Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Marital Love and The Holy Trinity

I just thought this article was so cool. Well it's not really an article, it's an answer given to a reader who was struggling with chastity. Carmen Marcoux was on EWTN some months back promoting her book Arms of Love, and her cause that encourages young single Catholics to choose the path of Courtship when God sends a prospective mate their way. Here is part of her answer to the reader that discusses the mystery of marital sex and how it reflects and parallels God's love in the trinity.


"Sexuality is the very aspect of our nature which images God's love in a unique and profound way. In Genesis we read: "Let us make man in the image and likeness of ourselves . . . " And what was this image and likeness? It goes on to say ". . . male and female he created them." There is something in our being created male and female that images God! How can this be, since God is not sexual?

God is LOVE! In order for love to be complete it must be given and received. God therefore must be a communion of persons — in order for the nature of God to be love. From all eternity, God the Father initiates the gift of love to the Son. The Son, from all eternity, receives that love and returns it to the Father. This exchange of love becomes so real, that it is life-giving — and so comes forth the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the love of the Father and the Son. All three persons of God are equally God — and equally part of the nature of God which is love.

Where do we see humanity most reflected in this eternally, life-giving love that is the inner life of the Trinity? In marriage! The husband initiates the love which the wife receives and returns. And that love is so real that sometimes it becomes a third person (and nine months later you have to give it a name!) Marital love reflects the inner life of God! What a holy and profound mystery. What a noble and beautiful call to love. What a sacred and holy gift from God!!!"


Now just on a side note, I always wondered why the Orthodox and the Catholics fought over the filioque. (For non-Catholics and non-Orthodox readers, this is the part of our creeds that states "...And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son". The Orthodox don't usually accept the translation of "and from the Son") Part of me wondered if the Orthodox had it right, because how can the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father AND the Son if the Son cannot do anything without the Father? But this completely erases any doubt I had in the Church's teaching...the Spirit must proceed from the Father and the Son because it is essentially the love shared between them, not simply a Spirit being emanated from the essence of the Father (which was what I thought it meant, I never imagined it meant that the Holy Spirit was in fact the love sent from the Father to the Son, and as we all know, the Son will always reciprocate the Father's love!) So Amen to that revelation! Praise the Lord :)

[Next part may be a bit graphic for sensitive with comments made by a non-Christian adolescent male...enough said haha]

In respect to Carmen's answer on chastity, I yet again struggled with giving my friends a concrete reason why sex is to be saved for marriage. Before I was a true Christian I was "seeing" this guy who always begged for sex. I knew deep down that was a big NO for God, and not because it was written in the Bible (because I was still an advocate for homosexual rights at this point...God have mercy). I just felt a need to protect my virginity. He would tell me "we are merely mammals, we need and crave sex, we cannot control our natural instinct." First off- EW. I am NOT an animal, I am a human being who has control over her "desires" and her body, thank you very much. When asked for the religious reason why I was withholding sex, I said "Because it's special...God wants sex to only occur between a husband and wife." But why is it special!? If only I had Carmen's answer at the time, how much more powerful would that have been? Maybe he would have really understood where I was coming from and MAYBE it would have given him some food for spiritual thought.

I have read this (and maybe even posted about this...sorry!!!) theory of marital love and the trinity before, but it really hit home this time around. I am seriously trying to pursue my call to be a witness of the Word both through my actions and words. And now that I have ammo in the area of abstinence, and why Christians strive for purity, I think I will be much more useful to the Lord while I am at university, where everyone's favorite topic is, of course, sex.

Peace & blessings always!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wise Words from the Holy Father

"It is fine and consoling to know that there is someone who loves me and looks after me. But it is far more important that there is a God who knows me, loves me, and is concerned about me."

-Pope Benedict XVI,
Conclusion of the Year for Priests
Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
St Peter's Square
Friday, 11 June 2010

Sometimes on our pursuit for human love, we forget how incredible the love our God has for us is. I watched this speech on Rome Reports today and it was such a blessing, as I asked God before I went to sleep last night to silence my restless heart, until He's ready to give me a spouse, and to help me focus my love, passions, and desires on Him. This focus on God while we are single will carry over into married scripture implies it can be harder to search for the Lord with all our effort when we have a spouse to care for.
I am so inspired and thankful for this simple little message from the Pope! May the Lord bless him for his faith and encouragement to the flock!

1 Corinthians 7:32-34
But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I just came back from an evening mass and I was so floored by the message the Lord sent over my soul while there. The priest was giving his sermon about his time in the seminary and how he was taught that if you live the Christian life fairly well, a little piece of you should die everyday.

Here I have been trying to preserve & reclaim this person I was years ago, thinking that was the "real" version of me, of the "fun" RA, but in reality...that girl is slowly dying because she is SUPPOSED to. That is not who God wants me to be forever. And the reason I couldn't recognize myself in the first few weeks of college was because I had been on the straight & narrow and making true spiritual advancement. My attempt to revamp myself was a major step BACKWARD, as I was filling myself up with "me" rather than with God.

So don't be afraid if you find yourself changing (for the better! quiet, gentle, meek spirit) because those little inner deaths you're experiencing are making room for the Holy Spirit to dwell. Our bodies are a temple for the LORD, so let Him make His home within you.

Matthew 16:25
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:
and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.


This week God was laying a great urge upon my heart to SIMPLIFY, and while He was met with much resistance on my part, I'm finding this path to be much more satisfying than the way I was living before.

It all began with a simple episode of 17 Kids & Counting (now 19 Kids and Counting), where the Duggars discussed how they only watch around 7 hours of tv a month. A MONTH. I was floored. At first I thought, "how ridiculous, what else could they possibly do with their day?", and that thought/comment I made came as even more of a surprise than the fact that the Duggars only watch 7 hours of television per month. I was a little disgusted with myself. I also knew I had an "electronics problem", but it never really bothered me until this incident. God has given me this wonderful life so far and I spend countless hours a day on the computer, watching tv, listening to music (and not the type I should be listening to), etc. It was high time I needed to bring this lifestyle to a halting stop and start over.

I had so many ideas for blog posts, but they take a good chunk of time to create usually, and as soon as I logged onto blogger I felt this inner need to get off the computer. I obeyed this inner voice, but I was dumb-founded as to what to do next! It just showed how addicted I truly am to my electronics. So I decided to read. I used to loveeee reading, but I literally had no time to read during school, as my professors loaded me with work & reading of their own. Not to mention my "down time" was guessed it! Tv or computer time. So I read the Duggar's book straight through and picked up some great spiritual gems, especially on the subject of contentment. As much as I wish I could say I am content with my life, I haven't been in a while.

Being home for the summer gave me a flashback to last summer. I had been practicing modesty for a while by the time summer 2009 came around. I even had modest bathing suits (board shorts, tankinis that were paired with cover ups, etc). My dress was a reflection of the contentment I felt in my life and the happiness/ confidence I had in myself. Especially in body image-I had this motto that "no one has the right to see this frame of mine, not until I am married", and literally, all pressure was off to have the "perfect body"; a battle my friends were dealing with everyday, as it was bikini season.

I carried this modesty into college and even covered my hair for weeks. But as school went on, people remarked on why I always wear scarves, bandannas, hats, etc...I heard girls non-stop complain about their bodies...pressure to go to the gym as a group was intense...and slowly, I began to change inwardly. My confidence dropped and I hadn't even realized it. This inward transformation influenced my outward appearance as well. I was spending more time in the mirror before class, removing my scarves, and buying shorter everything-skirts, dresses, shorts, sleeve-less shirts. Things I was just never naturally was attracted to that summer.

I honestly didn't see this as not being content. I thought maybe God wanted me to have a "personality" like the other girls and maybe I needed to loosen the reins to be more approachable to non-Christians interested in learning about Jesus...after all people just saw me as an oddity before. I thought I was still the confident me of last year (as did my mom) until we were at lunch together some weeks ago. We were quietly fighting over some random thing and then she made a comment that just broke me down. (luckily we were in a private area of the restaurant lol) and I said something to the effect of being angry that she never appreciated everything I do for her and that her comments hurt me the most because I am not this confident person she thinks I am. Then I could just feel hot tears slowly make their way down my face. I hit a low point. God was showing me the change I made in just one simple year away at school. I was so ashamed (and still am) for the fight we had that day and I am even more ashamed I let myself become so unhappy with my life.

So my summer so far has been a healing process from the wounds I've obtained while living in "the world". I hope every summer isn't a re-recovery of that years set backs, I just pray God makes me stronger this time around. I had never been on my own before, but now I see the world's a battle ground and we can fall mighty far without even realizing it.

I'm going to try and make my time restricted computer time, blogger time, so I can keep you updated with my "de-electronicized" life haha Maybe if any of you are struggling with this too, I'll give you some tips and ideas for better ways to fill your day. So far I read a lot (especially the Bible, since I fell off my Bible in year schedule a few months back, I'm trying to make up for it!), pray the rosary, help out a lot more around the house, play with the dogs, exercise...and that's about it haha but I'm working on it!

So the moral of the story is:
Watching the Duggars is similar to reading the Bible-no matter how many times you watch/read it, you always find a new spiritual lesson!

And I am sorry I speak about school so much (and it always seems to be negative) I just never in my wildest dreams expected this phase of my life to be like it was. I thought I'd find a whole Christian niche where I would be encouraged in my walk and people would take God as seriously as me (not that I am saying there aren't people at my school who do! because I'm sure there are) and I would be respected for my beliefs (even though it's a super liberal school) and my relationship with God would only grow stronger. I can attest that my relationship with God has transformed and strengthened immensely, but just not in the ways I thought. I NEEDED this college experience as much as I hate to admit it, because it showed me what it takes to be a true Catholic in this world. It's hard work! It's not butterflies & rainbows! Our suffering WILL be great, but this only glorifies our amazing God more! I went into college more of a Protestant, so the whole suffering aspect completely escaped me, but as I learn more (slowly, but surely) about Catholicism, I see what God is really doing in my life. So thank you so much for this journey Lord, you are truly a Savior!

Please, no matter who you are, do not be discouraged with life- strive for contentment in all things and maybe even simplify. I know a lot of my discouragement comes from an over-abundance of worldly programming, websites, and music. Thank God for the good & the bad, the suffering and the joy and continue fighting the good fight! Don't lose hope!

Peace be with you always!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lady Gaga and the Lost

I'm sure many of you are aware of the latest Lady Gaga music video, in which the outlandish starlet dressed in a "sexy" nun habit, swallowed a rosary, gets raped by a homosexual, wears a cross over her reproductive parts, and dances seductively in front of a cross. She recently told Larry King that she's been "confused" about religion...and I suppose we need to believe her as she obviously has no inkling of the blasphemous statements she is making.

She's not only confused herself, she is confusing others with this stunt. My own mother was mocking Katy Perry's backlash that Gaga was immature for using religion in her video in such a disrespectful way...and boy was I angry. I was like "Mom! this is our faith she is spitting on! and you're defending her?" And then I could see her puzzled expression rethinking her attitude. This monster of a singer is sending horrific messages to young girls to not only mock the Catholic Church and abandon her teachings on sexuality, but she is also desensitizing them to rape, the most violent of acts.

I am so enraged with this music video for so many reasons, and maybe it's a waste of my time to even post about it, but when is the world going to WAKE UP and see how low we've gotten? That this type of display is now acceptable? While reading through the video's comments, I saw an argument between two people. The defense of Gaga was that the world should see how oppressive the Church is to nuns and women...that our sexuality is being suppressed and we have every right to backlash and retake what is "ours".

This then made me realize the world simply doesn't understand us. (Duh! haha I always knew this, but...yeah) The reason we do not sleep around is to respect our bodies...our temples...that God has lent us. We save ourselves to glorify Him...we are not forced to fasten a chastity belt on and mope around wanting sex so desperately. Of course we have desires, but we're not oppressed! I hate having that my choice is not my own and that people feel BAD for me and try to coax me out and let me know "it's ok to have sex before marriage, cmon it's normal!"

We have a duty as Christians to spread God's word and be the best examples of Christ we can so that non-believers will come to faith. I pray for Europe and "the lost" among us every day, but I know the biggest change has to come from us with the help of the Holy Spirit. So if I were to come across someone intrigued in the faith, but put off by my abstinence (which is 90% of those I come across in college... *sigh*) how can I explain the beauty of the choice rather than the "down side"?

Seeing as those who have no faith won't "get" the "because I love God and He wants me to" side of the choice, I thought about the other reasons why we don't parade around like Lady gaga, abusing our bodies.

So here is why we Catholics, and other religious, do not feel oppressed Lady Gaga:
(take a few pointers, maybe you'll be less confused!)

1. Firstly, abstinence reinforces our worth, it makes me feel more empowered and less like an object. I used to worry so much about how I looked because my main goal was to please my [now ex-] boyfriend's desires. If I looked good, he would value me more and I'd be more precious...basically I was a piece of meat trying to marinade myself enough so that when I was eaten, I'd be ohhhh so flavorful and he'd keep coming back to me. NOT "EQUALITY".

2. Secondly, with abstinence comes no worries! We don't have to live in constant fear of missed menstruation (...pregnancy), STDs, or the feeling of being used after the guy loses interest. (which my ex-bf was notorious for around school, glad I found Jesus before I joined the others). I know of family and friends who alwayssss used protection and still had babies (sometimes twins) and there was always that grave expression on their faces when they told us the news. Why would anyone want to put themselves through that if they do not want a baby?

3. Thirdly, I feel more human. I read an article that a women did not breastfeed her child because breasts "are for sex". Ummm....Come again? Let's get scientific here-breasts are for feeding our young that is what GOD intended, but for those who still insist that God does not exist, biology/nature (*cough* God's plan *cough*) also reiterates this. So why then does this woman believe these organs are for pleasure? BECAUSE OF THE MEDIA. Because of the sexualized world we live in. Because of people like Lady Gaga who desensitize us at a young age to sex, drugs, and immorality, telling us it is OK and then we soon find out how not OK it really is-mentally, spiritually, and physically.

So please world, do not think we believers are being oppressed. And since you're always preaching "tolerance" (normally at us, since we have this label of intolerance on our foreheads) why can you not reciprocate that favor and tolerate our lifestyle and choice?
Please back off a bit.
Peace always!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Celibacy in the Priesthood

The topic for today is as the title suggests, celibacy and its role in the priesthood. I have watched many great programs on EWTN that explain how important this aspect of the priest's life is and I even wrote my final English paper this semester on religious celibacy, so it is something I find quite special and necessary for our Church. But in the wake of this abuse scandal, I am being forced to think twice about it's necessity for every priest.

Lets start off by explaining, from what I have gathered and personally believe, why this vow is so vital to the life of a priest. By not taking a wife, a man is better able to devote his time, energy, and efforts to God. He does not have to worry about supporting a family, running errands, raising children, etc so his day is completely free to serve God and the community. This is something a married man would have trouble doing (however I'll get to the flip side later). It's also become a safe haven for men with "homosexual tendencies", as I have read in Catholic articles. That gay men who want to deny their sinful urges will enter the priesthood where sex is not allowed at all, and thus the temptation is greatly diminished by the support of fellow priests and the new role he holds in the Catholic community.

Now, as we see in the Orthodox tradition and Protestant denominations, pastors and priests have the opportunity to take wives. Even men who convert to the Catholic Church who previously were priests in the Anglican Church (I believe?) can be an ordained priest and maintain their families. These men can preach, tend to their parishes, answer their higher call to witnessing, AND have a family. It's not impossible to do. The early Church fathers and popes had wives...why can that option not be available today?

What I fear from this thought is that slowly, a gate will be opened and the liberals will attack. (lol) As is in my family, the discussion starts with the desire for priests to marry...then someone demands that women be priests, and next women should be able to have abortions, and finally "heck the whole church needs to keep up with the times!" WRONG! I desperately fear one change in tradition leading to the complete collapse of our Church and its traditions. The pressure of the world is mounting. I read European newspapers online and many countries only mention the church in criticism of the child abuse and its "old ways".

But this one aspect of our faith-the celibacy of the priesthood-is not a moral issue. Could we alter this one part of the Church without opening pandora's box? I am not saying I want all our priests to suddenly take on a family, but lets look at 1 Corinthians 7:8-9
Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Paul teaches believers that if you are able to control your hormones and drive for sex, THEN you should be celibate as he was. This means men who truly can control themselves should be celibate priests, but to those who cannot, they can marry.

I guess part of me is so drawn into this because my own parish priest had to be sent away for 3 months due to poor behavior (not child molesting), but when he came back he told us how depressed he had been, how lonely and consequently withdrawn from us he was, and how much therapy it took in those three months to get him back to somewhat normal.

One of my priests at my church at university was mentioned in a child abuse article I read. He never abused anyone, but he was the confessor to a priest who molested and brutally murdered a child. I was physically ill when I read that...I just stumbled upon this article and uncovered a horrific reality our Church faces...and it was so very close to home for me.

These men have so much more on their plates than we parishioners realize...and it truly breaks my heart to know the pain, guilt, loneliness, and disgust they must feel each and everyday. Many of them obviously have personal desires for love or possibly even marriage (as my priest seemed to in his speech). On the other hand, many more do not, as they were called to this life by God (God made this decision possible for them, He ordained their choice). And then there are those who need to absolve the priests who have gone WAY off the deep end. I could not handle the mental and emotional damage of hearing a confession of a cold blooded murderer and or child molester who is simultaneously a supposed "man of god".

To those who are pedophiles and murderers, I know my "solution" is lost on them, as NOTHING can excuse or fix their behaviors. But to the Catholic men who feel called to the priesthood...and to marriage, why can't their be that option?

As always, thoughts and comments are gladly welcome!
Peace & Blessings always~