My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II




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How to Have a Domestic Church part 2 - It takes two to tango!

The wedding of Calvin and Helen

Last week I blogged about how important is for the wife/mother of the home to have her own personal relationship with God. This is really important. In fact it's half of the foundation. So it make sense that the other half of that foundation needs to be just as strong in faith! The second part of having a Domestic Church is a faith filled, Godly husband!

A couple of years ago I heard Michelle Tepas speak at a local Catholic High School about her husband and their courtship. They both were very strong in their faith and the idea of being chaste before marriage. I believe they even decided to hold off on kissing until they were married at the altar! Michelle said some other things about their courtship that I found to be just beautiful, like proposing in front of a shrine and stories about her wedding day. I'm a little fuzzy on the details now, but the point is they were both starting out their marriage strong in their Catholic faith and in their desire to serve God through marriage and in creating their own Domestic Church!

But not all of us start out that way.

Mr. Pete and I were woefully ignorant of our Catholic faith when we married and we had absorbed a lot of the feminist, secular humanistic ideas that passed for religious education from our Catholic High School. I myself was very self-centered and focused on what marriage could do to make ME happy! Our home was a nice little newlywed apartment, but nobody would have ever accused us of being overly religious or spiritual.

The one thing we did have going for us were models of two wonderful Catholic couples who lived out their faith at home. For Mr. Pete it was the marriage of his devout parents. For me, it was the model of my grandparents. At least from knowing these couples we had seeds planted somewhere in us that we could draw from. And draw from them we did.

When I reconverted to my Catholic Faith I was enthusiastic and energetic and something about my delight in the Lord started that seed growing in Mr. Pete. When I would learn something about the faith and share it with him, we talked for hours. We listened to tapes together, we watched EWTN, we read. I have to say that it was one of the most exciting times in our marriage. If Mr. Pete had NOT shared my passion, I don't think I could have been successful in creating the type of family environment I envisioned. It was his support and encouragement that kept me going and lead our family forward in making our own Domestic Church.

After our sixth child was stillborn, I felt a tremendous need to surround myself with religious objects, books, and particularly pictures of the Blessed Mother and Baby Jesus. I became addicted to eBay and started winning prints and objects which were starting to come to our house a couple of times a week! Mr. Pete told me that at first he was kind of embarrassed by all the religious stuff in the house, afraid that we had become real religious fanatics! But he never said anything to me, and he personally framed and matted many of the prints that I bought. He said that there was something soothing about their presence and after a while he couldn't imagine NOT having these reminders of our faith surrounding us. That was an example of his spiritual leadership in a very subtle but effective way.

And as the children have grown, particularly the boys, they have looked to their Dad to be sure that what we are praying, reading, doing as a Catholic Family isn't just a girlie thing, but that it is really important - because Dad is doing it too!

Ironically for all my religious fervor and enthusiasm, Mr. Pete has ended up being the Old Testament teacher for the 6th grade PSR program for the past six years!

Mr. Pete has become the man of God that the children and I have needed him to be. He has supported and encouraged me, he has been willing to learn new things about the faith on his own and he has been a strong witness to our children, family, friends and neighbors. Without him our Domestic Church, our haven of faith, would not exist!


Now on another note, I am not a big fan of mixed marriages. I know the church allows it, and I know they happen a lot. I have also read the catechism passages from 1633 to 1637. However, to me it doesn't read like a ringing endorsement even if it is allowable! In a very real, practical, day-to-day sense, I do not see how a home can be fully Catholic, how the liturgical year can be fully lived and appreciated when one of the key players is not participating fully! I've been the wedding coordinator at too many new marriages where the Catholic compromises from the very start by NOT having a mass, just a ceremony! How many other things will be compromised or watered down in those marriages?

But before the slings and arrows start, I will say that my grandparents did have a mixed marriage and it was very successful and they loved each other very much for 53 years. Of course the last 30 of those my grandpa was a Catholic convert... so there ya go!

What should a wife do if she has a husband who is not as interested in having a Domestic Church as she is? This is what I would suggest.
1. Pray for him.
2. Talk to him! Share your thoughts and ideas on the subjects.
3. Leave reading material, books and tapes so that he can grow and learn with you.
4. Try to live your Catholic faith in front of your husband. Let him see how important it is. Let him ask questions and give him an opportunity to come beside. Information and trust is the key.

And for parents, I think it is very important early on to talk to your children about what is important in a spouse. If they live the liturgical year and have fond memories built around the church year, they will want that with their own families. Plant those little seeds early in the little ones, and talk about it openly with the older ones.






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Comments

  1. Not a sling and definitely not an arrow :) but as someone who is in a mixed married--I am actually married to a Lutheran pastor--your post made me sad. All I can say is that sometimes God calls us to things that are outside of the ideal.

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  2. I didn't say you can't have a Domestic Church, Annette, I just said I'm not a fan of mixed marriages. I'm also totally open to hearing other people's experiences. Lutheran is pretty close to Catholic in many ways. How do you make your Domestic Church work in your mixed marriage?

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  3. I am a Catholic married to an Evangelical Christian. Mixed marriages ARE hard.

    We didn't start out that way, BTW. We started out as vaguely Christian...I converted/reverted after our third child died at 6 weeks gestation.

    It's been all right that last two years -we've lived in a state far away from our old family and friends. I homeschool using a Catholic curriculum. My husband attends Mass with me and the children.

    We are moving back to TX, back to where he "got saved", back to his old friends and I am dreading it... I actually converted to Catholicism after attending their bible studies, complete with Jack Chick tracts. What will they say about husband going to Mass with me?

    Although, if once saved, always saved, it shouldn't matter whether he crosses the threshhold of a Catholic church!

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  4. I feel both ways about a mixed marriage. I contend that you - if you entered into marriage cool on religion- could have been most mixed marriage couples- simply cool on their religions.
    My experience has not been that of my grandmother or my great grandmother- both Catholic married to Baptist and then the hubby converted. My husband never converted...but always supported.
    One child is strong in the faith - so strong that he will not date outside of the faith right now. He believes that if the mother does not believe- neither will the child(Hummm- maybe the Jewish people have it right).
    The other is married to a non Christian. Unfortunately, they always miss the beginning of RCIA because of moves. He should be Catholic by next Easter. They attend as a family.
    the overriding question in my mind comes when your own child comes home with a non Catholic. Will you forbid the marriage? Or will you see it as God's will to help your child bring another soul to Him?
    Lots of work- I can assure you!

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  5. it shouldn't matter whether he crosses the threshhold of a Catholic church!

    I wish an Evangelical could explain to me, if a believer's salvation isn't dependent upon which church they attend, what's wrong with attending the Catholic Church?!

    But, of course, we all know that it does matter which church one attends.

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  6. They attend as a family.
    the overriding question in my mind comes when your own child comes home with a non Catholic. Will you forbid the marriage?


    I hope that before they pick a spouse that we have talked enough about these issues that they look for a Catholic spouse.

    That said, my grandma, who married into a strong anti-Catholic family always felt kindly towards her mother-in-law who accepted her and was always kind. Likewise my mother (who entered into a different kind of mixed marriage - white with Hispanic)always appreciated the love and acceptance of her mother-in-law!

    I think a mother-in-law can make a big difference in how smoothly the first years of a new marriage goes and regardless of who my children marry I want to be like Naomi to Ruth.

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  7. I didn't mean that you that said we couldn't have a domestic church. It just makes me sad to think that people are disapproving of my marriage when I honestly do believe I am exactly where God called me to be. I could have misread you though.

    A mixed marriage is really, really hard though. I don't think anyone involved in one could tell you otherwise. The thing is, marriages change. For example, I thought I was marrying a nominally Lutheran band director. Now I'm married to a very Catholic-minded Lutheran pastor, LOL!

    I believe we do have a domestic church. We celebrate the saints' days, keep the liturgical year, pray together, etc. To be honest, if he could convert and still be in a parish celebrating Mass, he probably would. (It's our understanding that he may be able to convert and be a priest, but he would not be placed in a parish.) Right now, we just stand where God put us and ask Him to show us His will.

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  8. Milehimama,
    I think you have good reason to be concerned. I was thinking about this last night and it might be the topic of my next post - but maybe it would be very helpful if you and your family could get involved with a Catholic homeschool group as soon as you are able. If your family including your husband has some Catholic friends to enjoy as well, it might make a world of difference.

    Good luck with your move!

    Elena

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  9. Oh Annette, I didn't mean the piece to mean that I disapprove of anyone's marriage. What's done is done. I wouldn't encourage a single Catholic person to pursue a mixed marriage though because it is so hard.

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  10. Elena,
    I found this post, especially the part about you and Mr. Pete, very inspiring :) I was very worried at first about telling my husband about being called to the Catholic Church, since that has never been an option for him before. God works in amazing ways though, and at the same time my husband was having these same thoughts going through him :) Many thousands of miles away. He is now attending Mass when the Priest is in his area. We are looking forward to becoming members of the Catholic family together next Easter Vigil.
    BTW, would it be okay if I copied and pasted this post and emailed it to my husband? His computer over there is secured, so there are very few sites that he can go to that are not government sites?
    Thanks!

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  11. Sure! It's a public blog. I hope he likes it!

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  12. I'm so behind on my blog reading *hides head in shame*, but this:
    I wouldn't encourage a single Catholic person to pursue a mixed marriage though because it is so hard.

    I can absolutely agree with. I would never encourage someone because you're right, it's a daily struggle.

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