Being together when you’re apart

Matt and Mindy Dalton

This is a common scenario we see in our marriage coaching: the husband travels each week for his job while the wife is responsible for working her part-time job and being the taxi shuttle for their children all week alone, making that extra effort to organize the schedule for the week. The wife with the “extra duties” may start feeling resentful for the extra-busy week while her husband gets to enjoy a week out of town.

Let’s focus on how much effort the husband makes in providing for his family. He realizes it is difficult for his wife while he is gone but also wants to get ahead in his company. He could strictly focus on his job for the week, but instead makes an effort to have a date night planned when he gets back. He calls to pray with his wife at the end of each evening and took some time to leave little notes around the house for her before he left on the business trip.

The wife could quickly become self-absorbed, only taking a look at all she has to accomplish the week her husband is away. Imagine if she were to focus completely on her husband with periodic text messages and phone calls at night to thank him for working so hard for their family, to ask him how his week is going and if there is anything he needs while he is away.

If her week is spent complaining to him, telling him how exhausted she is due to the extra work, he may not look as forward to walking in Friday evening when he arrives back in town.  On the other hand, if he has received numerous (daily) positive, encouraging, loving and supportive communication all week, he is longing to be home with his wife and kids. And if he has made that extra effort “to be” with his wife while he was out of town, she will find her week wasn’t too bad after all.

If our marriages are to be a sign to the world of God’s eternal exchange of life and love, and there is an enemy who wants to bring division and wants nothing more than to see our children ripped apart from their parents, then where is the enemy going to attack?  He is going to attack our families. We need to know who we are fighting. With wounded hearts, disappointments, lack of charity in our words, rolling of our eyes and the silent treatment, we begin to see our spouse as our enemy.

Prayer is the answer to fighting the battle in our homes, the battle in our marriages, and the battle in our families! We need to keep in mind that it is not our spouse that is the enemy, the one we should be fighting against. We should be armed and prepared to battle the enemy who wants to destroy.

Let’s commit to carving out time each and every day—15 minutes to 30 minutes, alone—in silence with God to converse with him about our lives, about our spouse, about our families. Beg for His grace and mercy to love as He loves.

When was the last time you asked yourself, and were honest with yourself, about how often you truly pray for your spouse?  But not prayers like “Please, God, change my husband,” or “Lord, make my wife see her shortcomings.”  Rather prayer lifting up your spouse such as, “Heavenly Father, I ask for you to bless my spouse today and help me to be a courageous witness of your love. Help me to be a servant spouse and to focus on my spouse’s gifts. I want to serve as you serve, Lord.”

 

COMING UP: On Divine Mercy Sunday faithful urged to trust in Christ’s mercy, pass it on

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On Divine Mercy Sunday faithful urged to trust in Christ’s mercy, pass it on

Maronite church’s event offers sacramental graces, highlights plight of persecuted Christians

Roxanne King

On April 23, Divine Mercy Sunday, hundreds of people turned out at St. Rafka Maronite Catholic Church for a celebration that offered the chance to earn a plenary indulgence and to be inspired by religious leaders to share Christ’s mercy with others.
The day included the opening and closing of a Holy Door at the Lakewood church, and a Divine Liturgy (Mass) celebrated by Maronite Bishop Elias Zaidan and concelebrated by St. Rafka pastor Maronite Father Andre Mahanna, who founded and heads an apostolate to aid persecuted Christians. Archbishop Samuel Aquila delivered a message on Divine Mercy.

Maronite Father Andre Mahanna addresses the congregation during Eucharistic benediction on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 23 at St. Rafka Maronite Catholic Church in Lakewood. CREDIT: Roxanne King

To help people earn the indulgence (remission of punishment due for sin), the sacrament of reconciliation, Eucharistic adoration, and veneration of the Divine Mercy image were available. The iconic image with the words “Jesus, I trust in you,” shows the risen Christ giving a blessing while rays of light (red for Eucharist, white for baptism and reconciliation) stream from his breast.
Other events included a brunch with ecumenical leaders that featured multicultural entertainment, including Jewish, Indian and Samoan dancing and music, and an inter-Christian dialogue that focused on helping persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

“The 2016 Open Doors report on persecution found that 215 million Christians experienced hostilities of some form over the past year,” Archbishop Aquila told the congregation. “Sadly, one only needs to look to the recent Palm Sunday bombings in Egypt that were claimed by ISIS to see the flesh and blood reality of the suffering Church: 49 dead and 78 injured.

“In the face of our afflictions, how should we respond as Christians?” he asked. “By immersing ourselves in Divine Mercy and carrying it to others.”
Christ’s passion, death and resurrection show that submission to and trust in God’s will and goodness yields eternal victory, the archbishop said.
“Divine Mercy,” he added, “… can transform our country and the world.”
In the year 2000 St. John Paul II designated the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday and canonized Sister Faustina Kowalska. The Polish nun had died in 1938 and is called the Apostle of God’s Mercy as it was through her writings the message and devotion to Jesus as “The Divine Mercy” came to be known.
“At the heart of Jesus’ message to St. Faustina is the necessity of complete trust in Jesus’ mercy for all who seek it,” Archbishop Aquila said, adding that Christ told Faustina: “’The graces of my mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is—trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive.’”
St. John Paul II, the archbishop said, noted that Jesus’ message of mercy isn’t new, “’but can be considered a gift of special enlightenment that helps us to relive the Gospel of Easter more intensely, to offer it as a ray of light to the men and women of our time.’
“The work of building a culture of mercy, of building the Kingdom of God, is needed everywhere,” the archbishop said. “It must be done on the streets of Denver, in the highways and byways of every corner of our country; it must be done in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. And most importantly, it must be done in your homes and in your families.”
The inter-Christian dialogue, which in addition to the bishops and Father Mahanna, included representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a Syriac Orthodox deacon, and evangelical laymen who work to educate and empower inner-city youths and families, discussed past and current collaborative works of charity and mercy to help victimized Christians in the Middle East and urban needy in the United States.

Inter-Christian dialogue participants: from left, Syriac Orthodox Deacon Elias Naoum, Maronite Bishop Elias Zaidan, Archbishop Samuel Aquila, Latter-Day Saint lay leader J. Craig McIlroy, Maronite Father Andre Mahanna CREDIT: Roxanne King

The Maronite Church is Eastern Catholic and in communion with the pope. It traces its roots to the Apostles’ visits to Antioch where followers of Christ were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). The Maronite patriarch (senior religious leader under the pope) is in Lebanon.
“As you know, the Middle East is where Christianity started. Unfortunately, waves and waves and waves of persecution over the centuries has pushed Christians out,” Bishop Zaidan told the group. “I hope the little tiny remnant still there will be respected. We hope their voice will become your voices … to make sure this country will do whatever it can to preserve Christianity in the Middle East.”
Father Mahanna wrapped up the discussion with a call to action.
“What are we trying to achieve?” he asked. “A network of common causes to enable (us all) to defend life from conception to natural death.”
Echoing Archbishop Aquila’s comments on building a culture of mercy, he added, “It will be a new movement—the new wind to flow all over.”