173. A Challenge from Pope Francis: Is Comparing and Competing Keeping You from the Joy of Love?

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In Saint Paul’s time honored hymn to love (“Love is patient, love is kind…”), he insists that love “rejoices in the right.” Pope Francis observes that this is “impossible for those who must always be comparing and competing … so that they secretly rejoice in [others’] failures” (Joy of Love 109).

Comparing and competing – it’s a symptom of what I call “cool syndrome.” When I was a boy I had to be one of the “cool kids.” It’s all a façade, of course, that masks a deep insecurity, a deep fear that one is not loved. The cool person has to be on top, has to have the upper edge, has to be the best, has to have the spotlight, has to dominate. All of this has exterior manifestations, but it’s even more so an interior game. In his own mind and heart, the cool person maintains his own supposed coolness by secretly recognizing, labeling, and even rejoicing in the supposed uncoolness of others.

Who is being uncool here? Oh the irony…

COR THOUGHTS 170: How to See the Invisible

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In this Sunday’s second reading, Saint Paul talks about the God who “dwells in inapproachable light,” the God “whom no human being has seen or can see.” Yet, at the same time, he speaks about the “appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Holding these two seemingly irreconcilable truths together – God is invisible, but he has appeared in Jesus Christ – takes us right into the heart and center of what Saint John Paul II meant by describing the human body as a “theology,” a study of God. The Catechism tells us that “in the body of Jesus ‘we see our God made visible and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see’” (CCC 477). The human body’s unimagined dignity is that it is the proper vehicle designed by God with the ability to communicate the divine mystery, to make visible the invisible. As John Paul II wrote, “The body, in fact, and only the body, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine.” Your body and my body “has been created to transfer into the visible reality of the world, the mystery hidden from eternity in God, and thus to be a sign of it” (TOB 19:4). Is this the way you understand your body? If not, why not? Lord, open our eyes!

172. Is Sex Nourishing Your Relationship or Tearing You Apart?

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“Sex is kind of like the nourishing food of marriage,” reads an article by Ryan Williams, the associate academic dean for St. Joseph’s Seminary for the Archdiocese of New York.

Soon after this article was posted last month, several people wrote to me asking for my take on it. Was this author making too much out of sex in marriage? Since this article caused a bit of a stir, I thought I’d share with you my response to one rather riled up person who wrote to me:

TIME & THE MYSTERY w/ Mike Mangione

Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan: A Family-First Business

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[Mike Mangione is a nationally touring musician and popular podcast host. To subscribe to his podcast, Time & the Mystery, on iTunes click here. To learn more about his music, click here.]

What could possibly demand the attention of Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan more than their intensely busy career?… Their marriage and family of course. Before a show in Milwaukee, Wis., Mike sat with the couple to discuss marriage, faith and the work that has made them one of the most beloved and successful couples in comedy. The takeaway … It’s OK to be a bit of a mess, it’s OK not to have it all figured out and that family is good!

Join Mike as he enters into the nonstop and crazy mystery that is Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan in this episode of Time & The Mystery. Listen here!

171. Time Magazine Proclaims Men Can Birth Children and “Chest-Feed” Them

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I was casually paging through the most recent issue of Time Magazine when my eyes were suddenly confronted with one of the most bizarre images I’ve ever seen (see above). I didn’t know what to make of it. Then I read the following in large print: “My brother Evan was born female. He came out as transgender 16 years ago but never stopped wanting to have a baby. This spring he gave birth to his first child.”

The caption under the picture was even more disturbing: “Evan, who stopped his hormone treatments before trying to get pregnant, chest-feeds his son in their Massachusetts home.” Chest-feeds!? I’ve written previously about the dangerous contortion of language that by necessity accompanies the dangerous contortion of gender in our world today. To retain the illusion that she is a man, “Evan” must rid herself of the very notion that she has breasts by contorting her experience of nursing her baby with the masculinized illusion that she is “chest-feeding.”

Time clearly wants the whole world to celebrate the notion that this “man” has given birth. What is the truly compassionate, Christian response to this situation? First, we should acknowledge that Christian faith is in agreement that “Evan” suffers from a painful disconnect between her soul and her body. But while the modern world’s agenda is to manipulate her body to “resolve” the conflict, the Church holds out the real possibility of the healing of her soul through redemption in Christ.