Monday, March 27, 2017

You must know these eight things the Catholic Church teaches on divorce

Twenty-three years ago, Catholic Answers helped bring me back into the fullness of the Catholic Faith. In fact, this amazing organization was the very catalyst for that sea change in my life, after my mom's famous words to me. I had no internet yet, but I read many tracts and books and magazines from Catholic Answers and was set on fire for the Faith.

So you can imagine why I am thrilled to tell you that I've had my first article published by Catholic Answers! I will be writing once a month for CA's online magazine, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity!

This month, I chose to write about the Church's teaching on divorce. Not because I am the child of divorce or divorced myself (I am neither), but because I am stunned at what I never knew until recently. We Catholics don't seem to know or understand the very clear and pointed teachings of Our Lord and his Church on this matter. Regrettably, even many priests are unaware of these teachings, which has led to poor counsel and untold heartache.

Here is my quick, easy primer; please read it all, and spread the word. The more we know and understand, the better for all of us, especially children.

As I've mentioned recently, I'm much more active on my Facebook page these days than here on the blog, and there was an interesting discussion that followed my posting of this article there--including this comment from Christopher Brennan near the end of that thread (emphasis mine):

Your whole article is straight out of the Catechism, is founded in Scripture, and as I read these comments, this seems to be news to a lot of people....
The fact is, life is about the cross. Take everything TV and movies say about marriage and throw it out the window. Marriage is a great source of joy. But real joy and peace comes from the cross. (Also in Scripture and the Catechism and 2000 years of wisdom passed on.) Some marriages will be exceptionally difficult. So what? There's a million things that can befall a person that would make life difficult. We are still bound by moral rules.  
The points in this article need to be preached over and over and over. They used to be well understood. They need to be made that way again.

On that note, I have news to share about my latest book. Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak is available for pre-sale for the Kindle/e-book version only. There will be a paperback version as well, but that version is not available for pre-sale. Both e-book and paperback will be officially published on May 22 (God willing!).

I have 70 contributors total, and their own words make up the bulk of the book. Primal Loss is not a "how to recover and heal from your parents' divorce" book (although there will be hope and help discussed and offered). It's a book of unmasking the pain and telling the truth about the short- and long-term effects of divorce on children. It ain't pretty.

My hope is that those contemplating divorce will read it and reverse course. I already know that it will make the adult children of divorce feel much less alone. 

The Amazon description of the book:

Seventy now-adult children of divorce give their candid and often heart-wrenching answers to eight questions (arranged in eight chapters, by question), including: What were the main effects of your parents' divorce on your life? What do you say to those who claim that "children are resilient" and "children are happy when their parents are happy"? What would you like to tell your parents then and now? What do you want adults in our culture to know about divorce? What role has your faith played in your healing?  
Their simple and poignant responses are difficult to read and yet not without hope. Most of the contributors--women and men, young and old, single and married--have never spoken of the pain and consequences of their parents' divorce until now. They have often never been asked, and they believe that no one really wants to know. Despite vastly different circumstances and details, the similarities in their testimonies are striking; as the reader will discover, the death of a child's family strikes the human heart in universal ways. 

Pre-order the e-book here, to be delivered to your device on May 22: 

Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak

To repeat: The paperback will be available on May 22, 2017, but is not available for pre-sale.

Please pray for me as I work to finish this project. I consider this work as a sacred trust; these seventy souls have entrusted to me the stories of the deaths of their families--stories that most children of divorce don't tell and that most people don't really want to hear.

God has given me a great passion for marriage and family (and the effects of divorce) all of a sudden, so don't expect me to shut up about it anytime soon. After all, as Sister Lucia, one of the seers at Fatima, said, the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Let's be on the right side of that fight!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

My son demonstrates his enthusiasm for A Family of Faith!

One of the great perks of having this blog is the opportunity to preview new Catholic books and programs. I don't end up endorsing them all, but this catechetical series for children from the wonderful Sophia Press (and endorsed by Scott Hahn and Patrick Madrid) is so worthy.

I am passionate about good catechesis (that's an understatement), which has been so lacking in recent decades in America. We have lost possibly two generations now, due to poor catechesis.

I think that's inexcusable.

So when I see a beautiful and thorough program like A Family of Faith, I want to shout it from the rooftops! This program is designed for both parish and family use, so it covers everyone. It even catechizes the parents themselves, the very same parents who are using the books to teach their children.

We have to do this, friends. We have to do better, and this is a means to that end.

What is interesting about this series is how quickly my own son Matthew was drawn to the books, and how enthusiastic he was about diving in! I was honestly surprised and thrilled to see that, so I grabbed my phone and took a spontaneous video, which I now I share with you:

Matthew was actually really excited that I was going to post this on the blog. :)

Anyway, the series includes an activity book, a parent's guide (home setting), and a leader's guide (parish setting).

And how cool is this? You can schedule a "tour" of the series to see if you love it. 

The books are high quality, glossy, beautiful--not schlocky or amateurish--and I was highly, highly impressed. Obviously, so was Matthew. 

Please spread the word. We have to turn things around for future generations, and that begins by teaching them the Faith well. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sheen: The two trap-doors God put into your soul


Today I came across one of my grandfather's old books. The Love That Waits for You, by (then) Monsignor Fulton J. Sheen, 1949. I loved this part, excerpted from pages 9-11, and it makes a good Lenten meditation....

     When God made you, He put two trap-doors into your soul, and through them the Love that waits for you breaks in on you, though you may not always recognize Him.

     The first of these trap-doors is your love of goodness. 
     In chasing after the isolated tidbits of what is good, your soul is really in pursuit of Goodness, and Goodness is God. Your every quest for excitement, your every love of a good friend, your every comparison of good and better, implies some Goodness beyond all good things, and therefore is a want of God.
     To say that you want good things but not Goodness which is God-ness, is just like saying you like the sunbeams but you hate the sun....

     The second trap-door by which God enters your soul is your ennui, your satiety, your fed-upness, your loneliness, your melancholy, your sadness. 

     Every libido, every passion, every craving of the body is finite, concrete, carnal, and therefore bores you, but there is still one choice that has never been made, one great chord that has not yet been struck, and that is the infinite.
     Your ennui means there is still something to be had; you possess, but not all; you know, but not everything; you love, but not always....

     There is not a single soul among you at which God has not knocked thousands of times....

     Your discontent, confusion, fear and unhappiness is His way of telling you that you are restless without Him for Whom you were made....

Monday, March 6, 2017

If you or someone you know is a student at a Catholic high school or university, please share....

I'll be speaking again (my third time, yay!) in Reston, Virginia, just outside of Washington DC, for Young America's Foundation's Standing Up for Faith and Freedom seminar, which takes place April 7 & 8, 2017.

This program is amazing, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a speaker, ha ha. Two full days of articulate and exciting conservative speakers will teach students how to counter and resist the overwhelmingly leftist political agendas that are often forced upon him or her at school.

In the words of Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America:

Standing Up for Faith & Freedom teaches students of all faiths attending Catholic schools that Catholic teaching is consistent with the conservative principles of human dignity and human freedom.

Believe it or not, the cost of the program is (wait for it) $20! I am not kidding. It's only $20 for the program, and that includes materials, two nights lodging, and four meals. The participant just has to get there.

I'm at the very end of this 1-minute video, so check it out, just for fun:

Register (or get more info) here.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Here are my suggestions for a simple, but powerfully fruitful, Lent!

So many good Lenten ideas out there, and so much information, so I've whittled it down to some basics.

First, for a general overview of Lent and lots of quick facts, go here:

Next, I really love my daughter-in-law Larabeth's list of easy suggestions for sacrifices during Lent. You could either do all of them one time, or pick a couple of them to do repeatedly:

A few of my favorites from her list:

2. When having an argument with someone, try to let him speak first. Truly listen to what he is saying and let him finish his explanation. Don't think about your response until he is done and you understand him.  
9. Do something to care for your parish priest. Offer to cook a meal appropriate for Lent, do a chore around the parish or rectory, or simply say a novena for him.  
14. Read through the lives of the Saints and find your new best friend.
18. Take the time to thoughtfully encourage at least two people.

Also, my friend Tracy Smith has an amazing post on what she and her family do for Lent, and the beauty is in the simplicity of activities!

It's not too late to make the Crown of Thorns or do the Bean Jar! I'm the worst when it comes to "crafty," and yet even I am doing those two.

In fact, the bean jar was a huge hit this morning (my boys were falling all over themselves thinking of "sacrifices" they could make in order to be able to put a bean in the jar (wait'll you/they see what happens to that jar on Easter morning!!).

And tonight after Mass, we are going to make the crown of thorns (yes, I'm a little behind!):

Finally, I encourage you to go through the "traditional" Lent posts that I have used more than once here on the Bubble. Venerable Fulton J. Sheen's 1940 meditations on The Seven Last Words and the Seven Virtues are so powerful, and shockingly relevant for us today in our wildly secular culture. I've broken down his words into easily digestible excerpts; check it out: