Friday, July 07, 2006

The Dignity of True Femininity

Source: Les Femmes, the Women of Truth

By Anne Marie McDonnell, Ph. D.

For a woman to live according to Catholic teaching in today’s society she needs heroic virtue. Every form of media, including television, movies, magazines, books, computers, music, and theater all assault women’s human dignity, often portraying her in a pornographic manner as an object of lust. There was a time when at least some degree of shame prevented displaying such vile filth and undignified behavior in a public venue. This is no longer true.

Simply standing in the checkout line at the supermarket assaults one with a host of risqué pictures. It seems as if any sense of modesty is completely absent. People and Cosmopolitan apparently require their models bare all! After years of radical feminists aggressively promoting a woman’s right to choose abortion and other “equal rights”, women are viewed as sex objects now more than ever before.

Do we block our ears, cover our eyes, and retreat to our chapels of adoration to pray? Well, praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament and frequent reception of the sacraments are key elements to the conversion of our hearts and souls. Still, we cannot completely withdraw from this world. Perhaps just trying to live our lives as faith-filled women in the midst of a pagan environment is the most difficult form of persecution that Catholic women experience in today’s culture. While we may not be thrown into a lions’ den or decapitated like many of the Early Church martyrs, we still face a constant onslaught of sounds and sights that are completely at odds with our Catholicism.

At times, we may suffer ridicule for shunning the popular vulgar expressions or situation comedies that the vast majority of people seem to find perfectly acceptable. These situations offer us ample opportunity to offer God these humiliations in the form of a prayer for the Poor souls in Purgatory.

A woman does not need to travel to the mission fields of a Third World Country to evangelize. Indeed, the need for evangelization is perhaps the greatest right here in the United States of America!

To be true witnesses to Christ, we need to examine and treasure our true gift of femininity, as reflected in the life of purity that the Blessed Virgin Mary always led. In order to truly live a life enriched by an authentically Catholic feminist perspective, we must have a conscience that is both informed and well formed. This means reading good Catholic literature, starting with the Catechism and the Bible, first and foremost. After building a foundation of catechetical understanding and daily Scriptural reflection, one can move on to reading various works that fill our hearts with joyful praise and our minds with lofty reflections.

While there is a vast variety of journals and magazines in our pop culture that will titillate one’s senses, there is also fine Catholic literature in the fields of apologetics, theology, philosophy, and fiction. Good books can enlighten our feeble minds and tempted souls, satisfy our hungry hearts and spiritually enrich our earthly lives.

Mary, the handmaid of the Lord, is our model. She always reminds us that service to the Lord must be of paramount importance. We can only lead others to Jesus by following in Our Blessed Mother’s footsteps. Let us pray that we will always remain pure and committed to our faith by receiving the sacraments in a worthy manner, praying the rosary, and attending mass frequently. By following Mary’s example and relying upon her intercession, great miracles can happen in our midst.

Our prayerful thoughts, charitable actions, and kind words can break through the barrier of spiritual blindness that engulfs our present society to shine Christ’s light on a world lost in sin and paganism. It’s a noble calling that recognizes our dignity as Catholic women.

Husbands and Wives

Source: The Word Among Us June 2006 Issue

Big mahalo nui loa to Sts. Peter and Paul Parish for providing this wonderful magazine.

Excerpts from articles from husband and wife Randall and Theresa Cirner.

Husbands, Love Your Wives! - 5 Actions That Say I Love You

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25).

How Do I Love You?

1. By Praying. Prayer is the most important thing a husband can do for his wife.

2. By Talking. Communication is very important between a husband and a wife. However, the timing of the talk is also important.

3. By Meeting Needs. Help your wife's needs. The important needs are as follows:

a. Time for God;
b. Time with other women;
c. Time out or in other words, a break

4. By Encouraging. Say something sincere to will make her feel good about herself.

5. By Going Out Together. The occasional date is very important to a happy marriage.

How to Really Love Your Husband?

Making it Real. Consider your husbands likes and preferences in little things as well as big.

Questions for Reflection:

1. Do I pray for my husband?

2. Do I show him respect?

3. Do I cook for my husband or for myself?

4. Do I do the things my husband asks me to do?

5. Does our time out together ever reflect my husband's interests?

6. Do I serve my husband cheerfully when he is sick?

7. Do I impose my standards of 'proper' behavior on my husband?

8. Do I resent my husband's time with his friends?

9. Is your home a place that both of you find physically pleasing?

As yourself each day? How is the lord calling me to show my love to my husband today?

"Outdo one another in showing honor and mutual affection' (Romans 12:10).

Monday, July 03, 2006

Laywoman, Wife, and Mother - Blessed Eurosia Fabris

Hat tip to Lay Witness Magazine

The Holy See

Recently, our Holy Father Benedict XVI beatified Eurosia Fabris, an Italian woman who raised 11 children.

"The virtues of 'Mamma Rosa,' who died in 1932, were honored during the
beatification ceremony in Vicenza. 'She knew how to transform her
very large family into a school of holiness,' Vatican Radio said on the eve of
the ceremony.

Click above link to The Holy See for the complete story.

Priority Loving in the Family

While reading the May-June Issue of Lay Witness Magazine I came across the following quote from Kimberly Hahn:

"Priority loving in the family means loving your spouse first, your children second. The love of husband and wife is the wellspring of love for the entire family. Though our children's needs seem greater and more immediate, we must be careful not to allow their needs to consume the time and energy needed for our spouse. Besides, the greatest need of our children is to experience the love of their parents for each other. Often when my husband and I embrace, our young children try to wedge between us--not to break us apart but to feel the squeeze of love."

From A Mother's Plan of Life: Living God's Call in the Domestic Church

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Was St. Francis a Tree Hugger?

Source: Our Sunday Visitor - April 23, 2006

With all the recent headlines and news regarding global warming, the unusual weather patterns, finding alternatives for fuel, saving the planet, etc., I thought it fitting to post this little blurb from the Our Sunday Visitor's special issue on Environmentalism.

"The Franciscan spirituality and its founder are often associated with modern-day environmentalism. Many reference the story of the Italian saint delivering a sermon to the animals or quote his poem 'Canticle of the Sun.' But Catholics must be cautious not to reduce St. Francis merely to someone who loved nature for nature's sake.

G.K. Chesterton points this out in his 1923 biography of St. Francis. 'St. Francis was not a lover of nature. Properly understood, a lover of nature was precisely what he was not.' Chesterton explains.

'Instead, St. Francis loved the natural world around him and all its inhabitants because they were created by God, who was his greatest love of all.'

'In a word, we talk about a man who cannot see the wood for the trees. St. Francis was a man who did not want to see the wood for the trees. He wanted to see each tree as a separate and almost a sacred thing, being a child of God and therefore a brother or sister of man.' Chesterton writes.

'He did not call nature his mother; he called a a particular donkey his brother or a particular sparrow his sister. If he had called a pelican his aunt or an elephant his uncle, as he might possibly have done, he would have meant that they were particular creatures assigned by their Creator to particular places; not mere expressions of the evolutionary energy of things.'

When considering environmental issues, Catholics could learn from St. Francis. We care for the environment around us and everything that lives here, including humans, because they were created by God and given to us as gifts.