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A Beautiful Woman Anni Feminine Vogue Ink Slingers Proverbs 31 Catholic Woman

Love As Christ Loved (Part 1): Recognizing Our Own Love, Light, and Goodness

Love As Christ Loved (Part 1): Recognizing Our Own Love, Light, and GoodnessGod is Love.

God is Light.

God is Goodness.

God’s arch-enemy, is determined to destroy all of God’s Creation – determined to destroy God’s love, His light, His goodness.

Humans are made in the image and likeness of our Creator. Therefore, it would stand to reason we are Love, we are Light, and we are Goodness.

And, Satan can’t stand that!

So, he’s been busy… trying to send us messages that we aren’t love, we aren’t light, and we aren’t goodness. He tries to convince us we aren’t able to be loved, aren’t able to shine lightness toward others, and that we can’t be good.

Nowhere is this more clear than the covert messages Satan sends women. Using media and social pressures, he tries to convince us that we are no good – to ourselves, to each other, and to our families. He creeps into our psyches, grabs hold of our insecurities, and illuminates them – to others, and more importantly, to ourselves.

We begin to doubt our Love…

 

  … our Light…

  …our Goodness.

We begin to doubt our own self-worth.

In his “Letter to Women” Pope Saint John Paul II stated, “Thank you every woman, for the simple fact of being a woman.” This came after he thanked women in every vocation of life. Pope Saint John Paul II recognized the inherent beauty of all women – the beauty and strength that too often, we have difficulty recognizing on our own.

And, as a culture, we have overlooked these messages of positive qualities women bring to their homes, their families, their lives.

St. Thomas Aquinas is credited with saying,

Love As Christ Loved (Part 1): Recognizing Our Own Love, Light, and Goodness

As Christ hung on the Cross dying, He despised the sin we would be tempted to commit. He despised the choices we would be tempted to make. He despised the messages we would internalize about our self-worth, and our contribution to this world… to our homes, to our families, and to our lives.

He despised how we would doubt, even for a second, His love for us.

As Christ hung on the Cross, dying for our salvation, He was doing so out of love for us.

He was dying for us because

He believed in us;

He had hope in us;

He loved us.

Over two centuries later, He still despises the sins we are tempted to make. He still despises the messages we internalize.

And yet, more than two centuries later,

Love As Christ Loved (Part 1): Recognizing Our Own Love, Light, and Goodness

There is no past-tense with God. Every morning, He begins His love for us fresh and renewed. He eagerly awaits for us to see the beauty He sees in us.

He waits for us to recognize the Love He sees in us.

He waits for us to recognize the Light He sees in us.

He waits for us to recognize the Goodness He sees in us.

We can buy into Satan’s empty promises and his attempts to overlook God’s Love, Light, and Goodness shining through us. We can buy into the messages that we aren’t worthy or good enough for our homes, families, and lives.

Or, every. single. day we can commit to reminding ourselves of a quote often attributed to St. Teresa of Avila – may we trust God that we are where we are meant to be!

We are made to see God’s Love, Light, and Goodness shining in ourselves!

We are also made to take God’s Love, Light, and Goodness to others – to let Him shine through us!

Christ saw our Love, Light, and Goodness shining forth as He gave His life.

So, whenever we are tempted to buy into Satan’s lies that we are not worthy of our homes, of our families, of our lives, remember,

Love As Christ Loved (Part 1): Recognizing Our Own Love, Light, and Goodness

For we are all beloved daughters of a most beautiful, merciful, gracious King… we are all beloved daughters of God!

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Ink Slingers Katie Matrimony Single life Spiritual Growth Vocations

The Dilemma and Joy of Being Single

t1larg.single.woman.tsI’m writing today to all the single Sistas. Girls, it is so hard to be single. It is hard because it can feel like there’s not quite a place for you in the Church. It is hard because there IS a place for you in secular society, but it is a place that is not worthy of you. I speak of the Cosmo girl that society tells you to become, if you want to be truly happy, and we both know that Cosmo girls, God help them, are not happy as they seek their next “mind-blowing” orgasm.

First, however, let me start by stating my thesis. My point in this post will be to explain what is the blessed place of single/virginal women in the Church and society, and, if you are single and aching for your vocation, to encourage you to consider the beauty of where you are at this moment.

minervaLet’s begin with a quote from Gertrude Von Le Fort’s little masterpiece, The Eternal Woman: “The one whom we negatively call the unmarried woman is, in a positive sense, the virgin. In other times, the virgin held a position of dignity. Not only does Christianity approve of her, but many of the values that it emphasizes have been anticipated also in pre-Christian times. Names of mountains and of constellations claim the virgin; while her character as expressed in Diana or a Minerva, though differently conceived and motivated, is in a natural sense no less impressive than a Christian saint…Her inviolability, which, if it be purity, always includes a depth of pain, denotes the sacrifice that is the price for an insight into the infinite value of the person. This explains why the liturgy always places the virgin beside the martyr who, like her, bears witness to the absolute value of the soul in the holocaust of his/her earthly life…For the woman who does not recognize in her virginity a value that has its relationship to God, the unmarried state and childlesness are really a profound tragedy…Once we acknowledge the religious import of the virgin, we easily understand her temporal significance. The virgin who sacrifices marriage and motherhood in order to represent the worth of the solitary person secures by this very renunciation both marriage and motherhood…Virginity, then, denotes in a special manner a capacity, a release for action…Thus, the woman whose strength is not limited to her own generation, rightly and naturally feels the urge to make her own contribution toward the historical and cultural life of her people.”

Okay, that is a long quote. Let’s unpack it. First, I like how the text identifies the value of virginal women who, by virtue of their freedom from responsibilities to husband and children, can do mighty deeds, like Joan of Arc, and move Popes, like Catherine of Siena. Single women, because of their freedom from the constraints of marriage and child-bearing, are able to love everyone. They have time for their friends, for their nieces and nephews, for the work, and for volunteering. If you are a single woman, you are able to mother everyone, rather than just your own children. I’m being a little narrow here, obviously, because every woman is a mother by virtue of her femininity, and women who have children to certainly love on people beyond just their own families, but you see where I’m going with this.

Single-ness, and I am using that interchangeably with virginity here, opens before a woman the opportunity to serve God in unusual and extraordinay ways. A single woman, like Katie, can adopt an entire orphanage of children. She can be a doctor who gives all of herself to her patients, seeking new cures and providing round-the-clock assistance.  Watching the video below makes me want to be single and go to Africa and love on babies.

Women who are married and have children cannot do these things. Society tells us that we can have it all, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit that babies need their mamas all the time; it would be an injustice to my children, as well as my husband, if I adopted an entire orphanage. My children need me to love them in a particular way, and my husband needs to know that he is a major priority. As a married woman, I cannot give myself universally in the same way that a single woman can, and that is a pain for me because I see the world wounded and dying, but I must be faithful to the vocation and that means being faithful to making lunch and changing diapers and feeding the dog and loving my husband.  My point is that either vocation, married life or single/virginity, entails giving up something in order to be fruitful in some way.

b&wAnother aspect of the above quote that I appreciate is Von le Fort’s recognition of the sacrifice that singlehood/virginity implies, as woman’s unfilled longing for the comforts of husband and babies translates into “a release for action.” If you feel called to marriage but, despite all your prayers and best efforts, you have not yet met your husband, it hurts. There is an ache in you for the comforts of home and family, and I am just so sorry that your prospects are so few. When Gertrude Von le Fort wrote The Eternal Woman, there were few marriageable men because so many of them had died in World Wars I and II. In our day, there is a different reason for the lack of good men.

The awful fact is that nearly one-third of our generation has been aborted, which means that one-sixth of men who might have been marriage material are not here today. God have mercy. In addition, the men who are alive today are largely handicapped, emotionally and spiritually; they have been fed a steady diet of pornography, video games, alcohol, and sports-addiction, and each of these fosters men who live in their heads or on the computer screens. Men, who are naturally inclined by God to action and bravery, have been largely reduced to Peter Pans who are unable to pursue a marriageable young woman with the intent of courting her and winning her hand. Wow, that sounds harsh. I think that I feel so much frustration on behalf of the beautiful single women I love, women who go on dates with “good Catholic guys” again and again and feel disappointed every time. It seems like there are few men who actually know what they want and who know how to deliberately pursue it. But, please forgive me if I speak without mercy or without a balanced perspective. I know that there are many men who seek God’s plan for their lives, but it can seem like there are so very few.

Which is why y’all need to become saints. “Right,” you say. “Thanks a lot, Katie. Not!” But, I’m really serious. One of the primary gifts of women is to sacrifice for those we love, right? We have an extraordinary capacity to “hold the tension”, as Heather King says, to make up for what is lacking in others and to stand strong if there is an emergency. And, ladies, if there ever was a time when heroic women needed to stand in the gap, it is now. Our world seems to be falling to pieces–families breaking up, sex-trafficking rampant, abortion, pornography, and so forth. If the man who God intended as your husband has failed to find you and failed to be worthy of you, then please consider offering the pain of your vocational longing as a prayer for our dying culture.

The only answer to the wounds in our world is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the only way that Jesus is going to be made present in that world is if you become a saint. Jesus needs you to become a flame, to be set on fire with His love, and to draw others to your warmth. Love, eternal and merciful and tender, is the only antidote to our culture of death, and when you cooperate with God’s plan to make you a saint, you become “walking Love” for others. If Our Lord has allowed you the deep suffering of having an unfulfilled vocational longing, the only way to make sense of it is to offer it up; you take every tear, every lonely Valentine’s Day, ever year of fertility that slips away, and you offer it to the Lord, asking Him to make it fruitful and beautiful. There is no other way to peacefully bear your singleness.

My dear dear Sistas who are single, please know that I ache right there with you. I see how beautiful you are and worthy of a good man and what a wonderful mother you would make, and I am so sorry. I pray for each of you. Amen.

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Alessandra Domestic Church Fatherhood Ink Slingers Marriage Motherhood Parenting Proverbs 31 Catholic Woman Resources Series Vocations

Ode to Feminine Genius: The Proverbs 31 Catholic Woman Introduction

This is the first installment in the series of Ode to Feminine Genius: Proverbs 31 Catholic Woman.

Today will cover the series introduction.

Teaser

Achieving perfection that is pleasing to God by imitating the Blessed Virgin Mary is the goal of this new series entitled Ode to Feminine Genius: The Proverbs 31 Catholic Woman.  In our quest for doing God’s will, intentional homemaking, and becoming a woman of inner beauty by focusing our study in this series of Proverbs 31: 10-31, which tells us:

“Who shall find a valiant woman? far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her. The heart of her husband trusteth in her, and he shall have no need of spoils.  She will render him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.  She hath sought wool and flax, and hath wrought by the counsel of her hands.  She is like the merchant’s ship, she bringeth her bread from afar.  And she hath risen in the night, and given a prey to her household, and victuals to her maidens. She hath considered a field, and bought it: with the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard.  She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm. She hath tasted and seen that her traffic is good: her lamp shall not be put out in the night.  She hath put out her hand to strong things, and her fingers have taken hold of the spindle.  She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor. She shall not fear for her house in the cold of snow: for all her domestics are clothed with double garments. She hath made for herself clothing of tapestry: fine linen, and purple is her covering. Her husband is honourable in the gates, when he sitteth among the senators of the land.  She made fine linen, and sold it, and delivered a girdle to the Canaanite.  Strength and beauty are her clothing, and she shall laugh in the latter day. The Canaanite: The merchant, for Canaanite, in Hebrew, signifies a merchant. She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, and the law of clemency is on her tongue. She hath looked well to the paths of her house, and hath not eaten her bread idle. Her children rose up, and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her. Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands: and let her works praise her in the gates.”

Since this chapter of the Bible is jammed with so much goodness, we have pulled nine (9) categories to write about.  These will be presented in any order and by various contributors coming from different walks of life.  It is our hope to make this a perpetual series within the website and that it will bring you closer to God and help you discipline the self so that we can help one another in living the Proverbs 31 Catholic Woman life.  Here are the topics:

1. A Frugal Woman: A Valiant Woman spends money wisely, in consultation with her husband, regarding the needs of their family, making wise purchases that demonstrate prudence and ultimate trust that God will always provide. Proverbs 31: 13-14, “She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.”

We should ask ourselves questions like: Do I spend our family money wisely?  Do I consult with my husband for large purchases? Am I being prudent with our money?  Do I trust that God will always provide?

2. A Strong Woman: A Valiant Woman cares for herself in body and soul. She is concerned about keeping a strong prayer life, eating right, and getting enough rest, to set a healthy example of strong balance for her family.  Proverbs 31: 16-17, “She hath considered a field, and bought it: with the fruit of her hands she hath planted a vineyard. She hath girded her loins with strength, and hath strengthened her arm.”

We should ask ourselves questions like: Do I care for my body by exercising and staying in shape?  Do I worry about the state of my soul? Do I keep a strong prayers life?  Do I eat well?  Do I get enough rest every day?  Am I setting an example of strong balance for my family?

3. A Diligent Woman: A Valiant Woman uses her time wisely. She works diligently to complete her daily tasks. She does not spend time dwelling on those things that do not please the Lord. She looks for ways to be organized and finds solutions to homekeeping. Proverbs 31: 19, “She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.”

We should ask ourselves questions like: Do I spend my time wisely?  Do I work diligently to complete my daily tasks?  Do I spend time dwelling on those things that do not please the Lord?  Do I look for ways to be more organized?  Do I find solutions to homekeeping?

4. A Merciful Woman: A Valiant Woman serves her husband, her family, her friends, and her neighbors with a gentle and loving spirit. She practices the works of mercy and influences her will to have compassion for, and, if possible, to alleviate another’s misfortune. Proverbs 31: 20, “She hath opened her hand to the needy, and stretched out her hands to the poor.”

We should ask ourselves questions like:  Do I serve my husband and family?  Do I serve my friends and neighbors with a gentle and loving spirit? Do I practice the works of mercy and influence my will to have compassion for and, if possible, to alleviate another’s misfortune?

5. A Hospitable Woman: A Valiant Woman creates an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for her family and guests by being a good homemaker She uses hospitality to show Christ to those around her. She is friendly and courteous to those who visit and makes them feel welcomed. Proverbs 31: 21, “She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet.”

We should ask ourselves questions like: Do I create an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for my family and guests?  Am I a good homemaker?  Do I use hospitality to show Christ to those around me? Am I friendly and courteous to those who visit? Do I make them feel welcomed?

6. An Industrious Woman: A Valiant Woman works willingly with her hands. She keeps her home as her first and foremost focus. She looks well to the ways of her household and embraces the life God has blessed her with. She is diligent and self-disciplined in all she does. Proverbs 31: 27, “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” 

We should ask ourselves questions like:  Do I work willingly with my hands? Do I keep my home as my first and foremost focus? Do I organize my housework and keep up with it?  Do I embrace the life God has blessed me with?  Am I diligent in my housework? Am I self-disciplined in all I do?

7. A Family Woman: A Valiant Woman respects her husband and does good by him always. She loves and respects him as the head of the home. She teaches her children the ways of God and nurtures them with love, and disciplines them with care and wisdom. She trains them in the Roman Catholic Faith.  Proverbs 31: 28, “Her children rose up, and called her blessed: her husband, and he praised her.”

We should ask ourselves questions like:  Do I respect my husband?  Do I do good by him always? Do I love and respect my husband as the head of our home?  Do I teach my children the ways of God?  Do I nurture my children with love?  Do I discipline my children with care and wisdom? Do I train my children in the Catholic Faith?

8. A Faithful Woman: A Valiant Woman serves God with all of her heart, mind, and soul. She turns to God and His Blessed Mother seeking God’s Holy Will for her life. She fears the Lord and follows His ways. She turns to the things of God always and turns away that of the world that takes her away from Him. Proverbs 31: 29-30, “Many daughters have gathered together riches: thou hast surpassed them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”

We should ask ourselves questions like:  Do I serve God with all of my heart, mind, and soul?  Do I turn to God and His Blessed Mother seek God’s Holy Will for my life? Do I fear the Lord and follow in His ways? Do I turn to the things of God always?  Do I turn away the things of the world that take me away from God?

9. A Beautiful Woman: A Valiant Woman is a woman of worth and beauty. She has the inner beauty that only comes from Christ. She uses her creativity and sense of style to create beauty in her life and the lives of her loved ones.  Proverbs 31: 30, “Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman who feareth the Lord, she shall be praised!”

We should ask ourselves questions like: Do I keep my focus on being beautiful from within?  Do I focus on the ways of our Lord Jesus Christ?  Am I creative? Do I try to use my sense of style to create beauty in my life?  Do I create beauty in the lives of my loved ones? Do I make my home beautiful within our means?

Is there a topic that stands out to you?  Are there some you are already working on? Do you like the questions created above?  We liked them so much that we created an Ode to Feminine Genius Examination of Conscience.  Enjoy!