Giving a Complete Gift of Self in Marriage

The third essential element of marital love is that it be given totally.  To understand what it means to give totally in marriage, it is good once again to review the purpose of marriage: The purpose of marriage is not merely for the sake of happiness, but for the procreation and education of children, and for the mutual perfection and sanctification of the spouses.  It is in this way that man and wife mirror the love of the Trinity, and the love of Christ for his bride, the Church.  Thus, the word “total” is as complete and conclusive as it sounds: it means that we are called to give our whole lives as a gift to our spouse.

Sounds hard, doesn’t it?

How can we be expected to hand over our lives completely to another?  It is entirely true that this is a difficult thing to do, because God created us free autonomous beings.  As such, we have the freedom to protect, serve, and cultivate our lives according to our own likes, pleasures, preferences, and choices.  We are called to work towards self-perfection and greatness in life, and to take care of ourselves in mind, body, and spirit.

However, while a healthy self-love is important, self-love alone is not ultimately what brings us fulfillment.  We learn from Christ that true fulfillment comes in living our relationships well.  Thus, in marriage, man and wife are called to adapt and conform themselves to the needs and desires of their spouse; for the good of their beloved.  Marriage is ordered towards a complete and total gift of the self, for without it, one could not truthfully say to another, “I am entirely yours.”

untitled

If I am being completely honest, I must admit that what it means to give “totally” to my spouse is something I am still learning to do with each passing day.  Sometimes it comes easily and sometimes it takes a ton of work because my husband is his own person with a unique temperament, character, and personality—and I am my own person with a different set of characteristics and qualities that make me, me.  It can be extremely difficult at times to lay down my selfish needs and wants for the sake of my husband and to give my love to him unreservedly at all times, but I know that when I do and he does the same for me, our marriage and love is strengthened because of it.  While I have a lot of personal preferences, dreams, and goals, I have to ensure that I am not placing them above the needs of my spouse.  Loving authentically in marriage means that my husband comes first, that I always seek his good, that I am completely open with him (in mind, body, and soul) and that my dreams and desires are united with his.  If my own needs and preferences get in the way of our time together, impede me from meeting his needs, put barriers between our love, or cause strife in our union…I need to re-evaluate and reprioritize.  Also, if I feel that my husband is failing to consider my needs in preference for his own, I am called to openly communicate with him, share my frustrations, and be ready and willing to forgive and forget his shortcomings and failures.  Similarly, in all these ways he is called to do the same for me.

Loving totally does not mean that you won’t encounter difficult moments.  It is a tall order to give totally to another and to pour out love as God does (in complete gift to the beloved), but this is the kind of love marriage is ordered to give. It means always approaching your life together with the love you vowed to each other on your wedding day: a love that always seeks the good of the other, in good times, and in bad.

Just as it sounds, becoming a total gift to another requires much selflessness, but this is part of the purpose of marriage!  Sanctification (i.e. the means by which we become holy) comes only through humility and a whole lot of dying to self.  This does not mean we become something totally different than who we are, that we should allow ourselves to be abused, or that we have to give up all of our personal dreams and desires.  Rather, it means we are called to change the way we do things.  In marriage, it means examining life, not from the perspective of the “I”, but under the lens of the indissoluble “we.”

Thus, it is through a total mutual self-gift and daily dying to self that husband and wife help each other reach perfection in love.

wedding-322034_1920

 

The Freedom in Living Chastely Before Marriage

When examining the element of “freedom” in my marriage, it is clear that there was nothing impeding me or my husband from entering freely into a union with one another. There wasn’t anyone holding a gun to my head when I made my vows and I didn’t feel forced in to marriage for any reason.  I knew with my full heart that I wanted to marry Joe, and I know that he felt the same.  I remember putting on my dress that morning, anxious more from lack of sleep at the excitement of marrying my best friend, than from stress or fear.  I knew that day, that I was exactly where I needed to be: saying yes to a union with the man I trusted with my whole life.

2k7c3866

However, getting to this point of full freedom of heart wasn’t entirely easy.  The road that paved the way required a lot of work and sacrifice, both in my personal life and in our relationship up until the day we made our vows.  I think the only way to really express the freedom Joe and I felt at our wedding, is by honestly telling you about our path and the choices that we made that lead to that day.

I made the conscientious decision to save my virginity for marriage when I was 16 years old, signing a chastity card with the intent of living out my sexuality with God’s plan in mind.  It was a decision that I reaffirmed with every passing boyfriend and with every passing year (even signing 3 more cards which I would later give to my husband Joe on our wedding day).  Throughout my life, this proved to teach me two things: to keep my eye on a love that was authentic and real (not based primarily on utility), and to place my trust and love in God before anyone or anything else.     

With every boy that I dated from then on, I put it in my heart to remember God’s plan for love and marriage.  But this was not always easy.  Probably the first and hardest thing I faced with my vow of chastity was the persecution.  Countless people (both guys and girls) made fun of me for my decision, and basically dumbed down my vow to a “lack of hormones,” or an immature understanding of passion and human sexuality.  “You’ll know when you fall in love,” they told me.  Or they’d say, “You’re so cute,” patting me on the head mockingly.  The names I was called by my boyfriends and their friends, the pressure I endured, the many cheating and uncommitted guys I had to wade through…all of these things were incredibly painful.  It was eyeopening to see how many guys weren’t willing to stick around very long or commit to me when they found out I wasn’t going to be giving them that one thing.  As I faced these challenges, I had to learn from a young age to place my trust in God, and to give him my heart first before handing it away to another person.

This was a challenge in itself, though.  Due to impatience and imprudence, there were still many times that I threw my heart into my relationships, giving certain pieces of myself away freely.  I am not proud of some of the things I’ve done in my life.  I wish that I could erase some of the encounters I had, and all the times I tried to take things into my own hands rather than allowing God to lead me in life and especially in love.  In my impatience, though, I nonetheless felt God very near to me, urging me to look into my heart and examine whether or not my actions were truly making me happy.  By being honest with myself, I realized overtime that anytime I fell short of God’s plan for love and for my life (physically or spiritually), I never felt fulfilled or real love.  On the contrary, I felt used and empty.  Even with the boyfriends I knew loved me

This was not a path I wanted to take, and I learned that in order to get to where God wanted me to go, it would require a lot of sacrifice, patience, fortitude, and ultimately, a man willing to wait for me.  Moreover, I had to put my desires for love and for marriage in the hands of God, and give him the room to send me the man I was praying for.

And he did.  He sent me Joe. 

2k7c3838

I could tell from the beginning that Joe was someone who wanted to get to know me for me. Right from the start, it was so refreshing to meet a guy who was invested in me and my heart, looking for nothing in return.  He was patient and kind, loving and devoted—and all these things proved later to be essential qualities I needed in the man I was going to marry.

As we embarked further in our relationship, we were faced with having to decide what it was we were wanting from one another.  We both knew we weren’t just looking for a “good time” or something of the like, but we were ultimately desiring something more. Something deeper.  Though marriage wasn’t something we actively talked about in the first year and a half of our relationship, I think we both knew, ultimately, that’s what we wanted.  Whether it was with each other or not…well that was for time to work out.  However, in order to get to know each other with clear eyes and to more easily discern whether or not we truly were the right people for each other, we decided early on that we had to take on certain crosses.  We agreed from the very beginning that our relationship would not be guided merely by our passions, and as such we chose to sacrifice engaging in premarital sex and living together before marriage.

I refer to these as “crosses,” because essentially, that’s what they were. Waiting to bodily express the love that was unfolding between us was incredibly difficult, and there were countless nights we would’ve preferred to spend together, rather than apart.  The decision not to live together was a huge sacrifice for us, primarily because we were in a long-distance relationship.  It would have been way easier for us to spend our weekends living together, than for Joe to rent an apartment where I was living.  However, living together would have made it extremely hard for us to temper our desires, and we both knew that if we gave in to them we would be changing the dynamic and direction of our relationship.  Ultimately, with our bodies, we would be lying to one another.  This probably sounds incredibly dramatic, but that is because the call of chastity is starkly contrasted by the modern distortion of the true meaning of sex.  The reality is that the meaning of sex goes much deeper than the modern interpretation of it says it does. Sex is not some act you participate in simply because it feels good, or to express just any kind of love.  As human beings, we are comprised of both body and soul, so the language of the body and the language of the spirit have to be in harmony for this language to speak truth and beauty.  Sex is a gift given by God and what makes it so beautiful is that it is the means by which the wedding vows become flesh.  It is the physical expression of the invisible, unbreakable bond between man and wife.  As Jason Evert once beautifully said, “When a husband gives his body to his bride, and a bride gives her body to her husband, their bodies speak the truth: I am entirely yours.”  Thus, he says, “Sex anywhere but in marriage would be dishonest.”

free-total-ffI look back now at all of the relationships I had before Joe, and see how easy it would have been to give in to temptation and my fleeting desires.  However, if I had, I would have missed out on the gift God gave me in Joe.  I know that the small amount of regrets I have from the mistakes I made in my past would have multiplied intensely, had I given all of myself away to guys who didn’t deserve it–to guys who I had not entered into an unbreakable bond with.

As for me and Joe, as hard as it was to wait, neither one of us regrets it for one second.  We know that the choices we made early on gave us a freedom in love in our marriage that we otherwise wouldn’t have had or would have had to struggle to obtain.  Waiting gave us the ability to clearly answer in our engagement whether or not we were ready to take on the task of loving as Christ loves, and further, to practice the kind of love that could endure times of great trial and sacrifice in our marriage.  By waiting for one another, we were learning what it means to love through the good times and the bad and to always will each other’s good.  We were learning early on what it means to love freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully.

img_5653-trbw

I want to emphasize that I am not here to tell you how to live your life, or that you are a bad person for choosing things that we actively avoided.  I am speaking about these incredibly personal things now, primarily because there are so many different interpretations of what “love” and “sex” are out there today, and very few people talking about what it means to protect the sanctity of your marriage before you ever even enter into it.   It is a tragedy that our culture perpetuates such an enormous lie about human sexuality, because sex does have a deep inherent purpose.  Our culture’s idea that love must be “test driven” only hinders what love can be when it is given freely, without expectations or qualifications.  Real and lasting love takes a lot of sacrifice, patience, and mutual self-giving, and learning to approach sex with it’s inherent purpose in mind (i.e. expressing the marital vows in the flesh) is one of the greatest gifts you can give to the one you love.  Despite contrary belief, following God’s plan for sex and marriage doesn’t make for a sterile, boring, or awkward love with another being, but rather, an incredibly profound and freeing experience of love and vulnerability with your beloved.

If you have made mistakes, or are engaging in premarital relations, it is never too late to say yes to God’s plan for sex and love.  Making the sacrifice to keep yourself pure (whether single, in a relationship, or engaged), is entirely worth it.  While, of course, the Church calls us to avoid the more obvious impediments to entering freely into marriage, it also calls us to a deep freedom of the heart.  There is a great freedom that comes in following God’s plan for love, and the gift given is lifelong romance without regret.

img_5944-tr

Untitled

What is Marriage?

Today is World Marriage Day!  In honor of the day, I wanted to write a little bit about the purpose of marriage, especially since there seems to be so many different interpretations of what it is in our world today.

It is clear that purpose of marriage in today’s culture is confused.  The rate of divorce is incredibly high and people are more often than not opting to forego marriage altogether, choosing instead to live in non-marital monogomous relationships, become serial daters, have casual sexual encounters, or to merely cohabitate.  People often question if marriage is even worth it, and believe that a valued, committed relationship is just as good as a signed document declaring a marital union is in effect.

Even though there are many different interpretations of marriage out there today, the reality is that marriage is not merely a signed document, nor a human institution based on certain social structures or personal attitudes.  It has embedded within it, particular spiritual and permanent characteristics built upon the well-being of the individual persons in the union, as well as society as a whole. 

In order to understand the inherent meaning of marriage, it is important to begin with God, the author of authentic love.  In his infinite Being, God is a Trinity of Three Divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  These Three Persons partake of an indissoluble unity, marked by a deep fidelity to one another in mutual self-giving.  Their gift of themselves is one of totality, unity, and faithfulness: for all eternity, the Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father, and their love pours out into a third person, The Holy Spirit.  In the union of marriage, man and woman–who are created in the image and likeness of God–are called to most perfectly mirror the image of the Trinity and to love as God loves.  Since the Holy Trinity is the highest and supreme example of familial relation, marriage should thus reflect some of these same characteristics.

Marriage is the means by which man and woman live out a familial relationship, mirroring the relation of love between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Man and woman come together and share in an intimate life marked by their indissolubility, fidelity, and mutual self-giving.  It is through the permanent commitment of marriage that man and woman are most fully able to live out their deep and abiding union, and pour forth their love by procreating, and by sharing the fruits of their love with the world.   

We also gain insight about the inherent meaning of marital love by examining it as Christ lived it.  Christ fully exemplified for us what marriage is all about.   He is the great Bridegroom, whose love for his Bride, the Church, is marked by four chief characteristics: that it is free, total, faithful, and fruitful.

free-total-faithful-fruitful

Though Christ was fully divine, he freely entered into human nature so as to reconcile God’s people to the Father.  In his perfect obedience to the Father’s will, he offered himself totally on behalf of his Bride, withholding nothing from her, and choosing to endure injustice, mockery, chastisement, brutality, and ultimately death—all for her sake.  He knew, despite suffering and pain, that his great love and sacrifice for her would ultimately unite her to God the Father and lift her up–sanctifying her–so that she may obtain eternal salvation.  He was completely faithful to her until the moment he breathed his last breath, and through his faithfulness, he opened the gates of heaven allowing the flood of mercy and compassion to wash over his beloved. Lastly, he gave her the gift of The Advocate that so that his love and hers could flourish and bear great fruits, bringing forth the light of love to the world.

Through his life and love for his Bride, we gain insight into what true and authentic love in a marital union is to be like: it means always willing the good of the beloved.  It is not merely contractual or based on personal interpretations, but rather, is covenantal.  Marriage is an exchange of persons, who vow to love one another as Christ loves, with a love that is free, total, faithful, and fruitful.  In the vocation of matrimony, we are called to love one other particular person, and be a living sign of Christ’s love for the Church and for the world.

The purpose of marriage, as designed by the Creator, was further raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a Sacrament through the merits of his Passion, Death, and Resurrection. When two baptized children of God come together in marriage, he pours out special graces upon them so that they may live out their vocation to love one another in marriage, not merely in a natural way, but in a supernatural way.  In this Sacramental reality, the bond of marriage becomes a sacred promise between the man and the woman, that by the gift of their free, total, faithful, and fruitful love, they may move each other towards sanctification and union with God in heaven for eternity.

While it is true that marriage can at times be difficult, it is important to remember that it is primarily because it is the coming together of two imperfect people.  Successful marriages are not the result of finding the perfect person who makes you perfectly happy, but of loving the imperfect person you have married.  Difficulties may arise, but in the end, when both partners seek to work them out with the sake of their spouse in mind, these obstacles prove overall to affirm their marital love. As Saint John Paul II said in Love and Responsibility“One who truly loves does not then withdraw his love [when difficulty arises], but loves all the more, loves in full consciousness of the other’s shortcoming and faults, and without in the least approving of them.”

ccc-marriage

Marital love is a beautiful gift, and when lived out according to God’s plan is entirely worth it.  The inherent meaning of marriage can not be reduced to merely personal interpretations, but it must be shaped according to God’s great plan for marriage as he designed it to be.   

 

 3000000021

 

 

 

 

Put on Love {Giveaway}

For the past couple of years, Blessed Is She has been producing beautiful journals to coincide with certain liturgical seasons in the Church.  I was given one of their Advent journals last Fall by a friend of mine, and it turned out to be one of my favorite things I have ever used to prepare my heart during the liturgical season.  My experience with this journal during Advent was absolutely wonderful, so I am incredibly excited to begin praying with their new journal, Put On Love, which is a companion guide for walking with Christ during the Lenten season.

Lent is my favorite season in the Church, because it is a great opportunity for us to fully examine where we are at in their faith, and a calling to dive deeper and grow closer to the Lord through sacrifice, penance, prayer, and almsgiving.  Lent gives us the opportunity to journey with Christ as he approaches his Passion, Death, and Resurrection, and remember that we, too, are called on a daily basis to love like Christ loves.  Lent is a calling for preparation through hope in what is to come, and a reminder for us to lean into our own crosses, offer our burdens up with Christ, pour out mercy and love on others, and respond faithfully and obediently to the call of the Father.

I wanted to share my experience with the Blessed Is She journal by opening up a give away for one of you faithful readers out there to win!  journal-pic

This journal has daily scripture, calls-t0-action, essays written by Elizabeth Foss, and journaling space to reflect on what you’ve read and prayed.

20170210_130840

It is beautifully written, and carefully pieced together with great attention to detail and gorgeous illustrations by Erica of Be a Heart

20170210_131002

If you win, you will receive the journal right before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which takes place on March 1st this year.  I think it will prove to be a great tool for you to pray with as you journey through the Lenten season to prepare for Christ’s coming at Easter.

And from what I’ve heard, the Blessed Is She journals sell out fast! Don’t miss your opportunity to win one here at By Love Refined!  

Enter the Rafflecopter below to win this awesome Lenten prayer journal!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Rafflecopter randomly picked Lisa T. as the Winner!!  Thank you all for participating and sharing your great ideas for Lenten fasting and sacrifice!

Untitled

*I am a novice at using Rafflecopter, so I hope it works out and is easy to use.  Please comment and let me know if you have any issues with it!  

The Women’s March: Equity for All?

In these next few weeks, two big rallies are being held in our country: The Women’s March on Washington today and the Pro-Life March on Friday the 27th.  Both movements are fighting to uphold and safeguard the dignity of the human person; to work for peace, justice, and equity for all.

I was disheartened when I heard that pro-life women were not invited to the women’s march; disheartened, but not surprised.  I feel like this is yet another example of how the abortion industry has hijacked the women’s movement.  Feminism is the advocacy for women’s rights.  One group has been successful in defining feminism to suit a lifestyle of their choosing.  Their exclusion of anyone who doesn’t adhere to those ideologies, is discrimination at its worst.

I opened up an article today that was entitled “Everything You Need to Know about the Women’s March.”  One of the first things I read was the following: “Organizers say one of the goals of the march is to tell the new administration that on Day 1, ‘women’s rights are human rights.’ Despite the name of the event, leaders have made clear that all are welcome to join, not just women.”

Reading this I couldn’t help but to get a bit angry.  The lie that is perpetuated by the feminist movement, over and over, is that they are inclusive and fight for the rights of women everywhere.  They claim that all are welcome to join in the fight to protect the rights of a woman, but this isn’t true. In fact, there is an orchestrated effort to exclude certain women from this fight: women who are pro-life.  It is unfortunate that what defines the “feminine genius” in our world today is a message of female empowerment through abortion; that there is a movement by people of the same gender to silence any voice that is not their own; and that certain women claim that others have no right to stand up for the social, political, economic, and personal rights of woman…because of their pro-life beliefs.

The women of the feminist movement push certain women out when they have differing opinions, particularly on the issue of abortion.  They don’t feel like a woman who is pro-life should have a voice, because they believe that they are part of the problem.  They believe that they seek to remove certain rights and control pertaining to a woman’s body.  But the pro-life woman wholly agrees with the feminist in her belief that a woman should have complete control over her reproductive rights (which she can do both safely and naturally—without putting harsh chemicals in her body—through Natural Family Planning).  The difference is, the pro-life woman recognizes that with regard to abortion, what we are talking about is a separate body, inside of the woman’s body with unique DNA and a heartbeat.  The pro-life woman believes that among these little lives, are tiny little voiceless males and females–and they have rights that need protecting too.  They push pro-life women out because they shine a light on an issue that not only affects their “liberated” and “autonomous” way of living, but also touches on one of the most fundamental parts of their movement: the fight to protect the dignity of the human person.  If this is really what they seek, where is the debate?  Where is the dialogue?  Where is the compassion and willingness to listen to another sister in order to get to the bottom of things and work to ensure that all lives are protected?  There is none of that; there is just a door in the face to all those who seek to both protect the livelihood and beauty of the woman, as well as the lives of the unborn.   

What is the women’s movement that I wish to be a part of?

The one that fights for all human rights: for equal pay, the right to vote, right to work, right to hold public office; for a women’s right to earn fair wages, the right to own property, the right to receive an education, enter contracts, have maternity leave, and to have rights within marriage.  I wish to be a part of the one that fights for the protection of women against rape, sexual harassment, and domestic violence and the one that advocates for the dignity and integrity of the woman. And lastly, I wish to be a part of the women’s movement that fights for the rights of the least of us: for the vulnerable, unprotected, and especially the voiceless.

I will be praying that women everywhere learn to dialogue with one another, and that hate filled rhetoric and movements to exclude one another in this fight to promote the true dignity of the woman may cease. I will especially be praying for all of you pro-life women out there marching today.

God bless,

Untitled

7 Quick Takes: Stuck Indoors, the Inauguration of President Trump, and an Anniversary to Remember

Linking up with Kelly for another round of 7 Q Takes.

-1-

Last Saturday was a really nice day because me and my family didn’t do anything at all.  I was just getting over a 24 hour fast and hard cold/flu type thing, so Saturday was reserved for reading and hanging out with my family.  In that time, I was able to read Mother Teresa’s book, No Greater Love.  I couldn’t put it down.  Every thought she had on prayer, love, family, sanctity, suffering, death—all of it—they were insights from the heart of a true saint.

My plan for the month of February is to share her thoughts on particular issues with you, so be on the lookout for that soon.  For now, here is a quote that especially struck my heart:
mother-t

 -2-

After I got bit by the bug, the kids came down with it too.  Eli was having a hard time sleeping, which we found out was due to a mean ear infection, and Lucy…well, not quite sure what was up with her, but she was especially trying.  I felt a bit like I did back when she was a newborn, because she wouldn’t let me put her down, and when I did, she resorted to screaming and throwing herself on the ground.  It was a tough couple of days, but I had to keep reminding myself that she lacks the words to explain when her little body is aching and in pain.  When I remember that, I only feel selfish for wanting a moment to myself, or at least a moment when the kids are not crawling all over me.  I found myself pondering the paradox of love a lot this week—the paradox of having to completely pour yourself out for another—and found Jenny’s post, which perfectly summed up everything I was feeling.   She has a real knack for doing that.

-3-

I was coming up short with ideas to keep the babies busy while we were stuck indoors, so I tried painting with the kids.  Eli loves painting, but I’ve always avoided it with Lucy because I figured she would just end up eating the paint by the container-load.  Well, I was right.  The paint brush went straight into her mouth, and the only interest she had in painting was eating it.  I was ready to give up, but found an idea on pinterest to use yogurt as paint.

20170118_113015

 Genius!

It was really easy to make (just one drop of food-coloring in a small tub of yogurt), and Lucy went to town on it.  She mostly just ate it, but I like to think the work of art was in the mess she made.

20170118_115448

Only my Lou could make a mess this beautiful.

-4-

I was feeling pretty antsy and down by Wednesday.  Since the babies were sick, we hadn’t left the house much other than to go to Mass and to the doctor’s office.  When my husband came home to the second day of me sighing to myself and obviously frustrated, I told him the only way I could describe how I was feeling was depleted.  Five days indoors with the kids was getting to me: I needed some adult time.  I needed some me time.  Good thing it was Wednesday, because I got a lot out of my RCIA class that I teach.  Nothing brings me out of a coma like RCIA; the people going through RCIA are so inspiring to me.  They are so receptive to God’s will and ready to listen and ask questions, and it is always refreshing being around them.

I also got a huge boost by going to my women’s Bible study on Thursday.  This has been one of the greatest blessings in my life lately, because the women who are a part of it are so very inspiring.  They have an openness to God that is exciting, and all of our talk on suffering, trials, and obstacles (especially in marriage and motherhood) are always examined under the light of God’s will.  How is he working in our lives?  What is he trying to say to us? Where is he calling us to go?

It’s amazing that most of the time I feel I need air, it’s not so much to get away from my kids and my family, but rather silence my own negative and frustrated thoughts enough so that I can hear God speaking to me and evaluate where He is working in my life.  When I do that, all I end up feeling is a sense of gratitude: gratitude for every elbow in my rib when I’m trying to relax on the couch; gratitude for every over-zealous kiss my kids tackle me with when I am trying to get something done; and gratitude for all the desperate cries and pleas for love when I am trying to accomplish something separate from them.  My family is my life’s greatest gift, and I am so very thankful for them and especially that they continually draw me out of myself.

-5-

This morning I watched the Inauguration of President Donald Trump.  I have to say, it was a bit of a surreal moment.  A few days ago, a quick commercial for the inauguration came on TV and I couldn’t help but flash back to a year ago, and think to myself how I never thought it would come to this.  But here we are: Donald J. Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America.

I was thankful when a friend of mine invited us over to watch him be sworn in.  I thought, Beats hiding under a rock and pretending this isn’t happening. But really, all joking aside, watching it with friends while our kids played was the best thing for me to do.  It reminded me that we live in a country that, albeit in ways divided, is free.  We are free to practice our faith. We are free to worship our God.  We are free to speak our minds and voice our opinions; to educate ourselves on the things that matter; and to get involved when and where we can.  I am thankful for that.  Today, more than anything, I am proud to be an American.

If you’re angered that Donald Trump is our president, I plea with you to pray for him.  Really, really pray for him.  I love what Hallie Lord says in her book, On the Other Side of Fear:

“Someone once told me that if you pray for your enemies, you will no longer be able to hate them.  That the moment you begin to advocate for goodness in their life is the same moment that your animosity will begin to exhaust.  This is because the light of love and the darkness of hatred cannot possibly exist in the same space.”

Remember that his goodness, is goodness for our country.  I will be praying for the good of our President Trump.  Will you join me?

-6-

My sixth point was on the women’s march which begins tomorrow, but decided to save it for then.  Check back in with me tomorrow!

-7-

Today is the 4th anniversary of the death of one of my dear friends from college.  This day always saddens me.  Any reminder that we won’t see his smiling face again, or feel his wild and carefree spirit is enough to bring me to tears. He was so full of life; always ready to jump head first, spreading laughter and light wherever he went.

Though today is a sad day, it’s also a reminder to me that I have a friend who has seen God face to face.  I have a friend on the other side who I can pray for, and who can pray for me.  I have a friend who blessed my life with memories and love, and shared the light of his life with all those around him—a friend that I pray I will see again.  He reminds me that hope is real, and that love lives on through Christ.  I miss him, and I know many others do as well because in his short life he touched many people’s hearts.  I’m telling you about this today, so that whoever is reading this might say a quick prayer for him and his family with me.  Pray that God’s perpetual light is shining upon him, and pray that those who miss him are comforted by God’s love and presence.

kdk_5438

Lord, Peter is gone from this earthly dwelling, and has left behind those who mourn his/her absence. Grant that we may hold his memory dear, never bitter for what we have lost nor in regret for the past, but always in hope of the eternal Kingdom where you will bring us together again. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Untitled

7 Quick Takes: Resolutions and Resistance

This week I am linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes, but the content this time around is a little different.  This week I am going to offer 7 thoughts on a word that continued to pop up throughout my week.  The word is “resistance,” and I think it an especially good word to reflect upon just a few short weeks into the New Year.

The New Year, for a lot of us, marks a great starting point for growth, transformation, and change.  But why is it that so many of us, elated with the idea of becoming better versions of ourselves, allow for those desires to fizzle out just a few months into the New Year?  How do we stick to our goals?  I think this is where the word resistance comes in.  It is a great word for understanding the battle of self-will we find ourselves in, and a great word for conquering our moments of weakness.

-1-

I mentioned before how I never really make New Year resolutions.  I have always felt that they were kind of useless.  It wasn’t so much about me never trying to accomplish these things, but it always seemed silly and unrealistic to give myself set dates and goals for them just because everyone else does that.  I’d give myself passes and excuses as to why accomplishing my goals within a set amount of time was unrealistic and a waste of time.  I always fell back on the fact that I am a busy stay at home mom, I already do a lot, and if I want to accomplish these things…well, I’ll get to them eventually, when I’m ready.

I think what it comes down to, though, is that I was allowing myself to be moved more by fear and apathy than anything else.  The big problem was that the stirrings to better myself remained, but what were planted and put into action instead of achieving these goals were the seeds of jealousy and envy.  So often I would look around at all of the other women (many of whom are busy moms like me) who accomplish amazing things, then think to myself: Well it must be nice. She must have a lot of help to be as fit as she is.  She must be very wealthy since she started her own company.  She must have a fleet of nannies.  She must have a lot of things that I do not.  But these were all lies I was telling myself.  Instead of recognizing the incredible amount of work these women put into the things that they were accomplishing, I rested in these falsehoods.  They were the reasons why I didn’t have to set new goals and work my butt off towards accomplishing the things I still feel called to do.    

-2-

If we look back to the very beginning in Scripture, we see right away man’s first encounter with the Devil.  Adam and Eve were created and placed within the Garden of Eden, and within this environment, they were perfectly happy: they experienced harmony with their surroundings; fulfillment in their work; perfect unity and love with one another; and a clear unity with God—in both their intellects and wills.  Then the Devil enters and immediately begins using fear and doubt as a tool to manipulate them.   He conned their hearts into believing that they could be better people—more fulfilled and happier—if they stepped away from God’s law and relied on their own thoughts, separated from him.  He instilled doubt and fear in them, and as we know, Adam and Eve followed the insinuations of the Devil.  In doing so, they removed themselves from the good grace of God and all that he had given them that was good and holy.

wild-fig-279938_960_720

Two fruits given, one sweet…one bitter

I think it is vitally important to recognize that we are still a part of that story. Here we remain today, longing for what we lost in the great Fall (a sense of accomplishment, fulfilment, unity with our Creator and with one another) and in our movement to find our way back, each one of us is met with the Devil’s RESISTANCE.

-3-

Today, most of our impulsive and immediate desires are easy to fulfill, and we live in an age in which we can have what we want when we want it.  We are presented with endless amounts of entertainment—catered to our own particular interests—to keep us busy and generally happy.  The problem is that deep down, we are all greatly restless.  Our hearts are always seeking for something more—something greater to fill the void.  Often times, the things we fill it with are those things that don’t make us better people, and because we find a certain level of contentment in them, we end up becoming apathetic with our state and fearful of the work it takes to reach greater heights.  This is a big problem, because when we rest in this apathy and fear, letting our self-doubts control us, we remain unchanged and our lives become sterile.

-4-

Jennifer Fulwiler talked about the word resistance in one of her podcasts this week.  She talked about her resolutions and how she was slowly beginning to realize that when you want to accomplish something good (no matter what it may be) you are almost always inadvertently faced with resistance.  She explained that this is why, when you go to find your shoes to work out, you may get distracted and then end up feeling defeated about it all and give up before you even begin.  This is also what happens when you are trying to complete a diet, and all you can think about is desert and reasons to go back to your old way of living.  I think we have all felt resistance at some point in our lives.  I know I feel it every time I sit down to write, when I’m immediately confronted with feelings of insecurity and doubt in myself and my abilities.

-5-

It is very important to put a name and face to this resistance, because ultimately, it is the Devil’s great tool to pull us out of growth and transformation.    The kinds of doubts, thoughts, and distractions that enter our minds that are motivated by fear and apathy are all the whisperings of the one who doesn’t want our advancement.  He wants us to remain right where we are at.  He wants us to be lukewarm people, who move through life without any real cares in the world.  He wants us to be apathetic, lazy, and unaccomplished, and he will actively get in our way to prevent us from living our lives to the fullest.

-6-

The important and key thing to keep in mind, though, is that resistance isn’t a one-sided phenomenon.    The dictionary defines resistance as “the attempt to prevent something by action or argument” (this would be the devil’s attempts to move us through fear and doubt), but at the same time resistance is “the refusal to accept or comply with something.” This is where we enter.  The devil will consistently pull at our lives, calling us in directions that seem attractive yet lead us into dark corners, but our job is to pull back.  If we don’t, what we are ultimately doing is giving in.  Each one of us has an opportunity for greatness, and we have to ask ourselves: In this cosmic battle, who is going to give in?  Me, or him?

-7-

So, how do we strengthen ourselves for this fight?

The best place to start is by asking what would Jesus do?

Well, we don’t have to imagine what Jesus would do, because thankfully for us, by entering into humanity, he did encounter this cosmic battle in a very real and human way.

He had his own battle with the Devil when he entered into the wilderness to fast and pray for 40 days in preparation for his great mission.  After the 40 days, he was confronted with the temptations that were a resistance to his main goal of complete obedience and faithfulness to God.  It is important to note that though he was fully divine, he was also fully human, and in his humanity Jesus experienced everything that we do as humans (all, except sin).  This means that Jesus knew what it meant to be hungry, exhausted, warm/cold, and lacking energy.  Christ felt all of this in his physical form, but by uniting himself with the will of the Father through prayer, he was able to crush the insinuations of the devil before they had any chance to take root in his heart.  The Devil played to Jesus’ humanity: Come on Jesus, I know your hungry, tired, and weak…But you’re God! Make food for yourself! Save yourself! Worship me, I will bail you out!  All of these efforts of the Devil were made to thwart Jesus from his big picture: to pour himself out in love for all of humanity, on the cross.  Through prayer and fasting, Jesus was able and ready to encounter and WIN the resistance of the evil one.  To say no to him, and yes to his mission.

jesus-in-the-desert

So, that is where we start. We look at the actions of Christ when he was confronted with fear and doubt, and we put his examples of faithfulness, obedience, and discipline into action in our own life.   

What can we do?

Fast and pray.  Both are essential to true growth and transformation in the faith, because what you do with your body has an impact on your soul, and what you do with your soul has an impact on your body.  Strengthening them is a great way to change how you choose to live each day and work towards the heights that you are inspired to reach.  Fasting and prayer helps us break free from being slaves to our bodies and to our apathetic spirits.  If our bodies are not strong, and if our spirits are not shaped by Christ’s guidance, we will have a harder time fully accomplishing and saying yes to our missions.

– Recognize when thoughts of doubt, fear, or apathy are entering into your mind, and work hard to resist them.  Recognize that these are seeds planted by the evil one who wants you to fail and give up before you even begin. Pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen you in your resolve to get things done.

-Focus on the process, not the end result.  If we focus on the day to day work we have to accomplish to attain our goals, we will progress.  Most of us want to reach the top of the mountain, but we forget that we have to climb to get there.

I’ll leave you with some words from Saint Jose Maria Escriva, which I think prove useful in this battle:

“Give in? Be just commonplace? You, a sheep-like follower, you were born to be a leader! Among us there is no place for the lukewarm.  Humble yourself and Christ will kindle in you the fire of love.”

Untitled

Interested in reading more like this?  Click the links below!

Inspired by Greatness

I Rejoice in My Sufferings

Perfection in an Imperfect World

Worry in the Midst

Packing Christmas Away

Today we celebrate the last official day of Christmas, and for me the closing of this season carries with it a tinge of sadness.  The idea of carefully packing away all of my beautiful Christmas decorations leaves me feeling a little blue.  I know our house will look very plain and empty without all of the greens, reds, and golds…the very visible signs of hope and of the promise fulfilled in Christ’s coming.

20161229_134457

This Christmas was very special for me because I think it was the first time ever in my cradle catholic life that I paid close attention to what God was trying to say to me during both the Advent season and the Christmas season itself.  I believe that this preparation allowed me to continue to see all the signs of Christ’s coming everywhere I looked, well after December 25th.  I’m very thankful for that.

Yesterday at Mass we celebrated the last Sunday of Christmas, and it felt so very fitting that it fell on the Feast of the Epiphany—the day we celebrate the Wise Men bringing gifts to the baby Jesus.  I was lucky enough to cantor at this particular Mass, and it was special because it allowed me to sing the words from Psalm 72: Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.  Every nation on earth will adore the Christ-child; the one who is High Priest, Prophet, and King over all the world.

It was also incredibly special because it gave me the opportunity to notice things that I usually don’t. Right before the Gospel Reading Father incensed the psalter.  We read about this kind of offering in Scripture often, and it is carried on in the Tradition of the Mass.  It is a reminder through our sense of smell that our prayers and daily sacrifices, united with the Words of God and his passion, are lifted up to heaven together in oblation to God in the Mass.  Yesterday in Mass I got a unique visual of this, because as Father began his homily I saw the incense resting above the altar, and fanning very, very slowly to the giant crucifix behind it.  I could almost see the Lord smelling it…taking in a deep breath as he hung on the cross in the most perfect offering.  It was as if he was breathing in deeply the beautiful fragrance and offering of the Mass and exhaling it all back.  It was a stunning image, and one I think perfectly captured the reality of the Mass.     

ecatholic-stock-photo-55

After this vision, I was called back to Father’s homily in which he spoke of the three Wise Men.  He told us of their journey to see the Messiah who was to be born, and how they went out of their way to follow the star which shone brightly in the sky.  Father reminded us that their journey was treacherous, but despite the obstacles they would face, they showed immense courage.  They allowed the bright shining star to lead them on an unknown journey—a journey which they hoped would take them to see the King.  And it did. It led them to a tiny baby resting in a humble and meager manger: a poor and lowly image that nonetheless radiated such beauty and profound light.  All they could do was kneel in thanksgiving, offering their finest gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to their King.

blr

The gifts that the Magi brought the Lord are deeply rooted in significance and meaning.  The three gifts pointed to and foretold just who the baby in the manger was: the gold was a gift associated closely with royalty and endurance; the frankincense had medicinal purposes; and the myrrh was an embalming and anointing element.  Through these three gifts, the Magi were acknowledging that Jesus was a King whose kingdom would never end, that he would take on the role of High Priest, and that his life and death would significantly be involved in our salvation (the True Prophet who brings the Good News).

This got me thinking about Christmas in our culture today and what it seems to have become all about.  The center focus has greatly shifted away from Christ, moving more towards other things like Santa Claus, goofy Christmas songs, and the countless hours of prepping and buying, storing and wrapping, giving and receiving gifts with one another.  One has to sit and wonder if this is what Christ wants of us during the Christmas season.20170109_120103

Yesterday, though, I couldn’t help but think that the practice of gift giving isn’t too far off from what God wants us to realizeHe doesn’t necessarily want us to focus on the material goods, but he wants us to understand what it means to be given a gift, and in return pour ourselves out in love for one another as a gift to each other.   In Christ, we receive the greatest gift of all: we receive the gift of salvation and the divine opportunity to enter into communion with the Lord; to know him, to love him, and to put him on for ourselves through the Holy Spirit.  Yesterday I realized in a deeper sense that the Christmas season doesn’t just end abruptly, but rather ends with a calling.  Through the guidance of the Christmas season we are brought into the New Year with the most perfect gift of Christ’s love, then sent forth to carry his light and his love out into the world. Christ perfectly lived out his calling to be priest, prophet, and king, and in doing so he gave us the capacity to live this out in our own lives today.  We are called to daily make an offering of our lives to one another and to the Lord in a gift of love; we are called to boldly proclaim God’s goodness to the world; and we are called to become kings like Christ, masters of our own desires and selfish whims, and people who seek always to prioritize and will the good of the otherIn this three-fold way, we become Christ’s light in the world, a gift to one another.  Through Christ, we become the visible signs of the promise fulfilled.

I think just as there is a time for all seasons, it is fitting to pack up and store our Christmas supplies away.  Just as Christ walked forward in his life and resolutely journeyed towards Jerusalem, we too have to go forth and live our lives day by day.  We cannot live in the Christmas season forever.  We have to encounter all the joys and celebrations, and obstacles and pains that come with a New Year.  Hopefully, though, as we continue on in this journey we remember to merely store the Christmas decorations in the dark and dank basement of our homes…not the spirit of Christmas itself.  That, we should remember to save and store in the inner recesses of our hearts.

 Untitled

 

7 Quick Takes: Friend Visits and Adventures in the New Year

Back joining Kelly with my 7 Quick Takes for the week!

-1-

Like I mentioned last week, my friend from NM visited me for a few days this week.  It was really nice having her here!  We went to a fancy dinner for her birthday, and it was great sharing in conversation and doing things I don’t normally get to do with her since she’s so far away.  Karrie and I have been friends since we were 16—we bonded in Choir over Capri Suns, and Avril Lavigne. (Nerd alert!)

One of the things we did that is something I don’t usually do is go to the mall for the Dillard’s New Year sale, her annual tradition.  When I got there, I realized quickly that it was Black-Friday-crazy, and seeing the crowd made me kind of want to run for my life!  There were so many people backed up to get in, but the atmosphere was actually kind of fun.  Everyone seemed genuinely excited to buy quality items at an extremely low price, and all the waiting in line made for some really fun conversation with strangers.  It’s funny how putting yourself into such public situations (that I would normally dread) offered opportunities for charity and a good time.  And the sale was really worth it overall, so I’m pretty glad I went.  I bought a few things I wasn’t expecting because the sale was that good, and I think I might actually go again next year!

20170101_104345

I did a few other things that were kind of crazy, but not all around out of the blue, like piercing my ears and chopping my hair off! The actual piercing of my ears was kind of spontaneous because I decided to do it on a whim after passing by Claire’s in the Mall, but I have been thinking about doing this for years.  Going to the mall with my friend instead of my kids was enough for me to finally pull the plug—and I’m glad I did!  I love them!

Getting my hair cut short wasn’t entirely my fault.  I communicated to my stylist that I wanted to go a bit shorter, but she definitely went a bit shorter than I was thinking.  I am still not used to it or convinced I really like it, but you know what—change isn’t so bad.  It’ll grow out eventually if I don’t come to love it…and besides, you don’t choose the cut, the cut chooses you.    

haircut

Awkward selfie.

All-in-all I think it is better for me to just steer clear from malls for a while.  They make me do crazy things.  

-2-

While Karrie was here we went to a couple of movies together.  We saw La La Land and Manchester by the Sea.

I absolutely loved La La Land.  I mean, LOVED it.  I don’t think I have ever smiled in a movie as much as I did La La Land, and wished so very badly that human life and emotion were expressed in such dreamy song and dance.

mv5bnjqyoti5mdk0ml5bml5banbnxkftztgwmdk1mtc5ote-_v1_sy1000_sx1500_al_

c/o imbd

The movie went well beyond my expectations, and one of the things I loved most was that it perfectly combined music with storytelling.  Many pivotal moments in the movie were better expressed through the music and through singing and dancing than through dialogue.  The acting, music, choreography, and imagery…it was all so beautiful.  It was transcendent to the point where a hand hold, a kiss, or even a look became simply breathtaking; a typical love story, but there wasn’t anything typical about it.  There was no need to focus primarily on a sexual relationship or unnecessary drama between the two main characters.  The story simply revolved around two people who fell in love, helped each other rise to new heights, and achieve dreams they never thought possible.  It was dreamy, and sultry, and lovely and I highly recommend it.   I hope you like it as much as I did.

-3-

I wished I had seen La La Land as our second movie, because I absolutely hated Manchester by the Sea.   mv5bmtyxmjk0ndg4ml5bml5banbnxkftztgwodcynja5ote-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_

c/o imbd

I had high hopes for it because it got rave reviews and had incredible actors in it, but the whole movie was downright depressing and miserable.  I knew going into the movie that it would be a bit of a downer because it’s obvious from the trailer that the characters are reeling from the death of a loved one, but I still I had high hopes that there would be an underlying message of hope.  I thought that maybe those left behind in the wake of death would find comfort and love in one another.  I hoped that that the connection between life (both here and beyond) would be made, and the movie would offer some light even in the midst of terrible awful pain.  (Spoiler alert) In the end, there really was no light.  There was just pain and suffering and no room for any real transformation of the characters, and because of that I think it really lacked substance.  The main character wallowed in his pain and suffering in almost a masochistic sense, and there was no hope in his future but to live day by day in a sort of zombie-like state.  It was just so sad because it offered no room for redemption in his life.  In my humble opinion, just stay home on this one.  While the acting was out of this world good, sitting through that movie and balling your eyes out is just not worth it.

-4-

I forgot to mention last week that one of my New Year Resolutions is to read the whole Bible in a year.  I read Scripture daily, but my reading is very sporadic.  I’ve kind of always chosen scripture passages this way because I’ve found that when I attempt to read cover to cover I get extremely bored at places (cough, cough Book of Numbers).  In order to do this, I knew I needed a plan.  I was inspired by this post by Brandon Vogt, and found a great plan to stick to for the year.  I am already really loving that the plan makes my daily reading simple and organized.

Give it a try!  Let’s do it together! ( I chose the Catholic Bible in a Year reading plan.)

-5-

It snowed in KC!  I never used to be one who loved snow, but it has really grown on me.  I was up late when it started at night, and the glow of the sky reflecting off the soft white ground was so perfect and beautiful.  Plus, seeing my kids enjoy it is so worth sitting out in the cold.  The only problem is I’m still unsure how to properly handle it.  My go-to is to just never leave the house, so when I do I am always severely under-prepared and me and my kids are never properly dressed.

 20170105_180437

This one in particular was a major parental fail. 

I’m going to just start making them wear like 12 layers so we’ll be good.

-6-

For the first time, I used the Saint generator to pick a Saint for the year.  I am so happy I did it and feel so lucky I picked Saint Bonaventure.

images

I already know a bit about him, but think that he is a great Saint for me because he was a Italian scholastic theologian and philosopher, and I love that he was good buddies with Saint Thomas Aquinas.  (If only I could have been a fly on the wall during any one of their conversations.) I’m excited to develop knowledge and a friendship with him throughout the year!

-7-

Our little family ventured out in the snow for a very fun night of basketball, and not just any basketball, but my favorite kind of basketball: Aggie basketball!  I love that we can bring the Aggie spirit all the way over to KS, and that my family represents the crimson color.

20170105_180443

That’s all for me this week!

Untitled

 

 

 

 

January 01: Solemnity of Mary Mother of God

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God!

Last night we went to the Vigil Mass for this Holy Day, and while the cantors began singing Hail Mary, Gentle Woman, I couldn’t help but think how very fitting it was that we were at a Vigil to celebrate Mary’s motherhood just one week after celebrating the Christmas Vigil.   It’s just the gift that keeps on giving.

Mary is known in the tradition of the faith as the Theotokos which literally translates to “God bearer,” making her the Mother of God.  Similarly, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The Virgin Mary is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the Redeemer.” (CCC 963)

65685_10150272904135085_7169539_n

As Catholics, we honor and revere our blessed Mother and count her as incredibly special…but why do we refer to her as the “Mother of God”?  Some people are greatly shocked that we honor her with this title, but I think this stems from a misunderstanding of the teaching.

So, where does the title “Mother of God” come from and what does it mean?

This teaching is both essential to the faith (especially to our salvation), and to understanding who Jesus was.  The reality of Mary as Mother of God surrounds and protects the mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus, who is God made flesh.

Let’s break it down a bit:

What makes a woman someone’s biological mother? Two things: Carrying the child within her womb, and contributing to the baby’s genetic makeup.  So, to say that Mary is the Mother of God is to acknowledge the fact that she carried the baby Jesus within her womb and contributed to his human nature.  Scripture clearly reveals this in Luke 1:26-38 and Galatians 4:4. Now of course Mary’s motherhood also extends in other deep ways, but this title first and foremost references her role in carrying, birthing, and raising our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Acknowledging Mary’s motherhood of Jesus is important because it tells us that he is one person with two natures.  If we denied that Mary is the Mother of God and said that she is merely the Mother of his human biological nature, then we would end up dividing Jesus’ person hood in two, and this is impossible; Jesus’ human nature is inseparable from his divine nature.  Jesus is one person, God, with the First and Third members of the Holy Trinity, the Father and the Holy Spirit and to separate the two would be to separate his very person.  God created Mary specially for being the Mother of Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, who has two natures: one human and one divine (this is the “hypostatic union”).   

Now, this is not to say that Mary gave Jesus his divine nature or person hood.  Jesus is fully divine–fully God–simply because he IS God, the Word made flesh.  What Mary did give Jesus was a nature identical to her own: an immaculate human nature. 

faith-1823127_1280

She gave birth to a Son who was truly God, making her the Mother of the God.  

The denial of Mary as Mother of God also greatly complicates and damages our salvation.  If Jesus was separated into two persons then which died on the cross for us:the human or the divine?  If it was the divine alone, we’d be saying that God himself could be put to death (which clearly doesn’t work).  If it was the human alone, then our redemption is compromised because no mere human death could bring about salvation for all of mankind.untitled

As mentioned above, Sacred Scripture supports that Mary is the Mother of God.  Sacred Tradition is also especially rich with quotes from many early fathers of the faith.  Here are a few:

  •  “The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 5:19:1 [A.D. 189]).
  • “We acknowledge the resurrection of the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became the firstling; he bore a body not in appearance but in truth derived from Mary the Mother of God” (Peter of Alexandria, Letter to All Non-Egyptian Bishops 12 [A.D. 324]).
  • “The Word begotten of the Father from on high, inexpressibly, inexplicably, incomprehensibly, and eternally, is he that is born in time here below of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God” (Athanasius, The Incarnation of the Word of God 8 [A.D. 365]).

And even the father of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, had something to say about it:

  • “She is rightly called not only the mother of the man, the human nature of Jesus, but also the Mother of God.   It is certain that Mary is the Mother of the real and true God.  Men have crowded all her glory into a single phrase: the Mother of God.  No one can say anything greater about her though he had as many tongues as there are leaves on trees.” (Martin Luther, Commentary on the Magnificat)

Amen?

Amen. untitled

This reality is honestly so very beautiful.  God, in his infinite Wisdom, brought the Woman Mary into his life in a very special and familial way.  She was the one who would be there with him, loving him in a perfect motherly way, at every significant moment in his incarnate life.

It just goes to show us that our God is truly a God of love…a God for the family.

Untitled