Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

July 29, 2011

The Feast of St. Martha

While there is some debate as to whether Mary Magdalene is the same as Mary-the-sister-of-Martha-and-Lazarus, I don't think there is any debate in the minds of women struggling to walk with Christ that Magdalene and Martha are two of the great examples of womanly virtue in the Gospels and in all of Christianity.

Since today is here feast, I wanted to share a quick meditation on St. Martha by one of my favorite Catholic bloggers, Julie Davis of Happy Catholic, from her bi-weekly column on Patheos:

We see again how familiar and friendly Martha is with Jesus. As before, she goes to him with a forthright complaint. She shows great confidence and trust in saying that she is disappointed that he didn't save her brother.

Martha also shows that she possesses great faith and understanding in unmistakable terms: "I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world." What an incredible moment that must have been between Jesus and Martha. Martha has come a long way, never losing her focus on Christ even in her grief.

Yet, after such a moment, she also doesn't forget her sister, Mary, who is still at home mourning.

Martha is both loving and practical to the bone. We have an unmistakable example of that practicality when Jesus is getting ready to raise Lazarus from the dead.

Read more. St. Martha, pray for us!

July 28, 2011

A Matter of Convenience

A reader emailed us with the following prompt:

My sister and good friend have come to the conclusion that even
if you meet a guy who likes you and it's reasonable to date, if it's not
super convenient they won't go for it. It's become all about convenience
and what's easy.

She also added these examples:
  • The guy regularly wants to "hang out" but isn't actively pursuing obvious dates.
  • Wants to meet at a designated place instead of picking you up.
  • Continues to contact you via text message instead of calling you.

All in all she concluded that to move from casually contacting to seriously dating a woman makes demands on a man to mature and to open himself to another person. Both of these things are challenging, can be uncomfortable, open one up to vulnerability and, quite frankly, create an investment of his time, money, and schedule that can look quite scary.

As lonely as it can be sometimes, the single life can be quite convenient. Your time is your own, your resources are at your own disposal, and you can decide when and where to give of yourself, be present to and with others, and only really risk love or rejection when you feel ready.

My own thoughts on this are complex and contradictory. On the one hand, I have experienced the examples our reader posed on numerous occasions, and I even had to find the courage to talk to a man who was casually contacting me to ask what his intentions were. In this case, I risked rejection when I said that I had feelings for him, while he was just content to casually keep texting and "hanging out," and had no intention of exclusively dating me. Other men have responded when I've asked them to move from texting to calling me, and really just did not know any better that this is what a woman wants. I blame that one on technology feeding our laziness, or just becoming normative. However, if a guy (or a girl, for that matter), is disciplined in virtue (which is far from convenient) in little things, he or she can easily say "yes" to inconvenience in other things, like relationships.

But on the other hand, a dear friend of mine told me a few months ago that it was only after meeting a certain woman that he "knew what it meant to be a man," and that this woman, by her very existence, made him want to be everything a man should be. He suddenly realized that the right woman made him want to move beyond his own wants and desires. He did the most inconvenient thing: picked up and moved across the country to be with her and find a job to provide for her, as he was so convicted about wanting to care for her. So, maybe it is that it's just wrong until you meet the right person. Maybe we aren't the right woman for him (and he is not the right man) if he's not working for it. And that, readers, is just an inconvenient truth.

July 22, 2011

Feast of Our Patroness

Happy Feast of Mary Magdalene. May she continue to bless us sisters, our readers, and our families!

Photo from the cover of this month's Magnificat. Found here.

July 21, 2011

Oh My Goodness. Do I Like Clothes or What?

So, I went to the mall today to look at shoes for my upcoming trip to Spain, where I'll be walking countless kilometers through Madrid for World Youth Day, and of course I got completely sidetracked and distracted by the a-dorable clothes in the windows of all of the stores. I love the upcoming fall fashions: ponchos, long dresses, and yes, even faux fur (in moderation, of course!). But the question still remains: do I need them?

The answer still remains no. When I brushed by the mannequins, I remembered my niece, my goddaughter, my parents, my students, my desire to explore photography, the homeless person on the bridge that I drive every morning, and of course, Mother Church. And I remembered that virtue is hard. That is means saying no to yourself in simple and in grave matters. It's forged in the day to day activities of our lives.

I still need to address generosity with my time. I still need to look at purity of heart, pride, and a lack of discipline. But for now, I'm able to look at beautiful clothing and think of other people. And today was a big step in moving in the direction I'd like to be in.

July 5, 2011

On Being More Generous

Summer affords me extra time for reflection, which can be both therapeutic and totally overwhelming for me. I look up close at the parts of my life that need organization, discipline, and well, to be spruced up. With any close examination of the self comes cringing at what is made visible. In any event, it's been becoming increasingly clear to me that as a single person, the virtue of generosity is one that I need to particularly strengthen. (This is not to say that single people are not generous -- it is truly a pointed commentary on myself at this moment in my life, and I happen to be single).

As Christians we're called to be generous with our time, talent, and treasure. I'd like to think I have the talent portion covered, in that I try to exhaust myself in my vocation as a teacher both inside and outside of the classroom, and well beyond any boundaries set by the school calendar. Of course there is always room to improve in that area, but for now, I'm going to table the "talent" portion of this venture.

Generosity with time. In order to be more generous with my time, I need to be disciplined with the use of my time. This means that first and foremost, I must stick to a prayer schedule. While of course this schedule must be flexible to meet the demands of the present moment, it also should be rigorously adhered to. Giving time to God seems like the first logical step in the process. But if I think seriously about my life on any given day, I could gain back significant time if I monitored how long I spend perusing the internet or flipping through channels on the tube. Even if I tell myself it will only be for a moment, I inevitably lose precious moments that could be better used in the service of my vocation, my family, or my friends. It's quite simple, and demands my full attention and will. Purposeful internet use and leisure time involving the television is something I'd like to incorporate into my daily schedule.

Generosity with treasure. Well, I always joke about working as a teacher and that while we don't get paid in monetary means, I do get paid in other ways. In reality though, if I think about what I'm called to spend my money on (and who it should be spent on), I could easily cringe at careless spending on myself that could be better used (and even better used for things that I actually need rather than want). In an effort to kick this generosity into gear, I've decided to take a pledge, and I ask my sisters to hold me accountable. As of today, July 5, 2011, I will not buy myself clothing or accessories for one full calendar year. (I realize moms who have children are used to such sacrifices and might laugh at this!) Now, there are some notable exceptions that are necessities: I am in desperate need of running sneakers, socks of all sorts, and in the fall I will need to replace some worn out shoes. But, I am not in need of clothing for work or for leisure. I realize that for someone who likes to shop, likes to look fashionable, and works in an environment in which my image is (unfortunately) part of the way into keeping students interested, this is going to be challenging. But in reality, it's absolutely necessary in order for me to be more generous with my money. I'm really excited about the challenge and will be prayerful about what it will do for myself and for others. Thanks in advance for your encouragement, and for pointing out when I've got to sew back on a button or fix a hem!
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