Fight the New Drug

Fight the New Drug Video: My porn recovery story

***To see my featured talk "How Love Defeats Porn" given at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C. click here. ***

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Passion and Priesthood of the Pregnant Woman

Wiping off the dust off of this site.  A post by my beautiful, nine-month-pregnant wife Mimi.


I have always had relatively “easy” and uneventful pregnancies.  Having tackled some of my physical and mental issues over the past two years has helped this third one be the “easiest” yet. But even an “easy” pregnancy is in no way without aches, pains, doubts, and sacrifice.

Throughout some of the tired days and uncomfortable moments, the phrase that most often came to mind is Jesus’ words, “this is my body, given up for you.” In some ways, it became a mantra for my pregnancy. Doubled over because of an abdominal cramp? “This is my body, given up for you.” Sleepless night because every position makes my hips feel like they might explode from the heavy ache? “This is my body, given up for you.” A twinge of sadness when looking at the scale or in the mirror? “This is my body, given up for you.” And over, and over, and over. Even in the moments that I do not actively recognize my sacrifice, I am living it.

We are all called to be an image of Christ to others, but are there many greater examples of this than a pregnant woman? In many ways, my body is a living sacrament---making visible the invisible mystery of Christ, a life given for another. Everyday, I make visible the words of Jesus, the powerful, mysterious words through which ordinary bread becomes extraordinary and God Himself enters our bodies.  My ordinary body becomes something extraordinary, as I receive another’s body into mine, creating another body that, for a time, resides in mine. This child, this human, who lives inside me for nine months, lives off me and my body. For this child, I become the food, for this child I provide the “bread,” the nutrients of life.

This sacrifice of giving life to sustain the life of another may be represented in it’s most visual and obvious form through the gift of pregnancy. I’ve learned, however, from St. John Paul II, that this gift, this privilege of giving life, is inherent to the soul of a woman, created as woman, whether or not that gift extends to physical pregnancy. Do we not then, simply by being a woman, have a special privilege of understanding Christ? Is it no wonder then that so many of the disciples who followed Jesus until the bitter end, who looked for Him after His death and resurrection were women? Is it surprising so many of those who have filled His churches, served His poor, educated and loved His forgotten, have been and are women? No doubt being a woman brings, in some ways, greater burdens, but does it also not in other ways bring a greater gift? Greater privilege? Even the least educated among us women can understand Christ in a way that a man, however learned in the Bible and theology, can’t. That doesn’t make us better, but in the scheme of life and eternity, that does make us privileged.

This is why I’m frustrated when I hear that women need to be priests to be equal in the Church. Through ordained Priesthood, God gave men the power to create life: a gift that had already been given to women (albeit in a different way) through their design. Thus, a path to equality should not expect women to do more. Rather, we must see as Christ sees: there is a unique priesthood of women that already exists. Look and see what I am already doing. Understand that there is something greater here than a waddle and a huge belly.  I don’t need to preach with my words; but simply be---be noticed, seen---sitting or standing or in whatever position I can possibly find comfortable. We must marvel at and honor what woman, through her femininity, can already do. 

Jesus labored in the garden, as I am about to labor as well. The cup could not pass from Him, but He knew, like I do, that the suffering would be over soon. That through the suffering, life would be new. As I prepare for my passion, for the end of this pregnancy, I pray that I may be a witness to Him through all that my femininity allows me to do.

For more on the feminine genius, check out:

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Three P's to overcome the obstacles of the Enemy

In honor of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, a message to men:

The father I want to be

We are called to greatness.  There’s less and less men out there who are actually really great.  We fall into the Devil’s intimidations, distractions, and temptations.  Here are the three P’s I think we all need to overcome the obstacles of the Enemy.

1. Purpose

We must all know our Why.  Know who we are and whose we are.  First, we each are a son of God that loves us and is proud of us.  Believe it. We are best when we are in service and act for others.  Every man needs to know his purpose.  I’ve been working on mine.  For me, every moment is a chance to “create opportunity for others and myself to encounter Christ together.”  My purpose in serving my wife? Help her get to heaven---by listening to her, serving her, praying for her, and doing the dishes :).  My daughters? Infuse them with love and discipline, that they always know that they have a father who loves them.  That their eyes will continue to shine when they look into mine.  These are my Why’s.  What’s yours?

2. Prayer

We see less and less men who are steady, firm, and consistent.  This type of rock foundation takes habit over time.  We see the effects of running every day or hitting the gym frequently, so we must have the same fervor of “getting in reps” of prayer each morning.  Let’s wake up and let God show us our blueprint to the day and not the other way around.  Ask Jesus questions.  Let Him answer. Read scripture.  Start with the daily Gospel.  If He’s in control, it takes off the weight we put on our own shoulders.  Filling up the soul tank, we can give what we receive.

3. Persistence

It’s not about never falling, but getting up each time we do.  It’s about looking at failure in the face, leaning on Christ, and standing back up.  It’s about having the humility to ask for help.  It’s about learning from our setbacks and adjusting our battle plan moving forward.  No one goes through life undefeated.  So let’s stop fearing failure.  When it comes to doing the right thing, we must do before we feel.  Strive for excellence at all moments.  Surround ourselves around the right people who will support us getting there.

And please, don’t look at me as an example.  Look at Christ.  He has always come through for me.  He will always come through for you.  Now let us come through for others.  If Christ is the light, we can bring the torch into darkness and can light others on fire. Rock solid men make rock solid husbands and fathers.  Rock solid husbands and fathers make rock solid families.  Rock solid families positively change communities, churches, and effectively, the world for generations.

Let’s start with ourselves.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Men: 7 Battle Tactics in the Fight for Virtue

This past week, I totally wiped out.  I gave into paralysis as described in John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart explanation of the story of Adam and Eve:

Needless to say, the story doesn’t go well. Adam fails; he fails Eve, and the rest of humanity. Let me ask you a question: Where is Adam, while the serpent is tempting Eve? He’s standing right there: “She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it, too” (Gen. 3:6 NLT). The Hebrew for “with her” means right there, elbow to elbow. Adam isn’t away in another part of the forest; he has no alibi. He is standing right there, watching the whole thing unravel. What does he do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He says not a word, doesn’t lift a finger.* He won’t risk, he won’t fight, and he won’t rescue Eve. Our first father—the first real man—gave in to paralysis. He denied his very nature and went passive. And every man after him, every son of Adam, carries in his heart now the same failure. Every man repeats the sin of Adam, every day. We won’t risk, we won’t fight, and we won’t rescue Eve. We truly are a chip off the old block.

I was haunted by the question Eldredge later writes about his marriage: “What if I offer her all I have as a man and it’s not enough?”    It described me to a tee.

He continues:

The evidence is clear: Adam and Eve’s fall sent a tremor through the human race. A fatal flaw entered the original, and it’s been passed on to every son and daughter. Thus every little boy and every little girl comes into the world set up for a loss of heart. Even if he can’t quite put it into words, every man is haunted by the question, “Am I really a man? Have I got what it takes . . . when it counts?” 

When it counted, I didn't come through for Mimi.  A week later, through gracious prayer from my beloved, I feel like I’m finally coming back to being me.  I’m beginning to feel the warmth return after a frostbite devoid of emotion.  How do I respond?  Prayer has lead me to write this list of advice for men (and to myself) from seven quotes that I didn’t listen to all week.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Fight for one daughter at a time

This past weekend, I attended the 30th Anniversary of an organization I’m affiliated with called the Maryland Coalition Against Pornography. I was surprised and honored when at the end they presented me with an award for my work in the movement.

I’m moved because this Friday, I turn 29, so this organization literally has been existing and fighting the porn epidemic my entire lifetime. Picking up the torch, I will fight for the rest of my life.

I fight for women like the traumatized event’s speaker, whose father had a porn addiction, which lead to cheating on his wife and eventually to purchasing a prostitute.

I fight for men (and women) I’ve talked to over the years who have a hard time quitting their addiction, want it out of their life so they can love their families and friends the way they were meant to. I fight for men like one I met in Texas, that after hearing my story, decided to tell his wife about his addiction and together is turning their marriage around.

I fight for children---especially my girls---who want a porn-free daddy in their lives to love them, hug them, and see them for the amazing daughters that they are.

I’m nowhere near perfect personally with this fight. And maybe I won’t change the world. But I will fight for the world of difference for one daughter at a time who gets to grow up with a father and mother who sees her with porn-free, pure, and loving eyes.

That is worth fighting for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Father, the Pro-Life Movement is Better than This

This post is concerning a popular priest’s stunt concerning an aborted fetus a few days ago.  If you do not know what I’m talking about, that’s a good thing.

I must make clear that his actions does not and should not represent what the Pro-Life movement nor what Catholic identity is all about.  Many of my friends of the younger Catholic generation and I are angry at his stunt, and higher authorities are reprimanding his actions as they should.

Although I didn’t vote for Trump (nor Hillary for that matter), I am optimistic, as I’m sure many are, about the possibility of real change in policy and laws concerning abortion.  However, let’s be clear, as important it is for the law to change, it’s even more important that hearts do, too.

I believe we are on the tipping point of the pro-life movement.  So let’s remember what our positive message should be.

I believe that pregnant women and their partners deserve to know all of their options of truth, love, and support concerning carrying through with the pregnancy, keeping the baby or offering the life for adoption before they make the choice of abortion.  Unfortunately too many women and their partners  in these situations believe abortion is their only choice and are unaware of the life-affirming love and support available to them.  They deserve better.

For two years I worked at a pregnancy resource center, Centro Tepeyac, that was that shining light that gave dignity of choice, support, and love to these women and couples.  Our main job was to give compassion, truth, and counsel to women and their boyfriends considering abortion.  I’d simply ask guys to tell me the pros of keeping the baby and then “pros” of going through with the abortion.  Nine times out of ten their list of keeping the baby outweighed the other.  I’d also spell out their third option of offering the baby for adoption.  Lastly, I would tell them that I would be there for them no matter their decision.  If they kept the baby, I could offer him diapers, clothes, and connect them to the right insurance agencies, walking every step with them.  If they chose adoption, we could point them to our waiting list of people waiting to adopt.  We have even been there at the hospital helping them connect their newborn baby with his or her new adopted parents.  And even if they were to choose abortion, I said I would be there for him after because unfortunately, many guys go through depression when this happens.  I’ve had one guy call me back crying on the phone, “Matt, I feel like I lost my fatherhood,” and I, with God’s grace, helped console him.

Our Center has seen a number of women who have been raped, who then became aware of their option to adopt, offered the baby to parents waiting to love them, and mother, child, and adoptive parents were all happy in the end.

What if women and couples got to have dignified conversations, love, and information like this allowing them to really see all their options and support there is for each?

That is what the Pro-Life movement should be about.  I’m for life-affirming messages like what Centro Tepeyac and amazing Save the Storks is doing.  Not the stunt of this well-intentioned but totally inappropriate actions of this priest.

Let’s move together and build upon the positive message that women, men, and the unborn in these situations do deserve better.  May our hearts change together.