No to Love?
If you didn’t know, the buzz word in the media this week has been “gay marriage,” “Prop. eight,” and “homosexuality.”  Where does the Church stand in the midst of all this turmoil?  How do we know?  What do we do? The answer is simple: we need to break down one of the biggest arguments given in support of homosexuality.

“Why can’t they love each other.”  Do not get me wrong.  Love is an amazing thing – it really is.  What really gets me is that we don’t do the word “love”justice anymore.  How many times have you said the word “love” today and not thought about it?  For instance, “I love french fries!”  Yes, I have a weakness for french fries myself, but I do not love them in the truest sense of the word.

In the grand scheme of translation, we have lost a lot on the English side of things.  The Greeks had four words for love.  We have….one.  Let’s take a look at all four of those definitions, shall we?

Type One: Agape.  This is a truly amazing love – one which we cannot literally live without.  This is the love that God has for us, His children.  Best summed up for us in 1 Corinthians 13, this love is pretty incredible.  In fact, it is unconditional.  Unable to be completely expressed by humans, this love comes from God.

Type Two:  Storge.  This is another good type of love.  This word was used most often to describe the love a mother or father feels for their children.  Partially unconditional, because there is a deep bond between parents and children, it has its faults because it is expressed by humans.  Yet is a natural love that comes forth from a family relationship. 

Type Three: Eros. This is what we think of when we think of the word “love.”  It is a passion for someone, a desire to be with them and express your love physically.  In it’s truest form, it is expressed between a husband and a wife bound by marital vows. 

Type Four:  Philia.  A completely selfless love based on mutual loyalty and trust.  It is most commonly seen between siblings and close friends who seem to know each other incredibly well.  This love does not seek to take anything, but only wishes to give.

Now, here is the problem.  We have reduced all love to Eros (type three).  To continue along the degrading of love, we’ve reduced Eros to sex.  To put this in perspective: People will often get mad when there is any opposition to same-sex unions because they think people won’t allow them to love each other.  What they really mean is that we don’t think they should have sex with the same gender. 

Do Christians say people with homosexual tendencies can’t love? NO!  By all means – God IS love and we are called to
imitate Him.  Do you know which of the types of human love the Greeks thought was the highest?  Philia.  Brotherly love (or sisterly) that gives all without expecting anything back.  Love that makes sure that the other person is being taken care of.


If you really love someone, what is of more concern to you:  Gaining physical pleasure for yourself or the health of the other person’s soul?  I pray that you answer the second!  True love means wishing the best possible for the other.  So if someone has a same-sex attraction, what would be the best response?  Seeing that acting out on that attraction would harm the other’s soul, and thus turning from that acting out and turning towards Christ in purity.


Love is so incredible.  God made love, so it s good – if not abused.  God help us recognize the beauty of such an incredible gift and behave accordingly.

God bless you all,

Chloe M.



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Who are you when people aren’t looking?

Generally, I don’t really love country music.  Yet when I heard Blake Shelton’s “Who are you when I’m not looking” on Pandora this weekend, I can’t stop singing it!  It’s not necessarily the style, the sound, or the music – its the message.

The song talks about a guy singing to a girl who he loves.  Yet he’s wondering who she really is when she’s not around him.  When “the door is locked and the shades are down,” does his lover show her true self?  Does she throw things when she’s mad?  Loose it emotionally when she’s alone?  Even insignificant things, like if she listens to music quietly or loudly, interests him because he wants to know all about her.

Listening to this song got me to thinking.  Who are you when people aren’t looking?  Do you hide what you are really feeling so you can be popular?  More accepted?  The songs says, “My oh my your so good looking…but who are you when I’m not looking?”  Does your outward appearance mask who you are inside?  Or are you beautiful because your love of the Lord is shining through to the outside?

On the other side of the coin, do you put on a great face, but when the lights are off you, do you show your true self and it’s not that attractive?  In the words of the song, do you “hold yourself together like a pair of bookends” and then let it all out after everyone has gone home?

The only thing is that you are never alone.  Christ sees you all the time, and not in a “I see all, and I’m waiting to strike you down to Hell if you mess up” kind of way.  He sees you struggle, and knows what it feels like.  He has a human nature and was tempted, too.  He sees what you hide from everyone else.  Even though it may feel like you can never tell anyone what you struggle with, Christ knows and He died for you regardless.  

If who you are when people aren’t looking is something that adds weight to the cross that Christ hung on to save you, then there is a way to get it into the open and not have to hide anymore.  The amazing sacrament of Confession is full to the brim of graces and when you leave the confessional after hearing the words “your sins are forgiven,” you don’t have to hide in the dark anymore because of the shame of your sins.  

God is a loving father who knows who we really are.  We can’t hide anything from Him.  Yet when we turn from the life of sin that we may be successfully hiding from everyone else, run into His arms and ask for forgiveness, we can be free from the burden of sin that seems to be crushing down on us.

God bless you all,

Chloe M.  
  




That Was My Cross

This weekend’s Gospel was a Passion reading that we were all able to participate in.  Also aided by the thoughts of a Passion Play we had attended on Saturday, I had the following to reflect on:

The cross that Christ died on was meant for us.  You, me, each one of us has done so much wrong that we deserve to die and not go to Heaven at all.  We deserve the flogging that ripped Christ’s skin and left him unrecognizable and shunned.  We deserve the shame and curses that people hurled at Christ as He hung on the cross for them and all mankind.  Yet we don’t have to endure that.  We were granted salvation, an incredible gift considering that we do a pretty decent job at hurting God with our sins.

And what is our response?  We, like the crowds in Christ Passion, cry out “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” when we sin every day.  We then cry at the foot of the cross in sorrow when He dies for us.  I often am disgusted at the actions of the crowd when reading the Gospels, but this year it really hit me: That’s me.  That is me adding to the cross’s weight with my sins and then feeling guilty as Christ hangs on the cross for my wrongs.  


Do we deserve it? No.  Are we worth it?  Is the way you are living right now worth Christ dying for you?  Are your actions showing gratitude every day for a God that steps down from Heaven to become one of us – and then dies for the same people who nailed him to a cross?

The cross Christ hung from was meant for you – how can you show God that you love Him as He first loved us?

God bless you and be with you in this last week of Lent,

Chloe M. 



Spirit of the Law vs. Letter of the Law

When you become a Christian, simply saying a prayer will not guarantee your placement in Haven.  Just as getting a place in Heaven is not granted to you because your parents are Catholic.  Relying on these takes away the amazing relationship with God that you can have if you fall in love with the Savior who died for you. 

     So, Letter of the Law Christianity have not experienced or been witness to the radical change in one’s life that needs to take place when you are a Christian.  The word “repent” means to turn around your life in a complete 180.  It means being Christ to others.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll never cuss again, or lose your temper.  What it does mean is that every action you do should be guided with the thought, “Am I being Christ to Others?” Or, another thought could be “Is this action making me the best version of myself?” 

     Yet sometimes you can look like a Spirit of the Law Christian while still being a Letter of the Law Christian.  For instance, do you wear a purity ring?  Do you wear it because it looks cool and you see that a lot of celebrities are wearing it?  Or do you wear it because you are committed to a pure life before marriage – and during marriage – and wearing a purity ring is part of how you live?  I was listening to a conversation of a middle-schooler last night and she said that a boy in their youth group was in eighth grade and he was on girlfriend number fourteen.  Fourteen girlfriends!  She herself was on boyfriend number four and she was in sixth grade.  How can you have fourteen girlfriends and still have all of your heart to give to your future bride?  How many pieces will be left to give after you have freely given them to the fourteen girls before her?  How amazing will it be to stand at the altar, look at your fiancee and say, “Your number one who I’m giving my whole heart to – and I have loved you before I even met you.”  That’s my goal.

This isn’t to say that the first guy/girl that you are in relationship with will be your spouse.  It is to say that you shouldn’t ever give that boyfriend/girlfriend something that you would have rather given your future spouse.  For me, that’s my first kiss.  That’s right:  I’m almost eighteen and headed off to college and I’ve never been kissed.  That’s OK – I know it will be worth the wait when I give my first kiss to my husband.

You cannot profess Christ without your life being an additional witness to your love for Him.  Our lives have to be the proof of His love to the world.  This can’t be so when we “talk the talk” but don’t “walk the walk.”  This is the ultimate decision of deciding to obey  and love the law (spirit of the law) or do the actions without the heart (letter of the law).  

Let your love for Christ radically change your life – it’s a decision that you will never regret!

God bless you all,

Chloe M.  



He’s Kind of Different

OK, I have to let you in on a secret.  I feel really guilty loving Pope Francis as much as I love Pope Francis.  I never felt this much interest in Pope Benedict.  I think I feel even more guilty because Emeritus Benedict XVI is still here and praying for us all.  


One of my friends on Catholic Answer Forum said that she felt that we had all fallen for Pope Francis because the Holy Spirit inspiring us to learn to love and follow our new Father.


Take for instance, today’s “Rock Star Walk” Sunday morning at the Vatican.  Pope Francis walks out from the side gate and kisses babies and shakes peoples hands. Some people were even so comfortable that they clapping Pope Francis on the shoulder.  He is so comfortable, down to earth, and humorous.  As another blogger said, I feel like he’s this awesome uncle that I’ve never met, and the conclave has left me with a new person in my family. 

Yet Pope Francis is humble but powerful.  In his first homily as Pope, he offered the faithful many ideas packed into 537 words.  Some of these thoughts included:

   –  Continue growing in your faith.  You are in trouble when you are not growing in your faith constantly.  His words were, “Walking: our life is a journey, and when we stop, there is something wrong.”

–  Never pass up the opportunity to build the Church up.  Every interaction that you have with anyone is a chance for you to show God’s love for them.  His words: “With every movement in our lives, let us build!”

–  If we don’t rely on Christ for His help, we can easily rely on the devil.  We must then be able to confidently go to God and not only ask His help, but be confident that He will do the best for us.  Pope Francis’s words: “When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil.”

–  Your works and deeds and good works are nothing if you do not carry your cross.  You cannot be fully who you were called to be – the best version of yourself – without accepting the sacrifices that you have to deal with.  God doesn’t give us something we can’t handle without His help.  Pope Francis said, “When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord.

To sum it all up: “My hope for all of us is that the Holy Spirit, that the prayer of Our Lady, our Mother, might grant us this grace: to walk, to build, to profess Jesus Christ Crucified. So be it.”

God bless you all,

Chloe M. 


HABEMUS PAPAM!

We are now in the reign of a Pope of many firsts.  Pope Francis is the first Jesuit to become Pope.  He is also the first Francis.  He is the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere and the first non-European Pope since 741. 


So, we’re in a Pope of firsts, so this will be the first Pope to say “Yes” to contraception, homosexual unions and abortion, right?  Wrong.

Pope Francis is known for standing up against homosexual marriage, calling abortion a death sentence for the unborn,  and opposing all distribution of free contraception in Argentina.

He has stood against adoption of children by same gender parents and has stood up for helping the poor in our midst.  All in all, we are incredibly blessed by a man who is going to lead the Church. 

Please remember him in your prayers daily – as you can imagine, the vocation is a grave responsibility.

Viva Papa Francis!

God bless you all,

Chloe M. 

Getting to Know You……


….Getting to Know All About You

If you are among the 75% of people who will get married in your life time, then you will more than likely meet a member of the opposite sex, settle down and raise a family.  Who you will “settle down” with is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life.  A question to consider though, How will someone get to know you if you don’t know you?

It is easy to loose yourself in things.  Sometimes this is school work.  You begin to describe yourself by who you are in school: “Hi I’m _______.  I’m a senior in high school and am currently looking into __________ college.   My GPA is _____.”  By the way,  I know this introduction from experience.  The point is, you become what you do, and you may loose track of who you actually are.  What do you like to do?  What makes you happy?  Who makes you mad?  What makes you feel loved?

These are questions that the person who you will marry is going to want to know.  He/She will want to know what makes you feel loved, what annoys you, and what your favorite things are.   So, after you have put together your “Can’t Stand” and “Must Have” lists, you may want to consider putting together a questionnaire that describes who you are.

Some example questions may include:

–  Who is the most important person in your life?  Why?
–  What is one dream you really want to achieve?
–  What is it like being you?  (Physically, mentally and spiritually?)
–  When do you feel the most afraid?

–  What bores you?
–  What is the role of God in your life?
–  What is the role of money in your life?
–  What would you want people to say about you at your funeral?


When you are led by God to a person in your life who you’ll marry, understand that you will be dying to yourself everyday so you can help get him/her to Heaven.  Hopefully, you will select a spouse who will be doing the exact same thing for you. 


God bless!

Chloe M. 

Before the Wedding….
Establishing a list for your future spouse.


What do you want in a future spouse?  Sometimes this question is best answered before you even are eligible for marriage.  It is a list of “Must Have’s” and “Can’t Stands” that you can carry around with you and use to hold possible future spouses accountable to. 

     For your “Must Have” list, pick ten top things that your future spouse must have in order for you to consider him/her a possible good choice for not only yourself, but also for your future children.  For example, here are my top ten items for my future husband:

10 Must Haves:

                                                            
1.  He must be a faithful Catholic who respects and loves the Catholic Church and all her teachings – especially those on Natural Family Planning and those regarding contraception.  He must be someone who can help me get to Heaven. 

2.  He must be in a career that would not only support us as a married couple, but also our future children in a way that would allow me to stay home and school them.

3.  He must have a good work ethic.  He is not afraid to go get things done and just because something is hard, he does not back off or procrastinate. 

4.  He must be someone who I can not only talk to about difficult subjects, but who can also help me understand and appreciate things.  His measured level of intelligence does not have to extremely high, but his ability to work out a situation and his “street smarts” would be a must. 

5.  He must be a good communicator, and not be withdrawn. He has to be someone I can talk to, listen to, and love.  . 

6.  He must be organized, and realize that I am usually not.  He has to be able to be patient with me when I leave things out – because I will, despite my best intentions. 

7.  He must have similar views on politics and current events.  I would not be able to be in harmony with someone who is liberal while I am conservative.  He must be able to read into current events, see what is happening, and if necessary, make moves to protect our family. 

8.  He has to be able to socialize well, especially when I am shy, and is not afraid of social gatherings. 

9.  He has to be proud of his appearance: not sloppy and dressed currently. 

10.  He is a man who is concerned about both of our physical, mental and spiritual purity – both while we are not married and when we are.
 
     For your “Can’t Stand” list, pick ten qualities that your future spouse cannot have in order for you to not only be happy, but successfully lead each other to Heaven.  For example, here is my top ten “Can’t Stand” qualities:
 

10 Can’t Haves
1.  He must not be involved in addictions – which include anything from alcohol, smoking, and drugs to pornography.
2.  He must not be deceitful in any way – with a broken trust; it would be incredibly hard to sacrifice for him when I knew he was lying to me.
3.  He must not be abusive – physically, verbally, or mentally.  Anger problems would not only harm our marriage, but also the interactions and development of our children. 
4.  He must not have a tendency to use strong language in situations.  His habit of having to use expletives to make his case would harm my respect for him, and make me fear for the language habits of our future children. 
5.  He must not be afraid to protect his family – whether that is physically protecting them from harm, or defending our family verbally.  If he is afraid to do so as it might offend someone, he does not value his family over what people think of him. 
6.  He must not be an irresponsible man when it comes to finances – he not be a compulsive spender, have incredibly expensive habits, or continually overspend past our budget.  
7.  He must not be sloppy or lazy.  If he did not appreciate the appearance of his personal belongings or himself, I could not take him seriously.  If he could not find the energy to accomplish situations in which he is fully capable, I couldn’t respect him fully. 
8.  He must not be disinterested in the raising and schooling of our children.  He cannot think that disciplining and raising children is just a wife’s job.  He should be interactive in the happenings and activities of our family. 
9. He must not think that chivalry dies after we get married – he should not be afraid to open the doors, compliment, and treat women with respect. 
10.   He must not feel that sexual purity is a thing of the past, or something that does not matter.  He must have respect and honor for sexuality – either saving himself completely for his bride, or have confessed past sins and resolved to remain pure in the future. 
 
     For more on “Must Have” and “Can’t Stand” lists, read the book How To Know If Someone Is Worth Pursuing In Two Dates Or Less by Neil Clark Warren.  You can purchase it on Amazon for really good prices, and it is worth the read.   
  
     What is on your “Must Have” and “Can’t Stand” list?  Let me know in the comments below!
 
God bless you all,
 
Chloe M. 

Contraception: Hurting you in more ways than one.

Over the weekend, I was listening to a tape series by Janet Smith, and I had to share what she was talking about.  The book she is most known for, “Contraception: Why Not?” talks about this subject, too – so if you would like to know more about her and her thoughts on important subjects, feel free to check the book out!

     In this talk, she was sharing the results of some studies involving women using contraception.   In the first study, there was a group of monkeys.  The alpha male monkey mated specifically with three of the female monkeys.  The doctors observed this, and then injected the three female mates with depo-provera.  Not long after this injection, the alpha male no longer was physically involved with the three females whom he had mated with.  He didn’t go near them, and resorted to mating with the other females in the group.  To take the test a step further, the scientists then gave the shot of depo-prover to all the female monkeys in the group.  As a result, none of the male monkeys mated with the females at all.  Some even turned towards homosexual acts with the other male monkeys.   Yet when the females were taken off the dosage of contraception, the males once again mated with them. 

 

The second study involved men who were asked to rate a series of women’s photos on a scale of one to ten based on how attractive they were.  The first round of pictures were of supermodels and, because men are visually wired, the pictures of these women were rated highly.  Then, the second round of pictures were brought out.  They were of “ordinary” women – non supermodels in normal settings.  Without their knowledge, those conducting the study released female pheromones into the air as the men rated the pictures of regular women.  The pheromones were to represent the hormones a woman experiences when she is fertile.  As a result, the pictures of normal women were rated on a higher scale point than the pictures of supermodels. 

The third study involved women who were split into two groups.  One group were contracepting in one way or another, and the other group was not using any forms of contraception.  To conduct the study, the scientists also took two groups of men.  The first group was very high on the evolutionary development status: handsome, strong, good workers, etc.  The other group was what many would consider “losers”: Not attractive, lazy, and weak.  The women in both groups were asked to smell sweatshirts that both groups of men had worn all day – and then to pick the ones that they thought that they would like to get to know in a relationship.   The women who were not contracepting picked the sweatshirts of the good-looking and strong men.  The women who were using contraception picked the sweatshirts of the “losers.”

 
Why?  Because when you use the pill for contraceptive purposes, you are tricking your body into thinking that is pregnant – so you won’t ovulate.  Live Science explains it in this way: “Based on the work by Claus Wedekind, a University of Lausanne researcher who preformed similar studies in the 1990s, Roberts suggests a likely reason for the pill’s effect on a woman’s odor preferences.  The pill puts a woman’s body into a hormonally pregnant state and during that time there would be no reason to seek out a mate.” 

Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that being on contraception can harm your search for a spouse.  Girls, you have to realize that being on the pill or other forms of contraception not only makes you less attractive to the men that you want to meet (the “manly” men) but also leads you to pick the guys who aren’t necessarily marriage material. 

Not only is contraception hurting your body for health reasons, it is harming your future marriage and future children.  You deserve better.  They deserve better. 

Stop contracepting.

God bless you all,

Chloe M. 

 

Shouldn’t, Couldn’t, Wouldn’t…
Changing our wording from duties to desire.





“I need to read my Bible.”
“I should go to Mass more often.”

“I guess I could pray more.”
“Man, I need to memorize more Bible verses.”

Need, should, would, could.  Words of obligation.  Words we often use when we talk about our faith life.  We should do this, we need to do this.  This speech is hurting our faith more than helping.

So, what do we need to stay instead?  Or what should be our outlook?  A sense of desire.  Christ died on the cross for us and gave up His life for people (including you and me) who sin daily and add weight to His cross.   Why don’t we want to spend time with Him?  Why don’t we desire to pick up the Bible and let His words speak to us?

Because we don’t have time for Him….or we don’t think we do.  First, we have to form a habit.  Good habits are always harder to form and keep than bad habits, unfortunately, so this might be a struggle at first.  But setting aside time for Bible reading in the morning, over lunch, afternoon, or night time is going to help your relationship with Christ.

It may just be fifteen minutes of saying “Good morning” to God and thanking Him for the ability to wake up and breathe.   But that is fifteen minutes that you have dedicated to Him. 



After a while, this time will become precious to you – that time where you can not only talk with God – but listen to Him.  If we sit in the “Classroom of Silence” (Matthew Kelly) then we can learn much more than when we tell God about all the things we “need.”

Set aside some time for God…..He gave us His Son, we should love giving Him a portion of the day.

God bless you and strengthen you this Lent,

Chloe M.