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What's a Parent to Do? View Comments
By Susan Vogt

Jacinta and Mark were engaged. Jacinta’s parents were concerned because they didn’t see in Mark
the capacity to love generously. Their dilemma was whether to share their misgivings with Jacinta. Would it drive her to defend Mark and alienate their prospective son-in-law? They decided to share their concern with Jacinta while reiterating that they trusted her judgment and would welcome Mark wholeheartedly into the family if this was her choice. They knew Jacinta and Mark would be attending a reputable marriage preparation program, so they prayed and said no more.

During the Engaged Encounter, Jacinta observed how other couples treated each other and that, by comparison, Mark acted like a spoiled teenager. She decided to break off the engagement. It was hard, but her parents’ words helped her to be open to this possibility and to make the decision herself.

A discussion of marriage such as the one above must begin before any wedding or, preferably, even before the engagement. I hope you find that you really like the man or woman with whom your young adult appears to be getting serious. Still, there are bound to be times leading up to the wedding and afterward when you see things differently.

Generally, these are relatively minor and can be handled by the overall rule of thumb: Intervene as little as possible, and trust your young adult’s good judgment.

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Susan V. Vogt is an award-winning freelance writer and speaker on marriage, parenting and spirituality. She lives in Covington, Ky., with her husband, Jim.

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Athanasius: Athanasius led a tumultuous but dedicated life of service to the Church. He was the great champion of the faith against the widespread heresy of Arianism, the teaching by Arius that Jesus was not truly divine. The vigor of his writings earned him the title of doctor of the Church. 
<p>Born of a Christian family in Alexandria, Egypt, and given a classical education, Athanasius became secretary to Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria, entered the priesthood and was eventually named bishop himself. His predecessor, Alexander, had been an outspoken critic of a new movement growing in the East—Arianism. </p><p>When Athanasius assumed his role as bishop of Alexandria, he continued the fight against Arianism. At first it seemed that the battle would be easily won and that Arianism would be condemned. Such, however, did not prove to be the case. The Council of Tyre was called and for several reasons that are still unclear, the Emperor Constantine exiled Athanasius to northern Gaul. This was to be the first in a series of travels and exiles reminiscent of the life of St. Paul. </p><p>After Constantine died, his son restored Athanasius as bishop. This lasted only a year, however, for he was deposed once again by a coalition of Arian bishops. Athanasius took his case to Rome, and Pope Julius I called a synod to review the case and other related matters. </p><p>Five times Athanasius was exiled for his defense of the doctrine of Christ’s divinity. During one period of his life, he enjoyed 10 years of relative peace—reading, writing and promoting the Christian life along the lines of the monastic ideal to which he was greatly devoted. His dogmatic and historical writings are almost all polemic, directed against every aspect of Arianism. </p><p>Among his ascetical writings, his<i> Life of St. Anthony</i> (January 17) achieved astonishing popularity and contributed greatly to the establishment of monastic life throughout the Western Christian world.</p> American Catholic Blog Suffering is redemptive in part because it definitively reveals to man that he is not in fact God, and it thereby opens the human person to receive the divine.

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