This is a repost from 3/6/2014. I thought it was a good refresher, though, since folks are already starting to warn others about the "sinfulness" of showin' ash. ;)
Yesterday found Twitter aflutter with some of the most amusing Catholic hashtags I'd ever seen. Things like #Ashtag and #ShowYourAsh. It was so much fun seeing these #CatholicSelfies, because each ashen forehead was a reminder that we are ALL united in our humanity. More than that, however, we all belong to Christ, and as such, are marked by the sign of His ransom.
Thus, I LOVED seeing these!
However, alongside this bubbling evangelism, a parallel sentiment was trying to stifle the conversation.
Folks were commenting on these posts in condemnation, suggesting that those who were posting them were doing so for arrogant purposes.
C'mon now. Seems a little bit arrogant to take the time to make a post implying the original posters were too stupid, lazy or prideful to understand the "meaning behind the Lenten readings."
To me, that screamed "Look at me and my super-humble-but-not-overly-super-because-I'm-still-humble humilty!"
Annoying. Very, very annoying.
The Ash Wednesday marking is a communal prayer - an outward expression of an inward faith. Much like saying Grace at meals in public. Much like making the Sign of the Cross as a pitcher when you take the mound at a baseball game.
We NEED more public witness, and I'm glad folks found unity - and joy - in sharing these photos. After all, Lent isn't just about sadness, misery and self-flagellation. It's about the joy of knowing we have been called by Christ to join Him in Eternity.
After all, this is the same mark used by the unnamed prophet in Ezekiel who runs through Jerusalem putting the "tau" on the foreheads of the righteous. "Tau" is the Hebrew letter "T." Anyone not marked with this letter was slaughered while those with the mark (much like during Passover) were extended mercy by God.
That's right, folks. The forehead mark in Ezekiel 9 was a cross, and it marked them as belonging to the Most High God. Sound familiar?
So I applaud those joyously wore their ashen crosses. We SHOULD be joyful. This mark is the mark of salvation... the mark of mercy.
For, indeed, ours is a Merciful God.
Can I Get a Hallelujah?!
This is incredible. I bowed my head in appreciation and reverence for the outpouring of solidarity, faithfulness and piety that was shown to the Blessed Sacrament in reparation for the horrid mockery allowed to happen in Oklahoma City under the guise of religious freedom.
We must consistently show this sort of solidarity. We must consistently and unapologetically pour out our faithfulness and reverence for the God who created us.
Bless these folks and all who took part in supporting the reparation. <3
***DISCLAIMER*** I don't believe all men are effeminate, but I definitely think there is a tendency for popular society to pigeonhole men into being seen as aggressive monsters or metrosexual children. Given I married a man who is neither, I obviously understand that not all men are effeminate. That being said, there are glaring problems with the way society tries to feminize men (and coax women into masculinity). For most of this entry, I'll be focusing on the gents.
I know you folks are likely burned out on all the hullabaloo about Fifty Shades. Truthfully, I haven't read any articles on Fifty Shades because I'm incredibly disinterested in the entire thing. However, a male friend of mine pointed something out that started what I felt to be an interesting discussion.
Someone posted a photo of the actors portraying the main characters in the upcoming film adaptation. There were comments from women (and a few men) commenting on the "hotness" of Jamie Dornan (the actor portraying Christian Grey).
Someone mentioned something about the movie (and book) being porn for women. Magic Mike (another soft-porn, mainstreamed movie) was also brought up and then the conversation veered into "Why the sudden interest in porn for women?"
I'm relatively certain that most of my readership would agree that Magic Mike, Fifty Shades and its contemporary ilk are pornographic in nature. That's not the point of this entry.
I pointed out that the reason this sort of porn is taking root amongst women is due to the concerted effort to confuse, diminish and transpose traditional gender roles.
In other words, society is telling women that they should be more masculine while simultaneously telling men they need to be more feminine.
I personally know men who use more makeup and hair products than I do. It's fine for guys to thoughtfully put themselves together in the morning, but when they start insisting on getting waxed eyebrows, mani/pedis and plumping their lips with a touch of gloss... lines are crossed.
I get the term "metrosexual" is thrown around a lot, but that's simply a politically correct way of saying:
And it's not just a physical change. Due to the feminist movement that seeks to butcher boys instead of raising up women, things like "Girls Rule and Boys Drool" or the "Boys are Stupid" mindset have turned men into caricatures of petty neanderthals. Not only does society treat them as perennial little boys who are incapable of mature thought or action, but men, themselves, take on this view and don't realize the rut they've been thrust into.
And since men don't realize that they've slowly given up the respect due to them as men, women don't feel the need to give it to them. After all, why respect a man who is no man at all?
It's yet another reason we've got an epidemic of boy-men who live in a quasi-fantasy world that is free of most adult responsibilities, adult goals, and adult consequences. Women, in turn, get frustrated because they can't find men with solid male traits, but in reality, we've brought this on ourselves by attempting to become masculine in how we operate.
This goes beyond the "assertive / bossy" dilemma. I'm all for equal rights and gender not standing in the way of one's ability to get a job done. However, women are becoming increasingly aggressive in their treatment of others. This overcompensation stems from a deep-seated insecurity about their strength and place within a patriarchal framework (and let's be honest - we do have a patriarchal framework in the US workforce).
In order to keep up or get ahead, women admit that they try to be "more manly" because of its social and professional benefits.
Again, this reinforces the gender-bending dysphoria present in our social fabric.
So what does all of this have to do with Fifty Shades, you ask?
I believe the current role-reversal of men and women makes traditional male and female roles a fetish.
I realize that might seem silly at first, especially since most of you wouldn't concede to BDSM (present in the Fifty Shades series) being traditional, but give me a chance to explain...
Currently, society is telling us this:
Obviously we know better, but this is the picture society is attempting to paint for us (with alarming success).
As a result, a book like Fifty Shades becomes popular not just because BDSM is a fetish. The fetish (and why I think women enjoy it so much) is that the roles are swapped into their traditional (if highly denigrated) roles.
But what is a fetish if not the warping of something natural?
Christian Grey is an intelligent, successful, confident man. Ana Steele is an innocent, quietly supportive woman who is also intelligent but not nearly as confident as Grey. In fact, from what I understand, she's actually portrayed as being highly insecure.
Christian makes it known that he's interested in Ana. He wants Ana and revels in her feminine qualities. He appreciates her femininity. She, in turn, appreciates his thoroughly masculine characteristics.
BDSM is a warping of the connection between male and female love, but again, I don't think that's the biggest thing that matters in this case. Women, today, are craving men - REAL MEN - and our options are few courtesy of the contraceptive movement (<---- that's a great video!).
As a result, women are getting their fix for the socially taboo "traditional man" by finding him in the pages of an erotic book. They can fantasize of the real man they envision for themselves... a strong, confident, savvy man who knows what he wants and takes it.
Grey is not the stammering guy in class who is unsure how to ask a girl for her number. Grey would never wonder when the right time to kiss a girl would be. Grey certainly wouldn't be found in his mother's basement or fiddling away on XBox until 3 in the morning.
No no. Grey would appreciate the beauty of the woman standing in front of him. He'd instinctually know her wants and needs and willingly rise to the challenge of meeting them. He'd provide for her, take care of her, and make her feel loved, appreciated and above all, wanted.
THIS is precisely what women today do not get from men. This is what they want. This is why they go looking for it in pornography, because in our topsy-turvy world, pornography is somehow more socially acceptable than expecting our men to be men.
Again, I obviously don't believe all women fall victim to this given that I don't even fit this mindset. However, it's incredibly easy to see how and why so many women fall into this trap given the terribly difficult time we have finding men who have the potential to be suitable life-partners and dependable fathers for our children.
Frankly, women don't put long-term stock in a guy who wears more eyeliner than she does. Women don't trust that a guy who lives in Mommy's basement can provide for a family. Women understand that a guy who spends more time caressing a game console than they do the curves of her body doesn't have his priorities in order.
So yeah - I believe the current satiation women are finding in socially acceptable forms of pornography is symptomatic of a much larger, deeper and socially threatening issue. When the gender norms are blurred to the point where folks have a legitimately difficult time knowing if someone is a man or a woman, it's time to reevaluate - everything.
I went from this...
You can, too! It is, after all, the season to donate. Donations accepted now will be processed in time for the Christmas season. Think of what a joy your hair will be to children who are already struggling with so much! Your generosity will enable to them to feel just as beautiful on the outside as they already are on the inside.
Please consider a donation to one of the following organizations:
Locks of Love
Wigs 4 Kids
Pantene Beautiful Lengths
A friend of mine pointed out that Locks of Love (my normal donation recipient) came under fire recently for mismanagement of donations. To be on the safe side, I decided to donate to Wigs 4 Kids, a charity based out of Michigan that makes wigs just for kids. Locks of Love ranges from toddler to 21 whereas Pantene's Beautiful Lengths charity focuses on adults.
Regardless of your donation preferences, please consider growing your hair out (or cutting it if it's already long!). There are so many beautiful folks out there who would be so happy to receive such a personal, lasting gift. Given the stressful issues they already face on a daily basis, hair - something you and I take for granted - makes a huge difference to their self-esteem and outlook.
My donations amount to more than cut strands. Every single time I washed my hair, I prayed for the child and family who would one day receive my hair. Each time I turned down suggestions to get bangs, layer my hair, color my hair, or even use particular products in my hair, I'd think of the child in need and offer those little primps and extravagances for their sake. Hair can always grow back, but your chance to gift these children and their families joy only comes around as often as you're patient enough to let your hair grow out.
= Gina turning in her Cardinal Dolan fangirl card.
Remember this past March when the big kerfluffle was caused by gay pride groups during the St. Patrick's Day parades in NY and Boston? Yeah... things are going to get a whole lot more kerfluffle-y now that Cardinal Dolan decided to come out with this.
If this isn't confusing to folks, I don't know what is.
I respect Cardinal Dolan as a priest; I do. I just don't understand his desire to appease and coddle. Loving thy neighbor does not include sanctioning public celebration of his or her sin.
Then again, with the way we've allowed the celebration of St. Patrick to be turned into an excuse to celebrate lewdness, intoxication and common brawling, I guess we shouldn't be too surprised when the door's been left open to more moral degradation.
But still, this (coupled with the cause for Venerable Fulton Sheen) is incredibly, INCREDIBLY disappointing.
You guys have seen all the videos, articles and memes regarding the ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge at this point. For those of you that haven't (I can't imagine there being many of you), there is a viral challenge sweeping the internet. It goes like this:
Maggie gets nominated by Joe to dump a bucket of ice-water over her head. Should Maggie accept the challenge, she donates $10 to ALS research, videotapes herself getting soaked, and nominates 3 new people to the challenge. Should Maggie NOT accept, she donates $100 to ALS research.
Either way, money is donated to ALS research. With those accepting the challenge, however, the added benefit is raising awareness.
Now I've seen a lot of folks complaining about the challenge taking up space on their news feed. I find that to be an incredibly arrogant complaint, especially when the "hide" feature is so easily accessible. Why complain about other people posting a 30 second video that you don't have to watch? It just seems incredibly arrogant.
Then I saw folks complaining about donations to the ALSA. The ALSA funds embryonic stem cell research, so I was mostly on-board with folks complaining about donations made to the ALSA. Most people are completely unaware of the embryonic stem cell issue. That being said, there are several organizations one can donate to that meet the requirements of the ALS Research donation. I, for example, offered the Kimberly Kim Foundation as well as the John Paul II Medical Research Institute as viable, moral alternatives. So again, why complain about something with such an easy solution?
Finally, I saw the most ridiculous of all arguments, and it shamefully came from a Catholic whom I follow via Facebook: Frank Weathers of Why I Am Catholic. Normally I can get behind stuff Mr. Weathers writes, but his brief, snarky message against the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge made me cringe.
He quotes Matthew 6:2-4 and uses that as his "#1 Reason" for being against the challenge:
When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites
do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen,
I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your
almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who
sees in secret will repay you.
I think Mr. Weathers is stretching things a bit. He'd've gotten more support if he stuck with the anti-embryonic stem cell research. Pulling the Bible into things as if he actually thinks Jesus wouldn't be cool with His children banding together in such a way to help one another... that's mind-blowing to me.
People aren't dumping water on themselves to say "Look at me and how charitable I am!"
In all honesty, I think the majority of folks are doing it so they can feel a sense of belonging. They see this challenge as being a real solution to a real problem, and it's a solution that is fun, easy and entertaining. And they're right! This sense of belonging has become a real movement which has already raised over $70 million dollars. $70 MILLION DOLLARS!!!
And that's only from the ALSA. That doesn't count the Kimberly Kim Foundation or the JPII Medical Research Institute.
That is nothing to turn your nose up at. More than raising money, this viral campaign has raised awareness of ALS which has raised compassion and understanding. It has caused folks to reach out to one another in new and unexpected ways. It has given hope to those struggling with ALS, and in some ways empowered them to realize they COULD do something about their seemingly hopeless situation.
Again, it has bonded people into a sense of belonging to a real solution. That is incredible!
And yes, while it'd be nice for folks to support, en masse, Christians is the Middle East, you cannot condemn participants of the ALS Challenge because, frankly, you have no clue if that person already IS. Supporting one does not preclude you from supporting the other.
So I'm in favor of the challenge, and I think anyone who would attempt to shame me or call my Catholicism isn't question would do well to remove the hull of the Titanic from their eye first . I accepted the challenge from a friend, explained my donation to the Kimberly Kim Foundation (as opposed to the ALSA), and then requested (in my commentary) for my three nominees to do the same. So not only am I spreading awareness for ALS and donating to the solution, I'm also making folks aware of the embryonic stem cell issue that, again, most folks are simply unaware of (and not seeking to intentionally be malicious about).
Finally, from a marketing standpoint (given my background in Communications), I LOVE the simplicity with which this challenge went viral. Brilliant marketing ploy. Kudos all around.
Ooo, and obviously, keep folks suffering with ALS in your prayers, and if you haven't already, make yourself aware of the signs and symptoms so you can better serve those whose lives are affected by it!
I helped a sister into her office this morning and was rewarded with a new image of Our Lady to share with all of you!
Many of you are likely familiar with the artwork of Brother Michael O'Neill McGrath, OSFS. If you're not, I'm delighted to be the one to introduce you! He's an award-winning artist whose deeply Catholic themes jump to life through brightly colored watercolors (at least I think they're watercolors).
The image I'll be sharing today is titled "Tower of Mercy."
You'll have to forgive the reflections - those aren't part of the piece. At first glance (because I only got to see it for a few seconds before running off to work), I thought it was an image of the Incarnation. After all, the Holy Spirit has descended upon what appeared to be Our Lady's womb. I attributed the tears to her humble acceptance of the Sacrifice she knew she'd one day bear witness to.
When I opened the image up on my computer for closer inspection, the first thing I noticed was the angel at the bottom holding what looked to be a flaming pentagon. I simultaneously realized it was THE Pentagon, and it was flaming right next to the Twin Towers which were being held by the second angel. Suddenly Our Lady's tears made a lot more sense.
Also, the words around her halo are taken from the Hail, Holy Queen (a Marian prayer for those of you unfamiliar): "To thee do we send our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears."
I really like how Brother McGrath uses the curves of the letters to create a halo of tears that mimics Our Lady's sadness. Our prayer, in effect, echos hers.
She comes, then, our prayers reaching out to her and pulling her close, bearing the Holy Spirit. So many people in the years since the September 11th tragedy have said that they can't believe more people didn't die. I truly believe the Hand of God was upon America; the Blessed Mother asked that we be spared more suffering, and so angels supported the towers until more could escape. Angels surrounded the Pentagon and helped our officials get to safety. Divine Providence ensured that people who were supposed to be at the epicenter of these events were somehow displaced, late, sick or otherwise unable to be there (my brother included).
Mary is, indeed, a Tower of Mercy. As our ever-loving mother, she seeks to surround and protect us - even in the midst of chaos and terror. The flames of her love (and the Divine Love of the Spirit which emanates from her Immaculate Heart) are bigger and more powerful than those of the terrorist attacks.
And so it truly is. Our Lady is bigger and stronger than any of the terror we see in our world today, and we would do well to turn to her in prayer. She cries out for her children all over the world because we do so much damage to ourselves, but she does not forsake us; she will not forsake us. No matter how dark the night, no matter the flames and smoke that engulf us, she will rise as a beacon of hope and love, of strength and mercy.
Bless Brother McGrath for using his God-given talent in such an inspiring way. His ability to take sacred themes and make them accessible to everyone is awe-inspiring.
There's a petition making its way around social media seeking to revoke a ban barring homosexual men from donating blood.
I've seen several impassioned messages accompanying the re-posting of this petition in support of revoking the ban. However, something struck me about these impassioned pleas to revoke the ban and "restore to gay men their dignity."
None of them - NOT ONE - made an appeal using facts. Each and every posting was geared to strike at the emotional / psychological heart of the reader. In doing a bit of digging, I realized why.
Should anyone use factual evidence to support their desire to revoke this ban, they'd come up short - severely short. The FDA regulations are incredibly clear about the risk factors present when blood from gay men is used. They didn't just decide "We think gay men have cooties so no donations from them!"
Instead, they acknowledged that gay men have an extraordinarily high rate of infection - exponentially higher than any other sampling of the population. Given there is no real test for HIV that can definitively test if someone has it or not in the early stages (called a "window period" after exposure), the gamble is simply not worth the lives of others. Even with earlier tests, it takes between 1-3 months to test positive.
In other words, the FDA believes that the need for gay men to feel validation through blood donation DOES NOT outweigh the risk they collectively present to the general population. Given that gay men make up such a tiny portion of our population, the public at large shouldn't be forced to play Russian Roulette with a transfusion simply so they can have another avenue to feel justified in their lifestyle.
We currently have enough donors who fit regulation guidelines. Why in the world would we seek to change protective regulations that were created based on solid science? These impassioned pleas for a restoration of dignity are sad.
I mean that. They make me sad.
Do sexually active gay men see their own self-worth as being found solely at the end of a syringe? Do they truly believe they hold no worth outside of their ability to strap a rubber band around their arm while squeezing a tension ball?
That's sad. That's really, really sad.
They should recognize their own self-worth through their humanity. They need no more validation than that which their humanity affords. Men do not have less dignity because they are unable to bear children just as sexually active gay men do not have less dignity because they pose a higher risk for blood donation.
A common argument in favor of repealing the ban is the fact that tainting can happen in other ways - needle sharing, heterosexual sex with infected partners, etc. Several posters posted about an episode of The Golden Girls which raised this same point.
While tainting can happen in other ways, the risk in those areas is quantifiably lower than in cases where blood from active homosexual men is used.
This has nothing to do with discrimination or lack of dignity - this has everything to do with the HIV epidemic that spread like wildfire through (and continues to ravage at an exponentially higher rate) the sexually active gay male community.
If and when our medical savvy gets to the point where we can screen more quickly and efficiently, by all means, feel free to repeal the ban. We haven't reached that point yet, so there is NO SCIENTIFIC REASON to alter the ban.
I'm sorry, but the hurt feelings of a few people (because again, contrary to what the media force feeds everyone, homosexuals make up only a tiny portion of the general population) don't justify the heartbreak their blood potentially poses to people who could just as easily rely on blood we've already amassed through approved donors.
The emotional arguments are impassioned and moving, but they simply do not stand up to logical scrutiny. This doesn't make me a bigot, this doesn't make me a homophobe, this doesn't make me heartless. I recognize the emotions of gay men who feel their status is somehow diminished by their inability to participate in a charitable activity, but I also recognize the valid reasons the FDA has for putting the ban into effect to begin with. I recognize the fear of those who rely on blood donations. In truth, the latter two trump the former.
It's not worth the risk.
And again - gay men shouldn't be basing their worth on what they can or cannot do. No one should. Everyone has inherent worth in the eyes of God. Everyone.
I saw this on my Facebook newsfeed today and decided to share it with my friends. I have several Pro-Palestine friends, but I've got vast swaths who simply don't know / don't care about what's been going on in and around Gaza.
I think this is a succinct and creative way of explaining some recent history behind the current problems.
Later on, I saw this article come through my newsfeed courtesy of Katherine at Having Left the Altar.
Seeing the photos instantly brought to mind an event known as the "Kristallnacht." Translating to "Night of the Broken Glass," the Kristallnacht occured throughout Germany in November of 1938. Nazi guards raided Jewish businesses, arrested Jews for trumped up charges, and destroyed so many Jewish homes and places of worship that the streets were covered in broken glass (hence the moniker).
Apparently the same thing is happening in France as Palestinian supporters are attacking Jewish homes and businesses to protest what is happening in Gaza.
This is an incredibly sad and truly frightening chain of events. We must pay attention to history as it begins cycling back to rewrite itself. We know the story... we need to do a better job of holding ourselves to higher standards. We cannot stand idly be as we did before. We MUST speak out against this.
Some Random Shorts
My poor kid was so sick last week! His fever just wouldn't quit. I ended up taking him to the ER late Friday night because his breathing was so awful. He had some fluid in his lungs. My poor little munch!
He missed a whole week of school. This is the first time he's actually registered that he wasn't feeling well. When the doctor asked him where he hurt, he replied, "My esophagus!"
Ha ha ha. That anatomy app I purchased was totally worth it. The doctor got quite the chuckle out of that one.
I made this diaper cake for a coworker's baby shower. I always enjoy putting this sort of stuff together. I'm not a baker by any stretch of the imagination, but you'd be amazed at the things I can do with a few diapers. Ha ha ha!
This is our first office baby, so we're all pretty excited (at least the women are). I can't wait to meet her! This is my coworker's first child, too, so keep her in your prayers. She's due in a few weeks and is nervous (as all new mothers are).
The shower was so much fun. I think Carla (the new mom) was surprised. She was definitely super appreciative that we organized the event for her. Good times!
Had a REALLY disturbing experience on Friday night before taking Vince to the hospital. I went out with my friend, Theresa, to a brewery for dinner. Great food, nice service, REALLY ridiculous dining neighbors.
While Theresa and I were enjoying our food, an older woman (45-50) and a younger man (maybe 25?) sat next to us at an adjacent table. Their table was likely a foot and a half from ours. The woman was obviously inebriated, and apparently they were on a first date. She kept smacking him across the table and repeating, "You're so HOT! You don't think I'm gorgeous. Tell me that I'm gorgeous again!"
It was embarrassing. If that wasn't bad enough, she slipped off her shoe and placed her foot against his lap (we were outdoors, no table cloths, and again... we were less than 2 feet away). I started giving Theresa the "We need to get out of here NOW" stare, so she started pounding back her drink.
The woman then suggests they take a selfie (REALLY, lady? A SELFIE? Just stop). She threw herself into his lap and put her hands where her foot had just been. She then said, "This would be easier if you'd open your legs" and then loudly declared, "I'm going to bed you tonight." (WHO SAYS THAT?!)
I immediately paid the tab and left. I couldn't stop balking about it the whole way home. It's almost a week later and I'm STILL balking about it! Who DOES that?!
That guy was young enough to be her son, and she was acting like a tweeny-bopper fawning over One Direction. I was so incredibly embarrassed for her. As for the guy, he didn't seem to mind anything her aggressiveness nor her inebriation (for obvious reasons). I just can't...
They were in a VERY public place during the dinner rush. They were in VERY close proximity to us and the table on the other side of them. The woman was loud and obnoxious, and the guy did nothing to point that out. I almost felt like looking around for Candid Cameras because the situation seemed so ludicrous.
Ick. Please never let me turn into that when I get older. Ick. Please never let Vincent allow himself to be as degraded as the yahoo with that woman. IIIIIIICK.
What are you even supposed to do in that situation? "Excuse me, folks, but could you take your lustful stupidity down a notch? Normal people would like to enjoy their dinners."
When did it become acceptable to act like this in public?!
I got the opportunity to take Vince to see Medieval Times. We had SO MUCH FUN! At first he was terrified due to the over-stimulation, but after we got him focused on his own shouting (cheering on the black night you see us standing with).
There were nine of us altogether. The three kids had a blast and us parents were getting giddy just watching them enjoy themselves. Definitely one of the best nights we've had in a long time.
My son said the strangest thing to me en route to daycare yesterday, and I was so caught off guard that I almost pulled the car over to allay my own confusion.
He said, "Mommy, I'm peach."
He was referring to the color of his skin because he uses the peach crayon for his face and body (also known as circles 1 and 2).
I said, "Yes."
He replied, "I want to be brown."
Curious, I asked, "Vincent, why do you want to be brown?"
He replied, "All of my friends are brown."
I said, "Vincent, is your heart good?"
"Do your friends have good hearts, too?"
"Yes, Mommy. They are very, very nice."
"So it doesn't matter what their color is. It doesn't matter what color you are. What matters is how you treat people. If your heart is good, YOU are good, okay?"
He seemed content with that, but I was so caught off guard! I honestly didn't think a thing about skin color until I was closing in on 8th grade. I was a minority in my elementary school, and that fact never actually dawned on me until someone from high school brought it to my attention when he looked at my graduation picture. He said, "You only had 5 white kids in the whole class?"
Looking back, I remember feeling instantly defensive and incredibly stupid. It had NEVER occurred to me that I was a minority until he pointed it out, and I felt stupid for never making that connection. Then I felt doubly stupid for thinking my color-blindness was something to be ashamed of.
It makes me sad that Vincent is already aware of color. Granted, he obviously doesn't think about it negatively, but the fact that such a thing is on his radar at all surprises me. I asked his teacher if they did a lesson on differences or something, but she was just as surprised as I was.
His class is a good mix of kids, and I like that. I grew up in a diverse community and I want the same for Vincent. He's got friends of both genders, of several ethnic backgrounds, and doesn't care if you collect Star Wars or Star Trek memorabilia. He loves everyone regardless, and I love that. I'd love to know what spurred that comment, though. I really would.
Ah well. At least he seems satiated for the time being. Dunno what I'll say if it comes up again, though.
Car Exhaust Epiphany
How often have you gotten stuck driving behind a car with a busted up exhaust?
It kicks back a disgusting black cloud of gross that you inevitably have to drive through. If you don't already have your ventilation set to "circulate in-car," you're punished with breathing in the putrid fumes.
Can you tell how much I hate this circumstance?
Well, color me incredulous today.
I was driving into work when I noticed a line of five cars driving placidly behind a large truck spewing VOLUMES of filth into the air.
The fumes were black, but not one of these cars moved to get around the offending vehicle.
I wasn't going to wait around for them to come to their senses. I switched lanes and drove right past all six of them.
The rest of the way to work, I kept wondering why the other five vehicles didn't follow suit. There was a completely open lane to their left. They definitely weren't following the truck for directions. Why, then, would all of them be content to remain behind a truck spewing poison into their cars?
It was then that I realized how often we each do this in our own lives.
How often do we remain content to follow a leader that is so obviously spewing something dangerous?
I'm a big culprit when it comes to bad language. I slip into using terrible language when I'm surrounded by others who do the same. Oh Lord, I'm terrible when it comes to this.
There are clear paths that I could easily steer myself onto that would take me past the foul-language, but I remain. Why? Because sometimes it's easier to coast along and not demand better for oneself.
And that's a terribly embarrassing thing to realize about yourself. But realize it I did as I scoffed at the other "idiot drivers" who didn't see it. *Cringe*
We do this so often in our lives. Personal relationships, work relationships, even political ones. Our leaders often try to shove unsavory fumes down our throats and we allow it. We can and must do better for ourselves. We need to seek out the other paths that take us beyond the poisonous actions of those we are behind.
One bad exhaust and here I go waxing political. In truth, though, I think the analogy works.
Our National Anthem's Missing Verse
I admit I had no idea this was part of our national anthem. However, I'm not altogether surprised it's gone "missing" during our various celebrations and sporting events.
Kudos to this marine. Kudos to those who stood up to join him with their hands over their hearts.
Well done Francis Scott Key. Well done.
Priests and Mistresses
I have no idea if you guys have seen this or not, but when I read this article, I felt sick to my stomach.
Some anonymous women got together and petitioned the Vatican to allow priests to marry because they are already in relationships with priests. They basically played the victim in crying over their secret lives as mistresses.
Ya know what, ladies? You're not victims. There is no real way to "accidentally fall in love with a priest."
You see a collar, you move on. That's common sense. However, much like those women who ignore wedding rings and then complain when their lovers don't leave their families to continue shacking up with them, common sense doesn't really come into play, does it?
Obviously the priests who participate in these sorts of relationships are also at fault, but as a woman, I am always so angry when I hear of other women being stupid enough to do this sort of thing (with married men, priests, etc).
I mean, c'mon now. This is like running a red light because you thought the cops weren't looking. You've officially caused a five-car pile up because you were too selfish to care about anyone else, and now you're demanding that the officer change the law so that the injury and pain you caused is somehow no longer your fault.
My mind is officially blown by such arrogance.
In their letter, they wrote "Very little is known about the devastating suffering of a woman who is deeply in love with a priest."
Actually, quite a lot is known. Ya know why? Because your ridiculous sob story is the same exact one that's played out in every other marriage plagued by adultery. You are "the other woman." Just because he's a priest doesn't make this fact any less true. You purposefully went after someone who was off-limits. Maybe he even made it easy. Maybe he pursued you. I don't care. You're still wrong for allowing yourself to become entangled in such stupidity. You are no better than the woman who knowingly sleeps with a married man (or the man who sleeps with a married woman). You're both committing adultery and you're both causing one another to be unfaithful to yourselves, your communities, and God.
You will find no sympathy from me in this regard. What you are doing and what you have allowed to happen is evil. You are a pliable pawn being used by satan to take down God's representatives on earth. You should be absolutely ashamed of yourselves.
Maybe one day the Church will allow Her priests to marry. Until then, be mindful of the incredible sacrifices that these men make on your behalf and be charitable. Do not let yourself be a temptation to them- no matter how innocent your supposed intentions are.
Ugh. Seriously. Just... ugh. You love him, you say? Then respect the fact that he took vows and support him upholding every last one of them.
Pray for your priests, people. And pray for women like this.
Black Mass Restitution
This, my friends, is how Catholics combat evil. We draw together as one Body and proclaim the Divinity of the One Who Loves Us. We adore our God within the humble Eucharist and refrain our thunderous "AMEN!" as the demons tremble in their hellish shackles.
THIS is the Church Militant as She armors Herself in the Blood of the Lamb.
Special thanks to Justin Bell (@ajustbell) for giving me permission to use the above photo for tonight's entry. He was present for the Procession and took some really incredible photos. Looking through them, my eyes truly began to well up with gratitude for the outpouring of love for Christ within the Eucharist.
Lord, You are loved. Forgive us for neglecting to show our love like this more often.
By now, you've all heard of the repugnant event that was to be hosted on the Harvard campus. I, like many of my Catholics, joined my brothers and sisters in Boston in a national show of solidarity through prayer, fasting and sacrifice.
There is nothing more I can possibly say on this matter that hasn't already been outline hundreds of times by others who have written about this. I will say, however, that I was incredibly hurt by such an event being promoted. Physically, painfully hurt.
So from 7pm until 8pm, I locked myself away and offered the hour in union with the entire Church. I offered it in reparation for the mockery of Christ, I offered it for the conversion and repentance of those responsible, and I offered it for the strength and clarity of those with the power to stop it.
There were no adoration hours available to me locally, so I chose to unite myself by reading about the Eucharist in a little booklet I picked up about a year ago. It's been sitting in my drawer waiting for this day. I pulled it out and spent the hour in prayerful reflection of the lessons contained within.
The booklet is titled The Most Blessed Sacrament and is written by Fr. Stephano Manelli, OFM. I thought it fitting. Fr. Manelli creates a quilt of reflections patched together by various saints who were entirely devoted to our Divine God hidden in the Eucharist.
Folks just don't understand how Catholics can adore what - to them - amounts to be a cracker. God would never, in their minds, appear as something so insignificant. God is majestic - divine! He would not stoop so low as to appear as bread and wine.
And yet this is exactly who we know God to be. This is precisely why we praise Him, honor Him and love Him. The Divine and Unencompassable God consents to become the most base staple of nourishment so that He can mercifully feed us in an intimate and personal way. That is how loving our God is. He is not this mythical creature who is too self-important to care for His children. Instead, He bends over backwards to be near to us. He cares not for golden ciboriums or tabernacles encrusted with jewels; He years to take refuge within the depths of our soul. He wishes to enjoin Himself to our deepest, truest essence so that He can fashion us to Him and make us more like Himself - divine.
This is why Satan hates the Eucharist. He can't stand that the Divine God humbles Himself so basely for the likes of humanity. It is why he seeks to mock and sully the truest, most blessed gift ever given to humanity.
St. Augustine once exclaimed of the Eucharist, "Although God is all-powerful, He is unable to give more; though supremely wise, He knows not how to give more; though vastly rich, He has not more to give."
Why is this? Because in the Eucharist, we are given God's Incarnate Son. Jesus comes to us fully (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity) to feed us and nourish our souls with effusions of Divine Grace. God cannot give more than the gift of Himself in this humble form. This blessed gift is the summation of His promise to be with us always.
Methinks I'll be doing a lot more meditating on the Eucharistic Lord in the coming months. The media still isn't entirely sure if the mockery took place or not. Some reports are saying it happened in a Chinese restaurant across from campus, others are reporting that it has been pushed off indefinitely. Either way, evil is beginning to get increasingly brazen, and a more constant meditation and show of Christian love is necessary to combat this treachery.
Did any of you participate in the 7-8pm vigil?
The Sky Isn't Falling, Folks
Does anyone else feel a bit like characters in a Chicken Little book? Instead of the sky falling, I am constantly hearing "The Church is falling! The Church is falling!" from a swelling underbelly of paranoid Catholics and a growing army of gleeful anarchists.
If you take a look at the media, you'd think the Church was at death's door!
Relax, folks. I assure you, the Church isn't going anywhere. Remember that whole business with Peter getting renamed in front of the giant cave that devoured infants?
Let me refresh your memory, then. Since all four of the Gospels were pretty clear about this, it's obviously important enough for folks to understand.
Once upon a time, Simon (meaning "reed") was following a cool guy named Jesus. Simon wasn't super smart, he certainly wasn't very rich, and he didn't hold major sway in the community. That was okay. He wasn't interested in being the smartest guy in the room. Money didn't hold any power over him, and he didn't aim to have folks do his bidding. He was just a guy who loved Jesus and was willing to follow Him wherever He went - up to and including the Gates of Hell.
That's right, folks! Simon followed Jesus to the Gates of Hell! Believe it or not, this place actually existed in his time. It was located in Caesarea Philippi, and today, it looks like this:
What you're looking at is a giant cave that was carved into a massive chunk of stone. In fact, this giant stone mass housed several caves which, at the time of Jesus, would have been temples dedicated to various deities.
This particular one, however, was dedicated to Pan, god of desolate places (being a lonely little farmer / herder dude isn't the best diety-gig to have). Because his temple had a bit of water running through it, folks would come and sacrifice their infants over the cliff to him where they would either drown or die of blunt force trauma. Thus, because of the grisly sacrificing of such innocence, it was likened to the gates of Hades (even by the Romans).
So Simon followed Jesus all the way to Caesarea Philippi to stand before this giant stone structure that signified death and complete desolation. It was here that Jesus asked a series of silly questions. I'll let the Bible talk from here:
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Good old Simon. His birth name meant reed, something easily bent or even broken by the passing breeze.
Now, however, Jesus blessed him with the name that translates to "large rock." Jesus didn't change Simon's name because He was impressed with Simon's knowledge of Scripture. He didn't change his name because He liked how sinless Simon was. He didn't even change his name because of how faithfully Simon followed Jesus all around the known world.
Jesus changed Simon's name to Peter because name changes signify divine inspiration - a deep, spiritual change that dictates a person's destiny. It's part of the reason we are given new names at Confirmation, too!
Jesus specifically changed Simon's name to Peter because He asked a question with an answer that only could've been arrived at through divine inspiration. Simon was open to the movement of the Spirit, and this is why he was chosen as the cornerstone of the Church.
On Peter's shoulders the Church would be built. When Jesus goes on and explains that He will give him (after the Ascension) the "keys to the kingdom," He was referencing Isaiah 22:22-23.
I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder;
For those unfamiliar, the "key" wasn't just a symbol of power the king bestowed onto his most trusted servant. The key was an actual key that could open or lock all the doors in the kingdom (grain storehouses, vaults for gold, even the very temple doors). Whoever wielded the key was given the king's authority (with his approval, of course) while the king is absent. The servant then went about doing the king's bidding by opening grain storehouses for the hungry, the vaults to pay for kingdom necessities, making pronouncements, etc.
Jesus was telling Peter that his openness to divine inspiration announced him as this highly trusted servant. And thus, on Peter's shoulders, the glory of his ancestors (the Jews) and his descendants / offspring (the Catholic Church / various sects of Christianity) will hang on his leadership. PETER is the cornerstone on which Christ's Church is built.
If you continue reading Isaiah (and I love this), the original servant spoken of is named Eliakim. Verses 24-25 speak of Eliakim's eventual downfall and the institution of another servant. This servant is Peter, and when the Lord speaks, it is Jesus who does the speaking. How awesome is that?
Anywho, Peter is set as the everlasting servant. The gates of the hell (Death) shall not prevail against the Church set forth under his guidance. Jesus entrusts this destiny to Peter because he has proven his openness to divine inspiration. Peter proves himself as the faithful, humble servant who does not put his own "wisdom" above that of God the Father.
THAT is the sign of a great servant.
So why do I bring this up at all?
Because for all the bellyaching folks are making about Pope Francis, they need to keep in mind that he is a servant. He is a servant hand-selected by divine inspiration to "keep the keys" until Christ comes back for the 2nd Coming.
You trust Jesus, right? You trust that what he said 2 millenia ago still rings true today, yes? Then quit your bellyaching and trust that when He said He wouldn't let His Church crumble, He's not gonna let His Church crumble.
The Church is His eternal bride. He's not going to forsake us. We'll be persecuted and crucified, this is true. We must, after all, follow faithfully in His Footsteps. But we must remember that with a death fashioned after Christ's comes a resurrection as well.
We have been told that the time is coming for this great persecution and crucifixion, but we're not there yet. Even if we were, your job isn't to head for the hills or apostatize. Your job is to keep your oil lamps filled and burning brightly. Your job is to be a beacon of Christ to others. Your job is to continue praying for and supporting the Church.
I am deeply saddened for and shamed by those Catholics who are renouncing the faith simply because this pope doesn't do things the way they expect. Our faith goes beyond a man in a white cassock. Our faith is the Resurrected God-Man who consents to give Himself to us as food in the Eucharist... as mercy in the Confessional... as divine royalty in Heaven.
I'm also saddened for and shamed by those who are gleefully dancing over the tears of those Catholics who mourn the loss of faith in their communities and families. Things may look bleak from where you're standing. You might delight in the passing of laws that deride the Church and force Her members to face fierce punishment and humiliation, but we know better.
We've witnessed Our Lord upon the Cross. We've seen His Divine Face, even as blood and spittle made Him almost unrecognizable. We've recognized that through this torturous sacrifice, evil was conquered and hope for our eternal inheritance was restored. Laugh now, but we are no strangers to persecution.
Know this. We are the Church that Christ founded. We are His Body, we are His Bride. He will not allow us to be destroyed.
So to you Catholic Chicken Littles running around freaking out about the state of the Church, relax. Do your part by praying, sacrificing and being the person God meant for you to be. Do not worry about the pope shirking his mantum or the local priest singing One Bread, One Body. Unless you witness an actual sacrilege or liturgical abuse happening, try not to freak out and just turn to Christ in prayer. Don't spread paranoia and upset by lamenting the terrible state the Church is in because Father So-and-So allows women to distribute Communion.
You folks know I hate that. It's one of my biggest pet peeves. But ya know what? I don't deny myself participation in the one, true and Catholic liturgy because of bone-headed mistakes. Also, even if the priest in question did it PURPOSEFULLY KNOWING he was in the wrong, I'm not going to let his sin cut off my avenue to Christ, because even if he was stained with a thousand mortal sins, Father Pro-Women Eucharistic Ministers is still Christ's representative on Earth and is able to consecrate whereas I am not.
To you Christian Chicken Littles hoping beyond hope that the evil Catholic Church is finally crumbling, sorry. You guys are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We still pray for you at every.single.Mass. You are our offspring. Do not neglect your Mother.
To those of you who are foaming at the mouth waiting to ravage the remnants of a Church on fire, don't hold your breath. Seriously.
"It Is Good You Try"
My proudest accomplishment in Mexico was my conversation with a friendly old landscaper. We went back and forth several times until I had to apologize (which I did in Spanish) for my rudimentary grasp of their language. He grinned so broadly and said, in English, "It is good you try!"
I had been so self-conscious until he extended appreciation for me trying. I realized how arrogant we are to always expect English, so offering even my butchered bit of Spanish was accepted as a gift. How kind of that gentleman to be so gracious.
Until that point, I'd sheepishly greet folks or excuse myself as I made my way around people in the resort. I knew how to say "Hi" and "Excuse me" but I felt silly for even attempting because my accent would be terrible or people would think I was trying to sound more worldly than I am.
After that conversation, though, the tiny bit of Spanish I retained from high school came out freely. I was even complimented by one kiosk worker (who was likely just trying to charm his way into my wallet, but I appreciated that particular compliment nonetheless).
That kindly gentleman freed me from my inhibitions and empowered me to use the knowledge I'd been given. What a blessing. :)
I can't help but imagine he's an example of how God views us. In our feeble attempts at honoring His graciousness, we stumble over ourselves, unsure of how to best communicate with Him. However, God does not frown at us for our weakness in this; instead, He smiles broadly and appreciates the effort. Just as a parent appreciates the torn up weed bouquet clutched in their child's fist, so too does God appreciate even our smallest efforts to return to Him the love He so graciously gifts.
Advice: Am I Being Tacky?
John and I have been through a lot the last few years. A whole lot:
So these, among other random bits, have caused us to grow, change, and love more deeply. Looking back at this journey has made me so incredibly appreciative of the marriage I have and the friends and family who have supported us these last ten years.
As a result, I want to throw a special party this year. It's only our 7th year as a married couple, but it's our 10th together as a couple.
I want to throw a fire hall banquet, invite all those who have supported us through love, prayer and example and celebrate the blessings they've all been to John and I.
I want this to serve as both a THANK YOU to our family and friends for being so supportive over the years, and as a "Marriage is Worth It!" witness.
So many of those in our group of friends are incredibly jaded about the institution of marriage. They are vehemently against marriage on the grounds that it's an archaic, pointless practice that only ends in divorce, they are indifferent, or they look at marriage as something they can't do until they've amassed enough golden eggs (whether that be money, a house, career satisfaction, etc). Very few of our friends look at marriage as a sacrament of power, love and beauty.
That makes me sad. It really does.
So while I want to thank everyone for their support of us, I also want to show our friends that marriage IS something worth investing in. And once you are married, it's worth fighting for. It's a constant choice to love one another, every day. The honeymoon fades and the cutesy names will sometimes turn sour. However, with support and love, a married couple can weather the natural dips in romance and find a deeper, truer connection than they started out with.
When I asked John if he'd be OK with this, he was, but thought the idea of "throwing ourselves a party" was tacky. He said he'd feel like an idiot explaining to people the purpose of the celebration.
I can understand his hesitation. I mean, who the heck throws a 7th anniversary party?
To me, though, it's perfect timing. Usually the 7th year is associated with the "7 Year Itch" in which couples are often teased about the eventuality of affairs stemming from the stagnation of marital relations.
For us, this 7th year - though incredibly emotional - has been anything but stagnant. John and I love one another better now than we ever have.
And I say "better" because we both make the conscious decision to be better spouses to each other.
So I do want to celebrate that, especially given the fact that we have the added bonus of me being cancer-free (assuming the annual test comes back clear which I'm sure it will).
We've got a lot to be thankful for, and I feel my gratitude overflowing. As such, I want to use it to thank others and share those blessings we've received with others.
Is a party a bad idea? Do you think maybe I should rethink how I go about doing this? I'm not looking for gifts or anything. I don't want anything from anyone. I want to do this FOR everyone. Our anniversary just happens to provide a perfect backdrop.
Children and Gender Confusion
Remember this article? I feel like it was the one that started them all.
Little boy wants to dress up like Daphne from Scooby Doo and his mom posts, in the title of her entry, that this implies he's gay.
But no worries, because in the body of the entry, you realize that was simply a bait. She then writes "Or he's not. I don't care. He is still my son. And he is 5. And I am his mother. And if you have a problem with anything mentioned above, I don't want to know you."
I remember when I first read that feeling offended for her. How could ANYONE dare to have a problem with this? Who would think to be so callous as to spout anything negative at a little boy who just wants to dress up for Halloween? Even if it is a little odd.
Now that the feeds have been absolutely SATURATED with stories like this, I've learned to put my critical reasoning skills to better use.
She, like every other blogger after her, sets the stage for inevitable conflict. They want the conflict; it drives stats. I refuse to post the litany of these articles because I refuse to give them a bump in referral hits.
Now I just roll my eyes and pass on them. They're all the same. Each demanding respect for allowing their boys to dress as girls and play with My Little Pony dolls, or steering their girls away from pink things and more towards "boy toys" like race cars and Legos. We've all seen them. It's just...
Instead of trying to dictate what our kids play with in an attempt to show how forward-thinking we are about gender-stereotypes, how about we just let them be kids who like to play with toys of any sort?
And how about we stop patting ourselves on the back for going out of our way to confuse the very clear distinctions between the two sexes. No matter how many bags of lip gloss your son wants to have, he's going to be a little boy. No matter how many Wrestlemanias your daughter begs to go to, she's still going to be a little girl.
And no matter how many times you allow your son to dress in skirts or your daughter to pull on boxers, their biology will remain unaltered. That includes sex change operations and hormone injections.
Also, this sort of gender confusion does not necessarily mean your child is gay. But again, throwing that into the mix is a great way to solicit a jump in stats.
We need to have open, honest communication on this topic. Blog posts like those I reference above are not helpful. If anything, they're harmful because they seek to divide. They seek to cause in-fighting and paranoia (everyone's out to get me and my son because we're different!). There are children in serious jeopardy because of this confusion, and patting ourselves on the backs for the bang-up job we're doing with this saturation of gender confusion is not the right course of action. It's just not.
I don't have the answer on how best to respond to this growing trend, but I just can't take the constant stream of articles that decry any sort of acknowledgement that boys and girls (and thus, men and women) are different; they are. Does that mean that they are not equals? No; they have equal dignity. But they are inherently different from one another. Consistently ignoring that (and worse... teaching our children to actively ignore it) is a
Kids growing up in this climate are the reason we've got fifty billion "genders" on Facebook, men waging legal war against a woman's right to use a private bathroom, and young kids (and their PARENTS) fighting to dictate biology without bothering to think of long-term health consequences.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Trying to blur the lines between male and female have led folks to be hyper-aware of not only gender, but sexuality and thus, sex.
Methinks that's why textbooks like this exist. It's also why lessons like this exists.
We are hurting our children way, WAY more than we are helping them. That much is apparent. We are teaching them it's okay to disregard facts - scientific facts - and create an alternate reality that they then expect everyone else to go along with. I can't imagine that being a good coping strategy for such a real, all-areas-of-life entrenched problem.
I just don't have clue one where to begin, or even how to protect my son from falling victim to this sort of confusion. It's like parents are expected (and even bullied into) encouraging this sort of behavior.
I was recently invited to a birthday party with my son in which the parent informed me the boys would be dressing up as princesses alongside the girls.
No thank you. I opted to decline that one. Vince is curious about women's clothing sometimes (my veil and bras come to mind), but I would not actively encourage him cross dressing, ESPECIALLY at such a young age.
I'm just... ay.
What the heck ever happened to kids being kids?
Well, the gay rights lobby is at it again with their fake indignation and trumped up discrimination allegations.
I'm just about done with them whining about every little thing that doesn't coddle their every self-centered inclination.
By now, I'm sure most of you have seen the kerfluffle caused by trolls at the annual St. Patrick's Day Parades in New York and Boston.
These are two of the biggest parades in the world that celebrate St. Patrick's life and legacy. Of COURSE these yahoos would take it upon themselves to instigate trouble when they'd have a worldwide audience.
I just hate that companies and politicians went and supported this stupidity without stopping to question the legitimacy of those doing the whining.
They're upset because they can't run around with banners labeling them as gay? Cry me a rainbow river, why don't you?
Pro-Life groups can't march under a banner any more than gay groups can. Where are all the pro-life unions that are decrying that their dignity is being threatened? Where are all the Italian-Americans? Where are all the lovers of ice-cream and chocolate? The pro-puppy groups?
Oh yeah - none of them have anything to gain by feigning discrimination. None of them are looking to bait an entire population into feeling sorry for them.
ARGH - I'm so sick of people stupidly falling for this. How did our population come to exchange common sense and critical reasoning for Kim Kardashian and buzz words?
I'm just so beyond done with always being labeled a bigot or a homophobe because I see this for the charade it so blatantly is.
This sort of fake discrimination touted by the gay lobby is BLATANTLY FALSE and no one seems to care. Why does no one care?!?!?!
Why the Silence?
A friend of mine posted the above video to Facebook. I knew what it was as soon as I saw it. A reader had sent it my way and said maybe I should think about sharing Myla's story as a way to break the silence.
I'm not there yet. But I am really, really glad that there is a push to get stuff like this out in the open.
When my friend posted this, he said something great: "I didn't realize the prevalence of this event. I love how families are allowing the child to remain a part of their family and honoring her/him at special times - birthday, thanksgiving, christmas and/or other winter holidays. For those who are uncomfortable with sharing this, GET OVER YOURSELF! The child was part of life however briefly, is loved and will always be remembered."
I immediately thought, Right on, we WILL always love and remember them! And of course you didn't realize the prevalence. NO ONE realizes the prevalence because no one talks about it.
I then wondered why. I mean, on a personal level, I know why I don't talk about it. But on a grander scale, there had to be a reason. It hit me, and I commented the following:
Still birth and miscarriage are so taboo in our culture because we have conditioned ourselves to "accept" that life doesn't begin until that child is outside the womb.
I put "accept" in quotes because it's a conditioned belief that isn't a belief so much as it is a justification for the murder of a child.
Because that uneasy "acceptance" of an obvious falsehood doesn't sit well with the public, things like open grieving of life lost within the womb or at birth is taboo since open acceptance of that life causes folks who don't believe in life at conception to confront the validity (or invalidity) of that belief.
And as someone who has experienced condemnation and ridicule for grieving the life of a child considered worthless by society's standards, I can understand why some families choose to suffer in silence - why this topic is rarely spoken of. It's difficult enough to endure losing a child - you don't need people lashing outwards as they struggle with an inward paradigm shift on top of it, ya know?
Just my two cents.
I know this is a good chunk of the reason I keep silent. I'm not ready to handle their emotions on top of my own. I'm not ready to handle the questions or the judgement or even the sympathy that might result from Myla's story being out there amongst family and friends.
But the point of this video is spot on, and I do think the reason so many of us don't speak out more is because our culture - a culture steeped in death and selfishness - cannot accept the grief of parents who prove their misguided stance on life within the womb is not compatible with reality. We are a thorn in their logic.
EDIT: I encourage everyone to read through the commentary as well. So many great points have been raised that are worthy of your attention. They are critical of my viewpoint, but deservedly so. I think this is an extremely worthwhile discussion, so please avail yourselves of the various perspectives. And as always - don't forget to ask the Holy Spirit for His Thoughts, either! *Grin*
Some of you may already be aware of this, but for those of you who aren't, Pope Francis made the decision to have the Mass of the Lord's Supper outside St. Peter's Basilica this Holy Thursday.
I'll be honest. I'm not happy about this. I'm not happy about this at all.
Before you start calling me a Pope Francis hater, let me explain.
Holy Thursday Mass is the kickoff of our most sacred season - Triduum. This is the Mass in which we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist and Holy Orders - two Sacraments that exist for one another. Without one, the other cannot exist. Priests are ordained specifically to bring the Eucharist to their people, and the Eucharist exists only on account of those men blessed to be ordained for the duty.
Holy Thursday Mass is no thing to trifle with. Being such a sacred and blessed time in our history, this specific celebration deserves to be treated in the most dignified and respectful manner. Offering this Mass in St. Peter's is what has been done as tradition because, frankly, this Mass is worthy of St. Peter's. If no other Mass is offered in St. Peter's for the rest of the year, THIS ONE SHOULD BE.
I mean, if the Church dictates that Catholic marriage ceremonies not take place outside a church, how is it suddenly OK to have THE MOST IMPORTANT MASS OF THE YEAR in a juvenile prison?!
I get what he's trying to do. He's really big into humility and publicly showing folks that it's necessary and important to care for "the least among us. I'm all for that!
I am not, however, all for neglecting to pay Christ and His Sacraments homage in the manner dictated to us by Tradition (one of our three pillars of Church Authority). I feel this is a misstep on the part of our new Pontiff. It is really disappointing to me. As a Church, God gifted us things like the Basilica of St. Peter specifically so we COULD celebrate with splendor the very special graces afforded to us through the Eucharist and Holy Orders.
I can't help but think he's a little too gung-ho with this whole "Let's toss all tradition aside so I can prove to the public that as the newly elected leader of the Church, I turn away from finer things and ignore past traditions" in an attempt to regain the trust of a very jaded and unhappy world.
Again, I don't think his reasoning is terrible. I really don't. I think we really do need someone to stand up and put an end to the ridiculousness going on in the Church. That being said, we should not be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
We're talking about JESUS and His institution of the Eucharist and Holy Orders. This is Holy Thursday Mass.. the beginning of our Triduum - the opening Mass that sets the stage for Good Friday and Holy Saturday. To offer it in a detention center where you'd only fit a handful of people (successfully closing off the service to the crowds that would have been able to gather in St. Peter's) and replacing the retired priests with children to have their feet washed... I just feel like this is going three steps too far on the "Look how humble and willing to buck tradition I am, so don't worry, the Church will be back to its humble and poor-loving self soon" scale.
Holy Father, I'm praying for you because you've got quite the job to do. I pray you're able to clean up the mess you've been left and I'm still hoping your intentions on this are pure and true. Your decision, however, has truly, truly unsettled me. My heart is not at ease.
And I realize I'm the odd man out for calling out this decision since your reasons seem so justifiable. You want to serve the "least among us" and the societal "rejects." You choose troubled children, and how can anyone take issue with such an endearing and gentle display of charity?
I get that I'm in the minority on this, but I can't help but express my discontent, especially given that the washing of the feet is an act Jesus used specifically to prepare and ordain his chosen 12 for their priestly duties. The tradition of washing the feet of retired priests was a beautiful symbol of and testament to this fact!
And also keep in mind Our Lord's appreciation for the woman's actions at Bethany. She poured the entire contents of extremely expensive perfume over Christ to anoint Him. Judas grumbled at her "wastefulness," but Jesus defended her for her actions. She was blessed with something special by God, and she wanted to give back without thought to cost. She simply wanted to offer the finest of what she had to He who had given her so much.
This is a righteous action in the Eyes of the Lord. This is not wasteful and it is not prideful and it is not arrogant. It is taking the gifts God granted and using them to shower splendor and blessings back upon Him. All that we have - all that we are - are meant to honor and glorify the Lord. She did just that, even though some accused her of extravagance.
Oh, Holy Father, my heart breaks at the thought of relegating this most sacred Mass to a jail cell that is barren of sacred relics, sacred artwork, sacred vessels, and even the legions of faithful who would gather to celebrate the Lord's Supper. If we do not allow for such a thing to occur with marriages, how can we allow such a thing to happen for Holy Thursday Mass?
In a place that is already barren of Catholicism, how will those children come to understand the importance of the procession after Holy Thursday Mass where the sanctuary is stripped of its ornamentation, artwork and finery... sentenced to suffer the same death and tomb of Her Eternal Bridegroom? These traditions are in place because they are important... they are educational... and they are pleasing to God because this is the manner in which He saw fit to remind us of His Sacrifice so that we might grow closer to His Heart of Love.
The thought of this brings actual tears to my eyes. This seems wrong. Everything about this seems wrong, wrong, wrong. My heart cannot quiet its echoing cry of discontent.
A Beacon of Hope Amidst Tragedy
My morning started off pretty awesome. My son gave me hugs and kisses before I dropped him off at daycare, several of my friends were already on their way to the Pro-Life March in D.C., and I was on my way to the most awesome job in the world (made that much more awesome by the fact that my coworkers are pretty much the best people in the universe). That all being said, I looked something like this:
About an hour or so after getting to work, however, one of those aforementioned awesome coworkers sent me this article which put me in a mood decidedly...
After a few minutes of fuming - loudly - I checked to see which diocese St. Thomas More was actually a part of. I wanted to make sure it wasn't Archbishop Chaput's old Denver stomping grounds. When I found out the hospital was located in the diocese of Pueblo, I hopped over to their site to find out if any statement had been made by the bishop there. When I got to their homepage (found here), I took a moment to read the press release posted there. While reading, I probably looked a little something like this:
The quick (and pointed) response to this situation is incredibly heartening. In fact, I was SO pleased that they responded that I wrote the wonderful folks over in Pueblo to tell them how wonderful I thought their bishops were in a letter to the Office of the Bishop. I would suggest all of you do the same. When you're done praising them for being defenders of Life, go ahead and exercise your fingers by then moving over to St. Thomas More Hospital's site to unleash a lesson or two on what TRUE Catholics stand up for and defend.
This, my dear friends, is what today's version of Defending the Faith looks like. We might not need to shed our blood in the Colosseum (yet), but we do need to take a stand and refuse to back down on our beliefs simply because it's financially beneficial to do so. Those hack-job lawyers in Colorado have just destroyed so much of what the Pro-Life movement has worked hard for. How DARE they claim that fetuses aren't people only to kick a lawsuit under the rug!
My heart goes out to the father who lost his wife and children. How invalidated he must feel that a set of Catholic representatives (whether or not they were Catholic themselves doesn't matter - they represented a Catholic Institution, and thus should have reflected Catholic values in their actions) basically told him his two children were nothing... that they were undeserving of proper care because they weren't technically alive by the standards of the law...
I am sickened by that! At the very least the firm representing the hospital should never again be allowed to step foot in the courtroom in defense of St. Thomas More. I'd also like to see the administrators of this particular hospital feel a little fire for their part. SOMEONE over there had to have given some sort of consent to this diabolical argument. Ugh - I just... I can't.
Anyway, after you spit some of your justified venom their way, refresh yourself by viewing some of the incredible, uplifting and thought-provoking images of today's incredibly successful March for Life. These imagines? They'll remind you that you're not alone in your desire to see a better, brighter future for this generation and all generations to follow. They'll remind you that you're part of something bigger... something mystical... something militant - the Body of Christ.
Simply put, the sham that is our media is only able to get away with this courtesy of the willful ignorance enjoyed by those they opiate with their trash.
I've been sitting on this post for about a week because I haven't had a proper camera with which to take my photos. *GRUMP GRUMP*
Anyway, my iPhone ended up taking the ones you're about to see, so I really, REALLY apologize for the blur and lack of clarity.
A wonderful friend of mine asked me to create a pair of Pro-Life earrings for a friend of hers. This friend works across from an abortion facility and it breaks her heart that she must work across from this place day after day.
She wanted some small way to remember their suffering throughout the day... some small way to speak out against the atrocity and remind others that there were those willing to speak for these voiceless children.
Thus, these earrings were born.
I went through several charms and versions, but the Precious Feet (though pricey) were the way to go.
Thus, I've created a whole batch for those who wish a pair for themselves. These can be customized with pink, blue or red beads. However, one crystal will remain on all of these to remind us of the innocent souls that are being torn away from us each time an abortion is carried out.
10% of all sales go towards the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia. They do some incredible, incredible work. Please spread this particular entry along. I want Pro-Life jewelry to spread just as much as ribbons for breast cancer, puzzle pieces for Autism, or bracelets for Alzheimer's.
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