Is My Mother-in-Law’s Dog Part Of The Family?

See that little black dog? That’s Dixie. She’s my in-law’s dog. One of those pooches that constantly quivers like a caffeine junkie on his third espresso. More on her in a moment.

Matt's dog Sam

My dog Sam.

Matt's in-law's dog Dixie

My in-law’s purse pet, Dixie.

If you paid attention in your Catechism classes, you’re aware we’re all supposed to be “like” Christ. The Catholic life is all about being conformed to His image. (Rom 8:29, 1 Jn 3:2)

But why is it necessary that we have to be more than just “good”? Why do we have to be like Christ?

The answer lies in the fact that our ultimate destiny is union with God. “Yeah, yeah, Matt. We’ve heard it before,” you’re thinking. But think about this for a moment because it’s really important.

True union can only take place between two things that are alike. That’s why, wonderful they might be, your pet dog, cat, or iguana can never be a true part of the family.

Of course, this has never stopped my mother-in-law from calling her seven pound Toy Manchester Terrier her “furry little child.”

Regardless of my mother-in-law’s affection, Dixie will always be an animal, not a human. She can never really be a part of the family because she’s not really like the rest of the family. (Except for that one uncle who shall remain nameless.)

But a human baby can truly be adopted into a family because it is truly like the rest of the family. It shares the same nature as the rest of the family.

The same principle holds true for our union with God. We can’t be united to Him unless we become like Him. That’s why Jesus wedded a human nature to his divine nature. He became the God-man. Through his sacred humanity he created a bridge for us to his divinity.

And through prayer and the sacraments we can actually become like him. Prayer clears the debris from our lives so the grace of the sacraments can flow freely. That’s how we can become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4)…real members of the family of God.

Which also means our union with God isn’t just for later, it starts now. That’s why we’re called to be like God even in this life.

Feel free to post a picture of your “furry little child” and I pray you continue to have a Blessed Advent!


Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayer?

Have you been praying and prayingMan wondering if God will answer prayer for something only to feel like God’s not listening?

We’ve all been there. So what’s up with that? Where is He?

Isn’t it funny we never question whether God hears our praise and adoration, but always question if he hears when we’re asking for something? We’re so geared for empirical results – “Show me the money!” “Rain down some fire!” “Get me outta here!”

We have to see to believe and unless it happens our way, it’s not happening at all.

The truth of the matter is that God always answers. And his answers come in three ways: “Yes.” “No.” And “Not yet.” In fact, He may have already answered and you don’t recognize it as an answer because you were looking for something else.

We see in the Bible that a lot of Jews in Jesus’ time were looking for a Messiah. But they wanted military and political power, so they were looking for the wrong guy. They didn’t recognize the King of Kings who was ushering in an eternal, spiritual kingdom when he was right in front of them.

Here’s the underlying truth we have to constantly keep in mind: God is always going to answer our prayers in the manner that is best for our eternal salvation.

For example, let’s say you’re praying for a new job or promotion. But God knows it’s going to take you away from your family too much. He knows your spouse and kids will suffer in your absence, so He may say “no” or “not yet.”

Like any good parent (and He’s the best Dad ever), He wants to prepare us for the future – which with Him is eternity.

Have you ever felt like God didn’t hear your prayer, only to have him come through later? Or maybe you later realized that what he wanted was better? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

And if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to sign up to receive a FREE copy of my talk “Writing Straight With Crooked Lines: How God Saves You Even If You’ve Been Really Bad.” (It applies to those of you who have been only slightly bad, too:).