Ante & Roberta Skoko
A Cross to Carry
Updated: Feb 1, 2020
These past few weeks have been sobering. With Ante’s campaign coming to a close this evening, I am juggling the mixed feelings of excitement, relief, unease, and hopefulness.
We are planning a weekend getaway in the next few weeks! I haven’t had much quality time with my husband in 2 months, so naturally, I’m looking forward to leaving all the responsibilities behind for a couple of days.
My feeling of unease stems from something not so light. These past few weeks have exposed divides in the schools that are unsettling, and tensions unnecessary yet increasing. A common ground needs to be reached before we can bring authenticity back to our Catholic schools, but the key players aren’t even on the same side of the field. Candidates like my husband know and try to live by the teachings of the Church, depending heavily on Sacramental life (Holy Eucharist, regular Confession), because we know what Jesus said and we know how the Saints lived. We understand that it is not enough to be a good person, and that empathy is not a moral virtue. We live for the One Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, Lord, and Savior of all.
Perhaps my life with my husband is jarring for some. We are followers of Jesus. We love His Church. This means that we are pro-love in a culture that has forgotten the true definition of the word. Love is not a feeling, but a person. A person who came to free you from complacency, moral lukewarmness, sin, and fear. We are called to live a life of compassion and conviction, welcoming to all as we journey together toward the Truth, not aimlessly in the realm of what feels nice in the moment.
A friend told me that I have changed since meeting my husband. She didn’t know me at all…
I waited for a man who loved God and lived according to the doctrines of the Catholic Church because I was doing the same. I came to the point where I would rather be alone than sacrifice my fidelity to the Jesus and His Church by marrying a man who might pull me away from radical Catholic living. As my friends skirted around important issues because it was easier to avoid than to disagree, I spent my time running retreats and leading a ministry that teaches the compelling and authentic truths of the faith. I am not afraid to talk about contraception, cohabitation, same-sex attraction, gender ideologies, the necessity of Sacramental life, et cetera, in a way that is gentle and understanding, yet rooted in love, rational thought, science, and morality. What shocked me the most was how quickly my entire character was clawed at and ridiculed the second I would speak or write on a controversial topic.
I recommend reading the New Testament (i.e. the Book of Romans, because I happened to skim through it this morning!). At that point, people won’t have time to be angry with me because they’ll have a few things to take up with St. Paul and the like. Then God, ultimately. Scripture is challenging. It is radical and compelling… Thought-provoking and counter-cultural. If you call yourself Catholic, I think it’s important to make sure you actually are a Catholic. Rather than harboring resentment toward the Church and people who are trying to live authentically, do some reading and challenge yourself to understand the Church's teachings so you can, too, spread the Light of the Gospel. Also make sure to read whole books and verses, not just the sentences that bring about nice feelings.
On St. Jerome's famous quotation, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ,” Pope Francis states, “To be able to proclaim the word of truth, we ourselves must have had the experience of the Word: we must have listened, contemplated, almost touched it with our own hands…. Christians, who are the People of God, ‘that you may proclaim the excellencies of him’, must, as the dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum suggests, first of all, venerate, read, listen, proclaim, preach, study and spread the Word of God. The Church, who proclaims the Word every day, receiving nourishment and inspiration from it, makes herself the beneficiary and excellent witness of the efficiency and strength inherent in that same Word of God.”
The bottom line: a virtuous life is a better life, and Jesus wants it for you. It is up to you and only you to walk with him, or not. We write this blog in hopes of contributing to the good and perhaps inspire where we can, as we walk with Jesus ourselves.
My husband and I are nowhere near perfect. We don’t always say the perfect thing with the perfect tone at the perfect time to the perfect people. But God knows, and our community knows, that we are trying because we live by a standard greater than ourselves: Our Lord Jesus and His Catholic Church.
This same person told me, in a tone less-than comforting, that there are teachers in the board who know that I am Ante’s wife. You can deduce for yourself what she meant, and how I might feel walking through the halls as I supply teach.
To those who have called me and my husband names, spreading ill will toward us, thinking that a lukewarm faith is what this world needs:
If I ever become a Saint, it will be because of you.