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


40 Days for Life
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.


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