Last night, my closest friend and I went to a choir concert put on by the local state university. The guy I’m seeing — my boyfriend! — was accompanying one choir and page turning for a professional guest pianist for another and invited me to go. Like always, I worry at the beginning of a new relationship. I have been through plenty, and once they end, it always hurts, no matter how bad things end up between the two of us. Given that at the point of this performance, I was just beyond being a girlfriend for 24 hours, and was sitting several rows behind him, just far enough away from the comfort of his strong hands, I was starting to feel nervous.
What if I ruin our friendship? That isn’t hardly worth considering, because we both fell for each other early on in our friendship. Really, when we first met almost three years ago, I liked him very much. We’ve both liked each other on and off since then, the “off” times being influenced by going to schools on opposite sides of the country and not staying in touch. Our ability at this point to be close friends was very unlikely.
Besides, I have great friends. You can never have too many, but I wasn’t much interested in having a new best friend from so far away. I worry about relationships because I worry about getting hurt and about hurting him. For me, there’s no way out of this relationship that won’t hurt me, no matter how diplomatic and wonderful he could be. In fact, we had this conversation before he ever asked me on our first date: we both care so much about each other and are terrified of what this relationship could bring.
But we did it anyway. The timing may not seem ideal to the rest of the world, but it’s what we’re doing. When we’re with each other, we can’t stop smiling. We’re a disgusting new couple and are relishing in it.
So as I was watching him last night — with my best friend whispering in my ear, “Are you having any ‘That’s my boyfriend!’ moments yet?” — I was feeling scared. I didn’t want us to get hurt. I didn’t want to like him if we were just going to break up someday.
Then I was overwhelmed by the realization that when God made me, He made someone else in mind for me. I looked at my boyfriend and wondered if it was him, but was completely taken by the understanding that if it isn’t, God still considered a partner for me when I was formed. It’s an amazing thought if you can really take it in.
And like a chain reaction, I realized that instead of worrying, I just need to pray for my boyfriend. I need to be better in this relationship than I have been in the past. I need to pray for him incessantly, like I would pray for my husband if I was his wife. That’s the first step to being the kind of girlfriend he deserves, and the kind of wife my husband deserves.
I’m sure I’m going to mess up. I’m still going to come short, and I’m still going to worry, but with this new approach, it allows more room for God and less room for my own failures. This relationship isn’t about us; It’s about the degree to which we can glorify God in our pure and holy love for each other. We always need to be working, even if not consciously, to lead each other to the cross and to holiness, otherwise it is for naught.
Want to be on time for Mass and Religious Ed classes tomorrow? Be sure to put those clocks ahead tonight!
When do I get to go to heaven?
And thus why Christianity is very often misunderstood.
About the 35 questions, what is your answer to 1, 6, 7, and 34?
1: What is your favorite book of the Bible and why?
Acts is always the first book that comes to mind when someone asks my favorite. I just love reading accounts of the Apostles and the early Church being awkward and working everything out. I’m so madly in love with the Church that I can’t help it.
6: If you were to participate in short-term mission trip, where would you like to go?
I’m not sure, honestly. I don’t know enough about where I’d be needed, or where I would best serve given my abilities. I’d just want to go wherever God was calling me.
7: Favorite well-known Bible story?
That depends on the moment. For this time in my life, it’s Daniel and the Lion’s Den. I hope to have that strength to stand up for God’s law if I am ever called to.
34: What is the best thing someone has done to encourage you spiritually?
I can’t think of any specific instance. Homilies are usually where I get my spiritual encouragement, but it happens frequently enough that I can’t think of a “best” time. Sorry, that’s a really useless answer, but it’s true.
Life just got a lot harder than it already was.
For all the ladies (and there’s lots of good stuff for the guys out there, too). Check this out! Leah Darrow’s awesome.
America’s Next Top Model contestant Leah Darrow talks about how she returned to the Catholic faith and the importance of modesty and chastity
This gorgeous woman was at the SEEK conference. She was so amazing.
Starting Saturday, Jan. 19.
“The theme of the 2013 Roe memorial events is ‘Exodus 20:13,’” Bishop Farrell wrote in his letter of invitation. “The Book of Exodus reminds us of the 40-year journey of God’s people through the desert to the Promised Land, and the verse Exodus 20:13 states none other than God’s Fifth Commandment, ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ — a most fitting reminder from almighty God in the year 2013, the 40th year of the legalized killing of the unborn, that life is sacred and must be protected and that the killing must end.”
Just because you love Mary does not mean that you fully respect the “female sex.” I hate to say this, but there are some things men, no matter how well intentioned, cannot understand.
Practically forever, women have been used, abused, and made fun of. Women have been effectively erased from history. This is especially true in the Church. When women heard voices of saints, had visions from God, reported abuse by clergy, etc, they were tried, burned at the stake, excommunicated, or called a heretic. The only “Virgins” the Church recognizes are women. Joan of Arc was subjected to a virginity test by Church authorities.
When women like St. Mary of the Cross spoke out against abuse by men, she was excommunicated. When Hildegard von Bingen dared to break off from the coed monastery in Disibodensburg, she was told she would burn in Hell. Joan of Arc was actually burned as a heretic.
Misogyny is taught to men as children. The lives of women in this country are still effectively ruled by men. Did you know that there is a movement in conservative Christianity to get women back inside the home, and not working, going to school, or having careers? Did you know that in the Catholic church, there is even a movement to have women submit to their husbands?
All of this is done by men who “respect women” and “love Mary.” I maintain there are some things you will never be able to empathize with. You’ve never had menstrual cramps. You’ve probably never been told to “go make a sandwich.” You’ve probably never been told your worth is only in having children. You will never understand the fear of a possible pregnancy after being raped. Did you know that female fetuses are aborted because of their sex? Men are prized in all societies, and women have a lesser value.
There are so many things I could write about and I’m sorry this post is all over the place. But seriously. Just because you love the Mother of God or your own mothers, does not mean you respect women or believe they should be liberated from this patriarchal society in which we live.
And finally, when you try to tell a woman “I totally understand I’ve been hurt the same way but why are you a feminist,” you really do no understand a single thing about women or feminism.
a disgruntled feminist Catholic intellectual.
WE LOVE YOU MEN BUT SOMETIMES THE THINGS YOU SAY MAKE US SAD.
Okay, I’m sorry, but I have a lot of problems with this post. I wrestled with it for several days before deciding what to say, but I hate this idea that the Catholic Church - with examples from the extremely early days because, ya know, we go that far back - is as bad or worse than the rest of society. I’m not going to lie, this post makes me really unhappy with the early Church until I really thought about how incorrect it actually is. It paints this disgusting image that just isn’t fully accurate and put in such a context that it makes it seem like the Church is still this way. Especially in the line, “Women have been effectively erased from history. This is especially true in the Church.” This is claiming that the Catholic Church goes above and beyond the rest of society in their attempt to erase women from history.
I’m going to use the story of St. Joan of Arc to respond, and hopefully that will show that all of the other examples should really be taken with a grain of salt.
As everyone knows, she was a French woman who joined the army and pretty much kicked butt against the English. She won this amazing victory at Orleans, which was a turning point in the Hundred Years War. At the time, women were not allowed in the army. Still, Joan marched up to King Charles VII somehow and got him to agree to let her go to Orleans (not to mentions he somehow even got to meet with him). To society, it looked like the king just got pushed around by some peasant woman. So when she was captured by the English later, he basically said he respected her, but he really didn’t want to bring her back because he was in charge and didn’t want anyone to think that he was being held up by some woman.
King Charles was not a Catholic official nor did he ever claim to be Catholic. That should be known right away. When Joan was captured, she could have been purchased for ransom, but Charles did not buy her back because of the reasons I already mentioned. It was awful - absolutely - but this cannot be pegged on the Church.
Continuing on, Joan was captured as a prisoner of war and ended up being purchased by the English. They were determined to execute her because she was responsible for King Charles’ coronation and they wanted to undermine his authority.
The bishop involved was appointed by politicians, not the Church. He hand-picked the men on his team, who financed his decisions, to support his own motives of beefing up the King of England and executing a military woman in an attempt to cut down the French. So many things were done in this trial to keep the Church out of it that it’s remarkable. Many clerics who were on the committee were forced to participate, many of them even receiving death threats. Joan was supposed to be put into an ecclesiastical prison with female guards (also known as nuns) to watch over her, but they forced her into a secular prison instead, where she was watched by their own soldiers. Joan asked to be seen by the Council of Basil and the pope, but was not granted these requests. Keeping in mind - this was not in the days of the internet where the pope would just know that this was happening and be able to step in.
The accusation articles contradicted the court’s decision. Everything was done by the followers of the King of England to make sure she was executed. The virginity test was given to her because she came from a class of people known for not remaining chaste. She claimed to, despite all of her involvement with men (and especially considering many of the men she controlled in the army were rapists and thugs), still be a virgin. If they could prove she was no longer a virgin, right there they could peg her for being a liar and then nothing she said could be trusted. It would give them leverage to say she really was crazy and the voices in her head just that - in her head.
They ended up calling her a heretic for dressing in men’s clothing - yet the Catholic officials involved said she was allowed to. She was granted permission because dressing as a man made people pay less attention to her gender, both on and off the battlefield, and made men less likely to rape her. Even during her trial, while she continued to dress as a man, clergy approved of her practice, including Jean Gerson, a theologian.
She was executed anyway.
Within 25 years of death, she was declared as a martyr and a saint. So essentially what we have here is one corrupt “religious” man who called Joan a heretic when in his heart he was trying her as a prisoner of war, and a Church that not only supported her throughout her trial, but then took almost no time to say that he was wrong. Think of how little time 25 years really was back then. The Church undermined the authority of all of those men to say, “you know what, no - that man was corrupt and wrong. Joan of Arc was not crazy, the voice she heard was truly the voice of God. She died for her beliefs and is now a saint in Heaven.”
As for the modern claims made, sure, of course there are movements against women in the Christian and Catholic faiths. There are even women involved in them! That does not mean that these movements are supported by Church teachings. Do not look at bad Catholics and blame the Catholic Church for them. We are blessed to have something called the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We’re even blessed enough to have all of these doctrines on the internet for easy access. If you have any questions about whether someone is following Church teaching with their actions, look it up.
A white army man just killed six Sikh members in their temple yesterday. Does that mean that all white people are racist? Or all men? Or all military personnel? Better yet, the Westboro Baptist Church says he was fulfilling God’s will by doing this. They claim to be Christian, so are all Christians like this?
No. Of course not. Saying that Catholics who start movements to oppress women are acting in line with the Catholic Church is the same as saying that the Westboro Baptist Church is acting in line with Christianity.
I agree with many of the examples then men do not understand what women go through. I know good-hearted men who think I’m silly for not wanting to take a walk around the block at night. It’s unfortunate that they don’t realize how different the world is for women, and I do my best to educate them, but you cannot blame the Church for “especially trying to erase women from history.” In America, slaves were granted freedom and the right to vote before women were. Whose fault is that?
Humanity. For whatever reason, humanity tends to revere men as more important. Throughout history. Throughout religion. If you would really take the time to research it, the Church was much more woman-friendly than the rest of the world. What we tend to forget it is that no matter how in-line with the Holy Spirit our teachings may be, we are still made up of people. All people. We accept the rapist, the misogynist, alongside the feminists. We can accept them as our own but that does not mean that every action they make will magically be in-line with Church teachings. We have to meet people half-way.
The Church points out the teachings of the Holy Spirit. It’s up to humanity, men and women together, to fight for equality among the sexes. Saying the Church is heavily involved with misogyny is not only not fixing anything, but it’s just plain incorrect.