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Mothers as Educators

Posted By at Monday, August 24, 2015

The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute. The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2221)

“It is a great fallacy for parents to believe that the education of their children depends on the school. The school is not the primary educator, but the secondary; its authority to teach the children is delegated by the parents, the right inherent in the father and the mother. Nor is the school ever a substitute for the parents.” Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Thoughts for Daily Living)

This month our family attended our home school association’s annual fall registration meeting.  It was a great time to reunite with our support group of committed homeschooling families who share the same goals and standards.  We had a Priest, Fr. Jeffrey Jambon, offer a lecture specifically geared toward day-to-day “meat and potatoes” activities and regimen for homeschooling families.  Our producer recorded that talk on video and we’ll be uploading it to our You Tube channel in coming weeks.  I was particularly encouraged and excited by his lecture because many of the things he offered regarding routine we practice ourselves and have found they are quite effective.  We’re anxious to share his insights with you.

Our family has home schooled our children for the last 20+ years.  None of our children ever attended school away from home until after high school.  Currently we have one son in community college pursuing an associate degree toward obtaining an RN and another son at university in his 2nd year.  Both of them have done well academically scoring among honors levels in their respective schools.  We have taken the education of our children seriously and only want the best for them.  Fortunately, we were introduced to the concept of homeschooling before we actually had children.  We had a family that mentored us before marriage that was actually in the process of teaching their own children at the time.  The rest is history; we were hooked.

The decision to home school started with the intrigue of seeing this family.  They were a large, close-knit loving family that we found to be just “different” in a VERY GOOD way.  As far as families we had seen in the current society (25 years ago), both Catholic and non-Catholic, they had something we wanted.  We couldn’t necessarily say what it was but it was definitely attractive.  Looking back, it was a family that was living an authentic Catholic lifestyle.  It wasn’t like many families living like the rest of the world with a “Catholic” label on their shirts.  Of course this isn’t a judgment on all those who don’t home school saying they are not authentically Catholic, but I think we are all familiar with people who populate Catholic schools but live in public unrepented mortal sin, the most common being those divorced and remarried outside the Church.  The children in these families must be very confused and grow up conditioned to living around deliberate sin.   

That’s a huge issue facing the family today.  The lifestyle we recommend might be considered the “traditional” or what I’d consider the “natural” Catholic way of life.  It starts out with a married couple who are open to receiving children and the mother committed to staying home and raising those children.  To do so, the family relies on the husband to be the provider, and the wife does not work outside the home.  This enables them to be open to receiving more children.  By this time, most people begin to ask what the wife is supposed to do once the children go off to school.  Well, for one IF they did, she would still continue to have more children.  But our standard reply is that they DON’T go off to school.  This lifestyle “package” enables the mother to stay home, live on the husband’s income, bear more children, and educate them herself.  It is actually the natural progression and great need to the progressive society in which we live today.  We have never been in a better position for mothers to be able to completely educate their own children due to the level of education the mothers themselves have received along with the resources available to parents who educate their own children.

In many, if not most, cases parents who really do their research will find that they are actually obligated to home school their children.  “The Charter of the Rights of the Family, issued by (St.) Pope John Paul II in 1982, declares parents are not to send their children to any school which sets itself against their moral and religious convictions.”  (Catholic Home Schooling, Dr. Mary Kay Clark p.6)  Once we were informed of this obligation along with the other Catholic teachings and directives in Dr. Clark’s book, we felt it was incumbent upon us to take on the education of our own children.  That was the decision with schools in the state they were in 20 years ago, which has deteriorated even more so since.  From a moral standpoint, I came to the practical realization that it would be next to impossible to impart my morals and beliefs into my children if for the vast majority of their waking hours they were in a Godless environment amongst people with completely unknown moral and character standards.  How are we as parents supposed to "educate" and impart our moral philosophy to our children if we are only with them during their residual hours at the end of everyday when they are exhausted and unable to absorb anything more?  Many parents rely on Catholic schools to satisfy this obligation.  In reading Dr. Clark’s book, we realized that wasn’t necessarily a failsafe option in all cases.  Also, considering that most Catholic schools have to pay lay teachers because there are so few religious brothers and sisters to teach there, the cost to send their children to them is at odds with being open to having the large families the Church encourages us toward.  All things considered, the obvious answer to all of these concerns is home schooling.  I would encourage parents to make sure their high school children and college age children read this book in preparation for their future as Catholic parents.

There are many questions and objections to homes schooling that were much more prevalent when we started about 20 years ago, but with the passage of time and some results we can see that those concerns can be allayed.  The most common were the academic sufficiency of home education and the socialization of the students.  Since many elite universities welcome and recruit home schooled students now, the question of academic sufficiency should be satisfied.  As far as socialization, I would just encourage someone who has this question to just spend some time around some home schooled kids.  There are very much adept in this area and are not kept as recluses in the home.  Actually the home is a better environment to learn true social skills.  We have to stop and think if we have ever worked in an environment where the people we associated with all day long were of the same age and academic level as ourselves.  This actually makes the typical classroom setting much more artificial for the students.  It is definitely more of a method of processing large numbers of children at the same time for efficiency.  Parents with their genuine concern and the attention of a fewer number of children can really do a much better job.  With the moral issues we see today, I have very serious reservations of wanting my children to “socialize” with other children randomly grouped together in a classroom.  There’s no way for me to know what’s going on in those children’s homes, what they are being exposed to, and what they are allowed to do.

As parents, we may feel that this is just too weird, that we don’t want our kids to be that different, that we want them to be “normal.”  I know I first thought of it as weird when first hearing about home schooling since I was not familiar with it and went to public (government) schools all my life.  Once I became informed and actually met more and more home schooling families, it became quite different.  It was actually exciting to take on this role with our children.  Then when we actually started teaching them and saw the results, it became so rewarding.  It does take a lot of effort but anything that is rewarding does, and those that ultimately benefit the most are our own children.  They have had no difficulty in continuing their education or acquiring good employment.  We encourage all Catholic families to prayerfully consider and become properly informed through credible resources this superior educational option for your children.

God bless you+

 

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VIDEO: 6 (+2) Reasons to NOT Send Daughters to College-Wise Young Lady Acts!

Posted By at Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A wise and intelligent young lady acts on the wisdom of our most notorious blog post with the support of her parents, both of whom are college professors.  God bless this most functional and honest family.  Natural law in this case wins out.  Here's the link to the article that changed her life 6 Reasons (+2) to NOT Send Your Daughter to College

 

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The Primary Role of Women as Mothers

Posted By at Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sacred Scripture and the Church's traditional practice see in large families a sign of God's blessing and the parents' generosity. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2373)

I was very inspired and relieved in listening to a Homily called Spiritual Contraception online because the Priest reiterated the fact the God is in control of His Church, and if we have the opinion and belief that the Priests and Bishops are the reason for the crisis in the Church then we only need to look at the faithful as to why they’re there.  He quotes St. Gregory the Great in saying that “Divine Justice provides shepherds according to the just desserts of the faithful.”  The gist of the Homily is that the current state of crisis in the Church is not only permitted by God but is definitely His positive Will as a punishment for sin of the faithful and to prevent further deeper sin.  Thereby, he refutes the standard traditionalist argument that the Second Vatican Council was strategically taken over by “puny men” who then seized control of positions in the Church hierarchy to somehow bring the Church into the crisis She now faces.  He notes that while the Church prior to the Council appeared to be thriving with a great network of Catholic schools, abundant Priests and religious, and full seminaries and convents, there was a deep spiritual disease rampant within the Church amongst the faithful.  God has merely given people their way.

One particular manifestation of this malady is obvious with the current state of fecundity, or openness to the abundant blessings of numerous children in families.  It is very common to see Catholic families with 3 or fewer children.  At the time prior to the Council, families were much larger than this, Catholic families in particular.  Did Vatican II cause a change in that?  Right around the same time of the Council in the 60’s the contraceptive pill was being introduced in the United States.  There was a tremendous amount of pressure on the Pope by the faithful to change the Church’s teaching on contraception and allow the use of the pill.  Did the Pope compromise and fail to uphold the Tradition of the Church?  No he did not.  Did the faithful obey the Church by obeying the Vicar of Christ?  Most did not.  Does this sound like faithful of a Church that was healthy and vibrant and sound?  Or was it diseased within?  To me, it sounds like the latter.

There was and still is a prevalent widespread obstinance on the part of the faithful with regard to contraception.  So many Catholics are steeped in pride in just outright ignoring the Church’s teaching on this issue.  We have to ask ourselves if this has really yielded as positive outcome.  Regardless of the natural consequences, we as Catholics are required to obey the teachings of the Church for the salvation of our souls.  Still, let’s consider the natural consequences of embracing contraception.  Pope Paul VI, in his encyclical Humanae Vitae that upheld the Church’s teaching on contraception and prohibited the use of the pill, predicted that “this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards.”  (17)  “Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and..., reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.” (17)  Over and over again we can observe most women ignoring the degradation of their gender as long as they are given “equal rights” to positions of employment and income.

What could possibly the reason for this?  During the school years, girls are indoctrinated and driven toward a paying job, a career.  What do you want to be when you grow up?  Many eventually go off to college, and just about all end up in the workforce.  How are they to be open to children when they are trying to do their husband’s job of providing for the family.  They are told the lie that two incomes are required to support a family.  Instead of sacrificing material luxuries and college tuition savings for their children so that she can stay home and raise their own children, the children end up in daycare, a very expensive situation.  When asked about the preoccupation of college and career, many of the replies from these young women seem to imply that they look down upon motherhood, apparently because just about any female can do it.  They say they were not made “to just pop out babies,” and that they want to do “meaningful work.”  Is there anything more meaningful than bringing another human being with an immortal soul into the world? 

But all that can seem to be a matter of opinion.  The real question may be what is the guidance of the Church on this issue?  Some will say that for a mother to work is not a sin.  Incidentally, there is a great difference between a single woman and a mother who works.  But of course the Church cannot say it is a sin because many mothers have to work because of the results of violating Humanae Vitae.  Many contracepting couples end up in divorce so the mothers have to work to support themselves and their children.  But shouldn’t this give us cause to prevent this outcome?  Shouldn’t we look to how the Church is guiding us?

Often progressive Catholic women will bring up St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem.  I read the document in its entirety, and it is quite beautiful.  But I have to wonder if those who are referencing it have read the whole thing?  The document begins by talking about the Blessed Mother.  It is true she should be a model for all Catholic women.  So did she feel that motherhood was beneath her or not meaningful enough?  Did she work outside the home to feel valued, that She was contributing to society?  Or did she focus her energies and Spiritual Wisdom on mothering her Child?  Then he goes on the talk about man and woman in marriage roles and the women of the Bible.  The major section of the document I have to wonder that may have been missed is the section on the “Two dimensions of women’s vocation.”  (Section VI, 17)  They are virginity and motherhood.  A career is not one of those vocations.  We must see that the Church views a career for a woman as a very secondary purpose, and her primary role, if married, is motherhood.  I would urge those who view Mulieris as the ticket to the wife being liberated from the home to go back and prayerfully read the document cover to cover in light of traditional Church teaching.  We must remember that Church teaching does not change.  Surely times change and sometimes we have to make exceptions for circumstances.  But that is a far cry from what God’s design and plan is and what His intention is for the family.  Families should not by default decide that they will limit their family size in order for the mother to work to provide for non-essentials and luxuries or for her own personal interests.

Surely prior to Vatican II and prior to World War II that took so many women out of the household, there were many women in “careers.”  They were religious sisters.  They made great contributions to society in healthcare and education in addition to the spiritual contributions they made to Priests and the Church.  But they did not have a divided focus between a job and a family.  One of the stranger replies I get to that point is that men do both.  Yes we do, but we’re not mothers.  There is obviously a huge material difference between being a mother and a father.  Most obviously is that we can father more children and continue to work where mothering children requires time away from work.  Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in his book Love, Marriage and Children wrote a chapter on the point “Does a Professional or Business Career Harden a Woman?”  When addressing that specific question he answers:  “The answer is in the negative, provided she can do the work in a woman’s way and not in a man’s way….But what is a woman’s way? …Every woman was born to be a mother, either physically or spiritually.”  (pp. 84,85)  The situation today is that women, mothers in particular, are doing jobs that do not lend themselves to being motherly.  They have to perform in a masculine way to be effective.  So they spend the better part of their waking hours doing a man’s work a man’s way in a man’s world.  Then they have to try to shift gears to go home and become motherly.  So we can see why so many just give up with all other factors considered and decide to stop at 1 or 2, maybe 3 children.  Is this God’s intention?  Is this His design?  Or is it man’s?  Ask those women who realize in their 40’s and 50’s once they are burnt out and tired of their “meaningful contribution” and “career” and wake up and realize they were lied to by the feminist agenda, but it’s too late.  Their fertile years have passed, and they live with regret.  The feminists have had their way, and they claim victory.

We need to lovingly educate our daughters, and sons for that matter, over and contrary to the indoctrination of the feminist ideology of the difference between the male and female roles in marriage and what is primary.  Surely some women are called to religious life and to doing secular work, but the reality is that most will marry.  God made us male and female for a reason.  We need to educate and direct our children according to that reasoning.  It is for the begetting of children.  This is what will enable our daughters to be true to their gift of femininity. 

God bless you+

 

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The Best Way to Build Children’s Self-Esteem

Posted By at Monday, August 03, 2015

The child's upbringing, taken as a whole, should include the contribution of both parents: the maternal and paternal contribution. In any event, the mother's contribution is decisive in laying the foundation for a new human personality. (Mulieris Dignitatem—On the Dignity and Vocation of Women 18)

Quite often we’ll hear about issues of children with self esteem.  They don’t feel good about themselves.  They lack confidence.  Some of these children are counseled by professionals, and parents are urged to heap upon them loads of affirmations and encouragement.  Above all the continual oozing of “I love you’s” constantly and consistently are woven into each conversation.  We have to wonder from where all this comes.  Why have children over the last few decades required such artificial coaxing and pandering?

It’s interesting the consistency of issues I’ve heard over the years from working mothers with their children.  While in daycare, they are sickly, unable to eat right, and routinely have digestive issues, principally constipation.   When the school days come along, it’s a concern for how are the children going to be “classified.”  Are they going to have to go through “D-K?”  The kids are under all sorts of pressures to “measure up” to their peers (or the kids of the parents’ peers).

There’s a very simple and natural way to by-pass many of these issues and build an immense amount of self-esteem and confidence into kids.  The best way I’ve seen is for a mother to raise her own children.  This can been seen when a mother first holds her child after giving birth.  The child immediately bonds with his mother because they have been bound together for the previous 9 months.  “Although both of them together are parents of their child, the woman's motherhood constitutes a special "part" in this shared parenthood, and the most demanding part.  Parenthood - even though it belongs to both - is realized much more fully in the woman, especially in the prenatal period.  It is the woman who ‘pays’ directly for this shared generation, which literally absorbs the energies of her body and soul.” (M.G. ¶18)

In the first days of a child’s life, he continues to cling to his mother for dear life.  He knows her heartbeat; he knows her voice, how she breathes.  She is his everything.  Then for many children, some few weeks later, that all changes.  Because of certain choices made and circumstances present, the child is dropped off to be cared for by someone else, often someone little more than a stranger.  To think that a human person is not affected by this situation is simply ideological.  The child then learns to yearn for and cling to whoever it is that is his caregiver.  When he experiences any sort of need or pain, he looks away from his mother to that other person.  I’m sure all sorts of studies have been done that justify and support this unnatural form of childcare, but those claims to me are very suspect.

Then there are those children who remain in a warm, peaceful, and loving home with their mothers.  They are not raced all over town and shifted from pillar to post on a daily basis.  They grow up in very familiar surroundings of a home and enjoy the attention of the woman who carried and nurtured them with her own body.  Their development is natural and calm.  They are not surrounded by throngs of other infants competing for attention and care.  They become the focus and attention of everyone in the household in addition to their mothers.  Their father, brothers, and sisters are enamored and amused by this new little person who has become a part of the family.  They take turns in entertaining themselves and the babies with their interaction.  So yes, all this attention can only mean one thing:  loads of self-esteem.  Children at such a young and tender age need loads of attention, they demand it.  But it principally should come from their mothers.  This is the way God intended, so much so that He naturally makes it possible for most women to continue to feed their children naturally with their own breasts. 

The common reply or justification for the situation of infants and children being raised by someone other than the mother is that she HAS to work.  Well, for starters, often that is simply NOT the case.  She may WANT to work, but doesn’t necessarily HAVE to.  In that case, it makes one wonder why she married and bore a child anyway.  If she is not “fulfilled” by motherhood, she shouldn’t have children.  She should just remain single, and focus on her career.  Often though this situation is influenced largely by her parents.  They want to see her working outside the home.  They don’t want to see her possibly financially and relationally vulnerable depending on a man.  Many young ladies are in college and have absolutely no interest in being there.  Then once they get the degree their parents forced them to get, they don’t want to waste it.  Then parents further pressure many women with the number of children they decide to have. 

It is a very natural tendency for women to want to bear children and raise them themselves.  St. John Paul II elaborates extensively on it in Mulieris Dignitatem.  Many parents in the previous generation who have stifled their own childbearing (often sinfully) are now deliberately influencing their adult children to do the same.  It is as though they are attempting to vicariously live through their own children’s lives.  It is yet another form of keeping up with the Joneses.  But what is the result of the scarce children that have been born?  There are emotional, psychological, and health issues all abound.  They can all be solved quite easily and naturally by one person:  the mother. 

God bless you+

 

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Homosexuals Using God's Design?

Posted By at Monday, July 27, 2015

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Chastity and homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. <emphasis added>

I just wanted to once again present the Church’s timeless teaching on homosexuality before I get into my topic here, regardless of how the media continues to misinterpret or present things said by Church “officials.”  There has been no change in the Church’s teaching on this issue nor will there ever be.  But while the number of men and women afflicted with this disorder is not negligible, as explained by the Catechism, the relative proportion of people certainly is.  Even in government studies done in America by the CDC the percentage is about 1.6% or 2.3% depending on how you view it.  So obviously here again we have the government and politicians blowing up something extremely rare relatively speaking that it is trying to normalize in society. 

Yes, we are to treat everyone, regardless of which of the particular crosses we are each made to bear, with dignity and respect, including those with these disordered tendencies.  What makes this particular affliction somewhat unique is how unnatural the disorder is.  But as we observe those who either obstinately ignore the beautiful and concerned care of the Church in this area or are simply ignorant of it, we can see that they still have some tendencies toward the natural.  Of course the tendency is objectively unnatural simply because biologically and anatomically “They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.(CCC2357).  But how often do we see such “couples” as still attracting a physically opposite masculine- or feminine-appearing mate even though their sexual anatomy dictates otherwise?

In a very awkward and disordered way they still reflect somewhat of a natural pairing under a very twisted appearance.  It makes one wonder why this would be.  Could it be because there is something to the complementarity of a couple that transcends sexual anatomy?  I am in no way accepting homosexuality by analyzing this.  Sexual anatomy is obviously primary as designed by Almighty God, and I praise and thank Him for that (daily).  Glory be to God!  But we live in a culture that is attempting to meld the masculine and feminine and diminish any indication of a difference, and we can even see semblances of it in homosexuals.  In all likelihood, this is what makes their relationships last as long as they do, although most are destined to fail. 

Actually, God’s design is for a masculine man and feminine woman to unite and marry permanently for life and to carry out their respective gender-specific roles.  Scripture tells us in Genesis that in the most basic sense this is for the woman to bear children and for the man to work to provide for them.  Because of his natural masculine size and strength he is to be the head of that family, its provider, and its protector.  Because of the soft, sensitive, and gentle nature of the feminine woman, she is to be submissive to her husband and be the primary nurturer and caregiver for her children.  Again, transcending the primary sexual anatomical complementarity, their complementary masculine and feminine natures make for a wonderful working relationship with a distinct division of responsibilities in an industrious productive home.

When we part from this design, we start to have problems.  I’ve noticed in many (heterosexual) couples that it is the norm now for the woman to be quite a leader with a distinct take-charge attitude in the relationship.  She will often be the more vocal member of the couple.  This goes quite unnoticed by most and appears to be expected now.  She is generally expected to work outside the home and generate an income and is almost always charged with taking care of the finances.  These are all the responsibilities inherent to the husband’s duty to his wife.   Even though a woman may be unusually aggressive or assertive, a more dominant or authoritative man can always be found.   If she insists on uniting herself to a milder man, she will have a special challenge in forcing herself to submit to his leadership.  So what is he doing while she’s taking care of all of his responsibilities?  Often out of “fairness” since she works, he will often be cooking and doing housework and tending to the children.  So, as you’ve guessed it, we have some significant role reversals going on here.  In order to Fix the Family, we’ve got to get back to basics and take care of the duties that are inherent in each of our respective genders to fulfill the complementarity as God intended.

 God bless you+
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Our 12 Marriage Non-Negotiables--Celebrating 25 Years of REAL Marriage Part 2

Posted By at Monday, July 20, 2015

Co-authored by Raylan and Missy Alleman

As mentioned last time, Missy and I are celebrating 25 years of marriage this year.  I wanted to put down some key things that have worked for us for those who might be interested.  Some of these are requirements based on Church teachings.  Others for us were just non-negotiables that we haven’t parted from in order to make our marriage the best it can be and thereby benefit our children.  But nevertheless as the Scriptures say in the end there is only love.  On that note, many have neglected their marriages while raising a family and come to find that they are living with a stranger once the children are grown and gone.  Children are a natural fruit of marriage, but the spouses share a Sacrament with each other which is more binding and lasting than the blood relation with their own children.  This is the fundamental point that must be remembered.

And now for our 12 Marriage Non-Negotiables:

  1. Commitment—Marriage is permanent-’til death do us part.  All marriages will have their rough spots, some more than others.  But we knew when we took our vows they were just that, vows. 
  2. Truth—We seek to know the truth and to live it out.  The Church gives us some guidelines to live by.  We need to be docile and obedient to them.  First of all we need to earnestly and actively seek to know and learn the Truth not to run and hide from it or to “play dumb” when we really know better.  In the same way a parent gives hard truths to his children, so God through Holy Mother Church gives us solid hard Truths that will not fail us even in difficult trying times. 
  3. Prayer—We take time to pray together regularly.  This has taken different facets during our relationship.  We started out praying the Rosary together well before we were married and have continued praying a daily Rosary with the family.  But we have seen the need throughout our marriage to have time for prayer together just with each other as well as practicing a common devotion even when we aren’t able to pray it together.  We pray for each other as well to be the spouse we need to be and for each other to meet our needs.  We had prayed for each other before we met when praying to God to find a good spouse.  We also have found it necessary especially to pray against the works of Satan who has his sights set on destroying good marriages.
  4. Sanctuary—We have a time and space for ourselves.  We make it a point to have some time alone everyday and a night each week to just focus on each other.  We also have a space in our home that is our sanctuary where no one else is to enter, except for nursing babies which we limited to their first year.
  5. Selflessness—Being “other-centered” and focused on the needs of the beloved.  Again, as a Sacrament, marriage should be the ultimate love.  Scripture said we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  Our intention is to be the spouse that each other needs us to be ultimately to help each other reach heaven.  Any good relationship helps the other person to be better.  We have to get to know each others’ needs as well as likes and dislikes by spending time together and communicating often.  Ultimately in doing so the beloved is happy so the person is also happy. 
  6. Forgiveness—As Christ forgives, so must we.  Unfortunately, we naturally don’t tend toward selflessness.  Even though we officially have 7 capital sins, I believe they can all be summed up into 1:  selfishness.  So we have to be willing to admit when we have wronged each other and forgive each other.  When we hold on to grudges or hard feelings it can be a poison to the relationship causing division and resentment that takes longer to heal.  It’s much better to forgive right away and move on. 
  7. Mentors—We were led to great mentors and consulted them often.  In line with knowing the Truth, we also wanted to find out the practical lifestyles that would yield the results we wanted.  This started with us seeking to live truth by avoiding contraception, and we were led to a great couple who taught us natural family planning.  This couple led us to a wonderful association of many like-minded couples and families that we were able to learn from.  These associations and mentors have been a tremendous support for us in a society hostile to marriage and family life.  The basic rule of thumb is to find someone getting the results you want, and ask them how they achieved them.
  8. Roles—We have been faithful to our martial roles and respectful of that of each other.  One of the guidelines the Church gives us is the role of husband and wife in marriage.  The husband is the head; the wife is the heart.  In order to live out these roles faithfully with challenges of today we had to make some tough decisions.  For Missy to fully embrace her role, we felt she had to be free to be a full-time wife and mother and not have the distraction of a job outside the home.  We decided this while we were engaged.  Ironically, this was even reinforced in a college Parenting class we took together.  That put the responsibility of providing on me.  This is actually the spirit of Church Teaching in this area, which has supported us well.  Being true to our roles has enhanced our respective masculinity and femininity making our relationship that much stronger and our love that much more passionate.

  9. Priorities—We are purposeful in making life decisions.  Our marriage and our resulting family is our top priority.  We made decisions and “sacrifices” all throughout that reflected and were genuine to that priority.  Dating back to the beginning when deciding on my first job, I took the one that would not involve overnight travel and that would keep us in a family-friendly town.  There are many lifestyles and environments that pose distractions, temptations, and damage to marriage and family life.  We have to remain true to our commitment and make decisions accordingly.  I heard from a former employer not long ago who stumbled across our website and the things we promote here, and he was very supportive.  He recalls that he could never get me to work late hours as he would have liked but was respectful of me to want to get home to my family after the workday was done.
  10. Children—We’ve welcomed children as a fruit of our conjugal union.  In marriage the Church forbids contraception and encourages us to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28) being generous with the gift of life.  Our society has attempted to disassociate children from marriage, but they are an integral part of it and have been a primary focus for all of our lives and will be in various ways even after they are grown and on their own.  Unlike those who promoted contraception in the 60’s, we do not see children as a distraction to our marriage but embracing them and their care have been our “work of love” in our life together as a married couple.

  11. Homeschooling—WE are the primary educators of our children Building on #10, we have taken a hands-on approach to the education of our children.  The Church formally reinforces married couples in this.  Early on we were introduced to the concept of home schooling by friends we met and then read Mary Kay Clark’s book Catholic Home Schooling.  We highly recommend this book to all Catholic parents.  Again, this is a project of teamwork for us as a couple, so the results we achieve with our children enhance and build our husband and wife relationship that much more.
  12. Fun—We just enjoy being together doing whatever.  We really enjoy each others’ company and it almost doesn’t matter what we are doing.  We take the time to do those things we do enjoy being playful and lighthearted.  We still need to know each others’ sensitive areas and are careful not to “press the wrong buttons” or embarrass each other in front of others.

This is what has worked for us to this point. It’s pretty basic and very much in line with the spirit of Church Teaching in this area that has been consistent through the ages.  Unfortunately, too many couples are not being taught what we’ve learned and have gone the way of the world ending up with severe struggles and tragic results.  This is heartbreaking to us.  We’ve learned through our own experience and others we know that it can be so much better, as God intended:  a little piece of Heaven.

God bless you+

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Celebrating REAL Marrige-25 Years' Worth

Posted By at Tuesday, July 07, 2015

I enjoy studying successful people, those who have excelled in their particular sphere of expertise, and finding out what makes them tick and how they were able to achieve their accomplishments.  Various books have been written compiling those common factors, practices, and qualities of successful people.  One practice I recall was that all successful people would reward themselves when they reached a particular goal or accomplished a significant task.  They would plan ahead for these celebrations as a bit of a motivation toward reaching the goal.

My wife and I will be married 25 years on August 18 of this year.  Roughly about a year ago, influenced by discussions with our older children who enjoy concerts, I began toying with the idea of seeing my favorite musician Brian Culbertson live.  Being that his tour didn’t come anywhere near here I really began dreaming wide-open and started looking into his highly publicized Napa Valley Jazz Getaway, since I also have a passion for Pinot Noir, of which he has created a blend of his own.  Well, to make a long story short, we went last month, and the trip was absolutely phenomenal, and the overall experience is difficult to put into words.  For a couple with 7 children who have rarely gotten away overnight, although more so in recent years as our children have grown, the expedition was quite a feat.  It was a tremendous blessing as just about everything went off without a hitch from airline travel to accommodations, even complete with a Latin Mass at a small chapel in a nearby town at Holy Family Mission similar to the one we attend regularly here at home.

I intended to write this article sooner after the return from the trip but was diverted by recent news events that I felt I needed to address.  So with the decision of the US Supreme Court with regard to legal unions, I believe it further embellishes the points I wanted to share about genuine marriage and not the mockery the legal system has created under its guise.  Actually, the main reason I got involved with starting this Apostolate was because my marital experience has been so complete and fulfilling, and I was noticing how much of a struggle so many couples were having, even those married in the Catholic Church.  So now I’ll have to make 2 articles out of this with this one being what we’ve experienced in our marriage (the fruits) and the next being how we got here (tips and instruction).

Looking back over 25 years is difficult to say the least, but at the same time it feels like I was in college just yesterday as I currently live just over 3 miles from the campus where we first laid eyes on each other.  No, it wasn’t love at first sight, which I guess lends to the authenticity and soundness.  We met at the Catholic Parish on campus, St. Thomas Aquinas.  We moved in the same circle of friends there and were involved in putting on retreats.  So I knew her as a friend before we dated.  Once we got involved, things escalated pretty quickly as we realized we had fallen into a very workable relationship.  I hate to sound so unromantic because I am extremely romantic but that’s just me and us.  It’s not required for a marriage to sustain itself.  The relationship has to be workable.  So we became engaged 9 months after we first began dating and got married 9 months after that and had our first child 10 months after we got married.  No we didn’t waste any time getting down to business.  Seven kids and 25 years later, it’s really been a whirlwind, and it’s nice to just stop the world and sit back and assess where we’ve been and what we’ve done.  

I’ll get into this more in part 2, but we started by seeking to embrace the Truth of genuine marriage in its most basic sense, childbearing.  We never brought contraception into our marriage, and have been very cautious to ensure we were generous with giving the gift of life.  As the Church teaches regarding the marital act, it should always been unitive and procreative, out of love and open to life.  This has permeated throughout the whole of our marriage.  It seems everything we’ve done has been about our love relationship and about the kids.  We deliberately worked our situation so that we could be with each other and more hands-on with our children.  I’ve always tried to work close to home, at least in the same town, and now right in front of our home, while Missy has homeschooled all of our children since day 1. 

I can’t begin to express the fullness of a life this has given us.  We are nowhere close to being finished as all of our children, even the adult ones, and still here at home, but that won’t be long-term, and we know it.  We are enjoying the time we have left all together.  We also still have young ones left to raise, and we are very satisfied with that.  While the world will tell you that you have to look out for #1 and not live for others and do things for yourself, the “sacrificial” love of marriage and family can’t be rivaled.  I actually saw a video recently to that effect of a lady in her 40’s sadly saying she lived her life for others and now she was going to live for herself.  My heart goes out to those who have lost their way and whose relationships have not worked. 

In the end, it all boils down to commitment.  Nothing would ever come between me and my woman, nothing.  That commitment bears itself out with the welcoming of children.  I think people stop having children because of the commitment they realize is required.  I’m also seeing several of my contemporaries who are willing to admit it tell me they wish they had had more children.  If we had decided to stop at 2, our home would likely be empty now.  Once again, following the timeless guidance of Holy Mother Church pays off with joys that money can’t buy.  If only, if only there were a way to communicate this to the masses.

God bless you+

 

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Homosexual Unions-US Compromising the Truth

Posted By at Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Be not afraid; pray and don't worry.  The Catholic Church has the fullness of the Truth to guide our way of life.  We should not be surprised that governments will lower standards for popular opinion.

 

 

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Why Are Catholic Marriages Failing?

Posted By at Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Here's this week's blog video "unplugged" along with the cited resources.

Are Catholic marriages failing because of lack of communication between spouses or because of lack of grace due to mortal sins of contraception and sterilization/mutilation?  Or is it some more fundamental cause?

 Here is the link to the article "Young men are giving up on marriage: Women aren't women Anymore"

 Here is a link to the talk by a Catholic Priest called "How do you Raise a Man?"

 Masculine and Feminine Genius Series

You Tube playlist link
 

 

 

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The Vanishing Middle Ground -The Current State of Morality

Posted By at Monday, June 29, 2015

I read an excellent book a few years back on the current state and future trend of economics and finance by Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki called Why We Want You to be Rich.  The basic position of the book is that the financial middle class is dwindling and will eventually be no more.  The middle class was a bit of a construct of the 20th century enriched by the baby boom generation, but has since faltered in recent decades and is expected to continue.  I liked the points made by the book and have made efforts to prepare my financial future accordingly.

In the wake of recent Supreme Court decisions here in the United States, the same appears to be applicable to Christianity and morality in general.  With the continual eruption of new protestant innovations of “Christianity” each one brings its own set of manly-created “standards.”  This is no different from the mainline protestant denominations of the likes of Lutheran and Baptist.  This has long been a big concern of mine concerning what many consider to be this “great” nation of ours.  I often hear people say the U.S. is no longer a “Christian” nation, but I wonder if it ever was.  The political whimperings are that we have strayed from the “Christian principles” the country was founded upon.  Admittedly I’m no civics or history scholar (I was educated in this country’s government schools after all), but as best as I can appreciate it, the founders of this nation were almost exclusively protestant.  They wanted to leave England so as to not be forced to practice the state’s religion but also to be able to adopt an unbridled system of capitalism.  That being said, their purpose however was NOT to leave the Anglican religion in order to become Catholic, to search for the complete Truth.  It was largely a fiscal independence they were after.  True, they were practicing the bit of faith they did possess, but just by virtue of being protestant they were not in possession of the fullness of Truth, whether they were ignorant of it, rejected it, or just didn’t accept it.  There were also concerns at the time of the formation of this nation coming from the Catholic prelates of Europe wondering what sort of civilization was being built across the way over the Atlantic.

And so here we are with a nation that really has no moral compass.  Protestantism says to figure it out for yourself.  There really are no moral absolutes.  It’s each person for himself to figure out what God’s law is for him.  Everyone else has to understand that and respect it.  We as Catholics realize there ARE moral absolutes.  With Supreme Court decisions recently decided we find protestants who seem to be longing for some of those absolutes.  I’m reading some things protestants are writing that sound very Catholic.  So could we be moving toward a unity in the faith of “Christians” in our efforts to defend moral Truth?  I hope so.  With events such as these we start to move from this soft, live-and-let-live middle ground that has plagued so many flavors of protestantism and even some Catholic circles.  With no moral absolutes, this nation is not set up to be a Christian nation.  About 100 years ago, contraception was legalized.  So that means for over 100 years since the formation of the country, contraception was illegal.  Under the workings of protestantism, moral relativism can be initiated and practices changed.  My personal belief is that for a nation to be considered “Christian” it would have to implement ALL Catholic moral law as state law.  A person’s theological faith would still be up to them to come to as God calls them, but morality would be consistent for all.  Anyway last time I checked a nation isn’t Christian; an individual person is.  What had made this country good, if not great, was the freedoms we possessed which seem to be fleeting.

So the lines are being drawn in the sand, and we will find out over time who the real Christians are and who are the pretenders:  thus the vanishing middle ground.  "So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." (Rev. 3:16)  If we look at history, this has played itself out over and over again.  For those of us well-studied Catholics, this should come as no surprise.  But we have the fullness of the Truth, so we are not affected by decisions such as these.  What is a law anyway but a minimum standard of behavior permitted without penalty.  As Catholics we hold ourselves to the highest of standards.  According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the goal is to have no need of the law.  If we live in such a way as to love God perfectly, there is no need for a law.  A law is there to alert us that we have failed to love sufficiently. 

So what do we do?  We continue to live according to the fullness of Truth expressing and experiencing joy for living in the liberty of that Truth.  This joy is infectious.  Have pity on those who are not in possession of this Truth.  The pagans live according to public opinion, civil law, and their own indulgent appetites.  So events such as these are a big interest of theirs.  True we must stay involved to the extent that our state in life allows.  We as Catholics must continue to exercise whatever possible influence we can in these areas.  But in the end, we transmit this Truth to future generations in our homes through the progeny of fruitful family life.  Those pagans who adopt immoral lifestyles of sodomy just die off.  They are living for empty pleasure and will find out soon enough that this does not have the effect of sustained joy.  We must be that witness of joy to this corrupt society.  

God bless you+

Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.  (1Pet 3:15-16)