A Married Little Boy

Just spoke to a good friend about his brother and the current troubled state of his brother’s marriage. It seems this young man works a 28 day shift for a boating company and then returns home for a two week period. In recent months, he has begun arriving home from work and then shortly after taking off for weekend jaunts with unknown “friends”.
This raised my eyebrows as these activities are a sure sign of trouble brewing or trouble already begun. I asked my friend a few questions and the ever-present, all too common problem reared its ugly head: his brother’s wife is ruling the house with an iron hand and his brother is like a little boy who just wants to play. So, he avoids her wrath and runs off to play on the weekends with his other playmates. My friend with whom I was having lunch recently told the wife in this situation that they are not living the way they were intended to live and their problems are not surprising and will continue to worsen if steps are not taken to remedy this situation.
I said in an earlier post that we as a society are blind and we have fallen into a pit. This story illustrates that point very well. The vast majority of couples who marry today do so in a state of complete ignorance of God’s design for marriage and family life. There is a giant chasm or void in the area of instruction for how to construct and build a marriage. Success and happiness are nearly impossible when we enter a situation as profound and demanding as marriage and the parenting of children in a state of ignorance.
If we could open these young people’s eyes, what would they see? The wife would see that God made her to be her husband’s helpmeet, his companion,
his cheerleader. She would see the need for her to be feminine, nurturing and supportive. The husband would see that God intended for him to lead, to be masculine, firm, dignified – someone that his wife KNOWS she can count on and follow with confident assurance. When and if their eyes are opened to these beautiful truths, life will take on a new radiance, even excitement. The alternative is the sad case described above in a high percentage of our marriages today and we are suffering because of it. Our Church leaders should be boldly and loudly proclaiming God’s simple plan for successful, happy marriages – maybe that’s why it has been discarded – it’s just so simple. Please visit christianfamilyoutreach.com to learn the Church’s teachings and philosophy for successful marriage – we owe it to our children to change this unfortunate trend NOW.
God Bless.

Holy Mass

St. John Vianney wrote that if we could get a glimpse – just a glimpse – of what the angels see at Mass, we would die of love. To die of love – that phrase alone is worth a good meditation. I attended Mass this morning at a church approximately 15 minutes from my home – a very traditional church with a somewhat liberal, modernist priest. This priest is trying hard, he is very earnest in the manner that he offers the Mass. But it is painfully obvious what the liberal atmosphere in this country and throughout the world – especially in our seminaries – has done to these young priests. What is frustrating is to attend Mass in a church that seats around 500 people with 10 souls present. Our churches are empty not because of some mysterious cause, not some unsolvable problem – our churches are empty because the Holy Mass which was handed down for many centuries has been protestantized and watered down to the point of being banal and uninspiring. It is a sacrifice and not some community meal or celebration – those things are good in and of themselves but they lack the power to transform our lives and inspire us to seek holiness. The Mass can have – if we are properly disposed – lasting, even eternal effects in our souls – a community meal or a simple celebration of our fraternal feelings towards one another is a temporary fluffing up of emotions, a shot in the arm of our senses. The saints entered the church for Holy Mass keenly aware of what was about to take place – the ultimate sacrifice on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins. It should be a solemn, serious, beautiful thing to witness this miracle which occurs on our altars. But, sadly, over the last 40 years, the attempt has been made to drag the Mass down into the earthly realm in which we all dwell – how can it lift our souls when it has been stripped of the intended beauty it should be permeated with?
There were people in the Church 40 years ago who wanted to modernize the Mass, to bring it into the modern age. Never mind that the modern age was taking a hard turn into laxity, casualness and the subsequent lowering of standards – to the point of millions of souls losing their faith, leaving the Church and thinking they were entering greener pastures. This mass exodus, no pun intended, has caused havoc and confusion in the Church. The folks in the pews are demoralized when the Mass is stripped of its beauty, its “Catholicness” The communion rail, the incense, the traditional vestments, the beautiful latin – all of these precious things served to send a loud reminder that the Mass is divine, that Jesus Christ is truly and really present in the Blessed Sacrament and that we are in His awesome presence.
The Catholic laity should leave Mass KNOWING that they have been touched by God Himself and have witnessed what the angels see in heaven. Pray for our priests and leaders in the Church – ask Mary to bring back the beautiful rites of the Church. God Bless.

Train Them Up

Back in the year 2000, I read a book that was circulating among the families in the homeschool academy which we are members of. At the time, my son was nearing his fifth birthday. This boy was becoming increasingly difficult to control and frustration was taking hold of both my wife and I. The book makes the very profound point that it is a huge mistake and one made by the vast majority of parents to wait for misbehavior in a child and then take appropriate disciplinary action. The proven method is stated in the Book of Proverbs: “TRAIN up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it” Training children is not a reactionary activity but an anticipatory one – we take certain steps and create certain situations and use those instances to bring about a desired, habitual response in the child.
This concept was an eye-opener for my wife and I. I implemented the strategies in the book and the results were very apparent and much appreciated in a matter of a few days. I could sit in a chair and call my son to me and he would literally run to me and say “yes sir” upon arriving where I was seated. A few days before, I had to physically restrain him while my wife dressed him for church. I know that many good people will read this description of an out of control child and shake their heads in agreement. I am here to tell anyone who reads this post that it does not have to be that way. In fact, the out of control child terrorizing his parents is not normal and it is a sign that something is desperately wrong. But like most of the insanity that surrounds us today, it has come to be accepted that raising children is a battle zone with stress and fighting and nerve medicine for everyone involved. A fascinating, undeniable fact: children who are trained and guided in correct behavior by parents whose interest in them far surpasses any of the other frivolous activities we moderns involve ourselves in instinctively know in their heart and soul that their parents love them and want them to mature into the amazing person God created them to be. The opposite is also sadly true and undeniable. Untrained children whose parents can’t be bothered to train and teach them know in their young hearts that they are not at the top of Mom and Dad’s priority list – they sense that they are drifting and alone, rudderless in a society that will do them great harm. So, we have thousands of young souls ingesting drugs prescribed by physicians and approved of by their parents – drugs to help them cope with the grinding anxiety and uneasiness they feel every day. The tension is palpable and it is unnecessary – it is not accidental or just something to be accepted in our hectic society. It is the result, the consequence of actions, or inaction, of parents who have never been exposed to biblical methods of training and raising children. This theme will be developed more in future posts, but something to think about until then:
The Amish community in the area where the author of this book lives travel exclusively by horse-drawn buggies on very narrow country highways and 2-lane roads. Also traveling on these roads are fast moving 18 wheelers and other large commercial vehicles. The horses pulling these buggies must be very strictly trained to remain rigidly in the lane of the road in which the buggie is traveling as one of these large trucks approaches – a couple inches out of line and disaster could easily result. Granted, our kids are not animals pulling buggies, but they are innocent, unknowing young people who could easily encounter disaster in our increasingly barbaric society – unless they are trained in the way they should go.
Book information: To Train Up a Child – visit Nogreaterjoy.org
God Bless.

To Know, To Love, To Serve

I watched a video of a 1992 presentation on serving God last night. The speaker demonstrated a keen and deep insight into human nature. He began by asking the audience to name the one thing more important than all of the other issues we poor sinners contend with. The answers quickly came: salvation of our souls, peace of heart, financial security, getting our children to heaven, etc…It was agreed that the salvation of our souls was at the top of the list. The speaker then asked if the children of those present would say, after living with mom and dad for many years, that the importance of the salvation of their souls and those around them was indeed reflected in the way they
actually lived their life. Would the children indeed say “my parents live their lives to know, love and serve God”? There was an uneasy silence and nervous laughter as the audience realized that the vast majority of good christian people do not live with God as their primary focus. What is the resulting consequence of this dichotomy in our lives? One result may be that our kids reach the age of understanding and discernment and then plainly see this inconsistency in their parents’ lives and then reject the faith as being something not authentic or even phony. Jesus Himself said to let your
yes be yes and your no be no – anything else is from the evil one. In other words, make sure our words and thoughts and actions are in agreement – this is the definition of integrity. We must be people of integrity or we will live hollow, unfulfilled lives and we may confuse and alienate our children and those God places in our path. Why are we prone to this inconsistency?
Because we are like the water running downstream with a large boulder in the path – we take the path of least resistance, thinking that we will be happier and more at peace. Tragically, the opposite is true. The saints took the more difficult, less popular route of speaking and living honest lives of integrity – they suffered in the temporal order but rejoiced in the spiritual.
The particular way that we are all called to know, love and serve God must be sought after – in prayer, the sacraments and consulting with wise, successful people who are indeed honest & dignified – people of integrity. The man who made this talk spends the vast majority of his time serving God – counseling people, distributing good Catholic material via pamphlets and the internet and involving himself in the problems of people from whom he gains absolutely nothing – except the joy and satisfaction of changing people’s lives and watching them find success and happiness. We all need to find the way God intends us to serve and become a true disciple, a follower that He can depend on. God Bless.

Lunch With An Old Friend

It’s always good to re-connect with old friends. I had that oppurtunity recently. The gentleman I met with is a man I was very close to 20 years
ago – we lost touch as we both married and began having children. I knew going into this meeting that my friend’s marriage is in a very precarious state. They are both extremely unhappy and chaos rules their lives – it is very sad and so unnecessary. What is very distressing to me is that this situation is very common in our society and it is almost accepted as the norm – “marriage is tough with a lot of suffering.” Equally distressing is the fact that solutions and answers seem to be nonexistent and those in positions to help and offer counsel refuse to get involved or don’t know how to even approach the problem. The elephant in the living room is the fact that the one thing that will, without a doubt, remedy this problem is simple to find, readily available and ordained and sanctioned by Almighty God Himself. It is this: the traditional order of family life as given to us in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterial teachings of the Catholic Church. Sadly,tragically, it is the last place that most of our clergy and laity who are in positions of authority will look for the answer. Our modern sensibilities tell us that these teachings are outdated, old-fashioned and they simply don’t apply. Woe to us in our blindness and foolishness. We have fallen into a pit and refuse to lift ourselves out.
I told my friend that he and his wife are living in a way contrary to what leads to success – they have everything turned on its head. He looked at me
with bewilderment and confusion. I added that it is very difficult to succeed even with God at the center of our marriages – it requires virtue – but it is impossible without God in the center. It is a form of marital suicide to ignore what Christ’s Church teaches on how to live our lives.
I offered to my friend a ray of hope, I hope. His wife’s best friend is equally
unhappy and bitter in her marriage – they speak very frequently on the phone and in person. I asked my friend who was the head of his house and the house of his wife’s friend – he said in both cases that the ladies in both cases were in control and running the show. I asked the simple question “is it working? are you all happy?” He did not hesitate and answered “no” I pointed out the inescapable correlation: when Daddy doesn’t lead and Momma usurps his God given authority, the lights go out and darkness falls.
A friend once told me that when our wives grab hold of the reins in the home, it is like she has grabbed a live wire – it is killing her but she can’t let go.
To be fair and completely up front and honest – let us state that it is very understandable that women feel the need to take control – with the way that most men conduct themselves today, a state of extreme anxiety and worry very often overtakes a woman’s mind and heart. So, the problem is indeed twofold – poor leadership and the natural tendency of Mom to fix things and make them right.
Back to the ray of hope I offered my friend – considering the influences in his wife’s day to day living, I suggested he expose her to women who live according to what the Church teaches and consequently enjoy peace and happiness – let her see and feel the radiance of the result of being in the state of grace and in the will of God. Maybe that will touch her heart and mind and start a new way of thinking. He agreed and we will meet for supper soon. I’ll share the results of that supper next time. God Bless.

Conversation With A Dad

I had a long, serious conversation with one of the Dads who volunteers at the TFP summer camp. He related to me that many of the boys who attend the camp begin as soft and lacking in certain masculine characteristics, but leave the camp transformed into bold, enthusiastic young men. He related to me that after eight years of working at the camp, that he can spot the boys whose Dads are not connecting with their sons, the ones whose Dads have not successfully conveyed to their boys their interest in and concern for them. This, to me, is a microcosm of the larger problem we face as a Church and society. Our men have been emasculated and somewhat neutered in an atmosphere of oppressive feminism and liberalism.
I believe Jesus Christ was a very masculine man – I believe He personified a chivalrous, dynamic leader who was entirely animated by agape love – sacrificial love which drives a soul to empty themself for the good of the
souls around them. He was a warrior armed with the Spirit of God and the love of the Father in Heaven. He needs the men of today to cast aside all attachments and distractions and have the guts to tread the path He blazed ahead of us.
It is distressing to see young men full of potential wandering the streets with their friends during the summer months. No direction, no goals, no interest in the great adventure of being a Christian man serving the King.
Boys without training and direction will inevitably get lost on a path that leads far away from the destination God has planned for them. It is a long, painful road back to sane living.
This man with whom I was speaking at the camp told me of another gentleman whose son recently rebelled and rejected the philosophy his parents live by – a philosophy they attempted to train their son to understand and embrace. These good folks are grieving today as they watch their son drift away. Their son will undoubtedly return at some time, but after much suffering and grief. I asked this man what caused the trouble with this young man – his answer was sobering – the boy’s Dad did not know how to connect with his boy – he spoke to him like a college professor speaks to a class. Predictably, the man’s instruction fell on deaf ears and the boy bolted when he was old enough to see and understand – and, when the world started tugging at his heart. My prayer is this: that the hearts of all Dads will turn to the hearts of their wives and children.
God Bless.

Tradition Family Property

The ninth annual Call to Chivalry Camp held by the Tradition, Family & Property organization concluded yesterday with the usual vigor, enthusiasm

and missionary zeal that this Catholic group espouses and promotes. It is exciting to see young, clean cut  men convicted in their Catholic faith

to the extent of total devotion of their entire lives to serving the King and defending His Church. I am impressed to the point of amazement at these men – they

are enthusiastic, good-natured, pious, masculine and dignified in their behavior, speech and dress. They are gentlemen and they are happy. I just described what all

Catholic men should aspire to be. Some of these men travel continuously from place to place and at every destination serve Our Lord and His Church tirelessly and without

ego or self interest. Webster’s defines chivalry as a man who is gallant and a distinguished gentleman and another definition describes “mounted men at arms.”

I hope we all realize that we are at war on many fronts and without chivalrous men, we could lose much. During last night’s closing ceremony, the leader of the TFP in my

home state said in his closing remarks that mediocre souls will not change this society – it requires heroic, brave, chivalrous men willing to sacrifice it all for the cause.

I asked one of the leaders who staffed this camp if he intended to do this the rest of his life – he looked at me and said “Sir, this is a vocation – I am called to do this”

Consequently, this young man is obviously full of joy. One last thing on the TFP – some of the young men who ran this camp drove 14 hours from Pennsylvania the night

before the camp started and then will be leaving a couple of days from now for the next event – and it goes on and on………

The concept of Chivalry in men young and old is a lost idea and something that badly needs to be resurrected in the Church and our society. The enemy tries to use fear

to stop his opponents – us – from taking up arms against him. Our response cannot be timid and hesitant – the attack is full frontal assault and we had better be aware

and ready to tough it out. These are not just words – the casualties are all around us – let’s not become one of them – our spouses and our children deserve better. The image of

the crusader on his horse ready for war is a very accurate description of what makes the enemy run. May we all be faithful and ready soldiers for the Lord, His Church and

Our Lady. God Bless.

The Hidden Woman

Several years ago, a friend was telling me of a conversation he had with his wife, during which they tried to think of all the families that they knew whom they considered truly happy. The common denominator in all of these happy families was the wife and mother living as the Blessed Mother lived – as a hidden woman. At first glance, this might seem odd or extreme. But that reaction is mostly experienced by modern folks who have never been exposed to or witnessed the beauty of this concept. We live in a culture heavily influenced by feminism and materialism – this culture would not only find this idea odd but downright weird and offensive. The fact that our modern society is at odds with traditional views on family life should be an infallible sign that we should heartily embrace and live according to these truths. It probably gets down to what we really believe a woman is intended by Almighty God to be. Tradition tells us that a wife and mother is a precious jewel in her home, the nurturer, the source of love for her husband and children. Without that nurturing and love, the family suffers, especially the children – precious children who depend on Mom and Dad for their very lives, especially the formation of their character, their moral compass and their spiritual vitality. When Mom is hidden in the home, her castle, she is protected, shielded from the corrosive, deforming effects of wrestling with the world and all of its attractions. Her attention is sharply focused on what God created her to be and do. She is living and functioning in the will of God – she is in tune with His design for her. When that is in place, everybody prospers and develops according to God’s marvelous design. Happiness ensues.
It is an amazing thing to watch the effect this has on the father and husband of a woman who wisely and lovingly lives this life. He rises up, becomes emboldened, energized and eager to know and do God’s will. To wake up next to his greatest fan and cheerleader instead of his greatest critic is a
beautiful thing to a man who has to venture out into the strife and struggle of the work world. Women are very powerful and very capable of transforming their husband and children – they possess the tools to enable their family to be recreated and to renew the face of the earth.
Some poor souls might feel sorry for these stay at home, hidden women – that sympathy should instead be admiration and even envy – these ladies live radiant, exciting lives while they raise Godly children who will in turn go out and be little lights in a world dark with sin and error. God Bless.

Theology and Sanity

Frank Sheed was a lay theologian who wrote great Catholic books in the 1940’s. The Church and our American society would benefit greatly by being exposed to this great man’s wisdom and solid Catholic teaching. One of his more famous works was titled Theology and Sanity and in that classic work he exposed the sad but true fact that unless we have a Catholic intellect, we are indeed suffering from a form of insanity. What does it mean to have a Catholic intellect? The answer contains a few principles one of which I will offer for those who read this blog to think about and digest further. It is this: to have a Catholic intellect means very simply to see what the Church sees, to view the world through the Church’s eyes. What does the Church see? She sees what is really there, namely that EVERY living thing is held in existence by the providence of Almighty God and is completely dependent on Him for existence. Many of us state this truth and we say we believe it, but is it so engrained in us that it is second nature for us to believe it to the extent that it shapes our lives and determines our actions? We must ingest this great truth to the point that we experience a surrender into the hands of God and trust Him implicitly with our eternal destiny. That is not to say that we don’t have to perform the duties of our state in life and live responsibly – it means we do our part, remain faithful and leave the results to Him. Frank Sheed’s books are available online. More on this later. God Bless.

Modernism

Great homily at Mass yesterday at the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in Gibson, La. Father spoke extensively about the heresy which is destroying our

society and eating away at the Church from the inside. That heresy is modernism and it is very simply a claim that truth changes over time – as we become more

modern and sophisticated, the ancient truths of the Christian faith are no longer true and no longer to be adhered to. This sad situation was foreseen and foretold

by Christ Himself and the writers of the sacred scriptures. Pope Pious X condemned this scourge on the Church at the turn of the century and his unheeded warnings

have proven to be true. Father gave examples of what a modernist believes and preaches and he put us on notice that these people are being used by Satan and his minions

to undermine the foundation of the Church – they spread confusion and discord which destroys unity. A good example is the elimination of Latin in the liturgy of

the Mass – the beauty of latin was a way of preserving unity among Catholics – we could have entered a church in Belgium or Poland and heard the same beautiful words of

the Holy Mass at either place. The modernists are resistant to tradition and reverence – they are terrified of appearing to be old-fashioned or “pre-Vatican II.” Look at

the Church in the decades prior to the Council – look up the statistics on vocations, Mass attendance, the numbers of professed religious sisters – it is shocking what this heresy

has inflicted on Holy Mother Church. The remedy is to study the true faith, live it in our daily lives and tell it to whomever we encounter in our own personal journey.

A little perspective:  the heresy of modernism has had its effect for about the last 50 years – the true faith, the faith Jesus Himself taught the apostles has served humanity

for over 2000 years and it is still the rock, the unshakeable rock that will get our little boats across the rough ocean of life – right along side the barque of Peter. God Bless.