Check out this video I recently saw posted in my timeline on Facebook.
I was struggling with a few things in my life when I saw this. It really helped put things into perspective.
This video is only a minute, it is well worth it.
I grew up and went to elementary school at a Catholic school. But little did I know how little faith would really play in my early years of life. After 5th grade I moved and I would never stepped foot in a church again until I was in my early 20’s.
Starting in my mid-20’s I would drift in and out of the Church over the next 10-12 years. Then in 2005, when things with Jessica and I were pretty much at the bottom, I remember actually saying out loud, “I don’t think I believe there is a God.”
Over the next few years I would never say that to my kids, but when I went to church I was just going through the motions. I didn’t go to confession. I didn’t worry about receiving the Eucharist when I shouldn’t have. What was I worried about if there was no God.
I would go through the motions because I knew it was important to Jessica. If I missed a week of church, which I often did, it was not a big deal at all to myself. This was very much the darkest time of my life I could remember spiritually. This was the time when Jessica and I would have our biggest problems.
If there was a God, why would he let us go through this. Why would he let me hurt Jessica so bad and why would he allow us to not love each other any longer.
Over the next 4 years I would sway back and forth between there is no God, to, I’m not really sure and I don’t really care, because if there was, why would he allow us to hurt each other this much.
At the time Jess started looking at Retrouvaille, I was in the I’m not sure, but if so what does it matter camp. I remember challenging God saying show me he was real. I threw down the gauntlet, “I will go to Daily Mass for one week, and you have the chance to prove to me your are real.” The only question was, would he accept my challenge.
On Day 1: the retired priest at our Parrish would end up using his homily to talk about some book by some Saint I had never heard of. The Diary by Saint Faustina, and how it showed God’s grace. I remember thinking, great story, but not really proving anything by that God.
On Day 2: the priest again talked about The Diary with another story on the Mercy that God has for us, blah blah blah. God I need a sign that you are real. Turn the Eucharist into flesh, have a statue bleed, make the saints on the back wall move…. something. It’s not like I was bei
On Day 3: of my one week of Daily Mass I started feeling this was going to be a waste of time, and then when the Priest got up and started talking about St Faustina’s Diary again. Enough already!!!! This time he actually had the book in his hand encouraging us to go buy it. Little did I know, he was really just talking to me. I said ok… I’m a little slow, maybe, just maybe this was somehow my sign.
Right after mass I went and purchased the book in the Church’s book store.
Amazon link Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul (Affiliate)
I started reading it. At the time I was actually living in a motel and in my car at nights. But I remember staying up late at the motel 6 one night and another night laying under the light in my gym’s parking lot, plowing through the book.
Hearing St Faustina talk, it hit me, God is 100% real and he loves me. He loves us. The stories touched me and I believed.
This is right about the same time Jess and I started our Retrouvaille weekend. It was not a quick fix, but over time I started becoming closer to God, and as I got closer to God, Jess and I became closer. And as Jess and I got closer, it brought us even closer to God together. Today my relationship with Jesus is unlike any time it has ever been in my life. And I would say my relationship with Jessica is as good, if not better, than it has ever been.
I can see that God allowed me to have that dark time in my life so I could recognize and appreciate the light even more. God is real. And he loves us. And I thank him often for loving me and giving me Jessica and giving us Saints that can help bring us closer to him.
So whatever happened with St Faustina? I carry a coin around in my wallet every day with her on it. I also say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy almost daily, which was a prayer Jesus gave her to give to the Church.
One day, about 14-15 months after I started reading The Diary, I was driving in my car to work listening to Catholic Radio. It was October 5th Jessica’s and I anniversary. The radio started talking about the Saint of the Day, and who was the Saint of the day for our anniversary? You guessed it St Faustina. I still get chills every time I say that out loud, just like I did that day.
But go ahead… try telling yourself that is just a coincidence. When I heard that I was physically shaken. Since that moment I heard that my belief in God became completely unshakable. There is nothing that could shake that belief now and I am more on fire for him than ever.
God did not put Jessica and I through bad times. We did that. The Devil did that. The greatest gift from God we have is families. Of course the Devil would want to attack that. No, God did not put us through that, but he allowed us to go through because he knew that is what we needed to help bring us both closer to him and much closer to each other.
Thank you Jesus for allowing us to go through hell, but please don’t let it happen again.
Who am I?
My name is Dean Ouellette and I am a Catholic husband and father doing the best I can in that crazy world we live in. I am a devout Catholic who has a burning desire to help marriages, especially troubled marriages.
Why? Because I have been there. I filed for divorce twice. I was such a failure at marriage that I’m still married to the same women I filed for divorce from.
My marriage was saved by the great ministry of Retrouvaille of Phoenix. We did our Retrouvaille weekend in September of 2009. And to this day we are still heavily involved.
Why am I doing this?
That is a great question. I feel called by God to do something, and I cannot figure out what that something is. Every time I ask him what that something is, all I hear is marriage.
Being involved in Retrouvaille, a program for troubled marriages, I have heard it all. Many of us eventually end up sharing our stories with each other. It took us two years, but eventually we did too.
I have heard stories about spouses who have committed adultery. I have heard about alcoholism and physical abuse. I have heard about marriages torn apart by pornography addictions that kept coming back. I have heard about marriages almost ended by working situations and money situations. We have constantly heard about couples who just didn’t feel in love any longer.
If you can think of an issue, we have probably heard about it. And after going through the program thousands have been given the tools to help keep their marriage together.
This being said, I also understand that not every marriage can be saved the way we would hope for them to be. First it takes both parties wanting to work on it. I have plenty of divorced friends where one half of the marriage just said no more I want out and was not willing to work on it. I also understand sometimes there are violence issues where it is unsafe for one party to stay in the relationship, and unless the the one inflicting the violence is willing to seek professional help, that is not a safe environment for anyone.
That is what I really want people to know, there is hope. Don’t listen to society that wants to use the easy out of divorce. Marriage is worth fighting for.
So this is where the journey starts. I will be digging into these topics more in depth. How often? I don’t know, weekly, monthly, when I get the urge to write?
Just remember, marriage is worth fighting for. I have this to prove it.
If you are in the Phoenix area visit the Retrouvaille of Arizona website.