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Category Archives: Catholic Insights

IMG_0882 (2)This  guest post is written by a beautiful, courageous, intelligent, witty and wise-beyond-her-years girl named Natalie.  In her words, she is a “Catholic home-schooled 16-year-old who loves St. Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, Jane Austen, books, good coffee, Batman, a good laugh, and pranking her friends!”

 

photo-1429277158984-614d155e0017As a teen girl growing up in a body-obsessed culture, I can say in all honesty that I have really felt the effects of it. Airbrushed models, celebrities with “perfect bodies,” and weight loss commercials are constantly blared at me from TV, store ads, and billboards. As a young girl viewing this twisted idea of beauty, I now realize, as I reflect, that it has had a great impression on me, and consequently the life of everyone around me. Continue reading »

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photo by gayaneh CC

photo by gayaneh CC

In an often viewed TED talk, artist Phil Hansen talks about “embracing the shake.”  It is a great message, one truly worth watching or reading.  In the face of nerve damage that left his hand shaking too badly to make his preferred art, he learned to embrace this limitation, and it led to more creativity than he could have imagined.  His message of embracing limitations should ring especially true for us as followers of Christ, and may be particularly hopeful for those facing mental illness. Continue reading »

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handAt Easter, we celebrate the ultimate victory of Joy over suffering.  Christ is Risen!  Alleluia!   Death, where is your sting?

All this hoopla must look a little silly from the outside.  Its hard to understand the thrill of Easter if you have not experienced the agony of Good Friday.  And our current culture is not high on Good Friday.  Usually, we are trying to find ways to avoid suffering.  The implicit message is often that happiness results when all suffering is eliminated or successfully avoided.  As Christians, however, we believe that the joy of Easter is possible precisely because of suffering.  This is our model: it is by dying that we can rise to new life.

At a time in my own journey when I particularly needed it, I read a book called Hinds Feet On High Places. It is an allegorical story of the spiritual life, and the main character, Much Afraid, attempts to journey to the high mountains where The Shepherd lives. One of the things that stuck with me most is that The Shepherd chose two companions for Much Afraid to help her make it through the journey: Sorrow and Suffering. Continue reading »

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A few weeks ago I was wandering around the house engaged in some task (which I can’t recall now), when I had that unsettling, terrifying feeling…the 3-year-old is not making any noise! Upon reflection I’ve realized that I tend to unconsciously keep track of him by the distant sounds of “Vroom, vroom” or other various forms of screeching, laughing, and/or crying. But silence. Silence means that he is into something he shouldn’t be! He’s quiet when he is in the bathroom putting his toothbrush in the toilet bowl or squeezing all of the toothpaste into the sink while running the faucet water perpetually. Silence with a toddler screams trouble.

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“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love…”- St. Therese of Lisieux

bsrOzgDkQhGRKOVC7Era_9X6A3584By now some of you have likely come across the New York Times article in which the author, mimicking an experiment by social psychologist Arthur Aron, tries to see if she can fall in love by following a few simple techniques.

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I’ve sometimes wondered what Lent must look like to a non-religious person:

  • We spend one day a week not eating meat, and on a few days we skip meals altogether.
  • We voluntarily deprive ourselves of good things.
  • We intentionally ponder and ritualize the torture and death of our God/Leader.
  • Oh, and our male leaders all dress in purple (and occasionally pink).

In this thought experiment, I can imagine the other thinking: “Those people are intentionally causing themselves to suffer.  Who does that?  All the sane people are trying to avoid and reduce suffering.”

Checking in with myself, I notice that often avoiding suffering is indeed my main motivation. Continue reading »

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