May 31, 2009
May 30, 2009
May 27, 2009
Agatha: "They're called sugar daddies."
* * *
Julian: "I need a patron!"
Fr. J (her spiritual advisor): "I think they're called sugar daddies."
May 26, 2009
Schindler continues with a delineation of some serioues theological problems in West's writing and thought. For my part, West's reading of the Theology of the Body and my own reading have never really matched up. I studied the T.O.B. along with Karol Wojtyla's The Acting Person, which is his philosophical antropology about the human person "in act." The T.O.B. says as much about our bodies' experience of another person's body in other actions besides sex as it does discuss sexual intercourse (as well as discussing the spiritual body that we will have in heaven).
Let me stress that I agree with those who vigorously defend West’s
intention of fidelity to the Church. Certainly he has had positive results in
drawing many Catholics into a deeper understanding of their faith. As for
myself, I do not initiate anything about West in my classes, but only respond
when asked a question. Then I begin by emphasizing West’s intention of
orthodoxy. As I have often put it, "he would throw himself in front of a bus for
the Church." It is important to understand, however, that good will is not
synonymous with sound thought; and I must say, not without reluctance, that
West’s work seems to me to misrepresent in significant ways the thought of John
The following examples have been verified by persons directly involved
or by things written by West himself (and I regret the necessary adoption of
West’s own language).
West’s work has involved suggesting that a man and
woman bless their genitals before making love; blessing the ovaries of women in
his classes; advising young men in college and the seminary to look at their
naked bodies in the mirror daily in order to overcome shame; using phallic
symbolism to describe the Easter candle; criticizing “flat-chested” images of
Mary in art while encouraging Catholics to “rediscover Mary’s ... abundant
breasts” (Crisis, March 2002); referring to the “bloodied membrane” of the
placenta as a "tabernacle" (Colorado Catholic Herald, 12/22/06); stating that,
while “there are some important health and aesthetic considerations that can’t
be overlooked,” “there's nothing inherently wrong with anal penetration as
foreplay to normal intercourse," (Good News About Sex and Marriage, 1st ed.,
emphasis in original), though qualifying this in the revised edition and
stressing the subjective dangers of lust in such activity; and, on Nightline,
praising Hugh Hefner for helping rescue sex from prudish Victorian attitudes,
saying that there are “very profound historical connections between Hefner and
John Paul II,” while emphasizing that John Paul II took the sexual revolution
further and in the right direction.
I offer these examples not merely because they are vulgar and in bad
taste, not to mention sometimes bordering on the just plain silly, but because
they indicate a disordered approach to human sexuality. An objective distortion
in approaching sexuality does not cease to be such simply because it is
theologized. West to be sure will point toward the “orthodox” intentions and
context of the examples, but my criticism bears on the substance of his
preoccupation as reflected in the examples.
Though it is truly admirable of West to want to preach about Catholicism's understanding of human sexuality as good, true, and beautiful, it seems to me to be slippery slope into hyper-sexualizing human sexuality in the Catholic tradition in order to reach the culture.
The final point from Schindler:
But sex is not even the most important part of human love, let alone the key
to the Christian mysteries–the Eucharist, for example. Missing in West’s
work is an adequate idea of the radical discontinuity (maior dissimilitudo )
between the divine love revealed by God–and indeed the (supernatural) love
to which we are called–and sexual love or intercourse. To be sure, the
spousal love between man and woman is central in man’s imaging of God, and
the gendered body and sexual relations are an integral sign and expression of spousal love, which also includes what John Paul II calls all the other manifestations of affection. However, as Joseph Ratzinger says, it is only because man has a capacity for God that he also has a capacity for another human being. The former indicates the “content,” the latter the “consequence,” of man’s likeness to God.
It seems to me, then that we, as Catholics, must still live our lives as if sex is not everything, because it's not. I feel especially priviliged to be single and to witness to this truth!
May 25, 2009
A few weeks ago, I was at the Campus Catholic Center at my university chatting a with a friend about a book I had lent her -- Led by Faith by Immaculée Ilibagiza. "This book is so incredible, Edith. Immaculée is such a woman warrior. I would give her a bow and arrow!" I replied, "Great, I am so glad you liked it!! I hope that I have the courage to be a woman warrior one day!" And she said, "Oh Edith, in my book, you already are. I'd give you a bow and arrow any day!" Which blew me away, because indeed my friend is one of the most luminous, strong, and beautiful women I know!!
But this conversation gave rise to a thought -- Have you ever read a story about a woman -- maybe a story of one of the saints, or woman in our contemporary time -- and were just amazed at her strength and courage? These are the women who have endured life's most difficult trials, or women who are paving the way for us to embrace an authentic femininity, or women who just exemplify something so beautiful, we just don't know how to put it into words.
Well, I am introducing to you our monthly (or maybe even weekly) posts featuring just such a woman. Now, we've done it in little ways all along, with posts about Adrienne Von Speyr, Sophie Scholl, and St. Agatha just to name a few. But I think we need to dedicate something on this blog regularly, because we need to know about women who demonstrate true femininity in order to become those women. After all, doesn't virtue come first through imitation? (Thank you, Aristotle.)
Our first Woman Warrior column will debut on June 1, so stay tuned! And readers, please give us your thoughts! Tell us about the women warriors you have touched your life!
May 24, 2009
Their first stop is a farmers' market. While some women might take this—and any other errands, such as running out to get the paper or a gallon of milk—as an opportunity to wear bleach-stained sweatpants and oversized T-shirts, Steve says they should instead treat it as a potential time to meet guys. Instead of dressing like a "shlumpadinka," Steve says you should leave the house looking great. What does Steve consider an appropriate errand outfit? "A little lip gloss, a cute T-shirt, some nice jeans."
Gayle and Katina disagree, saying that an errand doesn't need to be fashion show. Steve's response is clear and direct. "Men are always looking," he says. "Therefore, you always have to be ready to be looked at if you want to meet a guy."
May 23, 2009
I don’t wanna waste good wine
If you won’t stick around
I love to laugh but I’m more than just
Your alcoholic clown
I won’t pray this prayer with you
Unless we both kneel down
I don’t wanna waste good wine
If you won’t stick around
--I Don't Want to Waste My Time, from Over the Rhine
May 21, 2009
Fr. Euteneuer also writes a weekly column which he send to the HLI mailing list, and I wanted to point out to you this week's excellent commentary on Celibacy.
Number One: Celibacy is a gift to the world, not a rule imposed by the Church on a few seemingly-abnormal men. Celibacy initiates men into a life of spiritual fatherhood in a strikingly positive way for others. We are called “father” for a reason: we bring spiritual life to our people through the sacred mysteries which we handle, and they are drawn into a spiritual family thereby. A truly dedicated priest has thousands of spiritual children who sometimes make immense demands on him—I often wish I had only seven children like my father! In an age where men have massively renounced their sacred duty to generate, protect and nurture families, there are myriads of selfless, celibate men sacrificing themselves in a truly manly way for the sake of God’s family and, indeed, even for the sake of many individual families.For the full article, click here, and to subscribe to Fr. Eutenuer's Spirit & Life newsletter, click here.
...Number two: Celibacy is the personal renunciation of the legitimate goods of marriage and family as a fruitful sacrifice for the kingdom of God. The astonishment of this generation that a perfectly normal, red-blooded male could make that particular sacrifice is exactly the point of celibacy. The world needs to know that there are some men walking around who are not bound either by the expectations of society or by the terms of our fleshly human nature. They are bound by only one concern; that of a kingdom that is not of this world, and they are willing to sacrifice everything for it. The presence in society of men who make this sacrifice is profoundly challenging to a culture that wants to reduce everything in life to the pleasure principle...
May 20, 2009
...Again courtesy of Modestia (which has two more modest swimwear sites to check out!) I found Shade Clothing....clothing for women who want to be both modest and stylish!!! Modestia...you are a Magdalene Sister's dream.....
Agatha: no, never. he's a great guy, but no.
Julian: sorry if that was too forward; i was always curious
Agatha: no, not too forward. you can always just ask. the answer is usually (sadly) no.
Julian: then if you're called to marriage, it's going to be really special.
Agatha: ha! it better be!
May 19, 2009
The bishops didn’t want this fight. The battle over the Catholicism of America’s Catholic colleges was coming, one way or another, but no bishop (or serious commentator, for that matter) hoped it would break into public view over a visit to Notre Dame by the president of the United States, who is owed respect simply for the office he holds.
Nonetheless, the bishops were forced into the fight—and they were forced into it from below. The incompetence and petulance of Notre Dame’s president, Fr. John I. Jenkins, didn’t help—as I observed in the pages of First Things this month, he had to work hard to turn “an unhappy situation into a disastrous one.” But the impetus for criticizing Notre Dame came at the bishops rather than from the bishops.
Maybe that’s why, if we shed the political view, the whole mess at Notre Dame reveals itself as a fight over Catholic culture. The protesters are certainly a minority among self-identified Catholics, but they are also the wire through which the most current is flowing in American Catholicism today. “Opposition to abortion doesn’t stand at the center of Catholic theology. It doesn’t even stand at the center of Catholic faith,” I noted in the Weekly Standard. Still, at the current moment, “Opposition to abortion is the signpost at the intersection of Catholicism and American public life.”
Should it be so? Catholic theology would be peculiar if it had at its root a negation rather than an affirmation. Catholic faith would be unreal if at its deepest heart lay opposition to abortion rather than embrace of Jesus Christ. You don’t have to travel far in theology or faith to arrive at knowledge of the absolute evil of abortion, but neither theology nor faith properly begin there.
Still, Catholic culture—and the Catholic intersection with the princes and powers of earth—must always be adversarial in some ways. We have in this world no perfect home, and if right now the adversarial element is expressing itself most forcefully in opposition to abortion, then the culture of the faithful is manifesting something that deserves respect—something that deserves agreement.
May 18, 2009
Well, I've recently found that other women out there really are fed up to. I found a great blog on dressing modestly called Modestia. The author, Rebecca, is a film student from CA who faces many challenges as a Catholic in a very anti-Christian field. And her blog is fantastic!!! She has a TON of awesome side links for fashion sites that sell modest clothing and promote beauty without the trash.
One of my favorite finds on Rebecca's blog is this fashion magazine called ELIZA. The magazine describes itself as:
Welcome to the Eliza Magazine website! Eliza Magazine is created for women who want to be stylish, sexy, and engaged in the world while retaining high standards in dress, entertainment, and lifestyle. Eliza strives to bring you the best of fashion without any of the trash. We will not uncover the sexual secrets to make him want you, promote people who are glitz with no substance, or glorify lifestyles that we know do not bring happiness. We are dedicated to finding up-and-coming fashion lines, showcasing pieces that are worth the big price tags, and discover deals that are just as hip at your local low-end department stores−along with presenting articles on uplifting entertainment, current issues, creative ideas, and life in general.
Finally!! A fashion mag that promotes some authentic femininity!! It gives me hope that there are more of us out there. Let's reinvent the fashion industry and promote a new femininity!
May 17, 2009
Anti-abortion leaders protested his appearance at the University of Notre Dame and he was heckled four times during a commencement address by protesters yelling slogans like “abortion is murder.” But the audience shouted down the hecklers and cheered Mr. Obama as he called for “open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words” in a debate that has polarized the country for decades.
"Maybe we won’t agree on abortion," the president told 2,900 graduating students as well as their relatives and professors, "but we can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make and not made casual. It has both moral and spiritual dimensions. So let’s work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies."
Well, ladies - what do we think? I can agree that we need to reduce unwanted pregnancies. However, we as a nation and as a global community need to recognize that while there may be unwanted pregnancies, there is no such thing as an unwanted child. And I am not sure that increasing availability of birth control will help. I just get so disheartened by all of this.
On another note, last night I had a conversation with a friend who told me of one her best friends who has an abortion about 10 or 11 years ago. When she married and got pregnant again, she dreamt ever night of her first baby -- a daughter in her dreams. She still thinks of her always. She is not alone. So many post-abortive women suffer in the exact same way. Let's pray for women and men suffering from an abortion. I hope you will suggest help if you know them, or will seek it if you are such a woman or man. Here's some sources that can help: Rachel's Vineyard, Project Rachel, Hope After Abortion.
May 15, 2009
I had that problem last week. My parents came out for a visit--which is very different from when I go home for a visit. When i go home, I go to be refreshed, talk about things, rest my body so that I can rest my mind. When they came out we went from place to place, juggled logistics, wandered from resturant to resturant. It was crazy, and I was moody.
Now that they are gone, all I can think is: I wasted all that time, and all those chances to see how they're doing, what their thinking, how they like the city, what they want to do. And all those chances to talk about what I was burdened with.
On the other hand, Mom called to say she had more fun this weekend than she has had in a really long time. I guess I did something right.
May 13, 2009
And from the time that [the vision] was shown, I desired often to know what our Lord's meaning was. And fifteen years and more afterward I was answered in my spiritual understanding, thus: 'Would you know your Lord's meaning in this thing? Know it well, love was his meaning. Who showed it to you? Love. What did he show you? Love. Why did he show it? For love. Keep yourself therein and you shall know and understand more in the same. But you shall never know nor understand any other thing, forever.'
Thus I was taught that love was our Lord's meaning. And I saw quite clearly in this and in all, that before God made us, he loved us, which love was never slaked nor ever shall be. And in this love he has done all his work, and in this love he has made all things profitable to us. And in this love our life is everlasting. In our creation we had a beginning. But the love wherein he made us was in him with no beginning. And all this shall be seen in God without end ...
Love. That is the answer to all of my questions. So, thank you, Julian. I really hope to name a daughter after you one day. And, in any event, who doesn't like to hear, "All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well"?
Scalia was wonderful--wry and grave--as he discussed the "foolishness" of believing in the Ressurrection. It was a stirring talk, charging Catholics to act with courage in the public sphere, calling on the example of St. Thomas More.
But it was Burke's thoughtful and powerful address, "The Teachings of the Catholic Church" that stole the show. The speech is amazing, and I encourage you all to read it in full.
The path of violation of the most fundamental human rights and of the integrity of marriage and the family, which our nation is traveling, is not accidental. It is part of the program set forth by those whom we have freely chosen to lead our nation. The part of the program in question was not unknown to us; it was announced to us beforehand and a majority of our fellow citizens, including a majority of our fellow Catholics, chose the leadership which is now implementing it with determination. For example, I refer to our President's declared support of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would make illegal any legislation restricting procured abortion; his repeal of the Mexico City Policy, permitting U.S. funding of procured abortion in other nations, together with the grant of fifty million dollars to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities which, for example, supported the Republic of China's policy of one child per family by means of government-dictated sterilization and abortion; his proposal to rescind the regulations appended to the federal Conscience Clause, which assure that, not only physicians, but also all health-care workers may refuse to provide services, information or counsel to patients regarding medications and procedures which are contrary to their conscience; his removal of limitations on federal funding of embryonic-stem-cell research, involving the wholesale destruction of human life at the embryonic stage of development; and his choice of the members of his administration, who are remarkable for the number of major officials, including several Catholics, who favor the denial of the right to life to the unborn and the violation of the integrity of marriage and the family. These are only some examples of a consistent pattern of decisions by the leadership of our nation which is taking our nation down a path which denies the fundamental right to life to the innocent and defenseless unborn and violates the fundamental integrity of the marital union and the family.
As Catholics, we cannot fail to note, with the greatest sadness, the number of our fellow Catholics, elected or appointed by our President to public office, who cooperate fully in the advancement of a national agenda was is anti-life and anti-family. Most recently, the appointment of a Catholic as Secretary of Health and Human Services, who has openly and persistently cooperated with the industry of procured abortion in our nation, is necessarily a source of the deepest embarrassment to Catholics and a painful reminder of the most serious responsibility of Catholics to uphold the natural moral law, which is the irreplaceable foundation of just relationships among the citizens of our nation. It grieves me to say that the support of anti-life legislation by Catholics in public office is so common that those who are not Catholic have justifiably questioned whether the Church's teaching regarding the inviolable dignity of innocent human life is firm and unchanging. It gives the impression that the Church herself can change the law which God has written on every human heart from the beginning of time and has declared in the Fifth Commandment of the Decalogue: Thou shalt not kill.
May 12, 2009
On this note, yesterday I popped into Aveda to pick up some concealer and some lip color. Now, I always have a tough time buying concealer since my olive skin tone changes this time of year as I get more sun. Hence, I had to spend a little more time testing out the shades to find the perfect match. "Let's see," I thought. "It looks like it's between 'bronze', 'bamboo,' or this one - bitch'" Bitch?!?! Yes, one shade of concealer was called bitch! I started looking around the store and found other scandalous names, just as I do in Sephora and other big makeup venues. Do you ever look on the bottom of lipstick colors? Mac sells "Tender Tryst," "Pervette" and "Velvet Teddy." How is a woman to feel beautiful and attractive without feeling so seductive? Why can't I feel beautiful without being a "bronze, velvety 'bitch'"?
I recently attended a dance recital for my boyfriend's 8 year-old niece. She was fabulously cute in her pretty pink and white ballerina outfit. However, the recital included the whole dance studio, ranging from little 5 year-olds to high school age girls. My boyfriend and I were outraged because in almost every single dance piece, young girls ages 10 to 16 were coming out scantily clad in fishnets, knee-high dance boots, and mid-drift tops (or slashed up leotards) and dancing to dirty rap music or trashy Britney Spears songs (yes, the trashy ones). I mean, just imagine your 10 year-old daughter in a ripped-up leotard that barely covers her chest, and exposes all the rest of her body except her intimate parts, dancing like a stripper complete with straddles and other seductive 'dance' moves, and you'll get the idea of what we witnessed.
Anyway, we were the only people who were outraged. Even the grandparents of the children teased us for being prudes and said, 'Well, that's just how they do things here.' My boyfriend promptly replied that he deals with cases putting men in jail for looking at pictures of girls dressed like that. We just could not believe that parents could allow their daughters to participate in this with a clear conscience. We vowed to each other never to let our future children to participate in a dance troupe like that.
Is it wrong to want your children to remain innocent in a world so inundated with sexuality? Why were my boyfriend and I (two twenty-somethings) the only people in an entire auditorium who found the recital offensive, not just to us, but to those girls?? Why would we want to over-sexualize our children, instead of nurturing them in love?
About the same time, I discovered that there were others out there who are outraged at stuff like this recital. I heard about the work of a beautiful mother named Marybeth Hicks. Marybeth Hicks writes about raising children in today's society. Her book, Bringing Up Geeks is acclaimed for its advice on how to bring up children as Genuine, Enthusiastic, Empowered Kids (hence *GEEKS*). She writes on how to combat what she calls the 'culture of cool,' or the media-saturated, hyper-sexualized culture we find ourselves in. And parents accept that culture. I call it the 'they're-gonna-do-it-anyway-so-as-long-as-they-do-it-under-my-supervision-it's-okay' attitude. I knew those parents, and they weren't mine, that's for sure. But everyone wanted to go to those kids' houses, because they had 'cool' parents who let them get drunk at their house.
Hicks seeks to promote 'innocence over exploitation.' What she emphasizes in her books is that she is not trying to raise prudes who really cannot handle the culture. It's important for kids to engage the world and the culture, but not to have to lose their innocence either. That's pretty hard to do, and something I want for my future children. I will definitely read what Hicks suggests when the time comes for me!! Here's an excerpt from the book, part of a longer one linked here.
Ever since Glenn Close boiled a bunny over her love for Michael Douglas in Fatal Attraction, I don’t go to scary movies with suspenseful soundtracks. It’s not that I stand on moral high ground. It’s that I stand in the lobby, where it’s safe. I don’t like to be made afraid recreationally.
On the other hand, my husband Jim enjoys frightening films so he occasionally goes with a buddy. One such night found Jim and his friend sitting in the theatre watching trailers for upcoming releases while waiting for the evening’s feature presentation to begin. Into the theatre walks the mother of one of our daughter’s classmates. Behind her is a group of 12-year-olds from Betsy’s seventh grade class, giggling excitedly and taking their seats as the theatre dims.
Just what film did my 40-something husband and a row of pre-pubescent middle schoolers enjoy together? Matrix Reloaded, starring Keanu Reeves – rated R. An online review service, www.screenit.com, says the movie is “heavy” in blood, gore, frightening and tense scenes, profanity, sex and nudity; and “extreme” in guns and weapons, violence, disrespectful or bad attitudes and scary or tense music.
My husband’s review: Uncomfortable. “I’m watching these graphic scenes, but the whole time it’s really awkward knowing Betsy’s friends are a few rows ahead of me. I felt like the girls should have covered their eyes,” he said. “Since they didn’t, I covered mine instead.”
What possible benefit could there have been in taking those girls to see a movie starring sex, violence, profanity, terror and gore?
Here’s a radical thought: Parents have the power to decide the content to which their children may be exposed through TV shows, movies, music and Internet sites, and these decisions help to either preserve or destroy childhood innocence.
May 11, 2009
I have already expressed to my sisters my great love for Our Holy Father. What I've never explained to you before is my great love for the people of the East, especially for the people of the Holy Land. And seriously, the women of the East -- how gorgeous are they!! And I think the veil, though controversial in today's society, can be so incredibly beautiful. One of my dear friends is a gorgeous Muslim woman from Lebanon who is just the most beautiful veiled woman. And she is happy to share with others her reasons for wearing the veil. I guess that's a conversation for another post...
I feel especially called to pray especially for the Muslims, Jews, and Christians in the Holy Land, and for peace in the Middle East and the surrounding regions. I myself will be spending the summer in North Africa (Tunisia) this summer studying the Arabic language and culture.
So, it should come as no surprise that I have been closely following Benedict XVI's trip to the Holy Land. I was so heartened by his Sunday homily (May 10) in Ammam, Jordan when the Holy Father highlighted the importance of women in reforming society. He explains:
The strong Christian families of these lands are a great legacy handed down from earlier generations. May today’s families be faithful to that impressive heritage, and never lack the material and moral assistance they need to carry out their irreplaceable role in service to society. An important aspect of your reflection during this Year of the Family has been the particular dignity, vocation and mission of women in God’s plan. How much the Church in these lands owes to the patient, loving and faithful witness of countless Christian mothers, religious Sisters, teachers, doctors and nurses! How much your society owes to all those women who in different and at times courageous ways have devoted their lives to building peace and fostering love! From the very first pages of the Bible, we see how man and woman, created in the image of God, are meant to complement one another as stewards of God’s gifts and partners in communicating his gift of life, both physical and spiritual, to our world. Sadly, this God-given dignity and role of women has not always been sufficiently understood and esteemed. The Church, and society as a whole, has come to realize how urgently we need what the late Pope John Paul II called the "prophetic charism" of women (cf. Mulieris Dignitatem, 29) as bearers of love, teachers of mercy and artisans of peace, bringing warmth and humanity to a world that all too often judges the value of a person by the cold criteria of usefulness and profit. By its public witness of respect for women, and its defence of the innate dignity of every human person, the Church in the Holy Land can make an important contribution to the advancement of a culture of true humanity and the building of the civilization of love.Let us pray with the Holy Father for peace in the Holy Land, a peace that will be the foundation for 'building a civilization of love.' God bless the women of the East!
Photo found here.
May 10, 2009
I've never been a huge fan of Christian pop music, though I'm not really sure why. I think because some of it can just be so cheesy and kitschy. I guess I'm the kind of girl who prefers a Latin hymn or a beautiful Bach piece when it comes to liturgical music. However, I've recently discovered the Christian music of Brooke Fraser Ligertwood. I know I've mentioned her before, but I wanted to share another song with you that has brought me some joy in my desert time. The song, aptly titled, is called 'Desert Song.' I love the lyrics, most especially the very last verse. Hope it brings you some peace!
Desert Song by Brooke (Fraser) Ligertwood
This is my prayer in the desert
When all that's within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides
This is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame
I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here
This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on its way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I'll stand
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I'm filled to be emptied again
The seed I've received I will sow
To our dear sister, Julian, on the day of her birth and Mother's day. We pray dear Lord, that our sister will know Your love more fully this year, as Your servant Julian of Norwich wrote so often of Your Love. Bless our sister greatly, embrace her in Your most Holy and Sacred Heart. Give her Your joy and Your peace, fill her life with Your Light, and pour the oil of Your anointing out abundantly upon her. May she always be a mother to Your people, living her vocation to nurture Your children so that they may come to know You.
We pray the words of your servant Julian of Norwich today for our sister today:
And in the same sheweing sodenly the Trinite fullfilled the herte most of joy;Grant, Lord, that our sister will rejoice with You forever, exclaiming, "Benedicte, Domine!"
and so, I understood, it shall be in Hevyn withoute end to all that shall come
there. For the Trinite is God, God is the Trinite. The Trinite is our maker and
keeper, the Trinite is our everlasting lover, everlasting joy and blisse, be our
Lord Jesus Christ; and this was shewed in the first and in all, for where Jesus
appereith the blissid Trinite is understond, as to my sight. And I said, "Bene-
Happy birthday, Julian! Love always, Edith and Agatha
May 9, 2009
As a child I always thought that by this age I would be three kids in...but while that hasn't happened yet, I am fully aware of the blessing that I have as a teacher to exercise my "spiritual motherhood" with 100 beautiful "daughters" a year.
This year though, I'm particularly aware of my relationsip with my own mother. Our relationship has been anything but easy, but as we both grow older, our connection is deepening and our understanding of the other as a complex, unique, and beautiful woman is growing. I am so blessed to share this day with my mother, and even though we'll be apart, I'm know that a mother's love surpasses proximity to her children.
I am so grateful for the gift of life. Thanks, Mom!
"...Now put your hands up!" You know the song. It is always in my head!! Every one of us is waiting for that perfect moment -- when he 'puts a ring on it' and we pledge our lives to our special someone. So, I was thinking about that perfect day while I was watching a show on EWTN about the single life called the Road to Cana. The program features discussions on how singles can live their lives in preparation for marriage, whether you've met 'the one' or are still waiting for that person. I only caught a little bit of it, but what I caught really got me thinking.
The speakers were talking about how we expect our future husbands and wives to accept us the way we are. And that's good, they should love us for everything that we are. But there's a down side too. Let me give you a scenario. Your husband comes in drunk from a guy's night out, and you start yelling at him for being so irresponsible. After all, he is supposed to be up early to take the kids to school. He retorts to you, "Well, this is just the way I am. And why do you always nag at me anyway?" You angrily reply, "Well this is just the way I am."
But what does that mean -- 'this is just the way I am?" Your husband just told you that he is a drunk. And you just told him that you are a nag. But those aren't good things at all. After all, when Christ used the words 'I am,' it signifies the core of His Being -- He is the Great I AM.
So what are we to be? For those of us who are called to the married life, whether or not we're there yet, seek to be a good wife (or husband for our male readers). What does it mean to be a good spouse? We need to be the very best of ourselves. Of course, perfection does not come in this life, but we can surely rely on Christ to fill in our empty slots. We're a work in progress to be sure, but we'd better both working and in progress.
So I need to be the best possible Edith I can be for my future husband. I need to center my relationship in Christ and ask Him to be the head. With Christ at the head, my future spouse and I can surely work on becoming the best of ourselves for Him and for each other. So let's all take a challenge: the next time you tell your significant other or even just one of your good friends that they have to deal with the way you are, think about the reality of what that really means...and challenge yourself to really be the best you in every relationship you have, be it friendship, professional, or spousal.
Photo found here.
May 8, 2009
Today the Holy Father begins his pilgrimmage to the Holy Land. Just listen to his beautiful words about this trip. Sisters and readers, let's make a concerted effort to pray for the pope's intentions for peace, especially in the Middle East. I love how he says that he's visiting the places "made holy by the life of Jesus." I hope that we, the Body of Christ, make places and people holy with His life, too.
The Epiphany Studios Theater Company, a Catholic theater group started by Jeremy D. Stanbury recently debuted a play titled the VITAE Monologues, depicting real life stories of post abortive women. The emotional, psychological, and spiritual devastation of abortion is something the media never discusses, but SO MANY women suffer from this. Many of them try for years to dull their pain with drugs, alcohol, more sex...
When it is talked about by those brave enough to speak about their experiences, time and again women (and men too!) talk about how they have not been able to forgive themselves and constantly dwell with sorrow upon the life of their child. Take this heart wrenching account from one woman:
When I got to the clinic there were a lot of church people outside, I walked right past them. I was too embarrassed to let them talk to me. (Now I wish I had). I really can’t remember everything, I was too terrified, I had no anesthetic at all. I can not remember what method was used. I believe I have blocked it out of my mind. I don’t even want to think about it. I remember after it was over and a lady there showed me where the restroom was. I remember sitting on the toilet crying non-stop, bleeding and in terrible pain. My mom picked me up, we got home and I went straight to bed and my mom told my dad I had an ear infection.And her story is not unique -- it's the story of so many of our women! I certainly hope this play will take off and far outshine the other V Monologues! Let's show our support of it!! Women, children, and men all deserve better choices than abortion. Let's help foster that reality to fruition.
It has affected me in many ways, I still feel the pain and sorrow, the wonders of what the baby would have looked like and what sex it would have been. I have a lot of grief, remorse and guilt deep inside of my heart. I wonder what the baby felt while it was being murdered with its mother’s consent.
I guess I just end with some food for thought. Jesus Christ in the Gospel says to us, "This is my body, which is given for you." (Lk. 22: 19). Christ gives us His very body for our food, and enslaves Himself to bread and wine for our spiritual benefit and salvation. Now consider one of the more common arguments given by abortion advocates to support their point: "This is my body, and I will do what I want with it." The same phrase, but very, very different meanings. Does anyone else find that eerie??
Photo for this post on the VITAE Monologues found at LIFE magazine.
May 7, 2009
I wonder though, is it really fair to call the cashier "sexist?" I would hope that he was just looking out for the woman's health, but it's also true that it is not illegal to sell any type of person who is of age alcohol.
Just wondering what others think of this situation? Interesting food (or drink) for thought.
May 6, 2009
This is just a little post of hope for my Magdalene sisters who may be feeling like their spiritual lives are in darkness. I've been coming across SO MANY Scriptures about the Light of God. I'm posting a few of them in the hope that the Word of God will illuminate your life, and help His light to penetrate your souls -- for we serve a faithful God who will not abandon us to the darkness!
Isaiah 9: 2-4
"The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen. Thou hast multiplied the nation, and hast not increased the joy. They shall rejoice before thee, as they that rejoice in the harvest, as conquerors rejoice after taking a prey, when they divide the spoils. For the yoke of their burden, and the rod of their shoulder, and the sceptre of their oppressor thou hast overcome, as in the day of Median."
Isaiah 58:11 (Douay Rheims translation)
"And the Lord will give thee rest continually, and will fill thy soul with brightness, and deliver thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a fountain of water whose waters shall not fail."
"In their affliction they will rise early to me: Come, and let us return to the Lord: For he hath taken us, and he will heal us: he will strike, and he will cure us. He will revive us after two days: on the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. We shall know, and we shall follow on, that we may know the Lord. His going forth is prepared as the morning light, and he will come to us as the early and the latter rain to the earth."
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in Him."
John 1: 4-5
"In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
John 8: 12
"Jesus spoke to them, saying: I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
Photo taken from Catholic apologist Steve Ray's blog.
I was perusing a blog a few days ago called Alive and Young and I came across this article about a typology of Mary as the Unburnt Bush. This typology of course hearkens us to the story of Moses to Exodus 3:2 where God speaks through a bush that was "burning, yet not consumed."
The author of Alive and Young cites another website explaining the following:
The Church has always regarded the Unburnt Bush on Horeb as a type of the Most Holy Theotokos giving birth to the Savior Christ, while remaining a Virgin. This imagery is to be found in the Church's hymnography (for example, the Dogmatikon at Saturday Vespers in Tone 2), and also in iconography.I found this a very profound typology -- and upon reflection, I began to think about what this might mean. I thought about Mary's purity and Immaculate Heart. She is pure, holy, totally for God; this is why she is Mother of God and Perpetual Virgin.
One of the earliest depictions of the Mother of God as the Unburnt Bush shows her holding her divine Son in the midst of a burning bush. Moses is shown to one side, removing his sandals, for that place was holy (Ex. 3:5).
What about purity in our lives? One of the most necessary beatitudes for our time is Mt. 5:8 "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God." Only the pure will see God. Yet how many people are consumed by impurity. There's the operative word: consumed. I see this point particularly poignant with lust. Just think about it. Lust fades -- it is consumed and we are consumed by it. But it goes for all sin -- lust, impurity, anger, hatred -- essentially all that is not holy literally will consume us.
But consider Mary as the unconsumed bush. She is on fire -- literally -- with the love of God. In her glorious song to God, she bursts forth "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." (Lk 1: 46-47). Mary lived her whole life totally trusting God in faith, hope, and love. And her love is never consumed, for it is God who lives in her and with her.
Oh Mary, teach us to love with an unconsumed love, so that we like you will love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, and our whole might. And obtain for the graces to be pure of heart, so that we, with you, shall see God.
May 4, 2009
O that a guard were set over my mouth, and a seal of prudence upon my lips, that it may keep me from falling, so that my tongue may not destroy me! O Lord, Father and Ruler of my life, do not abandon me to their counsel, and let me not fall because of them! O that whips were set over my thoughts, and the discipline of wisdom over my mind! That they may not spare me in my errors, and that it may not pass by my sins; in order that my mistakes may not be multiplied and my sins may not abound; then I will not fall before my adversaries, and my enemy will not rejoice over me. O Lord, Father and God of my life, do not give me haughty eyes, and remove from me all evil desire. Let neither gluttony nor lust overcome me, and do not surrender me to a shameless soul. (Sirach 22:27-23:6)Wow!! This got me thinking! How many times do we women especially allow ourselves to sin through the words of our mouths or the thoughts in our hearts? I know I struggle with this all the time, be it a judgmental thought as silly as "That girl should not be wearing that dress."
It seems ridiculous, right? But it really is those little things that make or break it. We just sin small in our hearts, our evil thoughts, or something nasty about someone we see. Then we convince ourselves that that's not really a sin at all. After all - she really shouldn't wear that dress! But that's not the way of Christ, is it? And where does it end? One sin begets another, and suddenly our mistakes and sins are multiplied!
So, I decided to read this beautiful prayer in the Scriptures over and over until it becomes my theme song!! God is so great, giving us His Word, His Wisdom and Light, and the power to reject sin! What cause for joy!
May 3, 2009
May 1, 2009
The Feast was established in 1955 by St. Pius XII, in response to the "May Days" of the communist movement. Pope Pius XII reminded the church that we have real models of behavior in the Saints, and especially in the Bible.
I know a lot of people are looking for work today, and I know my other sisters are struggling with work, so I pray that this day will be of some comfort to them all. Oh, St. Joseph! You just help with everything!