Enduring Marital Love: The Secret?

Want to know the secret to an enduring marital love after 35+ years of marriage? How can you have such a love?

With 35+ years of marriage to the same wonderful man, of this I can speak from experience. Many people ask me, “What’s your secret?”  Let’s face the truth – in this day and age, at least in the United States, we don’t see one-time marriages with longevity much anymore. When we do see them, we see a consistent theme: an enduring love that has weathered the storms of life. So, you ask, what is the secret to maintaining that enduring love?

Read more…

Sister Donkey, Brother Pangolin.

Next morning when Balaam arose, he saddled his donkey, and went off with the princes of Moab…..When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord there, she lay down under Balaam. Balaam’s anger flared up and he beat the donkey with his stick. Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she asked Balaam, “What have I done to you that you beat me these three times?”….the angel of the Lord said to him: “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come as an adversary because this rash journey of yours is against my will. When the donkey saw me, she turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away from me, you are the one I would have killed, though I would have spared her….”
from Numbers 22:21-34

To the best of my knowledge there is only one postlapsarian example of a talking animal in the Bible. For atheists and sceptics of course that is one too many. Balaam’s ass is conclusive prove, they argue, that the Scriptures are simply a collection of fables and fantasies. If, however, you were to turn to the Bible after reading actual collections of fables and fantasies of a similar length and similar antiquity to the Old Testament it is the comparative lack of talking animals which would strike you. It is an obvious motif to use and the Jewish scriptures use it remarkably sparingly which should alert you to the fact that there is at the least something unusual in the way that their holy books were compiled or in the beliefs which they held. Be that as it may my primary purpose in this post is with defending modern animals not ancient texts. Whether you accept the account of Balaam, the Angel and the suffering donkey as an historical account or as an extended parable then either way I would contend that there are important lessons which we can learn from it.
The donkey was savagely beaten because Balaam did not understand the benefit that she was conferring upon him by her behaviour. And often, indeed, it is the case that humankind mistreats or destroys this or that part of the environment in ways which they would not do if they fully realised the long term damage which they were doing to themselves and their species by their actions. A pangolin, for example, can eat up to seven million insects a year. We do not know what the impact upon us would be if these insects were allowed to multiply unchecked. It is unlikely to be good however and there is an excellent chance that we will find out because currently pangolins are being hunted to extinction across two continents, Asia and Africa. In this we resemble Balaam, we are attacking something which simply by being itself may well be defending us……click here to read more 

Silver and Gold I Have None

 Peter with John fastening his eyes upon him, said: Look upon us. But he looked earnestly upon them, hoping that he should receive something of them. But Peter said: Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise, and walk.
Acts 3:4-6

Turn my heart to Your decrees and not to material gain. Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in Your ways.
Psalm 118/9:36-36

 There is a lot of looking going on in these texts. Sight is one of the mechanisms which we use to give our attention to something. Attention is the primary thing and vision is a mere auxiliary to it. What I mean by that is that although no doubt none of us wishes to go blind if it so happened that we did then our integrity as a person would remain intact. Our ability to focus our mind to a point and concentrate upon it would remain unimpaired although it would be discommoded. If however while still possessing sight we lost the ability to pay attention to anything then we would cease to be the person we are now. When considering texts like this then it can be a worthwhile exercise to leave aside consideration of the external events unfolding before the eyes and think about the essential objects upon which the attention of the participants, and by extension we the readers, is centred.

 The disabled man whom the Apostles encountered desired to live. He was begging because only thus could he obtain the means necessary to that end. His attention was focussed on Saints Peter and John because he hoped that they could help him to keep body and soul together. His desire was a purely material one. There is a temptation to suppose that the intention of St Peter was equally material, to effect a bodily healing, and that what he gave to the man was good health. We should though bear in mind the words of Jesus ‘Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? (Luke 5:23) The gift which St Peter gave was the name of Jesus, one of the effects of that gift was to heal the man’s disability.

 The post-modern mind is often impatient with miracle stories and seeks to discount them. So much the worse for the post-modern mind of course but if, as I suggest, we concentrate on the essence rather than the accidents of this episode is there anything in it which even the post-moderns can profit from?……click here to read more

Embrace Courtesy with Gusto!

Why should we embrace courtesy? How can we navigate through such an unkind world and survive? Might expressions of courtesy be the answer?

We embrace courtesy to acknowledge dignity towards another, created in the image and likeness of God. In essence, we give the person the respect (courtesy) due to a child of God; we treat the person as we would want to be treated. Father Romano Guardini speaks of this in his book, Learning the Virtues That Lead Us to God:

“…man must be honored in relation to Him who created man in His image and who requires us to honor this image” (p.142).

Yet, how often do we actually embrace courtesy? Read more…

Mary: Refuge of Sinners

 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
John 4:35

And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace.
Ruth 2:2

….Ruth sets out to glean the ears of corn which the reapers leave behind in order to be able to feed Naomi, her mother-in-law, and herself. When, in the Gospels, Jesus speaks of harvesting He usually means gathering in souls to the kingdom of heaven. Since He speaks through the Old Testament as well as the New it is worth considering the possibility that references to the same subject in the one will have the same purpose as in the other. When to this harvest is added the figure of Ruth following ‘after him in whose sight I shall find grace‘ we are irresistibly reminded of the words of St Gabriel ‘Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.’ (Luke 1:30) It seems then legitimate to read this passage as an allusion to the role played by the Mother of God in bringing into the kingdom those who escape from the hands of the reapers.

What Mary gleans are those who have heard the Good News about Jesus but have not benefited by it. They lie on the earth having missed salvation but not yet consigned to destruction….to read more click here

Angry Comments

Most negative feedback says more about the person commenting and his own emotions and reactions than it does about me or my opinions.
I ask myself, “Why is the respondent angry?”
He is not really critiquing my writing style, content or conclusions, especially if a vehement response attacks me the writer. That is just the release valve which is handy at the moment. My words triggered a dramatic attack because the commentator has issues, issues that lay buried until some unsuspecting scapegoat like me pushes his buttons.
I refuse to play those games. Silence is often a better teacher than any ‘wisdom’ I could spout.

Melanie Jean Juneau is wife and mother of nine children. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart-warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life.She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9 

God, Genocide & Good Neigbourliness

 You shall consume all the peoples which the Lord, your God, is giving over to you. You are not to look on them with pity, nor serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.
Deuteronomy 7:16 

And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. But the stranger that dwelleth with you, shall be as one of yourselves, and thou shalt love him as thyself: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus 19:33-34

Those who attack the God of the Abrahamic faiths as a genocidal maniac often quote the text from Deuteronomy but never the one from Leviticus. The reverse is true for those who conceive of Abraham’s God as some kind of ethereal fluffy bunny. Yet both texts belong to the same religious tradition and are considered to form part of the divine revelation of God to man. It is especially difficult for the followers of Jesus to reconcile the smiting hip and thigh which forms such a great part of the Old Testament histories to the peaceful teachings and witness of the Son of Mary. So much so that from the earliest times various heresies have been proposed by figures like Marcion and Mani suggesting that there is an evil God who does bad things (most of the Old Testament) and a good God who does good things (most of the New Testament.) Whilst such heresies are seldom actively advocated nowadays they are, as it were, taught by default by those, mostly liberal, theologians who simply omit to defend the ‘difficult‘ passages of the Old Testament.

Is there a single common thread which unites the command to destroy the Canaanites with the Law demanding that strangers be treated with love? click here to read more

Courtesy: A Forgotten Virtue?

Is courtesy a forgotten virtue? Has chivalry died? Are manners no longer important? If so, then it is time to dust off “Courtesy” and bring it to the forefront once again. Father Romano Guardini provides an excellent definition on the virtue of courtesy in his book, Learning the Virtues That Lead Us to God:
“Courtesy gives the other person a free space and protects him from oppressive closeness; it gives him air. It recognizes the good in others and lets them feel that…Read more…

Come On: It is Time For YOU to Nominate Great Catholic Writers


THIS AWARD HAS NO STRINGS ATTACHED

NO RULES, NO OBLIGATIONS
A SIMPLE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF GREAT CATHOLIC WRITING WHICH BRINGS JOY, TRUTH, FREEDOM OR  ENCOURAGEMENT TO OTHERS
IT CAN BE SOMEONE WHO WRITES ABOUT-
PRAYER, THEIR STRUGGLES AND PAIN. BRINGING HOPE TO OTHERS, LIFE IN GOD, FAITH STORIES THAT MAKE YOU LAUGH
PASS THIS AWARD ON TO A FELLOW CATHOLIC WRITER OR TWO by POSTING THE RECIPIENT’S NAME AND BLOG IF APPLICABLE, AWARD TITLE, LOGO WITH A SIMPLE LINK BACK TO https://melaniejeanjuneau.wordpress.com/

Melanie Jean Juneau is wife and mother of nine children. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart-warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong current of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life.She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9