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
Monday, February 7, 2011
In light of the recent events and unrest in Egypt, I would like to offer a prayer for peace of heart and mind from a little book I have called "The Armor of God" by Fulton J. Sheen.