I found out that my first childhood celebrity crush died today. Davy Jones, from the Monkees passed away at 66 from a heart attack. Growing up my mom listened to the Monkees pretty much non-stop (an exaggeration, but only slightly). We watched reruns of their show on a regular basis and as a result, I was a six year old with a crush on a 19 year old heart throb from the 60s. I dreamed of marrying him someday when I was the same age as him. Let’s just say I did not understand that as I got older, so did he, not to mention that I was crushing on the young Davy Jones from 1966 and didn’t realize for a long time that he was some 50 years my elder. The fact that I met him and got on stage at a Monkees reunion concert did not help curb this dream. But anyway, even though the crush has long since faded, I was saddened by the news of his passing. A small part of my childhood has left this world and moved on to the next one. I just pray that he will get to spend his eternity in God’s presence. Perhaps I’ll dedicate my rosary tonight to his soul, and the souls of others who have recently passed.
February 27th is the best day to be born.
In addition to celebrating my 21st birthday, I’m going to celebrate the birth of some of my favorite celebrity birthday buddies.
1. My first Ash Wednesday was…a challenge. Let’s just say I like food, and my body gets mad at me when I don’t eat my normal amounts. I made the mistake of eating my one regular meal around 11:45 in between classes. That was a little early and the baked potato I ate at 6pm only lasted in my stomach for 5 minutes. My body is very attuned to low blood sugar and I felt it quickly. I got a headache and felt rather dizzy. And my stomach was probably quite distracting to my roommates (it was shouting at me all night). But I suppose that’s part of the purpose of fasting. If it was comfortable, why would we bother?
2. I felt a little self conscious walking home from the on-campus mass with ashes on my forehead. It was pretty cool though.
3. I gave up my space heater and electric blanket for lent. For a Minnesotan, I have a strange resentment toward cold, so I figured this would be the biggest challenge. And our house is old and has the most ineffective radiators I’ve ever witnessed. Now I know what all those people without homes must feel like when they hunker down for the night, maybe without even a blanket.
4. I’ve also decided to get up earlier and pray the rosary before class. When I first bought my rosary, I planned on praying it everyday but that fell by the wayside when school got under way. No better time than now to start the habit for real.
5. My mom’s heart valve replacement surgery has finally been fully approved and scheduled. March 6th she’ll be going in. It’s not open heart, which is good but there are still all the risks that go along with general anesthesia. Prayers will be much appreciated!
6. There are only 6ish more weeks until my confirmation and first communion! Every time I go to mass I get more and more excited. Not sure I’ve ever been more excited about something in my life.
7. I finally found a sponsor. My wonderful uncle has agreed to do this for me. He is such an inspiration with the strength of his faith in spite of all the pain he has experienced in his life (which is more than most people I know). And he is so open about it, willing to share and talk about it with anyone. I think he is the best sponsor I could have asked for.
This is one of my favorite songs. Few can make me tear up, but this is one of them. My favorite part, “Now You are sitting on Your heavenly throne. Soon we will be coming home.” Can’t wait for that day! Enjoy.
One of my roommates and I were studying for our upcoming tests in our nursing courses. One of our other roommates was in the room. We got to talking about a condition during pregnancy where the placenta is before the baby in the uterus. Essentially this means that the placenta is blocking the baby’s exit and a C section is inevitable. It also means that a woman cannot have sex while pregnant when this condition is present because she will bleed which would not be good for her or the baby. This got us talking a little about sex during pregnancy in general. One of the gals asked me then how the Church feels about sex during pregnancy since obviously the woman cannot get pregnant from the act. I must say that I was not quite prepared for this question and thus, I answered it briefly and poorly. My response definitely did not do the Church’s teachings on sex justice. There is a lot of confusion surrounding what the Church teaches and being that it’s all over the media right now, it’s an important thing to clarify. So I was inspired to write this post.
Here’s what I think my roommate (and much of America) thinks the teaching is (though I could be wrong): sex when procreation is not a possible result is considered sinful.
And here’s what I understand the Church’s teachings to actually be.
Sex has 2 main purposes. The big one is procreation (duh). The second is bonding between husband and wife. This bond will help facilitate the successful raising of children and a healthy family. A married couple is free to have sex at anytime they want, whether or not the woman is capable of becoming pregnant. What the Church is not ok with is the artificial removal of a woman’s fertility. The alteration of a healthy, normally functioning reproductive system is what the Church teaches against. So if the wife is in the natural non-fertile portion of her cycle, sex is still ok. The second purpose of it is still being fulfilled. They are still strengthening their bond in the context of marriage. If the woman is pregnant and therefore incapable of becoming pregnant (again) there’s nothing wrong with having sex.
So, essentially these are the 2 rules:
1. Wait to have sex until you are married.
2. Do not mess with the normal functioning of the reproductive system.
If these 2 rules are met, then you are basically golden!
These are not the same things.
I always told myself that I would not write a post that related in anyway to homosexuality. It’s a touchy subject and I don’t like getting on people’s bad side, but I think it’s necessary to try to explain the side of the Church as I see it. And really I think this post will be expandable to pretty much every other behavior that is considered sinful. So I apologize for stepping on any toes, but here it goes.
Tendency: a proneness toward a particular kind of thought or action.
Temptation: the state of being enticed especially to evil
Sin: a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God
This is how Webster defines these words. They are not the same thing but are directly related to one another. Tendency is very much tied to who a person innately is. Everyone is born with a tendency to do things a certain way. They are drawn to particular things. For instance, I tend to want to be a people pleaser (the reason I was nervous about writing this post). This tendency sometimes tempts me in the direction of evil (though not always). Say I am shopping with a friend and she tries on a horrible outfit and asks me if it looks good on her. My tendency to want to please others might tempt me to lie to her and say, “Yes! It looks fabulous!” so as to not hurt her feelings. Now up to this point, I have not sinned. If I utter that lie, then I have sinned. The tendency itself is not a sin. Being tempted is not a sin. We’re all tempted everyday by things around us. Acting on the temptation is a sin. The Church just asks us all to practice self control and resist our tendencies when they tempt us to sin. It doesn’t matter what the tendency is. No matter how big or small it may seem.
Now I’ll just expand a little bit on what sin is before I get to the main point of this post. Sin is anything that estranges us from God. Sin is when we act against God’s will. God created us in a certain way and later gave us rules, through Moses, to help us live in a fashion that would make life as enjoyable as it could be, for everyone. If you look at the 10 commandments, they all make sense. Do not steal. Do not murder. Do not sleep with someone else’s husband or wife. These are all things that will make life with others more pleasant. Things like homosexuality and contraception (not to be expanded on in this post) were also condemned at other points in time. Not necessarily because they would cause trouble for the community (though it certainly could), but more because He knows how we were created and these acts go against that. He knows the purpose of sex and relationships between people and made these rules to help us live according to how we were created and therefore to have the most abundant life. But silly us, we think we know better than God. And now the Church is here trying to show us the way back to God and His will.
So, you have a tendency to be attracted to members of the same sex. We can’t always control who we are attracted to. I get that. I’ve personally found myself attracted to people and no matter how hard I try, I can’t make myself unattracted to them. The Church gets that. But the Church doesn’t ask me to do that. They simply ask me not to act inappropriately on that attraction. The tendency to be attracted to someone doesn’t become a problem until we decide to give into the temptation to act on that attraction. And when we act on it in a manner that contradicts the way God intended things to be, the way He created us to live, then we have sinned. So the Church does not hate homosexuals even though they have a tendency to be attracted to their same sex, or even though they act on that attraction, as many people like to think. Rather the Church teaches against homosexual behavior. Just as any good parent does not dislike their child when they misbehave, the Church does not dislike the homosexual. And just as any good parent would teach their child the proper way to behave, the Church does the same with God’s children. The Church does not ask the homosexual to change who they are and date members of the opposite sex. They just ask them to exercise self control and resist the temptations, just as any unmarried couple is asked to resist premarital sex, or any kleptomaniac is asked to resist thievery, etc. This is my feeble attempt to explain the Church’s stance. But here is something written by a Catholic man who can explain it far better than I can, as he is gay and practices by the Church’s teaching. He even has a blog.
The Church and God do not hate tendencies. But they do hate sin. These are not the same thing. The Church and God do not dislike people. But they do dislike some behaviors. It’s up to each of us if we will act against God or with Him. We don’t answer to each other, but to Him. I can’t force you to act a certain way or to accept God’s loving laws, but I can (and will) pray that you will find the love of God and your place that is being lovingly held in His Church. And I can try to tell you to the best of my ability what the Church teaches and why. Because anyone who truly loves will try to save someone if they see them walking into danger. It’s not always appreciated by the other person, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
ADDDENDUM I know that a lot of people don’t even believe in God or at least not that He’s loving and all that mushy stuff the Church says about Him. And there’s where I struggle with sharing these things. How do I show someone that God really is loving and that these moral teachings really are for our best when they refuse to believe them? How do I say, “no, you can’t do this or that” when they don’t have the same foundation of beliefs? Do I continue to try to show them the light? Or do I live and let live after I’ve tried to no avail? God gave the world up to its sins when it refused to listen to Him. Do I do the same with those around me? I suppose the best I can do is my life by example, in joy and a manner that is pleasing to God. And to pray for those around me. Any thoughts?
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7