Thursday, May 28, 2009

Now and Eternity

A few weeks ago, I was praying about goodbyes. I had to say goodbye to some very amazing people who won't be returning to my college next year. A few days before the goodbye, God provided me with great wisdom about the situation. He taught me that our goodbyes are just as important as our hellos. The life we are living on earth is being lived so that we can one day get to Heaven. Every step of our journey is designed to lead to union with God. I love the people I had to say goodbye to. They have made a tremendous impact on my life, and I consider it a great blessing to have been able to be part of theirs. I know that our relationship will change. Sometimes we will talk, sometimes we will see each other, sometimes we will write, sometimes we will know what is going on in each other's lives, and sometimes we won't. And that is okay because in reality, now is not when I want to see them. When I really want to be with them is when we are forever worshiping our God in Heaven. This new path that they are taking is necessary to perfect them for Heaven. The path that I am still on is necessary for my own perfection. I'm more than willing to sacrifice every role in their lives (and theirs in mine) if it means that we will be closer to our ultimate end, closer to eternity. The goodbye was a very emotional one. I'm convinced that God gave me this insight a couple days in advance because He knew I would not be able to hear Him speaking to me through the emotions of the actual day. However, because of His providence, I was able to focus on this wisdom and not fall apart completely. (Note the completely) There were many tears, and then there was hope.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jon and Kate Plus 8 (again)

I read an article last night (that I can't find this morning, so no link...sorry) about the season premiere of Jon and Kate Plus 8. The journalist quoted Jon saying something to the effect of "this isn't what I signed up for." (He was referring to the scandal involving his fidelity as well as all the paparazzi) The journalist went on to say that by agreeing to do the show, Jon did sign up for it. I could not disagree more. I think that it is unfortunate that the media (and society) think that we have the rights to every detail of celebrities lives. Somehow we think that since we pay them to entertain us, we own a right to their lives. This becomes exceptionally problematic when it is considered along with the fact that (1) human satisfaction is found only in God and (2) modern man is notorious of seeking that satisfaction in all the wrong places. One of those places is the media. Since man asks more from the media (satisfaction) than it can provide (because it is not God), man consequently asks more of celebrities than celebrities should ever have asked of them. Jon and Kate offered us the opportunity to come into their lives. However, that invitation should not detract from their right to decide which parts we can see. We shake our heads, or laugh, or find it exceptionally entertaining when the lives of celebrities are falling apart, but no one seems to want to admit the role we play in the destruction. I will say this, Jon and Kate should have seen this coming. This is what we do to celebrities all the time. We build them up and give them fame so that we can enjoy watching them fall. It is despicable, but it is no secret. This song by Bebo Norman, about Britney Spears, sums it up well. (The video has some inappropriate images, so don't watch, just listen...I couldn't find one that didn't)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Today I am grateful that my bed is so soft. Today I am hoping that I someday learn to stop using the snooze button. Today I am discerning nothing in particular...that's probably not a good thing. Today in my prayer life I will pray the Rosary.

Today my friendships will grow because I will be honest Today my mind will be fed by Peter Kreeft's book A Refutation of Moral Relativism (This is probably my favorite book by him.

Today I will celebrate the joy and happiness of little children! Today I will be a better daughter because I will offer my cleaning services. Today I will be a better student because I will practice the drums...maybe... Today I will live Catholicism by participating in the source and summit of our faith!!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Jon and Kate Plus 8

I don't watch the show often. When I do, it seems like I'm caught in a marathon event. Family life always has a certain level of captivating power over me. Tonight I watched the season premiere. I thought is was absolutely tragic. I came VERY close to turning off. I found it completely devastating to watch Jon and Kate's marriage fall apart before my eyes. I cannot imagine having to live what they are currently going through. I do NOT want to make judgments. I do NOT want to criticize. Jon and Kate are merely the stimulus for this train of thought I'm riding on; what follows here is in no way meant to be an analysis of their lives. I think that divorce is one of the most heart-breaking realities of our times. I cannot imagine having a marriage entered into with such hope, joy, dreams, and deep love fall apart. I cannot imagine the pain that must be involved when one looks back, as his marriage falls apart around him, on something that was entered into with such promise. A lot of times I have heard attempts to justify divorce with the claim that it will be better for the children. Somehow people think that if they end their marriage but remain friends, their kids will learn that they are important and loved. Perhaps the kids will learn that. However, I cannot agree with a claim that says that that situation (involving the destruction of the very foundation of society) is better than doing everything to fight for a marriage. I am not married. Nor am I close to it. I know that marriage is significantly harder than I could ever pretend to know it to be. However, I also know that self-giving love is the answer to the difficultly. It doesn't eliminate the difficultly, but it does provide a constant direction. It enables an individual to know at least the first step to solving marital problems: by dying to yourself. I think that it all begins with finding fulfillment in Christ and in learning not to seek fulfillment in your spouse. What the world is desperately crying out to understand is that no human can give you everything you need. That is not how we were created. We were created for a supernatural end, and it is only in the supernatural (only in God) that we can find satisfaction.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Today I am grateful that (so far) I can breathe through my nose. Today I am hoping that I use my time well. Today I am discerning how God is calling me to use my time this summer. Today in my prayer life I will try to do better than yesterday ;)

Today my friendships will grow because I have little to distract me from them. Today my mind will be fed by being given time to rest.

Today I will celebrate beautiful weather. Today I will be a better daughter because I will take care of my health. Today I will be a better student ...oh wait, first I'm going to enjoy the fact that it is summer... Today I will live Catholicism by spending time in adoration.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Catholic Culture

This article provided my with new food for thought. The article as a whole is worth reading, but these paragraphs are the ones that have me thinking the most. "
But, in fact, they live in a different world from most American Catholics. Opposition to abortion doesn't stand at the center of Catholic theology. It doesn't even stand at the center of Catholic faith. It does stand, however, at the center of Catholic culture in this country. Opposition to abortion is the signpost at the intersection of Catholicism and American public life. And those who--by inclination or politics--fail to grasp this fact will all eventually find themselves in the situation that Fr. Jenkins has now created for himself. Culturally out of touch, they rail that the antagonism must derive from politics. But it doesn't. It derives from the sense of the faithful that abortion is important. It derives from the feeling of many ordinary Catholics that the Church ought to stand for something in public life--and that something is opposition to abortion.

Fr. Himes went on to tell the Boston Globe, "Some people have simply reduced Catholicism to the abortion issue, and, consequently, they have simply launched a crusade to bar anything from Catholic institutions that smacks of any sort of open conversation." (I cut out the remainder of this paragraph)

Still, in a peculiar way, Himes is right that "some people have simply reduced Catholicism to the abortion issue." It is a horrifying fact, in many ways, that Roe v. Wade has done more to provide Catholic identity than any other event of the last 50 years. Still, for American Catholics, the Church is a refuge and bulwark against an ambient culture that erodes morality and undermines families. Catholic culture is their counterculture, their means of upholding the dignity of the human person and the integrity of family--and, in that context, the centrality of abortion for American Catholic culture seems much less arbitrary than it first appeared.

This is what the leaders of Notre Dame need to grasp. They do not necessarily have bad theology when they equate the life issues with other concerns. They do not necessarily have bad faith just because they say that war and capital punishment outweigh the million babies killed every year in this country by abortion. But they lack the cultural marker that would make them Catholic in the minds of other Catholics. Abortion is not the only life issue, but it is the one that bears most directly on the lives of ordinary Catholics as they swim against the current to preserve family life. And until Catholic universities understand this, they will not be Catholic--in a very real, existential sense."

I've never given much thought to the role that the culture plays in Catholicism. As I ramble through some of the things I have been thinking on this topic, I want to make one point very clear. I know that abortion is wrong. I know that Church is opposed to it. I know that it is a fundamental issue because it is intrinsically evil and violates the dignity of human life. Nothing that I say here is meant, in any way, to detract from that Truth.

It is interesting to think about how the tide of popularity manifests itself in the Church. It does seem true that abortion is the "popular" issue in Catholic culture (in America) today. In a lot of ways, it also seems to be the issue that "makes or breaks" one's reputation as a "good" Catholic. Is it impossible for a whole slew of other Catholic issues to combine to be enough to override a pro-choice stance? We've all seen the bumper stickers "you can't be Catholic and Pro-Life." Does his invitation to Obama and his special recognizing of Obama with an honorary degree (ignore for a second the disobedience to the bishops) make Fr. Jenkins a bad Catholic?

At this point people are probably thinking right Melissa but here's the thing, you can't ignore the disobedience of the bishops, and you can't pretend that abortion isn't genuinely a big deal. - Fine. But the point I'm trying to make here (for which abortion is probably not the best example) is that the culture interacts with the Church in a way that gives a certain degree of power to the culture.

I frequently find myself annoyed (that is an understatement) with the Education system in the U.S. and its tendency to cater to the needs of a society that is debased and disillusioned. I would not say that the Church does the same thing. However, I would say that it has become clear to me that the world, the culture, chooses for the Church what She will battle. I'm neither saying that this is a bad thing, nor a good thing. I'm simply stating what I have come to observe. So, what does this mean for the Church? I will not propose an extended response. However, I do think, at the most basic level, it means that She must find ways to promote the wider compilation of the Catholic vision (faith and theology), because there is a real danger of Catholicism being reduced to merely its parts (in this case, it has possibly become abortion).

Sunday, May 10, 2009


To the woman who waited in excitement for me to be born, who bought me outfit after outfit, who fed me when she would have rather slept, who cleaned me up when I fell, who lets me make a mess in her kitchen, who misses me when I haven't talked to her in a few days, who will be upset with me when she sees this picture, who loves me in the way only one woman in the world can...Happy Mother's Day, Mom!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Truth in the Words of a Child

"When I see that picture, the first thing I think of is how special and lucky I am to have God use me that way… I feel very thankful that I was in that picture." Read the full story here...this is truly an extraordinary young man.

Quote of the Day

"As authors it is bewildering that people actually read our books. Don’t get me wrong, that is why we write them, but it’s a strange sensation to realize that somehow the way that we personally articulate ideas meshes with the way that someone else understands ideas. It’s a wonder of wonders that never ceases to amaze us." -Eric Ludy (emphasis mine) I LOVE WRITING!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why do you blog?

I'm not entirely sure what was going through my mind when I began my first blog. I was in high school, and I loved to write. I've always enjoyed reading articles online, and I guess there was some part of me that wanted to write them. Someone made the comment the other day that my blog is very personal. That got me thinking about whether or not I really wanted my life available online. It provided me with the opportunity to examine why I put time and so much of myself into blogging. The truth of the matter is that I have fallen in love with reading the blogs of some very holy catholic women. Their blogs have inspired me in many ways. The stories of their lives, their faith, their families, their struggles, and their greatest joys are a constant inspiration to me and a constant reminder of the beauty of life with Christ. They are very encouraging. They are very real. Some time ago, I was reading an article that made the headline on my yahoo homepage. It was all about what secrets should be kept from your spouse in a marriage. As I rolled my eyes at its content and shook my head at the disillusionment of the world, I moved on to one of the blogs I read daily. That particular day, one of the "bloggers" had beautifully articulated a supernatural experience she had recently. I read what she wrote, and my soul was changed. I thought to myself (and said aloud to my roommate), if this were the stuff that made the yahoo headlines, the world would be a better place. The articles would truly be worth reading. It is a blessing to have such truth online. So, that is why I have been more dedicated to my blog lately. That is why I put so much of myself into it. I'm not saying that my life is particularly exemplary. Nor am I claiming that my blog will change lives, much less souls. The reason I blog is because God has clearly graced my life, my journey to Him, in countless ways. I blog in hope that maybe God will allow some of that to shine through. I don't know that anyone (other than my friends on occasion ;) ) reads my blog. However, I hope and pray that if anyone ever does, they may be inspired to pursue a life lived for Christ. People always say "you never know what you'll find on the internet." I'm just trying to increase the odds that it will be something worth finding...something that will lead to God. If people are going to stumble around online, I might as well try to provide them with an honest place to land.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Today I am grateful for finals treats from home. Today I am hoping that I'm doing God's will. Today I am discerning the practical implications of my knowledge. Today in my prayer life I will take a break from meditation. I need some time to just talk to God.

Today my friendships will grow because I will not worry so much about talking. I will listen. Today my mind will be fed as I cram information into it. (Finals time!)

Today I will celebrate the colors of Spring. (Even though I prefer the colors of fall) Today I will be a better daughter because I will call home and express gratitude. Today I will be a better student because I will focus on my studies. Today I will live Catholicism by participating in mass.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Small Prayer Time Reflection

Tonight before mass I was praying about my desire for God. I want to fall on my knees at His feet daily, in desperate need of His grace to fill me. Tonight it hit me in a new way, in order for that to happen, I actually have to go to His feet everyday and fall on my knees. I have to make it a reality by living. Sometimes the simplest logic matches providentially with God's grace. In those moments, I'm blessed to understand.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Today I am grateful that I have weekend that will not be full of minute after minute of homework. This is a nice calm before the storm of finals. Today I am hoping that I have the prudence to know the difference between rest and sloth. Today I am discerning the role that God has planned certain people to play in my life. Today in my prayer life I'm noticing that a lot of the intense drama and struggle that used to be part of my prayer life is gone now. I'm wondering if that is blessed peace or a lack of true personal contact with my God. Today my friendships will grow because I will invest in them through quality time. Today my mind will be feed by (most likely) finishing Every Young Woman's Battle.

Today I will celebrate Springfest in a fun, virtuous way. I may even go the FOCUS party tonight. Today I will be a better daughter because I will call home with plenty of time to listen. Today I will be a better student by starting to organize schoolwork for the week, even though there is nothing pressing to do. Today I will be a better Catholic because I will take time to beg for Our Mother's intercession.