Monday, December 28, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Because God is the very embodiment of love, his love inspires you to be what you are meant to be: a free person in the highest sense of the word. The more you are led by God's love, the more you become yourself, and it is all done without even losing your freedom."

- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

"Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction..." - BXVI ~ MERRY CHRISTMAS!~

Friday, December 18, 2009

Moving Day!

Pregnancy Center East is moving! As of today, we're now at our new location. We're all very excited to finally have our own home. Our new address is 3944 Edwards Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45209. Our phone number is still the same: (513) 321 - 3100.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stocking Stuffers


Looking for something creative and meaningful to give this Christmas? Here are a few ideas for stocking stuffers that I found:





- Chastity rings. Wearing a ring like this is a beautiful way to remind yourself of the person that you are waiting for someday. You can buy them at http://www.catholicexchange.com/.

Faithfully: This is a CD of songs that Eric and Leslie Ludy, Christian authors, wrote for each other about waiting for your husband or wife. http://www.setapartlife.com/


Pure Love: a Q&A booklet by Jason Evert. Amazing! www.catholic.com







Monday, December 14, 2009

“To be pure, to remain pure, can only come at a price, the price of knowing God and loving him enough to do his will. He will always give us the strength we need to keep purity as something as beautiful for him.” - Blessed Mother Teresa

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Book!


This is Jason Evert's latest book! It's called Purity 365: Daily Reflections on True Love. This new book contains daily inspirational quotes to help you lead a clean life....it's a short read, but Jason Evert gets right to the point. It's a great book to help you stay committed to leading a chaste life. I love short books like this - it's really easy just to take a minute of every day to help you stay strong in your commitment.

Quote of the Week


"Purity is not about following a list of rules so that we'll avoid hell. It's about wanting heaven for the women we love."


- Jason Evert

Friday, December 4, 2009

Secondary Virginity

Q: How can I commit to secondary virginity?

A: I really admire those who make the choice to recommit to chastity after taking sex outside of marriage, because it's often just as hard to turn your life around as it is to stay chaste to begin with. Christ didn't condemn the woman who was accused of adultery; instead, he siad "Go and sin no more." Here are some practical tips for recommiting to chastity:

1. Make a list of a things that you've done that you regret doing (whether it was sex, the way that you've treated members of the opposite sex, clothing that you've worn, things that you've said etc). Go to confession!

2. Make a list of the reasons why you're waiting for your future spouse. Keep that list with you, and every time that you're tempted to go out and be in a situation where that temptation might arise, remind yourself of all the reasons why you're waiting.

3. Facing temptation: do something! Go for a run, play sports etc. Keep yourself busy.

4. Surround yourself with people who support your decision to commit to chastity. Good friends are invaluable in leading a clean life - true friends will challenge you to be the best person that you can possibly be.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lies on Love

Our culture today has given us many lies about what love is. People will say that love is about feeling good and getting whatever you want. Today we are told as women that we need to look and act like the women in Play Boy Magazine or in pornographic videos. This is a standard that is impossible for us to meet physically and repulsive for us emotionally. We can not and do not want to do the things that are displayed in pornography.

Pornography is a huge distortion to love and to true beauty. We are created to be beautiful and we are beautiful just the way we are. This beauty is authentic whereas the "beauty" in pornography is fake because the models are airbrushed or altered by the computer. Pornography is particularly dangerous because it is addictive, it can be as addictive as heroine. The other major danger of pornography is that it trains people to look at and treat others as objects to use instead of people to love.

We are created to love and to be loved. We don't need to fulfill some fantasy world or be used as objects as pornography trains people to think. This is actually the opposite of what love really is. Love is a gift of yourself. Love is a sacrifice and wanting the best for another person. Love is thinking outside of yourself and being selfless. When we are selfless, we can see people as they are and become the person we are created to be, in order to love others as we are supposed to love.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Quote of the Week

“I have found the paradox,
that if you love until it hurts,
there can be no more hurt,
only more love.”
~~~~~~~~~~~
Mother Teresa

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Quote of the Week


“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all that he, in his goodness, sends to us day after day." - St. Gianna Beretta Molla

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Question Box Friday

Q: Why are priests called to practice chastity?

A: Think of it this way: a priest is called to be faithful to his spouse - the Church - the same way that a husband is called to be faithful to his wife and family. A priest takes care of his "family" the same way that a husband takes care of his, except the priest has a spiritual, and not physical, family.

We are children of God made in his image and likeness - we're all called to glorify God with our bodies, which is practicing chastity, but everyone has a specific vocation in which they do this. Priests glorify God by giving their entire selves - body and soul - to the Church.

Theology of the Body

This past weekend Andrea and I traveled to Indianapolis to attend a conference on John Paul II's Theology of the Body. The conference was presented by Christopher West, a well-known TOB speaker...we had a great time and learned so much about this teaching on human sexuality. The message of TOB is so needed in our culture today, and we found a couple of great resources to help spread this message.

We came home with a couple of these CDs:






These are CDs of Christopher West speaking to college-age students about some of the struggles of living a pure life.
One of the reasons that I personally love Theology of the Body is that it explains the importance and beauty of our human bodies, and how our bodies express our mission as human beings - to love as God loves, in the image of the Trinity. And this is not just for people who are married! It opened up new doors for my life as a single 23 year-old. It gives an awesome vision for what love truly is - a total gift of yourself. TOB really tugged at my heart, and inspired me all the more to live a life of purity - not just because my future husband is worth it, but because it is worth it and so fulfilling to love as CHRIST does. If you are looking to understand "what life is all about," then this is for you!
Here are a few other resources:







Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Resisting Temptation

There are many situations in our lives in which we are tempted. It may be something very miniscule or it could be more serious. What is temptation? Every temptation is a lie. It is a lie that tries to tell us that something evil is good. It may feel good or satisfy an immediate need we have. However this is not what we truly need, it is actually a lie that is making something evil look good.

Sexual temptation tries to distract us from the true and pure beauty in which sex was created. This trains us to think about our sexuality selfishly and look at it as what can I get. It might ask how can I use this person to satisfy myself. Love looks at what I can give and is looking out for the other’s best interest which is truly the purpose of sex.

Understanding the difference between good and evil is something we are all capable of as intellectual beings. Please look at temptation for what it is and make the conscious decision to resist temptation and serve the purpose that we were created for in each of our lives.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quote of the Week


"Life teaches us, in effect, that love - married love - is the foundation stone of all life."


- John Paul II

Friday, November 13, 2009

Question Box Friday: What is a real man?

“What’s a real man? He’s not a bully or a wimp. He transcends his own ego, his own fears, his own selfishness, and sacrifices himself as a gift to those he’s called to protect.” – Philip Mango

I don’t personally know much about being a real man, because I don’t have experience in this. However, I know from a woman’s perspective that we are drawn towards a man who does all of the above as Philip Mango has said. It is also important to become the real, true, and purist version of ourselves.

Transcending one’s ego is a lot easier said than done. I struggle with my own pride and have found that when I can admit that I am nothing without my source of strength it is much easier to give that praise and honor back to God. I have also found that my fears tend to lead to my struggle with pride. In order to counteract my fears, I tend to overemphasize my confidence to cover up my lacking. This is a common defense mechanism that I have come to recognize in myself. In admitting and accepting my fears, I am able to overcome this defense of pride. In transcending one’s ego, one is also being selfless, which is the opposite of being selfish.

We are called to love as Christ loves and give as Christ gives. Christ laid down his life for the whole world, are we willing to do the same? A good starting point is to go home and love your family. Mother Teresa said, “If you want world peace, go home and love your family first.” I am inspired by this quote to do whatever I can in small ways to promote love and peace in the world, by first becoming the best person that I can be.

I Haven't Met You Yet...


There aren't very many popular songs that talk about waiting for your spouse...but here's a new one that does!


Michael Buble: I Haven't Met You Yet

I'm not surprised,
Not everything lasts,
I've broken my heart so many times I stopped keeping track.
Talk myself in,
I talk myself out,
I get all worked up,
Then I let myself down,

I tried so very hard not to loose it;
I came up with a million excuses,
I thought I thought of every possibility,

And I know some day that it’ll all turn out,
You'll make me work so we can work to work it out,
And I promise you kid that I give so much more than I get~ mmm.......
I just haven't met you yet.

Mmmmm ....

I might have to wait,
I’ll never give up,
I guess it's half timin', and the other half's luck,
Wherever you are,
Whenever it's right,
You'll come outta nowhere and into my life.

And I know that we can be so amazin',
And baby your love is gonna change me,
And now I can see every possibility, mmmmmm....

Somehow I know that it’ll all turn out,
You'll make me work so we can work to work it out,
And promise you kid, I'll give so much more than I get, mmmm....
I just haven't met you yet.

They say all’s fair
in love and war
But I won’t need to fight it,
we'll get it right an',
we'll be united

Instrumental

and I know that we can be so amazin',
And bein' in your life is gonna change me,
And now I can see every single possibility, mmmmmm

And someday I know it'll all turn out,
And I'll work to work it out,
Promise you kid I’ll give more than I get
Than I get, than I get, than I get.

Oh, you know it'll all turn out,
and you'll make me work so we can work to work it out,
And promise you kid to give so much more than I get, yeah
I just haven't met you yet.

I just haven't met you yet,
Oh, promise you kid,
To give so much more than I get.

I said love love love love love love love.....
I just haven't met you yet
Love love love .....
So doy day ay ay ay, ay ay yeah
I just haven't met you yet!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sexual Purity

Sexual purity is something that should be taken seriously. Sometimes people are overwhelmed with their current sexual temptations or sexual sins that they avoid discussion about anything dealing with sex. The truth of the matter is that sex is a beautiful and wonderful gift.

The Lord loves us so much that He gave us commandments and principles to live by so that we can be protected from the ravages of sin. If we desire God's blessings in our lives, we must obey Him. No matter what you have done or what bondages you may have allowed into your life, you can be forgiven, healed, and set free through the blood of Jesus. He conquered death and sin for us and we became new creatures when we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. All Christians can live their lives free from the bondage of sin and there are many things we can do to avoid falling into the traps the world sets.

Sexual sin ranging from lustful thinking to perverted behavior is rampant in the world today. Even a quick sampling of television, magazines, the Internet, movies, advertising, and music can drown a person in sexually explicit material that is meant to cause arousal and appeal to the flesh. Biblical values such as celibacy in the single life, virginity until marriage, and faithfulness during marriage are considered ridiculous and old fashioned - even to some Christians.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Quote of the Week


"You will never be happy until you learn to make gratitude part of your daily emotional and psychological diet. You will never have a great relationship until you learn to truly appreciate the wonder of another person. And you will never experience the depths of intimacy until you grow to be thankful for the opportunity to share the journey with another person." - Matthew Kelly

Friday, November 6, 2009

Question Box Friday

Q: Will people think you're weird if you don't ever have sex in high school or college?

A: Hmmm...I think a lot of the time people make fun of virgins in public, but oftentimes I think there is also a certain envy that comes along with it. Someone who doesn't have high standards or morals oftentimes tries to bring others down with them to make himself/herself feel better and raise his/her self-esteem. But compare the consequences of practicing chastity and not practicing chastity. If being thought of as "weird" is the worst thing that has happened to you if are practicing chastity, then you're pretty well off. Compare that to the worst thing that can happen to you if you DON'T practice chastity. It's a challenge to to practice chastity at times, but because it's so hard, it really makes the gift of virginity just that much more special. Stay strong!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Honesty

Honesty is something that has always been very important to me in relationships. There are three different parts to honesty that I want to focus on: being honest with yourself, being honest in how you present yourself, and being honest with each other. I think the first part of honesty is being honest with yourself. Girls especially have a tendency to jump in feet first, sometimes before the guy even notices them. It is important to also be grounded in reality and not get caught up in these emotions.

It is natural to want to show people the best side of yourself, but being yourself is crucial in the stages of getting to know someone. I wrote about being yourself a couple weeks ago. Evaluating why you are struggling to be yourself will help you to see where you are personally and what you are looking for in the relationship.

It is also important in relationships to be honest with each other. Communicating how you feel about each other and where each of you are in the relationship will help both of you to be on the same page. This will also keep you both rooted in reality and help you from falling into the day-dreaming type of relationships.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Planned Parenthood Director Walks Away....


The director at a Planned Parenthood in Bryan, TX announced today that she is leaving her position at the clinic. The woman said that she had a strong conversion of heart when she saw an ultrasound of a child being killed through abortion. The director, Abby Johnson, said "I just thought I can't do this anymore, and it was just like a flash that hit me and I thought that's it."


She radically turned around and joined the Coalition for Life and began praying outside of the Planned Parenthood clinic during the 40 Days for Life campaign. What an amazing witness!


You can read the entire story at http://www.lifesitenews.com/

Quote of the Week


"The soul that is the abode of chastity acquires an energy which enables her to surmount with ease the obstacles that lie along the path of duty." - Joseph Joubert

Friday, October 30, 2009

Question Box: Modesty

Why should I have to dress modestly, the guys should just be able to control themselves?

This is actually a question that I struggled with in high school. We each have the ability to control our own minds and our own thoughts. But, we are a community and in that sense as a society we should try to built each other up and not bring each other down.

Dressing modestly is a way that we as women can help men become better men. When we wear revealing clothing we are disrespecting ourselves and tempting others to look at us as objects instead of as human beings. As humans we have an inherent dignity and beauty.

When we look at others as objects it trains us to think about what we want and what we can get which is a very selfish approach. True love looks at what is best for the other person. Therefore, if you know that something you are wearing is causing other people to sin, you should refrain from wearing that out of love and respect for others.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Giving verse Using

To give means to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation. Another definition of give is to place in someone’s care, and another is to be warm and open in relationships with another person. The part of all of these definitions that sticks out to me is that it is free. Giving is a choice people make with their own free will. Love treats another person like a person, whereas lust treats another person like an object.

On the other hand using is taking advantage of someone or exploiting them. Another definition of using is to consume entirely and another to exhaust the vigor or usefulness. I know that I don’t want to be taken advantage of or used, especially by someone who “loves” me. Don’t give in to lust and settle for being treated like an object.

When looking at the definitions of giving versus using, it is clear to me that a giving relationship is a loving one and in a relationship using is lusting. I want to be in a giving and loving relationship and not one in which there is lust and I am being used. The dignity we have as humans is far beyond being used or lusted after.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

40 Days for Life



This is the last week for the 40 Days for Life campaign...




Come pray with us @ Planned Parenthood!














This is the address:
2314 Auburn Ave
Cincinnati, OH



Monday, October 26, 2009

Quote of the Week


"The greater the feeling of responsibility for the person the more true love there is."

- John Paul II

Friday, October 23, 2009

Question Box Friday

Q: Is it okay to have sex while you're engaged?

A: No, it's not. When two people have sex they're saying with their bodies exactly what they said at the altar: I give myself to you completely, without reservation, to be open to new life, until death do us part. Sex "says" these vows. Your body speaks a language - we can say things with our body language - and sex outside of marriage lies; it's saying something with your body that your relationship can't back up. You haven't made that vow yet. Furthermore, engagement is still a time of discernment. You haven't fully made that decision, and having sex can cloud that discernment process.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chastity vs. Abstinence

Everyone is always telling us to “not have sex”. If you have sex, you’re going to get pregnant or get a STD. So, you just shouldn’t do it. This concept depicts abstinence as the only option.

Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Our bodies are good and beautiful; they are meant to be loved and not used. Because of the way our culture twists the meaning of our sexuality and misrepresents our bodies, we have grown up thinking that abstinence is the goal. Abstinence is good, but chastity includes an understanding of the purpose of our bodies and sexuality.

Love is not just about feeling good, although this is a part of love. Love is an active decision. It is a decision to give oneself to another and to do so totally. Pope John Paul II uses the term total self-donation for this type of giving. It isn't about what we can get, but instead is willing the good of the other person.

People talk about finding “true love,” but what is it? Pope John Paul II explained: “For love is not merely a feeling; it is an act of will that consists of preferring, in a constant manner, the good of others to the good of oneself.”

It’s not enough to feel attractions or simply to want love. We must strive to know what is best for the other, and then make an actual commitment of our wills to bring about this “good” for the other.

Chastity is the virtue that directs our sexual desires and attitudes toward the truth of love. A virtue is a firm habit of doing what is good. To view chastity as a positive virtue we must see that it is much more than abstinence, which means “not having sex”.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Quote of the Week

"The way one treats a woman corresponds to the way one lives with God."

-Philippe Lefebvre

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"The Heart is a Battlefield between Love and Lust" : Breaking Free from Porn

I sat down and listened to this 5-CD set at work today. And I was blown away. It's one of the most powerful CDs on Chastity that I've ever listened to. Pornography is one of the largest, most dangerous threats to authentic love in our culture today, and this set directly addresses the issue head-on.

It answers questions like "why does pornography become an addiction?" and what's wrong with looking at a swimsuit magazine?" His wife, Crystalina, also reads a few letters from women whose husbands are addicted to porn, showing how truly destructive porn can be in a marriage.

But most of all, Jason Evert does a fantastic job of showing that the real battle lies within the heart, and he shows how to overcome the challenge of re-directing our desires to the truth about love. "When the temptation comes to mind, don't shove it down; lift it up. Pray for that woman who is a victim of pornography. The devil wants to use these women to bring you down, and you’re using that temptation as an opportunity to lift you up." - Jason Evert

You can buy the CD set from Catholic Answers - http://www.catholic.com/

Monday, October 12, 2009

Quote of the Week

“What could be more out of keeping with our holy religion then impure language? It outrages God. It scandalizes our neighbor. Can a Christian really afford to occupy his mind with such horrible images?”
- St. John Vianney, Patron Saint of Priests

Friday, October 9, 2009

Question Box: Commitment to Chastity

Can I commit to chastity even if I’ve already been sexual active?

Yes, you can! It is important to understand what chastity is in its fullness. We can recommit ourselves to chastity and continue following this plan for our sexuality. The term we use for this idea is secondary virginity. So, now for the practical part of what does this actually mean to live and commit to chastity.

Chastity is not just a choice, it’s a lifestyle. Saving all sexual activity for marriage is an essential part of living our chastity, but married people also live this virtue of chastity by remaining faithful to their spouse. Since it is a lifestyle it also involves respecting yourself and others. Dressing modestly is another important aspect of living chastity. It is more than just purity of actions it also involves purity of thought and word.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sexting


The issue of "sexting" came up pretty frequently in one of our high schools last week. One person asked, "is sexting wrong since its not physically sex?"

Think about what sexting (sending nude pictures via text message) does: it exploits a woman's body. A woman's body is incredibly beautiful; it is a thing of mystery. A woman's body is made this way - this is especially seen in the fact that a woman's sexual organs are hidden inside her body. A woman's body expresses the beauty of herself as a person and her body points to the depths of her soul. As one man put it, "Nothing on earth compares to the beauty of women. Such a statement may seem like an exaggeration to some, but it is easy enough to prove: Could you imagine if guys in your school chuckled in glee as they sent pictures of waterfalls and flamingos to each other's cell phones? Despite how beautiful these other created things may be, just the thought of comparing them to the allure of a woman is absurd." (Jason Evert)

Women: your beauty has incredible power in the world - do not ever let it be exploited for anyone's selfish pleasure. Instead, use it in a powerful way to point men towards the beauty of God Himself, in whose image and likness you were made. Men: protect the beauty of women. Recognize and respect that beauty and dignity, even when the woman herself does not.

Sexting, just like pornography, harms both the person who poses for the pictures and the person who is looking at them. It teaches men and women that they are objects to be used, instead of persons to be loved. So, sexting is wrong because it exploits the human person - your body is a gift meant to be unveiled to your spouse alone. Love him or her enough now to save that gift for him.

One last thought from Muhammed Ali: "Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You've got to work hard to get to them. Your body is sacred. You're far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered
too."


Monday, October 5, 2009

Quote of the Week


"Every day we have to say yes. To be where he wants you to be . . . To accept whatever he gives and to give whatever he takes with a big smile. This is the surrender. To accept to be cut into pieces, and yet every piece belongs only to him. "

- Mother Teresa

Friday, October 2, 2009

Question Box Friday

Q: Is it bad to flirt?

A: It’s not bad to let a person of the opposite sex know that you’re interested in him/her. However, if your attention is a teasing, toying way to get that person to pay attention to you simply for entertainment or an ego boost, then yes it’s bad. Always ask yourself – am I being sincere? What’s my motivation?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lives Changed...


My name is Matthew, and I am a 25-year-old Catholic man serving in the United States Marine Corps. Since I first heard the late Pope John Paul II’s teaching on the Theology of the Body as a junior in college, I have been praying continually for the grace to live my manhood as Christ originally intended. In January, 2009, I had the opportunity to spend a week in prayer and study on this magnificent truth in the Head and Heart Immersion Course. By the power of the Holy Spirit it was a life-changing experience, and hands-down the best week of my life.
The Head and Heart Immersion Course did many things to deepen my relationship with God. First off, it deeply affirmed a priestly calling I had been discerning since midway through my last deployment. The thought of a religious vocation was both exciting and terrifying to me. In the midst of a steady relationship coupled with a lifelong desire to marry and raise a family, the thought of a celibate vocation, to say the least, had its immediate drawbacks. With sincere prayer and the enlightening lessons throughout the course, Christ softened my heart to receive whatever vocation he called me to. I pray that when my service commitment concludes, my calling to priesthood will be as intense and peaceful as it is right now.

Secondly, it taught me the significance of our posture before God in prayer. Prior to the course, I suffered from the belief that piety was tied solely to works. The Petrine paradigm of “Proclaim to the nations,” to me, was the greatest model of the Christian lifestyle. This model, however, often left me exhausted, and waffling between spiritually strong periods and dry spells. The introduction to a Marian posture of “Let it be done according to thy word,” brought me to a new level of spirituality I had never experienced. It is not that Christ is calling us to be inactive. Rather, He desires that the seed He sews take root in us first, so that it may bear fruit before we scatter it. There is nothing more active and receptive than the posture of our Blessed Mother, and in striving to live her example more completely, I have found greater peace, despite the increasing “activity” of my life.

Finally, amidst the great distractions and empty promises of counterfeit love in our society today, it is a great consolation to know there are those who share the desire to love as God intended. Since finishing the course, I have kept in touch with many of the people I met that week. They were a large part of the experience I had in the course. The bonds we formed through prayer, the sacraments, discussion, and laughter are both consolations to fall back on during times of spiritual dryness and affirmation, amidst temptation, to continue to love rightly. I cherish the friendships I developed during that week in Black Rock.
We are all called to experience truth. Being made in Christ’s image, we were created for God’s love. The Theology of the Body is the Catholic Church that I never learned in Catholic schools. With this greater understanding of Catholicism, I proudly affirm it as the one true faith instilled by Christ and preserved by the Pope and our Mother Church. It is the path to living our sexuality to its fullest sacramental potential, the road to true man and womanhood, and a more powerful weapon against evil for Christ and His Church than any artillery.
-- Taken from the September 2009 edition of the Theology of the Body Institute Newsletter

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Our exterior behavior must correspond to the inner state of our soul, that we might be pure for Him who sees the interior."
- Saint Gregory of Nyssa, Archbishop of Sebaste, Father of the Church (330 - 395)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Question Box – Being Yourself

Why is it so hard to be comfortable with and act like myself with the guy I like?

This is a really interesting question because you want to be yourself all the time, especially in a relationship. When you are spending time with a person that you have a crush on there are a lot of emotions involved. You probably want things to work out between the two of you and so that is adding pressure to the relationship. You might be nervous and worried about him not liking you, so you’re trying to be someone you’re not.

I would suggest talking to the guy about this and asking him to help you. It is pretty easy to tell when someone is being genuine or fake. Ask him to help you be yourself, by pointing out the times that you are putting on an act. Take some time to reflect on why you are struggling to be yourself. This may be something that you need to sort out and work through personally before getting involved in a relationship. It will also help you in order to evaluate where you are personally and what you are looking for in the relationship.

“If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire.” – St. Catherine of Sienna

In new situations it can be difficult to feel comfortable and be yourself, but you have been created to be you and no one else. When reflecting on who you are, it is easier to commit to being yourself. Find out who you are, look at who God is calling you to be, commit to being yourself, and strive to be the best version of yourself in each and every situation you are involved in throughout your life.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tonight!


40 Days for Life
COME TO THE OPENING PRAYER/INFORMATION KICKOFF EVENT
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2009
7:30 PM
Planned Parenthood
2314 Auburn Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45219
What is 40 Days for Life?

40 days of prayer and fasting
40 days of peaceful vigil
40 days of community outreach

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Challenge Yourself

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8

Be ready to always choose God’s way, no matter what the cost. The mind is a dangerous battlefield.

We have so many worldly pressures that constantly tell us what to do and what to think. If we let the media influence our minds it may lead to impure words and actions.

Guard your senses from temptation. Think about what you are putting into your mind and body. Are you making yourself true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and gracious?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Quote of the Week


"There is a need for a crusade of manliness and purity to counteract and nullify the savage work of those who think man is a beast. And that crusade is your work."


- St. Josemaria Escriva

Friday, September 18, 2009

Question Box Friday

Q: Do married people practice Chastity?

A: Yes, all people in all vocational paths are called to practice Chastity. Chastity isn't just saying "no" to sex - that's abstinence. Instead, Chastity is about understanding what our sexuality is meant for, and our dignity as men and women, and how we can live that out in our state of life. Married people practice Chastity by being faithful to each other in marriage and being open to the gift of new life, understanding that the marital act says "I give myself to you, and only you, totally and completely without reservation for as long as we both shall live." Of course Chastity is also about truly loving your spouse, and looking out for his/her best interests, being careful to keep lust of out their relationship.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T


Respect sometimes seems to be a lost art in our culture. This week rapper Kanye West recieved a lot of heat for rudely interrupting Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the MTV awards, causing a lot of heads to turn and take note of his behavior.


This scenario really caused me to think about respect in our culture today, and specifically respect within relationships. What's happened to respect in our culture? Musicians, pop stars, actors etc. receive so much attention from the media, which means that that these are the ones who are influencing our culture. Ask yourself: what does this tell you about our culture when this kind of behavior is displayed by such "role models" on such a large venue (MTV)? This is what our culture is influenced by. This is the kind of behavior that we're surrounding ourselves with, and relationships have suffered because of this lack of respectful behavior. What we see affects our thoughts, which then reflects itself in our speech, which in turn reflects itself in the way we act and behave.

Respect for others must always be at the core of our relationships with others, whether it's a relationship between a boyfriend/girlfriend, a husband/wife or just between friends. Simply showing common courtesy is so important in these relationships, because it shows that you respect the other's dignity as a man or a woman. Men: think about the dignity that women inherently have simply because they are women and that they have the ability to give life. They have a special mystery and beauty, and that mystery should be treated with respect; be a gentleman to all women, not just the girl you're interested in. Help protect a woman's dignity and keep it from being exploited. Women: think about a man's calling and mission in the world as a initiator. Respect his ability/call to lead. Help build each other up.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Quote of the Week


"Real love is demanding. I would fail in my mission if I did not tell you so. Love demands a personal commitment to the will of God."- Pope John Paul II

Friday, September 11, 2009

Question Box Friday: Being a good man

How can I become a better man in order to be a good husband?

This is such a great question. It is important to become the best version of yourself. I think a person has to know themselves and their desires before they are able to commit in a relationship. Working on your relationship with God is also essential.

Matthew Kelly has written a book and has a CD out about “Becoming the Best Version of Yourself” the book is called The Rhythm of Life. He talks about living every day with passion and purpose. I would strongly recommend this book and I commend you for taking the initiative to improve yourself and to grow.

A smart woman knows that the way you treat your mother is the way you will someday treat her. So my immediate advice to you is to honor your mother and sisters. Treating the women in your life with respect will create a healthy habit in your life that will be valuable for your future wife.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Living the Virtue of Modesty

The St. Louis Review recently published an article on "Living the Virtue of Modesty through Dress and Thought." You can access the article here: http://stlouisreview.com/article/2009-08-20/living-virtue-modesty. The article interviews Colleen Hammond, a Catholic author and mother of four, on what modesty truly means. Hammond says, "Pope Pius XI said it’s OK to follow the fashions as long as they stay within the guidelines. You don’t have to look frumpy to prove holiness.” The article also interviews Maria Everding, an etiquette consultant, who says, "At Mass, you are going to visit the Lord. If he comes to me in my home, I’ll probably have on a shirt and shorts. But it is His home, and I’m going to dress appropriately.”

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Quote of the Week


"Whenever you decide firmly to lead a clean life, chastity will not be a burden on you: it will be a crown of triumph." - St. Josemaria Escriva

Friday, September 4, 2009

Question Box Friday

Q: How do I get out of a sexual relationship and heal from it when we've broken up?

A: Once you make that decision it's incredibly important to stop right where you are and stick with that decision to say no. It can very difficult not to go back and weaken your resolve, but sticking with your decision will make you a stronger person. Healing can also be very painful, but know that it can and will happen in time. Here are some suggestions to help you out:

  • Focus on your relationships with your family and close friends. Oftentimes, a pre-marital sexual relationship with someone can cut you off from these important people in your life. If this has happened, take some time to rebuild those relationships.
  • Develop your talents and focus on improving yourself. Challenge yourself. Think about what you truly want in life and the kind of person you would like to be. Make some goals for your life and make a plan to reach them.
  • Reach out to others - the surest way to "find yourself" is to give of yourself. We were made to be a gift to others, and this is how we as humans are fulfilled. Find an organization or two that you are passionate about and see if you can help in any way.
  • Go to Confession. This sacrament is an incredible blessing; the healing that it brings is unmatchable.
  • Develop a relationship with Christ. Spend some time in adoration and learn to truly pray. Try the prayer book Pure Faith or Time for God. Priceless.
  • Last of all, remember that healing can take a very long time. Learn to be patient, and do not get discouraged.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I just read this article about the birth control pill leading to the death of another woman. I am shocked at the extent to which our culture has taken to prevent pregnancy. Is having a child really worse than getting blood clots from the birth control pill and dying? When are we going to start valuing life more than convenience? Here are some pieces of the article that I want to highlight. The full article can be viewed at http://www.all.org/article.php?id=12169

Washington, D.C. (02 September 2009) – A woman in Austin, Texas, is the latest victim of the deadly side effects of the birth control pill. Patti Kelly, 28, was diagnosed in August with multiple blood clots in both lungs. Her doctor told her that if she hadn’t come into the emergency room when she did, she “could have died instantly.”

Kelly’s doctor named birth control as the driving factor in the onslaught of the blood clots that could have caused Kelly’s death.

Marie Hahnenberg, project director for American Life League’s “The Pill Kills” outreach, is not surprised.

“Not only do the pill, patch, intrauterine device and similar birth control products cause great harm to the woman herself, but these products also can cause early abortions,” Hahnenberg said. “The physical and emotional perils associated with birth control are one of the most closely guarded secrets in the pharmaceutical industry. It’s time women knew the truth.”

As a woman, I want other women to understand all of the risks involved with birth control. I think that Hahnenberg makes a great point in wanting to disclose the secrets and reveal the truth. I hope that more people will be open to the beauty of life and respecting the life that we have already been given, by not choosing to harm our bodies in any way.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Same-Sex "Marriage"?

This week, Vermont became the fourth state to legalize same-sex "marriage." Marriage concerns all of society - not the just the two people being married - and so all of us have a legitimate cause for concern. Society is founded on the family, which in turn is founded on marriage. Marriage was established for the procreation and education of children, first and foremost. Marriage, in an extremely important way, contributes to the common good of society. From a legal standpoint, same-sex "marriages" do not contribute to the common good of society, and therefore should not receive special benefits from the state. It is shown in many studies there are incredible advantages for children who are raised in families with a mother and father. It is wrong, therefore, for the state to confer the "right" of marriage upon two people of the same sex.

For more information: "Homosexuality and the Catholic Church." by Fr. John Harvey, O.S.F.S


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What is Love?

Love as attraction: First we must recognize the good of another person; seeing the inner and outer beauty of another person

Love as desire: We must also want goodness for yourself; desiring goodness and happiness

Love as goodwill: We will or desire the good of another person. Love is not selfish, it is generous. Willing the good of another person is the closest to the love with which God loves us which is agape love.

(What a young husband should say to his bride.) “I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us.” – St. John Chrysostom

Monday, August 31, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Modesty is important, not because we judge by appearances, but because how we act reflects what we believe." – Bishop Walker R. Nickless

Friday, August 28, 2009

Question Box Friday: Talking about Sex

Question: When should I talk to my boyfriend about not wanting to have sex until I'm married?

Answer: It is really important to have this discussion early on in the relationship. I have personally had this conversation as early as on my first date with a guy. I find that it is easier to be open and honest from the beginning.

Relationships involve a lot of communication. If your boyfriend knows that you are committed to saving sex for marriage, he will be able to help you. When you tell your boyfriend about your values, it will bring up great topics for discussion and you will be able to see where he stands on these issues as well.

It may be scary to bring up this important topic, because you don't know how he will react. However, you know that your sexuality is a special gift for only one person, your husband. If your boyfriend doesn't respect or agree with that, he might not be the right guy for you. You are worth waiting for and shouldn't settle for anything less than the best.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Truth about the Lies: Lila Rose and Planned Parenthood

Lila Rose, a 20 year-old junior at UCLA, has been making headlines across the U.S. because of what she calls the "Mona Lisa Project” an undercover investigation of abortion clinics that openly violate certain laws within their clinics. This young woman and her group, Live Action, have been visiting Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics across the country, posing as potential clients and donors in order to uncover the truth about the abortion industry.

Here's what she found:


  • Racism is still alive in Planned Parenthood clinics: Planned Parenthood employees accepted money that was specifically tagged for killing "a black baby."

  • Some Planned Parenthood employees deliberately cover up cases of statutory rape.

  • Clinics will break parental consent laws. (source: prolifeamerica.com)

Visit http://www.liveaction.org/ to see the footage of her Planned Parenthood visits for yourself. YouTube has banned several of her pro-life videos...


Lila Rose will be appearing as a guest on EWTN's "Life on the Rock" tommorow night, August 27th, at 8 p.m. EST.


"Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." - Pope John Paul II

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gardasil: Worth the Risk?

ABC News reported this past week that studies examining the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, have found that 32 deaths may have been linked to the vaccine, and that there have been more incidences of other serious side effects that could possibly be related to Gardasil, such as blood clotting and neurological disorders, than other vaccines. HPV is responsible for 99% of all cervical cancer cases, so the vaccine has been widely distributed.

I don't recommend taking Gardasil, and here's why: for starters, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) released this study along with an editorial. The editorial asked an important question: is the potential benefit of the HPV vaccine worth its potential serious, or even tragic, risks? This is a really important point. The potential risks involved in many vaccines or pills (such as birth control) pose a serious threat to a woman's health, both physically and emotionally. Dr. Diane Harper from the University of Missouri stated that "Although the number of serious adverse events is small and rare, they are real and cannot be overlooked or dismissed without disclosing the possibility to all other possible vaccine recipients . . . The rate of serious adverse events is greater than the incidence rate of cervical cancer." (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/CancerPreventionAndTreatment/story?id=8356717)

Secondly, Gardasil only "protects" against four of the 100 strains of HPV. In other words, a woman can still contract HPV even after receiving the vaccine. “Protection” does not mean that you’re protected.

Remember, sex is a fantastic thing. God created it to be a wonderful expression of love between a man and wife. But it is only by keeping it within the boundaries of marriage that one can truly be “safe” from all of the risks and fears of STDs that sex can bring outside of marriage.

Keep your heart and your body for your future husband/wife alone; marry someone who also waited, and be faithful to each other. 100% guaranteed protection.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Quote of the Week



“Your life vocation is a like a treasure buried in a field, the pearl of great price. The grace is in the calling. Pursue it at whatever cost” - Fr. Scanlan

Friday, August 21, 2009

Question Box Friday: Real Love?

Q: How do you know if you really love someone?

A: First of all, ask yourself: what is love? Love = willing the good of another, or doing what's best for the person. You can know if you really love someone when you have the courage to do what is best for them, when you are completely emptied of your own self, and are thinking about the good of the other person. John Paul II calls this amor benevolentatiae in his book Love and Responsibility. It's being selfless, which is the opposite of being selfish. Scott, who works with us at Pregnancy Center East, says that he knew he truly loved his wife when he knew that he would sacrifice anything for her. He said that before he proposed to her, he wondered what if she was in an accident, disabled and in a wheelchair for the rest of her life? He knew he would sacrifice his entire life to take care of her. I love how Mother Teresa puts it: "For love to be real, it must cost. It must hurt. It must empty us of self.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Balancing Relationships

Relationship pyramid

Can you imagine building the Egyptian pyramids from the top down? Of course not, a pyramid only works when you build it from the bottom up to the top. It is the same way with relationships and marriage. I love this pyramid because it describes the steps that lead up to the intimacy of sex within a marriage.
Relationships start with the most basic element, friendship. Imagine building a pyramid upside down. The pyramid would not be able to balance on the point. It would collapse from all the weight at the top.
This happens when we begin a relationship with sexual activity. We may be hoping that the sexual activity will lead to friendship and love. However, this doesn't work and it's contrary to God's plan for life and love. In most cases the relationship ends up collapsing and hurting the people involved.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stand up for Truth: Contraception, Abortion, Health Insurance, and Belmont Abbey College

One of my favorite quotes comes from a Catholic author named Flannery O'Conner: "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd." It's extremely difficult to stand up for truth. Kudos to this Catholic college for refusing to back down to pressure to keep contraception and abortion coverage in their health insurance plan.


Belmont Abbey College, a Benedictine-affiliated school in North Carolina, recently discovered that their health care insurance plan unintentionally offered coverage for contraceptives and abortion for women. The college immediately took steps to cancel this part of their coverage, and is currently receiving a lot of heat from the EEOC for refusing to give up their stance on abortion and contraception.


This is what the college's president had to say on the matter: "As a Roman Catholic institution, Belmont Abbey College is not able to and will not offer nor subsidize medical services that contradict the clear teaching of the Catholic Church . . .There was no other course of action possible if we were to operate in fidelity to our mission and to our identity as a Catholic college."

He also stated that Belmont Abbey was committed to remaining true to its Catholic principles, which include "valuing all life and treating individuals with dignity and respect."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Quote of the Week


“Much of the modern resistance to chastity comes from men’s belief that they “own” their bodies – those vast and perilous estates, pulsating with the energy that made the worlds, in which they find themselves without their consent and from which they are ejected at the pleasure of another.”
- C.S. Lewis

Friday, August 14, 2009

High School Dating

Question: How seriously involved can I be with my boyfriend in high school? Should we be exclusively dating?

Answer: Answering the question of when the right time to date is very difficult. Maturity has a lot to do with it, but we also need to consider many other issues, such as what is the purpose of dating. I believe that the purpose of dating is to eventually find your future spouse. When I was in high school, I had a friend challenge me and tell me that I shouldn’t be dating someone unless I could see myself marrying that person. This gave me a whole new perspective on dating. I thought that dating was fun and just something to do before, but now I understand that dating is much more significant than that.

Exclusive dating is not something that I would recommend in grade school or high school. That doesn’t mean I think you should be dating multiple people, it’s actually the opposite of that. I would recommend going on group dates as friends instead of exclusively dating someone. Every single time an individual enters into a relationship, they are giving away a part of their heart. I am extra cautious now after experiencing a few heart breaks from relationships, because I want to save my heart for my husband and be able to completely give myself to him. If we exclusively date or constantly have a boyfriend/girlfriend think about how much of our heart we’re giving away and how little we will have left when we commit to our future spouse.

I want to address the idea of being seriously involved. What does it mean to be seriously involved? If we’re talking about emotional involvement, it is important to guard your heart. Females especially tend to connect emotionally and assume feelings of love are present when in actuality it may be infatuation or lust. The reason I recommended group dating is because it is best to avoid putting yourself in a situation where you will be tempted to be physically intimate. Physical and sexual intimacy adds even more complications to relationships. In high school, I think the focus should be on friendships and working on communication before getting physically involved. It is important to treasure your gift of sexuality and reserve that for your future spouse.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chastity and...Sports?

“Run so as to win . . .” 1 Corinthians 9:24

When you hear the word “Chastity,” the next word that comes into your mind is probably not likely to be “sports.” But when I sat down to think about it, I found that Chastity and athleticism really go hand in hand, and that the two have much more in common than I initially thought.

I haven’t played any sport, even somewhat competitively, since I was in middle school. But over the years many people have often suggested picking up basketball (which lasted less than 5 minutes) or some other sport “because it’s good for you.” Yes, I’ve always thought that sports were “good for you,” but I’ve always just assumed the benefits were mostly on the physical side – it’s good for your body, health, etc.

But I’ve found that playing a sport, or being athletically involved in some activity, really supports and helps a person to live a clean, pure life. Why? For starters, Chastity is a virtue, which means that it is a good habit. It takes a lot of hard work, courage, and discipline to live a chaste life. It requires laying down our immediate desires in order to work for a higher good – authentic love. Matthew Kelly says, “The very nature of love requires self-possession. Without self-mastery, self-control, self-dominion, we are incapable of love…” Love requires discipline.

Enter the athletic world. Playing sports requires discipline, both in body and in spirit. It takes a lot of hard work to excel in a sport, and disciplining yourself to prepare to play can also help you in your struggle to live Chastity. Disciplining your body through playing a sport can help you to discipline yourself in other areas of your life, too. Living Chastity requires discipline of the body, similar to the way that playing a sport does.

“God never gives us a challenge that he will not give us the ability to handle.”
David Eckstein
St. Louis Cardinals

A couple of great resources:
http://www.catholicathletesforchrist.com/


And because I’m from Kansas City: "5-Time Major League All-Star on Winning the Game for Christ." http://www.lighthousecatholicmedia.com/

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Can you imagine a world where every person thinks, speaks, and acts out of love? Things would be so different. This is what we need in order to restore our view of sex and human life. It starts with our thoughts, which lead to our words, and eventually become our actions.
THOUGHTS
Training our thoughts for sexual purity takes time and effort. It is natural to make assumptions and/or judgments when we first see someone. When we see someone with a smile, we may assume that they are friendly. If we see someone that is homeless, we may make other assumptions. However, if we practice making positive assumptions that show respect and appreciation for individuals, we are taking a step in the right direction. The opposite of these positive assumptions, would be negative assumptions that disrespect a person’s dignity or imply that we are lusting after them or using them for our own pleasure.
WORDS
If it is common for someone to speak of sex in a degrading or disrespectful manner, that person’s actions may also be degrading or disrespectful to the beautiful gift of our sexuality. Each one of us is created with a special purpose and deserves dignity and respect as a human being. Before letting something slip out of your mouth, think about how it may affect the other people involved. Discern whether or not
the comment is respectful of our dignity as human beings.
ACTIONS
Our sexuality is such a special gift that we need to protect it. The way that we act today may influence us a year from now or even ten years from now. The virtue of modesty helps us use our bodies in the right way, to protect our value and who we are. As human beings we desire to be treated with love and respect. When dressing modestly however, we are sending the message that there is so much more inside of us that is worth anyone’s time to get to know.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Quote of the Week


"The beauty on the outside never gets into the soul. But the beauty of the soul reflects itself on the face." - Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Friday, August 7, 2009

Question Box Friday: French kissing?

Q: Can I French kiss my boyfriend/girlfriend?

A: I wouldn't recommend it; French kissing can be serious sin. Why? First of all, it is a very intimate expression of affection. It's the kind of closeness that, for many people, prepares the body to go further and further - often to leading to sex itself. It's important to remember that Chastity isn't a "line"; it's a direction. It's a conscious movement towards purity of mind, heart, and body. I would first suggest examining your own reasons for wanting to French kiss your boyfriend/girlfriend - it is because you want personal gratification? Does this help your relationship glorify God? Is it loving? (Love = willing the good of another) Would French kissing cause him/her to fall towards lust or wanting to go further? Lastly, would I want my future husband/wife to be doing this with someone else?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Actions speak louder than words

The way we dress and the way we act represent who we are as people. In order to reform our view on sex we must consider our thoughts, words, and actions. My last few blogs talked about how our thoughts and words can influence us, in much of the same way our actions also impact us and those around us.

The virtue of modesty helps us use our bodies in the right way, to protect our value and who we are. As human beings we desire to be treated with love and respect. When we dress provocatively we are sending a message that our body is the best part of us and there is no need to actually get to know us. When dressing modestly however, we are sending the message that there is so much more inside of us that is worth anyone’s time to get to know.

Our sexuality is such a special gift that we need to protect it. The way that we act today may influence us a year from now or even ten years from now. Jason Evert asks people to think about their future husband or wife as teenagers. Looking at it from the perspective of how far in a relationship you would want your future husband or wife to go physically with their current boyfriend or girlfriend adds an interesting twist.

Actions speak louder then words. Our thoughts become our words and lead to our actions. It is so important to realize that people are always watching and to be cautious and conscientious of that. At any given moment someone could be forming an impression of you; what do you want that impression to be?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Straight Talk: Contraception, Condoms, and NFP

It's not uncommon to hear criticism directed at one particular aspect of the Church's teachings on human sexuality: contraception, whether that be in form of a birth control pill or a condom. What's wrong with contraception? Why can't I wear a condom? are a couple of questions that pop up pretty frequently in our presentations among high school students.


  • Contraception? Sex is the most personal, the most intimate, the most opening/revealing act there can possibly be. It requires complete vulnerability, and thus it's sign of complete giving and receiving. Fertility is inherently tied in with the sexual act, and one can't give himself/herself completely while he/she is denying the fertility aspect of sex. Having sex with birth control or a condom, knowingly or unknowingly, says "I give my entire self to you....almost." What if we smiled at someone and said "Nice to meet you" and then slapped that person on the face? What's going on here? We would be lying with the body. Contraception is a lie with the body. It's saying "I give myself to you completely" while withholding or rejecting a part of the self.


  • Condoms? When you really think about it, condoms (or birth control pills) were not created to prevent pregnancy. There's already a 100% effective method of doing that: abstinence. They were created so that men and women could indulge in one's sexual desire. No self-control required. Ever. No responsibility. If we use a condom we don't ever have to say no, and we train ourselves not to. The less self-control we have the more enslaved we are to our own sexual desires. It will just become easier and easier to slip into pornography, infidelity etc...
  • Furthermore, just FYI: Condoms have a 15% failure rate if used correctly (and less than 50% of teenage males actually use them correctly) AND they provide no protection against many STDs like Chlamydia, herpes etc. Also, birth control has serious side effects for women: weight gain, moodiness, increased blood pressure, risk of gall bladder disease and liver tumors, heart attacks and strokes, depression etc.
  • So what's with NFP? It stands for Natural Family Planning. In a nutshell, NFP trains couples to recognize the signs that a woman is during the fertile period in her cycle (this only happens about 3-5 days per month) and so the couple is able to abstain from sex during this time. It's extremely reliable. In fact, NFP has a 99% accuracy rating. This the difference between NFP and contraception: NFP doesn't in any way impede the procreative course of sex. It doesn't block anything. It's like the difference between an abortion or a miscarriage, or the difference between suicide and natural death. Another interesting fact about NFP: couples who practice NFP only have a 2% divorce rating. Using NFP encourages couples to work together and use other ways to express affection besides sex, encouraging more communication etc. Giving up something mutually for the good of their family strengthens marriage.


More questions? This is a great resource:

Quote of the Week

“Chastity is the cement of civilization and progress. Without it there is no stability in society, and without it one cannot attain the Science of Life.”
- Mary Baker Eddy

Friday, July 31, 2009

Question Box Friday: Birth Control

Is it okay for married people to use birth control?

Birth control, within or outside or marriage, is wrong. The purpose of sex within marriage is to unite the couple and for procreation. Using birth is clearly taking away the idea of being open to children and it also puts a barrier between the spouses. Our bodies have a language of their own, for example a smile, a wink, a raise of the eyebrow. All of these signs from our body convey a message. Having sex with someone also conveys a message. What does it say? Having sex with someone is telling them with your body that you want to be with them, totally and completely. It is saying to your spouse that they can have all of you. So, using birth control is lying with your body. You are telling your partner that you want to give all of yourself to them, except you are using birth control to separate you from them.

Sex is meant to express love, a love that is free, total, faithful, and fruitful. Free means freely given, not forced, total means holding nothing back, faithful comes with a lifetime commitment within marriage, and fruitful is the openness to new life produced through sex. If someone walked up to you and said, “Nice to meet you” but instead of shaking your hand, they slapped your face, their words and actions would not match up. They would be lying with their body. It is the same with sex. When we say that sex expresses love that is total, we mean that it isn’t holding anything back. When someone has been sterilized or is using a form of birth control, then they are holding back the possibility of creating new life, their fertility, so their love is not total. The other person is then not receiving a total gift of their spouse. If we don’t have one of these four aspects of what sex being free, total, faithful, and fruitful then we aren’t honestly expressing the meaning of sex.

This does not mean that a married couple is required by the Church to have 20 children. There is a method called Natural Family Planning that tracks signs from the woman’s body, like her temperature, to determine what time of the month she is fertile, or able to conceive. If a couple has a serious reason why this would not be a good time for them to have a child (like the husband just lost his job, not that they hope to buy a yacht), then they would just abstain from sex when the woman is fertile. This way they wouldn’t be lying with their bodies or misusing sex, they would not have sex during the week or so during the month that a baby could be created. Couples who use NFP say that it makes their marriage stronger because they have better communication and need to express their love for each other non-sexually as well. The divorce rate for a couple using NFP is about 4% (vs. 50% for the general population).

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Is There Hope for the American Marriage?"


I was more than a little surprised when I heard through our office grapevine that TIME Magazine’s cover story a few weeks ago was on marriage. Marriage? In the wake of affairs of such public figures, like Gov. Mark Sanford, I was pretty skeptical about what TIME would have to say about marriage, but I was definitely curious nonetheless. So I read it.

And I was pretty impressed. The author, Caitlin Flanagan, brought up several thought-provoking points. Here are a few of my favorites:

o “When children are born into a co-habiting, unmarried relationship . . . they arrive in a family in which the principals haven't resolved their most basic issues, including those of sexual fidelity and how to share responsibilities. Let a little stress enter the picture — and what is more stressful than a baby? — and things start to fall apart. The new mother starts to make wifelike demands on the man, and without the commitment of marriage, he is soon out the door.”

o “ . . . We want something like that for ourselves; we recognize that it is something of great worth, but we are increasingly less willing to put in the hard work and personal sacrifice to get there. . . A lasting marriage is the reward, usually, of hard work and self-sacrifice.”

o "The fundamental question we must ask ourselves at the beginning of the century is this: What is the purpose of marriage? Is it . . . simply an institution that has the capacity to increase the pleasure of the adults who enter into it? Or is marriage an institution that still hews to its old intention and function — to raise the next generation, to protect and teach it, to instill in it the habits of conduct and character that will ensure the generation's own safe passage into adulthood?”

You can access the entire article here: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1908243-1,00.html

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Say What?

In order to reform our view on sex we must consider our thoughts, words, and actions. My last blog talked about how our thoughts can influence us, in much of the same way our words also impact us. If it is common for someone to speak of sex in a degrading or disrespectful manner, that person’s actions may also be degrading or disrespectful to the beautiful gift of our sexuality. Talking dirty may be something that is popular, but it trains your brain to think negatively about others and have this distorted image of sex. It’s not just how we talk about sex, but beyond that how we talk about people. Each one of us is created with a special purpose and deserves dignity and respect as a human being.

If we refer to a person as a “piece of meat”, that is clearly not treating them with the dignity and respect they deserve. Since we are called to love and respect everyone through our words, we need to train the filter between our thoughts and what comes out of our mouth. At first it may just mean keeping our mouths shut until we have transformed our thoughts to this new view. In the ideal situation, we won’t have any impure thoughts, and therefore won’t have the temptation to speak any of those thoughts.

However, I have a tendency to speak before I think. If you have a similar tendency, it will be important to focus on training your thoughts to be pure as the initial step. Most people find it is easiest to work on filtering what words you verbalize first. Before letting something slip out of your mouth, think about how it may affect the other people involved. Discern whether or not the comment is respectful of our dignity as human beings. If it is not respectful, we should choose to keep our mouths shut, or come up with something more respectful to share. Changing our words in this way will be able to trigger our sensitivity to our thoughts and impact how we act on these thoughts and words.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Quote of the Week: G.K. Chesterton

"Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc. In a word, God paints in many colours; but he never paints so gorgeously . . . as when he paints in white."

- G.K. Chesterton

Friday, July 24, 2009

Question Box Friday: Dating Age?

Q: When is a good age to start dating?

A: Each person is different, so I can't say that there is a specific age that you should start dating. I can, however, give you a few things to consider in making that decision. First of all, I would recommend talking to your parents about this. They know you very well and can give you give you a lot of good advice. They truly have your best interests at heart, so it's important to respect them in this decision.

Secondly, keep in mind that there is no rush to begin dating. Statistics showed that only nine percent of those who began dating at the age of twelve would still be virgins by the time they graduated high school, whereas eighty percent of those who waited until the age of sixteen to date remained virgins until they graduated (http://www.pureloveclub.com/). In other words, the earlier a person starts dating the more likely it is that he/she will become sexually active in high school. Also, keep in mind that the vast majority of dating relationships in high school don't lead to marriage, which means that your future husband/wife is most likely still out there - does this relationship lead you closer to finding him/her? How would he/she feel if he could see you in this relationship right now?

Joshua Harris once said that a person is ready to start dating when he/she can "match wisdom with romance." It's important to use your heart AND your head when deciding whether or not to date a certain person. It's also important to remember that when you begin dating you also begin building a foundation for your future marriage. Dating is meant to help you decide whether or not to marry a certain person; if you're still quite a few years away from being able to make that deicision and follow through with it, then I would suggest that you use your time now to build a strong foundation of friendship, rather than dating that person.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Purity of Thought


When thinking about a new view on sex, I feel like most people are only thinking about physical aspects of relationships and sexual intercourse. However, there is so much more involved than that. It is important to not only look at our actions, but also at our thoughts and words. There are other actions involved as well, such as the way we dress, the way we carry ourselves, and how we use our body language. When we talk about someone are we showing our appreciation for their value or are we using degrading terms. Do we speak of sex as a gift or as a joke? Indeed our words and actions are important, but I think it all stems from our thoughts.


Training our thoughts for sexual purity takes time and effort. It is natural to make assumptions and/or judgments when we first see someone. When we see someone with a smile, we may assume that they are friendly. If we see someone that is homeless, we may make other assumptions. However, if we practice making positive assumptions that show respect and appreciation for individuals, we are taking a step in the right direction. The opposite of these positive assumptions, would be negative assumptions that disrespect a person’s dignity or imply that we are lusting after them or using them for our own pleasure.


Our first task is distinguishing between the pure and impure thoughts. Next, we should practice having pure thoughts. When we see someone attractive instead of thinking, that person is hot I wanna get with them, we should look at them as a person and appreciate their true value. When impure thoughts occur, we can pray for them to go away and be replaced with pure thoughts. Changing our thoughts will have an impact on our words and actions.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Quote of the Week

“Man was created by love; therefore he is so disposed to love. On the other hand, he is so great that nothing on the earth can satisfy him. He can be satisfied only when he turns towards God. Take a fish out of the water, and it will not live. Well, such is man without God.”
- Saint John Vianney, Patron Saint of Priests

Friday, July 17, 2009

Question Box Friday: Sleeping in the Same Bed?

Q: My girlfriend and I have made the decision not to have sex until we are married. Is it okay if we sleep in the same bed (without having sex), though?

A: It is natural to want to be close to someone you love, and sleeping in the same bed, even without having sex, is very intimate. Lying so close together stirs up powerful desires and emotions within the person. You may have heard that sexual desire is like a fire; once it is lit, it’s can be difficult to control without proper boundaries. Lying together in bed is like lighting a match – it can be dangerous and difficult to keep the fire from igniting. Why take the risk? If you’re committed to saving sex for marriage, then sleeping in the same bed is not the best way to guard that commitment. Intimacy (and not just sex) is a wonderful thing, and it will be the greatest joy to share that with your wife. If this girl is the one that God has chosen for you, then you will have the joy of going to sleep and waking up next to her for the rest of your life! Until then, guard your heart and your body for her alone.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Speaking of Beauty . . .



Last week Cosmopolitan magazine hosted the 2009 Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards in London, where awards were presented to the top beauty products in the business. Awards went to the “Best blemish buster,” the “Best body-firming potion” and the “Best age-busting night cream." Reading about these awards made me smile, because I am always amused by the enormous amount of attention given to beauty products, designer jeans, hair salons, and expensive pedicures. The covers of magazines like CosmoGirl sport catchy headlines such as “909 Tips to Look Amazing this Fall” or “50 Ways to Get Sexy Hair.” Our culture puts an incredible emphasis on being beautiful . . . that is, on the outside.

Sadly, not nearly the same attention is given to inner beauty. While the war is raging on the outside to have the perfect body, complete with the perfect clothing and perfect skin, it’s sometimes hard to remember how incredibly important it is to cultivate one’s inner beauty, or focus on developing a beautiful soul. What makes a person beautiful? It’s someone’s dedication to growing in virtue that makes him or her truly beautiful. Every time you take steps to become more courageous or more generous you’re growing into a more beautiful person; every time you go to Mass or spend time learning to pray, you grow more beautiful; every time you come out of yourself and selflessly seek someone else’s good you become more beautiful. The closer you grow to Christ, who is Beauty itself, and the more you become like Him, the more beautiful you become. It’s your character that makes you a beautiful person.

This week we celebrated the feast of another awesome saint: St. Kateri Tekakwitha. This girl had smallpox when she was very young, and so her face was permanently covered in scars. Based on her outward appearance, others probably would have labeled her as “ugly.” This girl, however, truly had a beautiful character. She consecrated her virginity to Christ and dedicated herself to the Virgin Mary. The scars on her face miraculously vanished when she died, revealing a woman of incredible beauty. This quote from a priest always reminds me that true beauty is a matter of the heart and comes with great responsibility: “A girl’s real beauty is still within. It is a thing of her soul . . . It is something by which she makes men aware of the truth and beauty and goodness of God by reflecting that beauty and goodness herself.”
(Fr. Poage, In Garments All Red, 1950).