Monday, November 5, 2012

Children "Vote" for Obama at Catholic School

On the eve of the presidential election, I'm not going to change any minds at this point, but I'd be mad at myself if I didn't say something.

Our kids attend a Catholic grade school and recently the school held a mock presidential election.  Sitting down for dinner with our kids last night, I found out that Obama won the third grade vote.  Our twins are in third grade but they voted for Romney because they know my husband and I are voting for Romney.  So does this mean the majority of third graders voted for Obama because they know their parents are voting for Obama?  If so, do they not know or care that the Catholic church and our Religious Liberty are at stake?

If this is the case, I'm really worried.  Not so much worried about the outcome of the real election, but for the outcome of future Catholic generations.  I'm worried that as my children grow up around these other kids and their families, that our jobs are going to be even harder to instill Catholic social teachings if the majority of the families they grow up around aren't on the same page as we are... standing WITH the Catholic Church on all things.

I know kids will generally follow what they're first taught at home, but there will come a time when they'll hear and wonder about other values and views, and question theirs (or rather, "ours").  It takes a village to raise a family, so it's important for us to have our children surrounded by like-minded Catholic families and individuals because they will be influence by EVERYTHING around them.  I'm sorry, but it's very disheartening to me to think that many Catholic children my children know may not be taught and shown the truth of our Faith from their own families, which could then be a tragic epidemic of ignorance or apathy towards Church teachings for generations to come.

This is a very touchy subject, and not one you can force upon people to change their minds or views. I feel all I can do at this point is to continue to pray for all the families of our parish and school, and I want to add this eve, my continued prayers for our country and future leaders of America.

May God bless our country, and Holy Mother, please pray for us.

Friday, October 19, 2012

My Prayer for America

Agena Hurrle, Indianapolis, Indiana. This is my prayer for America.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Beyond "Grinding" at School Dances

It's Homecoming season, and the perfect time to re-post about "grinding" at school dances. A friend of mine just posted this on Facebook: "Had some football players over tonight for a bonfire. They chose not to be a part of the homecoming dance that is now called "the grindfest". Makes me so sad that school dances are no longer a place I want my child to be."  
This blog post (titled "How Do We Help Our Young People Get Beyond 'Grinding'?") from my favorite priest, Fr. John Hollowell, is a must-read for parents and educators!  Until his recent re-assignment, Fr. Hollowell was the Chaplin and a teacher at Cardinal Ritter High School.  Read his post HERE
Parents, I'd like to encourage you to talk to your teens about this, and like my friend did, offer a better alternative for your kids and their friends on Homecoming night if "grinding" is an issue at their school dances.  And if it is an issue at their school, parents and teachers MUST go to the school administrators and speak-out against it.  EVERY school dance, regardless of whether it's a public school or private school, should have policies against "grinding" at school dances and enforce them.  Don't be naive in thinking that this kind of dancing is harmless.

Friday, October 5, 2012

"Does It Really Matter If I Vote?"

This 30 second video is so cute and has a VERY powerful message!

When I was in my 20's, before marriage and before children, I didn't really care about politics.  I had my own opinions about some things, and so I claimed to agree with a particular party, but I didn't exercise my right to vote.  I didn't think my one, little vote would matter.
And then I had my own family, and that changed everything.  I became passionate about certain issues and protecting this country's future for my kids' sake.  It's so important to vote!  EVERY vote DOES matter!
I 'd like to talk to people reading this who may have never voted before.  I use to be afraid of going to the polls and not knowing what to do, and looking like an idiot.  That was ridiculous of me, because it's SO EASY!  The volunteer workers will show you exactly where to go and exactly what to do, and they aren't going to wave a big, red flag and blow a bull-horn to announce that you've never voted before, and then laugh at you.  They're very helpful and HAPPY that you're there!
You might think, "My vote is just one, measly vote", but you can't think that way.  When you vote, and people hear, or know that you voted, that starts a movement.  I guarantee that will encourage someone else to vote (if not now, at a future election), for example a co-worker or two, a friend, a younger sibling, or even your own kids one day.
You might think, "I don't know anything about the candidates, or understand anything about politics, the government, or the issues."  While it's good to know as much as you can, that's NOT a requirement to vote.  Pick at least one topic, ask around, or Google it, and learn what each candidate proposes.  For example, if you feel strongly about being pro-life or pro-choice, learn what each candidate endorses about it and what their plans are for running the government regarding that issue.  That is enough to vote.

For those of us who plan on voting this election, ask others if they're going to vote (coworkers, friends, your family).  ENCOURAGE them to vote.  Encourage everyone you know to vote.  It doesn't mean you're trying to have a conversation with them about politics, just leave it as a question of whether they're going to vote or not.  You never know what an inspiration you might be! 

Now, my warning... if you do feeling even the slightest bit of interest about something that's a political issue this election, and you DON'T vote, you're just breathing air.  Why then does anything matter to you?  You're a child of God and your opinions and rights matter!   And don't you at least owe it to future generations, or your legacy (your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.) to take a stand and take action for something important?  Please.  Please get out and vote, and encourage other to vote too.  Millions of lives are depending on it - not just right now, but your vote this election affects the future too!
Register to vote right now!  Click on graphic below.

God, please bless American, and Holy Mother please pray for us.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Guardian Angels

Blessed feast day of Guardian Angels. 


"Perhaps no aspect of Catholic piety is as comforting to parents as the belief that an angel protects their little ones from dangers real and imagined. Yet guardian angels are not just for children. Their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, to aid their prayer and to present their souls to God at death.
The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it. Jesus' words in Matthew 18:10 best support the belief: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father."

Devotion to the angels began to develop with the birth of the monastic tradition. St. Benedict gave it impetus and Bernard of Clairvaux the great 12th-century reformer, was such an eloquent spokesman for the guardian angels that angelic devotion assumed its current form in his day.

A feast in honor of the guardian angels was first observed in the 16th century. In 1615, Pope Paul V added it to the Roman calendar."

From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their (the angels) watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united to God." - from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; 336.
God bless my guardian angel - he/she has been given a big job!  I can recall numerous times throughout my life as I look back, where my guardian angel was working overtime!  Thank you dear guardian angel.  I hope I can live up to whatever reasons God has for me to still be hear, and doing well.  And for my childrens' guardian angels, please protect them as well as mine has protected me.

I love this dear, little prayer.  It's the first prayer my kiddos had memorized...

Guardian Angel Prayer
Angel of God, My Guardian Dear
to whom God's love entrusts me here.
Ever this day be at my side
to light, to guard, to rule, to guide.

...and this one is a beautiful one too:

Prayer to One's Guardian Angel
Dear Angel, in his goodness God gave you to me to guide, protect, and enlighten me, and to bring me back to the right way when I go astray. Encourage me when I am disheartened, and instruct me when I err in my judgment. Help me to become more Christlike, and so some day to be accepted into the company of Angels and Saints in heaven.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"The Chalice and the Pepsi Can - The Call to Holiness"

The perspective from which I'm sharing here on my blog, is of what I want my own children to know and understand.  What my prayers are for them, and for all souls.  This video by Father Joseph Hirsch is excellent in helping anyone to understand God's will for us... holiness. 

Fr. Hirsch gives his insights into what it means to listen to God's call to holiness for our lives. As a member of the office of Vocations for the Diocese of La Crosse, Fr. Hirsch encourages you to ground your life in prayer and discern where God is leading you, not only for your vocation, but also how we should view ourselves and others.  His message here is outstanding!

God's peace and love be with you.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Why Are There 7 Sacraments?

This is a terrific educational video (just 2 minutes long) about the Sacraments,  A super-easy to understand, brief video explaining why there are 7 Sacraments and how they relate to the 7 conditions of physical life.  The explanation in this video is from the great Archbishop Fulton Sheen. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines a sacrament as "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof."  In short, a Sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as being of particular importance and significance to our faith.

Video credits

Producer/Director: Derek Natzke
Animation: Derek Natzke
Graphics: Derek Natzke
Music: mobygratis

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Leaving the Faith

This homily, from a favorite priest of mine, brings tears to my eyes.  Because of my immense love for Christ and His church, I feel deep sadness in my heart for people who have left the Church;  for all who really don't know the faith and the beauty of its Truth;  for all who don't "agree" with Church teachings because they don't really know what it teaches or why, or because they've succumbed to secular worldviews (what the world and our culture says is right for us);  for those who don't know or believe in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist;  for those who haven't been taught the faith (or not taught correctly), or who don't have good role models showing them how to LIVE the faith;  and for all whom are Catholic by culture or birth only and they just "go through the motions". 

If one's heart isn't truly in the faith, whether or not you attend Mass regularly, and you proclaim to be a Catholic Christian but yet don't truly live the faith and/or just go through the motions, then you've already left the Church.  I'm not judging anyone.  I'm purely stating the unfortunate reality of where so many people are in their lives right now.  My heart aches for them, and I pray for them.

God bless this priest for speaking what God needs the world to hear.  God's peace and love be with you, today and always.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Don't Let Satan Steal Your Wind

The evil one will try to steal your wind.  Don't let him! 

When you're trying to do good - especially in God's name, or you're changing your life for God, or trying to live a Holy life, Satan will work in sneaky ways to steal your motivation, steal your energy, steal your hope.  He'll even use people in your life that he knows mean the world to you, to mess with your head and make you doubt what God's word is, His love, and His plans.

I've experienced this many times, as I know most people have.  As I mature in life and my faith formation, I can see things more clearly now, and I can recognize when this is happening. 

It's so easy to let people we love who don't have faith in God, influence us because we love them so much and they're very dear to us.  You can even know that those people love you very much, but if they don't speak and live God's word, then be careful of their influence over you.  This is hard and can be painful.  With prayer, strong faith and trust in God, much reflection of His word and teachings, know that it's truly God who has your VERY BEST interests at hand.  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart"  Proverbs 3:5

At the same time, don't let it destroy a loving, important relationship in your life either.  The devil will try to put anger, pain, doubt, spite and pride between you and people you love who may not have the same faith in God... don't let that happen either!  Satan works from all angles.  Keep your prayer life consistent, surround yourself in God's word, and with Holy people - that includes going to church weekly - so you stay strong in your faith and can recognize attacks on your faith.

The evil one will try to distract you, and deceive you, and he knows what buttons work with you, and even knows what people to use to make that happen.  Don't let the wind from your sail be taken from you.  Sail on for the Lord, and keep praying for love in our hearts always, and for those who don't know Him. 

May God protect us all.

Monday, July 16, 2012

May You Hear "Well Done" My Friends

This song makes me want to sing and dance!  :)  It exudes what's in my heart and soul, and is why I feel I have to use this medium to share what's in my heart.  I hope you enjoy it too... turn up the volume and let your spirit dance!  I pray for everyone who visits this blog.  May you hear "Well done" my friends!  :)

Song by Moriah Peters
from the album, I Choose Jesus

I'm headed down this narrow road
Chosen by the few
And all that I know is
You told me to follow You

I'm taking a risk and leaving it all
Not knowing what I'll go through
But I'm not alone
As long as I follow You

So when my life's a leap of faith
I can hear You say

Well done, well done
I'm gonna chase You, Lord
I'm gonna show the world Your love, woah
I'll run, I'll run
I'm gonna run this race
To hear You say well done

If people walk with me, talk with me, looking for truth
They're gonna find out soon
If they're following me then
They're gonna follow You

So let my life speak loud and clear
Lord, I wanna hear

I'm so glad that I get to serve You, Lord
You're the only One I am living for, woah
I'm gonna run straight into Your open arms
I'm gonna follow You with all my heart, woah, woah

Saturday, July 7, 2012

"Fifty Shades" of Concern

I'm probably going to lose more friends over writing this.  I mean, who wants a friend who is a "prude" and "no fun", right?  And as one friend's husband quoted to me once, "I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, sinners are much more fun..." (-Billy Joel)  
Well, I'd like to quote what I read on a bumper sticker once, "Sin Kills.  Friends Don't Let Friends Sin."

One thing I'm passionate about is trying to educate people about the deterioration of our culture's views of sex and "love".  I use to be so blind to it myself, until I started having my own children which opened my eyes to viewing things very differently.  I'm sad that I, myself, fell under pop-culture's spell as a young teen, and throughout my young adulthood, and I'm trying to help others, especially my own children, to not fall under the same spell.

This is how it began...
In their defense, unbeknownst to them, my parents where clueless about how society and pop-culture (what I was reading, watching, listening to) was molding my values, my views, and my character.  My parents didn't talk to me about what's appropriate and not-appropriate regarding so many topics, I think they just assumed I knew.  Parents:  Don't assume your kids know how you feel about things, you MUST TALK about it... they NEED to HEAR YOU.  Instead, I was bought countless fashion & women's magazines, joined in with my parents watching shows like Dallas and Knots Landing, cable television, secular music, and daytime soap-operas.  I was molded into thinking what a person wore was very important in attracting a boyfriend or spouse, I learned it was ok to have sex before marriage as long as I "loved that person", I learned that one should live with the person you think you want to marry BEFORE marriage to "see if it will work", and basically that our time on earth is for pure enjoyment of anything we want (within the law) as long as we're not hurting anyone.

The molding began in my pre-teens, and then I acted upon those ideals starting in college, and lasting nearly a decade until I married my husband.  I do take responsibility for my actions as well, because I probably should've known better from my early years of Sunday School (at about the age of 13-14, our mom stopped taking us to church because we didn't "like" it and we pleaded with her to stop taking us).  It upsets me now that I wasn't guided better, but I don't blame my parents because I don't think they knew any better -they were pretty clueless- and a lot of it was because of their own subconscious pursuits of self-satisfaction and "happiness" (I believe because they both lacked some forms of good parenting and love in their own childhoods, combined with the lack of faith in God, and coming-of-age during the sexual revolution).  This can go on and be passed down from generation to generation with people really being clueless to it... but the buck stops HERE with me!  I can only attribute it to the grace of God that I came to figure these things out for myself, for it's definitely not from any authority figures, role models, or loved-ones in my life who are generally the ones we learn from and mold our lives from, and who have the most impact on us.  Without a good foundation and good role models, children WILL search and learn from other sources all around them.

In college, the guy I fell for (to the outside world) was a wonderfully sweet, very clean-cut, young-man; a boy-next-door, from a good family kind-of-guy.  (He told me once that although we hung out with the same friends, he didn't actually notice me until I showed up at a party wearing a skin-tight, red sweater.  Well, isn't that nice?!  He didn't even notice me until then!  And hearing him say that didn't even bother me!  Pathetic!  It's no wonder where our relationship sadly headed.)

I allowed him to seduce me into a sex life that didn't represent what God intended for intercourse.  (I'm so sorry to my husband and his family for all this.  Although God is graciously merciful, the repercussions of my behaviors and choices will haunt me forever because there is no guarantee, until we meet our maker, what is in store for our souls.)  One thing we participated in was fantasy brought about by a couple of very provocative books introduced to my boyfriend by some friends of ours who also "enjoyed" the books.  Being introduced to the things I was participating in did nothing but skew my perception of love and intercourse, which lead to years of immoral and destructive choices regarding relationships and behaviors (and all while naively thinking I was "a good person", because heck, "I wasn't hurting anyone", and I loved and believed in God -so I thought!).  I'm revealing all of this because it's leading up to me expressing my concern for those "enjoying" the Fifty Shades of Grey book series on the NY Times Best-Seller List.  I'm revealing all this because I feel my experiences give me valid concern for my friends, Christian sisters, and any woman who reads these book.

Now, I'm not one who believes we shouldn't read any fiction, just not this sexually-elicit type of fiction that is being coined as "mommy porn".  My warning and concern is for how these fantasies can affect one's desires, one's views about sex and our spouses or the opposite sex, our body's (which I believe are temples for God), our relationships, our views on love, and actually, many other underlying psycho-social issues that are often subconscious in people (and as parents, can then unknowingly be passed on as views our children accept and live by also.  And not to mention how anti-feminist I think these types of books and movies are - but that's a whole other topic!).  These things can damage a person's soul... something that, as a Christian, I believe can live on for eternity in true happiness with our Creator if we live according to His plan for us as humans.  And most importantly, for my Christian friends, this type of literature, and movies like the recently released "Magic Mike", fall under breaking the Commandment of "Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery".  In the Catholic faith, it's taught that if any spouse looks or thinks lustfully of any other person other than their own spouse, then that is a form of adultery.  Matthew 5:28, "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."  The same is true for women with their husbands.  Oh, and by the way, masturbation is a sin too.  I'm not going to win any "Friend of the Year" award here because I'm talking about all this, but I really don't care because it's about saving souls.

I found this terrific article (and I'll be posting more as I find them) that I feel needs shared about the topic of the Fifty Shades books.  I posted the text here as oppose to just giving a link.  I don't want to link directly to the site it's from because of some of the garbage on the site.  It's from 

The Christian Backlash Against "50 Shades Of Grey"
by Anna North, BuzzFeed Staff

"I wouldn’t drive my Envoy into the front of an oncoming semi-truck any more than I would open the pages of Fifty Shades of Grey," writes Christian author Dannah Gresh. She's urging her readers to avoid E.L. James's bestselling erotic novel, and she's not alone. While secular critics have focused on the book's questionable literary merit (or what it says about women's fantasies), in recent weeks there's been something of a movement among female Christian bloggers who say the book is sinful, twisted, and even dangerous.
Gresh says reading the novel is a form of adultery: "anything other than my husband creating arousal in me would be missing the mark of God’s intention." She also argues that over time, reading 50 Shades and books like it will render women unable to enjoy sex with their husbands, because "erotica robs you of real sex."
This is much the same argument many have used against Internet pornography — and indeed, Crystal Renaud, who founded Dirty Girls Ministries and has made something of a name for herself advocating that Christian women stay away from porn, has also spoken out against 50 Shades. She told BuzzFeed Shift she believes Christian and non-Christian women seek out the book for the same reason: they want "the passion that exudes from the pages to happen in their real lives, especially if their emotional needs and even sexual needs are not being met in their real life relationships." But she says women should turn to God instead: "without a genuine relationship with Christ, it's our belief that women will continue to seek satisfaction for their emotional needs in places that just won't ever fully satisfy."
But its similarities to more conventional porn aren't the only complaint against the book — there's also the BDSM element. Christian blogger and professor Mary Kassian writes that "the relationship between a man and wife is to mirror Christ’s relationship to His Bride" and "Christ is not into domination, control, abuse, and humiliation." She also objects to heroine Anastasia Steele's submissive role: "the Lord doesn’t want His daughters to be wilting, weak-willed, wimpy women who welcome and enjoy abuse."
Julia Stronks, a professor of political science at Whitworth University who has written about Fifty Shades of Grey, says the backlash is no surprise: writers who have criticized the book tend to come from "denominations that believe that faith impacts all of life," and when anything becomes as popular as Fifty Shades, members of these denominations tend to examine what it might have to do with their religion. She likens the book not just to porn but to romance novels, which she says normalize relationships in which "women resist and men overcome" and thus can contribute to sexual violence.
Not everyone agrees that Christian women must avoid Fifty Shades. Christian blogger Jonalyn Fincher says what really matters is why they read it — if they're doing so to escape their marriages, that may be "unhealthy." But she also believes the book can help women think about important issues, like sexual abuse. She adds that she read the book as a "cultural exploration" into something that's extremely popular, which she says is also a valid reason: "it's like walking in the shoes of your neighbor."
Kassian might take a dim view of such exploration — she writes, "'curiosity' has led to the downfall of multitudes who have been trapped in the destructive, downward vortex of sexual sin." Numerous commenters on her post agree and pledge to spread her anti-Shades message. Says one, "my heart breaks that young women can get so engrossed in such horrible entertainment. I will certainly forward this on to many many others."
Some Christian women, though, don't need special prodding to avoid Fifty Shades. Writes one of Gresh's readers, "A few years ago, God asked me to give up all fiction reading. To this day I have had no regrets."

Lord, fill us with what we're missing in our hearts, minds, and souls.  Rid us of the voids which lead us to temptations that provoke things other than your will for us.  Amen.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Feast Day of Corpus Christi

Today is the Feast Day of Corpus Christi.  Many reading this may not know what a "Feast Day" is as celebrated and recognized by the Catholic Church, so I'll share with you here from New Advent's Catholic Encyclopedia. 

Feast Days, or Holy Days, are days which are celebrated in commemoration of the sacred mysteries and events recorded in the history of our redemption, in memory of the Virgin Mother of Christ, or of His apostles, martyrs, and saints, by special services and rest from work. A feast not only commemorates an event or person, but also serves to excite the spiritual life by reminding us of the event it commemorates. At certain hours Jesus Christ invites us to His vineyard (Matthew 20:1-15); He is born in our hearts at Christmas; on Good Friday we nail ourselves to the cross with Him; at Easter we rise from the tomb of sin; and at Pentecost we receive the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Every religion has its feasts, but none has such a rich and judiciously constructed system of festive seasons as the Catholic Church. The succession of these seasons form the ecclesiastical year.

The Feast of Corpus Christi (Latin for Body of Christ) is a Latin Rite liturgical solemnity celebrating the tradition and belief in the body and blood of Jesus Christ and His Real Presence in the Eucharist. It emphasizes the joy of the institution of the Eucharist, which was observed on Holy Thursday in the somber atmosphere of the nearness of Good Friday. -Wikipedia

Catholicism teaches that the Eucharist (in other Christian denominations it's known as "Communion"), is not merely a symbol of Christ and the promise of salvation to do "in remembrance" of Him, but all that and MORE!  We believe from scripture that it's TRULY Christ's flesh and blood. 

Matthew 26:26
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."

John 6: 49-58 
I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 

The Eucharist, a.k.a Communion, is THE MOST sacred, central and important aspect and principle of the Catholic faith because it joins us with Christ here on earth, and helps us to eternal life.

Now, I know this can be complicated because the bread and wine we eat and drink at Mass is not physically flesh and blood.  In its molecular form it's unleavened bread and wine, but a priest has been given the power by God to change the substance of the bread and wine.  The change of the substance of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ is called Transubstantiation.

The following is from The Baltimore Catechism.

This change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ continues to be made in the Church by Jesus Christ, through the ministry of His priests.

(a) Only ordained priests have the power of changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. When they consecrate, they act in the person of Christ, through the power received in the sacrament of Holy Orders.

354. When did Christ give His priests the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood?

Christ gave His priests the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood when He made the apostles priests at the Last Supper by saying to them: "Do this in remembrance of Me."

355. How do priests exercise their power to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ?

Priests exercise their power to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ by repeating at the Consecration of the Mass the words of Christ: "This is My body . . . this is the Cup of My blood."

356. Why does Christ give us His own body and blood in the Holy Eucharist?

Christ gives us His own body and blood in the Holy Eucharist: first, to be offered as a sacrifice commemorating and renewing for all time the sacrifice of the cross; second, to be received by the faithful in Holy Communion; third, to remain ever on our altars as the proof of His love for us, and to be worshipped by us.

Taken from The Baltimore Catechism, Lesson 26
Full text available,
click here.

I plan to write more about the Eucharist, as it's hard to explain it all in one brief post.  I'd like to now share part of a conversation I had recently with a dear lady who has left the Catholic Church for Protestantism.  She was telling me all about her wonderful bible study programs through her current church and how much she's learned and grown in her faith and relationship with Christ because of them.  She mentioned that she didn't get any of that when she was Catholic.  I agreed that with the shortage of priests it's hard to find organized, authentic bible studies at every parish, but we're still asked to seek on our own and try to study and learn God's Word (which can be challenging, I know, but it is possible.).  Matthew 7:7  "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

I went on to explain that we can't expect to grow if we're only spoon-fed.  In fact, I've found new incite and TRUTHS by delving deep and seeking on my own (along with going to Mass) and truly trying to learn the faith, than just by listening to someone talk about their supposed interpretations of things.  I'm closer to God now than I've ever been and it's so invigorating!  I shared with her that I've had peaks and valleys in my Catholic faith journey (just as any seeking Christian has) but that the ONE THING that always keeps me coming back for more, and sticking with it, is the Eucharist.  There's NO OTHER way to get closer to Christ here on earth than through the Eucharist.  She contemplated it for a brief moment and then agreed. 

I'm happy that this dear lady has found a way to grow closer to Christ and I pray she'll continue to learn and grow.  I pray that perhaps in her studies she'll find her way back to the Church and the Sacraments... for the Catholic Church IS present in the scriptures, and is the Church that Jesus himself began (a topic for a future post). 

Blessing to you this Feast of Corpus Christi.  May you find total fulfillment in Him!

Tantum Ergo Sacramentum

This is so beautiful!  Just a minute long, I hope you'll listen and recite along with it... an indulgence is granted.
Blessed Feast of Corpus Christi!

Tantum Ergo is the last two stanzas from the Eucharistic Hymn (Pange Lingua) composed by St. Thomas Aquinas and is used at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The response and the prayer at the end is a later addition used at Benediction. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite it and a plenary indulgence is granted to those who recite it on Holy Thursday or Corpus Christi.  -by

TANTUM ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.
Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et iubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.

DOWN in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! oe’r ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.
To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Spirit proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor blessing,
Might and endless majesty.

Friday, June 8, 2012

It's Time For A Revolution!

"We cannot remain passive while future generations are deprived of the opportunity to live in a nation that acknowledges it's Creator."  -Tony Shriner, Author of A Revolution for Christ

Wow!  This book trailer is AWESOME!  If it doesn't stir something inside of you, check your pulse! ;)  This young man, Tony Shriner - St. Malachy (Brownsburg, IN) parishioner, has written a book that's goal is to provide vital resources to keep people focused on Christ in our faith journeys.  Sounds like a fantastic book.  Watch the trailer and then visit his website.  Expected release date for his book is October 2012. 

I want to be a revolutionary for Christ!  See how you can too...  visit the website shown at the end of the 90 second trailer by clicking on the photo shown above.

God Bless America and all nations!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Homily on Homosexuality

"We have to become informed on this issue so that we can help others." - Father Hollowell

Please listen to this homily on homosexuality by a local priest in Indianapolis.  So many people don't know what the true Church teachings are about homosexuality... it's probably not what you'd expect. (Please show your support of Fr. Hollowell, by "liking" his video.  Many priests/pastors won't speak publicly on the topic.  He's under attack from atheists about this Homily.  Stand up against this evil against Fr. Hollowell and his mission to save souls.  Hover over the lower-left corner of the video, then click "Watch on YouTube" to "like".) 

True Christians love ALL people and are not bigots.  Sadly, many homosexuals have turned away from the Church and God because they think Christians are judgemental bigots, and they hate Christians for that.  God wants us to help save souls and show others His love.  Those who suffer from same-sex attraction and don't know Christ, will never come to Christ if we don't show them God's love.

If any homosexual reads this, I'm so sorry for you if you've experienced intolerance and ignorance from some so-called Christians.  Please don't lump us all into the same category, for those "Christians" I'm afraid are lost.  Please don't let that be the reason you turn away from God.

Even if you haven't experienced intolerance that way, I don't doubt that you've felt an uneasiness coming from some Christians at times, even if they truly have the best intentions.  Please don't think it's always intolerance, but rather they're truly concerned for your soul as a child of God, and yet they don't know what to say.  Christians may at times be very conflicted because our beliefs instill that homosexual ACTS are sinful and therefore they're very concerned about the salvation of your soul, and yet if we say anything... we risk being seen as bigots.  I ask that just as homosexuals thirst for tolerance, so do Christians from homosexuals.  True Christians are concerned for your soul and eternal life and just want the best for you... salvation and eternal life and happiness.  It's out of LOVE, not HATE, and my heart goes out to you if you've experienced the latter and I truly apologize on behalf of those people.  If/when you experience hate and intolerance from "Christians", please know that it's NOT the way of Christianity!

Other Christians reading this... please help spread the word that true Christians are not intolerant, and that we love ALL people.  Please consider sharing this graphic (just right-click, copy & paste):

and/or "share" it from my Facebook page at along with Fr. Hollowell's message too if you feel compelled.  Don't be afraid to reach out and help save a soul... don't you think it's what God would want us to do?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Gay Marriage

I didn't intend to write this blog post.  I wrote the following as a response to a blog post of a friend's, friend (read his post HERE) asking sincerely why those of us against gay marriage are against it.  He truly doesn't understand, and kindly asked for some explanations.  After writing it, I felt I really needed to share it on my blog.  So, I'm going out on a limb here, and risk losing more friendships (I've already lost my very best friend -her choice not mine- because of my pro-life views).   I'm actually sad that I feel I have to write this, because I'm sure it's going to turn people, most importantly some friends, against me, and I hate that... I LOVE my friends.  However, I can't be quiet and complacent any longer about these kinds of life issues.  God asks us to spread His love and the Gospel and that's what's in my heart.  It's from God's love, and out of my love for Him and others.

I'm a Catholic (and Catholics are Christian if someone doesn't know that).  I use to be a liberal Democrat (I vote with my conscious now, not according to any “party”), but that was before I started searching for answers to "Why am I here?  What is my purpose for living?"  Those questions, by the grace of God, lead me to my faith.  I think a lot of the issue of opinions on gay marriage have to do with whether you believe in Christ and the Gospel, NOT EVERYONE, but a lot.  If you don't believe in God, then you're probably not going to understand why we should not agree to same-sex marriage.  And if you do believe in God, then it's probably that you don't truly see or understand why we shouldn't always have the right to live by all of our OWN rules. 

I don't expect many reading this will understand what I write or these viewpoints.  It's because I'm deeply convicted by my faith.  I need to explain the following first before getting into the topic of gay marriage, so please bear with me.  I believe in God, our Father, as the Creator of heaven and earth and all living things.  I believe that He gave us free will to do what we want, but asked that we abide by certain rules in order to maintain a natural balance and goodness in the world - to abide by the nature of how He created us to be.  I believe that because of His gift of free will, that humans make mistakes but God STILL LOVES US.  I believe that our souls can have eternal life, and it's God's desire for us to live our eternal life in Heaven with Him.  That's a gift, and shouldn't be just expected.  So, in exchange, God wants us to live our lives according to His will, which has our BEST interest at hand.  Because of free will, and the mistakes we make, God felt that we needed to be saved from ourselves, to be forgiven so that we can be pure and still join Him in eternal happiness in Heaven.  Therefore, He sent His son, Jesus, to come and teach us more about God's love and to die for our sins so that we may have eternal life.  I never truly appreciated that until I had my own children.  I can't imagine sacrificing my own child.  Can you imagine how much that pained Him?!  And for Jesus to suffer the way his did?!  For us sinners.  (A must see, Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ", please see that movie if you haven't.)  They love us SO much and desire so immensely for us to be in Heaven with them forever one day, that they gave us the ultimate sacrifice!  When I contemplate the magnitude of all that, I'm in awe that this is all because God loves us so much.  All He asks is that we love Him in return and live according to His will, which is nothing bad for us, is all about goodness and purity and love.  I respect that so much and therefore I want to do His will, I WANT to follow His rules. Part of His will for us includes helping others to know God and love Him too.  I can't put into words the feelings in my heart of my love for God, nor can I put into words the feelings of immense love I feel from Him towards me.  It's something that's truly unexplainable, it has to be experienced. It's what total fulfillment and TRUE love feels like.  I think it has to be experienced to truly appreciate.  When you experience it, you want everyone you know to experience it too (at least I do anyway).

I'm sure I'll be grilled for this post, but I truly feel in my heart that God wants some of these things to be heard and talked about by more people, so I'm trying to do His will here.

1)  Christians are to love ALL people.
2)  Catholicism is not against people with same-sex attraction, but rather against same-sex SEXUAL ACTS.  It's the acts that are sinful.  The church loves and accepts all people, including homosexuals, but we’re taught that sexual relations are meant for the union of a married man and woman to bond with each other, and to procreate if you want children.  If we're a heterosexual married couple NOT wanting to bond or procreate, then we must be chaste.  It’s the BEST thing for us.  The same principles apply to premarital sex and masturbation.  (I'd like to reference an earlier post of mine about why Catholicism teaches against contraception. We believe that even in married life, we are called to be chaste and control ourselves at certain times, and in respect for our spouse and human dignity. Click HERE to see why. It might give more perspective to this topic as well.)
3)  God does not teach us this to be mean or controlling.  Instead, it’s because he knows what’s BEST for us.  Just like a parent knows what's best for a child.  The same can be said about laws. They’re made for our safety, and our well-being, right?  The same can be said for God’s laws too. I don’t see how anyone could read the 10 Commandments and not see that those commandments are meant for our BEST interest. 

Referencing a comment on the blogger's post which says: "In theory and in a perfect world, a well-adjusted and happy home containing a mother and father appears to me likely to give more balance and perspective than any other pairing".  It sounds like you agree that it’s BEST for children to be raised by a married man and woman, so I’m sure you can understand that I mean by "what is BEST", or what is ideal.
4)  Even if you don’t believe in God, or Christ, or don't subscribe to a “religion”, to me it just makes since according to NATURAL law.  It's perfect nature that men and women join together for the purpose of creating other human beings.  When you mess with Mother Nature, or karma, or Mother Earth, or the universe, things don’t work "as well".  Now, things do go wrong in nature, but that doesn’t always mean it’s a death sentence.  Much good can still come from things that seem to be horrible crosses to bear.  I don’t see how not being allowed to get married would subject a person to a live of unhappiness, or how it would hinder someone’s love for another person.  I came from a really messed-up broken home and NEVER wanted to get married or have children (until I met my husband, and that changed everything!).  I loved my husband dearly, but if it weren’t for the fact that I wanted to have kids, I would have never gotten married.   What’s the point really?  He’s an amazingly faithful man, devoted to me, and getting married doesn’t change that.  For me, it’s about family, and what’s the BEST environment to raise a family.
5)  The worldview of sex is out of control!  I feel a lot of all this has to do with where our society is regarding sex in general.  Our society is hyper- sexualized.  It seems like everything is about sex.  Why is that?  Look at commercialism, materialism, and Hollywood. Sex is seen as no big deal anymore.  Listen to the mainstream music created these days, look at the clothes designers create, look at the TV shows and movies released.  Catholicism views sex in a way that upholds the DIGNITY of ALL humans, and regards procreation as a highly respected act because it’s meant to create another human being!  Creating a person, bringing a soul into this world is a HUGE deal!  Thus, the act that produces that should be highly respected.  Anyone who has children surely knows what a beautiful, amazing thing new life is, and what a miracle it is.  We don’t trivialize sex as something just for one’s OWN pleasure.  Much of our society doesn’t accept that because sex is so devalued now, and generations are being taught that life is all about fulfilling our own pleasures.  

Hyper-sexualization hurts SO many people, in so many ways.  People are thinking it's ok to treat our bodies and the bodies of others, in any way they want.  This stirs actions that hurt people because of sexual desires, ie, pedophilia, rape, incest, premarital sex, sodomy, fornication, pornography, sexual addictions, zoophilia (yes, there are people out there doing that!) lust, selfishness, using of people for our own gratification, and so on.  Sexual desires are so strong because they're meant to bring people together to procreate - that's nature.  Sexual desires can be stirred up by impure things that are not in our BEST interest.  When those desires get stirred up, it's not always for good.  Some people will do anything to satisfy those desires, because we're taught by our society that it's ok.  Now, I'm NOT saying that homosexuals or gay marriage will cause all these things.  I'm saying that it has a strong propensity to contribute to the confusion of our world's view about sex, which can be very damaging over the long-run because how societal views about sex will continue to evolve.  Think of how it's deteriorated over the past several decades (look at the increase in statics of abortion, teen pregnancies and kids having sex, unwanted babies, unwed parents, STD's, sexual addictions, infidelity, disregard for the respect of human dignity with pornography, strip clubs, adult book stores, etc).  Don't you think if certain rules or laws aren't in place, that it will continue to spiral downward?  I'm sorry to say, but I do.  I hate this for my homosexual friends, and my heart goes out to them.  Again, I want to be clear that I'm NOT saying that homosexuality causes all these sexual evils in the world!  My point is that without certain rules or laws, confusion of sex and marriage and our purpose according to nature and God, will continue to evolve into more skewed views over generations. 

I believe homosexuals are born the way they are (I don't know that for a fact, it's just my opinion).  Things do go wrong in nature sometimes.  I don't know why that is but it doesn't always have to be viewed as a bad thing.  One can make good of it.  (I can share stories of wonderful chaste, homosexuals living according to God's will who have very rewarding lives with lots of loved ones around them.)  It's our society that's telling people that in order to be happy and to live a satisfying life, one must get to enjoy sexual acts anytime and any way we want, one must be allowed to get legally married, one must have children, one must have money, one must be physically beautiful according to certain standards, etc.  Do these things bring true happiness? 
What I don’t understand is why do people think they have to be legally married to be happy or to love someone in a live-long relationship?  To me, it seems like some people in favor of gay marriage just want to make a point.  They want to prove something.  Why does a legal marriage “prove” anything, unless it’s for the sake of having children?  It seems to me that homosexuals in love want to get married to either, 1) prove something to the world, or 2) to be able to “have” children, but again, what is BEST for children?  For if it were to just prove your love to your partner, why is a piece of paper needed? 
Gay marriage goes against what is BEST for humans and our society.  I don’t understand how so many very intelligent people who believe gay marriage should be legal, aren’t more forward thinking than they are.  To me, legalizing gay marriage will over years lead to so much more confusion about sex and the true nature of human beings.  It will add to the triteness of how sex is viewed in general by our society because it will desensitize our culture more and more to what is sexually inappropriate according to how we were created - God's purpose for sex.  If we become a society that doesn’t come to see that some decisions are BETTER than others, and that rules and laws are in place to protect our well-being and we lead other generations to think the same way, then our society has the potential, over time, towards anarchy.  I’m sure many of you don’t see the big picture, but God does.   For me, it’s about respecting what God intended for marriage and for the male and female bodies, and about preserving family and what’s BEST for a family and children.
I agree with everything you say about even straight marriages can be screwed up, and that messes up society too (a point made in the man's blog - link is above).  My points are based on what is BEST for us.  Just like speed limits are enforced because it’s BEST for us.  There are laws against stealing because it’s BEST for our society.  And so on, and so on.  Does it suck for homosexuals?  YES!  And I'm so, so sorry.  I really feel for them, I do!
Does my heart go out to homosexuals?  YES!!!!  My heart breaks for them!  It sucks that they have to live through all this, BUT one’s sexual attraction preference should not complete a person’s identity.  Every person is SO MUCH MORE than their sexual preference.  Every person is SO MUCH MORE than just who they are married to, and we’re all worth SO MUCH MORE than sex.
A word about the mumble jumble marriage graphic you displayed under #1 in your post… I don’t even understand that.  I’m no Bible scholar myself, and maybe I’m stupid, but if you’re not one who has studied the Bible, then you shouldn’t post things that claim to say what the Bible says… no disrespect… just sayin’.  The Bible is literature - because any written word is considered literature.  The books of the Bible are categorized into eight different types and written from the following perspectives, which in turn affect how scripture should be interpreted: Law, History, Wisdom, Poetry, Gospel, Epistles, Prophecy, and Apocalyptic Literature.  (How the books are classified into these categories can be learned by Googling if you're interested.) Therefore, all interpretations of scripture should be considered from the perspective and context from which it’s written, and unless one knows that, we can’t claim to know what the Bible is saying.  I would guess that graphic was made by someone who picked those lines out of the Bible to make THEIR OWN POINT.
This subject really goes FAR, FAR deeper than just sex, attraction, love, or a piece of paper.  It’s about souls, and what people believe about our souls, or if they even believe humans have souls at all.  Therefore this topic can’t be completely discussed from this post.  I highly recommend listening to a copy of the following CD:
It’s an incredible testimony that you won't regret listening to.  It's NOT a lecture;  it's spoken from LOVE.  The CD is about 30 minutes and so worth it!  (If you attend St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis, you can pick up a copy in the Narthex.)  Here’s a description:Father Michael Schmitz, chaplain of the Newman Center at the University of Minnesota in Duluth, tackles some of the most difficult topics in the Church today. With compassion, clarity, and energetic humor, Fr. Schmitz shows us that the Church's teachings on contraception and same-sex attractions are rooted in the yearnings for authentic love that is shared by all people, who are made in the image and likeness of God.”

I have friends who are gay, and friends who have family members who are gay.  This is a tough subject to stand firm about.  I love those friends and it’s my love for them that concerns me about their souls, and the souls of my Christian friends who are for gay-marriage.  I don’t understand how any Christian can be for gay-marriage unless they haven’t heard what it is that God really wants for us, out of LOVE.  My fear is that those Christian friends are concerned about being liked, or concerned about losing their friendships.  Are those reasons worth the eternal life of someone’s soul?
I feel the same way about my friends and family who are pro-abortion, who are having pre-marital sex, who have addictions, who don’t believe in God, or who think life is about living OUR OWN rules.  I know many people struggle with the existence of God and eternal life.  But WHAT IF it’s all true?  Is living life according to one’s OWN rules (as opposed to God’s) so much fun and so worth it, that’s it’s worth the risk of giving up eternal life and eternal happiness and fulfillment FOREVER, if it really does exist?  I’d rather not find out.  I’d rather not take that chance, I’d rather my soul be saved, and those I love soul’s be saved, and maybe even help save a soul of someone I don’t even know.  As quoted from Fr. Schmitz, "We are created from love, by love, and for love."  For Christians, life's about LOVE.  Love for our human brothers and sisters who struggle in life. We ALL have struggles, and we all are sinners, but there's a way to eternal, true, happiness anyway... it's through Christ.  It’s NOT about judgment or bigotry, is about LOVE. 

I pray that we'll all go in peace to love and serve the Lord.  God bless you reading this!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why Catholicism Teaches Against Artificial Contraception

The Catholic Church's teaching against artificial contraception is beautiful because it edifies total respect for all human persons.  I hope in the future to continue adding posts about this topic, especially in more laymen terms.  For the sake of wanting to tackle serious, topical healthcare issues going on right now in America, I need to address this issue first, so to help me speed things along, I'm going to present the teachings of the Catholic Church on conjugal, married love as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

First... what is the Catechism of the Catholic Church (or the CCC)?  The CCC is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church.  There's no single author, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church Prepared Following the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (its full title) was developed, written, translated and published under Pope John Paul II's authority, with all rights reserved to the Holy See.  It's a book that helps us understand and see why the word of God teaches us what it does because as untrained, religious laymen, we can think we know what the Bible is telling us, but unless we rely on educated, religious leaders to "translate" per se, what it is that God is telling us in the Bible, we're just basing what we read on our own interpretations and opinions. 

Since the Catholic Church is a worldwide, universal religion, and there are millions of us, we need to be "on the same page".  Just like the game, Telephone, we played as children when you sit in a circle and whisper a message to the person next to you to see how the message changes by the time it gets to the last person, the same can be said for how people teach God's word, therefore, the Catholic Church has the CCC.  It references and quotes the Bible throughout the book, and is NOT a replacement to the Bible, but rather a "study-guide", or manual that helps define our religious beliefs so the millions of Catholics around the world will understand the one, true word of God and our religious doctrine, and thus all be "on the same page".  It contains small sections of the actual documents it references.  The church’s rich tradition, the Bible, and liturgy (our worship services conducted for the celebration of Mass) all illuminate each other and help us grow in faith, hope, and love.
Like I mentioned above, I will dialogue more personally about this topic in the future, but I think this is the best place to start.  The following text is directly quoted from the CCC regarding "The Love of Husband and Wife", "The Fecundity of Marriage", and "Conjugal Fidelity", and how these explanations reveal the Churches teachings on contraception.
This section of the CCC is found on page 626 under: 

  • SECTION TWO: The Ten Commandments
    • CHAPTER TWO: You Shall Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
      • ARTICLE 6: The Sixth Commandment
        • III. The Love of Husband and Wife
III. The Love of Husband and Wife

2360 Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.

2361 "Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death."142

Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah, "Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and safety." So she got up, and they began to pray and implore that they might be kept safe. Tobias began by saying, "Blessed are you, O God of our fathers.... You made Adam, and for him you made his wife Eve as a helper and support. From the two of them the race of mankind has sprung. You said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.' I now am taking this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together." and they both said, "Amen, Amen." Then they went to sleep for the night.143

2362 "The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude."144 Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure:

The Creator himself . . . established that in the [generative] function, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them. At the same time, spouses should know how to keep themselves within the limits of just moderation.145

2363 The spouses' union achieves the twofold end of marriage: the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the couple's spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and the future of the family.
The conjugal love of man and woman thus stands under the twofold obligation of fidelity and fecundity.

Conjugal fidelity

2364 The married couple forms "the intimate partnership of life and love established by the Creator and governed by his laws; it is rooted in the conjugal covenant, that is, in their irrevocable personal consent."146 Both give themselves definitively and totally to one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one flesh. the covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses the obligation to preserve it as unique and indissoluble.147 "What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."148

2365 Fidelity expresses constancy in keeping one's given word. God is faithful. the Sacrament of Matrimony enables man and woman to enter into Christ's fidelity for his Church. Through conjugal chastity, they bear witness to this mystery before the world.

St. John Chrysostom suggests that young husbands should say to their wives: I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us.... I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.149

The fecundity of marriage

2366 Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful. A child does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment. So the Church, which "is on the side of life"150 teaches that "each and every marriage act must remain open 'per se' to the transmission of life."151 "This particular doctrine, expounded on numerous occasions by the Magisterium, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act."152

2367 Called to give life, spouses share in the creative power and fatherhood of God.153 "Married couples should regard it as their proper mission to transmit human life and to educate their children; they should realize that they are thereby cooperating with the love of God the Creator and are, in a certain sense, its interpreters. They will fulfill this duty with a sense of human and Christian responsibility."154

2368 A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality:

When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart.155

2369 "By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its orientation toward man's exalted vocation to parenthood."156

2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.157 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:158

Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality.... the difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.159

2371 "Let all be convinced that human life and the duty of transmitting it are not limited by the horizons of this life only: their true evaluation and full significance can be understood only in reference to man's eternal destiny."160

After citing the above, I think it's also important to cite something in the very next section under: 

The Gift of a Child

2378 A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. the "supreme gift of marriage" is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged "right to a child" would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception."169

I'm sure this doesn't answer all questions regarding the Church's teachings against artificial contraception.  In a nutshell, we see that God has meant sexual intercourse to be between a married man and women for procreation and as a gift to each other, a gift of TOTAL SELF-GIVING.  Any form of artificial contraception, abortifacient birth control (click HERE to see how some birth control pills actually abort a fertilized embryo) or sterilization prohibits TOTAL self-giving to your spouse.  I personal "get this" and think it's absolutely beautiful!  Sadly, many Catholics don't understand this, or don't know what the Church teaches about this, or they just want to follow their own will for their lives with no regard for God's will for us, so you might hear many Catholics do use artificial contraception. 

There's so much that can be discussed about this topic, as it does open a big can of worms, such as:  What if you don't want a large family, What if you can't afford more children, What if the wife (or another family member) has a serious medical or genetic condition, What is one spouse isn't Catholic or doesn't agree with this teaching, and so on.  These are things I hope to post about in the future, as they do deserve discussing.  These questions are valid and there are beautiful, Godly truths to the answers to these questions that I look forward to sharing.  In the meantime, if you're wondering what the alternative to man-made contraception is, it's Natural Family Planning.  Yes, you CAN effectively plan the size of your family without artificial contraception, and no, the church doesn't expect every married woman to have one baby after another throughout her entire fertile years.

"Natural family planning (NFP) is a term referring to the family planning methods approved by the Roman Catholic Church. In accordance with the Church's teachings regarding sexual behavior in keeping with its philosophy of the dignity of the human person, NFP excludes the use of other methods of birth control, which it refers to as "artificial contraception."  Periodic abstinence is the only method deemed moral by the Church for avoiding pregnancy. When used to avoid pregnancy, NFP limits sexual intercourse to naturally infertile periods; portions of the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, and after menopause. Various methods may be used to identify whether a woman is likely to be fertile; this information may be used in attempts to either avoid or achieve pregnancy."  -Wikipedia 
These method are not hard.  Typically there are only 7 days in a month that a married couple would not have intercourse if they are not wanting to conceive a child.  So the other 23 days, have at it!  It's really not that restrictive.  Besides, that 7 day sacrifice PALES in comparison to the sacrifice Christ made for us! 

Natural Family Planning practices can do much good for a marriage and the respect for one another, and human life, which God has intended for us to have for each other.  I believe it's only seen as hard, or outdated, or too restrictive because of the hypersexualized culture we're living in today, which can be attributed much to the materialism and commercialism everywhere in society feeding us that life is all about doing what WE want to do for our own pleasure.  This way of living breeds selfishness, which sadly isn't even seen as selfishness in many people's eyes, but rather our "right to happiness". 

God doesn't ask that we live a life according to His will in order to be mean, or controlling, or to punish us.  It's because He loves us so much, and knows what's best for us - our Father does know what's best for us - just like a parent/child relationship here on earth.  I truly believe, as God tells us, that by living His will for our lives, we will experience true happiness and be blessed abundantly, on earth and in Heaven.  Unfortunately, again much of our culture doesn't see it that way because of how our society defines "happiness".

Check back soon, as I'll post links (on the right side of this blog page) to cites that are good resources for NFP information.  If you're interested in reading one of my other posts about the perspective of a woman who came of age in the sexual revolution of the '60's and the onset of wide-spread use of the Pill, see this post: "We paid the price for free love:  The flip side of the sexual revolution".

May the love of God and peace be with you!