Catholic Husband

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Spirituality

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.

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?

True Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a remarkably calm period in my life. Not only does it signal the final few weeks of the year, but around this time, I get a palpable feeling of renewal. Major projects are winding down, and I start to ruminate on the bigger things in life. I reflect on the year that was, and start to plan for the year that is to come.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

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.Read Article

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.Read Article

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.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

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

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

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

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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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

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

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

Month of the Rosary

It’s hard to believe that October is already here. The dog days of summer are over, kids are back in school, and more pleasant weather is in the forecast. October is my favorite month of the year, as the weather cools and I start to feel more relaxed.Read Article

When A Child Prays

Franciscan University of Steubenville has a great culture of prayer. After each Mass, everyone kneels for a few moments of prayer. The sanctuary is completely silent as congregants exist as living tabernacles. It’s a practice that my family continues to practice.Read Article

Spiritual Wokeism

I’m old enough to remember when being woke was enough to get you made fun of on SNL. What started as a fringe idea has now overrun the academy, government, the armed services, public health, and media. The essential contradiction of wokeism is that while it claims to be awake, to be fully embraced, you must deny reality. One of the clearest signs of this is the pervasive belief in the fallacy that America is no better today than it was in 1776.

This is a heavier topic than usual. I like to keep this blog light and digestible, but I think there’s an element of wokeism at play in our spirituality. It’s easy to believe that we are no better today than we were yesterday, or even a decade ago.Read Article

He is Not Here

What a Lent! After a year of pandemic and lockdowns, this Spring is starting to feel quite refreshing. Vaccine rollouts continue, along with positive studies on their effectiveness. Business is picking up, people are coming out of their homes, and life seems beautiful again.
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Lent IRL

We’re two days away from the start of Lent. Over the past decade, my views on the Lenten season have evolved to the point where I’m excited to get started. The redemptive and purifying nature of the season, the call to universal holiness and constant renewal, really appeal to me. I’ve pondered my game plan for weeks. This Lent, I’m swinging for the fences.Read Article

Scripture Under the Stars

Many times on this blog, I’ve shared my love of walking. It’s the exercise that I most enjoy, and I’m now eight years into this routine. The habit comes and goes, but there are two truths that I’ve gained from my experience. After two weeks of walking every day, I notice a real difference in how I feel and my momentum is hard to stop.Read Article

Off the Wagon

After years of practice and observation, I know the keep components that I need to build up physical health. I need to walk for an hour daily, drink lots of water, read in the evening before bed, and go to sleep and wake up at about the same time. These are not new ideas, they are not even really negotiable. When I do them all over a sustained period of time, usually two weeks, I feel the difference.Read Article

Taste

Our senses guide us as we move through the world and animate our path as we go. We see colors, objects, and people. The background noise of our home and neighborhood plays on as if a soundtrack to our lives. We experience the tactile nature of things around us, and even smell the delicious aroma of our kitchens. We’re driven by our senses, and can sometimes be led into sin by them.Read Article

Time Lost

The last week of the year is traditionally a pensive time for me. In an ordinary year, I would wrap up major projects, revamp my productivity systems, review my annual goals, and map out the next year. This year is different.Read Article

Opening the Domestic Church

The center of the daily life of the Church is the Eucharist, but it’s not the whole life. Most of us have been unable to physically access the Mass for the past several months, leading to great sorrow. In the midst of this suffering, we’ve experienced the beauty of opening the domestic church.Read Article