A pure gaze focuses our desire on our husband or wife alone
When people defend pornography, they often say things like, “It’s not hurting anybody. What harm is there in just looking? It’s not like you’re doing anything.” Remember Lot’s wife, whose wistful gaze back at Sodom and Gomorrah caused her to turn into a pillar of salt? (see Genesis 19:26)
She “just looked” back at the town where sexual immorality was rampant, and it destroyed her. She turned into something sterile, the stuff that tears are made of.
The way we look at others is morally and spiritually significant. Looking with lust objectifies others and harms marriage. A pure gaze, on the other hand, sees the other in the full dignity of their personhood, created in the image of God, and it strengthens marriage. A pure gaze is an important part of marital chastity. Continue reading “Salt and Chastity”
Looking to the Holy Family can help you rise above the stress of the season
The Holy Family had the first stressful Christmas. Imagine what it must have been like for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Cross-country trip by donkey while nine months pregnant. Arriving late to a Bethlehem crowded to maximum capacity. No reservations. Dealing with a whole town full of in-laws. Giving birth in the equivalent of someone else’s garage. Visits from unexpected guests describing unusual visions. And, overnight, her husband decides that they need to flee the country. Because of a dream he had.
Not that it was any easier for St. Joseph. He must have felt torn between the pressure of getting to Bethlehem in time to fulfill his legal duty and concern about his very pregnant wife and the baby. Finding parking for the donkey. Finding a place to stay. Leading the family out of mortal danger. Hoping that Mary would understand about the whole “because an angel told me in a dream” thing. Continue reading “7 Tips for a More Peaceful Christmas”
Help bring St. John Paul II’s vision to fruition through everyday acts of service
One evening around this time last year, our doorbell rang. With my newborn daughter tucked in one arm, I opened our front door to discover an entire family — mom, dad and two school-aged children, a boy and a girl — all dressed in matching Seahawks jerseys, standing on our front stoop. Seahawks Mom held a giant lidded Tupperware bowl full of chili, and Seahawks Dad was carrying a grocery bag with tortilla chips peeking out the top. Seahawks Son carried a plate of cookies. They were from the parish meal-train ministry, and they had signed up to bring us dinner that night to help us out after the birth of our new baby. Their much appreciated act of service is one great example of how families can help build the “culture of life.” Continue reading “What Can You do to Build a Culture of Life?”
When we were engaged, Nathan and I took a natural family planning class. Word got out that we were planning on using NFP when we were married, and some folks took the opportunity to tell us the old joke. “What do you call people who use NFP?” they asked, with a knowing chuckle. “Parents!”
It’s true, we are parents thanks to NFP, but that is because the information it gave us has helped us know when we can conceive and when we are not likely to. Using NFP has actually been a huge blessing in our marriage. As newlyweds with years of college and grad school ahead of us (complete with attendant student loans!), we were a little anxious at first. Giving up control requires trust. This is all the more true with birth control. But when we trust God and our spouse with our fertility, the rewards are amazing. Continue reading “Top 10 Reasons Why I Love NFP”
First nurture your relationship with God, and he will take care of the rest
My grandparents recently reminisced about how they first met at an amusement park and dance hall on the bank of the Columbia River in Portland. A mutual friend arranged to set them up. “It was going to be my last blind date,” Grandpa recalled.
The Eucharist is a ‘communion of life and love’ and so is marriage. Why not celebrate them together?
You’ve probably heard a common piece of advice to married couples for keeping romance alive: Have a regular date night. Good idea! But have you ever tried a date Mass? Though it may sound unconventional, the idea of a date Mass actually points to the heart of Catholic sacramental marriage. And this is not just romantic, it’s passionate. So, Catholic husbands and wives, good news! Something as routine as going to church together can have a powerful effect on your marriage.
Nathan and I planned our first date Mass a few years ago when we were members of St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Everett. We sang as part of a small schola at the Saturday vigil Mass. We usually had our young school-aged daughters in the choir loft with us. Continue reading “Date Mass: Unlock the Romantic Potential”
Strengthen your marriage and share in the sweetness of Christ’s love
I remember it felt a little awkward the first few times Nathan and I prayed at home as husband and wife when we were first married. It felt so intimate to speak our deepest prayers out loud. Just before falling asleep, we faced the ceiling together — toward heaven! — thanked God for our marriage, and prayed for our family, relatives, friends, the church and the world.
Thirteen years after our wedding, through many major life changes — including children (four), job changes (seven for him, four for me), school degrees (four in all) and household moves (also four) — our nighttime prayer routine has become a familiar habit that strengthens our marriage and draws us closer to each other and to God, the source of all love. Even if I’ve stayed up after Nathan falls asleep, I’ll still snuggle up and pray aloud next to him. I’m often surprised to hear him join in at the end with a groggy “amen.” Continue reading “Pray Together Stay Together: Fact or Fiction?”