Catholic Husband

Love / Lead / Serve

Create Beauty

There’s so much darkness and ugliness in the world. The links that get clicked and shows that get watched thrive on it. We almost indulge the darkness.

But when we look up from our screens, when we behold the world around us as it truly is, there’s nothing but beauty. Colors, textures, weather, and creation changes from moment to moment. Each morning, the sunrise is different from the morning before. On many evenings, the gradient of the sunset delights the eyes and soothes the soul. Animals come and go, along with the seasons. We’re treated to a buffet of beauty, a world always in motion bringing new sights to our doorsteps.

We have a duty to not give into the darkness, but to bring beauty into the world. We should create beautiful art, to speak beautiful words, and share beautiful actions. We must be more intentional about creating beauty in a dreary world.

The Bible in a Year

It took me far too long to set aside the time necessary to read the Bible. I went to Catholic school throughout most of my education, and took numerous theology courses in college. Despite all of that education, I’d only studied the Bible piecemeal, and typically not that well.

The problem with the Bible is that we treat it as a singular, linear book, meant to be read in order. The truth is that the Bible is closer to an anthology, a collection of disparate books, that were assembled into one volume. Although written by various authors, sometimes centuries apart, there are themes and characters that run throughout the narrative.

St. Jerome, author of the Latin translation of the Bible, wrote that ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. Throughout the Old Testament is hidden the New Testament. In the New Testament is fully revealed and fulfilled the Old. Every word, every verse plays its role, weaving together the story of salvation, and instructing us in the reality of the human person.

Truthfully, none of us should attempt to study the Bible on our own. There is too much context, too much history, and too much truth for us to unpack. It’s a much better choice to go with a trusted guide, someone who can help us to see the bright spots, understanding the setting, and fully unpack the message. I went with the Ascension Press The Bible in a Year podcast, and it was excellent.

The Bible is more than a book, it is the Book. The daily life of the Church finds all of its roots in Scripture, and many of the prayers that we pray every day and every week are verbatim drawn out of the text. Living the Christian life is living a Biblical life.

There were many surprises, a shocking amount of violence, and a constant refrain of reform. The story of Israel is our story, and we live in the many of the same scenarios that they lived through. We struggle with the same temptations, and make the same idiotic mistakes. And what is God’s message all throughout? Reform, return, come home.

Following the narrative of the story, and watching the puzzle pieces slowly come together, one day at a time, was the perfect way to study, explore, and discover the Bible. All it takes is showing up every day, and pressing play.

Silent Night

With last week's brutal winter weather came all sorts of inconveniences. Plans changed, businesses closed, and flights were cancelled. In a way, it was appropriate that this massive storm caused us all to pause in the closing weeks of the year.

As the cold set in on Friday evening, we sat down to dinner. The Advent wreath was giving off plenty of light and, as we all made our way through the meal, the power went out.

The soft glow of the tree plunged into darkness; suddenly, our only source of light was the four burning candles. For a moment, I was confused. The overhead light was clearly out, but the brightness of the candles didn’t lead to a major reduction in overall light.

The kids became very excited, and Alison proposed lighting a fire. A few minutes later, we were all on the rug in front of the fireplace, wrapped up in blankets, enjoying a silent night.

At that moment, with the fire as the only source of light and heat in the house, I felt a very close connection to the Holy Family. It’s easy to imagine in the cold, damp caves, deep in winter, Joseph, Mary, and their newborn child huddled around a fire to keep warm. There’s no distraction, no agenda; there’s only presence.

A silent night, a holy night, in a cave in a rural town, an anonymous family witnessed the singular event that changed all of human history. In those ordinary moments, they thought not of the challenges ahead, but of the peace and quiet joy of the night.

May we all experience that serenity this Christmas season.

The Year It's Been

The final two weeks of the year always feel the same to me, and it's a feeling that I love. Calm, peace, and finality set in as major projects wind down. My thoughts turn to what is about to begin.

We already tend to pause around this time, the end of year holidays are a time for rest, enjoyment, and fellowship. It’s a period of reflection when we all get a bit more pensive. New plans bubble up in our minds and the grand aspirations that we have for ourselves and our lives come back into the fore.

This was a remarkably crazy year for me. I started back to work for the first time in eight years, and had to adjust to the new reality. It was incredibly fulfilling, but keeping tabs on my reading, my physical health and other routine tasks became difficult. There were times that I had to cancel those essential daily duties to attend to my work.

We tend to think of our days, weeks, and years in terms of a continuous elapsing of time. Really, they’re moments strung together. Whether we make the most of them, or choose to focus on the important things, is up to us. Regardless of how we interact with the passing of time, it continues on.

As the calendar turns over to another year, it’s the perfect reminder to check ourselves. Are we using these moments well, or do we need to yet again set down the things that are holding us back and embrace the daily rituals that take us one step closer to the people that we aspire to be?

The Prodigal Son

The story of the prodigal son is a famous one because of its relatability. We’ve all acted foolishly, like the prodigal. We’ve also experienced that deep love and relief that touches us through reconciliation. While the prodigal son well known, few of us have spent time thinking about his brother.

Jesus uses the imagery of parents and sibling many times throughout his ministry. There are the two brothers who the father asks to go into the field, one who agrees and never leaves, the other that refuses but eventually goes. There are the sisters, Mary and Martha, one preoccupied with temporal things, the other ready to rest in God’s presence. All throughout the Old Testament, we see stories of siblings working together and, more often, fighting.

The prodigal son tells his father that he’s dead to him, takes his inheritance, and dibs. His brother, however, stays. We read near the end about how this “good” son stayed and worked for his father, but we also get a glimpse of the brokenness of this parental relationship. The good son is resentful when he sees how well his brother is treated upon his return. It’s almost as if he stayed with his father, but couldn’t stand to be with him.

There’s plenty more to unpack in this parable. The Bible is relatively short, so every word and image stands for more than one thing. But I think it reminds us of the relationship that God wants with us. He doesn’t just want us to pray, but to pray actively. He doesn’t want us to just go to Mass every week, but to go joyfully. He doesn’t want us to just pick up our cross, but to embrace it.

Heaven is eternal life with God, so what does it say if we would rather not spend time with Him in prayer today?