This Easter was incredible. I haven’t even tried to write about it, simply because it meant too much to me. My entire family came into the Church this year. My heart is broken with joy, and no words would be enough to express my gratitude to God for pouring His grace so abundantly on my family. My mother however, is an amazing YouTube (I don’t know the word, vlogger?), and she shared with her fans her amazing experience. I think she expresses it better than I could, so here you go!
To be able to baptize my father, my sister and her family, my brother, to stand next to my mother and them while they were confirmed, it was simply more joy than I could ever have dreamed of. I’m sure I will write about it when I get my emotions more in check, but seeing my mother’s joy only makes my feelings more intense then ever.
It’s been a really rough few weeks, and I’m sorry I haven’t posted. We went on vacation to see my wife’s family for a couple weeks, and while we were away, the Lord blessed us by finally closing escrow our our new home. So you know that feeling when you get home from vacation that you need a vacation just to unwind from the trip? Well, I went right into moving furniture instead of relaxing. My goodness, I’m tired!
Anyways, when we got home, our first priority was to have the house blessed so that we could move in. I feel it is important to set Christ as my priority in all things, and simply refused to move a single plate from the kitchen until I had thanked the Lord for His blessing, and protected my home from any evil influence. So I called up a good friend of mine, (one of the deacons that talked me into entering formation) and he was kind enough to come over the day after we got home.
It was not a long, drawn out affair, we simply prayed a bit, read some scripture, and then we went around splashing holy water all over the place. There was however something that my friend said that really grabbed me, and I wanted to share it with you.
He said that our new home was now protected from all evil, except the evil we brought or invited into the house. That’s right, the blessing of the Church can only keep away the evil we do not invite in ourselves. He encouraged us to never invite evil into the house, but I wonder how easy a task that really is.
The internet for example, is such an easy way to invite evil into your home. Whether it be pornography, racism, gossip or hate speech, it is terrible easy to find evil online. We are literally just a few clicks away from bringing in the most evil images and ideas into our home that exist in the entire world. Yes, the internet has been a wonderful blessing, giving us the ability to connect with billions of other people around the world, but that comes at a cost. Just the stats for porn alone is rather surprising, but it is easy to forget that Facebook has more gossip than a southern beauty salon. We must be vigilant to not let ourselves fall down that slippery slope.
What about our friends? Who do we invite into our home? Do we invite people into our home just to sit around and talk badly about other people? Do we track in the evils we encounter at work and in the public sphere like mud on our shoes, letting our families be affected by it?
The truth is, in our modern world, we swim in an ocean of evil. There is nowhere you can go to escape it’s influence. Satan’s influence in this world is immense, and it takes hyper-vigilance to keep that evil at arms length. But at the very least, we can endeavor not to invite it in.
My youngest daughter’s best friend had a birthday party last night, and being the prepubecent bundle of hormones that they are, they decided the best thing to do would be have a sleepover. So both my daughters were gone all night.
We were alone.
Party Time! Bust out the drinks and the dancing, it’s time to hit the clubs!
Well, at least that is what I was thinking in my head, but here’s how it actually played out.
First I picked up honey at work for lunch and took her to her favorite (but inexpensive) Chinese restaurant. While we had a great time, it was hardly romantic as the second we walked in, we saw some other folks she knows from work. As one of them was sitting alone, we invited him to sit with us and I got to sit there and listen to them talk about work.
Okay, I’m cool with that, I’ve got all night.
So later that evening she gets home, and after the hour long download of her day, I am finally allowed to speak, and suggest my Wild Disco Clubbing idea.
Shot down immediately, but I’m not phased.
So I suggest an evening stroll on the beach with a few suggestive hints as to where that could end. Hmm, that’s not happening either it seems.
She suggests the mall to look at stuff for the house we currently in escrow for.
The mall. How romantic. Okay, sure honey.
So off to the mall, she gets nachos, I get Subway, and away we go. Now I have a plan here. I’m going to make the best of this, so I spend the whole time teasing her and making rude suggestive comments. (What can I say, I’m a man, and my wife is beautiful) Now I’m not getting slapped, so I figure I’ll just keep going.
We went into this fancy bohemian furniture store, and this place is just awful. There is nothing in here that even remotly pleases me. It’s like some cross between a gypsy camp, an eighties nightclub, and a wicker revival. So I am naturally not all that interested. Then it happens. I hear Disco. Oh man, I love me some Disco.
So I’m walking around the store sporting all my best Disco moves while singing along to her across the aisles. The folks who work there are just snickering, but I don’t really care, I want to snicker at them for not shaking their tush a little. My wife of course is embarrassed and beginning to turn a lovely shade of beets. With disdain, she decided to remove me from the Disco. Sadness follows.
More shopping follows as my wife keeps asking me questions about what kind of style furniture I like. At some point she has an epiphany, I really don’t like any of her choices. I try to explain to her that it isn’t true, I really do like them, they just aren’t my favorite, but this is not getting me any points. Then in a typical moment of brilliance, I come up with the 1-10 scale. I let her know her stuff is an 8, and an 8 is a great compromise. She seems fine, but this will preoccupy the rest of the evenings conversation.
Off to home, and here’s where things get really sexy. (Children might want to cover their eyes!)
She goes off to the living room to work on her cross-stitch, and I head back to my office to finish up some extra work. We spend the next four or five hours doing just this. Every now and then one of us wants a snack, or has to get up to go to the bathroom, but here we are finally alone, and we are both in separate rooms, doing our own thing. I would have allowed the kids to see this, but I would hate for them to realize we are so boring.
(Okay kids, you can uncover your eyes now)
And there was our big night on the town. To be honest, I had the time of my life. Nothing beats just being with my wife, it’s pretty dang awesome.
(The night of course got far more awesome, but I don’t kiss and tell…)
Of course he did. That’s what evil does. It takes the goodness that God has created, and twists and perverts it.
Okay, now this theory might just be my silliness going crazy, but then, I might just be right. So take this with a grain of salt, or maybe a jar of salt, take it as humor, or take it as self glorification. Or maybe I’m really on to something here…
For a man, to have a beard is his natural state. Leave him alone in the woods for just a few days, and it is nearly magical how God will transform him. God just loves beards on men. (It was His idea, after all!)
Modern culture doesn’t like beards so much, have you ever wondered why? Personally, I think it’s a plot of Satan himself.
Now I’m not going to put this plot on the same level as his desire to keep you in sin, or his desire to damn all humanity, but I do think it’s part of his bigger plan. It doesn’t end with beards either, it’s way bigger than that. But I have to start somewhere to really explain this, and beards are just so handsome that it seemed the proper place.
In “The Screwtape Letters”, a brilliant book describing the methods and mentalities of devils and tempters written by C.S.Lewis, there is a short idea he throws in for a moment that has always set me on edge, made me just a bit more than leery of fashion in general. The basic idea is this: Satan uses his “best” tempters to work on the minds of the few who are in control of art, music and fashion. Why would he do such a thing? Why not work on politicians who can do more harm? To create dissatisfaction.
This is where the intellect of Lewis just shines. Satan, by focusing his energy on creating a physical ideal that is unreachable by most, makes everyone feel ugly, and see uglyness in everyone else. No one is happy and satisfied with the way God made them. Everyone is too fat, everyone is too short, women should look like they are still seventeen, and men should look like Atlas. Of course, having a beautiful, natural beard is simply out of the question.
If you think I am exaggerating, turn on your TV and count the beards. How many newscasters for example have you seen with a full beard? How many romantic heroes in film resemble ZZ Top? I’ve even heard it said of men who wear their facial hair natural are men who are sinister, or have something to hide. Bearded men are more likely to be associated with the unabomber than with Saint Peter. The Devil is one tricky fellow if he has so completely fooled humanity.
See how Satan did that? He took a good thing that God created, and made it unfashionable. To put it another way, God gave most women big hips, not just because they are feminine and sexy, but because they help to facilitate the bearing of children. Fashion however wants you to be thin as a rail. Another example, most women should be a little heavy, where do you think the calories that build little babies comes from? Fifteen pounds overweight should be sexy, I mean after all, what could be sexier than being ready to have a baby? But fashion says that’s ugly. So here you are, really into a man, and you naturally gain fifteen pounds because your body is naturally getting you ready, and instead of your fiance becoming more into you, he becomes less. Satan may be evil, but he is brilliant. (By the way, you’ll notice that I just said that getting ready to have a baby defines sexy. One of these days, I’ll prove it to you!)
Never forget that the prime man Himself, the Son of Man, Our Lord sported a beard. I cannot even imagine a clean shaved Jesus, the very thought is insulting. Manliness in perfection clearly had a beard. All the apostles too had beards, down to the very last one. The persecuting Romans? Clean shaven.
Now I must take a step backwards. I know you are probably really excited to start growing that baby out, but you might want to hold on for just a second. Realize that this mental dislike of beards runs deep. If you are married, you might just feel that your lovely wife should just like you with a beard, but you have to remember that she has been deceived for so long, that it’s in her blood to not like them. Try it out by all means, but if she’s not down with it, well, I prefer to cuddle at night than sleep on the front door mat, if you catch my drift. I know this is shocking, but somethings are simply more important than having a beard.
Let me rephrase, the single day you must never forget.
If you forgot, right this second, get off the computer or phone or whatever, go out in the yard and pick the prettiest flower you can find. (The neighbor’s will do in a pinch) Take it to your wife, mother, or any other mother in your house, and ask her if you can make her dinner tonight while she relaxes. I just saved your butt, so get to it.
Then, get on the phone, and call every mother that has any relation to you whatsoever. Mom and wife of course, but don’t forget mother in law, grandma, great grandma, aunt Betty-Sue, everyone, period. Don’t forget to call every pregnant woman you know, and congratulate them too. Not only will you save your very life from utter destruction, the brownie points you earn will come in very handy this week.
(Brownie points do NOT carry on to the next week. Resentment points however, have no expiration date. Just so you know.)
Now that we have that out of the way, on to the task at hand.
I hope I made it clear that you cannot shirk your duties on Mother’s Day, but I must admit I do have deep concerns about the day. It is so very easy to turn mother’s day into another one of the Hallmark card days, a day with a quick and funny note, a sweater with hands painted on it, and a badly made breakfast. Yes, mothers truly need appreciation, and we should give it to them, but make sure that you are taking the time to truly honor her, and not just pay her lip service, or it really is a bit silly.
“Gee Mom, you’re great, thanks for life and stuff.” Yea…, it just doesn’t cut it.
The evening as I am writing this, already the cheese is flowing on Facebook with this kitschy nonsense.”Share this picture of a cute puppy if you love your mom!” Think I’ll pass on that one. “A mother’s love is priceless, hit share to wish your mother a happy mother’s day!” It really almost makes me sick. Please do try to be more meaningful, to do less is really altogether, well, lame.
If you really want to wow your mother or your wife, or your grandmother, I have the perfect method to show you how.
Tell her that her life has shown you what it means to love Mary, the mother of all. Then take the time to list all her most beautiful traits. Speak of her gentleness, her sacrifice to your family. Let her know that you see how she holds your family and it’s mysteries close to her heart. Let her know that you see the toil, the sadness, the struggling, the frustration, and that the elegance with which she handles it shows you what our most Blessed Virgin must have been like.
Of course she isn’t perfect, and she doesn’t model any of those things as well as Our Lady, but Our Lady’s graces are present in her. Let her know you see it, love it, and are a better person for it. Oh, and you better mean it.
Then just ask to pray a Hail Mary with her, and hold her hands while you do. I promise she will never forget it.
Oh, and don’t forget to look in her eyes and say, “I love you.”