Wednesday, December 29, 2010

No Easy Decision


On December 28th 2010 at 11:30pm the season premiere of MTV's "No Easy Decision" aired.

I felt it started out well intentioned as the couple found out they were pregnant for a second time and worried about what to do and recognized the 3 possible options (Keep the child, adoption, or abortion) and said they wanted to do what was best for their baby. After the "procedure" there was an argument between the couple after the "father" called their recently deceased child "nothing but a bunch of cells" and the "mother" got extremely upset basically saying that is was a baby and "that bunch of cells could turn into this" (as she points at her 1 year old daughter). She seemed heart broken at her decision, but MTV always has to put their editing skills to work to make it look as though everything is fine the next day. They bring 2 other "mothers" onto the show as they all meet and discuss with a doctor about their "heroic" choice for their "family". It was extremely upsetting how these women justified their abortion, one woman even said "I am proud of it" and could not understand why abortion is not a more acceptable choice in our society. The show is very upsetting and I found it sad to watch a teenage couple go through the pain of abortion. If you choose to watch this show, be mindful that MTV has no problem editing their footage to put out any skewed view/agenda they want or have in mind.

On a more positive note, I found it very encouraging to know that most of the viewers that wrote on the MTV community site were very displeased with what they saw and some even spoke out about their own pain from abortion or family members. I have yet to read a comment saying "I am also proud of my abortion" which I am happy to report.















Here is the link to the Fir st Episode:

http://www.mtv.com/videos/no-easy-decision-special/1654990/playlist.jhtml


Below is a link to the MTV blog if you have any comments or want to read others opinions and thoughts:

http://community.mtv.com/Discussion-Thread/NO-EASY-DECISION-WRONG-WAY/0D3FCFFFF02098AEE00090129B3BC

I would like to conclude by stating that the view of "killing your child and justifying it as doing what is best for them" is false and should not be recognized as a reason for abortion. The only time that it is not a sin for your baby to die before birth that is recognized by the Catholic Church is: due to miscarriage, during birth, or the life of the mother is at risk. Adoption is always an option and their are millions of people on lists that want a child that cannot physically get pregnant.
















Taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

2270 Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.72

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you."73


Please continue to pray for all women that have had abortions and are considering it. Jesus guide them in Your Truth.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Picture of the Day

Check out Cincinnati Right to Life's 2010 Christmas billboard. Genius. Channel 5 reported that it's causing "quite a stir...." Makes me :) "The simple shepherds heard the voice of an angel and found their lamb; the wise men saw the light of a star and found their wisdom." - Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Being Attractive Does Not Mean a Perfect Marriage

A popular hypothetical question people often pose is, "If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?" The first answers tend to be along the lines of: "my weight, my muscles, my hair, my nose, my legs, my arms, my height..." I don't know if I've ever heard someone answer: "my sense of humor, my intelligence, be more caring, my ability to love, my ability to cook..." No, those are not the typical answers to this question. And why is that? I believe it's because we are bombarded by ads, movies, books, magazines and songs that make all kinds of proclamations: "I want that body, you should look like this, you should dress like this, your face should look like this, this is how to be happy, this is how you find your soul-mate."

What if I told you that your physical attractiveness is not what really matters in order for your marriage to succeed? Would you think I am crazy?

Every year, People Magazine decides who is the "Sexiest Man Alive" and GQ Magazine decides who is the "Babe of the Year." Well, who would ever break up with "the sexiest man alive" or the "babe of the year"? I am sad to say that they would break up with each other.
What has been looked at as "Hollywood's hottest couple," Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson, have decided to break off their marriage after 2 years. We look on as bystanders, fed with the image of the "perfect couple" and think "Why? This was the perfect marriage; they are both so attractive."

As Catholics we must recognize reality, and get out of the Hollywood mentality of "perfection is being rich and beautiful." We have to realize that looking "perfect" on the outside will not automatically lead to a perfect life, a perfect marriage, happiness and love. Physical appearances come and go. Your dedication to your spouse, rooted in the graces of a sacramental marriage, is the superglue that binds a couple together for life.

We must focus on growing and nourishing the personal gifts that we have been given by God and the Holy Spirit. I am not saying we should not keep our bodies healthy; it is important to exercise and take care of our physical body. We should not, however, lust and envy over those that the media tells us are "perfect, attractive, sexy." There is only one person we should long to be like... Jesus Christ. He has sent us His Holy Spirit to be with us always. So let us continue this Advent and into the New Year, to nourish the beauty and talent that we have been given.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Our Lady of Guadalupe

December 12th, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
"Am I not here who am your
mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection?
Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?" - Our Lady to St. Juan Diego

I love being Catholic. No where else can you get the Eucharist, Christ, and no where else can you get the fullness of the beauty of Our Lady. Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of my special favorites particularly because she reminds me to be open to God. Openness to God. As you can see, if you look closely, this is the only picture of Mary while she is pregnant; she's bringing Him to you. Openness and receptivity.
P.S. AND patroness of the Americas and the pro-life movement. Another great reason to love her.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Butterfly Circus. . . Well Worth the Watch.

There is nothing better on a wintery-ish December evening than curling up on the couch, sweatpants on, blanket in tow, pillow ready, and a cup of hot chocolate in hand, and a movie to watch . . .

Annnnnd this is what you should watch: The Butterfly Circus. I just spent the last 20 minutes sitting in Starbucks curled up on a chair watching this movie. And was wowed. . . there are very few movies that are beautiful. And very few that are well made and challenging to those who watch them. And that are short. This is why you should watch this movie. . .

1. This movie has a bea-u-tiful and captivating plot. It takes place in the Great Depression and is the story of a showman (Eduardo) who travels across the devastated American landscape, lifting the hearts of the audience as he travels. He ends up meeting a man without limbs and brings a new dimension into his life. In short, this movie is about hope, something that we desperately need. It's also about the unique dignity that each human being possesses simply because of who we are as a son or daughter of a King. Another truth we need to hear more often in our lives.

2. Eduardo Verastegui. He is definitely an incredible actor. You might have seen him in Bella a few years back and probably fell head over heels in love with him to boot. I admire Eduardo for many reasons, especially for his humility and charity, something that you don't exactly find in Hollywood every day of the week. A former Mexican soap star, he had a radical conversion and has since dedicated his life to bringing the dignity of the human person into film. I met him a few years back while in college, and was really moved by how genuine he was.


3. It's short. 20 minutes, to be exact. No excuses. You can watch the WHOLE THING on Youtube.



4.Joshua Weigel and his wife Rebekah wrote, directed, and produced this entire movie. Together. They've been married for 14 years, and I think that they are a fabulous testimony to what it means to work in marriage as a team to bring something true, good, and beautiful to others.

The future of humanity lies in the hands of those who are strong enough to provide coming generations with reasons for living and hoping.” (Guadium et Spes 31)


Friday, December 10, 2010

Check it out!

I hope you all are having an amazing Advent! I love this time of the year - pure joy :)

So, Fr. Kyle Schnippel, the Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, has an awesome new website : http://www.cincinnativocations.org/. It's been revamped and looks amazing!
Check it out if you're curious just to see what goes on in the life of a priest, if you're thinking about a religious vocation, or if you just want to get to know Fr. Kyle - hands down one of my favorite priests!

This website has a blog, and answers questions like "What does a religious brother do for fun?" You can also learn more about the priests that serve our diocese with features such as "The Man Behind the Collar." Here's a video that appeared on the website recently:




One of my favorite documents from the 2nd Vatican Council, which JP2 was involved in, says that "Man cannot find himself without making a sincere gift of himself" (GS 24:3), meaning that it is in pouring our lives out to others that we are fulfilled. . . think about that. We're pretty much encouraged everywhere we go that we should "get" more in life - more clothing, new cars, bigger houses, better sex lives etc. and that it is through these things that we will be more fulfilled and more happy. But is that really true? It's rarely mentioned that real happiness and fulfillment aren't found in getting more, or focusing on ourselves; it's in giving more of ourselves to those around us and seeking Truth. "Finding ourselves" doesn't come from focusing on ourselves. That's why some priests and religious sisters are some of the happiest and most fulfilled people that I've ever met - they know how to give.

"This is the meaning of true love - to give until it hurts." - Mother Teresa

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Going Deeper

For those of you who heard Jason speak last week at McNick, Elder, Seton, St. Ursula, Ursuline and the Underground then you know that it was an incredible couple of days! He gave some awesome talks and got a chance to hang out with a lot of the students at the schools and events.


A couple of students indicated an interest in hearing other chastity speakers speak sometime, getting purity rings, and where you could find some of Jason's stuff online.

So...


This is Jason's website - chastity.com He's got some great stuff on here - Q & A about birth control, pornography, sleeping in the same bed, living together before marriage etc.

Or, Purity rings or Miraculous Medals can be found at this online store. Hands down my favorite piece of jewelry that I own.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Are Unborn Children Really Persons?

Check out this fantastic youtube video from thirteen year-old Lia Mills, a young Canadian media sensation who has spoken out against abortion - even at such a young age. This girl's videos have been seen by hundreds of thousands of viewers worldwide, and she has even spoken on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada. Yesterday she came out with a new video about proving that the unborn really are human beings, and not just some "tissues" or "cells." I can't believe the poise, courage and power of this young girl - amazing!

Lia is a spokesperson for Teen Defenders, which can be found online here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jason Evert

Jason Evert is coming to Cincinnati!
If you are a student at McNicholas High School, Purcell Marian, St. Ursula Academy, or Ursuline Academy then you are going to hear him speak. Get pumped. He is incredible! He speaks to over 100,000 high school students each year and is the author of “If You at Really Loved Me: 100 Questions on Dating, Relationships, and Sexual Purity,” as well as “Pure Love.” He will be here at the high schools from November 3 – 5, and will also do a special presentation at the Underground in Cincinnati (1140 Smiley Ave) from 7 – 9 p.m on Thursday, November 4th. This FREE event is sponsored by Ruah Woods Theology of the Body for Teens Program. You can check out Jason’s website, http://www.chastity.com/, or check out a clip of one of his talks:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Planned Parenthood

How much do you know about Planned Parenthood? Abby Johnson, a former director of Planned Parenthood in Houston, Texas, reveals some shocking info about this well-known "health" organization that in reality is the largest abortion provider in the United States. Rocky and I had the awesome opportunity to hear her speak at a pro-life dinner last week and she is incredible! Check out her story here:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"My Drug & His Poison: My Boyfriend was Hooked on Porn"

“Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it.”
~ Thomas Jefferson

Do you remember the first time you realized that you loved your husband or boyfriend? Do you find yourself often visiting that special moment in your mind? Perhaps reminiscing about the better times. Sometimes those memories are the only things we have to remind us of how we knew them to be…before porn.

Because of their addiction, we want to hold on to those memories for dear life. Those memories of the good times, when you first met them, or when you knew you first loved them, you cherish…especially now. When you see a transformation in your husband or boyfriend, to the point that you don’t even recognize him anymore due to their addiction, there is such a sense of loss that sometimes can take years to overcome and truly grieve through.
How Porn Makes a Woman Feel
The thought of losing someone to a porn addiction is crippling and feels like the most severe emotional pain that could exist, especially if it results in the complete loss of the relationship. We know the detrimental effects of porn because of its chemical nature and effect on the brain and on one’s actions, demeanor, and behavior and because you’ve probably felt it in the way that your husband or boyfriend treats you even without knowing the scientific evidence of its impact.

Because of their personal guilt and shame they feel due to their addiction, you’ve probably experienced them attempting to shift any blame onto you, while getting frequently angry. Have you noticed that they withdraw from family activities or in spending time with you, or retreat from church, and social activities – things they once were involved in?

You and I, the wives and girlfriends, know without a doubt that it changes our loved ones as we experience the pain of porn firsthand. In fact, husbands report loving their wives less after long periods of looking at women depicted in porn. Wives and girlfriends develop deep, deep wounds and they begin to feel inadequate. They don’t just feel discomfort, but the distress level can be so high that it can lead to clinical treatment for trauma, eating disorders, and severe depression. It’s not just “temporarily feeling sad” about a husband/boyfriend’s addiction—it’s a blow to the core of who that woman is, that could lead to years of depression and much more.

Many women might even say that it’s worse than actual infidelity, because there isn’t one “real” person that they are having an affair with, it’s many intangible women and they don’t know what they are up against. Many times, porn addicts do not comprehend the downward spiral that they are causing their wives or girlfriends to enter into by their actions.

When It’s Not The Fairytale
I never thought I could love someone as much as I loved my boyfriend, who I met through a mutual friend. I fervently prayed for almost five years, every single day. I prayed that if it was God’s will, that a relationship would come into being. And after five years it happened. God answered that prayer. I thought: finally, this must be God’s plan coming together because it seemed so perfect.

My life already revolved around him. He was my everything. We talked about getting married. That relationship was what I looked forward to during much chaos and major decisions that were taking place at that time. He was my joy and being able to love him is what made each day for me.

My boyfriend became like my own personal drug and there wasn’t a day that went by in that relationship that I didn’t thank God that we were together and thank Him for answering prayer. When we make someone so important and critical to our lives, though, we raise them to the status of idol, and God warns us of this.


How Porn Killed Our Love
The really sad thing about porn is that it takes genuine love and it kills it. The addict doesn’t have to be in an intimate relationship, because they get “filled” by porn due to the dopamine highs they get from watching it. It removes any closeness and intimacy in a relationship, and replaces it with lust and distance, ultimately changing the addict due to the chemical nature.

I was so na├»ve. I had no idea the power that porn possessed, until finally, one day it killed my relationship forever. I had no idea I was up against the Devil’s chosen baby: pornography, and how serious it really was. My boyfriend distanced himself from the relationship, from me; instead of visiting, he preferred to stay at home and watch porn and would come up with excuses as to why. He blamed porn pop-ups on others who used the computer, and pushed me out of his life ultimately, until I finally heard the words, “I don’t love you anymore.”

Girls Against Porn

He gave me the vision of starting Girls Against Porn (GAP) to help other women who were going through the same thing I did. Girls Against Porn have joined initiatives with other partnering organizations and friends. Because of these initiatives, most of the airlines are filtering their Internet services, a porn club was halted from being developed on a college campus, we came close to preventing a former Playboy lawyer from receiving a DOJ appointment, and with over 11,000 e-mails and calls from the public, we’ve send a strong message to Apple to restrict pornography related apps. It has been a challenge, but such a rewarding one.

http://www.covenanteyes.com/
- – - -
This post is by Tiffany Leeper. Tiffany is the Founder of Girls Against Porn, an action coalition for women and those against pornography.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Champion of Love

I love Mother Teresa.

Today is (what would have been....) her 100th birthday. Her life continually reminds me to fight against simple mediocrity, to strive for the best, to strive for purity - not just physically, but purity of heart, purity of intention, and the fact that loving Christ with an undivided heart is always first in our lives when trying to accomplish this.

This is beautiful....





Anyway
People are often unreasonable,
illogical and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest anyway.

What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

- Mother Teresa

And who knows if she was an influence for this....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The "Love Test"

If you were to walk up to a random person and ask them what the opposite of love is, the answer would most likely be hate...

However, John Paul II has a different answer. He says that the opposite of loving someone isn't hating them - it's using them. We're human, and we have a choice: are we going to love someone for who they are as a person, or are we going to use them (physically, emotionally etc.) for ourselves? Do we see people as a means for our own end? What do you consider to be "using someone"?

For Girls
Have you done sexual acts or compromised your dignity to make a guy more interested in you?

Do you sometimes dress immodestly to get attention?

Do you feel you need a “cute boyfriend” to validate your worth?

Do you or would you cheat?

Do you settle for being “friends with benefits”?

Do you fall back into the same sexual mistakes, relationship after relationship?

Do you justify sexual acts because you feel you’re “in love”?

Do you tolerate your boyfriend looking at pornography?

Do you stay in unhealthy relationships for fear of being alone?

Do you dance in a way that invites guys to lust after you?

For Guys
When you see an attractive girl, do you automatically imagine doing sexual acts with her?

When it comes to your speech, are you respectful around girls you want to impress, but you sound like Quagmire when you’re with the guys?

Do you or would you cheat?

Do you get mad at a girl if she doesn’t want to be physical in any way?

Do you gently push your girlfriend to go further than she wants during times when the two of you are physically intimate?

Do you look at pornography?

Do you tell your girlfriend that you love her, hoping that she’ll want to be sexually active with you?

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Thought for the Day....

I happen to be lucky enough to live with an amazingly beautiful, smart, holy, and generous woman - who also happens to have a master's degree in theology, and therefore has quite a large assortment of amazing books....some of which I might currently be in the process of "borrowing."
This one blows me away.

“The soul of woman must therefore be expansive and open to all human beings. It must be quiet so that no small weak flame will be extinguished by stormy winds; warm so as not to benumb fragile buds; clear, so that no vermin will settle in dark corners and recesses; self contained, so that no invitations from without can imperil the inner life; empty of itself, in order that extraneous life may have room in it; finally, mistress of itself and also of its body, so that the entire person is readily at the disposal of every call..." - Edith Stein

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Watch what airport you go to












I went on christianitytoday.com and found an article that shocked me. Unless you work at the airport you probably don't know what those security people that make you take your shoes off are looking at. Would you believe me if i told you that it is pretty intense.

"The Times (UK) reports that full-body scans give security staff detailed images of passengers’ nude bodies, which human rights groups decry as a “virtual strip search.” According to the Associated Press, the images are viewed in a private room and conceal passengers’ faces to protect identity."

This is disgusting and offensive. To go onto an airplane, you have to not only embarass yourself by having people smelling your socks, take everything out of your pockets and expose everything in your bag, but now they can look at you naked! I think this is a HUGE violation of privacy and of our human dignity.

Pope Benedict met with the airline staff February 20th and said "All these assurances may not be enough to protect passengers’ dignity"“It is essential never to lose sight of respect for the primacy of the person,” he said. While he acknowledged that given “the economic crisis, which is bringing about problematic effects in the civil aviation sector, and the threat of international terrorism, which is targeting airports and aircraft,” the Pope urged that “the primary asset to be safeguarded and treasured is the person, in his or her integrity.”

To bad our country seems to not have Catholic or Christian morals anymore. This is disgusting. I think we should begin praying for all the airport security staff and their families soon because they have no idea that their job may soon be getting paid to view pornography. That is a shame and I pray that these security scanners dont make it out of the Boston Airport (BLIA)!

Here is the full article below:
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2010/03/citing_modesty_two_women_refus.html

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Who says it has to be itsy-bitsy?















If you haven't heard of Jessica Rey, she is an actress, chastity advocate and now entrapaneur to a modesty clothing and swimsuit line.( http://www.jessicarey.com/ )

Jessica booked her first television role as Alyssa, the white ranger on Disney's Power Ranger's Wild Force as well as "the young and the restless" and "General Hospital". She currently speaks to young people about chastity, modesty and her testimony. It is good to know that other people out there are making an effort to support this virtue. If you can, check out her clothing line and support her and her clothing ministry.

listen to jessica's story here http://www.thegorettigroup.org/jessica.htm

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"I pray you enough"

Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged, and the mother said, 'I love you, and I pray you enough.

'The daughter replied, 'Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I pray you enough, too, Mom.

'They kissed, and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy, but she welcomed me in by asking, 'Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?

'Yes, I have,' I replied. 'Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?'

'Well...I'm not as young as I once was, she lives so far away & has her own busy life. I have some challenges ahead, and the reality is - her next trip back will be for my funeral,' she said.

'When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I pray you enough.' May I ask what that means?

'She began to smile. 'That's a prayer that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.' She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, and she smiled even more. 'When we said, 'I pray you enough,' we wanted the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.'

Then, turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory.

I pray you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.

I pray you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.I pray you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I pray you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.

I pray you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I pray you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I pray you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

Then, she began to cry, and walked away.

They say, it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but an entire life to forget them.

Brothers and Sisters, I pray you enough... and I pray for you

Movie Review (Letters to Juliet)

I love movies, especially a good ones! Movies that make me think, laugh, appreciate life, movies that dont try to scandalize or hinder my faith through repetitive bashing or blasphemy(either outright or in a more undertone way). I am married and because of this I can not watch action movies every day, I now have a significant other that needs to agree on what movies we watch together. Because of this we have found ourselves in the genre of "Romantic Dramas and Comedies"!


The movie I want to review is "Letters to Juliet". It is about an engaged girl (Sophie) who goes to Italy with her Italian fiancee on a "pre-honeymoon" but he is so involved with work that they spend no time together. She goes touring by herself and goes to the "Wall of Juliet" where tradition has that if you write a letter to Juliet, she will answer you with an letter back. Sophie finds these "secret women" and wants to help write back. She discovers a letter from 50 years past and answers it to find that the older woman comes looking for her "Romeo" once again. And yes, she has a grandson the same age as Sophie!


This movie is rated PG and is not a kids movie, how often does that happen these days! There is no fowl language, The clothing attire is very modest and is a beautiful love story between both a young couple and an older couple. It touches on the concept of true love as well as what marriage is and is not. The concept that was new and strange was a "pre-honeymoon", but i am glad they portrayed it as being so boring and did not recommend it. The whole idea of a pre-honeymoon is very against what a real marriage is and be sure to let whoever watches it know that it is immoral. I think part of the reason they put it in the movie was to show that the fiancee cared more about his buisness than their marriage.


I think women would enjoy this movie very much. And unless you are Scott Stephens, msot men would not enjoy this movie due to the fact that it is one of the most "girly chick flicks" I have ever seen! Lets put it this way, it makes "The Notebook" look like "Braveheart"! But to the women, if you are young or old and looking for a wholesome and satisfying love story, "Letters to Juliet" is the movie for you.

I give it a thumbs up!

Letters to Juliet Trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AmB8spntgg

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hello

Hi everyone, I am Rocky Rhoades. thank you for your welcoming into the wonderful Cincinnati community!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Chastity Educator!

We have a new Chastity Educator at the pregnancy center! We're really excited to welcome Rocky Rhoades to our staff :)

Rocky is an internationally known chastity speaker with the Goretti Group and has appeared in shows such as EWTN's "The Pure Life."




Wednesday, May 26, 2010

.....Happy Birthday?

Yesterday, a young girl walked into the pregnancy center for a pregnancy test. I heard her talking with one of our client advocates as she walked through the hallway, and I stopped to listen when I heard her ask whether or not birth control was available through the pregnancy center.
This young girl told us that she had been using birth control for about a year now, but really wanted to stop using it. She told us that she "didn't like it." That answer can be pretty common for a lot of women who are using some form of birth control, and it's a pretty understandable answer. Birth control injects hormones into a woman's body, throwing her entire body off balance. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of what is famously known as simply "the pill," the most popular form of contraceptive here in the U.S.
No, we don't give out birth control here at the pregnancy center, and I'm very grateful for the fact that we don't. I think it's time that women start seriously looking at what birth control does to our bodies. These days, it's incredibly common for "the pill" to be prescribed for pretty much any reason - acne, heavy periods, pain etc. But what most people don't realize is that these pills can seriously harm us (both physically and psycologically), lower our chances of becoming pregnant in the future, increase the risk of getting breast cancer, cause us to gain weight, could possibly cause an abortion for baby already conceived, throws our hormones and our bodies off balance, gives us nausea, decreases our libido, harms the environment, and puts a barrier between us and our husbands.

So why would we do this? CNN put out an article this past week about how the birth control pill has revolutionized our culture and completely changed the way that we view sex. Birth Control is oftentimes seen a "liberating" thing for women - a powerful way for them to gain control over their bodies, to decide for themselves on how to use their sexuality, and a way to enjoy sex with "no strings attached."

But what's wrong with this? For one thing, there is no such thing as "sex with no strings attached." Our sexuality is the core of who we are as women, and the way that we use that gift goes deep inside of us. By using birth control, we're working against our own natural cycle, which is always going to touch us in a deep way. As Theology of the Body explains, our bodies express our persons - what we do with our bodies matters.

Second of all, birth control takes out the responsibility that comes with sex. We're human beings, not animals. We have the capability of saying no, of making decisions - we have freedom, and, as Spiderman famously said: "With freedom comes great responsibility." John Paul II said it even better: "the greater feeling of responsibility, the more true love there is."

The primary purpose of sex is procreation; no matter how much we try to justify the use of contraception, we can't - because Christ is always in control of new life, not us. Everytime we use contraception, we're kicking Christ and His creative power out of the fundamental act that He designed for new life.

And last, but not least, it really does harm us as women. As I once heard, "birth control is the only drug you give to a healthy woman that makes her sick." Think about that - birth control harms women. It isn't good for our bodies - this should tell us something.
So, happy birthday to "the pill"? I think not.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Theology of the Body for Teens

Interested in learning more about chastity, love, dating and John Paul II? (and free Chipotle?)Come hang out with us at the Pregnancy Center this summer!
Who: All incoming high school freshmen through incoming college freshmen.

When: We are offering two seperate five-week classes on Mondays and Wednesdays from July 7 - August 9. The afternoon class meets twice a week from 1 - 3 p.m. and the evening class meets twice a week from 6 - 8 p.m.

Where: Pregnancy Center East (3944 Edwards Rd. Cincinnati, OH)

Space is limited, and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. You can contact me via email at aliciapce@fuse.net or call my direct ext. (513) 321 - 8584.

~ the class is completely FREE! ~

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Catholic Actor Refuses Racy Sex Scenes

I'm always inspired by people who stick to their principles and radically live out their faith. I read this story this week about Neal McDonough, an actor who was recently kicked off T.V. show "Scoundrels" by ABC for refusing to do explicit sex scenes with actress Virginia Madsen.

McDonough is a Catholic married man with three kids, and because the role was paying McDonough around $1 million dollars, it really causes us to ask - is it worth it? Some people argue that it's not a big deal because it's not like he's "actually" having sex with her or cheating on his wife because he's an actor - this is what he does. So is it a big deal?

I think it is. For one thing, no matter if it's just acting or not, when you're doing a sex scene with someone you're physically close to them in a way that reveals your whole person. Any kind of sexual activity is a gift for your spouse. Our sexuality is who we are; it's our person. When you have sex with someone you're giving yourself away - no matter if it's acting or not. I admire this guy because he obviously loves his wife deeply enough to respect her as the one and only person who receives the gift of himself.
Bella actor Eduardo Verastegui has faced the same issue. And I think he has an awesome response:

"When you kill somebody in the movies, you’re not killing anyone. But when you kiss someone, it’s really a kiss,” Eduardo stressed. “In sex scenes, you’re really half naked. So I would recommend that people be careful, because you are working with fire and you’re gonna get burned. Don’t risk yourself for some role. I know because I did it. And I’m telling you, 12 years of that was nothing but emptiness, pain and suffering.” Eduardo described sex scenes as what they are: “legal adultery.”

Friday, March 19, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Have patience with all of the world, but first of all with yourself." - St. Francis de Sales

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Eduardo Verastegui:"Yes to Christ, yes to purity, yes to chastity, and yes to God."

If you are a Bella fan then this is for you! Eduardo Verastegui, an actor in Bella, spoke this week at the first Congress for Catholic Youth in Guatemala. The event drew about 7,000 young Catholic youth, who promised “to work for the virtue of purity” and to "lead a chaste life.” The goal of the conference was to "motivate the youth to say yes to Christ, yes to purity, yes to chastity, and yes to God." At the congress, Eduardo himself led the youth in kneeling before the Eucharist and praying the chastity promise prayer. (Catholic News Agency)

Eduardo used to be a Mexican soap star, and he eventually gave it all to Christ and has done amazing work to promote life and chastity. I love his conversion story! You can read more about it here.

It's always so encouraging to see others, especially teenagers and young adults, commiting to living a pure life - definitely not an easy task in our culture today. Those are who aren't having sex aren't just surviving...they are living incredibly fulfilling lives. Purity IS possible!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Quote of the Week



"The way to perfect joy is incredibly simple. It is simply to die - to die to self-will and self-regard - to say to God, "Thy will be done," and mean it. To put God first, to consecrate everything - everything - to him." - Dr. Peter Kreeft

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Are we too childish to date or get married?"

Last night I came across an article called "Are we too childish to date or get married?" by Anthony Buono, who blogs at 6 Stone Jars. This article caught my interest because when the In Control program goes into high schools inevitably somone asks, "is okay to date in high school?" And every single time it's difficult to answer concretely because every person is ready at a different time in their lives. Personally, I didn't "feel" ready to date until I was 21 - I was honestly not mature enough or close enough to Christ to be able to even think about getting married, and then to start dating.

Anyway, this article is great because it points out that dating and marriage require serious thought because it takes a lot of responsibility - and virtue. He takes us through St. Paul's famous "Love is patient, Love is kind..." and really shows us, concretely, what that means and how we need these virtues in order to be "ready" to date and get married.

For example, "Love is a very Godly thing. And the love we seek to have for ourselves is really something only God can give. Unless we embrace that with maturity, we are not going to have success in our relationships with others, and certainly not in marriage...(Paul) is indicating here that love is a sign of maturity; of being a man or woman (an adult). Children are self-absorbed! To be childish is to be selfish, which is a definition of immaturity. To be only concerned with self. Look at what he points out about what love is not: jealous, pompous, inflated, rude, seeking own interests, rejoicing over wrongdoing. These are childish things!

Men and women who want to be married or who are married need to take inventory of themselves regarding their childish habits, and work to rid themselves of them by God’s grace...(we) can lack the capability of unconditional love, that which wills the good of the other. That’s what love is. That is the love that solidifies and dignifies marriage. It is only possible if we love God and truly seek change through a life of grace. And it takes practice. MUCH practice! May we all take St. Paul’s advice and get to work putting aside our childish ways, and taking mature steps toward being an adult, which means being a responsible person who loves and seeks to serve. If you want the privilege of being a married person, practice love that is not self-seeking, but that is selfless and desires the happiness of the other. That will be your own happiness."

Basically, Anthony is pointing out that it takes maturity to love - so I would encourage you to take the time to learn how to love, how to be selfless. And this can start in your own family! I remember someone once telling me that if I really wanted to prepare for the person I would marry someday, then I should begin to look at how I treated my dad and my brothers...because that's the way that I would learn to properly love. Hmmm. Something to think about.



Have a great Lent! :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

40 Days for Life


Tonight I had the opportunity to speak with Mary Clark, the coordinator for the 40 Days for Life Campaign here in the Cincinnati area. She really inspired me to get out of my comfort zone and DO something this Lent! The 40 Days Campaign is hoping to fill 40 entire days with constant, around the clock prayer time at Planned Parenthood (Auburn Ave) in Cincinnati, and they still have a great need for people to give an hour out of their day, or week, to pray outside out of the abortion clinic and offer help to the women who walk in. You can sign up here.

I also watched this video - live from New York City on the street that is known as "abortion row," the longest strip of abortion clinics in the country.




"Remember: Christ is calling you, the Church needs you, and the Pope believes in you and expects great things from you!" - Pope John Paul II

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Quote of the Week

“Only the nakedness that makes woman an object for man, or vice versa, is a source of shame. The fact that they were not ashamed means that the woman was not an “object” for the man, nor he for her.”
– John Paul II

Friday, February 19, 2010

Question Box Friday: Sex when dating/engaged

Can you have sex when you’re engaged or really in love with a person?

No, having sex before you are married is not okay. Sex is very intimate, can blind you to the problems in the relationship, and communicates more than we often think. Our bodies have a language that we speak, for example a ‘thumbs up’ can communicate good job. We can communicate many things without using words such as saying good job or nice to meet you. Having sex is also a language of our bodies. We are giving ourselves totally and completely to our spouse. The language that we are expressing is that of our wedding vows.

Having sex before we are married is like lying with our bodies. The act of sex is communicating a couple’s wedding vows. If they haven’t made the commitment to each other through marriage, then their bodies are saying something they are not able to say yet. The wedding vows in marriage make the union of sex genuine, because your bodies are renewing the promises from your wedding day.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pornography: What's the Harm?

A new website has just been launched that demonstrates the harm that porn does to families, men, women, children etc. They have some great articles and research info online. You can access it here.

Sacrifice

Often times during the Lenten season, people are more aware of making sacrifices. The truth is that we make sacrifices in life all the time, without even being aware of it. For example, if I want to be good at basketball, I need to sacrifice my time and practice. If I don’t show up to practice, I won’t get better or get to play in the game.

Everything that is worth doing requires sacrifice. The part when we are giving something up can be difficult, but the reward is worth it. It’s not very much fun to study, but getting that A+ feels really good. Practicing chastity is the same in the sense of sacrifice. We may feel like we are giving up a lot, but the benefits, of saving yourself for your spouse, are well worth the sacrifice.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Making a Difficult Choice"

I came across this beautiful story yesterday, and I absolutely love it. It's a story about a woman who was diagnosed with cancer in 2005, and what that cancer did to her marriage. It really shows what love is - and how love = sacrifice. She has some great insights about birth control vs. NFP/abstinence, too. You can read the entire story here.


"In April 2005, I was diagnosed with cancer.

It was just two weeks after the birth of my ninth baby, and days after my youngest brother’s death in a car accident. I stopped breastfeeding immediately as I needed many tests including an MRI and CT scan, the latter of which required the ingestion of radioactive material. What’s more, chemotherapy was next to come. A mother simply couldn’t nurse with those toxins rushing through her body... But the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back of my emotions came when my husband and I were sitting in the oncologist’s office, after a tests had been completed, while my mind was spinning with the diagnosis, treatment plan and clinical trial options. The oncologist ended his discussion of my future by saying, “Now before we start, we need to get you on birth control because you absolutely must not get pregnant.”

Suddenly this became clear. At one of the weakest points of my physical and emotional life I was going to be morally challenged too. Herein lay David’s and my “difficult choice”: Would we choose to be fully Catholic and reject artificial birth control, or choose to make an exception for ourselves?

Perhaps you think that a two week post- partum, exhausted and sick woman does not have sex as a priority on her mind. You are right. But if you were diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and you thought that you might die, you would likely begin to yearn for the love, reassurance and intimacy that the marital act provides. The thought of the possibility of never having that again was terrifying to me.

Sometimes my mind would wander. What if I died? What if my husband remarried? What if his new wife were better, prettier, holier than me? She would raise my kids. She would have the normal relationship with my husband that I craved. As I grew bloated from treatment, as my hair fell out, I continued to feel ugly and depressed. How could he still love me? Stay with me? Would he change his mind? I was normally reflective, but this crisis threw me deeper and deeper into introspection and speculation of scenarios that “might be”. I was tired, sick, crabby and sad most of the time. I felt I had nothing to offer my husband. I longed for the closeness we shared before this crisis. I was tempted severely to throw in the towel, to go back on our decision.

Suddenly, I felt deep warmth within my soul. I felt Jesus saying directly to my heart, “You are not alone. I am with you.” Then I suddenly KNEW that not only was Jesus there with me during the ordeal of my cancer experience, like a husband might sit with his wife during labor, but He willingly took on the sufferings I was experiencing, from the needles in the arm, to the nausea, to the uncertainty, the aloneness, the mental torment. He chose to suffer with me and for me. I also got the profound feeling that my suffering — indeed all suffering — was an invitation to participate in the redemption of the cross. He was asking me to trust Him. Renewed in soul, I left the chapel in wonder and awe, and pondering God’s great mercy and love.

Six months later, after twelve grueling treatments I was pronounced ‘cancer-free’. For several more months pregnancy was strongly contraindicated, as my system was still full of powerful toxins. I was grateful for the strength and leadership of my husband during this time. We continued our abstinence commitment until the prescribed time period was up.

I believe God gave David and me that time for productive soul-searching and deep spiritual bonding together. God offered us a chance to definitively choose Him , to grow in maturity and be strengthened through the myriad ways that suffering does.

Today I also look at Catholic couples who struggle with the Catholic teaching on birth control and who feel tempted to think that artificial contraception might be the answer. I want to encourage them: Be strong. Stay true to your faith. You can do this! Even in exceptional situations, make the right choice, even if it is the difficult one. God is with you each step of the way, more than you can understand. Trust Him. Blessings will follow. "

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dominican Sisters on Oprah

Having a snow day? The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist will be on Oprah!

The show will air in the Cincinnati area at 4 p.m. on Channel 9. How awesome is it that these young women will be witnesses to the joy of giving oneself totally to Christ to such a large audience?

A couple of interesting facts about these sisters: 1) the average age of entering postulants is 21; 2) today is coincidentally the 13th anniversary of their founding.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Question Box Friday: Should a man lead in the relationship?

Question: Should a man lead in the relationship?
Answer: Yes, a man should take the lead in relationships and a woman should be strong enough to let the man lead and help him to lead. This is something that I really have struggled to understand as a strong, independent woman. Our culture has taught women and men to be strong and not to rely on others because that is a sign of weakness.

Masculinity is about strength, leadership, and being the protector. A man's body is designed to be the giver and the woman's body is designed to receive the man. Biologically speaking the woman opens herself up in order to receive the man. Our emotions work in much of the same way. A woman should let a man know that she is interested by making herself available and opening herself up to the man. The man should take initiative and pursue the woman.

Practical advice...When I was in high school, I had a friend who always "HAD TO HAVE A BOYFRIEND". She would chase after a guy until he would start dating her. These relationships were always very short before she would get bored and move on to the next guy. Girls connect more quickly emotionally and may jump from having a crush on someone to planning the wedding in a matter of minutes or months. It doesn't happen the same way for guys, they may not even catch on that a girl is interested in them. Therefore in order to allow the guy the time he needs to think about the relationship progressing, girls need to slow down, be patient and let the guy take initiative.

I'm not saying that girls should be timid, passive, or weak. It is 100% okay to let a guy know that you are interested in him. But, then we need to be patient and wait for him to process through the idea of starting a relationship. Every girl wants to be swept off her feet. This isn't possible if we jump the gun and take initiative in the relationship. A true sign of feminity is the ability to be open and to receive.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Pearl

The Pearl
In every oyster there lies the ability
to produce something rare.
Truth like a grain of sand will produce
the pearl that is hidden there.

Young woman you are often mocked and scorned.
And told you never should have been born.
You want to run away, to hide your hurt.
You’re heart is wounded, bleeding and torn.

God makes not mistakes
every life is special,
every life is planned.
Seeds can sprout in sand.

Open yourselves up to the Spirit of God
Grow in grace and maturity
Be what He wants you to be
Your beauty your strength lies deep within you.

Young woman, young girl,
open yourselves up to God.
Allow Him to reveal your pearl.

~ Sylvia Hannah

Friday, January 29, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Abortion kills twice. It kills the body of the baby and it kills the conscience of the mother. Abortion is profoundly anti-women. Three quarters of its victims are women: Half the babies and all the mothers."
~ Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta ~

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What you probably won't see on CNN...

There was an estimated 300,000 people (record attendance!) that participated in the annual March for Life in Washington D.C. this past Friday on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the supreme court decision that legalized abortion in 1973. Over 35,000 marched on the West Coast in San Francisco.
West Coast:













And in D.C...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Quote of the Week


"A clean heart is a free heart. A free heart can love Christ with an undivided love in chastity, convinced that nothing and nobody will separate it from his love. Purity, chastity, and virginity created a special beauty in Mary that attracted God’s attention. He showed his great love for the world by giving Jesus to her." - Mother Teresa

Friday, January 15, 2010

Question Box Friday

Why do girls get upset when I ask them out in a text message?

I feel like our culture today is resorting to e-mail, text messages, and instant messaging or facebook as the main form of conversation. This is not a healthy way to develop communication in a relationship. It presents challenges on many levels. These forms of communication are not very personal because there is a medium of technology between the two people.

I understand that the fear of rejection may be lessened when using these forms of communication because you don't have to look the person in the eye. However, it is important to develop communication skills that include eye contact. Text messaging can be convenient for short messages or a time clarification, however it is not effective to have a conversation through text messages. It shows more respect if you are able to communicate face to face or at least on the phone and not through messages that you are interested in someone.

A Positive Media Influence

Sixteen year-old Maddy Curtis, the daughter of an award-winning pro-life blogger, appeared on American Idol this week. American Idol featured a segment showcasing her family of 12 children, including four children with Down's Syndrome. Here's what she had to say about the sanctity of life: “I think some people are a little skeptical of down syndrome. Those four boys bring out the best in every person they meet. They see the world in colors, and we need to see the world that way.”

-- taken from www.lifesitenews.com

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Praying with Pope John Paul II

This is a brand-new book called "Santo Subito," which in Italian means "Immediate Saint." It's a book with unedited testimonies about Pope John Paul II's prayer life from those who knew him best.

"He spoke with God. You would take one look at him and you knew that he was a person who talked frequently with God.”

I love Pope John Paul II for so many reasons, but one of them is the simple fact that he radiated joy and love. I used to tell my Mom that you could always tell when someone had a truly amazing relationship with Christ because they were peaceful, joyful, confident, compassionate and generous people. There's a "glow." Pope John Paul II had that glow.

So what does this have to do with practicing chastity? A personal relationship with Christ is the foundation of your life. I can't say it any better: "Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination,will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love; stay in love,and it will decide everything." ~ Fr. Pedro Arrupe S.J.

An amazing prayer life is the key to living passionately. Until that key unlocked my life, I only practiced chastity because I knew that sex before marriage was sinful and I wanted my husband to have that special gift. While that is certainly not wrong, it's not the whole story. I found that when I started praying intensely my desire switched from wanting not just to please my husband, but to love Christ. Now, I practice chastity for both of them - I know that Christ is, and always will be, the King of my Heart, and that living a life of chastity is ultimately about loving God. Sex inside of marriage mirrors Christ's own self-giving, free, faithful, and fruitful love - and I'm committed to keeping sex inside of marriage because I want to love as He does. Prayer changed my life; I would pick up this book and let it change yours.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Walk in Purity

How can a Christian walk in purity when temptation seems to be around every corner? First we must remember that God created sex to be a beautiful expression of love between a man and a woman who are joined in marriage. Since sexual activity can result in the creation of new life, it is obviously very important therefore, Satan does his best to pervert it.

In order to deal with this issue of temptation and walking in purity, we need to start by exposing the lies and excuses Satan uses to deceive people. This is essential because once we believe one of his lies, we have taken the first step on a path that will lead to heartbreak and regret. When the lies are exposed, we are able to see the truth that God gave us in the beauty of His creation. This truth enables us to walk in purity.