Courage, dear heart

Courage Dear Heart by Laura at A Drop in the Ocean

Let’s be real, folks. Our world is a molten hot mess of depravity right now.

I’ve kind of wanted to go cry in a corner at various times over the last couple months and ignore the world. I did actually get off of the internet for a couple days because I had just had enough. It’s exhausting to see this all going on, and frustrating at times having little control to change it. Sometimes it feels like talking to a brick wall because the conversation has lulled. Either people have spoken their minds, or people choose to remain removed from the issue.

Now the waters seem to have settled after the initial shock. We’ve written about the Planned Parenthood videos and gay marriage being legalized, shared our disgust, and now mostly gone back to our everyday lives of getting by.

We have become accustomed to evil.

At the same time, we know this all is horrible.

But it’s also the norm.

So what in the world are we supposed to do?

If you think back to the holocaust or slavery or the civil rights movement – all social issues of their times – society didn’t change when people got sad. Society didn’t change because people found out about bad stuff happening. Plenty of people had to have known about those atrocities.

The world changed because a brave few had enough guts to stand up, expose evil, and demand the atrocity that was going on be stopped.

No one person is probably going to change the world (#RealityCheck). But what if instead of allowing ourselves to hide in a corner and go back to our ordinary lives, we let the gravity of this time sink in and radically change us?

What we if we actually decided that enough is enough?

That the truth we believe in is worth defending at all cost?

That our reputation doesn’t matter when it comes to defending the life and dignity of the vulnerable?

Now THAT would stir things up.

Many of us who believe in truth and morals are used to being the minority. Obviously. We expect to be told we’re wrong. We expect the media to misinterpret us and belittle us. We know our religious liberty is at stake. We know Christian morals are no longer the law of the land.

But you know what? We’re not victims here.

I am not a victim.

You are not a victim.

Certainly we’re affected by our life circumstances. But life is how we respond to whatever is thrown at us. Though we may want to hide in a corner sometimes, we can’t. Too much is at stake. And if we did, who would be changing the world?

I think we keep things quiet because we are more scared of standing up for ourselves than we are of bad things happening to other people.

And that just won’t do.

We are called out of comfort to stand witness to the beauty, truth, and goodness that is our faith. We are equipped by our Mother Church who gives us the foundation to articulate the dignity of life and love as God intended. We are called to profess the goodness of every human person, not to simply go on living our own isolated lives. Life is about more than our little lives.

In these moments when we tire of “the issues”, we have to remember that it’s not people we’re fighting. It’s principalities and evil (Ephesians 6:12). And God’s go our back, guys! It’s not just us against big, bad people who are out to get us. We are facing deep-seated evil, and moral relativism unlike the world has seen in a while. This is our opportunity to do more than talk, to substantially make changes in our communities and families to support the dignity of the human person.

This is where we show the world who we are.

This is where we have to radically put our trust God, because we cannot fight evil with our littleness. But love conquers all. Love has already won thousands of years ago on the cross. Do you believe that? Do you trust in him who created you for such a time as this? Because he created you for a purpose. Living at this time is part of the plan.

We have to trust HIM, because we cannot do this ourselves. It simply can’t be done. And that is frustrating. We are troubled because these atrocities are terrifying and we can’t control everything going on. But we can rest peacefully knowing God has it under control.

If we allow God to use us to create a better world, and give him all of our weaknesses to transform, there’s no telling what he will do through us.

As Aslan would say, take courage, dear heart. You are on the side of love and life. You belong to a people of God that evil is in the midst of a reckoning with. The battle is rough and the soldiers are few. But we are mighty. We serve God who loves and equips each of his children for the purpose we were created for. And spoiler: truth always wins.

To Life,

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Photo courtesy of Lori Branham on Flickr and is used in accord with it’s license without necessarily representing the views of the photographer.

Daring to face the giant

How dare she sit there eating salad and sipping wine while nonchalantly talking about crushing babies?

I don’t know how someone could be so callous. 

She’s going to rot in hell for everything she’s done. Good. She deserves it.

These, and worse, are what I’ve heard many people say about Dr. Nucatola – Planned Parenthood’s Senior Director of Medical Services – recently pictured in a viral video. The video shows her talking over dinner about Planned Parenthood’s practice of passing body parts of aborted babies on to mediator-type organizations which then transfer them to medical research labs.

The video revealed a horrifying practice especially to those who had never heard about this before.

But it’s interesting to see how people respond.

Many people are incredulous at how an organization can do such a thing. They take their anger and disgust out on this woman. The anger and disgust is understandable, but personally attacking this woman does not help. Because guess what…

We ask how dare she do this. How dare she abort babies and crush skulls and manipulate how abortions are done to produce prime body parts?

Yes, how dare she.

But how dare we neglect to stop this. How dare we stop talking about it. How dare we go on with our daily lives as if nothing is different. How dare we avoid big topics in order to continue our comfortable lives?

Jenny’s post on this topic resonated with me because like her, this news did not surprise me. I have heard about this before. It did not emotionally jar me or make me cry. It did not break my heart.

And that disgusts me.

I am so used to hearing about attacks on human dignity and life. I am so used to people not being valued. I am so used to hearing about people being killed that it doesn’t phase me anymore. Don’t even ask me to watch a horror movie or go in a haunted house. But babies being ripped apart? Yeah, that’s happening. People being beheaded? Oh yeah, that ISIS thing has been going on for a while.

But THESE ARE HUMAN LIVES WE’RE TALKING ABOUT!

As someone who talks about the dignity of every single unrepeatable life, how do these stories not have a huge impact on me? How am I not sobbing at the thought of innocent lives being literally ripped apart?

You know, I don’t have a great answer. But I GET what Jenny said:

When I was younger I used to wonder about the German people and why nobody tried to get out ahead of Hitler, how an entire nation could have fallen under his evil spell.

Now I know. Now I see, firsthand, that none of us are immune to the horrors of our day. And that as the temperature rises, the frog slowly cooks, oblivious to his own imminent peril as the mercury creeps ever upward. And that at a certain point the human mind, when confronted with such appalling and obvious wickedness, shuts down or short circuits in cowardice or fear or apathy or, or, or …

I get it. I am so used to evil that it’s the norm.

I am the reason we still have abortion.

We all are.

Because we’re used to it and don’t fight it anymore. We accept that we’ve lost before the battle is over.

God, save us from our own blind selves. And renew in us the conviction to bring your light to a horribly fallen world. If we don’t speak up, nobody will. 

Time to buckle up, friends. We’re in this war for the long haul. There is a giant Goliath of evil looming around us. But I have good news, and a bit of a spoiler: love, life, and truth ALWAYS win.

To Life,

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6 non-religious reasons to oppose gay marriage

This post is part of the Love Wins series – a series of posts covering topics within the issue of gay marriage (post 1, post 2post 3, and post 4). The goal of these posts is not to convince anyone to think what I think, but to create a conversation and explore the topics together. I am not an authority figure on this issue, and will not always approach this from a highly academic perspective, but am writing as a Catholic young voice seeking the truth. I hope you’ll follow along and be part of the conversation!

Love Wins A series on gay marriage

 

While my faith is very important to me, not everyone shares my beliefs. I think it’s important in this series to include non-religious reasons why legalizing gay marriage might not be the best idea.

Here are 6 reasons to think about:

1. In moving away from traditional families, we move away from traditional values.

Duh, that’s the whole point, right? Some people count this as progress. And of course we should always learn and become better and develop as a world. But in moving away from traditional families, we’ve become relativistic. People say it just doesn’t matter what anyone does. But anything that encourages a departure from absolute truth is problematic.

2.  There are two different genders for some reason, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s to propagate the species. 

I guess this is good news for people who think the world is overpopulated. I mean, more gay marriage, less people born, right? Well, many countries, including the U.S. are below a replacement level of fertility rate. That means we’re going to have more and more older people with less and less younger people to care for them. That doesn’t sound like a good economy.

3. STD’s are more prevalent among those who are in sexual relationships with a person of the same gender. 

Ever wonder why they ask you when you’re donating blood whether you’ve been in a sexual relationship with someone of the same gender? According to the CDC, “75% of primary and secondary syphilis cases in the United States” are among men in sexual relationships with other men. These men are 17 times more likely to develop anal cancer. This doesn’t sound like a normal and healthy lifestyle.

4. Children are entitled to a mother and a father.

Yes, two people of the same gender are capable of raising a child. But the balance between the differences mothers and fathers provide is not replaceable with two people of the same gender. Some people say it’s not important to have both, that it doesn’t matter. But two parents of the same gender cannot provide the same environment of a traditional family structure.

5. It purposefully deprives children of their biological parents.

Adoption is a beautiful and courageous thing to do. But when two people of the same gender want a child who is not adopted, they have to use a donor. There are too many articles to link here that say what a problem egg and sperm donation is. It’s a hugely unregulated industry I certainly wouldn’t want to encourage people to be part of. As people get older, adopted children or children conceived using donors often want to know their biological parents. Often times nowadays, it’s impossible with anonymous donors.

6. We do not have enough evidence to say that children growing up with homosexual parents do not have any problems down the road.

According to one study, children of homosexual parents:

-Are more likely to be currently cohabiting
-Are almost 4 times more likely to be currently on public assistance
-Are more than 3 times more likely to be unemployed
-Are nearly 4 times more likely to identify as something other than entirely heterosexual
-Are 3 times as likely to have had an affair while married or cohabiting
-Are 10 times more likely to have been “touched sexually by a parent or other adult caregiver.”

That’s just one study. We need a heap more research to know what the long-lasting repercussions are before we say all families are equal.

The fact is that besides philosophical and theological reasoning, there are plenty of reasons why a sweeping decision to legalize gay marriage is highly problematic. I hope you’ll continue to follow along as we wrap up this series looking at a few more topics!

Connect with me on FacebookTwitterPinterestBloglovin’ or by email to follow along during this series. And help spread the conversation by sharing this post!

Be sure to check out post 1, post 2post 3, and post 4 if you haven’t already!

To Life,

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Image via Hartwig HKD on Flickr.

Tips for proceeding in the battle for marriage

This post is part of the Love Wins series – a series of posts covering topics within the issue of gay marriage (post 1, post 2, and post 3). The goal of these posts is not to convince anyone to think what I think, but to create a conversation and explore the topics together. I am not an authority figure on this issue, and will not always approach this from a highly academic perspective, but am writing as a Catholic young voice seeking the truth. I hope you’ll follow along and be part of the conversation!

Love Wins A series on gay marriage

 

In the immediate aftermath of the recent decision by the supreme court, I was mostly relieved to see that people I know weren’t being haters on social media. As time went on, though, some things came up that kind of made me cringe.

Exhibit A: Comparing gay people to unborn babies (or vice versa, or comparing the issue to abortion at all)

Exhibit B: Whining about being a victim

Exhibit C: Trying to prove your point with a fancy graphic.

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Here are some pointers for people who stand behind traditional marriage on how to not be a crazy person moving forward:

1. Be a witness to the truth about love and marriage. It’s not all butterflies and unicorns, but it’s always worth it. Unless people can see that through you, posting articles and saying things isn’t going to help very much. Actions speak louder than words.

2. Educate yourself. Knowledge is power. Literally. You’re representing a lot of people, so represent well! I recommend reading a lot, paying attention to laws and studies, and becoming well versed in the why behind our beliefs.

3. Defy the stereotype of bigot and homophobe by . . . not being a bigot or homophobe. Love people, even if they disagree. And if people call you names for just believing in traditional marriage, respond gracefully. Nobody can make you a bigot unless you’re actually being one.

4. Remain open to conversation. And make sure that when conversations come up, you lovingly offer what might be a unique perspective.

5. Listen to people’s concerns on both sides, and don’t discount them. Everyone needs to be heard, valued, and responded to lovingly.

6. Have more of a response than JESUS for why you believe what you do. Sure, you could quote the Bible, but how relevant is that to people who don’t share your Christian beliefs? This goes back to #1 and the need to be educated. We’ll talk more about it tomorrow!

7. Keep the hope alive. In the end, no person or legal institution can change the sacrament of marriage, or the biology of men and women. Our society is changing. The way traditional marriage is treated is changing. But have hope, and don’t despair! Know that God is all about second chances. No one is beyond His mercy and love. Let no one be beyond ours.

If you can’t already tell, I think the most important thing on both sides of this debate is to love our neighbors – even when we disagree. That’s why this series is called “Love Wins”.

Connect with me on FacebookTwitterPinterestBloglovin’ or by email to follow along during this series. And help spread the conversation by sharing this post!

To Life,

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Image via Hartwig HKD on Flickr.

Further reading:

5 Ways to Respond to the Supreme Court’s Decision on Same-Sex Marriage

 

The truth about tolerance

This post is part of the Love Wins series – a series of posts covering topics within the issue of gay marriage (post 1, post 2). The goal of these posts is not to convince anyone to think what I think, but to create a conversation and explore the topics together. I am not an authority figure on this issue, and will not always approach this from a highly academic perspective, but am writing as a Catholic young voice seeking the truth. I hope you’ll follow along and be part of the conversation!

Love Wins A series on gay marriage

 

People on both sides of the gay marriage debate are guilty of being mean. Plain and simple. Not everyone has been mean about it, but many people (including myself) have probably been guilty of airing an insensitive comment or two.

But this post isn’t about mean people. It’s about learning how to live around people who we disagree with on controversial, emotionally charged, issues. It’s about ordinary people confronted with a tough issue.

Ordinary people don’t usually want people to be mean to them. Nor do they go around looking for opportunities to be mean. However, even people who do their best to NOT say nasty things are accused of being intolerant bigot haters of love these days….or something along those lines. I’m talking mostly about supporters of traditional marriage. But on the flip side, some supporters of gay marriage have been subject to untrue accusations as well.

We all mostly want the world to be harmonious place, right? So it makes sense that we get mad at people who mess up our perfect plan for the world.

But we can and do broadcast our opinions and beliefs on worldwide platforms. It kind of makes me scratch my head when people start crying that someone disagrees with them after taking a stand for something. And it makes me sad that people are personally offended when a view other than their own is shared.

The thing is, putting your opinion out there is not inherently mean.

Having an opinion or belief does not mean you automatically hate people who don’t share your belief.

In the aftermath of the recent supreme court decision, I saw a friend post a lovely response article. And someone else literally commented “You are intolerant”. Like, what? Is having an opinion intolerant?

Or am I just expected to keep my mouth shut when I believe in something? 

And what does tolerance even mean?

Many people use it to mean “accepting behaviors you disagree with as as good for other people, even if you think they’re wrong”. It’s used as a synonym for agreement these days. If I don’t agree with a gay marriage supporter’s view, I’m a bigot, right? Well, no.

Case in point:

“We’ve redefined tolerance to mean never disagreeing. The real definition of tolerance is first disagreeing and then putting up with the people you disagree with. You have to disagree to start being tolerant.”

I have my beliefs because they are true to the best of my knowledge. And you know what? We all have different beliefs. We don’t all agree. And that’s part of life. We have to put up with it.  To strive to live together regardless of differing beliefs is what tolerance is all about. It’s not about agreeing with each other.

So here we are with different beliefs. I think you’re wrong about some things. You probably think I’m wrong about lots of things.

We don’t have to agree with each other.

But what we are obligated to do is to love each other anyway.

Every single person, regardless of beliefs, is worthy of respect and love. Nothing can change that. No matter what. Even when we have polar opposite beliefs. Our behavior should go beyond tolerance, even. I should not only tolerate you. I should love you. I want to love you, even if it’s hard. I want to be able to know and love people who are different than me, because love wins.

I’m not going to agree with everyone on everything, but love isn’t about agreeing. It’s about accepting a person as a creature with inherent dignity that nothing can change. I don’t have to accept your beliefs to love you. And I don’t have to share your position on gay marriage to be friends.

Tolerance is about doing your best to live in peace with people you are at odds with. I truly hope as our country moves forward that we can do a better job on ALL sides of keeping the peace.

We’ll talk more about this in an upcoming post on distinguishing between a person and an issue. Until then:

Connect with me on FacebookTwitterPinterestBloglovin’ or by email to follow along during this series. And help spread the conversation by sharing this post!

To Life,

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Images via Hartwig HKD on Flickr.

Further reading:

Disagreement is not discrimination

I love you, but I disagree with your lifestyle. What now?

This post is part of the Love Wins series – a series of posts covering topics within the issue of gay marriage. (First post here.) The goal of these posts is not to convince anyone to think what I think, but to create a conversation and explore the topics together. I am not an authority figure on this issue, and will not always approach this from a highly academic perspective, but am writing as a Catholic young voice seeking the truth. I hope you’ll follow along and be part of the conversation!

Love Wins A series on gay marriage

One of the biggest challenges facing people who believe marriage is between one man and one women is how to support and love people who are directly affected by our beliefs. Where do we draw the line between loving people with homosexual tendencies, and going too far in implying that we support a lifestyle we don’t agree with?

Here are a few tips for trying to balance disagreeing with life choices and loving people who make them:

1. Love everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender, religion, etc.

Just because someone is sexually attracted to someone of the same doesn’t mean they’re less human or less deserving of respect. We have to remember that everyone should be treated with love no matter what, because nothing can take away our dignity as human beings.

2. Be conscious of how you’re being asked to participate in other people’s lives.

If I had a friend moving in with her boyfriend, I wouldn’t give them a housewarming gift because I don’t support cohabitation. It’s not because I don’t love them or want them to have a beautiful home. I just won’t support their lifestyle because I believe it’s wrong. Same with gay marriage. If I’m ever asked to attend a gay marriage ceremony, I will not attend or give a wedding gift. It’s not because I don’t love those people, but I can’t bestow my support of their lifestyle on them by supporting their union. Be conscious of what you’re being asked to do, and choose wisely.

3. Be clear in loving people that you love and support them as human beings, but not their lifestyle.

It’s important to be careful how we articulate our beliefs in these situations. They’ll know we are Christians by our love, right? We have to respond to invitations and questions remembering that every person possesses an innate dignity and is worthy of love and respect. But at the same time, we have to stick to our beliefs. Sugarcoating issues never helps us get down to the nitty gritty of loving people where they’re at.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us in paragraph 2358 that “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” But what do we accept? And what’s going too far?

Perhaps we need to be a bit more explicit here. What exactly can and can’t we do?

DO

  • welcome homosexual friends into your life
  • treat people with homosexual tendencies with the same respect as any other person
  • both of the above, even if they have partners
  • be gracious in conversation with homosexual friends
  • educate yourself so you can correct misconceptions
  • be open to talking about the truth about love and marriage
  • be a witness to the challenge and joy of being a Catholic/Christian, even when it’s hard (because you might be the only Bible someone ever reads)
  • listen to the struggles people with homosexual tendencies experience

DON’T

  • tell homosexual friends they’re going to hell (because we can’t know that)
  • focus on your friends sexual orientation
  • downplay that living the truth about love and marriage can be hard
  • attend a gay marriage ceremony
  • provide supplies for a gay marriage ceremony
  • perform a gay marriage ceremony
  • have an agenda to convert every single homosexual person to church teaching

And this is where it gets harder. If you have homosexual friends with partners, and they have kids, how do you handle your kids being friends? Depending on their age, that might be difficult to explain to your child why their friend has two mommies or daddies. Does that mean they can’t be friends? No! A parent’s choice doesn’t diminish the dignity of their child.

But it does mean we have to make careful choices as to the activities we participate in.

To be honest, there’s no clear cut answer as to what exactly we can and cannot do when it gets down to the nitty gritty. I expect it will be clarified more as the Church learns how to respond to this. But for now, we’re going to have to take this mostly on a case by case basis.

It’s hopefully easy to understand why I wouldn’t attend a gay marriage ceremony. That clearly sends a message of support for the union, which is not an option. And I’m not going to consciously encourage people to sin. But the day to day questions are harder. When these situations do come up, I highly recommend going to a trusted, wiser, friend – or even better, a priest! – if you need help discerning what to do.

There are differing opinions on what we can and cannot do, even among the Catholic school of thought. But in the end, we’re all people, regardless of our race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or lifestyle choices. Nothing can change our inherent dignity. Nothing can change the fact that we are people worthy of the utmost love and respect. People with homosexual attraction are no exception.

Connect with me on FacebookTwitterPinterestBloglovin’ or by email to follow along during this series. And help spread the conversation by sharing this post!

I love you, but I disagree with your lifestyle, now what A Drop in the Ocean

Are there any situations that have come up in your life you’re wondering about? How did you handle them? How can we concretely show our love of a person without supporting their lifestyle?

To Life,

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Images via Hartwig HKD and Nicolas Alejandro on Flickr.

Further reading:

Catholic, Gay, and Doing fine

Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message To Parents Of Homosexual Children And Suggestions For Pastoral Ministers

Courage, an international ministry of the Catholic Church for persons with same-sex attraction – find a chapter near you!

Gay Marriage: How can love say no?

This post is part of the Love Wins series – a series of posts covering topics within the issue of gay marriage. The goal of these posts is not to convince anyone to think what I think, but to create a conversation and explore the topics together. I am not an authority figure on this issue, and will not always approach this from a highly academic perspective, but am writing as a Catholic young voice seeking the truth. I hope you’ll follow along and be part of the conversation!

Love Wins A series on gay marriage

Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we? You probably know that the Catholic Church teaches that gay marriage is wrong. To kick off this series, I thought it would be good to talk about why.

Before a Catholic wedding, the couple is asked:

“(Name) and (name), have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?”

“Will you honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?”

“Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?”

The couple then vows to take the other person “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

Those are pretty big promises if you ask me.

These vows mean that the couple has promised to freely live in unity with the other person through the highs and lows of life while honoring each other and welcoming children (the result of their union) until their marriage bond is broken by one of them dying.

The male and female body, which are made for union with each other, have a language of their own. In the total giving of themselves to each other, they are saying “I am completely yours. You are completely mine. We are one now, and possess a bond forever that is unbreakable.” Naturally, children are a result (barring any struggle with infertility). And this unity is made concrete through the promises made to each other by taking marriage vows.

This is why the Catholic Church cannot, does not, and will not, recognize the union of two people of the same gender as marriage: it is simply impossible.

The female body was not made for union with another female body, and the same for men. It is naturally impossible. This is self evident. It’s not a rule made up by old white guys. It’s biology. The self-giving type of love demanded in a marriage from the Catholic perspective is impossible with two people of the same gender.

Well, so what?

If two people love each other, who cares if they’re able to have kids, right? It’s a legitimate question. But in response, I have to ask: Is the feelings of two consenting adults the only prerequisite to marriage?

The questions couples are asked before the wedding aren’t about their feelings. And that’s for a reason.

It may sounds horribly unromantic, but marriage through the eyes of the Catholic Church isn’t just about living a blissfully sexy life with your chosen partner.

It’s about getting each other to heaven.

THAT is why gay marriage cannot, does not, and will never exist within the Catholic Church.

It’s not because we don’t want people to be in love. It’s because love is about so much more than pleasure.

Now don’t get me wrong. Homosexual couples seeking to have a recognized union aren’t necessarily seeking it solely for pleasure. I’m sure many of them value marriage. And it’s absolutely true that many heterosexual couples out there, even within the Catholic school of thought, seek marriage solely for pleasure’s sake.

That doesn’t make either case right.

The Catholic Church, in her wisdom that is so very hard to understand sometimes, has taught many hard truths since the beginning in regards to love and marriage. And it’s all because life isn’t about getting what we want.

As someone who is writing from a religious understanding, I have to include Jesus’ words that if anyone wants to follow him, we must take up our crosses and follow him. We all desire things that won’t help us get to heaven, things that are disordered. And that’s why we have to pick up the struggles we have in life and run after the only one who can fulfill our heart’s desires.

Maybe your struggle is with homosexual attraction. Maybe it’s an eating disorder. Poor body image. Addiction to porn. Lack of motivation. Loss of loved ones. Debilitating illnesses.

But encountering these struggles and being told “no” to the easy way out doesn’t mean we’re wrong or that your life isn’t worth living. It’s just harder than expected.

You may still be wondering how in the world we can consider this position loving. How can telling someone “no” to a desire so integral to them be okay? How dare we do such a thing?

I’d just like to remind you that the Catholic Church doesn’t single out those with homosexual attraction. She says “no” to sex outside of marriage, divorce, pornography, cohabitation, and contraception. All of this is to help order our love most toward what is good, beautiful and true. This is why anything outside the truth the Catholic Church stands behind is “disordered”, per se, ordered toward something other than what we were made for – another topic for another post.

All of this to say, we love and stand behind the goodness of every human person. We all make mistakes. We all mess up. And gay marriage is one of those things the Church is rather clear about being a mistake. That’s because love hurts sometimes.

Mary put it beautifully when she said recently:

Yes, sometimes love hurts. We don’t go seeking pain in the name of love, but when the pain inevitably comes, it doesn’t mean it’s not real love. It just means that the time to witness to the depth of your love has arrived.

The depth of the love of the Catholic Church says that we don’t always give people what they want. That’s a tough pill to swallow, but love always wins. Stay tuned so we can chat about more topics within the issue!

Connect with me on FacebookTwitterPinterestBloglovin’ or by email to follow along during this series. And help spread the conversation by sharing this post!

Gay Marriage How Can Love Say No A Drop in the Ocean

To Life,

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Images via Hartwig HKD and netzanette on Flickr.

Further reading: Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons

The Third Way – how the Catholic Church proposes people with homosexual tendencies approach life

Gay, Catholic, and Doing Fine – why one young, gay, man is in love with the Catholic faith

Letting go of the perfect future

Before this school year, never had I ever laid on a table close to tears lamenting my future.

But then junior year happened.

Starting off year three as a college student, I was excited to be starting the second half of my college experience. Now I had less time in front of me than behind! It’s exciting to be an adult and independent. But it’s also rather terrifying sometimes . . . like when you realize you don’t really want to do what you set out to do.

I came into college without declaring a major. Psychology was in the running. I still find it fascinating, but did not want grad school to become a necessity. For some time in high school, I considered nursing. But I didn’t want to deal with the higher levels of science. I didn’t want to do something like Theology because what in the world would I do with that?

So I chose business management. Then I decided my goal was to run a pregnancy center.

The other day I had to dress in business attire for a presentation. And it just felt wrong. Even Lin our lovely mother away from home at the cafeteria looked me up and down because it’s not like me. I wear skirts and cute dresses and sandals now that it’s getting warmer.

But there I was in my heels and pencil skirt.

It makes me feel powerful, in a way: walking across campus put together like the strong, independent woman society tells me I should be. But the whole time I wanted to rip it off. I don’t want that. I don’t want to look down on people from up high on my heels. I don’t want people to think I have it together all the time, because I really don’t.

I don’t know where my life is going after realizing that I don’t want to work in the corporate business world. Even the non-profit world can leave me feeling a little less human. And I wasn’t made for the coldness of a cubicle.

Which takes us to the whole laying on a table lamenting my life that happened at some point last semester . . .

You might wonder why I would share something like that. It’s somewhat awkward, but 100% real. If I were to sit down for coffee with you, it’s the same story you would hear because it’s the real me. And I share because many classmates speak of the same thing. Many of us have experienced doubt this school year, and questioned our plans for the future.

The path I’m supposed to take still isn’t crystal clear. Sorry, there’s not an easy solution. But what I do know is that no matter what the specifics of my future look like, what I am called to do right now (and at every point in my life) is to give of myself. That’s expressed in different ways at different points in a person’s life, but in the end,

“He will look at our hands to see if they have been scarred from giving, our feet to see the calluses from travel to preach His Gospel, and our side to see if we have loved to a point of sacrifice. Woe to us who come down from Calvary with hands unscarred and white.” (Fulton Sheen)

Are my hands scarred and my feet callused? Are my knees rough from praying for others? Is my heart so bursting with Christ’s love that I never hesitate to share it? Are my eyes sore from watching out for others, my back aching from working for the true, good, and beautiful things of this world?

That’s what I’m supposed to be doing right now: loving people wherever they are and seeking God’s will.

Love without measure - St. Francis de Sales
St. Francis de Sales

 

Even though I don’t know what God’s will is all the time, what I do know is that I’m called to give until it hurts. Giving isn’t about how much you give, though. It’s about how much we have left. You know that parable where a poor woman gave all the money she had, even though it was a tiny amount? What she gave wasn’t a lot. A rich person could have given many more dollars.

It was about how much she had left: almost nothing in the world. With trust, she gave almost everything of herself knowing she would ultimately be taken care of.

So today my prayer is for the grace to be able to love until it hurts, to trust with abandon, to give until my hands are scarred, and my skin burned from laboring in the the fields I’m led to. Because it’s there that I’m meant to be: where my passions and talents meet the needs of the world. I don’t know where exactly that is yet, but I know for certain I’m in for an adventure in this year where I’m trying to abandon myself to God’s will.

Let your faith be bigger than your fear
Author Unknown

 

Fear tells me to worry about the future. Faith tells me God knows the plans He has for me. They are plans for me to prosper and thrive. If He could just tell me what the heck the plan is, that would be great. But that’s too easy! So I’m going to keep on working, giving, and serving – trying my best to do what I’m called to do in this moment and leave the worries of the future in the hands of Him who will help me work them out.

To Life,

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What Love Really Means

What Love Really Means

Have you ever been good friends with someone you never shared a personal story with?

Is it the people you know and love best who you are comfortable enough with to let your guard down around?

To me it’s challenging to think about what it means to love other people, because I’m not too good at it. I forget to tell people things about my life. I don’t always make enough of an effort to get to know people I meet.

But something I do know is that you get out of something what you put into it. The people and relationships you put effort into – those are the ones that mean the most. And it’s often the case because those are the people we are ourselves around. We let people see who we really are, not our highlight reel on Instagram.

To love others is to be vulnerable and allow ourselves to take risks by sharing some of our deepest stories, fears, and hopes.

This, I’ve been thinking lately, contributes so much to our society.

We’re terrified of being hurt, getting sick, and having our hearts broken. But didn’t you know? Broken bones heal stronger. Sore muscles heal tougher.

FultonSheen-Broken things are precious

Love requires that we allow ourselves to be known for who we truly are, while at the same time seeing the imperfection of others before us and loving them anyway. We are called to love people as God sees them: as creatures made in His image and likeness with an inherent dignity nothing can change.

Over spring break, I was thinking about this quite a bit – being able to love people regardless of what they have or have not done. It was challenging me. I wanted to be able to love people for who they are, not what they have done.

So what did I do?

I asked God to help me be able to see people more like He does.

Which might sound kind of silly. But! I prayed about it. I was thinking about people in my life who are hard to love. One of the other girls on the trip and I really didn’t click, and I had been finding her a bit annoying. Sorry, but it’s true. Not all people are easy to get along with. But wouldn’t you know? That night we ended up next to each other at dinner, and I couldn’t stop thinking about this whole concept. She shared some things about her life which helped me appreciate who she was on a deeper level. And for the first time on that trip, we talked for quite a bit and I could see past what had been annoying me. God is so awesome how he answers prayers.

Love is complicated, and it’s expressed in so many ways. One way we seem to have forgotten about is through sacrifice. I’m fairly convinced that if we could truly appreciate the beauty of sacrifice, a lot of relationships would be healed. Our families would be much better off.

Love and sacrifice call us outside of ourselves. It calls us to see others for who they are, not what they have done. There is something true, beautiful, and good about love which draws us out of ourselves to put the needs of others above our own.

toloveistobevulnerable

Love requires us to be ourselves, to be vulnerable, and to let the ones we want to be able to love take a look inside of us. Golly, that’s hard. But that’s what love seems to come down to. It’s kind of like the “to love another person is to see the face of God” thing. Loving people is like that: working on seeing the value in them not for what they have done, but for who they are.

Each person is valuable and worthy of being loved, even with all their faults. Because let’s face it: we’ve all got ’em.

Lets work together to see each other’s value in a new light, striving to see the dignity we each posses regardless of where we’ve been, what choices we’ve made, or the unique quirks about our personalities. Because in the end, as some famous person said, all that will matter is how much we loved. Challenge: accepted.

To Life,

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P.S. Here’s a song to reflect on this concept!