Monday, November 17, 2008

The Joys of Catholic Beauty

With pleasure I succumb to beauty’s sweet enticing. I am entranced by the drenching perfumes of a Star Gazer Lilly. Its delicate deluge of elegance is so powerful I wince in pain to look away. The fluid movement of the evening colors at sunset, the transcendence of a woman’s dark eyes—with the intensity of religious zeal, beauty cries out for adoration. Beauty is like a prayer between God and I. I fall in love with every visual gift who walks by me. I fall in love with them and with God more.

Protested as idolatry, yet we continue to worship loveliness as a spiritual experience. People move with more reverent awe in an art museum than in a church sanctuary. It is an irresistible instinct to deify either the art or the artisan. Through the centuries, some psuedo-pious have stripped barren its churches of all ornamentation starving worship of sensual experience. My childhood stingy religion told me artistic creation was worldly and wasteful. I felt criminal at my secret yearning to ravish the world with artistic delights.

In a single moment, God harmonized what seemed like clashing forces into one radiant revelation. It was in Venice and I had been naively following my guide as he squeezed through a door… I followed….

I turned into St. Mark Square as in spiritual rapture. Loveliness exhausted every sensor till I almost burst with joy. God has been lavish, even excessively gratuitous with the marvels of Venice. The air is poetic with some otherworldly atmosphere. Then, as I entered the basilica I fell faint upon a seat at the base of a pillar. As if in some dreamy history I examined the intricate adornmentation of the column and my soul reached out to thank the craftman who lovingly created this for God’s glory. I traced with my fingers the curves the long-ago man had flawlessly, affectionately carved with callused fingers, knowing that In the Beginning He bent down and touched the moist clay in much the same way. In that moment I understood what reverent beauty was. The beauty that did not seek self—but beauty that humbles both maker and beholder.

At that instant I became Catholic, though I would not know it for many years. The Catholic Church sees the world as a sacrament and the mountains and grasses and birds—all His way of visually dazzling us. How wretched we are to call bad what He called good. We respond to this love by mimicry… we shower His world with our creations—the “frozen music” of architecture. We “shadow the divine” with our art. We speak as He spoke with our music. Catholics understand the sacrifice of creation and worship Him with perfumes and bells and illuminations and manna and fine wine to bring flesh to the mysteries of divine consummation. And it brings a drenching richness to worship that expands your capacity to love Him. I now look back on the frugal poverty of my past worship and I am brought to my knees in thankfulness for His voluptuous extravagant beauties.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Joys of Indulgences

The Catholic Church believes that once we have been baptized we become the BODY of CHRIST and takes quite literally Paul’s words that when someone sins—it affects the whole body. When someone does something good, the whole body benefits.

[Texts that speak how one person affects whole body: Mt 5:29, 30; Ro 12:16; 1Co 12:17; Eph 4:16; Col 2:19; Eph 4:12. Texts that say we are the Body of Christ: Ro 7:4; Ro 12:5; 1Co 12:12, 27; Eph 3:6; Col 1:24, 2:17; 3:15.]

I Cor.12: 25-27, For as the body is one and hath many members; and all the members of the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body: So also is Christ…. That there might be no schism in the body: but the members might be mutually careful one for another. And if one member suffer any thing, all the members suffer with it: or if one member glory, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ and members of member.

During the persecutions of the early church many Christians including priests and bishops capitulated under threat of torture and became informants, handed over church sacred items, or sacrificed to the genius of Caesar. Those who stood strong, did not capitulate under pressure and survived tortured were crowned with the title “confessors.”

A huge debate broke out within the church. Should Christians who renounced their faith under persecution be let back into the church—especially priests and bishops? Some thought they would be a corrupting influence. After all, how would one really know if a leader had truly repented of their spiritual defection? Could a congregant trust a leader who did not stand for truth? But others disagreed and said God’s forgiveness should be extended to even these. Catholic church decided to quell public outcry, these church leaders would have to do public “penance” to show they were truly sorry and not just trying to regain power of their position, now that Constantine had made Christianity legal. It was a way for the body to believe a leader was truly repentant for betraying Christ in a public forum.

In north Africa the Donatists vehemently disagreed with the Catholic church’s “easy grace” for the leaders and began setting up rival churches with only those “pure” leaders who had not caved under Roman pressure.

Bitter feeling grew between the Catholics and Donatists. The church wanted to bring the body back together, so they began asking those “confessors” to publicly intervene helping restore the church. They generously defended their weaker brethren. By virtue of their virtue, they told the people that they wanted THEIR lives to serve as the penance for these people. They petitioned the church to give the credit of their suffering to those who were most in need of public forgiveness.

That was the beginning of the indulgences….

(I got the following online—sorry can’t remember where—my apologies to the author.)

Myths about Indulgences:

Myth 1: Indulgences can be used to forgive sins (past or future) or get a person out of hell.

Myth 2: The church raises money by selling indulgences/an indulgence can be bought.

One never could "buy" indulgences. The financial scandal surrounding indulgences that inspired Martin Luther's 95 Theses involved the giving of alms to some charitable fund. There was no outright selling of indulgences. The Catholic Encyclopedia states: "[I]t is easy to see how abuses crept in. Among the good works which might be encouraged by being made the condition of an indulgence, almsgiving would naturally hold a conspicuous place. . . . It is well to observe that in these purposes there is nothing essentially evil. To give money to God or to the poor is a praiseworthy act, and, when it is done from right motives, it will surely not go unrewarded."

Protestant's forget that the Council of Trent reformed abuses of indulgences and no longer allowed any indulgences granted by exchange of money. So what is an indulgence? "A remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain defined conditions through the Church’s help when, as a minister of redemption, she dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions won by Christ and the saints" (Indulgentarium Doctrina 1).

Yeah that's probably Greek to most Protestant readers.

Basically that means that you can add your good works to the "bank" of the Catholic church's good works and help the body just as the early confessors did. So what does an act that brings an indulgence look like? (Protestants will understand this)... prayer, Bible study, acts of charity. Its just when a Protestant reads the Bible and prays, he is doing it for personal spiritual growth. The Catholics believe that, as the Body of Christ, you can give that spiritual time for the benefit of the whole body, not just yourself.

Indulgences don't save you or anyone else--it is not taking the place of Christ's works. "The Christian who seeks to purify himself of his sin and to become holy with the help of God’s grace is not alone. ‘The life of each of God’s children is joined in Christ and through Christ in a wonderful way to the life of all the other Christian brethren in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, as in a single mystical person’" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1474 [Indulgentarium Doctrina 5]).

For more information on Indulgences, see: Code of Canon Law, (Cann. 992-997) Indulgences; Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, 4th ed., 1999. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005, article indulgences. "Myths About Indulgences." Catholic Answers. Retrieved 16 Apr. 2008.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


“Somebody needs a job….” the background music plays, "somebody needs a home…” A dozen or so dancers in black body suits sway in background.
A preacher who calls himself “bishop” dabs the sweat from his brow. He gives an excited bounce, voice trembling as he promises the supernatural. “Don’t listen to the skeptics and scoffers,” he screams “The Spirit of God is telling me the time to move is NOW!”

The Christian network is holding a give-a-thon, and the scoreboard across the top of the TV screen lets you know how many telephone lines are available: 0, busy: 209. So evidently this screaming is effective.

The bishop runs across the stage, breathless and hoarse announcing that this is a “twenty-four hour movement of heaven… your angels are going to be working overtime” for you if you go pick up the phone. He even guarantees that if you give more than you can afford, God will send someone to give you what you need. Suddenly a charismatic tongue breaks forth as the music gets louder.

“Watch me now” he chants as the lady with the pink cotton-candy hair, standing behind him, lifts her hands into the air and moves her mouth as if in prayer. The bishop announces that God just told him, as he was standing there, that 499 of those watching will send $1000 to this ministry. He bends forward and begins snapping his fingers over and over to the camera and your eyes catch the glint of his gold rings and cufflinks.

“Some say, ‘bishop, I don’t have the $1000’ or ‘this doesn’t seem like the right time’ ” The preacher smiles knowingly and confidently replies that he is prophesying on God’s authority, “as sure as I am standing here… Go to the phone…. Hear the word of the Lord; hear the word of the Lord…. go to the phone…. This anointing that is being released is for you…”

A man comes and takes the mike away from the speaker and announces to the television audience that if you go call to pledge and hear a busy signal it is “a sign from God.” Keep trying and “the blessing are coming.”

“The moment you pick up that phone, God is going to get involved.”

“As soon as the gold in the casket rings, the rescued soul to heaven springs.”

Wait, those last words came from my head, not the TV….where did those words come from? Well, about five hundred years ago a very infamous Catholic priest supposedly said them--Johann Tetzel. Martin Luther used Tetzel's words as inspiration for the 95 Thesis and the abuses of indulgences to foment the Reformation.

Wow. I thought. I am witnessing modern-day Protestant indulgences. But the difference is that Johann Tetzel supposedly bragged that the money you gave to the church released the souls in purgatory. Actually that is bit more altruistic. These preachers are saying you give to their ministry and God will give you, personally, a big bonus of some kind. The inference is that it will be money, but I also heard him promise a guy named Nelson and a woman with a crippled child, healing.

With these modern-day Protestant Indulgence abuses, I am wondering where our modern-day Martin Luthers are to post a few good Thesis---maybe in Christianity Today or at least go on Good Morning America.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Joys of Catholic Intellectualism

"Be careful, Teresa," the confident Southern Baptist teacher with the white-haired comb-over warned me, "don't try to understand everything...."

I remember his next words with shocking clarity. I was expecting him to say that I am just a mere mortal, with limited brain capacity. That would make sense to me. I know I can't understand it all, nor have I ever kidded myself into thinking I could understand it all. But the words he spoke next were like a knife to my belly.

"Don't study yourself out of the church...."

My thoughts fainted right there. My hands started to shake and I felt a sob pushing up against my throat. I never heard anything he said for the rest of the Sunday School. These words sounded the death-knell to my heart. Why these words were so emotionally packed is because I had heard them over and over growing up. I was raised a Seventh-day Adventist and I was taught that all other denominations were either deceived or plain stupid. But, at the same time.... we were warned NOT to get too smart, not to go to secular colleges, censor all the knowledge that comes your directions so that you won't fall into atheism.... The Devil is in the details--the scientific facts--just waiting to "catch ya" and pull you into secular humanism.

One day in my mid thirties, as a very happy healthy Christian, it just dawned on me how incredibly stupid that saying was..... how lacking in faith. God GAVE us a brain and made us thirst for knowledge and wisdom and why would He then warn us NOT to use our cognitive gifts lest we fall from Him? My husband and I simply rejected that. So, we tossed our fears out the door and IN FAITH walked into the "valley of the shadow of death" of study.

The first thing I did was walk right into the library and pick up "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. Then I began watching his DVDs and television interviews and debates. I then ran into "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawkings and eagerly absorbed it. I even started taking lessons via DVD of things I always had a guilty desire to know--"The Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality" by Dr. James Gates of the University of Maryland. IT WAS AWESOME!! Wow. The polar opposite of what people had feared happened. All this knowledge made me more convinced than ever of a creator God.

What a terrible thing--to teach people that they have to FEAR knowledge--that somehow God will disappear when we think. That is an amazing leap into non-faith. Any group that would have to revert the the threatening warning of "Don't study yourself out of the church" was very suspect. But I simply never expected any other group but the Adventist church to say that......

Was I wrong.....

It seems to me that Fundamentalist Protestantism divides Faith and Facts--they compartmentalize them--like they are mutually exclusive. You have to walk around constantly ignoring so much--and subconsciously terrified that "they" know something you don't that will shred your entire value system.

Catholicism believes faith is superlogic. Faith is that which is above reason and logic. It does not argue with facts, but builts upon them. Catholicism doesn't IGNORE scientific evidence, but believes there is so much more learning YET..... (Faith is in that YET part....).

What I have found is a supreme confidence in a church that has weathered the storms of two-thousand years of attacks-- religious, cultural, secular, political and INTELLECTUAL. This church has been there--done that--gotten the shirt and seems to have learned from their mistakes. Protestantism just seems to forever cycle through the same mistakes. When disagreements on theology or worship surface, people break off and become their own favorite Luther and begin another denomination with "here I stand...." hoping to get others to stand with them. They do not survive the tests of time and grow spiritually from the internal battles.

Catholicism has had the greatest minds of science, theology and philosophy for two millenia pondering the same thoughts we do. Catholicism has built upon these geniuses and learned from the missteps and miscalulations and human errors of billions of people in a mulitude of cultures. They pretty much are confident that they will be able to handle the problems of today for they have withstood persecutions, stagnation, pornocracy, stupid popes, pagan infiltration, the plague, misunderstandings, changes in language, being torn apart by relgious and political wars, the industrial revolution, pedophilia....

This church has really been through a lot. And look at her now--the post Vatican II Bride of Christ. She is humbled by her mistakes and has sincerely repented and asked forgiveness from the world for her abuses. She has survived the most vicious onlslaught of the Devil through the media and other Christians. She has challenged her own theologies and pruned her doctrinal vine and now her fruits are flourishing. She has been through so many stages of immaturity and learning that Protestant denominations simply have not.

There was a brief time some Catholics said--don't study, don't look, don't touch. But it learned from that mistake. For most of its life Catholicism has gone full throttle towards understanding the universe God made. It has plunged the depths of science and philosophy as a way of honoring its creator and it is only recently that humans have insisted that knowledge will shatter faith. Actually I have found that intellectualism has brought faith to its knees..... in praising God.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Joy of Confession

God forgives sin, not priests.

Catholics come at sin from a different perspective than Protestants. Catholics see everything through the eyes of the church being the bride and body of Christ. You are a part of that body if you have been baptized. It is not primarily a legal relationship (as Luther described) as if we are on trial and Christ is our lawyer, Catholics teach we enter a Covenant relationship and God becomes our father. Christ, His "only begotten Son" then becomes, as the firstborn Son, the Redeemer--the blood avenger of the family.

As a part of the covenant community of faith, Catholics believe there is not such thing as private sin. Our sin affects the body. So, as Christ said, if you sin against another--put your sacrifice down at the altar, run and repair your relationship with your brother and only then come back and ask forgiveness from Him. (Especially a very public sin such as adultery, murder, theft--you must be reconciled to the body and also because of the public scar you put on the reputation of the church to non-believers.) The early Christians had public confession, but since the 7th century, the church has accepted private confession to the priest.

By the way, Catholics believe you can confess and encourage you to immediately go to God and confess a sin that you committed. But if the sin is grave enough or public or habitual, you are encouraged to bring it to the church for help.

John 20: 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Catholics believe that Jesus was setting up a perpetual system that would give the leaders of His church the authority to forgive in His name (II Cor. 5:18). Christ knew the nature of man. We need to confess our sins. It is extremely humbling to hear yourself say aloud your sins and brings yourself to a crisis of understanding the depth of your sins.

The priest, as the chief local shepherd of the body, is the person you would go to as the symbol of the community to ask forgiveness. The Catholics also believe that the priests were given this same gift of speaking His words of forgiveness just as the early Apostles in the above text. So when you confess to the priest your sin against the body can be forgiven, simultaneously with asking God himself for forgiveness.

Actually, we don't ask the priest to forgive us, when we go into confession, we ask the priest (as God’s servant) to BLESS us--not forgive us, and then we tell Christ our confession.

The first time I went to confession, I resented that the Lord wanted me to drag up all my dirty little secrets for a man to listen to. It seemed creepy. Didn't God already forgive these sins? Hadn't they already reached the bottom of the deepest sea and didn't He promise to "remember them no more?"

But, I went.... and It wasn't easy. In fact, I didn't really even feel sorry for the things I repented of. I was just too nervous and embarrassed and giggled foolishly. But over time I have learned a lot about confessing.

When you go in, you are not supposed to excuse the sin. That is the hardest part for me. I have an extreme need to cover the sin myself, let the Lord know why I did such a terrible thing so He won't think it is so bad--and I am so bad! To hear yourself actually SAY ALOUD your sin is a phenomenal thing. There is some psychological circle that makes it so REAL when your ears hear your lips actually saying the "thing" --ripping the sin from your heart and laying it out so exposed to ridicule, so exposed to judgment of others. It takes all my self-control NOT to scream out, "It really isn't that bad... if you had only known.... It was the lesser of two evils..... I HAD to do it.... If you only knew my life...."

But there the sin lies, out of the darkness into the light and it makes you panic with shame. Somehow I never feel sorry enough. I tend to feel shame that someone now knows what I did, but not really as sorry as I should be, now that the whole thing is so..... so.... out there. Now the sin is actually hurting me back.

The full measure of sin doesn't always hit you right there, but almost always it does shake you up a bit to see sin so clinically. It reminds you that you are a sinner.

Then you hear the voice of God, through His anointed priest say, "Your sins are forgiven." And he tells you to go and sin no more. Then he gives you some spiritual exercises, like prayer, that will help you to overcome the temptation the next time. You see, God wants to put as much distance between sin and us as possible. Our first impulse is to snatch the sin back and hide it in our pocket--get it out of sight. It is extremely difficult to leave it there and know God is getting rid of it permanantly.

For some sins, you leave feeling very vulnerable now that its gone. Often we kind of depend upon sin, we think it gives us power or relieves pain. But now it is gone and you begin to feel lighter. Soon you don't want to ever think about it again--because the more distance you get from the sin, the worse it looks.

I think the reason so many people pay psychologists the big bucks is because we really internally WANT someone to tell us that our little pet sins are "okay' and "needed." We want an official approval because, after all.... our spouses are so rotten, we had a bad childhood, we are so weak. But the truth that we hear and experience in confession-- what we really don't want to know.... is that we and the sins we cherish can survive apart!

The Joys of Catholic Sex

Sex is not a right. It is a gift from God in order to populate the kingdom of God. He gave it for a very specific purpose, not to everyone at anytime.

Now to branch off from that for a second before I get into what I really want to say, because I think this will help. We are ALL called to "be fruitful and multiply" and populate God's kingdom. But we are not all called to do it sexually. Some people are called to be priests and nuns and populate God's kingdom by bringing souls who are already born to the banquet. God was the first to understand that not ALL women are like me. Some women DO want careers. So God just realized that babies need their mommies attention, so God, really the first to understand this, became the first Feminist and gave a woman the choice. If your heart is career-minded--become a nun! No one is to live for selfish, self-centered reasons--so if you choose not to have babies, you must choose to serve in some other capacity. Catholics have always allowed women the choice. Same with priests.

Now onto my other points. I didn't realize how potent sex was and how deeply it affected a person's very identity until I became a Catholic. Becoming Catholic was extremely cathartic for me. You see, I had looked at my husband and thought, "Wow, I would SURE be doing the world and all the children of the future a really great deed by having LOTS of little Arthurs and Arthurettes because he is so kind. The world isn't all that kind. He is so gentle and listens. The world could really use some gentle listeners in the future. And to top it all off, he is like..... totally gorgeous. Men and women of the future will call me blessed because I gave them such wonderful spouses."

Then when Arthur was always so FREAKED out that I might be pregnant the 24 years we were Protestant, and was so careful to use birth control, it insulted me. Obviously he didn't want the world populated with a lot of little "me"s. It hit at the very core of my feminine identity. He wasn't fond of the fact that I could produce life! My power did not lie in muscles or career, but my true power, that of being a life-giver, was being rejected. I didn't even know how incredibly hurtful this was until we became Catholic and he said, "You know, maybe we should have some more kids." (Now obviously, in my mid-forties I knew he wasn't being completely serious, our youngest was 18--but I burst into tears and had a total meltdown. Those words were the most important words of my entire marriage. They healed me in ways I never even knew were damaged.)


We can, as humans, invent all kinds of new and ever more potent ways of killing, but we will never be able to come up with a better way of creating life. We can manipulate the system, create multiples, clones, genetically engineer the materials, but the basics of egg and sperm I truly doubt we will ever be able to be without. Sex is truly the most potent gift God ever gave us.

So God gave it to specific people at specific times. This is what the secular community just doesn't understand about Christianity. They believe there is no difference between animals and humans, so sex is just like eating or taking an aspirin. Do it "as needed to relieve symptoms." So when you try to say sex should be restricted in any manner, they think you are taking away a fundamental right of all species.

But as Christians we need to understand that ALL sexual encounters are limited by God. He has given it ONLY in specific circumstances as a gift to BOND married people and have them reproduce in a loving, committed marriage.

Within this marraige it still has limitations. A man should never rape his wife. A spouse cannot go OUTSIDE the confines of marriage to have sex. It is for them alone. Even then, as a Catholic, we teach ALL sexual experiences must be open to life. That means no seed can be spilled outside of the womb. That has some significant restrictions for Catholics that Protestants don't have.

So Catholics beleive God's gift is very restrictive--so they are not being harder on homosexuals, or people who are not married. Catholicism isn't being mean by telling people they shouldn't. They just believe God didn't give that particular gift to anyone outside a male/female committed for life, blessed by God, eternal union. But God gives many abundant gifts to everyone.

Catholics understand the powerful nature of sex. It is not and can never be just like eating. We don't have extensive counceling for people who were forced to eat too young. We don't have crisis centers for those who accidentally got sick from overeating.

God gave to married people the gift to BE LIKE HIM!! To create life. We are all free to be creative--music, poetry, art, architecture, literature, dance, design.... and most of us do create something in our daily work.... even if its breakfast. We are people who create. We feel stifled if we don't, we feel like slaves if we don't create. But the most powerful creative purpose we have as humans is the power to create ourselves. We can not only be eternal in the kingdom of God, but we can create little mini-mes to go there too. God wants the product of this power, to be used as directed.... so that those little souls can feel loved and wanted and nurtured. Sure we can always mess it up, God give us the freedom to be really rotten parents. But that does not take away the value of the gift. Catholics understand that.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Joys of Catholic Families

I wake up every morning so very happy that I am a Catholic.

Catholics tell you to make babies! ("Be fruitful and multiply....")

I LOVE children and I have always wanted to have a lot of them. But our culture told me not to, that babies are a burden. It is almost wrong to have too many of them..... hurts the environment, takes time away from my relationship with my husband and other children, tires me, keeps me from having a career. And THINK about my waistline..... tsk, tsk, a pencil thin woman might come and take my husband away.....

"Really.... what WERE you thinking Teresa? You are SO smart, why waste your life and God-given talents and education by staying home with your CHILDREN? Selfish.... wasteful... extravagent. You may have one or maybe TWO but, after that... think of your family, your patriotism, your world...."

Then I became Catholic and found out GOD LIKES BABIES. His first command was for us to have ........ yes...... SEX and make babies, lots and lots of them. Populate HIS KINGDOM with those precious little eternal souls. God loves babies and hates when we kill them..... Catholics teach it is wrong to even use artificial birth control. THAT IS A SIGN OF FAITH!! That we would even allow GOD to decide for us how many babies to have.

It is only in our time that children are considered a curse, a burden. Not long ago, our babies were our REWARD from God and He said in scriptures, "Happy is the man who had his quiver full of them." To Catholics life IS precious. This life and the next life; it is all a wonderful gift from God and must be protected and nurtured from the second we are a little glimmer in God's eyes till our fleshly bodies are shed and we follow our beloved Maker into the next world.

It is our culture of "me"ism that has twisted our thinking about big families.

MOMMIES and DADDIES would be SO happy if we started to think differently about our children.

1. When we started allowing our children to run our houses and lost our authority as parents, we lost control of our homes and our children became a burden. If we could relearn the art of discipline then we could enjoy our children again. PARENTS: RAISE YOUR CHILDREN IN A WAY THAT YOU CAN ENJOY THEM!!

I don't see a lot of parents enjoying their children. They are either yelling at them or ignoring them. Give them twice as much love as discipline and LOTS of discipline. By the time they are four or five, they know who is running the show and I can guarantee that if THEY FEEL THEY are running the show, everyone--mostly the children themselves--will be miserable. Never be angry with your child. Give them a swift swat on the bottom before they can understand anything else when they disobey. Then when they can understand, give them consequences and FOLLOW THROUGH..... Once they know whose boss, you will begin to enjoy them.

2. Set limits on their time. What ever happened to naps? Kids don't get naps anymore..... How stupid is that? It gave some time to mommy and the kids learned to play by themselves and listen to the quiet. Quiet time is good on their creativity and nerves. MAKE SURE your kids get quiet time-- a couple of hours a day.

3. Families need to help. Don't take a job too far away from your family so they can help with your children. Sounds like I want to go back to days of Leave It to Beaver and I say YES! Let' s make the sacrifice to stay around family so we can all bond and parents can have help. Life is about sacrifice. Its good for you.

So, to sum this first post up......

Catholicism loves babies and families and know that all the struggels involved are good for us. Like the old saying a couple of rocks have to knock against each other for a long time before they become polished gems.....