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The Wisdom of Lent
Written by Allison Ricciardi, L.M.H.C.   

allison nametitle


Well, Lent is upon us once again, my favorite time of year.

Odd it may seem, considering it is a season of penance and fasting, but I always look forward to it. Part of the reason is that it heralds the coming of Spring and new life.

From a psychological point of view, Lent can be such a fruitful time if observed well. The spiritual disciplines of Lent of fasting, prayer and almsgiving help us to overcome our sinful tendencies and build spiritual muscle to help us throughout the year. To so many, these things seem to be an archaic throwback to medieval times that appear irrelevant in our modern age. But our modern age is one of indulgence of every desire and instant gratification. These are actually deadly for the soul…and I may add deadly for relationships, especially marriage.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest theologians of the Catholic Church, taught that our emotions (which he included in the term “passions”) both want to and need to be guided by reason or our will. We are created by God "good" and are naturally oriented toward all that is good, beautiful, and true but because of original sin, we often don’t do the good that we want to do but instead fall into sin and do evil.

Denying or misunderstanding original sin and how it has affected humanity is at the root of all misunderstanding of human nature. Original sin has left each human being wounded. Baptism takes away original sin, but our fundamental nature is still left weakened. I like to use this analogy. Imagine if you had a brand new wall and someone hammered a nail into that wall. Once the nail is removed, (baptism) there is still a hole in the wall. You can try to patch the wall or fill it in with plaster but the wall is still compromised now and imperfect.


Read more: The Wisdom of Lent  [The Wisdom of Lent]



Don't Delay in Saving Your Marriage
Written by Steve Augustus, MA, LCPC   


silhouette-couple-dispute pixabay 812125When we think of our spouse or see them and we feel good or have good thoughts, it’s called the Positive Perspective. This is the result of three functions of the relationship:
• How well we know and feel known by them.
• How well we express fondness and admiration to each other.
• How well we respond to each other when we reach out for connection.

In the beginning of a romantic relationship these three functions work well. Stressors are typically low and interactions are positive. If the relationship works well enough, we get married, get a home together and often begin having children. Being parents can be stressful, as much of our time and emotional focus is on the children, and we may sacrifice our marital relationship in the process. We may stop learning about our spouses’ inner world, stop practicing affection and not notice their attempts to connect. The fondness diminishes and the flaws become more apparent. The Positive Perspective then shifts.

Read more: Don't Delay in Saving Your Marriage  [Don't Delay in Saving Your Marriage]



A Fulfilling Long Distance Relationship is Possible
Written by Kimberly Lenggiere, MA, LMFT   


homecoming pixabay army-958204Dating is hard - there is no doubt about that. From the first broken heart until the moment “I do” is said, waiting to meet your future spouse can be a painful ordeal. It’s frustrating enough looking in your zip code, but dating can be infinitely more difficult when the person you love lives farther than a town or two away.

Every love story is different. Some people meet their intended over coffee and donuts after Sunday Mass or while browsing through albums at the record store. Others meet their mate when they join a running or book club. Whether it’s been scrolling through online profiles, waiting by the water cooler at work, or chatting up singles at the local bar, the majority of people would probably agree that building romantic relationships is much easier to do when your intended lives nearby, and not a few hundred miles.

Today, however, technology makes it possible for romance to endure the dreaded long distance relationship, or “LDR” as I will refer to it as from here on. What happens when your boyfriend must pursue an advanced degree across state, your girlfriend has to accept a job across the country, or your significant other is deployed overseas to serve our country? You may have even met someone on eHarmony who lives 1,000 miles away, and have concerns about pursuing the relationship.

While not for everyone, distance is not a death sentence to the single looking for love.

Read more: A Fulfilling Long Distance Relationship is Possible  [A Fulfilling Long Distance Relationship is Possible]

ct angel"Remain in me as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on it own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me and I in him, will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing."  - John 15:4-5