Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Prayer, the heart of a vocation"

Fr. Kyle Schnippel shares his latest piece for the Catholic Telegraph on his blog today. Just to get you started:
I was raised in a very small town, roughly 1,000 people all together, even including the surrounding countryside. To say everyone knew everyone would be an understatement! Despite the small size, and the fact that only 50% of the town is Catholic (Lutherans and Methodists make up the rest), my home parish has sent five sons to the seminary in the last 20 years. Two of us have been ordained, two were in the seminary and left, one is currently in the college seminary. A remarkable feat, which continues to stun me, even seven years after my own ordination.
Want to know why? Read it all here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beautiful stories from JPII's Methodist pilot

This is so worth reading! John Paul II's pilot during his trip to America in 1979 recently shared stories from his interactions with the Holy Father. The pilot, a Methodist, still considers his piloting of Shepherd I the peak experience of his life. It's really a beautiful story, and I can't recommend reading it enough. You can do so here.

What does malaria have to do with funding Planned Parenthood?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Divorced and vacationing

Apparently it's a trend for divorced families to vacation together -- "ex"-spouses, "new" spouses, step-children. Yahoo! News reported on the topic. I found myself scratching my head throughout the piece. If these couples are able to spend an amicable week together on vacation, then what was stopping them from working on their marriage? But then the most heart-dropping line was dropped:
"When I want to be short or get irritated or whatever I can't because Ace is standing right there," she [Meredith Morton] said. "It's not like it's a huge sacrifice," she added. "Honestly, the gift that I give Ace by having us both in the same place" is worth it.
Ms. Morton, if it's worth giving your son the gift of being with your "ex"-husband for a week or two, then how inestimable of a gift to give the witness of your marriage for a lifetime?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What is your commitment to life?

An unemployed electrician in Minnesota is making headlines for turning down a job because of his pro-life convictions. He was offered an opportunity to work on a new Planned Parenthood building but weighed his moral responsibility as higher than his economic one. Read his story here. We need more people who courageously defend life by their actions and words.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Quote book

"All beauty comes from God, and should point our hearts back toward Him. As a woman, your task is to use this gift to draw the hearts of men toward God, while avoiding the temptation to distract them from Him. Your modesty is a 'ministry of beauty.' Or, in the words of one teenager, 'A woman should be so hidden in Christ that a man has to see Christ just to see her.'" -- Jason and Crystalina Evert in How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy TOB Day!

Lest there be any confusion, I just coined the phrase, "TOB Day" three seconds ago. It's not official. It's not a Church-recognized feast. It's not going to show up on your calendar. But doesn't it seem like an appropriate day to reflect on many of the key concepts of Theology of the Body? Just to name a few:

  • "Through the fact that the Word of God became flesh, the body entered theology -- that is, the science that has divinity for its object -- I would say, through the main door" (TOB 23:3). The Annunciation is the day we celebrate Mary's yes to the Incarnation.

  • Adam and Eve chose to grasp at happiness instead of receiving everything from the hands of their loving Father. Mary, on the other hand, opened her hands to receive all that God had for her. We see this concretely in her "fiat" at the Annunciation. Mary is saying yes to God and saying yes for all of us. She opens a space that allows our own response to God's incredible love. Theology of the Body shows us the greatness of our call to receive ourselves made in God's image and likeness, rather than following the example of Adam and Eve to grasp.

  • The Annunciation shows us the spousal and fruitful dimensions of celibacy for the Kingdom. Mary's gift of self was spousal -- a gift to another -- and fruitful -- a gift that brought life for the world.

We have a lot to learn from our Blessed Mother about how to live Theology of the Body in our daily lives. She is a gift to the world.

Today is a wonderful day to reflect on the words of Archbishop Fulton Sheen in "The World's First Love." You can read an excerpt here, but I'd also like to highlight this paragraph:

Every man who pursues a maid, every maid who yearns to be courted, every bond of friendship in the universe, seeks a love that is not just her love or his love but something that overflows both her and him that is called "our love." Everyone is in love with an ideal love, a love that is so far beyond sex that sex is forgotten. We all love something more than we love. When that overflow ceases, love stops. As the poet puts it: "I could not love thee, dear, so much, loved I not honor more." That ideal love we see beyond all creature-love, to which we instinctively turn when flesh-love fails, is the same ideal that God had in His Heart from all eternity—the Lady whom He calls "Mother." She is the one whom every man loves when he loves a woman—whether he knows it or not. She is what every woman wants to be when she looks at herself. She is the woman whom every man marries in ideal when he takes a spouse; she is hidden as an ideal in the discontent of every woman with the carnal aggressiveness of man; she is the secret desire every woman has to be honored and fostered; she is the way every woman wants to command respect and love because of the beauty of her goodness of body and soul. And this blueprint love, whom God loved before the world was made, this Dream Woman before women were, is the one of whom every heart can say in its depth of depths: "She is the woman I love!"

Ways to show affection and maintain purity

At Kenosis on Tuesday night, the teens compiled lists of ways to show affection for a boyfriend or girlfriend while maintaining purity. Many of the suggestions were similar from small group to small group. One trend that struck me was the importance of in-person interaction that values the person. In a world that understands dating in terms of texting and facebook messages, the importance of valuing another person enough to have real life interaction is often a lost art.

Enjoy the list from the teens of Kenosis: Teen Disciples for Love and Life:

Alternative ways to show affection that maintain purity:

- Compliment your boyfriend/girlfriend’s purity
- Learn to swing/salsa dance rather than grind
- Go to Mass/Adoration with your boyfriend/girlfriend
- Court them/be courted
- Pray for and with your boyfriend/girlfriend
- Write your boyfriend/girlfriend handwritten letters.
- Get to know your boyfriend/girlfriend’s friends
- Dress modestly
- Introduce your boyfriend/girlfriend to your friends
- Speak purely
- Be proud of your boyfriend/girlfriend’s good qualities
- Call the person instead of texting!
- Dance lessons
- Make a handshake
- Volunteer together
- Write a love letter
- Go to Mass/Adoration together
- Take a TOB class at Ruah Woods
- Write a poem.
- Family parties.
- Tandem bike riding (builds trust and good communication
- Hugs
- Holding hands
- Smiling
- Small gifts (teddy bear, rose)
- Notes and letters.
- Young men opening doors, pulling out chairs and paying for things on dates.
- Talk to and get to know his/her family – spend time with the family
- Go for a walk.
- Hobbies together
- Chivalry!
- Girls: Be modest, be pleasant, not dramatic, be respectful
- Write letters.
- Exchange Bible verses
- Challenge each other to become the best version of yourself
- Dress modestly
- Go to Church/Adoration together
- Write Valentine’s Day cards to your future spouse
- Hang out in groups with friends or family
- Talk one-on-one, face-to-face

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Do beautiful churches produce vocations?"

Fr. Dwight Longenecker raises this question in a recent blog post.

The conclusion?
A beautiful church, that required great sacrifice to build, on the other hand--combined with beautiful liturgy and an awesome and reverent worship of God is more likely to inspire the reverence and awe and sacrifice required of our young people who are thinking about a vocation.

This is my theory: sacrifice much to build a beautiful church and you will find that your children will sacrifice much to become the priests, brothers and sisters to fill that church for a next generation.

Read it all here.

Have you been impacted by Catholic radio?

Tomorrow, on the solemnity of the Annunciation, Sacred Heart Radio will host a one-day pledge drive. Supporting local Catholic radio is extraordinarily important. Not only is it personally beneficial for all of us who tune in on a regular basis, but it is also an opportunity to provide for the evangelization of complete strangers throughout the Tri-state area.

Don't forget to give the station a call tomorrow -- 513-731-7740 -- and support the great work of Catholic radio in our area.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Why do we let girls dress like that?"

The Wall Street Journal featured a recent column by Jennifer Moses about parents' permissiveness when it comes to their daughters' clothing choices.

But it's easy for parents to slip into denial. We wouldn't dream of dropping our
daughters off at college and saying: "Study hard and floss every night,
honey—and for heaven's sake, get laid!" But that's essentially what we're saying
by allowing them to dress the way they do while they're still living under our
own roofs.

Read it all here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More2Life listeners -- When a baby becomes a commodity

Today on More2Life we discussed the ways in which artificial reproductive technologies treat children as commodities. Rather than growing in the ability to love persons for their own sake, our culture is training us to use people -- even babies -- as objects for our own satisfaction. Many artificial reproductive technology stories have been circulating in the media recently, and they tend to advocate "gestational carriers," egg and sperm donors and IVF in the name of compassion. Yet true compassion and love seek the good of the other -- a difficult task, which often involves saying "no."

While infertility is a heartbreaking cross for a couple to carry, Jesus Christ always calls us to trust in His love, knowing that He can bring great good from our suffering.

For more information on the topic, please refer to my recent Catholic Exchange article, "Of Twiblings, Terminations and Twisted Generosity."

Monday, March 21, 2011

TOB for Teens retreat

Thank you to all who prayed for the Theology of the Body for Teens retreat this weekend. It was a beautiful experience. I think the most profound moment for me was watching the line of teens and adults waiting for confession, simultaneously immersed in worshipping the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration. Three priests heard confessions for two hours, waiting until each person had gone.

Another tremendous blessing was watching our six "junior core" members -- teens involved in Kenosis -- who spent the weekend serving their fellow high school students. Their testimonies were outstanding and their witness of lives radiating Christ's love was priceless.

Please continue to keep the retreatants in your prayers as they settle back into "normal" life again, grappling with the difficulties of immersing new found knowledge and conversion into the daily routine.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quote book

"We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father's love for us." -- John Paul II

Saturday, March 19, 2011

St. Joseph, pray for us!

It's St. Joseph's feast day! This is a wonderful day to reflect on the gifts of chastity, fatherhood, manhood and work. So, sit back with a cup of coffee and read John Paul II's apostolic exhortation on St. Joseph, and then be sure to pray the following prayer for chastity (shared by Robert Colquhoun):

Saint Joseph, father and guardian of virgins,
Into whose faithful keeping were entrusted innocence itself, Christ Jesus,
And Mary the virgin of virgins,
I pray, and beseech thee through Jesus and Mary,
Those pledges so dear to thee, to keep me from uncleanness,
And to grant that my mind may be untainted,
My heart pure and my body chaste,
Help me always to serve Jesus and Mary in perfect chastity,

Happy Solemnity of St. Joseph!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Prayers for retreat

Ruah Woods' Theology of the Body for Teens retreat is being held this weekend. The event was full a month ahead of time, with 16 teens eventually joining the waiting list. Many prayers for the retreat would be greatly appreciated! Please pray for our 35 attendees, 6 junior core team members, 5 adult core team members and 2 adult leaders. Additionally, 8 priests will be assisting during the weekend.

It's going to be a wonderful retreat! Your prayers are invaluable.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Is love solid enough?"

My Theology of the Body professor at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family recently shared a few reflections with the National Catholic Register.

Just to get you started:

Why is the body so crucial for the understanding of our life? The body is not important in itself, but in its service to the truth of love, which gives meaning to our existence. The body, when accepted as part of our identity, and not as a mere object and instrument, tells us that we are not autonomous and isolated beings. First, in the body we understand that we have been born into the world, and this means that we don’t have in ourselves the secret of our origin: We come from another; we come ultimately from God, who fashioned our bodies in our mothers’ wombs.


Thus, what the theology of the body offers us is not only a doctrine on sexuality, but a whole vision of the human being, of the world, of God, rooted on the truth of love. From this viewpoint, many other aspects of human life are illuminated, such as the meaning of working, of suffering, of healing, of the common good. The theology of the body, therefore, shows us that love is not only interesting or funny, but also solid enough so that we can build our life, and our whole civilization, upon it.

Read the rest here. Fr. Granados is considered the world's leading expert in Theology of the Body at the moment.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Journey to the TOB for Teens Retreat

It's a crazy week amidst final preparations for this weekend's sold-out Theology of the Body for Teens retreat. So, it seems a fitting time to introduce you to Above the Norm, the band that will be leading our praise and worship during the retreat. It's a gift to have four young men on fire for their faith playing an integral role in the weekend.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Someone else talking about emotional chastity!

It's a rarely discussed issue, so I'm happy to see Ashley Crouch from the Love and Fidelity Network looking more deeply into the importance of emotional chastity. Women are often given the idea that they are off the hook when it comes to the challenge of chastity, but when we look more deeply, we see that women often struggle in different ways than men.

Here's a bit of Ashley's thought:
In this frantic and busy world, many women are longing to be relational, but not willing to commit to the time and effort that is necessary for building a healthy relationship of authentic love. Instead, a woman may expect love and the feelings of love to happen to her, as if she found love by stumbling into it, rather than deliberately making choices to create and nurture it. By summarizing a few snapshots of time, brief conversations, and connecting the dots together, a woman may find herself creating a depiction of the man in question that is often skewed, one-dimensional, or even, completely disconnected from reality. She may live with these imaginations for any length of time, waiting for a date that may never come, refusing dates from other men, or at worst, becoming emotionally “married” to the idea of a relationship with the man who exists primarily in her head. While her emotions and feelings for him may be very real, unfortunately, the man with whom she believes to share a “connection” doesn’t exist. She idealizes the idea of romance with him to the detriment of her well-being.

Read the rest here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What would Margaret Sanger say?

Paul Kengor shares a brief summary of the thoughts of Planned Parenthood's founder, Margaret Sanger. If you've never heard of her views before, do take time to read the quotes presented by Kengor. You can find them here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Quote book

"Spiritual motherhood is not an indiscriminate gift of self as if a woman has to give and give and give to whoever asks of her. A spiritual mother helps others grow into wholeness, not dependency. She nurtures the emotional, moral, cultural, and spiritual life of others so they can make a fuller gift of self to God and others, not so they can be irresponsible and self-indulgent. Sometimes the best thing a spiritual mother can do is say 'no.'" -- Katrina Zeno

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A tale of two families

A couple in Iowa recently gave an interview about the loss of their 12-hour old daughter ... and their wish that they could have had a late term abortion.

Watch the clip here.

It's a tragic story, and I don't think anyone would deny that. But to think that having a late term abortion -- a partial birth abortion -- would have solved the pain for all involved is even more tragic. The couple's excruciating pain is obvious. But to hear the father say, "We certainly shouldn't have had to go through this," followed by remarking that they hope that by changing the partial birth abortion law "some good will come from this" was baffling.

It's heartbreaking that the couple cannot value the gift of their daughter's life, even in her brief 12 hours of life. The fact that they would say they would have preferred partial birth abortion "to put an end to this nightmare" speaks of an underlying misunderstanding of life, love, compassion and suffering.

These comments are meant in no way to diminish sympathy for the couple. But until we understand life -- all life, every life -- as a gift from God, which He created for and with a purpose, then we are never going to embrace a culture of life.

As a contrast, watch another family's response to a painful situation:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Poles begin pilgrimage to beatification ... on foot

Two Polish men have begun walking to Rome for John Paul II's May 1 beatification. From South Carolina's "The State" --

Two men on Thursday began the 900-mile (1,500-kilometer) journey from Olbrachcice Wielkie, in southwestern Poland, planning to walk down Europe's roads and across fields, counting on the hospitality of people they meet on the way. They are equipped with sleeping bags, a small tent, mobile phones and some food.

"I am walking to show that there are people who still remember John Paul II and his teaching of love of others," one of the men, Pawel Bibulowicz, told The Associated Press by telephone as he tromped through a muddy field. The 21-year-old works as a volunteer at a hospice for children in the eastern city of Bialystok.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

No Distractions

The beginning of Lent seems an appropriate time to reprint a Catholic Exchange article I wrote more than a year ago. It was intended, originally, as a reflection at the beginning of a new year, but I think it serves as a Lenten reflection as well:


Reminders of the lack of the principles of Theology of the Body are around every corner. This morning I was struck in the face by one as I sat in the dentist’s chair. The hygienist had completed the herculean task of removing all of the tartar from my teeth, and I was simply waiting for the dentist to inform me that I was cavity-free.

As I was waiting, the hygienist, in all of her sweetness asked if I wanted anything.

“No, thank you,” I replied.

“What about a magazine?” she inquired.

“No, I’m fine.”

“Do you want your purse, so you can text?” she asked with a smile.

“No, thank you. I’m okay.”

Her final question moved me to answer that it’s sometimes good to have time with no distractions. And that’s when I was reminded that today’s culture is always looking for a distraction. From flipping between stations in order to watch two football games at the same time, to texting (or pretending to text) to avoid unwanted social interactions, to needing one’s headphones to be surgically removed rather than be parted for a few moments from one’s iPod, there is plenty of noise to fill everyone’s lives.

But is there quiet?

As a commuter in Washington, DC, on my way to work and to grad school, I am continuously struck by the sea of newspapers, bobbing heads to one’s iPod, and Metro-riders’ amazing ability to continue reading a book while boarding and exiting the train. When I arrived in the nation’s capital, I was ready to use every spare second of my commute in studying.

God had other plans. It only took about five minutes on the Metro to realize that any type of reading, writing, or activity would ignite my motion sickness. There I was with an hour a day in which I could accomplish nothing.

Then it struck me. I have a built in hour to think, to pray, to just be. Rather than schedule in a rosary, or plug in my headphones, I decided to leave my commute as an open block of time in which nothing would be scheduled. It’s time I have to contemplate, to wonder at my surroundings, to pray for the woman across the aisle who is silently crying, or for the young boy who looks like he’s had a rough time at school. It gives me time to rest.

John Paul II’s Theology of the Body is first about receiving. If we aren’t able to exist in a relationship with God in which we first receive ourselves from Him, then we won’t know the first thing about giving. The problem is we don’t build in time to just listen to Him and rest in Him.

In a speech to youth in New Orleans in 1987, John Paul II said,

"Prayer can truly change your life. For it turns your attention away from yourself and directs your mind and your heart toward the Lord. If we look at ourselves, with our limitations and sins, we quickly give way to sadness and discouragement. But if we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, then our hearts are filled with hope, our minds are washed in the light of truth, and we come to know the fullness of the Gospel with all its promise and life."

Whether it’s the newspaper on the Metro, the radio in the car or texting at the dentist’s office, there are plenty of distractions to go around. The question at the beginning of this new year is – how will you make time to receive all that God has to give you, and in turn, be able to give yourself to others?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"The Product of a Concerned Pastor"

Fr. Brian Bransfield always does a remarkable job of articulating John Paul II's work. His article, "The Product of a Concerned Pastor" is phenomenal, as evidenced by this:
In our training we learn to slow down. As we slow down, we awaken to a new momentum. As we awaken to this new center of gravity, we learn that the nucleus of love is the gift of self, found first in the sacrificial self-gift of Jesus on the cross. On the cross, the Son of God reveals the Father and his love. The Holy Spirit invites us into this communion of love. The only thing better than reading or reflecting about the gift of self is risking it. And we dare once again: Husband and wife take the risk. They risk seeing beauty — the beauty of the communion of persons — and are led beyond themselves in love.

Through patient reading and careful reflection, the teaching on the gift of self, on the communion of persons, finds its way to marriage-preparation programs, RCIA, homily preparation, catechetical instruction and daily life. Husbands and wives, engaged couples, and each one of us are released from the hypnotic spell of acquire pleasure quickly as we discover again the happiness of the vocation to give beauty slowly. We learn to see the other as a person rather than a thing.

Read it all here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Welcome More2Life listeners!

It's a great privilege to be a regular guest on the new Theology of the Body radio program, More2Life, with Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak.

For our first interview, today, we looked at the new Bayer Beyaz commercial for the Pill. You can watch the commercial and read a brief reflection on the message it conveys here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Abortion survivor shares her story

Melissa Ohden is speaking out about the gift of her life. Her mother attempted a saline abortion in a Nebraska hospital in 1977, but Melissa was born a few days later. Read an article recounting her story and watch her interview.

Melissa gives a face to those whose mothers chose abortion (willingly or not, knowingly or not). She reminds us of the 50 million Americans we are missing because of legal abortion since 1973.

Young lady with Down Syndrome serves as teacher

Thanks to Chelsea from Reflections of a Paralytic for sharing this story.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Quote book

"Do with every moment ordinary, something extraordinary." -- St. John Bosco

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"The fundamental fact of a marriage is that you've given your word"

I've blogged about Wendell Berry's Hannah Coulter and its insights into marriage and family before. It was a wonderful surprise to find an interview online with Mr. Berry that includes his thoughts on the subject.

Just a taste:

Inside Catholic: How do you address the restlessness and inability of many people to commit themselves to a place, a marriage, a community; they feel compelled to stay on the move?

Wendell Berry: Gary Snyder said the right thing: Stop somewhere, just stop. Finally, this thing we are calling mobility keeps people from learning their lessons. They keep moving away from the problems they've caused. Their idea is that you can completely mess up somewhere and then go somewhere else, or you can completely succeed somewhere and go somewhere else. In either case you don't know what the effects are. Sometimes people cause worse effects by their success than they do by their failure. To go back to the metaphor of marriage. What marriage does is say to you to stay and find out. It doesn't say what you are going to find out. When you think this is it, we are at a complete dead end here, the marriage says to you: Wait, stay, and find out. Always you find out more. The thing is too great to be belittled by any decision that you can make about it. This is the same for your relation to the community or anything else. Wallace Stegner said that we Americans divide into two groups, boomers and stickers. The boomers are always thinking that something is better somewhere else, that whatever they have or whatever they are is no good.
Read the rest here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

"We want to be the kind of men that, when we’re dead, Satan throws a party"

Matthew Fradd is speaking out about God's grace in overcoming an addiction to pornography. He has been speaking, promoting a new website and sharing the hope of renewed purity. He recently spoke with the Catholic Herald in Great Britain.

Regarding overcoming his addiction, he says:

“It didn’t happen overnight, and I’m not trying to say it could never happen again,” he says. Purity, he explains, is a daily battle. “It isn’t a destination that you reach and you wake up and think: ‘Oh, look at this, I’m pure.’ As a Christian, purity isn’t the destination; heaven is the destination.”

It's worth reading the whole interview.

Glamour and Grace

Glamour and Grace is a new blog exploring the explosive topic of beauty for young women. It's off to a promising start.

An opening post gives a glimpse to the purpose:

Women are beautiful. All of them. Our beauty is both physical and interior to different extents. You are born with your looks but inner beauty (goodness, grace, virtue, and character) is practiced. It takes work. Physical beauty is captivating. It draws people in. Interior beauty is compelling. It moves people’s hearts. In other words, this beauty we have is powerful. It can change the course of a person’s life. Beauty causes people to want to know us, to like the thinks we like and to love the things we love. Most of all, our beauty makes others want to be loved by us.

Beauty gives us profound influence for good or for bad. Friends influence each-other all the time. Why? They see something attractive in the other person and they want to be like them.

Browse through the “stories” that are attached to this tab. Think about the women whose stories are told. Each woman has a great deal of physical beauty. Not all of these women, however, exhibit inner beauty. Consider each woman. Who does she love most in the world? Does she use her beauty selfishly or generously? Does her use of beauty affect how other people act? How do we see her in light of her actions? Do her actions add to or detract from how beautiful she appears to us? You might be surprised. A little selfishness does a lot of damage to a pretty face. A little character goes a long way in forming a beautiful image.
Read more here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Modern Love essay contest, round 2

When I speak to young adults, I frequently draw from the 2008 New York Times' "Modern Love" essay contest. The achingly honest reflections from college students about their perception of love in the modern world provide a stark contrast to the search for authentic love articulated by John Paul II.
But what if the winning essays did not contrast John Paul's articulations, but supported them? Now there's a second chance. The New York Times is hosting a second "Modern Love" college essay contest. Submissions are due by March 31.
While penning an unassigned 1,500-1,700 words may not sound wonderful to a college student already drowning in papers and midterms, the thought of a $1,000 prize and a unique opportunity to share one's convictions with the world might lead to sufficient interest. More information about the contest can be found here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chastity tips for young women

Covington's diocesan newspaper, "The Messenger" printed a wonderful reflection by a local engaged couple about their commitment to chastity. Along with the article, chastity tips for men and women were provided by Courtney Brown and I. Read the whole article on page 6 here. My column is below:

John Paul II wrote: “Chastity is a difficult, long- term matter; one must wait patiently for it to bear fruit, for the happiness of loving kindness which it must bring. But at the same time, chastity is the sure way to happiness” (“Love and Responsibility” 172). How can young women today pursue the virtue and gift of chastity?

• Start with God’s love. You are his precious daughter. When you begin to understand your dignity rooted in God, then you will want to be treated with respect.

• Don’t “missionary date.” The only person who can change him is God.

• Dress modestly. The way you dress sends one of two messages: “I am a unique, unrepeatable daughter of God, with thoughts, emotions, talents and a personality – respect and love me,” or, “I am a collection of body parts – use me.”

• Set high standards. Men will reach them. Good men do exist.

• Our attitudes affect our behavior. Constantly evaluate your attitude
toward dating and relationships. Are you grasping for attention,
affirmation or a self-esteem boost? Or are you trusting God
and opening your hands to receive whatever he has for you in his
perfect timing? Chastity begins with seeing love as a gift from God.

• Be on guard against using men to satisfy your emotions.
Grow in respect and authentic love by the way you think about, speak about and behave toward men.

• Ask God for the grace to live the beautiful virtue of chastity. Frequent prayer and reception of the sacraments are necessary to live a chaste lifestyle.

• Pray for your future husband. In the difficult moments of saying “no,” remember that you are saying “yes” to him and to the One who created him.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The JPII Generation says, "Thank You!"

The Knights of Columbus are collecting reflections from members of the John Paul II Generation on the impact of the late Holy Father. Messages can be submitted through April 27. Supreme Knight Carl Anderson will then take the messages and place them by John Paul's tomb, when he travels to Rome for the beatification ceremony, which will take place on May 1.

There are already more than 100 reflections posted on Headline Bistro, many of which I just read. It's always incredible to read others' thoughts about the impact of John Paul II.

Read more about the project here. Participate in the thanksgiving here.

The beatification countdown stands at exactly two months.