Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

3

What is This Thing Called Marriage?

Relationships 3 Comments

This Is Marriage

Kristina and Jordan have been married almost 22 years.  Daja and Gana have been married 15 years.  And we still think marriage is a good idea. #imaginethat #notdoneyet

Our parents and grandparents have all had long, successful marriages and left us great examples of people who stick with it, who talk up marriage and believe in the covenant.  That’s not to say that marriage has come easy.  Marriage, no matter whether it was a match made in heaven, has to be lived out on earth.  In the day-in-day-out.  Marriage is in the nitty-gritty.  Some people say marriage is crazy hard.  We prefer to say it is sanctifying.

We have written a good deal about parenting on this blog, but not as much about marriage.  So, we are starting a new series, celebrating this breathtakingly beautiful and sanctifying sacrament called marriage.

Marriage is God’s idea.  Have you been led to believe that marriage is just a modern social construct?  No way. Marriage, from the very beginning was God’s idea.  “The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes.”  (CCC 1603)  “God who created man out of love also calls him to love the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love.  Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator’s eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: “And God blessed them, and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.'” (CCC 1604)

Marriage is to be in the Lord.  Pondering the wedding at Cana, we see Jesus on the threshold of his public ministry and offering us his first miraculous sign.  Have you ever wondered why Jesus chose (or did Mary choose?) this context for His first miracle and the launching of His public ministry?  The very fact that Jesus and Mary are at this wedding shows the significance and importance of marriage.  By Jesus’ presence at this wedding, we can see Christ’s goodness and His presence in all Christ-centered marriages.

Daja & Gana

Marriage is for the good of the spouses.  Someone recently sought our counsel about a relationship she was having with someone who didn’t share her same faith or values.  I reminded her that one of the purposes of marriage was to help your spouse make it to heaven.  She said, “What? I have never heard that! I think his faith is his business and my faith is mine. I won’t take responsibility for that!”  And it made us sad.  For them marriage was solely for personal satisfaction and not for the good of the other.  But that is not marriage’s highest ideal! True love is to live for another and to help that person present their best self to Jesus on the final day.

Marriage was not instituted for wantonness or fornication, but for chastity. Listen to what Paul says: “Because of the temptation of immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her husband.” There are two purposes for which marriage was instituted: to make us chaster, and to make us parents. Of these two, the reason of chastity takes precedence. (St. John Chrysostom’s Sermon on Marriage)

Kristy & Jordan wine tasting

Marriage is understood through fidelity.  This is commitment between a man and a wife.  We are called to “drink water from our own cistern, running water from our own well.”  Stay in one place.  Stay faithful being contented with what you already have been given and do not go out to find satisfaction elsewhere.  (It is clear that infidelity is celebrated in our culture.  There is an entire industry dedicated to helping spouses cheat on one another.  The enemy entices through words, images, and sounds meant to cause separation and hunger for things not our own.)  In this constant bombardment how do we stay faithful?  Jesus came “to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God. It is by following Christ, renouncing [ourselves], and taking up [our] crosses that spouses will be able to “receive” the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ.  This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ’s cross, the source of all Christian life.” (CCC 1615)

Marriage is essential for the good of society. In St. John Chrysostom’s Sermon on Marriage we read, “The love of husband and wife is the force that welds society together. Men will take up arms and even sacrifice their lives for the sake of this love. St. Paul would not speak so earnestly about this subject without serious reason; why else would he say, “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord?” Because when harmony prevails, the children are raised well, the household is kept in order, and neighbors, friends, and relatives praise the result. Great benefits, both of families and states, are thus produced. When it is otherwise, however, everything is thrown into confusion and turned upside-down.”

Marriage is good for society

Marriage is be marked by passion.  Sexual fulfillment IS possible within the bounds of marriage.  (And dare we say it is impossible outside the bounds of marriage?) This is what God built.  Sexual intimacy is indeed for procreation, however, enjoying the body of your spouse is for pleasure and passion.  Remember when you first got married and you gave yourself to each other those feelings of love and passion?  That is a gift of Biblical marriage.  It’s not just a contract.  It is a covenant and we have a mandate on us to be the kind of people who are passionate to our spouse.  “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.  A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love.”  (Prov 5 18:19)  We must remember the early days and allow them to define every day.  This is not the world’s narrative for marriage; this is our narrative! (Can we get an Amen?!)  Truly the message in the world is that pleasure only happens outside of Jesus’ family.  As follower’s of Jesus, included in the very way God designed marriage, we have a command to be intoxicated with our spouse!  We have a command to be desperately in love with our spouse!

Marriage is to be at the service of life.  We think the catechism just sums this up perfectly!  “Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves. God himself said: “It is not good that man should be alone,” and “from the beginning [he] made them male and female”; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: “Be fruitful and multiply.” Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day.”  (CCC 1652)

Daja7-2

Perhaps, reading this, your heart says “Yes!” but your circumstances say, “This isn’t my reality.”  We pray for the healing of your marriage and God’s beautiful sanctifying grace in the center of it.

I AM STANDING FOR THE HEALING OF MY MARRIAGE!…

I will not give up, give in, give out or give over ’til that healing takes place. I made a vow, I said the words, I gave the pledge, I gave a ring, I took a ring, I gave myself, I trusted GOD, and said the words, and meant the words… in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in good times and in bad…so I am standing NOW, and will not sit down, let down, slow down, calm down, fall down, look down or be down ’til the breakdown is torn down!

I refuse to put my eyes on outward circumstances, or listen to prophets of doom, or buy into what is trendy, worldly, popular, convenient, easy, quick, thrifty, or advantageous… nor will I settle for a cheap imitation of God’s real thing, nor will I seek to lower God’s standard, twist God’s will, rewrite God’s word, violate God’s covenant, or accept what God hates, namely divorce!

In a world of filth, I will stay pure; surrounded by lies I will speak the truth; where hopelessness abounds, I will hope in God: where revenge is easier, I will bless instead of curse; and where the odds are stacked against me, I will trust in God’s faithfulness.

I am a STANDER, and I will not acquiesce, compromise, quarrel or quit. I have made the choice, set my face, entered the race, believed the Word, and trusted God for all the outcome.

I will allow neither the reaction of my spouse, nor the urging of my friends, nor the advice of my loved ones, nor economic hardship, nor the prompting of the devil to make me let up, slow up, blow up, or give up ’til my marriage is healed.

– Author Unknown

 

This Is Marriage

Kristina and Jordan have been married almost 22 years.  Daja and Gana have been married 15 years.  And we still think marriage is a good idea. #imaginethat #notdoneyet Our parents and grandparents have all had long, successful marriages and left us great examples of people who stick with it, who talk up marriage and believe […]

1

Prayer for the Week Oct 12 – I Shall Not Want

Prayer Closet | Uncategorized 1 Comment

From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

IMG_8011

IMG_1556

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

IMG_7995

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

IMG_1636

From the fear of serving others
From the fear of death or trial
From the fear of humility
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

IMG_3807

IMG_1931

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

No, I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

IMG_1636

From the love of my own comfort From the fear of having nothing From a life of worldly passions Deliver me O God From the need to be understood From the need to be accepted From the fear of being lonely Deliver me O God Deliver me O God And I shall not want, I […]

1

To recite the rosary…

Blog | Prayer Closet 1 Comment

“It could be said that each mystery of the rosary, carefully meditated, sheds light on the mystery of man. ‘Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you’ (Ps 55:23). To pray the rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful hearts of Christ and his Mother. The rosary does indeed ‘mark the rhythm of human life,’ bringing it into harmony with the rhythm of God’s own life, in the joyful communion of the Holy Trinity, our life’s destiny and deepest longing. Through the rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer.” Saint John Paul II

Rosary

To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate the face of Christ with Mary. (St. Pope John Paul II)

Rosary

“It could be said that each mystery of the rosary, carefully meditated, sheds light on the mystery of man. ‘Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you’ (Ps 55:23). To pray the rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful hearts of Christ and his Mother. The rosary does indeed […]

2

Prayer for the week of October 5 — Seasons Change

Prayer Closet 2 Comments

Every morning I wake up at 6am.  I wake up my oldest son and husband. I start the coffee. They start the farm chores. I meet them outside with steaming mugs of joe, while my son is milking the cow.  My husband and I take a stroll about the pasture. Every day there are tiny changes.  First with the grass and wildflowers growing. Then with the leaves changing. Now with the frost covering everything. Soon with fresh snowflakes.

Breathing in the crisp morning air I almost always say the same thing: “Isn’t this a beautiful day?! Can you believe we get to live here?!”

It doesn’t matter if it’s warm with 80% humidity or freezing temperature where we can see our breath, I always feel like I am super blessed. Morning light and a hot cup of coffee will do that every single time.

Seasons Change Read More

Seasons Change

Every morning I wake up at 6am.  I wake up my oldest son and husband. I start the coffee. They start the farm chores. I meet them outside with steaming mugs of joe, while my son is milking the cow.  My husband and I take a stroll about the pasture. Every day there are tiny […]

7

Pondering Suffering

Prayer Closet 7 Comments

I’ve been thinking about suffering a lot lately.  My father-in-law has been going through a stem cell transplant while battling Multiple Myeloma.  Another very close family member went without work for four months.  Then the Lord presented an opportunity of a once-in-a-life-time type of job on the east coast.  After much prayer, he and his wife decided to make the cross country move.  Much has been required.  The house they were selling fell out of escrow.  It didn’t make sense to move all their belongings so they sold everything.  Right before the move his wife was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of skin cancer.  And, in the face of all of this, their one and only son left for college in the north-west.  A family following God, doing His will.  A family broken, battered, and hurting.

Christ Altar

In the Protestant faith where I grew up as a pastor’s kid, there is no real understanding of suffering.  It’s something that comes and you muster your faith and you pray it away with all the power and authority of Jesus Christ in you.  (Well meaning folk pray even louder if you don’t seem to get any initial results.)  When all the prayers are said and you’re still looking in the face of a giant that doesn’t seem to budge, you sort of resign yourself to either “your prayers just aren’t getting through to Heaven,” or “God’s answer for you is being held up.”  And then you wait often wondering what you got wrong.  I’ve never understood this way of suffering.

As I have walked the path of becoming Catholic I have encountered a much deeper meaning to suffering.  Redemptive suffering.  When suffering comes we can offer it up.  Saint Paul said, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church” (Col 1:24).

If you have never seen this before Paul’s words seem presumptuous and even blasphemous.  How could he possibly suggest that he, a mere mortal, could make up for a lack of Christ’s work on the cross?  Didn’t Jesus suffer enough?

“What Paul is asserting is that Jesus did not die so that humans would never have to suffer, but so that they would know how to suffer.  The Passion of Christ removed the threat of eternal suffering while revealing the power of temporal suffering.  In becoming man, Christ redeemed all things human:  human labor, human love, human suffering, and so on.  Each part of man’s existence can take on a supernatural significance if only one has the eyes to see.  In the case of suffering, through his Passion, death, and Resurrection, Jesus sufficiently merited all the graces necessary for the redemption of mankind.  And if individuals suffer with him, they can participate in the distribution of these graces to mankind.  It does not matter if the suffering is a bloody martyrdom, a toothache, unemployment, a rebellious child, or an alcoholic spouse.  All things can be offered up as a prayer, and the intensity of suffering is not as important as the degree of love with which one embraces each cross.”

“When human suffering is understood in its deepest meaning, it ceases to be something negative that is experienced in a passive manner.  Rather, one becomes free to meet suffering with courage, seeing it as an opportunity for active and positive collaboration in the work of human redemption.  Through God’s grace, it can be transformed into an irreplaceable service for souls, and is no longer wasted.  For this reason, (Saint) John Paul (II) exclaimed, “Prayer joined to sacrifice constitutes the most powerful force in human history.””  (Saint John Paul the Great, His Five Loves by Jason Evert)

I’m learning when suffering comes to not panic and try to push it away, but rather look at these moments as opportunities to directly participate with Christ.  A quiet strength built from carrying my cross daily.

Behold me, my beloved Jesus,
weighed down under the burden of my trials and sufferings,
I cast myself at Your feet,
that You may renew my strength and my courage,
while I rest here in Your Presence.
Permit me to lay down my cross in Your Sacred Heart,
for only Your infinite goodness can sustain me;
only Your love can help me bear my cross;
only Your powerful hand can lighten its weight.
O Divine King, Jesus,
whose heart is so compassionate to the afflicted,
I wish to live in You;
suffer and die in You.
During my life be to me my model and my support;
At the hour of my death,
be my hope and my refuge.

Amen.

 

Christ Altar

I’ve been thinking about suffering a lot lately.  My father-in-law has been going through a stem cell transplant while battling Multiple Myeloma.  Another very close family member went without work for four months.  Then the Lord presented an opportunity of a once-in-a-life-time type of job on the east coast.  After much prayer, he and his […]

4

Prayer for the week of September 21 — Composed Prayer

Prayer Closet 4 Comments

For years I had the misguided notion that extemporaneous prayers were somehow more effective than composed prayers.  Then came a day that I felt like I couldn’t pray because I didn’t have the words.  Then I knew the immense treasure there is in previously composed prayers that already speak to and about the heart of God.

Composed Prayer Read More

Composed Prayer

For years I had the misguided notion that extemporaneous prayers were somehow more effective than composed prayers.  Then came a day that I felt like I couldn’t pray because I didn’t have the words.  Then I knew the immense treasure there is in previously composed prayers that already speak to and about the heart of […]

1

Prayer for the Week of August 24 — Nothing Is Far From God

Prayer Closet | Raising Arrows 1 Comment

This mothering gig is not easy.  When they are little we are worried about everything from a mysterious rash to giant grapes. We consult the books and the doctor and WebMD for everything from “Should we vaccinate?” to “When can I give her honey?”

When they get a little older we worry about whether we should let them go into the public restroom by themselves and how to approach bad attitudes.

Then they get a little older and we worry about the company they keep, the books they read, and the apps on their phones.

As tough as we thought those early days were, the game keeps getting upped.  Thankfully, for each new trial or challenge, there is new grace.  I don’t know any perfect parents, but I know a lot of good ones. Mothers and fathers who spend time on their knees for their children, who make intentional choices when it comes to discipline and education and health care, who sacrifice and daily lay down their lives. Read More

St. Monica, Nothing Is Far From God

This mothering gig is not easy.  When they are little we are worried about everything from a mysterious rash to giant grapes. We consult the books and the doctor and WebMD for everything from “Should we vaccinate?” to “When can I give her honey?” When they get a little older we worry about whether we […]

1

Prayer for the Week Aug 24 – Follow Me

Prayer Closet 1 Comment

Follow me.  That’s what Jesus said to each of his disciples, calling them to give up the life they knew for a life unexpected.  A path less taken and often difficult, but never dull. Read More

Follow Me

Follow me.  That’s what Jesus said to each of his disciples, calling them to give up the life they knew for a life unexpected.  A path less taken and often difficult, but never dull.

0

Prayer For The Week of August 17– Just Breathe

Prayer Closet No Comments

{This post contains an affiliate link.}

There are days when I just come back to this.  There’s nothing else sometimes but this:

Please don’t cry.

Don’t let those tears roll down your face.

Oh, unless their tears of happiness,

Then it’s alright with me.

Just do your best.

Don’t worry about the fear of loneliness.

Or the cloud that you think hangs over your head.

It’s got nothing on you.

You’ll be glad,

that someone told you, to take a moment.

Just breathe. Just breathe.

Don’t be shy.

Enjoying life is passing you by.

Let the sun fall all around you.

Just take a moment and smell the roses.

Let go of pride.

Don’t forget the roads you walked.

Or the things you learned while you were gone.

‘Cause you pulled wisdom from the wreckage.

You’ll be glad, when this is all over,

That someone told you, to take a moment.

Just breathe.  Just breathe.

Go on and just breathe.

Go on and just breathe.

It’ll be alright.

Brush the cares right off your shoulders.

You were never meant for those even when you’re older.

You’ve got permission to be free.

(Andrea Marie. Get the album Here Begin.)

Breathe Beautiful

{This post contains an affiliate link.} There are days when I just come back to this.  There’s nothing else sometimes but this: Please don’t cry. Don’t let those tears roll down your face. Oh, unless their tears of happiness, Then it’s alright with me. Just do your best. Don’t worry about the fear of loneliness. […]

1

Prayer for the Week Aug 10 – Let Me See Only Jesus

Prayer Closet 1 Comment

As a Christian I’ve heard over and over how we are to keep our eyes on Jesus despite our circumstances.  I agree.  But it’s sometimes difficult to even recognize when our eyes are losing focus on the One who matters most.  It’s the little things that distract and interfere with our concentration.  Not to mention I’m a hands on sort of girl.  I need real tangible ways to help me keep my focus.  Like a list.  You may think I’m weird but lists are heaven to an organized girl like me.  I also love prayers that seem to cover all possible concerns.  They take the guess work out of whether I’m remembering everything or even saying everything right.  They speak peace to my soul.

Today I offer you the Litany of Transfiguration.  A prayer about seeing Jesus and seeking him in everything.

JesusWhen I am tempted to look only at my faults…Let me see only Jesus.

When troubled by the specter of doubt and defeat…Let me see only Jesus.

When I can’t see beyond the frustrations of the moment…Let me see only Jesus.

When the horizon seems distant and dark…Let me see only Jesus.

When I can’t see the point of pursuing what’s good…Let me see only Jesus.

When complaining and cynicism invade my peace….Let me see only Jesus.

When I can’t face my problems…Let me see only Jesus.

When the world looks bleak…Let me see only Jesus.

When others measure and judge me…Let me see only Jesus.

When beset by depression…Let me see only Jesus.

When friendship is far from me…Let me see only Jesus.

When overshadowed by sorrow…Let me see only Jesus.

When I fail to use my freedom…Let me see only Jesus.

When it’s hard to forgive…Let me see only Jesus.

When things don’t make sense…Let me see only Jesus.

When I think I can’t change…Let me see only Jesus.

When confronted by suffering…Let me see only Jesus.

When stress gets me down…Let me see only Jesus.

When it’s hard to go on…Let me see only Jesus.

When blinded by sin…Let me see only Jesus.

When the hardness of life overwhelms me…Let me see only Jesus.

When hope begins to fade…Let me see only Jesus.

Our Father…

Closing Prayer: Loving Father, thank you for allowing me to witness the vision of your Son transfigured on Mount Tabor. May I become what I behold so that my life will radiate the glory and grace that remain your priceless gifts to me in Jesus. Amen.

Jesus

As a Christian I’ve heard over and over how we are to keep our eyes on Jesus despite our circumstances.  I agree.  But it’s sometimes difficult to even recognize when our eyes are losing focus on the One who matters most.  It’s the little things that distract and interfere with our concentration.  Not to mention […]