Monday, December 18, 2006

Marriage, Wounds, and the Healing of the Paralytic in Luke 5:17-26

The following is the Gospel reading from the First Monday in Advent, Luke 5:17-26:
"...some men appeared, bringing on a bed a paralyzed man whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of him [Jesus]. But as they could find no way of getting the man through the crowd, they went up onto the top of the house and lowered him and his stretcher down through the tiles into the middle of the gathering, in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith he said, 'My friend, your sins are forgiven you.' ... he [Jesus] said to the paralyzed man-'I order you: get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.' And immediately before their very eyes he got up, picked up what he had been liking on and went home praising God."
There are many aspects of this Gospel reading that relate directly to our marital relationship in the face of our deep seated wounds.

The Decision

There are two ways we can deal with our spouse's wounds and their flare ups:
  1. We can react out of our own wounds. More than likely, depending on the power of our reaction, there will be even more hurt and pain. This can lead to a cycle that can be very deadly to the marriage relationship.
  2. We can respond out of love and understanding, swallow our pride, and accept our spouse in their woundedness. This is not accepting the wounds, this is realizing that what we are experiencing is someone operating out of theirs, and that it is the person that we love. They are in need!

In the first case, it is virtually impossible to reach the same decision the four men did for the paralytic, to reach down and pick our spouse up, and work our rear ends off to bring them before Jesus for healing.

In the second case, our response not only holds the promise of healing for our spouse, we are responding to the powerful Sacramental Grace blessed upon us by Jesus in Marriage: We are truly being the presence of Christ for them.

The Responsibility

As our relationship develops and grows, we get to know the deep seated wounds in our spouse. We get to know what triggers their pain and just how powerful they hurt in those wounds.

This is a huge responsibility! With knowledge comes power. We can use this knowledge for the good of our spouse, that is, working and praying for their healing. Or, we can use that knowledge for an evil purpose: Pushing their buttons, deliberately saying or doing things that trigger those wounds to inflict as much damage in them as we can.

The paralytic was completely vulnerable and at the mercy of passersby. There was no way to avoid the cruel boots of individuals who lashed out at them. There was no way to earn a living so as to meet the basic needs of life without the few coins that would be tossed their way.

When we are immersed in our wounds, in the deepest hurts of our lives, we too are vulnerable. What do we do with this vulnerability? Both our own and our spouse's?

The Effort

There is a lot that goes unsaid in this story. There are four, FOUR, men who went out of their way to befriend a helpless individual. There is an understated relationship, a deep friendship, that these five share.

There are four men who carried this paralyzed man to the place where Jesus was with full knowledge that Jesus would heal him.

It was this knowledge, this faith, that gave them the strength to carry him all the way to the place Jesus was, but not only that, to then move around to where they could climb with him onto the roof of the houses, walk precariously across the roofing tiles (not too stable), and then work at lifting the tiles off of the roof to make a hole big enough to lower the paralytic down.

This is the kind of effort that it sometimes can take for us to carry our spouse in their woundedness. The deeper the wounds, the more patient, gentle, kind, loving, and strong we need to be for them. The deeper the wounds, the greater the effort we need to put into bringing them before Jesus.

The deeper the wounds, the more we will need to endure the behaviours they trigger over time. It may have been a great distance that the four men had to carry the paralytic man, but they did it. We have committed ourselves to our spouse for life. There is no greater distance than this, no greater commitment to another than this. We must endure, we must pray for the grace to endure, and for the hope that we need to overcome.

The Faith

"Seeing their faith he said, 'My friend, your sins are forgiven you.'" v.20

It was their faith that lead to this man's healing!!!

So too is the Sacramental Grace that we carry in us for our spouse. We may not physically carry our spouse to Mass, or to the Adoration Chapel with our Lord in the Tabernacle, or to Jesus Exposed on the Alter, but the effort to carry them in our heart to these places where Jesus waits for us is just as intense, if not more so!

It is our faith in the healing power of Jesus Christ that will be instrumental in our spouse's journey to healing. The carrying of the paralytic to Jesus was a team effort, and so too is our Marital Relationship.

Our encouraging words, our patient endurance, our ongoing prayer to draw them deeper into the Healing Heart of Christ, our silence in the face of adversity, will make clear the faith that is the foundation of our marriage and relationship with each other.

The Christ

When it is me operating out of my wounds, I must make every effort to be open to the healing graces offered by Christ to me through my spouse.

That grace is available to me.

When operating out of my wounds, in the aftermath of my vocal outbursts, the fresh wounds on their heart, the Heart of Christ, are there. When my thoughts were motivated by pain and hurt and I lash out within, there lies the Crown of Thorns on their head, the head of Christ. When my actions, with my hands and instruments within them, lash out and strike my spouse and wounds their body, it is the Body of Christ.

The Embrace

The paralytic responded to the four men. Despite his wounds, his helplessness, and his being completely impoverished he allowed them into his life and heart. He embraced their friendship and their acceptance of him.

Likewise, the four men looked beyond the physical deformities to the person within. They embraced him in all of his woundedness. And, when the opportunity arose for them to serve him by bringing him before Jesus, they literally jumped at the chance.

When we made our vows to each other before God and our community, we were serious about it. There were no doubts that we were called to be together for the rest of our lives. We embraced both the good and the bad in each other.

The Beautiful Healing Grace in Marriage

There is a special grace given to us in the Sacrament of Marriage: It is to see the truly beautiful person deep within our spouse. When we embrace this beautiful person within, we become instrumental in bringing that person out to the surface.

When we work as hard as the four men did for the paralytic to give our spouse the love and attention that they need, to carry them when they are down, the grace will be there for us to bring our spouse before Jesus repeatedly in a prayer for the Grace of Healing. We will have the fortitude needed to endure the trials and tribulations that are bound to happen due to inner hurts and wounds in the both of us.

"And immediately before their very eyes he got up, picked up what he had been
lying on and went home praising God." v.25

When we do experience the healing touch of Jesus, we must turn to our spouse and thank them for their prayer and support. We must thank Jesus for the gift of this awesome person who carries us when we are down and out, who bears our wrongs patiently, and who encourages us to embrace the healing being offered to us through them by Jesus.

We must turn to the Lord and thank Him for bringing this great gift of our spouse into our lives.

We must also thank the Lord for the Gift of His Suffering, Death, and Resurrection. For it is ultimately in Him and His life, that we discover how to be whole and holy.

It is Jesus Who heals us.

The Prayer

Thank You Jesus, for the gift of our spouse.

Thank You Jesus, for the gift of the Sacrament of Marriage and the great number of Graces you have lavished upon us through it.

Thank You Jesus, for Your healing Love.

Bless us Lord with the healing we need. Help us to grow in wholeness and holiness. Help us to found our marital relationship totally on You.

Be with us Lord in our struggles and wounds. Teach us to embrace the Cross and struggle our way to Calvary with You.

Thank You Jesus, for hearing our cries and our pleas!

Pax vobis (Peace be with you),

John E.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Justice ... Some Food for Thought

A letter written to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace:


I offer this letter to you as some food for thought.

I am a convert to the Catholic Faith. My conversion was in the summer of 1988 and I was welcomed to the Catholic Family at the Easter Vigil of 1989.

I come from a background of no faith, and many forms of being abused by my biological parents as well as many others.

Jesus has taught me the meaning of Justice and fairness. He has brought priests and lay people into my life that helped to develop my sense of Justice.

I see that our Church is very much on the forefront of Justice for the Poor, the helpless, the Unborn, and others.

However, there is currently a situation of injustice at the hands of one bishop towards his priests in a diocese here in Canada. One of the priests affected by this is someone very instrumental in bringing me closer to Christ, and is the key to the healing of my person.

I trust him implicitly and explicitly with myself, and with my young family.

He is not capable of doing what he has been accused of. His bishop has not given him any form of due process canonically or civilly. I ask you, is this Just?

I do not believe so, and it is a cause of great scandal to me to see the pain and anguish an innocent priest is being put through by his Bishop.

I realize that you may not have anything to do with this process, as I believe it is the C.D.F. that takes care of these things.

However, I still need you to understand that there is something happening right now in our own Church, the false accusation of priests, their faculties removed, and then their being laicized without due process that is a cause of great scandal to those of us who know these priests.

It breaks my heart.

Peace to you in Jesus and Mary,


We speak metaphorically about pendulums when we look at many things. It swings one way, then back the other way, eventually settling down in the centre. When it comes to justice for our priests, the pendulum has swung very far in the other direction.

The current "justice" system's application when a priest is "accused" by certain members of the episcopate is cruel and unjust. Period. Having to minister in an environment where one false whisper can trap a priest in this situation is unjust. Imagine living with that kind of pressure in your day job. How many of us would keep it?

I do hope and pray that we are better able to deal justly with those accused, and with those who level the accusations. I do hope that we can better facilitate the healing and forgiveness that is needed to mend this terrible wound on the Heart of our Mother the Church, Her priests.

Pax vobis (Peace be with you)


Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Sacrament of Marriage - Graces to be had in Illness and Suffering

This week has been an amazing challenge for the Everett family. Other than Raymond Kolbe who is breastfeeding, Lucille, Anne-Marie, and myself were hit with a really bad stomach bug.

Anne-Marie was fortunate in that her case was mild. This is good, due to Lucille's concerns with a little one's hydration levels.

Lucille and I on the other hand were not. Sparing the grueling details, we were emptied completely on Wednesday. Myself over the afternoon and evening, and Lucille over the late evening and all night.

When we encounter this type of illness, extremely intense, but temporary, we have a very serious set of decisions to make.
  • Is this suffering going to be redemptive? That is, do I make an act of my will to give my suffering as a small offering to Jesus on the Cross?
  • Am I conscious of the Sacramental grace that I have as husband, wife, or child - yes, children have a special kind of sharing in the Sacramental graces of Marriage - to accept the "Duty of the Moment" which is to suffer and offer sacrifice for my family?
  • Do I accept the suffering with gentleness and humility or do I get cranky and frustrated?
  • When both husband and wife are down with the illness, do I focus in on myself and refuse to go beyond my own pains and take that extra step to help out when asked?
  • Do I go beyond my own pain and offer to help when I see a need?
  • And finally, if I fail and cause even more hurt, do I reach out in humility and plead for forgiveness from my wife, husband, and/or children?
When both husband and wife are down, it can be extremely difficult to run the household.

On the one hand, we have a two and a half year old that needs to be constantly cuddled because she is both sick herself and has never seen both her parents in this state at the same time. And on the other, a five month old who is breastfeeding, teething, and has his ongoing needs to have something to keep him occupied, position changes, etc.

This certainly can be a recipe for disaster if our focus was inwards, that is on ourselves only.

We have the graces to conquer these trials in our Sacrament of Marriage. These graces are lavished upon us by God the Father through the Sacrament to help us deal with extremely difficult trials.

He gives us the grace to:
  • Make that act of the will to make this suffering redemptive.
  • Get beyond my own suffering and reach out to my wife/husband and children in their need.
  • Have the energy from virtually nowhere to accomplish the most important tasks to keep us functioning like heating up the chicken soup!
  • Reach out to those around us to help out with things like bringing in groceries specific to our illness needs.
  • Remember that even our recovery time is redemptive.
There are so many more graces to discover in our Sacrament.

During the most violent part of the illness, I made a point of making sure that Lucille knew that I was offering all of my suffering for her by telling her outright. I wanted her to know, that even in the midst of my most weakest and helpless state, that I was focused on offering this suffering for her. I wanted her to see in my eyes that this was, for me, an offering of one of the deepest forms of love and grace that I could offer for her: My suffering.

The offering of my suffering for her went a long way in helping me to eventually accept gracefully the suffering that came my way. I started off a bit on the cranky side. :D

The offering of our suffering for our family can help us to focus in on the graces that the Father has waiting for us through our Marital Sacrament. We can learn a number of lessons in humility and explore some of our human limitations.

Prayer: Father, thank you for the gift of suffering. Thank you for the gift of graces that you give us in the Sacrament of marriage. Thank you for drawing us closer to Jesus Your Son in our suffering. Father, help us to give glory to your name in the midst of our suffering just as Jesus did. Help us to embrace our Cross, to carry it with dignity, and to allow ourselves to be nailed to it when you deem it our time.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, envelop us in your Wound.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, keep us warm in the Fire of Your Love.

Thank You Jesus, praise You Jesus, glory to You Jesus!

Pax vobis (Peace be with you),


Thursday, June 01, 2006

When is too busy too busy?

When our business/work takes over our lives.

When we don't see our spouse and children for days on end.

When we don't take the time to centre on Jesus and on His Word in our lives.

When we loose our spiritual perspective on our life due to the lack of prayer.

When we give in to those little temptations that we no longer have the spiritual strength to ignore.

Those are some aspects of just how crazy things have been for me lately.

Please pray for us, that I can slow down to spend time with my family and not loose my relationships with them due to my absence.

Where is Jesus Christ in all of this? Standing right beside me waiting for me to turn to Him for help.

Pax vobis (peace be with you),


Monday, May 22, 2006

Surfacing for air...

Not long after our last post in April, the lady that we are renting our space from for our business announced that she would be moving her business within the next couple of months.

Needless to say we have been extremely busy.

On a trip to pay a bill I ended up in front of a location for our business that was way out of the way from my original destination.

Lucille and I are both convinced that the Lord wanted us there.

Please pray for us!

Moving the business while trying to maintain our level of client service is very difficult. It is also extremely expensive for a small company like ours.

Once the dust settles, we will get back to posting!

Meanwhile, here is a shot of Raymond Kolbe:

He is truly a neat little guy! Lucille and he are doing really well. He has gone through at least 4 growth spurts aready!

Pax vobis (Peace be with you),


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

We have a new addition to our family!!!

Hello all!

We were blessed to have Raymond Kolbe join our family on Saturday, April 8, 2006 around 10:25AM. He weighed in at 8 pounds 13 ounces (about 3997 grams).

The delivery went well, and both Lucille and the baby are doing very well.

Thank you all for your prayers!

Pax vobis (Peace be with you),


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

False alarm, a trip to the Hospital and still no baby

Please pray for us, we are very weary.

We headed in to the hospital with the thought that Lucille's water may have broken and we were going to be introduced to Pitou.

After over three hours of monitoring, it turned out not to be the case.

Our due date is April 11.



Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Desert, Sin, and the Death of the Senses

One analogy that can be used to facilitate this meditation on our continued journey in the desert, is our experience of having spent a number of hours, or days on a boat. Once we get back to dry land, we will still "experience" the motions of the boat while on land for a number of hours, or even days depending on how long we spent in it.

Another analogy that can be used is a long trip via car. After spending 8 or 10 hours on the road, when one finally comes to their destination, one still "experiences" being in motion even though we are no longer in the car.

We in the West live in a society where certain factions go to great efforts to over stimulate us. Our spirits and senses are forever being bombarded by the many forms of media with one message or another. We have become so accustomed to this stimulation, that we now take that stimulation with us in the form of personal music players, personal DVD players, DVD players in the car, televisions in every room - even in the car! Ear buds in the ears, little view screens before the eyes, big view screens and surround sound at home, PDAs, cell phones, and constant contact devices, all provide to maintain our level of ongoing stimulation. Neither our personal or our professional lives are exempt from over stimulation.

All of this stimulation can be a very subtle seduction of our heart, mind, and spirit. The seductive intent is purely to draw us away from ever allowing us to enter into the desert, thus into a deeper relationship with Jesus, to provide a vehicle for us to run away from the desert, or in some way be our "Mirage".

Much like that ongoing motion that we experience after a long trip on the road, when we enter into the desert our perpetual stimulation has a "momentum" all to itself. The absence of the sources of our over stimulation will perhaps go unnoticed due to the fact that we still experience that stimulation within our heart, mind, and spirit. All of the visual, auditory, sensual elements are there for us at our imagination's "fingertips".

From the introduction to St. John of the Cross' Dark Night of the Soul:
What is really at stake in the spiritual journey to union with God is an ongoing work of purification, a cleansing of all that is repugnant to God's holiness. Collected Works p. 355 (Kavanaugh & Rodriguez)
The very specific Desert Call that we are focusing on here is one that requires a form of brutal honesty with ourselves. It is realizing how we have allowed ourselves to be immersed in all of the over stimulation, the "noise" if you will, in our daily lives thus leaving no room for God.

While in the desert, if we are attentive, the Holy Spirit will give us gentle inspirations to guide us towards the elements that make up our environment of over stimulation. We will be given insight into the methods that we can use to gain control over our heart, mind, and spirit.

When we speak of the senses, here are the traditional 5:
  1. Sight
  2. Hearing
  3. Touch
  4. Smell
  5. Taste
We must remember, that everything we see, hear, touch, smell, and taste will also have spiritual consequences. It is for this reason, that when we have journeyed deeper into the desert and received the call of the Holy Spirit to purify our senses, we must find ourselves a spiritual director (SD).

With the help of an unbiased mind and heart in our SD, we will be able to work our way through the various sources of stimulation and begin to put limits on their place in our lives. These limits will help to clear a way for us to give time to our relationship with God. A neat benefit of this process is the discovery of more time for those around us! Our SD and the limits we set together will also help us to deal with the effects of the "momentum" the sources of over stimulation have.

From The Three Ages of the Interior Life by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P. (Volume 1 p.285):
The mortification of all that is inordinate in us is necessary:
  1. because of the consequences of original sin;
  2. because of the results of our personal sins;
  3. because of the infinite elevation of our supernatural end;
  4. because we must imitate our crucified Lord.
Everything has its time and place (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). In a marital relationship, one must live a life of service to their partner. One must make great efforts to build and maintain that relationship. If not, the marriage would surely die in divorce.

Just like a marital relationship, if we do not spend the time that the Holy Spirit is calling us to on letting go of all of the over stimulation of our senses, our relationship with God will die. We will experience the spiritual divorce of mortal sin.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the grace You have given us to enter deeper into our desert journey. Thank You for calling our attention to the things in our life that distract us from spending time with You and those that we love.

Thank You Jesus for giving us Your example. Thank You for first journeying into the desert to show us the way to be purified from those things that take us away from You. Jesus, help us to give over our wills one hundred percent to this purification process. Help us to discover the gifts that You have in store for us as we journey in the desert.

Jesus, in Your Divine Merciful Love, purify us of all that is not of You.
Jesus, in Your Divine Merciful Love, purify us of all that is not of You.
Jesus, in Your Divine Merciful Love, purify us of all that is not of You.

Holy Spirit, please keep inspiring us with the Light of Christ! Illuminate in us all that needs to be purged in order for us to be perfect vessels of Your Love! Grant us the grace to embrace this purgation!


Pax vobis,


Further Lenten Desert meditations:
The Desert, Sin, and the Tangible Loss of Grace
The Desert, Sin, and the PPP Temptations
The Desert, Sin, and the "Great Mirage"

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Desert, Sin, and the "Great Mirage"

It does not take long for us to realize that we are hungry and thirsty after entering the desert. For some it is a few hours, for others it may be a few days.

The absence of the comforts we have grown accustomed to become noticeable. We are no longer receiving any consolation, we no longer experience any sense of peace, we can no longer find solace in the things we usually could.

Once in the desert for more than a few days, perhaps a week even, we become focused on the hunger and thirst, upon the pain of emptiness, and the seeming absence of God. It is impossible to listen, to hear what is happening around us due to our discomfort. The pain can be overwhelming in its intensity.

At some point we will need to make a decision: do we step away from the pain and discomfort and begin journeying deeper into the desert, or do we stay in our current place and then seek to go back to where we were comfortable?

Acceptance of where God has placed us, or rejection of that place? Realize that our pain and suffering is redemptive, or try and repress it, stuff it back down, and run away from it?

If we decide for acceptance and taking the next steps to journey deeper, then we must be prepared to face the coming challenges. If we decide to reject that place and God's call then we must accept the coming weight of responsibility for our action if not in this life then in the next.

When we have accepted the call to journey deeper into the desert, we may face a challenge that can be called the "Great Mirage".

We all have a tendency to place God into what can be termed a "box". That is, He must do, think, and act according to our vision, philosophy, theology, what have you of life. Whether we are conscious that this is our way of being/thinking/praying or not. Another way of putting it is, "my will be done because that is what God's will is".

The Mirage is the distortion of what life is truly about. We permit it to be established in our life by our refusing to open ourselves to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in honesty and integrity. It then becomes our "vision" of what we think life is, however we are the ones in full control.

When the reality of the desert and its challenge given to us by the Father broaches into our vision - into our Mirage, and the Father's challenge is contrary to that vision, we might try and pass it off, brush it off, explain it away, or use whatever excuse we can in order to not face that challenge.

Sin is an act of our will against the will of God. It is to turn away from what God wants and to do what we want.

When we embrace the Mirage and refuse to accept the challenge that comes to us deeper in the desert, we are turning our will against the will of God. The Mirage will lead us no where, with the distinct possibility of us dying in that same spot we stayed in for much our life after having embraced it.

The Mirage is closely tied to comfort. And, in the spiritual life, comfort is spiritual suicide.

A practical example of one who was placed into the desert, and faced his own Mirage challenges, was St. Thomas More. His good friend, King Henry VIII demanded that he essentially renounce his faith and swear his allegiance to the king and the Church of England. St. Thomas More's struggles to maintain his position based on his faith were great. His staying firm was met with his eventual imprisonment and then execution when he patently refused to sign Henry VIII's Oath of Supremecy.

He could have accepted to sign that Oath. He could have worked with King Henry and his machinations to bring about an heir for his throne. He could have embraced the Mirage. But he did not and thus offered the supreme sacrifice of his life for Jesus Christ and His Church.

The Mirage begs of us these questions: Are we willing to go the distance, no matter what the cost? Are we willing to venture deeper into the desert, stepping beyond the Mirage, and the many more that will appear, to accept the aridity given to us by the Father? Are we willing to allow ourselves to have our complacency challenged? Are we willing to allow for the possibility that our preconceived notions may be wrong?

Prayer: Loving Father, You have placed us in the desert of Lent to challenge us to discover the depths of Your Love that can be found there. Help us to discover how to move our will into synch with Yours. Help us to offer up our pain and suffering while in the desert to You. Help us to discover the true gifts that we can find in the desert. Father, instill in us a deep sense of gratitude for the many gifts You have given us.

Thank You Father for the desert beauty. Thank You Father for sending Your Angels to support us and sooth us. I love You!

Pax vobis,


Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Desert, Sin, and the PPP Temptations

Continuing our meditation on the Desert, today we will take a closer look at what happens while we are there willingly or not.

When the Holy Spirit has called us out into the desert and we have responded, or in His Wisdom has placed us in there, it is a time for brutal honesty.

This type of honesty is a necessity in the desert. Why, you may ask? Because, while in the desert there are some very specific rules that one needs to follow in order to not only survive the experience, but to grow as a result of the experience.
  • The desert is a brutal place to be. It is stark, with only a very highly adapted way of life allowing one to survive there. Look to St. Anthony of the Desert, the founding Desert Father and the writings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers.
  • The only way to survive while in the desert is to be completely dependent on God for all forms of sustenance. Look to Jesus.
  • One must trust that God has a purpose for placing us in such a brutal environment. The Father truly loves us.
  • If we try and hide from God and what He is trying to work in us, the only "place" we have to go is essentially to bury ourselves in the sand.
  • The "oasis" of attachment to places, things, or people will not sustain us for very long.
  • Satan will try very hard to take advantage of our wounds and weaknesses as well as distract us from the goal of the Holy Spirit.
  • And finally, one must give the Holy Spirit one's will completely while in the desert.
The Scriptures tell us very specifically that Jesus was lead out into the desert by the Holy Spirit to be put to the test by the devil! (Matthew 4:1, Mark 1:12, Luke 4:1)

Three very specific temptations are described to us in detail:
  1. Turn the stone to bread (Possessions)
  2. The offer of the kingdoms of the earth (Prestige)
  3. The request to jump from the Temple height and have the angels save Him (Power)
We are also given an insight into the fact that the devil will manipulate the Scriptures to say what he wants them to when in the third temptation he quotes Psalm 91:11-12:
... he has given his angels orders about you to guard you wherever you go. They will carry you in their arms in case you trip over a stone.
A key to learning to survive the desert experience is to not concern ourselves with the, "why am I experiencing this temptation or that temptation", or, "where or who is this temptation coming from", but to focus on how we are going to deal with the temptation and then follow through on doing it.

If we focus on the why or try and discover where the temptation is coming from we are then sufficiently distracted from praying our way into discovering how we are going to deal with it.

Jesus shows us this method clearly in how He deals with each of the three temptations in the Scriptures. He focuses in on the temptation itself, not where it is coming from nor why it may be there, but He constructively takes the temptation apart to examine the best method of dealing with it, and then He follows through on turning it away.

The Father knows what He is doing. He draws us into the desert through the inspirations of the Holy Spirit to deal with something that is in between Him and us. He wants us to realize what it is that is holding our relationship back, and then He gives us the tools and the Grace to let it go.

The Father has given us the gift of Jesus heading out into the desert before us. He has given us in His Son a textbook example of how we are to live our desert experiences and also face and deal with our own temptations.

We can see that Jesus was indeed tempted with the big three: Power, Prestige, and Possessions. Had He succumbed to any of those temptations, He would have placed something in between Him and His relationship with His Father. The same is true of us if we too succumb to them.

Prayer: Father, we thank You and praise You for the gift of the Desert. We thank You for the shining example of Your Son's experiences while there before us. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit Father, help us to remain steadfast in giving our will completely to You. Help us to let go of everything that is interfering in our relationship with You!

Thank You Father, thank You Jesus, thank You Holy Spirit for the gift of Lent and the call to enter into the desert with Jesus!

Pax vobis,


Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Desert, Sin, and the Tangible Loss of Grace

In the desert we are faced with ourselves and with our God.

If we are honest with ourselves and in our response to the Holy Spirit when He beckons us to enter the desert, we will experience what could be a rude awakening.

In the desert, where the Light of Christ pierces our souls as the desert sun, all those areas within us that are in shadow and darkness will begin to stand out.

For, as the desert sun grows higher in the sky, so too the shadows and darkness no longer will have a place to hide.

The shadows are those little areas where we remain selfish, from cutting someone off in traffic, to saying no to the beggar, or doing something for self at the expense of our families, friends, and others. These little selfish things, these shadows, can grow into great rooms of darkness.
Sin "hates the light". (p. 889 New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality)
The Light, the desert sun, belongs to Jesus Christ, and how we react to His Light, the desert sun, is a very real indicator of where we stand in our relationship, or lack of one, with Him.

If immersed in our own selfish world with no regard for the inspirations of the Holy Spirit to open ourselves to the Light, to the sun, we are in grave danger. A very real method of cutting off the Light is throwing up interior walls, barriers, curtains to prevent the Light from penetrating our shadows. Or, we may try and hide ourselves behind some form of induced constant busyness, obsession with some thing or someone, or perhaps we are completely focused on doing as opposed to being.
What? You want me to let go of what? Why should I do that? I don't want to! I like where I am, I am comfortable, leave me alone!
And therein lies the crux of the Holy Spirit's call to put out into the desert. It is a call to stand with our God and face our wounds, weaknesses, failures, our sin.

There is a point, and it is different for each of us, where we completely sever our relationship with God. We allow ourselves to grow in our selfishness, our sin, to the point where we completely push God out of our lives. This can happen gradually as we start down the slippery slope of entertaining our temptations to the point of gratifying them, or it can be a situation or event where we act or refuse to act according to God's Will in a very serious matter.

This point where we have turned our back on God completely is called Mortal, or Serious, Sin. Mortal meaning death, or a complete severing of our Life Line of Grace.

There are three conditions that must be met for us to completely sever our relationship with God, that is enter into a state of Mortal Sin:
  1. We must have a clear understanding that the act, or lack of action, is contrary to the Law of Love and the 10 Commandments.
  2. We must give our will completely to that act or inaction without any reservation or coercion.
  3. The act or inaction must be very grave in nature and consequences.
We need only look to the 10 Commandments for a baseline of the kinds of actions or inactions that can constitute Mortal Sin.

Along with this baseline of the 10 Commandments there is:
  • the Holy Scriptures
  • the writings of the Saints
  • a constant prayer to the Holy Spirit, Our Lady, the Angels, and the Saints
They will also help us develop our sensitivity to the sin in our lives. We will begin to see the contrast between the Light of Jesus Christ as it begins to shine within us, and the shadows and darkness that is our sin.

The desert gives us an opportunity to embrace the realization that we have in some way, shape, or form either turned our eyes away from or turned our backs completely on Jesus.

For us Catholics, we are given the Sacrament of Reconciliation as the means to bring ourselves back into right relationship with God. If Reconciliation is not available, there is also, hopefully, the opportunity for one to truly repent of one's Mortal Sin before death. Ultimately, one's state of grace in life and before death, that is relationship with God, can only be determined between that person and God.

It is in the Sacrament of Reconciliation where the Precious Blood of Jesus pours out upon our wounds and sin to cleanse our wounds and remove the stain of sin.

There are times where the loss of grace can be tangible. This is especially true for those who convert from a life lived willingly in darkness and are now working with the Holy Spirit to allow the Light of Christ to reside within. The loss of grace eliminates our share in the Lord's divinity; it reduces us to something less than we truly are; it places our soul in peril of hell. It essentially turns out the Light!

And on the flip side of that tangible loss of grace, during the Sacrament of Reconciliation there are times where one can tangibly experience the Blood of Jesus pouring into the wounds caused by the sins committed earlier. One can experience one's person being buoyed up by the infusion of His grace!

It is truly the person of Jesus Christ within the priest with us there in the confessional, laying His hands upon our head to rain His Divine Mercy down upon us. When one leaves the confessional, one knows that one is in right relationship with Jesus the Lord! One does not need to have tangible experiences to know this.

The Church in Her Wisdom realizes our need to make our relationship right with the Lord. Thus, we are encouraged to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the season of Lent.
We must allow the Holy Spirit to work within us during the Lenten Season. We must allow ourselves to be open to the Holy Spirit's drawing our attention to the areas within our lives where sin dominates. We must allow ourselves to be drawn into the desert to sit with ourselves and our God.

If we do not, our relationship with God runs the risk of death.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, inspire us to accept Your call to enter into the desert. Fill us with a spirit of honesty to deal rightly with those areas in our lives that You point out to us as needing work. Help us to work up the courage to bring our sin before Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Help us to embrace our Cross.

Thank You Holy Spirit for the gifts of Your inspiration! Thank You Jesus for the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation!

Pax vobis,


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Blogging break and site update

Hello all,

We will be posting sparadically for the next little while as we are quite busy. I am in the process of redoing our own web site in XHTML 1.x Strict and CSS 2.1. It is a very laborious task as we have a lot of content to move over and I am still learning the codes for both XHTML and CSS.

The prototype site is here. Please feel free to offer us any comments and/or criticisms!

Please pray for us while we take this small break, pray for us to have new content to post when the Lord calls us to.

Please pray for me that I learn how to develop good coding skills and practises.

Pax vobis,


Thursday, February 02, 2006

When we get behind the wheel, what do we teach our children?

Right now in our jurisdiction, to be cautious, we must look both ways before starting into an intersection on a green light. It seems that people here have a penchant for running the red light well into it. The same is true for those turning left who are left hanging in the intersection because late amber light runners speed up instead of stopping.

Since I do a fair amount of driving around for business purposes, I see a lot of collisions due to individuals running reds and ambers, and have had a number of close calls if it had not been for me waiting to look both ways for the "all clear".

My dad was hit by one such fellow on Monday. Fortunately, it looks as though he is going to be okay, but his car is a write-off. The fellow had driven right through the red light long after it had changed. Please pray for them that they suffer no long term pain from their accident!

When we get behind the wheel, with our kids in the car or not, do we realize that our actions have consequences? Do we recognize the awesome responsibility that we have when we are in control of 4,000 pounds of hurtling steal, aluminium, and plastic? And, the more power that our 4,000 pounds of steal, aluminium, and plastic has, do we use it responsibly or do we use it to hurl ourselves around with disregard for others?

There are a number of times where we have broached the subject of being faithful to the "little things" in our lives. There is a link below to a blog search will bring those blog posts up.

Driving is one such activity where the "little things" are so very important. In my opinion, it is in the car, where we can live the illusion of being isolated - almost indestructible - from everyone else, that some of our deepest seated strengths and weaknesses/wounds can show through.

Here are some common driving situations that can demonstrate where our heart is truly at:

  • When someone uses their turn signal to change lanes do we slow a bit to allow them in or do we speed up to squeeze them out?
  • Do we use our turn signal indicator as a bully tactic to push our way into an opening by not giving the other driver a bit of time to make their own mind up?
  • Do we hit the gas when the intersection control light turns amber/yellow?
  • Do we run reds, especially on left turns?
  • Do we speed through school zones (some jurisdictions have them, some don't)?
  • Do we turn in front of an oncoming car to get in front of them despite the fact that there are no more cars behind them?
  • Do we speed?
  • Do we look at our police officers and bylaw enforcement officers as "the enemy"?
  • Do we offer a negative play by play of traffic and our frustrations with other people's driving habits when family is with us in the vehicle?
  • Do we let the sun go down on our anger and language while we are in the vehicle (Ephesians 4:26)?
  • Have I taken the time to get to know the performance characteristics of my current vehicle on dry or wet pavement, gravel/dirt roads, snow covered or icy roads, in any type of inclement weather?
  • Do I know the outer limits of my vehicle's performance in turns and on various grades?

These are just some of the questions we can ask ourselves about our driving habits. I can remember one of my spiritual directors telling me that my relationships with others around me are a good reflection of my relationship with God.

I believe that our driving habits are also a facet of that piece of wisdom. Our call as Christians, is to live the Gospel of Love, to offer ourselves as witnesses to that love, to the Father's Love made visible in Jesus Christ.

When we get behind the wheel of a vehicle, that call does not diminish, nor can it be set aside. We must weigh our actions, that is our thoughts, words, and deeds against the responsibility of that call to Love laid upon our shoulders by Jesus Christ in the Golden Rule that is given to us in all three Gospels: Matthew 22:34-39, Mark 12:28-31, and Luke 10:25-27:

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself. Luke 10:27


We must do unto others as we would have them do unto us! Matthew 7:12.

For those of us with children, we must remember that our children are very observant. They can see, hear, and experience what happens to our demeanor, behaviour and spirit when we get behind the wheel. This goes for both how we drive and how we react to other's driving habits. There is a significantly long period of time for their experiences of us behind the wheel to take root before they are given the responsibility to drive! How can we expect our children to drive with due care, attention, and great responsibility if we have not done the same for them all those years?

And finally, as Christians we recognize that there is a spiritual dimension to everything, and I mean everything that happens in our life by our own doing or by others (Ephesians 6:12). This begs the question: what spirit or spirits do we cooperate with when we are driving?

Prayer: Father, bless us with Your peace and gentleness when we are driving. Help us to be stewards of Your grace on our roads. Instill in us Your spirit of forgiveness and kindness.

Thank You Father for the gift of the ability to move about freely with our vehicles. Help us to choose our vehicles responsibly, help us to be mindful of our impact on the environment, and help us to form our driving habits accordingly.

Here are some common vehicle weights (approximate) in pounds/kilograms by (class) :

  • Ford Focus Sedan: 2,564/1,164 (Subcompact)
  • Ford Focus Wagon: 2,707/1,228 (Subcompact)
  • Ford Contour: 2,770/1,257 (Compact)
  • Ford Taurus: 3,500/1,588 (Mid-Size)
  • Ford Crown Victoria: 3,800/1,724 (Large)
  • Chrysler 300C: ~3,921/1,778 (Hemi & AWD)
  • Chrysler Caravan: 4,183/1,898 (Minivan)
  • Jeep Liberty: 4,011/1,819 (SUV Compact)
  • Chrysler Pacifica: 4,337/1,967 (SUV Midsize)
  • Chevrolet Suburban: 5,219/2,368 (SUV Large)

2,000 pounds is 1 ton, so some of the larger sedans and most SUVs approach or pass the 2 ton weight mark! Makes the minivan class look like a misnomer eh? ;)

These are the base weights of the vehicles and do not reflect the actual weight of the vehicle when loaded:

  • Gas: ~150-250 lbs depending on class
  • People: 4 x 175 lbs is 700 lbs
  • Luggage: 150 lbs+
  • Towing capacity: 500 lbs to 10,000 lbs depending on class

We must be mindful of our vehicle's weight capacities and limits. There are some vehicles being sold today that exceed their allowable Gross Vehicle Weight with minimal people and luggage load and we are responsible to know that!

By the way, a recent study has shown that buying an SUV for our children's safety is a myth. One of the stats is especially important when driving an SUV: the higher centre of gravity leads to a significant increase in roll-overs. In a roll-over, children are THREE TIMES more likely to be injured or killed!

From the CBC online article SUVs no safer than cars for kids: U.S. study:

Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. children between 2 and 14, according to State Farm's website.

Wow! As a protective husband and father, this thought brings a whole new meaning to having the family in the car and my responsibilities to them and other people's families!

Pacis navigatio (Peaceful voyage),


Blog search: Little Things

CBC online article "SUVs no safer than cars for kids: U.S. study"

An excellent article on merging: Highway Driving Etiquette

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Behold, Beloved Priests, I am Your Brother

Behold, beloved priests, I am Your Brother,
I have appointed you as fathers and apostles of this world.
Be near to me and rest.
I desire to cast out your feelings of unrest.
I desire to cast out all your doubts.
Have no fear.
Be near to me, I am Your God.
Come to me all who are wounded and in despair.
Depend on me.
I have not abandoned you.
Remember Me in the child Jesus.
Contemplate Me in the child Jesus.
And hold Me still, so close to your heart.
Allow My Precious Blood to flow within you.
Do not be afraid.
I am always with you.
Let Me guide you.
I will not lead you astray.
Trust in Me.
Do not give up hope in Me.
Renew your strength through Me.
Abandon yourself to Me everyday, every hour, every minute.
I will help you if you let Me.
Hold fast, my dear priests.
Your mother in heaven is near to Me.
Cry out to your Heavenly Mother.
She can help you and will show you the way to Me.
She desires to hold you close to her heart.
She desires to dry all your tears with her tender love.
Your tears are never shed in vain.
Let your tears flow.
Mary, your mother will bring them to Me.
I will take away your pain.
Then wait …

Healing and joy will come your way.
Therefore, My beloved priests, reach out to Me.
My flock is tired, My flock is suffering….
I need you now more than ever in My flock.
You are the carriers of My Word.
I need you to spread My Word to the world.
I need you.
Please come to Me always.
Come to Me. I love you.
The Holy Spirit is upon you.
Do not abandon Me, Your Shepherd, Your God.

The Trouble with Boys ... or Should it be: The Crisis of the Absentee Father

One of the most reliable predictors of whether a boy will succeed or fail in high school rests on a single question: does he have a man in his life to look up to? Too often, the answer is no. High rates of divorce and single motherhood have created a generation of fatherless boys. In every kind of neighborhood, rich or poor, an increasing number of boys, now a startling 40 percent, are being raised without their biological dads.

Psychologists say that grandfathers and uncles can help, but emphasize that an adolescent boy without a father figure is like an explorer without a map. And that is especially true for poor boys and boys who are struggling in school. Older males, says Gurian, model self-restraint and solid work habits for younger ones. And whether they're breathing down their necks about grades or admonishing them to show up for school on time, "an older man reminds a boy in a million different ways that school is crucial to their mission in life." p. 4 The Trouble with Boys on Newsweek Online
I am a fatherless boy. My father abandoned my mother, my sister, and me when I was six years old. I grew up watching other sons with their fathers and having this huge pain in my heart. I too wanted a father. I wanted someone who would play ball with me, go fishing with, spend time teaching me how to tear things apart, fix things, and build things. I wanted to have a father who would teach me what it means to be a man. I had to learn to do these things on my own, up until just after my conversion.

Here are some observations based on my own experiences growing up without a father:
  • When a boy grows up without a father in his life, he essentially does not get taught how to direct the boundless energies that flow in him. There is a tendency for his mother to have a doctor proscribe him to receive some sort of drug, like ritalin or talwin, to keep his energies in check. ADHD is a common diagnosis.
  • When a boy grows up without a father in his life, he does not receive the necessary imprinting and guidance to grow into malehood, manhood, and masculinity that he already has within him.
  • When a boy does not grow up with a father in his life, he is not taught how to use the tools he already has as a male to establish his just place within his peer group and the world.
  • When a boy does not grow up with a father in his life, he does not learn how to protect a woman's virtue. Instead he can learn how to see her as an object.
  • When a boy does not grow up with a father in his life, he is incapable of understanding and relating to God the Father.
  • When a boy has no father growing up, he cannot understand the devotion and obedience of Jesus Christ to His Father.

There are so many aspects of the male psyche that cannot develop properly without a father's presence in the boy child's life. I am glad to see that there are studies happening now that will demonstrate what most of us already know, boys and girls are different, and boys absolutely require a strong male influence in their life!

The last two points in my list are vitally important to the Catholic Christian male. Without a loving father in a boy's life, it will be difficult for him to discover God the Father and just who God the Father is. God the Father clearly demonstrates to us what fatherhood truly means to the child.

When we look at the relationship between the Jesus and His Father we can discover the depths of parenthood and especially fatherhood.

God the Father encourages His Son, teaches Him, guides Him, disciplines Him, and grows Him into the adult man that was willing to accept the Father's will to offer His life up for all of us in Jesus' Passion and Death.

God the Father allows His Son to take risks, to grow in His ability to make decisions, and to grow in trust that the decisions that He is making are the right ones. So too it is with our fathers, they teach us how to take measured risks, evaluating the consequences of those risks, and trusting our instincts to make the right decision with regards to the risks and consequences.

For myself, it was in the basement of the main house at Madonna House during my first extended stay there - about a year after my conversion - that I met the man that I would eventually ask to adopt me. Yes, I was already in my twenties, but one thing that I knew in my heart that year after my conversion, was that I would not be able to understand and get to know God the Father if I did not have a good father figure in my own life. The fatherhood wounds were very deep and needed to be healed.

This man became a good friend, and after about five years of friendship, he accepted my request to adopt me. I was so very pleased with his yes, and believe me, after a life filled with so much rejection and abandonment, I was still half expecting to hear a no!

There are so very many blessings to Dad's presence in my life and to his faithfulness to the promises he made to me in the adoption letter. His uprightness of heart, clarity of vision when it came to my brokenness and patterns of dysfunction, his steadfast love and patience during the many years of my resisting his presence in my life due to my fear of abandonment and distrust of all males, his resolute firmness with me when I went through my self-destructive cycles, his constant and patient waiting when I would run away, and the list goes on and on.

God the Father has truly given the both of us, Dad and me, a great gift in understanding what His relationship with Jesus was like.

And, it is by virtue of Dad's presence in my life that I am able to be a good father to my own children.

Dad, I know that you read these posts, so thank you very much for the gift of your presence in my life, for your love and discipline, and for helping me to grow up.

Prayer: Thank You Jesus for bringing to us the love of the Father. Thank You for showing us His face in Yours! Thank You Jesus for drawing us men into a deep relationship with Your Father! Thank you for showing us how to be good sons.

Thank you God the Father for giving us your Son. Thank You for showing us what it means to be a good father. Teach us men to come to a deeper understanding of fatherhood, and help us to take responsibility for our families. Help us men, especially us fathers, to be the men we need to be for our children. Help us to bring our children up in relationship with You and Your Son. Help us to teach our children to open themselves completely to the indwelling of Your Holy Spirit.

St. Joseph, pray for us!

Pax vobis,


The Trouble With Boys Newsweek article online.

Biology's Revenge article on the National Review Online.

The drug Talwin and its effects.

The drug Ritalin and its effects.

Update: Added the article title.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Duty of the Moment

As Christians, we understand that any decision we need to make is between the will of the Father for us in a given moment, or what we want to do for ourselves. The servant of God, Catherine Doherty, the foundress of Madonna House put it this way:

The duty of the moment is what you should be doing at any given time, in whatever place God has put you. If you have a child, your duty of the moment may be to change a dirty diaper. So you do it. But you don't just change that diaper, you change it to the best of your ability, with great love for both God and the child. Do you do it that way? You can see Christ in that child.
Or your duty of the moment may be to scrub your floors. Do you scrub your floors well? With great love for God? If not, do so. If you see to it that your house is well-swept, your food is on the table, and there is peace during meals, then there is a slow order that is established, and the immense tranquility of God's order falls upon you and your family, all of you together. Duty of the Moment by The Servant of God, Catherine Doherty

The duty of the moment. As Catherine has pointed out, when we have made the decision to do what it is that we are called to, do we do it well and with love, or do we do it begrudgingly? Do we act out of love and charity when we are doing things that we may not want to be doing? Are we peaceful with our decision?

The duties Catherine has pointed out to us are the little things in life that tend to be done with haste or while our mind and/or heart may be preoccupied with other things or "greater" things. The little things tend to be lost in the shuffle of life. And yet, our duty of the moment is to focus completely on the little things that comprise our daily life experiences.
Well done, good and trustworthy servant; you have shown you are trustworthy in small things; I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master's happiness" Matthew 25:21
We can not do great things. We can only do little things with great love. Mother Theresa
When we do those little things in life with great love and devotion, putting our whole being into what we are doing we are essentially making our life an offering of love to those whom we are serving by doing them.

By responding in obedience and love to the duty of the moment we are, without realizing it, bringing great graces into the world. We are indeed being instruments of the Father and Jesus Christ in the world. But, most especially, the members of our family, our co-workers, or the stranger on the street are the recipients of the love of God!
When you do the duty of the moment, you do something for Christ. You make a home for him in the place where your family dwells. You feed him when you feed your family. You wash his clothes when you do their laundry. You help him in a hundred ways as a parent. Then, when the time comes and you appear before Christ to be judged, he will say to you, "I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me to drink. I was sick and you looked after me." (Mt 25:35-36) Get the picture? Duty of the Moment by The Servant of God, Catherine Doherty
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to not take for granted all of the little things that we need to do in our lives. Help us to do them with great love and kindness. Inspire in us the ability to discern the duty of the moment. Thank You Jesus for the gift of the life of Catherine Doherty and the gifts that she has brought to us in the Madonna House community and her writings.

Pax vobis,


The Servant of God Catherine Doherty's Duty of the Moment article.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

All Aspects of Our Life Can Be Indulgenced - Enchiridion of Indulgences

In conformity with the changed conditions of present times, greater value is placed on the action (opus operantis) of the faithful. For this reason, instead of being a lengthy series of indulgenced works of piety (opus operatum), more or less extraneous to the daily life of the faithful, the number of indulgences now granted is relatively small. By these it is hoped that the faithful will be more effectively moved to live holier and more useful lives, thus healing "the split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives ... by gathering their humane, domestic, professional, social and technical enterprises into one vital synthesis with religious values under whose supreme direction all things are harmonized unto God's glory. #4 Enchiridion of Indulgences (1968)

I do believe there is a deep wisdom in the Church's restructuring of the Enchiridion of Indulgences.

Essentially, Holy Mother the Church is letting us know through the above powerful affirmation that our lives - all aspects of them from the mundane and monotonous to the exciting elements - are indeed special in Her eyes and the eyes of our Lord.

She is calling us to take the beautiful things that we have learned in the various prayers, litanies, and devotions and apply their lessons to our lives.

She is calling us to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ in His Church through Her Sacraments.

There are Three General Grants of Indulgences. These indulgences essentially cover our daily lives.

Presented in the first place are three grants of indulgences, intended to serve as a reminder to the faithful to infuse with the christian spirit the actions that go to make up their daily lives and to strive in the ordering of their lives toward the perfection of charity. #1 Three General Grants of Indulgences (p. 31 in the Enchiridion)

The First General Grant:

A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, in the performance of their duties and in bearing the trials of life, raise their mind with humble confidence to God, adding - even if only mentally - some pious invocation. p. 33 Enchiridion of Indulgences

A simple, "Lord have mercy" when things are going awry, or even simpler with the turn of the heart to the Lord, "help!" A, "thank you Jesus" when things are going well or some form of expression of gratitude for the gifts and/or suffering that day.

The Second General Grant:

A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who in a spirit of faith and mercy give of themselves or of their goods to serve their brothers in need. p.35 Enchiridion of Indulgences

We are all called to serve our brothers and sisters, the naked, hungry, in prison, essentially the corporal works of mercy.

II Vatican Council, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, n. 31c: Since the works of charity and mercy express the most striking testimony of the Christian life, apostolic formation should lead also to the performance of these works so that the faithful may learn from childhood on to have compassion for their bretheren and to be generous in helping those in need. p.37 Enchiridion of Indulgences

The Third General Grant:

A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful , who in a spirit of penance voluntarily deprive themselves of what is licit and pleasing to them. p.35 Enchiridion of Indulgences

This is an awesome way for us to participate in the Passion of our Lord by letting some indulgence go in some small way. A neat thing about our Lord is that no way is too little! Witness the praise our Lord gave to the widow who placed a couple of copper coins in the offering basket in Mark 12:42 and Luke 21:2.

Apost. Const. Repent, III c: The Church urges all the faithful to live up to the divine commandment of penance by afflicting their bodies by some acts of chastisement, over and above the discomforts and annoyances of everyday life. ... The Church wants to point out that there are three principal ways of satisfying the commandment to do penance, handed down from ancient times - prayer, fasting and works of charity - even though abstinence from meat and fasting have received special stress. These penitential methods could be found in all ages, but in our day there are special reasons why one method is encouraged more than the others because of local circumstances. Thus, in nations enjoying greater economic prosperity, encouragement should be given to offering some evidence of self-denial so that Christians will not conform to the world, and at the same time to offering some evidence of charity toward brothers, including those living far away, who are suffering from hunger and poverty. p. 40 Enchiridion of Indulgences

Some Plenary Indulgences:

To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached and to fulfill the following three conditions: sacramental confession, eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff. It is further required that all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent. #26 Enchiridion of Indulgences

With these conditions met, Holy Mother Church gives us tasks that are designed to deepen our relationship with Jesus.

Deserving of special mention are the following works, for any one of which the faithful can gain a plenary indulgence each day of the year - saving, however, the provision of Norm 24:1, according to which no one can gain more than one plenary indulgence in the course of a single day:

  • adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for at least one half an hour (n. 3);
  • devout reading of the Sacred Scriptures for at least one half an hour (n. 50);
  • the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross (n. 63);
  • the recitation of the Marian Rosary in a church or public oratory or in a family group, a religious Community or pious Association (n. 48) p. 45 Enchiridion of Indulgences

The numbers behind each task refer to their place in a list of indulgenced works in the Enchiridion of Indulgences.

What a blessing for those families who strive to pray the Rosary together as often as possible!

Holy Mother Church has placed special emphasis on these four tasks as they draw us into a deeper relationship with Jesus. By deepening our relationship with Him, we can then bring Him out into the world and share Him with everyone that we meet, thus the rewards given in the General Indulgences!

Please remember to offer prayer and works for the Holy Souls in Purgatory! There are so many Poor Souls who do not have anyone that prays for them!

Pax vobis,


You can find an article and a .PDF download on the Catholic Christian Doctrines including the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy on our web site.

Bishop Dario Rezza, a Vatican canonist speaks about indulgences in an article on Zenit's Web site.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Word from Adoration - Jesus said, "Open yourself to me".

The Lord has given me a drop of consolation in amidst the spiritual desert that I have been in lately.

The word that Jesus gave me while adoring Him last week and this week again was, "John, open yourself to me".

While in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, I see myself standing before Him with my arms outstretched. I then open myself to him by literally opening my chest so that my heart is completely exposed.

The next step is to make an act of my will to open my heart, mind, spirit, and soul to Him. In this act of the will, I willingly receive Him into all areas of my being, trying to hold absolutely nothing back. During adoration of the Blessed Sacrament there have been times when I do sense His presence within me, though lately this has not been the case.

During this latest desert experience, it is those areas within myself that do not belong to Jesus that have seemingly come to the surface. They stand out so clearly especially while I sit with Him in the Adoration chapel.

So, I have been taking stock of those things and preparing myself for the journey to let them go, to either begin or renew my efforts on the healing journey.

By Jesus calling to me to open myself to Him, I am filled with hope and encouragement to work hard on the process of healing. That is important, because it seems to me that the healing process never seems to end!

His words also stand as a stark contrast to my past experiences. You see, when most of us see something ugly, or experience negative behaviour from someone who is very wounded, we tend to armour up and reject that person. We tend to protect ourselves from them, to push them away.

Jesus on the other hand, decides willingly to reach out to us in our woundedness and make Himself available. Witness how He deals with the woman at the well in John 4:7 or the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1. He is loving, compassionate and kind. The focus is not the individual's sinfulness, but an invitation for that individual to let go of the sin and embrace Him.

Ultimately, with St. Faustina we need to cry, "Jesus, I trust in You!" And further cry out, "Jesus, I trust that you have my best interests at Heart. Jesus, I trust in Your healing and merciful touch."

Finally, a bit of thanksgiving, "Jesus, thank You for Your call to healing. Thank You for drawing me deeper into Your Heart of Love. Thank You Jesus for the gift of Your peace."

Pax vobis,


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Busyness, a Thank you, and New Blog Features

Apologies to our regular readers for not being able to write and post anything over the last week. We have been extremely busy with catch-up in our business and our lives after the Christmas holidays!

Thank you to all of you who have been visiting our blog. It is reassuring and encouraging for us to see you visit and sit a while with our posts.

We have added some search topics to our side-bar that you can click on to bring up previous posts on the given topic. The ones we have chosen are topics that we touch upon frequently. If you have any suggestions for other topics please do offer them.

Please feel free to give the search topics a try, they are to be found just under the Google Search feature on our side-bar. The search results will open in a new window, so please add our blog to your pop-up blocker allow lists if you like.

Again, thank you for visiting and be assured that we pray for all of our visitors.

Pax vobis,

John and Lucille Everett

Monday, January 02, 2006

Questions and Quotes for Meditation on Catholic Christian Fatherhood

I have been praying about fatherhood and meditating on some good sources for establishing just what Fatherhood is.

Here follows some of those sources:

Love for his wife as mother of their children and love for the children themselves are for the man the natural way of understanding and fulfilling his own fatherhood. Above all where social and cultural conditions so easily encourage a father to be less concerned with his family or at any rate less involved in the work of education, efforts must be made to restore socially the conviction that the place and task of the father in and for the family is of unique and irreplaceable importance.(72) As experience teaches, the absence of a father causes psychological and moral imbalance and notable difficulties in family relationships, as does, in contrary circumstances, the oppressive presence of a father, especially where there still prevails the phenomenon of "machismo," or a wrong superiority of male prerogatives which humiliates women and inhibits the development of healthy family relationships.

In revealing and in reliving on earth the very fatherhood of God,(73) a man is called upon to ensure the harmonious and united development of all the members of the family: he will perform this task by exercising generous responsibility for the life conceived under the heart of the mother, by a more solicitous commitment to education, a task he shares with his wife,(74) by work which is never a cause of division in the family but promotes its unity and stability, and by means of the witness he gives of an adult Christian life which effectively introduces the children into the living experience of Christ and the Church. Familiaris Consortio 25, Pope John Paul II*
When one becomes a Catholic Father, does one realize just Who it is that we must take for a role model? Do we realize how much the weight of responsibility is that is upon our shoulders to provide a stable home?

Fathers leave an indelible impression on their children because their role as a father is linked to another fatherhood. Although this other fatherhood is unseen, every human heart has a deep, incessant desire to be joined with it. God the Father has made each of us to have a family bond with himself. As a result, the human heart is constantly restless until it is united to the fatherhood of God. The Heart of Fatherhood, Steve Wood*
Those of us who grew up fatherless, do we realize what it is that we are yearning for within the depths of our heart and soul? For those of us who have grown up fatherless, have we made efforts to allow God the Father to introduce Himself to us? Have we allowed Him to begin the healing process so that we can allow His adoption of us through His Son to take hold? Are we willing to allow Him in?

[My father] and my mother managed to raise four children through the mire of the 1960s and 1970s, without quite understanding the social upheaval we were living through, as nobody at the time did. All four of us now attend Mass on Sunday, though for each of us I think the road back to devotion has involved a few detours into a wasteland here or a slum there. Without taking anything away from my mother—who was a softening and straightening influence upon him—I can confidently say that we are where we are now in large part because of my father. St. Augustine once addressed the fathers of his congregation as his fellow bishops—the overseers and shepherds of their own small domestic churches. My father had no conscious idea of it, but a shepherd he was; and if the Lord had seen fit to lay the cross of the priesthood on his back, he would have carried it like a man and inspired his flock to follow in his path. A Priesthood of Fathers, Anthony Esolen*
Are we gentle with our "flock"? Are we judicious with our "flock"? Do we protect our domestic church from the corporeal and spiritual wolves that pray upon us? Do we utilize the unique graces provided to us by God the Father in our Sacrament of Marriage to protect and guide our domestic church to heaven? Do we take the time to develop our understanding of just what it is that we need to learn, do, and be to guide our domestic church to heaven?

But we need fathers. Man is made to obey; and the Father in His mercy has provided for us fathers whom we can see and hear and touch. They are sinners, no doubt; but so are we, and the alternative to obeying a father—in one manifestation or another—is obeying the merciless hater of fatherhood below. There is no third choice. Patriarchy—much despised now as naturally abusive or obsolete—is the Scriptural rule for order and peace on earth as it is in heaven. It does not mean bullying. Far from it: Among us human beings it is a compact that benefits all. The man agrees to allay his natural unruliness and curb his taste for danger, his yearning for a wild freedom, and instead concentrate those energies upon what will benefit his wife and children; for them he will spend his substance and, if need be, his life; his will be the responsibility if they fail. Because he loves his family—his small platoon, his domestic church—he will lead them, will naturally assume his role as their head, if God gives him the grace to measure up to so high a calling. In return, his family grants to him
the authority of a father. A Priesthood of Fathers, Anthony Esolen

Do we make sure that we redirect all of our adventure and danger seeking energies into providing for our family and their spiritual welfare? Obedience. Are we obedient to God the Father? Do we expect an unjust form of obedience from our wife and children that we ourselves would not obey? Do we, "Do as I say, not as I do?" Are we willing to be humbled, to learn to act in humility with our wife and children?

The hour of the Cross is the hour of the Father; for it is the hour that he alone knows. The Son, who could know it, forgoes that knowledge. One of the reasons the Father has reserved this knowledge for himself surely lies in the fact that the Son's obedience is to undergo the most severe testing possible. That is why he forgoes any form of obedience in which he would always know in advance what is to come and could prepare himself for that. Also, precisely the chosen sort of obedience allows the whole of the Son's freedom to assert itself at every moment of his life. The Countenance of the Father, Pg. 71 Adrienne von Speyr

Do we spend time with our children? Do we allow our children to be who they are? Do we celebrate their uniqueness and allow them to discover the gifts that they have been blessed with? Do we facilitate those gifts by providing the resources needed for them to grow? Do we guide our children and give them the freedom and trust that they need to grow in confidence and discernment? Do we value the insight and life lessons that our children have to offer us?

The one person we can turn to for guidance in our discovering what it is to be a good Catholic Father is Saint Joseph. The witness to his fatherhood is given through the person of Jesus Christ.

Saint Joseph, teach us to be good fathers. Help us to discover and know what it means to be a father. Help us to discover the God given authority that we have in our fatherhood. Be with us and guide us as we learn what it means to bring our wife and children into a deep relationship with God the Father. Teach us to be humble, help us to learn to ask for forgiveness when we have hurt someone, help us to be a good example of love, discipline, and forgiveness when our children have done wrong.

Thank you Saint Joseph for saying yes to the call of God the Father. Thank you for giving us such a beautiful and powerful witness to fatherhood!

Pax vobis,


Familiaris Consortio, Pope John Paul II
The Heart of Fatherhood, Steve Wood
A Priesthood of Fathers, Anthony Esolen