33 days to Morning Glory

February 6, 2014

Our non-Catholic brothers are missing out on one of the greatest blessings we enjoy as Catholics, our Holy Mother.  One tends to over hear the oddest comments in busy restaurants.  The other day (not meaning to eavesdrop but she was so loud! ) I overheard a diner state:  Oh Mary is no big deal; she was just a vessel… That comment shook me to my core.  She was just a vessel the same way Jesus was just a prophet!

On October 16, 2002, the 24th Anniversary of his election as Roman Pontiff, Blessed Pope John Paul II signed the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (the Rosary of the Virgin Mary) that presents the Rosary as an outstanding way to contemplate the face and mysteries of Christ. He also proclaimed a “Year of the Rosary”, which extended from October 2002 to October 2003.

For 900 years there have been three series of five mysteries in the Rosary: the Joyous (the infancy of Jesus), the Sorrowful (the Passion of Jesus), and the Glorious (Christ and Heaven). Given that in these 15 mysteries prayed up until now the great events of Christ’s public life were not contemplated, in the new apostolic letter the Pontiff adds five mysteries, which he calls the “mysteries of light”: 1) Jesus’s Baptism in the Jordan, 2) His self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana, 3) His proclamation of the Kingdom of God with the invitation to conversion, 4) His Transfiguration on Mount Thabor, 5) His institution of the Eucharist. (http://www.michaeljournal.org/rosary.htm),

Mary was the chosen one.  Just as the prophets before and the disciples afterwards.  Mary was chosen by God to give birth, raise, nurture and be part of the death and resurrection of our Lord.  Mary has been present through various apparitions being there to console and prod us in our faith.  Father Michael E. Gaitley has published a treasure of a book allowing us to learn more about the Holy Mother and to consecrate ourselves to her.  33 Days to Morning Glory has 33 short daily reflections.  These reflections are from devoted Marians including Blessed John Paul the II (to be canonized April 22, 2014).

There is one particularly powerful reflection in the book.  It hits home because we have a daughter living in Los Angeles that we are constantly praying for.  St. Maximilian Kolbe calls us to put our prayerful petitions in the Holy Mother’s hands.  Then he goes a step further.  He tells Her to use his prayer and sacrifices and use them for someone else in more dire need.  Having full faith that Mary will get to our petition when it is really needed.  That has helped me immensely.  Even though we fear for our daughter’s safety I now put those fears in Mary’s hands.  I pray to Her to first help those girls more in need than my daughter with the full faith of knowing my daughter will be protected when need be….. This reflection has brought great peace to me.

I was blessed that my father was a Marian devotee and hope my example awakens in my daughters the same love of Mary.

33 Days to Morning Glory

Mary Queen of Peace, pray for us!


Iphones and teens, not always a good combination…..

February 1, 2014

The ostrich effect is the easiest parental theory to implement. There are so many heart aches avoided, so many disappointments averted and peace reigns in our home. It’s just so much easier to look away. It’s so much easier to hide under the pretense that teens need to be trusted. It’s just so much easier not to pry…..

But my wife, bless her heart, pries, sticks her head out of the sand and pokes, pokes and pokes some more. She casually mentioned to a close friend the other day to check her daughter’s texts and Instagram in order to be aware of what her daughter is being exposed to. Her friend responded: But you need her Iphone code to do that!

I have a friend that says when everyone around you seems crazy, maybe it’s you that’s really crazy! My wife and I are in the minority regarding monitoring Iphone use for our teen. The Iphone is a wonderful entertainment piece and a very efficient business tool. However, it is also a conduit to all that is dangerous with the internet.

We have been flabbergasted with the texts we have read and the pictures we have seen from girls we thought were prim, proper and respectful. Many texts each other with regular use of profanity. They send provocative pictures that would destroy their reputations if posted on one of the many social media sites available.

They seem innocuous to the ramifications that could come about with their Iphone activity. Colleges are now scouring social media to find out more about applicants. Employers are doing the same. Schools have joined this effort to monitor for inappropriate behavior. The consequences are dire.

I know it’s easier to look away, but we MUST get involved. No, a young teen has not earned the right to be fully trusted. No, they do not have the life experience to properly asses a situation and deal with it accordingly. We are abdicating our parental responsibilities by turning a blind eye to the unfettered power of the internet.

You pay the Iphone bill, you have ALL the right to monitor its use. A few tips:

  • Get the code and forbid them to change it without giving you the new one.
  • Take the phone away for an hour at a time while at home.
  • Do not allow the phone in the room while they are sleeping. Group chats keep them awake for hours!
  • Do not allow the phone at the dinner table. Today’s teens have lost the art of looking people in the eye and holding a conversation.
  • Use the taking away of the phone as a way of prodding the type of behavior you seek from them. Take it away for a week so you will see the attitude adjustment that creates!
  • On a weekly basis take the phone away without forewarning. Look at the text threads, look at Instagram and Twitter. Search her camera roll.

Parenting is a full-time job. Teens need parameters now more than ever.  They need our life experience to teach them how to deal with the constant moral threats they are receiving.  At the end of our life, we will partake in the ultimate exit interview and final entrance exam! We will be asked what we did as parents to bring our children to God. What did we do to warrant the beautiful blessing we were given? How did we protect them from harm?  Did we pry and poke?

I for one do not want to fail that exam! Eternity is in the balance…..

Mother Mary pray for us……


Empowering teens versus abdicating parental guidance….

January 27, 2014

My wife and I already raised one daughter through adolescence, high school, college and graduate school. Every now and then I beat myself up over what I could have done different.  But one thing is for sure, we did the best we knew how to do and that included a lot of prayers and discernment on what was the best for her. I will never criticize a parental decision concerning their children - except when that decision is given over to the teen to make.

I am convinced teenagers desire structure, guidelines and parameters.  We have been entrusted by God to raise these precious creatures.  Sometimes, in fact many times, that means making tough and unpopular decisions on their behalf.  Choosing a high school is one of those life changing decisions.  I was flabbergasted by otherwise caring and intelligent parents and how they turned such an important decision over to the hands of a 13-14 year old.  Since when do they know at such an inexperienced age what is best for them?

I heard time and time again:  Well she wants to go to this high school so I guess it’s OK with me…… The other day I overheard a parent telling their teen:  It’s OK if you want to leave your current high school to go to another… The imortant thing is that you are happy….. Teenagers are not equipped to make life altering decisions.  Especially when there is a parent or two, with much more life experience available, to guide and give advice.

Imagine allowing a teen to leave a high school because it may be perceived to be  too difficult?  What happens when the next one is “difficult” as well?  Move them again??!!  One of the few exceptions I can think of is when the teen has an exceptional talent.  There are high schools tailored to specific talents.  I can see a parent collaborating with a teen on attending a high school because of a passion and/or talent the teen may have.

We have to be careful with the slippery slope of giving teens too much latitude on decisions regarding life.  We are on this Earth as parents for a reason, if not, then why are we parents?  Just leave the teens alone to go about life?  They will have ample opportunities to make mistakes and correct the same, when they become young adults.  In the meantime they rely on us to guide, correct, discipline, act as cheerleader, support and pray; to guide them along until adulthood.

May God give us the patience, wisdom, discipline and Grace to realize we have been given a great responsibility and blessing that cannot be abdicated.  It is ours to lose, in more ways than one.

Our Lady and St.  Joseph, parents of our Lord, pray for us!


Governor Huckabee and a women’s libido…..

January 26, 2014

Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on Thursday said, “Women I know are smart, educated, intelligent, capable of doing anything that anyone else can do. Our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women. That’s not a war on them. It’s a war for them.”

He added, “And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government, then so be it.”

Then the Twitter firestorm began, lead by erroneous comments from the liberal press…..NBC’s Kasie Hunt and CNN’s Dana Bash immediately tweeted: It was Huckabee’s opinion that women couldn’t control their libidos!  By the time Hunt and Bash (what great liberal journalist names!) apologized, it was all over the mainstream press… . Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood called his remarks “chilling”.   And she never heard those remarks directly from Huckabee!

Jaqueline Alemany from CBS News stated:  Many Republican leaders are concerned about Huckabee’s remarks”…. Since when can one trust what anyone from CBS says?  Oh yea, not since Dan Rather fabricated a story on former President Bush (43).

Sharon Day, a Republican National Committee co-chair,  emphasizing the importance of winning back women for the Republican Party saying, “Women are not a coalition, we are not a group to be outreached to — we are 53 percent of the vote.  And winning back they are.  That is why the Democratic Party liberal press (before Fox that used to be a redundant statement) are so concerned with likable Republican leaders such as Mike Huckabee.  He scares the beejesus out of them with his folksy style and religious views.

Huckabee defended his remarks Friday night telling Fox News, “In fact everything I was accused of saying, I was actually saying the polar opposite. This was an affirmation of the intelligence, of the capability of women.”  Sorry Governor, as long as the Liberal press runs scarred, the disinformation and campaign to destroy will continue…. Bring on the mid-term elections…. the liberals are running scared!


To blog…or not?

January 22, 2014

Two Catholic men who I admire because they not only talk the talk – but walk the walk, are avid bloggers.  I started blogging last year with much enthusiasm, then little by little came to a stop.  I read their blogs with great enthusiasm and realize it is number one, a cathartic experience for the blogger and number 2, a great way to let others know they are not alone!  Thanks to these two men and hopefully for the greater good, I will restart the blogging engines….The Catholicmanblog is back!


The end of the world with my brother Elias, lost in absolute darkness…!

December 21, 2012

So this morning at 5:30am our intrepid cycling club, termed the “B” team by our faster brothers and sisters, went on our morning ride.  This morning the B Team is down from our usual 3 riders to just Elias and I…. Our third brother doesn’t like to ride when it’s under 80 degrees or over 85 degrees or if it is a Monday or Friday…..! 

We began the year by riding 10 miles in an hour…  For those mathematically challenged, it works out to an average speed of 10 miles per hour.  The “A” team is quite concerned about that since they do around 25 miles in the same time span….  However,  now, by the end of the year, we are riding 14 miles in the same hours time!  I don’t know about you but in my book that’s progress…. Maybe by this time next year we can get it to 20 miles per hour…but I wouldn’t hold my breadth…. You see we do this more for the camaraderie of spending time with fellow Catholic men and the hope of losing a few pounds…Not necessarily with the idea of becoming Olympians…

Of course when we peddled off this morning our thoughts turned to the Mayan Calender predicting December 21st as the end of time….My 13 year old tells me that is because that’s when the calendar stopped…. except that recently the rest of the calendar was found behind someone’s sofa so life as we know it continues….

In order to boost our ride to 14 miles Elias and I bravely searched for a new route,  albeit in the darkness typical of Coral Gables streets before the sun comes up. So of course we get lost in a community we have lived in for many, many years…. You see instead of elevated street signs, the Gables has little markers on the ground level virtually  impossible to see in daylight, imagine in darkness!   

It is now heatedly debated who said what about having to go South when we needed to go North….  He mentioned something about checking our GPS but real men don’t do that… or so I claimed…  You see my brother Elias has a lot of wonderful qualities and like all of us he  has a few lovable personal characteristics as well… One of them is his ability to cry at a moment’s notice… So wanting to avoid that I relented and stopped and checked my GPS.  Guess what?  We were going the wrong way! 

And now you know the rest of the story as to how we got to 14 miles on the day the world was supposed to end!


It’s so much easier to just drop off our daughter….

September 23, 2012

The shame of it is that we are one of the few parents, and the only in my daughter’s peer group, that already raised a girl….now 23 years old.  That doesn’t mean we didn’t make mistakes then and that we don’t now….But if I had that resource of experience and knowledge in my parental peer group, I would certainly try to learn from their actions and try to understand their rules concerning our 13-year-old daughters….

Sunset Mall was also the location of choice 10 years ago when our first daughter was 13.  She wasn’t dropped off without supervision until the beginning of 10th grade…..  It seems my now 13-year-old, just starting 8th grade,  is the only one requiring adult supervision while at the mall.  It’s so much easier to just drop her off and let her fend for herself with other 13 year olds… 

Mind you, Sunset Mall is in a challenging neighborhood and police patrolling the mall openly talk about gang problems, drug use and petty crime. Plus, there is enough peer pressure on young teens.  Having them fend for themselves in an anthill of other teens and young adults is an unnecessary pressure on their young psyches.  There are two variables going on here. One is that with a parent close by, basic human psychology states that the young teen will be more wary of her decision-making with a parent close by.  The other variable is that if something were to happen at least a parent is in close proximity.

Regardless, it is our choice as a parent to not leave her alone regardless of how tired we are.  Yes, it’s a hassle, yes, it’s boring for the adults and yes, we rather be doing something else.. But what about parental responsibility?  Instead of helping ourselves and working as a team, covering supervised mall trips, sharing drop-off and pick ups….We will be forced to have our daughter choose a different peer group…A group more in line with what we believe to be responsible adult actions.

For at least the remainder of this year. my wife and I will go to the mall with our 13-year-old and have an old fashion date night.  That way we share some one-on-one time with each other and are there for our daughter as well….

Hopefully one day she will understand and appreciate the tough choices we make.  These choices however, shouldn’t be made tougher by parents that should be part of our support network….


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