26 April 2018

Humanae Vitae 50 Years Later: Have We Learned Nothing?

In graduate school, my favorite classes I took were ones on Scripture, particularly on the Old Testament. 

In one class, we carefully studied many of the major and minor prophets. It really grew my appreciation for these writings, as well as understand the culture and historical times the authors wrote in. 

As a result, I became kind of fascinated with the prophets. Specifically the idea, that certain women and men who were agents of God to speak truth and work in mighty ways.

Prophets were not just people from Biblical times. I think we as a Church have seen many prophetic men and women: Mother Teresa, Ghandi, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, etc.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae this July, I find myself reflecting on how Pope Paul VI was a prophet of his own time, though he was greatly disdained for re-affirming what the Church teaches on contraception.


The history of contraception is much deeper and darker than most people would think.
From the eugenic policies of Margaret Sanger to treating pregnancy and fertility as a disease that needs to be fixed, birth control has not helped women as originally thought.

The fact that the Catholic Church has not wavered on this teaching is perhaps the most disagreed, misunderstood teaching among Catholics and non-Catholics alike. 

Up until 1930, all Christian denominations denounced the use of artificial birth control. At the Lambeth Conference, Anglican bishops argeed to allow the use of artificial contraception for the case of married couples. It was after this conference, all other denominations followed suit.

The Catholic Church remained the lone ranger. 

And in 1960, Pope Paul VI re-affirmed why the Church teaches as she does in this matter. And he got SLAMMED. The dissent from many Catholic clergy and lay people was heartbreakingly sad.

But I truly believe what the Holy Father said was prophetic.

Just like in the Old Testament, they hated, slandered, or even tried to kill prophetic women and men. 

Even if you have not or don't plan to read Humanae Vitae (but I think you should!), let's just and look and see where we are as a culture 50-60 years later after birth control became as common as cream in your morning coffee.

50% of marriages end in divorce.
Statistics show the average age a child is exposed to pornography is anywhere from 7-10.
Sexual promiscuity is rampant. 
The side effects of birth control are very negative to a woman's health.
Women are treated as objects and sexual violence has grown rapidly.
Men are raised in a culture of toxic masculinity.

The sexual revolution of the 1960's along with promotion of artificial birth control promised more sexual fulfillment and wholeness.

But we live in the most broken, sexually addicted culture. 


It causes me to think how right Pope Paul Vi was, how prophetic his words would become even if he grossly disdained for it.

Have we learned nothing?!


As Humanae Vitae's 50th anniversary approaches, I want to challenge my generation to revisit this often grossly misunderstood teaching.

I pray people of goodwill will come to see this teaching as pro-woman and empowering to women (which it actually is).

I pray we actually revisit the history of contraception and see if for what it actually is.

And I pray we see a contraceptive mindset and attitude for what it truly is and to stop glorifying it.



post signature

20 April 2018

I use and love them. Maybe you would too?

Yes this is a post with affiliate links.

But here is the thing. All of these items (or similar ones) I have in my own home and have benefited me personally.
In case you interested, I want to share them with you. Also I really think you would enjoy them.

I have written here before how much my life has been benefited from the personal friendships that have formed through being a part of Blessed is She. This has been amazing.

But even better, has been the personal spiritual growth and a deeper desire to read and study the Bible.

There are several new products available in the shop, specifically focused on Sacred Scripture and the study and application of it in your home and daily life.

Up first: 

The Blessed is She Academic Planners are on sale right now BUT the pre-order will be ending soon. And yes the planners always sell out.
The cool thing about this year is that there are two sizes now - the standard, 8x10" and now a mini version.

Both of the planners still come with all the popular features - liturgical information, weekly planning sheets, and follow the academic year. They will be shipped this summer, so grab one now before the pre-order ends.


Curious what the lay-out of the mini looks like?
Well here is a sneak peek. There has been feedback for awhile on a smaller size, so here it is.
You can pre-order yours here.




Personally, I love and will be sticking with the academic planner. I like a larger size. My favorite part is the weekly planning pages before each week. It leaves me feeling organized and focused.
You can pre-order yours here





Next:

The four-part study guide on the rosary (Mystery) is still available. I am actually going through Believe right now over Voxer with my friend in California and we've been loving it so far.
You can order all four in a bundle here or individually at the same place.


And, the first ever Catholic Journaling Bible is still for sale. While I have written in my Bible for years, I am learning how to be okay that my Journaling Bible is not terribly colorful or creative.





And:

The brand-new Scripture memory cards are a great way for you to memorize more Scripture on your own or with your family. I am still debating where to hang mine up in my apartment, but I am excited to hang them this weekend.


That's it friends! I hope that was helpful or maybe you at least have a good gift idea for Mom for Mothers Day.

Have a wonderful weekend!

We may hit 50 degrees this weekend in Michigan. #heatwave


post signature

17 April 2018

Hope & Healing Through Annulment

I was super excited to be on the podcast of some dear friends of mine, talking about divorce, annulment, and why the Church has to get better at having this pastoral conversation.



You can listen to it here.

If you have not already subscribed to the Fountains of Carrots podcast, be sure to get on that as well.


Thanks again Haley and Christy for having me on!

I loved being with both of you! :)


post signature

12 April 2018

My Awkward Relationship with the Rosary

There I said it out loud.

I am a cradle Catholic that loves the Blessed Mother. I have went on Marian pilgrimages twice.

But I still struggle or have a hard time when (not very often) I pray the Rosary.
I definitely have a regular daily prayer life.

But with the Rosary? 
Eh, not so much.

My friend Bonnie recently shared some similar honest feelings. She is one of the writers for the newest Blessed Conversations series called Mystery and each book is a study on a different decade of the Rosary.


Gorgeous, right!?

I was pretty excited when I saw this as a new product coming out. 

After finishing the Lent journal, I was looking for something to do in the Easter season. So I am excited to start with the Glorious mysteries. I am actually going to do it virtually (through Voxer!) with my friend Laura.













I know a study on the mysteries will not necessarily translate me to praying the Rosary more frequently. But right now, I think it is a good place for me to start. 
You can order them as a bundle or an individual booklet and they are available as digital downloads too. All of those affiliate links are mine - so thank you for using them! :)

Don't forget that pre-ordering for the academic planner is now open too. And this year we have a second option with a mini planner.

My copies are supposed to arrive in the mail by Wednesday or Thursday. 

I am looking forward to slowly praying my way through the different mysteries this Easter season.



Does anyone else have a sometimes "awkward" relationship with praying the Rosary?

I would love to know what is helpful for you!

post signature

06 April 2018

What Merton is Reminding Me About Being and Doing.


It was the day before Palm Sunday.

I knew I wanted to go to Confession before Easter. 

I also had been driving the spiritual struggle bus for several weeks. Laziness and making excuses in my daily prayer life (or lack thereof) were leading me to feel guilty and beat myself up.

There is a tendency within my spirit to make a personal relationship with God about "doing" lots of spiritual/religious things vs. just showing up and being with God. It is a tendency in my heart that still needs healing and illumination and I know it. 

But when it bubbles up from time time, I get frustrated with myself that Jesus often needs to teach me the same lesson over and over again.


In our diocese, we are blessed that a Capuchin monastery that has Confession available six days a week at several times each day.

So I decided to trek down to Detroit and make an afternoon of Confession and a holy hour.

I was just sitting in the chapel with by Bible and journal, trying to be still and quiet amid the visitors coming in and out.  

I sat with the words from John's Gospel: "One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus ..." I imagine myself as the beloved disciple, just talking to Jesus about all the things on my mind right now and about how frustrated and guilty I was feeling spiritually.

I imagined the scene, putting myself in it with Jesus. I sat with it in silence.

As I was still, the phrase "begin again" just kept repeating in my heart. Softly at first, but then with a more firm conviction.

Just begin again.

Begin again. 

There is no need for shame or guilt or self-condemnation. Just begin again.

I felt peace sitting in those two words. And the longer I sat with them, the more I know it was the Spirit gently reminding me to begin again and not be so hard with myself. It was refreshing. 

And I had not even went to Confession yet! :)

I walked over to a long Confession line. Pulling out the spiritual reading I had brought with me, I opened to the chapter I was reading of No Man I An Island by Thomas Merton.

I took me a minute to realize the title of the chapter was "Being and Doing."

This is what I read: 
"It is necessary, above all in the beginning of our spiritual life, to do certain things at fixed times: fasting on certain days, prayer and meditation at certain hours of the day, regular examinations of conscience, regularity in frequenting the sacraments, systematic application to our duties of state, particular attention to virtues which are most necessary for us.

To desire a spiritual life is, thus, to desire discipline. Otherwise our desire is an illusion. Our asceticism should make us spiritually flexible, not rigid, for rigidity and liberty never agree. But our discipline must, nevertheless, have a certain element of severity about it. Otherwise it will never set us free from our passions. If we are not strict with ourselves, our own flesh will soon deceive us."

I took a deep breath and smiled.

Yes.

This.

An important reminder I very much needed.

Jesus grow me in spiritual flexibility, not rigidity.



Thanks Thomas Merton for reminding me my relationship with God is not about just the doing.

Thank you Holy Spirit for being more gentle with me than I am with myself.



post signature

03 April 2018

Writing, Ministry, Love, and Other Updates

Dust off the blog. 

Tap tap tap, is this thing even on?

I have been driving the struggle bus for awhile working to get back to regular writing around these parts. No real reason other than poor planning, occasional laziness, and some new good things implied in the title.

Bit by bit, I have been dipping my toes into the world of freelance writing. The more I get the opportunity to write, the more I find that I love it.

I was recently asked to write two times a month for Catholic Match Institute, specifically on topics related to divorce and annulment. I have also been approached to be a part of some creative projects by several different Catholic female entrepreneurs.
I am loving new opportunities to write in a more professional setting, but it reminds me I still like having this little space here.



One of the reasons I have not been writing much here is on January 8th I started a new job as a Pastoral Associate in a new parish. I am growing to like it more and more, and really enjoy the staff at the church and school. People tell me they love my weekly bulletin articles and like my approach to life and ministry. 

There is a lot I am still learning and it is a process learning how to read a new pastor, but I feel happy and challenged in new ways. While I miss those teens in youth ministry, I can definitely see I was starting to burn out. This new change is good for me in a lot of ways.

One the things I am most excited about in this new position is I am getting trained in our diocese as a lay person to help men and women with their annulments. Having gone through the process myself, it it has become a personal passion of mine. I look forward to helping other folks who were in a similar situation to myself. 

So yeah, love.

I have met a wonderful man and we have started dating. 

We met through a mutual friend (who actually sent us both a Facebook message about each other last January, but neither of us were ready to date). We both have a lot of mutual connections/interests, and my name kept coming up to said gentleman over this last year. 

When he saw me as a match on Catholic Match, he sent me a message two days after Christmas. 
We went on our first date the same week I started my new job. #hello2018

We are taking things slow, but this truly feels like a healthy, safe relationship with no blaring red flags. 

It all still kind of blows my mind, but I feel very peaceful about where we are and trusting myself that this is something good. 

Kevin has already met with my Dad (also a Kevin) for dinner to get to know each other and ask my Dad if he is comfortable with us dating. Kevin (not my Dad, the one I like) is going out with my Mom and Dad next, and then taking out my siblings.

I have known when I seriously started dating someone, my family would be very protective of me and I love it matters to Kevin we do this the right way with them feeling comfortable with him.

So if you wouldn't mind praying for Kevin and I, we would both appreciate it very much. :)


Some other exciting things are also in the works ...

My sweet friend and fellow Blessed Is She team member Christy has asked me to be on her podcast in the near future to talk about the experience of divorce and annulment as a Catholic woman. I am so excited and we are looking at dates to record the episode soon.

I am also super thrilled to be giving a talk at the Blessed is She Midwest retreat in St. Paul Minnesota on the weekend of August 10-11. 
I was dancing around my office when Beth Davis asked me.

If you are a Midwest girl, and are in need of some retreat time this summer, I would love to see you there!!



What is new and exciting in your lives?!


Happy Easter, friends. :)





post signature
09 10