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God Forgives, Nature Does Not

Posted By at Sunday, February 22, 2015

Working in this Apostolate, we hear quite a number of personal experiences of people’s family lives as well as through knowing people personally.  It is quite consistent though that when we observe that the things people DO, not so much what they SAY or THINK or BELIEVE but what they DO will yield certain specific results.  This applies not only in family life but obviously in all areas of life, what we could refer to as “nature.”  What we do “in the natural” while we’re here on earth will result in certain outcomes in nature.  Not only that, but it is based upon these acts that we will be judged by Almighty God when each of us is called to his particular judgment. 

However, due to our human weakness and possibly a veiled form of pride, we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that we can act in a certain way and achieve contradictory results, as if we are somehow “supernatural.”  We say “I can handle it.”  Of course God can decide at times to suspend the laws of nature for His own greater glory by performing a miracle, which by definition is rare.  A very small minute number of people who have ever lived have experienced a miracle in their lives.  Most of are just ordinary folk who live under the laws of nature.  Therefore, it is up to us to obey those laws to achieve those results we believe God intends for us.

So if for instance we have a family and we have to manage the finances of that family, we can’t expect that if we spend everything that we make that we will be storing up a financial reserve to support that family.  We can say, “Well that might be for those rich folks but a man’s got to live right?”  But the day comes later in life when the family has financial needs that are unable to be satisfied because the man of the house did not manage his finances properly.  (As we look at a couple of these we may be able to detect an associated capital sin, in this case, covetousness.)  Or we might think that we are above nature when it comes to our personal health and that we can eat whatever we want without any consequences.  If we just look around we can SEE that what (and how much) a person eats DOES have consequences.  This accumulated effect takes on obesity in the short-term and a myriad of diseases and disorders later in life.  (Do we see gluttony here?)  So okay, you get the point.

This is yet another one of those tricks of Satan in which instead of practicing the self-denial and self-control habits we should form, we give in to the less-virtuous options since we don’t see any impending threats.  But the big regrets come after years and decades of bad choices made systematically.  This also applies to relationships including those in marriage and family.  We tend to avoid doing the things we have to do by filling our lives with distractions and claiming we don’t have time or that other things are of higher priority.  We really need to be cautious of those basic things that we sacrifice for the temporary passing novelties presented us by the world.  On the other hand, some basic virtues (nothing to the extent of climbing Mount Everest) practiced systematically can yield a sound solid life in all facets.

This is not to say that if someone makes such mistakes that he is condemned to hell, because we all know that God forgives IF one humbly admits his faults, confesses his sins, is truly sorry, has a firm purpose of amendment, and CHANGES his ways, or makes better choices.  That’s right; we’re right back to obeying the laws of nature God instituted at the creation of the world.  But as far as recovering in the natural, for some it may be too late as financial ruin, disease, or divorce or family break-up may have already resulted.  This is not God’s intent for us.  Sure He will forgive, and after a long Purgation of the temporal effects of our sins we may still enter into heaven.  But nature will not forgive. 

Wouldn’t it be better to boy to God’s laws from the outset and live a steady and productive sound life that God intends to the extent of our own control?  Lent is a good time to start building the habits it takes to make those basic choices that will yield positive results and to train our children in them.  Let’s get started on that today.

God bless you+

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Regular Confession for the Family

Posted By at Tuesday, February 10, 2015

For whatever reason it seems in many Catholic Parishes the practice of regular Confession has become a thing of the past and that’s unfortunate.  It may be somehow due to a minimalist concept of just doing what is required as prescribed by the precept of confessing one’s sins at least once a year.  But possibly what may have happened in the meantime is a bit of a dulling of the conscience and a lacking in confronting one’s faults to the detriment of countless souls.  It is almost as though one isn’t expected to go to Confession unless he has killed someone or stolen something.  A few generations ago, it was a common practice for families to go to Confession on a regular basis, and you’d often see long lines every weekend at Parishes where families had arranged to do so.  Fortunately, we belong to such a Parish.  I was reflecting on it this evening while praying before Mass as I heard the door to the Confessional repeatedly open and close.  What a beautiful sound.

Like many things in the Church today, it appears the pendulum is swinging back in the right direction, and we’re seeing a revival of regular Confession.  I’ve heard several people tell me that they’ve noticed this in Parishes where they attend as well, especially where there are younger Priests serving.  As parents, this should be part of the education and formation of our children.  Obviously they should be prepared to make their First Confession BEFORE receiving their First Holy Communion.  They should be trained in the proper method of making a Confession with the proper prayers to say, etc. 

Then we need to take the approach of this being a part of our Catholic way of life making regular use of the Sacrament.  We must avoid the contemporary innovation of rarely having our children go to Confession.  Some pop psychologists may say that reflecting upon one’s faults on a regular basis may build up guilt complexes in children.  Why that may have been popular back in the 60s and 70s, it is pretty obvious to see that many grew up with poorly formed consciences and thereby lacking in a sense of right and wrong or self-control.  Regular examinations of conscience and Confessions help to keep us aware of our faults and conscience of the work we need to do in continually resisting temptations.  So first of all, we need to set the example as parents by making regular use of the Sacrament ourselves.  In addition to being the reception of a Sacrament it is also an exercise in humility that our children will come to recognize more and more the older they get.  When they see us going to Confession, especially the dads, they see that we are admitting our faults and weaknesses and that we are submitting to a higher Authority than ourselves.  It is a good practice to regularly have an examination of conscience as part of family prayer where the family members silently reflect on the sins they may have committed that day.

Then the children should be given the opportunity to regularly receive the Sacrament themselves.   A good practice for children is once per month Confession at least, and more often as needed.  This may require us as parents to bring them to Church at times when Confession is offered.  They should see this as a priority and us making it a priority for them. 

The season of Lent is right around the corner.  It may be time for our families to make a better effort at refining our practice of regular Confession.  It goes a long way in keeping us “clean” and strong in order to resist the temptations that are surely to come.  In addition the graces received from the Sacrament fortify us further to resist the tactics of the Devil.  What a beautiful Sacrament we have in the practice of Confession, a valuable tool in our quest for sanctity.

God bless you+

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Modest Dress: A Father's Perspective

Posted By at Sunday, January 18, 2015

There’s been a bit more “coverage” of the issue of modest dress with regard to girls and ladies of late, which is really good to see.  It’s nice to see that more and more people are considering it an issue at all.  As fashions get more and more revealing, something eventually has to give, and it likely won’t be any concession on the part of the garment manufacturers.  One particular article that recently surfaced by Melanie Pritchard addressed a certain facet of solving this issue that is extremely crucial.  She says “"Fathers are by far the ones who cringe the most when they speak to me. They know teen-age boys.  Every father was a teenage boy once.  They cringe at the way their daughters are dressing, but the fight is so big, they often back down and let their girls wear what they want."

Before I address that statement I’d like to look at the issue itself and the reason it is so important.  Let’s look at contemporary Church teaching to give us some background.  According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which we Catholics are to obey, ¶ 2521-2523

“Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness.… Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing.  It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet…Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.” (emphasis added)

Church teaching here is placing a responsibility on females for the possibility of provoking males to lust.  We should all be familiar with the scripture where our Lord deals with the issue of lust "Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Mt 5:28).  One thing to note here is that there is not a conjoining assertion of women toward men.  Because of the way God has wired us, men are much more susceptible to lust than women are.  Women and ladies must be aware of this, and it should guide them in the way they dress as per the above excerpts from the Catechism.  The Catechism here clearly is anticipating and denying the exception we so often here today that females can dress however they wish and any lust is merely the fault of the male who makes the observation because he is lacking in purity.  There is at least equal responsibility here.  But if a man has to turn away from someone who may draw him to lust how is he to go about his life and business.  There is clearly a reciprocal responsibility, and the more liberal of today’s fashions do not assist in upholding this responsibility.

As a father, I have always clearly understood this issue and have anticipated it all along the way because I as the author of the article about stated was once a teenage boy.  Likewise, I am still a normal man.  I know the things in a female that will capture a male’s attention, especially in an impure way.  The article rightly pointed out that it’s almost too late to try to start a formation of modesty in dress by the time a girl could begin to provoke attention to herself.  It almost has to start before a girl enters puberty.  I say almost for those who are beyond that point because you still have the responsibility of training your girls in modesty even if you were unaware of this when they were younger.  It just may make it a bit more difficult. 

One thing about the article I really couldn’t identify with though was the existence of parents having “knock-down-drag-out clothing wars with their teenage daughters.”  The article (partially) accurately points out that this is due to the parents springing this on the child after allowing immodest dress through childhood.  I say partially because that is only part of the problem.  The main issue here is a lack of respect of the child for the parents and the lack of obedience.  This one also needs to begin at a very young age with training in discipline and obedience.  It should be as simple as whatever the parent says goes.  The child at whatever age should be expected to obey. 

Also, what helps with regard to the issue of modest dress especially, but also in other issues of discipline, is the submission of the wife to her husband.  I will often see what appears to be mothers who are not quite as astute as the lady that wrote the article.  They seem to be more than happy to allow their daughters to wear very revealing and accentuating fashions.  I say “seem” because in all actuality they may have had one of these “clothing wars” that the mother lost.  In either case of the mother being for or against the immodest fashion, the father knowing the provocative nature of the garment should step in and not allow the garment to be worn.  The age-old scene of the father saying “Young lady you go right back upstairs and change that outfit” comes to mind.  Here the important thing is that if the mother didn’t see the garment as unacceptable should defer to the father’s guidance. On a more practical level, with a daughter who has been raised and formed with modest dress if she happens to buy something that is a bit “over the line,” the father can discreetly tell the mother to tell her to get rid of the item or to return it.  It is good for the father also to see what the daughter has purchased before she wears it publicly. 

In ages past parents and educators would exercise more caution with these issues under the pretext of avoiding the near occasions of sin.  We don’t provoke; we take precautions.  The wisdom of old actually prudently had boys and girls in separate classrooms for this reason.  Couldn’t we at least today exercise some caution by having our daughters dress properly?  Dad’s, it is our duty to protect our daughters in this way.  This is an approach that assumes “all boys are bums and after only one thing.”  It is an approach that assumes that most boys are normal and shouldn’t be placed into a situation where they are highly likely to fail.  We wouldn’t do that in regards to situations where they could be in danger, so we shouldn’t here either.  I’ve seen way too may “good kids” make life-altering mistakes because proper decorum was not followed by the parents and parental authority was diminished.  We should want better for our own children.  

 

God bless you+
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The Dearth of Motherhood

Posted By at Tuesday, January 06, 2015

There are many theories that seek to explain the reason for the plight of the family today, many of which are directed at men.  Admittedly, there is quite a severe depth of inadequacy of responsible manhood in society today, but many also recognize that this is the result of so many men of today having been raised in a home without a father, the example of manhood in the home.  So then the question is pointed to the reason the men are not staying in the home (if they were ever there since the beginning of the relationship).  Of course there are many theories for that scenario and quite a deal of blame to go around to both genders.  Needless to say, the typical western society family makeup is broken, and something needs to be changed for the betterment of the family.  For Catholics, it’s plainly obvious of what needs to change.

If we look at the basic teachings of the Church, for a married couple (which is the vocation of the vast majority of Catholics) the woman’s primary role is that of motherhood next to being the helpmate to her husband.  Married couples are instructed to be open to life, to receiving children into their families.  “So the Church, which is ‘on the side of life,’ teaches that ‘it is necessary that each and every marriage act remain ordered per se to the procreation of human life.’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC] ¶2366)  However, if Catholics were really faithful to this teaching, we’d have many more Catholic children and many larger Catholic families.  Of course there are some couples who have fertility issues, but the norm is that most couples are fertile and have children but disobey the teaching of the Church and practice contraception and sterilization.  There may also be reasons a couple would choose to SPACE the births of their children, not eliminate them.  “For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children.  It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood.”  (CCC¶2368)

With our modern consumer-driven “developed” society this puts us in a bit of a predicament since the “acceptable” family size in our culture is 2-3 children, and it is expected for the wife to work and bring home an income.  The question to ask here is “Is the couple SPACING the births of the children with a desire that is ‘in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood’ or one ‘motivated by selfishness’?”  Of course only God can judge the couple for their reasons, but it’s worth noting that only natural means can be used to SPACE children while contraception and sterilization are forbidden and considered inherently evil.  “In contrast, ‘every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil.’” (CCC¶2370)  The predicament is that if we follow the teachings of the Church, how is the mother ever going to progress in her career and bring home a satisfactory income for the family?

Of course, I am asking a rhetorical question because that attitude is opposite and juxtaposed against the teachings and philosophies of our Roman Catholic Faith.  A career is not the responsibility of a married woman.  If we look at any of the teachings of the church, we will see it as the exception rather than the norm.  But since so many faithful Catholics have not been taught and have been indoctrinated by the feminist-driven government-based school system, it is considered the norm for a married woman to work outside the home. I see this innovation as a dearth to motherhood.  I have recently taken notice of how “un”-motherly so many women are, particularly career women.  They have become hardened and appear very awkward around children.  I have been around children all of my married life of nearly 25 years so it is completely natural to me to have children around.  But if children ever appear in a professional or work environment, it can be observed how many men AND WOMEN become very nervous.  I’ve also noticed to my dismay older ladies who are grandmothers who are very awkward with their grandchildren.  Since they likely contracepted or were possibly sterilized it has been quite a while since they were around children.  Not long ago mothers were having children at the same time their older daughters were.  I actually know some who have even recently.

But the point is, it has been said that regardless of what women do, they should retain their femininity and motherliness.  In Familiaris Consortio, St. John Paul II teaches thus  “With due respect to the different vocations of men and women, the Church must in her own life promote as far as possible their equality of rights and dignity: and this for the good of all, the family, the Church and society.  But clearly all of this does not mean for women a renunciation of their femininity or an imitation of the male role, but the fullness of true feminine humanity which should be expressed in their activity, whether in the family or outside of it, without disregarding the differences of customs and cultures in this sphere.”  (¶23)  It was as though the Holy Father had read the writings of Ven. Fulton J. Sheen:  “Does professional life harden a woman, either married or single?  The answer is in the negative, provided she can do the work in a woman’s way and not a man’s way.  Doctor Jung, the psychiatrist, said: ‘No one can evade the fact that in taking up a masculine calling, studying and working in a man’s way, woman is doing something not wholly in agreement with, if not directly injurious to, her feminine nature.  When I speak of injury, I do not mean psychologically merely but above all psychic injury.’” (Love, Marriage and Children p. 84) Asking himself the question “What is a woman’s way?,” Ven. Sheen states: “Every woman was born to be a mother, either physically or spiritually.” (p.85)  He then laments “Many women today bring forth children as physical mothers, but because they lack motherliness, we have juvenile delinquency.” (p.85) 

This is the point of this article.  Are today’s women generally motherly?  Both Holy Men referenced here agree that women should retain their femininity and be able to work in a “motherly” way if they work inside the home or out.  This works out fine for occupations which tend toward the motherly like a school teacher or nurse.  The problem is that by having a societal structure in which the norm is for the wife to work outside the home, you run out of jobs that are naturally motherly, so they take on manly jobs and have arrived at the point described by Dr. Jung.  Just look around.  There was a picture in the local paper this past weekend of a young lady being instructed at a technical school on how to cut drill pipe.  I really don’t think that there is a motherly way to cut drill pipe. 

As I’ve stated here so many times before, unfortunately many families find themselves in the financial predicament today of requiring two incomes.  However, many have just become comfortable with two incomes, or the wife just likes to work and wouldn’t know what to do if she didn’t.  I think that’s what Dr. Jung was describing above.  It all may seem harmless since all the kids are grown and gone anyway.  But what philosophy and societal construct are we passing on to our children amidst a shrinking population?  Is this the practice of the teaching and philosophy of the Holy Roman Catholic Church?  It doesn’t appear to be.  We need to open our eyes to how we are cozying up to and implementing the world’s philosophies at the cost of those of the Church.  We can individually decide to give something better to our own children by educating them in such a way as to not put themselves into a financial position to require two incomes and instead be open to children allowing the wife’s true femininity to come forth. 

God bless you+

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VIDEO: The Irreplaceable Irreversible Role of Mothers

Posted By at Monday, December 15, 2014

The beautiful vital role of the mother in the home nurturing and raising her own children should be given top priority and not unnecessarily compromised by the distraction of work outside the home.

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VIDEO: Dad's the Head of the House

Posted By at Monday, December 15, 2014

The teachings of the Church with regard to Faith and Morals are not subject to change.  This includes the roles of marriage in family life.

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Advent Book-Free Download

Posted By at Wednesday, December 10, 2014

This book is loaded with wonderful customs for families young and old to use to start traditions in their homes during the Advent Season in anticipation of the celebration of Christmas.  Click the link below to download.  God bless you+

 

Click Here to Download Free Advent Book

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VIDEO: Valuing a Woman's True Feminine Nature

Posted By at Tuesday, December 02, 2014

What a great vocation it is for a wife to bring children into the world and nurture and raise them herself!  But the world sees no value in this.  As husbands, we need to instill in our wives a sense of the value she brings in this vocation of hers.

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Pope Francis on the Family: "What is Being Proposed is NOT Marriage"

Posted By at Monday, November 17, 2014

Recorded Oct 30, 2014 based on a news story by Elise Harris Pope Francis outlines the challenges facing genuine marriage and family today and offers solutions.

 

In a recent audience at the Vatican, our Holy Father Pope Francis indicated as much.  “The family is being hit, the family is being struck and the family is being bastardized,” the Pope told members of an international Marian movement at the Oct. 25 audience.  He warned against the common view in society that “you can call everything family, right?”  “What is being proposed is not marriage, it's an association. But it's not marriage! It's necessary to say these things very clearly and we have to say it!” Pope Francis stressed.  He lamented that there are so many “new forms” of unions which are “totally destructive and limiting the greatness of the love of marriage.”  Noting that there are many who cohabitate, or are separated or divorced, he explained that the “key” to helping is a pastoral care of “close combat” that assists and patiently accompanies the couple.  Pope Francis explained that contemporary society has “devalued” the sacrament by turning it into a social rite, removing the most essential element, which is union with God.  “So many families are divided, so many marriages broken, (there is) such relativism in the concept of the Sacrament of Marriage,” he said, noting that from a sociological and Christian point of view “there is a crisis in the family because it's beat up from all sides and left very wounded!”  (from 10/26/14 news story at www.catholicnewsagency.com by Elise Harris)