When Adam first saw Eve in the garden, he was delighted and said, "At last, here is one of my own kind, bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh" (Gen 2:23). Adam could relate to Eve. They had a relationship with each other; their bodies were complimentary. Like the happy bride and groom on their wedding day, they were filled with joy and thankful to God. But like all brides and grooms, they were unaware of the cunning seduction of the evil one. Adam was given the responsibility to guard the garden, but failed.READ MORE
A secular idea that has permeated our culture is the idea of privacy, especially for children, in order to separate them from parents, faith and God. Children want privacy to disobey parents or try something their parents would not allow, just as adults want privacy to disobey the civil law or the moral law of God, thinking it is ok just so no one finds out.
A Catholic home must have an open door policy. Doors are closed for the purpose of modesty; knocking before entering is appropriate. We would never think of trusting our finances to someone who said, “Give me your money and I will take care of it privately, no need for you to check on me.” Are we supposed to allow our children, whom God has entrusted to us, live a private life knowing sin and vice are pervasive? Children can be easily influenced into serious sin and illegal activities. “Whatever is hidden away will be brought out into the open, and whatever is covered up will be found and brought light” (Lk.8:17).READ MORE
Secularism is the exclusion of God. Our Catholic faith built on love of and obedience to Christ and His Church. Secularism excludes the one true God, embracing New Age crystals, Eastern religions, superstitions of the occult and demonic including witchcraft and vampires. Jesus said, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life” (Jn. 14, 6). There is no other way to God, no other truth about God. Jesus taught us how to live by His own life and sacrificial death.
Parents need to be vigilant and educate their children about the things that do not belong in a Catholic home. God warned Israel, “Don’t let your people practice divination or look for omens or use spells or charms, and don’t let them consult the spirits of the dead. The Lord God hates people who do these disgusting things” (Dt 18:9-12). Clean house if these things have entered your home: pagan statuary as decoration or art, ouiji boards and tarot cards as children’s games, palm readers and fortunetellers as curiosity or hobby, spells and incantations as fascinating ways to receive information. The media and schools introduce books to children with fun, adventurous
“good” witches including incantations and spells while teenagers are in love with handsome, romantic vampires.
“Then Saul also known as Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit; he looked straight at the magician and said, you son of the Devil! You are the enemy of everything that is good. You are full of all kinds of evil tricks, and you always keep trying to turn the Lord’s truths into lies!” (Acts 13:9).READ MORE
The Blessed Trinity is a mystery, one God in three Persons. The Father, Jesus, His only begotten Son and the Holy Spirit are one. They are a community of persons bound together by faithful, fruitful love. Theirs is a Divine intimacy.
In the Holy Sacrament of marriage, we too are called into a divine intimacy with Christ and our spouse, dedicated to faithful, fruitful, permanent love. This takes a lifetime to master. The holy waters of baptism washed away the original sin of disobedience we inherited from our first parents, but left us with a personal inclination to selfishness and sinful pride. Our cooperation with the graces available from the Sacraments including marriage helps us to grow in selfless love for our beloved. We are separate persons that are one in our submission to all that Christ and His Church teaches, in our mission to be heaven bound and in our fruitful love. Spouses bound together by Jesus’ love for the Father are united in prayer and in obedient love. Jesus is God, yet He always did as His Father instructed Him. The night before His ultimate gift of loving sacrifice, He again turned to His Father in prayer and said,“Not my will Father but yours” (Lk.22:42).READ MORE
Adam and Judas were too proud to ask for forgiveness; neither have an honorable place in scriptural history. In contrast, the penitent woman, filled with humble sorrow for her sins, publically washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair, acknowledging her sinfulness. At the crucifixion, the good thief, St. Dismas, admitted Jesus’ goodness and his own wrongdoing and Jesus promised he would enter paradise that very day.
We all sin, make mistakes, do wrong in varying degrees. Accepting the fact we are sinners is the first step to realizing we must learn how to say we are sorry, first to God and then to our spouse, immediately after we have offended. Saying, “I don’t apologize” is like bragging, “I am like Judas.” Jesus is a humble God. He is our model. We look to Him and try to behave as He taught us. Pride is one of the seven deadly sins while humility is one of the great virtues. Jesus taught the importance of asking and receiving forgiveness when He instituted the sacrament
of reconciliation saying to the Apostles, “Whose sins you shall forgive will be forgiven, whose sins you shall retain shall be retained” (Jn. 20:23). What an incredible gift of love to hear the Priest say, “I absolve you from your sins.”
Anger is one of the seven deadly sins. God warned Cain that his anger was like a controllingdemon: “Sin is a demon lurking at the door. It wants to rule you but you can be his master”(Gen. 4:7). Cain ignored God and killed his brother. Anger is deadly, resulting in a loss of emotional controland a sin against the gift of love. Some people justify their anger saying, “Jesus got angry at the money changers in the temple so anger is OK.” Well, Jesus is God and we are not.
Therapy can explore the reasons for anger but can’tchange anger. Deadly sins contain demons. Jesus, the Divine Physician, knows how to handle them and thedeadly sins that attack His children. Jesus gave His Church, through the Apostles, tools and medicine toprotect and inoculate His children from all deadly sins with the words, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive will be forgiven, whose sins you shall retained will be retained” (John 20:23). Only Jesus’ sacramental grace has the power to heal the soul from deadly sin with the medicine of sacramental reconciliation. Frequent anger means frequent reconciliation; keeping a log for reporting the outbursts will assist when in reconciliation. It may take time but eventually the “lurking demon” will be subdued to a memory. If tested in the future, immediately return to reconciliation as only the Divine Physician has the grace to handle deadly sin.READ MORE
Marriage is for sanctification but is hard work. “That is why a man is to leave his father and mother and cling to his wife and the two will be of one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Scripture also says that the Christians in the early Church were, “Of one heart and one mind” (Acts.4:32) in baptism and the Holy Spirit, dedicated to living the gospel message taught by the Apostles. In a sacramental marriage, we are one in mind, heart, body, and spirit as we are baptized into His family, submissive to Christ and His teachings and are on the same mission to glorify the Father and go to heaven. The world, the flesh, and the devil are opposed to our commitment to holiness. The opposition works hard to keep us off balance, distracted and angry at our spouse, frustrated by finances, discouraged by children, too busy to think and too tired to care. Prayer, service, and obedience to the Father’s will is the process of sanctification. Exhaustion, frustration, and discouragement can be human by-products of the process. Never forget
holiness in marriage is hard work.
Jesus placed a child in their midst and said, “Whoever welcomes a child such as this welcomes me” (Mat. 18:5). A culture that does not welcome children is a culture that does not welcome Jesus. To accept Jesus, one must be open to life. Every human life is created “In God’s image and likeness” (Gen. 1:2). God’s greatest blessing to couples is fruitfulness, allowing them to co- create with Him to conceive and bring new life into the world.
The evil one has seduced our anti-love, anti-life, toxic culture into blindly rejecting two of the special gifts exclusive to married couples: holy sacramental marriage and the fruitfulness of the “Divine Image.” People accept the false concept of “privacy” forgetting The Creator, Almighty God, is ever present to His creation as He sees and knows all. “The word of God is alive and active; it judges the desires and the thoughts of man’s heart. There is nothing that can be hid from God: everything in creation is exposed and lies open before His eyes. And it is to Him that we must all give an account of ourselves” (Heb. 4:12).READ MORE
God, the ever generous Father, gives us gifts to help grow in sanctity. Some gifts are in the form of a cross while others are joy filled.
Instead of gratitude for His gifts, we, His spoiled children, complain. Instead of praying, “Give us this day our daily bread” our prayer is more like, “Give me nonfat, fructose and gluten free, whole grain lightly toasted bread with real fruit preserves and for coffee I want….” Demanding, complaining and negativity are rejections of God’s goodness.
Questioning God’s fairness, complainers think they deserve more and better. As selfish sinners, we don’t deserve the free gift of salvation just as Jesus did not deserve crucifixion. Both were freely given due to God’s boundless generosity. Freed from slavery, the Israelites in the desert grumbled against God and were punished by not seeing the Promised Land.READ MORE
“Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the Church and gave His life for it” (Eph. 5:25). Jesus laid down His Life for His Bride, the Church. The greatest example of love is a person laying their life down for another. “My children, our love should not be just words and talk: it must be true love, which shows itself in action” (1 Jn.3: 18). Marriage is sacrificial love. It is the action of laying one’s selfishness down for their beloved spouse. Faithful marriage is the heroic call of love in which the husband and wife consider his/her spouse before him/herself. Thinking and caring for the beloved before self is not easy. However, when a couple begins to live this way, they fall more deeply in love no matter how long they have been married. Both husband and wife are then always thinking, “How can I serve my spouse better? What would my spouse want or need when he or she comes home? How can I help my beloved?” Giving to your spouse is not a form of weakness. Rather, it is following the example of Christ. These nine little words can change your marriage. “What do you need and how can I help”?READ MORE
Are you an appropriate model of marriage to your children? Do your children look at your happy, loving marriage and dream of having the same kind of marriage as yours? Do you show your love for your spouse by wanting to be together, serving each other with love, touching them with tenderness, paying attention when they speak, never speaking unkindly to them or about them and praying for them? Or do your children hear you yelling, using angry words, saying unkind things to them and about them, showing frustration and irritation with much of what they say and do?
God designed married love to be joyful and peaceful so that spouses can learn to love as God loves. If your marriage has fallen short of this design, fix it today. The evil one wants to destroy all faith, peace, joy and love. If things aren’t right in your marriage, he will work very hard to present thoughts of discouragement in order to break it. If you feel like giving up, don’t! You and your spouse are listening to the wrong voice! Replace the angry words and arguing with words of encouragement and appreciation. “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up” (1Thes 5:11).READ MORE
Jesus, who is God, came “to serve not to be served” (Mt 20:28). In a sacramental marriage, we are to serve our spouse and family with a happy rather than a resentful heart. Because the home and children belong to both spouses, the responsibilities of running the home and caring for the needs of the children belong to both spouses. Regardless of whether both spouses work outside the home or only one, both need to address the evening tasks together with a happy heart. Develop and cultivate the idea of joyfully serving your precious spouse and family. Instead of sitting and relaxing while your beloved makes dinner, does dishes, helps with homework, finishes the laundry and gets ready for the business of the next day, pitch in and assist. When chores and responsibilities fall primarily on one spouse, couples can easily feel used, grow apart and become resentful. But, when couples work together lovingly, kindly and respectfully, marriage and family bonds are strengthened.READ MORE