Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Junk In My Trunk

It's that time of year; we are at "our cottage".  Our and cottage in quotes because it is neither ours (it's a rental) nor is it a cottage (more accurately a 3 story house with 7 bedrooms.)

At the cottage there is a dumpster for trash from the community.  It's a little bit down the road and on my way to morning Mass. This morning I put the trash into my truck to drop off on my way.  When I got to Mass, I realized the junk was still in the vehicle with me.  Thankfully, not smelly! 

It got me thinking, as quiet time is wont to do, about junk in the trunk, not only of my truck, but in my soul. 

What kind of junk (sin) do I haul around with me?  Thankfully, not as much as I used to, but unfortunately not as little as I'd like. 

If we are honest with ourselves, we all have junk in our trunks.  

Lack of faith
Lack of contrition 

The list could stretch for miles.  We all carry baggage.  We don't need to, you know.  

Our Lord, after His resurrection and prior to His ascension into heaven, left us the beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation.  

You can find all kinds of teaching online and from others who say that confession to a priest is not what Jesus meant when he breathed on the Apostles and told them, "Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, whose sins you retain are retained"(John 20:22-23).  The Apostles understood and thus we have had this Sacrament since the very beginning of Christianity. 

If it has been a long time since your last confession (or maybe you just feel the need) here is a helpful site: Fr. Ben  Click on the link and when you get to the site, click on confession.  Fr. Ben has a wonderful aid to life confession.  Any priest should do this for you, but you may have to call and make an appointment because it will take a little longer than if you have been going regularly.

Come Saturday, I will give heaven a little more joy and release from myself some more junk from my trunk.  Join me? 


Also, please remember to keep praying for Megan #amillionformegan

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Slow Erasure

They start off in many different ways; being born in the same family, a blind date, a dance class, meeting at the party of a mutual friend, sitting at the park watching the kids play.

They grow in different ways; from not liking one another at all to becoming friends, or liking each other immediately. 

Often they begin anew in marriage.   


Relationships are one thing we all have in common.  Each of us are involved in many relationships.  How is it that some last, and some slip away?

The relationships that last are the ones that have the most time and energy put into them.  Life is busy and we have to make time for each other.  We can't let busy keep us from pouring ourselves into relationships that we want to endure.

If miles separate you from your friends, write letters.  Real letters that require envelopes and postage.

Sometimes it is harder to stay close when miles don't separate friends. We figure we can get together whenever, and fail to make it happen.  This is a small form of the slow erasure. 

Marriage is a unique relationship wherein two become one flesh.  It takes a miracle and a lot of hard work and sacrifice to make this covenantal relationship work. 

Often the marriage we envision for ourselves is based on what we see work, or not work, in our own parents' marriage.  We have examples of good marriages all around us.  

Unfortunately we also have examples of marriages that don't work out as planned.  What goes wrong? 

Couples that seem to be so in love find the struggle too hard.

It likely starts with a hurt.

Small hurts or big hurts that grows bigger until they takes over our thoughts and won't allow us to see the person we once were madly in love with, as lovable any longer. Our thoughts grow dark and then small faults become glaring faults. Traits that used to be brushed away now nag at us and cause turmoil.

And then begins the slow erasure.

 What is the slow erasure? 
  • Making decisions based on what one person wants over the feelings and concerns expressed by the other.
  • Forgetting to speak kindly about the other.  Finding only the faults. 
  • Taking on activities that do not include the other but rather require much time apart. 
  • Deciding not to pray together anymore.
  • Leaving God, and sacrifice for the sake of the other, out of the relationship. 
  • Deciding that saying "I love you" is too hard and living it even harder.
  • Not holding hands anymore.
  • Not laughing together. 
So many things drive relationships apart.  Often couples get to a point where there is no longer a we, but only a me.  The other has been erased from "us". 

How do we make sure this does not happen?  Just as there are many ways to erase, there are many ways to more securely bond:
  • Be willing to sacrifice that which is important to you if it causes too much time apart, or causes concerns or hurt feelings in the other.
  • As learned in kindergarten, if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything.  Better yet, find something nice to say.  It keeps you in practice. 
  • Do stuff together.  Go to Mass, Adoration and confession together, clean the house, wash the dishes, cook, read, shop, go for a walk. 
  • Pray together every day.  God is waiting to hear from both of you. 
  • Make God central.  Pray about all major decisions, together; minor ones too. Pray for your spouse.  Every day ask what specific thing he or she needs you to pray for that day.
  • Say I love you and show it.  It's hard sometimes but so worth it to show the I love you.
  • Be willing to forgive: 70 x 7 times.  More if necessary. 
  • Sit next to each other at meals.  (Easier to hold hands!) 
  • HOLD HANDS!  Skin is very healing. God put all those nerve endings there for a reason. Sometimes when words won't come, a little hand holding will open up blocked communication.
  • Laugh together often.  Look up a comedian to watch, or watch your children play. Laughter breaks down walls. 
If you need counseling,  GO!  Alone or together GO! Find a counselor that shares your beliefs.  One who will help you fight for the covenant, not one that will make it easy for you to abandon it.

When the going gets tough, don't cave in to what is "easy".  Dig in to that which will save your relationship.  Prayer, sacrifice, prayer, time together, prayer, kindness, prayer, counseling, prayer, forgiveness and most of all, prayer. Do whatever it takes to make your I DO last a life time.

33 years and counting.