man of the house

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Sharing the spiritual burden

One friend sat in the driver's seat of the car, transporting us on a six-hour journey to the site of our retreat last year. In the passenger seat, another friend kept the driver engaged in conversation.

With the entire backseat to myself, I I began my week of silence a few hours early. As much as possible, I waded into an interior room of quiet. I stared out the window as the world flew past at 70 miles an hour.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Concern for the future

On Feb. 16, our first granddaughter was born. The emotions elicited that day — and in other national events in the previous days — made me think about what I would write in a letter to her. Here are some of my thoughts:

Dear Madeleine Victoria,

What a glorious, exhilarating day — your actual birthday! So many people had been waiting so many months for your arrival. Indeed, quite a few of us have looked forward to your birth for years. You're the first granddaughter on both sides of your family, the pink-clad apple of many eyes, including both your brothers.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Our identities are hidden in the love and mercy of God

I had been attending outpatient group-therapy sessions for several weeks. Though my mental health still had much to be desired — my spiritual health, too, for that matter — I had settled into a comfortable place with these people. Not that I was overly chatty, but I talked more than I had in those first few reclusive, virtually mute days.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | All around us are disagreements that have gotten out of hand

Every weekday during my 30-minute commute to work, I drive past 15 Christian churches. They're quite diverse, ranging from St. Monica Catholic Church to a large non-denominational one to churches named Ark of Safety, Matthias' Lot and Destiny Church.

Seeing those non-Roman Catholic churches always makes my heart hurt.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Seeking to satisfy a spiritual thirst with trust, prayer

I can't pray.

Well, that's not accurate. If only it was that cut and dried. In reality, the spiritual issue is exceedingly more complicated.

I can communicate with God — to God — in limited ways. I made promises to people that I would lift up their special prayer intentions on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. So I say those intercessory prayers, asking for blessings and love in a special way for those family, friends and strangers alike. I trust that God hears. I hope that He hears.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Seeing God through intimate eyes

I had a special photo as the screen-saver on my smartphone for a long time. Whenever I needed a smile, I just looked at that picture of one of the most memorable undertakings in my life — the day I went sky-diving. I had glanced at it countless times when out of the blue a certain realization struck me.

I look just like my dad.

The skin tone, the shape of my face, the gray hair and beard — spitting image. And the eyes. I've got my father's eyes.

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