st. catherine qoute

(St. Catherine of Siena)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Something beautiful for God

So as I sit here, streaming to a live Irish station of traditional music on the computer, I write....

I was walking back to my office this afternoon from a meeting, and in the hallway there was a woman praying with another woman. The one handed the other a prayer card of St. Gianna Molla (an Italian doctor who chose to carry her child, even knowing it would lead to her death...she later became a saint, and is an inspiration to all expectant mothers) and continued to sit and pray with the other woman. At this parish, we have an outreach ministry to woman who experience an unplanned pregnancy. Many unborn lives have been saved, and the lives of the Mommies changed for the better. That short walk to my office made me stop and think about why I myself am in the kind work I am.

Those of you who know me pretty well can easily pick up that: 1) I have a tendency to be kinda crazy, but in a fun, happy, and joyful way 2) I am passionate about what I love/believe in 3) I have a high dose of energy and a laugh that has been descirbed as "hyena-ish" (again, these are all used for something good in the world) 4) I am in madly in love with Jesus Christ and what He left us, the Catholic Church. I am so blessed that in working with young people I can combine all my weird, uniqueness and use it for the glory of God!!! Anyone working in church ministry will tell you it is no average 9-5 job; and youth ministry is no exception. Young people need to be told that someone loves them, prays for them, and more importantly that JESUS loves them; that there is peace, comfort, and truth found in knowing, loving, and serving Him. Everything the Church does in reaching out to young people should have one goal: everything for teenagers must be based on a personal, intimate relationship with the living Jesus. Of course, it is not always smiley faces, flowers, and sunshine (as nothing in life ever is) however, to truly know and believe what you are doing in your life is making a difference in the lives of others makes everything else completely worth it.

In my bedroom and in front of the computer at my office, I have a little note card and in black sharpie marker it says, "I am going to do something that will lead others to Jesus Christ!" That sums up my mission in standard for work in youth ministry. If I cannot honestly say to Jesus at my judgement, that I didn't at least strive to live this out authentically, then I didn't live a full life. The fullness of life is found only in Christ. end of story. My mission in life and in my work is to do things that will lead others to Jesus. Right now, He has me in a specific way working with young people; who knows maybe in 5 years from now I will be teaching in a college or be a some type of national speaker???? I just know that the more I strive to grow in my own faith and work with others, is that I want to make something beautiful for God throughout my life.

That's all. :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Modest is Hottest

Every time I open my cell phone, I am greeted with the smiling face of the Mother of God, Mary and this wonderful, catchy little saying, "modest is hottest." And today in opening it to answer a phone, I was inspired to run with this happy little phrase.

These three words symbolize a truth that is not always respected or even valued in our culture today. We have all seen it, you know what I am talking about...mistaking really short skirts for a wide belt or shorts that are so super-duper short that they look like tight panties. Seriously, more is less! In working with teenagers, I have a rule with the young ladies called "The 3 B's." At any Youth Group/church outing or social event, the "3 B's" must be covered...butt, breasts, and belly. They always laugh at it and sometimes it makes several of the young gentlemen turn slightly red, but seriously these are things that our young women need to be reminded of and taught about.

We as women have A LOT of power. I am not talking about in some crazy feminist way where we are taking over the world. But, we hold so much power in what we can ask and command of men. The way we dress is a way which really is telling the world how we view our body/sexuality and self-worth. The way you dress could say, "Come here boys, check out what I got," or it could say "I respect and love myself enough to where I don't have to show it all."
I am not suggesting that women wear turtlenecks and long skirts 365 days a year, but let the way you dress be modest, elegant, and classy all rolled into one. Lose the tight booty shorts. Dump those skirts that have huge slits. Pitch the low-cut tops that let everything fall out.

God made women mysteriously in the world as co-workers in creation with man. The physical body plays a beautiful and unique role in the creating of a new human person through the marital act. Woman is made for the sacred; she is Heaven's instrument on earth. However, in our culture, sometimes our beauty is clouded and dimmed by the de-meaning of a woman's value by merely physical features. Women need to re-caputre their dignity and mystery by recognizing that less is really more.
We are so blessed to have so many wonderful witnesses in our Catholic tradition that challenge and affirm the true beauty, modesty, and dignity of women. The Blessed Mother, our mother and Jesus' mother. Our Lady is the perfect example of what it means to be a real woman and is here to pray for each of us and help us claim back what society has taken.
Pope John Paul II. People who say the Catholic Church doesn't love, support, or affirm women is absolutely crazy. And this Pope is an example of the Church's respect for women. Pope John Paul II wrote the most beautiful letter called "On the Dignity and Vocation of Women" in 1988. In this document, he paves the way for a "new feminism" based on the dignity of women as women and human persons (I challenge all women in the Lord to take a look at this truly amazing work!)
There are some amazingly awesome books I have read that I highly encourage young women to read and explore to help re-claim the idea that "modest is hottest!"
  • "The Thrill of the Chaste" by Dawn Eden
  • "Mulieris Dignitatem" (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women) by Pope John Paul II
  • "Sex God" by Rob Bell
  • "Theology of the Body for Beginners" by Christopher West

These are some of my favorites that inspire me and constantly remind me of what my first job as a woman of God is...and that's holiness. So the next time you are walking through H & M or Forever 21 looking for something cute to buy, remember...modest is hottest :-)