Living Gracefully has a New Home

Thank you for stopping by - in an effort to provide a better experience and offer more to my readers we have built a new home All of the articles you can find on this site have been imported to that site.

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Friday, June 5, 2009

We've Moved

Living Gracefully has moved...

Check out the new and much improved site at

Welcome Sainthood and Surrender Readers

Thanks to Todd Lemieux for his constant support and for highlighting Living Gracefully on his site. I want to welcome all of you Sainthood and Surrender readers and say thanks for joining us. Great things are in store so please subscribe via the links provided.

Remember - seek holiness in all things!

In Christ,
Chris Faddis

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Coming Soon...

I know I have mentioned a few times that I'm getting ready to launch a new and improved site for Living Gracefully. Our new home will feature much more content, special features, guest posts, and a really cool little project that I am launching soon.

I had hoped to have the site up a few weeks back but unfortunately things have not gone as planned. I can however say that we are very close, very close. This is why you aren't seeing many posts from me these days. I'm chomping at the bit to get some new posts out but I want to save it for the launch.

Please pray for me as I get this site off the ground hopefully within the next week.

Know that you are always in my prayers. I have loved sharing with you in these last few months and I am grateful for your readership and friendship. Continue to pray for me and my family and I will pray for you as well.

In Christ,
Chris Faddis

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sainthood and Surrender

Todd Lemieux is a great Catholic man who does nothing half-heartedly. When Todd Lemieux says he is seeking Sainthood - I know he means it. He wants you to mean it to. Todd is looking for 1000 people to join him on the journey towards sainthood. What does this mean? It means making the decision to not live in mediocrity but to commit oneself to seek holiness in all things.

This is a difficult task and this is why Todd's Sainthood Project is so important - because this is a task that cannot be done alone. I want to invite you to check out Todd's blog and learn more about how we are seeking sainthood.

In Christ,
Chris Faddis

Friday, May 29, 2009

Definitive Expert on JPII's Theology of the Body Defends West

Dr. Michael Waldstein who is the official translator of John Paul II's Theology of the Body - the guy who knows the stuff as it was written in its original language - the guy the Vatican trusted with the late Pope's archives - wrote a very strong article in support of West and his teaching of Theology of the Body which is published on today.

I will only quote a short piece of the article here, but I encourage you to go read the entire article for yourself.

I know that David Schindler is a careful scholar, but I was surprised and taken aback by his recent blanket negative statement about Christopher West in reaction to West's Nightline interview. He cites a few anecdotes, quotes some snippets of texts, recalls some discussions he had with West in the past, and then makes a number of sweeping, massive accusations against West's work as a whole.
His West is not the Christopher West I know from studying West's commentary on the Theology of the Body. - Dr. Michael Waldstein - on InsideCatholic
I am very grateful that such great people as Waldstein are standing on West's side on this issue. The reason I say this is because West's work has been pivotal in transforming the lives of so many people and it has been dishearteing to see him attacked in the way he has been.

I encourage you to read the original story on Inside Catholic here. If you are unfamiliar with the whole story and would like to catch up you can first go to this piece that I wrote a few weeks back which has a full synopsis of the story.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Christopher West’s Work is “Completely Sound,” says Dr. Janet Smith

Christopher West’s Work is “Completely Sound,” says Dr. Janet Smith

I was very excited to receive a note that Dr. Janet Smith had given her support to Christopher West and her own response to the many criticism's he has received.

Here are some great excerpts from this article by Dr. Janet Smith - a very well respected Catholic Teacher on Marriage and Contraception:

I think we should be very careful in our evaluation of the work of someone who is on the front lines and who is doing pioneer work. Virtually every pioneering author and presenter has had severe detractors in his own time. Some of them have been disciplined by the Church and eventually exonerated. I would like to give examples and mention names, but I don’t want to ignite a firestorm of “how can you compare Christopher West to X, Y or Z?”!

I want to add my voice to those who are enthusiastic about the West/Theology of the Body phenomenon. I think it is important to keep in mind, as Akin does, who West’s audience is. It is largely the sexually wounded and confused who have been shaped by our promiscuous and licentious culture. People need to think long and hard about the appropriate pedagogy for that group. Yet, as West himself knows, his approach is not for everyone. An analogy that pushes the envelope may be “offensive” to one person and may be just the hook that draws another person in. West has adopted a style that appeals to a large segment of that population — and even to some who are “pure and innocent.” It is not hard to find hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals who will testify that they have come to love Christ and his Church, and better understand and live the Church’s teaching about sex because of the work of Christopher West. Cohabiters separate, contracepters stop contracepting, and men cease looking at pornography — and that is the short list. Countless young people are now taking up the study of the Theology of the Body because of West’s work. “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

My point is this: The fact that the dean of the John Paul II Institute in Washington D.C. has issues with West’s approach should not discourage anyone from reading West’s work or attending his lectures. Schindler has serious disagreements with other reputable, orthodox theologians, including professors on staff at the John Paul II Institute. West’s extensive commentary on the Theology of the Body, Theology of the Body Explained, was reviewed for the imprimatur for the Archdiocese of Boston by Prof. May, a longtime colleague of Schindler at the John Paul II Institute, who gave it a glowing endorsement. (I also reviewed and strongly endorsed it.) Several times in his piece Schindler refers to West’s “intention” to be orthodox which could imply that he has not necessarily achieved orthodoxy. We should be clear that West’s works have been given an imprimatur, an ecclesiastical judgment that a work is completely theologically sound.

Click here to go to Catholic Exchange for the full text of Dr. Janet Smith's article.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lessons from Jon and Kate

So my wife convinced me to watch a bit of reality TV last night - yes we watched the premier of Jon and Kate + 8 - or as I like to call it "The Train Wreck that is the Modern American Family".

We've watched the show before though it has been well over a year since we've seen it. Admittedly I have liked the show in the past. We decided to watch because my wife had been reading a lot of chatter over the last few weeks in the parenting forums and such and we were curious to see how this family that seemed pretty wholesome only a year ago has presumably begun to fall apart. Boy were we in for a treat. I say that with all sarcasm intended. It was as though I was watching a microscopic view of how American families fall apart.

Lesson #1 - Learn from the Ants - Ants have learned that if someone puts a magnifying glass on their back they best run for their lives or they will get burned - yes the cruelty of a five year old has taught ants the lesson that they do not want their lives under a magnifying glass - because no ant has made it out alive. Why? Because there body cannot take the excessive heat created by magnifying the sun on their small little bodies.

So the ants have learned and yet we have invented Reality TV where people voluntarily put themselves under a magnifying glass in order to make a buck. Well as Jon and Kate and their children are learning - when someone puts a magnifying glass on your life for all the world to see - you will get burned. Your family simply cannot take the public scrutiny and the heat is too much for our fragile souls to take. Certainly there are some families who have seemed to make it out okay but this is not the case for the Gosselins. I'm not sure how many times Jon said during the show that he didn't sign up for this or similar phrases - sorry buddy not only did you sign up for this you put a big sign on your back saying "point magnifying glass here!"

Lesson #1 was the least of the lessons learned by watching the above mentioned train wreck but I figured I'd include it in case any of you were considering trying to sell you family's private life to the highest bidder. $75,000 an episode sure sounds nice until you look at your family five years later and see what all you have lost.

Lesson #2 - Stop "DOING IT FOR THE CHILDREN" - I'm sorry but if Kate said "I'm doing this for the children... I wake up for the children... I'm here for the children... I'm out speaking for the children..." and so on one more time I think I may have had to go to confession.

I don't know when this disordered view of marriage and family entered the picture - but I am so tired of hearing this phrase. The children first, spouse second philosophy of family is destructive at best and a completely disordered view of marriage and family. I would argue that it is this philosophy or ideology that has been one of the leading culprits to the decay of the American family and the main reason that as generations raised under this philosophy continue to reach adulthood more and more of them have decided that marriage and family are not for them.

You do not marry for the children - in the traditional sense - most couples marry before they have children and I'm willing to bet that the reason those couples were so hot for each other in their dating and courting days is not because they thought it would be fun to live in the same house and raise some kids together. They married out of love for one another. Sure, I'm sure children was a part of the deal - something they discussed and agreed upon. But how many people do you know who looked into the love-of-their-life's eyes and said - I'm so in love with you because I know one day it will be great to be strangers living under the same roof and raising children. Marriage is first and foremost about the love of two people towards one another. Children are the fruit of that love. This is how it should always remain.

In the Catholic view of things marriage is a Vocation - a calling that is meant to be primary. Primary meaning of course what it always means - the thing that comes first (of course this would be first after of course the thing that always should come first which is God). I am nothing if I am not first a husband to my wife. My being a father is only as a result of the love I have for my wife. Together we of course should raise our children and take care of them. However, my wife must always be first - I must always seek to love her and care for her and together as the fruit of our love we should then care for our children.

People seem to get offended by this idea of loving our spouse first. But it is scriptural - remember that Jesus said "to love one another as I have loved you." - Shortly after he says "go and bear fruit that remains." (cf. John 15:9-17) He is speaking to the apostles about their vocation. Their vocation was to spread the message of the Gospel and continuing Christ's work on earth. In the vocation of marriage this command still remains - to love one another first. Then to bear fruit that remains.

We must come to understand that our vocation is not to our children - that is only secondary to our vocation to love our spouse. Raising your children is a vocation in itself but again it is the vocation that results from first loving your spouse.

When we order our marriages after "doing it for the children" it will lead to disorder for us and for our children. Our children act only in response to how we act and without seeing husband and wife love one another something is missing.

I don't know much about Jon and Kate Gosselin - only what I see on TV - but what I can tell is that they forgot to love one another first. In the proper order of love Jon and Kate should have stopped when things got rough and focused on one another. Instead they continued this path of "doing it for the children." Towards the end of the show when Jon and Kate are asked what happens from here, both of them responded with something about being in this for the children.

It was sad to see, there on that couch is your spouse dying inside over the hurt that you both have caused. This is the person you fell in love with. The person that at one point in your life you could not live without - you loved this person so much you changed your entire life to become one. Here they are sitting next to you dying inside - and all you can do is respond that you love the children. No thought that perhaps you have to save your spouse - your marriage - your primary purpose.

I pray for Jon and Kate - though they are on TV and have all that money and fame - they are still people who deserve to love and be loved in the proper way. I pray for them and for all couples that they would remember why they got married in the first place. That they would choose to love one another and lead one another to heaven.

I do not propose that I am somehow an expert at this marriage thing. Only three years into it I've made a lot of mistakes and gotten more wrong then right. But I am guided by one purpose to love my wife to heaven.