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!

Motherhood and Personal Crosses

Loving our Desert Rose

Loving our Desert Rose

     The epitome of virtuous love is selfless giving of one’s whole self.  I cannot imagine any greater gift than selfless gifting love with a cross of pain on your back.  Christ did this for all of us to open the gates of heaven.  I am proud to say I know quite a few women (three very close to me) who fight through their own crosses and chronic pain and illness to be living pillars of virtuous love as mothers.  

Building a home in Indiana

Building a home in Indiana

    I’ve watched many go home exhausted from work with nerve pain causing a raging fire across the body with no know cure, asthma induced weariness, digestive problems,  hormone imbalances, diabetes, excruciating pregnancy illnesses, and emotional turmoil when children reject good moral choices of living. When I ask why they do it,  the same women tell me, “If I do not push through this pain my children do not get the home life they need in the world to be ready for it when I am gone.”  It is a common theme in each of these women.  This mission is indeed grafted on their souls for life.

Wearing a new airport shirt since Kevin shared his breakfast.

Wearing a new airport shirt since Kevin shared his breakfast.

    I can imagine the temptation these women face when they see other moms bounce through life with the greatest of health and outgoing personalities.  Those people get held up as the great ones in our world.  To know these chronic sufferers will never be able take an “easy” walk with their children, awake without chronic pain, and will be looked down on by many because they supposedly just don’t have the “mental fortitude” to be “more” than they are.  These situations must produce feelings of envy, hopelessness and induce despair.  Yet these chronic suffers, who hold a deep sense of faith in God, turn these vice filled thoughts around and defeat those harmful thoughts time and time again. 

Making joy for Kellie Marie

Making joy for Kellie Marie

   These women are my inspiration.  They create homes with hearts of joy, and communities of charity through their hidden pains.  They take up the Cross of Christ, whether they acknowledge it or not, everyday.  They suffer the pain of pierced hearts like Mary in silence, and turn the pain into graceful living.  These two examples turn other hearts towards God by creating homes and families which match their hearts of sacrifice.

Holding the miracle baby John Paul

Holding the miracle baby John Paul

    For these women I pray for God’s mercy to shower on them forever.  Today I hope you too join me in this noble cause.

In the magic of a moment…

John Paul looks into his DjaDja's eyes

John Paul looks into his DjaDja’s eyes

    In the magic of a moment we can see glimpses of heaven on earth.  On this day when John Paul sat with his DjaDja (his Grandfather), I enjoyed watching this scene play out over 45 minutes.  John Paul was content to sit right on his DjaDja’s lap and listen to the rhythm of tapping hands, the touch of a hand on his head, or to reach for his grandfather’s face and feel the texture of his elder.  

    When their eyes met, it was magic to see the connection grow between them.  It appeared John Paul could tell innately DjaDja was family without the need of an adult logical thought process.  Maybe evolutionary smell, facial similarities, or voice recognition causes this.  I think there is also somewhere in here a gift of the spirit letting us enjoy the gift of multi-generational family.

    I hope one day to hold my grandchildren, and watch my children bring them to know the Glory of God.  These would be gifts worth more than the finest gold and food.  It is a shame so many people today across the world think so little of a gift like this.  Or worse, succumb to despair and think bringing children into this world is hopeless in making it a City of God.

    In the magic of this captured moment, I hope and pray grace will flow to help others receive a gift of the spirit calling them to join in the act of creation built into our nature by God himself.  Then we can all help build a City of God one loving glance at a time.