Sunday, November 13, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
And once in a while, you get a gem such as this:
"A worried woman went to her gynecologist and said: 'Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even 1 year old and I'm pregnant again. I don't want kids so close together. So the doctor said: 'OK and what do you want me to do?' She said: 'I want you to end my pregnancy, and I'm counting on your help with this.' The doctor thought for a little, and after some silence he said to the lady: 'I think I have a better solution for your problem. It's less dangerous for you too.' She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request. Then he continued: 'You see, in order for you not to have to take care 2 babies at the same time, let's kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest some before the other one is born. If we're going to kill one of them, it doesn't matter which one it is. There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms. The lady was horrified and said: 'No doctor! How terrible! It's a crime to kill a child! 'I agree', the doctor replied. 'But you seemed to be OK with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution.' The doctor smiled, realizing that he had made his point. He convinced the mom that there is no difference in killing a child that's already been born and one that's still in the womb. The crime is the same! If you agree, please SHARE. Together we can help save precious lives! 'Love says I sacrifice myself for the good of the other person. Abortion says I sacrifice the other person for the good of myself.' "
So while FB can be a hassle, an addicting site, or just plain confusing, nothing is in itself intrinsically evil. It all depends on how we use it. Imagine that! We can be Christ to others on FB!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Ten years already. Time sure goes by quickly. As for those of us who have grown up with the events of years past, particularly those on a certain day in September, perhaps these ten years have affected us more drastically than would ten in our parents' lives. My communications teacher thought it would be a good experiment to have everyone in his class write a reflection on how 9/11 affected us, the generation that has grown up with this reality. I have a bad habit of posting my homework only because I can't think of anything else to put up (School has that odd effect on you. Somehow you think up your best blog posts when you don't quite intend to). I enjoyed reading everyone's take, though most of us didn't quite understand what had occurred. As for me, I remember that morning rather well.
I remember sitting at my dinning table that morning and doing my homework assignments when my aunt called my mom. I didn’t catch what she said but could hear the urgency in her voice as my mom rushed to the living room and turned the TV on. My siblings and I weren’t allowed to watch the almost frantic activity on the screen, but immediately were aware that something was amiss as my mom began to cry. Even though I was homeschooled, I could feel that the world was thrown into turmoil, suddenly on shaky footing in its unexpected uncertainty. What we once considered neigh impregnable was suddenly – and through a child’s perception, permanently – contradicted.
It was the oddest mix of feelings. On one hand, people were experiencing a sudden religious fervor. On the other, since Hawaii was the bridge between continental US and had almost extremely heightened security, there were strange undercurrents of mistrust particularly when it came to traveling. My mom could not shield us from all the tragedy; eventually I had a faint idea of what had occurred. It terrified me. I had thought, as a carefree nine-year-old, America to be the bravest of nations, quite akin to Superman. I’d overlooked the fact that even Superman fell to kryptonite. The event had taken my ideal and slapped it across the cheek, leaving me in shocked confusion.
9/11 forever changed my perception of America, possibly in ways that I am today still unsure of. Yet one hope still broke through the murky confusion, and that was the response of the heroes during the aftermath. I realized that, while she isn’t the invincible ideal and still needs every single one of her citizens, every single one of them have the courage and responsibility to proudly carry on. We are through the grace of God who we make ourselves to be. After all, isn’t that one of the principles that brought life to our country in the first place?
Because of 9/11, I’ve grown up with the idea that we were given a chance; a chance to redefine America as our founding fathers meant from the beginning. Coming up to date, the question I now have for my generation is: how will we do it?
Monday, August 15, 2011
For this meme, you must name your patronage
and then tag 5 other people who would like to play along."
Monday, July 25, 2011
Before Mass this morning, I was kinda blah and my mind was pretty preoccupied. It wasn't preoccupied with anything fun, nor anything overly disastrous (Deo gratias for that), but preoccupied enough that I probably wasn't all smiles. XP So I sat in the pew, waiting for the bells to ring, almost oblivious of everyone in the church while a million troubling thoughts ran through my head. All of a sudden a cell phone rang out of the blue, bringing me back to reality...and my little brother started dancing to the ringtone. o.O? Seriously, who dances to ringtones???! (Apparently my brother does) It was so random and hilariously ridiculous after what I'd been thinking about, that I almost burst out in a full laugh! It did the trick though. It reminded me to keep smiling and not get so worked up about things that really are in God's hands, haha. =)
So I'm going to "let go and let God." And dance along with this song! Anyone care to join me? ^^
"And he said unto me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." ~St. Paul
Oh. Just a note...you might want to remember to turn off your cell phone before Mass. Even if you're like Moses and expect a call from God any moment, please be respectful of other people. Especially since most of them probably are really praying and not thinking about a million things. Thanks. =)
Monday, July 11, 2011
Several years ago, there was a story about a college bound guy who asked everyone in the world for a penny. The story came with a picture of the smart student sitting in the middle of a pile of copper coins, happy that he could actually pay for his tuition. Even if I was far from college myself back then, I remembered the story and, up to now, still pick up the random pennies on the ground that nobody seems to care for. After all, pennies do make dollars, right?
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to save quite enough to pay for college....in fact...I'm not even sure what happened to all my pennies. o.O If I were to find them all someday - probably stored away in some place secret to even me - I'm sure they would amount to something!
Lately, I've found that this little story of spare change can also be related to a person's change of heart. To explain that though, I think I ought to introduce a friend of mine!
Meet Maggiorino Vigolungo, a young member of the Pauline Family! A bit about him: he entered the Society of St. Paul in 1916 at twelve years of age and had "a great love for the Eucharist." Although he died at the age of 14, he strove to be a saint, his motto being "a little progress everyday," a goal that he remained faithful to for the remnant of his life. You can read more about him here.
"A little progress everyday."
People are constantly changing. A person probably isn't the same as he was the day before, since the events between then (however minor) would have effected him in some way. So every day we each have before us a choice: either we miss our chance to become a better person, or we take that chance and choose to make the right choices that will lead us Heaven-bound.
"Sure, Cy, it's probably easy for you to say." Haha....no. (I wish!! D'X) To be honest, that's the reason why I like Maggiorino's quote so much; because I face the same dilemma as the next person....assuming, of course, the next person isn't Mother Teresa. (Although, even Mother Teresa had her hardships. But that's another story.) I seriously doubt that I can completely change overnight, and that's where St. Therese's Little Way meets Maggiorino Vigolungo.
Are there times when you want to return your neighbor's insult with a volley of your own? Pick up that penny and hold back the words. Can't seem to find a smile in your heart but know that your brother could really use one? Even if you can't feel it, smile anyway and dust off that extra penny. There are pennies for you to find every single day, from helping a homeless man find a meal to opening a door for an elderly lady.
"Store up your treasure in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy."
If we choose these little paths in life, storing up our pennies in Heaven, then even if we can't pay college tuition, we can at least become saints.
Pennies do make dollars.
Monday, June 27, 2011
And that was the result of only a few years.
So, go ahead, look back and enjoy the view so far. Be amazed at how God has brought you to where you are now. Don't linger too long, though, because ahead of you, there's still more of the adventure to come.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
~Archbishop Fulton Sheen
One of the things that I really like about Saint Therese's little way is the resolve to smile, especially when encountered with a grumpy cashier person, a solemn librarian with a face of stone, or just someone who looks like they're having a bad day. Have you ever tried giving them just the tiniest, straight from the heart, joyful little smile? Trust me, it works, and it is soooooo much fun!! ^^ The grumpy cashier person gets all confused that you're thanking him in spite of his nonchalance, the solemn librarian's mouth starts to twitch about the edges ever so slightly at your bubbly enthusiasm for books, and the poor victim of that bad day quite stares at you as if you've gone mad (And guess what? They copy you in the end! Yes, everyone's gone quite mad. Score 1 for God!! XD).
It all starts with a little assignment my Little Way teacher once gave me and my friends:
"Yeah, Cy, it's all well and good when you're at the top of the world, but what if you just can't seem to put one foot in front of the other?"
Those days come. When I think of the martyrs who went to their often-horrific deaths with a radiant smile, I am like Saint Therese and feel like a pebble staring up at a mountain. I've got my own Cross to carry, and it's heavy enough without trying to help carry someone else's! Yeah, well, there was someone who pretty much had the same thought. And it just so happens that I'm named after him: Simon of Cyrene.
When you can't seem to compliment that grumpy cashier person because you're every bit as grumpy as he is, remember that time when Jesus was surrounded by those who shouted for His death on the Cross. When you can't seem to break the stoniness of your own heart and find the joy to share with that old librarian, remember the stoniness of the soldiers' hearts when they scourged Jesus and forced Him to carry the Cross. When you're having a bad day and can't find the strength to smile a ray of light for the person next to you, remember the day that Jesus had that Good Friday so long ago. And if not for the sake of the person next to you, for the sake of giving comfort to our Lord when all others had abandoned Him.
What would you do if you saw the suffering Christ in them?
Now I pass on to you the same assignment that I was given (see above picture). It's really nothing new, in fact, we hear it all the time. It can be summed up in two very simple parts:
1. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind..."
2. "...and love your neighbor as yourself."
The easiest way to start? Start with a smile.
Have a very blessed Holy Week, friends, and may God give you the strength to carry your Cross so to be able to rise with Him on Easter morning.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
One of my favorite paintings is Rembrandt's Christ in the Storm in the Sea of Galilee. Whenever my boat is tossed about, I remember a homily that I once heard: Christ is sleeping at the stern, the part of the boat that sinks first. He watches over us even in His 'sleep'.
You are out to sea and a storm brews up. You can't do anything except call out: "Lord, save me!" (Mt 14,30). May he who walks fearlessly over the waves stretch out his hand, may he relieve you of your fear, may he set your confidence in him, may he speak to your heart, saying to you: "Think of what I have borne. Do you have something to bear from a false brother or from enemies outside? Didn't I have mine, too? Those who gnashed their teeth outside; the disciple who betrayed me inside." True enough, the storm is raging. But Christ saves us from "smallness of soul and the tempest" (Ps 55,9 LXX).
Is your boat tossed about? Perhaps it is because Christ is asleep in you. The boat in which the disciples were sailing was being tossed by a raging sea and yet Christ was sleeping. But in time these men realized at last that they had the lord and creator of the wind with them. They drew near to Christ and woke him: Christ commanded the wind and there was a great calm. Your heart is very rightly troubled if you have forgotten him in whom you have believed. And your anguish becomes unbearable when all that Christ suffered for you remains far from your mind. If you don't think of Christ, he sleeps. Wake Christ; call on your faith. For Christ sleeps in you if you have forgotten his Passion; and if you remember his Passion, then Christ awakes in you. When, with all your heart, you have reflected over what Christ suffered, won't you bear your trials steadfastly in your turn? And maybe with joy you will find yourself a little more like your King through your suffering.
Yes indeed, when these thoughts start to comfort you and give you joy, then know that Christ has stood up and commanded the wind; from this comes to pass the calm within you. As one of the Psalms says: "I was awaiting the one who would save me from smallness of soul and the tempest". ~ Saint Augustine
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
How's your Lenten journey so far, friends? ^_^
This Lent I'm trying to patch up all those holes, especially when it comes to praying. Of course, I do like praying! When I actually get around to it and concentrate, it such an amazing and humbling experience knowing that you're in the presence of God, talking with Him (you talk with Him because, contrary to popular belief, He has much more to say to you, than you do Him). I'd quite literally die if I didn't make time to pray.
"Ok, Miss Cy-Cy, so if you like praying so much, how come you're not such a good job?"
First off, you'll have to read this completely hilarious (and unfortunately, completely true in my case!) post: 7 Reasons Why I Stink at Praying
Soooo....how many reasons did you put a check mark beside? Don't worry, I put one beside all seven of them, so there's no way you could possibly beat my perfect score. Now you know why I need to work on praying, haha...
Monday, March 14, 2011
What Planned Parenthood is doing...it's not a rumor, it's not something pro-life "fanatics" are making up. It's the truth. It's a very sad, cold truth about what's happening to our nation. The facts are there, and they point to injustice. Injustice is not what our country is about.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Dory, that fun, perky little fish from Finding Nemo is one of our favorite movie characters. We can even recite her lines better than the rest of the characters', more than any other character from any other movie for that matter! (If only you could hear recordings of my siblings and friends recite Dory from start to finish! It's hilarious!)
Poor Dory has one fatal flaw, though. She has short-term memory loss and "forgets things almost instantly." Things would be going along just swimmingly...until she forgets what she was doing or where she was going.
You're probably wondering whether this has anything to do with Lent, or whether the poor blogger has ended up like Dory and forgot what the correlation was. (Or maybe it has something to do with Catholics and fish on fridays, but...yeah...let's not get into that. Poor Dory.) Actually, Dory has much in common with the Israelites about whom we read during the latter parts of Lent, but more specifically, she has much in common with us.
Doesn't it seem to you that the Israelites had everything going for them until they "forgot" how loving God was? Doesn't it seem to you that we tend to become so complacent in our faith? We get so comfortable staying where we are in our lives so much so that we forget what we're really supposed to be doing, and it takes a tsunami to shove us off our beach chair and do something to solidly live out our Christianity.
That's what Lent can do. It's a reminder of what we were supposed to be doing in the first place; it brings us back to the basics through our denying ourselves of things we don't really need.
Do I really need to watch all the TV shows that I give so much time for? Do I really need to go shopping for things that will make me look glamourous? Do I really need to be on Facebook so long? (Yeeesss!!.....uhmmm...no. *buries face in arms*)
Take a step back. Are these things doing anything to help us focus our lives around God? Are these going to help us fit through the narrow gate? By refocusing the time we use for these things - ironically, by dropping these and taking up our Crosses - we can end up living lives that are more worth living.
Like Dory, we need that reminder to stay focused on our "P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney." AKA, Heaven.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Check the sidebar for some links to some pretty awesome blogs: The Catholic Young Women, Little Flower's Crown of Roses, From a Catholic Daughter, and ...Where God Finds Me....
And yes, these are girls' blogs (although, you can still read them, even if you happen to be a boy). ;-) Girls just rock that way, especially when they absolutely LOVE God the way these young women do. So do visit them and listen as they share their journeys.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Be sincere of heart and steadfast, undisturbed in time of adversity.
Cling to him, forsake him not; thus will your future be great.
Accept whatever befalls you, in crushing misfortune be patient;
For in fire gold is tested, and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust God and he will help you; make straight your ways and hope in him.
You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy, turn not away lest you fall.
You who fear the LORD, trust him, and your reward will not be lost.
You who fear the LORD, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy.
Study the generations long past and understand; has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed? Has anyone persevered in his fear and been forsaken? has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the LORD; he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble."
Sometimes it feels like you're walking in the pouring rain without an umbrella, cold and shivering while several cars pass you by. You look balefully to the sky and wonder when the rain is ever going to give out and a stop...and when it doesn't, you yourself begin to reflect the overcast weather. Now you could choose to wear your inner frown and hunch your shoulders in depression, but let's say you swallow your disappointment and carry on as bravely as you can.
Yeah. It sounds a lot like martyrdom. Even if it isn't actual martyrdom (or it's only a small one in reality) it can feel like it's your entire world at the moment.
As a young Catholic girl, I'm beginning to realize many things that I never experienced before. Like living in a world that pretty much sees me as some freaky alien and keeps reaching for the Raid spray (an exaggerating exaggeration, but it comes close). There's so much that we young Catholics have to deal with that it almost seems like we're going to drown. Almost, were it not for our strong foundation. That strong foundation that Father read from the Gospel this morning...suddenly, when the rains are coming down and the floods are coming up, I have a greater appreciation for my faith. So as long as that firm Rock is there, it doesn't matter if I can't see past the rain to what's up ahead. I know He can.
So now it's just the attitude you decide to live by. It's one thing to trust God, but can you trust Him with a hopeful smile on your face? Like Saint Therese said, you can suffer, but the difference is when you suffer well.
The rain can only last for so long. There's only so much water in the world. Someday soon, the clouds will have to give up. So I'm looking up with a deep breath and a Hail Mary, waiting for that first glimpse of Marian blue....
Monday, February 14, 2011
So we went to Mass today, and we were pretty early so we had more than a few minutes to pray and prepare ourselves for Mass. I found myself staring at the above stained glass window, realizing that it was Jesus and His Sacred Heart. Then I realized....that every time we receive the Eucharist, we receive a Valentine from God. And the best part is that this Valentine is for forever. <3
(I really, really like this new song! It's a fun song by Jamie Grace.)
By Charles Peguy
The Lord God said:
I myself will dream a dream within you,
Good dreaming comes from me, you know.
My dreams seem impossible, not too practical
nor for the cautious man or woman;
a little risky sometimes, a trifle brash perhaps.
Some of my friends prefer to rest more comfortably
in sounder sleep with visionless eyes.
But from those who share my dreams I ask
a little patience,
a little humor,
some small courage,
and a listening heart –
I will do the rest.
Then they will risk and wonder at their daring;
run, and marvel at their speed;
build, and stand in awe at the beauty of their building.
You will meet me often as you work
in your companions who share the risk,
in your friends who believe in you enough
to lend their own dreams, their own hands,
their own hearts, to your building.
In the people who will stand in your doorway, stay awhile
And walk away knowing that hey too can find a dream.
There will be sin-filled days
And sometimes a little rain – a little variety
both come from me.
So come now, be content.
It is my dream you dream,
my house you build,
my caring you witness;
my love you share
And this is the heart of the matter.
Charles Peguy (1873 - 1914)
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Christians are like lights for others, for everyone in all the world. If we are christians then we must become like Christ. If you want to learn how, then the art of foresight will make you more and more like Christ, for he was humble of heart and always attentive to people's needs. Great sanctity begins with this attention to others. If it is to be beautiful then our vocation must be wholly filled with this attention. Wherever Jesus passed, he did good. And the Virgin Mary at Cana only thought of the needs of others and passed them on to Jesus. A Christian is a tabernacle of the living God. He created me, chose me, came to live in me because he needed me. Now you have learned how much God loves you, what could be more natural than for you to spend the rest of your life spreading this love? To be truly a Christian is truly to welcome Christ and become another Christ. It is to love as we are loved, as Christ loved us on the cross.
Monday, February 7, 2011
...Is to love until I die of love.”
“You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions,
nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.”
"I do not desire either suffering or death, although both are appealing to me;
it is love alone which really attracts me...
I can ask for nothing with any enthusiasm
except the perfect accomplishment of the Divine Will in my soul,
unhindered by any intrusion of created things.
I can say, with the words of our father, St. John of the Cross,
in his Spiritual Canticle,
'I drank in the inner cellar of my Beloved, and when I went forth into the meadow
I forgot everything and lost the flock which I used to drive.
My soul has employed all its resources in His service;
now I guard no flock, nor do I have any other duties.
Now my only occupation is love.'
Or again: 'I know love is so powerful that it can turn
whatever is good or bad in me into profit,
and it can transform my soul into Himself."
~ St. Thérèse
Sunday, February 6, 2011
"We have been called to love the world. And God loved the world so much that He gave Jesus to it. Today, He loves the world so much that He gives you and me to the world to be His love, His compassion, and His presence through our lives of prayer, sacrifice, and self-surrender. The response that God is waiting for from you is to become a contemplative, to be a contemplative. Let us take Jesus at His word and we will be contemplatives at the heart of the world, because if we have faith then we are His permanent presence. In contemplation the soul draws directly from God's heart the graces that the active life has been entrusted to distribute. Our very existence is to be intimately bound to the living Christ within us. If we do not live in God's presence, we cannot keep going. What is contemplation? It is to live the life of Jesus. That is how I understand it. To love Jesus; living His life at the heart of out own; living our own at the heart of His... Contemplation has nothing to do with shutting oneself up in a dark cupboard but in allowing Jesus to live His Passion, His love, and His humility in us, to pray with us, to be with us, and to make holy through us. Our lives and our contemplation are one. It's not a question of doing but of being. In fact it is about the complete happiness of our spirit through the Holy Spirit Who breathes God's fullness into us and send us out into all of creation as His own, personal message of love."
~Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Here's Brandon Heath and his song "Your Love".
"My Jesus, how good it is to love you! Let me be like your disciples on Mount Tabor, seeing nothing else but you, my Savior. Let us be as two friends, neither of whom can bear to offend the other. Amen."
~St. John Vianney
Friday, February 4, 2011
Every first Wednesday of the month here on Oahu, the Co-Cathedral of St. Teresa has Adoration for Vocations. We attended one, and over the speakers they were playing a Latin/Gregorian Chant CD sung by Sisters. As we knelt in front of True Love Himself and listened to the beautiful music, all the day's troubles slowly melted away and were replaced by the quiet reassurance that everything will turn out in the end.
If you've ever been to the Co-Cathedral, you know how echoey it is there! The echoey effect added to the already mysterious sound of the Chant, and I began to wonder why the Chants are always so mysterious. But when you think about it, God is a bit of a mystery, and the Chants reflect Him...
Anyway. (I lost track of where this post was going...sooo many mysteries to figure out, and most of them we aren't supposed to figure out!) Here's a site that I found some time ago that's run by the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. It reminded me of the Chants that played over the speakers.
It's like sitting by an empty beach letting the lull of the water sooth your soul...
Thursday, February 3, 2011
This was written by one of our amazing homeschool moms, Aunty Jackie. "Emotional Chastity" is something all young people should apply to their lives.
I was rereading one of the books in our library called Surrender by Carmen Marcoux. One of the characters in this piece of fiction talks about "Emotional Chastity." This term totally grabbed me. It describes the system that we use in our home. (Or try to use.)
I have kids, lots of kids. And I used to be a kid. (Shocking, I know.) I remember all the likes, the hearbreaks and the wasted time spent thinking about boys...when I was not mature emotionally for relationships like that. Nor was I of an age where I could look at marriage in the near future. So all the "liking" was set up to fail because there was no option for sucess.
Some of these kids of mine are teens. The others should get there sooner or later. Since we live "in" the world we have to look at the relationship thing. It is everywhere...tv, movies, books...and our community. After some prayer and research we deided (years ago) that dating is not for our family. Courtship is.
So, what is the difference? At its simplest: Dating is intimacy before commitment. Courtship is commitment before intimacy.
Dating is getting together because the other is cool or fun or cute. No real goal. No real purpose. Often alone. Most often artificial. Artificial? Well, you are going to do up your hair nicer than normal, put on stuff that makes you smell nicer than normal, dress nicer than normal, put on make-up (not the guys, of course). Then you get picked up and go to someplace out of the ordinary. If it is a movie, you will sit next to each other in a dark place and not communicate. If it is out to dinner, you will be talking and behaving in way to impress... "We are going to do this for now till we decide it isn't working any more. Maybe after a couple of dates we will kiss and ...well let's see where it goes."
Courting is a formal relationship where both people feel they have a calling to the vocation of marriage and they are exploring the possiblity of marriage to each other. (Assuming that both are of an age and situation to be eligible to be married.) In a courtship there are set boundaries. There is accountability. The idea being to have no regets if the courtship ends. Time spent together is in company, with family, and rarely alone. Learning about the person in their natural surroundings, learning about their family (this is important if you do decide to get married!) and talking. Courtship has a goal and a structure to finding that goal. Physical intimacy is very limited. It clouds the mind and draws the heart. And if the courtship doesn't work out, that is someone else's spouse you are kissing!
So, those kids of mine, that I mentioned, are still in high school. The age thing disqualifies them from marriage and courtship. They do have all these hormones, though, that they can't do anything about. The ups, downs, heres and theres. The "likes." I am finding that they will be drawn to others and some of that drawing will be romantically. And here is where the emotional chastity comes in.
We tell the youth of today to abstain, to save yourself for your spouse. What about saving your heart for your spouse as well? What about being romantically intimate with one person only? The one and only. True love. (sigh) Sounds like a fairytale...translation: unreal and unlikely.
---Get real, Jackie. The kids are going to "like" people. You can't stop that no matter how many rules you have.
That is true, attraction does happen. And it will continue to happen for the rest of our lives. That's right, attraction doesn't stop just because vows are taken, whether religious or marital. It is always what we do with the attraction that matters. Many people take that attraction and run with it, abandoning the vows made. Many others, note it and set it aside because it is not apropriate for their state in life. They pray about it, especially if it continues to trouble them. All people have to guard their hearts and keep them turned in the direction they should go. Love is a choice.
In so many ways, life is a marathon that requires cross training. One piece of that cross training is training and guarding the heart. Self control.
Example: Children get mad and they want to lash out...maybe hit. This is not ok! Yes, they are angry and that anger is real. It may be valid. But that doesn't mean that you strike someone. You use self control. It is learned, it is practiced, with the help of the parent who wants sucess for their child.
A youth may fall into like, this week. But that doesn't mean she needs to talk about it to everyone. It doesn't mean he needs to act on it. Infatuation is fleeting and acting on it leads to hurt, broken friendships and stuggles in the community. Drama. We know this to be true. Look around, you can see it everywhere.
- How does emotional chastity work when you have admitted that these kids are going to fall in and out of like?
To start with , it is a team effort including the youth, the parents and God. The youth feels herself being drawn to one young man. She should immediatly begin praying. Taking it to God. Praying for herself and for the young man and asking God to help her turn her heart to friendship. She does not talk to her friends, or the young man, about it. Doing that means it is going to get around. It also means there will be a reaction. Even if that reaction is pleasing for the moment, it won't last. It is not time. If she needs to talk then she can talk to her parents who are going to support her, pray for her, give her ideas and help to hold her accountable as she waits for the crush to pass. Ultimately protecting her heart and the heart of the young man. (This goes both ways, of course.) Don't worry, if it is truely meant to be, it will still be there when the time is right. Trust God to take care of it!
Begin each new friendship with an evaluation and be ready to focus on a friendship and only a friendship. This is important because a crush can sneak up on a friendship. And if fostered, the crush can damage the friendship. (Dont' wait to use sunscreen till after you get a sunburn!)
Pay attention to how you respond to your friends. Could your attentions be misconstrued or leading. Do not tug on the hearts of others. Don't flirt. Flirting is selfish and is simply about drawing attention to back to the self.
Talk with your parents! They have been there and they want the best for you! Your parents don't want to see you, or your friends, hurt and heartbroken. They want your joy and strong godly relationships. Don't discredit what they say because you think they don't know or understand. They do and they know the pain that comes from those mini-engagements and mini-divorces.
Don't talk with friends about romantic relationships. Even if you have decided to not go there, by hearing about the relationships that others have, it will create a desire in you to have what they have.
(I am not even going to go into the struggles with being physically chaste if you have a relationship, as a teen, that lasts into a couple of months, hormones being so powerful...that would be another paper.)
Maybe you think I am trying to steal your fun. I'm not. I am trying to steal your sadness, your heartbreak. I want you to be joyful and have vibrant friendships free from entanglements and hurt. So here I am sharing this with young people and parents alike. I want the fairytale for you!
Choose the best. Guard your heart and save it for your spouse. Choose to be emotionally chaste.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
"Why We Have Children"
I hate the memory of it. I hate it.
I hate how stiff my daughter's body felt in my arms that night. I hate how vacant and soulless her face had become, unmoving save for the veined whites of her eyes as the irises fluttered up under the skull.
It happened on a cold October evening, when an early snowfall still covered the streets north of Boston. We parked beside our friends' home, and I noticed the flush of red in my daughter's cheeks. I checked her brow—it was hot. I should have done something more, but I thought perhaps she had simply over-heated in her coat and car seat. So I took her inside and watched as she tried to play. On most days our daughter, thirteen months old, was an overflowing wellspring of energy and laughter and fleet-footed enthusiasm. On this day, something seemed off.
We sat down to dinner, and then it happened. Sitting beside me in her booster chair, she turned her head upward—further, further, and then unnaturally far, as though she followed the path of a butterfly along the ceiling and down the wall behind her. Her arms were clamped to her sides, and when I bent around her I saw her rolling eyes. She looked possessed.
A moment later we were back in the car, racing through the snow-swept streets as I clutched her tiny convulsing body against my chest. Her lungs did not inhale so much as they shuddered in pitiful little gasps. I whispered "it's okay" and "daddy's here," but it was not okay. Every time the orange glow of a passing streetlamp brushed across her face, it showed the same rolling white eyes. That's the memory I hate the most: the memory of what it felt like to be losing her. I was pinned between the immensity above and the miniscule below. The universe of my care, all my joy in the world, was wrapped in this frail two-foot and twenty-pound vessel, this brilliant soul enfleshed. And as the soul slipped through my fingers, I sensed it above me: the endless ocean of grief that would fall and consume me if I lost her.
* * * * *
Why do we have children? The question lies beneath social and political issues we confront today, from abortion and adoption to declining fertility rates in developed nations and the relative virtues of "eastern" and "western" forms of parenting. In 2010 a whole host of articles and commentaries debated the finding that parenthood does not make us happier. So what is the point? Why do we make all the extraordinary sacrifices that parenthood requires?
Read the rest here.
Monday, January 31, 2011
(Yeah, they're kind of long....but bear with me, these are definitely worth it.)
Hollywood being, well...Hollywood and all, I admit I'm more than a little skeptical.
Yet when you hear stories like these, a bit of real hope kindles in your heart. Not just the hopeful kind of hope either. You start to think that, maybe the entire world isn't as messed up as you thought. There are still people like Chris and Paris who, even if they may not be Christians, still have good hearts and are willing to do the right thing despite what it costs them.
Recently my Hawaii community has had several happenings that, as a Catholic Christian, I know do not bode well for us physically and morally. It's times like these when you want to pack everything, set sail, say "adios", and leave everyone with the huge mess that they're making. But then you attend something like a pro-life rally and see hundreds, if not thousands, of young people stand up for something that most of their friends would condemn.
Chris, Paris, and all those young people...it reminds you that there's still some good in this world. And that good is always worth fighting for.
Guess what Father said in his homily today? "As long as there is life, there is always hope."
Monday, January 17, 2011
Over the weekend, CT, my brother, and I had a discussion about what a relationship means. (We were kind of supposed to be part of a monthly discussion group, but couldn't make it. So we held our own ^^) Ok, so we pretty much skirted around the usual fairytale kinds of relationships. We were looking for what REAL love is, not the romanticized version, not the kind that lasts only when the sun is shining.
We all agreed that a relationship, no matter which kind or vocation we are called to, needs to be rooted in God, because God is the source of all love.
The next step was to discuss relationships/friendships with other people. What does it mean to love someone? Well, here's something I learned from a local youth group: read 1 Corinthians 13. Take the word "love" and replace it with your name. Now see how far you get....
Love is patient, love is kind. Love is not jealous, love is not pompous, love is not inflated, love is not rude, love does not seek its own interests, love is not quick-tempered, love does not brood over injury, love does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
~ Saint Paul, 1 Corinthians 13
Did it match? If it does, then, wow. Congrats to you! Pray for the rest of us, k?
If not, well, nobody expects you to get it right away. In fact, probably the only place we can really have that kind of pure love is in Heaven. This little exercise, by the way, is a good guideline for us not just as a lifetime goal, but as a daily one.
Love hurts. Love after all, is a sacrifice. Just look at the most perfect acts of Love: Jesus in the Eucharist...Jesus dying on the Cross. Love says that we must not keep things for ourselves, but instead give them all away. Love takes a part of us and gives it to someone else. In a relationship (or friendship, or marriage, or any kind of communication we have with another), we need to be this love for the other person, even if that love is not returned.
But Love also endures all things. True Love is always worth it.
As my sister says, it's hard. But it's not impossible.
Let's pray that we attain this kind of love...
And can I say? Saint Paul rocks.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
NATIONAL VOCATION AWARENESS WEEK
January 9 – 15, 2011
From Fr. Peter Dumag, Director of Vocations
Source: Catholic Hawaii
January 9 – 15, 2011 is National Vocations Awareness Week. It begins with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord. Let us remember to pray for priests and consecrated men and women this week, and for married couples and families. Send a card to a priest or consecrated person this week, thanking them for the gift of themselves given to Christ and to his body, the Church. Pray for more vocations to priesthood and consecrated life, and consider a vocation to priesthood and consecrated life.
So here's the checklist:
1. Did you pray for priests, consecrated men and women, married couples and their families?
2. Did you thanked your parish priest today? Last week? Last month?...Last year?
3. Diocesan Prayer for Vocations
Heavenly Father, your divine Son taught us
to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into His vineyard.
We earnestly beg you to bless our Diocese and our world
with many priests, deacons and religious who will love you
fervently and gladly and courageously spend their lives
in service to your Son's Church,
especially the poor and the needy.
Bless our families and our children, and choose from our homes
those whom you desire for this holy work.
Teach them to respond generously
and keep them ever faithful in following your Son Jesus Christ,
that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit
and with the inspiration of Saint Damien and Blessed Marianne
the Good News of redemption may be brought to all.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Are you discerning a religious vocation? =) Well, here are some links to help you with #4:
Ministry of Vocations, Hawaii
Are You Discerning God's Will For Your Life? (a local blog)
A Nun's Life, Vocation Forum
VISION Vocation Network
Thursday, January 6, 2011
When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
"And He said to His disciples, 'For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing? Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying.'"
Monday, January 3, 2011
The American entertainment industry has never been comfortable with the act of abortion... Reality TV thrives on shocking scenes and subjects...but abortion remains a little too controversial, and a little bit too real.
The full article: The Unborn Paradox
Sunday, January 2, 2011
To me, new year's eve night is filled with the excitement that bursts in the air along with the fireworks, but also comes with a twist in my stomach for what the new year could bring. It's always hard to stay calm, especially if you don't quite know what you're doing, where you're going, and mostly taking God's word on what seems like a whim. Yet every time that bout of nervousness nearly sweeps me off my feet, God sends a beautiful light in the sky to remind me of His presence and to guide my wavering heart. Whether it's a real light in the cold sky or an internal Eppiphany star of grace, God sends a message that lasts through the ages no matter what year it may be: that He is ever with us, our Emmanuel.
"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.