The Family that Prays Together, Stays Together – Sometimes

Dinner with my boys

Coming together to break bread joins our family together in Love and laughter and brings us closer to God too.

Sunday’s Gospel spoke of Jesus’ appearance to two of His disciples after He rose from the dead. Despite the movement of the men’s hearts and the authority with which Jesus spoke, even these disciples failed to recognize Jesus until He broke bread with them.

And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:30-32)

The priest spoke of breaking bread together as a family saying many families are so busy they fail to eat together and of how this rushed lifestyle leads to brokenness in so many homes.

He implored families to eat together every day.

He implored families to pray together saying,

The family that prays together, stays together.

It was a message delivered by a priest I genuinely like, a message I believe more need to act upon and yet,

It’s a message that had me cringing in my seat and my younger boys looking up at me with questions in their big blue eyes, questions I understood because they had reverberated from my broken heart to my confused and terrified mind many times in the months after my husband’s sudden departure.

Why???

Why hadn’t that work for us?
Why hadn’t we stayed together?

Every night at dinner until three days before my husband left, we ate together as a family. My ex and I always sat next to one another presenting a unity that I thought transcended the physical location of our bodies.

To make matters more confusing,

we said our mealtime prayer together,

Every night. As a family. Holding hands.

So what happened?

I’ve gone through the possibilities over and over:

Did the family that prays together, stays together become so cliche for us that it had lost its meaning?

Did our prayer become stale, rote, tradition, rather than worship, gratitude, love?

Was the saying true or was it some made up expression designed to give a false sense of power or was it used to pull people into meaningless religion?

I don’t think so. I think the family that prays together, stays together – sometimes.

But in our case, it didn’t work; so was our dining and prayer useless?

Troy, Kaleb, and Matt Hnads joined as if in prayer but acting silly instead

Yep, these are my boys!

I can’t speak for what my ex was thinking, but for the boys and me, this time together had become so ingrained in our family’s lifestyle that it was no longer an effort.

Every night we ate together and prayed over that meal while holding hands.

It wasn’t a question.

It wasn’t an effort.

It was part of us.

Remembering that time of chaos and hurt, the gathering of what remained of my family around a meal, seeing God in the faces of my children as we broke bread together, I also see God slowly bringing beauty from our ashes as together we broke bread and thanked Him for His blessings.

Together, we thanked those who had provided us with our food – the farmers who raised the products, the truck drivers who delivered them, the grocery store clerks who sold the goods.

George

I will get a normal picture of this child one day!

We thanked those who brought meals to our home, especially in the early days after Kaleb was born and I was too distraught to handle cooking, the hunters who showed up with venison, the school teacher who arranged for our Thanksgiving basket, and others who delivered groceries when child support failed to come in.

It was over the shared meal and through joined prayer, that we, like the disciples meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus, realized we are never alone.

It was through the breaking of bread that we remained firm in our faith and came to know Jesus and one another better.

Today, my boys and I still eat and pray together every night. Some nights that hand holding is really a hand squeezing and giggles surround our words. Some nights I imagine Jesus joining in the fun, and other times I need to remind the boys that we are actually inviting the Lord to our table and they need to be a bit more respectful, but always we will be

The family that prays together

Noah at the dinner table

I often look at our dinners and think we need our own reality show!

because, with five boys, the chances of us staying together physically are slim, but our shared prayer, our breaking of bread together will link us spiritually in the one Body of Christ until we are reunited physically in Heaven.

For readings from Sunday, May 4th, 2014, please click here.

For our story of that Sunday Mass, read, Late For Mass, But Lookin’ Good!

Me

Sometimes these boys drive me crazy, but they also make me laugh. Family dinners, even when they are late and on the rambunctious side (when are they not???) are our best time  to reconnect, work things out, and just laugh and have fun. Thank you God for teaching us to pray together and for the gift of breaking bread together.

God Bless…

7 Comments

  1. Anthony T on May 12, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Please don’t think of anything I said earlier as criticism of what you are already doing, which is wonderful. I hold so strongly to the family rosary because it served my own family so well growing up, and because of what St. Louis de Montfort wrote about it. Also, there’s my devotion to Our Lady, which has always been a huge part of my faith. She has helped me out in some very direct, basically miraculous ways before. 🙂

    From my work at a Catholic high school I can understand what you say about kids not getting an education in the Faith. A lot of what I wrote in my earlier comments comes from my experience seeing how the Faith is portrayed at work, as well as in some parishes I have seen, at the college I attended, and the ideas of a nun I once worked with in an earlier job (who directly contradicted Catholic teaching in favor of what she called “social justice,” which seemed to boil down to “ignore abortion and campaign for a welfare state, and oh, doctrine is decided by majority rule, so the Church hierarchy has to get with the times”). Here at work we do have some good religion teachers, but they seem to be operating in a kind of careful mode, tiptoeing, because the kids all come in with such a secular worldview (check my latest blog post for one example of how much the kids have adopted from their surrounding culture). As I said, I don’t think that’s the right approach, precisely because of what you said about making sure our young people understand the significance of things, like the rosary. Otherwise they are just “those weird Catholic things nobody else does” and they will fall by the wayside as soon as the kids meet resistance from the world.

    A priest at my parish recently gave a very good sermon on the Rosary in which he described the physical act of repeating the words as the cloth of a tapestry on which we weave the meditations themselves. The repetition helps to focus our attention, not necessarily on the words of the prayers themselves, but on whatever we are meditating on. Kind of cool. 🙂 But yeah, someone who doesn’t understand that might think of the rosary the way the protestants do: dry repetition rather than something “from the heart.”

    May I reiterate what I said earlier about how making time for the rosary is hugely valuable? It doesn’t have to take a half hour. My wife and I usually take about fifteen minutes. Think of it like exercise: once you make it a routine, it gets a lot easier. I truly do believe that any family that says the rosary together every day will reap tremendous spiritual benefits. The rosary is a powerful spiritual weapon given to us by Our Lady; it is what won the Battle of Lepanto, and it is what Our Lady told the children at Fatima to do to gain world peace. And when she appeared to Sr. Sasagawa in Akita, Japan (an apparition approved by the Church), Our Lady warned of a loss of faith in the Church and asked us to pray the rosary for priests, bishops, and the pope. Again and again she has said that the rosary is the remedy. I am sure this is as true of the family at is of the world.

    This is not to say that the rosary is all you should do, of course, or that you should say it in a vacuum without understanding its significance or praying in any other way (after all, the mass is the highest of all prayers). But it IS very, very powerful, and Our Lady asked us to pray it daily.

    That’s easier for me to say, of course. My wife and I have only one child, and he’s only six weeks old. A daily rosary is easy for us, and since we’ll keep saying it as kids are added it will always be a part of their lives. It’s much harder to start doing it when no one is used to it. But if you carve out that time, I’m confident Our Lady will reward you. 🙂



    • Strahlen on June 3, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      Hi Anthony – I apologize for taking so long to get back to you. The end of the school year and the insanity of living in this world has stopped me from responding as quickly as I’d like to. I didn’t take your response as criticism – or at least not as undeserved criticism. I think before my life fell apart, I was content in doing some because I knew, compared to others, I was doing more, but I didn’t challenge myself, and my some was not enough. I didn’t (and still don’t!) know much about my fait; there is so much to learn that I sometimes still find that “Catholic stuff” overwhelming. Throwing another overwhelming thing into my life is well, overwhelming!

      Let me tell you how important it is for you, as the head of your house, to lead your family in prayer. I always wanted to go on a marriage retreat etc with my husband, but he mocked anything like that, and I was always self-conscious. I should have spoken up more. I see that now. You are an inspiration, and it warms my heart to know there are men out there caring for their families and leading their wives and children in faith. Good for you and them!

      Also, I have to say how much your comments have influenced my family. Although I still find it nearly impossible to say a daily Rosary with my boys, we have begun saying it together some nights, and they have been very receptive (Well, one gives me a hard time, but he usually comes around 🙂 ) I have also taken a few minutes each day to research the Rosary so that, even if we don’t have time to recite the entire prayer, we can talk about it if there is an opening, like on the five minute drive to school for example.

      I really cannot thank you enough for your comments and for your blog. I’m hoping to head over there and use some of what you have in the coming weeks (I’d like to provide a link to your vaccinations post for example if you’re okay with that). Also, if you recommend any good reading material for us to start with, please let me know. I have a bit more time over the summer and would really like to educate myself better (no more coasting through my faith!), but, like I said there is so much out there and I get easily overwhelmed and feeling inadequate.

      Thank you for inspiring me and giving me the courage to try saying the Rosary with all five of my boys at least a few times a week. God Bless…



  2. Anthony T on May 11, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Hmm . . . I didn’t mean that the mass should only appeal to men, only that it currently DOESN’T really appeal to men. But you are right; that’s kind of outside the point. More important than who it appeals to is what it is. And sadly its primary sacrificial nature is too often obscured today in favor of treating it like a meal. Whether the meal aspect appeals to people or doesn’t appeal to people, it’s a problem, because the mass is a sacrifice first and above all: the very sacrifice of Calvary made present again upon the altar. And the Eucharist is the same Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus that died on the cross for our sins.

    You may have heard the phrase, “Lex orandi, lex credendi” — the way of prayer is the way of belief. Obscuring the sacrificial nature of the mass or, at best, making it a secondary feature while playing up the communal aspect means that we start to see prayer itself as more about community and togetherness than about God. (I once read an article in which a woman equated sharing a banana with her son with the Eucharist. But they aren’t the same at all.) And that, ironically, undermines community and togetherness. Because what are we united in? Feeling good about ourselves? (“We are the people of God,” we tell ourselves again and again, but what does that actually mean?) Sometimes it seems like a great big circle: we are united in being united, we are together because we are gathered together. That isn’t enough to keep us truly united when things get difficult. This is why so many people, especially young people, are deserting the Faith. What are we giving them to contrast to the insistence of the world on questions like abortion, homosexuality, or birth control? Are we giving them a reason to believe what the Church believes? Or is our focus on ourselves rather than God undermining their ability to follow the Church even when its teachings are not easy?

    Men and women are different, as you say, and the sense of community IS a good thing, even for men. It just shouldn’t be the primary focus. As to how I would change the mass, well, that one’s easy: I wouldn’t! The mass already exists in a form that developed organically from the Last Supper, was codified by Pope St. Pius V, and has nourished saints for two thousand years: the extraordinary form. 🙂 It never obscures the nature of the mass. Attending an extraordinary form mass is a deeply personal, deeply contemplative, deeply prayerful experience. But it doesn’t obscure the communal aspect, either; it simply places the whole community beneath God. It makes our relationship to Him clear.

    Pius X wrote of the mass: “The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the Sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross, and repeated every day on the Altar. If you wish to hear mass as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart and mouth all that happens at the Altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the Altar. When acting in this way you have prayed Holy Mass.”

    I feel a greater sense of community when I am at an extraordinary form mass surrounded by people all silently praying the mass in this way, than I do at the masses I have to attend as part of my work, even though the latter masses are the ones that trumpet about community all the time and try to make us all “active” participants.

    When I do attend an ordinary form mass I try to find one by a priest who really demonstrates the sacrificial nature of the mass, who acts as a PRIEST rather than a “presider.”

    Anyway, all this is to say: when I first read your post it did seem that the priest had emphasized the meal and community aspect as a kind of prayer, and of course my thought then was “that’s why it didn’t work.” It’s good, but not good enough to guarantee a family staying together.

    I know the daily family rosary is hard, and sometimes I miss doing it, too. But it is really, really valuable. If I may, I would urge you not to be too scared that it will push your kids away from the Faith, but rather trust that God will reward the sacrifice of time that you make, and that Our Lady will take care of her own. Also, I have the feeling that treading too softly with the Faith will backfire: it will make the Faith seem like a background thing that can be ignored. (This seems to be the case at the Catholic high school where I work, anyway.) The kids might not want to say the rosary every night — I didn’t! — but it will bear fruit in the long run. 🙂

    You are in such a difficult situation, without the support of your husband and indeed with him actively working against you where the kids are concerned. I can’t imagine what it must be like. My wife and I will keep you in our prayers!



    • Strahlen on May 11, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support Anthony, and I have to say, I have been thinking about your original comment since I saw it.

      You are right in saying to tread too softly is to risk God’s wrath and have plans backfire (I’m paraphrasing here – I hope I have it right). It’s hard to explain – so much for wanting to be a writer huh? 😉 Let me give it a shot…

      My faith is part of every aspect of my life, and I hope my boys see that too. I have “Coffee with Jesus” reading the Bible almost every morning; my boys are not to interrupt although they can read and cuddle too. I made up my own journal and take notes on my reading. I hope to become better at memorizing Scripture and post verses on the bathroom mirror. We take vacations every year. We stay in state or federal campgrounds to keep the cost down and make certain to include faith in those trips. We went to Niagara Falls before the Kaleb was born and spoke of the power of God’s creation. We went to Albany, GA and met Ken Bevell, one of the stars of movies like Courageous and Fireproof. Ken is a Baptist, but he is a good man and I SO appreciate the time he took to meet with and pray for and with my boys. He modeled behavior men don’t often display publicly. We went to the Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and walked the grounds, visiting the outdoor Stations of the Cross, and speaking to a nun who explained how the sisters prayed to keep the Battle of Gettysburg away; had the battle been there, casualties, as horrific as they were, would have been much worse. We went to the Creation Museum in Kentucky and learned about the Book of Genesis and also to the University of Notre Dame and spoke of the troubles confronting “Catholic” colleges, a topic I find particularly important as my young men begin planning their future. We also speak of how college is intended to grow opportunities for social and financial advancement but if they don’t provide for an advancement in the Spirit and in faith any tuition is too high. I attended Saint Bonaventure University and met some wonderful people there, but SBU did things like invite Planned Parenthood in to speak and we had to attend for credit. At the same time, the most I learned about my faith was from a month I went to Mexico for my Spanish minor and visited the Shrine of our Lady of Guadalupe.

      I am not sure any of my Catholic education educated me as a Catholic, and I was left wondering a lot. There are things you spoke of in your comment that I still do not know but want to learn. I wish there were more Catholic places to visit, like the Creation Museum, to educate people and more Catholic media companies, like Sherwood Baptist, to help spread the word about how deep our faith really is because you are right. It has become very much about Community.

      Growing up I knew very little about my faith, but I thought that was all there was to know – and my faith attended the seminary before meeting my mother. The seminary did not make him treat my mother (or us) as he should have. It didn’t make him grow our faith even though we did as we were TOLD..

      On the other hand, my Grandfather still says the Rosary every day. He is about the best man I have ever known. He is simple and brilliant at the same time and he models the Catholic faith gently but firmly. Still, even knowing he says it daily, even though I have stumbled across him with his lips silently moving as he sits in the front window of his parlor, I thought the Rosary was something you SAID. I had no idea of (or very little idea) of the significance behind it or how each bead related to a particular event – or that there were even any events like Mysteries or countless other things! I am just learning so much in these last 5 years and am a different person, stronger because of how deep my roots of understanding are growing. I do say the Rosary almost every day too, but especially because of the range of ages, my boys and I do not have time together to sit for 30 minutes every day to say the Rosary. I wish life were different. I wish I had known all along what I am just beginning to learn about now, but I thank God for the opportunity to learn.

      I think that’s what I mean most. God saw the staleness of our meal time prayer before. We were satisfied. We did our job. I didn’t even know there was more out there so I never looked for it. God makes beauty from ashes – Well, He is using my husband’s leaving to awaken a hunger in me for a food I never even knew existed, a food that has nothing to do with dinnertime!

      I often feel that I don’t know enough. There are so many simple things about our faith that I don’t know. I’ve heard Christians suspiciously speak of Catholics as “having their own language” because so much of what is normal to Catholics is foreign to those who have never been exposed to it. I am grateful for my experiences, in part because I hope God is using me to reach out to others who have had similar mountains to climb. I don’t understand a lot of the Catholic faith, BUT I have a hunger to learn and to Love and I have none of the suspicion of those who know nothing about the faith. I also know the pain of abuse, divorce, surprise pregnancy – I could probably list a few other things too – I think you are right when you say when we face challenges Catholics turn away from their faith because there is not enough to hold them down. We have planted very shallow roots when our roots rest on community soil rather than Godly soil. I so understand that and will openly discuss my struggle with the Catholic faith, but I will also stress that I could not keep away from the Eucharist. HE kept calling me back. I knew there was more to it; I just need to learn what exactly. It is a journey of a 1000 miles that begins with the first step as they say. I am just beginning to see the path that leads to the first step and can’t wait to turn the next bend in the road to see what lies ahead!

      Even still, I often feel like Jeremiah. I am not too young in my years, but I am FAR too young in my understanding for where I SHOULD be. I want to tap God on the shoulder and say, “What are you thinking? I’m not good enough. I don’t know enough. Ya got the wrong girl here!” But then I can FEEL the Holy Spirit give me strength. I feel the NEED to reach out to others…sometimes I do it right. Sometimes I do it wrong (I may have with my meal prayer post – although I do think the meal and community can be a kind of prayer, I don’t think its an emphasized prayer). Sometimes I am uncomfortable and wonder if I am sharing too much, but I know there are souls searching for God in their crisis – as I did in mine. We need to reach them where they are and bring them to a greater understanding like you have. I am inadequate and somewhere in between you and them. I hope I can be used as a bridge. Does that sound stuck up? I hope not. I have no power of my own. I realize that now. If I am a bridge, it will only be because Jesus wants it to be that way.

      I am so glad to hear you are teaching in a high school. I hope you can plant these seeds in your students’ hearts and minds, but not just wait for them to grow…grow them by teaching more than the words, but the passion involved in our faith. We can’t count on asking them to say the Rosary or read the Bible or get down on their knees or anything to bear fruit in the long run. It’s too important to give them a deep understanding while they are young to avoid these situations later. Besides, we never know the hour we will be called back to the Master. I would ask all teachers to not just ask their students to pray the Rosary or any prayer for that matter, but to explain the significance. We need to plant our roots deep in Scripture and in the Lord. You may be doing this already, and I hope I’m not upsetting you…it’s so late, and it’s been a long day. I hope this makes sense. I normally check and double check before posting (and still miss mistakes), but I’ve been responding to you without taking the time to proofread, at least in part, because you are making me learn and think more, and I appreciate that.

      Thank you and thank your wife for me too.
      Reach those high school students!



  3. […] …turns into this! (Noah 2014) […]



  4. Anthony T on May 10, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    I’m so sorry for what happened to you. You have wonderful, admirable courage to continue on in the Faith and try to make sense of things as best you can.

    As beautiful as your mealtime prayer is, may I humbly suggest that the priest’s focus on mealtime prayer as a guarantee of staying together is a little problematic? When I first heard “The family that prays together, stays together” it was in the context of the family rosary. It was Fr. Patrick Peyton’s catchphrase. He was an Irish priest known in the 1950s and beyond (until he died in 1992) for staging rosary rallies and encouraging the family rosary as a tool for world peace. His cause for sainthood was opened in 2001.

    Praying together at mealtimes is beautiful and important, as is eating together, but I would hesitate to say that it constitutes the summit of family prayer life. Growing up, my family of nine was very chaotic and family mealtimes were rather rare — we kids usually came in and ate whenever we got around to it. But Dad made sure we never missed the family rosary in the evening. This is only anecdotal evidence, of course, but it seemed to work. So far all the kids have kept the Faith. Even my sister, who made some bad choices, never justified those choices but maintains her connection to the Faith and her family even when she struggles and does things against both.

    I think the problem is that in the last fifty years we’ve changed our idea of the mass from a sacrifice offered to God to a meal. We’ve changed the focus from God to ourselves, to our own community. For instance, at a mass I was at the other day the people all sang:

    With this bread we will walk with each other
    With this cup we will follow the Lord.

    Notice that walking with each other comes before following the Lord. If that’s too subtle, we all sang another hymn:

    For everyone born, a place at the table,
    for everyone born, clean water and bread,
    a shelter, a space, a safe place for growing,
    for everyone born, a star overhead.

    For woman and man, a place at the table,
    revising the roles, deciding the share,
    with wisdom and grace, dividing the power,
    for woman and man, a system that’s fair.

    What does any of that have to do with the sacrifice of the mass? Or with God at all? I was once at a Latin mass at which Bishop Morlino gave a sermon setting forth the Magnificat as the model for liturgical music. He said that in the last fifty years the music has become all about ourselves — “We are the people of God . . . we are praying . . . we are joining together . . . We will do this, we will do that . . . God already knows all that. Enough about ourselves!” He talked about how in the Magnificat Our Lady turns everything away from herself and back towards God, who is responsible for everything that she has.

    What Fr. Peyton knew is that the goal or end of prayer is not community, but union with God. Community comes about naturally when people share the same goal. So good Catholic communities — including families — come about when everyone is trying to become united to God. When we flip that on its head and put community first and make the purpose of prayer not God but our own community, then we lose both union with God and community. This is what we’ve seen happen across the universal Church in the last fifty years.

    Also, speaking as a man . . . boys don’t tend to care directly about community as such. We like things, and ideas, and we will get together with people who like the same things and the same ideas, but we rarely get together for the sake of getting together, and holding hands does nothing for us. 😉 This is one reason why there has been an exodus of men from the Church. Make the mass ABOUT something, something that is real and that we can tell is important — the sacrifice of Calvary — and we are content, and even inspired. Make it about “togetherness” and we run for the hills. I still cringe at every “kiss of peace.”

    I would suggest that you start a family rosary with your children, if you haven’t already. 🙂 Our Lady will protect her own. This is all the more important because your kids will not have the good example of their father. The father is a hugely important part of keeping the kids together in the Faith. In families where the dad is not religious, the kids are more likely to leave the religion.

    I can’t imagine what kind of a man would abandon his family. I was just talking about this with my wife, and she said, “He needs to be roughed up a bit.” Old fashioned, maybe, but I can understand the sentiment. 🙂 But perhaps making his spiritual welfare the primary intention of your family rosary will do more good, and will also serve to gently remind your children every day that his decision to split the family was wrong.

    Just some thoughts, for what they are worth. 🙂



    • Strahlen on May 10, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      Hmmm… thanks for commenting Anthony. You’ve given me some things to think about.

      Off the top of my head, I’ll say that, when I mentioned mealtime prayer, I didn’t mean that was our only prayer time or that the priest had implied that was the only time to pray together. I will admit however, that it was the only time we were guaranteed to pray together. We (the children and I) also pray bedtime prayers every night, and little prayers are part of our daily lives – saying Good Morning to the Lord wen we wake up each morning, thanking God for little things that happen throughout the day, etc. I was using mealtime prayer as one example since the breaking of bread and the recognition of Jesus in that moment was the focus of the sermon.
      I also mentioned that our prayer had become stale and needed a refreshing. I will be the first to admit, we could have put more effort into our prayer life. Today, I do say the Rosary almost every day. There are days I fall into bed so exhausted after a 20 hour day I cannot put a conscious thought together and days we do not have time to pray the entire Rosary. I know there are those out there who will judge me for that. I could make excuses and know all the responses, ie – We should never be too busy to pray, and I would agree! In the perfect life we wouldn’t be. I am so glad so many families stay together and make lengthy prayer sessions such a focus. That is wonderful; however, our family would rebel against that. I must make a gentle step forward when the world and their father’s lifestyle is charging at them, screaming at them to turn away, I must walk gently, speak softly, laugh freely, and love unconditionally so they do not turn away from their faith. I try to do this by inserting faith in manageable doses throughout the day – Modeling daily Bible reading, Scripture verses posted on sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, the Rosary said using the Laudate app on long car rides. There are countless ways I try to grow their faith, but I am far from perfect. I am glad the Lord does not expect us all to do things in one particular way.

      I went to a Catholic high school and Catholic college but never learned about the Truth of the Rosary or why to pray it or half the other stuff I’m discovering to be part of the faith I thought I knew. That is part of why I can thank the Lord for putting us in this situation – through it He has opened my eyes to countless beauty in things I didn’t know! What a Blessing!

      The one point I will challenge you on is your comment about how the church, the music, etc is all about us and less about God. I might or might not agree, but I will question your statement that we should make church more something men want to attend. Is that not very similar to saying make it more about me? I am guessing you will say that what men want is more about what God wants, more about something important. I think that is part of the beauty of the Mass. You get out of it what you put into it. If you think it is all about community, that is what it will be about. If you think it is all about God, that is what it will be about. There is a definite crisis of faith among our men though and I am glad you brought up what you think may be the problem and I am willing (and eager!) to listen and learn – What would you do to make the Mass more about something real and important? Also, women and men are very different. Is there a way to reconcile what you say men need and what women need – women often need that sense of community.

      I have to get soe things done now so won’t be able to respond for a bit but promise to get back to you if you do. For now, I’ll leave with an extended handshake (rather than a “Kiss of Peace”) and hope you’re not cringing because of it. 😉

      I’ll also tell your wife that there have been many times I’ve wanted to give him a good “roughing up” too (Still do many days!) I sometimes wonder, if men received such roughing up, if that would help fewer of them to leave – but that is part of the imperfection, the sinner in me coming out again. I will leave the roughing up to the Omniscient Judge and hope that instead He treats us all mercifully.

      Thank you for such thoughtful comments. Blessings to you and your family, and a Happy Mother’s Day to your wife!



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