Sunday, May 8, 2011
In honor of all mothers, and especially my mother today I say thank you! Thank you for your selflessness, your courage, your love, your encouragment, your patience...the times you said yes to an additional responsibility because you know it would benefit your children or the greater community. Being a mother is not EASY, and that is why this beautiful vocation needs to be celebrated often.
Just a few precious memories I want to share of my mother growing up:
My mom is brilliant at finding lost items. She must have a 6th sense or St. Anthony in her pocket. Even if we are not in the same place (like when I am at school), she always seems to know where I left my wallet, my jacket, my earring, etc. What a grace!
My time in high school was probably the craziest time in my life. I was definitely OVERinvolved and was taking really challenging classes. I remember multiple times when my mom pulled all-nighters with me just so she could help or even be in solidarity with me as I finished my long-procrastinated project or paper.
My mom used to sew ALL of my Halloween costumes. She is a very talented woman....I got to be Rapunzel, Pochahantas, and many more wonderfully girly characters.....so cool.
My mom taught me how to bake pies like it's nobody's business. She instilled a patient love in me for homemade pie crust & the delicate blend of fruit or nuts with sugar & spice.
My mom (and my dad) made sure that we went to Mass every Sunday and stayed involved with our parish. They fostered a love for the Lord in me at a very young age and we have all grown in the faith together as I went through high school and college.
My mom is a volunteer. She has worked in many ministries from helping with Boy Scouts, to being a great "Speech Team" mom, to preparing meals for the Sunshine club to contribute to funeral meals, to chaperoning a retreat, to now doing house visits for the St. Vincent De Paul's warehouse. She is selfless with her gifts and shares them with the community frequently.
Mom, for these reasons and many others, I am so glad to be your daughter.
I encourage all other bloggers to post a picture and memories of their moms today!
Saturday, May 7, 2011
So, I read about this way to blog and have decided to give it a try after reading a fellow blogger's "Simple Woman's Daybook". I love it!!! :-)
For Today: Saturday, May 7th
Outside my window: A beautiful 68 degrees and lots of green grass, dusk
I am thinking: I am definitely exhausted as I antipated after working an overnight lock-in last night but I am so happy with how the lock-in went. The Holy Spirit was really present last night & this morning! Now I have to get get some homework done for my judicial politics class.
I am thankful for: A fantastic retreat, my relationship with God, my fabulous friends Maria & Meghan
From the Kitchen: Tonight for dinner I made a meal with rice, corn, and chicken sausage (with apples) along with from-scratch blueberry muffins. Scrumptious!!
I am wearing: pajamas...no shame!
I am creating: nothing today!
I am going: absolutely nowhere.
I am reading: "Cullen v. Pinholster" Supreme Court Case
I am hoping/praying: Consecration according to St. Louis de Montfort, praying for several friends' job searches & for a special married couple trying to conceive a child
I am hearing: my friends' Maria & Meghan's voices & laughing
Around the house: Candles are burning, dishes are washed from dinner, my room needs some reorganization
One of my favorite things: Getting crawl into my bed after a nearly 36+ hour Friday/Saturday....bliss!
A few plans for the rest of the week:
-Get a ton of paper writing done so that I can enjoy last memories with friends in St. Paul before I graduate
-Celebrate "The Signature" staff writers by a trip to get ice cream Tuesday night
-Celebrate VIA volunteers at the Wednesday night banquet
-Make more yummy meals
-Go on a lot of long walks
-Catch up with my DF (dear fiancé) now that his finals are over :-) Yay.
Have a great Saturday everyone!!!!! Blessed John Paul II, pray for us!
Friday, May 6, 2011
Tonight, I am heading to Wisconsin to help with a retreat for 8th graders from different middle schools who will be attending the same high school together. I am going with 5 other students from my school. Throughout the course of the evening, we will be giving talks, leading small groups, playing games, eating pizza, watching movies, praising the Lord, having Confessions, going to Mass, and more. This will be my 3rd opportunity helping to chaperone/lead this retreat in my time at St. Thomas. It is such a blessing to have this opportunity which is a 1x/year commitment every May...and what generosity that 5 other students were willing to come with me too!
Without a doubt, we each will have a unique opportunity to mentor tonight. That is, to be a witness and show, by example, that living a life for the Lord and being in relationship with Him is the best decision that you can make. I look forward to the conversations, the questions, and the fun that we will be sharing tonight. I know that I might have something to teach, and to learn and I am very excited to be a part of this overnight retreat. (even though it means I'll be EXHAUSTED tomorrow morning making the 2 hr drive back)
When I look back on my faith journey, I would not be where I am today (which is far from perfect, but I am striving towards Him) if it were not the presence of genuine mentors who cared immensely about me. Sometimes you meet someone and they make an impression on you.
When I went to "One Bread, One Cup" a liturgical leadership conference at St. Meinrad's in S. Indiana http://www.saintmeinrad.edu/oboc/default.aspx when I was in high school, I made friends with mentors (peers) and college-aged mentors. The retreat was based around learning how to serve at your church back at home, learning different lay ministries (music, lectoring, altar serving, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, Homiletics, etc), learning about spirituality types/exploring different prayer forms, and building community with young Catholics from around the country. At that point, I liked being a Catholic and I enjoyed the friendships I had at Church but I did not really have a deep conviction of faith. Seeing these other young people with so much JOY for Jesus Christ left a deep mark on me that made me ask, "How can I have that?" And so I prayed, discerned, watched, and talked...and fully gave myself to the Lord during Eucharistic Adoration the night before we left the conference. My small group's intern kept in touch with me through e-mail, and because of her, I ended up considering, applying for, and attending the University of St. Thomas (where she was currently a student).
Whether its your siblings, the young people you lead in a small group, your friends, the people standing in the movie theatre line with you, we all have a chance to be a mentor. While obviously, the mentors that are most influential are those that commit to us in the long-term, short experiences like this retreat tonight will make a difference. When you surrender yourself to the Lord, He will use you as His instrument for good. Never be afraid to stand for the Lord!
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Turning in 2 papers, check!
The beautiful sunshine
"Wash my Feet" posters look fantastic
Mass is in 20 minutes followed by community night
Phone date with my Hunny
Lots of friends willing and ready to help serve
UST faculty who really care about me
An enthralling Catholic Studies class this morning
The smile and encouragement of one of my besties and only housemate, Maria
The good morning text I received from my mother
The feeling that I have finished everything that needs to get done before spring break which starts Friday!
God is good, and I am thankful for everything He sends my way.
I think the weather may FINALLY be getting warm. *Fingers crossed* I really hope to be able to wear a breezy spring/summer dress once I return back to Minnesota after spring break.
Monday, March 14, 2011
An Untoppable Chicken Salad: Mom's Recipe
Since returning to the carniverous world, I hadn't tried my mom's world-famous (in my opinion) chicken salad. Growing up most of my life I had always had her special tuna salad (I'll share that recipe a different day) but not the chicken salad.
Yesterday (Sunday) I took her recipe, went shopping, and made myself a large batch of it. It's good on sandwiches, salads (especially spinach), on crackers, and eaten by the spoonful. And maybe there are even more possibilities.
Anyways, it was TERRIFIC....yesterday I had it in a toasted sandwich and today as a salad. :-) My mom has made this for bridal showers/baby showers/pitch-ins and more. She told me that one time she used 24 chicken breasts....that's a lot of chicken salad!
I decided to make the lowest fat version as I could attempt, so I decided to nix the nuts and use low-fat Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil (green lid), non-fat Cool Whip (Target brand), and non-fat Jimmy's Slaw Dressing. Depending on where you shop, you should be able to find similiar products that will keep your recipe low in fat. I bought my ingredients at Target.
4 large chicken breasts (baked and torn into pieces)
1 lg. apple (peeled and shredded)
2 cups green grapes (halved)
1/2 cup celery (diced)
1 cup Mayo
1/2 cup cool whip
1/2 cup slaw dressing
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for 1 hour. Makes 4-5 servings.
I give it an A+. Make sure that your chicken to dressing proportion is correct. I did not initially make enough chicken (I have small chicken breast tenderloins in my freezer) so if you are not using large chicken breasts, you need to use at least 7 tenderloins, minimum.
I hope that you all enjoy this recipe and give me your feedback! :-) Blessings on your Monday.
Ideas of what you want me to blog about? Comments are always welcome and appreciated!
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Jammin' out today!: Some music you REALLY ought to listen to
Last night I had the privilege of going to a concert where Luke Spehar released his new cd "No other way" which has 10 new tracks. It is PHENOMENAL and it is the music that he wrote during his first year of seminary at St. John Vianney at the University of St. Thomas. To me, his is an Amos Lee meets Jack Johnson meets Dave Matthew...does that make any sense? He's got a really unique style and is a Catholic artist. He has a new website that he is still getting all set up which is www.lukespehar.com. you can also find him on Facebook. Unfortunately I can't find any videos of his new songs, but if you want a taste of his music, check out this video which has his song, "The Champion" from his first cd Be still : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvGjkjvE0dI
Hopefully his new album will be available to the general public SOON!
I also have a friend named Heather Bartlett who is going places! First of all, she is just about the most friendly, cheerful, sweet, smart, and fun girl ever. She just released an album that is on ITUNES. She has a gorgeous voice and sings pop with a twist. Her album is available for purchase in the UST bookstore, and also up on Itunes. One song that you CAN'T get on the bookstore copy ($5) is "In the End". If you buy this single, she will be donating the profits from the song so that a priest Fr. Loya (who knew JPII personally) is able to attend Pope JPII's Beatification in Rome this spring....way cool Heather. Such a good idea of a "fundraiser" of sorts. My favorite song from her album is "Two Straws". You see, I'm a huge country fan, so my favorite thing are stories as lyrics, and this one totally revolves around the story of a couple and their love story from high school through family life with 6 kids. A heartwarming story revolving around their growing love and constant enjoyment of strawberry milkshakes together. Makes me wonder what traditions will remain in my future marriage with Bill. Whatever they are...I sure hope we continue to pray always and trust the Lord, eat lots of red velvet cake (and cupcakes),take roadtrips, and slowdance to our favorite songs. :-) I'd be willing to trade all the skype dates and letters (oh long distance!) for those things.
Happy Saturday 'o studying folks! I'm always happy to promote the music and books of people who really move and inspire me.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Chastity and the moral life: It involves a cultural effort
I must say, I really enjoyed the talk I went to last night which was titled "A Muslim Perspective on Chastity". Students for Human Life of St. Thomas invited Professor Adil Ozdemir to speak. He is from the Theology department and Muslim-Christian Dialogue Center. Professor Ozdemir is a Muslim scholar and is a practicing Muslim from Turkey. We all ended up having quite the discussion about Islam in general, and specifically practices and viewpoints on the human body, sexuality, marriage, and gender.
One particular point I see as very similiar between Islam and Catholicism is the emphasis that faith is an integral part of life and we witness to that reality of God with our lives, bodies, words, thoughts...In his words, "Everything you do is related to your faith." "Muslims are to fight the good fight against temptations, against the Devil." I would completely agree regarding the Christian duty. He also reiterated that faith is not private or personal, but rather communal. Our actions (or failure to act) affect others. The Holy Quran gives Muslims a law to be observed to live and co-exist in harmony in the relationships in life. So too for Catholics (and Christians) does the Bible give a law to be observed regarding our relationships.
Then, he went on to discuss the masculinity and femininity of our bodies. He said, "God created male and female from a single soul as different genders so that we can know and discover one another." He said that the majority of creation was made in couples/pairs (fruit, animals...). A male and female who join together to be married complement each other and he used the analogy of clothing to describe the intimacy/closeness of mates. A person's husband or wife should fit so tightly in love, care, compassion, and respect for his/her spouse that he/she resembles clothing on the other. And thus, modesty is required for both sexes (inside and outside of marriage) to be able to protect the nature of the other. Sex is only permitted inside of marriage (like the Christian/Catholic teaching) because it is meant as a gift to be given to those who have made a covenant for their lives. When people choose to have sex outside of marriage, it can have multiple repercussions that hurt themselves, but also friends, family members, their potential offspring, and society at large.
I think Professor Ozdemir hit upon a critical point here. Chastity is about a lifestyle and it is fully integrated into the person's life. It is important to mention that there is a way to repent from past actions that have not been in accord with God's will for us. In Catholicism, it is through the sacrament of reconciliation where we confess our sins and ask to be made anew, and Christ wipes away our sins. The Christian journey is not about being perfect, because if we were perfect, we would not have such a longing and need for Christ. If we were perfect, God would not need to outpour his mercy upon us. God rejoices when we return to him wholeheartedly. In Islam, Muslims rely upon Allah (God) who is "All-forgiving", they repent sincerely during their time of prayer, even for those sins they aren't aware they committed. What a beautiful act of humility! Professor Ozdemir said that God's forgivenss and love is so great that it is greater than the love and anxiety of a woman looking for her newborn child who was lost in the desert. God loves us that much and is so eager for us to return to Him.
What does the Catechism of the Catholic Church say about chastity? Well a lot actually and it is worth reading the entire Article 6 on the "The Sixth Commandment". But just to quote a small portion:
"Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being...The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and teh integrality of the gift." (2337)
The Church sees chastity as an integral virtue, one that is meant to be part of our daily lives, and that does not ask for us to repress our sexuality, but rather to embrace it fully in our words, thoughts, actions, dress. When we do this, we are saying with our actions that each person has utter dignity and the act of sex itself is beautiful and should not be compromised by seeking that gift outside of its proper context in marriage.
The Catechism also teaches:
"Chastity is expressed notably in friendship with one's neighbor. Whether it develops between persons of the same or opposite sex, friendship represents a great good for all. It leads to spiritual communion." (374)
"Chastity represents an eminently personal task; it also involves a cultural effort, for there is 'an interdependence between personal betterment and the improvement of society.' Chastity presupposes respect for the rights of the person, in particular the right to receive information and an education that respect the moral and spiritual dimensions of human life." (2525)
Chastity is a societal good! It can't be stated any clearer than that. When we recognize the dignity and goodness of each person (heart, mind, body, spirit) spiritual communion will be possible, and it may, indeed, be a foretaste of what is to come in Heaven. Cultures should help to build up a society that prizes chastity, and I'm sad to say that it seems in many ways that our society does not always value chastity. How many movies have you seen lately where the unmarried couple "hooked up" very shortly after meeting each other? Okay, now compare that to the times you have seen a movie that portrayed a couple waiting to give themselves to each other on their wedding night? The numbers are much more in favor of the first, I think. But it doesn't mean the fight is lost...why? Chastity "is also a gift from God, a grace, a fruit of spiritual effort" (1810). The Lord alone, who has more power than anyone or anything else, wants to give us the grace to be pure, if only we ask Him. And we ought to ask Him for this grace all the time, especially as young people who want to live purely.
Chastity is something I am very passionate about in my own life, and I know just how difficult it can be. I would recommend asking St. Philomena, Our Lady, St. Joseph, or St. Maria Goretti to be your intercessors for this intention. Look them up- they all modeled beautifully the virtue of chastity, and I go to them often to ask for this grace from the Lord so that I might embody holy chastity with my fiancé, my family, my housemate, my friends, and all that I encounter in my day-to-day life. There are also a lot of fantastic books on the subject, I would especially recommend "If you really loved me..." by Jason Evert, "Captivating" by John & Stasi Eldredge (for women), "Wild at heart" by John Edlredge (for men) and of course the "Theology of the Body" sermons by JPII if you're really adventurous.
I am so happy to know that Muslims share this foundational belief with Catholics about the beauty and good of sexuality and how we as a society ought to work for its promotion among all people so that we can truly achieve a spiritual communion and integration based on love, respect, and generosity.
To end in the words of one of my favorite Holy Fathers:
"Chastity is a difficult, long term matter; one must wait patiently for it to bear fruit, for the happpiness of loving kindness which it must bring. But at the same time, chastity is the sure way to happiness." -Pope John Paul II
Blessings on your day!!! Stay posted for my next blog post.
Comments on this post, please leave them below!!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Happy Ash Wednesday everyone! This year Lent is super late, depending on the calendar, some years it has been as early as before Valentine's day (rough for those who give up sweets). I'll be honest, until a few days ago, I thought I still had one more week before Lent began. I have been nervous for the arrival of Lent, just because it inevitably invites us to get out of our comfort zone to make sacrifices that will carve out more room for the Lord in our lives and steer away from the me-mentality. Now, Lent is here, and as Catholics, we begin this season by going to mass to break bread and receive ashes on our foreheads, a marking that associates us with Christ and the cross he carries, to be celebrated 40 days from now on Good Friday.
I found some excellent information on the origins/history of Ash Wednesday by Catholic Apologist Jimmy Akin at Catholic Answers. You can read his short essay here: http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2001/0104fea1sb.asp
Ashes in the Bible are typically associated with mourning or penance. A mark on the head is associated with ownership. Thus, this mark reminds us "to adopt an attitude of prayer, repentence, and humility" (Akin). The ash cross is a sacramental, an exterior sign of an interior devotion. So it joins the rank of holy medals, rosaries, holy water, and the various other physical, tangible things that we use to grow closer to God, embracing our existence as physical, material, but also spiritual beings.
I just went to Mass a few hours ago, and BOY it was packed!! And the Chapel is not small by any means. Afterwards, I was talking to my dear friend Meghan about how the crowd compares to a Holy Day of Obligation (Ash Wednesday is not one) and it didn't even come close. And...there are a good 4-5 other masses on campus either at the Major Seminary or Chapel that I wasn't even at. Our conclusion: maybe more Holy Days need to have sacramentals associated with them...perhaps there could be a complimentary blessed rosary given out on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception or a blessing with chrism on the Assumption. I invite your suggestions. Anyways, I was just so happy to see the Chapel as packed as it was.
I remember two years ago on Ash Wednesday, I was interning in the MN State Senate and I had my ashes on at work as I had been to mass that morning. Wearing ashes in a secular setting really sparks conversation, and I ended up talking to a few people about the faith that I might not have otherwise. One of my co-workers even told me that my ashes had reminded him that he needed to find a mass to go to that night. Even though Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, I have found that PEOPLE WANT THEIR ASHES.... :-) Being sorrowful is something we can all relate to as humans, and we can enter into the season, knowing that Christ fully understands the suffering and persecution we undergo because he experienced it during his life. At Mass earlier, Fr. Erich Ruetton (UST Director of Campus Ministry) challenged us to "pick our team" as we anticipate Easter. He encouraged us not to merely jump on the bandwagon at the end, but to make the sacrifices willingly and loving for Christ as we get ready for the "quiz" at Easter. "Do you reject Satan, and all his works, and all his empty promises? Do you believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth? Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body,and life everlasting?" (Rite of Baptism) This, my friends, is our faith! It is important that we reflect upon these questions during these upcoming 40 days so that we might prepare our hearts to say No to Satan and Yes to Christ with firm resolve.
The number one question circulating at this time of year is "What are you giving up for Lent?". So I thought I would share my plan with you:
I am giving up Facebook, one of the biggest vacuums of my time and something that I surely can do without. I have the phone numbers/e-mails of anyone I'd need to talk to, and I think it will allow me to spend more time focusing on the Lord and in nurturing my friendships. It will be tough though, I check Facebook quite frequently. I will, however, still keep up this blog and check Facebook on Sundays.
I am also trying to eat more simply (spend less money at the grocery, no alcohol, less meat, no sweets, etc.). I really really enjoy food and cooking, but in an effort to simplify this Lent, I will make Sundays my day of culinary "splurge" and eat more simply during the rest of the week. Simple can still mean gourmet and I will try and post a few more recipes up here for your enjoyment. I know a lot of mean fish dishes from my 9 years as a pesco-vegetarian (sounds like a good topic for a blog post...shoot, I've got to keep a list of these!), and that might come in handy for those of you who have gone cold-turkey (haha) vegetarian for Lent or just for all of us on Fridays.
I also think that it's important to make some new spiritual goal. My spiritual goal this Lent is to spend more time with the Scriptures in the practice of Lectio Divina. I loooove reading good spiritual books, but sometimes at the expense of reading the Bible, so I'm going to go back to the basics and focus upon the word of God.
What are you giving up for Lent this year? Never participated in Lent before? I encourage you to give it a go...Catholic or Christian or non-Christian.
- Write a letter/e-mail each day to someone who is lonely/needs a friend
- Go to daily mass
- Give up sweets
- Give up half your wardrobe
- Don't wear make-up
- Fast between meals
- Pray 10 minutes per day (or more!)
- Volunteer regularly
- Pray at 40 Days for Life (in MN the prayer will occur at Regions Hospital) for an end to abortion
- Baby-sit for a family with children (for free)
- Give up coffee/tea/hot chocolate
- Give up driving (if possible)
- Give up shopping for anything other than necessities
Know that I am praying for all of you, my readers, if you need any particular prayer intentions prayed for, you can always leave me a comment and I will include your intentions in prayer.
Tonight, I am going to a meeting of Students for Human Life. The speaker will be giving a talk on a "Muslim perspective on Chastity". Should be very cool and maybe it'll be something I blog about soon. :-)
St. Veronica, pray for us!
Jesus, Merciful Savior who died for our sins, have mercy on us!
Friday, March 4, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
It has been snowing and blowing literally all day! It is hard to believe how quickly the weather changed from 45 temp days with lots of sun and with folks wearing shorts & flip flops to a frozen tundra (but at least the temps are in the upper 20s, that feels nice). That is Minnesota weather for you. Personally, I am pretty happy. My school has decided to cancel classes tomorrow which is not a common occurence in the slightest. Also, I don't really have any place where I need to drive to, so I am not freaking about getting somewhere, but rather just enjoying my time by working on homework, working around my house, BLOGGING, and staying warm inside. I did venture out earlier today for Mass, brunch at the SPO Women's House and my Volunteers in Action meeting on campus. I will admit, reluctantly however, that on my way to Mass when the snow was just starting to fall, I completely wiped out. I was body down on the sidewalk. Fortunately...no injuries, but it was hilarious to me. There is a layer of ice that has now been covered in snow which is a pretty scary situation. Fortunately, if you walk in the road, it is much better. The slick parts are all the sidewalks.
That others may be loved more than I,
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Dr. Savage is a professor at the St. Paul School of Divinity and teaches philosophy and theology courses. She is the mother of one adopted daughter, has worked in the corporate world for 25 years, and earned her doctorate studying the nature of faith and work. She had a lot of fantastic points about women's work, the feminine genius, and what our approach ought to be to work.
Although she said a lot, instead of completely just typing up my notes (which I am prone to do at times!), I would rather like to bring three points out specifically that really struck me, and then ask for your comments!
-The feminine genius is necessary in all realms of society.
-Work includes a much broader scope than we think and can help us transcend ourselves.
-The value and dignity of work is not based on the object of the work, but rather of the dignity of the person doing it.
JPII refers to the feminine genius in many of his exhortations pertaining to women and the language of the body. Women are distinct, essential, irrepeatable. Women have a unique contribution to make that needs to be present in the courtroom, the home, the Church, the classroom, the business, the enterprise, the senate, and the list goes on... Each woman is called to do work, and to make her contribution as a woman. Women bring something different, but completely equal to the table as men do, whether that is a broader vision, a care for detail, care for the significance of relationships, and you can probably think of so many more aspects of femininity that can manifest themselves as gift for the good of all of society.
To quote from the Compendium of the Compendium of the Social Teaching of the Church:
"The feminine genius is needed in all aspects of society and therefore the presence of women in the workplace must be guaranteed."
Dr. Savage insisted that we have a way too narrow definition of work. It includes those things that we do for pay, those we don't, when we volunteer, when we mow the lawn, when we nurse a baby, when we take out the trash, when we write a letter to a friend, etc. The question to ask is: What can I turn to with my whole heart?
Savage quoted from a Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World by Linda R. Hirshman. In her book, Hirshman calls stay at home mothers "parasites" that feed off their husbands to support them as they choose to withhold their talents to stay in the home....this could be nothing further from the truth! I blogged back in 2008 about stay at home mothers and how much I admire women who choose to devote their lives to this. Certainly, it is not the only admirable calling, but staying at home is a critical type of work that need not be undermined.
Work ought to cause us to transcend ourselves, which means to go beyond our own abilities with the help of God. Gaudium et Spes says, "Man finds himself through a sincere gift of self." A "gift of self" which George Weigel calls "the law of the gift" is the antidote to the effects of original sin.
To quote Dr. Savage, "When I am united to another person, I am enhanced by my bein in interaction with that person."
Finally, the dignity of our work comes from our personal dignity, not just from the work itself. How can it? Physical things, corporations, even institutions do not have inherant dignity, but rather, it is the persons within them that bring dignity to those places and organizations. Thus, the dignity of work coincides with dignity of the person.
Some questions that remain:
Dr. Savage mentioned that even if a woman has a job and has a family, she will always have to work to achieve balance, and sacrifices will have to be made, at times, favoring one over the other. In those cases, what is the appropriate balance? What does that look like realistically/practically?
What are some examples from your life that illustrate the "feminine genius" either of yourself or of women you know?
Finally, I'd like to challenge some of my male followers to make comments or if you have a blog to make a blog posting on the "male genius" because I know that there is one, and I think women can only authentically realize our genius by an awareness of our complementarity to the male genius.
Well I am going to go eat my delicious (I hope!) lasagna that I just cooked up (new recipe taken from the recent Martha Stewart Living magazine...it has chicken summer sausage, chard, lemons, and lots of parmesan in it....can't wait to taste it! Yum....
John Paul II the great, pray for us! St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us!
Monday, February 14, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
"The word, confidence, summarizes the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity- sovereign virtues which bring all the others in their train. But if these are the highest virtues, then the greatest heroism is demanded of us in order to realize them in the face of the mystery of a 'hidden God'. "(25)
He goes on to write:
"A man must be heroic to live always in faith, hope, and love. Why? Because, as a result of Original Sin, no one can be certain with the certainty of faith that he is saved, but only with a moral certainty based upon fidelity to grace; and because as sinners we are constantly tempted by doubt and anxiety." (25)
Wow...isn't this just the crux of our faith? When it is most difficult, we are especially called to remain confident in faith, hope, and charity that God has endowed us with the theological virtues and that His grace and our resolve to live in that grace. We must always be ready to repent of our sins and believe He has reserved a place for us in Heaven. The author seems to be saying that Original Sin causes us to hesitate in our faith, and yet, we must have faith anyways or risk falling into the traps of doubt and anxiety. Doubt and anxiety are not of God, but from the devil.
Let's take a look at what the Catechism says about the theological virtues:
"The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being." (1813)
Let us not forget that we have the theological virtues beginning at the time of our baptism. Pay attention particularly to "They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit...". Although God is a "hidden God", we can trust that He is present, especially in the person of the Holy Spirit in our capacity to manifest the theological virtues.
And now for a quick summary of each theological virtue taken again from the Catechism. This is helpful for me too as it is so easy to get caught up in the secular definition of each of these words that we use on a daily basis:
"Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself..." (1814)
"Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit..." (1817)
"Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God." (1822)
So yes, this new idea of confidence is a good way of understanding how the three theological virtues are combined so that we can strive for sanctity following His way and His will for our lives.
Here are some questions for you:
Do you agree that "confidence" is an adequate way to describe the unity of the theological virtues? Can they accurately be combined this way?
Is there a hierarchy to the theological virtues? Is charity more important than hope? Is faith more important than charity? Is hope more important than faith?
Which theological virtue is hardest for you? Easiest?
Last semester I received a sort of "Spiritual Evaluation" to examine which theological virtue(s) are strengths or weaknesses for a particular person. Most often, one particular theological virtue comes most easily. Personally, I tend towards charity, and I struggle most with hope. I will try and post this later today as it can be a very powerful tool for journaling and reflection. Obviously, it is important that we endeavor to be strong in all these virtues, however, I advise you to "know thy self" so that you can be fruitful in your efforts to embrace these God-given virtues.
Friends, we are all called to heroism in virtue. Let us allow God to give us the determination and strength to manifest a confidence in faith, hope, and charity with a profound humility of spirit. May we never tire of this journey, but rather, rejoice in every new opportunity to serve Him without reserve in light of our particular calling and vocation. Amen.
St. Terese of Lisieux, pray for us!
St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!
Immaculate Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
Happy Tuesday everyone! Until next time...
**Update** As promised, here is the Spiritual Evaluation on the theological virtues
The point of this exercise: to grow in self-knowledge in order to understand both what is a strength and what a weakness for the sake of clear-headed leadership
Do I easily get distracted from the most important unseen things by the immediate seen ones?
Do I tend to evaluate people and events around me according to a this-worldly judgment?
Do I tend to slide into the categories of success used by this world rather than by Christ?
Am I easily influenced by others who have not faith in my various environments, so that I begin to take on their way of thinking and acting?
Do I tend to greed, to storing things up, to delighting in having stuff, to wanting to be wealthy and secure and have nice things?
Sign of a lack: anxiety; easily distracted and tempted by things of the world
Do I find myself discouraged by setbacks, and tempted to give up?
Do I have a difficult time, remembering, or believing, the truth that I am in the thought of God, who has decided on extraordinary plans for me? Do I resist others encouraging me in this?
Do I tend to be anxious and nervous about the state of the world, or the Church, or the country, or my life?
Do I find it difficult to put off gratification or fulfillment of the present for a future good?
Do I battle to maintain fundamental joy in life?
Sign of a lack: sadness
Do I find it difficult to engage myself in matters that don't immediately touch on my interests?
Do I pay great attention to how my leadership or my performance is judged? Does praise make me soar and criticism make me sour?
Do I tend to envy others' accomplishments and praise, or become jealous of their gifts and their attentions? Do I find myself disliking certain people for no real reason except that they make me feel lessened somehow?
Am I easily offended, am I made angry when people don't pay me the respect I think I deserve?
Do I bargain with God, and find myself totaling up the things I have done for Him or given up in his service, so as to hold Him to it and demand something in return? (Peter and his question to Jesus)
Sign of a lack: anger/apathy