Anybody remember this picture from a few babies ago?
Our Sunday Visitor is publishing a series of companion piece for the World Meeting of Families Catechesis, Love Is Our Mission. In the latest print edition of OSV, I’m very honored to share a page with Scott Hahn and Archbishop Sartain!
My contribution is also online, here: Family Snapshots Capture the Mystery of the Church As Both Human and Devine. It’s an introduction to the chapter 9 of the catechesis, which is called “Mother, Teacher, Family: The Nature and Role of the Church,” and my essay is all about what you can see in this little snapshot of our domestic church.
We are brimming with anticipation, dying to receive the saving grace that will be poured out with the sacrament; and we are also horribly aware of our own inadequacy — and bristling in advance, in case anyone should dare to notice our flaws. We’re the mother, firmly correcting the wayward toddler; we’re the patient father, protecting us from our own wildness. We’re the rambunctious child, heedless and irreverent, only there because we have to be, and ready to spoil it all; we’re the blessed baby, so helpless we don’t even realize how badly we need to be cared for. And over us all rests that golden light — that grace.
Read the rest at OSV.
From my new article in Our Sunday Visitor about Sam Rocha and his new album, Late to Love:
[Rocha] experienced his first high liturgy at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and a whole new aesthetic world opened up. “I felt like I walked out of the folk tradition and walked into a marble hall,” he said. “It helped me process the idea that there is a bigger Church out there.”
But stark aesthetic contrasts can sometimes be deceptive. “Whenever I heard a High Mass,” Rocha said, “I would say, ‘No more guitars at Mass for me!’” But then his family moved to a tiny town in Indiana, where the Mass had no music at all. “It was so sad and little,” Rocha said. So he brought in his guitar, and returned once again to his Mexican roots.
Since then, he’s been trying to reconcile all his various aesthetic experiences of the Church — the folk music of his Mexican parents, the slicker sound of Life Teen and the charismatic movement, and his hard-won love of jazz, which he deliberately cultivated out of a desire to understand as much about music as he could.
Read the rest at OSV and check out the Augustianian funk of Late to Love here.
I’m putting together an article for Our Sunday Visitor about how marriages change after a baby is born — the good, the bad, and the things that need professional intervention (spiritual and otherwise). Dr. Greg Popcak gave me some wonderful information, and he has reprinted our entire interview on his blog. Here’s an excerpt:
Simcha: I assume you mostly work with Catholic couples. Is the strength of a couple’s faith a good predictor for how well they can work through their problems? This sounds like a softball question – like, “yes yes, of course when we are faithful, we will find life’s burdens light” – but I’m really curious, because I know that a strong religious faith doesn’t always translate easily or directly into good emotional health or strong relationships.
Dr. Greg: You’re right. In fact, many faithful couples who have more rigid role expectations may struggle more with birth than other couples. If you tend to be of the mindset the God made men to do X and women to do Y and never the twain shall meet, you may tend to fail to be there for each other, take on too much for yourself, and make excuses for behavior that would be otherwise inexcusable.
Faith tends to be helpful when it is expressed, not as “rules to live by” but rather as “a call to be generous and understanding regarding each other’s needs.” Babies have a way of stretching your comfort zones. If your faith helps you deal with that and respond accordingly, both your faith and relationships will become healthier as you grow as a person. But if your faith is mainly about having hard and fast rules to live by, you might not adapt as well to the unpredictability that comes with post-baby life.
Good stuff, with lots of practical advice — things we learned the hard way, and are still working on learning. Read the rest here.
I will post a link to the finished OSV article when it comes out; and also keep an eye out for Popcak’s newest book, written with his wife: Then Comes Baby: Surviving and Thriving in the First Three Years of Parenthood (Ave Maria Press–Nov 2014).
Here is an excerpt from the chapter I’m contributing to a book about marriage:
Children give our bodies purpose. I always have to laugh when people complain, “The Church treats women like baby-making machines!” The truth is, the secular world is the one that treats women that way—and expends tremendous amounts of money and effort in trying to find the “off” button, often putting women through years of physical and psychological contortions with one kind of contraception after another.
The Church, on the other hand, teaches that the bodies of men and women are designed the way they are, reproductive systems and all, because they have a specific purpose in life. What is that purpose? Something huge: to make love, literally — to create something, to bring new love into the world. Sometimes this looks like physically bearing children (whether many or few); sometimes it looks like adopting; sometimes it looks like simply becoming aware that we are all here to love and to be loved.
When we can witness our own, familiar bodies actually doing this right before our very eyes – making something where there used to be nothing, bringing something new into the world – we are compelled to think about why we are here, and why God made us, and what it means to make love.
The book is by Our Sunday Visitor Press. Will share more details when I get the green light! It looks like it’s going to be a great project.
I wrote this article about Dr. Paul Carpentier quite a while ago – glad they are running it for NFP awareness week! A great doctor and a good man.
Doctor keeps medical practice in line with Catholic teaching
Dr. Paul Carpentier, founder of In His Image Family Medicine in Gardner, Mass., said he doesn’t have an especially unusual mission.
“It’s just one of stewardship,” he said. “I intend to do the best I can with the skills God has given me, for the community that presents itself for care.” But something sets him apart.
On his website is this notice: “Please be advised that this practice does not provide abortions, sterilizations, contraceptives, artificial reproductive technologies or assisted suicide, nor do we refer for these services.”
“I’m not inflicting some kind of hardship on patients,” Carpentier told Our Sunday Visitor. These services are available everywhere, and Massachusetts health care covers most of them. When Carpentier tells his patients that he can’t perform certain practices because they are against his conscience, he said most people don’t object.
“In 23 years, I’ve only had two patients storm out,” he said. They were mothers who had taken the day off work to bring their daughters in for contraceptives. “I actually talked to the daughters,” he said. “I told the moms, ‘Talk to your daughters. They don’t want to be on the pill.’”
Read the rest . . .