man of the house

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.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Being pro-life, in all senses

She was 19 years old. He was 23. She was in college and working in a restaurant. He had a good job with benefits. They were engaged to be married, the wedding scheduled in about 10 months, and had begun marriage preparation with a priest. Exciting times, to be sure.

But they were afraid something was wrong. She hadn't been feeling well for a few weeks and missed quite a few classes. He loved her deeply. Always a worrier, he had serious concerns. So he convinced her to see the doctor.

"You're pregnant," the doctor told her.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Little simplicities offer big lessons

On a pleasantly warm evening, 8-year-old Colin and I are hanging out in the front yard of his house. And my grandson gives me a spiritual lesson.

"Aw," says Colin, looking at their well-groomed lawn. "Where did all the dandelions go?" Immediately, I think: Dandelions are weeds. Weeds are bad. I wish my lawn didn't have so many of those dastardly weeds. But ... "I wanted to pick some of them," he says.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | Good Friday and Easter Sunday bring us hope in death

Death is not a joyful mystery. Perhaps it should be.

Don't get me wrong, only with very extenuating circumstances will we find joy in the death of anyone, especially a loved one. I have missed my mom every day in the 21 months since she passed away. Yet, as I reflect, it was at least partly selfish of me to have asked for a miraculous cure of her brain cancer then.

And it would be even more selfish of me now to beg God to bring her back from what I assume is her eternal happiness.

MAN OF THE HOUSE | God’s consolation opens our eyes and hearts to greater gratitude

I like to accept compliments, to receive congratulations. I like to garner praise.

Who doesn't delight in hearing nice things about himself, right? Who doesn't enjoy having good efforts recognized? Externally, we might react with humility: "Please, anyone could have done that." We might dismiss it: "Come on, it wasn't anything special." We might display embarrassment and simple graciousness: "Thank you for saying that." But inside, it feels really good.

That's okay. That's human.

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