Write In Between

Friday, March 30, 2007

Loving the Bride, vol 21

Something old....

Canticle to the Holy Face

Dear Jesus! 'tis Thy Holy Face
Is here the start that guides my way;
They countenance, so full of grace,
Is heaven on earth, for me, today.
And love finds holy charms for me
In Thy sweet eyes with tear-drops wet;
Through mine own tears I smile at Thee,
And in Thy griefs my pains forget.
How gladly would I live unknown,
Thus to console Thy aching heart.
Thy veiled beauty, it is shown
To those who live from earth apart.
I long to fly to Thee alone!
Thy Face is now my fatherland,

The radiant sunshine of my days,
My realm of love, my sunlit land,
Where, all life long, I sing Thy praise;
It is the lily of the vale,
Whose mystic perfume, freely given,
Brings comfort, when I faint and fail,
And makes me taste the peace of heaven.
Thy face, in its unearthly grace,
Is like the divinest myrrh to me,
That on my heart I gladly place;
It is my lyre of melody;
My rest - my comfort - is Thy Face.
My only wealth, Lord! is thy Face;
I ask naught else than this from Thee;
Hid in the secret of that Face,
The more I shall resemble Thee!
Oh, leave on me some impress faint
Of Thy sweet, humble, patient Face,
And soon I shall become a saint,
And draw men to Thy saving grace.
So, in the secret of Thy Face,
Oh! hide me, hide me, Jesus blest!
There let me find its hidden grace,
Its holy fires, and, in heaven's rest,
Its rapturous kiss, in Thy embrace!

----Saint Teresa of Lisieux
12 August 1895
translated by S L Emery

Something new....

Here's some good advice for your daily prayer:

In order for the decision of daily personal prayer to be effective, it has to be concretized as to time and place. In fact, wisely choosing the time and place is usually a process that takes awhile to be satisfactorily concluded, and is itself half the battle..Generally, it seems best to choose a daily time for personal prayer as one of the first things in the morning..The multiplicity of demands on our time and attention is such that if we do not put a priority on spending time alone with the Lord each day we are likely not to do it."

---Ralph Martin, Hungry for God, Servant/St Anthony Press

Something borrowed....
Here's some inspiration from the writing of Henri Nouwen on the passion we all eventually experience in our lives, courtesy of Happy Catholic.

Something blue....

Working to battle temptations this Lent? Call on Our Lady of Perpetual Help!.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Writer's Wednesdays - St. Augustine

From The Confessions:

1.4.4 What art Thou then, my God? What, but the Lord God? For who is Lord but the Lord? or who is God save our God? Most highest, most good, most potent, most omnipotent; most merciful, yet most just; most hidden, yet most present; most beautiful, yet most strong, stable, yet incomprehensible; unchangeable, yet all-changing; never new, never old; all-renewing, and bringing age upon the proud, and they know it not; ever working, ever at rest; still gathering, yet nothing lacking; supporting, filling, and overspreading; creating, nourishing, and maturing; seeking, yet having all things. Thou lovest, without passion; art jealous, without anxiety; repentest, yet grievest not; art angry, yet serene; changest Thy works, Thy purpose unchanged; receivest again what Thou findest, yet didst never lose; never in need, yet rejoicing in gains; never covetous, yet exacting usury. Thou receivest over and above, that Thou mayest owe; and who hath aught that is not Thine? Thou payest debts, owing nothing; remittest debts, losing nothing. And what had I now said, my God, my life, my holy joy? or what saith any man when he speaks of Thee? Yet woe to him that speaketh not, since mute are even the most eloquent.

1.5.5 Oh! that I might repose on Thee! Oh! that Thou wouldest enter into my heart, and inebriate it, that I may forget my ills, and embrace Thee, my sole good! What art Thou to me? In Thy pity, teach me to utter it. Or what am I to Thee that Thou demandest my love, and, if I give it not, art wroth with me, and threatenest me with grievous woes? Is it then a slight woe to love Thee not? Oh! for Thy mercies' sake, tell me, O Lord my God, what Thou art unto me. Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. So speak, that I may hear. Behold, Lord, my heart is before Thee; open Thou the ears thereof, and say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. After this voice let me haste, and take hold on Thee. Hide not Thy face from me. Let me die- lest I die- only let me see Thy face.

The electronic edition is found here.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

It's spring in New England...

...Where you still can get a surprise snowfall after the first day of spring...

...Where you see young men and boys wearing shorts and tees while there are still snow piles on the ground...

...Where you see young women and girls forgoing socks and digging out flipflops...

...Where the larger the pothole in the road the more likely it will remain unpatched...

...Where you see convertibles going topless on 45-degree days...

...Where you still see skiers driving north and trucks with plows on them...

Indeed, spring in New England is where hope abounds.

Copyright 2007 Patricia W. Gohn

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Loving the Bride, vol. 20

Something old....

Lenten Prayer from St. Ephraim the Syrian (died June, 373):

O Lord and Master of my life
take from me the spirit of sloth,
lust of power,
and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to thy servant.

Yes, O Lord and King

grant me to see my own faults

and not to judge my brother;

for Your are blessed from all ages to all ages.

Something new....

This came out a few weeks ago, so I'm a bit behind, but don't miss Benedict XVI's latest apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist as the source and summit of our faith. Read it here.

Don't have a lot of time to read Benedict? Try this shorter article "If We Knew the Value of the Mass."

Something borrowed....

Can we take back the Catholic culture?

Something to nibble on besides not eating meat on Fridays in Lent.

Something blue....
March 25th is the Feast of the Annuciation... the Incarnation, Word-made-flesh in Mary. Here's a brief reflection from Bishop Fulton J. Sheen's The World's First Love, p. 19:

If you were an artist, would you allow someone to prepare your canvas with daubs? Then why should God be exprected to act differently when He prepares to unite to Himself a human nature like ours, in all things, save sin? By having lifted up one woman by preserving her from sin, and then having her freely ratify that gift at the Annunciation, God gave hope to our disturbed, neurotic, gauche, and weak humanity. Oh yes! He is our Model, but He is also the Person of God! There ought to be, on the human level, Someone who could lead us to Christ, Someone who would mediate between us and Christ as He mediates between us and the the Father. One look at her, and we know that a human who is not good can become better; one prayer to her, and we know that, because she is without sin, we can become less sinful.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

From the email inbox: the problem of dissent.. and a response from Catholic Answers

Dear Readers,

What follows is a letter from Catholic Answers. While I think the language of the letter might seem a bit over-zealous to some, I hope you will read it. However, more important than the letter (which is ultimately asking you to take a free copy of their special report, and asking for a donation to support this effort of Catholic Answers, which I would endorse if your funds allow) I'm posting this so that you can be informed.

There exist a number of organizations that are trying to re-structure the Catholic Church. Please note, this is very different from organizations that exist to renew the Church. Often, these organizations resist working/teaching under the Magisterium of the Church, either blatantly or subtly. The organization I'd ask you to research, by going to their own website, is the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC) website at http://arcc-catholic-rights.org. Their goal is to make the Catholic Church a constitutionally-based entity. Don't take my word for it. Look up their site and see the related organizations that support their efforts.

You might also want to get a copy of the Catholic Answers report Wolves in Sheep's Clothing listed below. Pray about how you might respond. Especially pray for our local Churches here in the US under this attack from within our own Body.

In peace,

Here's the email from Karl Keating of Catholic Answers:

----- Original Message -----
From: "projects" <projects@imcomonline.com>To: <pat.gohn@COMCAST.NET>Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 6:52 PM
Subject: Dissenters are trying to destroy the Church from within
How to Keep the Catholic Church from Being Undermined by Dissenters Who Have Lost the Faith and Are Trying to Destroy the Faith of Everyone Else, Too!
Click here http://www.catholic.com/dissenters.asp. to receive a free copy of our new special report, Wolves in Sheep's Clothing
Dear Friend,

This is a painful letter for me to write.Why? Because it deals with a painful problem that affects thousands of priests, nuns, deacons, and other individuals who are in charge of millions of souls.

The problem is the wave of theological and moral dissent that is in danger of overtaking the Church in America. The dissenters-who are well organized-are systematically trying to subvert and "reconstruct" the very foundations of our Catholic faith. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. I've written many times to warn people about Call to Action, Women's Ordination Conference, Catholics for a Free Choice, CORPUS (the National Association for a Married Priesthood), Dignity, FutureChurch, and many other self-proclaimed "change agents" present in the Church today.They all have a similar agenda: to dismantle the existing structure and essence of the Catholic Church and then re-make it in their own image and likeness.Their common concerns? They desperately want the Church to change its "rigid" stand on such issues as abortion, contraception, divorce, homosexual activity, women's ordination, and married priests.It's almost hard to believe that these people are serious. But they are.

For many of us, it may even be hard to believe that they pose a serious threat to the Church. But they certainly do.

Did you know that at a recent Call to Action national convention (in Milwaukee, Wisconsin), a couple of hundred priests were in attendance?It's true. Also present were many radical feminist nuns, religious educators, chancery officials, liturgists, theologians, and various Church bureaucrats.Altogether, about 4,000 to 5,000 people were in attendance.So, as you can see, this group of dissenters actually represents . . . A Powerful Force within the Church Today!And they have a clear, systematic agenda: to tear down the Church as we know it- you've been seeing it happen for the last 40 years-and then re-build it into a different "NewChurch" structured around their own agenda.

As proof, we here at Catholic Answers just finished an eye-opening new report that spells out this crisis in detail.

It's titled Wolves in Sheep's Clothing-and it's devastating.

It contains hard-hitting facts and quotations from the dissenters themselves about their plans for remolding the Church into something no faithful Catholic would recognize.Their own words incriminate them.

One of the most insidious plans being laid by the dissenters is to have a "constitution" adopted by the Church-which would give so-called "rights" to "the people" (or, more accurately, to the dissenters).

The "Constitution for the Catholic Church" is being widely promoted right now by a group called the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church, which was founded in 1980 in reaction to Vatican censure of such radical theologians as Edward Schillebeeckx, Jacques Pohier, and Hans Küng.

Let me show you some of the key articles of this Constitution. You'll be able to see for yourself how they would destroy the Catholic faith if adopted.

Article 1 is the most important of all-laying the groundwork for everything else to come. It says, "All Catholics have the right to follow their informed consciences in all matters." Notice it doesn't say "properly formed" consciences. You see, the dissenters believe that the final arbiter of any decision must be the person's own conscience-regardless of whether it is properly formed or not. Of course, if the Church were to accept this "ideal," then the original standard-reliance on a properly formed conscience based on the authority of the magisterium-would be swept away, replaced by a mandate for pure moral relativism.This is what leads men like Frank Bonnike, co-founder of CORPUS, to say, "I keep all the rules, but I also respect people who don't keep all the rules. The key is to respect their consciences. "Of course, the dissenters don't really believe that all Catholics have the right to follow their consciences. Why? Because whenever orthodox Catholics oppose abortion, homosexual "marriage," contraception, and the like, the dissenters viciously condemn us and ridicule our views!As with "tolerance" and "non-judgmentalism," this reliance on personal conscience is simply a tool that the dissenters use to further their goals.

You Won't Believe These. Take a look at some of these other articles in the proposed charter and "Constitution for the Church" (you can read these on the ARCC website at http://arcc-catholic-rights.org):

Article 2: "Officers of the Church have the right to teach on matters both of private and public morality only after wide consultation with the faithful prior to the formulation of the teaching."

Article 5: "All Catholics have the right to a voice in all decisions that affect them, including the choosing of their leaders."

Article 16: "All Catholics, regardless of canonical status (lay or clerical), sex or sexual orientation, have the right to exercise all ministries in the Church for which they are adequately prepared, according to the needs and with the approval of the community."

This blatant call for women's ordination is repeated in Article 26: "All Catholic women have an equal right with men to the resources and the exercise of all the powers of the Church."

Then there's Article 28: "All married Catholics have the right to determine in conscience the size of their families and the appropriate methods of family planning."I don't have to tell you what that means: The acceptance of abortion, sterilization, and all means of contraceptive and abortifacient birth control.

But here's a real whopper.Articles 30 and 31: "All married Catholics have the right to withdraw from a marriage which has irretrievably broken down. All such Catholics retain the radical right to remarry. All Catholics who are divorced and remarried and who are in conscience reconciled to the Church have the right to the same ministries, including all sacraments, as do other Catholics."These folks need to re-read Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:11-12, and Luke 16:18, which recorded our Lord proclaiming, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."But these dissenters ignore such a direct statement made by Christ himself. That's why their ability to deceive themselves knows no boundaries.

And as if all that weren't enough, here's Article 32: "All Catholics have the right to expect that Church documents and materials will avoid sexist language, and that symbols and imagery of God will not be exclusively masculine."

But what makes me even more upset is that the dissenters envision holding a "constitutional convention" in order to enact all of the demands described above, and they want to call it... "Vatican III."

We already know how much damage these same people did to the Church in the name of "the spirit of Vatican II." Imagine what they would do if they succeed in holding "Vatican III."

One of the things they want, for instance, is for every continent, nation, diocese, and parish to have a detailed constitution of its own, whose articles and amendments would be arrived at by popular vote of the bodies of individuals concerned, one in each different area!This is actually the key to fulfilling the dissenters' dream of the destruction of the hierarchical Church.They want to be the ones who ultimately hold power at the top. For example, their constitution would set up a complicated judicial system of diocesan, national, and international tribunals, culminating in a Supreme Tribunal whose job would be to hear cases charging illegal or unconstitutional actions. By the POPE! Bizarre but true! And the constitution warns darkly, "There shall be no judicial appeal from the judgments of the Supreme Tribunal."And again, I'm not making this up. You can read it on their web site!

At the recent Call to Action conference, attendees were asked by a journalist what motivates them and why they don't just leave the Church if they dislike it so much. A typical response revealed the true reason dissenters stay in the Church and are trying so hard to change it:"The Church has absolutely no right to make us feel guilty about activities that our consciences tell us are moral."You see, they know that if they leave the Church, they will be nothing special-just another gaggle of splinter groups in the great world supermarket of churches. But like parasites, they seek to drain the "host" of its vitality for their own purposes. Also like parasites, the dissenters have gradually burrowed their way into the very structure of the Church.

Almost two-thirds of Call to Action conference attendees actually work for the Church! Many of them work in positions as pastoral assistants, teachers at Catholic schools and seminaries, or directors of religious education. If they get their way, the Church won't be able to teach anything other than "follow thy conscience."As proof, here's a quote from Anthony Padovano, the current president of CORPUS:"Conscience or so-called 'cafeteria' Catholicism is infinitely more beneficial for the Church than cathedral Catholicism. Cathedral Catholicism does not give us a community of believers, but an assembly of servants and slaves." What an insult to faithful Catholics! Truly, their audacity knows no bounds. Mr. Padovano asserts that it is wrong for the pope to rule on birth control since he "has no personal experience" in the area, never having been married. When Pope Benedict XVI was elected, Padovano stated, "American Catholics will not allow this papacy to prevail. Some will openly resist; others clandestinely subvert; most will simply not comply."Yes, he's that arrogant and defiant.

Who's Really Obsessed with Sex? When you look at the dissenters' writings, you'll notice that they accuse everyone else (especially our Pope) of being "obsessed" with sexual issues. But in fact, the people who are really obsessed are the dissenters themselves. Even just a casual look at their literature reveals that most of their scribblings deal with sex-related subjects such as contraception, abortion, priestly celibacy, and homosexuality. Dissident organizations that abound today are so preoccupied with sex-and especially . . . Sexual Deviancy. For instance, one of the newer groups is New Ways Ministry-whose job is to advocate for gay Catholics and gay priests. Yep, just what the Church needs.There's DignityUSA, which boldly states in its mission statement:"DignityUSA envisions and works for a time when Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Catholics are affirmed and experience dignity through the integration of their spirituality with their sexuality, and as beloved persons of God participate fully in all aspects of life within the Church and Society."CORPUS (a group of ex-priests who left ministry to get married) states its goal this way:"We are committed to working for a renewed priesthood of married and single men and women in the Catholic Church. We continue to work for an inclusive priesthood . . . one that is open to women and men, married and single, gay and straight."It boasts on its web site that "on July 31, 2006, eight Roman Catholic women were ordained as priests in Pittsburgh. They were validly ordained by three consecrated female bishops."

These people take themselves very seriously. And they're in positions of power within the Church-especially at the parish level-so we need to take them seriously, too. So, I want to send you a copy of our new research report, Wolves in Sheep's Clothing-and I also want to ask for your help in getting it widely distributed to the millions of Catholics all across the United States.

Won't You Help Us Sound the Alarm?

This report is must reading for every Catholic who loves the Church and cares enough to defend it. That's why, with your help, I want to send a copy of this report to as many Catholics as possible so they can take action in their own parish-because so much of the dissenters' poison is now spread at the parish level through CCD classes and RCIA classes.But we can't send a single copy to anyone without your help. The initial cost of this project will be approximately $150,000.

We need to raise that money in the next 30 days so we can launch this vital defense of the faith.As Fr. John Hardon, S.J., once pointed out:"The Church cannot be destroyed, but let's be clear: The Church in any particular country CAN be wiped out. We have some 1,900 extinct dioceses in the world today. Barring a miracle of grace, one diocese after another in the United States will disappear." Those are very sobering words-so we must take heed!This is why we at Catholic Answers are so dedicated to getting widespread distribution of our new research report, Wolves in Sheep's Clothing.

As you know, our central purpose is to defend the Catholic faith. And right now in America, it's under severe attack by the dissenters.If we don't do something now, we will live to regret it. But even worse, our children and grandchildren will live to resent us for it, and millions will never know the faith at all.They will wonder why we didn't fight to save our beloved Church when we had the chance. They Will Wonder If We Really Loved It at All! We must not let that happen. And we must not make the mistake of thinking that God will just take care of everything by himself.

Listen: If we don't fight to defend his Church, then we don't deserve his help!It's that simple. Looking on the bright side, this terrible onslaught of heresy, schism, and apostasy will actually serve to strengthen the Church in the long run-and get people to rally around the orthodox teachings of the faith. People will be inspired to learn and live their faith so they can defend it. Many vocations to orthodox religious orders will no doubt come out of this, too. In a word, God will draw GOOD out of the evil we face . . .. . . but only if you and I do our part to cooperate with him.

We at Catholic Answers are totally dependent on your generosity in order to send out our new report. As I mentioned, the initial cost will be $150,000-which we don't have right now.Therefore, would you be able to send us your gift of $35 or more to help with this project by clicking here now? http://www.catholic.com/dissenters.asp.In return, I will send you a copy of our eye-opening report, Wolves in Sheep's Clothing.If you can afford it, please dig deep and give $100 or more. It's that important.I know I'm asking for a lot. But the Church in America has virtually no one else to stand up for it and defend it besides faithful Catholics like you.If you don't stand with us, who will? And if we don't defeat the dissenters now, when?

It's Up to Each of Us to Do Our Part. The dissenters are working to dismantle the Church and replace it with an institution of their own design.

Consider this quotation from a leading dissenter, Fr. Bill Callahan:"The Church system is showing such strains and contradictions that it is ready to crumble. Systems crumble much more readily if there are people marching around the walls, everyone with a little rock pick, working on their part of the wall. You can't repel them all."To that I say, "Yes we can, Father. Watch us. There are more of us than there are of you. Leave our Church alone!"Will you join me in this battle?All you have to do is make your donation-by clicking here now. http://www.catholic.com/dissenters.asp.

We need to hear from you right away so that we know we have the resources to go forward.So please donate now- http://www.catholic.com/dissenters.asp.and then pray harder than ever that God will bless our humble efforts on behalf of his Church.

As Fr. Hardon said, it will take a miracle to keep the Catholic Church in America from being destroyed from within by dissenters. So let's start praying-and working-right now for that timely miracle.

God bless you, and I look forward to hearing from you very soon.

Sincerely in Christ,

Karl Keating

To donate to this project, go to :http://www.catholic.com/dissenters.asp.

This Appeal letter is sent to thousands of friends of Catholic Answers. While we welcome comments and suggestions sent by e-mail, regrettably time constraints make it impossible for us to compose individual replies. Thank you for understanding.


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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Writer's Wednesday -- St. Anselm

O Lord my God,
teach my heart this day where and how to see You,
where and how to find You.
You have made me and remade me,
and You have bestowed on me
all the good things I possess,
and still I do not know You.
I have not done that
for which I was made.
Teach me to seek You,
for I cannot seek You
unless You teach me,
or find You
unless You show Yourself to me.
Let me seek You in my desiring.
Let me desire You in my seeking.
Let me find You by loving You,
Let me love You when I find You.
----St. Anselm, (died 21 April, 1109.)

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Body Language: What the Body Reveals

The second article in a series on “Theology of the Body.”
[To read the first article, click here.]

My simple gold wedding band is one of my most cherished possessions. I almost never take it off. Even when I clean it, it is never off for long. Its few prolonged absences from my finger were in the last weeks of each pregnancy. For me, my wedding band isn’t just an adorning piece of jewelry; it’s a symbol of the vowed life that I lead until my death or the death of my beloved spouse. I am a happily married Catholic woman. My wedding ring is the visible sign of the invisible reality of my life in all its forms—spiritually, physically, and materially. My ring represents my deepest beliefs about God, myself, marriage, family, Church, and the world.

In the way that my ring reflects the context of my vocation, so, too, our bodies—our sexes as masculine and feminine—point to deeper, more profound truths. Pope John Paul II’s expanded teaching on these deeper truths is summarily known as “theology of the body.” The pope writes: “The body, in fact, and it alone is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and divine. It was created to transfer into the visible world, the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God, and thus to be a sign of it.” (General Audience of Feb. 20, 1980.)

Indeed, our very physical bodies, and the way we use them, point to sublime, invisible—even mystical—realities. And as such, the body of Jesus points to something even greater.

One of the deepest mysteries of Christianity is Christ’s incarnation. His taking on of flesh, a human body, has ramifications for our own bodies. This incarnational context is key to understanding the theology of the body.

John’s gospel opens with this profound proclamation: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth…” (John 1:14). The Catechism of the Catholic Church echoes this truth: "The flesh is the hinge of salvation… We believe in God who is creator of the flesh; we believe in the Word made flesh in order to redeem the flesh; we believe in the resurrection of the flesh, the fulfillment of both the creation and the redemption of the flesh.” (CCC 1015).

Despite these bold affirmations of the body–that, even the Second Person of the Trinity came to earth in the form of a human body–there are still people who think ill of the body. They characterize the body as something bad, or sinful, or useless in the spiritual life. Throughout history the Catholic Church has disapproved of such negativity and combated heresies regarding the sanctity of the human body. While we may sin using our bodies, we must recall that the body itself is created by God to be good, and is intended to communicate greater, higher things, just like Christ’s body.

Indeed, the body of Christ allows us to encounter God through our bodies. The stuff of earth—including people, the Church, the sacraments, and all of creation—is encountered through our bodies, our senses. So much so, that on a personal level, depending on how we use our bodies, we may find our own bodies to be the instruments through which we may gain or lose our salvation. By the merits of Christ, if we respect, love, and master our bodies, they can reflect the glory of God, not just on earth, but, someday, in heaven.

As Christians seeking to follow Christ, we must always look to his example as our perfect teacher. Like Christ, we must live a human life in a body, and it is to be a life of self-giving love and sacrifice. We are not fear to make a sincere gift of ourselves to others, even unto death. The secret to life is in understanding this way of love.

The loving life of Christ reflects the love of the Trinity. It is here that Christ reveals God’s innermost secret… the secret that “God is Love.” It also reveals our destiny. The Catechism says, “God's very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange.” (CCC 221).

God is a communion of love and we are called to that communion. This has profound implications for us. Among them is this nugget: by God’s grace, sexual love in marriage becomes an icon of the Trinity.

In Theology of the Body for Beginners, Christopher West writes: “God imprinted in our sexuality the call to participate in a “created version” of his eternal “exchange of love.” In other words, God created male and female so that we could image his love by becoming a sincere gift to each other. This sincere giving establishes a “communion of persons” not only between the sexes but also—in the normal course of events—with a “third” who proceeds from them both. In this way, sexual love becomes an icon or earthly image in some sense of the inner life of the Trinity.”

What an elevation of sexual love!

Yet there’s more: in the context of the marital union, the sanctity of sexual love images God’s union with humanity. In sexual love, spouses give up their bodies to one another, a literal “laying down” of one’s life before one’s spouse in mutual communion. In other words, the life inside the bedroom ought to reflect the life outside of the bedroom. Christians are called to radical self-giving—we give ourselves up for one another. Just as Christ gave himself up for His Bride the Church. When we live this way, we are living “eucharistically”: This is my body, given up for you.

Think about this the next time you receive Jesus in the Eucharist: In Holy Communion, your body receives the Body of the Lord. You are uniting bodily with Christ in a most profound way. Catholics truly believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. His Body and Blood are contained in the Sacrament we receive. This truly is, as Vatican II teaches, the “source” and “summit” of our faith.

John Paul II calls the Eucharist “the sacrament of the Bridegroom and of the Bride.” Theology of body makes extensive use of “the spousal analogy.” The scriptures, as well as great saints and mystics, use the familiar language of husband-wife and lover-beloved to describe the relationship between God and us. (Of course, analogies have their limitations. We are not to infer that God is a sexual being, and yet it is he who placed his image on us in creation. It is necessary to recall that we are made in God’s image, not the other way around.)

The sacredness of marriage proceeds from the spousal analogy that is found in the Bible. It is first found in the earliest pages of Genesis with the creation and union of Adam and Eve. Later, the final pages of Revelation refer to the marriage of the Lamb of God with the Bride, (a.k.a Christ and the Church.) From beginning to end, in between these two marriages, the Bible reveals the greatest love story of all time. God loves us and plans for an eternal marriage: that of ourselves united with the Trinity. This is the joyous good news of theology of the body!

Like the band of gold on my finger reveals something more than simple adornment, the theology of the body reveals something more than anatomy: a divine plan for men and women in relationship with one another and with God.

©2007 Patricia W. Gohn
Our next topic takes us deeper into the Bible, with a look at man and woman’s origins in Genesis and its implications for our lives today.

For more detailed presentation of the themes explored in this article, see chapter one of Christopher West’s book, Theology of the Body for Beginners. (Available through Ascension Press.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Loving the Bride, vol. 19

Something old....

Teen Creed

Don't let your parents down . They brought you up.

Be humble enough to obey . You may give orders someday.

Choose companions with care . You become what they are.

Guard your thoughts . What you think, you are.

Choose only a date . Who would make a good mate.

Be master of your habits . Or they will master you.

Don't show-off when you drive . Drive with safety and arrive.

Don't let the crowd pressure you . Stand for something or you'll fall for anything.

Honestly, I don't know who wrote this, but it's been around for years. Just found it again, and you can buy it in small prayer card size for your teens or your students here.

Something new...

Jason Evert, known nationwide for his Catholic evangelism to young people, especially in term of promoting chastity, is creating great television for teens and parents this spring: The Pure Life on EWTN.

Okay, here's something different... The Vatican board game!

Something borrowed....

Nice article on Catholic Exchange for all parents of teenagers.

Something blue....

The Litany of the Seven Sorrows of Mary.

Copyright 2006 Patricia W. Gohn

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Writer's Wednesday - Joyce Rupp

Faithful Love
There are days when I reflect
upon the moments of my history
and I taste satisfied fragrance,
like a well-aged bottle of wine.
It is easy to ponder
the beauty of Isaiah's God:
holding me in tender arms,
etching my name on divine palms.
There are other long-spent days
when I chew upon my memories
only to taste the dry crumbs
of stale and molded bread.
How difficult to perceive
the steadfast love of God;
How empty then is my longing
for a sense of divine embrace.
There are yet other days
when I sit at a great distance,
looking at the life that is mine;
threading the loom of my past
with a deep belief in faithfulness.
It is then that I see how fidelity
has little to do with fine feelings,
and everything to do with deep trust,
believing the One who holds me in joy
will never let go when sorrow steps in.
-----Joyce Rupp, May I Have This Dance?. (1992.)

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Loving the Bride, vol 18

Something old...

Love of the Bible

Lord, who can grasp all the wealth of just one of your words? What we understand in the Bible is much less than what we leave behind, like thirsty people who drink from a fountain. For your word has many shades of meaning, just as those who study it have many different points of view. You have coloured your words with many hues so that each person who studies it can see in it what he loves. You have hidden many treasures in your word so that each of us is enriched as we meditate on it.

-----St. Ephraim, 4th century

Something new...

Pope says church hierarchy was willed by God to ensure unity in faith

Something borrowed....
Fr. Pavone stirs the heart and encourages us to be pro-life risk-takers.

Amy Welborn posts about young Catholics visiting ALL the churches in the Diocese of Toledo.

Something blue...

While researching some future travel plans in England, I found this Marian pilgrimmage site honoring Our Lady of Walsingham. It was a title I never heard before, but it was a local achievement in the face of post-reformation England.

A related novena is here.

Copyright 2006 Patricia W. Gohn

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Loving the Bride, vol. 17

Something old....

Everything I've said is nothing when you compare it to what I've felt within-- the joyful dance of love between God and Soul, for when God sees the Soul as pure as it was in the very beginning, God tugs at it with a glance. God draws the Soul to Himself and binds it with a burning love that on its own would destroy the immortal Soul, and this is how God transforms the Soul in Him to know nothing other than God.

Day by day God draws the Soul up into His burning love until Love has restored it to that pure state it experienced at the very first.

The Soul being drawn upwards feels itself melting in the fire of that sweet Love, for God will not stop until He's made the Soul perfect in loving kindness.

----St. Catherine of Genoa, Purgation and Purgatory (1447-1510)

Something new....

Something just for moms: a website of inspiration! Click here.

An old site that is new to me: "sacred space" --a prayerful opportunity run by Irish Jesuits.

Something borrowed....

Danielle Bean and her commentors on "Offering it up."

Amy Welborn's blog talks of a protestant who "discovers" the sign of the cross.

Something blue....

An excellent New Testament litany on Mary.

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