Saturday, December 31, 2005

Our Wedding Anniversary, Modesty, and Fidelity

December 28, 2005 is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. It is also the day we were married in 2002.

After three years of marriage, Lucille and I were reflecting on the timelessness of it. Somehow, the last three years have past as though they were one moment in time. That, I believe, is a special grace in itself and a reflection of the time, energy, and work we have put into our marriage.

We have been blessed with a great first child in Anne-Marie, and are eagerly anticipating the arrival of Pitou, our second child now in the womb, in April. Great gifts are our children and very rewarding to have in our lives. Anne-Marie has taught us so much about life and ourselves. It has been a great education.

Just before our anniversary day, Lucille and I were discussing her article* on modesty. I must admit that modesty is something that is very much undervalued in our society today. It is practically impossible to go anywhere by car, transit, foot, or any other method without someone around having exposed flesh or some form of media environment and/or medium pushing something or other via flesh or sex.

Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet. CCC 2522
Before marriage, I still found this tendency to expose flesh disappointing and disheartening. I tended to sense in my heart that something was amiss in the woman who dressed, or un-dressed if you will, in this manner. (For the purpose of this article, un-dressed is defined as one who is scantilly clad or dressed in very tight or revealing clothing).

To me, a woman's eyes are her most important feature. It is there, in her eyes, that I would discover whether she would be a worthy friend, someone who would hurt me, or someone who didn't even acknowledge my existence.

The first time I saw Lucille, something about her caught my eye. She was dressed modestly, and yet, I was attracted. Once the opportunity presented itself to look into her eyes, I knew in my heart that I had finally met someone who I could become good friends with. That much was very apparent as she has very peaceful and gentle eyes.

After Lucille and I married, I came to realize concretely why I have a real hard time with un-dressed women. My wife is a very beautiful woman, and she has a unique and awesome way that she carries herself. Back in the day we called it, "poise". She carries her personal worth, dignity, and integrity in her poise. Through marriage, she has gifted herself to me.

So why, since the mutual love and gift of self that Lucille and I share is so intimate and beautiful, would I even begin to want to see anyone else's flesh or physical items? Does this un-dressed woman not realize that she is sharing an intimate part of herself that only her (future) husband, or in the case of one consecrated to virginity and/or a religious community Jesus Christ, should see, touch, and experience?

What kind of male, as James B. Stenson* mentions, does the un-dressed woman want? A predator or a protector? A predator will focus on her, because to him she may be advertising sex. Without realizing it, to the predator she is also presenting her vulnerabilities. The protector will want to shield her to some degree, but in my experience, she will push him away for the predator.

As Lucille mentioned in her article, a woman who contracepts needs another form of attraction mechanism since, without realizing it, her phermones no longer flow due to constant infertility. Thus we have in many cases, the un-dressed woman compensating for her lack of phermones.

But I say this to you, if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28
Whether married or not, what a man does when he sees the un-dressed woman is directly connected to whether he, while a teenager or young adult, chose to become a predator or protector. If predator, he will be thinking along the lines of what he can get out of and from the woman. If protector, if at all possible he will be averting his eyes and, if the situation permits, somehow making a connection through the eyes with the woman, the real person.
The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honourable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude. CCC 2362
A man and woman, in Sacramental marriage give themselves as a complete gift to the other. The gift of self encompasses the whole person, the spiritual, mental/emotional, and physical self. Here are some observations and questions on un-dressing and fidelity:
  1. A woman who is married and who un-dresses when she goes out is essentially sharing a part of her gift with other men than her husband.
  2. Does she see herself as a gift, or as an object for her husband, and perhaps other men?
  3. Does she allow her own eyes to get caught up in a male other than her husband?
  4. Does her husband see her as a gift to be received, and the gift of himself to be offered back and received by her mutually? Or, does he see her as a way to sexual gratification, or some other selfish need? This question can be asked in the reverse form for her.
  5. A man who is married and allows his eyes to be caught up in an un-dressed woman other than his wife is expressing a desire to share his self gift with another woman.

As has already been mentioned, a husband essentially belongs to his wife and she belongs to him. If one of the spouses in any way has given themselves over to desiring after another, or allowing another to desire them, then some part of their gift no longer belongs to their spouse! It now belongs to that other! Remember, the gift is spiritual, mental/emotional, and physical. No one part of who we are is exclusive of the other.

Fidelity expresses constancy in keeping one's given word. God is faithful. The Sacrament of Matrimony enables man and woman to enter into Christ's fidelity for his Church. Through conjugal chastity, they bear witness to this mystery before the world. CCC 2365

Fidelity to one's spouse by guarding one's gift for them is important to maintaining a strong marriage! It is important to note that this fidelity can be eroded in very tiny steps ... just an overt glance here or there, taking the time to turn one's head to catch another glimpse, or flirting with another, etc. Essentially one makes a conscious decision to share one's gift with someone other than their spouse in some way, shape, or form. The temptations and the decisions start very small and work their way up to terrible consequences in a hurry!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to be faithful to our spouse or future spouse. Help us to discover our true dignity and self worth that we find in You alone. Help us to live chastely in our marriages. Teach us to discover the true meaning of the giving of ourselves to the other as You do Sacramentally in the Eucharist, and did in Your Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Help us to keep the focus of our entire self on You and our spouse.

Thank You Jesus for the self giving love that we can offer in the gift of ourself to our spouse in marriage. Thank You Jesus for the total gift of love that we receive from our spouse in marriage. Thank you for the gift and fruit of our married love that we discover in our children.

Fidelity to one's future spouse, whether Jesus or a person in the future, also starts from a very young age. It involves something that can be very difficult for a young person to grasp: looking at the big picture or having a long sighted view on life. And yet, if the young one has made a birthday gift for their parent or friend, and they open it before that day, how would the gift giver feel?

The parents, father and mother, are instrumental in teaching the child to have the long sighted view on life and love.

With the understanding of self as being sacred and a gift; being formed with the humility needed to have a deep prayerful relationship with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, Church, and others; the witness of a father who chastely loves his wife and a mother who chastely loves her husband the child will have the tools needed to grow up understanding the foundations they need to dress modestly and protect their virtue. These tools will also give girls the ability to see whether a boy is a predator or protector, and the boys the ability to realize that they must make a choice as to whether they will be a predator or protector.

As parents, we turn to Our Lady and St. Joseph for the ultimate witness in bringing up our children in relationship with God the Father.

Prayer: Mary, our Mother, teach us as parents to bring up our children with a deep relationship with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

St. Joseph, teach us to live chastely, teach us to have a pure heart that is focused on our spouse, or future spouse alone.

Thank you Mary and Joseph for giving us such a beautiful example of love and fidelity in marriage. Thank you both for sharing with all of humanity the gift of your love for Jesus Christ!

Pax vobis,


Lucille's article on Modesty.

James Stenson's Web Site.

Update: A work in progress. Some changes to the grammar and the addition of a couple of CCC quotes. Pax.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Women, Men, and Modesty

When I was in college in early 1990, I didn't see too many women in public dressing provocatively, for example by bearing part of their breasts. But these days, it seems the trend to show a little more than cleavage is growing and almost seems to be the norm. I must say that if I was single, it probably wouldn't bother me as much but being that I am married, it does bother me. I have heard a variety of perspectives on the root of this behavior. I have listed them as follows:

  1. poor self image/low self esteem
  2. the person wants sex
  3. the person wants to simply attract the male of the species but may not realize or know better how their manner of dress affects the male. He may look upon the women in an objective manner. The original intent of the person dressing immodestly may not have been to attract the man in such a way.
  4. the person is lacking attention

In the book called "The Decline of Males" the author Lionel Tiger (1999) discusses the contraceptive effects of the birth control pill. He further states that the pill inhibits the natural scent of women (that is their pheromones) because they no longer go through a monthly fertile phase. Therefore, without realizing it, the woman needs another method to attract the male so she tends to dress provocatively to garner attention from the male.

These are just a few perspectives that come to mind. Looking back, I haven't really been one to dress too provocatively. My reason would have related more to the above third point. While growing up, not knowing better I occasionally would wear the tight pants and short skirts. I could never really muster the ability to deliberately show my chest to the rest of the world.

The older I became the more I realized that dressing in a provocative manner would not attract the right kind of men. It would attract men who looked at me not for me but for my body. They only wanted one thing, and that was sex. The more I grew, the more I realized and tried to respect those wondering eyes by not wearing tight clothing. If I did, I would have an inner desire to cover my bottom with a longer shirt if the pants were on the tight side, or wear a cardigan over my top if it was a little too tight. The more fashion changed, the more it was difficult for me to find a top or pants that weren't so tight as to show my form per se and that bothered me. And yet, the more I wore the tighter clothing, the more the self consciousness of my clothing being too tight faded away. Basically, I became desensitized partly because that is all what the women around me wore too.

I remember a speaker named James Stenson who spoke at a family conference who said that by dressing modestly you are forcing the man to look into your eyes and not at one's breasts or some other part of one's body. It wasn't until I got married that I began to understand more about the male perspective on women who dress provocatively. My husband helped me understand in a deeper sense what males truly can think or do when they see a women dressed immodestly. Unless a man has trained himself not to look at a woman with a lustful eye, that is with an eye of innocence or purity, he should look away.

You have heard that it was said, "You shall not commit adultery." But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Mt 5:27-28).

I believe our bodies are sacred, temples of the Holy Spirit therefore must be guarded and covered modestly in a respectful way.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body(1 Cor 6:19-20).

By covering ourselves modestly we are reserving and keeping our sensuality as a gift for our future husband. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) stated that:

Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate centre of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity (2521).

As a married women, I wish more women around me would choose to dress more modestly because if not, it has the potential to turn my husband's head. I know that if his head does get turned he knows how to guard his eyes because he knows and I know he only has eyes for me but it took a long time for this to sink into my being. We women can be very protective and perhaps jealous of where our husband or fiance/boyfriend looks unless they keep reassuring us that they don't look at these women in a lustful way or they purposefully divert their eyes. As a woman, we must learn to trust the latter to be true. We must also learn to respect not only our bodies by dressing modestly but respecting those around us who may be tempted into sin.

Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2524).

(For the sake of simplicity I made reference more towards women and modesty but it also relates to modesty in men)

A recommended read and the book by Lionel Tiger. Thank you for supporting us!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Dignity, Integrity, and Boundaries discovered in Jesus Christ

For many of us who have been a victim of abuse, being the victim is all we know. We survive. Some of us even go so far as to put ourselves into situations where the abuse will happen again. This perpetual cycle of entering into abusive relationships primarily to reaffirm what we already "know" as a victim.

Upon discovering the reality of Jesus Christ, and the abuse He suffered willingly at every human being's hand through sin, one needs to find somehow the strength and perspective to begin breaking the cycles or leaving the abusive situations or environment.

The key to this is discovering that Jesus is a willing victim:

...Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron valley where there was a garden into which he went with his disciples. Judas the traitor knew the place also, since Jesus had often met his disciples there, so Judas brought the cohort to this place together with guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons. Knowing everything that was to happen to him, Jesus came forward and said, 'Who are you looking for?' They answered, 'Jesus the Nazarene.' He said, 'I am he.' Now Judas the traitor was standing among them. When Jesus said to them, 'I am he,' they moved back and fell on the ground. He asked them a second time, 'Who are you looking for?' They said, 'Jesus the Nazarene.' Jesus replied, 'I have told you that I am he.' John 18:1-8
"They moved back and fell on the ground." It is made very apparent to those about to take Jesus away that they were not in control. Jesus, especially by challenging them a second time, makes sure to let them know that He is going of His own will. They would not have been able to take Him away if He did not want to go.

For those of us who have lived in an abusive environment, we know where that challenge would initially lead: A flurry of violence to oppress and extinguish any more challenges. Never mind trying to challenge yet a second time!

Jesus here gives us the ability to discover that we have a right to our boundaries. That as human beings we have dignity and integrity. It is by virtue of the Incarnation that we truly come to realize those gifts. We have a right not to be violated by anyone for any reason.

Boundaries: A boundary is the line over which someone has to cross into our personal physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual space.

One generally sees about a metre or yard around one as the physical space belonging to them. We have all had the experience of having someone standing very close to us while talking to us and the discomfort this can bring about. We have the right to ask that person infringing into our space to step back. Especially if we have gently moved back to regain our personal space and they keep moving back into it.

Words and actions can be used to attempt to manipulate or abuse the other emotionally and mentally. A put down, whether as a joke or intentionally, is a classic example of this type abuse that can be commonly accepted as okay to do. Generally the one doing the put down is building themselves up at the expense of another.

For some abuse victims, the words and actions are designed specifically by the abuser to keep them in their "place". It is the emotions that are the last to heal. It is these cycles of mental/emotional abuse that are the hardest to let go of and allow Jesus to heal.

Spiritually, one who is abused is attacked by the spirits attached to the abuser. Given the nature of the ongoing battering of the abuse victim's will, these spirits eventually work their way in via the words and actions of the abuser. They entrench themselves into the heart, mind, and spirit of the victim. It is only in Jesus Christ and through the Sacraments that one can discover these spirits and their hold on the one who is trying to leave or has left the abusive environment.

Dignity: At Christmas time we celebrate the birth of Jesus. He, God, has become a human being. Read that again: Jesus Christ, God, has become a human being.

When one embraces Jesus Christ and the true freedom and healing that He has to offer, one can participate in the divine. One can realize that one is an adopted son or daughter of God the Father by virtue of Jesus becoming human. One can realize that one is heir to an eternal inheritance. One can step beyond the seeming limitations of one's humanity and embrace the divine.

One can discover that one is not another's play thing, punching bag, sex toy, or anything that takes away one's personal dignity. One discovers in Jesus that one is valued for who they are in Him. Jesus values us, places us in such high esteem, that He made sure to show us that He loves us by embracing our suffering, by accepting willingly and gently the abuse he received during His Passion and death, with such an open heart, mind, and spirit.

Jesus Christ is the true source of human dignity.

Integrity: In Jesus we can discover wholeness, completeness. Those of us that have lived in abusive environments can begin to break away from the external and internal elements that are the result of being abused, especially if that abuse spans many years or decades.

Upon discovering our boundaries and how they can be crossed whether we have allowed them to be crossed or someone has crossed them against our will, and realizing our personal dignity found in Jesus we can establish our personal integrity.

One can begin to realize how to make one's own decisions as to when the boundaries are to be crossed. One can also learn how to gently stop anyone who tries to cross those boundaries without permission.

If someone attempts to cross our boundaries without our permission, by virtue of our dignity found in Jesus, we have the right to defend ourselves. We have the right to say no. Just as Jesus did at that moment when Judas appeared with the guards to take Him away.

"They moved back and fell on the ground."

Jesus Christ is the only foundation upon which one can build one's integrity.

It is in Jesus Christ that one can discover the true meaning of being human. It is in the innocent little Child at Christmas that we discover this: Incarnation. It is in that Man standing in the Garden that we discover the true meaning of our suffering and being a victim.

Lord Jesus, help us to discover the true meaning of humanity. Help us to discover in You the value of who we are. Jesus, deliver those who live under constant oppression and abuse. Heal the abuser, heal the abused.

Thank You Jesus for the gift of life. Thank You Jesus for becoming human and redeeming us. Thank You Jesus for bringing us back to the Father. Thank You Jesus for opening the door to heaven!

Jesus, I love You!

Pax vobis,


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Discernment of Spirits Our Lady's Way

In the Gospel reading for the Mass celebration this last Sunday, which was the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Our Lady is presented with a proposition by the Archangel Gabriel (Luke 1:26-38). In the dialogue that ensues between Mary and Gabriel we are given an ideal method for the discernment of spirits.

From Saint John:

My dear friends, not every spirit is to be trusted, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets are at large in the world. This is the proof of the spirit of God: any spirit which acknowledges Jesus Christ, come in human nature, is from God, and every spirit which does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God... 1 John 4:1-3
When the angel Gabriel comes before Mary and starts his announcement, she isn't jumping for joy, or all excited about having some sort of spiritual "experience". She is, "deeply disturbed by [his] words and asked herself what [his] greeting could mean" (Luke 1:29). And here we have presented the first concrete step in the discernment process:

Step One: Challenge the angel and/or experience. When presented with some form of spiritual experience, whether it be the visiting of an angel, a prophetic word, a vision, or any kind of mystical experience, one should challenge it.

There is always a danger to our very salvation, and the salvation of those around us, if we embrace mystical experiences enthusiastically. There is also the danger that we may grow comfortable in those experiences, allowing them to become the focus of our faith experience, and use them as some form of gauge of holiness. Holiness is ultimately found in a deep, Sacramental, relationship with Jesus Christ and not His gifts.

As Saint Paul tells us:

The Spirit has explicitly said that during the last times some will desert the faith and pay attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines that come from devils, seduced by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are branded as though with a red-hot iron..." 1 Timothy 4:1-2
Step Two: Listen carefully to the angel and/or experience. As St. John told us, the spirit or spirits who are participating in the experience will either lead us to Jesus Christ or they will either blatantly or subtly lead us away from Him.

Saint Gabriel makes his point by drawing Our Lady's attention to God, and to whom she is being called to bare in her womb. He clearly makes every effort to maintain his focus on God's work, and how that work will become a part of Mary's life.

It is in the very details of the experience that we will discover whether it is from God or to be discarded.

Step Three: Question everything and anything at all. We should not let our hunger for consolation and the mystical experiences to overcome our ability to carefully question every aspect of the mystical experience.

Once the Archangel Gabriel has indicated to Mary what is to happen, she challenges him with a question, "But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?" Luke 1:34.

The questions we ask will need to be blunt. Her question directly challenges everything Gabriel has presented to her, since she has made an offering of love to God in a vow of virginity. It is now up to Gabriel to bring her closer to God by explaining how she would not be breaking her vow. Or, reveal that he is indeed not from God, but appearing as an angel of light as Satan can do (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

The questions must challenge the authenticity of the experience. We are called to:

Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits ... a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit. Matthew 7:15-18

Our questions must always be honest. Even if that means discovering that what we have just experienced was not from God but from ourselves or the devil.

If we discover that what we have experienced was indeed from ourselves or the devil then we must discard it. If however, we see that it does indeed draw us closer to God, then we can move on to the next step.

Step Four: Share the experience with a few close friends who are gifted in discernment (1 Corinthians 12:10). The best person to share the experience with is a spiritual director. One to whom we have submitted to in obedience. If he or she helps us to see that what we have experienced is not of God, then we must be obedient and let it go. This is one aspect of the Lord's wisdom in sending out the disciples in pairs (Mark 6:7, Luke 10:1). Each member in the pair would be able to be a check and balance for the other.

This step is important because if we go into the community and share the experience with them, we risk the danger of becoming the centre of attention. And we all know where that leads. We also all know that most of us in some way shape or form enjoy being the centre of attention!

When Our Lady went to Saint Elizabeth's home, Saint Elizabeth immediately knew that Our Lady was carrying Jesus! (Luke 1:42). This is a very powerful witness to the gift of discernment in Saint Elizabeth. Her relationship with God must have been very deep and very intimate. Elizabeth indeed was attuned to God's Spirit.

Where we go from there is something we would need to discern further. Is the experience a gift from God to us alone? Or, does it need to be shared with a few key people, or even the general community? It is important for us to realize where the Lord wants us to take the experience.

Mary, help us to learn how to discern. Help us to listen to God's Holy Spirit and to His angels and saints. Teach us how to ask the right questions. Help us to be honest with ourselves and with our spiritual directors. Thank you Mary for your gift of discernment. Thank you for accepting the call of God through Saint Gabriel. Thank you for bearing and sharing Jesus Christ with us!

Pax vobis,


Friday, December 16, 2005

Aridity again is the norm.

Aridity again is the norm. The Lord has seemingly pulled away.

It was in the desert that Jesus was tested in Matthew 4:1-11. 40 days without food or water, without the comforts of home and His family.

A time where He was seemingly alone. It would have been a glimpse into the darkness, rejection, and abandonment that He experienced on the Cross, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" (Matthew 27:46).

It would have been a time where He would have to struggle with the aches and pains of His body and the hunger, thirst, heat, burning air, and freezing nights.

The desert is a time where we stand utterly alone and naked before ourselves and God the Father. It is the Dark Night of St. John of the Cross. It is a time for the Father to cleanse us and draw us nearer to His heart.

And, it is a challenge to remain focused in eye, mind, and spirit on Jesus Christ and His Cross. For, it is now, in the desert, where one really discovers one's weaknesses and the reality of the Cross that we carry.

Pax vobis,


Update: Word from Adoration.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Michael W. Smith Christmas Concert Experience

Wow! I'll say it again, wow!

What an amazing concert. Michael is such a talented musician and writer. He had two concerts here. We decided to get tickets to the second concert as we could get better seats.

He had the local symphony orchestra playing with him as well. The orchestra had a few "solo" pieces to play at the beginning of the concert with Michael coming out with his band a bit later.

He played a lot of his Christmas music from both of his Christmas albums. I loved his sharing his experience of a heavy snowfall in Tennessee and the resulting song that he wrote, "First Snowfall". He then proceeded to play it. What an amazing piece of music. I could close my eyes and see the snow dancing and falling!

I am a long time fan of Petula Clark. I love her voice and the songs that she picked to sing. Michael sang a Christmas song that she had sung in 1969 called, "The Happiest Christmas". He played and sang the song so beautifully. He did indeed do justice to the original!

In the second set, he managed to play a couple of his popular non-Christmas songs. The one that struck me was the song, "Healing Rain". Wow. What a beautiful song. It speaks to me so clearly within my own experience of God's healing touch.

He also got us all to sing a number of Christmas carols together. The Glory of the Lord shone so clearly with all of our voices raised to praise the Lord's coming!

I must admit that I spent most of the first half of the concert, there was a 20 minute intermission, weeping for the sheer beauty that I heard and experienced in the music. Michael managed to convey the power and presence of God through his music. And, a lot of the music did not have any lyrics! The music moved the soul into a deeper communion with God. It opened us up to His working in us. Many times through the second set I was moved yet again. This concert was a powerful and deep experience to ponder and pray about.

Indeed, I would go and see him again!

Michael W. Smith's Web site.

An interview with Michael W. Smith.

Petula Clark's Web site.

Pax vobis,


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Emily's Hope - Book Review

I just finished a book called Emily's Hope.

What a neat book!

The story is about Emily, a character whose life we follow from a young age. We see some of the typical teenage needs and struggles that carry on into young adult life.

There is a parallel story that follows the life of Emily's Great Grandmother Katherine. Here is a woman who gets caught up in the liberation of women at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The book provides an excellent contrast between the world's view of the human person and sexuality and the Church's perspective on the meaning of the human person and sexuality. This contrast is done by sharing what is a very real story for many young teenagers and subsequently young adults today versus what can be considered a real attitude among the adult population against Life. The latter is a very real possibility for the teenager if they do not learn the true meaning of love and life.

Without giving away anything, the book is, in my opinion, a very good read. It is very well written. Ellen Gable's writing style is easy to follow as she takes the time to develop the characters and their environments. One is not left with any threads of the story left unanswered.

Something that is important to our family is what we could call a kid rating. This book receives a 5 out of 5. I believe that every teenager should read it. The book should be read by the children's parents as well. Together, they can sit down and talk about the various chapters. The book can be used as an excellent teaching tool for introducing our children to the Church's beautiful teachings on the Theology of the Body.

I also believe that our priests should read it. The book would provide some excellent and personal insight into the pains of living outside of the Culture of Life, and what the introduction and adoption of the Culture of Life can do for a person. There is plenty of homiletic material here for teaching the Theology of the Body.

And finally, couples considering marriage should read this book. I would even go so far as to say that this book should be mandatory for those preparing to marry within the Church. There could be some excellent teaching moments for the parish premarital preparation facilitators with their couples.

Pax vobis,


You can find the book at Full Quiver Publishing.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Word from Adoration

Aridity seems to be the norm now. No consolation, distance, and silence. However, it is a good thing.

When one is challenged by another during a close relationship, does one abandon that relationship? Or, does one accept the challenge and work with it to produce a fruitful end?

There are many times in life where there is another with whom we are close where that other seems to drift away. There could have been struggles with the other, there could have been communication difficulties, there could have been times where one thing is heard and yet another meaning was meant by the other.

The most difficult thing to deal with is silence from the other. Perhaps they are working through something extremely difficult and one needs to wait patiently at their side until they are able to articulate what they are struggling with.

Perhaps they need their space, and one must step back and give them breathing room.

When these occasions come to pass in a close relationship, there can be great graces attached. With the silence or distance, one can ponder how much one values the other's presence in one's life. One can learn that one needs to be a lot more patient while waiting for the other to articulate what it was they were struggling with. One can make the time to sit and contemplate the other's important role in one's life.

And thus comes the gift, the good thing, in the midst of the aridity: One can contemplate His silence and His seeming distance by delving into one's experiences of Him at other times where there was no aridity. One can take the time to contemplate just how much He has influenced and impacted one's life. And most importantly, one can take the time to listen and see what it is within one's self that He may be drawing one's attention to. It may very well be that the time of silence and seeming distance is His way of helping one to purge that which interferes in the relationship with Him.

Jesus, help us to focus on You hanging on the Cross when we are in the midst of the deepest of desert times. Help us to persevere in our prayer time with You even though they are seemingly fruitless. Help us to remain always open to Your Word that comes to us through our Spiritual Director. Thank You Jesus for this arid time. Thank You for purging us of all that interferes in our relationship with You. Thank You Jesus for filling us with Your Most Precious Blood!

Pax vobis,


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Pregnancy and the Advent of Christmas

We are currently in preparation for the Advent of our newest child. Pitou is due on April 11, 2006. As the due date gets closer, we will begin the process of getting the crib ready for its new occupant, get all of the newborn items that we have put away ready, and so on.

We were in the same place with our pregnancy with Anne-Marie. That is, celebrating the season of Advent truly preparing for the arrival of our first child.

It leads one to consider what Advent and the preparation for the coming of the Lord is all about.

For our first child, we were unsure of just what we were in for. We tried to prepare as best as possible for all possibilities: boy or girl, healthy or not; getting the crib, cloths and car seat; and the restructuring of our personal schedules. There are so many aspects to try and get a handle on. We eventually tried to get the basics together and then cover whatever was needed once the little one was born.

Now, with our second pregnancy, we are a little more in the know as far as what we will need and just how much of an upheaval of our lives the new little one will be.

There are a number of neat things about this whole process, the joy of preparing for a new child, the anticipation of finally meeting the little one who began to make their presence known in the womb around 20 weeks by movement and kicking, the excitement of making changes to our living accommodations, the welcoming of a new gift into the family, and finally the realization that the little one is the physical manifestation of our love.

Jesus is the ultimate gift and manifestation of God's Love. The efforts we put into preparing for a child in pregnancy should be similar to our efforts to prepare our heart for His coming at Christmas.

Will our heart be prepared and warm to His coming? Will we be receptive, or will our heart be as cold and dark as that winter night that He was born? Will we be ready to make the necessary sacrifices for His needs? Will we be prepared to nurture His presence within?

Mary, our Mother, help us to prepare for the coming of your Son. Help us to make our heart supple to the preparations of the Holy Spirit. Help us to be open to receiving Jesus. Thank you for saying yes.

Pax vobis,


Monday, November 28, 2005

Word from Adoration

Arid. Parched.

Empty of consolation.

A struggle to remain even remotely focused.

A need to keep making an act of my will, over and over and over again for the Lord.

A challenge to remain faithful to coming to visit Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

A call to recognize Him there despite my struggles.

A blessing to rely on faith alone!

Pax vobis,


Friday, November 25, 2005

True Healing from Abuse Starts in the Heart

We have heard and seen some a great number of people speaking about their experiences of being abused at the hands of some of our priests and religious.

We have also heard of a number of these victims who have, either alone or as a group, retained lawyers with the intent to sue whichever diocese that they were in at the time of their being abused.

As a former victim of abuse, I really question this. Why? Because, I know how difficult and arduous the journey towards healing is. I know how deep the struggle is to break free of being a victim and "just surviving" into living life and true freedom in Jesus Christ.

It takes a lot of work, an honest and blunt commitment with the self, and an even more painful and difficult step to forgive those who have abused us. This step is integral to becoming whole again. It is also the call of Jesus to forgive those who have hurt us before we can be forgiven. So, how can the forgiveness and healing process be brought about when embroiled in bringing up before the courts the terrible events of the abusive past?

Again, given my experience, this endevour would only succeed in driving the wounds that were a result of the abuse deeper into one's heart, mind, spirit, and soul. This, in turn would make the healing process that much more painful and difficult.

Ultimately, I could not put a price, a dollar value, on what happened to me. And, ultimately, what I yearn for is to hear the sincere request by those who have abused me to forgive them. It would be so refreshing to let them know that I have indeed forgiven them. All I would need to know is that they have realized that what they did to me was wrong.

In the healing process though, this last point is not that important. What is important, and the whole healing process is contingent upon it, is that the process must start in the heart! It is the heart that is the footstool of the soul into this world. It is the heart where one must learn to deal with the wounded emotions that heal last. It is there, that one must learn to discipline the mind and the thoughts that would tear one away from the extreme pain of the healing process. It is the heart where Jesus wants to reside.

"Look, I am standing at the door, knocking." Revelations 3:20
For those of us who have been abused, it is the heart that we must discover! We must discover it so we can open it to Jesus!!!

It is in the heart where we will realize that His Most Sacred Heart also beats with ours, bears our wounds, and as we will discover within the healing process, our heart is nestled within His!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us and heal us!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us and envelop us!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us and consume us with the fire of Your Love!

Pax vobis,


By the way, after reading this, does the bishop's Zero Tolerance policy really work towards healing and forgiveness???

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

My Birthday, Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady, and Pitou's first Sonogram (Ultrasound)

What a day!

When I was younger, birthdays were never a real big deal. With my Grandmother there was an exception as she would bake us a cake and make a bit of a fuss. At home though, we received a gift with pretty much no fanfare.

It is understandable considering most of our family time was spent tearing each other apart.

Today, Lucille, Anne-Marie, my Dad, and some people in our office made a big fuss. Since meeting, and eventually getting married to Lucille, birthdays have become a big fuss. As you might tell by my wording in this paragraph, I am still, after almost 3 years of marriage, having a hard time with it.

What brings great pain to my heart is how my reaction, or lack thereof, to all the fuss causes pain in those around me. Fortunately, they are very patient and understanding. I do hope that at some point in my life that I will get it!

Those of us who have had their entire self beaten into some sort of distorted image will perhaps understand why I behave the way I do on my birthday. We don't have a concept of how we are truly valuable in someone's sight.

And yet, on this day, November 21, we celebrate one of the greatest gifts to humanity: Our Lady. Her parents knew and valued her as a gift. And as such, presented her back to the Lord! This understanding of their child, and especially their love for their child, were instrumental in her decision later on in life to give herself completely to the Lord and His service. She was secure in the love of the Lord, and of her parents.

In a sense, we all belong to Our Lady. She is the ultimate Mother, to whom we can turn when we need someone who does indeed love us and cares for us. She is the one who will affirm and strengthen us by always pointing to her Son and letting us know that His Way is our way and that we should do as He asks (John 2:6).


We went to a clinic to see our little Pitou for the first time. We are about 20 weeks into the pregnancy now, and were looking forward to this first "meeting". Kinda neat birthday present too eh? :D

When we were called in, I and Anne-Marie were not allowed to come with Lucille. We were not given any reasons. The explanation sheet was later given to Lucille while she was in the change room.

I must admit that I was so deeply shocked and disappointed that I was speechless! How could this place not allow a husband to be with his wife during this procedure? How can they not allow a father his first glimpse of his child? The impact of being barred was so intense, that when it was mentioned to me that I could sit in the corner where the play area was with Anne-Marie I said flat out that I would not and that I would come back when Lucille was done. I had to get out of there!

When I came back about 45 minutes later they were still not done. Just before entering the clinic as I was taking Anne-Marie out of the car seat, I asked her to pray for me to be at peace and have tact when I entered the door of the clinic. I ended up sitting in the play area, it was tiny, and playing with Anne-Marie for about 20 minutes. When we did get the call, we went into the room where Lucille was. The technician played around with the wand to bring up some live images and then showed us the 2D stills and a 3D still that she managed to get earlier.

Anne-Marie immediately realized what she was seeing. That was pretty cool. I was impressed with Pitou's features and movement. Pitou even sucked the thumb! Neat!

When we were finished, I let the clinic know that I was thoroughly disappointed in what happened. They gave me a number of what turned out to be lame excuses for their reasons. The last clinic where we saw Anne-Marie for the first and subsequent times, used procedures and training for the technicians so that no other patient data was anywhere near us while I was there, and I was there for the entire procedure, start to finish - today's clinic used patient privacy as the primary "reason" for my not being allowed in for the entire procedure.

Lucille and I discussed our experiences with this clinic. We now realize that we will look for a clinic, or even go back to the last one, that is a little more family oriented and takes the time to treat us like people. Today's clinic was sterile, cold, and we were essentially a commodity that the business used to generate revenue. That is a very disappointing way to be treated.


For my birthday Lucille took me out to Mass, then we went to my favourite Vietnamese Pho restaurant, and then we spent some time shooting pool (we went smoke free July 1 this year). All in all, it was a great day. A blessing to spend time in the presence of my wife who loves me, and treats me as the gift that I truly am for her and others. And that folks, is what I need to learn to get!

Our Lady presented in the Temple, pray for us!
Our Lady, Queen of Heaven and Earth, pray for us!
Our Lady, Mother of us all, pray for us!
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us!

O Mary, you desire so much to see Jesus loved. Since you love me, this is the favour which I ask of you: to obtain for me a great personal love of Jesus Christ. You obtain from your Son whatever you please; pray then for me, that I may never lose the grace of God, that I may increase in holiness and perfection from day to day, and that I may faithfully and nobly fulfil the great calling in life which your Divine Son has given me. By that grief which you suffered on Calvary when you beheld Jesus die on the Cross, obtain for me a happy death, that by loving Jesus and you, my mother, on earth, I may share your joy in loving and blessing the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit forever in Heaven.

Our Lady of Combermere, pray for us.

Thank You Jesus for the gift of this life! Thank You Jesus for the gift of life, and the gift of Your creation to enjoy it in! Thank You Jesus for the gift of my family, and their great love for me! Thank You Jesus for Your continued healing of our hearts and souls!

Jesus, I love You, save souls!

Pax vobis,


The original of the prayer to Our Lady as well as the image, belongs to the Madonna House Lay Community in Combermere Ontario, Canada.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Motherhood vs. a Career

Sometimes people have a hard time understanding why I would not finish my last year of my nursing degree. For example, I know someone who keeps bringing up my past nursing education almost every time we meet. I keep coming up with different comments and answers but obviously something is not sinking in because this person keeps bringing it up. I have been told I was crazy for not finishing my nursing career, not by this person in particular but they may as well have.
It can be tough for me at times to come up with the right words to respond to these people who question my decision. Most times, when I mention to someone that I only finished 3 of the 4 years of my nursing, I usually just say for a reason, that we wanted to start a family. Usually no response follows. I am pretty sure that I have made this same statement to this person in the past but they don't seem to understand. In a way I don't expect them to until they a child(ren).
I believe it is the people of little faith who have the most difficulties with the decision that I made, with the support of my husband, over two years ago. Without my faith I am not sure I would have been able to let go of the things I needed to in order for me to say, "Yes Lord, I will do your will".
You see, I needed a certain strength from the Lord to help me remove and let go of what my mind was saying versus what my heart was saying. That took discernment and prayer, and lots of it. This is one reason why I admire Our Lady so much. The bible doesn't say a lot of details about what happened in her mind per se about whether she should say yes or no to God when the request for her to bear the Son of God came. The immediate answer was, "Yes! Not my will Lord but Yours be done!" Being who she is and the nature that she has without original sin, I doubt that she had to go through the mind versus heart game. She just knew in her heart what she needed to do right away. No time was spent wondering what the neighbours or Joseph will think, being pregnant and unmarried. Or how will Joseph and I provide for this child, or will we be able to sustain a living with only Joseph working? These are some of the kind's questions that we ask ourselves today when it comes to starting to have children or even continue having children.
In a secular way, one of the best ways I can explain my decision to start having a child before finishing my year of nursing was like having a chocolate right next to me and the thought of having to wait another year or more to eat it. Talk about torture especially if you are a chocolate lover like me!
John and I have never had a lot of money. We just knew we had enough money to live with and to make the necessary sacrifices when things were tighter money wise. We knew starting a family would affect our current standard of living. We also knew that if I needed to work when my maternity leave ran out I could go find work fairly easily if we really needed. I prayed and prayed and let people around me know to pray because I really wanted to be a stay at home mom. So far we have always had the money we needed and then some at times to get by. Yes, it was stressful and difficult, especially for my self-employed husband at times, but it is always worth it because we can live with the fact that we are taking care of our child, and not the day care or family members.
The decision to wait also came from the concern of what if we can't conceive? I thought if we start trying now that means less waiting if we decided to adopt. Infertility is quite a common thing and if I or John were infertile I would really regret not finding out sooner because I wanted to finish nursing. Nowadays, do people ever ask why it is so easy to put off having children versus having a career? Then I can ask how many women deeply regret waiting to have a child versus having a career after the fact of having a child. I would be very interested to know if there are any stats on the latter.
I know how difficult it is to make the decision to let go of a career option. We all have different priorities depending on where we are in our lives. When I first started nursing I didn't know I would meet the man I was going to marry and spend the rest of my life with more than midway through my degree. In fact, if I would have met him a year earlier than I did, I would have likely decided to opt out of the nursing degree program and complete my nursing diploma instead and then begin working as a registered nurse.
I will never know for sure why things happened the way they did, but I do know that God's ways are not my ways and we have a beautiful darling little girl to show for it and a little one in the womb waiting anxiously to be born now because of the decision John and I made together. Who could ask for more? Love and joy in its purest form is among us twofold! If I die tomorrow at least I can say I had the opportunity to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a wife and mother and I took it when I had the chance! I didn't wait! For me, that is part of living life to the full.

Lucille E.

Christians, the Natural Idealist and Change

There is a comparable difference in the perceptions of the Christian and the natural idealist (one with no faith) towards the need for change. (p. 5ff Transformation in Christ, Dietrich von Hildebrand).

When one discovers that one has a certain defect, lets say a manner of reacting to a certain situation that is totally out of proportion with that situation, one needs to address that defect. According to von Hildebrand, one who has no faith will be limited in their ability to deal with the defect. They, "merely wants to perfect himself within the framework of his natural dispositions." (p. 6) Their addressing of the defect "remains exclusively human". (p. 6)

The natural idealist will, to some degree, manage to work out some of the roots to the behaviour. They may indeed have the courage and honesty to face the elemental roots of the defect from their past, and the decisions that they made within those elements and as a result of those elements, however the healing of the whole person will still be lacking. Their focus will be on the defect itself, and its removal from their person.

The Christian on the other hand, can come to realize that the only way that this defect can be rooted out is to turn the entire self over to Jesus Christ. The Christian is, "to let his nature as a whole be transformed from above..." (p. 6) The process of healing and change for the Christian encompasses the whole human person, that is their spiritual, mental/emotional, and physical self. There is a realization that the defect, and all of its roots will only be removed in proportion that their person is filled with the Light of Christ. Healing and change are rooted in Jesus Christ.

We can see that there is a limited view of healing and change in the natural idealist's life. Their view is founded within the Natural Order. The Christian on the other hand, understands that they must let go of the Natural Order and essentially fall off the edge of that order into the arms of Christ. (p. 7) Falling off that edge is the only way that one can truly come to the deepest root of a defect.

There is in my life, an excellent example of what it is like to be dealing with a defect from both the natural idealist and the Christian perspective.

Before my conversion, I, along with my mother and sister, saw some of the best family psychologists and psychiatrists to deal with the insanity that was a regular part of our lifestyle. There was never a mention by the three of us of the actual violence that was a part of that insanity. That subject was taboo. After many sessions spanning many hours with these professionals they essentially wrote us off. They no longer wanted to see us because none of us was willing to budge on our own perspective of who was responsible for what in the insanity. No one, especially my mother, wanted to take responsibility.

I was assigned a professional psychologist in my early teen years due to the perception that I was extremely withdrawn. Over the years, I spent many an hour with this lady talking about what was happening on the surface within me and at home. These sessions spanned over 4 years of my life during the school year. They did indeed help me to begin to get a grasp on who I was, and what I was doing. They did indeed help me to get out of my shell to some degree. They helped me keep myself away from the abyss of despair, barely.

However, in the Natural Idealist's world, there was no real way to address the deep spiritual roots that the insanity in my family flowed from. There was also no real way to deal with the generational aspect of the insanity as I watched my grandmother do to my mother what she did to my sister and me. There was no real way to present to me the purpose for change and healing. At that time, I was an atheist, as there could not be any possibility of a God allowing what was happening within my family to happen.

My sense of humanity's vices was acute, I saw in everyone around me defects in some form or other. Because of this, I could not see that purpose for healing and change as those who presented it were themselves having to deal with their own defects. I was particularly sensitive to those who lived in denial about their own defects. It was almost pure hypocrisy to me for them to ask me to heal and change!

Along comes Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit Who spoke to me through a struggling alcoholic. I could relate to how he presented God and God's Love because he did not hide his struggles from me, he did not deny them, nor did he live in denial about them. His honesty was refreshing.

After my conversion, I realized that the only way to deal with the defects in my person, the cycles of brokenness, and all of the elements of my past was to completely and totally abandon myself to Jesus. In my experience, Jesus was the only One whose claim to follow through on His promises, to not be a hypocrite, but to walk what he talked were valid.

Those of us who have had the blessings, yes my past has become a blessing despite how terribly painful it was, to abandon ourselves to Christ have an intimate knowledge of His Passion. We have a deep insight into the redemptive side of suffering and the fact that by abandoning ourselves to Christ we bring a great wealth of Passionate experience to bear on the Body of Christ. Our scars are His, and together we can bring great healing, courage, strength, and hope to those who are currently living in darkness and despair.

So, with von Hildebrand I say,

Only he who may say with St. Paul, 'I know in whom I have believed' can risk the enormous adventure of dying unto himself and of relinquishing the natural foundation." (p. 7)
Pax vobis,


Word from Adoration

Yesterday's time with the Lord was arid.

It was a struggle to remain focused. It was also a struggle to remain awake.
"Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light." Matthew 11:28-30
That is what I heard.

This last week has been so busy that I am exhausted. This upcoming week looks to be much the same.

During the adoration time, I yearned to place my head on the Lord's chest and rest there. That is, I believe, where my head ended up as eventually I was given a deep rest in Him.

There are two challenges that have come to my heart:

  1. When our prayer time becomes arid, empty, devoid of all consolation and inspiration, do we drop it? Do we yearn for that consolation? Or, do we stick it out and keep going to the Adoration Chapel, or praying the Rosary, or spending that time in quiet meditation and/or contemplation? During the deepest times of aridity, do we identify with Christ in the desert? (Matthew 4:1-11) Or, do we identify with His ultimate aridity upon the Cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)
  2. Do we trust the Lord to give us that deep rest? Do we trust that all He could want in that moment is for us to just be? And, do we realize that He indeed wants to hold us safe and secure against His chest so that we can indeed find that deep rest we so yearn for?

Lord Jesus, help us come to You and rest in You. Help us to let go of our busy lives to spend time with You in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Help us to be disciplined in our approach to prayer, give us the fortitude to keep our prayer time commitments even when they seemingly bear no fruit. Thank You Jesus!

Pax vobis,


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Breaking the Addiction

I spoke with someone that I have known for a number of years now. He just surfaced after disappearing for a few weeks or even a month. He had let himself go, and had a couple of extremely scary experiences. They scared him into drying up.

In talking to him, I realized that, for me, there was only one method to be freed from addiction. It has two parts, one part Holy Spirit, and one part iron will. I must make the decision to cooperate with the grace provided by the Holy Spirit to realize my helplessness.

This decision is ongoing, it must be made over and over, sometimes thousands of times a day. I must cooperate with grace. I must allow the Holy Spirit to deliver me from my addictions, and the demons that work on them.

The decision must incorporate a change of environment. That means letting go of those individuals and places that provide triggers for me to fall back into my addiction.

It must also incorporate a brutal honesty with myself, with those who care about me, and especially with those I have entrusted to assist me professionally with letting go.

It is truly tough to turn away from the addiction, because, it also means that I will need to face the root of it. And that, is one of the toughest parts!

Jesus, free us. Help us to embrace You, and let go of those things that interfere with our relationship. Deliver me from the demons associated with my addictions. Fill me with your Most Precious Blood, heal me, make me whole in You.

Thank You Jesus, I love you!

Pax vobis,


Monday, November 14, 2005

Word from Adoration

"Why do you run, why do you hide, oh don't you know I just just want to be with you, to be with you." Kutless, Run
I woke up early Saturday morning. About an hour and a half before I needed to leave for my scheduled time to adore the Lord.

I tried to fall back to sleep with no success. The Lord placed upon my heart the need to get up and head down to the Adoration Chapel. I struggled against that need for a bit wanting to sleep as I was pretty tired.

The burden became stronger. Like the disciples in the Garden, I wanted to sleep (Matthew 26:40).

When I finally relented, I ended up arriving about 45 minutes early. I sat with Him, and relaxed to pray.

Again, He wanted my company. He wanted me to sit with Him and to spend time with Him.

And yet, it was a tough time as I was filled with a lot of interior noise and distractions. The only thing I could do was offer the struggles with them to Him.

Two things that come to my heart are the following:
  1. When the Lord places a burden on our heart to do something, pray for something or someone, get up and pray (even in the middle of the night), call us to receive Him in the Eucharist, or spend time with Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament do we respond with a, "Yes Lord!", or perhaps like me (and St. Augustine at one point), "not now Lord, later", or, "forget it Lord"?
  2. Do we realize that He values everything, and I mean everything, that we do and say for Him and in His Name?

When we spend a lot of time listening to Him we tend to become a lot more sensitized to the gentle calls that He places upon our heart and spirit. If we keep ourselves busy and do not take the time to spend with Him we may miss those calls. Because of that, we miss the opportunity to cooperate with His grace and bring that grace to bear upon the needs of His Most Sacred Heart.

We tend to look towards doing "great" things for the Lord. And yet, it is the very "little" things that tend to mean the most and carry the most value with Him. This is especially true in light of His telling us that we must become as a child! (Matthew 18:3, 19:14; Mark 10:15; Luke 18:17)

And finally, the words from the song Run. Do we realize that He really does want to be with us? Do we realize that He indeed values us more than anything? He died and rose for us (John 3:16)! If we experienced His yearning for us to be near with Him for but a moment, we would probably die!

Pax vobis,


Friday, November 11, 2005

Prayer - Mend our Heart

Sew and mend my heart oh Lord
Sew and mend my heart.
Mold me into your instrument
To help others help You sew and mend their hearts.
Help us to be strong in our hearts.
May Your voice speak clearly through our wounded hearts
May our soul hear clearly the sound of Your heavenly voice.
Prepare us to be ready with a willing and open spirit to listen and obey You Lord.

Lucille E.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Catholics in Business

My overall sense of the Church's teaching on us being involved in the business world is to foster community. For those of us who own our own business, this essentially means to build a family with the employees, and for those who work for an employer it is to build their relationships with the other employees and their employer.

So, to use an analogy, the employer and the employees are indeed like a family. When this family has strong interpersonal relationships, founded on mutual trust and support, the community around them benefits.

The care and attention that would be given to their extended family, that is their clients, would in turn be founded in that mutual trust and support. The clients would know that they are dealing with a healthy organization. They would also know that they were getting the best the company had to offer. There is no mistaking someone who is joyful in what they are doing and at peace with why.

The fruit of this inner company attitude is an ability to foster long term relationships with their clients. Consideration for their client's needs would stem from a genuine interest in the client's well being. And, like any family, the company would do their best to protect their extended family, their client's interests.

Another fruit of this inner company attitude, is the sharing their success with those beyond their clients. It is reaching out to those less fortunate and bringing the Light of Christ to them. It is being generous with the company's time and resources.

St. Joseph represents someone who, in business, would have lived that ideal. In business as a carpenter, he was an upright man. He would have always given his clients a little more than they paid for. His attention to detail would have been second to none. He would have given good value in what he produced with his hands, tools, and heart. It was imperative that he do so, for his personal dignity, integrity, and the well being of his own family depended on it.

St. Joseph, pray for us. Pray for those of us who run a business. Pray for those of us who are employed. Help us to be the best we can be for those we serve. Help us to give glory to God in the work we do. Teach us to use all of the instruments of our work as holy objects. Thank you St. Joseph for interceding on our behalf!

Pax vobis,


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Word from Adoration

Yesterday I had a client come in last second to have a problem resolved. Working on his laptop problem put me five hours behind schedule for a server prep that I needed to do. I ended up working until past midnight last night to get the necessary work done. This morning at 9:00 is the time I am to deliver and install the server and configure a new network for our client.

So, when I came home last night, I made a deal with the Lord. You wake me up, and I will come and see you in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Meanwhile, I had turned off my alarms! Guess what? The alarm went off anyway! When I realized what was going on, I thought I would go back to sleep, but, He placed an intense yearning to come and see Him on my heart. So, off I went.

While sitting with Him, the word that came was, "I am the intersection of Heaven and Earth".

When we visit Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament, we are sitting in front of the "door to heaven" (paraphrase of John 10:9). It is possible, by grace, for us to step through that door in this life. It is also possible for us to open ourselves to the Love of the Father that flows back to us through that door.

Two saints that come immediately to mind who experienced walking through that door in this life and being fully open to the Love of the Father, are St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. Their experiences of the divine and of intimacy with the divine permeate their writings.

We are truly blessed to have such a simple and straight-forward way for us to experience heaven through Jesus Christ present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The more time we spend with Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament, the more sensitive we become to His presence or lack thereof around us. By taking a disciplined approach, that is making a point to regularly visit Him (especially for those of us lay folk who have somewhat crazy schedules) we can discover anew the amazing gift we receive in Communion during the celebration of the Mass. "It is the Lord!" we exclaim with St. Thomas! (John 20:28)

When we spend time with Him in Adoration, we can discover so much about the spiritual and physical intimacy of receiving Him in the Eucharist. After all, it is indeed His Body and Blood that we receive, it is Him! (John 6:35-59, especially v. 54-56)

We can discover that the Lord is filling that space within us, the void if you will, that can only be filled by Him. This will bring a deep and lasting peace, and most especially a joy knowing that I am truly His Temple!

Lord Jesus, bless us with a yearning to spend time with You in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Teach us how to give you all of our worries, cares, and distractions while we spend time with you. Help us to come to silence within so that we can learn to listen for the whisper of Your voice. Teach us how to endure during the most arid moments, and to remain anchored in You when we receive consolation. Teach us to carry Your Presence within us to our brothers and sisters in desperate need of You.

Thank You Jesus for the awesome gift of Your presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Thank You for placing a yearning in us to deepen our relationship with You. Thank You Jesus for Your Love!!!

Pax vobis,


Friday, November 04, 2005

Jesus, I love You!

"Be not afraid to tell Jesus that you love Him; even though it be without feeling, this is the way to oblige Him to help you, and carry you like a little child too feeble to walk." St. Therese of Lisieux Thoughts of St. Therese pg. 114

Sometimes it is tough. We are fickle creatures at the best of times. It is easier to express our love and appreciation for the Lord when things are going well, or at least there are no negative or bad situations around us or within us.

When things are indeed rough, or very painful, it can be difficult to think of offering our love to the Lord then. How can we offer love in the midst of such suffering?

It is amazing that St. Therese makes this statement as she was living with the constant pain of illness. Especially towards the end of her life.

Jesus, I love You! Jesus, I love you! Jesus I love You!

Pax vobis,


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Bad Fruit, Abuse and Predators, and the Grace to be Free.

Beware of false prophets who come to you disguised as sheep but underneath are ravenous wolves. You will be able to tell them by their fruits. Can people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? In the same way, a sound tree produces good fruit but a rotten tree bad fruit. A sound tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor a rotten tree bear good fruit. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown on the fire. I repeat, you will be able to tell them by their fruits. Matthew 7:15-20

Bad fruit eh? When one has broken the cycles of abuse through grace, one can sense a predator in the vicinity. No longer walking the victim's walk, one can turn away and reject the invitation of that predator. One who has embraced the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ will do just that, for the One who bears the Most Sacred Heart would never do those things to the one. And He is very protective of His little brothers and sisters.

One who has been abused gains a very keen eye and a sensitive spirit. These two tools facilitate one's survival before, during, and after the abusive events. They enable one to gain some form of control by triggering an abusive event to get it over with, or to know the signs that things are almost done, and then finally to find a safe place to be. They enable one to sense the "darkness" within another who also abuses.

Those same tools facilitate a deep and sometimes wordless connection with those around who live as victims.

Jesus repeats himself in His warning about knowing someone by their fruits. He is adamant that we take the time to get to know someone before placing our trust in them.

This is especially true before making a life-long commitment in the Sacraments of Marriage and Holy Orders. It is also true for those who are Postulants or Novices.

Once one has made the decision to break free, to run to freedom, one still needs to deal with the internal cycles. For, the external cycles at the hands of the other or others take very deep root within. The longer the external cycles are lived, the deeper they are rooted. Even in the absence of the one(s) who abused, one will live those internal cycles within for many years. And, it may even take decades or a lifetime before one is completely free and healed.

One needs Jesus Christ, one needs to receive Him regularly - daily if possible - in the Eucharist, one needs to bring the wounds to the Sacrament of the Sick and a priest, one needs to bring one's inner cycles to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and be totally open to the healing of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, and one needs to learn to foster healthy relationships with others. This last one is just as important, for it is easy for one to remain fearful and distrust anyone and everyone around.

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus beats with love, understanding, and compassion for His little ones who unknowingly share in His Passion. He will bring others into the life of the one who suffered. People who will genuinely listen and be a friend, who will accept the one who manifests the brutality of their life with ugly behaviours and mannerisms, and who will, by their presence, teach the one that they are valued and loved.

And one other thing: Those two tools also give one the ability to see beyond the hurts, wounds, and pains in others. They give one the ability to see His Light within. And it is His Light that illuminates the other's beauty and goodness. Only predators, the wolf in sheep's clothing, are the exception to the rule and one knows them by their fruits.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

Pax vobis,


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Word from Adoration

Yesterday morning was a particularly quiet time with the Lord. Sometimes, near the end of my hour with Him, I will spend some time writing in my journals. Yesterday that was not the case.

The word that I heard in my heart from Jesus, "John, look at me. Just look at me."

So, I spent most of my time with Him gazing on Him there in the Monstrance.

A lot can be said about a person by what is in their eyes. Some eyes are filled with love and compassion, others gentleness, some are filled with purpose and determination, and still others are filled with anger, bitterness, and hatred.

The eyes are the windows to the soul goes the cliche. Indeed, our daughter Anne-Marie has a unique ability to look deeply into our eyes, and the eyes of others. She looks right through us to the depths of our being. There are really only two responses to her gaze, put up a wall, or allow her in.

There are times where I too need the loving gaze of Lucille. I need the affirmation of her love for me that shows through clearly in her eyes and the way that she looks at me. The same is true with the Lord. There are times where I need Him to look deeply into me and take up residence in those deep places.

But, yesterday, things were different. It was His call to me to look at Him, that drew out the love in my eyes, in my heart, and in my soul for Him. Through my eyes I held Him as a child very close to my heart to keep Him warm and let Him know that He was safe with me. Through my eyes I looked upon the teenage boy who so needed the love in the eyes of His Father. Through my eyes I stood, with tears in them, and watched helplessly as He passed by on the Via Dolorosa. Through my eyes I offered what I could, love, joy, gratitude, and presence.

It is this last one, presence, that we crave so much! Only when one is present to the other will we discover Love! Love is what we crave, and yet love is what we need to give most of all! What an awesome paradox.

Pax vobis,


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Things of this world.

As Catholic Christians we are called to be in the world, but not of it.
"I passed your word on to them, and the world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world. ... They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world." John 17:14,16.

"Do not love the world or what is in the world." 1 John 2:15
Our gifts and talents bring us into the world. In my case, it is my gift of being able to understand mechanical things, tear them down, rebuild them, put them back together, or repair and rebuild broken automobiles, or a broken computer's hardware and/or software.

Because of these gifts I have worked in the automotive industry for a number of years. In the last six years or so since the late 1990's I have been working in the computer industry, with Lucille and I starting our own business in the spring of 2003.

As a result of my gifts and talents, from a young age I developed a passion for cars, and then for designing and building high performance North American automobiles. I loved working with them because I was able to tangibly see and experience the results of my labours.

To me, a number of automobiles and automobile engines that have been produced over the years are works of art. The mid '60's big-block Corvette as well as the new C4 and C5 are definitely there, the Shelby 427 Cobra and Carrol Shelby's life and influence on the automotive industry, the Dodge 426 Hemi engine, and the 1996-1999 Ford Taurus V8 SHO (I own one ;)) all come to mind. If I put down every vehicle that I admire and why this list would go on for a while! Needless to say, there are a number of great expressions of human ingenuity and works of art within the automobile industry.

Later in life, I also became passionate about the technology industry. I was able to understand its complexity and bring about the results that I was looking for by studying it.

I enjoy my work exploring the constantly changing technology industry. I enjoy working with high performance servers and workstations, their operating systems, and the sometimes very complex applications that run on them. I love making these very complex environments run smoothly. It is a very difficult task that one needs to stay on top of not unlike one's spiritual life! Very complex networking environments, to me, are works of art. Whether they are in the spirit of Salvador Dali, Rembrandt, or Picasso I'll leave up to you! ;)

These passions have provided me with the opportunity to witness to Jesus Christ in industries that can tend to be quite devoid of Christ and His Light.

These passions have also provided me with the opportunity to struggle with who possesses what. That is, am I possessed by my passion for cars and computers and other things, or do I control my passions for these things. That to me is the key difference between being of the world - that is possessed by passions, things, and wounds; and being in the world - that is at least struggling in prayer to work with the graces provided by the Holy Spirit to remain in control of my free will and my passions. To be living in the spirit of God and not enveloped by my "fleshly desires" (Romans 8:1-13) is another way to put it.

I realize that there is a lot more to the passions and struggling with them. St. Augustine in his treatise on Marriage and Concupiscence speaks of the struggles with our earthly or desires based in the flesh. It is through reading and praying over this treatise, as well as identifying with him in his Confessions that I came to understand the need to cooperate with God's grace to remain attached to Him alone. It is St. Augustine, to me, who is the model of one who eventually cooperated with grace to overcome his passions and attachments.

The struggle with my passions is ongoing. By prayer, vigilance, discipline, and cooperating with the Holy Spirit I am able to keep them in check. I am able, by grace, to see my life and all of the things in it as being instruments, or vessels if you will, to bring glory to Jesus Christ.

St. Augustine, pray for us. Pray that we learn to keep our passions and desires in check. Help us to discover the giftedness of our passions and their purpose. Help us to become pure and holy just as you did. Help us to learn and discover the true meaning of God's creation.

Pax vobis,


St. Augustine's Treatise on Marriage and Concupiscence.
Scriptural references to the struggles between the flesh and spirit can be found here.
Carrol Shelby's life and web site.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Drops of Blood

"In his anguish he prayed even more earnestly, and his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood." Luke 22:44
I have been blessed to help a new friend out in his carpentry shop. I say new, because I have met him in passing a few times, but never had a chance to get to know him. After spending an afternoon talking with him a week ago about many things including my thought of helping him out. I figure it would be good to hone my skills, and provide a measure to fall back on if our business slows down a lot which it traditionally does over Christmas and the New Year.

At one point we were talking about the "staff" t-shirt that I was wearing. It was from my days of volunteering to chair a committee for a big city marathon. The task I had was to recruit some people to help me place a medal around the full marathon runners necks who cross the finish line. On average there were a couple of hundred that would make the full course.

I did this for six or seven years, starting not long after my conversion.

The state that most of the runners were in after running the twenty some-odd miles varied to some degree, but almost always they were so pumped up, and so deep into their running rhythm that they had to take a long time to unwind. Where is this going you may ask?

It was during the very first race that I saw someone, an older fellow, finish the race with this rather large streak of blood on his shirt just around the left side of his chest. It was around heart height and the blood had seeped down the shirt towards the bottom. I saw six people cross the finish line with various sizes of blood patches on their left side that day.

Later on in the day when I inquired with one of the medical team as to why these people had the blood stains, it was explained to me that when the body is under a constant and extremely high level of stress that the pounding of the heart can cause the capillaries in the skin above the heart to explode. Thus, the patches of blood.

I went home that afternoon in a sense of awe for what Jesus suffered in the Garden. His sweat was as drops of blood. Given the intensity of what He was struggling with, the realization, I am sure, that He was indeed about to pay the price, He must have "ran" a great number of marathons that evening.

We all approach a forthcoming time of suffering, from the simplest needle for a flu shot, to an operation to receive an ostomy pouch, to cancer treatments, to alzheimers, and more with fear and trepidation.

"Father, not my will but yours be done." Luke 22:43

To embrace suffering and in turn to offer it to Jesus to in some way share in His suffering, that is to participate in our Redemption (Mystici Corporis 44), is the call and most especially a particularly human dignity. That is right, dignity. One who embraces their suffering deserves our deepest support and gratitude. For, it is their prayer in suffering that will have a great influence with God the Father. Miracles can happen, and they do through the power of those prayers!

Lord Jesus, I give You my suffering and pain. I offer it to You, as small as it is, as an offering of love. Please accept it and bless it. Thank You Jesus for the gift of suffering. Thank You for blessing me with an opportunity to share in Your Cross. I love You!

Pax vobis,


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Some experiences from Medjugorje

Lucille's post on Medjugorje brought back some memories of my experiences while there with her two years ago now.

It was Lucille's second trip and my first. We were taking the opportunity to take a trip before "Little Pea" was born. We were about five months into our first pregnancy at that point.

Lucille had spoken to me on many occasions about her experiences during her first trip to Medjugorje. I listened to them with essentially a grain of salt. In fact, it was with great difficulty that Lucille convinced me to go in the first place! My decision was based on her desire to go and not mine. I essentially went because she wanted to.

Near the beginning of my Journey with the Lord, I had some bad experiences with some individuals who had been there and to other shrines around the world. When I had sat down with them to listen to their stories and experiences I found them pretty neat. But what happened though, was that I got a sense that some of these people's faith was reliant on going to these Holy Shrines, and in speaking about "miraculous and prophetic" things.

I struggled with that because in my perspective one needed only to have a deep and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My relationship with Him, in my experience, was built on spending time with Him in prayer, meditation, contemplation, and before the Most Blessed Sacrament.

So, there I was, on a plane flying across the ocean for the first time. I was cranky and frustrated. It wasn't until we were done with the plane rides and sitting on a bus heading for Medjugorje that I began to relax a little. It was beautiful in that part of the world.

With the encouragement of Lucille I began to enjoy the ride, listening to her stories about her previous trip. When we arrived in Medjugorje it was getting dark. We were pointed to our hotel and eventually our room. The room was fresh, yet sparse and simple. I liked it.

And then Our Lord and Our Lady started to break the hardness of my heart. This trip was for Lucille, and I offered up as such. I did not expect anything in return. However, they had other plans. ;)

Please note that the Church has not ruled on the validity or legitimacy of the Apparitions in Medjugorje, so what I am sharing is strictly from my perspective, that is Personal Revelation.

One little miracle was on our first visit to the church. It was close to the regular time that Our Lady appears to the visionaries. The rosary is paused at sometime just after 6 PM while the apparitions happen. It was during that time that Little Pea made a big jump in Lucille's womb. We were both very much surprised by that experience, and it influenced our choice of the name, Anne-Marie for Little Pea when she was born. Anne-Marie has indeed been our little miracle baby. She demonstrates an amazing faith and relationship with our Lord.

Another little miracle happened later on during our stay, we were there about a week or so, when Lucille and I were with the group listening to Sister Clare Marie of the Oasis of Peace Community share with us about her faith and what brought her to Medjugorje in the first place. During her sharing my heart caught fire. A number of key things were said by Sister Clare Marie that helped me to let go of all of my anger and frustration and for the first time in a long time my heart was completely open and on fire. After the talk, while walking back to get our ride back to our hotel I shared with Lucille about what was happening. I wanted my heart to stay open, especially with Lucille.

There were a number of other little miracles through our stay there. However, they were not necessarily the focus nor the reason for our visit there. They were only the triggers. What they triggered was a renewed hunger to spend time with the Lord. Everyday we were there we were in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, celebrating Mass and receiving Communion, praying the rosary, and building our marriage relationship in the Lord. We were immersed in an ongoing spirit of prayer and conversion. The Confessional lines were huge, people raced into the church for Mass so they could get the front seats, the spirit of reverence for the Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament was amazing, and so much more.

As I look back today at how that trip had an effect on each of us, our marriage, and most especially our relationship with our Lord, I can see some fruits. We began visiting our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament in a local parish that had Perpetual Adoration. Sometimes together, sometimes on our own we made a point to visit. We started to pray the rosary as a family. We aimed to pray everyday, but we were not always successful. We tried to get to daily Mass when schedules permitted. These things are still going on today. I have since forgiven those who were originally involved in turning me off from places like Medjugorje, and my heart has healed.

While places like Medjugorje are great to visit, and can succeed in drawing us closer to our Lord Jesus, Our Lady, and the Saints, I still see the greatest miracle that exists anywhere in the world is the Mass. It is the Lord Jesus Christ who comes to us in His Body and Blood to feed us and strengthen us for this Journey of life. It is also the Lord Jesus Christ who remains completely vulnerable while exposed in the monstrance on the altars of the world. What a truly amazing gift it is that I can go and pay a visit to Jesus personally in our Perpetual Adoration chapel here in the diocese anytime.

Our Lady is a good Mother. She knows very well what is best for her children. And thus, I try and listen to her, "do whatever he tells you." John 2:5

Pax vobis,


Alive in Your Faith

What does it truly mean to be alive in your faith? I heard of and experienced a variety of situations through pilgrimages, conferences, meetings, church etc ... Catholic and non-Catholic of that feeling of 'alive in faith'. As a Catholic, I think that sometimes our faith can be seen as weak generally speaking. But, for some reason I can go to another Catholic church and experience a difference in the amount of energy within the parish in terms of singing, praising, and worship. I must admit certain Protestant churches are truly gifted when it comes to proclaiming their faith and everyone singing together in harmony.
Why is that? Rarely do I go to a Catholic church where I experience everyone singing together. Don't get me wrong, singing isn’t the only thing that defines a person's faith but it can play a significant role in intensifying your faith experience at church.
I believe as Catholics, we have a lot to learn from one another. And yet, "bridging that divide" per se between Protestants and Catholics is not an easy task. As Catholic, I find for the most part my belief system to be so diverse thus making it more difficult to connect with someone from another Christian church. Some beliefs are the same but are the reasons always the same for believing strongly in a certain value?
On the subject of being alive in my faith, truly alive in my faith, the event that comes to mind was the faith I experienced in Medjugorje. Never have I experienced my Catholic faith so strongly in such a universal way within the community. The people there, were alive in their faith. It seemed like the air, trees, flowers, and birds were so much more beautiful and alive. Never have I sung the songs at Mass, lifting my heart in praise and worship and my whole being as during my two trips to Medjugorje. My heart wanted to jump out for joy at the words that were sung because people around me were also doing the same. Their faith and mine were equal, universal singing to our Lord with all our might. My heart was so completely open to Jesus like never before throughout all of the Mass. When I came back to my ordinary life in Canada, what struck me right away when at Mass was the difference that I sensed within the celebration. I yearned to experience what I experienced in Medjugorje. Fortunately, I did have similar experiences at a few events, mostly conferences or pilgrimages attended here in Canada. At church I would experience the depth of faith mostly at celebrations for the Most Blessed Sacrament. I relished every minute because I knew how rare this experience was for me.
It has always been my heartfelt hope and prayer that someday with the intercession of Our Lady that we will all come to a point of being completely open in our hearts to proclaiming, singing, rejoicing in our Catholic faith!

A good Medjugorje web site.

Lucille E.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Chivalry 101 - A Husband's Brief Guide (or Future Husband)

I must admit that I take the call of Jesus to sacrifice one's self for their bride, especially as presented by St. Paul, quite literally when it comes to the way I treat Lucille. It is, in my heart, very important for me as a husband to work very hard to make sure she knows that I am thinking about her, that she is indeed the centre of my life - right beside Jesus Christ.

The Scriptures talk about being faithful in the little things before being rewarded with greater things. And, on the flip side, I have heard it said that it is ultimately the little things that kill a marriage. The latter point I have heard first hand from a number of people whose marriage unfortunately did not make it.

Then there is the sense that I have of the relationship between Our Lady and St. Joseph. Remember, St. Joseph carries those lilies for a reason! His heart was pure, and he remained a virgin until his death. Thus the lilies in the hand of the most gracious gentleman in human history. But also consider that he lived with, worked for, and protected one of the most beautiful Women in human history, the Mother of our Lord!

If single, then Our Lady should figure prominently as the model of how to treat the ladies around you. Treat them as you would treat Our Lady. If married, then the eyes and heart of St. Joseph should take prominence in the treatment of your wife.

Here are some practical suggestions of some of the little things that one can do to let your significant other know that they are loved and respected:

  • Open any and all doors that you can for her.
  • For a car that has a remote, unlock the doors, but still approach with her on the passenger side and open the door for her. This also gives you a chance to check the car to make sure it is safe. Once she is seated, close the door and make sure it is secure.
  • If I am carrying Anne-Marie after we have gone together somewhere as a family, I will still open the door for Lucille and make sure she is seated comfortably before closing it.
  • Drive safely while the family is in the car. They are the greatest treasures in the world. Drive safely when they are not in the car, we need to keep in mind that they need us to arrive home safe and sound. Take a defensive driving course.
  • Make a point to put time aside for an evening date. Surprise her by making meal arrangements and perhaps researching a movie she would enjoy seeing. Arrange for the sitter if there is a need without her knowing. Candle-light dinners are a great way to cultivate the love and bond. Make a point to not talk about the kids if you have any!
  • If artistically inclined, draw a little card with some words of love and devotion in it. If not, buy her a card that reflects who she is. Do this once in a while to let her know that she is thought of and loved.
  • Every once in a while, not too regularly so that she can be surprised, buy her a dozen roses. If possible, bring them home when she is not around and arrange them for her so she will be pleasantly surprised.
  • Cook a family meal on the weekend. If you don't know how to cook learn or take lessons. The lessons could be something that you do together too!
  • After you have children, make a point to arrange to give her an afternoon off at least once a month. Have enough milk and anything that may be needed to keep the child(ren) comfortable. It will be good for her to get a break, and good for you as a father to bond with your child(ren).
  • Once the kids are sleeping, put on a favourite song that you both enjoy and reach out to her and dance. Take dance lessons together, or join a dance club.
  • Once the kids are sleeping, and you two are alone, take her hand and dance. Listen to your hearts for the music and rhythm of the dance.
  • Or, cuddle up on the couch and sit quietly enjoying each other's presence. Watch the occasional movie together too.
  • Hug her, kiss her, look into her eyes and show her with your eyes just how much you love her. Do this regularly, but not so much that you both become desensitized to the expression of love between you.
  • (Slightly off topic and yet not) Start a tradition that the entire family hugs together! We call it a "Grug" or Group Hug. It's Grug time!
  • Give her a hot rose oil foot massage. Those feet carry you and your children's entire world around on them. Take care of them!
  • Give her your sweater or jacket if she is cold.
  • When the cold season sets in, keep a blanket in the back seat of the car. On those cold evenings you can tuck the blanket around her legs and waist to keep her warm until the car is heated. If it is winter, you can wrap her up! She will appreciate this big time!
  • Make a commitment to spend an hour a week in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament to pray for her and for your family. If a Perpetual Adoration Chapel is not available, there will likely be a parish around that is open for prayer in the afternoons on a Saturday or Sunday. Most pastors would be happy to accommodate a request to spend time in prayer at the church.
  • If health permits, fast for her once a week.

There are many other ways that one can be a chivalrous man. Ultimately, to me, it is important to cultivate in my life the needs that are important to Lucille. That means making timely (as the Lord calls) sacrifices for Lucille.

E5Men is a site dedicated to fasting for the women in a man's life.

Here is a definition of chivalry.

05-11-04 Update

There are a couple of other items that came to me later. Both of them are very important:

  • Help her with her to get her coat or sweater on.
  • Affirm her. Make it a regular practice to tell her how good she is at being a great wife and mother.

Pax vobis,