“… He who does not gather with me scatters.” —Mt 12:30
A strange phenomenon is taking place in American society. More and more of our institutions are experiencing diminishment because there is a trend to “go it alone.” This can be seen in the drastic drop in the number of Americans getting married. In fact, the number of marriages has plummeted since the early 1970s. It can be seen in the difficulty experienced by both religious and secular organizations in getting and retaining members. Researchers have indicated that one of the traits of younger Americans is that they are not “joiners.” Even in our Catholic Church across America, the statistics related to the youngest adults indicates that many of them are aloof when it comes to Church membership.
All sorts of sociological theories could be put forward as to why this is happening. It could be related to the widespread breakdown of marriage and family life; it could be due to the effects of technology which gives the false illusion of being connected while eliminating the occasions for real human interaction; it could be the result of the deep influence of the radical individualism so pervasive in secular culture. It could be any one of these, and a number of other factors, or it could be a combination of all of the above. Whatever the reason, the trend is sure to have serious negative consequences.
We need other people
Human beings are social by nature. We need others physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Researchers have shown how infants who do not have the regularity of a human embrace, the sound of a human voice, the warmth of a smile and look on a human face, are seriously harmed. Human beings are best brought into the world and raised in a communion of persons called the family. God, in gathering scattered humanity to himself, does so through a “people,” his family, which we call the Church. “It is not good for the man to be alone,” God said at the beginning of creation (Gen 2:18). And yet, many men and women are deliberately choosing to be alone by foregoing not only marriage, but also other forms of community and belonging. Many, for instance, indicate that they have faith but no need for a church. This is often captured by the phrase, “I’m spiritual but not religious.” In effect, there are many people today who make up a church in which they are the only member.
No Christ without the Church
This trend presents new challenges and opportunities for Christianity and evangelization, but these will only be effective if we are more intentional about being the community of faith and love that Christ intends. If the Church does not “walk the walk” so to speak, it creates a kind of scandal. If Christians live and act no differently than the world, then it will be difficult to convince others of the beauty and truth of Christ. We must be intent on giving ourselves for the good of others.
Christianity is not a do-it-yourself project. The sacraments by their nature are ordered toward joining us more intimately with Christ and those who belong to him. I cannot love Christ without also loving his body, the Church. We must be more knowledgeable about explaining the necessity of the Church in the Christian life and one’s salvation. The Church is not an optional part of Christianity. There is no Christianity without the Church. Christ now identifies himself with the Church as he did when he asked Saul on the road to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4).
An often-overlooked effect of the Holy Spirit’s action at Pentecost was the undoing of the division and scattered-ness experienced by the human race. This was evidenced by the miracle of everyone hearing the apostles in their own language—an undoing of the events at the Tower of Babel! The work of the Holy Spirit to gather scattered humanity, begun at Pentecost, continues today in the Church.
In my last column, I remarked on Pope Benedict’s observation that hell is absolute, total, and eternal isolation. God in his very nature is not alone. He has revealed a truth about himself, that he is a mystery of communion among three divine persons, and is One. We are mysteriously made in his image. God’s revealed desire for every person is communion, a being with; communion with himself and those who love him and wish to be with him eternally. What could be better? That is a big part of the good news we have to deliver to those who mistakenly think they can be happy going it alone.
One of the promises that was drilled into me during my time in the seminary was the promise the ordained make when being ordained to the diaconate, and continue to abide by in the priesthood and episcopacy.
My Spiritual Director informed me that this carries with it a “grave-responsibility.” That is to say that praying the Liturgy of the Hours is necessary for my salvation as a priest.
Whenever we say that something is gravely immoral, or that there is a “grave responsibility” it is to say that there is such a great importance attached to this practice that without it, great harm is done to the Church, to ourselves, and in our relationship with God.
The Liturgy of the Hours, therefore, if not prayed by those who have made such a promise to God, commit mortal sin (provided all the criteria the Church gives to mortal sin is fulfilled).
This then teaches us that the Prayer of the Church bestows upon the Church the graces that bring about and preserve the grace of salvation in others. A priest or religious who refuses or out of sloth neglects this prayer is also neglecting his people in a grave manner.
This speaks of the Church’s belief in the power of prayer. Without it, we are lost, and no matter how smart or educated we think we are, we are ultimately hating God and his people without it.
The commitment and promise that we have taken is also important to reflect upon. Don’t be two faced. If you are going to make a promise to God, mean it. This also is true with respect to the oath of fidelity the ordained take.
If you cannot honour your commitments to God, you can’t really honour your commitments to your neighbour. That is, if God is owed the most respect, how can we ever think that we will respect our neighbours who deserve less honour than God?
Let our yes be yes, and our no be no.
Practice Catholic Devotions
Fr. Charles Nwora Okeke
A journey back to recovery of our traditional Catholic Practices: A syllabus of popular Catholic Devotions seldom practiced today.
No matter what you want, pray to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph; if you need money, pray to St Joseph, as he was the provider for the Holy Family and went through the same economic difficulties as yours; if you are seeking the grace of true repentance, pray to St John the Baptist; if you want to advance in studies and purity, pray to St Aloysius of Gonzaga, the patron of youths; if you want to advance in music, pray to St Cecilia; if you are in domestic difficulties, go to St Rita of Cascia, who had many of them herself; if you yearn for a clearer understanding of religious questions, pray to St Thomas Aquinas, St Bonaventure, or St Augustine of Hippo; if you want help in the conversion of a sinner, pray to St Monica, who herself besieged heaven many years for her son Augustine’s conversion and lived to see it; if you have throat trouble, pray to St Blaise; if you want a husband, pray to St Catherine; no matter what you want, pray to St Anne; St Peter of Alcantara is a wonderful helper, whose prayers, according to a statement by Christ to St Theresa, will always be answered. If you are a struggling penitent, pray to St Mary of Egypt or St Margret of Cortona, who were converted women of shame. If you want to find something that is lost, pray to St Anthony.
Remember that each day of the week has its special devotion: Sunday, the Holy Trinity; Monday, the souls in Purgatory; Tuesday, the holy angels; Wednesday, St Joseph; Thursday, the Blessed Sacrament; Friday, the Sacred Heart and the Passion; Saturday, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
I’ve had a very similar conversation with several different people at multiple parish assignments.
The same person will ask two questions maybe a few days or weeks or months apart:
1) “Father, why do you talk about missing Mass and mortal sin? It’s so off-putting and mean.”
and then, at some other point:
2) “Father, why have my kids stopped going to Mass?”
If no one tells the next generation that going to Mass is SERIOUSLY important, and that their salvation is on the line, then why would they go?
Canon Law, 1247: “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass.”
The Catechism, 2180: “The faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants)…Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.” “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
What is temptation? Temptation is the work of Satan to drag you to Hell. And Satan can read you like a book and play you like piano. Do not exaggerate his power, but do not underestimate it either.
Some of his subtlest work is done in the area of religious observance. There, he can cloak himself quite easily in the lamb’s clothing of piety, but, wolf that he really is, distort it, either through excess or defect, thereby destroying you with what is good. Beware what some spiritual writers call the “traps of the pious.” Consider some examples:
He can discourage you with prayer by saying, “If only you would pray a little longer, God will give you what you seek.” But the deception is that if we can pray a little longer, then we can never have prayed enough. Thus though we pray, we only feel guilty and inadequate. And since we can never have prayed “enough,” prayer increasingly turns into a burdensome task; God becomes a cruel taskmaster demanding longer and more precise prayers. Or prayer becomes a superstitious endeavor whose outcome we somehow control by the length and type of our prayers. Jesus counsels us that the Father knows what we need and that we should not think that merely multiple words and pious actions are necessary. We may need to persevere in prayer over time, but God is not a cruel tyrant demanding endless incantations.
Satan can take the beautiful practice of praying the rosary, or attending daily Mass, or other devotions and slowly incite in us a feeling of smug superiority, elitism, or pride. Gradually, others are thought to be less devout, even in error, because they do not do or observe what is optional or encouraged but not required. What is beautiful and holy is thus employed to incite ever-growing pride and cynicism. A most extreme form of this comes from those who take the beautiful and powerful devotion to our Lady of Fatima and allow Satan to set them against even the Pope and all the world’s bishops by claiming that they failed, either ineptly or willfully, to properly consecrate Russia. And thus one of our most beautiful and informative apparitions can engender in some people distrust of the Church and disunity from her, from multiple popes, and even from Sister Lucia herself. It is an astonishingly crafty work of the evil one to take what is good and religious and corrupt it in the minds of some.
Satan can also take what IS required and turn it into a kind of religious minimalism, a way of keeping God at a distance. And thus he tempts some souls with the notion that Sunday Mass, a little something in the collection plate, and a few rushed prayers are the end of religion rather than the beginning of it. Such observances become a way of “checking off the God-box” and being done with God for the week, rather than a foundation on which to build a beautiful and ever-deepening relationship of love with God. Such minimal practices become a form of “God-control” for those tempted in this way; it is as if to say, “I’ve done what I am supposed to do, now God and the Church have to leave me alone. God also needs to take care me now since I’ve done what I’m required to do.” And thus the Church’s beautiful laws and the requirements describing the basic duties or foundation for a deepening relationship with God, become a kind of “separation agreement,” insisting on very strict visiting hours and specifying who gets what.
Satan can take religious zeal and corrupt it into harsh and uncharitable zealotry. He can take a love for the beauty of the Liturgy, ancient or new, and turn it into a persnickety insistence on exactly the right ingredients, at the expense of charity and at the cost of ridicule, false superiority, and disunity. And thus, charity thrust aside, we say, “Just make sure you celebrate the liturgy the way I like it. Anyone who doesn’t like what I like is antiquarian, a knave, or an uncouth troglodyte and must obviously hate the Church that I love so beautifully …”
Satan can take the beautiful love for the poor and corrupt it into an enslaving paternalism that locks them into dependency, or does not address their spiritual needs by speaking to them respectfully of their sins, or does not seek to deepen their spiritual and family lives. And thus the beautiful corporal works of mercy are either set at odds with the spiritual works of mercy or are considered adequate in themselves. Satan can send many to serve the poor, armed with half-truths and approaches that merely bandage deeper wounds without addressing them.
Well, you see, in a certain sense, any virtue will do. Satan can make use of any of them and will seek to corrupt all of them, even the religious ones. He will just as surely go to work in the life of someone in a church pew, as in a brothel or the gutter. No one is exempt from his work of temptation; his goal is to drag us to Hell.
What makes his work of corrupting virtue so insidious is the subtlety of his work, for he takes something that is intrinsically good and seeks to corrupt it, either by excess or defect, or to turn it into some sort of caricature of itself.
Virtues, of course, are meant to work in combination with other virtues that balance them. For example, charity should be balanced by truth and truth by charity. Without charity, the truth can bludgeon; without truth, charity can become harmful, patronizing, and wickedly affirming. Charity and truth are meant to balance each other and to work alongside other virtues in a delicate interplay.
One of Satan’s tactics is to take one virtue and isolate it from others. Beware of these subtle tactics of Satan, who disguises himself well in the robes of virtue. But they are detached virtues, virtues out of balance and proportion.
Denigration of Bishop Finn intensified in 2010 after he learned from his vicar general that a diocesan priest had inappropriate pictures of young girls on his personal computer. The diocese immediately notified a ranking Kansas City police officer, and the pictures were provided to legal counsel as well. Both opined that the photos did not constitute child pornography as they did not contain sexual conduct or contact as defined by Missouri law.
The priest was immediately called and told to appear at the chancery the next day, but he did not. He was instead found unconscious in his garage after an attempted suicide. He remained unconscious for four days, and was not expected to live.
After recovering and undergoing psychiatric care, Bishop Finn removed the priest from pastoral duties, and said he was not allowed electronic devices or any interaction with children. When the priest breached those restrictions, the diocese turned him over to civil authorities. Detectives then discovered images of a pornographic nature at the priest’s family’s home, and he was charged that same day.
Misdemeanor charges were filed against the bishop and the diocese. In order to spare the victims a drawn out jury trial and have the charges against the diocese dropped, which would have likely resulted in crippling insurance increases, Bishop Finn submitted to a one day bench trial and was indicted and found guilty of a misdemeanor for not reporting suspected child abuse.
Many see what took place as a political vendetta against the bishop for his orthodoxy and an obvious attempt to make him an example in the Church sex abuse scandal, as the specifics of his case do not involve him perpetrating or willfully facilitating abuse.
The independent investigation ordered by Bishop Finn did find fault with the diocese’s handling of some parts of the process, but the lapses do not amount to criminal conduct, according to Missouri attorney Michael Quinlan, who said the statute under which Bishop Finn was charged, in fact, doesn’t even apply to the circumstances of the case.
“Bishop Finn has always been a solicitous and loving spiritual father to our community since the moment he welcomed us,” she said. The prioress’ affirming and joy-filled assessment refutes the negative caricature of the bishop rendered in the public eye.”
“Bishop Finn has only striven to carry out the mandate given to him before all else by the Church – the salvation of souls,” Mother Cecilia stressed. “But many have forgotten that the Church exists primarily and fundamentally for this: to seek first the Kingdom of God.”
She praises the bishop’s gracious response in the face of attack.
“Regarding the hostility and persecution shown toward our Bishop, I must say with complete admiration, that he has never displayed or spoken in a manner showing any anger or hostility in retaliation of the heaps of it he has himself received,” said Mother Cecilia. “He has always accepted it meekly, and simply continued on faithfully and perseveringly with the commission the Church has given him to build up the mystical body of Christ in truth and charity.”
She credits his caring and committed regard for her sisters as integral to the blooming of the Benedictines.
“He has been a tremendous source of inspiration to each of the sisters,” Mother Cecilia said. “His heroic witness to the faith of the Church, and his quiet determination to reform the diocese despite tremendous opposition is like having one of the saints you read about in history right before your eyes.”
“I guarantee you that Church history will be looking back and telling a different story about this man than the newspapers are at present,” said Mother Cecilia. “There have been many saints that have not been vindicated until long after their death. I have no doubt he will be one of them.”
Archbishop Allen Vigneron Cancels New Ways Ministry Guest Speaker at Church-Sponsored Event
Archbishop Allen Vigneron
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The Archdiocese of Detroit has banned a support group for Catholic families with gay members from using a Detroit parish for a Saturday meeting because the scheduled speaker represents a pro-gay rights ministry censured by the Vatican.
This part is true. In fact, to the reporters credit, she later mentions a 1999 censuring of the founders of New Ways Ministry, the organization whom the speaker, Francis DeBernardo, represents. I’ll offer a little more background here. This organization was founded by Sr. Jeanne Grammick, SSND and Fr. Robert Nugent, SDS – two individuals who were the subject of a notification from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faithunder the pontificate of Saint Pope John Paul II over what they taught, and neglected to teach, in their ministry to people with same sex attraction (SSA). The end of that document states (emphasis mine in bold):
Father Nugent and Sister Gramick have often stated that they seek, in keeping with the Church’s teaching, to treat homosexual persons “with respect, compassion and sensitivity”. However, the promotion of errors and ambiguities is not consistent with a Christian attitude of true respect and compassion: persons who are struggling with homosexuality no less than any others have the right to receive the authentic teaching of the Church from those who minister to them. The ambiguities and errors of the approach of Father Nugent and Sister Gramick have caused confusion among the Catholic people and have harmed the community of the Church. For these reasons, Sister Jeannine Gramick, SSND, and Father Robert Nugent, SDS, are permanently prohibited from any pastoral work involving homosexual persons and are ineligible, for an undetermined period, for any office in their respective religious institutes.
No one should be misled by the claim that New Ways Ministry provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice. Their claim to be Catholic only confuses the faithful regarding the authentic teaching and ministry of the Church with respect to persons with a homosexual inclination. Accordingly, I wish to make it clear that, like other groups that claim to be Catholic but deny central aspects of Church teaching, New Ways Ministry has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church and that they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States.
Getting back to the Detroit Free Press article, Montemurri writes:
It comes a month after Catholic bishops publicly feuded at a Vatican meeting over Pope Francis’ more welcoming words and outreach to gay Catholics and their families.
I don’t recall Pope Francis saying anything of this sort at the recent Synod, but many in the secular media and in the dissenting wing of the Church seem to know what he thinks. As Robert Royal, who was in Rome covering the Synod, recently wrote at The Catholic Thing:
“The pope’s own views have been impossible to detect – though many reporters pressed – because he said nothing at all this week. Presumably, he does desire some pastoral developments. He did invite, after all, Cardinal Kasper to give the keynote at the February consistory that got that whole controversy going. But to identify him with the most radical language in some garbled documents does him an injustice.”
I want to return to that word, “welcoming,” used by Montemurri, which has become popular today. In a nutshell, it is ambiguous and that is what some like. “Welcoming,” in what way? Should people be welcomed in a way that acknowledges the SSA and supports them in living out their lives in harmony with God’s ways; or, should they be welcomed in a way that affirms, or seems to affirm, people in behaviors that are objectively grave in their sinfulness? It’s hard to pin-point what people mean by “welcoming.” The latter lacks mercy in that it considers only the temporal without regard for eternal salvation. I really hope the bishops will define what it means to be “welcoming” in the 2015 Synod, if that word has to be used at all, knowing how it is exploited.
This is probably one of the greatest misunderstandings people have today. The world believes God wants us to be happy, even unto stretching the truth in ways that puts our eternal salvation at risk. Everything is interpreted through the lens of the “here and now” while disregarding the lens of eternity. Jesus Himself would not be considered “welcoming” today by telling followers as he did: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Mt 7:13-14) This conflicts with the gospel of comfort, which avoids any reflection on what it means to take up our crosses daily.
The Free Press report continues:
Joe Kohn, a spokesman for Archbishop Vigneron, said New Ways Ministryis not an approved organization to address Catholic teachings on homosexuality.
“It was brought to the archdiocese’s attention a few weeks back that New Ways Ministry had been scheduled to speak at Christ the King Church,” Kohn said in a statement. “Because New Ways Ministry had been identified as a group that might cause confusion in regards to Catholic church teaching, the archdiocese did clarify that a presentation by New Ways Ministry should not be hosted on church property.”
And that’s why the group hosting New Ways Ministry, moved the Saturday talk offsite. No further statement is really needed by Archbishop Vigneron or the Archdiocese of Detroit. Any time a bishop prohibits an event from happening on Church property, people need to act on prudence. Such action speaks volumes.
Patricia Montemurri, discussing the thoughts of the the man who was to speak at Christ the King Parish, writes:
New Ways’ DeBernardo, who was in Rome attending gay rights events during the bishops’ meeting, said the Detroit archdiocese’s actions run counter to Pope Francis’ more sympathetic posture toward gay Catholics.
First, “gay rights” is synonymous these days with affirming the lifestyle now casually referred to as, “gay.” In Catholic circles where groups like New Ways Ministry is welcomed it is often code for affirming people in their sexual relations outside of sacramental marriage while making them feel it is okay to receive Communion.
Lets be clear: Someone with SSA is welcome to receive Holy Communion like any one else, if they are striving for chastity just like any heterosexual would strive for this. There are many single, heterosexual people, who desire marriage, but have not found a spouse. They are not free to engage in sexual relations outside of Sacramental Marriage and receive Holy Communion. Many do, but that’s something our priests and bishops need to start addressing and maybe it would carry more weight when discussing homosexual relations. Homosexual inclinations are not sinful; acting on them is (CCC 2357-2359). People of either sexual orientation fall into sin and that is why there is Sacramental Confession, but this takes acknowledging a wrong and striving to, “go and sin no more.” (Jn 8:11). As the saying goes, “the Catholic Church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.” But, we sinners have to want to live in a way that is faithful to God’s Commandments. Contrary to low-information belief, Jesus did not, “do away,” with the 10 Commandments.
What kind of parent gives wheat to a child with celiac disease, just to avoid the appearance of being mean, or not wanting the child to feel different from other children, or to be happy? Humans are not incapable of eating wheat gluten, but the bodies of some individuals react in a way that damages the colon. Eating wheat can eventually be deadly. In a like manner, a pastor or bishop who permits people to believe they can have sexual relations outside of Sacramental Marriage, or turn marriage into something other than the joining of one man and one woman, engages in false mercy. Personally, I think heterosexual cohabitation is one of the most neglected topics in the Church today.
The Rev. Victor Clore, pastor of Christ the King parish, said he was notified last week by an archdiocese official that the parish could not host the meeting. Clore said the archdiocese’s position was discouraging.
“I’ll give you a quote from one of my parishioners, who said: ‘It amazes me how Pope Francis eagerly and happily engages those who openly deny the divinity of Christ, yet (New Ways) DeBernardo is deemed unworthy to enter our church,’ ” Clore stated.
“That’s pretty much my feeling, too,” said Clore. “It’s treating people as if they were children.”
Childlikeness is a virtue, especially when it comes to docility. Also, when children want to touch a hot stove they get told, “no.” That is what Archbishop Vigneron is doing here and he would be guilty of omission if he did not do so. And, where is Pope Francis giving a platform to a speaker who openly denies the Divinity of Christ? It’s a straw-man argument. It’s one thing to meet with people and talk to them; it’s quite another to give them a platform on Church property to spread error, or to say it is okay for them to receive Holy Communion while freely placing themselves in a state of grave sin.
Policies of Corporate Dissent. The Cardinal spoke of this issue in reference to letters the CDF received from “Leadership Teams” of various Congregations, among them LCWR Officers, protesting the Holy See’s actions regarding the question of women’s ordination and of a correct pastoral approach to ministry to homosexual persons, e.g. letters about New Ways Ministry’sconferences. The terms of the letters suggest that these sisters collectively take a position not in agreement with the Church’s teaching on human sexuality. It is a serious matter when these Leadership Teams are not providing effective leadership and example to their communities, but place themselves outside the Church’s teaching.
Karle-Nelson said she fears interested Catholics might be confused by the change of location. Last year’s meeting drew about 40 participants, with some walk-ins. She said 22 people are registered for Saturday’s gathering so far.
“It’s really been a problem trying to get the information out to people who have registered and those who might want to walk in,” said Karle-Nelson.
“The reason we invited Frank DeBernardo, is he just returned from Rome and the Synod on the family, and he was going to share his perspective and where do we go from here,” said Karle-Nelson. “The pope has asked for reactions and to weigh in.”
I’d be more concerned about the confusion DeBernardo will sow about what the Church teaches on human sexuality with regards to SSA than with confusion about a change in location. Where do we go from here? Look to the very good shepherd we have here in Detroit and follow through with the Church approved apostolates.
New Ways Ministry doesn’t have any links to Courage and Encourage. I think we know why.
A final word on how groups like NWM use polls, and how media types tend to use that information, treating the Church as if it is a political class. Catholic understanding of Sacred Scripture is not based on opinion polls. Keep in mind, Jesus had a high unfavorable rating in the opinion poll that put him on the Cross (Mt 15:13-15). Opinion ≠ Truth. Here’s a good summary from Cardinal Napier on Twitter.
Moral wrong, moral evil, moral falsehood & moral injustice have never had & can never have any moral rights whatsoever. Only good can!
— Cardinal Napier (@CardinalNapier) November 13, 2014
Goal of the Devil: to Divide us, to Tear Apart the Community of the Faithful.
by Father Chris Pietraszko:
Create the façade that peace can be experienced between others in heart, while compartmentalizing the mind. That is to say, all that matters is the motives, but not the truth. From this springs pluralism, and the only thing intolerable is disagreement.
Gossip. The devil whispers truths and lies into our ears about others. We judge the motives of others, and think the worst of them, typically out of our own wounded heart.
Communal Venting. When you get together with likeminded friends to gossip and discuss how terrible another person is without getting to actually know them. This is one of the hardest things to break apart, because people are reinforcing a lie, giving it even more weight because it is believed by many, and in the air you breath.
Judging others – when you are offended by a miscommunication, and automatically assume the worst. Always ask before assuming “they are out to get you.”
Projecting – sometimes you might have a history of rejection, and project that on other’s behaviour. Give everyone a fair chance, don’t allow your wounds to dictate judgment on others.
Speaking the truth without love. It is venomous and actually a distorted truth.
I am the most blessed man in the world. Jeff and I have been running this site for 5 years now. It has been a wild run, like riding a stallion bareback. We are continually astonished at how much this site has grown. Do you know we have had over 3 million visits. And amazingly, over 11,000 people have trusted us enough to become subscribers. Mother Mary has been very good to us.
Sit back, relax and let me share a little story with you. It is a good story.
Let me tell you about my lovely wife. Without her I could not do this site. I honestly don’t know how she does it. She is a suffering servant. We have 5 young children, 12 and under. We home school. Home schooling doesn’t come easy for us. Actually, it is exceptionally difficult. It is a struggle.
Did I tell you Regan almost died giving birth to our firstborn?
It took us five years to conceive our first. We thought infertility was our cross, with Regan being a diabetic and having a pituitary tumor, that made sense. We found out what was wrong. We never allowed God into our bedroom. The first day we prayed before the marital act, inviting Him into our bedroom, was the day we conceived. We were weak Catholics. Our conversion happened around our fourth year of marriage.
I almost lost her.
I can’t believe how well she maintained her sugars. Up to 14 shots a day! It was amazing.
She went through a three day labor. Yes, I said three days. A Navy seal in basic training couldn’t touch the pain my wife went through. When she was finally told to push, things got worse. Nothing happened. You could see the beginning of a head. We went in for an emergency C-section. My baby girl, my firstborn, was stuck. We had one doctor pulling her body, while the nurse was pushing the head. I was scared. The doctor started cussing and yelling for a male doctor.
After many prayers, she finally came out. Anne Marie was a NICU baby. Both of them left with long term issues, Anne Marie is deaf in one ear and struggles with learning. One day, maybe I will share her miraculous story. She is an amazing girl and doing remarkably well.
Now, are you ready for this!
Regan gave me 4 more children. All C-sections. What did I ever do to deserve 4 more children? Tell me! All I can say is thanks. A quiver full. None of them were easy pregnancies. Not even close. Let me tell you, if any one ever starts a courageous wives site, let me nominate mine.
The Quinn Family
Her new cross to bear is gripping with the fact that she can’t have any more children. There are days I see her crying. I know why. They are heart tears. It is like tears shed after losing your mom. God bless her, she longs for more children.
Sins from the past haunt us, too. We both fight anger issues. The Rosary has saved our marriage more than once. Did I tell you we struggle? I wasn’t joking.
It is her pain that really causes her problems now. Never mind the fact that she is sensitive to touch, sound, and light. Can you believe it? A mother of five is sensitive to touch and sound. And for the love of God, she married a Quinn. Quinns are the loudest and most rambunctious kids in town.
At times she describes the pain as a stabbing knife. And like it is for so many other pain sufferers, it is a hidden cross for her. I see it in people’s faces and sometimes from their lips, saying, “Why can’t she do this or that? She looks fine.”
It can get over whelming. She, by nature, is a perfectionist. Guess what. How clean do you think our house is? Oh, God, do we ever struggle. Have you ever said, “I am going nuts!”? Thats us.
What more can I say? My dear wife, I love you! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I am just going to throw this out there. Are you holding back from having a baby because it was a difficult labor or have other struggles? Don’t be afraid, take courage. YOU CAN DO IT. God will help. Will you, right now, pray and ask God to open your heart to be willing to have another child if that is His will. Your will be done Lord, not mine.
What will it hurt? Some have legitimate reasons for not having another child. I get that. I am just asking you to pray. What harm has ever come from praying?
Will you do me a favor? Please share this with your friends. You may even have some loved ones you might want to call and personally ask to read this. Who knows, in the near future, there may be another little person who will thank you for sharing.
PS I want Courageous Priest to be more of a family. If you like you can join my personal page at Facebook. I don’t post often and comment less, but I would be honored if you requested me as a friend. You can click here.