Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Painful Beauty of Womanhood

I am often inclined to kill Eve.

"So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.... To the woman he said, 'I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.'"

He wasn't lying.

Most of us (girls) have experienced some of the result of this punishment (and I dare say hope to experience the full result; let's put this into perspective, shall we?). The world tells us that we really shouldn't have to bear it. In fact, it tells us not to bear it. I mean, who really wants to be debilitated for two or three days or more every month? Who wants to not be able to function normally, who wants to be barely able to move and yet must move because of things to do and places to be? Who likes not being able to eat for wanting to vomit or simply smelling food and wanting to vomit? Who wants to miss class or work or anything every time "that time" rolls around? Who wants to do this, especially when there are options that allow it to be completely avoided? Not I, I can tell you that for sure.

I'm not saying it's wrong to treat the pain. I would never say that. I almost think it's more wrong to not treat it, especially if it is regularly extreme. But when the treating it becomes thinking of it as a horrible burden and hating being a woman, when the pain stops being treated and it begins to be the functions themselves that are being treated, then perhaps we should re-examine our way of thinking about it.

Even if we must think of it as a burden, we should remember that God's idea of a burden is an oppurtunity to love Him and to love others. Human suffering is not without purpose. And I have to think that a suffering given to one sex rather than both is a special kind of suffering. It is, of course, a suffering in tune with our nature (for God could never make us not in tune with our natures), one that reaffirms the vocation of women.

Love is suffering. The ultimate example that we have of this is Christ. "No greater love is there than this: to lay down one's life for his friends." That's kind of what's asked of us. Only we aren't to die- as much as we may feel that death is coming, but to live (as women) for our friends, our family, our (potential, future... lol) spouses and children. We give up our bodies for those we love. I never thought I'd say it and I never EVER thought I'd write it, especially not in a public space, but the period is a beautiful thing. It is an oppurtunity to love by suffering. It reminds me of some words in one of my most favorite prayers ever (which I'll post at the end) "and only this love, grounded on suffering, can carry the Cross of my Lord Jesus Christ. Love without egotism, without relying on self, but enkindling in the depth of the heart an ardent thirst to love and suffer for all those around us: a thirst that neither misfortune nor contempt can extinguish..." And we have a chance to love like that, to use basically our entire lives as a way of showing love.

And it's from this type of suffering that life comes (which, of course, brings a different type of suffering, a type about which I can say nothing, because I know nothing). And even for those women who do not have children, life can spring from this suffering because she can still care for others and live for others in a way that brings them to Christ and, hence, to Life.

There is testing going on for a drug that suspends the period indefinitely. As much as I think I'd like to say "wow, how wonderful!" I'm much more wary of what this will do to women. And to men. Forget the physical side effects, which I doubt I could begin to imagine (really, how screwed up would your body be after that?) what are the psychological effects going to be? I'm reminded of a (dun dun dun) Chesterton quote: "Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel." Women have already been "freed" from the burden of fertility- the results of being a woman. And now they can be free from the burden of being a woman. This means that men no longer have to be men. They have been "freed" from the burden of responsibility and now they can be free from the burden of impatience and respect.

But if we suffer ourselves to be women, then we suffer for women and for men and for God's kingdom- for Life.

This prayer was written by Blessed Miguel Pro. He was martyred in Mexico in November of 1927.
Does our life become from day to day more painful, more oppressive, more replete
with afflictions? Blessed be He a thousand times who desires it so. If life be
harder, love makes it also stronger, and only this love, grounded on suffering,
can carry the Cross of my Lord Jesus Christ. Love without egotism, without
relying on self, but enkindling in the depth of the heart an ardent thirst to
love and suffer for all those around us: a thirst that neither misfortune nor
contempt can extinguish... I believe, O Lord; but strengthen my faith... Heart
of Jesus, I love Thee; but increase my love. Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee;
but give greater vigor to my confidence. Heart of Jesus, I give my heart to
Thee; but so enclose it in Thee that it may never be separated from Thee. Heart
of Jesus, I am all Thine; but take care of my promise so that I may be able to
put it in practice even unto the complete sacrifice of my life.

P.S.- It's Saint Brigid's feast day.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Same Thing from a Different Perspective

This semester, as any frequent Mass go-er should have noticed, the chapel has been pretty full. This and my work schedule (until 12 everyday but Tuesday) has been the reason that I have been sitting in different places at daily Mass (although thanks to Fayth, that's not a problem anymore).

I looked out the window from the chairs to left of the altar (if you are standing in the middle aisle) so Father's right. The leaves were ugly brownish green. I was so upset. It seems funny to be upset by the color of leaves, but I was definitely disappointed that they weren't actually green. I guessed it meant I had been seeing things the way I wanted to see them, not as they really were. For a few days, I could not find anything green that was REALLY green; it was all blehish green.

Then Fayth saved me a seat where I normally sit. And they were green. The light shining on them made them shiny green. It made them look as though they were new. It wasn't just me after all.

To me, it seems very strange to take meaning from something like this. I feel silly, actually. But it was Light. We can allow the Light to shine on us and make us look (and feel) vibrant and green or we can hide in the shadows and not allow the Light to touch us. We'll become ugly and brown if we don't allow the light to shine on us. We'll be beaten and bitter. To us, sometimes the shadows seem more comfortable and more safe, but it's actually out in the open where we find Light.

Perhaps this is rambly and weird and strange. But to me it makes a kind of sense.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dear Mr. Metro-Man,

I suppose I could start off by mocking or insulting you or simply pointing out your idiocies, but except for that last little bit, I will refrain. I do wish you had stayed on the train just a while longer. (Oh how much fun we could have had.) When fighting for something, the thing to do is not really walk out on the argument; if you truly believe in something, you should fight for it to the death!

The bumper sticker that upset you so much said "Abortion stops a beating heart". That, sir, is not opinion, nor is it subjective- it is simply a scientific fact, it is Truth if you will. A baby's heart (and yes, it is a baby, even the word "fetus" doesn't really avoid that, except through connotation, for all that it means is "infant") begins to beat at 18 days. This is before most women even know they are pregnant. Did this bumper sticker offend you so much because of the truth behind it?

"It's not a person". Somehow, I have to think that if you were a tiny blob of tissue in a uterus, you would change your opinion. Honestly, I cannot fathom how one can rationally say that. Maybe, "It's not a person if it isn't wanted by everyone invovled" would be a better phrase for how does one justify calling it a baby when both parents want and love it. How is it justifiable to try someone on murder changes for an unborn child if the parents intended to keep it and yet permit abortion and call it a fetus if it is killed by abortion? Does changing the word by which we call something change what it is? Absolutely not. This is a double standard and do you know who it affects the most?

The poor. Now, I'm sure you had no idea, but I'm from South Alabama (I have to wonder at what your reaction to THAT would be. Not exactly the stereotypical south Alabamian...). Alabama bribes companies to come in by saying that they don't have to pay their employees as much. Workers in my area are paid on average 20% less for the same job as anywhere else in the country. I know poor. They are targeted by abortion. What? Yes. The poor are the targets of abortion. Actually, the poor and the black (which happen to be synonomous for some). Type in "Margaret Sanger abortion" on google and prepare to be appalled at the results. Did you have any idea that the motive of the founder of that wonderful and auspicious organization Planned Parenthood (note the sacrcasm, please) was Hitler's hero(ine?) and that her goal was to exterminate the negro race? She also wanted to sterilize those who she considered "unfit" to reproduce: the poor, the physically unpleasant, and those with lower IQs. Again, I live in the south. It's hard to determine which is the cause of which, poverty the cause of low IQs or low IQs the cause of poverty. Location, of course plays a part. There are certainly smart people in the south. But I wonder if not having the chance to expand your knowledge has to do with being poor. And I know that being poor has to do with not being able to expand your knowledge. Probably 90% of the people I know at home would be on her list of those worthy of extermination. Well Fare just wants them off of their lists. I knew social worker who was told that he should just tell all of the black women to have abortions. He was not to offer them any other help. They should have abortions or they should find another way. How many women were driven to abortion by this type of "help"? How many lives were lost because the poor are worthless? How many women's lives have been absolutely torn apart by governemt endorsed eugenics??? HOW IS THIS NOT TARGETING THE POOR?????? If abortion was illegal, this would not be an option. Help would actually be given!

I really do wish you'd stayed on that train. I would have at least been able to form a slightly decent opinion of you. As it is, I can help but think that you are a coward.

The March isn't about laws. The march isn't about opinions or ideas or imposition of beliefs. The march is for the very people you seem to think that it's against. It is for those considered worthy of extermination. It is about Truth and Justice. It is about dignity and integrity, something this nation can never describe itself as having if it refuses to want Truth and to take care of those who are most vulnerable.

One of the creeps on the orange line at Metro Center.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Something is Always Green: Reflections From the Chapel Window

Anyone who's been to Mass at Southern Catholic knows that there is a lot of glass, especially behind the altar. At first, this was something that I thought I would not like. I thought it would be distracting. And I know that I have seen people fixing their hair when they catch a glimpse of themselves in one of the windows. But I have found that I do, indeed, like it. As I said to a friend, it's got lots of windows, so when you go visit Jesus on a beautiful day, it's an amazing place to be and it kind of makes you just think about how wonderful He is and when you go visit Him on gross days, it's a kind of refuge and you think about how safe and warm and dry and comforted you feel.

All throughout last semester, I watched things turn brown and die out of the far side altar windows. Except one thing. It was a very small thing and it was almost gone when we left- just a long shoot off of one the bushes. It would constanltly blow around in the wind, bobbing up and down. I was kind of amazed that the leaves were still there after they had turned mostly brown. I wouldn't have thought that they were that strong or that hardy; I would have expected them to become brittle and frail and blow away. But they didn't. Long after everything else had lost its leaves, this single, little shoot had its. I watched until we left. It lost most of its leaves, but a few at the very end were still clinging to it. They gradually lost their color and every now and then one leaf would go missing, but when we left, some were still there.

They were gone when we got back. I will admit, I was slightly sad. I don't know why. It made me feel almost lonely. And then I looked further out the window. There was a little tree thing (I'm not quite sure what it was exactly) that was green. Completely green, a shiny, vibrant green; not a dull worn out but still hanging on green. I don't remember seeing this before we left. I remember not seeing any green but the worn out hanging on green of the little shoot. My brain is telling me, though, that its January and it can't possibly be new. My eyes say they look new. Perhaps, they've just perked up. I'm not sure and I don't think that I want to know.

I think this was what I call a "God hug." I've been quite a miserable creature to be near lately. A severe bout of discouragement and disappointment, I think. Knowing that everything will be ok and thinking that are two different things for me. It's something I am trying to work on, but when things don't seem ok to me, I tend to just stop hoping. It's not a good thing. I know that problems are not the end of the world. I know that dwelling on things makes them no better. I know that life can suck every now and then. And I should know that hope is the only way through it. I should know that it's only humans who will disappoint me, never God. Pope Benedict, in his encyclical written especially for me (ha!) writes that "we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey."

Well, of course it is! Perhaps I could change the context a little and say "we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even though/ when it is arduous, can be lived and accepted because it leads towards a goal, and we can be sure of this goal, and this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey."

Those little green leaves sparked something in me that reassured me of this. (I had not read the encyclical yet, I had just been thinking). Those little green leaves were my symbol of hope. The little shoot's leaves had an arduous winter, constantly being blown about by the non-feeling and unsympathetic wind. And yet, they had persisted; they had not become frail and blown away. Not until their time to blow away had come, anyway. There is always something green when I look out the far side of the altar windows.

There is always a reason to hope, and there is always God Who will not disappoint and Who will justify the effort of the journey.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Little Boys

Are amazing. I'm going to miss my brothers too much.

A collection of things they've said:

The people in my head tell me what to do.
Yeah. There are fourteen of them and one of them just got the job this morning.

Daniel to Dominic after a woman pulled out in front of my mother.

- Dom, do you know what kind of person that is?
~ Yeah, Dan. An IDIOT.
- That's RIGHT!

Hi, Cat. Are you ok? Your curls look like you've had a rough day.

Her curls are angry. You know happens when her curls are angry. (Nothing, btw, they were just being ridiculous. )

Dominic and me
I don't want to go back to school, Dom.
I know. But you have to because you should get married.
-What? Why?
Because you would make a good wife.
-What? Why?
Because you have curly hair.
-I would make a good wife because I have curly hair?
Yeah, and it's kind of red.

(seeing my hair straight)
Cat, I thought you had curly hair.
- Of course she does. She just brushed it today.

Oh man. I'm going to miss the strange creatures that I love and call brothers.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Bitter and Blue/Grow a Brain, Loser

I am holding a grudge (not quite literally) against guys right now. I'm all bitter and grouchy from other stuff and so it's either one person which would not be good or me and some population sort of. I don't really think that all guys are awful. Quite a few are, but there are, I suppose, exceptions.

The grudge started during Thanksgiving break. The day before the break and the first day of it were bad days. The second day, my mom and I had some errands in town and we kept running into this guy whose father used to work with my dad. He's about 35 and just got his first job as a bouncer at the bar. And since his dad worked with my dad, I saw him all while growing up. I never spoke to him. I never had anything to do with him, really. So anyway, something came up about following and he said to my mother "Yeah, I was (following). I was hoping you'd take him (his dad) and let me take her home with me."


Then there are always those random incidents which are just plain annoying. The incident of my pet peeve nature. Guys whistling or honking or saying things. YUK. But Friday, man, one guy was such an idiot that he almost caused an accident. Then were more of them at Walmart. And more somewhere else. I was so mad at the end of the day. I shouldn't let things like that bother me as much as that, and i normally don't. Friday, though, it really bothered me (probably because it's been happening a lot lately and I was already in a bitter mood about something else). So

Ten Things Guys Should Not Do:

1.)Please do not call a girl "baby" or any other term of endearment at your first meeting. And even more so if you haven't ever met.

2.)Do not follow a girl that you might like around. This will creep her out and everything you do after that will be found annoying, creepy, or pathetic.

3.)Do not try and impress a girl by acting like a jerk.

4.)Do not whistle, honk, gawk, or yell at a girl passing by. And PLEASE do not turn around and stick your head out of the window of your truck while honking as you are DRIVING by. This could cause a wreck. That could lead to people getting hurt or worse. Besides that, she would have to stay because she was a witness. This might mean that she has to endure more obnoxiousity from you.

5.)do not point at a girl that you see in the walmart parking lot to the guy walking next to you.

6.)do not say to her mother "i was hoping you'd let me take her home with me" if you don't know her, and especially not if you are over ten year her senior.

7.)if the girl consistently does not answer and does not call you back, or doesn't respond to your emails or facebook posts/messages, give it up. She isn't going to. And she's probably already told you that. Several times.

8.)do not talk about your male anatomy anywhere near her. especially not a dinner.

9.) do not make comments about her (or any other girl's or even just in general) female anatomy.

10.)do not fart for her amusement. or yours. it's gross.

I am not THAT pretty, I am not an object and I'm not a freak. I am a person and would like to be treated that way. Blehlck