Tag Archives: family

An Advent Invitation

26 Nov

advent wreathWe all have plenty of time.

If that seems like a crazy statement, think about what you’d do if you found out there was a huge wildfire coming toward you. Suddenly, your schedule would open up, and you’d be able to do what you needed to do to secure your home and family.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus challenges us to be prepared before disaster strikes. One of the best things we can do on an ongoing basis to keep our family secure is to fortify our marriages. Often, since our marriages seem to be “okay,” we turn our time and attention elsewhere. But our marriages are our vocation, our life’s work! Don’t we owe it to our spouses to invest time in making them great?!

This Advent, why not adopt one small practice that will bring more joy to your marriage? See www.joyfulmarriageproject.com for ideas.

The foregoing is this week’s installment of the “Marriage Minute,” produced by the Marriage and Family Life Office of the Archdiocese, which attempts to view the Sunday readings through the lens of the Sacrament of Marriage.

Winning the Battle of Family Life

11 Oct

Image result for Moses in battleAre you or someone you know facing a serious struggle? It could be at home or at work. It could be your spouse, one of your children, or a friend.

We learn three important lessons from Moses in this week’s reading from Exodus:

(1) Moses is not afraid to confront the battle.

(2) Moses relies primarily on prayer to win the battle.

(3) Moses is not afraid to accept help to win the battle.

In the daily struggles of marriage and family life, it is important to take the same approach. Recognize and confront your battles, rely on prayer, and ask for help if needed.

  • What is the biggest battle your spouse faces?
  • What is the biggest battle you face today?
  • What is the biggest battle your children face today?
  • What time have you set aside to bring these situations to prayer?
  • Who can you ask for help to support you in your family’s battles?
  • Is there a struggling family to whom you can reach out and help?

The foregoing is this week’s installment of the “Marriage Minute,” produced by the Marriage and Family Life Office of the Archdiocese, which attempts to view the Sunday readings through the lens of the Sacrament of Marriage.

What Is the Opposite of Love?

26 Aug

marriage1If you said “hate,” you’re probably in agreement with most people, but St. John Paul II had a different opinion. He wrote that love’s opposite is “use.”

In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus asks His disciples to examine their intentions as they invite guests to a party. Did they invite someone only to get an invite in return?

It may seem strange, but even in marriage, we need to guard against using each other. We can check the purity of our intentions by asking ourselves:

  • Am I performing a kind act in order to get a specific response from my spouse?
  • Is this action coming from a joyful heart, or out of a desire to not “be in the doghouse”?
  • Do I keep track of good deeds, words, or even intimacy?

If you find you answered “yes,” ask Jesus to purify your intentions.

The foregoing is this week’s installment of the “Marriage Minute,” produced by the Marriage and Family Life Office of the Archdiocese, which attempts to view the Sunday readings through the lens of the Sacrament of Marriage.

Discipline = Love

19 Aug

Do your children ever give you grief because you love them enough to discipline them? Even though they may not agree or understand, we know we owe them the gift of discipline.  And yet, we all know that it is sometimes easier to let behaviors slide because we know that our disciplinary efforts will take time and effort.

Our experience of parental discipline helps us to understand how God our Father treats all of His children. We hear in this Sunday’s second reading, “For whom the Lord loves He disciplines.” God’s love for His children is constant and never tiring.  If we want to parent like God, we must be constant in our loving discipline for the sake of our children’s growth.

This week, let us pray for the grace to be constant in discipline and, when we do discipline our children, may we act out of kindness and reassure them that they are loved.

The foregoing is this week’s installment of the “Marriage Minute,” produced by the Marriage and Family Life Office of the Archdiocese, which attempts to view the Sunday readings through the lens of the Sacrament of Marriage.

Stand Firm

12 Aug

Image result for sacred heart of jesusHave you ever been the butt of family jokes because you attend Mass faithfully, make counter-cultural parenting decisions, or have “too many” kids?

If your faith has ever made you unpopular, you’re experiencing what Jesus describes in the Gospel this week. Sometimes our faith becomes a dividing line between us and family, and this can make us feel torn or even guilty for causing the disruption.

We need to remember that Jesus is calling us to authentic unity with our loved ones, and unity ultimately comes from Him. It may seem as if our getting serious about the faith has caused the problem, but really we are just the first to take a step toward authentic unity.

Like Christ Himself, we can help to bring our loved ones along through our silent, loving witness and by offering the pain of being misunderstood for their conversion.

The foregoing is this week’s installment of the “Marriage Minute,” produced by the Marriage and Family Life Office of the Archdiocese, which attempts to view the Sunday readings through the lens of the Sacrament of Marriage.

Parents, Listen to Your Own Wisdom

29 Jul

Has your child ever demanded, “Mom, tell my brother to share the Legos with me!”? If so, you can relate to Jesus’ experience in this week’s Gospel when He is asked to instruct siblings to share the family inheritance with one another.

As parents dealing with children or looking at this Gospel, it is easy to recognize the jealousy at the root of these situations, and we have the wisdom to say, “Possessions are not the source of happiness.” However, we parents face the same temptation of jealousy.

A new car, new house, new clothing, new phone, or a new kitchen seems to call our name every day.  None of these things are bad, but we can want them for the wrong reasons.  Let us take the time this week to check the motivations of our heart and to be grateful for what we do have. We can set the example for our children of what it means to be poor in spirit.

Can You Prove Your Christianity?

21 Apr

aaaaHave you ever noticed that it’s often easier to be kind to strangers when you’re angry than it is to be kind to your family?

In this Sunday’s responsorial psalm we hear that the Lord is “slow to anger and abounding in compassion,” and in the Gospel Jesus tells His disciples that they will be known by how well they love. How well we love our families, especially in anger, is proof of our Christianity!

If that’s a challenge, consider this. We don’t have to feel warm and fuzzy to be kind. In fact, often when we act kind or compassionate despite our feelings to the contrary, the feelings follow.

The next time we may feel tempted to snap at our loved ones, let’s try to think of what it would look like to respond with “abounding compassion.” This self-control will be a powerful witness to our children.

The foregoing is this week’s installment of the “Marriage Minute,” produced by the Marriage and Family Life Office of the Archdiocese, which attempts to view the Sunday readings through the lens of the Sacrament of Marriage.

 

Mercy Manifesto

13 Apr
Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap.

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus offers us eternal happiness, and the doorway to access this eternal life is mercy. The following is from this year’s Good Friday Homily at St Peter’s Basilica given by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, and it sheds great light on the dignity of the family.

“There is only one thing that can truly save the world, mercy! The mercy of God for human beings and the mercy of human beings for each other. In particular, it can save the most precious and fragile thing in the world at this time, marriage and the family.”

In the family, we have the unique and important opportunity to practice mercy every day. Forgiveness, patience, kindness, service, discipline, and affirmation are simple ways that we express mercy to one another within the family. Each time we do this, we make God’s mercy visible in the world.

The foregoing is this week’s installment of the “Marriage Minute,” produced by the Marriage and Family Life Office of the Archdiocese, which attempts to view the Sunday readings through the lens of the Sacrament of Marriage.

Reasons to Believe

6 Apr

aaaa“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

“We must obey God rather than men.” St. Peter boldly proclaimed these words as he was questioned by the authorities 2,000 years ago. In a certain sense, not much has changed. Modern popes and faithful Catholics are asked frequently to deny Jesus or the teachings of His Church on so many issues, but especially when it comes to matters of marriage and family life, and we also have to say, “We must obey God rather than men.”

Mostly, confusion arises because the “why” of the Church’s teaching has never been explained well. Many are often unaware of the beauty that stands at the foundations of “controversial teachings” such as same-sex “marriage,” contraception, pornography, and divorce. It is important for us to understand the “why” of the Church’s teachings as much as the “what.”

For common sense explanations on Church teachings regarding marriage and family life, go to www.archkck.org/family. Then click on “defending marriage.”

The Mission of Marriage . . . If You Choose to Accept It

31 Mar

Recently durinaaaag Mass, Maggie, my 5 year-old daughter, grabbed my hand while we were listening to the homily. I thought she just wanted to hold my hand, but I was wrong. She gave my hand to Libby, so we could hold hands during the homily. It deepened my realization that little ones want desperately for their parents to not only be together, but to be “IN LOVE.”

It is sometimes easy to forget that one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to constantly strive to grow in our marriage no matter how good or not so good it already is. No matter where we are or have been in our marriages, the natural instinct of my daughter, Magdalene, can give us deep insight into the supernatural reality of this Easter Season. Let’s explore.

What is it about an “in love” married couple that gives so much security to our little ones? I think it has something to do with the fact that a married couple is intended to be the very reflection and concrete experience of the love and goodness of God. Every married couple has the mission to be a window into the life and love of the Holy Trinity. If the reflection that the couple is intended to convey becomes cloudy, then the child’s confidence in God’s loving providence is clouded. Children want to believe that they come from love. If a child knows that their existence is the fruit of love, then they are confident that they exist for a reason.

We all know that children are created out of the love of God and that there is a reason for the creation of every child. Yet we as parents sometimes forget that we are supposed to be the living and tangible reminder every day to that reality by the way we love each other. It is not just about participating with God in the child’s creation, and then focusing on the child and figuring that our spouse is old enough and can take care of their own needs. When we intentionally choose to nurture the married relationship, we create the culture for a child to grow in a stable environment. If we were going to plant a garden, we would not be very successful if we did not tend to the soil. Passionate marriages are the optimal soil for the seed of children to flourish!

Yes, I said “passionate.” Some are scandalized by that word, so let me explain why I purposely chose it. When I say “passionate,” I am not talking about “an urgency to make love.” That is how the world defines it, and it is important to reclaim the language. When I say “passion,” I am talking about the type of passion that we celebrated on Good Friday. And no, I am not saying that marriage is torture. I am saying that the total self-abandonment of Christ on the Cross is the same self-abandonment that a married couple is called to have toward each other. The grace that was won on Calvary and offered through the Resurrection is made present to and through the Sacrament of Matrimony. St. John Paul II expressed it best when he said that married couples are a “permanent reminder to the Church of what Christ did on the Cross” (Familiaris Consortio).

The mystery of Christ’s Death and Resurrection is present in every home, and what a wonderful plan in the wisdom of God. God knew that the Blessed Sacrament would not be able to make it into every home, but through Baptism and Matrimony, His sacramental presence has the potential to reach every house and neighborhood.

Our marriages are personal but not private. When we embrace the call to love each other as Christ loved the Church, we participate in the sanctification of the world. We can sometimes dismiss evangelization as a good idea that some people should do out there somewhere, or we wait around for our parish priest to form an evangelization committee. The reality is that when we love our spouse passionately, we evangelize our children and our communities, and we participate in the redemption of the whole world!

I invite every married man and woman, most especially myself, to step up the level of love in our relationship this Easter season. The grace is abundant, and when we take the time to prioritize our marriage, we enter deeply into the mystery of Christ’s Death and Resurrection. If we enter into this mystery more deeply this Easter season, we will experience the power of Pentecost in a tangible way, and we will be a beacon of light in a world that struggles mightily to find the path to authentic happiness.

Why not strengthen your marriage this Easter season by attending a marriage enrichment retreat or workshop? A common mindset is that these retreats or workshops are for couples that are struggling, but that could not be farther from the truth. Healthy marriages intentionally “do something” for their marriage each year. They don’t just wait until it gets bad. Just as regular maintenance on the family vehicle helps to avoid the need for bigger more costly repairs down the line, so regular enrichment keeps good marriages strong!

Upcoming opportunities include the Living in Love retreat April 2-3 in Emporia and June 11-12 in Topeka. Another option is the Recharge Marriage Workshop, which is a 4-hour experience that includes CHILDCARE! The next one is at the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park on April 23. Check it out at www.archkck.org/recharge.