Feast of the Exultation of the Cross

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ExaltationoftheCross

We should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he is our salvation, our life and our resurrection: through him we are saved and made free.[1]

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross. This feast is a celebration of God’s greatest work: Christ’s salvific death on the Cross and His Resurrection, through which death was defeated and the gates to Heaven were opened. The cross is the universal image of Christian belief. Today is a time to ponder what Christ accomplished through His horrific Passion. Look upon the wounds of Christ, gaze into His eyes. See the love that He has for you; His willingness to suffer and die so that you may gain eternal life.

“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

Jesus calls us to follow him by taking up our cross daily. In marriage, your spouse is your cross. Some of you may be snickering in agreement with this statement but this cross is your path to sanctification. As Christ was wounded and died on the cross, marriage binds two wounded individuals in a lifelong covenant. The wounds of your spouse are holy ground. We are called to unite our woundedness and suffering to those of Christ on the cross.

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Book Review – Be Devoted: Restoring Friendship, Passion, and Communion in Your Marriage

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Be Devoted Bob SchuchtsIs there a gap between what you desire for your marriage and reality?

Are you and your spouse locked into an ongoing battle of wills?

Are there recurring unresolved conflicts in your marriage?

Do you want greater intimacy and connection with your spouse?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you need Be Devoted: Restoring Friendship, Passion, and Communion in Your Marriage, by Bob Schuchts. This book is a tremendous resource for all married couples and those contemplating marriage.

Be devoted to one another in love. Romans 12:10

Schuchts explains that “to be devoted is to know true and lasting love.”[1] He gives both synonyms and antonyms to help understand what it means to be devoted.

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Invest in Your Marriage

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Is your marriage witnessing the love of Christ to the world? Do other couples ask how you exude such joy in the midst of the messiness of family life? If not, consider investing in your marriage. What is the balance in your marital piggy bank? Are you running a surplus or are you in deficit spending? An ongoing investment in your own personal healing and in building up your marriage, will yield a joyful and fruitful marital relationship.

We all bring baggage into our marital relationships from our family of origin. We are wounded people. If we have not received healing from these wounds, we operate out of these wounds when we interact with each other. Have you ever over-reacted to a situation in your marriage and later wondered why your response was so inappropriate for the situation? These over-reactions are a good indication that you are being triggered by unresolved emotional wounds from your past.

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Serve Your Family in Humility

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Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet
Ford Madox Brown, c. 1852–6

Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3

St. Paul wrote these words to the young church in Ephesus, imploring them to have unity with their Christian sisters and brothers. These words equally apply to family life where the daily grind can lead to impatience and short fuses. To live out these words requires a humble heart. It requires that we give up our right for justice when we have been maligned and ill-treated. It requires humility to respond to an afront with kindness. It requires humility to choose to love even when that love is not returned. It requires humility to serve your spouse, seeking always to be a blessing to them even when they do not desire it,. It requires humility to always choose the path that builds up and does not tear down. It requires humility to be a peacemaker in this most sacred covenant of marriage.

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Healing Marriages: Forgiveness and Mercy

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Forgiveness Chains Broken

In our work with couples, we find the biggest roadblock to a thriving marriage is unforgiveness. We stop the flow of grace when we sin against each other and hurt each other. If we do not forgive each other, little by little, we can find ourselves bound by the chains of bitterness, resentment, and anger. We build walls to protect ourselves from more hurt, further damaging the relationship.

In marriage, husband and wife are on the same team. When issues arise, we need to stop and ask God what is going on. Most times, it is Satan working to drive a wedge in the relationship. He hates you individually and especially as a couple. He will work overtime to divide you and cause disharmony in your relationship. He knows our vulnerabilities and he will use us to attack each other’s weak areas.

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Call for a National Day of Prayer and Fasting

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National Day of Prayer and Fasting

President Abraham Lincoln called our nation to fast and pray for peace and unity on three separate occasions. His first proclamation was three months after the start on the Civil War, on August 12, 1861. In this proclamation, he set the fourth Thursday in September as a “day of public humiliation, prayer, and fasting” for the welfare of the nation.

Sensing the need for all citizens to pray and fast for the welfare of our country, Fr. John Riccardo and the ACTS XXIX team (Mary Guilfoyle, Nick Jorgenson, and Dcn. Steve Mitchell) have taken the lead to encourage a day of prayer and fasting for our nation on September 24th, the fourth Thursday in September. This also happens to be the Feast Day of Our Lady of Ransom. Oh, how our nation needs to be ransomed from the slavery of sin, divisiveness and violence that plagues our land!

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Back to the School of Love

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shutterstock_family praying_crop

Since 1965, August has been recognized as “Back to School” month. This year, many public and private schools are still trying to determine what that looks like amidst the COVID-19 confusion. But we want to encourage all families to prepare to go back to the “school of love.”

The good news is you don’t have to leave your house or join a Zoom call to attend this school! It is right in your own home. Because the home is where children first hear the gospel proclaimed, the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the family as the domestic church, “a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity” (1666).

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Feast of Saints Joachim and Anne – Grandparents of Jesus

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Ambrosius_Benson_-_El_abrazo_de_San_Joaquin_y_Santa_Ana_ante_la_puerta_dorada,_Museo_del_Prado_(Madrid) (2)

Hug of St. Joachim and St. Anne before the Golden Gate
Ambrosius Benson, c. 1528

Today is the Feast of St. Joachim and St. Anne, the parents of Mary and grandparents of Jesus. In the Catholic Church, this is the “feast of grandparents.” Grandparents have the responsibility to establish a Christian worldview for the generations that follow. They have the task of keeping the traditions of the faith alive for their children and grandchildren. This feast is also a reminder for the younger generation to cherish the wisdom and experience of their older family members. Grandparents are a precious gift to well-being of the family.

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Christ is the Answer

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Cross Culture

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History & Culture devotes a great deal of space on its website to discussing “whiteness” and “white culture.” We were disheartened to learn that this site classified the nuclear family and the Judeo-Christian tradition as “systems of oppression” to the African American culture.

In fact, the opposite is true. The nuclear family (father, mother, and children) and Judeo-Christian tradition are the key factors in building a civil society. Let’s take a look at the facts.

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Saints Louis and Zélie Martin: A Tender and Strong Love

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July 12 is the feast day of Saints Louis and Zélie Martin, the first married couple to be canonized together. We have written about the holiness of this extraordinary couple here and here. Today, we want to highlight their love for each other.

In The Story of a Family: The Home of the Little Flower, Fr. Stéphane-Joseph Piat says the love Zélie and Louis bore each other:

[K]ept all the fervor of the days of betrothal, all love’s delicacies, the confidences of a supernatural friendship. The wife admired her husband. After four and a half years of married life, she writes of him, “I am always very happy with him. He makes my life very sweet. My husband is a saintly man.”[1]

As examples of their affection for each other, Fr. Piat shares excerpts from letters Zélie and Louis exchanged. In a letter dated, August 31, 1873, Zélie said, “I long to be with you, Louis dear. I love you with all my heart and I feel my affection doubled by being deprived of your company. I could not live apart from you.”[2]

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