On Love in the Family

On Love in the Family

Amoris Laetitia, the much anticipated and eagerly awaited post-synodal apostolic exhortation, was finally promulgated on 19th March (appropriately the feast of St Joseph) and burst on to the global media stage at noon last Friday 8th April. 


You may recall, if you’ve been following this weekly blog, that back in the October of 2014 I said I was going to write a thought for the weekend from synod to synod, as it were, and take it from there. Given the increasing popularity and very encouraging feedback many of you kindly send back week after week, I decided to continue posting the ‘Friday Fast’ after the 2015 Synod to keep the momentum going on family catechesis and spirituality so as to anticipate and prepare for what the Holy Father would eventually say.  Amoris Laetitia – The Joy of Love doesn’t disappoint in terms of the sheer quantity of the content to plough through (and believe me at 265 pages and 320 individual paragraphs, it takes some plowing through as I recorded in another online piece here for the Catholic Truth Society)

I’ve not fully decided what to do yet in terms of utilizing the message of the Exhortation to furnish the blog each week with material, but rest assured if you haven’t time to read it, I will bring some nuggets from time to time which you might find helpful. I would certainly heartily recommend reading the section on the passage of St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians on the hymn to love. The Pope has written some beautiful insights in there. Go to chapter 4 and read paragraphs 71-89 this weekend if you can, and even throughout Easter, as it’s not just food for thought, but reflections for prayerful meditation both alone, with your spouse or in a group.

For now though I just like to leave you with this passage, especially as we continue to journey through the Year of Mercy, from paragraphs 321-322:
“To want to form a family is to resolve to be a part of God’s dream, to choose to dream with him, to want to build with him, to join him in this saga of building a world where no one will feel alone”.  All family life is a “shepherding” in mercy. Each of us, by our love and care, leaves a mark on the life of others; with Paul, we can say: “You are our letter of recommendation, written on your hearts… not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God” (2 Cor 3:2-3).”

This is comforting message. That each of our households – our families is deeply cherished by God our Father - we are, and always have been, part of His limitless imagination, and in the ordinary things of every day there is often the single most extraordinary channel of grace in our lives; forming, molding, shaping, forging us to be holy – bit by bit...hopefully!

Edmund Adamus

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Spiritual Asthma

Spiritual Asthma

As I mentioned last week, I recently got an inhaler

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Be Slow to Anger

Be Slow to Anger

This sounds like a no-brainer, but I swear children are hard-wired to find our weak spots.


Even babies are out to get us or so it feels, like when our 2 year old wakes up at 1 or 2 am and won’t go back to sleep in her cot so ends up in the marital bed pummeling me in the back with both feet. Eventually she falls asleep while I lie awake for the next two hours, hopefully mustering up enough energy to carry her back to her own room and bed. Or like the time she so was pleased with herself at pouring full glasses of water over the brand new sofa (thank God it was only water!) she slow-clapped her efforts, and even though I laugh about it now, I wasn’t laughing then.

Biologists like Katherine Hinde know that babies cry at night for a reason. They’re not trying to make us miserable; they want to eat and survive. Even when my 6 year old son constantly leaves practically all of his toys out strewn across his bedroom floor all the time; it isn’t because he’s lazy about keeping tidy (though he needs to work on it) but because he wants to explore every permeation of his imaginary world with all of the objects (yes all at the same time) because he’s wanting to be creative and feel relaxed and happy about enjoying those toys without restriction or inhibition. I can’t be constantly annoyed about normal childhood development, nor do I have a right.  God is slow to anger, too. “Even when he scolds us, he does so with a caress,” Pope Francis reminds us. For me, this means no yelling because I had a bad day at work, or because I’m stressed from lack of sleep and it feels like we’ll never get out the front door on time for the school run or catching the train to work etc.  It means forgiving mistakes quickly, and disciplining only when it’s for my children’s own good.  In short it really means embracing not just the first bit of the famous ‘Serenity Prayer” but the lesser known second half too.

Serenity Prayer
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
enjoying one moment at a time; 
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; 
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next. 
Amen.

Edmund Adamus

 

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Loving God through Marriage

Loving God through Marriage

I struggle with loving God. Not because I don’t want to, but because I find it hard to figure out how. 


I struggle with thinking that the only way to love God is to participate in reverent Masses and have long hours in contemplative prayer. Well, with 3 kids under the age of 5, Mass is usually anything but reverent and prayer is almost never long and contemplative. So, I often feel like a failure when it comes to prayer.

In my mind, I know that if I wanted to spend long hours in prayer I should have become a nun. But marriage is my vocation, yet often times I feel like my vocation (particularly children), seem more like an obstacle to holiness instead of a path to it.
Now, I’ve read St. Therese’s Story of a Soul, and I’m familiar with her little way in that ordinary acts done with love are more important than great acts. But no offense to the wisdom of St. Therese, it just seemed like a cop out to my feeble human mind.
"Little things done out of love are those that charm the Heart of Christ,” are the words of St. Therese, and I didn’t get it for a long, long time.

Then, one day it hit me while my family was at the park. I was watching my husband play on the playground with our children: chasing them around, helping them down the slide, pushing them on the swings.  And I just felt more in love with him! I felt loved in how he was showing love to the children we created together. So then the light bulb went off: of course that must be how God feels about us! When we love our spouses and kids, we are loving the Creator in whose image we are made.  As St. Therese said, “My vocation is love.” And love comes in lots of different forms!

Having that experience with my own family helped me realize that while time aside in prayer to God is important (vital!), I truly can love God through my vocation. By laying my own wants aside to serve my husband, getting off the computer to sit down and play trucks with my sons, or having one more tea party with my daughter, by doing these things, I am loving God. If all would make use of the ordinary duties and trials of their state in the way God intended, they would all become saints." Sister Miriam Teresa DemjanovichAnd now I can remember that day in the park, how I felt about my husband, and be reminded that’s how God feels about me.

“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

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The School Called Marriage

The School Called Marriage

Lenten Greetings!

You may or may not have noticed that this has been Marriage Week. And the internet has been awash with a plethora of ideas to boost one’s marriage and the marriages of others.

Bravo to the US Bishops in particular for their innovative “What have you done for your marriage?” quiz and other digital ideas.

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Friday Feedback 13

Friday Feedback 13

Carolyn and TJ: I appreciated that the course started with the story of Adam and Eve and helped me form a foundation for understanding the relationship between man, woman, and God.

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Find Christ in Everything

Find Christ in Everything

It can get pretty stormy up here in the Pacific Northwest.  This Saturday offered a glimpse of the power of nature.  We had gusting winds up to 50MPH and we surpassed the rainfall record for a September day: almost 2" and up to 3" in some of the outlining areas. 

I am sure you are thinking... it's Seattle, doesn't it always rains...you should be used to it.  Well, sort of...we don't typically get flood warnings when it rains here.  And, the power usually doesn't go out. Well the rain isn't the topic but I am sure we could tie it in theologically somehow. 

The issue is the power outage.

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