Ink Slingers

Welcome Back One-piece

(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

This summer I am welcoming back the one-piece bathing suit. And you can too! It’s not about hiding stretch marks or feeling more confident than in a two-piece (because I do!). It’s about reclaiming modesty.

I think most of us women can reflect on our coming of age years and realize that we hit a certain point––we didn’t want to be “girls” anymore; we wanted to be “women.” We wanted to grow up already. We wanted to wear makeup, shave our legs, and wear two-piece bathing suits (which are essentially a bra and underwear, right?!). We didn’t want to be “cute” anymore. Without knowing it at the time, we were also rushing to give up our modesty and innocence.

I don’t know about you, but that rush into womanhood (as defined by culture) led me down a path away from God and from who I really wanted to be. The culture taught me that my identity as a woman and my beauty was on the outside. I lost respect for myself and for others and that was revealed in my dress–too tight, too revealing, too short. Turns out, this way of living was not fulfilling, nor life-giving.

I suppose this is a prodigal-daughter-like story because God sent a beautiful holy woman into my life to show me what is was like to be a real woman. You might have heard of her, Mother Mary? I came back from a pilgrimage to one of her shrines and my life was forever changed. I first and foremost learned the truth––my identity and beauty came from being a daughter of God and Christ living in me. This changed everything. I gained respect for myself and for others and within six months, I had a new wardrobe.

Mother Mary taught me that her beauty comes from the fact that she loves God with her whole heart. The more I strive to do the same, the more I recognize things in my life that obstruct my love for Him. She has taught me that we must be pure to enter the Kingdom of God. Modesty guards our purity. Our childlike innocence is what lets us see the angels who gaze on God. Mother Mary is the true and best example of womanhood. From her, we can learn everything God desires of us as women.

So back to the one-piece bathing suit. Having learned what I have in my journey and now as a mother of two girls, I feel the importance of this responsibility to show my daughters what true womanhood is. Yes, the culture is still going to tempt them with the rush into womanhood, with manicures at four years old and two-piece bathing suits at five years old, but we cannot underestimate that they still look up to their mothers!

I’m wearing a one-piece bathing suit for my almost three year old daughter. You might be thinking, “She’s three! She doesn’t notice!” but when we went to the beach this past weekend, do you know the first thing she said when she saw me? “Mommy, we match!” as she pointed to her one-piece suit. I smiled and thought to myself, that’s exactly why I’m wearing it. I never would have thought that wearing a one-piece could ever feel so good!

As my daughters get older and we live strive to live the faith, which is often counter-cultural, I hope they always know that I’m on their side fighting with them. That I’m always striving to be a woman like Mother Mary. That they can look up to me. That we match, even if the rest of the world doesn’t.

Mother most pure, pray for us.

Christmas Faith Formation Holy Days of Obligation Ink Slingers Karen Liturgical Year Mary Motherhood

Why the First of January is a Holy Day of Obligation

The Feast of the Nativity of our Lord has passed, and now we are in the thick of a joyous Christmas season! Hallelujah! 

 Why the First o
But don’t get too settled. January 1 is a Holy Day of Obligation. It is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. 
In the celebration of the Octave of Christmas, the most elevated day is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, where we honor Mary for her role as the mother of our Savior. 
This celebration appears to go back as far as 431 AD, and officially was giving the Solemnity date of January 1 in 1971, after having been placed at a variety of other dates in the year in the past (more history can be found here)
Why celebrate her? Well, why not? I like to consider the role she had in Jesus’s life and the significance it had not only for our Savior, but for all of humanity. What she did as a humble servant and mother, and continues to do as a powerful intercessor, gives us pause to marvel at what this one humble woman has accomplished: taking a prominent role in the salvation of humanity.
When the angel Gabriel approached Mary, her humble acceptance of God’s will resulted in the coming of Christ to save humanity.
She birthed the Son of God.
She nursed him.
She raised him.
Every scrape, she tended to.
Every need for guidance that a child might need, she gav“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1-38)e.
She would have taught him to clothe himself, proper customs and manners, how to draw water from a well, and see how bread was made.

Jesus was not simply born into this world and suddenly became the grown man walking the Earth, preaching to the masses. No, he was nurtured, cared for, and somehow, while simultaneously an omnipresent God and human child, would have discovered the world around him under the love and guidance of his faithful mother. And with this in mind, she provides us with the most perfect example of holy motherhood.

And if that all were not enough, she bore the hurt and suffering that only a mother can know of seeing her son scourged, reviled, and crucified.
She walked along the path to Calvary.
She would have held His lifeless body.
She was assumed into heaven and crowned Queen of Heaven, and has the power to intercede for us.
With all this, it is no wonder that Our Lady is a woman to be honored in such high esteem!  
So, make sure you are in the pews January 1 to thank your Heavenly Mother!