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Friday, April 16, 2010

Preview of Coming Attractions

Assuming that I get my bioethics paper finished before I die.... the next post or two will be on masculinity and how we understand it today, and the direct effect it has on men in our culture and women as well!

So come back soon. :)

A Good Laugh

Let's be serious here-
1. this is just funny
2. if you've EVER had a cat... you know this is a real possibility.
3. what better way to procrastinate than to post ridiculous photos on the blog??

Safe Arms

Deliver me out of the sadness,
Deliver me out of the madness.
All of my life I've been in hiding wishing there was someone just like you,
Now that you're here, now that I've found you,
I know that you're the one to pull me through.
-David Crowder

Sometimes all I want is my mom or dad. You know the feeling. Life begins to be a little more than you can handle, or want to handle. You need someone to take care of the responsibilities. Rather, you want to run as fast as you can, for as long as you can, in the opposite direction. Out of sight, out of mind. And in this case, thus out of obligation.

I shared with a friend that I feel like I just am not strong enough to handle what I have been given. The gifts we receive implicitly bring responsibilities, and quite frankly I have been feeling like moving to a farm in Kansas and unlearning everything I know would be great. But his response was just right - You don't have to be. God is.

Cliche, sure. But when you place yourself in the imaginative and visual realm, consider yourself in your smallness. Those shoulders are only so wide. That back is only so strong. That head can only be held up for so long. And then you couple, you break under the weight. I know I do. And moreover, I would prefer to not have to get to that point. I would prefer to be overshadowed, to have the larger arms encircle me, the stronger, wider back behind me, the loving head of my Father above me. If he's holding me, scooping me up in his arms like the baby I am, then it seems as if those heavy burdens have become feathers floating away.

And then he can gently rock you to sleep, kiss your forehead and tuck you in. You can use his arm for your pillow. He won't leave you while you rest. You can sleep safely.

Some lyrics from a song by Paramore also speak to this:
Keep me safe inside your arms like towers, tower over me.
Keep me safe inside your arms like towers, tower over me.

What I love is that she follows the bridge with a short pre-chorus of:
and I'll take the truth at any cost.

This is the courage that comes from knowing ourselves in this way - as the little one, the child, the baby, the lamb, the one to be held and carried and protected. The knowledge of this, the reality of it, creates the space we need to know the hunger in our hearts to love our Comforter even more. Who doesn't find that when love is ignited in their heart from gratitude, they yearn to give back to the one who they are thankful for? Who doesn't want to know better, know more deeply, one they find themselves loving? It's an ongoing cycle of appreciating someone and therefore loving them more through this gratitude and then because of the love wanting to know them more, and then as you discover more of them you find there is more of them that you love, and then you are grateful all the more. It goes on and on. And so as you are being held in these strong arms, against the chest of God, listening to his perfect Heart beat, you yearn to know him. You want to love him more and to do so you need to know him more. Because he is the Truth, this means seeking out the truth. And so we realize that everything in this life, even our very lives themselves, pale in comparison with coming to know the Truth of God and his love for us in its fullness and reality. So we will give anything and everything to come to know it more, to come to know him more.

And so I want to be in these safe arms.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Earthquakes of 2010 (so far)

First Haiti, then Chile, and now China? We need to keep these people in our prayers! The lyrics in a song from a hymn at mass today said something like "if we cannot love our Savior than we will not be able to love our brother." Perhaps that's cliche and generic, but the point is this: you are born into a family, like it or not. Beyond that you are also part of a human family - the family of believers within the Church, the Body of Christ, and also the family of all your brothers and sisters, whoever they are and whatever their beliefs.

I was recently struck with sorrow at my own impatience in life when I watched a girl go up for communion at mass. She had very little use of her legs and so had the special crutches that are much like arm braces to allow her to walk. When I thought not only about the strength it must take in those arms just to move her body around but more importantly the strength to face each day, and every person she meets, with self-confidence I was floored. How hard! How very hard to face a world that says physical beauty (and at the very least, physical ability) is a must. How courageous, how absolutely beautiful, that she would live in confidence of Christ's love for her, even if this world will often judge and reject her.

Perhaps most profound was the thought that followed - why wasn't that me? What on earth kept me physically sound and whole and this sister of mine broken? Why was I able to complain about being exhausted from a run and she would never know the joy of running as hard as you can. The same emotion struck me when watching Avatar, because it is so clear the things we completely take for granted, like walking each day. So many suffer from various disabilities or diseases throughout their lives. They are our brothers and sisters, even when they look weird or we feel uncomfortable around them. Discomfort is never a good excuse for not loving someoen. I've heard it said before how obviously being nailed to a cross wasn't comfortable for Jesus. Point taken.

We must therefore do all we can for our suffering family members. These are our siblings, who are hungry and bruised and broken. They need our prayers, our letters of support, our financial assistance - whatever we have to offer.

Let us pray:
Lord God, Father of all people, we place before you our suffering family. Be near to those who have lost loved ones through disaster and disease. Draw into your heavenly abode all the souls of those who have passed from these devastating disasters. In your mercy and love, send your Holy Spirit to comfort, guide, enlighten and protect the hearts and souls of those who are stuggling to survive. Move in the hearts of your more fortunate children to realize that all they have been given is a gift from you to be shared with their sisters and brothers in need.
Blessed Mother, you know every sorrow and every hurt carried in the hearts of the poor and the hearts of those who mourn, for you yourself were poor, and you too have mourned your only Son. Hold our brothers and sisters tightly to your heart and never let them be parted from your tender compassion or the Heart of your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord, through the intercession of Mary, Joseph and all the saints.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lila Rose and Live Action

This video was created by, a movement for proving the truth concerning many of the lies spread by Planned Parenthood. This is a video of a woman seeking answers and help from a PP employee. The sad part is evident, because the truth is not spoken. Please watch!

Monday, April 12, 2010

This Just Makes Me Happy

I don't know who these people are, but let's be real - this is just beautiful. That is the delight we are called to have with life, in life, of life. Thank you Jesus for life!

Friday, April 9, 2010

For God So Loved the World

I know it's Easter, but the Resurrection only comes after the Passion, and this image makes my heart melt.
Let him love you.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Feminism, part II

I know I wrote something on feminism back in the day, and I recall rereading it a few months back and thinking I was an idiot. So I may do that again. But as it is, I have a head and heart for the topic. I have a brief thought, and that's all:

"Feminism is the exact opposite of what it is meant to be; where women think themselves liberated, they are rather chained to one option- that of always choosing themselves. This, as history has revealed, is contrary to the very nature of woman, who has always possessed the capacity to give of herself to bring about greatness, most especially obvious in her ability to give life. And so 'feminism' destroys the true feminine nature."

This should seem clear, if common sense is being applied. 

Ask the questions. What is woman? What is feminine? What is proper to her as a feminine woman? If you can't come up with good answers, or answers that bring clarity, than ask the opposing questions. What is man? What is masculine? What makes a woman different from a man? What makes man different from woman? What are their distinct and unique characteristics? 

In our culture today, sadly, there don't seem to be a lot of straightforward answers to these questions. Ambiguity for the sake of equality rules. But has it ever struck you that being "equal" does not mean being the same?! Let's be very basic here - a cup of sugar. "Equal" to eight fluid ounces. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but sugar is a solid. So somehow a liquid and a solid are equal. But they're very different in their nature. 

Man and woman... very different in their nature. This does not create inequality! And we do not need to continually homogenize the genders to create one equal person without sexual difference. Sexuality is a part of the person. A woman has a sexuality that is completely different from another woman's and from a man's. That's why we are born with different bodies, different hormone levels, different metabolisms, etc... Our unique person cannot be understood outside of the aspect of humanity that is gender. This is what culture would have us do - reduce ourselves beyond that pesky issue of sexuality. If there's no sexuality to worry about, there can't be consequences to worry about either. Isn't this obvious! It's a cop-out. A nice blanket to throw over the mess that's been made by attitudes of "free love" and sexual promiscuity that have lead to so many people suffering from diseases, loss of loved ones, broken hearts, misunderstood attractions, abortions, contraceptives, and all that comes with this mentality. Can't fix the problem? Well then, just ignore it. It will go away. 

But it doesn't! Because we're humans. We are people. We love. We have so much more to us than what can be reduced and explained away! We should never treat ourselves with such little appreciation, as to reduce ourselves to a place where our sexuality doesn't matter. I can say very honestly there have been so many times in my life where I felt that life would be so much easier if I did not have such "girly" attributes. Emotional highs and lows, all the competition that comes to us as young women in a culture like ours, the demands on us to be a certain way to receive attention and love, etc... Why not just be a guy? Or better yet, not have emotions at all? Why let anything influence me or touch me? It seems to only incur pain.

But there you have the crux of the issue - once again - to avoid pain, suffering, and the things we can't make sense of, we have to run away from them. Yet, they chase us down. We can't escape them, even with our technology. We can't escape them even with our intelligence and great medical developments. We can't escape them because they are part of our nature, our very being. Sure, medicine can allow for men to be pregnant, for women to conceive from a petri dish, for people to change their gender physically. This doesn't change the unique person they were created to be! Gay or straight, man or woman, transgender or bisexual or any other state you can come up with... we all have one origin and one home. 

The good news is the Christ! The only real answer anyone who is struggling or suffering should hear is that Jesus loves them. Not the peace-and-love crap that has pretty wrapping but nothing inside. I'm speaking of the truth. The Truth. He is a person and He is personal. He loves to the point of shedding blood for his beloved. This is no joke. We are so far removed from his mercy! We can't imagine his forgiveness! We can't imagine that he would still love us! And we don't even imagine that He is real because (once again, our cultural situation) we don't meet him on a daily basis to know that he is real or that he loves us. I mean honestly, if you grew up in public school and you never heard a prayer, who on earth could convince you that Jesus and his message were true? Why would it make sense that a God infinitely loving and perfect would care about you? Would care enough to come to earth to give his life that one day you would hear of his love and want to love him in return? Oh America! No wonder we fear suffering so much! We pretend we've conquered death and then put all of our elderly in homes so no one has to be faced with the truth that age hits and we die. We pretend we've eliminated God from the picture because we can create new human life in a petri dish. Wake up! No wonder we're afraid of pain, of suffering! No wonder we won't face the consequences of our actions. Sin incurs a debt. Sin brings about hurt. It is a break from the love that God offers us, from our relationship with him. If we don't know that He loves us anyway, that he constantly calls us back, that he is faithful a million times that we are not, that he forgives us EVERY time we return truly repentant and with the will to amend our lives - well then, of course we would think it's a hopeless cause. 

But life isn't a hopeless cause and God's mercy is unending because he is perfect love. Read the Scriptures. Just open the Bible. His love will seep in and you won't be able to close your eyes to the truth. A hungry heart is necessary, and we're all starving for a love that gives life instead of death, that offers hope in a weary world. He is Life, Hope, Truth and Love. 

And this is the message that must be proclaimed in this world of gender-neutral treatment. I want to reclaim my feminine nature! I want people to know that by being a woman, there is a mystery about my person that is unique and special because it shares in the feminine mystery. Likewise, I want to look at every man and understand that there is a unique mystery in his person because he is masculine. Where do you even read those words anymore? Kids probably have to go to wikipedia to find out what that is. 

I am all for true feminism, because right now I don't think anyone can be accused of chauvinism or feminism. It's just straight androgynism (chuckle at the play on words later). The point is that there must be a reclaiming of an ultimate truth of personhood, a salvaging of a gender specific anthropology, if we are to ever understand the nature of ourselves and each other. I cannot bear to see so many men and women suffering because they have never been taught the inherent, innate and intrinsic (I love those words) beauty that comes simply from being born a man or a woman. We are equal, but different! Equal in the sense of human value and dignity, in a worth given to us by our being created in God's image and likeness. No matter what religion or non-religion you are, in the end, these natural truths are inevitable because they are prior to your existence. God does in fact create you. Therefore, like it or not, you will have to face that he has created us in a beautiful order, and in that order we find the truth that sets us free. This freedom is one for another, to give ourselves to God, to our brothers and sisters, to our families and friends, etc... A necessary and vital part of this order is that there is a gender difference that allows men and women to give themselves to one another in a marital union that is biologically and ontologically designed to be in the masculine-feminine complimentary structure. 

In the end, just read the Gospels. One will never find a lack of knowledge or truth that reveals the essence and purpose of being in this world when encountering Christ. Jesus is the fullness and perfection of mankind, the God-made-man who reveals to us God's perfect plan of love for humanity. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pondering Within

All I know is, God is good. He is real. Alive. And moving.

When everything you think is what you want turns out to be not what the Lord wants... cry. Then realize exactly how good He is.

He's good enough to give you better dreams.
He's good enough to reveal that He is REAL by his greater wisdom and plan for your life!
He's merciful enough to lead you deeper into love with him if you'll only accept that true love is the bitter sweet fire of joy and sorrow mixed together.
He's perfect. He is perfect and so he is so good and loving and merciful that he leads us to realize just how imperfect we are, and then when we finally realize that immeasurable distance between him and us and we think, there's just no hope - then he is even more merciful because he loves us in spite of our sad state. In fact, he may just love us because of it. He loves us because we are his children, his little ones, the hearts that hold on to his promise and refuse to let go come hell or high water.

Anyway, this is more therapeutic than enlightening, but the truth is so simple. "Walk with me?" He says, holding out his hand. The road is rough, and he is already in so much pain. How could you say no? No one in their right mind would dream of it, he so obviously loves them more than anyone they've ever known. So of course you take his hand, of course you start the climb.
And it hurts, and rocks cut your feet, and you sweat and you start to wonder why he would ask this of you at all. But then you remember, he doesn't need you there. He is going to keep on going. In the most humble love in all existence he invited you to come with him. So climb on! In fact, start running! Forget the cuts and bruises, the hunger and thirst. He loves you so much that you are a salve for his wounds and a support in his struggle. How can that be? He allows your little heart, with its little flame, to be such a light to his great and mighty heart. Why? Simply because that is who he is. What he is. Love itself. That is love. That is God.

I heard a prof say once that if in marriage prep the man is asked why he loves the woman and he begins to list off reasons, they aren't ready. Likewise for the girl. He said, there should be no answer. "I just do." "I don't know." It is meant to be so binding, so convicting, so wholly consuming that there really was never life before they were there with you and there certainly won't be life without them from now on. Another friend told me that knowing he would propose was the easiest question he'd ever faced. "There was no effort, no work. I never had to think about it. We both think the other is too good for each other. She makes me want to be a better man, and I make her want to be a better woman."

Clearly, the analogy of human love, even marital love, is still an analogy at best for the love that is experienced between man and God. Yet, for what it's worth, there it is. Jesus holding out his hand, offering to walk there, beside you and within you, to dwell and remain, and to be all that you work for, laugh for, love for and live for. Will you walk with him? Will it come to you in just such a way? So simple, so light, so easy? Will there be any room for doubt, once you know his enduring faithfulness, his extreme humility, his total otherness? It is precisely because of his greatness that the sacrifice and love he offers is so awe inspiring and nearly ridiculous. It is irrational by human standards that a God who is infinite perfection would yearn to be united in love with a creation that is infinitely imperfect. Fortunately for us, God's wisdom is not man's, nor his ways our ways. And because by his stripes we are healed, and by his Incarnation we are brought into relationship with the Lord, and by his Resurrection we are offered the hope of eternal life - oh let us walk with him. Let us never fear or tremble. He remains.

"Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart."- Lk 2:19