Thursday, August 28, 2008
Here's part of a statement from Archbishop Wuerl of Washingtion D.C.:
“As the Catechism and early Church documents make clear, abortion is always an evil. That is an unchanging teaching. The question on when the soul enters the body was a philosophical question that grew out of a lack of scientific data at the time of St. Augustine. We have the data today which shows the embryo is human. There no longer is any discussion of whether the unborn is human and so the philosophical discussion of St. Augustine’s time is not relevant today.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
“as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition . . . St. Augustine said at three months. We don't know. The point is, is that it shouldn't have an impact on the woman's right to choose.”
In the past 48 hours, the archbishops of Denver, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. and other bishops have made formal statements regarding those of Nancy Pelosi. One of the most ardent was that of Edward Cardinal Egan. Directly from the Archdiocese of New York website:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 26, 2008
STATEMENT OF EDWARD CARDINAL EGAN CONCERNING REMARKS MADE BY THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Like many other citizens of this nation, I was shocked to learn that the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America would make the kind of statements that were made to Mr. Tom Brokaw of NBC-TV on Sunday, August 24, 2008. What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion was not only misinformed; it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age.
We are blessed in the 21st century with crystal-clear photographs and action films of the living realities within their pregnant mothers. No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly, and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb. In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any faith. Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.
Edward Cardinal Egan
Archbishop of New York
August 26, 2008
Cardinal Egan is an outspoken champion for the unborn and the integrity of the Catholic Church's teaching on this abortion. In April, Kevin and I had the opportunity to attend a mass celebrated by Cardinal Egan during Catholic Public Policy Day in Albany. His homily centered on this very issue and was just as strong and poignant as the statement above. In the end, who are Catholics and the American pubblic going to believe? A misinformed politician claiming skills in moral theology, or a faithful, learned man of the church who gives his life for defense of the truth?
God does not promise skies always blue,
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through...
God does not promise sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, Peace without pain.
But God does promise strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way...
Grace for the trials, help from above.
Unfailing sympathy. Undying love.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
What if the birth is like a nightmare?
What if the baby is not healthy?
What if the baby is colicky?
What if the baby never sleeps?
What if I suffer with postpartum depression?
I realize that some of the above "what ifs" are more likely than others, but bottom line, fear had set in. Yesterday, I started to take an inventory of the baby trappings we've accumulated over the past few months. I went through all of the shower cards, looking for gift receipts, gift cards, gift lists, anything important. One particular card's handwritten message rang out some serious truth:
"Ahh...Motherhood...The path to holiness! May [God] take you there. May you grow in great virtue, true fortitude, faithfulness, patience, love. Remember, as you lose your life, you will gain it."
That was not a message promising all that is easy and adorable in children like so many baby cards. It hit on what is real and necessary in motherhood: God's power to grant ever-increasing holiness. And is that not what God has for us in our vocation? No matter what may come, he promises to provide all that we need to become holy: ready to enter heaven to rejoice with the blessed. And apparently, the sufferings and joys of motherhood are part of my journey toward paradise. Mom-dom, even in this pre-birth stage, ain't always rosy, but it is my path to holiness and TRUE JOY. I'll do my best to embrace it.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Last weekend my mom and sister were kind enough to throw a family baby shower. It was a small shower, and I loved the intimacy of it. We used fabric paint to decorate little white onesies. Here are some fun ones:
...much to the chagrin of my aunt and cousin who painted this little number. But, as Kevin said, I can accept MSU, but an Ohio State onesie would have been a offense on our child's inherent human dignity.
Our sweet pea will be here soon. Eight weeks!
I'm feeling much more excited to meet this little one as my due date approaches. In the months prior to this, I don't think the fact that this child will actually come out into the world seemed very real. Since the baby is currently going through a serious growth spurt and becoming much stronger, I am continually reminded of his/her presence. There are times when my insides get a serious beating. Maybe we have an athlete on the way!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Snips and snails, and puppy-dogs' tails,
That's what little boys are made of.
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice, and everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.
Some of my old psychology professors would scoff at the "sage wisdom" of that old rhyme, but a recent article on CNN says otherwise:
Boys will be boys, girls will be girls from birth
On a related note, when I was an undergraduate, I worked at a coffee shop near campus for two years. During my time there, I got to know "the regulars": students, townies, and the homeless. One particular regular still sticks out to me. This person almost always wore dark clothing that could not typically be characterized as feminine or masculine and thick-soled black boots. This person's hair was shorn to about a half inch. While it was, at first glance, difficult to discern this regular's gender, their figure was definitely more feminine in nature. After a few months of seeing this person on a regular basis, I found out through a co worker that this person, though chromosomally female, had decided to abandon her gender and all of the outer trappings associated with femininity. She had and lived out the viewpoint that humans control gender and predetermined genetics had no hold on her identity.
I do not know what caused her to think and live this way, but over and over again, according to research and even my own personal experience, she and others who purport this viewpoint are missing the boat-in terms of cognition, emotion, relationships and spirituality. Having spent time with children, most recently nephews and nieces, I've noticed a distinct difference in behavior in accordance with the gender line in many cases. How is it that my nephew knows how to use his voice to "shift gears" without prior instruction while playing with cars and trukcs? Why is it that my niece was obsessed with Strawberry Ortcake (as she used to say) and pranced about wearing fairy wings with no encouragement from her parents? Granted, every child's genetic predisposition and environment lead to variance in behavior. But for the love of pete, let's let boys be boys and girls be girls!
Friday, August 15, 2008
I think it runs deeper in that. The judgment rendered by the Chinese government that physical beauty is better received than the beautiful voice of this 7 year old girl who competed and won the chance to sing is a reflection of Western culture as well. We see this same behavior in American pop culture all the time-from music to television to movies. We can criticize this Chinese official for being totalitarian, but in the end, we cannot ignore our dominant, consumeristic, "beauty" obsessed culture that leads people the world over to believe that a little girl with a full face and crooked baby teeth is not good enough. The messages received by the singer (your not pretty enough) and the lip syncer (your physical beauty is the better asset) at such a tender age will undoubtedly follow them beyond the Olympics.
When will we put the truth and the dignity of women, especially the littlest women, first?
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Saintly deeds are always appreciated, especially when the odds of me being able to get up after crouching like that are becoming worse by the day.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
To my belly!
Yesterday was filled with grocery shopping, painting, laundry, and a late-night baptism class. Where did that leave me at 11pm? Putting sheets on the bed I need to sleep in, while whimpering and tearing up in utter exhaustion.
Growing a person takes a lot out of a woman, but I'm banking on the grace that God provides in the vocation of motherhood, and not on the fleeting feelings of frustration and exhaustion when, at three in the morning, it feels like the babe is dancing on my insides. Being pregnant is absolutely an alternate state of being.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
In the name of liberation from male "domination", women must not appropriate to themselves male characteristics contrary to their own feminine "originality". There is a well-founded fear that if they take this path, women will not "reach fulfilment", but instead will deform and lose what constitutes their essential richness. It is indeed an enormous richness. In the biblical description, the words of the first man at the sight of the woman who had been created are words of admiration and enchantment, words which fill the whole history of man on earth.
--"Mulieres Dignitatem, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women," John Paull II
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Bishop Daniel Flores, an auxilary bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit celebrated the mass. He said in his homily that the world has not given up the notion of a single-minded life, but it has given up hope that a single-minded life is actually possible. That really resonated with me. There is so much to choose from and filter in this world overflowing with activity, information and images on the internet, television, in the mall, and in the workplace. Even in my life at home, I feel tugged at by the dishes, unpacked boxes, laundry, painting, the dog, my husband, the phone, and our baby growing inside me that demands food, sleep, and the restroom at some inopportune times. But when I see these women who are willing to give it all, body and soul, to the call to be a religious sister, I am reminded that a single-minded life devoted to Christ IS possible and worth striving for.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
What's so strange about this picture? The fact that I'm actually ironing? Nope. The dog is laying underneath the ironing board, of which he is definitly afraid. When we bring it out, he normally retreats to another room. However, that evening there was an extended period of lightning and thunder. I guess we found out that he is more afraid of booming thunder than the ironing board, and felt the need to draw near to me, no matter what stood in his way. You've gotta do what you've gotta do.
Here's Pope Benedict XVI in his Popemobile at Yankee Stadium this past April. That was a great day with so many blessings!
A belly picture from the end of April. The baby has grown, along with my belly, by leaps and bounds since then. I think I've nearly forgotten what it feels like to be without the belly!
Monday, August 4, 2008
In the first two years of our marriage, Kevin and I spent a lot of time intensely discussing my desire to go to grad school and cultivate a "successful" career. All of the discussions ended with me coming to the realization that it is not time for grad school and an all out career blitz for many reasons-financial and simply not knowing what I am truly cut out to do in the workplace.
I love to have a plan and I love to be in control. I had my whole career path--from honors high school classes to accomplished physician--planned out by the age of 12. Alas, it was a mere semester into my undergraduate education that I realized I am not cut out to be a physician. My primary reason: I did not want to put myself in a position where I must be divided between career and family. There are many women who do this and do it very well, but I just knew the time commitment and stress of pursuing an MD was not in the cards. I have never regretted the decision. Since that realization, I have made logical plan after logical plan in order to launch a respectable, flexible career. I started to pursue a Masters in Social Work. When it became clear that was not the appropriate path, I began to pursue a special education degree. When Kevin proposed and we found out we would be moving to New York, I put the higher ed plans on hold again, only to find myself feeling disconnected and lost in regards to God's will for my work life.
The fog finally started to lift a bit when we found out about The Babe in January. I had officially become a mother and the journey would only become more intense and demanding as time went on. Though I liked my job in New York, I knew it was not enough to keep me from this child. To be a wife and mother, without a flashy career, is the path that I am trodding. It is a peaceful path. A path I am thankful for because I know that there are many women who would love to stay home with their children but cannot. The moments with young children are so fleeting and precious.
All of my failed plans have worked together to show me that God is in control. Though I may try to go my own way, his Spirit tugs at my heart when its at the brink, and I have had the grace, thus far, to turn back before too much time and money are lost pursuing things that will not bring ultimate satisfaction or happiness. Now, I pray for the grace and discipline to take this quiet time before the baby is born to learn how to listen more closely to the still small voice of Christ that illuminates each day, one moment at a time. In this, I am confident that there will be lasting peace and true purpose.