Archive for the ‘Theology of the Body (TOB)’ Category

Why I Love My Marriage (at 4 months)

March 9, 2014 3 comments

I have many reasons to be grateful for my life — certainly many more than I deserve. I have my health, my faith, a well-compensated job that I find rewarding, and have been blessed with great friends and family and memories of wonderful experiences all over the world. Yup, My life is pretty good. To be honest, it always has been.

Sure, I’ve had to deal with failure, rejection, pressure, negative influences, injury, nearly getting arrested (a story for another blog), loneliness and  burning out, but no matter how bad or depressing my life has been, I have always been able to fall back on realities that were more important, more permanent, and more positive than the negatives of those times. No matter where I was in the world and no matter how well or poorly the temporal things were going, I was grounded in the knowledge that my family would be there for me and my God loved me and was in control (making all things work together for good for those who trust in him [Romans 8:28]). It didn’t mean that I never had a bad day, or that I didn’t let things get to me, but when things did get to me, I could step back and choose to be grateful (even when every bone in my body was reacting with fear or depression.

None of that has changed since I have been married. I still have those same reasons to be grateful, but now I have another one. In fact I have dozens more reasons to be thankful and I have a beautiful, living, breathing reminder of those reasons constantly before me. Here are just a few reasons why I love married life:

– I wake up every day knowing and experiencing that a person has CHOSEN to love me freely, totally, faithfully and fruitfully for a lifetime. The love of my family has been amazing  and constant throughout my life, but they were kinda stuck with me (and I’m so glad that they were!). In some ways, the same is true for God. Sure, He loves me more and better than anyone in this world (including my wife) ever could hope to, but that is true for everyone. My wife, on the other hand, made a commitment to me that she will not make with anyone else even though she could have chosen whoever she wanted. What an amazing experience.

-I get to fall asleep every night holding the woman of my dreams and realizing that it’s not a dream at all. After all the lonely nights praying and hoping and trusting that God would introduce me to the right woman in His time, it is such a sweet experience to lay down and rest with my arm around my wife and tangibly feel the completion of a void that I felt for so long in my life.

-Its not about me anymore. Given, it was never about me to begin with, but having another person intertwined in every aspect of my life has been a great reminder in so many ways that my decisions don’t just affect me, and my wife is such an inspiration to me both to lead the family and grow personally. Sure, there are moments that seem purgatorial (in learning and experiencing her expectations of facial care, for instance), but the sight of my wife and the ring on my finger are physical reminders of the calling that I have to lay down my life in love. Some might consider this the downside of marriage; the ball and chain, the forfeiture of freedom, but I think they are missing the point. As a human being, God made me because He loves me, built a need and desire for love and self-donation into my spiritual DNA. I will never be happy in this life until I’m taking the skills, talents, passions and gifts that God has given me and using them to give back to the world.  I discerned my vocation to marriage through prayer and recognition that the specific skills, talents, passions, gifts and experiences which God blessed me with were better suited toward devotion to one woman, and through that one devotion, bearing fruit to love and serve many more.

-I get to learn a whole new set of my own weaknesses. Once again, not a statement that most people jump up and down about in excitement, but it really is a pretty exciting and wonderful thing, because it’s the only way that I will truly grow. God loves me as I am, but he loves me way too much to let me stay there. In the invitation to marriage, God is allowing me to experience life from a completely different perspective. It’s almost like moving to a new country or starting a new job; you can ask people who are over there, and you can read books and study but in the end you will never really know what it’s like until you get there. Sure, finding some good books, and good mentors go a long way to make sure you choose the right location/job and are properly prepared, but there is always a learning curve. Even though that curve is painful and frustrating at times, It’s making me into a better person than I could have been had I not made that commitment.

-Every point that I wrote above is equally true for my wife, and I get to have the unique and irreplaceable role in this world of walking with her on that journey… our journey. Being invited to play such a pivotal role in the life of someone who I care so deeply for could not be a greater compliment or a greater incentive to step up to the challenge.

-We both saved sex for marriage, and now the act has so much significance to our relationship because it is a sign of everything we are sharing and aspiring to be for each other and for the world. The physical pleasure pales in comparison to the relevance of the embrace.

-We can (and do) talk about everything and anything. Sometimes, we don’t talk at all and we just share silence.

-We laugh SO MUCH. I don’t think I have ever laughed as regularly in my life as I have since my wedding day. Neither of us are comedians and it’s not like we are laughing all the time. But we know each other, and we can see and appreciate the ridiculous in so many of our daily activities and situations that we can’t help but laugh at the comedies of errors or irony along the way.

I can’t help but think that God is smiling and laughing with us 🙂


these 2openhands have a new permanent accessory

these 2openhands have a new permanent accessory



June 14, 2012 Leave a comment

I wrote this a little while ago. I would like to say that I am a better man now, but I think the only honest assessment I can offer is that I am still a man struggling to give God glory. Each time I sin, I miss that mark. I pray this post will give my brothers and sisters in faith who read it some perspective and strength in their own struggle…

I’m a hypocrite.

I love God. At least, I say I do. I think many times I do. I want to.  But how far is my mind from Him sometimes! It struck my like a 2×4 across the face and I had to just put it in writing….

Every letter I write, every note I post, every email, every journal entry and everywhere else I can think to insert it into my life, I put the letters “AMDG”. They stand for Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. Latin words meaning “For God’s Greater Glory” or “For the Greater Glory of God.” It’s a saying that I borrowed from Jesuit tradition that I think is important for keeping perspective. I want everything that I do, say, or write to bring God glory. It’s a fitting footnote to everything in my life, because if it isn’t giving God glory, it has missed it’s mark. If you read something of mine and it doesn’t give God glory, you have either misread it, or I mistyped it.

I put it everywhere and I’m sure people see it and associate me with it, but it is the farthest thing from my mind in all of my sin, but especially with my lust that occupies so much of my thoughts. All my distorted fantasies, all my daydreams and ill-motivated internet searches. When I look into my soul and am honest with myself, it’s all for MY greater glory. I know what will give God glory, but I choose what I think will satisfy me instead. I put my “gratification” ahead of God’s glory. I know in my head that it will only bring me more emptiness, but my heart still falls for the lies. I am God’s creature,  made for His glory. The only satisfaction that I will ever find in this life is when I accept my place as His praise-giver, His servant, His son through Christ. He showed me the meaning of love when He sent His son to rescue me from my sin. He came down to my level and showed me the way home, gaining nothing but the cross for it. The King of Kings chose a crown of thorns. Immortal God accepted death. The very Armor of God is poured out and passed on to us through His pierced side. To love someone is to lay your life down for them. To put them ahead of yourself. To CHOOSE them even if you want – especially if you want – something different for your own benefit. A selfless allegiance of the heart, formed and solidified by the will.

That’s the real question I have to ask myself when I’m confronted with temptation. Do I care about my glory or God’s? Who’s it for?


“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1COR 10:31

The Crisis of Vocations

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Most Catholics who pay any attention at Mass have probably heard that there is a crisis of vocations. Leaders in the Church regularly mention the urgent need for more priests and religious and use the term to describe the shortage in our church here in America (and around the world). I agree that we don’t have enough priests and religious and I absolutely agree that there is a crisis of vocations, but I think we ignore a greater crisis when we focus all of our attention on the call to religious life and ignore the call that applies to many others. Read more…

Purity of Heart (TOB 43:5)

June 18, 2011 Leave a comment

I read John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (TOB) a few years ago (when I first moved to San Diego) and I have to admit, a lot of it went over my head. I had already been deeply moved by quite a few talks and books by Christopher West (which was my main motivation for diving into the source document) but I found the work, as a whole to be a bit beyond my comprehension and patience. Even so, there were a handful of passages that really stuck out to me. Recently, I opened it up randomly to TOB 39 and started reading. Wouldn’t you know that this is the part where JP II reflects on Mathew 5:28 “Whoever looks with a woman to desire her has already committed adultery in his heart.” That has always been a pretty convicting bible verse, and I remember all the discussions from Christopher West pointing out the salvific power of them as well, but later as I was reading the conclusion of that section of TOB, a specific quote from JPII struck me (I had already underlined it the first time I read it, but I guess it had slipped my mind).

 “‘Purity of heart’ is gained by one who knows how to be consistently demanding toward his ‘heart’: toward his ‘heart’ and toward his ‘body’. (TOB 43:5) Read more…

Chris West at USNA

June 18, 2011 1 comment

During my senior year in college (2006), I was fortunate enough to have Christopher West come and speak to an open audience (both Catholics and Protestants who were interested) at my school about “God, Sex, and the meaning of Life.” He allowed us to record it and share as we saw fit, so there’s no copyright issue. Here is a link to the download if you want to check it out (about 90mb and 90 minutes long).

(note: the first voice you hear is the priest saying an opening prayer, Chris starts right after that)

also, while I still have space (over a GB), here is the link to the full video…


Christian Gentlemen

June 18, 2011 1 comment

For all guys who are man enough to put action behind the respect for others that we have been called to since the beginning of our creation. For all the guys who at least attempt to live out the awe of Adam when he first beheld Eve- the masterpiece of God’s creation. For all guys who realize that Christianity is about more than an hour on Sunday morning: Read more…


June 18, 2011 1 comment

To every woman I have ever know, and all the women that I haven’t:

There is a huge poverty of self respect these days, especially in women. Admittedly, that’s largely due to the fact that we men have been doing a horrible job of affirming the women in our lives. It also doesn’t really help that our society today defines beauty by a set of dimensions and symmetrical facial features. It seems to me that very few women these days realize that they’re beautiful. Of those that do, it seems that even fewer recognize their beauty as something deeper than their physical qualities

So for what ever little worth my input may be in your life, I just want you to know that you are BEAUTIFUL. Read more…