3 Reasons You Should Never Troll A Catholic

Why?

1. A Catholic is ALWAYS ready with a comeback.

Such as…

Your insane troll logic is not compatible with our Earth logic.

2. A Catholic will always have an answer to whatever objections people have against the Church and the members of the Body of Christ.

We may not have these objections right away, but give us time. And a crayon.

Let me give you an example.

Say, hypothetically, you come across this often-used atheist argument.

“Catholics only do good things because they think it’ll buy them salvation. Atheists are able to be just as good as you, if not better because we’re not thinking about some heavenly reward! Just look at all these wonderful atheist people and how much money they give to charity!” And then they list all these famous, successful people from past and present and say about how they’re all atheist.

Say they list people like Warren Buffett, Bill & Melinda Gates, Andrew Carnegie.

First of all, even if it’s in name only, Melinda Gates is Catholic.

Secondly, as someone who watched The Men Who Built America, I can say that even though Carnegie was opposed to religion at first, he eventually became a Presbyterian.

Even if all these people were atheists, though, they’re all well-off and have a lot of disposable income. Not to mention donating to charity is a tax deduction. So even if they’re not going for a heavenly reward, they will receive an earthly one.

My friend Evie Schwartzbauer said, “What would be a better comparison is finding out what percentage of all atheist individuals of all income levels, in total give to charitable organizations – and to help make it more concise, only organizations that exist to help the poor & compare that to the weekly giving all the Christians do to help out their community & Christian organizations that help the poor.
I guarantee we have more per year. Christian charities outnumber any secular ones by a long shot. “

And if that atheist is wondering about how much the Catholic church or religion as a whole does for charity, I suggest this awesome video from Fr. Pontifex:

3. A wonderful thing about being Catholic is that a Catholic prays for those who hurt them.

Whenever a Catholic encounters a troll on the internet, or off-line, they will probably get angry at first. Or laugh.

You know, like this:

But at the end of the day, most Catholics will more than likely offer up their enemies in prayer. Trolls included.

So you know why you can’t troll a Catholic?

Because in the end, God will always win.

BTW, I prayed for you today.

Photo of the day: Morning Mass. BTW: I prayed for you today.

 

 

 

Lent Day 5: Sundays are NOT Cheat Days!

According to Americancatholic.org:

Technically, Sundays are not part of Lent. Although we celebrate them liturgically as part of Lent, the Lord’s Day cannot be a day of fast and abstinence. Six weeks of Monday through Saturday gives you 36 days. If you add to them Ash Wednesday and the three days after it, you get the 40 days of Lent.

Some people may find it easier to “give up” something for the entire time between Ash Wednesday and Easter, but you are correct in saying that Sundays are not part of the 40 days.

If you’re thinking of having whatever you gave up for Lent on Sundays, I only have one thing to say to that…

Cue Phoenix Wright Music!

The Sundays may not be part of Lent, but Jesus stayed in the desert for 40 days straight. And even after he finished those 40 days, he was still tempted by the devil.

I know you’re probably missing whatever you gave up for Lent by this point. I understand that, believe me.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve given up selfies for Lent. But I think I also mentioned in a previous post that I’m “giving up my crush for Lent.”

What exactly does that mean, you ask?

I’m not gonna make the first move. Or any move, really. If he calls me or makes the first move, I’ll be open to conversation, but I’m not gonna go out of my way to show him how I feel. And it’s not because “the patriarchy says so” or because I’m like my mom and think in this old-fashioned way. It’s because I need a break from all the insanity that comes with having this crush. I don’t want to obsess or overanalyze his every move and word and wonder if he’s thinking about me. I want to be able to use Lent to focus on what God wants. So for Lent, I’m giving God my heart and asking Him to take care of it.

And yet, I still miss my crush. I miss him ba-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-d.

Marianne from Sense and Sensibility By Chris Hammond (1860-1900) (Lilly Library, Indiana University) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Marianne from Sense and Sensibility
By Chris Hammond (1860-1900) (Lilly Library, Indiana University) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

So you know what I do?

To use a phrase known amongst many Cradle Catholics, I offer it up.

Why? I’ll let Rachel and Kateri explain:

And if you’re still wondering if I’m gonna regret doing this later…

A friend of mine told me that she was going on the Paleo diet for Lent. She said that over time, the body adjusts to not having that processed food and all that sugar. By the time a person on the Paleo diet eats cake again, the cake tastes overly sweet because the body didn’t really need all that sugar. And right now, I really want some emotional distance. Or at least the patience and serenity to wait and see what happens next.

I’m also going to share with you this quote from St. Francis of Assisi:

Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves so that He who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally.

So no, I am not gonna “cheat.” Because I like keeping myself accountable and I don’t like loopholes.

I hope y’all understand. And I’ll pray for you, even if you don’t.

Photo of the Day: The Nature of Confession

I decided to take CSLentIPJ’s photo prompt of “confession” and turn it into a writing prompt for this blog post.

During my MTV/VH1 phase, I saw this interview with The All-American Rejects where they talk about the making their music video “Dirty Little Secret.” The music video shows people holding index cards with drawings and various secrets written on them. Later on, I found out the website they got those secrets from, PostSecret. For a while, I was obsessed with the website. Sharing anonymous secrets has taken on a new form on social networking sites like Tumblr and Instagram. Tumblr provides the option of making “asks” anonymous. Some Instagram accounts I follow post a series of “confessionals” and share secrets about themselves with all of their followers.

Fr. Robert Barron goes into this whole phenomenon of sharing secrets and public confessions on one of his videos:

Fr. Dwight Longnecker explains the point of view of the penitent in his post that talks about his first Confession.

There’s something in our hearts that compels us to share our secrets and sins with someone. In spite of the declarations of “only God can judge” or “once saved always saved” or the idea of dualism that acts of the body don’t affect the soul, there’s still that desire for sympathy, for forgiveness, for acceptance in spite of our faults. We seek validation for our lives. We seek to improve ourselves. And sometimes, we seek solace.

Confession is unique in that it helps us acknowledge that we are not perfect, but we’re not completely broken either. It shows that no one is beyond saving and that God is a God of second chances.

So for my photo for today, I want to share this confession with you about something I’ve been called recently.

A confessional post that I posted on my Instagram.

A confessional post that I posted on my Instagram.

Lent Day 4: Falling In Love With The Process

As with many others of my generation, I am an Instagram addict. I was browsing my feed and saw this quote:

Typography by me. Background credit to @texturegraphy on Instagram.

Typography by me. Background credit to @texturegraphy on Instagram.

I’m the kind of person who loves the end results more than the process of getting there, but as soon as I saw this quote I immediately thought about Lent and all that happens during the season.

People begin Lent with an end goal in mind. Ideally, most people start with the hopes of becoming better by the time Easter comes around than how they were when Lent started. Some overzealous Christians and Catholics try to push themselves to extremes in the hopes of making the best sacrifice. Then there’s the other extreme of people treating Lent like a 12-step program and give up a small thing without really thinking much of it. They become too focused on the sacrifices they make to remember what Lent is really about: having a closer relationship with God.

Catholic Contrast goes into detail about these extremes on his video:

Lent isn’t a 12-step program or a time to go to extremes in God’s name. Lent is supposed to be a time of balance, or at least regaining that sense of balance. It’s also a time of process. And like with all processes, we won’t see the results right away. But have faith that the results will come. Til then, use Lent as a time to ask God to help you regain a sense of balance, to grow deeper in your faith, and to fall deeper in love with God Himself.

Marian Consecration: The 33 Day Spiritual Boot Camp

I’ve mentioned Marian Consecration on this blog before as a type of devotional. Today is the beginning of the 33 Day Marian Consecration that ends on the feast of the Annunciation. If you so choose to, you can start today with me or pick another Marian feast day later in the year. For this post, I’ll talk about where the Marian Consecration came from and how you can start.

The full title of Marian Consecration is “Consecration to Jesus Through Mary.” It originated with St. Louis de Montfort. You can read more about him in his profile from the Star Quest Production Network. St. Louis de Montfort claimed that a true devotion to Mary is the “short, easy, secure, and perfect” way to become a saint. Saints who have consecrated themselves to Mary include Blessed Mother Teresa, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and St. John Paul II. Ever wondered where JP2’s motto of “Totus Tuus” came from? It originates from the prayer of renewing the Marian Consecration.

It’s a little daunting, I know. And it also raises suspicions of Marian worship on Protestant radars. I get it. Hear me out here. Or rather, listen to what Mary said in her Magnificat:

Behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.

The Mighty One has done great things for me,

and holy is his name. (Luke 1: 48-49)

Now fast forward to when she’s standing at the Cross with John the Apostle and Jesus said to John “Behold, your mother,” (John 19:27). He wasn’t just saying this to John. John was acting as a representative of us. Jesus essentially gave His mother to us to be our spiritual mother. Through the Consecration, we can ask Mary to help us become closer to Jesus. After all, who was closer to Jesus than the one who gave birth to him, raised him, and loved him?

When I started on my Marian Consecration, I used 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley. It’s a great resource for beginners. For those looking for more of a challenge, you can use St. Louis de Montfort’s Preparation for Total Consecration. If you’re a fan of JPII, there’s Totus Tuus: A Consecration to Jesus through Mary with Blessed John Paul II. Trust me when I say you won’t lack for resources when it comes to the Consecration. 

The photo prompt for today is “suffering.” I decided to share a painting of the Pieta, to tie in the Marian Consecration with Lenten Season. St. Gemma Gelgani (patron saint of those suffering from tuberculosis and of pharmacists/apothecaries) said that Mary suffered in union with Jesus. (Click on the link for more information.)  It was foretold by Simeon that a sword would pierce her heart. Her sorrow is not just because of the loss of her only son, but because she knew why it had to be done. And like any mother who sees a child in pain, she probably felt all the pain that Jesus carried with him.

Pray the Sorrowful Mysteries today and meditate on Jesus’s suffering. Ask Mary to help us understand and to pray for us.

La Pieta by William Adolphe Bouguereau

La Pieta by William Adolphe Bouguereau

How Exactly Can I Give Alms When I'm Broke?

Like many 20-somethings these days, I have a problem finding the means of getting a steady income these days. 

Days like this I’m thankful for the Rice Bowl. 

Although I’m still searching for a steady job, I still get an allowance and plenty of times where a little spare change comes into my life. The wonderful thing about the Rice Bowl is that a little change can go a long way. You don’t have to follow the calendar or give $40 even though this year, the box is suggesting as much. 

There are a lot of other opportunities to give alms. My dad and I often buy a food bank package at the local grocery store. The register also advertises donations to various charities such as the Wounded Warrior Project. My brother sometimes donates to that.

But another thing you can give to God is your time.

 

You say that there’s no way you can make time for God?

I will share this awesome video from Blimey Cow that will invalidate your argument: 

For me, I give my alms by using my writing as a form of service. I’m currently working on a series of Bible study meditations that I’ll be sharing here in a few months. You might have also noticed that I’ve been blogging a lot more here. You can use time to serve your parish or to volunteer somewhere or to do something extra for your family. You can also spend that time in prayer.

How long should I pray for, you ask?

“Every one of us needs half an hour of prayer a day, except when we are busy-then we need an hour”,  St. Francis de Sales

You can offer your mornings or evenings and pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Or you can spend an hour in Adoration. All of these I think are great ways to offer your time back to the God who created time.

Lent Day 2: The Pillar of Prayer

Yesterday, I talked about how I had issues with fasting. Today, I want to talk about the second pillar of Lent, prayer. (Incidentally, that’s the prompt for today’s CSLentIPJ challenge.)

I have an easier time with prayer than fasting. In fact, increasing prayer is actually my favorite part of Lent. For this blog post, I’ll talk about the types of prayer I like to pray on a regular basis. I hope that this will give you some ideas for increasing your prayer life during this Lenten season.

Back to Basics

Fr. Robert Barron said in his Lenten Reflection yesterday that Lent is a time when we get back to basics. So I’m listing some basic prayers simple enough to start with.

  • The Rosary. I usually pray the Rosary right when I’m going to sleep. Sometimes, I fall asleep before finishing. Sometimes, I don’t. And like many saints, I have problems concentrating when I pray. What I personally do is follow Pope Francis’s Five Finger Prayer and dedicate each decade to certain people. I would pray the first decade for those closest to me, the second for my enemies or fallen-away Catholics, and so on. Another good time for praying the Rosary is during your daily commute. You’re stuck in traffic for at least 30 minutes. Pray a Hail Mary for the people who cut you off  or have road rage issues. Believe me, it’ll make driving a less stressful experience.
  • The Divine Mercy chaplet. I learned this particular prayer during my college days. Traditionally, it’s prayed at 3PM, but if you don’t think you have time for that, remember that, it’s 3 o’clock somewhere. I usually pray it with my dad whenever we ran errands around town. For Lent, Dad and I pray it at its traditional time.
  • The Angelus. I used to hate this prayer as a kid. Imagine your typical Catholic school kid with an empty stomach, waiting for the lunch bell to ring. Then as soon as the bell rings, you want to bolt to the cafeteria, but first, you have to pray what feels like a million Hail Mary’s. Given my childish impatience, this prayer felt like it took forever to pray. Now, I don’t mind it so much. I still don’t pray it myself personally, but I know a lot of people who do and have a great devotion to it.

And if you really feel like you really don’t have time to pray, St. Peter’s List has 10 Prayers that you can pray in 5 seconds or less.

Meditative Prayers

  • Lectio Divina. I’ve stated before that I’ve added Lectio Divina to my prayer routine. I first discovered Lectio Divina while on a vocations retreat and I love how it incorporates scripture into prayer. I subscribed to an online Catholic Bible study from the Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship. If you don’t know how to pray Lectio Divina, the HOMWF has a series of posts that show you how.
  • The Examen. The Examen is another form of meditative prayer. Usually prayed in the late afternoon or at night, this Jesuit prayer  is a great way to reflect on the day. There are a lot of different ways to pray the Examen. I usually pray in the form of prayer journaling. I would put myself in God’s presence, write about what happened to me that day, write about the things I was grateful for, and ask God to give me a better day tomorrow.
  • Adoration. One beautiful form of silent meditation is Adoration. Ideally, you would spend an hour in Adoration. It won’t be an easy hour, by the way. If you need help getting past the boredom, Rachel and Kateri have a video that can help. Back when I was in college, I had a hard time figuring out how exactly I wanted to spend my time in Adoration. Eventually, I would spend half an hour meditating in silence or reading something and spend another half hour praying the Rosary.

Devotionals

In spite of what Protestants may think, there are Catholic devotionals out there. You can subscribe to daily Lenten reflections like Fr. Robert Barron’s, the Share Jesus program from Redeemed Online, or have your Best Lent Ever with Matthew Kelly. There are probably a ton of other’s I’m probably forgetting. Thankfully, Aggie Catholic was kind enough to create a megapost.

For something not so tech-heavy, I suggest reading Josemaria Escriva’s The Way. It’s not a devotional in the traditional sense, but there’s a lot of advice in that little book that will challenge you. You can also meditate on the readings from Daily Mass (which you can get in a Magnificat or on Blessed Is She). Or go to praymorenovenas.com and start up a series of 9-day prayers. You can also do a 54-day Rosary Novena if you’re feeling particularly ambitious and want a prayer routine that goes beyond the 40 days of Lent.

If you’re up for a real challenge of a devotional, you can always consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary. Created by St. Louis de Montfort, Marian consecration is a doozy of a devotional that involves a lot of daily prayers. I consecrated myself during Lent last year, starting on February 20th and ending on March 25th, the feast of the Annunciation. Which means I’ll be renewing my consecration this year.

 

Today’s picture is a throwback to my current favorite prayer, the Serenity prayer. It’s been helping me out a lot, but I’ll go into detail about how in a later blog post.

IMG_20150219_115359[1]

 

Things I Did Without You: A Poem

The chain of your lies

Kept me in a dream

Until I found a crack in the wall

And finally woke up.

 

On a dark rainy day,

I let out a silent scream,

Declaring once and for all

That we were done.

 

“You don’t get to decide what I do or how I feel!” I yelled.

“You don’t have the right!”

And the first thing I did without you

Was learn how to fight.

 

It took time for me to regain my strength

Haunted by what I still remembered

But just as I started to fall apart,

I said a prayer and put myself back together.

 

The second thing I did without you was learn how to speak.

With you, my voice was something beyond recognition.

No word off my tongue sounded like my own

So I sang His praises while going through the transition

 

I sang of how fortunate I was to fall

How He shattered the darkness and brought me back to life

In my awakening I found my confidence

But when I thought I was safe, I got stabbed by your knife

 

Even though I kept my body safe from harm,

I could still see scars in my heart and in my mind

So I sought help from a friend who was strong like an Amazon

Not realizing all the things I would find

 

Beyond the apocalypse, there was a brave new world

Wide and open, glistening and effulgent

 

I used to think that living without you

Would be the hardest thing

But now I found out something new

I’ve finally learned to live.

Lent Day 1: Growing Pains

Although I love Lent’s emphasis on prayer and almsgiving, I have a problem with fasting. Mostly that fasting for me is harder than most people. And it’s not just because I snack a lot. It’s because I have food allergies.

Most people would think that I would use food allergies as an excuse to opt out of the “one large meal and two smaller meals” clause that comes with fasting. But what can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment. I don’t like getting “special treatment” or opting out of something because of my allergies. Besides that, I can still eat tuna and cod.

What makes fasting hard for me is that it forces me to think outside of the box and makes me all-too-aware of my growling stomach at 3PM. And yeah, as a chronic snacker, fasting is hard. Ultimately, I choose to fast today because want to prove to myself and to God that I can fast. I managed to cook up some tuna steaks and onions for breakfast. I plan on drinking juice, water, and tea throughout the day whenever I feel like snacking.

So now onto my photo of the day.

I decided to take part in Catholic Sista’s Lenten Instagram Photo-a-Day Journey since Busted Halo’s challenge goes against my Lenten resolution. However, I highly encourage that you participate in either one or both. I also want to promote Busted Halo’s Fast Pray Give calendar which provides a lot of mini-challenges for those who are too intimidated to do a big thing for 40 days.

Today’s prompt in the CSLentIPJ is “symbol.” I decided to take a picture of the bamboo plant that my father gave me for Valentine’s Day. I hated how small it was, but he said that he got that small plant for a reason. He wanted me to take care of it and watch it grow alongside me. So this bamboo plant is a symbol of how I start Lent: small and dealing with growing pains.

Copyright Monique Ocampo.

Copyright Monique Ocampo.

Women of Christ Wednesday: Marriage Edition

Diana is the creative force behind The Faithful Traveler, as the show’s co-producer, writer, host, second cameraperson, and editor. She is also The Faithful Traveler’s entertaining and vivacious host, imbuing the series with an exuberance that attracts viewers of all ages and backgrounds and makes them excited to join her on her travels. Diana explores the art, architecture, history, and doctrine behind shrines and places of pilgrimage around the world, and hopes to encourage people to visit these spectacular locations themselves, armed with the information provided in The Faithful Traveler. For those who can’t make the travels themselves, Diana hopes to bring these amazing sites into their homes, and enable them to virtually make pilgrimage with her.
Born and raised in San Diego, Diana is a lifelong Catholic who uses her knowledge of her faith, her English and legal degrees, and the marketing and publicity skills she has honed in the last seventeen years as a book editor in trade and professional publishing markets in all of her roles with The Faithful Traveler. Diana received a BA in English at Pepperdine University and a JD from the University of Notre Dame Law School. She has been a book editor since 1998, and currently edits books for a publisher in New York City.

Today, I interview Diana von Glahn and ask her about her show and her marriage with David. I ask that you pray for both of them, since David was recently hospitalized.

 

What inspired The Faithful Traveler?

The Faithful Traveler grew out of seeds that were planted in my childhood, and which grew throughout my youth and young adulthood. I’m a cradle Catholic, and i grew up in San Diego, where Father Junipero Serra built the first of 21 missions in CA. I grew up loving the saints and learning about them. As i moved from my home to go to school, wherever i would go, i would seek out a Catholic Church because that was home.

As I travelled around–Malibu for college and South Bend for grad school with a year in London, my world view was growing, and I was encountering different styles of architecture and churches. I found them fascinating.

At Notre Dame, at the time, it was the only Catholic university with a chapel in every dorm. They all differed architecturally based on when they were built. I wanted to write a book about them, calling it The Chapels of Notre Dame! That idea was eventually scrapped because of life, but I continued to explore churches in my life, moving from San Diego to Mississippi to New York City.

In NYC, I met David. we moved to PA and eventually got engaged. As we planned our honeymoon, I wanted to include both Catholic and touristy things in our itinerary. We were watching a lot of the travel channel, and we’d often talk about how awesome it would be if there was a travel show on tv that went to catholic places, but that didn’t talk about Catholics like we were a bunch of nutters.

(Sometimes, non-Catholics can sound a little TOO skeptical when talking about things like incorruptible saints and eucharistic miracles. but really, who can blame them?!)

I wanted to watch something that had the production values of the Travel channel and the History channel, but that actually talked about Catholic things and places. Eventually, we decided that we had to create that show ourselves, and so The Faithful Traveler was born

 

Tell me about how you met.

 

David and I met shortly after I started working at a legal publisher in NYC

Apparently–or so he tells me–he thought I was cute and wanted to meet me. Unfortunately for him, the first thing he said to me was some snide remark about me being a lawyer (I was a legal editor), and I immediately decided I didn’t like him.

So for, like, a year, he would come by and try to talk to me, and I would be so rude!

It was horrible. I often say it was like Pride and Prejudice. Eventually, it got to the point where I would tolerate being in his company. (I was such a jerk!)

One day, I REALLY wanted to go see opera in central park, but all of my friends were all, “WHAT?! You’re crazy!”

No one would go with me! One of my friends said, “David von Glahn likes opera!”

I was desperate–this was a huge event and I didn’t want to go alone, so I asked David if he’d go with me and he said yes. I guess that was our first date. He bought wine and took me to a very nice restaurant. He made me laugh all night long.

The opera was horrible but we had fun and then we stayed up talking in Central Park until, like, 3 am.

He wanted to know what kind of guy I’d date, and I told him, “I’m only dating Catholics from now on, sorry.” He wasn’t Catholic, and I had just had years of dating non-Catholics and I eventually got tired of always compromising on my faith

David said, “well, what if I’m interested in converting?”

I said, “My kind of Catholic is too hard for you.” But by this point I liked him, and so I prayed about it

It occurred to me that there are many Catholics who aren’t too stellar about practicing their faith and so why would I deny this one person the opportunity to rise to the occasion? We started dating, and David went to Mass with me every Sunday. He LOVED it. He went to adoration with me at St. Patrick’s Cathedral one day early in our relationship.

 

Wow! The classic flirt and convert story.

I know, right?! But I really wasn’t flirting with him. Anyway, we dated for about 1 month and then Sept 11th happened. David was supposed to be flying to LA that day. I saw the whole thing from the windows of our office on 6th ave and when they closed the bridges, I gathered my girlfriends and we walked up to David’s apt on the Upper West Side. It changed everything. The tenor of our relationship. Our happy courting days were cut short. Eventually we moved to PA and got married.

We were engaged on the feast of the annunciation and married on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It was a beautiful winter wedding.

 

What’s your marriage is like now, especially since you work together on the show?

We’ve been married 11 years and to be quite honest, my brand of Catholicism is hard for him sometimes. (My brand being cradle Catholic.) I love everything about the church and don’t ever question anything. He’s a New Yorker. He questions everything. For many years, this caused problems in our marriage, but we grew and learned. Now we do our best to make our differences work for us as opposed to against us

Marrying a convert isn’t easy, but you know, marrying anyone isn’t easy. I know many cradle Catholics who have married other cradle Catholics who have crises of faith or who get divorced. The key is being committed. Really committed.

 

Who are your go-to Saints?

 

The Blessed Mother, always. St Michael, St Joseph, St Rita of Cascia, and St Anthony, when I lose something.

 

What advice would you give to young married couples? And what advice would you give to singles?

To both, I would say read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

 

For the singletons out there, I’d say, read that book and identify what kind of love language you speak–what kind of love you need  to feel loved. Then go out there and find someone who can give that to you. Don’t settle. Pray all the time. Don’t get impatient. A lifetime of being married to the wrong person is way worse than a lifetime of being alone because you can also be alone in a marriage and that is very painful

For the young marrieds or soon to be marrieds–my niece is among this list–I would say read the book together. Identify what love languages you speak and do your best to speak those languages to one another

The key to staying married is this: Forgive. Pray. Don’t ever quit. And don’t ever settle, either. Remember that your spouse is your vocation. He or she is your ladder to heaven or to hell, and you are the same for him or her. Let your spouse make you holy.

I once had a friend say something to me that made me laugh but which was so real, so true. “We all have rough edges, but its only in bumping up against one another that those edges are smoothed out.” That’s what marriage is like. You will bump up against one another and it will hurt, but don’t let that chase you away from one another. Don’t let the answer be the creation of space. You have to allow the bumps to smooth you out, to make you holy. It’s part of the purification process that God allows us to go through. We can’t be afraid of or run away from the purification if we want to get to Heaven.

One more thing: Don’t ever think someone else has it better than you. Everyone carries a heavy cross. you just don’t always see it.