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“ALMOST ALWAYS IT WILL BE A SELFISH SPOUSE WHO ACCUSES HIS OR HER PARTNER OF SELFISHNESS”

NOT OURS TO JUDGE

by Fr Leo J. Trese

“Two women were chatting as they stood in line at the checkout counter. ‘The thing I can’t stand about Grace,’ one woman said, ‘is the way she’s always ctiticising other people, always seeing their faults.’ The lady made the remark with a perfectly straight face. She was quite oblivious to the fact that she herself was doing what she pretended to abhor.

THE LORD’S TREATMENT OF THE WOMAN CAUGHT IN THE ACT OF ADULTERY

One of the most touching incidents in our Lord’s life surely was His treatment of the woman caught in the act of adultery. Frightened and shamed, she was dragged before Jesus by the Scribes and Pharisees as He sat teaching in the Temple courtyard. The woman’s accusers posed what they thought was an inescapable dilemma to Jesus: should the woman be stoned to death as the Law of Moses prescribed?

If Jesus said, ‘No, let her go,’ He would convict Himself of contempt for the Law, held sacred by the Jews. If He said, ‘Yes, stone her,’ His reputation of compassion for sinners would be destroyed. ‘What dost thou say?’ the Pharisees urged.

CASTING THE FIRST STONE

Seeming to ignore their question, Jesus leaned over and wrote in the dust with His finger. What He wrote has remained a secret for twenty centuries. Were His markings an aimless tracing, or did He begin to spell out the sins of the men who stood before Him? In any event, as He continued to write He directed the accusers, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her.’

One by one they slunk away until the pitiable woman stood alone before Jesus. Only then did He look up with merciful eyes to say, ‘Go thy way, and from now on sin no more.’

Christ’s admonition, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone,’ should be graven deeply in the heart of each of us. A saint will weep for sinners and pray for sinners, but it takes someone much less than a saint to condemn a sinner.

Almost always it will be a selfish spouse who accuses his or her partner of selfishness. It will be a self-seeker who censures a fellow employee for toadying to the boss. There will be a basic streak of covetousness in the person who imputes dishonesty to another. It will be a fundamentally proud or ambitious person who points to pride or ambition in his neighbour.

FACING OUR HIDDEN WEAKNESSES SQUARELY

Psychologists have a name for this habit of fault-finding or of criticising others. They call it ‘projection’. It is a defence mechanism by which we try to still our uneasiness concerning our own unacknowledged and perhaps unrecognised weaknesses. Subconsciously we try to get rid of our unworthy feelings and desires by projecting them onto someone else. For example, the self-righteous woman who shows most scorn for a prostitute or an unwed mother, is trying desperately to keep the lid on her own suppressed sexual urges.

Projection is a very unhealthy form of personality adjustment. It would be much more salutary to drag our hidden weaknesses out into the daylight and to face them squarely.

We ARE human. We possess all the defects to which fallen human nature is subject. There is no sin in the book of which we are not essentially capable. If we have not erred grievously, it is no great credit to ourselves. It is God’s grace which has won our victories for us, plus perhaps the good fortune of a truly Christian upbringing and a protected environment – which themselves ate gifts of God.

LIVING A CHRISTLIKE LIFE

This matter of forbearance toward others, of patience with their mistakes and compassion for their sins, is enormously important for the living of a Christlike life. In fact, there IS no genuine Christian life without it.

Probably few of us ever will become totally perfect in our effort to leave all judgment to God. There will be moments of resentment or of pique when we forget our resolve. However, such moments will be few if, as accusatory words rise to our lips, we summon up the vision of Jesus writing in the sand and hear the challenge of His invitation, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone.'”

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“WE WERE MARRIED IN A HOTEL. MY MUM KEEPS ON AT ME TO HAVE THE MARRIAGE BLESSED IN THE CHURCH.”

QUESTION: “My husband and I were married in a hotel a few years ago. My mum keeps on at me to have the marriage blessed in the Church and I am beginning to think this would be a good idea. How do I go about it?

ANSWER: It is indeed a good idea to seek God’s blessing on your union. In fact, a Catholic must marry according to the form of the Church for the marriage to be valid in the eyes of the Church, so what needs to happen is for your marriage to be ‘convalidated’. This means that you take the vows of marriage anew in the form of the Church, and make a new act of consent to the marriage. Your parish priest will need to see you both, arrange some preparation, get various documents together, and seek the permission of the Bishop. Priests are used to this process and it is quite straightforward (presuming that neither of you has been married before.)

I understand that your husband is happy about coming to the Church for a blessing, so I expect that he would also have no objections to arranging for a convalidation. It would be a chance for him to meet the priest and perhaps find out more about the Catholic Church. In the case where a spouse is unwilling to take the vows anew, an application to the Bishop can be made for a retrospective decree of validation, though it is preferable to celebrate the convalidation if possible.

You tell me that your husband, though not Catholic, is baptised: that means that not only can your union be blessed, but you will also both minister to each other and receive the sacrament of matrimony. You will then be strengthened by the graces given in the sacrament. If you never knew that Catholics should marry according to the law of the Church, you are not personally culpable, but your current state is objectively contrary to the law of God and the Church, so it is important to arrange for the marriage to be ‘put right’ and for you then to return to Holy Communion.”
– This article by Fr Tim Finigan was published as part of the feature “Catholic Dilemmas” in “The Catholic Herald” issue May 16, 2014. For subscriptions please visit http://www.catholicherald.co.uk (external link).

 

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ENTRUST YOUR PAINS AND ILLNESS TO ST RAPHAEL! – “MEDICINE OF GOD”

The book of Tobias suggests that it is God’s Will to cure the maladies of mankind through the Angel whom He wished to call RAPHAEL. St John’s Gospel referring to the pool of Probatica, which in Hebrew is named Bethsaida, tells where the multitude of infirm and sick lay waiting for the moving of the water. “An Angel of the Lord would come down at certain times in the pool and the water was moved. The first to go down into the water after it was moved, was cured of whatever infirmity he had.”

The hymns in the Office of St Raphael recall the healing power of this Archangel and his victory over the demon. We ask him for health of body and soul. We are sick not only when we suffer from physical disease, but also when we suffer from pride, sensuality, spiritual discouragement, indifference to grace and lack of charity, courage and fervour in prayer.
Raphael never considers our cure complete until he has brought us the peace of God which surpasses understanding. If to that end a miracle is required, we may depend upon him to obtain it! ENTRUST YOUR PAINS AND ILLNESSES TO RAPHAEL! He will teach you why you suffer and knowing this will make your pain much more bearable. He leads us to the joy, light and strength of God. Never can you guess when Raphael will work. It is best to leave the manner of action to his wisdom.

A brother helped by a brother is a strong city. Raphael proves himself to be truly a brother to us, at times by his inspiration, at other times by direct intervention but, at all times, you will find him a tower of strength and a kindly light, especially in illness. The important task of bearing your cross will not quite be so difficult if you WALK WITH RAPHAEL!

St Raphael is the special patron of Youth. The Angel took the young Tobias under his special care and protected him from the many dangers that beset his journey in a strange country. He will help our youth in their struggles against the three greatest enemies: the world, the flesh and the devil. The decision of supreme importance in the life of a young man or woman is the choice of a lifetime helpmate. The consequences of this serious choice penetrate into the whole of their earthly life, even into Eternity.

Through Raphael, the young Tobias was led to his future bride, a young lady of rare beauty and high moral qualities. Just as he unites, so he separates individuals when it is a matter of wisdom and when their union would result in harm to their souls. Raphael will manage your affairs magnificently if only you will trust and obey him as Tobias did on his journey. Bring to him your difficulties, seek his help in earnest prayer and trust his guidance during the dangerous time of courtship to a happy marriage. St Raphael is the Angel of travel and the Angel of the Last Anointing. He will be with you to assist your soul as it makes its final journey from time to eternity.

“May Archangel Raphael, physician in care of our health, come down from Heaven and cure all those who are sick and help them to solve the difficult problems of life! Be with us, O Archangel, called the MEDICINE OF GOD; drive away diseases from our body and bring good health to our minds!”
– from “Dedicated Decades”, Winter 2012 issue. For subscriptions, please visit http://www.philomena.org (external link)

 

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