Why You’re Worth More Than a Bikini 

Swimsuit shopping. I shudder a little at the implications brought on by that short, heart wrenching, dessert guilt inducing phrase. It is currently June so if you are a female older than seven years old, you are probably feeling the pressure to pick out that suit that will have you looking your best as you lounge poolside or hit up the beach this summer. I know I have been there quite a few times in my life.Three years ago, I wrote my very first blog on the topic of swimsuit shopping. At the end of that blog, I vowed to ditch my itsy bitsy bikini days in order to help the men around me to see me in a way that was not potentially damaging to their souls… and also to remind myself of what I was worth.

“Worth” is a vague word that I feel is thrown around a lot and most of the time without a clear definition attached to it. I want to explore the word worth in reference to the human person.

So what are you worth? Can a price be assigned to a person?

 Surprisingly… yes. 

When St. Paul is instructing the Corinthians in his first letter to them, he tells them to treat their bodies well and to flee from sexual immorality. Paul tells them “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

What price can anyone possibly be bought at? And what were we bought from?

The price of buying the human race from the clutches of sin and death was nothing short of the death of Gods own Son, Jesus. 

Each person in existence is worth the blood, agony, physical and mental pain, and ultimately death of Christ. Nothing short of that. When put in this light, I am better able to understand my own choice to wear more modest summertime clothing. 

True modesty is not based in guilt or fear… it is based in knowledge of worth. If I’m being honest, wearing bikinis was something which I had hoped would make me desirable. I reduced my worth by basing it on how attractive or unattractive my body was to those around me. I did not see that by doing this I was selling myself short. I am so much more than just parts of a body to be put on display.

Some may (and do) argue that it is “my body. I can dress however I want.” … And since free will is a legit thing, that is partially true. But, I honestly don’t believe the phrase fully recognizes its own insufficiency to say anything very meaningful. 

This phrase throws off any responsibility toward ones fellow man as it turns the staunch believer of it inward to stew in ones own tendency toward selfishness. It blinds one from realizing the sacrifices that love requires. There is no real love which comes without sacrifice. 

In my case, the choices I made regarding clothing were not expressing love– nor were they welcoming it. I was receiving merely shallow attention and potentially drawing others into sin. This is what I needed to sacrifice in order to express and receive love in a more refined and honest way.

In order to rightly love myself and the people around me, I needed to stop objectifying myself by choosing to wear a modest (but totally cute and fashionable) one piece these past three years, I have felt more empowered, comfortable, beautiful, and downright appreciative of the body that God has given me than ever before. 

This small choice has changed my heart about the way that I dress and has helped me to see very clearly the value of true, heartfelt, modesty. 

When choosing a swimsuit this summer, don’t get sucked into the self objectification which the world has normalized and praised. Do not let yourself be reduced to merely parts. This choice has changed my summertime experience in so many positive ways. I hope that you’ll join me as I continue to discover beauty in modesty this summer. 

You are worth so much more than this world has been offering you. Remember your worth. Live in the continual knowledge of how loved and complex you are. 

I’ll be praying for you as you go head to head with our sexualized society this summer.

God loves you so much and so do I

1 Corinthians 13

3 Realistic Tips for a Happier and Holier 2017

Over the past couple of days I have seen countless posts about 2016 being the worst year ever. While each year undoubtedly comes with its own challenges it is important to remember that there are positive steps which anyone can take to make this next year happier, healthier, and holier in order to increase our peace during turbulent times. This new year I want us all to make a couple of beneficial resolutions. Sure, we may skip out on the gym more than we mean to and we might find ourselves forgetting that we ever made resolutions at all but I wanted to suggest some realistic/holistic ideas for a truly better new year.

 1.    Spend less time on social media.

The best way to deprive ourselves of mental peace is to mindlessly scroll through your news feed. Whether we are comparing ourselves to others, stalking them, or reading every Buzzfeed article we come across, it is rarely ever time well spent. I have never heard anyone say how happy they felt after spending time on social media. Every minute of the day is a minute which either brings us closer to God and to others or doesn’t. Let’s spend less time on social media and more time being social with those near us and God.

 2.    Spend more time outdoors.

Some of the happiest people I know are also some of the most active people I know. God knew what he was doing when he created the beautiful nature which surrounds us. There is something very serene and grounding about being outdoors and feeling the sun on your face. Even in the chill of winter, the cold breeze serves to pull us out of our routines and remind us to be a little more free. If you want to use this year to feel healthier, get outside and detach from technology for at least 15 minutes every day

 3.    Form a daily prayer routine and stick to it.

I heard somewhere that on the weekdays one should pray before 7pm and on the weekend’s one should pray before 1pm. This is a good step towards strengthening our relationship with God and keeping ourselves accountable for our prayer lives. There are many forms of prayer which one can incorporate into any day. Whether it be praying the Rosary on your daily commute, stopping in the chapel for a couple of minutes every day, picking up the practice of doing an examination of conscience daily, or spending time journaling or simply listening to God, make it daily. Set aside a fixed time and let it grow as you go along.

 These are simple goals but I believe they can help our minds, bodies, and souls become stronger, more positive, and holier. Let’s make this New Year one which helps us to be better. Let’s be saints, Lets be adventurous, let’s break our social media habits.

 

I’m saying special prayers for all of you in this New Year.

 

God loves you so much and so do I.

1 Corinthians 13

Discovering True Femininity: Ana and Eileen

 This past semester, I had the opportunity to be in a Focus bible study on the feminine genius. Focus is a “Catholic collegiate outreach whose mission is to share the hope and joy off the gospel to college students”. My two bible study leaders were incredible and really helped me dive into my own self discovery of the feminine genius through not only the bible study, but also my own prayer life.

We started our study in Genesis, focusing on the beautiful complementarity between man and woman. Here in the first book of the Bible, God lays out His plan for men and women so beautifully it says “…he took one of his ribs and closed the flesh up again forthwith….This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!” -Genesis 2. Eve was not taken from Adam’s head to rule over him, nor was she taken from his feet to be ruled by him, but she was taken from his rib, to rule with him. Together they find joy, together they become the person that God created them to be. This major theme from the bible study left me completely stunned. This one story I had heard so many times had so many truths and I wasn’t even aware of them! This plan that God has for humanity so drastically differs from the plan the world lays out for us.

Later that semester I entered into discipleship with my bible study leader, Sara. Being a disciple means that Sara accompanies me as I pursue a life of virtue and evangelization. We meet once a week and the goal is for me to eventually have my own bible study and invite one of the girls in my bible study into discipleship with me.

Sara truly became a friend to me during our time spent together this past semester. Her feminine gift of receptivity is unlike any other, and seeing that in her has inspired me to focus on my own receptivity. When she first asked me to be her disciple I was shocked because I am a relatively shy and reserved person. I was so shocked that she felt called to enter into this journey with me. I thought, why me? Why not someone else? Her choosing to invest in me as a disciple meant so much more than she could ever know.

This invitation made me realize that I don’t have to be like everyone else, and that it’s ok that I am more quiet and shy, because that is the way that the Lord created me. Sara really did bring out the best in me, and helped me to see the feminine gifts that God has given me. Sara saw in me the ability to be a great disciple and leader, but ultimately, God saw it first. She became a vessel for God’s grace, healing, and confidence.

-Ana

This past semester I applied to be on the Women’s ministry team at my university. Women’s ministry is a group of about 12 girls who serve the women of campus and put on events for them. While filling out the questions on the application I was challenged to reflect on my view of femininity. One question in particular asked, “Summarize how you view Catholic womanhood to be different than models proposed by secular feminism.” My view on Catholic womanhood is living out the vocation that was created by God specifically for women. This womanhood involves understanding the unique gifts and talents God bestows on us as females. Being able to find our identity in God is a large part of how I view Catholic womanhood. This differs from the models proposed by secular feminism, which calls for identity in independence, self-gratification, and equality to men. I want to focus specifically on finding our identity in God. It is God who created us and God who knows us so well. The more we discover God, the more we discover ourselves.

After becoming friends with a Sister of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, Sister Ignatia, I found the meaning of authentic femininity. It absolutely amazed me that this religious sister was so confident in her identity and was so able to be both a woman and spiritual mother to so many people on campus. A large part of my view of womanhood involved eventually getting married and sharing in a life with someone who complimented me. Sister is not married to another person and yet she still finds her identity in her Spouse, Jesus.  Sister Ignatia shows me womanhood in such a different way than anyone else. She is a bride of Christ and she finds her beauty in that. I see such authentic femininity in her life with the beauty and JOY of her personality. Sister Ignatia shows me that womanhood does not necessarily have to include marriage and a family, it can be lived out in our everyday life as a member of the church.

-Eileen

 

Jesus wants us to find ourselves in Him. He wants to reveal to us our authentic femininity. He wants us to bring our gifts and talents to His church while guiding us along the way. How do you view Catholic femininity? Have you allowed Jesus to show you who and whose you are

Hi! My name is Ana and I am a college student at Texas A&M University. I’m so excited to be starting this blog. I’ve always had the idea in the back of my head to create a place where I can share my thoughts about the faith and about life in general, but I never really felt like I would be able to do it. A couple weeks ago I ran across an article from Verily Magazine (if you don’t know who they are, you should really check them out!) about how to keep in touch with long distance friends. One of the ideas was to start a blog with your best friend, and I literally almost died when I saw that! WHY HAD I NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT?! So here I am now, with my best friend, ready to spread seeds of JOY!
Hey guys! My name is Eileen and I am a college student at Franciscan University. Unlike Ana, the thought of starting a blog had never crossed my mind. When she told me about the idea and what we would be writing about I thought to myself, “Whoa, that really scares me!” But then I thought about the quote from my all time favorite saints (and my confirmation saint!), John Paul II, “Do not be afraid to be Saints!” What did I need to be afraid of? I get to write about the blessings and many joys Jesus gives me daily! What could be better than that?! So here I am now, with my best friend, ready to spread seeds of JOY!

St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us. St. John Paul the Great, pray for us. St. Faustina, pray for us. St. Augustine, pray for us. All you holy men and women, pray for us!

Why You are More than Enough

“You are enough”.

Three simple words. Countless meanings… and yet it took me so long to understand what they meant to me. Let’s backtrack a couple of years to my freshman year of college. I went on a retreat put on by the Campus Ministry office at school and I was sitting in a room with about 30 other girls… we were all wrapped in blankets and probably crying because of the beautiful talks and the feeling of God’s love in the room. One of the leaders was giving a talk and during it, she took a second to point out to everyone in the room that they are enough. “Enough?” I thought. What does that even mean? She went on to talk about dignity and our importance to God as individuals. I remember trying to meditate on this and finding it difficult to accept.

How could I be enough for anyone let alone God? I knew my faults and shortcomings and I didn’t see how that could ever be enough. Perfection is enough. Being great at everything and never sinning is enough. I can’t be enough. I can try but I can’t ever really get there… Or so I thought.

Since that time in my life, God has drawn me closer to Himself and has really been taking time to show me all of the ways that I am perfectly enough… and not only that but how everyone ever created is perfectly enough for Him.

I pray with scripture often and I would like to share a verse that strongly pointed this out to me. St James Writes, “Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace.” (James 4:5-6) this verse goes on to say “Come near to God and he will come near to you”. When I read this verse all I could think was oh my gosh… He’s in love with us. God is in love with us, He longs for us… Jealously! That. Is. amazing. And also, why am I just now seeing and hearing this?

I finally understood. We are enough for God because He loves us. One who loves knows that the beloved has faults and yet loves them anyway. For the sake of the beloved, the lover desires that they acknowledge and overcome their faults but does not love them less. This kind of love is always present to us. God is always desiring us and loving us imperfect creatures in His perfect way. He is always there longing for us to speak to him, look at Him, or even think of Him. The one thing we need to do to experience this love and this enough-ness is to “go near to him” as St. James says. That is all. I know that sometimes in order to draw near to God, we need to overcome certain walls that we may have put up between us and Him. Rest in the assurance that we don’t need to be perfect and we don’t need to have it all figured out, we just need to go to Him.

Often, the problem is that we look for our worth in the broken world around us and all we face is comparison. We are shown all of the things we need to change to be beautiful, to be loved, to be enough for any other person. I think Theodore Roosevelt was spot on when he said “Comparison is the thief of Joy”. Instead of asking the world to show us our worth, we need to ask the creator of the world to show us.

When Pope St. John Paul II visited his homeland of Poland and was speaking to his people who had been under an oppressive communist rule for so long he said “You are not who they say you are, let me remind you who you are”. In that moment he was speaking to the Polish people but his words applied to the whole world. We cannot let this world define who we are, only the word of God can do that.

If you ever feel like you’re just a bunch of flaws and mistakes sewn up into a person who rarely knows what to do, remember that the same God who created you and knows your flaws and your vices also loves you without your asking Him to. He loves you no matter what and he is the one who guides your steps.

When we accept this love and meditate on it in tough times, it becomes easier to see why we are also enough for those around us. When we understand that we are loved by the All-knowing God of the universe, we will also come to understand that we are deserving of love from those around us because we are a unique creation who is unlike any other created thing or any other person who has ever existed. We also see that we have a duty to love others back. Just as we are and just as they are… Love does not require change but it does cause it.

If we choose to see that we are loved and we choose to do something with that love (aka spread it to the rest of Gods beautiful creation), we will see with our very eyes, this world piecing itself back together. We will understand that we are not only enough for love, we are deserving of it… and that is a beautiful thing.

I want to challenge you to sit in a chapel or in adoration this week and just ask God reveal His love for you. While resting in His presence, let yourself be filled with the peace that only He can give.

I am praying for you all as you seek your worth in His eyes before seeking it in the eyes of the world.

God loves you So much more than I do but I also love you. 

1 Corinthians 13

Not Only a Husband but Also a Father


Today is Father’s Day… A day where we honor the men who are biological, adoptive, and spiritual fathers. It is a beautiful time to reflect on those men who have stepped up to fill the demanding and beautiful role of raising children. I am blessed to be able to say that I have a wonderful father who is truly a hardworking patriarch and source of laughs for our family. He is a man of feeling and of strength.

In the midst of appreciating my own father , I began to think of all of my sisters in Christ who are discerning a man in their life. There are so many times when we talk to one another about good qualities that would carry on into marriage; things like kindness, honesty, gratitude, attentiveness, and affection. Something that we don’t always look at as immediately important is their ability to be good fathers.

If a woman is called to the vocation of marriage, she may want to consider both the husband-like and father-like qualities of the man.

When St. Joseph was chosen by God as the foster father of Jesus, both the care of our Blessed Mother and of Jesus were entrusted to him. He was appointed as both husband and father- a two fold calling. Set up by the Church as a role model for holy fathers, we can learn a lot from St Joseph about what to look for in our own boyfriends, fiancées and love interests.

In father Lawrence Lovasiks book “The Catholic Family handbook” he writes “Fatherhood is a vocation in Gods service, to be not held lightly or frivolously, but with the serious determination of serious men”. Fatherhood is not something that we should view as an easy, cross-less path. It is one that requires much strength and intense sacrifice.

The first thing to look for in a man whom one is discerning is this strength. By this, physical strength is by no means implied. This type of strength is a firmness of character and a resolve to do what is right. It is a drive to be honest, virtuous, and to stand firm against spiritual attacks. Saint Joseph was charged to protect the Christ child and his mother from various attackers and threats to their lives in the early years of Jesus’ life.

This strength is what will drive him to pray for his family and protect them from anything that may try to come between family members whether it be arguments, misunderstandings, or other outside influences. This strength acts as a glue which grounds the entire family unit spiritually and mentally.

It has been said that “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother”. While I would add that above all he need to love God and serve him, this order of loving the spouse and living the children through this love is very important. Why? You may ask. Some may think it is more important to directly love the children first and foremost.

By loving the mother first, a father shows his children that there is a correct order to the world. By seeing their mother loved correctly, children learn to love correctly and healthily. They know that before anything, their parents are united. They also know that their parents, because of their immense love for one another, have not only created them by the grace of God but also are now able to sustain them through the love that they share. It provides stability and joy in the home when parents are united in such a way.

Within this thought, something to look at is the WAY this person loves you. If you find yourself to be a priority in their life and you notice that the two of you are able to work to understand one another even in the midst of argument, this is a positive sign of healthy future parenting.

To be your significant other’s priority is something that seems like a great asset in dating but when it comes to marriage it is a necessity. A husband and wife pledge to be as one flesh together. To neglect one another is as to neglect ones own self.

St Joseph doesn’t say much in the Bible, in fact, he doesn’t say a single word in any of the Gospels. He was a hard working man who completely submitted his will to the will of God. While there are many things we do not know about St Joseph, scripture has left us with the most important knowledge: who he was — “a righteous man” (Matthew 1:18).

It’s not about what a man says or plans for the future, or how he looks/smells. It’s about his heart. To have a righteous(Virtuous/excellent) heart is something so crucial to being a good father and working to raise good children.

Children learn so many things from their fathers. If their father is righteous, all of the other qualities mentioned above will follow and the children will in turn have a great role model.

No one in this world is perfect but there is plenty of goodness to go around. We are all capable of it and we are called to not only goodness but to greatness.

We cannot expect others to be flawless but it is not wrong to desire greatness. I have heard it said that If you want to find your St. Joseph, model yourself after the Blessed Mother. Holiness is attractive and it is also inspiring.

Ladies, let us strive to follow the humility, love, and purity of the blessed Mother. Let us draw the men in our lives to holiness through our beautiful example that we are oh so capable of.

And men- thank you for your strength, righteousness, and holy Chastity. Taking St Joseph as your patron, draw women to a higher awareness of their dignity and help us get to heaven.

For any single persons reading this, St Joseph is a powerful intercessor for families and couples. I would highly recommend praying his novena- even now- for your future spouse.

“O Saint Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O Saint Joseph, assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. O Saint Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St Joseph patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.”

May God bless you all and I will be praying as all of you seek to live out your vocation in the holiest way possible.

God loves you so much and so do I!

1 Corinthians 13

Dress Like You Mean it: How to Keep it Classy this Summer

As I browsed through the clothing racks of my favorite store the other day, my thoughts were something similar to “so if you pair the high waisted shorts with a crop top the shirt won’t be short anymore… But then the shorts are too short too… so either way my entire legs and potentially my stomach and probably everything else will be exposed to the world and there’s no support for classy dress anymore and I’m going to have to knit my own clothes this summer.” … And that is probably where most people who are trying to dress modestly find themselves around this time of year. So what do we do? Do we give up entirely or do we spend hours looking on Pinterest for “modest summer clothes” and hunting down any lead we can find to the nearest clothing of reasonable length?

It is hard to be classy and keep up with trends at the same time. I am—and always have been—very much into fashion. I enjoy seeing new colors and styles that are on the market and I love helping friends pick out their outfits for special occasions.
Summer has always been a tricky season to dress for. It’s hot, people are all wearing basically nothing, and it’s hot. It’s hot. And it can be really hot. Modesty seems to be the last thing that people are worrying about from June to September and I get it because literally—it’s hot.

However, something that I want to remind us all of is that regardless of our temperature, we are our brothers and also our sisters keeper. Additionally, we are the ones that God has trusted to take care of our bodies. Don’t forget that when we choose to wear something, we will be around men who are the future husbands of our sisters in Christ… We will be around our little sisters in Christ who are looking for someone to look up to, we will be around our fellow sisters who are influenced by what we wear.

What you wear matters.

So I am including below some of my tried and true approaches to summer fashion. I have also included some suggestions of where I like to find these articles of clothing. There are definitely more places out there where you can find these things 

#1) MONOKINI.
Wow what a strange word. Basically, one pieces are all the rage right now anyway so this fashion pick is not only modest- but is also extremely cute and current.
Some places that I have found that have super cute one pieces are
-reyswimwear.com
-radswim.com
-anthropologie.com

Here is a link with some very cute suits within it if you dig the vintage Audrey Hepburn style http://verilymag.com/2016/05/iconic-bathing-suits-vintage-retro-swimsuits-audrey-hepburn-elizabeth-taylor-one-piece

#2) 3 ½” TWILL SHORTS
These shorts are super cute and also very in right now. The length is comfortable and is neither too short nor too long. I know that there are people who are taller than me so there are also 4 and 5” varieties. My favorite place to buy these are
-Old Navy
-TJ Maxx
-Tommy Hilfiger (outlet)

#3) TOPS- ¾ SLEEVE BUTTON DOWNS, SLOUCHY TEES, AND THICK-STRAP TANK TOPS.
Shirts are a little easier to pick out. My advice for tops is to make sure you can move around in them without feeling like you’re going to fall out of them. If you can feel the breeze on your stomach or torso, you might want to go back to store and buy an entire shirt.

My personal picks for places to buy tops:
-Marshalls
-Loft
-Kohls (The Lauren Conrad Collection is great)
-Once again TJ Maxx
-Old Navy
-Jones New York

It is all too easy to buy summer clothes without thinking too much about what effect our choices will have on others. Let’s strive to leave a positive impact on those around us by dressing in such a way that we honor our dignity and theirs. Let us be good sisters to one another. Let us be unapologetically fashionable and above all, let us be a little bit classy and a whole lot of holy.

While it may require a little bit more shopping around than usual, a classy, smart, and fashionable wardrobe is definitely within reach. Do it for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Clothe your body in a way that reflects your inherent dignity.

I am praying for you all as you enter this season of difficult fashion trends.

God loves you so much and so do I !

1 Corinthians 13

How to be Single (For Now)

About a year ago, I was talking to a good friend about a dilemma that was weighing heavily on my heart. I felt so ready to just date someone and eventually get married but the problem was that there wasn’t anyone in my life who interested me in that way. It brought me to despair a little to think that at a ripe young age I was already destined to end up an old dog lady (sorry not sorry to all cats reading this. It’s not my fault you have claws and dogs are nicer). In all honesty, this thought was really upsetting to me because I didn’t understand why I had such a strong desire and seemingly nothing to do with it. Cue the classic “Saint Anne Saint Anne find me a man as fast as you can” prayers and St. Joseph Novenas.

My friend asked me if I had thought about praying that I can become the woman I need to be in order to best love this person when I do meet them. Of course that was a stupid question because obviously I was ready. I mean come on… I was attending daily mass and going to adoration whenever I could spare time between classes… And besides that I already knew how to cook any meal that I could google a recipe for. My life just screamed “I’m ready for him Lord”. Spiritually and mentally I thought I was there.

I didn’t understand why the Lord was allowing me to remain single. What was I doing wrong? Did I need to pray more? Was it because I wasn’t pretty enough? Was I just not called to be happy? I had no clue what the answers were to these questions but that didn’t stop me from asking myself 4,000 times a day.

I didn’t get a clear answer to any of these questions until more recently. In the year since that conversation, I have come to see why my friend asked me about becoming that person I needed to be first. Through all of my experiences since then, my heart has grown and changed, I have encountered God’s love in ways that I never expected and I have learned how unpredictable and beautiful Gods plan is for our lives. I learned that being single, for any amount of time, is also part of Gods will.

Being single isn’t a waiting period- as much as it may feel like it. It is a time to live, a time to learn, and a time to love. It is just as much a part of God’s plan for your life as being in a relationship is.

Whether we are single or not, we are called to live a life of love, sacrifice, and holiness. God knows every detail of every day that we will live….Just take a second to really breathe that in. Every second, every minute of our lives is already known by Him. There is never a need to despair or lose hope. The Lord loves you and he desires your peace and your happiness.

I was reflecting the other day on the Bible passage where the lord says to Jeremiah “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11) it brought me to understand God’s great plan for me and the presence of His love filling my life. Nothing happens to me that He doesn’t know about.

Time spent single is a blessing… use it to become someone who is able to love the Lord and listen to Him with your heart… pray that He shows you how much He loves you and how worthy you are of a very real and total love.

A verse that I often use to help myself understand his love for me is this: “Listen daughter and pay careful attention: forget your people and your father’s house. Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.” (Psalm 45 10-11) The Lord is literally amazed by your beauty. So go see Him.

I want to invite you to spend an extra ten minutes a day with the Lord in the upcoming weeks. Just let Him look at you (whether you go to adoration or set aside time to pray) take this time to forget all anxiety or worry that may be filling your heart and get ready for the peace that only time with the Lord can give.

Pray that you can become the person you need to be in order to better love that person that you will be called to love.

Let this time of being single turn into the start of a beautiful relationship with God, yourself, others, and eventually that beautiful person or calling that will be your vocation.

I will be praying for all of you as you approach the Lord for comfort and reassurance as you near your calling.

Rejoice and be glad because God Loves you tremendously and so do I.

1 Corinthians 13

 

How to Avoid Using Others As Explained By Coffee

  
The other day I was thinking about coffee. This is not an unusual occurrence in my life seeing as I can’t even seem to form complete sentences until I get my cup of Joe in the morning. This thought, however, was less about how good coffee tastes and more about how I drink it.

There are two very different ways of drinking a cup of coffee: You either enjoy it in a mug, or you take it on the run in a disposable cup. Both of these avenues provide you with a nice jolt of caffeine and both probably taste relatively the same. The big difference I see between these approaches is how the product is used and what kind of experience it produces.

When you drink coffee out of a mug, there is a considerable amount of care put into the making and cream/sugar ratio of the coffee, one then takes time to enjoy the coffee. You have to handle the cup with care so as to not spill the coffee or burn yourself. After you are finished, you have to wash the mug so you can use it again the next time you want coffee.

When you drink coffee out of a disposable cup, convenience is key. You are able to multitask while drinking the coffee and get the caffeine out of it without any mess from it spilling while you do other tasks. This experience of coffee is defined by its disposability. When you are done drinking the coffee, you throw away the cup and the next time you want a caffeine fix, you can just get a new cup.

By now you might be wondering what any of this has to do with anything but I want to pose an idea to you.

In Philippians, Saint Paul writes about how we should be treating one another. He says “Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.” (Philippians 2:3). This inspired my New Year’s resolution and I want to invite you to be moved in the same way.

What if, we used this New Year to treat people like coffee out of a mug? What if we all made a resolution to not use others but to act out of selflessness? I’m sure that may sound a little challenging or even confusing so I am going to connect this idea to the coffee example which I just gave.

Treating our significant others like coffee from a mug looks a little something like this:

  1. TAKE THE PROPER CARE OF THAT OTHER PERSON

The same way that we need to take time to make sure the coffee has just the right amount of cream and sugar, we also need to take the time to make sure those who we are in relationship with are getting the care and attention that they deserve from us. We need to make sure to be sensitive in the way that we speak and act towards them. This selflessness way of thinking is key in avoiding use.

  1. ENJOY THEM FOR WHO THEY ARE NOT WHAT THEY CAN DO

When drinking coffee from a mug, we get to enjoy the drinking process and not just the end result of being more awake. With our significant others we need to appreciate who they are deep down and this means getting to know them. Spend more time appreciating these people in your life and get to a place where you can see them for who they are now and all that they dream of being in the future. Once we can see others as people with their own hopes, dreams, problems, and gifts, it will not only become easier for us to pray for and with them but will also help us to enjoy the journey of a maturing relationship with them and avoid using them for our own selfish purposes.

  1. KEEP IT CLEAN

Just like we need to clean any kind of residue or germs off of our mugs when we are done drinking our coffee, we need to make sure we are keeping our relationships free from buildup. This means taking care of any issues that arise in the relationship and not letting them get worse. It means being honest with that other person and thinking long term with our actions making sure they are aimed towards the goal of loving that person in the way we are called to. This will help us to discern our actions with more compassion and care for the people we are in relationships with.

Use is not what people are made for but it is something our world has become all too familiar with. Through prayer and intentionality, we can reverse the harmful effects of use in our world and in our lives.

A Bible quote that I want to share with you for this New Year is from the book of Esther and has been inspiring me in many ways, including in my relationships. It simply says “Perhaps this is the moment for which you were born” (Esther4:14).With that I want to encourage you… Do not be afraid to be bold and to be sincere in relationships this year. Treat others with respect and expect the same in return.

I will be praying for you throughout this new “use-free” year. May your coffee be hot and your relationships be holy.

God loves you so much and so do I.

1 Corinthians 13

50 Shades of Authentic Love: College Women Say What They Really Want

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With 50 Shades of Gray coming out this St. Valentine’s Day weekend, it may be easy to wonder what ever happened to romance. I know that it is in the human heart to desire something greater than the kind of affection that we are being shown through the media. It almost seems like we as a culture have forgotten how to show people that we are interested in them without getting overly physical and flat-out gross. I interviewed 50 college women from Mount St. Mary’s University and asked them what guys can do to make them feel loved and respected…

The results are beautiful:

  1. “Something small and spontaneous like leaving a note or a flower.” –K.E.

2.”When he notices something small… like a smile.” –M.H.

3.”Actually listen. That’s very important to me.”-S.B.

4.”Hold the door. Don’t just push the handicap button.”-K.W.

5.”Surprises. Just surprises.”-E.S.

6.”Offer your place in line to her.” K.W.

7.”Kiss her forehead”- E.R.

8.”when they hold your hand. It’s intimate without being overly-so.”-F.M.

9.”Give up your seat for her.”-E.S

10.”Respect us for who we are and not just how we look.”- J.H.

11.”When they play with your hair.”-J.H.

12.”When a guy lets you walk up to communion first.”-S.B.

13.”Just like holding the door, pulling your seat out, little stuff like that.”-K.Q.

14.”When he brings God into the relationship.”-H.R.J

15.”When they make you something.”-G.H.

16.”When they give you a compliment that’s not appearance based.”-M.O.

17.”When they complement you in a way that’s not flirtatious.”-K.Q.

18.”Ask how you can pray for her. It’s a beautiful way to build the relationship from the inside out.”-E.G.

19.”Give us a hug and listen.”-J.D.

20.”Offer me tea when I’m sick.” T.S.

21.”Give me candy on a bad day.”-H.M.

22.”Text me randomly throughout the day and invite me to hang out with your friends.”-A.W.

23.”Write me a poem or a song.”-M.S.

24.”Bring me something to feel better when I’m not feeling well.”-H.A.

25.”He called me and asked me what I wanted and I said I wanted to see him. He told me to look outside and he was standing there.”-A.K.K.

26.” When he makes dinner with me.”-M.S.

27.”Dancing with me when my favorite song comes on.”-A.K.

28.”Slow dancing.” –K.E.

29.”Go to mass together.”-M.S.

30.”When he tells you to wait for him just so he can say bye to you.”-J.C.

31.”He left a single rose outside my door when he was on his way to work.”-K.S.

32.”When he gets nervous. I think that’s really cute.”-N.C.

33.”The small stuff. Like getting my favorite candy or flowers.” –A.K.

34.”Pray with me.”-V.F.

35.”When they kiss your forehead.”-C.C.

36.”When they pray with you or write you a letter.”-R.H.

37.”When he picks you up.”-M.C.

38.”When they surprise you and visit you.”-M.R.

39.”Give me food. I know it sounds bad but I love food.”-N.R.

40.”Text me good morning or goodnight.”-M.R.

41.”Give me a hug when I need it.”-Y.F.

42.”Scavenger hunt.”-A.K.

43.”He bought me the girl version of the cologne that he wears because I like it so much.”-S.B.

44.”Handwritten notes and letters.”-A.G.

45.”When they sit down and listen to you.”-K.V.D.

46.”Telling a lame joke and then trying to make up for it. I think that’s really cute.”-R.O.

47.”Putting off spending time with friends to spend time with you.”-K.E.

48.”Takes an interest in something you’re passionate about.”-B.R.

49)”Open the car door for you.”-A.D.

50.” (From me, Rebekah) “I think it’s really cute when guys notice something that I do without thinking or facial expressions that I make. It shows me that they’re paying attention.”-R.H.

Gentlemen, take notes. This is what the girls around you want. Christian Gray doesn’t have anything on a Catholic man.

I will continue to pray for you all as you stand up to the culture and demand real Love.

God loves you so much and so do I.

1 Corinthians 13