Do you know how to tap into the incredible spiritual power of your marriage and family life? The truth is, there is a treasure-trove of grace hidden in plain sight, just beneath the surface of all the things we tend to take for granted.  Mundane tasks like raising a family, attending to your marriage, paying your bills, or caring for your home may not seem very exciting, but God has blessed even these simple tasks with the power to be… Read more

Guest post by Deacon Dominic Cerrato, Ph.D. Director of the Pastoral Solutions Institute Spiritual Direction services If you’re anything like me, you’re easily distracted in prayer. I don’t think a day goes by when, praying the Divine Office, my mind doesn’t wander somewhere between the psalms and the reading. At times like these it’s not uncommon to become frustrated feeling that we’ve cheated God out of some essential prayer time. As a result, we can strongly identify with Hamlet’s King… Read more

It’s easy to tell when someone is happy. People often express outward signs when they are feeling good, such as smiling, using an upbeat tone, or having a bounce in their step. But it can be harder to tell what someone is thinking when they are feeling down, tired, or upset. These emotions are often masked or do not come with as markedly definitive expressions. While you may think you know all of your partners’ “tell tale signs” of their… Read more

It’s easy to tell when someone is happy. People often express outward signs when they are feeling good, such as smiling, using an upbeat tone, or having a bounce in their step. But it can be harder to tell what someone is thinking when they are feeling down, tired, or upset. These emotions are often masked or do not come with as markedly definitive expressions. While you may think you know all of your partners’ “tell tale signs” of their… Read more

Guest post by Dave McClow, Pastoral Solutions Institute. In the spring of 1968, almost three years after the Second Vatican Council closed, hope was still high that artificial contraception would no longer be considered a mortal sin.  Rumors circulated that the committee studying the matter would advise the Pope to lift the prohibition.  Reputable moral theologians were also purporting a lifting of the ban.  Certainly some confessors were advising couples based on these expectations, influencing some to contracept.  Then on… Read more

There is more to marriage than meets that eye. That’s the message of this exciting new resource by the Pastoral Solutions Institute and the Diocese of Steubenville that promotes the Catholic Vision of Love and Marriage. The program employs a simple web-based format and runs like a DIY online couples’ retreat.  Each of the 12 units in the course consists of a brief (7-9min), high quality video presentation, discussion questions, resources for independent study, and a simple 5 item quiz… Read more

Guest post by Deacon Dominic Cerrato, Ph.D., Director of the Pastoral Solutions Spiritual Direction Services It’s quite common in spiritual direction to hear someone say, “If God would just take away this cross, I would be a much better Christian.” Suffering impacts all of us to a greater or lesser degree such that, to live is to suffer. This is not to suggest that life can be reduced to suffering, but that suffering is a significant aspect of life. Hence, the real question… Read more

  A new study in the journal Infant and Child Development found that co-sleeping moms experienced at least 16% more criticism than other moms.  Additionally, moms who were persistently criticized for co-sleeping were 76% more depressed and anxious about both their parenting and their baby’s wellbeing than other parents. According lead researcher, Douglas Teti of Penn State University, “We definitely saw that the persistent co-sleepers—the moms that were still co-sleeping after six months—were the ones who seemed to get the most… Read more

Guest post by Dave McClow, Pastoral Solutions Institute. “I don’t believe in hell.  If there is a hell, it can’t be any worse than my life here.”  These were the most striking words from my 55-year-old-same-sex-attracted brother Mark in the last two-plus weeks of his life.  He died February 27, 2017, from throat cancer.  I wanted to remember him here and witness to the abyss of God’s mercy. It started in May 2016 with a diagnosis, then treatment in August,… Read more

This is the first time Ash Wednesday and St. Valentine’s Day have fallen on the same day since 1945.  On this auspicious occasion, perhaps it’s time to give up the bitterness, anger, and petty grievances that prevent us from experiencing the loving marriage God wants for us.   My latest column for OSV Newsweekly. The correspondence of Ash Wednesday and St. Valentine’s Day almost writes its own joke. Sadly, for some couples, getting ashes for Valentine’s Day is not only no… Read more

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