares the joy you create.”

Then of course we come to the crux of the matter. The fact is that marriages, even Sacramental ones suffer from the grave mortal sin of abandonment. The Catechism has some harsh words for those who abandon spouses:

2386 It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.178

Read it again… Sobering is it not. Sacramental Marriage is bound by the MORAL LAW, not the civil law. The moral law is God’s law, and the civil law is just made up by men.

Now I want you to stop and think about why this would be a grave mortal sin that imperils your soul. We could start with the emotional and financial hardships it imposes on the abandoned spouse. It might be good to think of the effect of abandonment on the children. Liberal news outlets and talking heads will tell you how it does not affect or damage children – but I have seen this evil firsthand. It does tremendous damage to the children. But I will let the facts speak for themselves because in all honesty, someone reading this is going to be in denial of the truth.

No matter which spouse abandons the other – the net effect on the family is disastrous all around, especially with the odious no-fault divorce laws across the country which make a spouse as disposable as a tissue paper. To understand just how disastrous this is you need to understand the facts and the statistics on the effect that a choice to end the marriage will have. Effects not just on your spouse, but on your children. After reading this study linked to through the quote below, you will be unable to claim that a spouse dissolving a marriage does not harm the children, or the other spouse.

Child poverty is an ongoing national concern, but few are aware of its principal cause: the absence of married fathers in the home. According to the U.S. Census, the poverty rate for single parents with children in the United States in 2009 was 37.1 percent. The rate for married couples with children was 6.8 percent. Being raised in a married family reduced a child’s probability of living in poverty by about 82 percent.[1]

Now consider that the damage you are doing to your spouse and children is simply an additional sin against God, your spouse, and the children. Then take a selfish moment and consider you immortal soul. To repent this sin you must seek to sin no more. That means that the only path to repentance and reconciliation with God is to return to your spouse and reconcile, and if reconciliation is impossible to live your life chastely and pray for your spouse daily after making every possible attempt at reconciliation.

I know, it comes across as harsh. I would remind those in sacramental marriages that they entered them freely and accepted the responsibilities that the Sacrament of Matrimony entails. I would also remind those same people, that upon hearing Jesus declare that divorce was impossible his own disciples exclaimed “then it is better not to marry!”

Jesus’ Teaching about Divorce
9“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” 10The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” 11But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.…

The solution is easy. Make the commitment each morning to Love your spouse in the sense of Agape and Storge Love. Eros will come and go throughout a marriage. Marriage requires a choice to have a greater love than mere erotic or romantic love. If your relationship is damaged such that your trust is broken and your spouse is distant – I highly recommend reading and following The Love Dare a 40 day program to help rebuild your marriage. If you want to see what the love dare is about you can watch the movie Fireproof (unfortunately DVD only on netflix right now). In addition you should speak to your priest about what programs or ministries are available through your parish or diocese to assist you.

For the love of God, the welfare of your Husband or Wife, and for your Children, please make that commitment right now and again each morning to love your Spouse as Christ loves you. If you are separated or divorced this still applies to you as no Sacramental marriage can be dissolved by civil laws. Take a moment to save your family and your immortal soul and return to your rightful spouse and reunite your family.

Pax Christi,

Colin

The Sorrow of Ashley Madison and How to Fix It

19 Aug

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi,

Colin

Let your Wife Drive…

15 Jun

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi,

Colin

 

 

A Valid Marriage

18 May

couple-fighting-on-couchI know a man who is divorced with a child and just cannot let go of his ex-wife. The facts are simple: she left him, the marriage has been adjudicated invalid, there was a child produced by the marriage, former wife is now remarried with another new baby, he is now alone and paying child support for his child.

I’ve been pretty dry about all this emotionally. However, It is nothing if not: messy, sloppy, heartbreaking, fist-clenching, and gut wrenching. That said there is a distinct lesson to be learned from this persons experience. Take steps to ensure you enter only a valid marriage. This means you attend the Pre-Cana sessions and tell the truth. Expose yourself up front fully so that your heart will not be rent later. Choose wisely – you only get one shot at this, don’t allow your hormones to make a choice you’ll regret later.

Most of our friends who are long married started as we did: friends, best friends, more than friends, then married. In this progression all secrets and warts get shared up front, we learn to forgive, and we know them intimately in a way that allows us to truly asses our ability to get along, function as a team, and collaborate on things long before sex and other considerations can skew our viewpoint. We see our spouses as people, and not objects. The trick to long term marriage is to stay best friends always – the friendship provides a firm foundation for true love when the mutual feeling love is there, and provides a safety net in marriage for those times when we let that love die down or even go out for a time. When there aren’t any secrets or hidden pasts to fear in a relationship there is a real freedom. It comes from being loved for yourself, not the persona you donned to woo your wife but couldn’t maintain forever.

It’s a suggestion I hope more men will heed for the sake of their children and the sake of their hearts, as well as love and concern for their spouses future happiness. Nobody should ever feel cheated by their spouses lack of disclosure 2 years into a marriage.

Please take a moment and pray for this man, and all persons who find themselves in this position or affected by one like it.

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

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

A Rash of Unwanted Divorces – Prayers Needed

21 Apr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pax Christi,

Colin

Husbands Love Your Wives…

7 Apr

ephesians

This seems to be a serious issue in marital relationships.  Lets be honest for  a moment. I have gotten dozens of emails over the last few months about this particular issue and a shocking number of personal inquiries, especially over the last few months on the subject of husbands denying wives intimacy. Not exactly what you might expect to hear – but the complaints against husbands are running 5 to 1 or so over complaints about wives withholding intimacy.

Lets put the locker room talk and jocular speech on hold. Let’s not pretend this isn’t happening, or that it is not embarrassing for the men involved. Both are true, and both are deeply hurting marriages. I will explain. Embarrassment over an inability to perform due to any variety of valid reasons, is the leading cause of the rejection of intimacy. The sad side effect is that it also is something men don’t want to discuss even with their wives or doctors. As was so aptly put in the movie Cool Hand Luke, “What we have here, is a failure to communicate”. Seriously,  secrets are bad for marriages. Anything which affects you is your wife’s business, especially when it affects her too.

She cannot nurture, comfort, or help you if she does not understand what is wrong or what is going on – nor can she help. In all fairness, there may be nothing more she can do than hold your hand – but let her at least do that. Do not dismiss her and ignore her ever. Such a course of action simply leaves her mind reeling with possibilities (none of them good) for why you are suddenly detaching yourself from marital intimacy. Marital Intimacy is not just sex! It is holding hands, displays of affection, cuddling, touching – not necessarily involving coitus. To deny your wife all these things because you are for some reason incapable on the action you consider the “Big One” is deadly sin in a selfish wrapper. Marital intimacy is not about you, or your groin. It’s about sharing and being close to each other, touching, caressing, and in general emotionally, physically, and spiritually bonding.

In short – you need to take care of your wife both physically and emotionally, intimacy is critical to marriage. Carefully explain the issue(s). Work through what you can. Work around what you cannot work through, and tackle the problem as partners like God intended. Your wife cannot support you if you do not tell her where to raise you up! Stop and think for just a moment how you would feel if she suddenly refused you for weeks on or months on end, gave you the silent treatment, and offered no real explanation? Now be honest with yourself, and tell me that you would intentionally inflict such hurt into your marriage as actions like that cause. If you do not already do it – I strongly urge you to consider prayer together. A strong marital bond requires physical, spiritual, and emotional intimacy. Husbands, even if it is just holding her hand and saying responses as your wife leads a rosary, or for the more adventurous – a recitation of the wedding night prayers from Tobit. Keep spirituality in your marital intimacy. Personally, I keep a crucifix up in the bedroom as a reminder never to act or not to act towards my wife in a manner that I would be ashamed for Christ to witness. Remember, God is always watching.

Wives – the reverse applies to you as well. Men tend to react very quickly and negatively to a sudden disconnect in emotional and physical intimacy. Communicate if accommodations for some issue are necessary – allow them to be part of the solution and not yet another problem.

Pax Christi,

Colin

Important Thoughts about Things…

24 Mar

tombstone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colin

40 Days of Fidelity

6 Mar


Fidelity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Bless and Keep You,

-Colin

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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Anniversaries and What They Mean

30 Dec

Anniversary Watch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours in Christ,

Colin

Address for those Praying for and Thinking of Kathryn this Christmas Season

23 Dec

Kathryn

Many of you have been offering prayers for Kathryn over the last few days (See prior post). She is pumped being up on steroids to keep her stable right now and the Doctors are very much hopeful that test results expected this afternoon will enable them to make a proper diagnosis and begin treatment. That said, she is far from out of the woods. Her family is hoping very much that they will have her stable enough to move to a regular room by Christmas Morning. I have had more than a few requests for her address so that people can send cards and notes of support, encouragement, and prayer to help bolster her and her family in this difficult time – as well as to remind them of the grace of God – and that when any child suffers, we all feel it. Even those who do not believe as we do.

As someone who has spent a considerable amount of time in her position, those prayers and especially the cards and notes mean more than most people will ever know. If you are one of those who would like to send Kathryn or her family a note, prayer card, letter, a childs art, or christmas card I have attached the address below (with their permission). Allow yourself to be a part of making a child feel valued and loved not just by her friends and family, but by all of humanity. When we lift one of us up – all of us are lifted with them.

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

I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you who have and are praying, had masses said for her, who shared this blog or passed the word via social media, and all those of you who just took a moment out to remember her and/or her family during your day. Thank all of you in advance for sending her a note, card, picture, or other token of support.

This is a season for giving and I believe that it’s the small things done with great love, that have the most impact on other peoples lives.

God Bless and Keep you all,

Colin

This High Price of Artificial Birth Control

18 Dec

Nuvaring_with_quarter

Let me ask you a question, and let’s be honest with the answer. Is it worth risking the life of your wife or even paramour (if not married) to artificially prevent contraception?

Think on that. We’ll get back to it.

The Catholic Church has made it’s ban on artificial contraception as infallible doctrine. It is not subject to change or revision. Many people are angered by this, but what they really should be angered by is the number of women dying of breast cancer because of the hormone based contraceptives, the number of women having strokes because of the hormone based contraceptives, the number of heart attacks women suffer from hormone based contraceptives, among other things. These are not just happening to older women.

I know, now you want to tell me how much safer newer contraceptives are – like say Nuvaring?

I was hoping you’d go there. Before you muddle on any further in your thoughts – you need to read this article in Vanity Fair magazine (Don’t worry there are lots more out there from other media outlets).

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2014/01/nuvaring-lethal-contraceptive-trial

Now that you’re finished reading, I want you to honestly answer the initial question about whether or not the ability to make free with your wife, like she was made of rubber and inflatable, without fearing conception is worth putting her at such risk? You see somebody needs to explain to me the kind of love and/or marriage that allows for one person’s wants or needs to overpower the health and welfare of the person they supposedly love. I’ve already written about my own struggle with the Church teaching on NFP – it’s a popular read and if you’re not already familiar it’s here. Do your own research on the side effects of the pill, nuvaring, hormone infused IUD’s, and recoil in horror as I did. Forget the Pink Ribbons and “Save the TATA’s” slogans – if you want to protect your wife from such horrors, get rid of those hormone laced pills, shots, and devices. There are fantastic benefits to doing so it you do – for you as well as her.

Sex, Intimacy, and NFP

I would like to think, that with a little common sense and some gentle introspection most rational people can stop rationalizing what they personally want long enough to see the truth. Artificial Birth Control HARMS and  KILLS WOMEN. It also lowers libido and can cause weight gain and depression, among other non-lethal side effects, which is often treated with more dangerous hormones and just leaves your sex life in a downward spiral. Is this something you would subject a woman you love with all your heart to, just so that you can have sex with her on command and avoid conception?

If you just answered “Yes” then you don’t understand what love really is.

If you just answered “No” then I would ask you – What are you going to do about it?

Yours in Christ,

Colin

The Silent Treatment

26 Nov

silence-2

I know, you don’t even want to talk about this one. Seems like every marriage endures it share of these at times and they’re not always bad things. That said, what you fail to say can be just as destructive to your marriage as what you do say. Stoic silence is a emotional tool men and women both use in marriage all too often for the wrong reasons, but there are good reasons to use it.

I’ll explain. To start, I think we can all agree that when we say things in anger we tend to say exactly what me mean at that moment in the most destructive possible way. What’s worse is that a simple “I’m Sorry”, even a heartfelt one does not undo the damage. Angry words are like spikes nailed into a wooden plank. “I’m Sorry” can remove the spike, but the hole in the wood remains. Think about this for a moment, the logical conclusion is that when you’re angry it is better to say nothing at all until you have had a bit to process your anger and can address the issue in a more controlled manner and choose your words carefully.

This does not mean that you should wait forever – many issues just get worse as time passes and the silent treatment itself can wound deeply. Long term the silent treatment induces a feeling of doubt about you and your commitment to the relationship. Your wife cannot read your mind, but she can read you moods and body language. She will know there is something wrong, and without her understanding what it is you are placing a tremendous emotional burden on her. Her job is to help you either resolve or deal with whatever is bothering you and by keeping it from her you are preventing her from doing so. It helps to stop and remember this key thing – through the Catholic sacrament of marriage you become one flesh and what wounds one of you wounds both, and what helps one of you helps both of you.

The most dangerous use is when you are angry at your spouse. Husbands can be a moody lot – particularly when they’re not getting the attention, affection, sex, respect, or acknowledgment they think they deserve. I speak from personal experience here. Being silent about it does not give your wife a chance to fix it, and silence is only appropriate until you’ve figured out how to tell her what is bothering you without blaming her or making her the focus. 99% of the time these are caused by not communicating your wants and needs rather than an attempt by your wife to harm you emotionally – much less damage your relationship. I’ve discovered that if both spouses would do a better job of both listening, and observing the cues, most of these issues can be avoided. Where that is not enough, or your when spouse is missing an important cue you need to fill them in and explain why you’re feeling that way. Instead, we often let insecurity and doubt cloud our judgement and we start thinking selfishly and defensively. Your spouse is not an adversary, any more than you arm or leg is, do not treat them like one.

I’ll use sex as a nice inflammatory example. Husbands can get sullen quickly over a lack thereof, without giving a thought to the fact that their wife could be suffering from an embarrassing female problem like a yeast infection, be exhausted physically and mentally from a particularly hard couple of days, be sick and hiding it while trying to muddle through, stricken with depression, or feeling neglected and/or unattractive herself. You keep silent, but as the days pass you get more and more sullen and distant until by the time the original (usually) temporary condition is gone – you’re both in a “silent treatment” death spiral and miles apart emotionally. It’s not really the lack of sex you’re angry about, it’s a sense of rejection you’re taking personally. The funny thing is that it’s often not about you at all. If you don’t know what is broken you can’t do anything to fix it – even if the fix is just to be there and hold her and for moral support.

It all comes down to honest communication. Don’t keep things from your spouse, that way you can address issues when they’re molehills and before they become mountains. Encourage her not to keep things from you by being a good listener and never being judgmental – if she fears your reaction then she will hide things (just as you will if you fear hers). This is a pernicious evil you have to address head-on and the trust required on both sides will take time to build, but it’s worth it.

I’d like to leave you with a parting thought – Remember that you have vowed yourself to serving her. When you get mad about things like attention, affection, sex, respect, or acknowledgment then you are not serving her. You are serving yourself, and breaking your vows at the same time. This applies to both spouses equally. If you serve her above yourself and she does the same for you then by making yourself last you will unintentionally be first, she will experience the same from you and the marriage will begin to bloom. Funny how Christ’s words from the beatitudes ring true – especially in marriage.

Colin

Indifference in Sacramental Marriage

24 Nov

silenceIndifference is a type of rot that sets into a sacramental marriage through apathy to act, ignorance of the nature of the marital bond, and a lack of empathy with your spouse. The signs are often clear to outsiders to the marriage, but the ones suffering are usually the last to realize they are infected. By the time the gravity of the damage sinks in, it is often far beyond any kind of simple repair and a little effort preemptively can pay huge dividends over the long haul for both spouses.

Well then, how could you possibly know if indifference has set into your marriage? You might examine your own conscience. When was the last time you were affectionate with your spouse in a playful or flirtatious way? Has your spouse attempted to be playful and flirtatious and had you simply brush them off (the reason is irrelevant)? Do you crave their touch, seek the emotional bond through physical contact? Have you watched carefully to see if they feel the same way? Have you brushed your spouse off or pushed them away? Rebuffed them, possibly even enough times that they lost interest and stopped trying? Is your marriage filled with uncomfortable silences?

You see, in truth it is the smallest tenders of affection which lead us to the larger ones. They sustain us and bond us in special ways. Yes the marital embrace is a dramatic bonding experience, but it quickly loses a great deal when our hearts are no longer in it. Both men and women look for those signs between couplings that there is something deeper and more there than just exhilaration, pleasure, and lust. When those signs and tenders of affection disappear – the bond weakens. As human beings we crave physical contact innately. Even people who eschew close contact in general like myself find themselves enamored with a spouse who sounds, smells, and feels right – and their touch is highly desired, even craved for the effect it has on them emotionally. Without that contact other forms of communication break down quickly – especially verbal communication.

Emotional interest and empathy in marriage are interdependent on these manifestations of our affection. Don’t ever lose that level of contact. Keep kissing, holding hands, hugging, patting each other on the back, and even playful foreplay always. For when that physical connection is broken, the emotional connection looses the glue that holds it together – and it too begins to unravel. The same is true of the emotional connections. Love is a choice, see the best in your spouse always and make that choice to love them because if you do not – nothing else you do will matter long term and you will see the bond between you disintegrate into apathy, ignorance, and a lack of empathy between you.

Think about it…

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

How Being Catholic is Like Being Married

25 Sep

Holy Family icon

In many ways being Catholic is analogous to being married and from the looks of the things I see around me with my own eyes, we are terrible spouses.  Oh, I see. You think this is a terrible analogy. Right? Well then consider this – when you were confirmed you accepted a sacrament (just as matrimony is a sacrament) of your own free will that bound you to the Catholic Church.  You accepted that sacrament with full knowledge of the Catechism which outlines the beliefs of the church. You asserted that you shared and would do your best to abide by those beliefs and teachings. Just like marriage where you enter the sacrament of your own free will, and agree to abide by Church teachings on your marital responsibilities like being faithful, open to life, and committing to a single spouse for life.

Somewhere along the way so very many have wandered off the path…

In the end, if we don’t respect our own faith and beliefs, how can we expect others to respect our faith and beliefs? I cringed when Obama argued that the Catholic stance on Birth Control being part of Obamacare was irrelevant because no matter what the Church said 93% of US Catholics admitted to using it anyway. I was humiliated at the thought that just because the vast majority of US Catholics were in mortal sin but rationalized it away, and Obama was using our own sin as an argument to degrade and humiliate a core belief of our faith. It would be ok if I could see that people understood that by nonchalantly committing mortal sin openly (even proudly) they were attacking the Church, and thereby God. A good description of such people might be the “Formosan Termites” of the faith, because they rapidly eat out the foundations and load bearing members of a structure until it collapses from the inside. I keep hoping that if more of us will stand up on the Catechism publicly it will become socially unpopular to either do or profess heretical beliefs and lead to a wave of social change back to the church for those so inclined or away from the church for those who cannot or will not accept its core beliefs.

As Pope Francis said – it not just about Abortion, or homosexual copulation, or contraception. We cannot allow ourselves to be hung up on single issues. These are hot buttons for sure in America, but we must instead embrace all of the Catechism with our whole hearts and live our faith in both our public and private lives. This means teachings on fasting on Fridays or substituting an alternate penance all the way to teachings on the Death Penalty and Social Justice which must also be observed. If you own a business this means that you must run it according to the Catechism. If we can be faithful in the small things, then the large things will seem ever so much smaller because our faith will begin to lift us up and over those obstacles.

Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems to me that a large number of american Catholics are divorced, or at the very least separated and involved in external adulterous affairs in regard to their bond with the Catholic Church who is waiting with open arms for them to come back. Lets hope our brothers and sisters in Christ can be rounded up before they wander and bleat their way off a cliff.

By all means – please comment if you agree or disagree.

Colin

What will I say?

13 Sep

There is a popular song by Mercy Me called “I Can Only Imagine”. I like this particular rendition because stylistically I play it the same exact way they do, right down to many of the nuances. I also like it because the lyrics sing to me (for the record – my wife does not like the song). I have been there waiting for that moment, for Him to come – and wondering what I would say. Knowing that nothing would be sufficient.

This time it will be different, he will want to know what I have to say for the reprieve. What did I do with that extra time? Could I explain how I had not wasted his gift on me?

Would I tell him about the 4 beautiful children he blessed me with? The faith he restored? My rather miraculous recovery that I’m sure He helped with? Maybe I could tell him about my financial support for the church or the needy where I shared his bounty with others?

Well, after much introspection – I want to tell him how I did something He asked of me of my own free will, rather than trying to take credit for things he did for me. I think I will tell him that I loved my Wife with all my soul, I loved my children with all my heart, and that I tried my best to love humanity too.

Not that I have succeeded thus far, but I am a work in progress. You see, I do pretty well with individuals, but when taken as a group I start to fail at loving them all at once. So small steps are the best I can realistically do as I try to master compassion and love on a large scale.

Why that you ask? It all crystallizes to this point – Love is the one thing we do for Him. It teaches us to surrender ourselves and become a servant to Him by serving at least one other person in his example.  True Love is not forced, nor does it seek reward or recompense, it just is. We learn to experience joy in serving rather than being served. Whether or not it’s the right answer, and whether or not it’s enough to avoid disappointing Him, I will be able to look at myself without shame and regret. Hopefully, it will be enough that I dare to look up into His face when the moment comes.

What would you say?

Colin

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