Category Archives: Marriage and Family

Jane Roe of Roe vs Wade, Pro-Life Since 1995!

Norma McCorvey is better known as Jane Roe, the plaintiff in the landmark case in 1973, Roe v. Wade, that legalized abortion.  Did you know that she is a passionate pro-life advocate since 1995?  Her personal history is amazing.  She was a troubled child, an active lesbian and had three children of her own (who were given up for adoption).  In 1995, she had a profound conversion experience.  By 1998, she entered the Roman Catholic Church.  Here is an excerpt from her book, “Won by Love,” co-written with Gary Thomas:

I was sitting in O.R.’s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. ‘Norma’, I said to myself, ‘They’re right’. I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that’s a baby! It’s as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth — that’s a baby!

I felt crushed under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception’. It wasn’t about ‘missed periods’. It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion — at any point — was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.

See her testimony in this video produced by VirtueMedia:

 

Twin Blessings

This article originally appeared in the January 2015 issue Columbia Magazine, page 25.  Kevin DiCamillo is a freelance writer and editor in northern New Jersey, and is a member of the Don Bosco Knights of Columbus Council 4960 in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Seeking to adopt a child following medical difficulties, a Knights of Columbus couple received an unexpected gift.

The DiCamillo Family are pictured at their home in New Jersey
The DiCamillo Family are pictured at their home in New Jersey

After my wife, Alicia, and I were married, we were looking forward to welcoming the children that God would send to our family.  Yet we never expected the challenges that we confronted when I was diagnosed with cancer.  Following surgery and months of radiation, doctors told us that we would not be able to conceive.  Amid the heartbreak, we began to explore adoption.

We checked out private agencies for domestic and foreign adoption, but chose a more affordable option close to home: the New Jersey state adoption agency.  After spending thousands of dollars on my cancer treatments, this seemed like the most sensible path.  As with most things in life, there were good and bad aspects, and in the end, we received a surprise that only God could have arranged.

Continue reading Twin Blessings

I’m Just Like Daddy

What a well-written article!  The following excerpt is from The Catholic Gentleman.  I highly recommend reading the full article.

Much of parenting, then, comes down to the example we set. But there is a deeper lesson to be learned from children, and that is the way of our own spiritual advancement.

Many times, we overcomplicate the spiritual life. We want a sophisticated program, involving perhaps copious study of theology and philosophy. We want to pray many prayers and read many books. But while these things are well and good in their place, they are not the essence of spiritual growth. In reality, the program of spiritual progress is very simple: It is carefully imitating God our Father with childlike simplicity.

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children,” teaches St. Paul, for indeed, that is what we are—children of God. In a very real sense, we can call God, “Abba, Daddy.” By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we share his nature, the fullness of his life lives in our souls. And as his beloved sons and daughters, we should aspire to say, “I’m just like you, Daddy.”

The proud in heart reject this simple way of childlike imitation. They see the spiritual life as involving many complex and difficult requirements, as a way for only the strong, mature, and knowledgeable. They have nothing but scorn for those who follow Christ in simplicity. They forget the words of Christ, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

When my little boy looks up with me and says, “I’m just like you, Daddy,” my heart is filled with love and joy. I want him to be like me. What father doesn’t? So to it is with the family of God. God our Father longs for us to be just like him, to radiate his image fully and completely. His fatherly heart greatly desires us to look up at him with love and say, “I’m just like you, Daddy.”

In sum, the Christian life, the Catholic life, is striving after conformity to Jesus Christ, our elder brother in the Divine family. We want to exchange our lives for his, to the point that he lives perfectly in and through us. We must imitate him in every thought, word, and deed, until we can say like St. Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

Pillow Talk with God

I am not alone when I pray.  The Holy Spirit is there to guide me.  My friends, the saints whom I often turn to are there (St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Joseph, St. Thomas More, St. Jose Maria Escriva).  Prayer is a solitary activity, but I’m not alone.

I learned this past year the importance of liturgy in my prayer life.  While personal prayer is like pillow talk between God and I, active participation in the liturgy is prayer at a higher level.  Praying through liturgy is transcendental.  I am part of something greater than myself.  It is the spiritual equivalent to the conjugal act between husband and wife — it’s happening between Christ and His Bride, the Church!

Communion at Mass is more profound than sex.  Christ enters every member of His Bride, and His Body and Blood is absorbed into each member of her body, the Church.  The very divinity of Our Lord seeks to enter each soul, to unite with each member of her body.  This transforming union takes place to the extent that each member is holy.

That’s why I pray.  That’s why I want to be holy.  to be united with my beloved through the Church.  I am nothing on my own, by I am everything when I am with God in the Church.  Great sex with our spouse is only a shadow of the ecstasy we will experience in the transforming union with God.

Reading Fr. Thomas Dubay’s “Fire Within” has been the spiritual direction I needed.  It’s not the same as having a real-life coach, but the book is a stop-gap until God connects me with one.  Discursive meditation should lead me to simple contemplation.  Increasing distraction should be normal.  Feeling like I’m failing at prayer is also normal — although, I admit, I haven’t really experienced that aridness, yet.  When I do feel dryness in prayer, I should persist.  God doesn’t ask for us to “feel it” during prayer.  He asks us to be faithful.  I don’t have to feel like going out on a date with my wife.  I just have to do it faithfully, regardless of my feeling at the moment.

When I finish “Fire Within,” I should refrain from jumping to the next book.  I should instead put more time towards contemplation.  I should use the Liturgy of the Hours as a springboard to lectio divina.  I suspect the Office of Readings will be particularly fruitful.

Dear Holy Spirit, I do not know how to pray as I ought.  I fear that I am not advancing in my prayer life.  I seek to be united with you in the Most Holy Trinity.  Show me, Most Holy Counselor, how to grow in contemplation.  Help calm me if I fret.  Remind me that the process takes time, that this kind of prayer is less about effort and more about fidelity.

Help me, dear Holy Spirit, to be more detached to the creations of this world.  Reveal to me my hidden faults.  Purify me.  Burn away my imperfections so that the windows of my soul can shine your light without filter.

I love you, my Lord.  Abide in me and help me abide in you.  Amen.

Homily on the Holy Family by Pope Paul VI

Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand his Gospel. Here we can observe and ponder the simple appeal of the way God’s Son came to be known, profound yet full of hidden meaning. And gradually we may even learn to imitate him.

Here we can learn to realize who Christ really is. And here we can sense and take account of the conditions and circumstances that surrounded and affected his life on earth: the places, the tenor of the times, the culture, the language, religious customs, in brief everything which Jesus used to make himself known to the world. Here everything speaks to us, everything has meaning. Here we can learn the importance of spiritual discipline for all who wish to follow Christ and to live by the teachings of his Gospel.

How I would like to return to my childhood and attend the simple yet profound school that is Nazareth! How wonderful to be close to Mary, learning again the lesson of the true meaning of life, learning again God’s truths. But here we are only on pilgrimage. Time presses and I must set aside my desire to stay and carry on my education in the Gospel, for that education is never finished. But I cannot leave without recalling, briefly and in passing, some thoughts I take with me from Nazareth.

First, we learn from its silence. If only we could once again appreciate its great value. We need this wonderful state of mind, beset as we are by the cacophony of strident protests and conflicting claims so characteristic of these turbulent times. The silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God’s inner wisdom and the counsel of his true teachers. Nazareth can teach us the value of study and preparation, of meditation, of a well-ordered personal spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only to God.

Second, we learn about family life. May Nazareth serve as a model of what the family should be. May it show us the family’s holy and enduring character and exemplifying its basic function in society: a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings; in sum, the perfect setting for rearing children—and for this there is no substitute.

Finally, in Nazareth, the home of a craftsman’s son, we learn about work and the discipline it entails. I would especially like to recognize its value—demanding yet redeeming—and to give it proper respect. I would remind everyone that work has its own dignity. On the other hand, it is not an end in itself. Its value and free character, however, derive not only from its place in the economic system, as they say, but rather from the purpose it serves.

In closing, may I express my deep regard for people everywhere who work for a living. To them I would point out their great model, Christ their brother, our Lord and God, who is their prophet in every cause that promotes their well being.

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Novena for Conception and Healthy Pregnancy

Dear Lord,

Remember how I prayed for the couples who were trying to conceive?  Glory be to God, many of them now are parents.  Since that post, many visitors come to this website to see that post (web analytics for your greater glory!)  It inspired me to start a novena for this Advent Season and pray for those people who are praying to have a baby, or praying for a smooth and healthy pregnancy.

I started a Facebook event for this novena.  No one but me plans on going to this event.  That’s okay.  Only a few grains of salt are needed to change the taste of a bite of food.  Let me be that grain of salt.  You know the couples whom I hold in my heart who are still trying to conceive.  If I may be so bold, may I ask the first fruits of these novena prayers go to them?  Including the Vigil Mass that I offered for these intentions this past Saturday?

I know I am weak and that my prayers are imperfect.  Look not on my sins, but on the perfect prayers of St. Gerard Majella.  I am joining my novena prayers to his and I will be asking for his intercessions on behalf of those who are trying to conceive or want a healthy pregnancy.  Thank you, Jesus, for the Communion of Saints.  How lonely would our prayers lives be without our saints praying beside (and for) us!

I humbly ask you, dear Jesus, to grant the prayers of St. Gerard Majella.  Bless those who visit this website, looking for someone to pray for them to conceive.  They have St. Gerard, St. Therese, St. Joseph, St. Thomas More, St. Jose Maria Escrivá and myself.  We pray for them.  Hear our prayers and grant them the joys of parenthood.  We ask this in your name, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

In full: Lord Sacks speech that brought Vatican conference to its feet

Wow. I can see why Lord Sacks got a standing ovation! Dear Readers, please read the whole transcript of the speech. It is beautiful…

Catholic Voices Comment

Sacks[From Austen Ivereigh in Rome]

Among many speeches yesterday following Pope Francis’s address to the Humanum colloquium on complementarity, that of Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, was the standout, bringing the audience of 300 in the synod hall to their feet. Using dazzling oratory, he offered a magisterial account of the development of marriage from the very start — a sexual act between fish in Scotland — right up to the present day, told by means of seven stories, and ending with a spectacular exegesis of the Genesis account. It is a story with a tragic end: the dismantling of what he calls “the single most humanising institution in history” resulting in a whole new era of poverty and social division. Yet the recovery of that institution offers hope.  The full speech follows. 

I want this morning to begin our conversation by one way of telling the story…

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Dadness: The Call, The Craft, The Cross

Theology of Fatherhood – I couldn’t have said it better myself. So, I won’t. Reposted, and please read, fellow fathers.


Forget the dads you see on Television: selfish, workaholic, lazy, absent, bullying, pushover dads. They do not deserve the name. Real dadness is bigger than that. It’s as big as Our Father who art in Heaven. The call to be a Catholic dad is a call to suffer—as a husband, as a father, as a… http://www.catholicgentleman.net/2014/11/dadness-call-craft-cross/

Excommunication, Family-Style

“Listen to Daddy, Hana,” Maya says to her 1.5-year old baby sister.  “Or he’ll close the door.”

Close the door.  That sounds like a non-sequitur.  In our family, it signals the worst form of punishment: separation from mommy or daddy.  And it’s reserved for when our children throw a tantrum, stubbornly refuse to obey, or are being violent.  When Maya warned her sister, it is because she herself has a lot of experience with it.

I guess it’s a form of timeout, but I think it’s more than that.  I think it’s a taste of excommunication.  It’s a taste of Hell.  I mean, what’s worse than spending an eternity without God, the source of all that’s good?  What is excommunication, but separation from the family (i.e. Mother Church, Heavenly Father, our brothers & sisters in the parish, our Ideal Older Brother Christ)?  So, when I put Maya in her room and close the door, she is experiencing excommunication, family-style.

And, boy… does she feel it!

Maya would scream and scream and scream.  Then she would scream even louder.  So loud, that I wonder if our neighbors think there’s a massacre going on in our house.  When I open the door and tell her to calm down, she would shout with her mouth closed but still be jumping up and down.  She still would not obey; so, I would close the door.  New heights of screaming.  Maya would work herself up into a sweat.  It is, I’m sure, a horrible experience for her.  This is not any sort of timeout I’ve ever heard of.

After four of five times of opening and closing the door, Maya would repent.  She would say “I’m sorry” and acknowledge the lesson I’m trying to teach her.  Throughout this whole time I never have to raise my voice.  I calmly but firmly request what she needs to do in order to repent, and repeatedly close the door until she chooses to repent.  When she does repent, I would hug her and kiss her, which is what I wanted to do anyway.  But, discipline is the path to health and happiness.  So, the punishment — the family excommunication — was necessary.

Family excommunication would not work if Maya did not love being around me.  If she hated me, or merely had no desire to be around me, separation from her father would be a relief.  But, I deliberately die to my own selfishness so that I can be Maya’s source of joy, laughter, fun, giggles, silliness, and imagination.  I die to my self so that I can be her ultimate playfellow.  This is the source of power in “closing the door.”  Maya doesn’t want to lose this source of love.

Ecclesial excommunication works the same way.  If I don’t love Christ and His Church, then being separated from the Family of God would be a relief.

As my daughters grow in maturity within our domestic church, my hope is to draw their awareness to the true source of all their happiness, all their blessings.  Their father is so awesome not because he’s naturally so.  He’s naturally a sinner — a selfish, prideful, lustful, gluttonous man.  But by the grace of Our Good Lord, their daddy is awesome.  My hope is to draw their awareness to their talents, their beauty, their intellect as being gifts of God.  They didn’t have to be this way.  They didn’t have to be born into this family.  But they are incredible creatures, born into this wonderful family.  And they can thank no one but God.

I want to conclude, oddly enough, with a reflection on the Book of Numbers from the Old Testament.  The Book of Numbers is one of the five Books of Moses (called the Pentateuch) that is the basis for all of Judaism.  It is the story of Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness, in the desert land of Sinai, between Egypt and the promised land.  And it is painful to read — not because it’s boring — but because God literally kills tens of thousands of his own Chosen People.  Catholic teaching says that one person is of infinite value.  If that’s true, then why did God open up the ground and swallowed up men, women, children and babies (Num 16:26-32)?

That was the question I had during my lectio divina prayer on this chapter in Numbers.  Today, I thanked God for the consolation of an answer.  My thoughts ran together, but let me try to put them into logical order:

  • Bodily death loses its sting (1 Cor 15:55) with the hope of the Resurrection.
  • Christ descended into Hell for three days (Apostles’ Creed).  He preached the Gospel to the souls imprisoned there and freed the just who had gone before him (CCC 632-634).
  • A day is like a thousand years, a thousand years like a day to the Lord (2 Peter 3:8)
  • The innocent family members who died in the history recounted in Numbers 16 would have been freed by Christ when he descended into Hell.  In the timeframe of God, it would have been just ten minutes.
  • When I punish Maya with family excommunication (a.k.a. “closing the door”), it takes about ten minutes or so.
  • Just as I am a loving father and want my child to reconcile with me, so did God want to reconcile with His Chosen People who died in Numbers 16.  His 10 minutes may seem like an eternity to me, just like my 10 minutes may seem like an eternity to Maya.

Praise God, for He is the source of all wisdom, goodness and love.