Doing the will of the Father – St. Cyprian

I read this in the Liturgy of the Hours that I pray every morning and came across this last week. I wanted to share it for several reasons:

  1. If I blog about it, that means I can easily refer back to it. It certainly beats writing this on post-it notes
  2. It’s a long “checklist” that I’m pretty sure I’m not doing 100% but would like to.
  3. I’ve been wanting to write about something for a few weeks that would strike the heart of everyone, not just a select few and this appears to be something we can all strive for.

So here goes!

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The following is from a treatise on the Lord’s Prayer by Saint Cyprian, bishop and martyr.

All Christ did, all he taught, was the will of God. 

  • Humility in our daily lives
  • an unwavering faith
  • a moral sense of modesty in conversation
  • justice in acts
  • mercy in deed
  • discipline
  • refusal to harm others
  • a readiness to suffer harm
  • peaceableness with our brothers
  • a whole-hearted love of the Lord
  • loving in him what is of the Father
  • fearing him because he is God
  • preferring nothing to him who preferred nothing to us
  • clinging tenaciously to his love
  • standing by his cross with loyalty and courage whenever there is any conflict involving his honor and his name
  • manifesting in our speech the constancy of our profession and under torture confidence for the fight
  • and in dying the endurance for which we will be crowned

This is what it means to wish to be a coheir with Christ, to keep God’s command; this is what it means to do the will of the Father.”

St. Cyprian, pray for us!

Debating Abortion…200 Characters At A Time

So anyone who follows me on good ol’ Twitter can see that I occasionally will engage with abortion supporters in an effort to have a fruitful dialogue. I have learned to pick and choose my battles carefully, not bothering to really engage or tweet at someone who is clearly just trying to stoke the flames. I do try to see if there’s some logic behind someone’s response to the most divisive issue of our day.

With all of the heartbeat bills and restrictions being passed in various states lately, the conversations are dissolving into shouting matches, but I do find that there’s hope for a resolution to this. And I’ll be the first to admit that Twitter is not the best place to have this debate but honestly, sometimes you can really have great conversations in 200 characters or less. (For those who aren’t familiar with Twitter, you only have about 240 characters to make your point before you have to keep replying. It’s not like a comment box on Facebook or an email where the characters are limitless).

What follows is NOT one of the fruitful dialogues, unfortunately. But what I just wanted to give readers was a glimpse into what, as far as I can tell, rational, sane people are saying about abortion. In case you didn’t know, the days of “safe, legal, and rare” are LONG GONE. Abortion is now being touted as on demand, plentiful and good.

So in this thread, I responded to a young woman named Lynne (I blocked out her screen name even though her profile is public) who said something about “children should only be born if they are wanted.” Notice how she never uses the word “mother” or “female” or “woman” when referring to pregnancy. This is not by accident. Pro-aborts and the left carefully construct their terms so they never acknowledge the sexual difference. Thus, they use the phrase “pregnant person.”

The sexual difference is being erased, folks!

Anyways, I responded with a question:

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Lynne had responded that she didn’t believe my last sentence was truthful about men not leaving before abortion and contraception came on the scene. I then tried to help her understand that contraception turns women into objects for use because you are erasing your fertility. I admit I could have done a better job explaining this but the fact remains, that before the Pill, if you had an affair, you took a risk that your indiscretion would be found out if the woman became pregnant.  With the Pill, people could have consequence-free sex, which led to an increase in infidelity and divorce. And when birth control fails, as it frequently does, it leads to an unplanned pregnancy, which leads to – duh – abortion.

Lynne didn’t respond to this and just called me a crazy person because I didn’t believe in contraception and in her mind, “contraception prevents abortions.” I then sent her this study from the pro-abortion research arm of Planned Parenthood, Guttmacher, that proves that contraception does not prevent abortions as much as one is led to believe. She didn’t reply. Pesky facts. 😉

In a separate thread Lynne had said that babies shouldn’t be born unless they can be “properly taken care of.”  She responds by saying she is a social worker so she considers herself an expert in this.

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Her comment about people believing the lie that “abortion is awful” struck me in particular. So I decided to define what an abortion is to her. To which Lynn retweeted my definition and took it upon herself to “shout her abortion.”

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I was going to exit the conversation at this point, but the fact that she is trying to promote abortion as being “great” needed a response:

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Thus ended our Twitter “conversation.”

This is just one encounter and no, I don’t sit there for hours wasting time “tweeting” to people who clearly are not going change their mind. It’s really not about that. It’s about planting a seed here and there. Because if she truly is post-abortive (yes, people do LIE on social media so it’s entirely possible she tweeted “Abortion is great” to get a reaction), she is in need of mercy and healing, which is why I sent her the Project Rachel Twitter handle. She also deserves to be told the truth.

And just look at her sad response about her parents “shouldn’t have been able to reproduce.” She isn’t the first pro-abortion person to say something along those lines. I wanted to be able to at least plant a seed that plenty of women regret their abortions. But, as you can see, she called those testimonials “bull****.”

Sadly, the abortion debate is only getting more and more volatile. This little twitter conversation between myself and Lynne is extremely TAME compared to the absolute hatred and evil coming out of people’s mouths (or keyboards in this case).

Case in point: I came close to tears watching this encounter at a pro-abortion rally in D.C. The woman screaming is in desperate need of healing. You can see it and hear it in her voice as she lashes out at the young woman holding a pro-life sign in front of her. My heart breaks for her:

Abortion supporters lash out at pro-lifers at #StopTheBans protests

The final video in that article is the one that truly breaks my heart. Her reaction to just scream vulgarity is NOT A NORMAL response. I want to find this woman and hug her. She is in so much pain. But she’s clearly not in a place to hear the truth.

So now for some good news.

An actress on a show I used to watch called “The Good Place” recently tweeted about how great her abortion was. She then proceeded to give her opinion on foster homes and how “cruel” that situation is. Well, that didn’t go over too well with the adoption/adoptee’s on Twitter who responded with their inspiring stories of choosing life:

The people whose lives you suggest aren’t worth living? They can hear you.

And finally, a really great thread initiated by a supporter of abortion.

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She was clearly expecting crickets to her tweet, but was ratio’d* badly as you can see. *Ratio’d means the replies, in this case 13,500, far outnumbered the amount of Retweets, in this case 1,500.

The common misconception among pro-abortionists is that anyone who is pro-life is “really only pro-birth. Once the baby is born they don’t care!” This is the typical go-to response from pro-abortion people. I’ve gotten it several times. But what this woman didn’t expect were the onslaught of responses from pro-lifers, which you can read about in this article:

Pro-lifers really do care about single moms, and it shows

So this is just a little peek into Twitter and the abortion debate today. As volatile and divisive as it is getting out there, I remain very hopeful that Roe is going to be overturned and the decision goes back to the states. While making abortion illegal will not stop it from happening, the day is coming, and I believe it’s coming very soon, when abortion will be unthinkable.

Pray for Lynne, pray for that woman in the video, pray for scales to fall off the eyes of all people who have been duped into believing the lie that abortion is good.

Ask the Lord to forgive them. They know not what they do.

Note: I am compiling a list of pro-life resources, books and articles on the facts of abortion for my blog. In the meantime, both websites listed above Live Action and Secular Pro Life are great starting points.

Behold, The Lamb of God: Easter Vigil 2019

On April 20, 1986, I made my first Communion as a second-grader at my home parish in Parma, Ohio at St. Anthony of Padua.

Thirty-three years later, here at my new hometown of Plymouth, Michigan, at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church I was blessed to attend our Easter Vigil and was honored to be a sponsor to an engaged couple. I also witnessed 31 other individuals (yes 33 people entered the Catholic Church at our parish; God is so good!) enter into full communion of the Catholic Church, after spending the past 8 months meeting every week for their RCIA classes.

This was only my second Easter Vigil and it was absolutely hands down, one of the most amazing experiences EVER. 

The choir, the music, the decor, the baptisms, the readings, the rituals, the prayers, the homily, the candles, the fire, the crowd, the incense. As one of our  teenage candidates said, “It didn’t feel like 4 hours.”

As soon as it was over I wanted to start it all over again! And as our pastor said to the newly initiated – They know more being Catholic than anyone else – because they made a point to learn, to ask questions, to seek the answers and it led them to the fullness of Truth.

33 years after making my first communion, I have a much deeper appreciation for our faith, due in large part to the friends I’ve made here who are converts, as well as taking the initiative to learn and study and ask questions. It’s been remarkable living here and attending this awesome parish for the past 21 months.

OLGC records everything so luckily, I’ve been able to re-live the entire Holy Week all over again. You can watch the Vigil in it’s entirety here, but before you click, allow me to share what I think, are some of the more moving and particularly special moments of the night:

Do you feel the world is broken? (We do)
Do you feel the shadows deepen? (We do)
But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through? (We do)
Do you wish that you could see it all made new? (We do)
Is all creation groaning? (It is)
Is a new creation coming? (It is)
Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst? (It is)
Is it good that we remind ourselves of this? (It is)
Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David’s root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave
Is He worthy? Is He worthy
Of all blessing and honor and glory?
Is He worthy of this?
He is

 

I’m still on a high from it all. I think when you witness such a grand event, when you truly start to “get it,” and understand what Jesus did on that cross, it brings you to tears.

As it should.

Happy Easter Season everyone!

Theology on Tap – Lansing Diocese – The Catholic Church and Feminism

I recently gave a talk on the topic of the Church and Feminism in the Diocese of Lansing for their Theology on Tap Young Adult group. We adjusted the title to “Can You Be Pro-Woman and Catholic? Yes.” 

Recall that Theology on Tap talks take place at bars, so the environment is not one where you really want to “teach” as much as just “share” some knowledge. In other words, you can only go so deep with folks. Even though I’m pretty comfortable talking to groups at bars, I much prefer a classroom setting to get into the nitty gritty. But overall, the feedback was very good and everyone really enjoyed the Q&A afterwards (not recorded).

The beauty of recording these is that I get to edit those rambling bits out. Click this link (if you’re reading this in your email) or click the link below if you’re reading this post in your web browser.

However, if you really enjoy watching me from the side, (what a screenshot, right?) and you like my ramblings, go ahead and watch some of it below here:

Happy Easter everyone!

Rediscovering Our Identity – Part 2 – Link to Audio

As a follow up to my previous post of the transcript of my Women’s Lenten talk, I have uploaded the audio to my Vimeo channel. There’s nothing to watch, it’s just audio.

Still awaiting the full video of all three of the talks from that night. But in the meantime, here is the talk. Note – You’ll probably have to put the volume up as high as you can go in order to hear me.

 

 

Rediscovering Our Identity

I had the honor of being asked to give a brief talk to a group of women at a parish in Detroit called Shrine of the Little Flower. This was a women’s Lenten Retreat and I was one of three speakers invited to talk to a group of about 75 women in attendance.

What a joy it was to present to these women. The organizer of the event and I thought a good theme for me would be “Rediscovering Our Identity.”

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So the good news is that I did record this talk via my phone but the bad news is that the volume ended up being really low. But the GREAT news is that thankfully, the entire evening was video recorded! As I anxiously await for a copy to upload to Vimeo, I thought I’d at least share the transcript of the talk, although I definitely did not stick to this script completely. The parts in bold are just there to make sure I mentioned them and didn’t forget. Enjoy!


Thank you! So first off I just have to mention that this reminds me of the first retreat I went on as a young adult. It 6 years ago, right around this time of the year almost exactly. Because it was two weeks after my mom passed on March 10, 2013. And on that retreat, I met other young adults, people around my age, who talked and spoke differently. Like they knew God in a different way. I wasn’t intimidated by them or anything. In fact, it’s safe to say I wanted what they had!   I started to go on more retreats and I found these people to be the first ones who really taught me what a real relationship with God is like! They sparked something in me to take a second look at my relationship with God.

And it was on yet another retreat where I was prompted to pursue and study Theology of the Body, which was the main catalyst that brought me to the point where I am today and my relationship with our awesome God.  

Theology of the Body is 600 pages long so I wouldn’t expect anyone here to read it..BUT, if after my talk you are inclined to learn more, I promise there are a ton of digestable resources/videos and books that I can recommend.

For our purposes tonight, I wanted to talk about how TOB helps us rediscover our identity, as it did for me.

I don’t know if you knew this, but we are all daughters of God. I did not see myself or think of myself as a beloved child of God. And I went to Catholic school for 12 years. I did know that we are created in the image and likeness of God, but I had no idea what that really meant.  I didn’t really get that…I think, perhaps like many of you, I believed the lies of the evil one and of the culture in general. “I’m not pretty enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not good enough to be loved…etc”

Or maybe we believed the lies that exboyfriends or former friends told us about ourselves and therefore we think – this is who I am. Or “I am stuck in this way of life and that’s all there is to it and there’s no hope.”  So many of us are wounded by sin, especially by men, whether that be fathers or husbands or boyfriends.  And that’s really where TOB comes in to play because we can receive healing from it, once we understand why Jesus came. Because He came to heal us, to restore our identity. And that’s really good news!

And He can heal us of those distorted images of our identity.

So one way in which I was able to rediscover my identity is how JP2 unpacked God’s original plan for us.

He took us back to the beginning in the Garden of Eden to show us that look, God didn’t intend for us to have this ruptured relationship with each other and with Him and with ourselves. That’s what sin did, it ruptured these relationships. But if we go back before original sin, we see the real beauty of that original relationship between man and God in the garden. and when man and woman looked at one another for the first time, they knew the truth – that we are made for relationship. That’s what it means to be human – created in the image and likeness of God. And made for relationship. Man discovered who he was in light of woman, and woman discovered who she was in light of seeing him. That the body is sacred. That we don’t have bodies, these aren’t shells – we ARE Bodies. And our bodies speak a language. That the body matters. I wasn’t created to be used by another.

Young ladies need to hear this – We were not created to be used and objectified. We were created to LOVE. We were created for Union. For relationship. And Love is not using someone as a means to an end, as an object for pleasure and satisfaction. No, that’s another lie of the evil one. That’s what sin does, it distorts and cheapens our true identity.

There’s one particular aspect of TOB that really struck me: JP2 speaks about this “echo” in all of us. This echo of the beginning. That we know deep down that we were made for more. That there is more to life than this. That this, as great as it is, is not our final home. That I was made for more.  

TOB makes it clear that we have ACCESS To that. We have access to God’s original plan for our lives! This is really good news! We can access it by grace and taking part in the Sacraments. I can pray to God to help me be healed of these distorted views and perceptions of myself and OTHERS and of my body, my body image issues that I may have, and I can live my life in such a way that I don’t have to be bogged down by sin.

Yes we are all sinners and yes we live in a fallen world, but that’s not the end of the story. Because, guess what, Jesus came! He came to restore our identities and heal us. In the beginning, it was not so…what was not so? SIN! Lust, divorce, use, mistrust, degradation of the body. We have access to that life before sin distorted everything. We won’t ever be 100% perfect – not until we’re in union with Him in heaven but in the meantime, we can strive for holiness…that universal call to holiness is no joke.

So if you have a distorted twisted or just an unclear view of who you are – if you are struggling with your identity, I would really just pray for the lord to reveal to you the lies that you have believed so you can be healed with the truth.  He is the divine physician and TOB teaches us that yes, with God’s grace, we CAN change, We CAN heal we can Love because we ARE loved.

One last key point – Confession. I don’t think it was an accident that I came back to the Sacrament of Reconciliation after being away from it for 23 years at my first TOB course/retreat 4 years ago. Let me tell you, there’s no greater feeling than walking out of the confessional having been forgiven by God for your sins. Being lent, we’re wearing purple for a reason. Let me just gently nudge you if you have been away for awhile to come back. I love going to confession and I love having a spiritual director – that’s really key for me. 

Let me close with this – Are you familiar with the scripture passage from St. Paul that says  “It Is not I who lives but Christ who lives in me?” I used to read that and not think that it was possible. I thought that was just for super holy people. But you know what? That’s for all of us! And what’s awesome is now I read it and I think to myself – YES that’s me!!! I was lost but now I’m found. My life isn’t perfect by any means, but now I read that line and I get it.

Every day I need the Lord to remind me to put off the old self and put on the new self.  I don’t know if anything I’ve said tonight resonates with you but at least let me close with this – We can all do this with God’s grace. We can change. We don’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) content to live in sin. So I hope I have encouraged you to put on a new life in Christ and Rediscover your Identity as a beloved daughter of God.


As you can see from the agenda I shared, it was a great little evening and all three of our talks were very well received and appreciated.

I’m scheduled to give another Theology on Tap talk in the Diocese of Lansing on “The Catholic Church and Feminism” on April 23rd which will be livestreamed via Facebook. I do hope that the video will be available to share afterwards and if so, will upload it to Vimeo as well. Read More »