29 June 2013

Miss Dependent

So I've been thinking. (That's how nearly all of these blog posts being... with the exception of this one, which I'm still obsessed with!)

Have you ever known the person who gives advice to their friends but never takes his own? I think I'm that person. I've never really considered myself an advice-giver.. I usually don't want to be associated with all of the drama that comes with being someone's "go-to" for advice. But I have some advice for myself tonight, and maybe you could use it too.

Dependence is often considered a vice in our society. People are dependent on drugs, on alcohol, on the government, on technology, on their parents. Why are we so quick to desire independence? Teenagers can't wait to turn sixteen to be able to drive or then to go to college and learn to make it on their own. 

Sometimes it's a good thing. But what about when it's not?

A few months ago at work, one of my colleagues told me that he doesn't like to receive gifts because he doesn't want to feel like he owes anyone. We discussed how sad it is to live a life afraid to owe anything to anyone. 

When it comes down to it, we're all really dependent on one another though, aren't we? I drive a car and I put gas in that car... but if no one knew how to get oil from the ground and refine it... well I suppose I'd walk a lot more. I got bit by a dog near my jugular when I was little... I'm sure glad someone went to medical school and knew how to sew that bad boy up! It's summer in Texas and my well-being is 100% dependent on the guy who just installed our new air conditioner. 

There are people who depend on me too. It's a good thing. 

I wonder why I am more comfortable depending on another human than I am depending on Jesus. When was the last time I needed something and I prayed, "Lord, I really need _____. I trust in you to provide it for me. If it's not your will, change my mind and my heart. Amen."
I know I've prayed that prayer before, but I'm not sure if I ever believed in the words I was praying. 

Maybe one of the reasons we're so uncomfortable with religion is because we're uncomfortable depending on God... we're uncomfortable owing Him everything. 

In one particularly important moment of prayer I experienced in college, I remember meditating on the Cross and wondering why He had to die. I remember thinking, "I'm the guilty one... why couldn't I die so that He could have lived?" I remember with clarity Jesus prompting my heart with the notion that my death wouldn't have been enough. He asked me to allow Him to die for me. But then, wouldn't I owe Him my whole self? 

Jesus was nailed to a cross, that is a historical fact. But have I really allowed His death to be for me? If I had, wouldn't I be more comfortable relying on Him with my every single need?

In the Memorare, it is said of Our Lady: never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. How much more so with the Word Incarnate?! 

Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner. 

27 June 2013


I am a self proclaimed neofeminist. The prefix neo means new or modified, and that describes the type of feminist that I am. You see, being a woman is complex. With all the recent talk of equality, I feel like our society has forgotten that equal does not mean identical. Men and women should be equal, but if any group of people wants to refer to themselves as feminists, shouldn't they work to promote what is best for a woman, instead of working to make a woman become a man? Isn't that idea, in and of itself, misogynistic?

There is much pressure on today's young women to become the best in their respective fields of work, to work like a man, even to have sex like one, with no strings attached. But is that really what is best for women? During the world wars, women worked because they had to... did their children (the Baby Boomers) benefit from growing up that way? I find myself in a similar situation (of course with less dire consequences), having graduated from college with a literal boat load of student loans to pay off. I am working my tail off so that I can pay them back, because in the long run, I don't want my children to grow up with a mother who puts her career above their emotional needs. Every day at work my heart is conflicted. How am I supposed to compete with these men for promotions and raises when many of them have families to provide for? It doesn't make sense. In turn, they see me as "one of the guys" because that's how they have to view me for them to compete against me as well. It's all a rather vicious cycle.

Underlying all of the liberal versus conservative talk about equality is the fundamental view of what is best for women. So called "progressives" think that what is best for men is best for women. From my 23 years of experience actually BEING a woman, it just isn't true. Yes, women should vote, yes, women should make as much money as men for the same exact job, yes, women should go to college and have the same opportunities as men for education, but NO, women should not learn to have commitment and consequence free sex, NO, women should not do whatever it takes to climb the corporate ladder, and NO, women should not be allowed to fight on the front lines. It is specifically anti-feminine and it goes against everything that is written in the DNA of a woman. Women are more valuable than men; a woman, not a man, is the crown of creation.

I just don't see how any woman, when asked if she'd prefer to be treated like a woman (given preferential treatment) or if she'd rather be treated like a man would answer the latter. Feminism, it seems, has made her forget how much she's worth. Instead of lifting her up it has degraded her and made her question what it means to be woman; even worse, it has made her want to be a man.

Further, could someone please explain to me how legalized murder (in ANY form) is progressive? (The divide for this one comes in the form of the question "is it a life?" If it is... there is no reason that abortion should ever be legal... if it isn't, you should check a biology textbook.) The little baby in the womb and the hardened criminal on death row are human people of infinite worth. There is no amount of "inconvenience" that either could cause that would make their lives worthless. Yesterday a bill that would have shut down nearly every abortion clinic in the state of Texas and made abortions after 20 weeks illegal was shut down. A baby is viable outside the womb at 24 weeks!
And why? Because "progressive" women, like men, want to be free of the consequences of sex. The bottom line: that just isn't realistic. If you want to be free of the consequences of sex, don't have sex.. it makes perfectly logical sense.

Progress means moving forward.. but if we're moving forward towards a train wreck.. does that sound progressive to you? Sometimes progress necessarily means going back to the point you got off track and starting again.

St. Gianna, pray for us.

12 June 2013


When I was a missionary, and even for the few years that led up to that point, every time I came home to Texas I was reminded of the part in the Gospels when Jesus says "A prophet is not without honor, except in his native place." (Matt 13, Mark and Luke 4, John 6) Now, I am certainly far from being a prophet, but I think I know how Jesus felt when He said those words.. and I think He was talking to me.

It was so hard to be here because the people around me were far from encouraging of my new way of life. Everything about me was changed in college. That's what happens when you meet Christ. Being home reminded me of everything I'd been in the past, of the eighteen years I spent not really understanding myself because I didn't know Him. I would go to my home parish to pray my holy hours and see people who've known me for years but who never really knew me, and couldn't know me. They knew the old me and weren't interested in knowing how or why I was different. And plus, with fundraising, now I was the girl to be avoided for the fear that she might ask you for money. I had very few productive (at least from my point of view) holy hours while I was home.

My mom was just like everyone else: she didn't understand why I was different. It's so hard to have that conversation, so I guess we never really did. I wanted so badly for my mom to be interested in my beliefs... in the beliefs of the very Church she raised me in... but to her I came off harsh and pharisaical. For two years, every time I came home, I refused to stay at home, and we couldn't go longer than one lunch together without a screaming match. (So emotionally healthy... right?)

So now I find myself in quite the predicament. I'm back at home living with my mom, and we can't see eye to eye on anything. I've become part of the statistics alongside tons of college grads who move back into their parents homes to start their first job. The job market just isn't paying enough! Don't get me wrong, I am EXTREMELY fortunate and blessed to have the job that I do, but with the amount I'm paying in student loans, there's no way I could afford to live on my own right now. So I live here, for free. And I really am thankful for her letting me live here rent-free, but it's so difficult on both of us. She thinks I'm ungrateful because I don't walk in the door after work asking if I could please mop the floor or do the dishes, and I think she's unrealistic because I work 50 hours a week and I'm tired when I get home. She resents it when I go out with my friends because I spend money that she thinks should be paid to her for letting me live here, and I can't even mention my tithe!

Today I was thinking about how living with 3 other women in college was easier than living with my own mother. I suppose the answer is simple: We allowed each other the benefit of the doubt. When laundry was left in the washer or dryer, whoever needed to do laundry would just finish the persons, fold it, and put it on their bed. When dishes were left out, they got done without a regard to who used it. If someone thought the ceiling fan was dusty, they'd dust it! It was pretty great. Now, when I leave laundry in the dryer, my mom actually thinks that I took the time to think "hm, what would really piss her off today?" and then did it. She takes personal offense if a dish is left in the sink. I don't know how to find a solution because I'm human and I fail. In college, my roommates were all extremely holy women who were pursuing the Lord much better than I was, so I suppose we made up for what was lacking in one another. It really was a beautiful mess. They inspired me to be holy.

Please pray for me to have the grace to know Him and to show Him to her.

St. Gianna, pray for us.

09 June 2013

The Many Perils of Relativism

One of the things I've been thinking about lately is how dangerous relativism is. It's dangerous not because of radical relativists who take it to the extreme, like most "isms." Relativism is dangerous because, unlike all the other "isms" you don't have to decide to be a relativist. It just happens. It creeps into our thoughts and way of life so carefully and deceptively... it's as if it were planned by someone who desires the destruction of the whole human race...

Last week I had a conversation with a few guys at work. We were discussing one of the guy's girlfriends and how she didn't like to hang out with "our group," basically because we scandalized her. I was arguing that, although I see her point in not wanting to be around people who drink too much and curse too loudly in public, as Christians, which she is, we can't shy away from people who are different from us. I said something like "I used to be a full-time missionary.. and you just have to learn that not everyone is going to be quiet, calm, and on their best behavior at all times." And one of the guys said "yeah, you were a missionary... but you weren't fully a missionary in your head."

Hold.the.phone. I was so offended that I could barely come up with a viable response. What does that even mean? How is this guy pretending to know what goes on in my head after knowing me less than 4 months?

But then I started thinking... how in the world have I been living in a way that would even allow him to say that? Holiness means to be set apart. The other guy's girlfriend, the one who doesn't like to hang out with us, sets herself apart, and everyone knows it. I, on the other hand, am right there in the midst of the absurdities, and people think my life as a missionary was all just a show.. or just something I did after college. Wake up call: I need to change.

But how? I thought I was dining with tax collectors and sinners... but have I, in the process, started to collect taxes as well? I can't physically set myself apart from scandal.. the Cross is scandalous. If I live under a rock or in a Church my whole life, how will I accomplish the will of the Lord to make disciples? Virtue is the middle of two extremes.. but is it a tightrope that I need to learn to balance on?

The conversation continued on and the subject of truth came up. Both of the guys agreed that truth changes depending on who you are... "unless I think murder is okay... then I'm just crazy," as one of them said. These are both very logical men and I was shocked to hear that they both submitted so unknowingly to the principles of relativism. I wanted to continue the conversation but we all had work to do, so we left it with me saying simply, "truth doesn't change."

Today at Mass I prayed that I would be changed by Jesus, and never be the same.

St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.

P.S. Does anyone know of any books or articles written by former Atheists about their conversion into the Church? There's a guy at work who is interested in learning more, but can't get past the idea that faith and science are incompatible.

02 June 2013


Today was the day! (The day I wrote about here.)

I had an incredible weekend.

A bunch of my friends from work and I have gotten into playing sand volleyball lately, and there are a couple really cool sand volleyball bars in the area where you can play and get drinks and it's so much fun!! We went on Friday night and shut the place down! (I have the bruises on my forearms to prove it.)

Yesterday afternoon I went to the Vigil Mass and heard an incredible Corpus Christi homily. I decided that I will officially become a parishioner at that Church. It's not the Catholic Church I grew up in, but I feel welcome and accepted there. People wear chapel veils, genuflect to the altar, and pray before and after Mass. At my home parish, I'm seen as absurdly conservative and too zealous. Maybe I am?

Then the rest of my weekend was spent by the pool with a drink in my hand and various groups of friends. Love it.

Tonight as I was leaving a friend's house, I rolled the windows down and turned the radio up and felt almost the same way I feel every year on this day. I kept having flashbacks to summer nights in high school driving around. I knew then that I'd never feel freedom in quite that way ever again. Then the song 17 by Cross Canadian Ragweed came on, which was perfect.

I think I'm more sentimental and nostalgic than most people. I specifically remember times when my friends couldn't wait to graduate high school and I thought there was no way life could get any better, and I would have given much for time to freeze there. God obviously knew what was going on, because it DID get better. Wayyy better. Then again through college I remember wishing I could freeze time. (You can understand how these feelings add to my hatred of my own birthday.) The only other person who I think understands my lamenting of passing time is my friend Raf from college.

This year it was kind of different though, driving around. I feel like I'm in some sort of transition, still, between being a carefree teenager and finding the vocation God planned for me. At one point I started crying because I was thinking of the people who I love so much and miss a lot and I was sad that I couldn't be with them. I think things are better when you have someone, your person, to share them with.

I guess when I graduated college, I thought things couldn't get better, again. And again, they did. I figured this would be a pattern in my life, that God was going to keep asking me to trust that things would get better every time I doubted Him. After graduation, things WERE better... for a little while. And then when I moved to Florida and straight up, life sucked, and I just figured that they'd be better after I left FOCUS. Don't get me wrong, things are MUCH better than when I was in Florida... but I wonder if life will ever get any better than it was in college. Oh, me of little faith.

Every year, I can drive around with my windows down and my radio up loud and try to recreate the feelings I felt when I was 17, but I don't know that I ever, on earth, will be that free again. Things get so much more complicated as you get older. Praise Jesus, in Holy Hour yesterday, I read the verse in St. Paul's second letter to the Corinthians which reads: Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Heaven is going to be the.real.deal.

Blessed Elisabeth Leseur, pray for us.