The 18th Anniversary

    Time flies and it lies. 

    It seems like yesterday I went out for an easy five mile run with my cousin David, showered up and put on my blues ensured these rings were tucked in with my brother Karl and we went off to the church to meet two priests (who are like brothers to me) to get married before God and family.  I remember the door swinging open and my soon to be Father-in-Law smirking at me saying “I loved her first.” The whirlwind day of photos, holding hands, being the focus of attention wore my bride and I out.  I remember thinking of the marriage being about the two of us, swearing fidelity to each other before God.  

    Today I started with rescuing John Paul (child number five) from his crib at 4:55AM, resting a few more minutes and then going for a laborious 2.9 mile run (every tenth counts now).  On coming home I see three boys doing chores and enjoying each other’s company.  Two girls and a momma fast asleep…and I think…wow a lot happened in eighteen years.  Soon we’ll make a doctor’s visit and I’ll be off to work for the rest of the day.

    Nothing could symbolize the massive change and frozen time better than our wedding bands.  Nicked, bumped, worn smoother, worn 24/7 and still as strong as when new.  If possible, they might even defy the laws of physics and be stronger now than ever before.  It is almost like the rings adapted with us to experience, trial by fire, success, failures, responsibilities and the love of children we’re blessed with.

    I love my Carrie Anne, and I truly think no one else in the world would put up with me like she does.  Her wisdom is sound, and heart warm.  This warm heart powers our family, and keeps us on track.  The self sacrificing love Carrie displays with each child she carries is simply heroic.  The nine month sickness and long recovery she fights through each time has to count for something good when see meets our Lord one day!  She is pretty cute too!

   More than loving her alone, I love the “us” our marriage creates.  Our constant lessons of agape love, brought by the opportunity to be a family, allow us to bring Christ into our family everyday.  Mastering these lessons provides the spark I see in couples married and happy at 25, 40 and 50 years.  This is the love which should inspire us all to holy matrimony for life, grows healthy families, and shows us how to claw our way towards heaven through better and worse a fallen world provides.

    I know we have so much more to face in our lives.  The world is right now in a tremendous crisis of faith, and needs Christ more than ever.  I write this not to boast, but to help others see the way to heaven through Holy Matrimony and its foretaste of heaven.  I had a friend who said he was surrounded by friends with failed marriages, and was scared to become married out of fear generated by those failures.  

    I told him what I now know is true…seek out those who succeeded.  Learn the lessons of the happy 40-50 year marriages, and put them into your heart.  Learn sacrificial love, and seek one who wants to give of themselves without limit as your partner.  Pray over everything, and keep Christ front and center in your family life…he will guide you through the tough times which will come.

    So today pray for us, pray for your marriages, and pray for those who need to find peace in self to make either a vocational commitment to marriage or holy orders.  It is the best gift we could give the world!

Capturing the Glory of our Spiritual Dawn

Windmill on the property of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Hanceville, Alabama

Windmill on the property of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Hanceville, Alabama

    When I saw this windmill I could see the outline, but not the details.  The vast contrast between the bright rising sun and the shadow side of the windmill also deprived my eyes of fine color detail.  My brain knew what was before me, but my senses could not grasp all the details as the wind gently started moving the blades and changing the scene.  

    I looked into the scene and then began to think of our spiritual lives.  We first know the world as it exists around us with natural light and law.  When God’s light falls on the land the contrast between the right and wrong becomes distinct.  What we thought before of our environment will radically change if we embrace God’s law as our spiritual dawn arises.

    This is the key moment in the transition between dawn to day in our spiritual lives.  If we accept God’s law over us, the light will continue to grow into full day.  If we decide to follow man’s law alone, we’ll need to wait for the street lamps to come on to make sense of the world.  Street lamps are no substitute for God’s light.

    Even with embracing God’s Law bringing on our spiritual day, our earthly minds will never see the world as clearly as God sees it.  We will, however, be gifted with the knowledge and graces needed to avoid pitfalls if we ask for them with heart, mind and soul.  If we grasp the offered graces, sacraments, and penance we have a better chance to stay on the path to heaven.  

    If we obtain the prize of heaven through the gift of God’s mercy, we will one day see as God sees.  The outlines will suddenly become full of detail, the high contrast will yield brilliant color, and the slightest breeze will be noticed and appreciated.  

   Sounds good to me…




Photo Essay: Connecting to the Christ Child’s Heart

    At the center of the plaza in front of the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament is the statue of the Child Jesus extending his Sacred Heart towards us.  The heart of a child, broken of it’s innate narcism, recognizes the blessings Christ brings to us in some moment of silence.  For most of us, those childhood moments form the closest and purest connections to God we will ever have.  it is the closest we will ever come to touching the Sacred Heart of our Lord.  

    The reason is once we leave the narcism free window of youth, our lives get busy.  Our lives fill with noise and competition needed survive in the adult world.  The moments of peace needed to connect to God in the manger, at the Sermon on the Mount, on his cross, or arising from the dead in his glorious triumph over death get crowded out on the clock.  The devil uses our fallen world to challenge your attempts at connection to Christ using trials to us at work, his mocking us when our children go astray, or physical ailments used fogging our mind and blocking reception of God’s treasures bestowed on us.

    We should not lament on this spiritual torment.  We must accept it, and revel in the few moments of childlike joy we do get when our hearts open to the Lord.  We must treasure those moments as a triumph over the forces of Satan, and know this constant spiritual battle is the one the Lord encourages us to have.  A heart constantly striving for the Lord is one which never leaves faith or hope aside, and provides a path where charity can flower.

    See the striving heart, the one cutting through the distractions of the world, is a mature heart seeking Jesus Sacred Heart.  The striving heart completes the circle of spiritual life for those blessed with a childhood connection to the Lord.  See if charity flows through your heart to others, you again stripped yourself of narcism like you did as a child.  In the charitable acts you will build not just a moment of joy, but the potential for an eternity of heavenly joy with Christ.


P.S. Thanks to Mom for the inspiration for this blog post!