Saturday, April 19, 2014

When God Sleeps

Epic fail. It didn't work. He's dead at only 33. His own disowned him. Betrayed, his friends abandoned him. What a waste. Everything the Lord did in his life on earth was meant to be a kind of catechism for us. His every divine word but also his divine actions were an answer to the mystery of human life for us; after all, he came to teach us how to live. "Jesus Christ fully reveals man to himself, and makes his supreme calling clear." (Gaudium et Spes, 22) The birth in poverty. Jesus the toddler. Jesus the teenager. The blue collar work. The callused hands. The hidden years, all 18 of them. The lack of formal "education" and having anything written down for posterity. Then the false accusations. The criminal's death. The awkward silence of Holy Saturday. But we know now he was waiting. In silence. For a Jew, three days meant the soul had definitely left the body. He was dead. The "prayers" of the embalming perfumes set in, and soaked his dead flesh in the darkness of that tomb. One hundred pounds of oils the gospel said, enough for a kings burial. But a waste. Spilled over a dead man. Sealed and scented by no one. 
Have we felt the silence of Holy Saturday in our lives? The cold echo of prayers places in tombs? Have we learned nothing from the God of parables? The seed must die, buried in the dank earth, and wait. Time must tick. The Lord will respond in his time, not ours. The key is, keep showing up. Stay awake even when it seems Christ himself cannot "watch one hour with you." This tomb of hollow prayers must be visited. We must go through the motions, as it were, even when it appears as if death, silence, failure is all there is. Stay awake even when God sleeps. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Naked Christ

"It's scandalous to see this nearly naked Christ," some critics said, as the story goes, when an initial draft of Ford Madox Brown's Christ Washing the Feet of Peter was viewed. Brown lived through the majority of the 19th century as an English painter in a Victorian climate, where the sight of a woman's ankle might be seen as improper. It's ironic to think that those whom Christ stripped himself to serve would be scandalized, not by his act of love, but by his physical appearance. When Peter was scandalized, it was because of his interior unworthiness. The Victorians were shocked by his exterior "impropriety."   
What does this tell us? It tells us that we have issues, in every time and place, with the realm of sexuality and the body. Deeper still, with the realm of trust and vulnerability, of which nakedness is the physical sign. Nakedness is a spousal call to see the other, to enter into the vulnerable mystery of the other.  And it tells us that the Messiah, the Heavenly Bridegroom, will do anything to get our attention. He will play the fool, he will strip down and serve, he'll make himself that vulnerable. And he'll also make it clear that he wants us to see him, to know him. He will reveal himself to us, in all of the vulnerability of a lover to his beloved bride. He wants to come close. So close to us. 

I wonder how the Victorians would've reacted to the true history of Roman crucifixtion. The victims were too often left naked on those crosses, shamed and publicly humiliated. But for Jesus, as Augustine tells us, this was the moment where the cross turned into a "marriage bed." The cross is the crux where all horizontal earthly love meets the power of the vertical love of a God that rushed down in love to be with us! And this perfect love has no fear! Like the first Adam in the beginning, Christ the second Adam is "naked without shame" and he like Adam was called to "cleave to his wife, so the two could become one flesh"... 

Like Peter then, we must loosen our grip, let the blood flow back into our clenched knuckles and allow The Lord to love us. Totally, humbly, wholly His Way. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Clarity of Christ, the Muddiness of Man

"So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”"
- John 13

When I was "discerning" my vocation I was an expert in mental gymnastics. I could think myself into a million different moves, different scenarios, in and out of twists and turns, yet ironically ending up in the same place every time. In my starting position, on the mat. 

Gathering information is great. We all need to do a little recon now and then in life before a major leap. Like Caleb and Joshua in the book of Numbers, we gather our intel on our expedition into Canaan. But when they reported their findings, and spoke with their own clarity about the move (essentially they were the only ones saying "Let's do this!"), the muddiness of mental gymnastics began. The others spread discouraging reports "Well, uh, they're uh... giants. They'll eat us. Yeah. We need to reconsider this."

"Caleb, however, quieted the people before Moses and said, “We ought to go up and seize the land, for we can certainly prevail over it.” 
- Numbers 14

"So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”"
- John 13

We can be our own worst enemy. Fear can sap the strongest heart. When we know the good, we ought to do the good rather than rationalize ourselves into a little corner of inaction. (PS - I really stink at this, which is why I'm writing about it right now.) This Holy Week the Passion dawns in its perennial newness, in deep blood-red hues spreading over the weak world. 

What shall we do as the great God descends? Run and hide? Deny even knowing him? Or follow along in his footprints like the beloved disciple? Time is of the essence. The hour is at hand. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Our Tangible God

As Passion Week continues to unfold, let's pay attention to the exquisite details of the gospels: the whole drama of emotion, the full gamut of fear and faith, cowardice and conviction. This is the long awaited confrontation of the incarnate God and His rebellious creatures. This is the centerpiece of the triptych of human history: our redemption pulsating like a jewel of red fire between the two pillars of our origin in grace and our destiny. Our challenge is to stand in the gap, allowing Our Lord to right our wrongs in and through His sacred flesh. His body and soul. 

"Our culture has lost its sense of God’s tangible presence and activity in our world. We think that God is to be found in the beyond, on another level of reality, far removed from our everyday relationships. But if this were the case, if God could not act in the world, his love would not be truly powerful, truly real, and thus not even true, a love capable of delivering the bliss that it promises. It would make no difference at all whether we believed in him or not. Christians, on the contrary, profess their faith in God’s tangible and powerful love which really does act in history and determines its final destiny: a love that can be encountered, a love fully revealed in Christ’s passion, death and resurrection."
- Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei, 17

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Perfecting Our Passion

Today the Passion narrative was read at Mass for this Palm or Passion Sunday. My thoughts always turn to those brilliant scenes in the film of the century, The Passion of the Christ. This still frame takes place in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus, Peter, James and John spend an anxious hour of prayer, anticipating a new Passover. Temple guards approach with weapons and lights. Masterly woven together, three figures move past each other like dark threads in the cloak of the night: Peter, Judas, and a temple guard. Peter stands still, Judas is retreating, and the temple guard is pressing forward to lay hands on the Christ, the Son of God. All three have a passion that intertwines their destiny, but it's misdirected so that the result will be a frayed and inconsistent stitch.  

Judas' passion is for money (we know he stole from the communal stash), for success, and for the earthly power and authority he thinks Jesus can win for this rugged band of fisherman. 

The temple guard's passion is for peace and for order, but he will stop at nothing, not even innocence, to keep the Pharisees in control and the Jewish subculture alive under the shadow of the Romans. 

Peter's passion is purest but falters in the end. Why? Why deny him? Why run? Was he relying on his own strength? 

Only Jesus has a Passion that can carry him all the way to the conflagration of the cross, there to be lifted up to draw all men to himself. This is the proper goal of passion; the perfection of passion. This is what will be unravelled again this Holy Week for the world to see. For Christians hearts to meditate on. Passion must lead out and beyond, beyond ourselves, beyond petty pleasures. Passion must take us to the fires of Heaven, even as it passes first through the fires of suffering and death here below. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Stretching Our Hearts

Pope Benedict once wrote that "Man was created for greatness - for God himself; he was created to be filled by God. But his heart is too small for the greatness to which it is destined. It must be stretched. (St. Augustine said) “By delaying [his gift], God strengthens our desire; through desire he enlarges our soul and by expanding it he increases its capacity [for receiving him]”. Augustine refers to Saint Paul, who speaks of himself as straining forward to the things that are to come. He then uses a very beautiful image to describe this process of enlargement and preparation of the human heart. “Suppose that God wishes to fill you with honey [a symbol of God's tenderness and goodness]; but if you are full of vinegar, where will you put the honey?" The vessel, that is your heart, must first be enlarged and then cleansed, freed from the vinegar and its taste."

"This requires hard work and is painful, but in this way alone do we become suited to that for which we are destined. Even if Augustine speaks directly only of our capacity for God, it is nevertheless clear that through this effort by which we are freed from vinegar and the taste of vinegar, not only are we made free for God, but we also become open to others. It is only by becoming children of God, that we can be with our common Father."

And that's the path of sanctification. The journey of holiness. The life of prayer. 

"To pray is not to step outside history and withdraw to our own private corner of happiness. When we pray properly we undergo a process of inner purification which opens us up to God and thus to our fellow human beings as well." (Pope Benedict)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Unconnected Instants

We just left a wonderful little soirée for my mum, who just completed a whopping 32 years working for Deborah Heart & Lung Center in historic Browns Mills, NJ! An incredible achievement in this age of restlessness. The crowds of friends who came out to celebrate her showed gratitude and love for that dedication, and I saw some faces I haven't seen in decades. Some of them 30 years! (including the babysitter whom I once shot rubber bands at from the hallway, in my PJs, 'cause she brought her boyfriend). 

My mom's an amazing lady. And she has a heart of gold. And she so deserves this time of rest. I don't want to say she'll keep busy, because that's a thing we often say in a negative way as if the silence after leaving the working world is a scary thing that one has to incessantly fill lest we feel alone. No. Mom will fill it quite adequately, I'm sure, with good, creative, reflective rest and fruitful human activity. 

Now a quick jump to a divergent strain of thought that's full of irony. I know I'm a total Catholic Nerd because I'm always thinking about these things... and I'm certain it must come off as snobby at some level. Annoying even. But let me be the gadfly of this age of technolatry. I'm simultaneously one of its victims. 

In the bar, called "The Recovery" there were over 40 screens of varying sports, news, and other shows. Yes, 40. 

At our table, at one point, 4 out of 6 people were looking at their little baby smart phone screens. 

I'm just saying. It's interesting. It took me off on a different train and I drew my wife Rebecca along with me to see the view. 

J.R.R. Tolkien wouldn't sit in a pub that was playing a wireless radio because he felt it should be a place for human interaction. Faces and names. I think he would have called in the Ents to "release the River" on this place. 

Once man has lost the fundamental orientation which unifies his existence, he breaks down into the multiplicity of his desires; in refusing to await the time of promise, his life-story disintegrates into a myriad of unconnected instants. 
- Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei, 13

Again, this may be a strange juxtaposition of things. A retirement party in a place of endless sensory overload. But then again, maybe not. We must find peace in the eye of the storm. We must be recollected in the restlessness of modern life. Mom's good at that. She was on the move and didn't sit long tonight. But the beauty was in her connections with those faces and names. "I have to mingle," she said. "I should see more people." 

Amen mum! So should we all!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

“Santo Subito!”

The average wait to see him was 13 hours. The line was over 3 miles long. Over 150 cardinals concelebrated, 700 archbishops and bishops were present, and 3,000 priests participated.

It was the largest gathering of statesmen in human history. It was the first time an Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church had attended a papal funeral since the Great Schism of 1054. 159 foreign delegations were in attendance, as were 10 kings, 5 queens, 3 princes, 59 heads of state, 17 prime ministers, 10 presidents, 8 vice presidents, 12 foreign ministers, 24 ambassadors, general directors, secretary generals or presidents of international organizations, 23 delegations of Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox Churches, 8 Churches or ecclesial communities, international Christian organizations, and Jewish delegations.

More than 3 million pilgrims came together in Rome for the funeral of Blessed John Paul II on April 8, 2005.* And the people cried “Santo subito!”

Loosely translated, it means “saint him now!” The process for beatification however could not, as it was written then, begin for at least another 5 years. Then add the further study of his writings and letters, a massive volume of work to be sure, and the wait for Heaven's signature in the form of a supernatural sign or miracle through John Paul's intercession. Was this cry for canonization coming, as some believed, too fast? Was this pressure from the faithful crying out “santo subito” unwarranted?

It's often recalled when someone is in the midst of a struggle or crisis that “pressure makes diamonds.” Tremendous heat and tremendous pressure, applied to carbon deep in the heart of the earth will create exquisite, nearly unbreakable gemstones. God seems to have imprinted in so many physical realities and natural processes, lessons in matters of the human spirit; perfect parallels that can illuminate human life through a close examination of the biological. There are parables impregnated into the very fabric of the world if we allow ourselves to see them, and to hear them.

When one looks at the multi-faceted life and unbreakable character of Karol Wojtyla, the future St. Pope John Paul II, it would seem the pressures that surrounded him must have been nearly beyond comprehension; an unequaled intensity forged his character as surely as the carbon is heated and crushed by the primordial weight of the world. These pressures have created for us, and for Heaven, a gem of astounding beauty. The early suffering of losing his mother, brother, and father before the age of 21 might have been enough to crack a more fragile heart, but for young Karol it created early on a true sensitivity, and a tender affection for the Mother of God to whom he turned more deeply in prayer. The demonic fire of the Nazi regime, which ensnared many of his peers and close friends, literally forced him into an underground theater to act and to perform the noble qualities of his Polish heritage. That pressure gave him a deep loyalty to his native soil, which later would expand into a powerful respect and connection with the soil of other lands. He was known for kissing the ground as an act of respect and gratitude whenever he stepped off the airplane in his trips around the world. When the communist regime took over and applied pressure on his priesthood, it only served to create a body connected in deeper solidarity. In one of the many powerful scenes of his 27 year papacy, tear gas was thrown to break up the masses gathered outdoors for Holy Mass. As the panic mounted, a monsignor beside him whispered that he should perhaps take his leave before things became more violent. With unbreakable resolve, he halted, and full voice cried out to the crowd and to the gathering darkness, “Love is stronger! Love…is…stronger!”

To the end, this unbreakable quality in John Paul II would remain. He would, with a diamond's brilliance, catch the light of the Son and illuminate the places he would travel, and he would travel until the end. Only death, it would seem, could break him. And even there, he seemed not to yield, not to be crushed utterly but to rise again for another day. That final day, the one on which he would hand over his spirit and return to the Father's House would be the Feast of Divine Mercy. Like his Lord and Savior, he would hold out until that final piercing, when the rock would be struck and blood and water flow out.

This April 27, 2014, is another Divine Mercy Sunday. It has only been 9 years since his passing; a novena of years in which the Universal Church has been waiting, praying, hoping. And now we can all cry out anew, “Santo subito!”The day has come, and he wears the crown of everlasting splendor, and its light shines from the communion of saints on us all!

"You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond…On the day that you were created they were prepared…you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created…"
- Ezekiel 28:13-14

* Statistics taken from CNA

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

"You are Trying to Kill Me"

"But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God..."
- John 8:40

I've always been fascinated by the two extreme reactions of people towards Jesus: adoration or desecration. Absolute wonder and awe that sought only to touch his hands or a blinding rage-filled hate that would drive a nail through them. 

Dr. Peter Kreeft wrote in his stellar book Jesus Shock:
"Those who meet Jesus always experience either joy or its opposites, either foretastes of Heaven or foretastes of Hell. Not everyone who meets Jesus is pleased, and not everyone is happy, but everyone is shocked." 

I've been following the Sr. Jane Dominic ordeal with a similar fascination. This dear sister came and proclaimed a truth about human sexuality in light of the plan of God for our joy. It was a young audience at Charlotte Catholic High School and time was very limited for such an intense topic. Granted, it needed time to breathe, time for questions and exploration, and that's been acknowledged. But a truth was spoken. And like the finger of a physician it touched a wound, and an angry body had a knee-jerk reaction. According to the comments and the news reports, no one seemed interested in the veracity of the studies Sr. Jane cited regarding the homosexual lifestyle. No one wanted a discussion and/or revelation that would have treated that wound or sought to address it at a subsequent meeting. They seemed only interested in silencing this Catholic nun, and letting it be known that they felt (they felt) that the Church should change it's teaching. 

I found it so providential that the first reading at Mass later that week (after the mob at CCHS) was from Wisdom 2: 

To us he is the censure of our thoughts; 
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
Because his life is not like that of others,
and different are his ways.
He judges us debased;
he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.
He calls blest the destiny of the just
and boasts that God is his Father.

Just something to consider in this whole debate, this whole decision about speaking, teaching, living the Catholic faith in its fullness: If we want to really love Jesus, this shocking Jesus who could "bash" Pharisees and bedazzle prostitutes, trash temple money-changers and touch tenderly the blistered wounds of beggars, than what happened to Jesus must necessarily happen to us. 

“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first... If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you..."
- John 15:18-20

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Why Jesus Lets Us Die

In an incredible gospel story for this Fifth Sunday of Lent, Jesus allows his friend to die, then begin to decompose in a tomb for nearly a week, before he takes any action. Why?

The story builds with a momentous slowness, layered with a variety of characters, details, and all of the pathos, anxieties, and questions that human suffering punches into the heart when death occurs. But Jesus stays right where he is, for two more days. He does nothing. Removed from the situation. Why? It's certainly not apathy. It's not laziness. I think it's Divine Mercy.

"Lord, if you had only been here."
"He healed others, why not his friend?"
"See how he loved him."
"Lord, surely there will be a stench."

Imagine how Jesus must have felt taking all of that in; all the doubt, fear, misplaced pity, and the ignorance of his true identity and power. But he takes it all in, and on himself, allowing the crushing weight of death to sink into his own heart, his listeners, his followers. "And Jesus wept." He invites them to feel. Makes them enter into the cold hollows of a rock hewn tomb, to sit and to wait in that place. 

Jesus allows Lazarus to die. God's permissive will allows so many of us to die, to be in periods of darkness, and to even dwell in those foul tombs where there seems to be absolutely no light, and no hope. But again, it's his Mercy. We are taken down to the depths so that we might realize our utter dependence on Him, our infinite thirst for Him. To see His glory. 

We have to die. We have to be laid in that tomb of our weakness and inadequacy. And then from the other side, from the light of a clear day whose timing He alone knows, from the beaming face of the Son, who is the light and the resurrection, He speaks. "Lazarus, come out!" 

And we rise. 

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Countdown to Canonization!

The great approaches! Come over to @TOBinstitute and follow our Countdown to Canonization pics as the day approaches!

"You Fill Up My Senses"

"God wants to reach us where we are, beginning with our senses, for it is he who created them and implanted them in us as our road to him... Like the sage in the parable, God never tires of bringing out of the treasure of his own Being (for what other treasure does God have?) the most unexpected gifts, whether in gold, stone, or humble wood."
- Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Holy Parenthood!!

In the midst of this morning's whirlwind of activities in preparation for a "normal" day, as Seth obsessed about his cars, delayed brushing his teeth, taking his inhaler, and eating "at least three grapes", Clare went from sweet to sour in seconds over which coat to wear, finally screeching both "I can do it ma'SELF!!!!" and "Do it FOR meeeeee!!!" and Sheila climbed up on top of the Cinderella chair and pulled down and scattered across the floor the "secret-box-for-tiny-toys-that-Sheila-could-swallow", I had this thought: 

If the morning ritual of preparing children for the day were fully embraced by moms and dads and lived with the heroic virtue it calls for, then all of purgatory could be emptied, our own hearts instantly sanctified (a kind of microwaveable mysticism), the eschaton hastened and salvation history brought to an abrupt but happy close in a matter of minutes. There. Done. Kick in the Nunc Dimittis chant cause this saint-making job is over! 

But alas, the scripture sayeth that the just man falls seven times a day, and daddy just lost it thrice in the last five minutes. Well, it's a process right, not a project ;)

My sister in law Christine, mommy to five, has a little plaque in her house that reads, "Cleaning the house while the kids are still growing is like shoveling snow while it's still snowing." 

Process. Journey. Stages through the ages of purification. Learning how to roll with it is the key; to roll with the often hilariously abrupt mood changes, likes and dislikes, emotions and attitudes. I think, and I might be totally off on this because I'm typing while holding Sheila who won't fall asleep, but I think its about letting go of our own control, saying less, being more.... Not expecting checks in little boxes that make one feel "successful" (checks in mailboxes are most welcome, however). 

Dr. Peter Kreeft nailed it when he said "The family is God's school of saint-making... You can't have a family and be selfish." Mommyhood and daddyhood are absolutely awful if you are trying to put your comfort first. Death traps, honestly. Children will and must destroy you, then remake you into one awesome unselfish person. Thank God. Anyone who imagines it's anything else is about to get grape jelly on their dress shirt. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Meeting John Paul II

In October of the Jubilee Year 2000, a World Mission Congress was held in Rome. Hundreds of missionaries and mission educators from around the world gathered in the Eternal City to celebrate the fundamental call of all Christians: to be the soul in the body of the world. To breathe a spirit of peace and humanity in an age increasingly foreign to kindness and selfless love. I was part of a delegation of over 20 young adults from across the USA. 

The Congress closed on World Mission Sunday, October 22, with a Jubilee Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II. As a remembrance of those first missionaries, the Twelve Apostles, twelve men and women were chosen to receive a new commission for a New Evangelization. We received a simple cross, woven by missionary sisters, from Pope John Paul II himself, and he commissioned us "to bring Jesus back to your country." I was given the amazing and unexpected grace to be selected as one of those twelve souls, representing the United States of America!

That moment of kneeling before the Vicar of Christ on earth, before a man so many already considered a saint, an intellectual giant and a philosopher whose insights would be talked about and explored centuries from now, will never fade from my memory. There at the feet of St. John Paul II, the prayers and songs of over 80,000 people behind us in St. Peter's Square billowed up and over us, like a surging and powerful tide of convicted joy. 

Since that day I've tried to make it my goal to simply "bring Jesus back" to the world; one word, one step, one moment at a time, but I'm realizing it's more "letting Him be" than it is me doing anything.

This New Evangelization is more about seeing Him everywhere than it is about saying things everywhere. He lives. He moves. And in us He shares His being, so generously. We simply need to receive that truth. May the same fire that fueled John Paul also fill our hearts! And on this anniversary of his death, may he continue to pray for us! And inspire us to take up our own crosses, our own challenges, and not be afraid!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Conscious Uncoupling of Love from Sacrifice

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, whom I do not know personally and don't have any authority or desire to judge, having their own back-stories, needs, and wounds (just like me!), are “consciously uncoupling" from their marriage. 

This phrase I feel I can objectively judge. 'Cause it's goofy. 

Their advisors, Dr. Habib Sadeghi and Dr. Sherry Sami, are telling them lovely things like the following to anesthetize the event of a divorce lest it sound and feel like they are in fact divorcing:

"To change the concept of divorce, we need to release the belief structures we have around marriage that create rigidity in our thought process. The belief structure is the all-or-nothing idea that when we marry, it’s for life."

Yes, God forbid we have rigidity in this life, something like a promise or vow for instance that would be our best word that we will stay, remain faithful, stick to the beloved like in that movie The Notebook. Seriously, rigidity is for things like concrete, not people! People mustn't be rigid. They should be more like... Jello. 

"The truth is," the love doctors continued, "the only thing any of us have is today. Beyond that, there are no guarantees. The idea of being married to one person for life is too much pressure for anyone."

Narrative Note: You are not reading the Onion. People with doctorates wrote that bit. 

So to be married to one person for life is "too much pressure"..... Can someone please tell Danny and Annie that they totally, and selfishly, wasted their lives on each other, when they could have wasted it on more people than just each other? 

"A conscious uncoupling is the ability to understand that every irritation and argument was a signal to look inside ourselves... If we can remain conscious of this during our uncoupling, we will understand it’s how we relate to ourselves internally as we go through an experience that’s the real issue, not what’s actually happening."

You mean actually happening with that other human person in the room who is your God-given guide and helper to unselfishness and love through self-forgetfulness? Ah yes, the quintessence of narcissism. "Wait, who are you? What are you doing in the story of my life? Have this person removed immediately!" 

Let me give this diseased flow of verbiage a B16 shot: "Love is... a journey, an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self towards its liberation through self-giving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of God: “Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Lk 17:33) - Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 6

I don't know the situation of Gwyneth and Chris, but I know the situation in the modern world regarding love and marriage, and it stinks. The divorce rate is roughly 52%. Now more than ever is when we need an amazing witness to faithfulness, self-sacrifice, and self-giving love. 

And let's be extremely cautious of any philosophy that seeks to "uncouple" love from sacrifice. That's like "uncoupling" Christ from the Cross. They are and always will be one. 

Talking to Your Little Ones About the Big Topic of Sex

A much repeated sentence we hear at our Theology of the Body retreats and courses is "I wish I heard this when I was younger!" ...