Encouragement

01-21-2018Holy Catholic Marriage

"Encourage and help one another" (1Thes. 5:11). Catholic marriage is unique and should be lived differently than a secular marriage. You and your spouse are the sacrament bound together by the divine love of Christ so your relationship needs to reflect Christ's divine love. Sacramental marriage is not a game or a competition where there are winners and losers. Sarcasm, yelling, criticism, complaining and disparaging talk are not part of a holy sacrament. The world and our toxic culture reject Christ, His Church and the supernatural character of the sacraments. Therefore, Catholic marriage needs to look, sound and feel kinder and more loving than marriages that are not sacramental.

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Perfect Love

01-14-2018Holy Catholic Marriage

Jesus said, "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5: 48). Many married couples embark on marriage with the hope of having a perfect wedding, marriage and family. Perfectionism is a priority in their lives as they try to control the world, spouse and family. Jesus' call to perfection has to do with holiness, a desire for personal holiness based on a disciplined obedience to the will of God rather than control of spouse. Jesus wants to help us with our quest for perfect holiness so He gave His Church the needed tools to help us. He awaits us in reconciliation to provide the graces needed for holiness to help let go of anger, pride, fear, bitterness, disappointments, past hurts and all issues that lack love and exert control.  

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Marriage is Hard Work

01-07-2018Holy Catholic Marriage

Sacramental Catholic wedding vows are a very serious covenant between God and couple. Unlike civil contracts that can be broken when one or both of the parties decide it's over, in a Catholic wedding, the couple pledges their faithful love for life, "In good times and bad, sickness and health." This vow is made in the holy space of a Catholic Church in the presence of God, family and friends. As a covenant, it is binding, exclusive, indissoluble, faithful and mutually self-giving. Contrast this with the civil marriage where couples marry in a variety of outdoor venues or hotels, writing cute vows such as, "I will love you until   butterflies don't fly" or "I will always love your cutesmile."

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Feast of the Epiphany

01-07-2018Holy Catholic MarriageLani Bogart

Today, on the Feast of the Epiphany we might wonder about the unusual gifts the Magi brought for a newborn baby? When we hear about these gifts, we're meant to ask, "Who could this child be?" Gold is for royalty – will he be a king? Frankincense is used in worship. Is he a priest? And myrrh is used in burial rites. How and when will he die?

What can we learn from the Magi who were not from Israel? They followed the light of the star on a very long journey to worship the child Jesus. They studied the ancient prophecies, they were overjoyed at seeing the star, and they brought their best gifts for Jesus.

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The Seven Deadly Sins

12-31-2017Holy Catholic Marriage

Jesus was tempted by the evil one. Demons begged Jesus to leave them alone as they knew their time of torturing and enslaving a person was finished when He saw them. Jesus gave His Church the tools to be free of demons and their enticements to sin and, instead, grow in holiness. These tools are the Seven Sacraments. The Church has identified seven deadly sins so we can be aware of their danger: pride, greed, sloth, lust, anger, gluttony and envy. These sins can destroy a person and their sacramental marriage.

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Submit Yourselves to One Another

12-24-2017Holy Catholic Marriage

St. Paul instructed us how to live as faithful, married Christians when he wrote, "Submit yourselves to one another because of your reverence for Christ" (Eph. 5:21). Christ so loved His Bride, the Church, He died for her. This is the kind of love a husband is to have for his wife. A husband is to love his wife so completely that he displays the depth of that love by dying to his own body, selfish desires and independence: his very life he gives to her. A wife is to love her husband completely, knowing he will do nothing to hurt her: her very life she gives to him. They are of one mind, heart, flesh and spirit. Both are to help each other grow in holiness as they proceed on their combined mission of sanctification through love, service and prayer.

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Love is sacrificial service

12-17-2017Holy Catholic Marriage

Christ said He came, "To serve not be served" (Mt.20:28). The Gospel accounts are full of all the times He served each person who came to Him. Jesus Christ, who is God, walked on water, healed the sick, raised the dead and fed thousands of people. Yet, He humbly knelt before a tax collector and simple fishermen to wash dirty, smelly feet like a common slave. Jesus was always showing us through humble service how to love by serving. Self-love always stands in the way of extending our self when we feel justified due to being too tired or too busy to stop what we want to do and serve our spouse. Love is sacrificial service, not affection and fun. Doing what we want does not help our personal sanctification process as does placing the needs of our spouse before ourselves.

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Do you love your spouse as much as you love yourself?

12-10-2017Holy Catholic Marriage

Christ condensed the Ten Commandments into two: "Love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind. This is the greatest commandment and the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself" (Mt 22:37-39). Your first and most important neighbor is your spouse. Do you love your spouse as much as you love yourself? Our world would change for the better if every Catholic married couple lived these two commandments and taught them to their children through words as well as actions. Children would then live in a home in which parents spoke of God as the real, living, loving head of their home. Parents would speak with love and gratitude for God, His great commandments of love, the holy Catholic Church, the sacraments, the love they share, their marriage and the great gift of children as the most important blessings in their lives. Children would be given peace of mind and soul knowing how secure they were in the love of God as well as the love of their parents. It is this kind of stability that allows children to flourish.

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Allow God to build and guard your house

12-03-2017Holy Catholic Marriage

"If the Lord does not build the house the work of the builders is useless; if the Lord does not protect the city, it does no good for the sentries to stand guard" (Ps 127). Allow God to build and guard your house by living and keeping the priorities in the right relationship for a strong, healthy, Catholic marriage. Rebuilding your life and marriage means replacing self-love with love for God and spouse. Remember, Jesus is present in your marriage and it is His divine love that binds you together in your chosen vocation and sacrament. Increased personal and couple prayer along with serving your spouse are core aspect to having Jesus build and guard your marriage. The evil one does not want you loving God, having a happy, holy marriage, going to reconciliation, praying as a couple and desiring personal holiness. Expect these changes to be difficult. Your vocation is your sacramental marriage and is for your sanctification. This is not an easy process, but it is necessary as God wills each of us to be sanctified in order to be with Him in heaven for eternity.  

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