Categories
Conversion Current Events Ink Slingers Katie Respect Life Same Sex Attraction

Archbishop Leonard: A Model for All Clergy

As daughters of Eve, we are ever vulnerable to deception. As daughters of Mary, Queen of the Angels and New Eve, we are charged with a special mission to fight against evil. And the grand irony happens when the father of lies so distorts the sensibilities of women that they confuse good with evil and begin to fight against the Light, calling it darkness, and throwing all their energies against it.

We see this irony happen quite often in pro-abortion circles. Women, the very ones naturally designed to nurture and defend life, are tricked by the deceiver regarding the gift of life and begin to view the incredible blessing of  a baby as a threat to their happiness. When women begin to cooperate with evil, they fall, in some sense farther than men, bringing an energy and emotion to the pro-abortion cause that men don’t have. For men, the issue is clinical.  For women, it can become almost religious, this fight against the “evil” of undesirable pregnancy, and they fight the hardest and the deepest.

This same sad trickery of women is unfolding now, with the atheist feminist group FEMEN. They made international news in Paris last fall, when they hijacked the pro-family/pro-marriage rally, and attacked marchers with water and sprays. If you Google images for Femen, you will get quite an eyeful, as they attack bare-chested and sometimes totally naked. These women act crazed and my heart aches for what pain they must have suffered in their lives to make them so full of anger and violence. They are fighting against the Light on so many fronts, but most visibly against the Catholic Church, traditional marriage, clothing (help, I’m being repressed by clothing!), men, and unborn babies.

FEMEN’s most recent attack was in Belgium last week, where they physically assaulted Archbishop Leonard during an academic debate in which he spoke against same-sex acts. You can read the full story here, so I won’t recount the entire event, but I want to make a few remarks about what happened to Archbishop Leonard. First, he is amazing. I am deeply moved by his holiness, courage, and gentleness in the face of such violence. I love that he venerated the image of the Blessed Virgin on the water bottle that doused him…talk about heaping burning coals on the head of those who persecute you! Thanks be to God that the media gets images like this, that will hopefully give the enemies of the Church pause to consider that maybe Catholics are not all bad.

My second thought it is, it might not be long before attacks such as this are common in Europe and even the United States. Militant same-sex advocates are confused and angry, believing the Catholic Church is their enemy numero uno. Archbishop Leonard models for all clergy, as well as all Catholics, the perfect way to respond to violent attacks: prayer and interior repose. His posture reminds me of artistic depictions such as the one below, where early Christians showed great composure while waiting for the lions in the Colosseum.

Finally, faithful Catholic women who are trying to live fully our status as daughters of Mary and who strive with Her against evil, need to pray and fast for the members of FEMEN. These women are confused and deeply disturbed, yet God the Father loves each of them dearly. He desires healing and peace for each of these women and so should we. Let’s not demonize our sisters or get angry toward them. That would only succeed in turning us into women with the same kind of darkness in our hearts. We’re called by Jesus to fight evil with love and violence with peace, laying down our lives if necessary for the glory of God and salvation of souls. Mother Mary, terror of demons, pray for us.

Categories
Domestic Church Ink Slingers It's Fun To Be A Girl Katie

Fashion for Jesus

Okay, let’s start with God.  God is Love, and the source of all that is good.  Among the many attributes of God–Truth, Goodness, Wisdom, and so forth–is Beauty.  God is Beauty and all things lovely come from Him; it has pleased Our Lord to share with women a particularly wonderful share in that beauty.  This feminine beauty is praised in Sacred Scripture, as in the Song of Songs and Psalm 45, as well as in great poetry, like Shakespeare, Dante, and Saint Hildegard of Bingen; she is one of my favorites and has this to say about woman, “Why is woman so radiant? God’s hand made her. He gave her an awesome beauty. Woman, what a marvelous creature you are! By grounding yourself in the Sun, you conquer the world.”   We can say that we glorify God when we shine with His radiance.

You might pause at this statement, dear reader, and protest that many of the saints deliberately turned attention away from their physical appearance, like Saint Rose of Lima, who intentionally disfigured her face.  Their actions seem to me to harbor suspicion for the body, which is definitely not part of solid Catholic theology, but I know that they are saints and trust the wisdom of the Church in that matter.  I can understand what Saint Rose of Lima was thinking, insofar as there is danger for us, as women, danger that we will use our beauty to glorify ourselves, and it is  difficult in our culture to not subscribe to the “my body is bait to lure men” mentality.  We have to navigate between the philosophy of objectification, which would turn out bodies into pretty pieces of meat, just as we have to guard against a philosophy of dualism, which sees the body as bad and the spirit as good.

The secret, of course, is to live just like Saint Hildegard encourages us, by grounding our radiance in God the Father’s love.  If we turn the focus from ourselves and fear of our bodies onto giving glory to God, then we are free to be lovely, truly and deeply beautiful, and not be attached to it.  By lovely, I don’t mean that you have flawless features; no one has those, even movie stars.  They just employ very skilled makeup artists.  By lovely, rather, I refer to your appearance, to the general package you present to the world.  If that is how we define feminine beauty, then each of us can manage it.  We can’t do much about our crooked noses or uneven chins, but we can certainly present a cheerful portrait to the world, with a cute skirt, curled hair, lip gloss, and a smile.  Wait, you ask, is Katie telling me that I need to be pretty to be a good Catholic?  No, I am not saying that.  Rather, I suggest that, because we are devout Catholics who are deeply grounded in the salvific mercy of Christ, we have a duty to proclaim through our appearance  that God is good and real and beautiful.

Next, let’s talk about our culture, the culture of death.  It is a dark place, a society where people are isolated and desperate and very afraid.  Our fellow Americans are starving for God and hoping that maybe, perhaps, our Christian claims might just be true; they mock our faith and claim to disdain us, but, deep down, they are waiting for us to prove them wrong.

We have our marching orders, don’t we, ladies?

 

This culture aches for evangelization, and the Holy Father has called upon us to be missionaries.  Each of us, by virtue of our baptism, are sent forth to evangelize the world with the good news of Jesus Christ, and in answer that mandate, as well as to Pope Benedict XVI’s call in this Year of Faith, It’s Fun To Be A Girl has launched the Catholic Fashion Blogging movement.

Colleen, Catholic Fashion Blogger at Ghostjar

Now, you ask, how does beauty and fashion correspond with the Year of Faith and our culture’s desperate need for evangelization?  Here is how.  Because, our neighbors think that they know what is Christianity, and they think it’s boring and small-minded, even dangerous.  Our neighbors think that Christians are out of touch with reality and don’t understand the daily struggles and sorrows that they face.  This is where we employ the missionary tool of fashion, namely, through dressing with an eye to style and following the latest trends in a reasonable manner, we communicate to those who see us that we speak their language.  A prairie dress or long plaid jumper sends the following message, “I reject this culture, and I don’t speak your existential language”, whereas a woman who looks fashionable enough (we are shooting for temperance here, ladies) shows that she is interested in the culture and those who live in it.

Deme, Catholic Fashion Blogger at Crinion Clan

Now, let’s see if we can make sense of the two messages I offer above.  What I am not saying is that every woman is called to be a missionary fashionista.  What I am not saying is that one has to wear mascara in order to please God.  What I am saying, however, echoes the words of Blessed Pope John Paul in this theology of the body, where he asserts, “The body expresses the person.”  Your body expresses you, my dears, and you are each a precious daughter of God the Father, so your physical appearance should reflect that glory.  I am giving to each of you permission to bedeck yourselves in prettiness as a way to shine for Jesus and bring light to your neighbors.  Bring light to your families and your offices and your favorite coffee shops through your glorious femininity.

We radiate with the Light that comes from our Heavenly Father and put our natural feminine beauty to good use, tailoring our appearance to communicate a message of hope and goodness to all who see us.  Come Holy Spirit and teach us how to be beautiful for the glory of God!