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.


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