Being Merciful...

Being Merciful...

Over the holidays I read the excellent book by Dawn Eden: "Remembering God's Mercy. Redeem the Past and Free Yourself from Painful Memories." I highly recommend this little book (it’s not a lengthy tome!) because it's well worth reading before the Jubilee Year of Mercy has run its course on the Solemnity of Christ the King in November.


Dawn is a dear friend of mine and I've had the joy and privilege of collaborating with her on several occasions since we first met at a Theology of the Body conference in Dublin over 10 years ago.  And she has twice been a guest speaker for the annual Theology of the Body lecture I've hosted in Westminster diocese since 2004. 

Dawn is candid about the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder she has suffered due to sexual abuse she suffered as a child.  This is not a new revelation as she disclosed it in her previous books.  What's unique about this analysis is how she weaves much of the thought and teachings of Pope Francis on the subject of mercy into how she herself has experienced the deep and mystical power of healing and reconciliation over a long period of her life.

I was reminded of how much healing I need in my own life and relationships, but also just how often God has blessed my soul with what one author I once read describes as "savage grace."  That almost sounds like an oxymoron for we often only associate the concept of grace with tenderness, gentleness and peace.

Grace is often all these things, but I think what Dawn’s book reveals in a fresh way is how such qualities of grace are in fact the fruits or end result of a process rather than the beginning. 

Oftentimes the Lord (being the all loving Father that He is) allows us to go through a painful process of inner purification and humbling experiences precisely because, if we didn't, the graces we so earnestly desire and need would not take root in us in such a way so that we in turn, by "Remembering God's Mercy" towards us, are better able to be eager channels of it for others, especially those who have hurt us in the past; which if were honest can often be close family members.

There's one final little twist in Dawn's story towards the end of the book which for me sums up how God's mercy really is working and at work in our lives at every stage ....often at the darkest of moments and when we might imagine we are as far away from God as we can possibly be, just as Dawn was at the age at which (without realising it) the Holy Spirit was gifting His presence to her through a piece of music.  Only much later in her life did she understand its powerful significance for the whole of her life.

I'm delighted that Dawn will now be teaching seminarians as a Doctor of Theology.  She is truly a great gift to the Church in these times.  Read the book. 

-Edmund Adamus

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Marriage is a Union of Everything, Even Money

Marriage is a Union of Everything, Even Money

It’s been on my heart to write about money, because it’s something that I see pulling at couples before they are even married. Believe me, I remember the moment that I had to accept that marrying my husband meant taking on his student debt. There was a day in the midst of joining finances that I realized we would be repaying his loan for many years. 

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Raised to Love

Raised to Love

When parents of a newborn baby set out on the big scary adventure of tackling the myriad of challenges in caring for their baby, there's no shortage of advice from family and friends to help them on their way.

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"And Now I See!" (Part II)

"And Now I See!" (Part II)

I left us on a rather grim note, last time. Obviously, I am not dead. I am still here, still going, and you know what, life is pretty good these days. So the question is, how did I get from the deep pit of awful I was in to here? Not easily. And not alone.

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What Love Looks Like In Our Home

What Love Looks Like In Our Home

Sometimes we get confused on what love is. We think it’s this strong emotion where you can’t imagine life without your spouse. Or we think that it’s a constant adventure where adrenaline and oxytocin are constantly pumping through our veins. I have thought those things myself, and sometimes they can be true. But then, when our marriage didn’t seem that adventurous anymore and I wasn’t always feeling those strong emotions, I questioned whether or not I was still in love.

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NFP is like eating vegetables: my love/hate relationship with NFP

NFP is like eating vegetables: my love/hate relationship with NFP

Some things that are very overwhelming about using NFP are: how much I don’t know how to use it, how much you have to abstain if you are really trying to avoid having children, and how hard it is post-partum. I have talked to many who are in the same boat, and are wishing someone would have warned them on how challenging it is instead of painting it as a romantic walk on the beach during  a sunset. 

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"I once was blind..." (part I)

"I once was blind..." (part I)

“I once was blind but now I see … Was lost but now am found.”
Only those who have experienced human brokenness for themselves know how powerful the lyrics of Amazing Grace can be. I used to think they were cheesy and I’d roll my eyes whenever it was sung. But I have been broken. And God knows I have been lost and blind in the darkness of my shame. I have also been found. My story is not an easy one to tell. 

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Practical Ways To Pray As A Family

Practical Ways To Pray As A Family

Last week we talked about some ideas of how to pray throughout the day individually and as a couple. Today, I want to focus more on how to do this with your kids.
The best thing that I can recommend is family prayer time. This time brings you not only closer to God, but to each other. And a family that prays together, stays together! 


For us, this is part of our bedtime routine sandwiched between getting jammies on and brushing teeth.  Some families do it right after dinner. The important thing is to do it, and make it a habit! It takes time, but eventually the kids will get used to it!

Growing up, there are many family prayer times that I recall and enjoyed. We used to read short devotional stories or age-appropriate reflections. One year we did a saint-a-day calendar, and boy are there some unusual saints out there! One time I even cried because my family had prayer time without me.

Nowadays, our kids our young so we try to keep it pretty short, but we’ve been adding to it as the kids get older. We first started with praying the Our Father and Hail Mary. We’ve since added the Glory Be, Angel of God, and St. Michael prayer. We also have everyone say one thing their thankful for (although our 3 year old girl usually says closer to 30) and one thing (or person) they want to pray for and ask God’s help for. We’ve started to also read a few pages from the Children’s Bible with the older two.

Here are some other great ideas that other families do during family prayer time:

- Pray a blessing for each child

- Short bible study, study of virtue, etc.

- Lay hands on and pray for a kid going through a particularly hard time

- Praying the Rosary (or decade for young kids).
- Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet (I love to listen to this beautiful version in song!)

- Each person say a short thanksgiving and/or intention

- Singing a praise song or hymn together

- Read a story about a saint.

- Create a sacred space, using candles, liturgical colors, holy images or icons to show that this time is special. Have your kids help set it up, and use your senses to pray with your whole body!

Other Great Ways to Pray with your Kids:

*Pray when hear siren or helicopter. Children can pray, “God help them!” or “Lord be with them.” You can also say a Hail Mary asking for protection for whoever is hurt or in trouble.

*In the car, you can listen to praise and worship, sung prayers, saint stories, etc.  For our kids, we like Cat Chat CD’s, Holy Heroes Glory Story CD’s, and Christian radio stations.

*Stop to say a short prayer at a certain time of day, such as the Angelus at noon or “Jesus I trust in You” at 3pm, the hour of mercy.

*Celebrate their Baptism Days  - It’s their birthday into the family of God! Recite baptismal promises, have their favorite meal

*Celebrate the Liturgical year:

- Advent: Create an advent wreath to use during prayer time. Our kids love lighting and blowing out the candles! You can also make or buy Jesse Tree ornaments and add to the symbolism of the tree.
- Lent: do the Stations of the Cross either at Church or in your home. We love these Stations of the Cross eggs!). Do sacrifice beads, a crown of thorns, or Lenten Adventure by Holy Heroes.
- Easter: Garden Party of the Good Shepherd

*Don’t forget to celebrate other feast days throughout the year with parties (and some prayers! Holy Days of Obligation require going to Mass, but there should be some feasting that go along with it!) Here is a great blog from last week on doing just that!


In short, there are so many ways that you can invite God into your child’s day and show them how much God loves them, and how He is always present with them. Having a set time for family prayer is very important, but they also need to know that while sometimes prayer is very serious, sometimes it can also be fun! The beauty of using the liturgical year is that there are times of fasting and feasting, which help our kids to enter into a relationship with God in a very real, daily way!

Good resources for liturgical living with kids:

www.catholicicing.com

www.holyheroes.com

www.showerofroses.blogspot.com

www.catholiccuisine.blogspot.com

catholicplayground.com

Have a great resource or way to pray with your kids? Or, have a question to ask? Share it with me at: allisonandnathan@catholicmarriageprep.com.

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How to Live Our Faith Fully Every Day

How to Live Our Faith Fully Every Day

Ah, here we are again, that time of year when we work to get back into the hustle and bustle of school and schedules. It is a time to make a plan and think ahead. It is in the midst of all this planning and running around that I keep getting the nudge to stop and contemplate what it is that I am actually doing this for. I see it as God tapping me on the shoulder saying, “Ahem, don’t leave me behind.” It is in this moment that I realize my planning isn’t incorporating the Lord in the events of everyday life.

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Making Assumptions

Making Assumptions

We make all sorts of assumptions every day. Some are trivial, others are potentially devastating.  I think if we’re honest a great many of them are faulty. So why do we do this? I think that it’s part of human nature to base our understanding of other people and the world, not just on the facts we observe, but to a greater or lesser extent on what what’s going on inside us, psychologically.

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