Catholic Husband

Love / Lead / Serve

Enjoy Today

Living life day-to-day is not easy, nor is it simple. In many ways, it’s boring and mundane. I never look forward to Monday because I know the busyness of laundry, school, and work that awaits me. It can be easy to think of life like a game of the Sims, wishing I could just fast-forward to bedtime, call it a day, and move on to something new and different tomorrow.

Each day may not feel like a gift, but they all have little treasures buried deep inside. The way to find the treasure is to be present, and dig. It may be a funny quote from one of your kids, a completed project at work, or just one of your smallest children climbing into your lap and falling asleep.

Although days may have the same rhythm and feeling, developing a sense of awareness can help us to enjoy the experiences of today. We want to rush from task to task, project to project, and goal to goal, but that’s not the point of life.

Our lives are 3,000 days of the same general structure. It’s not the waking and sleeping that makes those days so valuable, it’s the things that happen during our waking hours that make life worth living. Spend less time focused on what’s the same, and look for the treasure that’s right in front of you.

Torrents of Mercy

We have a sanitized view of Jesus’ crucifixion. Although we have visuals of it everywhere, the sheer brutality is almost too difficult to think about. Jesus’ torture and execution were not an academic exercise. It was an act of total love and surrender, a bold statement about the dignity of the human person and the sacredness of life that changed the course of human history.

There is no limiting principle to God’s mercy; that’s one reason it is so unfathomable. How can God forgive such grievous offenses? How can He continue to put up with our habitual sin, our failure to course correct, and our inability to live the truth of the Gospel and trust in His love?

It’s because of this that I love the image of Divine Mercy. In it, mercy flows from Christ’s body, but the word that we use,
torrents is so descriptive. It’s not a ripple, or a wave, it’s a strong, overwhelming, gushing flow that overcomes everything in its path.

Why is it necessary for this mercy to flow with such vigor? It’s because God understands us intimately; He lived as one of us. He knows the challenges that we face, and the courage required to live the life that He made us for. Think about just a few of the things we’re asked to do. As parents, we’re to care for and raise new life. We have to help our children navigate a broken world, to discover their moral compass, and to internalize the importance of a relationship with God.

We are tested, tempted, and tried in almost every moment of the day. God Himself knew this reality. That’s why, out of the depths of His love and through His own genius, He made this mercy available for us, if only we are to ask of it.

Building a strong habit of prayer is an excellent offense in overcoming our natural weaknesses, but perfection is just not possible. When we fail, we must pray for the humility to be completely inundated with the torrents of God’s mercy.

Constant Renewal

The great spiritual lesson of St. Francis was that the key to a healthy spiritual life is to have a mindset of constant renewal. We live in a fallen state, among a fallen world, and to enter into the presence of God, we must reclaim the perfection that He intended for us. That is no easy task, nor is it a one-and-done type of objective. It’s the work of a lifetime.

Impermanence is the nature of life; things are always in motion and changing. Embracing a mindset of constant renewal inspires a sense of exhaustion, but also one of hope. When we set out with a new goal, it’s all too easy to plan out every single step, become overwhelmed, and give up on the entire project. It’s also easy to become inspired and hopeful, no longer feeling trapped in your current reality.

Constant renewal is a principle that can help us in our daily decisions. When you wake up in the morning, and you know you should spend a few minutes in prayer, it can guide you into your prayer space. It can remind you of your goal, and lead you into the steps and habits that will get you there. It will give you the grace to fail, knowing that you won’t be defined by your past mistakes.

We seek comfort and stability in a world that’s continually changing. Victories once won can be frittered away by quitting the habits and discipline that got us there. The great paradox in all of this is that by submitting ourselves to discipline and diligence, we are truly free to live the lives that God intended for us.

Overrun

Temptation is a very personal thing. Each of us struggle with our blend of habitual sin. It’s not that we’re failures in the spiritual life, it’s that we all have our weaknesses. After weeks, months, and years of confessing the same things, it’s tempting to let ourselves be overrun.

Why keep fighting a losing battle? Why keep going through the same cycle, never with a different result? Why fight a battle for 80 years when it seems like we’ll never beat that sin?

The answer is found in our failings. The battle has already been fought, and won. The battle is not ours to fight, it is God’s. Why should we accept our reality as his children, and then resign ourselves to lesser things? We were made for greatness, and we were made to be loved.

The feeling of being overrun with sin is a tool of the devil. As CS Lewis masterfully illustrated in
The Screwtape Letters, if we can be simply worn down to the point of giving up, then darkness wins. While we may feel overrun, we can never be made to give up. That’s a choice that we have to make ourselves.

For the first time in my life, I’ve successfully kept to a “Bible in a Year” reading plan. The Old Testament is shockingly graphic, full of the best and worst of humanity. The brilliance of it all is that the story of the people of Israel is our story. We are close to God, and at other times, we cast Him off. Despite it all, He remains faithful.

Never give up, never surrender; finish the race and win.

The Emperor Has No Clothes

Hypocrisy is part of what it means to be human. We’re deeply flawed. To have the expectation that we can live our lives with the rock solid integrity of Atticus Finch is unreasonable. The real problem is not when we find that we have erred, but when we refuse to admit the reality. No where does this play out more clearly, or more publicly, than in the political world.

Politicians sell narratives as a part of their bid to keep their jobs and maintain power. On both sides of the aisle, we see people making fools of themselves because they refuse to admit reality and course correct.
Denying reality only delays remedies. The longer we refuse to acknowledge the difficulty, the harder it is to fix. We enjoy the worlds of whimsy that we create because they fit our narrative and keep us warm at night. The real trouble comes when the wisps of fog dissipate and all that’s left is the cold, hard truth. The sooner we accept our growing waistline is becoming problematic, the sooner we can hit the gym and get back in shape.

The truth is, people respect those who admit their faults and make corrections. Silently, we all wish that we had the courage to do the same. Events can transpire outside our control, but if we refuse to pick up the mantle and get to work resolving our issues, they’ll only become bigger.

In the political world, and in our lives, we need to shine a bright light on our faults and take the steps that are necessary to live better, more authentic lives. Pretending to have clothes serves no purpose, especially when someone has the courage to point it out the fallacy.

Share Your Best Work

Sharing your work is a frightening thought. As I write many of these posts, thoughts creep up in my mind about how they will be received. Is this the best thing that I’ve ever written, or the worst? Will that post cause controversy? This is the essential dilemma that we face every day: can I be who I truly am, and will I be accepted for it?Read Article

The Sexualization of Everything

I have to imagine that there was a time in human history when every human relationship wasn’t sexualized. No doubt, we’ve always had a certain fascination with sex, but not to the point where it must apply to everything. We’ve forgotten that love emits of degrees; rediscovering that simple truth could significantly improve all relationships.Read Article

Balance

I left the workforce in the fall of 2014 to stay home and take care of Benedict. Alison was just beginning her residency, and her monthly schedule change was not conducive to parenting and both parents working. Fast-forward eight years, I’m still an at-home dad, but now with four children and homeschooling two of them. I’m running my own business and busier than ever. Things are nearing a breaking point.Read Article

Plese Destroy

I took my son to Confession this weekend. He’s still pretty new to the Sacrament, so each time he goes, I print an Examination of Conscience for him to pray through.Read Article

A Single Spark

Inertia stands in our way and holds us back until the moment that it doesn’t. It’s all or nothing; it’s a concrete jersey barrier or completely nonexistent. A single spark in our life is all that it takes to vanish.Read Article

Freedom Squandered

No other nation, in the history of civilization, has endured so long without the benefit of kings or authoritarians. The United States has achieved a long-running democracy, in which the principles of liberty and civic responsibility drive us to our collective forward progress as a nation. What are we doing with this freedom?Read Article

Homeschooling

Last Monday, just after breakfast this morning, my children gathered in our schoolroom at the sound of the bell. We stood together for morning prayer, and then my students took their seats at their desks to begin a new school year.Read Article

Behold, Your Mother

Catholics catch a lot of shade from other Christians over the idea that we don’t live the Bible. A closer look under the hood would revel just how intertwined Scripture and Catholicism truly are, and not just because we gave the world the Bible. From the way we decorate the sanctuary, to the priest’s vestments, to the words we pray, the daily life of the Church is deeply linked to the Old and New Testaments.Read Article

Come Let Us Adore

Although I’m a cradle Catholic, I’ve never really read the entire Bible. I learned about parts of it in school, and of course have heard it during Mass, but until this year, I’ve never sat down to study the Bible in a narrative form.Read Article

Comfort

Last night, when my work for the day was done, I laid down in my very comfortable bed. I recently replaced my pillow, which made for an extra cushy experience. The late summer heat was kept at bay by my air conditioner, backed up by my ceiling fan. I used a supercomputer that easily fits into my pocket to turn off all the lights in my house, arm my security system, lock my doors, and turn on a white noise machine, so no loud noises would disturb my sleep. Read Article

Letting Go of Efficiency

It’s a Friday morning and time to run errands in the big city. Before we leave the house, I cycle through the various routes, selecting the most efficient option. Our departure time is calculated carefully, accounting for bathroom breaks, finding shoes, and getting out the door. Along the way, seconds are shaved off our travel time as I select the best lane, optimal cruise speed, and maneuver around slower traffic.Read Article

Diligence

On Friday night, at 8:30pm to be exact, a very motivated local landscaping supply business owner dropped off a pallet of sod in my driveway. Several beds around our house sat empty since we removed over a dozen shrubs at the end of March. With this delivery, we were ready to end this project.Read Article

Spring Water

Growing up, I’d drink nothing but milk. Now, for lunch that can’t possibly be true, but I have a distinct memory from childhood of drinking tons of milk. My dad was as big water drinker. He had his own, private supply of water in a Brita filter in the refrigerator that the kids weren’t allowed to us. Naturally, I’ve adopted the same idiosyncrasy in my fatherhood.Read Article

Slow Progress

We awake to find ourselves suddenly in a Post-Roe world. The question of abortion is thrown back into the political process, and it’s dawning on all of us that we spent 40 years praying for this day, and almost no time preparing for it.Read Article

Pause

I’m back from summer vacation, a whole week experiencing Northern Michigan. It was a great reprieve from the heat, and a chance to go to places that I’ve never been to before.
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Worth Celebrating

At every point in our Nation’s life, all 246 years, there have been voices predicting its imminent collapse. There’s no doubt that we have struggled in this unique experiment of human governance. Never has a group of people as diverse as our population come together and governed for so long with such prosperity. It’s never happened before, and therefore, some conclude it can never survive.Read Article

The Work Begins

For 49 years, our voice on the fundamental issue for society was silenced. A contrived legal theory, enshrined in precedent, permitted a mother, with few limits, to take the life of her child for any reason. Just not a theory, but a position that argued that it was as the framers of the Constitution intended. We marched, we prayed, we did the work, and had our rights finally restored.Read Article

Fathers for Good

God’s plan of salvation for the World contains essential truths and profound beauty. He chose man to be held in esteem above all other beings in the created world, including His angels. He desires an intimate relationship with each one of us, and freely chooses to share His power with us.Read Article

Universal Church

To prepare Benedict for receiving his First Communion and Confirmation, Alison and I thought he should go to Reconciliation the week before. It’s not a hard sell for Benedict. He’s seen me go regularly for years, and every time I invited him to come, he always accepts.Read Article

Friday Night Adoration

This week, Benedict will complete his initiation into the Catholic faith when he receives the Sacrament of Confirmation. With just a few days to go, I took him to Adoration on Friday night.Read Article

Sacred Treasure

Benedict is about to receive his First Communion, and he’s very excited about it. We’ve prepared for nearly a year, and the time is almost here.Read Article

A Time for Play

Work expands to the time that you give it. Work is a good thing, giving structure and purpose to our days. It allows us to share our skills with others, and to provide economically for our family.Read Article

Parental Love

Our long holiday from democratic debate over one of the most contentious issues of our time appears to be ending. In the theme of this year, a return to reality is upon us. What’s so devastating is that we have to have this debate in the first place.Read Article

Turn On Your Brain

The culture of rage is here, a general acceptance of rule breaking in the furtherance of political ends. Rage is primal, reaching into the area of your brain that runs your internal “fight or flight” response. It shuts down logic and instead pursues action, no matter how unhinged.Read Article

A Fresh Look

For over a year now, we’ve lived in our new house. I think that it takes time to get used to your new environment before you deeply understand what changes would improve your lifestyle. We’re at that point.Read Article

The Paradox of Time

There’s a quirk in human psychology when it comes to time. We have lists of things that we’d like to do, but never enough time to do them. Yet, when our schedules open up, we’re more likely to drift to watching TV or wasting time, rather than investing it in quality activities from our list.Read Article

Victory

Easter is here and the tomb is empty. The timing of Easter this year was prescient. In my listening to the “Bible in a Year” podcast, I lined up exactly with the events of Holy Week. The same went for my daughter’s Bible curriculum. For her school work, we read a story and the next day she narrates the story and draws a picture. In her telling, Jesus was hiding behind a tree, waiting for Mary Magdalene to show up. The image she drew of Jesus lying in wait was amusing. Read Article

The Human Person

It’s a great paradox that in the Information Age, when every book every written and every fact known to man is available on your phone, that our connection to the truth is at great risk. The future that GK Chesterton presciently wrote about over 100 years ago is coming true; we are drawing swords to defend the basic and observable truths in the natural world.Read Article

Increments

Lent is quickly winding down, and perhaps the success of your Lenten rituals is a bit checkered. Sustaining any type of radical life change is often easy at the beginning, but the slightest bit of friction from life can cause the best intentions to crumble.
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Examination of Conscience

Last month, my son received his first confession. As he was preparing to receive the Sacrament again last weekend, I sat down for a few minutes to help him do his examination of conscience.Read Article

A Sense of the Sacred

A few years ago, I watched a documentary about the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay. They followed the historic rise and fall of the population, along with the complexity of adjudicating cases of those sworn to defeat the United States of America as an experiment in human history. Although I can’t tell you much beyond the scope of the documentary, I vividly recall the coverage of religious life in the facility.Read Article

Desensitized

Evil’s greatest objective is to desensitize us to its reality. If we fail to perceive evil for the threat that it is, to our lives and our society, then it can more easily dominate us. Read Article

Never Wasted

Starting or growing a habit of prayer can seem like a big lift. We first have to restructure our day to meet our new objective, and then we have to maintain the momentum each day. The biggest challenge comes when there’s disruption. Like any diet or exercise routine, vacations or illness can throw a wrench into our finely tuned machine and cause us to feel discouraged.Read Article

13 Cents

Lent is upon us, this year's opportunity for us to take a fresh look at our spiritual life. As our thoughts turn to what we're going to take on or give up for the next 40 days, they're also likely to turn back to our character flaws. We are all predisposed to a unique mix of temptation and sin, the ones that come up in confession after confession. Although this constant battle can wear us down, Lent reminds us that the war is already won.Read Article

Icy Slopes

I went skiing for the first time in my life last week. We started discussing a trip in July and firmed up later in the fall. I spent a lot of time thinking about the trip's logistics and surprisingly little on the mechanics of learning this new skill.Read Article

Detailing

Our vacation plan for this year included a trip to the Great White North to enjoy a week of snow, play, and skiing. Driving north, the landscape turned from winter browns to gleaming white. Unfortunately, flurries and snowstorms met us along the way, as well as road salt and ice.Read Article

Keto Recycle

Over the past three years, I've experimented with the keto diet. It's fashionable right now, a fact that's helped me stay consistent. My grocery store stocks a variety of keto-friendly options, which is fantastic.Read Article

Noticing Progress

It’s hard to notice progress in our personal growth. We’re so intimately familiar with ourselves that small changes are imperceptible. Even the markers that we mentally track can be deceiving. Read Article

Applied Bioethics

One of the best outcomes from majoring in Philosophy is how it nurtured my sense of curiosity. The toolset that I gained helps me look critically at the world and think deeply about issues. Alison and I’s story is in its twelfth year. We started dating the final semester of college, and the story continues today.Read Article

Preparations

I love to drive. Each year, our family takes two or three major road trips. These are highlights of my year, even if occasionally the kids don’t travel as easily as I wish they would. Although our destinations are often places we’ve been before, it takes weeks of preparations to be ready to go.Read Article

Image and Likeness

2021 was supposed to be the year of civility and normalcy. Well, we didn’t get it. Instead, we got more acrimony and animosity. Last year I wrote about walking under the stars and listening to the Bible. I had started the Bible in a Year podcast with Fr. Mike Schmitz. I didn’t make it past day 25 or so, but I’m starting over.Read Article

All Things New

What a lousy two years we’ve had. Disruption, distortion, and distrust maligned what was supposed to be a grand opening of a new decade. Peace, prosperity, and stability reigned, and we collectively looked forward to more of the same. How quickly that all faded.Read Article