Page 1

franklymag.org

Financial

freedom Can Money & Faith go together?

fatherhood dads do it better

Pressing pause on childhood and more...

get into

MERCY mode


Did you guess ... that our title is a pun on Pope Francis’ name? Frankly also speaks freely and frankly on topics close to the heart and everyday life.

ONE-MINUTE catholic If you’re time-poor and soul-weary our One-Minute Catholic series is our gift to you! We know that if we want to make big changes in our lives, it’s often the small and relatively easy actions we commit to that add up to make a huge difference. It’s the same if we want more joy and hope in our spiritual life. Throughout FRANKLY you’ll find One-Minute Catholic prompts for incorporating small moments of connection with our rich faith tradition during your regular day.


Welcome!

What a privilege it is to be alive in this age! We live in a beautiful, free and generally peaceful country. We spend most of our days with people we love or consider friends. We find opportunities for pleasure in our homes, workplaces and communities. So why do we sometimes feel that there is more to life? That there is more we could do to make the world a better place and ourselves happier people? Because there is. Frankly is here to celebrate the big and small ways each of us can live life better, and in doing that, make the world a more merciful, generous and peaceful place. Our Frankly contributors have offered personal stories, insights, and reflections on how to bring peace to your soul, your home and your relationships.

Enjoy!

The Frankly team xxx

When You See This Symbol More information is available at

www.franklymag.org

photo essay

Frankly Joy Bombs quotes from the pope ...2

COVER STORY

Get into Mercy Mode AN extra shot of Grace ...24

life MATTERS

Infertility Journeys stories of heartache & hope ...60

relationships

MONEY

Financial Freedom, Frankly style mixing money & faith ...12

parenting

A Slower Childhood freeing the kids from the time squeeze ...42

frankLy speakING

The Pope said What?!! Truth vs spin ...78

TOUGH TOPICS

Loving the Smart Way the science of love UNPACKED ...82

When the Rubber Hits the Road Homosexuality, divorce & remarriage ...92

fatherhood

photo essay

Dads Matter insights from ‘the father factor’ ...108

Praised Be! Papal letter on the environment ...119


“Joy…is the gigantic secret of the Christian.”

Photo Essay

C.K. Chesterton | Orthodoxy

2


Joy

Bombs The Joy Revolution We’ve handpicked the images on the following pages with the aim of joy bombing your day and reminding you that JOY is the supreme gift of the Holy Spirit. Each is a snippet of life that made us smile at this crazy and awesome life we’re sharing as members of the human family. Pope Francis, in particular, has been leading the Church in the joy revolution. Apart from hosting hundreds of tango dancers in St Peter’s Square on his birthday, one of his first official documents as Pope was The Joy of the Gospel.

Joy is the gift in which all the other gifts are included. It is the expression of happiness, of being in harmony with ourselves, that which can only come from being in harmony with God and with his creation. Pope Benedict XVI | Christmas address to the Roman Curia, 2008

Photo Essay

Frankly

3


Joy The

Photo Essay

of being together

4

At the very heart of the Gospel is life in community and engagement with others Pope Francis | The Joy of the Gospel, n. 177


5

Photo Essay


Photo Essay 6

Joy

in growing We are not asked to be flawless, but to keep growing and wanting to grow as we advance along the path of the Gospel. Pope Francis | The Joy of the Gospel, n. 151


Photo Essay 7

Joy

in the wonder of creation

We love this magnificent planet on which God has put us, and we love the human family which dwells here, with all its tragedies and struggles, its hopes and aspirations, its strengths and weaknesses. The earth is our common home and all of us are brothers and sisters. Pope Francis | The Joy of the Gospel, n. 183


8

Photo Essay


Photo Essay 9

The

Joy

of a sibling

What is the greatest gift you can give your children? I say to you: Give them brothers and sisters. Pope John Paul II


10

Photo Essay


Photo Essay 11

Joy

in giving

The way we treat others has a transcendent dimension: “The measure you give will be the measure you get”. (Mt 7:2) Pope Francis | The Joy of the Gospel, n. 179


Financial Freedom Money

Frankly Style

12

Can money and faith go together? People with an abundance of one are often expected to be deficient in the other. FRANKLY spoke to a priest and entrepreneur about the Catholic view on money as a gift and a tool at the service of true human freedom.


13

Money


Money

Fr Tony Percy is a priest of the Canberra-Goulbourn Archdiocese and the author of Entrepreneurship in the Catholic Tradition.

14

Church on money Money is a created reality. Like any other created reality one can have an interest in it but you can’t get enmeshed in it, otherwise you get into major problems. In the classic text on money, it says that ‘The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith...” (1 Timothy 6:10). Initially, when people read this they say, “Oh money is an evil thing”. But the text isn’t saying that. It’s saying that an excessive love of money is damaging; it leads to our enslavement. The Church has never been into promoting material poverty but has always tried to alleviate it, so having an interest in money and in growing wealth is very important.

Money is a wonderful thing. It helps us to live, to get the basic necessities of life such as housing, food and education. It is the main modern-day means of exchange. If you look a bit deeper it ultimately is for enabling communion between people. For instance, when you invite a person to your house for a meal, you are usually inviting them to not only have a meal but also to grow your friendship. Now that can’t take place unless you have money; you need housing, the provisions for a meal and some wine, or whatever else you’re going to supply.


Every material thing has a social mortgage on it which means that it is orientated towards the use of everyone.

The Church’s teaching is that we have a right to private property; we have a right to goods, including money. And the Church makes a really important distinction between the possession of something and the use of it.

One good example in recent times is the one million refugees in Lebanon who have been voluntarily taken in by the Lebanese people. Lebanon only has a population of four million. So these refugees are living in people’s homes and basements all over the place.

We have to own things as if everyone else owned them; we have to use them as if they are for everyone, with a generous spirit.

The Lebanese are living the Church’s social teaching by making welcome the people who don’t have anything. What they own, they are opening to the common good. It’s a radical example but a good one.

So if I have a DVD and you say, ‘Could I borrow your DVD?’ and I say, “No that’s my DVD”, that’s the incorrect attitude.

Cont...

By 2015, about one in five people

living in Lebanon was a refugee, mostly from Syrian conflicts. Many were welcomed into people’s private homes.

Money

Of course, money can be a means of division but that’s only because we pervert it with sinful attitudes. We have to look at created things sensibly and realise that their origin comes from God. Therefore, we should always thank the Creator for them and use them responsibly.

15


Money 16

Responding to the poor The best thing we can do for the poor is to give them a hand up when they need it, but also get a system in place to give them access to incentives to work and provide for themselves.We try to help them get on their own two feet, not make them welfare dependent, which is very important for people’s dignity. We believe in creating wealth and giving people access to it, and the best way to distribute

that wealth is defending the right to private property. So the Church’s position is very different to that of socialism, which it has always rejected.

When people are secure in that they can possess things and buy things, the wealth and wellbeing of a whole community can increase.


Money 17

The Marriage Gap Marriage is the basis of the family, and family is the basis for society. It’s part of human dignity to be able to provide for one’s family, and home ownership is important. The best economic unit that we have is the family, and the best welfare scheme is the family, no question. All great societies are built upon these two great institutions - marriage and family. We see clearly that poverty really comes in when you break down marriage and break down the family. For example, it can become very difficult for people to survive

when their marriage breaks down, and suddenly their resources have to stretch to cover another home and a lot more things.

One of the most effective ways to promote social prosperity is to support marriage. F


Where does our money go? The average Australian household spends a total of $1236.28 each week. Here’s what we spend it on.

Housing Transport Food Recreation Other (eg Education, Alcohol $223.14 $192.87 $204.20 $161.44 $32.35 Health,Clothing)

18%

16% 16.5% 13%

32%

2.5%

Tobacco Church/Charity $12.57 $7.23

1%

.5%

Source: Christian Research Association (Household Expenditure Survey 2009-10) www.cra.org.au


The Pope has called for a return to “personcentred ethics in the world of finance and economics”. He has denounced unethical behaviour such as unregulated markets and financial speculation, increasing debt burdens on poorer countries, corruption and tax evasion, and a ‘throw-away’, consumerist mentality.

Money has to serve, not to rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but the Pope has the duty, in Christ’s name, to remind the rich to help the poor, to respect them, to promote them. Pope Francis | Address, 16 May, 2013

No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and wealth. Jesus Christ | Luke 16: 13-15

Money

Franc-is on the money

19


Money

Cathy Harris is the co-founder and co-director with her husband David of Harris Farm Markets, and one of Australia’s business and equal opportunity leaders. She is the mother of five sons and employs about 1500 people in the family business.

20

Money is an essential ingredient of life and its sustainability. Let me tell you, it’s very important in life if you haven’t got it! I don’t think there’s anything intrinsically wrong with money. I think everybody should be working and endeavouring to do well in business life and in running not-forprofit organisations so that they’re highly sustainable. I think it’s very important that we’ve got a very strong sense of commercial reality. I don’t measure success by money. I measure it by sustainability and by how we’re viewed by our customers.

On charity

so people can do that. If you feel called to go out and run a program for indigenous people, for example, you’ve got to have the money to do that properly, it’s got to be financially sustainable.

Giving financially isn’t only about cash donations. For example, in our business we’re an employer of young people with intellectual disablities. We also give financially to a number of charities. That’s one of the nice things about having money - that we can help with all of these things.

It’s great to be a philanthropist, and money is a way that amazingly generous people can give to the community and keep the community sustainable. But if you grow up in the Catholic Church, go to Catholic schools, surrounded by nuns and priests, giving isn’t just about money. It’s about true sacrifice, it’s about seeing those amazing nuns who go and look after poor people in India for absolutely no reward whatsoever; they just give out of the generosity and love of their heart. Growing up Catholic we were immersed in a culture of giving. You see this incredible self-giving throughout the Church and you’ve got to have the Catholics who provide the means A family business: Angus, David, Luke and Cathy Harris


Money 21

Lessons from hard times In the 80s we literally nearly lost the farm, so the kids got to see both sides. For about five years we really were broke, to the extent that we couldn’t afford new school shoes for the kids during that period. There was a real sense of generosity towards us, and we saw our employees many of them who had worked for us for years - who stayed on and worked for no money. I think that had quite a dramatic effect on my kids.

Cathy on the family farm

Growing up in a Catholic family it was all about love, charity, giving back, and not being wasteful. F


Money 22

Thought about tithing? Tithing is a commitment to allocate a proportion of your financial resources to God. Traditionally, Christians and Jews have set aside 10% for this purpose.

According to Rebuilt, the story by Fr Michael White and Tom Corcoran of a revitalised parish, there are four stages of responsible giving:

Priority giving (giving to God first before other expenses)

Progressive giving (increasing the percentage regularly)

Planned giving (designating money in the budget to give)

Percentage giving (giving a percentage of income, not a dollar amount)

We can’t out-give God

Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance‌You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity. St Paul | 2 Corinthians 9:7-8, 11


ONE MINUTE CATHOLIC

TO PRAYER How many passwords and PINs do you type in a typical day? Think about it: smart phone, house alarm, laptop, ATM, bike padlock, social media accounts, wireless connection, online accounts, subscriptions services… the list goes on!

What if every time you typed in a password or PIN it was a prayer? Blimey! Without even realising it, you’d be praying maybe twenty times a day!

Inspired Passwords Choose a password that relates to your faith, such as a prayer or scripture reference. For example: • Your baptism date • AMDG: All My Deeds for God, originally ‘Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam’ - For the Greater Glory of God • n55378: BLESSu – upside down and back to front • WwydJ?: What would you do Jesus? • J316: John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son • JITIU: Jesus, I trust in you • 1BIC: One body in Christ • 2046: The Sign of the Cross • 2079: St Peter’s Cross • 1937: St Andrew’s Cross

Money

J 3 1 6

DG S u AM

BL E S

2046

WWJD

23


24

Cover Story


Mercy

Mode

Pope Francis has called a Jubilee year for the Church and invites Catholics to experience the joy of giving and receiving mercy. Dear brothers and sisters, I have often thought about how the Church might make clear its mission of being a witness to mercy. It is a journey that begins with a spiritual conversion. For this reason, I have decided to call an extraordinary Jubilee that is to have the mercy of God at its centre. It shall be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live this Year in the light of the Lord’s words: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36) Pope Francis | Announcing the Year of Mercy, March 13, 2015

Cover Story

Get into

25


Cover Story

M E

26

Our Jubilee Heritage

An Extra Shot of Grace

Jubilee years are rare and important events in the Catholic tradition. For the whole year we are invited to focus on what matters most: our relationship with God, with others and with our natural environment. It’s a year of reconciliation, hope, justice and peace.

Mercy is the theme of this Holy Year, or extraordinary Jubilee. It runs from the feast of the Immaculate Conception (in honour of Mary - Dec 8, 2015) until the feast of Christ the King (Nov 20, 2016).

The Christian Jubilee Year has roots in the Jewish tradition. In the Law of Moses every fiftieth year was to be set aside as a special year to express and respond to God’s love. Slaves were liberated, people released from their debts, land given back to its original owners and families reunited. Land cultivated for food was left fallow to regenerate. The year would open with the blowing of a goat’s horn called a Yobel – which is where we get the English word Jubilee!

In announcing this extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has singled out a primary theme of his papacy. It’s a great time to visit Rome if that’s on your bucket list; pilgrims who visit St Peter’s Basilica can enter through its Holy Doors which represent a new avenue of grace available to us. But you don’t have to go to Rome to receive the outpouring of grace during this time. It encompasses the entire Church and all Catholics, who are encouraged to generously give and seek mercy during the Holy Year.


Cover Story

R C Y

27

The Holy Doors at St Peter’s Basilica When you have the strength to say, ‘I want to come home,’ you will find the door open. God will come to meet you because he is always waiting for you - God is always waiting for you. God embraces you, kisses you, and celebrates. Pope Francis | General Audience, October 2, 2013

For more on MERCY www.franklymag.org


Cover Story

Fr Mike Schmitz is the director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry in the Diocese of Duluth in Minnesota, and Chaplain at the University of Minnesota-Duluth

28

Ever been curious about what it’s like for a priest to hear people’s sins in confession? US priest Fr Mike Schmitz describes his experience


Where Mercy Hits the Road If sins are like garbage, then the priest is like God’s garbage man. If you ask a garbage man about the grossest thing he’s ever had to haul to the dump, maaaaaaybe he could remember it. But the fact is, once you get used to taking out the trash, it ceases to be noteworthy, it ceases to stand out. There is almost no greater place to be than with someone when they are coming back to God. It is the most joyful, humbling, and inspiring place in the world. I don’t care if this is the person’s third confession this week; if they are seeking the Sacrament of Reconciliation it means that they are trying. So what if the priest is disappointed? We try to be so impressive with so much of our lives. Confession is a place where we don’t get to be impressive.

Confession is a place where the desire to impress goes to die. Cont...

Cover Story

Reconciliation

29


Cover Story 30

Not many folks get to see the way in which God’s sacrifice on the Cross is constantly breaking into people’s lives and melting the hardest of hearts. Jesus consoles those who are grieving their sins . . . and strengthens those who find themselves wanting to give up on God or on life. As a priest, I get to see this thing happen every day. I cannot tell you how humbled I am when someone approaches Jesus’ mercy through me. I am not over-awed by their sins; I am struck by the fact that they have been able to recognise sins in their life that I have been blind to in my own.

God’s sacrifice breaks into people’s lives and melts even the hardest of hearts One time, after college, I was returning to Confession after a long time and a lot of sin and the priest simply gave me something like one Hail Mary. I asked him why. He looked at me with great love and told me he would be fasting for me for the next thirty days. I was stunned. I didn’t know what to do. He told me that the Catechism teaches that the priest must do penance for all those who come to him for Confession. And here he was, embracing a severe penance for all of my severe sins.

F

Article reprinted with permission. For more from Fr Schmitz visit www.bulldogcatholic.org


Cover Story

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the treasures of the Catholic faith, given freely in every parish.

31

A priest once described his experience of hearing confessions like this: It is the moment when I feel closest to my people. I am not worthy to judge anyone’s sins. I feel intensely humbled and privileged to be a channel of God’s love and healing.


Cover Story 32

Divine Mercy A Promise

A 20th century Polish saint, St Faustina Kowalska, had a series of visions of Jesus which became the basis for Divine Mercy Sunday (the first Sunday after Easter). In her diary she recorded the following messages from Jesus.

Come with faith to the feet of my representative [in the Sacrament of Reconciliation]...and make your confession before me. The person of the priest is, for me, only a screen. Never analyse what sort of priest that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to me, and I will fill it with my light. Whoever places his trust in my mercy will be filled with my divine peace at the hour of death. Jesus Christ | As spoken to St Faustina


Cover Story

The Divine Mercy Shrine where St Faustina is buried, showing the painting of Jesus as she described him. The words, “Jesus I trust in you� are inscribed at the bottom.

33


Cover Story

Carey’s story 34

Carey and Mark* were living a good but uneasy marriage for years together; both carrying their own difficult pasts and trying to live the life together they had committed to. After the death of Mark’s devout Catholic mother, he began a journey of discovery back to his Catholic faith. He began going to Mass on his day off and, over time, Carey begun to notice profound changes in her husband, including him stopping drinking and smoking - both battles he had fought for years. Carey has been having her own internal battles. After two abortions in her earlier years, she was overwhelmed by a deep sense of shame. She fell into unhealthy relationships and walked away from the Church. Even after falling in love and marrying Mark, her past haunted her and so she decided to take her secret to her grave in fear that he would confirm her own belief that she was unforgivable. Carey was touched by Mark’s newly discovered faith and loved the change she saw in him… until the day Mark asked Carey if she would be willing to have their marriage blessed by the Church. Terrified that this required her to go to Confession and have to face the unforgivable, she thought she would have to divorce Mark, rather than allow herself to be the obstacle to his return to faith because of her past. Carey picks up the story… * Names have been changed.


He took me to see the church he had been attending, where he wanted our marriage to be blessed. Before we knew it, people started coming in for the Saturday Vigil Mass. Instead of leaving, we decided to stay. When the Gospel was being read, I distinctly heard, ‘Pay attention: this is important.’ I had never listened to the Gospel with such intent. ‘Strive to enter through the narrow gate.’ I had no idea what was happening, but those words lit my heart on fire and pierced me. Suddenly, I wanted that gate…I just didn’t know how I could enter it. Cont..

Carey felt like she was living in a fog

Cover Story

“Mark outlined the steps necessary to have our marriage blessed by the Church. You know, just the usual, ‘Confession, go to church every Sunday, etc…’ All I heard was CONFESSION. I was thinking, ‘Are you kidding me!?’ But he was so excited, like something finally had meaning to him. In my heart, I felt the Lord was saying, ‘Now you can make it right’. My husband then handed me a pamphlet on how to make a good Confession and told me we should pray the rosary too. I had never prayed the rosary in my life! He was so immersed in the whole thing; I had never seen him like that before.

35


Cover Story 36

“I did something...the unforgivable - something horrible.�


“After praying the rosary every day for a week using my new iPod app, I felt it was time to tell Mark everything. There we were in the kitchen before dinner, and overcome by tears, I confessed, ‘I did something that will prevent you from being able to get back into the Church. The unforgivable something horrible - when I was 18 years old.’ I cried and gasped for air, telling the whole story in 30 seconds. ‘Can I ever be forgiven?’ His merciful response stunned me. He held me and told me with great conviction that everyone is forgiven when they come to Jesus and ask Him, ‘even abortion, even you.’ He said, ‘So that’s what you’ve been holding in for all of these years? No one should go through something like that all alone.’ It all made sense to him then — my previous relationships with men who didn’t fit my persona, my moodiness, everything I did in the past was now making sense. He told me we needed to get to a priest so I could go to Confession and all would be well. The very next morning I woke up and called the presbytery as soon as it opened. ‘Father is available right now; can you be here in 10 minutes?’ Yes, yes, yes!

I was clutching onto the steering wheel with both hands and praying through tears the ‘Hail Mary’ all the way down. ‘Hail Mary, full of grace,’ over and over. I started hearing whispers in my mind, “You don’t have to do this. What about the second abortion? Are you going to tell him about that one? You don’t have to, you know. Why make this so difficult for yourself?’ I was fighting so hard through this, crying and praying the Hail Mary.

I started hearing whispers in my mind: Why make this so difficult for yourself? I felt like the woman with the haemorrhage in scripture who reached out to just touch Jesus’ cloak; if I just touch it I will be healed. I was feeling so much conflict and terror because I could not get over the second abortion. Where is this coming from? I lashed back, ‘No! I want to heal! Hail Mary, full of grace!’ Cont...

Cover Story

Overcoming Fear

37


Cover Story

Healing Begins

38

I finally arrived at the presbytery. I hadn’t made a Confession in 20 years and I had never made a good one. I was holding onto a 29-year-old sin that was strangling me. I didn’t know where to begin. Father gently walked me through the Commandments, one by one, as I made my Confession through tears.

that all of heaven rejoices when the one lost sheep is found. I knew I was that lost sheep, who was no longer lost. He then said, ‘Now you need to heal’. He told me about the Sisters of Life and what they did. When I walked out of the presbytery, the sun came out of the clouds for the first time in four days. F

When I was finished, he made a motion with his hands, as if picking up a lamb and carrying it on his shoulders. He told me

Reprinted with permission from the Sisters of Life/ IMPRINT magazine Spring 2015 issue.


The Sisters of Life is a religious community of women founded in 1991 in New York by John Cardinal O’Connor. The sisters’ average age is in the mid-30s. Like all religious communities, they take the three traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. The Sisters of Life are also consecrated under a special, fourth vow: to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life. Their work includes welcoming pregnant women in need of respite to live with them in one of their convents, and offering other practical assistance to expectant mothers. They also run retreats, including retreats for healing after an abortion.

Hunger for Mercy “Well, Father, I am a sinner; I have tremendous sins! How can I possibly feel part of the Church?” Dear brother, dear sister, this is exactly what the Lord wants, that you say to him, “Lord, here I am, with my sins.” Is one of you here without sin? Anyone? No one, not one of us. We all carry our sins with us. But the Lord wants to hear us say to him, “Forgive me, help me to walk, change my heart!” And the Lord can change your heart. In the Church, the God we encounter is not a merciless judge but is like the Father in the Gospel parable. You may be like the son who left home, who sank to the depths, farthest from the Gospel. When you have the strength to say, “I want to come home,” you will find the door open. Pope Francis | General Audience, October 2, 2013

For more information on the Sisters of Life and their work. See www.sistersoflife.org

Cover Story

The Sisters of Life

39


40

Cover Story


Meat-

free

Fridays for mercy

Traditionally, Fridays are days when we remember Jesus’ death on the Cross. While it’s not common in Australia these days, in many countries Catholics avoid eating meat on EVERY Friday of the year – not just during Lent!

Start small with a meatfree lunch on Fridays as an offering to Jesus. Not challenging enough for you? Go full vegetarian (after all, fish is just meat that swims!) on Wednesdays for our Lady and on Fridays in honour of Christ’s Passion and in solidarity with the poor.

Cover Story

ONE MINUTE CATHOLIC

41


Parenting

A Slower

42

Childhood


Parenting 43

You may have heard of the slow food movement, which focuses on the sustainable growing and savouring of food. Well, we at FRANKLY think it’s time for a slow childhood movement.


Racing Parenting

Through Childhood?

44

We’re not talking about doing everything at a snail’s pace – we know most kids are great at that already, especially when it comes to doing chores or getting ready for bed! But in our culture the default setting seems to be to cram as much as we can into our lives, and this expectation is often as intense for children as it is for adults. After a six or seven-hour school day, after-school activities, homework, and chores, even

primary-school aged children can have very little time for rest, reflection, or free play before bedtime. Weekends are often just as busy.

Sometimes when children seem to be moving too slow, it might be a natural reaction to their world moving too fast.

Time Squeeze | Sport, music, martial arts, dance, drama, languages...If you feel like your life is dictated by the kids’ activity schedule, it might be time to rethink the family priorities.


Parenting 45

Space to

Grow

An increasing number of experts are warning that children lack adequate time to play, to rest, to reflect, and to figure out for themselves what they care about and who they want to be. Child rearing is more an art than a race, requiring a balance between burdening children with parental expectations, or at the other extreme, indulging them so much that they are not encouraged to grow into responsible and resilient adults. Our slow childhood movement is about allowing time for the things that matter the most in forming healthy, happy people, including time for children to be carefree.

“Leisure time is something good and necessary, especially amid the mad rush of the modern world...Yet if leisure time lacks an inner focus, an overall sense of direction, then ultimately it becomes wasted time...Leisure time requires a focus - the encounter with Him who is our origin and goal.� Pope Benedict XVI | Vienna in 2007


Parenting

What the Experts Say

46

Johann Christoph Arnold, author and counsellor

Children have a right to down-time We know children learn best through playing, but play also brings joy, contentment, and detachment from the troubles of the day. In our frantically overscheduled culture, every child should have a right to play. Their Name is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World.

Bill Doherty, author and family therapist

Stop over-catering to kids If we see ourselves only as providers of services to our children (and indeed, this is one important part of parenting), we end up confused about our authority, anxious about displeasing our children, insecure about whether we are providing enough opportunities, and worried that we are not doing enough to keep up with other parents. In a market economy, the service provider must offer what is newest and best, and must avoid disappointing the customer. When applied to the family, this is a recipe for insecure parents and confused kids. Dohertyrelationshipinstitute.com

Susanne North, Family Educator at St Margaret Mary’s, North Randwick.

Learning is child’s play Play provides happiness and develops children’s gross and fine motor skills. The volume of recent research also shows that children perform better academically and socially when they come from home environments that have provided ample opportunity to play freely. Play gives children an opportunity to engage in healthy risk taking where they can hone and learn new skills in their own time. It enables children to build their own confidence and self-esteem, and pursue their own interests, which in turn develops intrinsic motivation, a driver for academic learning. Engaging in open-ended and selfdirected play also strengthens the synaptic connections in the brain and assists in the development of self-regulations such as controlling one’s emotion, impulses, behaviour and other cognitive processes. CathFamily.org, November 2013 eMagazine


47

Parenting


Parenting

Unstructured

48

Play

One of the biggest casualties of the ‘fast kids’ phenomenon is the loss of unstructured play. When kids are left to create their own entertainment, a number of important things happen: 1. They seek the company of siblings and neighbours which helps them to develop their social skills and appreciation that they are part of a family, a neighbourhood, and a nation. 2. They learn how to involve kids of various ages, abilities and interests. 3. They craft new games and invent new scenarios for role playing. 4. They get more outdoor time and creative play time (compared with more solitary electronic time). 5. They learn how to resolve disputes and negotiate rules for fair play. Structured activities have a place and can be a great way for a child to learn a new skill, make new friends, feel part of a team and experience competitive play. However, if there are too many structured activities, kids simply don’t have the time or energy for spontaneous neighbourhood ball games or fantasy play. Instead, they learn to rely on adults to provide their entertainment and can absorb the attitude that the community ‘owes’ them entertainment and support in pursuing their interests. This sets them up for a self-centred, narcissistic mentality which will hinder them in forming healthy relationships of mutual respect.


Parenting 49

More is not necessarily better | One of the things driving the rise in narcissism (extreme self-centredness) is over indulgence by parents during childhood.


Parenting 50

Rethinking

Boredom

It seems like boredom is a cardinal sin in family life these days. Should a child complain of boredom, many parents spring to action in a frantic rush to relieve this perfectly healthy and valuable emotion.

Boredom is the crucible of the imagination; it creates the ‘space’ in a busy mind for creativity to be explored and expressed. Yet for many parents, their child’s boredom is taken as a judgment on their failure to provide sufficient stimulation for their child. Through all the goodwill in the world, they try to distract the child from the creative process by seeding it with ideas or in-filling it with activity. In truth, a parent’s unwillingness to let a child endure boredom ultimately robs that child of an opportunity to let their creativity emerge and to learn how to self-manage their emotions and mental needs.


Parenting 51

Do you suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)?


Parenting

Ideas

52

Free play

Here are some ideas to help you get your kids off the scheduled activities and into some unstructured play.

Preschoolers

Primary Aged

1. Soapy-sudsy sink. Fill up the

1. Nature Hunt. Deal with the nature

kitchen sink with suds and get them experimenting with water in different containers. Then transition them to productive washing. They’ll feel important if you can trust them to wash some of your dishes and pots.

2. Homemade Kinetic Sand. Mix nine cups of sand with one cup cornflour. Add 1/4 cup dishwashing liquid, one cup of water, and one tablespoon eucalyptus oil. Less fluffy than the commercial stuff but still fun!

3. Grain Time. Set the kids up with a variety of grains (rice, lentils, sugar, flour, bread crumbs, etc.) in different containers. Provide them with some kitchen scales and a variety of cups, spoons, jars and bowls.

deficit disorder and get your kids hunting for a list of natural objects such as a feather, a flower, a twig in the shape of Y, a white stone, a piece of bark, a red leaf, etc.

2. Blanket Cubbies. A great wet weather activity; let them build their own retreat with blankets, sheets and towels. For a special treat, roll out the sleeping bags and let them stay the night.

3. Commerce. Help them create their own micro business venture. It might be a lemonade stand, sausage sizzle, homemade crafts, rescuing and selling old golf balls‌let them express their passion while connecting with your community.


Parenting 53

Teens 1. Cooking on an Outdoor Fire. Let them light it and cook a simple meal by themselves for the family. Then toast marshmallows and linger for a chat around the fire.

2. Neighbourhood Ball Games. Let them revive the great street cricket tradition, or shoot some baskets together.

3. Deconstruction therapy. Don’t throw that old phone, printer or appliance away‌ let your teen take it apart to study how it works. Who knows, they may even work out how to fix it!


The Sunday

Squeeze

Parenting

Finding time for Mass in a busy schedule

54

Family life is busy. Even without children, our modern lives are packed with activities. No matter how many kids we have, it’s guaranteed that the activities will expand to fill the time available. It’s so easy to become ‘activity junkies’! So how do busy people make time for Mass, and why would they want to?

Free Up Sundays

HOW TO GET THERE

Do chores on weekday nights. Shop online after hours. Confine kids activities to other days.

After-Mass Bonus Keep the positivity going afterwards with a visit to the park, an ice cream shop or cafe. Yum!

Plan Ahead

Get A Routine

Schedule Mass ahead of time and fit other activities around it. Make Mass the priority or it will get squeezed out.

A regular Mass time helps to establish life-affirming friendships with other Mass-goers.


1. Feed your soul: Mass is a spiritual superfood. 2. Connect with others. 3. Breathe, Rest: Get off the activity treadmill. 4. God said so: Do we need a better reason?

Recharge Here

Double Duty

Reduce Stress

If you are on the road, attend Mass near where you’ll be doing other things.

Find a good children’s liturgy or take appropriate books and bible activities to keep the little ones busy in the pew.

Through Sunday rest, daily concerns and tasks find their proper perspective; the material things we worry about give way to spiritual values Pope John Paul II | Dies Domini

Parenting

WHY MASS ?

55


Parenting

BusyNESS is a

56

Choice

Francine Pirola is the co-founder of CathFamily and the mother of five children. A few years ago I stopped using the phrase “I don’t have time”. I found that I was using it too often as an excuse and it was disempowering. I didn’t have time to exercise. I didn’t have time to read with my children. I didn’t have time to pray or go to Mass. It felt like my life was running me instead of the other way around.

The reality is: I have exactly the same amount of time as everyone else and I make time for the things that are important to me. It’s really about priorities, not time. I realised that I had prioritised cooking gourmet meals over reading with the children. I had made relaxing in front of the TV more important than prayer. Ouch! It was humbling to name the reality and to face my choices squarely. But it was also empowering: I could choose! Instead of, “I don’t have time”, now I’m more likely to say, “I choose to spend my time doing this thing rather than that activity”. I choose it and I own it and I can change it anytime I want. I’m living more truthfully and more intentionally. And I’m living the life I choose, not the life chosen for me. F

Subscribe FREE to the monthly eMagazine from CathFamily for great ideas on making the home the heart of the Church. www.CathFamily.org


Parenting 57

God will never ask me to do more than is physically possible. If I lack time for an important priority, I must ask myself: what am I doing that is NOT God’s plan for me, but merely my own agenda? Francine Pirola | www.cathfamily.org


ONE MINUTE CATHOLIC

Parenting

Smell

58

the

Coffee

Pause for a moment before that first coffee or tea of the day and silently give thanks to God for the glorious gift to humanity that is the coffee bean! Breathe in the aroma, feel the steam on your face, appreciate the colour and clever patterns on the milk froth. Hold your first mouthful and let the flavour reach every taste bud. Feel the warmth spread through your body as you swallow. Mindfullness in little things discharges stress and enhances wellbeing…and sharing it with God grows our faith.

Give Thanks God’s blessings are lavish. Every bite, every sip, every meal is God’s gift. Yet so often we devour our food with little thought for the series of blessings that have delivered it to our plate: the miracle of creation that gives forth plants and animals, the labour of farmers who cultivate it, the human ingenuity that processes and transports it, the hands that lovingly prepare it. Before eating, pause…give thanks. Let the meal nourish you physically and spiritually.


Parenting

Savour the moment and offer a silent prayer of thanks

59


60

Life Matters


For many couples who marry, the dream of having a child of their own remains unfulfilled. Subfertility or infertility is not merely a technical glitch in the operating system of a couple’s baby-making, but affects couples deeply, including spiritually. We feature the personal testimony of three couples who had their pregnancy expectations challenged. Here they share their journeys from grief and distress, towards acceptance and peace.

Life Matters

Infertility journeys

61


Life Matters

Anne-Marie and Steve Parsons met through a mutual friend and married when they were in their early 30s.

62

Great Expectations Like most couples, when we were engaged we talked about our expectations of having children and we agreed to consider adoption of additional children after having some biological children first. We couldn’t possibly have known then that we’d end up having to rely on adoption as the only way to build our family, but having the ‘A’ conversation early certainly helped us to cross that bridge later. We left the plan to start a family in ‘the hands of God’ but in time, when nothing was happening, we began to consider other options.


One doctor with a strong focus on natural remedies was convinced we’d be pregnant within 12 months if we adhered to his strict diet. The following year we used a Billings Method mentor to help us monitor ovulation cycles, helping to pick the most fertile time in the cycle. Twelve more months trying this also proved unfruitful. The next option was to consider more conventional medical assistance. We opted for minimal medical intervention as it was more in line with Anne-Marie’s Catholic beliefs, yet this, too, proved unsuccessful. We were crushed when the specialist advised us to give up. We desperately wanted to be parents and both felt it was our calling. Fortunately, we were blessed to have the support of family and friends and we quickly came to a point where adoption was not only something to think about, but what God was in fact calling us to do. Cont...

Adoption was what God was in fact calling us to do.

Life Matters

The Fertility Treatment Treadmill

63


Life Matters

Pathway to Adoption

64

We knew that with adoption there was no guarantee of success but for us, being parents wasn’t about passing on genes, it was about being family. For us, adoption wasn’t an option that we saw as settling for second best, but something that fulfilled our calling. We settled on the Centacare (now CatholicCare) adoption program because it seemed more in line with our views of what an open adoption should be. One of the requirements of the program was for us to attend a live-in weekend retreat. They took us on a guided meditation where we laid on the floor and said ‘goodbye’ to the biological child we couldn’t have.

It was very painful, but a very necessary exercise! At one point, they took us all into a room with a table in the middle covered with baby and small child paraphernalia such as baby clothes, books, toys, and footballs. We were asked to pick one item each which best expressed what we felt we would be missing out on by not being able to have children. Most of the couples chose footballs or baby clothes. We each, independently of each other, chose a book on the subject of pregnancy. We both felt that all we’d be missing out on was the pregnancy bit.


At one point in the afternoon we were all gathered in a large room with lovely leadlight windows when Anne-Marie looked up to see a single ray of sunlight streaming through a crack in the window, and sobbed. She had just prayed for God to show His plan ... and He had. We just knew adoption was for us. We felt extraordinarily blessed when, in 1999, we welcomed Aedan into our family and Conor two years after that. Throughout the adoption process, and in our family life, which has had plenty of adoption-specific challenges, AnneMarie’s faith gave her strength. Steve became a Catholic in 2006. Together we have embraced God’s plan for our lives in the context of our Catholic faith and values. Living our faith determines who we are as parents, and gives us the support we need when the going gets rough. F

Looking back, we can see the hand of our Lord in our infertility journey; he was always there, holding us in the palm of His hand.

Life Matters

God’s Gift of Peace

65


Life Matters 66

When a child is born‌or not Sally Jones* reflects on her journey of becoming a mother. She lives in NSW.

Beginning a family did not come easily for us. Infertility is difficult all the time but sometimes the sadness feels much more raw - like at Christmas time when we celebrate the birth of the Christ-child. Over a number of years I noticed that a lump would form in my throat and I could not sing “when a child is born�. While I understood the song is referring to Jesus I felt this anticipation in a very personal way; the hope of new life seemingly denied to my husband and me. So many prayers were offered for us over the ten years of our marriage, that God would grant us the gift of a child. We also had great medical support, including FertilityCare. Three miscarriages were devastating blows. Thankfully, our family now includes two beautiful children, as well as our three angels in heaven whom we hope to meet one day. F *Name has been changed.

Despite these blessings, Christmas is still bittersweet for me; while I rejoice in the coming of the Christ-child and our own blessings, I feel deeply connected to the many childless couples with whom I share a common longing. Sally Jones


67

Life Matters


Life Matters 68 Timothy O’Malley is the director of the Notre Dame Centre for Liturgy, Institute for Church Life, at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. This is an edited excerpt of his article ‘Waiting for Gabriel: Learning to pray through infertility’.

The Way of Love In our first year of marriage in Boston, where Kara was a youth minister and I was a doctoral student, we decided it was time to begin a family. Month one passed. Month two passed. Month three passed. After a year, we began to see a barrage of infertility specialists, who based upon test results, concluded that we should be able to have a child. No low sperm counts. No problem with reproductive systems. All in working order. The verdict: inexplicable infertility. Cont...


Life Matters

Six months later, our home became the anti-Nazareth, as we awaited an annunciation that never came

69


Life Matters

God himself became my nemesis: why have you duped me? Why us?

70

Unexplained Infertility Unexplained infertility is a surprisingly miserable diagnosis. With every slight change in Kara’s monthly cycle, a glimmer of hope rises in our hearts, only to be dashed with the arrival of menstruation. Kind-hearted family, friends, and colleagues, who learn about our infertility, share stories about a mother or sister, who finally became pregnant. They recommend ‘doctors’ who have a proven track record of curing infertility. But unfortunately for us, we have no way of knowing if we will one day join the ranks of the middle-aged firsttime parent. And every trip to a doctor is a risk, because once again, we start to hope. Aware now, of course, that hope alone does not fill one’s home with children.

Faith Challenged Our diagnosis affected not simply our friendships, our own relationship, but particularly our spiritual lives. Each morning, I rise and ask God that we might finally have a child. I encounter only the chilly silence of a seemingly absent God. Such self-pity, while pleasant enough for a time, is both exhausting and a sure way to end up not only infertile but a narcissist. You begin to imagine that yours is the only life full of disappointment. Yours the only existence defined by sorrow. You close off from relationships with other people, particularly those with children, as a way of protecting yourself from debilitating sorrow.


Life Matters 71

Spiritual Recovery How did I find myself out of this hell? First, I had to learn to give myself over to a reality beyond my own control. Human life is filled with any number of things that happen to us, despite our desires. For me, praying the psalms helped. I used short phrases from psalms throughout the day, whenever I was tempted to enter into self-pity, to call myself back toward openness to the Father. The psalms became for me the grammar of my broken speech to God, a way to express a sorrow where words failed to suffice. Second, I also began to meditate upon the crucifix in silence whenever I entered a church. Such silent meditation became essential to prayer, for by gazing at the crucifix for long periods, I discovered how God’s very silence in prayer was stretching me out toward a more authentic love.

Has God caused our infertility? No! But, have we been called to it? Based upon the six years of infertility, perhaps that is indeed our calling. In contemplating the silence of the cross, the image of Christ stretched out in love, I could feel my own will stretched out gradually to exist in harmony with the Father’s. To accept the cup that we have been given. And as my will was stretched out, I found new capacities for love available to me; a new awareness that the ‘calling’ of infertility has made me aware of the lonely, the vulnerable, the needy, and allowed me to perceive the true gift of a human life.

cont...


Life Matters 72

Third, in my formation in prayer through the sorrow of infertility, I have grown in appreciation for the silence and halfsentences of God. Through entering into God’s own silence, I find my own bitter silence transformed into one of trust, of hope, of a kind of ‘infused knowledge’ of God’s love that I have come to savour, to taste, to experience during this growth in prayer.

I have grown in appreciation of the silence and half-sentences of God. Lastly, our infertility has slowly led me to a deeper appreciation of the Eucharistic quality of the Christian life. How all of our lives must become an offering, a gift to the Father through the Son in the unity of the Holy Spirit. True self-gift is hard. It’s hard to give yourself away to a God, who doesn’t seem to listen to your prayers. It’s hard to wait for a child that may never come, to prepare your home with the proper furniture for what seems at times a pipe dream. It’s hard to love your spouse, as deeply as you desire to, when you’re distracted by the phantasms of sorrow that have become your dearest friend. It’s hard to muster a smile when your friends announce that they will be having another child. It’s just hard. At these moments, I don’t know what else to do but to seek union with Christ himself; to enter more deeply into the Eucharistic logic of the Church, where selfpreservation is transformed into self-gift.

Our Marriage Mission For, it turns out we weren’t married that we could experience the joy of having children. We were married that our lives might become an offering of love for the world. To our nieces. To our nephews. To our friends. To a child, yet to be born, but who we hope to one day welcome through adopton. To a child, who has suffered more from neglect, whether accidental or purposeful, than we do from the absence of a child.

Our infertility isn’t about us. It’s about how God can transform even our sorrow into joy; how even in the shadow of this very real cross, the light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it. F


Life Matters 73

Pope Francis

speaks

I would like to remind the couples who are experiencing the condition of infertility, that their vocation to marriage is no less because of this... The vocation to love, in fact, is a vocation to the gift of self and this is a possibility that no organic condition can prevent. Pope Francis | Address to the Pontifical Academy for Life, February 2012


Life Matters 74

Children have a right to be conceived by the act that expresses and embodies their parents’ self-giving love. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops | Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology


Life Matters 75

Fertility wisdom The Catholic Church supports married couples in their building of families. Where couples struggle to conceive due to low fertility, it encourages fertility treatments that help conception to occur naturally through the sexual union of the couple. This may include medication or hormonal treatment, surgery and fertility awareness methods (FAMs). FAMs are a healthy, natural process where couples record their fertility symptoms to determine their fertility status day by day. The information can be used to time intercourse so as to avoid a pregnancy or to maximise the chance of conceiving. The fertility charts also facilitate the diagnosis of subfertility as well other related health problems. When used with NaProTechnology (a women’s health science), FAMs avoid the ethical and moral difficulties of IVF and other assisted reproduction techniques (ARTs). The goal of treatment is to restore the couple’s fertility which allows them to try

to conceive a child, and any subsequent children, without having to resort to assisted reproduction technology each time. Couples have conceived using NaProTechnology despite a history of repeated, unsuccessful IVF attempts.

IVF children are loved by God All children are precious gifts of inestimable value and overwhelmingly loved by God regardless of how they are conceived, but the Church’s view is that the way God planned conception is important. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has produced a clear overview of why the Church does not support many artifical reproductive technologies in their document titled ‘Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology’.

For a link to the document and other resources visit www.franklymag.org


Say Yes!

Life Matters

ONE MINUTE CATHOLIC

76

Did God have a plan B?

What if Mary had said ‘no’ when the Archangel Gabriel asked her to be the mother of God? Would he have negotiated the terms with her? Would he have gone to the maiden next door? This mind game provides each of us with a serious challenge; things don’t always go our way in life and it’s easy to think that God is asking too much of us in our difficulties. The Hail Mary is a prayer that reminds us to model ourselves on Mary’s unconditional ‘Yes’ and calls on her to pray for us. It’s like going to someone super close to God and getting them to plead our cause – she has super powerful prayers! She’s also our heavenly Mother so she loves us even more than our earthly mothers.


Life Matters

Have you called your Mother lately? Pray a Hail Mary while getting dressed in the morning. Or when you get into the car. Or stop for a cup of coffee. Just pick a daily activity that will remind you to do it and build a habit. It’s easy and takes less than a minute – even if you say it really slllllllooooooowwwwwwly.

If there’s one thing that Mary exemplifies, it’s a grand ‘Yes!’ to God.

77


Frankly Speaking

The Pope Said What???!!!

78


Pope Francis is a bit of a celebrity thanks to mainstream media attention. But sometimes the media get it wrong! Some of his astute and helpful reflections have been obscured by controversies fuelled by the post-beforeyou-check-all-the-facts nature of the modern 24 hour news cycle. Here we uncover the messages behind some of the sound-grabs.

How many captions could you put with this picture of Pope Francis blowing a kiss? It’s easy to misinterpret what the Pope means when there is so much media misinformation and everything gets truncated to soundbites.

oops, i DIDN’T MEAN THAT!

Frankly Speaking

Behind the Headlines

79


Frankly Speaking

The Full Story

80

POPE TO CATHOLICS:

DON’T BREED LIKE RABBITS

Pope Francis sure gets people talking, with his warm, down-to-earth style and off-the-cuff, fatherly advice. This was a pretty crazy summary of his message, which was about the need for parents to be responsible in their fertility decisions. This is what he actually said: “The key word [with regard to family planning], to give you an answer, and the one the Church uses all the time, and I do too, is responsible parenthood. How do we do this? With dialogue. Each person with his pastor seeks how to carry out a responsible parenthood.” “God gives you means to be responsible. Some think that - excuse the language - that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits. No! Responsible parenthood!”

Responsible parenthood means carefully discerning God’s purpose for our fertility.... oops!!!

The Pope went on to say that we should, “look at the generosity of [the] father and mother who see a treasure in every child”.


Pope to boy: your dog is in heaven

Excuse me! but what about cats... do they go to heaven?

The Pope was said to have told a grieving boy that he would see his deceased dog in heaven, saying that “Paradise is open to all God’s creatures.” In fact, when speaking at a weekly audience at the Vatican about the creation of a new heaven and earth after the end times, Pope Francis actually said: “It’s lovely to think of this, to think we will find ourselves up there. All of us in heaven. It’s good, it gives strength to our soul. At the same time, the Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us.” There was no boy crying about his dog present, but the story raced around the world until it was found to be false, forcing news outlets to issue corrections.

Where to go for the real deal Here are a few websites to bookmark for a deeper look beyond the headlines or to find out the context of the Pope’s remarks: The Pope’s homilies and addresses | w2.vatican.va News | www.zenit.org | www.osservatoreromano.va/en Commentary | www.patheos.com/Catholic

Frankly Speaking

The Full Story

81


Relationships 82

Loving the smart way Falling in love is an exhilarating experience - no wonder we like it so much! Francine and Byron Pirola reflect on falling and staying in love


Relationships 83

Falling in love is easy. Staying in love requires a conscious decision and focussed investment.


The

Relationships

Science of Love 84

Francine & Byron Pirola are the authors of the SmartLoving Series which enjoys an international readership. They are parents to five children and live in Sydney, Australia.

Our romance was a whirlwind of delight and passion. Over an intense two years, we courted with a dedicated focus: from the very beginning, it was clear that we were discerning marriage. But even before we got to the altar, the sparkle of those initial ‘in love’ emotions were losing their intensity.

Our brain chemistry changes and our brain activity shifts. Pleasure centres are activated and the addiction pathways engaged, making our experience similar to that of an addict: we crave more and more of each other, we pine for each other when separated, and we obsess about how to get more time together.

Scientists call this early stage of the romantic timeline ‘limerence’. It’s characterised by intense emotions; a feeling of euphoria, obsessive preoccupation with the object of our affections, high energy, reduced appetite and need for sleep, suppression of natural inhibitions and heightened sexual desire.

As with all stimulants, over time, the body adjusts back to its normal steady state. And the same thing happens when we move through the state of limerence. The brain adapts to the stimulus (that is, our beloved) as their presence becomes normalised and the intensity of the euphoria wanes.

As a young couple, we wish we had known that this was normal and healthy.


Relationships 85 When we found ourselves ‘losing those lovin’ feelings’ in our early newlywed years, it was bewildering. We worried that there was something at fault in our relationship. Thankfully, we were surrounded by wonderful, mature couples who mentored us through these early years.

A successful marriage is more than ‘falling in love’; it also requires us to sustain that love over many years. As our love matured, it became obvious to us that navigating modern marriage without conscious, intentional up-skilling and personal development was practically impossible. Our search to sustain our own marriage eventually led us to author the SmartLoving series of courses and articles. But it’s not just a series of things you can read or do. SmartLoving is also a concept that revolutionises the very way couples approach their relationship.


So what is SmartLoving?

Relationships

Very simply, SmartLoving is loving the other the way they like and need to be loved. It sounds kind of ‘doh’ but let us unpack it a bit for you, because it’s surprising how easy it is to miss this simple but powerful wisdom.

86


Love Profile Everyone experiences love uniquely. Loving gestures, actions and words from another will have varying effects on you depending on your own unique needs and preferences. Some of us have a strong need for affirming words and praise. Others crave physical touch and gestures of affection. Some bond through shared activity or intimate conversation. We all have a Unique Love Profile. Similarly, certain gestures will also undermine the sense of love more strongly. For example, a partner’s silent withdrawal might be merely frustrating for one person, but a panictrigger for another. The point is, everyone is unique in how he/she experiences connection with the other and feels loved and secure.

We all have a Unique Love Profile or finger print‌ different words and gestures resonate with each of us differently. This can be influenced by our sex, our history, childhood experience, our temperament and personality. Brothers, sisters and even twins will all have a unique love profile that is custom-made to them.

Relationships

Your Unique

87


Relationships 88

Love Needs We all have a deep hungering for connection and validation by another, what we call our ‘love needs’. When someone meets these love needs, we feel loved, valued, worthy and accepted. The more someone meets our love needs, the more we bond to them and desire to reciprocate with our own love. Most of us assume that the way we experience love is universal. So if we experience love through acts of service, we tend to express our love for others by doing acts of service for them. If we feel secure by financial stability, we tend to assume that financial security is equally important to the other.

The problem is that rarely do two people, especially when it involves a man and a woman, actually have the same love profile.

Most of us live our marriages expressing love the way we experience it, rather than the way the other experiences it. We call this ‘Dumb Loving’. Let us give you an example.

“I (Francine) experience love powerfully through listening and conversation, especially if I am stressed or upset. I feel loved when someone listens to me talk about it and allows me to process it as I talk. Naturally, when I see or sense that Byron is upset or worried about something, my instinct is to encourage him to talk about it. Usually, he just wants a bit of space to think it through privately. He’s more introverted than I am and prefers to process things through thinking or writing. But no! I’m on a mission to love and I’m going to help by insisting that we talk it out! So I lovingly ask: ‘Would you like to talk about it?’ He politely declines and retreats into his private thinking space while I wheel around for another try. ‘Are you sure you don’t want to talk about it?’ And on it goes. Pretty soon, he’s feeling harassed and I’m feeling rejected. It doesn’t take much in this setting for an explosive argument to erupt.” You can see how well this works for us, right? This is classic Dumb Loving! When we love by instinct instead of intention, most of the time we will miss the mark and our efforts will either not be noticed or may even irritate the other. It’s not that we don’t care or aren’t trying, it’s that we’re trying too hard in the wrong way.


Dumb Loving: Loving the other by instinct rather than intention

Oh...that’s so ...thoughtful, thanks ... I think?


Relationships 90

A Smarter Way to Love The principle of SmartLoving is simple: STEP 1 Study the other person to understand and know their Unique Love Profile. This is a lifelong endeavour as both of us are growing and changing (don’t get us started on the mid-life stuff!). It’s helpful to document it and to look for the Love Needs (the things that help them feel connected) as well as the Love Busters (those things that drive them away). STEP 2 Love them the way they like and need to be loved, not the way you like to be loved. That means eliminating their Love Busters and consciously meeting their Love Needs. This is genuine loving because it is authentically other-centred – you’re thinking about what the other needs, rather than what you want or think is the right way to do things. And it’s smart! We’re just too busy to waste time and energy loving in ways that don’t get results or even worse, communicate disrespect or indifference to the other. When you love smart, all you’re doing is avoiding the Love Busters and meeting the Love Needs. It’s actually pretty simple when you break it down like this.


SMARTlOVING Lots of people say that ‘marriage is hard work’. And if they’re not using the principles of SmartLoving, that will absolutely be their experience. It is hard work when we put a lot of effort into it and only get a small result for it. Dumb Loving is hard work; it exhausts us and undermines our confidence in our marriage… it’s a great way to convince yourself that you are ‘falling out of love’. No matter how good their intentions, if a couple live by the rules of Dumb Loving, odds are that they will eventually become exhausted, give up and leave the relationship. That’s a tragedy because it is so unnecessary. Learn how to ‘love smart’ and you’ll find love a whole lot easier and more fulfilling for you both.

Relationships

Marriage doesn’t have to be hard work if you learn to love smart.

Because Every Marriage Matters

Courses, Articles, Tips and Tricks to help you thrive in your relationship. • SmartLoving Engaged for Couples preparing to marry in the Catholic Church. • SmartLoving Marriage to deepen and enrich your marriage. • SmartLoving Breakthrough for spouses in troubled marriages.

Sign up

FREE for the eNews and receive our SmartLoving eBook.

Go to: Smartloving.org

www.SmartLoving.org

www.SmartLoving .org

91


92

Tough Topics


Rubber hits the Road The Catholic Church holds assemblies, or synods, of its bishops with the Pope every three years. Pope Francis made an unusual step in the calling of two synods on the same topic – family – in two years.

The Church needs a prayer full of love for the family and for life Pope Francis | Address, May 25, 2015

Two emotionally-charged topics from the Synods on the Family gained media attention: how the Church should respond to divorced Catholics who have remarried outside the Church, and how to better respond to people with same-sex attraction. Frankly tries to cut through the noise with some words of reflection on these issues.

Tough Topics

Where the

93


Tough Topics

‘Hot-Button’ Issues at the Synod

94

Archbishop Mark Coleridge is the Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane and a 2015 Synod Bishop delegate.

Reflecting on the 2015 Synod ahead of his attendance, the archbishop has pointed out the need to rise above the “predictable antagonisms”. These range from insisting that Church teaching be simply restated without any changes made at all, to demanding that it be summarily overturned.

On the gap between teaching and practice No-one doubts that the gap between the facts on the ground and the Church’s teaching has grown wider. The question is what we do about that. Theoretically, one option is simply to cave into the facts and adjust Church teaching to match them. But that’s not going to happen, nor should it. Another theoretical option is simply to lament or condemn the facts and go on repeating Church teaching in the hope that the facts might eventually change to match it.

But there’s no sign that the facts on the ground will change any time soon to match Church teaching. We need a new kind of dialogue between the facts and the teaching – a dialogue respectful of both. This will require some genuinely lateral thinking or, better, a kind of apostolic imagination. It will also need to have a practical edge.

One Church, many cultures The Pope’s choice of theme for the twopart Synod was shrewd; because in many ways marriage and the family is where the rubber hits the road, not just for the Church but for society as a whole. In the end, the Synod addressed how the Gospel can more powerfully and creatively engage contemporary culture. Yet the Catholic Church embraces many cultures.


Tough Topics 95

Some of the hot-button issues in the dominant cultures of the West barely appear on the radar screen elsewhere; and hot-button issues elsewhere don’t figure in the West. The centre of gravity in the Church is moving from the so-called First World to Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The Synod may well be a moment when the Churches of the First World have to listen rather than speak, to learn rather than teach. F This is an edited extract from the Archbishop’s article originally published in The Catholic Leader.

Prof. Ron & Mavis Pirola, were one of 13 couples present at the 2014 Synod.

An Insider’s view It was very different to what you would expect from reports in the media. It’s quite unlike parliament where one side battles to defeat the other. At the Synod we saw prayerful listening to each other’s experiences and reflecting on that in the light of Scripture and the teaching tradition of the Church. Yes, there was plenty of robust debate but it was always carried out respectfully.


Tough Topics

Frank Talk

Divorce &

ReMarriage

96

Bishop Eugene Hurley is the Catholic bishop of Darwin. For many years he chaired the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life, which among other responsibilities, supports marriages and families. During my fifty years as a priest I’ve met and shared with many people the utter devastation of a ‘failed’ marriage. I’ve never met anybody who entered marriage, hoping or believing that it would end in divorce and disaster. Everyone I know has entered marriage hoping and believing that it would be life-long and happy. The reality is that all of us as human beings are imperfect and we bring those imperfections to our marriage... it’s who we are. The mysterious journey of a marriage relationship is both amazing and scary. Amazing because of the courage and commitment that couples bring to that relationship in all sorts of trying circumstances. It has been the greatest inspiration for me in my long years of priesthood. I would love to think that one day I might have that sort of holiness.

Scary, because as a couple enter marriage they have no guarantee of what may lay before them. Sadly, I have seen sickness and weakness enter these relationships, that may have never been identified prior to the marriage, but subsequently have tested the marriage. In other circumstances I’ve seen couples forced to live a lifestyle that they never intended.

Sometimes these lifestyles have been too heavy for the relationship to carry and it simply collapses under the weight. cont...


Bishop Eugene Hurley

Tough Topics

The mysterious journey of a marriage relationship is both amazing and scary

97


Tough Topics

I’ve so often shared the deep and abiding sadness of ‘good’ Catholics who find themselves unable to receive the Jesus they love so much, because of what has happened to their marriage and their subsequent “second marriage”.

98

I’ve known so many couples whom I completely believe, who would swear that the present relationship they are in, is without a shadow of a doubt, their first ‘real’ marriage.

Because marriage is so important and such a wonderful Sacrament, the Church has very strict rules as to what actually constitutes a valid marriage. Not every marriage celebrated, even in the Catholic Church, is valid. Whilst it may look like a valid marriage, sometimes it simply is not. When these relationships fall apart, the Church wants an opportunity to test it to determine whether or not it is truly valid. If not, then an annulment is granted which reassures the couple that they haven’t had a failed marriage, but rather they were in a relationship that lacked some essential elements of a valid marriage. Once the annulment has been granted, then the person is free to marry in the Church. The two-part Synod on the Family is an important step for the Church and part of an ongoing discussion. It is an opportunity to explore how to reach out to Catholics who are in difficult situations after they have remarried, while holding onto Christ’s teaching of marriage as a life-long exclusive bond. F

For more information about marriage, divorce, and annulment see www.franklymag.org


Tough Topics 99

Frankly Thoughts An annulment is not saying that a marriage never existed. It is saying that something essential for a sacramental, binding marriage, was not there at the start and was never there during the marriage. While many marriages might not be valid at the start, the couple later grows into validity/sacramentality. An annulment is not saying that the couple did anything wrong, individually or together, but that something important is missing. No one gets married planning to divorce but when it happens, it is often because the missing bit cannot be overcome by one, or the other, or both. Because the marriage started in love and hope and promise, this breach is always very painful. Not withstanding the reality of this difficulty, a couple’s response to that pain can either make it a time of growth or of more pain and destruction. F


Insider’s View

Tough Topics

My Annulment

Journey

100

The journey towards the annulment of my first marriage and full reconciliation with the Church began in early 2012. However, I had been struggling with the psychological, physical and mental stresses of a failed marriage since 2007. The end of the civil proceedings in 2011 allowed me to proceed with the petition for annulment in the Catholic Church. Having just gone through a slow, painful and expensive civil divorce involving lawyers, sadness, anger and much negativity, I did not wish to have to live through the whole experience all over again. In addition, I knew little about what would be involved in the process. In the meantime, I had also met my current wife, and it was far more tempting to continue our lives in a modern secular model. By comparison, the Catholic Church’s firm stance against divorce and continued honouring of the marriage sacrament seemed archaic and wholly unfair. I was also made aware that I could not receive Holy Communion due to my new relationship, and this only increased my feeling of alienation from the Church.

Fortunately, I was repeatedly encouraged to make enquiries about the annulment process by family members and past mentors. My new partner also started to attend RCIA sessions and I too began to feel a strong urge to reconcile fully with the Church. My advocate, Fr Adrian, was always sensitive and kind. During our meetings, he explained the implications, steps and procedures that would follow the application for annulment. The Tribunal members were very adept at probing for answers in an unobtrusive and sensitive manner. The total cost of the annulment was nonprohibitive and at no point did I feel as pressured, stressed or strung-out as in the civil proceedings. More importantly, I did not have to meet or deal with my ex-wife although she was called to participate in the process.

The entire process was less intimidating and painful than I had feared.


The introspection helped to deepen my understanding of marriage. This helped me to identify and correct the critical mistakes made before, and to see what is truly essential in a successful marriage. Taking that big leap in seeking the guidance of the tribunal has been one of the most important steps in the journey towards healing. The ensuing feelings of closure, release and inner peace since receiving my annulment has been something that I cannot explain well with words alone.

It has given me a sense of completion and wholeness. In a way, I felt almost like the prodigal son being welcomed back to the fold. Being given this opportunity to return to full communion with the Church and to live life to the fullest again is an experience worth more than its weight in gold. F

Tough Topics

The most challenging aspect of the annulment process had to be the writing of the pre-statement for the official petition. There was much soul-searching, recollecting and raking up of past events: the flaws, mistakes, plastered-over cracks, blind spots, and most importantly, realisation of my errors and expectations. It was absolutely humbling.

101

Name withheld. This article originally published in Catholic News, www.catholicnews.sg Reprinted with permission.


Frank Talk on

Tough Topics

SaMe-Sex

Attraction

102

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP is the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney. He is a bioethicist and a Dominican. Photo: Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

We all know and love people with same sex-attraction. This is not something alien to the experience of the Church. This, in fact, is there in everybody’s families or workplaces or friendship groups, whether or not they are aware of it. So what’s our attitude to that to be? These are children of God. If God loves them, then the Church has to love them, we have to love them: it’s as straightforward and clear as that. The Church loves people with same sex attraction and that has to be made clear and I think that sadly that hasn’t been made clear historically. That’s then the starting point. The question then becomes, well, these people often are struggling in one way or another, struggling to live the Christian life, struggling for acceptance and respect in society, struggling with their own identity, struggling to form healthy relationships and so on. How can we be in there helping? And to be a church that says to every human being, and that includes

our brothers and sisters with same sex attraction, ‘We are a Church for you. We want you in the Church, we want you in the Church active, engaged, and struggling with the rest of us to live the Christian life, as fully as possible’. When you come into the Church we’re going to set the bar high for you, like we do with everybody. It’s not going to be, ‘Oh there are two classes of Christians here, there are the ones that can aspire to sanctity and the second rate ones whom we can’t expect much of’. No, we’re going to set the bar high for everybody in terms of living the Christian life. But no one is shut out of that; we want everyone in. [The Church is] a group of sinners seeking to be saints”. F Excerpted from a transcript interview with journalist Noel Debien on ABC’s Radio National.

Two powerful films on people with SSA are: The Third Way | www.blackstonefilms.org Desire of the Everlasting Hills | everlastinghills.org


Tough Topics 103

We want you in the Church, we want you in the Church active, engaged, and struggling with the rest of us to live the Christian life, as fully as possible Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP | ABC Radio National Interview


Insider’s View

Gay, Catholic,

Tough Topics

and Doing Fine Joseph Prever is a writer and web developer. Here he shares his experience of living the Catholic faith as a person with same-sex attraction.

104 I have heard a lot about how mean the Church is, and how bigoted, because she opposes gay marriage. How badly she misunderstands gay people, and how hostile she is towards us. My gut reaction to such things is: Are we even talking about the same church? When I go to Confession, I sometimes mention the fact that I’m gay, to give the priest some context. I’ve always gotten one of two responses: either compassion, encouragement, and admiration, because the celibate life is difficult and profoundly counter-cultural; or nothing at all, not even a ripple, as if I had confessed eating too much on Thanksgiving. Of the two responses, my ego prefers the first - who doesn’t like thinking of themselves as some kind of hero? - but the second might make more sense.

Being gay doesn’t mean I’m special or extraordinary. It just means that my life is not always easy. When I told my family a year ago, not one of them responded with anything but love and understanding. Actually, the only time I get shock or disgust or disbelief, is when I tell someone who supports the gay

lifestyle. Celibacy?? You must be some kind of freak. I’m grateful to gay activists for some things - making people more aware of the prevalence of homosexuality, making homophobia less socially acceptable but they also make it more difficult for me to be understood, to be accepted for who I am and what I believe. If I want open-mindedness, acceptance, and understanding, I look to Catholics.

So, yes, it’s hard to be gay and Catholic - it’s hard to be anything and Catholic - because I don’t always get to do what I want. Show me a religion where you always get to do what you want and I’ll show you a pretty shabby, lazy religion. F This is an edited extract of an article originally published under the pseudonym Steve Gershom at littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com.au

Courage is an international ministry of the Catholic Church which supports people with same-sex attraction and their family members. www.couragerc.org


Tough Topics 105

Being a Catholic means believing in a God who literally waits in the chapel for me, hoping I’ll stop by just for ten minutes so he can pour out love and healing on my heart. Which is worth more - all this, or getting to have sex with who I want? Joseph Prever


Tough Topics

Love &

Truth

106

It’s easy to be drawn into the “predictable antagonisms” on these issues. The challenge for us all is to take the attitude expressed in Pope Francis’ famous line, “Who am I to Judge?” For example, he has spoken compassionately about people with same-sex attraction but strongly against same-sex marriage and gender politics; he has responded with understanding to people in second marriages while affirming the beauty of life-long marriage.


The notion of ‘hating the sin but loving the sinner’ speaks to this challenge but is not as easily heard in today’s culture. Authentic love will always be honest about harmful choices as well as empathetic. The call to mercy invites us to love without condemnation while upholding the truth as revealed by God.


FATHErHOOD Fatherhood

DADS MATTER

108

We all have a father, and almost any man can father a child, but the irreplaceable and unique role of fathers is often little acknowledged.


Fatherhood 109

Mothers have their own strengths, but with the increase of women participating in paid labour and changing social expectations, fathers today are more likely to be closely involved and emotionally connected with their children than our grandfathers were. There are many reasons why this is good news for children. Let’s look at why dads matter, with help from the book ‘The Father Factor’ by Peter O’Shea and Robert Falzon.


Fatherhood

Dads help children thrive

110

Children do better academically, emotionally and socially when their dad has greater involvement in their lives. They tend to take more risks, while also developing greater self-discipline. Involved fathers are also more likely to have a stronger influence on their children’s moral development and religious belief and practice. The kind of involvement is important too. The most effective form involves: • Listening, encouraging, conveying warmth • Providing everyday assistance • Providing reasonable and consistent behaviour correction, and • Facilitating children’s increased independence over time

Dads do it differently Dads’ play and type of nurturing provide unique benefits: • Dads’ roughhousing type of play prompts children to develop their gross motor skills • Encouragement of risk-taking in play develops confidence • Greater use of questions in play, using the words ‘what’ or ‘where’ more frequently encourages children’s interaction and develops vocabulary


• Fathers tend to provide firmer discipline, whereas mothers tend to negotiate more. Both are important, with the firmer correction prompting children to achieve goals.

Teenagers and adults need their dad The physical presence of the father is important during adolescence. The absence of fathers is correlated with a higher risk of delinquent behaviour in boys, and a higher risk of the early onset of puberty for girls. Also, if both girls and boys feel close to their dads while they are growing up, they are more likely to have successful and enduring marriages in later life.

For more information see The Father Factor by Peter O’Shea and Robert Falzon. Published by Connor Court.

Father Substitute | Where the dad is absent, the positive findings on fatherly influence still hold so long as the father substitute is a loved and trusted male such as a grandfather, uncle, or step-father.

Fatherhood

• Fathers inculcate a strong physical sense of protection. Children who spend lots of time with their fathers tend to be less vulnerable to sexual assault or abuse

111


Fatherhood 112

Robert Falzon is married to Alicia and together they have four sons. He is a co-founder of menALIVE a Catholic movement for men. Robert is also the co-author with Peter O’Shea of The Father Factor, published in 2014 by Connor Court Publishing.

My Father My parents raised their children in a difficult environment and economy. They were well-intentioned and tried hard, but with five children to care for, there always seemed to be too many bills, and too little money or time for quality relationships. Like many other families of the time, Mum served in the home and carried out most of the child-raising duties. Dad was the boss. He provided the discipline (which was sometimes harsh and physical), and worked two jobs in the early part of my life just to provide for the family. As I remember it in those early years, Dad was rarely home and when he was at home he was exhausted and emotionally absent. The lack of a strong father-son relationship left me as a young adult with many unanswered questions, confusion about who I was and what it was to be a man. I now understand that I was searching and longing for affirmation, validation, modelling and instruction. It didn’t come, and I was left incomplete and strangely ashamed. Cont...


113

Fatherhood


Fatherhood 114

Now, I do not blame my father, John, for this. He did the best he could, given the times and his circumstances. His own upbringing left him significantly impaired and unfinished as a man. His father was a cook in the merchant navy and was away most of Dad’s life, coming home only for a few weeks a year. My one recollection of him is of a one-off meeting. He was sitting at the Laminex table in the small kitchen of his very part-time home, rolling his own cigarettes for that evening. I cannot remember what he said, if anything. I don’t recall my Dad saying anything either. The only thing communicated in the silence was distance. Life, grace and circumstances provided new opportunities for real relationship in Dad’s later years. I was in my late 30s when we each sought each other out, became reconciled and built a warm and meaningful relationship. He made efforts to reveal his heart and mind. I made efforts to listen, learn and love.

Eventually, he said the words that I needed to hear: “I love you Robbie”, and, “I am so proud of you, my son”. These were necessary, irreplaceable, delicious words that became flesh, which became a man ... me. The birth of my first child, a son, on the morning of Good Friday in 1987 was a profound moment in my life. “My son, you’re a dad! Congratulations, Robert.” My father’s words felt like a blessing over me. In that instant I was changed. I became a father. I had arrived too! My dad died in June, 2010. I am one of the fortunate ones to have been able to find resolution in my relationship with my Dad in my lifetime and subsequently be transformed in the process.

The experience of longing for my father, of needing a primary male figure in my life in my first 20 or more years and the pain of not receiving it in my early years has been one of my greatest personal struggles. My early deep needs for approval, validation, boundaries and initiation into manhood were not properly met until I was well into adulthood.

Some writers call this experience Father Hunger or the Father Wound. And there is an ancient saying which suggests that, “What is not resolved is repeated”. Fr Richard Rohr has stated something very similar, “If the pain of your story is not transformed it will be transmitted”. I found this to be true in my case. It took effort on my part not to fall into the same, wounding, pattern of overworking and emotional absence when it came to fathering my own four children. One thing that has helped me the most is setting time aside for quiet and stillness every morning. A time to talk simply and honestly with God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and allow God to guide and instruct me. I began with 10 minutes of dedicated prayer time each day, but that’s become about one hour. This has helped me make the necessary personal and spiritual changes a journey, rather than a shallow one-shot event. F


Fatherhood 115

I think of these times with sadness and lost opportunities. My Dad and I were strangers. I wanted and needed so much from him. He held and contained something for me (and I for him) that no one else could give


Fatherhood

The Father Wound 116

Our fathers, being human, were not perfect. Some were deeply flawed and hurtful.


Our Father’s Love Letter

From a Christian perspective, there is a deeper reason why the Father Wound has such an impact – we are hardwired to know and need the perfect, unconditional and completely self-giving love of God. Jesus taught us that God is also our Father. It makes sense that in this life we will feel unfulfilled by our relationship with our earthly fathers, who represent but can never take the place of, our Father in heaven. If our earthly father has hurt us, we can find it hard to trust any authority figure, especially God our Father. Religious faith can be hard to sustain or seem irrelevant. The Father Wound can begin to heal when we look to God the Father for the fulfillment of our longings.

My child, You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1

Fatherhood

A message from God to you

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2

117

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31 I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12

It is my desire to lavish my love on you, simply because you are my child and I am your father. 1 John 3:1 I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11 For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48 My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5

If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29 When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18 I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15 My question is… Will you be my child? I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

From your Dad, God For more see www.fathersloveletter.com


Fatherhood

ONE MINUTE CATHOLIC

118

Good Morning Dad! Start the day with a ‘Hi’ to the Big Guy. The Big Guy is also our Father in heaven. On our baptism day we became the beloved son or daughter of our Creator and Heavenly Father. Jesus called God the Father ‘Abba’, an affectionate Aramaic name, much like Daddy or Papa. Do you feel this close to your Father in Heaven? Or are you on more formal, reserved terms? Try praying to our Father with an affectionate name that is most natural for you. Let his fatherly affection draw you into his embrace.


On the Care of

OUR COMMON Home

“The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were,

a caress of

God.

Pope Francis | Laudato Si n. 84

These words come from the letter that Pope Francis has written to the whole human race, entitled ‘Laudato Si’ (Praise Be), which is about the care of our common home, the earth. What greater gift have we been given than this beautiful cosmos which supports our life and everything we enjoy! In this photo essay we touch upon some of the letter’s main themes. It urgently calls for a greater respect of and care for our physical environment and for all humanity, especially the poor. It also celebrates the beauty and majesty of our universe and every single expression of God’s life and love in it.


120 Photo Essay


Photo Essay 121

The Places we

Cherish

The history of our friendship with God is always linked to particular places which take on an intensely personal meaning; we all remember places, and revisiting those memories does us much good. Anyone who has grown up in the hills or used to sit by the spring to drink, or played outdoors in the neighbourhood square; going back to these places is a chance to recover something of their true selves. Pope Francis | Laudato Si, n.84


122 Photo Essay


Photo Essay 123

A call FOr

Respect

& Stewardship

...Our “dominion� over the universe should be understood more properly in the sense of responsible stewardship. Pope Francis | Laudato Si, n.116


124 Photo Essay


Solidarity & Justice

The rich and the poor have equal dignity, for “the Lord is the maker of them all� (Prov 22:2). Each community can take from the bounty of the earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth and to ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations. Pope Francis | Laudato Si, n.94, 67

Photo Essay

The Need For

125


Photo Essay 126

Less

When is More

Christian spirituality proposes an alternative understanding of the quality of life, and encourages a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption. We need to take up an ancient lesson, found in different religious traditions and also in the Bible. It is the conviction that “less is more�. Pope Francis | Laudato Si, n.138


Photo Essay 127

Our Duty to

Protect

& Preserve

Just as the different aspects of the planet – physical, chemical and biological – are interrelated, so too living species are part of a network which we will never fully explore and understand. Pope Francis | Laudato Si, n.138


Don’t be a stranger! We’d love to hear from you.

Photo Essay

Send us your thoughts or a photo of yourself reading FRANKLY and we will choose the most interesting contributions to feature online or in a future issue of FRANKLY. For all the details see

128

www.franklymag.org

To order FRANKLY www.franklymag.org FRANKLY is available through retail suppliers. Bulk discounts are available to parishes and schools when distributed free to readers. Call us or visit the website for more information or to order. 02 9319 1111

I Think This GUARDIAN ANGEL May Be A Little Overworked!


We hope you enjoyed your reading of FRANKLY. We all love God’s good earth, so please pass it on to someone else to read or donate it to a waiting room, hair dressser or cafe!

F

Meet the Frankly team Concept Design: Francine Pirola, Byron Pirola, Kiara Pirola Editorial: Marilyn Rodrigues, Francine Pirola Design and Consultation: Louise Elliott, Sarann Ryan, Jess Lubgans, Noah Castillo, Philipa Caulfield

FRANKLY is published by LivingWell Media Pty Ltd 55 Portman Street Zetland, NSW 2017. Copyright Š 2015 LivingWell Media Pty Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Scripture quotes are taken from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). Photographs are sourced from Dreamstime, except page 31 (Getty Images) and photos of contributors. Permission has been obtained for the use of fonts, photos the reprinting of articles.


F franklymag.org

ISBN 9780994357007

9 780994 357007

FRANKLY | 2015  

Dear Reader, We hope you enjoy FRANKLY! Please leave some feedback on our webpage at www.franklymag.org - we'd love to hear from you.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you