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Thursday, 28 November 2013

A Holiday Comment

This happened many years ago. Sometimes, we can only pray.

I did not know what to say.

A woman who had been married for many years told me that she thought her husband was more religious than he turned out to be. She was raised in a family which treasured the Mass and other sacraments.

She expressed that she wanted to have family prayer, at least family monthly confession with the children, daily rosary. None of this happened because her husband did not want it to happen.

She had tears in her eyes in explaining that she would have had a more outwardly religious and inwardly spiritual family.

She knew that her own life changed to accommodate the wishes of her husband. Her children had fallen away.

She knew that when two become one flesh, the spirits join as well. It had been hard for her not to be discouraged. She had to give up her dreams of how to raise her children in a Catholic family.

She discovered that her husband, although a good man, did not seek perfection. He did not have a domestic church in the family. Dad's are so important as the spiritual leaders of the family.

He did not want to press religion on his children, even though they went to so-called Catholic schools.

I did not know what to say.

Women, marry someone who will bring you closer to God. Men, marry a virtuous woman, and as Fr. Chad Ripperger states in one of his talks, if she is ugly and virtuous, marry her. If you marry a selfish person who does not have God as a priority in his or her life, your life will not only be miserable, but you may slide back, be less holy, be conformed to the stronger personality who may not be centered on Christ and His Church.

I did not know what to say.

It is hard to know if a person will lead you closer to God or away from God. Those people I know with the best marriages come from TLM families, or families which chose the newer Catholic colleges to which to send their children-colleges like TAC, Thomas More, and Wyoming Catholic.

When religion is a priority, this decision should be obvious.

I did not know what to say, but as I had known this woman for years, I had seen her fall away from a more religious focus, as I also knew her own family well. We socialized in the same groups when I was younger. Her comment had saddened me. I could not help her, only pray. What was the saddest thing for me to see was the fact that she became more like her husband instead of being strong, and bearing the Cross of Christ. These decisions are hard and real. I cannot judge her, but, she is not the same person I knew so long ago.

And, when one compromises in one thing, other compromises become more easy. One's conscience is affected.

If one puts God first in one's life, all other decisions should follow.

Do not let anyone take you farther away from God, not even your spouse. If one must suffer in a relationship, so be it, but pray for strength not to lose ground and to remain faithful.

I did not know what to say. For many years, I have prayed, but we all have free will.

Saying "no" to God by putting relationships first instead of turning the suffering into a grace, cooperating with God, is what many people cannot do. Saying "yes" to God means standing firm, praying, doing penance.  It means being different. A good priest told me recently that his family was embarrassed by his religious life. This is a result of him seeking the pearl of great price.

When one is offered the opportunity to suffer, one can say yes or no. One can choose comfort first. One can choose people, even family, over God.

One can choose to ask God how to deal with shattered dreams. But, one must never compromise one's faith.

I do not know how the story of this family ended or will end. All I know is that God comes first. Compromise brings confusion and death to the soul. One of the nuns at Tyburn told me last spring that she could not bring Catholicism to a sibling. She had to walk away. This is one of her crosses.

God sometimes makes us choose. I am still saddened by this good lay woman's giving up of a standard, of lowering her own goals for holiness in order to obtain family peace. God is creative. But, He will not overcome our wills by force.

Peace cannot be bought at any price. False peace involves deceit. I pray today for this family and for other families which have compromised for the sake of a false peace.

I think of my friend P., who is in heaven. She is the woman I wrote about a long time ago, who gave God her life for her pagan husband. She died suddenly on an early Wednesday morning, and on the Thursday, her husband went to the priest for confession after years of hating God, the Church, his wife's holiness. On the Friday, at P's funeral, the husband made his First Holy Communion.

We all knew that P. was in heaven and that God had taken her promise seriously.

In these turbulent days, some are called to heroism in the Faith. Do not compromise, but pray and fast.

If you can be strong and silent, do it. If you must speak, do it. But, remember, we are all responsible for our own salvation.

If you idolize a spouse or another person, you will become like that person. If your God is Christ, you will become like Him. Those who put Christ first become the Face of Christ for others.

For my single female friends who have not found spouses, I say this. It is better to be single and pursuing holiness, than married and falling away. Perhaps your singleness is a protection, a gift, which you have not appreciated. There are worst things than loneliness, such as the loss of one's soul.

Please, do not compromise.

God is God.

Matthew 10:34-39

34 Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword.
35 For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man's enemies shall be they of his own household.
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.
38 And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me.
39 He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it