Monday, December 29, 2008
Here is the weekly quote:
"The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and to do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to 'the slavery of sin'"
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1733
Friday, December 19, 2008
Secondly, pregnancy from rape is a very rare situation, it is also very difficult. A woman's body is more likely to concieve when she is relaxed, so it is not common for someone who has been rape to become pregnant.
Thirdly, even though it is a rarity it does happen and those women need lots of love, comfort and, most importantly, they need healing. When a woman does get pregnant from rape, they can often times, understandably, equate the baby with its criminal father and see it as something evil or as just a reminder of the rape. Both the mother and her baby are important and need the help others. It is important to help these women grief and heal from the rape and to help them see their baby as a new innocence life. The life of their baby is no less valuable than the life of a child conceived by a loving married couple. All life is valuable no matter what the circumstances.
Fourthly, many women who have given birth to a child concieved in rape have said that it has helped them in their healing process because it has allowed them to see that God can bring good out of evil.
Fifthly, abortion does not solve the problem, but rather it simply adds one injustice onto anoter injustice and causes women more pain and suffering.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Likewise with sexual feelings. In and of themselves sexual feelings are not bad or good. If you don't take control of them they can harm you and others: STDs, out-of-wedlock pregnancy, emotional and psychological pain, loss of self-respect, low self-esteem, bad reptuattion and possible loss of dreams and goals, etc. However, when you control them it will help you to more deeply bond with your spouse and help you two to create and raise a new life in a stable loving home.
By saying not to sex before marriage, we are growing in self-control, which help us now and in the future as well. When we are tempted to want sex, we can pray for the grace to live chastity. Taking things out of your life, like pornography, that encourages negative sexual feelings are important too.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
How can self-discipline can give someone freedom?
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Taken from Theology of the Body for Teens
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Question Box Friday on a Monday: What should you do if your boyfriend/girlfriend is getting carried away and about to go past your boundaries?
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Senator Obama: "It's Your America, share your ideas"
Senator Barack Obama is asking the country's opinion about how where he should lead our country. Take this opportunity to share with Senator Obama your vision for our country. Respectfully and truthfully share with him your vision for a culture of life; one where every person born and unborn are protected regardless of size, race, ability or place of residence, and more. Ask him not to pass the Freedom of Choice Act.
Monday, December 1, 2008
"Rather than be silent, we must instead point out the singular relevance of this teaching of divine Revelation: what St. Paul identified in the culture of the Greco-Roman world prophetically demonstrates its correspondence with what has taken place in Western culture in recent centuries: the exclusion of the Creator - to the point of proclaiming grotesquely that 'God is dead' - has had the consequence, almost as an inevitable punishment, of the spread of an aberrant sexual ideology, with an arrogance unknown to previous times."
- Cardinal Biffi
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The brain does not reach full development until mid-twenties and one of the last regions of the brain to develop is the pre-frontal cortex which is the part of the brain responsible for making executive decisions such as planning, setting priorities, controlling impulses and weighing the consequences of actions. Learn more about the stage of development that the teen and young adult brain is in at The Medical Institute for Sexual Health's website.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Jason Evert says that chastity is a virtue, just like "courage" or "honesty," that relates to our sexuality. It means we have the strength to use our gift of sex in accord with God's plan.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Here are some informative information to chew on from The Medical Institute for Sexual Health's (MISH) 2003 publication, Sex, Condoms and STDs: What We Now Know - "Safer Sex" isn't nearly safe enough.
What does "protection" mean?
The scientific meaning of the word "protect" can mean anything from "somewhat better than nothing" to "complete safety from a risk factor."
What is consistent (always) condom use?
It is usually defined as 100% condom use during all sexual acts indefinitely.
100% use of condoms for many years is so uncommon that it is almost a, "purely theoretical concept," except for very few, very meticulous individuals. Even among adults who knew their partner had HIV, only 56% used condoms every time.
What do condoms actually do?
Condoms DO NOT provide protection, they reduce the risk of infection
Condoms slip or break on average 1.6% to 3.6% of the time even when used 100% of the time.
The less experience someone has with condom use the greater the chance of condom failure, but most importantly, the more acts of sex someone has, there is more chance of experiencing condom slippage and breakage.
Which STDs do condoms "protect" a person from?
Human Papillomavirus (HPV and the #1 most common STD) and Trichomonas Vaginalis: NO clinical evidence of any risk reduction.
Syphilis: With 100% consistent condom use, there remains a 50%-71% risk of infection
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea: With 100% consistent condom use, there remains a 50% risk of infection
Herpes II: With 100% consistent condom use, there still remains a 60% risk of infection
(Herpes II often produces lesions outside the areas that are covered by condoms.)
HIV: With 100% condom use, there still remains a 15% risk of infection
For the approximately 20 other STDs, not enough data exists to say whether or not condoms offer any risk reduction from sexual transmission.
Among teenagers and young adults, when using a condom, there is still a 22.5% risk of becoming pregnant.
The birth control pill, when taken properly everyday, has a 2% failure rate of pregnancy, but provide no reduced risk of contracting a STD.
Condoms and the birth control pill were not invented to "protect" us from STDs or pregnancy. They were created so we can have sex whenever we want with whoever we want.
There was already a very healthy and natural way of preventing STDs and pregnancy. It's called abstinence and it is a great thing! Our sexual urges and feelings are healthy and good, but we are not a mere a collection of urges. We are human beings with the inherent dignity of being created with the ability to reason and will. We have the great privilege and capacity to control ourselves; our urges or feelings whether they be sexually or not. We have got to stop believing the lie that "If it feels good then do it," or "If it feels good then it must be good" or "They'll going to do it anyways." Sex is great, but we don't have to have sex in order to be happy in life. I look forward to my honeymoon night, but I am 24 years old and have not yet had sex and I am very happy and fulfilled.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
November is the month of adoption so I thought I would take the opportunity to write a little blog about adoption. Scott, Thom and I's boss, worked as an adoption social worker for six years and often comes out to the schools with Thom and I to speak about adoption. An important point that Scott likes to make is that a person does not "put up" their child for adoption. The phrase "put up" comes from the early 1900's when parents would put their children on trains and send them out West to help on the farms. When they got off the train, they were put up on a platform for the farmers to choose from. Adoption is nowhere near the same experience. Birth parents do not simply put their child up for adoption. Rather, they make an adoption plan. They are making a plan for that child's future. For whatever reason, they are not mature (financially, emotionally, spiritually) enough to parent their child so they make a plan to ensure that child's going to be taken care of. Birth parents love their children and it is out of this great love that they choose adoption. It takes a lot of courage, responsibility and unconditional love to place a child for adoption.
In Semi-open and Completely open adoptions, the birth mother is able to choose the adoptive family. There are somewhere between 1-2 million couples waiting to adopt because teen pregnancy is no longer a stigma so teens are keeping and parenting, abortion has cut the pool of available babies in half, wide-spread STDs have caused infertility and people are waiting longer to have children and using birth control which can create infertility problems. Birth parents have plenty of couples to choose fro and the adoptive family goes through interviews, home study, training, finger painting, etc to ensure that they are a stable unit that can provide a strong and loving family for a baby.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
First, we discuss a study that was done by scientist Desmond Morris who developed the Steps of Sexual Progression. There are 12 steps, we discuss the first 8 which are as follow: (1) Notice the other person, (2) Eye-contact, (3) Conversation. These first three steps are the foundation of a relationship, because it is in talking to another person that you get to know them; their likes, dislikes, hobbies, talents, interests, morals, values, etc. The next three steps are side-by-side physical contact that still allow for conversation to take place: (4) Holding Hands, (5) Hand-to-Shoulder, (6) Hand-to-waist. The next two steps are more intimate physical contact: (7) Simple Kiss, (8) Hand-to-Face (This is not a slap. This is a prolonged kiss in which one brings their hand to caress someone face. It is intimate kissing). We do not discuss steps 9-12 because these are steps that begin to prepare one's body for sex with the final step being sex. If we are saving sex for marriage then we ought save sex and all the steps that prepare the body for sex for marriage. It took eight steps to get to intimate kissing and only three steps are left until you reach sexual intercourse so after step eight things escalate quickly and it is good to set up boundaries at step eight or even before. Also, Morris discovered that if any of these steps are hurried along or skipped all together, the bond between the man and woman is weakened. We encourage the students to wait to date until they are much older, but once they do start dating we encourage them to take their time and really get to know one another.
Secondly, pretend it is a beautiful summer day and you are at Niagara Falls with your boyfriend or girlfriend having a picnic. You have never been there before and you want to get a closer look at the falls so you get up and go running over to the edge. How close can you get to the edge before you know that you have gone too far? You can only know when you have gone too far, once you have already fallen. Otherwise, you might think you can always go a little further and a little bit further because you have not fallen yet.
We say that the questions "How far is too far?" is the wrong question to be asking because in a sense we are really asking "How close can I get to hurting you without actually hurting you?" or "How close can I get to sinning before it is considered sinning?" Asking this kind of question is not really loving someone. Rather, if we really love someone, we should be asking, "How can I show my affection for this person?" or "How can I show how much I care for them?" and ultimately, "How close can I bring this person to Christ?" By saying "no" to sex and sexual activity before marriage, we show how much we love someone because we show we are willing to wait for them and that we have their best interest at heart.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
And from time to time we may fail; we may stumble. It's important to remember during these times that God always loves us. His love never fails. God is not surprised by our weaknesses or our sins. He knows we are weak without Him. What surprises Him is our lack of faith in His mercy and love. Never run from Him. Never convince yourself that you are too sinful to approach God. This wounds His heart more than your sin. When we face sin in our lives honestly and openly and humbly admit them and seek God's forgiveness, He will have mercy on us and empower us to overcome them. It is never too late for anyone to turn to God and to overcome obstacles. And then sit back and watch as your life becomes more fulfilling and more satisfying than you ever imagined possible.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The In Control chastity program that Thom and I run has a six part definition:
(1) Saving sex and all sexual activity for marriage
(2) Married couples remain faithful to one another
(3) Priests and religious take a vow not to have sex
(4) Dress Modestly
(5) Respect for oneself and others
(6) Purity of thoughts, words and actions
Basically, chastity is the virtue that helps us live out our sexuality in a way that is in accord with God's plan for our life.
I want to speak with you for a moment about the 4th part of our definition of chastity: dressing modestly. It is so important for us to regard our bodies as something very special and dress accordingly: covering up those parts that are not meant to be seen by the whole world.
Here are some great fashionable and modest clothing for you to check out:
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Think STDs and pregnancy are the only consequences to worry about when it comes to casual sex? Time to think again. New science research find emotional and psychologically consequences of casual sex. Want to read more about this new scientific research click here.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Christopher West's book entitled The Good News about Sex and Marriage is an interesting and helpful read to better understanding the Church's teaching on sexual morality. West takes the most controversial and most asked questions about sexual morality and answers them; often in light of John Paul II's Theology of the Body. West combines his gifts of knowledge, wisdom and wit to help explain the Church's deep teachings on sex and marriage.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Pregnancy Center East relys on the generosity of others in order to provide the life giving services we have. One event coming up that will help raise funds and awareness of Pregnancy Center East is an
Exclusive Market Day Shopping Event
"Drop Your Dough For Diapers"
A wonderful opportunity to get a jump on your holiday shopping, and purchase many specialty items including: custom stationary, jewelry, purses, children's clothing, one of a kind art work, beauty products, custom jackets and skirts, trunk show featuring Khaki's, monogrammed gifts, Otazu Jewelry, golf and tennis gifts, , Southern Living.....Come with your friends and neighbors for a cup of coffee, or a boxed lunch and plan to make a day of it!!!
Being Held In Historic St. Rose Church Undercroft
2501 Riverside Drive
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
10 am – 8 pm
Our amazing variety of specialty retailers will be directly donating a portion of their sales to help raise funds for clients in need of our everyday free services!
We hope you will come out and support the Center while buying items for friends and family.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
This past weekend Karen and I were blessed to go see Christopher West speak in Kentucky. Christopher West is to Theology of the Body (TOB) as the apostle Paul was to spreading Christianity. He is an engaging and enlightening speaker and writer.
I’ll write out a couple points that are essential to the TOB:
1. Man (both male and female) is called to communion. That is, man is not created to be alone.
2. Our sexuality, mine male and perhaps yours female, is a sacramental (i.e. physical sign of the eternal mystery).
3. In our sexuality, we learn that not only are we called to communion but also we get a glimpse into the interior life of God, or the Trinity.
4. Sex is sacred because it mirrors the Trinity. The lover gives his self to the beloved and their love creates a third. “The Father almighty… The Lord eternally begotten of the Father… The Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son.” Sound familiar?
5.Sex is created solely for marriage because marriage mirrors the love of God. Marriage is total love in that it is free, faithful, and fruitful. Here’s some vows that the spouses take (forgive me if they aren’t phrased exactly): Do you come here on your own free will (i.e. free)? Do you take this husband/wife ‘til death do you part (faithful)? Do you accept openness to the gift of children (fruitful)?
This is only part of the profound beauty of the TOB. We’ll see how this relates to the passion of Christ and how priests and singles also participate in divine love, among other topics. I will write more about this later. Perhaps, I’ll expand on some of the above points. We’ll see! You’ll just have to keep visiting us to find out more!
(Actually, seriously, if you want to know more before I write more- look up Christopher West or Theology of the Body on the internet and get some materials on this much needed Church teaching.)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
What are the two main reasons for sex? The intimate bonding of a husband and wife and openness to new life. Is there bonding between a husband and wife in masturbation? No. Is there openness to new life in masturbation? No. Any time we take one or both of these reasons for sex out of the equation, we are misusing the gift of our sexuality and ultimately we will not be happy because we are not living God's plan for our human sexuality.
Masturbation can also be harmful in relationships because it trains someone to look at sex as being merely for one's own pleasure. When one gets married, it can be difficult for them to see sex as a way to express love for their spouse and as a way to create new life.
Much of our culture is self-centered. Many of us have been poisoned to believe that if we don't gratify every one of our sexual urges we are putting our sexuality in the dark and somehow denying ourselves something we deserve. Every one has sexual feelings and sex is a good thing! God created us to desire it. But above our sexual feelings, we have our ability to reason and the power to control ourselves. By saying no to sex before marriage, we are saying yes to sex after and for marriage. When we are tempted to want sex, we can pray for the grace to live chastity and witness God empowering us to live according to his plan. Taking things out of our life that encourage negative sexual feelings such as pornography is an important and helpful step. It's also important to remind ourselves that every desire we have is a reminder of our ultimate desire for God in heaven. When we have sexual feelings, we can take that time to remember that we want to be united with God (non-sexually) in heaven and use it as an opportunity for prayer.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
When just interviewing the girls, Chris asked if they and their friends discussed the possibility of pregnancy. One girl answered that no she and her friends don't really talk about it because it's not something they plan on happening. The girls were also asked who they felt were responsible for "safe sex" to which they all replied that both the girl and the guy are responsible for "safe sex." I agree. Both girls and guys are responsible for sex that is safe. However, there is no such thing as sex that is 100% safe unless it is within marriage between two people who love each other and who have saved themselves sexually for one another. Condoms and birth control have failure rates and do not protect against emotional or spiritual consequences.
The guys were asked if there was a fear of pregnancy connected with having sex. One of the guys answered that yes there was a fear because pregnancy forces teenager into adulthood, causing them to have to worrying about getting diapers for their baby at age 16. I agree. Teenagers should not have to worrying about adulthood. They ought to be free to be teenagers! That is why we think they ought to and are capable of saving sex for later in life when they are older and married. Sex is for mature adults who are married because of what sex expresses and the responsibilities that naturally come with having sex.
One girl claimed that our generation is more sexually mature faster then past generations have been. Is our generation really sexually mature? No. Much of our generation is just the opposite - immature with regards to their sexuality. Our society today has degraded human sexuality to merely a physical act and lost sight of the true meaning and purpose of our human sexuality.
The group was asked why they thought so many teens were having sex when they were so smart and knew about the risks. One girl answered by saying, "I don't think it matters how much you know. I think it's something that teenagers are too young to know how to control," but they are "old enough to know how to do it." One of the boys claimed that "the rewards greatly out-weighed the risks." If taught how and why, I believe and know that teenagers have the power and capability to control their sexual urges and that the benefits of saving sex for marriage greatly out numbers the consequences of having sex before marriage.
The group was allowed to ask each other questions where upon one of the girls asked the guys why they think it is so cool to have sex with so many girls? One boy replied that it had to with the "male dominance complex"- an "extremely old concept" that is "traditional." Another boy said that in society a boy is cooler the more "cool points" he wins - the more girls a guy gets with the cooler he is. This raises the question, "What makes a man a real man?" Is a man a real man and more of a man the more women he "conquers" and has sex with? I dare to say no. Animals can have sex. Does that make them a man? No. All that sexual promiscuity says about a man is that he lacks integrity for himself and for women. Are woman mere objects to be conquered? Generations ago, men used their "male dominance complex" for much more noble causes and were thought to be real men when they fought battles, conquered enemies and protected the rights of their fellow country men and women. Real men honor and fight to protect the rights of women, not rob them of it.
I wonder why the teenagers were not asked about abstinence-until-marriage?
Here is the link if you would like to check it out yourself: http://abcnews.go.com/gma
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
The website claims that we "were born to be in love with our bodies," but that "somewhere down the road to growing up we put our reproductive selves in the dark" and that "we are ultimately in charge of our bodies." The website says that this "may be the most important responsibility we have" and encourages viewers to make a pact to make their body their best friend.
We were born not to be in love with our bodies but rather to communicate love with and through our bodies. We speak a language with our bodies. A hand shake tells someone that we are happy to meet them. A hug tells someone that we care about them. A kiss tells someone that we love them. We can use our bodies to care for the sick and feed the poor. We act out the love in our hearts through the actions of our body.
To save sex and all sexual activity for marriage is not putting our reproductive selves in the dark but rather putting our sexuality in the light of truth. Someone who practices true abstinence, which is saving all sexuality activity for marriage, does so because they understand the true meaning and power of their own sexuality: union with their spouse and creation of new life. They understand that their sexuality is so special and so powerful that it is meant to bond them deeply with one person and one person only - their spouse: the person whom they love and the person who loves them and therefore the two have made a life-long commitment to one another before God and the Church. They understand that true love is committed, faithful and life-long. They understand that their sexual union is so powerful that it is capable of creating new life and they are ready to love and care responsibly for that new life together.
God is ultimately in charge of our bodies. It is by His will that we are kept alive and it is to Him that we are to give our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to Him (Romans 12:1). It pleases God when we love with our bodies in a way that is in accord with truth.
Caring for others and ourselves is the most important responsibility we have. Sexual promiscuity is not caring for others nor is it caring for one's self, but rather it is using and abusing others, as well as, ourselves with our sexuality.
This website is promoting a selfish message, saying that sexual activity is solely about a person's own sexual need and gratification.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
My second thought is even if lie detectors were reliable, "What is the point of this TV show?" The purpose of the TV show is to entertain Americans by destroying marriages and families. The contestants are paid to reveal their deep dark secrets on television for the whole world to witness. The more they reveal the more money they win. The article shares about one contestant who "admitted to extramarital sex wishing she'd married an ex-boyfriend - as her husband sat 20 feet away, head buried in his hands."
The article poses several great questions to ponder. One of them being the following question, "What does it say to teens when immoral confessions earn applause?" For a few seconds the crowd is shocked, but then they applaud the contestant when it is discovered that they have answered truthfully - even if they have answered honestly about something sinful. Is it okay for us to sin as long as we are truthful about it?
Here are some other good questions the article proposes for families to discuss about this TV show, as well as, insightful scripture references:
(1) What's the difference between a confession inspired by true repentance, and one motivated by greed or other selfish gain? (Proverbs 28:13; Psalm 51; 1 Timothy 6:9-12)
(2) When is better NOT to share our dislikes, temptations or other secret thoughts? (Ephesians 4:29; James 3; Proverbs 11:13)
(3) What is more noble, disclosing misdeeds under pressure or living a moral, upright life without a closet full of skeletons? (Proverbs 2:7-8; Psalm 11, 112 and 84:11)
Monday, August 25, 2008
It’s deceiving to even call it a debate. The article quoted the president of Catholic lawyers and he said it well: “It’s a debate over absolutes. It’s not really a subject to debate.” It’s important not to be deceived. A great trick of the Enemy is when he tempts us to think that God’s laws are open to debate. The right to life is necessary.
Also, there were others quoted that confused their religion with their fallen feelings. One woman said: “I am Catholic, but I have convictions.” Another was quoted: “I’m Catholic, but now that the law has passed [I’m having an abortion].” Are these Catholics uninformed? Regardless, once again, the media is sending mixed messages. Say, for example, you were an uninformed Catholic that reads the papers more often than you listen to your pastor. One would think, after reading something like this, that it’s okay to profess to be Catholic and supportive of something so grave that the Church condemns. It’s not okay.
The good news, though, is that 85% of the doctors in Mexico City won’t perform the abortion. Alleluia!
Please remember Mexico City in your prayers.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Yesterday, I wrote that love is sacrificial. That coincides with the statement that the opposite of love is self-centeredness. On further reflectin, it's not that simple, I think. There are many times that love seems selfish.
A selfish or neglectful act does not mean that you don't love some one. I'm thinking, in particular, of my love for Christ. The natural conclusion, if I were to hold the statement "the opposite of love is self-centeredness," would be that I don't love Christ because I don't continually sacrifice for him.
I know that some would say "Christ has come to give mercy." Then, what about my love for my parents? There will be times when my mom or dad will call and I'll see their number on the ID. I won't pick it up. This doesn't mean that I don't love my parents. I love my parents and I love Christ even if I have trouble sacrificing for them.
So, then, what is love? Dante writes in Vita Nuova: "Love and the noble heart are but on in the same." There's something to that.
I'll think about that some more and write more later.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Jesus tells us in Mt. 7: “Ask and it will be given; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened.” I’m sure you have asked and still struggle. Yet, Jesus cannot lie. He is the perfect spouse.
Is it that your will is not strong enough? The consequence for sin is more sin. The more one submits to an ungodly temptation, the more often one will do it again. Therefore, it is important to cultivate holiness in the repetition of good deeds. Start small and work to larger deeds.
Is it that you rely too much on your will? There comes a time when Christ hands us a cross and tells us to walk with him. Yet, there are two points to remember: 1. Christ gives you the cross, or the desire to become holier, and 2. He walks with you and helps. When you fall, he comes to pick you up and asks you to start again.
I don’t think that this is quite enough. The nature of love is to sacrifice. Is it that you must grow in love for Jesus? Love is reciprocal, which means that it’s shared. Jesus loves you and you must return that love. Sacrifice comes easily when you love the other so much.
The fact that one fails so often is discouraging. Sin is insatiable and the temptation continues to grow each time that one commits it. It can feel like Jesus isn’t helping. Why not? He is helping. Every time we repent he takes the situation including our mistakes and builds on it. We learn from it and share it with others.
In the Mystery, one is always left with questions. Do not let it stop you from asking.
May we constantly be reborn and strengthened in the Spirit.
Friday, August 15, 2008
In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.”
2. Here’s a deep thought: Since Our Lady was bodily assumed into heaven, her body occupies the space of Heaven (mass, her body, occupies space). Does this mean that Heaven is a physical place out there somewhere? Or, since this assumption is “an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians,” was she assumed in a glorified body (Christ calls the bodies of the resurrected “glorified”)? What is a glorified body? Is it matter that necessarily occupies space? Some deep, deep questions, huh?
I know that these questions and thoughts are pretty philosophical and abstract. Yet, they are fun to think about, huh? Sometimes I can almost imagine Heaven and the choirs of angels and saints, the Holy Family, and the Glory of the Trinity. I try to reach it in human terms, through my senses. Yet, the reality of Heaven is indescribable. A professor in seminary told me once: “We have to use words to talk about God. Yet, He is infinitely more complex than any set of words.” Therein lays the mystery.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
- The average length of a live-in relationship is 1.3 years.
- Cohabiting couples have an 80%+ chance that their relationship will end. (40% breakup before they marry; the other 40% divorce within 10 years of marriage.)
- The U.S. Justice Department found that women are 62 times more likely to be assaulted by a live-in boyfriend than by a husband.
- Living together doubles the risk for child abuse for any children in the home of a couple cohabiting.
- Cohabiting women have rates of depression 3 times higher than married women.
- Approximately 1 in 5 women living with someone has a sexual relationship with someone other than the guy with whom she lives. On the other hand, only an estimated 1 in 25 married women has a sexual relationship outside of marriage.
- If the couple abstains from sex before marriage, they are 29-47% more likely to enjoy sex afterward than those who cohabit.
- Married couples who pray together and practiced Natural Family Planning (NFP) as opposed to artificial contraception only have a 3-5% divorce rate.
- Currently, there are 12 married couples for every cohabiting couple
Friday, August 8, 2008
Today, our culture works hard to separate the two. Our society down plays God's role in our sexuality. "If it feels good it must be right." But who created and gave us our sexuality? God. So, would He not also know best what is the meaning and purpose of our sexuality? Our sexuality is so much more than a feeling.
The connection between our sexuality and our faith is crucial to understanding the true meaning and purpose of our human sexuality. Only God can reveal to us the true beauty and depth of our sexuality as men and women and how the two really complement each other.
The article reports Freitas saying that students are struggling to deal with the disconnect between what they really want and what they think is expected of them. So what do college students really want? Like all of us, they want authentic love - love that is real and total. Who wants to be loved for just their body and what it can do for another? I dare say no one. What is expected of them? The college environment expects them to join the party scene of excessive drinking and excessive casual sex with whomever, thus, denying themselves their true worth.
It is hard when the pressures of our society pull us in one direction and the yearning of our hearts pull us in a different direction. Wouldn't it serve us better to listen to our hearts so we can really live to the fullest?
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2
Thursday, August 7, 2008
The Norwegian researchers studied 5,768 women between the ages of fifteen and twenty seven. The women were psychologically and physically hurt. Women who have had abortions consistently tested as having signs of depression and anxiety. To add, many reported abusing alcohol and drug use, which is not uncommon among traumatized persons.
One pro-choice argument is that terminating an unexpected pregnancy (abortion) saves the woman the psychological trauma of raising a child. No, says the research. Actually it exposes the mothers to psychological harm.
Relation to Church Teaching
This evidence points toward what the Church has always taught. “The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,” Paul tells us. If we sin, there are certainly spiritual consequences that can be alleviated in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. There are also natural consequences for sin that may or may not be healed. For example: If a married man commits adultery, which breaks the sixth commandment, the man is in sin and must repent to God. Yet, even after repenting to God, he must reconcile his self with his wife. God will accept his repentance- but his wife might not. So, there are natural, or bodily, consequences of sin. In the case of the post-abortive mother, the natural consequences (to name a few) are depression and anxiety.
Pray for the healing of these women. Also, “hate the sin and not the sinner.” We have to love and support post-abortion mother.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
After 25 rocky years of marriage, my parents divorced. That was just four years ago. My mom and dad were good parents who loved their four children very much, but they were not so good at being husband and wife. They were not able to set a good example of marriage for my siblings or I. I got two very different messages on sexuality from my parents. My mom told me all the good stuff like, “You are a precious treasure and if a guy really loves you he will love ALL of you, not just parts of you.” “If a guy really loves you he won’t pressure you to have sex. He’ll wait until he has committed himself to you forever in marriage.” On the other hand, my dad caused me to have the impression that all men look at women the same –“Guys will be guys,” “We like to look at women and we like the women who are thin and sexy the best,” “Don’t try to change us, accept us for who we are.” "You are a treasure, but just make sure you stay fit and don't let yourself go, or else. . . " These are the types of things my dad would say to me and the type of lies I half-way bought into. The other half bought into the things my mom told me. I wanted to believe my mom, but I mistrusted her wisdom because of the things my dad would tell me. I was confused.
I decided to listen to mom because her message range true in my heart. I committed myself to living a chaste life. Well, living chastity through high school was pretty easy because I never dated anyone. Chastity is easier to live when you are not in a relationship because you just have to worry about yourself. You don’t have to try and convince a boyfriend to live it with you. I just never found a guy that was mature enough to treat me with the respect I knew I deserved.
I had my first serious relationship the summer before college. The guy’s name was Curtis. At first things were great! He treated me really good. He waited a whole month to kiss me for the first time. We went off to the same college together. I wish I could say things remained innocent and good, but they did not. Curtis and I never discussed boundaries in our relationship and because I liked Curtis so much and thought he really liked me, I comprised myself. We never had sex, but we did things beyond the proper boundaries for a young dating couple. What I thought was an expression of our love for each other soon felt like regret and guilt. I tried to talk to Curtis about it, but it was just too awkward for both of us. Our relationship began to suffer. We didn’t talk anymore and we grew apart. After 7 months, we broke up. I was left with a wounded heart that still from time to time bleeds. You never get over your first love completely.
To help heal the hurt, I had a few flings in the following months. None of them were healthy. They were all dumb. I was using them to fill the void that now existed in me. They did not help me heal at all. I decided to stop dating and let God help me heal. I decided to give myself time to figure out who I was as a woman. I transferred colleges. I started attending a great Catholic college that was eight hours away called
In the spring of my junior year of college, I studied abroad in
And, it was there that I met Francesco. Francesco was from
I have had to learn the hard way how much not living chastity hurts. I have ruined two very good relationships through not living it!
This past year was my senior year of college. I decided to make chastity the topic of my senior seminar. I had to do a lot of research and again came in contact with the Church’s beautiful message on the truth and meaning of our human sexuality. This time the message really captured my heart! A passion for chastity and purity flowered in my heart and I yearned to be truly loved by a man in chaste way! I am so thankful for my job as a chastity educator because it gives me a chance to tell my little corner of the world about what I had learned the hard way! Not living chastity only brings regret, hurt and brokenness. Living chastity brings true freedom and joy!
I have recently started dating a guy named John. I have shared with John my desire to live a Christ-like and holy life. He admires me and likes me MORE for this! John has also been waiting for a Godly-woman to come into his life! We are a new relationship and still in the very early stages of our relationship, but things are looking bright for us. We pray together and we are concerned with leading each other closer to God. The lies of my dad will always be in the back of my mind and the distorted message of our society will always surround me, but I have chosen to ignore them and embrace the beauty and truth of my sexuality. I hope you will do the same!
Girls there are good men out there desiring good Godly-woman! And guys there are good girls out there desiring a good Godly-man! Wait for each other!
Catholics consider the Truth to be founded on three “pillars”: Scripture, Holy Tradition, and the Magisterium of the Church (its teaching and interpretive branch). The three branches, or pillars, are inseparable. It is what makes Catholics so special. When one willfully defies any of the pillars that person is culpable for that sin and perhaps more because his or her example may lead others into sin. Our politicians and notable Catholics must be held responsible for their misleading faith example. Nancy Pelosi is defing our Tradition and our Magisterium, which is based on Scripture and the teachings of Christ, when she continues to go to Communion while supporting abortion.
Bishops all over the United States have started to deny Communion to loose-cannon Catholics. Some Bishops are more vocal than others. For example: There is the recent, famous incident when the Archbishop of Kansas, His Excellency Joseph F. Naumann, had to asked Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to not present herself in the Communion line because of her advocating pro-abortion policy. This is a bold and brave move of His Excellency. I pray that more bishops follow his example.
The Archbishop of San Francisco has yet to make that statement to Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi stated that “It depends on the bishop of a certain region and fortunately for me, communion has not been withheld and I’m a regular communicant so that would be a severe blow to me if that were the case.” She is giving a bad witness to the faithful. It is important for every Catholic to defend the integrity of our Mother, the Church.
Brothers and sisters, pray for the integrity of the Church and that Her teachings may be respected.
May Christ always lead us in every action, word, and prayer.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Karen Courtney here! Just wanted say hey and wanted introduce myself! Thom and I have taken over Emily and Nicole's jobs and are now in charge of this blog. Thom has already done a great job with the blog so far! I hope to be able to contribute helpful and interesting information as well! God bless you all!
Friday, August 1, 2008
One day recently at the Center I heard crying that can best be described as tears from the soul. A routine phone call to check up on a client who had been to the Center turned out to be anything but routine. She wanted to come in right away to talk. As she walked down the hall to the counseling room, tears began to come and weeping followed. From my office I could hear the crying and the anguish coming from this 19 year old woman. While I didn't know right away the reason for the crying, I had a suspicion. My feelings were right, she had aborted her baby and the abortion had occurred just 5 days prior. I have counseled several women and talked to men who have been through abortions, but what I heard on this day was so much different. I usually am dealing with someone who has hidden their pain and masked it for years. This young lady had a fresh wound. Her soul was still bleeding. The staff at the Center could do nothing but pray for her and the client advocate who was with her. A somber attitude filled the Center that afternoon. We knew she was in pain. We could almost feel it ourselves. The crying and weeping would stop and then begin again. For two hours this young lady poured out her heart and anguished over an abortion she did not want. She was forced into the abortion by a relative. She knew what she had done was wrong and now every moment of every day she was in pain. Our call that day to see how she was doing was a divine appointment. This girl needed someone to talk to. She needed to begin the healing process. She still has a long way to go but has taken the first steps. Those tears for the loss of her child were the first steps in this long journey. I can't help but think of all the women and the men who abort their children and the pain they feel. It is one thing to know that this atrocity of abortion goes on every day in America. It touches you in a different way when you hear the tears of sorrow that pour from the soul of a mother who has lost her child through abortion.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Also, I met a couple at a restaurant down the street and they had triplets plus one more. It was comedic to the onlooker to see the children in one long, long stroller. The parents were laughing, too. I went to help them out the door and started a conversation. I'm fascinated with couples that so easily bear such a great load. They are happily married and have a beautiful family. It filled my heart and I thank God for such couples.
Please keep all young couples and their families in your prayers.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
"It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness. He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the mask of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocracy, the courage to commit yoursleves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal."- Pope John Paul II
Don't subdue the inner voice that pushes you to greatness. It might be difficult to follow but it is God Himself that calls. Your courage and faith will be rewarded. Stand up for what is right and holy! Pray for the unborn and the couples entrusted with the decision.
May the peace of His Sacred Heart shine on us.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Love, he writes, is four-part: Free, total, faithful, and fruitful. If one of the four is removed or violated, the love is incomplete.
Also, he writes that contraception is immoral. Why? It omits fruitfulness, specifically procreation, from love. It is also not total becuase to withhold one's fertility is not to give oneself totally.
God's interior life of love (God is Love) is the model for all love. It is free, total, faithful, and fruitful. The Father freely gives his self to the son (free), which begets the Holy Spirt (fruitful). The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are inseperable (total) and eternal (faithful). This is deep stuff and is called Trinitarian Theology. It is implicit in the former Pope's encyclical.
Here's some homework for you: Go to the Vatican site and read this monumental encyclical http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html.
May we always mind God's will to take joy in life and build a lifestyle that respects and values it.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Whether not you vote or you’re old enough to vote, consider familiarizing yourself with the presidential candidates. Even if you’re not casting your vote, you can influence others that do.
As my first post, I would like to paste a paragraph from Cincinnati Right Life’s most recent newsletter. It concerns Barack Obama’s position on abortion:
“OBAMA SUPPORTS ABORTION: Senator Barack Obama has firmly stated that if elected president, and if on his desk his first day in office, he would sign the Freedom of Choice Act. This would completely reverse any and all pro-life laws passed by Congress in the last twenty years. It would cancel the Hyde Amendment, and have government pay for all abortions. It would eliminate any conscientious objection clauses. It would cancel any requirements for parental notification or consent, and for informed consent for the woman. It would once again allow killing a baby during delivery by partial birth abortions. It would cancel out the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, allowing abortionists to smother or otherwise kill babies "accidentally" born alive from late abortions. The list goes on and on. All of this would come if the Freedom of Choice Act is passed as proposed, and if there were not enough votes to filibuster and stop its passage” (http://www.cincinnatirighttolife.org/newsletters/aug2008.pdf).
The bishops teach us that Catholics must mind the “five non-negotiables” when supporting a political candidate. They are as follows: 1. Abortion 2. Euthanasia 3. Stem-cell research 4. Human Cloning 5. Homosexual “marriage.” If the candidate supports any or all of those issues, a Catholic is strongly advised not vote for that candidate.
One might ask, “What if the candidate supports stem-cell research but is against abortion? Who do I support?” In this case, the faithful voter must recall that there is a hierarchy of sin. That is, some sins are graver than others. While all of the “five non-negotiables” are serious, serious sins- I’d argue that abortion is the worst. Every year there are approximately 1.2 million unborn children murdered. Right to life issues are directly related to a candidate’s entire platform. As Emily, the former administrator and contributor to this blog, asked me in one of our loving debates: “Do you think that a politician that doesn’t respect the rights of a defenseless child will respect your rights?” Well said Emily. (Thank you for reminding me that the end does not justify the means.)
So, I hope that all of you don’t stop here. Take some time to check out the candidates’ site, why don’t ya? Here are the links: http://www.barackobama.com/splash/ and www.johnmccain.com . Remember, whether or not you are voting or old enough to vote, it is important to inform yourself on some of these issues.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I am leaving Pregnancy Center East tomorrow to prepare to pursue graduate studies in Washington, DC. Consequently, I will no longer be contributing to this blog. In the mean time, you can find my writings here.
God bless you and keep you!
Finally, let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes from my hero, John Paul II:
"Life is a talent (cf. Mt 25:14-30) entrusted to us so that we can transform it and increase it, making it a gift to others. No man is an iceberg drifting on the ocean of history. Each one of us belongs to a great family, in which he has his own place and his own role to play. Selfishness makes people deaf and dumb; love opens eyes and hearts, enabling people to make that original and irreplaceable contribution which, together with the thousands of deeds of so many brothers and sisters, often distant and unknown, converges to form the mosaic of charity which can change the tide of history."
Friday, July 18, 2008
This story is from LifeNews:
Sydney, Australia (LifeNews.com) -- At the welcoming ceremony for the opening of World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, the pope told tens of thousands of young people that they have a responsibility to protect human life. Pope Benedict XVI told cheering throngs of students and young adults that they need to stand up against abortion.
Addressing a crowd estimated at 150,000 people, the Catholic leader said that newfound enthusiasm for protecting the environment must be match by an equal vigor to protect human life.
"At the heart of the marvel of creation are you and I, the human family, 'crowned with glory and honor,'" he told the audience.
While safeguarding the environment is important, Pope Benedict said a clean environment means nothing if people are not alive to benefit from it.
"How can it be that the most wondrous and sacred human space -- the womb -- has become a place of unutterable violence" through abortion? he asked.
The pope said that if the youth of the world would stand up for the worth and dignity of human life, it would help produce a world with more peace and harmony.
"Our world has grown weary of greed, exploitation and division, of the tedium of false idols and piecemeal responses and the pain of false promises," he said.
"Our hearts and minds are yearning for a vision of life where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth and where unity is found in respectful communion," the pope added.
The young people responded to the pro-life message with considerable enthusiasm and Pope Benedict appeared to relish this.
"World Youth Day fills me with confidence for the future of the church and the future of the world," he said.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
You can read updates about Christa here. Below is a short excerpt from the site:
The first 3 doctors I saw all indicated that a 'therapeutic termination' of pregnancy would be my best option to increase the chance of long term survival (>5 yrs). However we didn't find that that option would be very therapeutic to our child so we told them that it wasn't possible. I could kind of relate to the early Christians in that exam room that day, "kill your child or die!" - ok, so maybe I am over dramatizing it, but that's what it felt like.
Nobody could agree on any possibility of a positive outcome if I didn't just kill the kid and start on my merry treatment. Very uncreative from my viewpoint, and especially coming from a major research hospital, I would expect more than the one surgical option they offered me.
Anyway, Todd and I the next day, went for a meeting with surgeon #2 very disheartened- expecting more of the same. However, he did not give us that, in fact he didn't even mention it. He actually had several surgical options which could possibly take place in the 2nd trimester. He had already consulted research and 3 other surgeons from across the country and anesthesiologists to see what they could do for me in my unique circumstances. He is a man of faith and stated that he was committed to preserving both lives present even though many don't see it that way. Yes, that is what I expect from a major teaching institution. We were very encouraged and will likely be having surgery somewhere in my second trimester. Whether chemo would be added afterwards is yet to be seen- somewhat dependant on my surgery results.