Sunday

Catholic Family Systems Theory



In the current mental health field there exists the highly recognized phenomenon referred to as "Family Systems Theory". Family Systems Theory proposes in part that family consists of numerous members working together as an individual "system". Each member of the system effects not only each other member, but also the family as a whole. (Like an automobile engine, where small pieces either enhance or disrupt the functioning of the greater good.) It is upon this basic principle that many of we psychotherapists practice our trade of assisting individuals and their families.

Perhaps in many respects this approach is a productive way to examine human behavior. Yet, I wish to relate here that for Christians who are loyal, practicing Catholics, the approach of "Family Systems Theory" is sorely limited. If the approach is not limited in principle, it is certainly limited in scope. The reason is for the committed Catholic, one's family is absolutely "not" limited to one's father, mother, brother or sister. Not even limited to cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents or an entire block in a community! Deeply, in a practical way, a practicing Catholic grasps the concept of family far beyond the mere relationships of family seen with physical eyes.

Respectfully, our Protestant brothers and sisters do not easily understand what I'm saying here. To the sincere Catholic, "statues" are not what is real. Our blessed Mother Mary is not herself worshiped. But instead a profound and deeply felt communication is practiced accross a broad and vast family of God through the Holy Spirit. It is done through personal prayer, wrote prayers, Mass, sacred ceremony, saying of the rosary, and so on. ... As we who are Christian believers would ask one another to pray for a specific matter on earth, so we Catholics believe, to the core of our very being, that the faithfull who have gone on to the next life, the saints, continue heartily in prayer for us who are now passing through the valley of this life.

And we see Mary, the mother of Jesus, as the Queen of all saints. ... No, don't misunderstand, we do not "worship" Mary. Yet, in a manner as one might reverance, respect and "hail" one's earthly mother, we as a global church in worship of Christ, reverance, respect and hail the mother of Christ as our mother as well! (We love the hands who poured water and nourished our Savior when He was a child. We reverance her voice, as we believe she prayed to baby Jesus at night, and sometimes calmed His cries with her mother tenderness.)

We believe Jesus loved His mother dearly. Not only that He did, but that He continues to love her. Catholics, the one who have not fallen away from their faith, spend time "loving" our mother who was, and continues to be, the mother of Christ.

We believe that when God prepared Mary for mothership of Diety, God made her "Full of Grace", and that the grace in Mary continues to this day. We pray the rosary, and through the power of the Holy Spirit of God, our precious Mother walks us through the Holy Mysteries of the gospels. She prays for us in like manner of other saints who have gone on to the next life to worship and enjoy God, the Holy Trinity.

For those of us who grew up without a mother, through God's power and love, our Mother, the ever virgin Mother of Christ, speaks not of herself, but always turns our hearts to worship and praise her Son, Christ, the ever complete manifestation of God in the flesh.

For those of us who have been hurt by divorce, for those of us who have been devistated by rejection from the ones consumed with human selfishness, for those of us who need to feel listened to and understood when people in this world don't seem to care, we have a vast glorious family to love us through the pains we go through in this valley of life.

The Trinity is One, and He alone is God through the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Praise this magnificent God that He not only gave Himself to us through the revelation of Jesus, but that He also makes us part of His family. Just as Jesus was, and continues to be,God in human flesh, we find similarly not only power, love and grace through the Trinity, but we also find love, grace and understanding through our family of saints, of whom Mary, the mother of our Savior is Queen.

Remember that your precious family on earth is not all the family you have. Our mothers and fathers on earth are sacred to us, but God also provided for you an "extended family" that can be as real, near and dear to you as your earthly family. God prepared one human especially "full" of grace, so that through His Holy Spirit, through blessed Mary ever Virgin, God is also made manifest in human form for us to follow in service to Christ. ... Do you need a mother? Do you need understanding from men and women, your brothers and sisters? Oh, please know that you have it! Don't believe all you see is all there is! It is known what you do for the glory of Christ, even when no one on earth seems to understand. Let God love you. Also, in a very real way, let us hail our Holy Mother full of grace. Make all this your family, and may you be strong and feel loved for having done so. In the current mental health field there exists the highly recognized phenomenon referred to as "Family Systems Theory". Family Systems Theory proposes in part that family consists of numerous members working together as an individual "system". Each member of the system effects not only each other member, but also the family as a whole. (Like an automobile engine, where small pieces either enhance or disrupt the functioning of the greater good.) It is upon this basic principle that many of we psychotherapists practice our trade of assisting individuals and their families.

Perhaps in many respects this approach is a productive way to examine human behavior. Yet, I wish to relate here that for Christians who are loyal, practicing Catholics, the approach of "Family Systems Theory" is sorely limited. If the approach is not limited in principle, it is certainly limited in scope. The reason is for the committed Catholic, one's family is absolutely "not" limited to one's father, mother, brother or sister. Not even limited to cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents or an entire block in a community! Deeply, in a practical way, a practicing Catholic grasps the concept of family far beyond the mere relationships of family seen with physical eyes.

Thursday

The Making Of Sex Artificial

What comes first, the chicken or the egg? Do people first deny what is real, spiritual, then make what is precious among them artificial and cheap? Do we deny God's truth in holy symbols, in the Church, then make only symbolic and cheap that which is the core of life and family?

Catholocism is about truth. Roman orthodox Christianity is about reality. In ritual, in symbolism, exists the greatest facts and historical proof that is most foundational to what's key to civilization and life.

Mr. Timothy Muldoon says it well in his blog: timmuldoon.blogspot.com "The commodification of just about anything in the postmodern world means that symbols can easily be divorced from the rich narratives that give them meaning. Tibetan prayer flags become decorations; rosaries become apparel; names of saints ("Madonna") become record labels. It is no surprise, then, that "sex" is seen as just an act. What Catholics must insist is that all symbols-- that is, all things which manifest a greater reality--be reconnected to the narratives which give them meaning. Catholicism is fundamentally about realism, in contrast to those extremes in the postmodern world which seek to sever symbols from the things which give them meaning. "Sex" is never about just sex-- it is about men and women with real human bodies and deep desires that arise both from their bodies and from deep within their souls. Sex provides a window into the depths of the other; Catholics must insist that we honor both the depths of the person and the sexual symbolism that manifests hints of those depths.

"Holy Mary, ever virgin, our mother, may God through His precious Holy Spirit reveal to us your gentleness. Pray for us, sinners. Help us men to find the beauty in you we seek elsewhere and crave. Help your daughters to mirror your grace. Lead us to your Son, our Savior, Christ. With you, our mother, and the trinity, may we truly experience family. When you love us and lead us, the mirror of human discipleship to God, we change in service to Him, and in wholesome relationship with others. Holy Mary, make me a better man. Our mother, raise to integrity and sanctity the minds, hearts and flesh of the women in our lives. May we who are men treat them the same. We are sad that we have grieved your heart. We are convicted that we have offended Christ. Pray for us, Mary, Mother of our Savior, now and at the hour of our death. Amen"

Sunday

Healing For Emotional Pain (Remember, God Loves You)

"And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him." (Pope Benedict XVI, Homily April 24th, 2005)

Let me acknowledge something here that is very important. God loves you so much! You are made in His image. The angels see this, and they stand in wonder an amazement. The Father sent His Son to die on the cross for you, because He loves you more than your mind could possibly imagination! To ignore the cross of Christ, is to deny the means whereby God saves you and reveals his never ending love for you.

In your struggles each day, including any possible depression, fear, anger, rejection or disappointment, try to remember deeply that God loves you so tenderly. People may let you down, but your Heavenly Father will never let you down. His compassion for you, through the Person of the Holy Spirit is the greatest therapy and healing for emotional pain. In all of our study of human relationships, let us not forget this.

Beautiful words were once discovered penciled on the wall of an insane asylum. It is not known who wrote them. The words were later the inspiration for what became a famous hymn:

"Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made.
Were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade.
To write the love of God above, would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.
Oh, love of God. How great and pure. How marvelous and strong.
It shall for evermore endure, the saints and angels song!"

Wednesday

Why One Woman Is Not Enough For Some Men













For the woman who reads this, you must understand that God made you beautiful. For the man who reads this, if you're a husband, you could spend all your life, yet never discover all the loveliness that is in your wife.

That's how God made us. The truth of what I'm saying here, the depth of it, has too much been forgotten.

Each solitary woman is a "galaxy" of experience, of stars, planets and heavenly bodies, waiting to be appreciated and cherished by the man who will love her. Only in that way is a man fulfilled, who's vocation it is to be a husband.

But, "Why is one woman not enough for some men?" The core reason is simple. Its because some men believe God is not as great as He says He is. As Adam used Eve to be God in the place of God, so these men believe God is not capable of placing in one woman, in one woman alone, all that a man could ever need.

When a man is not satisfied with one woman (As some men go from one woman to the next), the problem is not the women, but that man's relationship with his Creator.

All the man need do is look up to the heavens. As telescopes peer through the area within the small constellation of the Big Dipper alone, astronomers project their telescopes further beyond and literally count more than one million galaxies in that comparably small portion of the universe. Our sun is itself a star, a thermo-nuclear device ten thousand times the size of the earth. As each galaxy contains "billions" of these suns (or stars), the estimate in number of galaxies known to exists in the cosmos is estimated in the untold "billions"!

The colors in each galaxy is magnificent. The stars, the planets, the moons, the comets all rotate in intricate detail. Yet, any man knows, who has truly loved a good woman, her riches surpass the magnificence of any galaxy.

Check the math. Numerically, statistically, God has placed in the heavens, not a star, but an entire galaxy for every woman; each woman who has ever walked on earthly soil. Since our God made the galaxies, and holds them in there place with all their splendor and glory, has He not as well contained in each woman all that each man could ever want or desire for his basic human need? Oh, yes! For when a man, a husband, purposes intentionally to direct all his hopes, his fantasies, his dreams and his happiness in one woman, that woman will not only fulfill his visions of joy, but she will be free (more free), to open his eyes, his mind and his heart to more satisfaction, rest and wholeness than he ever thought possible.

Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress.

For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

(Proverbs 5:15-23)

Friday

What Has Been Forgotten About Women


There is something forgotten about women. The thing forgotten about women, by not remembering, renders all chaos as ripples atop a country pond. ... No, I think as tsunamis upon all oceans. ... Societal suicide.

What we've forgotten about women, every woman, is anatomy, physiology, bodies formed and carried sacred, precious. Where inside beautiful sculptured bone, flesh, reside precise location, somewhere, a holy sanctuary, a divine tabernacle, where silently the miraculous hand of God reaches down from heaven, on cue, forming tenderly, delicately, bodies and breathing lives of our sons and daughters. Positioned. God. His Holy Spirit. Not for one moment, but for nine months. No, a lifetime, creating.
From here, somewhere in woman they spawn, our children, ourselves.. Mirrors of God's unique image. The angels marvel. Now and for eternity.

Before the burning bush, Moses removed his sandals by command of deity. While there in fire God spoke gently.

Yet, increasingly it seems, we, descendants of Adam, gravitate a million ways, for a million reasons, to this holy place among us. That is, to women, - to ravage, to rape, to use, abuse, forget, roll over to sleep, ... women, to market, to cheapen.

But what is holy in men, except that we approach with kindness, appreciation, reverence, that which is holy in women, then guard carefully, and teach others the same ... ?

God said it is not good for man to live alone, so He made for man a helpmeet. What God makes, He makes perfect. What God says is so, is so always. If women have failing; if wives, mothers, daughters, sisters and grandmothers have sin; the sin seems always the act of succumbing to the instinct to give men and boys exactly what they ask for. When to give them what they ask for, turns those men and boys into selfish beasts. Or if not beasts, then something of the same in lessor measure.

Hereby we set women up to forget the holiness inside them. When they do, humanity loses.

PORNOGRAPHY

In the 1970's, a federal study valued all hard-core pornography at ten million dollars. Today, the most common estimate of annual revenues are at ten "billion" dollars, or equivalent to the 2005 gross domestic product of Ghana. "You could say the culture of pornography has leaked into our lives, but it's more like a flood." said Julie Hanus in her article "The XXX Factor" (UTNE magazine, 2006) "Even as we attempt to delineate our relationships to modern pornography, the line between what is and is not pornographic is eroding, making the task daunting." ... "You could say the culture of pornography has leaked into our lives, but it's more like a flood."

What is frightening, is the availability of internet porn. At the 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, some two-thirds attending said the internet played a significant role in divorces that year, pointing a finger at online pornography. Yet, "seven or eight years ago pornography had an almost nonexistent role in divorce.", reports author journalist Pamela Paul in "Time" magazine (January 19, 2004).

And what about our children? In 2001, a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, an independent national health organization, found that 70 percent of 15 to17 year olds admitted to stumbling upon pornography online, and 23 percent of them said it happens often.

But then there's the tragedy, continued trauma to both the one watched and the one watching. "Harm is being done to all our fragile sexual selves, which may be incapable of withstanding the relentless assaults of a multi-billion-dollar industry whose principle effect is to make a mess of our relationships." ("Damage On Parade" by Charles Foran, UTNE magazine, 2006)

Martin Amis calls it "the obscenification of every day life". Ariel Levy, author of the book "Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture" (Free Press, 2005), says this "Raunch Culture" may be hardest on adolescent girls. Blitzed with images of how to be "hot, young women, already prone to insecurities, have a difficult time distinguishing the fake from the real."

Pamela Paul, when interviewing American men and boys, learned how "obsessive porn surfing wreaks havoc on their conceptions of women and sexuality. "They become impatient with their real-life partners and numb to the pleasures of conventional sex. Pornography leaves men desensitized both to outrage and to excitement, leading to dissatisfaction with the emotional tugs of their own lives."

And again, there "is" great harm to those who are "pornified". In a study by Ms. Paul conducted in 1998, it was determined that "two-thirds of prostitutes suffer from symptoms identical to those of posttraumatic stress disorder - twice the percentage that was found among American soldiers returning from the war in Vietnam." She goes on, "There is something twisted about using a predominantly sexually traumatized group of people as our erotic role models. It's like using a bunch of shark attack victims as our lifeguards." ... "... people getting off on the acts of those who are themselves traumatized and are being traumatized by what they are doing." ... " ... Pornography may be stalking one emotion more than any other. That would be the shared feelings we have for fellow humans, along with the inclination to recognize kindred suffering, and even lend aid. ... ."

Pornography might well become the death of empathy ....

Sunday

The Adam And Eve Syndrom (Destruction Of Marital Oneness)

When God made Adam and Eve, they were One. Eve was made from Adam's rib. In their original relationship they were not self-conscious of their bodies, and they had all they needed. Together they "walked with God in the cool of the day." But of course, there was one thing God told Adam and Eve not to do. They were not to eat of the "fruit of the knowledge of good and evil."

Then one day Satan appeared as a serpent to Eve. Basically he said to her, "Eve, God does not want you to eat of the fruit of this tree, because He knows the day you eat of this fruit, you will be like Him, knowing good and evil!"

Now, the serpent was very beautiful, and this had an influence on Eve. After that , Eve took of the fruit, then brought the forbidden fruit to Adam. Adam ate of the fruit also, as together they both realized they were naked in their self-consciousness and shame.

Later, God came walking in the garden and He called for Adam and Eve who then hid from Him. It was discovered that the two had taken fig leaves to cover their nakedness. God then asked of them, "Did you eat of the fruit that I told you not to eat?" At which point Adam responded, "It was the woman you gave me that gave me of the fruit and I did eat!"

In that instant, something specific separated Adam and Eve from their close relationship with God. And that separation from God, thus each other, remains a problem to this day for we who are the descendants of our first father and mother in the flesh. Before their sin, Adam and Eve were naked, but felt no shame. After the sin, they saw their nakedness, and tried to cover their shame with fig leaves.

Let's put it this way. ... If Adam had only told Eve after she had eaten of the fruit: "Honey," ... "No," ... "Remember what God said." ... "He told us we could eat of all the fruit in the garden, but not the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil." ... "Now, Eve, you go put the fruit back, and everything will be OK!" ... "I know you were deceived by the beautiful serpent, but I will protect you by not eating of the fruit myself!"

If Adam had done this, he would have had a moral authority to lovingly stand before God without shame on Eve's behalf. If Adam had not eaten of the fruit, but had instead spoken to God justly on behalf of both of them, God would have helped the two grow by the experience, and they would have both stayed in Eden in continued, close relationship with Him.

But remember, it was to "Adam" that God had originally given the command, "Do not eat this fruit or you will surely die. ...". And it was "Adam" who was not deceived at the time he ate of the fruit. This means that in the instant Adam said to God, "The woman You gave me, gave me of the fruit and I did eat." Adam was clear in his mind as he attempted to convince God that Eve was the one who was to blame for the sin, and that he was innocent!

In this Blog, Catholic Psychology, we will take strides, step by step, to articulate details of sound emotional and spiritual psychology for the sake of our own personal relationships today. To begin this endeavor, although there are many areas from which one could begin, our starting point will be that of addressing contributions of the first male, Adam, to the diseased, sad, painful, "psychology" passed down to the human race from the act of sin. The reactions of Eve to Adam in her dysfunctional responses of sin will follow, and we will unfold personal application to our own lives in the present.


Notice The Progression Of Events Regarding Eve:

(1) Eve was deceived when she ate of the fruit. She ate the fruit without forethought. It was done by her on impulse. She was influenced by the beauty and enticing words of the serpent.


(2) When God said to her, "Did you eat of the fruit that I told you not to eat?" Eve's answer was honest and truthful: "I was deceived by the serpent, and I did eat!"

(3) No words in the Genesis account suggests at the time that Eve blamed her husband in order to appear innocent.


In Contrast, Notice The Progression Of Events Regarding Adam:

(1) Adam was "not" deceived at the moment that he ate of the fruit. He was clear in his mind with genius intellect, and understood with forethought what he was doing when he ate the forbidden fruit.

(2) When God finally asked Adam, "Did you eat of the fruit I told you not to eat?" Adam's reply was dishonest. A statement that concealed his personal responsibility was: "It was the woman You gave me, that gave of the fruit, and I did eat!"

(3) At the time of his misdeed, Adam, clearly realized the vulnerable position of his wife. Still he chose not to lovingly advocate for her before God. Instead Adam took advantage of Eve's vulnerable position by eating of the fruit by her hand, then blamed her, his wife, as he claimed innocense at her expense before God.


This, only a beginning of a Catholic Psychology, sounds as a siren to what has happened ever since our first parents, from generation to generation, and the siren of facts continue to this day.

"That as Adam used Eve in his calculated rebellion against God, so also do men in sin today use women in their current rebellion against God." ... "Then, as Eve was deceived, so women today are deceived, responding sinfully to the sinful use they experience by men in sin."

In only one scenario that is lived day after day, a man promises a woman love. Only later the woman discovers that the love that was promised was not love, but instead, the experience of being "used". In pain and disappointment, in the end, the woman has nothing to hold on to but her anger of the man who promised her love, but left her abandoned, cold and lonely.

Finally some women cheapen themselves, thinking it is what men want. While deep down the hearts of these women silently cry for what they really were made for: Love, Respect and Basic Appreciation.

Then other women become the "men" in their homes. These women try being "men" in their homes, because the men in their homes have either left, or refuse to stand up as "real men", and love their women and children in those homes the way God made them to be loved by men.

Obviously, we have more to discuss later regarding Catholic Psychology. Post by post. Your comments, contributions, even challenges will be considered. However, through God, the Holy Trinity, the Bible, the Family of the Church, the Sacred Sacraments, and much more, there is a Spirituality, a Psychology, of gentle guidance and healing. May God be with us in this journey of learning and personal application through the Holy Spirit.

To end at this time, however, consider the following from the Roman Catholic Catechism:

1610 ... the law given to Moses aims at protecting the wife from arbitrary domination by the husband, even though according to the Lord's words it still carries traces of man's "hardness of heart" which was the reason Moses permitted men to divorce their wives.101

1611 Seeing God's covenant with Israel in the image of exclusive and faithful married love, the prophets prepared the Chosen People's conscience for a deepened understanding of the unity and indissolubility of marriage.102 The books of Ruth and Tobit bear moving witness to an elevated sense of marriage and to the fidelity and tenderness of spouses. Tradition has always seen in the Song of Solomon a unique expression of human love, insofar as it is a reflection of God's love - a love "strong as death" that "many waters cannot quench."103

Thursday

When You Are Right And Your Spouse Is Wrong (Part 2)

Yes, and so it is. When you are right and your spouse is wrong, any time, there remains the option for you to be right the "right way", not be right the "wrong way". (See previous post.) By being right the "right way", you respond to injustice or falsehood with dignity, not give up your dignity and bring you both down.

In a moment, a moment when you are right and your spouse is wrong, you are the "anchor" for the relationship, the marriage. You are the one, between the two of you, who God has in that moment handed personal responsibility and moral authority to, by your very position of being the one right, and your spouse being the one wrong. Thus you are required to lead the two of you in that morality given you that was handed you with calmness, understanding and patience.

You must allow your spouse to be wrong at times.

A different way of thinking says, "But if I keep letting him do this, he or she will never change!"

But have you ever stopped to ask yourself "Why does my loved one keep doing the same thing that's wrong over and over?

Well, it is psychologically relevant that you consider that when a person in your family keeps being wrong the same way over and over, and you can't seem to make the wrong behavior stop, it is possible that your family member "needs" to be wrong because "being wrong" is the first step to "being right" and "facilitating change!"

Yet you might reply, "But I have "told" him and I have "told" him over and over. Still he will not listen to me!!!" ... "I could talk until I'm ‘blue in the face', but it accomplishes nothing!!!"

Well, this is a critical question isn't it, "When you were right in what you said to him, did you say what was right in anger or impatience? Has there ever been rage, threats or insults from you on this precise wrong he or she keeps doing? If so, then perhaps your being right the wrong way, is what stands in the path of your husband or wife proceeding in the process of making that wrong behavior better.

You see, people do not like being "told" what to do. We humans are so tempted to do the "opposite" of what we're told, when what we're told (although right) is said in anger, rage, impatience and threats.

Even Christ did not force His will on people. But He was patient and kind.

"But my husband was impatient with me first!" you say ... "But my wife seems so cold and angry, what else am I to do but defend myself and insist I'm right??!!!"

That's the central point isn't it. "What to do when the other person is wrong first."

Well, in the Sermon On the Mount Christ said:

"... if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." (Matthew 5:23-24)

What is amazing this is what Christ "didn't" say. He "didn't say" to leave your gift at the altar, then go reconcile "if what your brother has against you is relevant, "makes sense" or is "correct" in having something against you."

You see, "Love... suffers long and is kind, ... does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, ... bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." (I Corinthians: 4, 5, 7, 8 (a))

Yet, you might say, "But my husband (or wife) was impatient with me first!" ... "Does this mean he (she) does not love me????"

Absolutely not. When your husband or wife is wrong in something, that only means he or she is weak, "Not That He Or She Does Not Love You!!!. Be it a reaction, a word, an action, a decision ... your husband or wife is the one between the two of you who is at that time most "weak", that is all. ..... Let it happen. ..... It is necessary. And don't worry, there will be your turn to be the one weak, thus wrong. You will need the strength reciprocated in the marriage.

Your spouse needs to be wrong sometimes. (And I mean husband "and" wife.) When it happens (and it will), don't worry, it will be your turn to be wrong and weak another time. For now though, be right graciously.

Remember, in marriage, the two of you are ONE. Nothing has really happened BAD until "both" of you act badly. Too easily, however, negativity can escalate, then the two in marital bond can spiral downward.

It is only in responding correctly, thus patiently, that your being "right" brings balance, even veneration, to your mate's experience of wrong. For just as it takes "two" to argue, it especially takes "two" to "continue" the argument. Thus one can choose, while being right, to be right calmly.

You cannot be your spouse's conscience. As you try to be his (or her) conscience, you will actually accomplish the opposite. Remember, he or she must be wrong first, in simple or big things, before being right through hearing the small, still voice of God.


"Father, grant me the peace and strength to be the one who is strong and gracious if I must in my marriage today. Remind me in your mercy, that I will often need such kindness as well."

Saturday

When You Are Right, And Your Spouse Is Wrong



"There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread."

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Albanian born Indian Missionary and Founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity. Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979. 1910-1997)

************

No, really, I'm not joking. "What about the times you are 'right", and your husband or wife is 'wrong'?" It "does" happen you know. Let's admit that. Sometimes you are right and the one you are married to is wrong. Maybe "too" often, and "too" wrong. Or so it seems. Honestly, it seems that way. Right??!!!

After reading WHAT CATHOLICS BELIEVE (PART ONE), you see that everything that's basic to Christian marriage is spelled out remarkably in the Catholic Catechism ("Part Two" is coming soon). However, there's another step in our process of assimulating truth which can be referred to as Catholic Psychology. That is: "When you are 'right' and the other person is 'wrong', if your response to that other person's 'wrong' is 'also wrong', then you are no longer 'right', but you have become 'more wrong' than the 'wrong' the other person was 'wrong' with, because you used the position of being 'right" to get there!"

"Remember, when our Lord was in the flesh on earth, He was continually merciful, understanding and forgiving to "everyone", but not with the "Scribes and Pharisees" who used their position and knowledge of being "right", to make themselves appear better than others while they did so in sarcasm impatience and anger. ... And wow, was Christ ever angry with them!!!!!

You see, when you as a husband or wife are "right", and your husband or wife is "wrong", how do you think you arrived to being "right" in the first place??? Do you think your "being right" comes from your own superior skill of reasoning?"

No. ... Do not be mistaken. ... If you are "right" and your husband or wife is "wrong", you are in the position of being "right" because "being right" was given to you by God. He chose "you" to be the one who would be "right" this time. And it is "He" who makes you and the one you love ONE, and continues to do so as He promised!

How otherwise will a marriage grow in understanding and loving service to our Lord? The only way a marriage can survive and flourish in this world of confusion, is that when one of the two in the marriage is "wrong", the other is not only "right", but "stays right".

You see, it is "inevitable" that in the experiences of home life, wrong words will be said, wrong actions will be taken. It is absloutely certain that in instances, wrong feelings will be felt, and wrong thoughts will be thought. But you and the person you married are "ONE", not "Two". So how does "one" that once was "two" grow and become more than they ever would have been alone???!!!

Well, not to be silly here, but it is as if the two of you will practically "take turns being wrong!" And you will each be wrong in ways each will not recognize in the moment, accept by the help of the other (and by God).

Admit it, you are "both" wrong through various times of day and night, and then, when you insist you are "right", that is when you are the "most wrong", because your being "right" is done in "anger" and "self-righteousness" (The very things Christ hates).

See clearly, isn't it sometimes the case that a husband is strong and the wife is weak? Aren't there occasions when the wife is strong and the husband is weak? Then surely you do not believe you are strong "all" the time, and the one you are ONE with is weak "continuously!!!" ... No, first one will be "weak", and thus wrong", then the other will be "strong, and thus right". This deep marital experience, our vocation to God, will manifest into a host of varitable patterns, and that, because the two human-beings of opposite genders are no longer "two" but "ONE!"

As the apostle Paul wrote:

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians: 6:12)

There are pressures, tensions, responsibilities, temptations and misunderstandings that are common to marriage, but are not entirely common in singleness. When you are married with the potential of bringing offspring of souls into the world to be children of God for all of eternity, there are entities and powers greater than mere psychology or what you "think", that wish to destroy you and your sacred marital bond.

More about this later, but for now I ask you, "How can your husband or wife recover from the traumatic, complicated, physically exhausting experience of being wrong (on any level), if you insist on making that situation an opportunity to prove that you are 'more right'?"

Say what you have to say, then say no more. Don't make things worse than it already is. God is ONE with the two of you. Because of that marital trinity (God, husband, wife), then this person you share marital vows with will change something that is necessary to change, because after making your statement, you then step back so God can speak and the other can hear God speak without distraction.

Friday

What Catholics Believe About Marriage (Part One)

There are Catholics who have stopped living their faith. Some have become comfortable with what the world offers them. Catholocism is a "culture" to them. Something they grew up under, but ignoring what was said to them. This has convinced others that Christian Catholics are hypocritics, believing in only "works" for salvation. The Church is rediculed, called too traditional, religious and without faith. ..... How they are so mistaken.

For we many Catholics who "are" serious about what we believe, let us read with our husbands and wives the purposes and means of our marital vocations as stated in the remarkable Catechism of our Faith:
(Note: This is prelude for where we're headed in our exhaustive discussion of Catholic Psychology in relation to the many circumstances that threaten peace and stability in our marriages and homes.)

1601 "The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament."84

1603 "The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws. . . . God himself is the author of marriage."87 The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. ...

1604 "... Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator's eyes. ..."

1605 Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: "It is not good that the man should be alone."92 The woman, "flesh of his flesh," his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a "helpmate"; she thus represents God from whom comes our help.93 "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh."94 The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been "in the beginning": "So they are no longer two, but one flesh."95

1606 Every man experiences evil around him and within himself. This experience makes itself felt in the relationships between man and woman. Their union has always been threatened by discord, a spirit of domination, infidelity, jealousy, and conflicts that can escalate into hatred and separation. This disorder can manifest itself more or less acutely, and can be more or less overcome according to the circumstances of cultures, eras, and individuals, but it does seem to have a universal character.

1607 According to faith the disorder we notice so painfully does not stem from the nature of man and woman, nor from the nature of their relations, but from sin. As a break with God, the first sin had for its first consequence the rupture of the original communion between man and woman. Their relations were distorted by mutual recriminations;96 their mutual attraction, the Creator's own gift, changed into a relationship of domination and lust;97 and the beautiful vocation of man and woman to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth was burdened by the pain of childbirth and the toil of work.98

1608 Nevertheless, the order of creation persists, though seriously disturbed. To heal the wounds of sin, man and woman need the help of the grace that God in his infinite mercy never refuses them.99 Without his help man and woman cannot achieve the union of their lives for which God created them "in the beginning."

1609 In his mercy God has not forsaken sinful man. The punishments consequent upon sin, "pain in childbearing" and toil "in the sweat of your brow,"100 also embody remedies that limit the damaging effects of sin. After the fall, marriage helps to overcome self-absorption, egoism, pursuit of one's own pleasure, and to open oneself to the other, to mutual aid and to self-giving.

1610 ... the law given to Moses aims at protecting the wife from arbitrary domination by the husband, even though according to the Lord's words it still carries traces of man's "hardness of heart" which was the reason Moses permitted men to divorce their wives.101

1611 Seeing God's covenant with Israel in the image of exclusive and faithful married love, the prophets prepared the Chosen People's conscience for a deepened understanding of the unity and indissolubility of marriage.102 The books of Ruth and Tobit bear moving witness to an elevated sense of marriage and to the fidelity and tenderness of spouses. Tradition has always seen in the Song of Solomon a unique expression of human love, insofar as it is a reflection of God's love - a love "strong as death" that "many waters cannot quench."103

1614 ... The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined it "what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder."107

1615 This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy - heavier than the Law of Moses.108 By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God. It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to "receive" the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ.109 This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ's cross, the source of all Christian life.

1616 This is what the Apostle Paul makes clear when he says: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her," adding at once: "'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church."110

1617 The entire Christian life bears the mark of the spousal love of Christ and the Church. Already Baptism, the entry into the People of God, is a nuptial mystery; it is so to speak the nuptial bath.111 which precedes the wedding feast, the Eucharist. Christian marriage in its turn becomes an efficacious sign, the sacrament of the covenant of Christ and the Church. Since it signifies and communicates grace, marriage between baptized persons is a true sacrament of the New Covenant..112

1620 Both the sacrament of Matrimony and virginity for the Kingdom of God come from the Lord himself. It is he who gives them meaning and grants them the grace which is indispensable for living them out in conformity with his will.117 Esteem of virginity for the sake of the kingdom118 and the Christian understanding of marriage are inseparable, and they reinforce each other:

1621 In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ.120 In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up.121 It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but "one body" in Christ.122

1624 The various liturgies abound in prayers of blessing and epiclesis asking God's grace and blessing on the new couple, especially the bride. In the epiclesis of this sacrament the spouses receive the Holy Spirit as the communion of love of Christ and the Church.124 The Holy Spirit is the seal of their covenant, the ever available source of their love and the strength to renew their fidelity.

1638 "From a valid marriage arises a bond between the spouses which by its very nature is perpetual and exclusive; furthermore, in a Christian marriage the spouses are strengthened and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and the dignity of their state by a special sacrament."140

1639 The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself.141 From their covenant arises "an institution, confirmed by the divine law, . . . even in the eyes of society."142 The covenant between the spouses is integrated into God's covenant with man: "Authentic married love is caught up into divine love."143

1640 Thus the marriage bond has been established by God himself in such a way that a marriage concluded and consummated between baptized persons can never be dissolved. This bond, which results from the free human act of the spouses and their consummation of the marriage, is a reality, henceforth irrevocable, and gives rise to a covenant guaranteed by God's fidelity. The Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom.144

Thursday

Vital Oneness In Marriage

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A fellow Catholic blogger, Shannon, wrote:

Jim,

Thank you, and I did read your response this morning. Actually, I read it a few times as I enjoyed what you said tremendously. You have a gift of communicating ideas in a simple, understandable way. I loved how you touched on men being tempted by women when all their needs are met within their marriage. I'd love to read more about that and about the impact of pornography on the psyche and on marriages. Your blog is fabulous; I have it in my 'Live Bookmarks' so I know instantly of any updates :) Keep up the Good work and God bless :)

My response:

Thank-you Shannon.

Yes, I would like to address in our posts the impact of pornography on the psyche of both males and females, as well as the affects of this increasing phenomenon on marriage from a truly Catholic Psychological perspective. To do this, we will continue to build a basis and framework for our discussion. (Please know that your responses of encouragement, questions, even challenges, are so appreciated.)

In our current high-pace, high-tech society, its easy to lose touch with what's important in life. One thing that's vital in our lives, is the priority of our marital relationships as we mentioned earlier. Through the Sacrament of marriage, God made you and your spouse "ONE". This means when the two of you as a married couple are separate in any of a host of ways, you and your spouse are each "less" of a person than you are when you are together, and in that togetherness, sharing in the experience as "one".

Much of the world fails to realize this. Much of the world doubts there is a loving, Christian God. Much of the world doubts the proper place of parents in the raising of children, doubts the proper place of families in general. Much of the world doubts the power of the Church to administer in things that are spiritual. Thus, inevitably, the world as we know it, will doubt, even resist, the concept of the spirit filled Sacrament, the holy psychology as it were, of a God directed Catholic man, and God directed Catholic woman, consummating their sacred marriage in a holy moment in sacred privacy, to no longer be "two", but be recognized in heaven to forever, while on earth, be "one".

Psychologically, it makes no sense. No current research or theoretical model explains it. I mean how precisely as the "Trinity" is ONE in the Godhead, the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit", so is a man and woman "One" in a trinity as "God, husband and wife"!

Its the reason we marry in a Church, and not on a "beach", or "parachuting out of planes".

You see, its not about "us". It's about "God". "He" did it. It's done. Finished. There's nothing to add nor take away. All there is now, is merely time to pass for the husband and wife to spend a lifetime "actualizing", "briinging into visuability" and "applying" what is already established, declared and completed in heaven.

Why is this important? ... "Because, when following the administrations Christ directs through His Church on earth, everything is made more simple!" ...

You see, What you THINK about yourself as a wife is "not" what's important. What you THINK of your husband as a man has little relevance. What you THINK of your wife as a woman carries little weight on earth and heaven. What you THINK about yourself as a husband in your marriage, accomplishes virtually nothing

It's what you "do"! It's what you "do" with what's been "given" you. But first you must be clear about what that is.

You know what I mean. Although marriage has "SO MUCH" wonderfulness, there are occasions when each wife wishes she had been a nun! And there are moments when a husband looks to the skies and laments that he had not chosen a life of priesthood, or chosen to have been a monk on some secluded mountain in the Himalayas!

But don't let that surprise you. Don't be shocked. It happens to "all" of us. We're each currently still in our flesh, and we're "human".

What matters first is not what you think or even what you feel, No, what you "think" and "feel" can change rapidly from one instant to another. What matters, and I mean "truly" matters first are two things. First, that in each moment "God is on His throne", and second, that you and your spouse are ONE in your God who is continually on His throne.

As Catholics, this is the first immovable, sure object we have to count on through the storms that do come through life.

I mean, like when your wife or husband turns over in bed at night in a state of anger, refusing to speak to you. You ask, "What's the matter, honey ... Did I do something wrong???" There is no answer, then you are lost for the rest of the night in thought, and maybe tears!

What do you do, then, as a man or woman? How does a Christian husband or wife respond, without first "falling-apart" and feeling ill-equipped to do anything at all!

It begins by recognizing with every molecule of your being, that we, as devout loyal practicing Christian Catholics, have something that most in the world do not have. You, wife, ... you, husband, ... are "full" and "complete", not based on what you "feel", "think", or "judge in yourself at a given moment", but instead of what the Holy Sacrament of marriage administered by the Church established you as being at every moment of the day or night, at times that are good and times that are bad. From that position, and from that position of alone, are we ready to proceed to discuss what a wife or husband can do about lies launched upon you by Satan. Things that surround you and your spouse, slyfully wishing to penetrate and destroy your marriage. Things like doubt, fear, gossip, injustice, cruelty, judgmentalism, coalitions of hatred, and pornography.

For now, in this post until the next one, remember that you and your husband or wife are "ONE". Everything the two of you ever could possibly need, are found in each other by the grace, mercy and power of God. For now, at some moment when your loved one least expects it, run and "tackle" him or her. Throw yourselves on the couch, the bed, whatever. As your wife or husband is shocked, no matter what surrounds the two of you in the confusing circumstances of life, say with a huge smile on your face, "Honey, I love you "sssssssoooooooo"much and share in a big, big, big, big wonderful kiss! ... With that, you will be fulfilling your holy vocation in life, and God "will" bless you!

(Remember, we have more we will be discussing soon, ...)

But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.

Husband-Wife Need For Each Other

In response to the posted article "Husband and Wife, Love and Priority", a fellow blogger "Dauphine" made comments of which the following is a portion. Please read. I have a response afterwards:

"Do you know how long I've been pondering in my mind what you just so eloquently stated in this post? Yes yes and yes!! The relationship of husband and wife has been put on the back burner and seemingly having children if that's what the couple 'wants' is a way to justify this now 'old fashioned' arrangement. Husbands and wives do indeed need each other first, as this is healthy for them as well as a healthy and ordered example for their children."


Dauphine:

Thank-you for your response. Looking at things psychologically, I think we greatly miss in our current culture how "tremendously" husbands and wives need each other. Not only is committed marriage considered "old fashioned", but aspects of our culture and lives have caused us to "compartmentalize" our duties, time and enjoyments together in marriage commitment.

Our needs are met "inside" marriage, not "outside". For example, we husbands, who tend to be impacted greatly by what we see visually, are bombarded by media with women dressed seductively to intice men for the sake of advertising. Yet, everything a man could ever want, could ever need, is met abundantly in his wife.

God made woman and man this way. Only we are easily distracted to think "Maybe the grass is greener on the other side". But it never is.

Note: Research indicates that emotional closeness is prone to decrease with a couple during the period when they are raising children. It need not.

Often, great marital experience begins with the husband and wife purposing to spend enough "TIME" together. And when we do spend "TIME" with our wife or husband, maybe we should not be so quick to get caught up in the "psychology" of what is troubling us.

First, spend "TIME" together. Commit to two hours a week of being together as a couple with none of your beautiful children around! ... For two hours a week, spend time together, for each other, with no one else around. Don't talk about "problems". Just "BE TOGETHER". Commit to that specific time-slot together alone for the two of you every week. Hold to it religiously. Don't worry about "How things will work out." God put more than we realize in man and in woman, so that a natural process transpires alone in itself and in its own time.

The choosing of a specific two hour slot of time together on a weekly basis speaks "volumes" to both the man and the woman. Experienctially, it establishes on deep emotional as well as practical levels that "You are a couple." The mere fact of "TIME ALONE TOGETHER" reinforces in the mind, soul and body that "Each is the most important person to the other." (If you don't feel you are the most important person to each other, don't worry about it. You "are". Spend time together and the Holy Spirit with His abundant grace and power will make this relevant! You don't have to know the reason behind everything!)

Let me go a little further with this. ... So often we couples argue frustratingly with our wife or husband, when strange as it might seem, the reason for our frustration is that we need the other person we're arguing with so greatly! ... (Its an amazing phenomenon.)

Finally, with so much talk in our society today, I believe there is not enough emphasis on "sex". Yes, and I mean the only healthy and truly loving sex there is, that which is and can be within marriage.

Sex is a wonderful thing, given to married couples, and no one else, and so much more important than all our societal "noise" recognizes. The precious, sacred sexual relationship between a husband and wife, guarded and cherished within the healthy confines of lifelong matrimony, is the "THERAPY" natural in itself to move the couple relationship forward to spiritual and emotional healthiness, peace and maturity. ... If every thought of man at a moment of weakness was to grow to instantly turning to thoughts of his wife alone, and if every response to negative impulse of a wife was to "influence" her husbands in directions good for both of them, then there is no end to the joy and healing that can take place.

Yes, Dauphine, husbands and wives are not comoplete without each other. We were never meant to be complete without each other! ... Too often we withdraw from the one we love, then unconsciously criticize them for the weakness they exhibit due to our withrawal. ... If we would only realize that often the times when we fight, are really the times we are saying "We need time together!" Time to rub a back gently. Time to walk on the beech and notice the sunset, while not saying anything. ... And if that difficult to do, start with twenty minutes. ... Trust the process. And when you trust the process, make it faith in God as well.


Monday

Where Psychology Is Not Received

CatholicPsychology.Blogspot received a kind e-mail from a fellow Catholic-blogger from Singapore. His name is "David". The following are portions of his communication. Please read. Afterwards, I will comment from a psychological perspective:

Hi Jim,
Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words! Will continue to do my best and do pray that I would always allow the Holy Spirit to guide me as I blog for His people and Glory. ...

Psychotherapy has always been one of my interests but I don't have the time nor chance to learn more about it... I've read a couple of books on counselling and have applied whatever I know to help friends/family resolve conflicts and emotional problems - would love to learn from you and your informative blog!

Psychotherapy is still a taboo in Singapore... so most people would prefer not to seek help until it's often too late... Hence, wherever I can, I would try to help those who need help but wouldn't go to a psychiatrist/psychologist - of course, I would always attempt to lead them to professional help wherever possible; this seldom works and I just have to rely on the Lord to use me as an instrument...

I enjoyed your blog very much as it contains a wealth of information for Catholics - I like the depth and breadth of topics and your style of writing. ..."

************
David, my friend, thank-you for your correspondence. Yes, it is understood in American psychological education, that culturally, European/American born psychological approach is not readily welcomed in Asian communities. However, this is all the more reason the Catholic Church, with its Sacraments, Catechism, Canon Law, Papacy, Eucharist, Apostolic Cessation, fellowship of the saints, Mary as our blessed mother, and nearly 2,000 years of continuing as a singular Body of Christ, is vital in ministry of bringing peace, light and hope to a world that includes vast quantities of varied culture.

The purpose of CatholicPsycholgy.Blogspot is to turn attention to the fact that this "Family" called the Catholic Church, is an already established spiritual presence on
earth, that can meet both "spiritual" and "psychological" brokenness, pain and doubt in human lives! The Catholic Church is the one entity that has continued to stand, that has continued to exist, in its basic, unalterable form through all of history since the time of the Apostle who walked with Christ Himself.

My point is, "We are 'Family'." WE ARE ONE FAMILY. We are Family to those who have no family. The ever virgin blessed Mary is our mother. The saints and fellow believers in Christ who have gone on to the next life, by God's Holy Spirit, continue to be in our lives in very real ways. Personally and deeply intervening through prayer before God to address real emotional pain and loss in our lives and relationships.

Our Family prays for us. Blessed Mary, by means of the Holy Spirit and before Christ her Son, is continually in intercession for us.

Yes, Mary, ever virgin, the mother of Christ, is even here to hold our hand at night or any time we feel alone. Through the merciful power of God, each of us, those who've been emotionally traumitized, broken. Many without mothers of our own. WE ARE NOT ALONE. We have a mother. We have family.

Perhaps together we can show how psychologically, whatever is dysfunctional in our families on earth, is made pure and loving, by the FAMILY we have surrounding us as a cloud of witnesses.

Dave, you and any others, please consider sending your thoughts, your insight, your questions to CatholicPsychology.Blogspot. Together we will demonstrate precisely how specific tradition, teachings and Catholic Cataconisis meets the needs of an emotionally hurting world.

************
Dave, from Singapore, has valuable thoughts and contributions for Catholics at the following locations:
- Just a Thought: http://www.davidwoon.com/blog
- Memoirs of a Sojourner: http://sojournermemoirs.blogspot.com
- Family Matters: http://www.blogcharm.com/familymatters
- Freeware Haven: http://www.blogcharm.com/freewarehaven
- Website: http://www.davidwoon.com/

Saturday

Sex That Is Meaningful

"One cannot speak of human sex without speaking of love. When speaking of love, however, we should remember that it is a specifically human phenomenon. And we must see to it that it is preserved in its humanness, rather than treated in a reductionistic way. ... Human sex is always more than mere sex, and it is more than sex to the extent that it serves as the physical expression of something metasexual, ... the physical expression of love. Only to the extent that sex carries out this function is it a really rewarding experience." (Viktor E. Frankl, The Unheard Cry for Meaning: Psychotherapy and Humanism, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1978, pp. 79-80)

Frankl explains that all human sex is not necessarily human, especially if one treats it merely as a means of relieving sexual tensions, either by masturbating or through using a partner as a means to the same end. Such sex is neurotic, the act of someone who uses himself or others compulsively to achieve purely self-centered, narcissistic ends: "...only a neurotic individual is out first and foremost to get rid of his sperma, be it by masturbation or by using the partner as just another means to the same end." (Ibid., p. 81)

For Frankl, love means the grasping or comprehending of the unique existence or being of another. In the sexual context, grasping the uniqueness of a loved one by definition would lead to a monogamous commitment, because no other could replace the loved one whose special identity is being deeply felt. In contrast, promiscuity means ignoring the other's uniqueness, because several partners are seen as interchangeable. Promiscuity means being content with the partner as an object, not a person:

"Since only that sex which is embedded in love can be really rewarding and satisfactory, the quality of the sexual life of such an individual is poor. Small wonder, then, that he tries to compensate for this lack of quality with quantity. This, in turn, requires an ever increased and intensified stimulation, as is provided, for one, by pornography." (Ibid.)

Frankl points out the hypocrisy in considering sexual promiscuity and pornography as "progressive" since they are in reality symptoms of retardation in one's sexual maturation, signs of a dehumanizing alienation, frustrating the human search for meaning:

"In the existential vacuum resulting from this ..., the sexual libido hypertrophies, and it is this hypertrophy that brings about the inflation of sex. Like any other kind of inflation ..." (as in the money market) "sexual inflation is associated with a devaluation; sex is devaluated inasmuch as it is dehumanized. Thus, we observe a trend to living a sexual life that is not integrated into one's personal life, but rather is lived out for the sake of pleasure. Such depersonalization of sex is a symptom of existential frustration: the frustration of man's search for meaning."
(Ibid., p. 82)

In summary, note the following conclusions for we who are practicing Catholics:

(1) Human sexuality includes the intimate loving relationship of discovering the God-given sacred uniqueness of another human being. To do anything less, stops it from being so.

(2) Sexual preoccupation with more than one person, establishes that people are interchangeable. In experience, it translates the person that is loved into an object, not a person, to relieve sexual tension on impulse.


(3) Because this kind of sexual relationship is less human, it is also less satisfying. Having less "quality", it pursues greater "quantity". In the end, it increases frustration, and on all levels makes the relationship far less than what it could have been.

(4) Sex for the mere purpose of relieving sexual tension, by oneself or with the use of another, is neurotic and self-centered (narcissistic).

(5) Human sexuality is the deeply personal and enjoyable experience of sacrifice and need of one individual of the opposite gender for a lifetime. Together, if possible, the two bring other souls into the world to worship God for eternity.

I think perhaps all of us have failed in this area, on one level or another, consciously or subconsciously. Let us understand, the consequences are sadly so greatly harming to the very one, as well as other people we love.

"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:27-28)

************

(Viktor Emil Frankl, M.D., Ph.D., (March 26, 1905 - September 2, 1997) was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy and Existential Analysis, the "Third Viennese School" of psychotherapy. His book Man's Search for Meaning (first published in 1946) chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate and describes his psychotherapeutic method of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most sordid ones, and thus a reason to continue living. He was one of the key figures in existential therapy.)

Sunday

What Does It Mean To be "IN LOVE"

Am I in love? Most young people, especially when in their teens, ask themselves that sometime. They know it feels good. They want to have a happy life, and they think, and are not so wrong, that a good choice of a marriage partner makes a vital difference. It does.

But even though there is perhaps more talk of love today than in the past, not everyone knows what love is. Many think it is a feeling. Thank heavens it is not merely that. You could not build a lifelong marriage on feelings -they flicker too much. ...

We start with a remarkable idea from modern Psychology, namely, "Somatic Resonance". It says this: since we are made of two parts, body and soul, matter and spirit, and since, further, these two are so closely put together that they make just one person, then, as a result, if I have a condition on one of the two sides, for smooth running I need a parallel condition on the other side.

To illustrate. A great innovator in modern psychology was Thomas Vernor Moore. He practiced psychiatry in D. C.. One day, he reported in a book, that a man who had manic depressive psychosis came to him for help. At the time, he was down in the deep black part of the cycle, in depression. He said he was losing his faith. Moore in writing it up said no, the man was not losing his faith. He said the real trouble was this: the process - Moore meant biochemistry - of his disease was interfering with the somatic resonance to his faith.

Here it is: faith was of course on the side of the spirit, but the bad chemistry was on the side of the body. Because of this remarkable tie between the two parts, that bad chemistry affected what he thought was his faith. It could not expel faith, (when the patient came up out of that black swing he still had his faith.) But it was keeping faith from functioning. No wonder the poor man thought he was losing his faith.

We can use this idea of "somatic resonance". We ask: where in a human is love? We reply, it is basically on the side of the soul, but it normally has a resonance in the body. We are glad to learn this, for something in the spiritual soul can last even a lifetime; something on the body side alone would be unstable, would flicker.

... We see that love is basically in our wills, it is the will, wish, or desire for the happiness and well-being of another for the other's sake. ... There is a broad spectrum of things that can be the resonance: at one end of the scale is the nonsexual love of parents for their own children - at the other end is explicitly sexual response - and points in between.

But now we see there is room to make a mistake. Someone could mistake that biochemistry, that bodily part of the picture, for the central thing, for love in the soul. And if he/she would not only make that mistake, but marry on the strength of a mistake, ... (that) is enough to make any sensible person really careful. A failed marriage is one of the greatest tragedies of a lifetime. So we need to watch out.

Then: how can anyone tell if he/she has real love, or only just chemistry that mimics love? ... To understand it, we need to look at the tremendous psychological design made by our Father in Heaven.

We all start out life as babies - no other way to do it. But a baby is perfectly selfish. If he could talk he would say: These big giants around me - they are here to give me what I want, when I want it, as I want it. Or I will fix them: Waa!

Is such a baby ready for real love, for willing good to another for the other's sake? Far from it: it is completely in a shell of self. But then: How can he get away from that shell to the point where he can really be interested in the well-being of another for the other's sake? That takes some doing. Our Father's plan has arranged a marvelous "machinery" as it were. If we use it the way He built it, it will work wonders - if not, the results may look good, but will be foul on the inside, and in time, one must pay.

We follow the development. Baby soon plays with other little ones, and soon makes a horrifying discovery: "Why that little guy thinks he has some rights - he does not. I am the only one who has rights." They are fighting over a toy. There are many such incidents, and a beginning is made of chipping away at the shell of self.

Around age 9 for boys - and similar for girls - comes a time many psychologists call the flight of the sexes. Little boys have no use for little girls - and vice versa. But this too is part of our Father's plan: He wants them to run away from each other to develop their own special characteristics, to prepare for the next stage.

This next stage comes automatically, when biochemistry changes, when certain hormones start to operate. Then, to his surprise, one day little boy sees a girl, and says to himself, "She is wonderful, marvelous! ... In this new phase two powerful processes begin to work. If we use them the way our Father has planned, they develop real love - if not, only a sad counterfeit that look the same to a confused eye.

First, love as we said means "willing good to the other for the other's sake." Psychologically the process starts when a boy or girl sees something fine in the other: ...

We said something can go wrong - or rather, the person can make it go wrong. In two ways: First if he/she uses sex for private entertainment, masturbation, that does not get one out of the shell of self where he/she started. No, it turns one back right into that shell - a poor forecast for a happy marriage which needs real unselfishness and love.

The second way that is selfish takes two, namely, two people use each other for sensory pleasure. That word's use, "sensory pleasure", is really right: if they do that, they are not only not watching for the happiness and welfare of the other - they are putting each other into a state such that if death happened along, they would be miserable forever. This is more like hatred than love, for there is no "willing good" to the other for the other's sake. They, we said, are "using" each other.

It is easy to see that real love can hardly develop when people are using each other, instead of really wanting the happiness of the other. Yes, they are giving sensory stimulation, very strong at that. But that is not the same as love.

But, tragically, this will feel the same as if there were real love, the biochemistry is identical. But in such a premarital pattern real love could hardly develop. It is closer to hatred. since it endangers the real, permanent happiness of the other.

Next we see: it is so easy for a person to make the mistake of a lifetime, in mistaking chemistry for love. In time, when emotions simmer down after marriage, he/she will find out it had been only chemistry. ...

But to look at the pleasant side of the picture: if the people play the game as our Father designed it, it will really develop powerful love, and make for a happy life in the future. Male and female psychology are terribly different. ... During courtship, these differences cannot be seen - they are all papered over by intense emotion. But as we said, after marriage, things do simmer down - and then they find out. They may find themselves locked into the same house with someone they do not really love at all. This is a real tragedy, one of life's greatest tragedies.

Even in a fine match, each one will be able to say honestly: I have to give in most of the time to make this work. But if they play the game as our Father designed it, they will find that they can make the sacrifices that are needed and can be quite content and happy in doing so. ... In fact, if they positively intend to do things and accept sacrifices as part of our Father's plan, then marriage is, as Pope John Paul VI said, "a long path toward sanctification." Then, for example, if the baby cries at 3 AM, if the Mother or Father intends to take care of the baby as a part of our Father's plan, then that time can rightly be called a holy hour.

But: how can one protect against making the dreadful mistake some make, who react in the opposite way? First of all, as we said, play the game the way our Father has designed it. That really will generate love. But also, have enough good sense to ask for help. ...

As we said, male and female psychology are tremendously different. Even in a fine match, there will be disagreements, probably some of them strong, in a marriage. But what if one marries someone of a very different culture , or even a different religion? Then the potential for trouble is greatly multiplied. Again, one with good sense will use really great care.

... God wants us to follow Him for two reasons: 1) He loves everything that is good, and that goodness calls us to follow Him; 2)He wants intensely to give us good things and happiness. For that, we need to be open to receive: His commands really are instructions about how to be open. At the same time, they steer us away from "traps" that lie in the very nature of things, such as hangovers after a drinking, or a loveless marriage after a lot of premarital sex.

Long ago when we first had electric refrigerators, the instructions told us that if we wanted the freezer in the refrigerator to be cold, we would need to occasionally "defrost" the freezer, which involved taking the ice out. Someone might say: That manufacturer is silly: "ice makes things cold", how can that be "good" for a refrigerator! Similarly, to one in a daze from emotion, our Father's plans may seem foolish. But He is our manufacturer. He knows how we are built. If we did not defrost the old fridge, it would not work well - neither will a human life work well if we do not follow His principles, which tell us at times to do what our feelings seem to say is a mistake.

God wants our eternal happiness so much He sent His only Son to a hideous death to open up the possibilities of eternal happiness for us. Cannot we trust Him? He wants us to be happy here, and hereafter too.
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Saturday

Woman in Vegetative State Shows Amazing Brain Activity (... Terri Shiavo?)

On September 8, 2006 newspapers and wire services reported: 'Vegetative' Woman's Brain Shows Surprising Activity - Tests Indicate Awareness, Imagination."

On that same day, the front page, the Washington Post included an article by Rob Stein stating:
“According to all the tests, the young woman was deep in a ‘vegetative state’ -- completely unresponsive and unaware of her surroundings. But then a team of scientists decided to do an unprecedented experiment, employing sophisticated technology to try to peer behind the veil of her brain injury for any signs of conscious awareness. ..."

“Without any hint that she might have a sense of what was happening, the researchers put the woman in a scanner that detects brain activity and told her that in a few minutes they would say the word "tennis," signaling her to imagine she was serving, volleying and chasing down balls. When they did, the neurologists were shocked to see her brain "light up" exactly as an uninjured person's would. It happened again and again. And the doctors got the same result when they repeatedly cued her to picture herself wandering, room to room, through her own home. ..."

The family of Terri Schindler Schiavo argued in court, pled to the public and the media, and petitioned lawmakers to allow similar tests to be preformed before making the irreversible decision to starve Terri to death. ... (As well as using law enforcement personel to prevent a Roman Catholic Priest from providing her Eucharistic bread in a last communion, claiming this as food that could not be provided to her based on law.) ... The pleas of the Schindler family were rebuffed by Judge George Greer, who became the final medical authority in Terri Schiavo’s diagnosis. The decision was court-ordered starvation.

Terri’s father, Robert Schindler, comments, “This new case is not surprising to our family. We are seeing a growing amount of evidence indicating that the diagnosis of ‘Persistent Vegetative State’ (PVS) is often misdiagnosed, resulting in dangerous and potentially fatal consequences for people with brain injuries, as documented in this new account of a brain injured woman. The danger of this diagnosis is that it is being used as a reason to kill innocent people with disabilities, like Terri. We believe that this PVS diagnosis is inhumane and it should be abolished.”

Contact: Robert Schindler, Terri Schiavo’s father, 727-490-7603

See the entire Washington Post article at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/
wpdyn/content/article/2006/09/07/AR2006090700978.html

Other articles on this startling event:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/story/0,,1867596,00.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/08/science/08brain.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/medicine/story/0,,1867473,00.html


Other websites on Terri Schiavo:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terri_Schiavo
http://www.terrisfight.org/

Thursday

The Psychology of Love

Through the ages, the mystic tradition of the Catholic Church has offered to us all we need for personal growth, heightened wisdom, and enhanced interpersonal effectiveness. Through deep faith—lived consistently in a holy and devout life-style—common hassles and anxieties of life are transformed into true peace—and real love.

Yet, when asked about their basic psychological attitude about life, many persons will say, “I just want to feel good about myself. I want to feel loved. I want a sexual partner. I want to have fun and enjoy life. I’m not a bad person.”

On the surface, according to contemporary social standards, this attitude may seem benign and innocent. But it has deeper social implications that aren’t readily seen.

The fact is, in many of our attempts to enjoy ourselves we end up stepping all over other persons. In seeking wealth we envy and compete with our neighbors, and exploit and deceive the underprivileged. In seeking entertainment we encourage an industry that seduces our entire culture with frivolity, vanity, and pride. In seeking sexual fulfillment we spread emotional wounds and physical disease, along with abortion, child abuse, divorce, pornography, and prostitution. In seeking excitement we create addictions and brew a criminal underground to distribute the materials of addiction. In seeking happiness we’re like the eye of a hurricane, seemingly calm and peaceful, yet blind to the storm spreading chaos all around us.

And that’s what sin is all about. It’s about being completely blind to the bad things we do to others. And yet we’re not bad persons.

We are not bad persons. God created us as good beings to share in his great glory through our free will. Yet because of what theology calls Original Sin we find ourselves separated from a full knowledge of God—and from genuine love. After all, if we really knew love we wouldn’t step all over others and use them as objects for our own satisfaction, would we?

You could program your computer to say, “I love you” every morning when you turn it on, but that synthesized message wouldn’t be love, would it? A computer simply does what it is told to do, and, philosophically, if you cannot say “No” your saying “Yes” is meaningless. Therefore, love must be a free choice—an act of will. And so, when God created us to share in his glory, he gave us free will, so that we would be capable of love. But with free will comes the ability to renounce love. That is what sin amounts to: it’s a renunciation of love; it’s a turning away from moral responsibility to others that ultimately results in a separation from God.

So here we are. We’re not bad persons. And yet we do bad things to others without even seeing it. And, in the very midst of all our searching for satisfaction and contentment in life, we afflict ourselves with anxiety and depression. How, then, shall we ever see the truth? How shall we ever know real love?

Only God himself can show us. Because left to the blindness that characterizes our separation from God,we can see nothing but our own self-indulgent illusions. Left to ourselves, we have nothing but an empty world of social constructions to give us comfort. Left to ourselves, we are lost in slavery to sin.

Now, if God were to appear to us in his full glory, we would surely drop down before him in terror. But we wouldn’t necessarily love him. True love, after all, is an act of self-sacrifice offered in free will, not something engendered by fear.

Psychologically, fear refers to a narcissistic concern about possible damage to our pride and safety. In contrast, fear of God refers to our humble awe before God’s great glory and mercy. Thus, whereas psychological fear pulls us away from God, fear of God leads us directly into the embrace of divine love.

So, in order to teach us true love, God chose to show it to us through the life of a simple, poor man—a life which ended with the most humiliating execution known to humanity.

It was as if God said to all bystanders, those present and those yet to be, “If you can love him, my Son, this humble, broken man hanging in weakness on that cross out of love for you, you can love anything. And if you can love anything, you will finally begin to know me.”

After all, what, in all its blindness, does human culture naturally value? Well, look at politics, sports, and entertainment and you will see an insatiable thirst for wealth, glamor, power, and competition. So is it any wonder that to show us real love, and to bypass all human illusions, God came to us in poverty, simplicity, weakness, and gentleness? And he took all of the insults patiently and quietly, without retaliation, all so that we could see the truth of the sin in our hearts—and repent it, in sorrow for the pain we cause to each other. And that’s why Saint Paul said (1 Corinthians 1:23) that the crucifixion of Christ seemed like folly to the Greeks who valued the “wisdom” of natural philosophy; and to the Jews, who looked for powerful prophetic signs, the crucifixion was a stumbling block. For neither natural wisdom nor power can illuminate their own darkness.

Still, there are those who ask, “But why did he have to die? What does this have to do with love? Why was there bloodshed?”

The answer is twofold. First, the redemption worked in Christ’s death was an example to us. It showed us how we are capable of killing God himself in order to preserve our own self-interests. It showed us, in a way that no event in the world has ever shown before or since, how we, in our hearts—the very hearts God has created—and through our own free will, constantly injure others and defile, mock, and execute divine love in every moment of our lives. It showed us the ugliness and sin we nurture in our own hearts.

So unless we choose to accept the redemption offered in his sacrifice for us—and, in humble, freely willed obedience to the will of God, die to the self-indulgent worldly attachments that nailed him to the cross—we will never know purity of heart and true love.

Three times Peter denied Jesus before the Crucifixion. And three times, after the Resurrection, Christ asked Peter, “Do you love me?” Each time, Peter said “Yes,” and each time Christ told him to tend “my sheep.”

To love is to tend the sheep—not our desires, not our selves, not self-love, and not shadows. But Christ’s sheep. His glory, not ours.

This is a hard thing to accept. Many disciples left Christ because of it. Even today there are those who try to make the Church “relevant” to the modern world. But Christ never said that he came to make life convenient. He came to preach true life. He was not just a “good man”—he was true God and true man whose real presence remains with us always through the Sacraments. Only in the broken bread of the Eucharist can our psychological brokenness be healed. ...

... There will always be those who resist this, those who attack the Church from without and those who sabotage it from within. Yet the choice is simple: will you freely and totally accept the redemption from your own emptiness that is being offered to you, or will you reject it for the sake of your own convenience? If you fail to approach your salvation with fear and trembling (see Philippians 2:12b) because you aren’t willing to sacrifice everything for it—as in the parables of the treasure buried in a field and the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:44–46)—then you probably don’t want it that much to begin with. But if you accept the work of your salvation, you will then, for the rest of your life, bear the sadness of a heart broken by the ignorance, apathy, and sacrilege that surround you. And yet, in the very midst of this pain, you will bear the joy of being able to say to Christ, “Thank you Lord; now I feel what you felt.” And that is true love.

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love you.
I ask your pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore,
do not hope, and do not love you.
— F├ítima, 1917"

This, and more, can be found at: http://www.guidetopsychology.com/catholic.htm

Wednesday

How To Not Be Anxious


Dr. Friedrich (Frederick) Salomon Perls (1893 - 1970), better known as Fritz Perls, was a noted German-born Psychiatrist and psychotherapist of Jewish descent. His approach is related but not identical to Gestalt psychology and the Gestalt Theoretical Psychotherapy of Hans-Juergen Walter. His ideas were also used to develop new age human potential concerns such as neurolinguistic programming NLP.

Dr. "Fritz Perls" is consider by many as the father of Gestalt Therapy.
One of his predominant teachings was that of resolving anxiety by living in the "now", or in other words, fulfilling all psychological needs
(or "unfinished business"), by remaining aware of one's thoughts, emotions and experiences "in-the moment". Although I personally appreciate aspects of Fritz Perl's work in the field of psychology, let us draw a comparison of Dr. Perls to another historical figure, that of
St. Claude de la Columbiere. We will do so by contrasting "prayers" written by each of the two. Prayers that were subsequently recited loyally by ideologically dedicated followers.

The prayer of Dr. Frederick Perls (1969):

"I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
And if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.
If not, it can't be helped. "

The prayer of St. Claude de la Columbiere:
(middle 1600's)

"My God, I believe most firmly that Thou watchest over all who hope in Thee, and that we can want for nothing when we rely upon Thee in all things; therefore I am resolved for the future to have no anxieties, and to cast all my cares upon Thee.

People may deprive me of worldly goods and of honors; sickness may take from me my strength and the means of serving Thee; I may even lose Thy grace by sin; but my trust shall never leave me. I will preserve it to the last moment of my life,
and the powers of hell shall seek in vain to wrestle it from me.

Let others seek happiness in their wealth, in their talents; let them trust to the purity of their lives, the severity of their mortifications, to the number of their good works, the fervor of their prayers; as for me, O my God, in my very confidence lies all my hope.'For Thou, O Lord, singularly has settled me in hope.'

This confidence can never be in vain. 'No one has hoped in the Lord and has been confounded.'

I am assured, therefore, of my eternal happiness,
for I firmly hope for it, and all my hope is in Thee.
'In Thee, O Lord, I have hoped; let me never be confounded.'

I know, alas! I know but too well that I am frail and changeable;
I know the power of temptation against the strongest virtue.
I have seen stars fall from heaven, and pillars of firmament totter; but these things alarm me not.
While I hope in Thee I am sheltered from all misfortune,
and I am sure that my trust shall endure,
for I rely upon Thee to sustain this unfailing hope.

Finally, I know that my confidence cannot exceed Thy bounty, and that I shall never receive less than I have hoped for from Thee. Therefore I hope that Thou wilt sustain me against my evil inclinations; that Thou wilt protect me against the most furious assaults of the evil one, and that Thou wilt cause my weakness to triumph over my most powerful enemies. I hope that Thou wilt never cease to love me, and that I shall love Thee unceasingly.
"In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded."

Book of Proverbs

(Psychological Scripture Verses:)

" To know wisdom and instruction. to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion - a wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of under-standing will attain wise counsel, to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." (1:2-7)

"My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; for they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck." (1:8-9)

" For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path. When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you." (2:6-11)

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (3:5-6)

"Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones."
(3:7-8)

"Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her." (3:13-18)

"When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror. Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught." (3:24-26)

"Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways; for the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, but His secret counsel is with the upright." (3:31-32)

"Keep your heqrt with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." (4:23)

"For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword." (5:3-4)

"Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be sispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love." (5:15-19)

"These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren." (6:16-19)

"Reproofs of instruction are the way of life. To keep you from the evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a seductress. Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids. For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life." (6:23[b]-26)

"Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent." (6:27-29)

"Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul. Wounds and dishonor he will get, and his reproach will not be wiped away." (6:32-33) "Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths; for she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men." (7:25-26)

"I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge and discretion. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength." (8:12-14) "... he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death." (8:36)

"He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (9:7-9)

"If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, and if you scoff, you will bear it alone." (9:12)

"A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the rief of his mother." (10:1)

"Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins." (10:12)

"In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise." (10:19)

"He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his peace." (11:12)

"Where there is no counsel, the people perish; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety." (11:14)

"The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh." (11:17)

"As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion." (11:22)

"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones." (12:4)

"The thoughts of the righteous are right, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful." (12:5)

"A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." (12:10)

"The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will come through trouble. A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth." (12:13-14)

"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise. A fool's wrath is known at once, but a prudent man covers shame." (12:16)

"... There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health." (12:17[b]-18)

"The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment." (12:19)

"Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy." (12:20)

"Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight." (12:22)

"Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad." (12:25)

"The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray." (12:26)

"He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction." (13:3)


"There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches." (13:7)

"By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom." (13:10)

"Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored." (13:18)

"He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed." (13:20)

"He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly." (13:24)

"The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands." (14:1)

"Go from the presence of a foolish man, when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge." (14:7)

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." (14:12)

"A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, ..." (14:17[a])

"In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge." (14:26)

"He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly." (14:29)

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness." (15:1-2)

"A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit." (15:4)

"Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred." (15:16-17)

"A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention." (15:18)

"A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother." (15:20)

"Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established." (15:22)

"The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and a good report makes the bones healthy." (15:30)

"The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility." (15:33)

"All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits." (16:2)

"Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established." (16:3)

"When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him." (16:7)

"Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit befor a fall." (16:18)

"Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones." (16:24)

"A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends. A violent man entices his neighbor, and leads him in a way that is not good, he winks his eye to devise perverse things; he purses his lips and brings about evil." (16:27-30)

"He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city." (16:32)

"Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife." (17:1)

"The refining pot is for silver and the furnce for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts." (17:3)

"He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends." (17:9)

"Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly." (17:12)

"The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts." (17:14)

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." (17:17)

"A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones." (17:22)

"A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him." (17:25)

"He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive." (17:27-28)

"It is not good to show partiality to the wicked, or to overthrow the righteous in judgment." (18:5)

"A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul." (18:7)

"The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body."" (18:8)

"He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him." (18:13)

"The spirit of man will sustain him in sickness. ..." (18:14[a])

"The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him." (18:17)

"A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle." (18:19)

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue." (18:21[a])

"He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord." (18:22)

"A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (18:24)

"He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will find good." (19:8)

"The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression." (19:11)

"A foolish son is the ruin of his father, and the contentions of a wife are a continual dripping." (19:13)

"Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord." (19:14)

"Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction." (19:18)

"A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; for if you rescue him, you will have to do it again." (19:19)

"Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days." (19:20)

"There are many plans in a man's heart, nevertheless the Lord's counsel - that will stand." (19:21)

"What is desired in a man is kindness." (19:22[a])

"He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother is a son who causes shame and brings reproach." (19:26)

"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise." (20:1)

"It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarel." (20:3)

"Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out." (20:5)

"Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?" (20:6)

"Who can say, 'I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin'"? (20:9)

"There is gold and a multitude of rubies, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel." (20:15)

"Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel." (20:17)

"He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips." (20:20)

"Whoever curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in deep darkness." (20:20)

"An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning will not be blessed at the end." (20:21)

"Do not say, "I will recompense evil"; wait for the Lord, and He will save you." (20:22)

"A man's steps are of the Lord; how then can a man understand his own way?" (20:24)

"It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy, and afterward to reconsider his vows." (20:25)

"The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inner depths of his heart." (20:27)

"The glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is their gray head." (2029)

"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts." (21:2)

"Getting treasures by a lying tongue is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death." (21:6)

"Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman." (21:9)

"A gift in secret pacifies anger, and a bribe behind the back strong wrath." (21:14)

"Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman." (21:19)

"Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles." (21:23)

"The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the Lord." (21:31)

"A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold." (22:1)

"By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life." (22:4)

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (22:6)

"Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; yes, strife and reproach will cease." (22:10)

"Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, that I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you?" (22:20-21)

"Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul." (22:24-25)

"Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease!" (23:4)

"Do not eat the bread of a miser, nor desire his delicacies; for as he thinks in his heart, so is he. 'Eat and drink!' he says to you, but his heart is not with you. The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, and waste your pleasant words." (23:6-8)

"Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words." (23:9)

"Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day; for surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off." (23:17-18)

"Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old." (23:22)

"The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him. Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice." (23:24-25)

"My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. For a harlot is a deep pit, and a seductress is a narrow well. She also lies in wait as for a victim. And increases the unfaithful among men." (23:26-28)

"Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: 'They have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I did not feel it, when shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?" (23:29-35)

"A wise man is strong, yes, a man of knowledge increases strength; for by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety." (24:5-6)

"If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small." (24:10)

"My son, eat honey because it is good, and the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste; so shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul;" (24:13-14[a])

"... a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity." (24:16)

"Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him." (24:17-18)

"It is not good to show partiality in Judgment." (24:23[b])

"He who gives a right answer kisses the lips." (24:26)

"Do not say, 'I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work." (24:29)

"It is the glory of God to conceal a matter." (25:2)

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver, like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear." (25:11-12)

"A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a club, a sword, and a sharp arrow." (25:18)

"Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint." (25:19)

"It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than a house shared with a contentious woman." (25:24)

"Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls." (25:28)

"Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him." (26:4)

"Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him." (26:12)

"The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly." (26:16)

"He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears." (26:17)

"Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, 'I was only joking!'" (26:18-19)

"Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife." (26:20-21)

"He who hates, disguises it with his lips, and lays up deceit within himself; when he speaks kindly, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart; though his hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly." (26:24-26)

"A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, and a flattering mouth works ruin." (26:28)

"Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips." (27:2)

"A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but a fool's wrath is heavier than both of them." (27:3)

"Wrath is cruel and anger is torrent, but who is able to stand before jealousy?" (27:4)

"Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed." (27:5)

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." (27:6)

"Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man's friend gives delight by hearty counsel." (27:9)

"He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it will be counted a curse to him." (27:14)

"A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike; whoever restrains her restrains the wind, and grasps oil with his right hand." (27:15-16)

"As in water face reflects face, so a man's heart reveals the man." (27:19)

"Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him." (27:22)

"The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion." (28:1)

"Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand all." (28:5)

"Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich." (28:6)

"Whoever causes the upright to go astrain in an evil way, he himself will fall into his own pit;" (28:10)

"Whoever robs his father or his mother, and says, 'It is no transgression,' the same is companion to a destroyer." (28:24)

"He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, ..." (28:25[a])

"He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." (29:1)

"If a wise man contends with a foolish man, whether the fool rages or laughs, there is no peace." (29:9)

"A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back." (29:11)

"The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother." (29:15)

"Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul." (29:17)

"Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him." (29:20)

"An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression." (29:22)

"The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe." (29:25)

"There is a generation that curses its father, and does not bless its mother. There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filthiness." (30:11-12)

"This is the way of an adulterous woman; she eats and wipes her mouth, and says, 'I have done no wickedness.' (30:20)

"If you have been foolish in exalting yourself, or if you have devised evil, put your hand on your mouth. For as the churning of milk produces butter, and wringing the nose produces blood, so the forcing of wrath produces strife." (30:32-33)

"Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." (31:10-12)

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates." (31:30-31)