Tag Archives: challenges

To the Heights

You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
—Matthew 10:22

I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
—Hosea 14:9

Gillis_van_Coninxloo_-_Mountain_Landscape_with_River_Valley_and_the_Prophet_Hosea_-_WGA05181As we grow into a deeper relationship with God, we may reach a point where it feels as though He has started ignoring us. Whereas we were at first captivated by the words of Scripture or felt a great peace in prayer, we now feel dryness and discontent. We aren’t “getting anything” out of prayer anymore, and we feel disconnected.

God uses these periods of discontent to push us toward a deeper, more lasting faith. He allows us to experience moments of frustration, helplessness, and humility so that we can learn to depend on Him more fully. While we might be content to float happily through life with a surface-level faith, God wants more for us. He wants us to be strong, walk boldly, perform great deeds, and endure persecutions. As Grace told us during retreat: God loves us right where we are, and He loves us too much to let us stay there.

frassatiGod is training us to be sheep among wolves: to walk amongst sin and evil and yet be uncorrupted, to maintain our innocence—our steadfast faith, our enduring hope—as we journey through treacherous lands. He is preparing us for an adventure more epic than we’ve imagined.

This spirit of adventure is what motivated Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati throughout his life. He saw his journey in the Christian life as an ascent up the mountain, and with joy he climbed ever higher—verso l’alto, to the heights. He will help us, too, to see the path before us with wonder and excitement, tackling each obstacle as we continue our ascent.

May Blessed Pier Giorgio help us to rise above our complacency, our frustrations, and every challenge before us.

Learn to be stronger in spirit than in your muscles. If you are you will be real apostles of faith in God.
—Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

Every day that passes, I fall more desperately in love with the mountains… I am ever more determined to climb the mountains, to scale the mighty peaks, to feel that pure joy which can only be felt in the mountains.
—Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

1. Gillis van Koningsloo, Mountain Landscape with River Valley and the Prophet Hosea / PD-US
2. Photograph of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati / Catholic Exchange

Originally posted at Frassati Reflections.

Life as a Catholic Dad

What is it like to raise a Catholic family in the 21st century? Hundreds of Catholic mommy bloggers will happily answer the question for you but they only tell one side of the story. What about a dad’s perspective on family life? How does he see it? There are many just men like St. Joseph, who are doing their best to raise their children to become saints. The Joys and Challenges of Family Life gives a voice to these men.

Eight fathers share some insight into what life Joys and Challenges coveris like raising a family. They express their joys, sorrows, successes, and failures in a way that is inspiring and refreshing. The topics run the gamut of family life—from NFP to technology, from infertility to work-life balance, and many things in between.

Although each man’s story is different, there is one common theme that is woven throughout the book: these men love being dads. In a society where the idea of marriage and family life has crumbled, these men give us hope that there still are men who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of their family.

Depending upon your stage in life, different parts of the book will speak to you. For me, I greatly enjoyed the chapter discussing life as a new father, for it brought to words some of my thoughts and struggles as a young dad. Becoming a father has been a tough adjustment. I have had to die to self in ways I never would have imagined  and the opportunities to do this keep coming up each and every day. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one going through these difficulties.

In the struggle of early fatherhood the author reminds us that we must show the joy of Catholic marriage and take time to continue and develop as a man. If we are always miserable, will our children want to pursue marriage one day? By taking time apart from the children to pray, enjoy a hobby, and date our wives, we become renewed in our vocation and come back to serve our children better.

Another part of the book that I really enjoyed was on work-life balance. One father admitted that he had become a workaholic and was becoming distant to his family. God sent him a remedy to this problem through the birth of a special needs child.

All of a sudden his priorities switched since his family needed him more than ever.  He took a less demanding job so he could spend more time at home. He realized that “Money is like air, you need a certain amount to live, but it’s not the reason for living.”

His story served as a good reminder for us dads that we must work diligently at our jobs for our families, but that there are more important things in life than money.

This is just a small sampling of the wisdom and inspiration available in the book. Mix in a few great moments of success and flops on the road of fatherhood and you have a book that will make you laugh and think at the same time.

So if you are wondering what it is like being a dad, looking for a tips on how to be a better dad, or just want to understand a bit more about how dads think, get a copy of The Joys and Challenges of Family Life. Its message will inspire you.