I spent last week visiting friends in Idaho (yes, Idaho!). Good time! They just gave birth to their eighth (yes, eighth!) child. As if caring for little Dominic and the other seven beauties isn’t enough, they are currently remodeling their home. Their current living quarters are in their friend’s guest house which includes a living room, bedroom, and bathroom. A bit tight, to say the least! Before you begin to worry (as I’m sure you were about to) about Fr Greg’s “space” during vacation, my friends hooked me up with a nearby hotel room. As my good friend, Fr Wells, used to jokingly say, “NTGFF” (Nothing’s Too Good For Father!).
My friends get strange looks and comments from people regularly about having so many kids. They are certainly used to it all by now, and don’t let that bother them to the point that they would be less open to life. They truly love each and every one of their eight kids as if each one was their only one. I was constantly studying the kids to see if any of them felt left out or loved less than the others; I saw no such evidence. In fact, each one of them displays a great confidence because they know they are loved by their parents and siblings.
The most striking moment of my trip occurred about mid-week. We were all gathered in their (temporary) living room, getting set to go out for the night. The mother was caring for little Dominic in her usual fashion. She was holding him in her arms and kissing him. Then, she spent the next few minutes caressing his nose and face with her nose in a very warm and intimate way. She whispered several times, “I love you”, to this baby who was just a few weeks out of her womb. While she probably didn’t think anything of it because this was her usual motherly care, it really struck me as a profound expression of deep love. And, this was her 8th child! She wasn’t showing any signs of being burned out from having so many kids; in fact, it was the opposite. She and her husband love this child (and each of their children) as if he is their only child.
On a lighter note, I went to my first Rodeo! Rodeo is very big in Idaho, apparently. The event we went to was in the next town over and in a stadium that seemed about the same size of our high school football fields. But, they had world-class riders of bulls and horses there wooing the crowd the whole night. I did my part, giving “woo-hoo!” after woo-hoo after each impressive feat. But, rodeo is one sport which I don’t think I will ever take part in! I’ll leave it to the cowboys and cowgirls.
On another note but still speaking of hotel rooms, Anonymous has asked, ”is it ok to share a hotel room with a member of the opposite sex, in separate beds, when you know you will not engage in sexual relations?” I will assume you are referring to people who are not family members or married. Firstly, the situation you describe would be considered an occasion of sin. Occasions of sin have been described as “external circumstances…which… incite or entice one to sin” (Catholic Encyclopedia). Secondly and related to the first reason, I would think it would be a sin against the virtue of prudence for members of opposite sexes to share a bedroom. We are all weak creatures who are prone to give into temptation, especially those involving our sexual desires (our strongest desire). I would express caution to the person who says he knows that he will not give into temptation, and remind him what Jesus says: “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”.