Write In Between

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Writer's Wednesday -- St. Louis Mary de Montfort

The most terrible of all the enemies which God has set up against the devil is His holy Mother Mary...

Satan, being proud, suffers infinitely more from being beaten and punished by a little and humble handmaid of God, and her humility humbles him more than divine powers... the devils fear one of her sighs for a soul more than the prayers of all the saints, and one of her threats against them more than all other torments.

What Lucifer has lost by pride, Mary gained by humility. What Eve had damned and lost by disobedience, Mary has saved by obedience...

The humble Mary will always have the victory over that proud spirit, and so great a victory that she will go so far as to crush his head, where his pride dwells.

-----St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Loving the Bride, vol. 12

Something old....
O Jesus, gentlest love! Unarmed, and nailed fast to the cross, You defeated our enemies! Jesus, it's really true that Your are our peace, our tranquility, our serenity of conscience. No bitterness or sadness or poverty can touch the soul in whom Your live by grace.
It stands to reason that such a soul will have perfect happiness and wealth of joy, for God is happiness itself without a trace of sadness or bitterness. Yes, God is wealth itself. God is the only wealth that never loses its value and that's safe from all thievery.
-----St. Catherine of Siena, Letters ( 1347-1380)

Something new...

Could John Paul II's beatification be coming soon? Here's one report.
OK, I'm not a book reviewer by trade, but I call 'em as I see 'em. Catholic Moms and Dads: If you have kids under the age of 14 in your home, or if you teach religion or religious ed to these ages, go get Your Catholic Family (Simple ways to share the Faith at home) by Jim Merhaut. Great resource for faith sharing in the home. Wish I had this book when my kids were younger.

Last week, I posted a link to an article about Sen. Brownback's committed pro-life stance, a rarity in politics these days. Now, he's thrown his hat into the presidential ring... could we have Catholic-not-in-name-only president in our future? Check out his website and you decide. Seems we have too few politicians who embraced the Faith first, or should I say, use the Faith as a foundation for their decisions. (Given the competition already in the field of presidential candidates, he is likely a longshot, but like they say in the New York Lottery ads, "Ya Neva Know!")

Something borrowed...

Just in case you haven't ever seen their site, Feminists for Life are a great apostolate.

And now, for teenage gals, a little commercial for True Girl.

Something blue....

Prayer to Mary for Healing*

Dear Mary, my mother,
Please ask your son to heal me in any way I need to be healed.
I know your son has said,"If you have faith when you say to the mountains,
move, they will move."
I believe. Please help my unbelief.


*This short but helpful little prayer comes from the prayer page over at Spiritual Women.

Copyright 2006 Patricia W. Gohn

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Writer's Wednesday -- Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty

The Most Important Person on Earth is a Mother

The Most Important Person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having build Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral--a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body...

The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God's creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation...

What on God's good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother!

---- Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty (1892-1975)

On a similar note this little ditty honors the dignity of mothers, the author is unknown but I thought it was worth sharing...


A woman, renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk's office was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

"What I mean is," explained the recorder, "do you have a job or are you just a......?"

"Of course I have a job," snapped the woman. "I'm a Mom."

"We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation, 'housewife' covers it," said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall. The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient and possessed of a high-sounding title like, "Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar."

"What is your occupation?" she probed.

What made me say it? I do not know. The words simply popped out. "I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations."

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and looked up as though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words. Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written, in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest, "just what you do in your field?"

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, "I have a continuing program of research, [what mother doesn't) in the laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and out). I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family)and already have four credits (all daughters). Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it). But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money."

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she completed the form, stood up and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby) in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern. I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguishedand indispensable to mankind than "just another Mom."

Motherhood! What a glorious career! Especially when there's a title on the door. Does this make grandmothers "Senior Research associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations" and great grandmothers "Executive Senior Research Associates"? I think so!!! I also think it makes Aunts "Associate Research Assistants".

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Coming Attraction: Theology of the Body

This article is first in a series

Ultimate love, sex, communion, faith, hope, and healing are part of my everyday life as a Catholic wife and mother. Sound good to you? Let me whet your appetite for more.

My continuing graduate studies in theology led me to attend a weeklong course offered by the Theology of the Body Institute, where the subject matter was “theology of the body.” Most people ask, “What’s that?” Just having the word “body” in its theological title makes it sound almost sacrilegious in our modern body-obsessed society. Guesses vary: is it some “new age” practice involving yoga? Or is it health-related? Does it involve the Body of Christ? Is it new lingo for sex education? While the phrase “theology of the body” is not yet in many Catholics’ vocabulary, it will be as more and more learn about it.

Catholics who know their vocabulary tend to think of theology simply as “the study of God.” Their idea of theology is usually close to the American Dictionary definition: “the study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions.” That would be correct as applied to “theology of the body.”

Our body has something to teach us. It’s designed by God to be a “theology”… to uncover (or discover) God and to study and come to know his truth and love, as well as ourselves and the people we love. What we see in the mirror, the visible body in its objective reality, in some way, points to what we don’t see, the invisible… the intangible-but-just-as-real body-soul integration of who we truly are. Deep down we may see glimmers of this, but we often get so caught up in our visible world that we don’t encounter the invisible—the deeper truths and deeper beauty—of our lives.

“Theology of the body” is about encountering those deeper truths… the ones that lead us to intimate communion with members of the opposite sex, and how those desires, properly channeled, lead us to experiencing God’s most intense love in marriage.

This theology was presented as a series of 129 talks delivered by Pope John Paul II, given at his weekly general audiences in Rome between 1979 and 1984. “General audiences” mean that this teaching is for all of us, the general public, if you will. While it is theological, biblical, and philosophical, it’s not only for theologians, bible scholars, or philosophers. (Indeed, they will be studying these teachings for years to come!) Nor is it a separate branch of theology such as Christology (study of Jesus Christ’s words and actions), biblical exegesis (study of sacred scripture), ecclesiology (study of the Church), Mariology (study of the Blessed Virgin Mary), eschatology (study of the last things such as death, resurrection, heaven and hell.) It’s a vibrant thread that runs through all of these. But don’t get lost in terminology. “Theology of the body” is for everyone. If you have a body, you qualify to know these truths. You don’t need a college degree to unlock them.

“Theology of the body” is a profoundly coherent and rich teaching on “what it means” to be a person with a body—literally, a man or a woman—and how are we to live and love as men and women in relationship with God and one another. It’s truly the basics of human life… the kind of stuff that gives the fullest meaning to our lives: finding love, giving love, receiving love, knowing love, making love, being loved, and being healed by love. Um, pardon me, did you say ‘making love?’ Yes I did, it’s ALL in there. The stuff of life that meets you right where you live is part of the “theology of the body.”

If you’ve ever gone looking for a divine plan for your life, but stumbled along in the search, have courage! “Theology of the body” proves that there is a divine plan for our lives and that this plan is no secret. We can KNOW this plan and live it out. In fact, it is so obvious that it’s right under our noses, so to speak, in our bodies.

Our bodies reveal God’s not-so-secret plan for our ultimate fulfillment: our bodies are designed for making love and giving love in such a radical lay-your-life-down-for-your-lover way that it sweeps us off our feet—right into the arms of the Trinity. (That is not a misprint.) John Paul II actually preached extensively and wrote a book about the gift of giving yourself so totally away to your spouse in sexual union—that it is a sign of the eternal exchange of love between the persons of the Trinity. Not only is it a sign, it’s a call to the highest love life we’ll ever know.

“Theology of the body” is an interpretative key—a guide—to finding meaning in life and in love. It explores our human past, which, in turn, helps us understand our present situation, so we can have a hope and vision for our future. It’s not only a new love language to communicate with, but it shows us the path of grace to finding true love and then releases the power to live it. It’s a total transformation package. Transformation of our minds and hearts will transform the way we experience life and love in our bodies.

This theology is “hot.” It burns with holy desire from the Holy Fire that comes from God alone. As we encounter its flame, we will be purified so that we may experience a deeper life and more love than we’ve ever known.

If you want to know more, stay tuned. I plan to write a short series of articles to introduce this subject. This first article is just the coming attractions.
Of course, if you wish to “read ahead,” books, DVDs, or audios CDs from leading experts on “theology of the body” are available here: http://www.ascensionpress.com/shop/Scripts/prodList.asp?idCategory=45 If you are a reader, I recommend Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West as a good place to start. If you want a more academic read, try Christopher West’s Theology of the Body, Explained.

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Loving the Bride, vol 11

Something old....

The human dimension of the mystery of the Redemption

Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer "fully reveals man to himself". If we may use the expression, this is the human dimension of the mystery of the Redemption. In this dimension man finds again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to his humanity. In the mystery of the Redemption man becomes newly "expressed" and, in a way, is newly created. He is newly created! "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus"64. The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly-and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being-he must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into him with all his own self, he must "appropriate" and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself. If this profound process takes place within him, he then bears fruit not only of adoration of God but also of deep wonder at himself. How precious must man be in the eyes of the Creator, if he "gained so great a Redeemer"65, and if God "gave his only Son "in order that man "should not perish but have eternal life"66.

In reality, the name for that deep amazement at man's worth and dignity is the Gospel, that is to say: the Good News. It is also called Christianity.

-----Pope John Paul II, Redemptor hominis, 1979.


Now, if the above moved you at all, I beg you to read the beautiful conversion story of Elizabeth Foss-Genovese, a well-known author and humanities professor from Emory University who recently died. We should all take notes on her life on how to live counter-culturally with love.

Something new...

Check out Catholic Exchange's new "productivity" blog... CE On Time featuring posts from Lisa Hendey, editor of CatholicMom.com, among others!

Christopher West's next Theology of the Body "Immersion Course" is offered here. My take on it, here.

Something borrowed....

Here's an interesting article on CE from Fr. Pavone (Priests for Life) on Senator Brownback's stand on pro-life issues and more.

For your Christian growth and possible small group or family use, here's Life After Sunday.


Something blue....

Novena to Mary, Mother of Perpetual Help

See at your feet, O Mother of Perpetual Help, a poor sinner who has recourse to you and confides in you.

O Mother of Mercy, have pity on me!
You are called the refuge and hope of sinners; be my refuge and my hope.
Help me, for the love of Jesus Christ; stretch forth your hand to a poor, fallen creature.
I recommend myself to you, and I want to devote myself to your service forever.
I bless and thank almighty God, who in his mercy has given me this confidence in you, which I hold to be a pledge of my eternal salvation.

Mary, help me. Mother of Perpetual Help, never allow me to lose my God.

(Say the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be, three times.)

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Writer's Wednesday -- Christopher West

Here's a taste of the "theology of the body" course I went to and a great quote from Christopher West...

If original sin leads us to doubt the benevolent love of the Father and to close our hearts to the free gift of his life, [our late Pope] John Paul tells us that "faith, in its deepest essence, is the openness of the human heart to the gift: to god's self-communication in the Holy Spirit." This life is poured out for us is Christ's self-gift to his Bride on the cross. In essence, Christ's self-gift says to us: "You don't believe in the Father's love? Let me make it real for you; let me incarnate it for you so that you can taste and see. You don't believe that God wants to give you life? I will bleed myself dry so that my life's blood can vivify you. You thought God was a tyrant, a slave-driver? You thought he would whip your back and mail me to a tree; I will let you lord it over me to show you that the Father has no desire to lord it over you. I have not come to condemn you, but to save you. I have not come to enslave you, but to set you free. Turn from your disbelief. Believe and receive the gift of eternal life I offer you."

This is Christ's "marriage proposal." He entrusts himself as a gift to our freedom. Faith, then, is the human heart's openness to the gift of divine live. It is man's freely given "yes" to heaven's marriage proposal. Understood in this way, faith is the only path to reconciling the "great divorce" and to that holiness which gradually heals man's internal split. John Paul tells us that "holiness is measured according to the 'great mystery' in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom. Holiness, in other words, is Love loved. Each time a human heart receives and reciprocates God's love, the reconciliation of divinity and humanity, body and soul, man and woman takes root. Bringing about this reconciliation is the meaning and purpose of the Incarnation and Redemption.

-----Christopher West, Theology of the Body Explained.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Theology of the Body Institute presents its "Head and Heart" Immersion Course

Click on the link above.

I have just returned home from this intensive one-week program. It is both a class on "theology of the body" and a retreat. I am convinced that more priests and more lay people need to take this course. If you want graduate or undergraduate credit for the course, it's available, although my university wouldn't transfer it. But even without the credit, there is so much to be learned!

If you are a Catholic who works with marriage-prep, family life ministries, youth minitries, GO! If you are a theology or philosophy student, GO! If you are fan of John Paul II's, GO! If you are seeking a deeper walk with Christ and your spouse, first read, Theology of the Body for Beginners, and then GO!

Slots are still available for the next course beginning April 29th.

Drop me an email with any questions you have.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

National De-Lurking Week

So here it is again... National De-Lurking Week! A week when all those "readers" who lurk around this blog can come and show themselves by posting a comment... and anonymous ones are OK too!

If you're a regular reader, say hello. And if you are new, welcome. All comments pass by my eyes before posted, so if you are gonna leave one, it'll take a few hours, perhaps, to post.

Let me know what you think of Writer's Wednesdays and Loving the Bride.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Carried away by Christopher West...

No, not really. We are both TAKEN! Just off studying with him and about 90 others at a retreat center for a week's worth of coursework on Theology of the Body.

I'll not be blogging this next week as I am leaving my laptop home, opting to take old fashion notes and fasting from electronic media in all forms while I'm away. So say a prayer for my fruitful learning and I'll return the favor for you all this week.

If you want to explore the aforementioned subject matter while I'm gone, I recommend Christopher West's site, which also gives you books, CD, DVD and MP3 presentations and information.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Loving the Bride, vol. 10

Something old...

Let nothing bother you
Let nothing scare you.
Everything changes,
Only God is steady and changeless.

But patience hits the target.
Only patience always gets what it wants.
The person who possesses God possesses everything.
That person lacks nothing.
Only God satisfies your every need.

---Teresa of Avila, Prayers, (1515-1582).

Something new...

What the pope is calling us to in the new year.

Something borrowed...

Dom Bettinelli points out the current debate within Catholic circles on capital punishment.

Something blue...

A few nice meditations on Mary to start the year off, over at Feminine Genius.

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Writer's Wednesday -- Julian of Norwich

Mercy is a compassionate quality. It belongs to motherhood in tender love. Grace is worthy of praise, too, because it is a quality that belongs to God's magnificent power in that same love. Mercy protects, endures, energizes, and heals, and is every tenderness of love. Grace is mercy's helper. It raises, rewards, and always exceeds what our love and labor deserve.

Grace is evident of God's amazing abundance, and we see through it that this divine generosity emanates from God's kingly authority and wonderful kindnesses. Grace comes from this abundance of love and transforms our horrible mistakes into abundant, unending consolation. Grace alters our shameful falling into a high, honorable rising, and grace transforms our sorrowful dying into holy, joyful living.

---Julian of Norwich, (1342-1420), Revelations

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