Thursday, August 30, 2012

What is in your alabaster box?
How to lay our dreams at God's feet

The Beautiful Tradition

     I was reading the book Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones, when I ran across this beautiful tradition.  
     In Jewish Tradition, when the young girl was ready for marriage, her family would purchase an alabaster box and fill it full of expensive ointments and oils.  How big the box was and how much it weighed was a symbol of how big the dowry would be for the marriage of the daughter.  When a man came and asked for the girl's hand in marriage, she would then take out the alabaster box and break it at his feet, anointing them with the oil, a sign of her honoring his request.
     We see this happening in Luke 7, when a woman, who was known in the city  a sinner, came into the place where Christ was eating and broke her alabaster jar and anointed Christ with it.  

Your Alabaster Box
     Whether we know it or not, we all have an alabaster box, too.  It may be full of our hopes and dreams, what we think our perfect wedding and marriage would be, everything we want in Mr. or Mrs. Right.  We clutch this box very tightly until we find the right guy or girl who we think could fulfill all our hopes and dreams.  So we break our alabaster box at his/her feet, hoping for the best.  And sometimes good things happen, but sometimes this person scoffs at our dreams and tramples them, and crushes our alabaster box.
     So we try to gather up the shattered remains of our box, pull it together and super-glue it.  It doesn't look the same.  It doesn't have the same dreams in it, as the originals have been shattered.  It doesn't even look like the same box.  But now we clutch it even tighter, because we know what happens when it breaks.
     How do we end the cycle of breaking our alabaster boxes in front of those who will never be able to fulfill and complete us?  We break our box at the feet of Jesus. 
     Why would we want to break our box at the feet of the Lord?  Because He loves us.  Because He wants the best for us, and His plans are so much better than we can ever imagine.  
     Because it shows that we trust Him with everything in our life, even our love life.  Is it hard?  You bet!  It is always hard to admit your ways are not the best, and someone else's plan is superior.  But oh the rewards if we do break this box for Jesus to have and do with what God wills!

Complete in Him
     Often you will hear people saying such things as this: "I am just looking for someon to complete me."  Or, once that one person is supposidly found, "Oh, he/she completes me!" 
     By saying that you are looking for someone to complete you, you are in for a long journey.  This indicates that you are incomplete, not even a whole person. Wrong! 
     One is not ready to look into a relationship until he/she find his/her contement in God.  You are a whole person as a child of God.  God doesn't make incomplete people because He doesn't make mistakes.  You are His creation, He loves you!
     When two "incomplete" people marry each other, they do not become one complete person, they instead become two incomplete people in a marriage. 
     Find your completeness in the Lord, and you will be content!

What is in your alabaster box?  Have you laid it at the feet of the Lord?  Let me know in the comments below!

God Bless you all,

Chloe M.

The Best Big Brother Ever

To Those with Big Brothers:

     I'm jealous.  Really I am.  I am the oldest in a family of eight kids, and one of the things I have always wanted is a big brother.  I have seen how the big brothers of my friends are protective over their little sisters, and I'm green with envy.  I don't have someone who is there to protect me against mean comments, other guys, and encourages me when I need someone to listen to me.  
     What is crazy is that the girls who I talk to who have big brothers wish they didn't have them.  "They are so annoying! They pick on me and are just weird and rude."  I guess that big brothers are the kind of thing that you don't want when you have them, and you want them when you don't have them.

What I want in a big brother
 I would love a guy who loved me because of who I was, not who I looked like.  I would love a guy who was protective and was always looking out for my best interests.  I would love a guy who  I could turn to for advice on what he had already gone through.  
     I know that this might be a highly romanticized version of a big brother, but this is what I've always dreamed of.  I've shared this with my Mom, (who grew up always wanting a big brother, too), and she said I do have a big brother.  Jesus.  

The Ultimate Big Brother
Looking at my list of what I would want my big brother to be, I find a lot of similarities.  


     1)  I would love a guy who would love me for who I am, not what I look like:
 Well, Christ has seen me through thick and thin, beautiful and not so great looking,  and still loves me.  He loves me when I have walked away from Him, and He loves me when I come running back to Him.  Unconditionally, He is always there.     


     2)  I would love a guy who is protective of me and always looks out for my best interests:  Christ protects me from a lot of things that I cannot see.  He sends His protection in forms of the sacraments and graces that strengthen me against the enemy - Satan.  He never has anything but my best interests in mind and always wants me to succeed in my spiritual life so I can be with Him in Heaven one day.  

     3)  I would love a guy who could give me advice on what He'd already been through:  This is the beauty of Christianity.  We believe that Christ came down to earth, took the form and nature of a human, while still retaining His divine nature, and went through everything we go through (except sin.).  He can give me advice on what I'm going through.  He knows what it is liked to not be popular, to have someone like you for what you can do for them, to have to stand for the truth, and to sacrifice everything for God.  And He leaves all His advice in a convenient location - The Bible - so that I can turn to Him in prayer and in the Word whenever I need help.  

In Conclusion....
     So, I have a great big brother - the best big brother! He loves me, looks out for me, and is always there for me to talk to Him.  I can even go to adoration and hear Him whisper that He loves me.  

Do you have a big brother? Are you a big brother?  Do you look to Christ as a big brother?  Let me know in the comments below!

God Bless you all,

Chloe M.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My belief in creation

Evolution v. Creation

     I have a wonderful friend who believes in the theory of evolution.  I love this friend to death, but I have to disagree with her, and I support the biblical belief of creationism.
     Now I know that even if evolution was proved to be a fact (instead of just a theory), the Church would never have been wrong.  Archbishop Sheehan said, "But even if the proof were forthcoming tomorrow, that the body of hte fist man was evolved from lower animals, it would not be found to contradict any solemn, ordinary, or official teaching of the Church."
     Yet I wanted to explain my thoughts on creation and the origin of man.

Here's a monkey...I think I'll name him Adam.

   One of the main beliefs held by my friend is that, at one point during creation, God breathed a soul into a primate and that soul made the monkey the first man.  This is a belief I cannot support and here is why:
     "The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." - Gen. 2:7.
     Some thoughts.  First part of the verse: "...formed the man from the dust of the ground."  Looking at this closely, it doesn't really "jive" with the belief that the first man was evolved from a monkey.  God clearly made man from the dust of the earth, a fact we acknowledge on Ash Wednesday when we are told that we are dust and to dust we shall return.  We are not told that God decided it was time for man to make an appearance, picked up a monkey and breathed him a soul.  He made man from the dust, not some random monkey. 
     Second part of the verse: "...and the man became a living being."  This would mean that the materials used to make man had never been alive until this point.  Now, if this was a monkey that had been used to now have a soul, the verse would have read: "...and the man became existent, no longer an ape, but a man in the image of God."

Cross this line to de-evolve
Believing that Adam and Eve were the first on the earth, we believe that they existed very happily, even walking with God, in the garden of Eden.  Then came original sin, and due to their blame game, Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden, but with the promise of a savior that would come and rescue them from their sin as to open the gates of Heaven.
     Here is where my next thought comes in.  Adam and Eve were obviously advanced in knowledge enough to converse with God, name animals, and function as human beings.  So when they crossed the threshold of the garden of Eden, did they de-evolve?  Did they become reduced to grunting "cave men," hunched over, uncivilized, and animalistic?  This would actually go against this bible verse:
     "Then God said, "Let us make man in our image
, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." - Gen. 1:26
     Man was created to have dominion over animals, not to be reduced to being animalistic himself. as this would be de-evolution,
     Also, one thing you have to love about God is that He is a God of order.  For man to be created in God's image, then to be reduced to what we have learned as  the "cave man," would go against God's beautiful plan of order in the universe He has created.

Just some thoughts on the amazing love of God.  Studied some of this in religion class tonight, had to share some of my thoughts!

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

God Bless you all,

Chloe M.

Meet Matt Maher

     I have to introduce you to one of my favorite Catholic contemporary music artists, Matt Maher.  Find out a little bit about him below and enjoy the music!

His Story
     Matt Maher is a Catholic contemporary singer.  You may have heard some of his music, most commonly known for pieces like: Turn Around, Christ is Risen, Litany, and Hold Us Together.

     He writes much of his own music, and has also co-wrote songs with the likes of Christ Tomlin, Michael W. Smith, Matt Redman, Audrey Assad, and Jars of  Clay. 

     A Canadian, (eh? Sorry, couldn't resist) Matt started out taking piano at a young age and quickly broadened his horizons in everything from choir to a garage band.  And get this, he payed for his first three years of college by playing piano in a hotel.

     In 2001, he started releasing his music, his first CD being The End and the Beginning.  He just released his big single, Rise Up, from his new album, The Love In between.

     He has been nominated for the dove award six times and has performed in front of over three million people in the past five years. 

     I had the wonderful experience of seeing him play at NCYC (National Catholic Youth Conference) in 2008 - and am getting to hear him against next month at a concert.

His Music


Are you a Matt Maher Fan?  Headed to any of his concerts this year?  Let me know in the comments below! I'd love to hear from you.

God Bless all of you,

Chloe M.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Control: A fight I cannot win

Have to share this video that goes with what I was talking about in the post "Letting Go of the Life I planned for me." 
The song is by JJ Heller, a Christian artist on my local Christian radio.  She's very good - and I love the message of the song.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Letting go of the life I planned for me.


I have this problem.  Actually, if you hadn't noticed yet, I have a lot of problems.  But we're going to focus on just one of them today, for time's sake.
     Today's problem is control.  Being the oldest, I like certain situations.  The situations in which I succeed are the situations in which I have some control in. Even if it's just a little bit.   
     For instance, in a school class that I take, I succeed if I have the knowledge of what chapters we will be studying in the semester.  This allows me to read ahead and gain some knowledge before the lecture, letting me have some control.


      Some believe the world will end in 2012.  This is will solve a lot of problems for me, because my world of control ends in 2013.  
     In 2013, I graduate from high school.  I also graduated from home school.    In April, I have to find out what field I am going into for my career, and decide my college of choice.  I may be moving out on my own for the first time ever, and my mother will be experiencing what she has put off since Kindergarten, dropping me off at school for the very first time.
     Lots of changes. Loss of control.   

     As above stated, I hate situations like these because I hate surprises - and please forgive me if that sounds totally cynical.
     When a friend stops in without telling me before, I freak out because I haven't gotten the chance to clean and get the house ready for them.  Not that I don't love the friend stopping by, it's just that I also like control.
     When Christmas comes around, and I don't know what I am getting, I freak because I'm going to coincidentally buy what someone has gotten me as a gift.
     When I don't know what major I am going to declare, or what school I'm going to, or how I'm going to pay for school, or how I'm going to do out on my own, or how I am going to make any friends, I freak out.  Because I hate surprises.
     And at the root of all this freaking out is the fact that I'm afraid I cannot do a successful job of what I have been handed.  I'm not really freaking about what major I'm deciding - I'm freaking out about choosing the wrong one.  And I'm not scared of what school I'm going to, I scared about picking a different one that God had in His plans for me to pick.  I'm not nervous about how I'm going to do on my own,  I'm nervous about leaving behind everything I have known for the past 17 years.  And I'm not stressed about making friends,  I'm stressed about not making friends.  

 Let Go...Let God

So what is the solution to me freaking out and hating surprises? God.  (Isn't He always the solution?)

     This year is going to be rough.  But there will be nothing I cannot handle...with God's help.  I have to let go of all shreds of control that I am still clutching desperately and let God handle it.  
     Why?  Because He's God.  And He can handle it so much better than I could even imagine it.  
     But let me tell you, it's going to be tough.  It's already involved some tears and (although not literal yet) banging my head against the wall in frustration.  Letting Go, Letting God.  
      So, if you have the time, please keep me (and my sanity) in your prayers.

Do you like control, too?  Are you letting go and letting God?  Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks and God Bless you all,

Chloe M. 



Friday, August 24, 2012

Modesty - a labor of love

Modesty is Tough

  If you are a young woman who is concerned with modesty, you know what a challenge modesty can be in today's world.  
     You know the seemingly endless time at the store, searching for something that actually resembles clothing.
     Modesty to us brings about thoughts of closets full of camisoles for layering, leggings, and endless cardigans.  So after we pull our hair out on how to layer and lengths of skirts, we have to realize that modesty. is. worth. it.

     Here's why:

Modesty shows who you are, not what you look like
      Modesty shows that a woman is not an object.  She is a child of God!  You are God's daughter, and you have dignity that deserves to be honored as such.

Modesty isn't as "unfashionable" as you think it is.
      Perhaps modesty is avoided because you may think that it is impossible to be fashionable and modest.  Not true!  With adjustments, even trends can be modified to become modest.  It is always worth the time to find a modest outfit than to settle for anything less.

Modesty attracts the RIGHT kind of guy
       Some girls dress to impress guys....but if you have to dress immodestly to catch a guy's eye, what kind of guy are you attracting?

The Blessed Mother is Modest
   There is no better form of flattery than imitation.  Mary is the most beautiful woman that has ever walked this earth, where can we find a better role model?

It is respectful to our Brothers in Christ
After picking the brain of my Dad (who I use as my "filter" for my closet) I can claim only a small grasp on a guys mind.  But I do know this - men are visual, and modesty guards our hearts and their eyes.  

One doesn't need to show your body to show your beauty
You are beautiful because you are a child of God, and made in His image.  You are beautiful because you possess human dignity.  Your clothes should reflect that beauty!

What are your thoughts on modesty? I'd love to hear your opinions on the subject! Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks and God Bless,

Chloe M.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

True Love Waits
     I was reading an article on LifeTeen a couple days ago and ran into the above song by Mumford and Sons.  What a refreshing melody!  In response to the hit song of the summer,  Call Me Maybe, here is a song about waiting for the one who God wants you to be with and saving yourself for marriage!

     My favorite lyrics have to be:  Now I'll be bold As well as strong, a
nd use my head alongside my heart. 

     I can't wait to get married (if that will be my vocation) and walk up to the altar in a white wedding dress and look at my beloved and give him my purity ring, and say, "This is everything.  I have saved everything for you.  I have prayed for you everyday and stayed strong for you."  What an amazing wedding gift!!

     I will wait for my beloved.  I will treat all with respect and honor, and as children of God, and be a city on a hill against a culture of darkness.  Will you join me in a quest for a sweeter song?

     Do you wear a purity ring?  Have you heard the new Mumford and Son's song?  Let me know in the comments below!

God Bless,

Chloe M. 



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Movie Review:

"Come What May"
When does life really begin?

What is the movie about?

Caleb Hogan, whose mother is a lawyer and father a professor, knows how to win a case.  You know the facts, and you do what's right.  And then come what may.  You know you have chosen God's path.
     Now a member of the best moot court team in the nation at Patrick Henry College, will these standards still guide Caleb's decisions?  When his team is given the debate challenge of overturning Roe V. Wade, Caleb has to decide.  Yet if he stays strong in his pro-life beliefs, he runs the risk of losing the most important debate of his life, and the support (financial and emotional) of his mother.  And if he lowers his standards and argues only for an exception to the law, he could lose the heart of Rachel, his debate teammate.
     Rachel knows what is right and knows the only right choice is overturning Roe V. Wade.  Her firm belief that God is the author of life also plays out through her personal life.  Can Caleb learn from Rachel, and win her heart? Or is compromise the only solution that will win him what he thinks he needs?  

What I loved about this movie

     This movie is made by a collection of home school students and Patrick Henry College students and teachers.  The message is loud and clear:  Life begins at conception, and God is the author of life.  It was so refreshing to see a movie that supported this belief.
     It was also refreshing to see how Caleb and Rachel's relationship blossom.  Rachel has promised herself and God that she will only spend time in a relationship with a young man who commits to her and her standards, and be pursued in a courtship relationship.  It was great to see her defend her standards with Caleb.
     Caleb's parents also are going through marriage problems, and seeing them work on their marriage and remaining faithful to their vows was inspirational, and something you don't normally see in the average movie.
     Also, this movie has an incredible soundtrack, and being a music lover, this was a real plus!

     Have you seen "Come What May"?  What did you think? Let me know in your comments below!

Thanks and God Bless,

Chloe M.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Learning from Loneliness
Three lessons from Genesis, Adam and Eve

"Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'  So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.  The man gave names to all the cattle, and the birds of the air, and ever beast of the field; but for the man there was not a helper fit for him."
- Genesis 2: 18-20

*Most thoughts have been inspired by David Hajduk's book, "God's Plan for You" from the Theology of hte Body for Young People Series.*

Sometimes I feel alone
  My new favorite song has become "Never Let You Go" by a band called Manafest.  The lyrics that really stuck out to me are these:  When the parade goes by and you feel alone, never lose hope to sorrow.  You're closer than you know." 
     Sometimes I feel alone.  This doesn't occur just in being alone from human relationships, but also from a lack of emotional connection to God.  A "dry spell" in my faith usually leaves me feeling like God isn't there. 

It's not good to be alone

     So I turn to Genesis for comfort - yes, I'm weird that way.  But I really can sympathize with Adam.  Here is is, alone in the world, and God sees this (because He sees everything).  So God gives him...a cow.  And a bird.  And Adam sees these new creatures and begins to name them all.  But even though he names and knows all these animals, there was not one who was like him.  This brings us to lesson number one.

Lesson 1:  Besides God, there is no other.

God should always be number one in our life.  He is our creator, and we owe Him, as His creatures, complete love over all things. 
      Adam missed this.  So God, by not giving Adam what he wanted right away, showed him that besides God, there is nothing else that matters. 
      If Adam wanted everything in his life to go smoothly, God had to be number one.

Lesson 2:  Love requires knowing what is good
     What is good and evil?  This was the second lesson Adam had to learn.  Enter the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  God tells Adam he should not eat of the tree.  By telling Adam this, God is basically saying that eating from the tree would be putting God last because the action would be disobedience to Him. 
     Our world is full of relative truth. "You do what you want to do, I'll do what I want to do."  "You know, everyone has their own version of truth."  "Well, this is what I believe, but I really don't want to impose my belief on you."
      What happened to good, old-fashioned morality?  Absolute truth has taken a back seat to moral relativism, and choosing our own way. 
     To do good, we have to know what is good.  So, God was telling Adam that if he wanted to love Him, he had to obey what He tells him.

Lesson 3: People are different than animals
     Adam had to realize why he had been put on the earth.  So God puts many animals on the earth to surround him to show Adam that he was the only creation able to give and receive love.
     "So," you think, "give him a girl!"  But God shakes his head, smiles and creates a cow.  A cow!  Adam must have thought, "Gee, that's great.  A cow.  I was thinking something different, you know, someone like me?" 
     Do you think God looks pretty bad here?  It's is like He is ignoring Adam's wish.  But when God looks dumb, He's playing dumb. 
     What is the best teacher you've ever had?  The one that didn't just give you the answer, but let you work towards the answer yourself.  So God puts many creatures around Adam to prove that point that Adam is not just an animal. 
     Adam gets it.  The more animals he named, the more he realized that he was different. 
     Funny thing about God - just when Adam was at his deepest valley of despair, and was feeling absolutely alone, God met his deepest desire, and it was so much better than Adam could have ever planned.

Even when you think you are alone....your not

Elisabeth Elliot talks about a time when she felt alone and seperated both from her relationship with Jim (her future husband) and from God.  Her hint was this:  Remember you aren't alone. 
     This seems so simple - yet it is a thought we often forget.  We aren't alone.  Deuteronomy 31:8 says. "The Lord, He it is that doth go with thee.  He will not fail thee neither forsake thee.  Be strong and of good courage." 
     It doesn't matter if you can't feel God by you.  He is there with and will never leave you alone.  Ever. 

     Have you hever felt alone?  What do you do when you are in a dry spell in your life and you feel that God isn't there?  Let me know in the comments!

God Bless,

Chloe M.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"Speak, Lord, Your Servant Is Listening"


"Shut up, Lord, I'm talking right now."

     My prayers will sometime send up being one-ended monologues. 
      "Dear Lord.  Hi, it's me, Chloe.  I want this and this and this and this.  Got it?  Good.  Talk to you tomorrow.  Oh, and by the way,  why don't you ever talk to me?"
     Well, to put it bluntly, it would probably because I'm not listening.

So, What is prayer?

     Prayer is: "An act of communion with God, a god, or another object of worship, such as in devotion, confession, praise, or thanksgiving."  A conversation with God.
     I don't know about you, but the hardest people to talk to are those who are self-interested.  They dont' let you get in a word edge-wise and their conversations are very self-orientated.  I cannot talk to these people because it frustrates me.
     Yet what is my prayer life sometimes?  This exact thing.  I go on and on about my problems and what God should do in my life if He really loved me. 
     He really does love me already!  He always has!

    How do we love God?

     So God really loves us.  But how do you love someone back?  By knowing them.  And how do you get to know someone?  By talking to them.  Not at them.
     In order to love, serve, and be happy with God, we have to know Him.  And this comes through prayer.  And listening.

      Shh...God is trying to tell you something.

     How do we know what God wants us to do?  If you think I have all the answers, you are wrong.  If I did, I wouldn't be banging my head against the wall with my own discernment. 
     But back to the question.  If someone asks us to do something for them, what is our next step?  Listening.  We have to listen and wait for them to tell us what to do before we do it. 
     So I am reminded of 1 Kings 19:12, which says: "After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper."  When someone is whispering, we listen even harder.  Thus should our prayer life be.

     Avoiding the Quiet Desperation

     We have to listen in our prayer life.  We have to be in tune to Christ's words in our life.  What could happen if we don't?  We abandon our true selves and thus abandon the best version of ourselves. (Matthew Kelly).  We then end up living a life of quiet desperation. (Thoreau).
      Pleasure lasts only as long as the act producing it.  So when our lives are pleasure based, they are not happiness-filled.  We begin on an endless search for the next thing to give us pleasure.  A big house, a boat, a new car, these things are never enough.  We are trying to fill a God-shaped whole in our heart with things that don't fit the shape of that hole.
     Happiness lasts longer than the act producing it.  So when our lives are filled with happiness, we are working towards pleasing God.  And by pleasing God, that happiness reflects into our own life.
     So what do we do to achieve happiness?  Listen. Listen to God!  He loves us - and like a father, He wants his children to be happy!  And He wants to share the ways to achieve happiness, if only we would listen.

     God is talking to you..are you listening to Him? 

Thanks and God Bless you all!

Chloe M.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

John 6:  Coming to a Church Near You; Thoughts on Sunday's Gospel from Father Barron.

Jesus IS the Way
     Jesus is a strange figure. No, really, He is.  Let's take a look at the men in history who have brought change to religion.  Siddhartha Gautama and Buddhism.  Mohammad and Islam.  Jesus and Christianity. 
     What would Siddhartha say?  "I have found a way, and I would like to show you how to follow it."  What would Mohammad say? "I have a revelation from Allah and I want to share it with you, to show you the way."  What does Jesus say? "I AM the way.  I AM the truth.  I AM the life."
      Christ is whom we feed on, and we find our binding with other Catholics.  We are the mystical body of Christ.

 Not Just a Symbol.
     Jews saw blood as belonging to God and animistic to consume certain meats, as they were unclean.  And here comes Jesus, saying "Eat my flesh! Drink my blood!"  They couldn't understand, it was so coarse of language and vile in their religion.
     Jesus is speaking to a large crowd of His followers, and all of the sudden, at the mention of drinking His blood and eating His body, there starts to be murmuring and questioning. If I was talking to a crowd, and I said something that no one liked, to gain back the crowd,  I would start back-tracking and editing what I had said to keep the crowd on my side. 
     When Jesus heard the unrest,  He did edit.  But not in the way we would think.  "Amen, Amen, I say to you.  Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, you do not have life within you."
     And interesting point made by Father Barron:  We have lost a lot in the translation of the Bible from Greek to English.  In Greek, the word Phago means "to eat."  Yet instead of using the word "Phago," Christ says "Trogo," to gnaw on or chew like an animal eats.  When His followers begin to question the verb usage and language, Christ doesn't backtrack and say, "Whoa guys,  I'm just talking about a symbol here."  No! He continues talking and uses even more physical language to mean
really eating His body.
If the Eucharist was just a symbol, when His followers were leaving because they could not understand eating Christ's body, couldn't Jesus have just said, "Wait!  Don't leave! It's just a symbol!"  If the Eucharist were just a symbol, why did His followers leave at all?
     When the ten apostles who were martyred were being tortured and killed for their faith, wouldn't they just have said, "But we really don't eat His body! It's just a symbol!"
     Any man can create a symbol.  God can give us His body and blood.

Isn't Jesus God?
     Here's a thought I had today concerning the Eucharist and our Protestant brothers and sisters not accepting Christ's real presence.
     Protestants are Christians - in that they believe Christ is God. They also believe God is the divine creator - and within this He is found to be all perfect, all knowing, all loving, all places, etc.
     Sometimes words change reality. When a cop says, "you are under arrest," you are no longer a free person. When an umpire says, "you are out," you are no longer in the game.
     Similarly, God's words change reality. When God said, "Let there be light." There was light! And when God said. "It was good," It was good!
     So, if Christians believe Christ is God, and Christ says in John 6, "This is my body," Why wouldn't it be His body?
     Thus, if the Protestant religion denies the ability of the consecrated host to be Christ's true body, even though Christ said it was, then they in fact deny Christ's divinity.
    If Christ says, "This is my body," and then it is not His body, but just a symbol, our faith is in fact in vain. As Flannery O'Connor says: "If the Eucharist is just a symbol, to hell with it."

The Body of Christ...Amen! 

      I myself am guilty of failing to realize the amazing gift Christ has given us in the Eucharist.  The creator of the universe, the savior of the world, the Son of God comes down and conceals Himself under the appearance of bread and wine and then we can consume this gift.
    But most Sundays I find myself thinking, "Yes, it's God."  Yes it's God - that's the thought of going through the motions.
    When the priest/Eucharistic minister says, "The body of Christ."  I respond "Amen."  Amen! I stake my life on it.  I believe that I am about to consume the true body and blood of my Lord and Savior. 
     And when I go back to my pew, and kneel down in thanksgiving, if I truly believed that Christ was in the Eucharist, would I ever be able to get off my knees in adoration?  

     Do you have any thoughts on the John 6 gospels we have been hearing these past weeks?  What are your thoughts on the Eucharist?  Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks to All and God Bless,
Chloe M. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Season of Singleness and Trust in God, What I am Learning From Elisabeth Elliot

     As I shared with you in my last post, reading books has become quiet popular in my house.  Recently, I picked up Passion and Purity - Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ's Control by Elisabet Elliot.  I have read this book before, but I didn't get out of it what I am getting now.  There is a lot of wisdom that Elisabeth shares.  I wanted to share some of it with you.

A Season of Singleness
     A concept introduced to me by Jason Evert and Joshua Harris,  the season of singleness is when, as one who is not married or pursuing/being pursued in a romantic relationship, one is able to use their singleness to glorify God.  This is the realization that being single is not the waiting station before romance, it is a present stage to glorify God in.  Your vocation doesn't start when you get married, or when you find someone, it starts NOW. 
     This is a good revelation - after all, sometimes we like to jump ahead to the next stage in life, or plan the next step.  It really is surrender to Christ and His will in your life at the present.
     A piece of advice given to me by a priest in confession: "Your future vocation discernment should never take away from the vocation you are in now."

God Really Cares 

    Elisabeth, the author, realized God's involvement and care in her struggle with her relationship with Jim Elliot, her future husband.  Here is a quote from her book that summed up her feelings: "...I was God's.  That much was clear.  But what was God going to do about this?  Was He interested in the plight of two college kids?  Had our cause perhaps escaped notice?  Would he bother with us, when He was busy with who knew how many worlds?" 
     God does care!  You and I are His children and He loves nothing more than to be involved in our lives when we open our hearts to His will. 
     This can be summed up with this bible verse from Isaiah chapter 40:
     "Why do you complain, O Jacob, and you, Israel, why do you say, 'My plight is hidden from the Lord, and my cause has passed out of God's notice?'  Do you not know, have you not heard?  The Lord, the everlasting God, creator of the wide world, grows nether weary nor faint; no man can fathom His understanding.  He gives vigour to the weary, new strength to the exhausted.  Young men grow weary and faint, even in their prime they may stumble and fall; but those who look to the Lord will win new strength, they will grow wings like eagles; they will run and not be weary, thy will march on and never grow faint."   

You are already a whole person...already.
     Our culture is so focused on relationships.  "Who are you with?", "Who's your boyfriend/girlfriend?"  If they aren't in a relationship, they are trying to get into one.
     A common phrase heard is, "You complete me."  No, that person doesn't complete you.  You are already a whole person in Christ, and no boy/girl is going to complete you more than Christ has already made you a new creation. 
     You don't need someone to "complete" you.  You have to recognize your wholeness in God.

Don't Worry....Trust.   

     Philippians 4:6 says, "Have no anxiety, but in everything make your requests known to God." 
     During Elisabeth and Jim's stages of their relationship, there was a lot of sacrifice and prayer for God's will.  Both of them wished for God's will in their WHOLE lives, not just parts of it. 
     Elisabeth compared their sacrifice to Abraham.  Abraham
     Yet at the end of the sacrificial story,  God saves Issac and Abraham builds a nation on these two people.  Be aware - Christ could be using this time of sacrifice to see what you are willing to give Him - are you willing to give Him your whole life?

     Have you trusted God with all your life - including your love life?  Do you have anything to share?  Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks to all and God Bless each one of you,

Chloe M. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

With The Old Breed:
Love of Catholicism


     My Dad is reading the book With the Old Breed by E.B. Sledge.  It is a story about a soldier who fought in the Pacific during WWII.  It is a book that is unique in it's genre of war biographies because it is the story of a soldier's life - and you don't have to be a soldier to read it.  It is filled with story of Sledge's life, and not tactical terms and is composed of the memories that he kept tucked away in his pocket bible during combat.
The Ultimate Mission - and Human Nature
     A part of the book that was shared with me was the story of Sledge's company being given the order to make it across an airfield.  The Japanese knew of this maneuver and had positioned themselves so that they could not only have ground soldiers fighting the Americans, but also bombers in the air as well. 
     While the company was trying to run across the airfield to the destination of a city that they could take cover in, the Japanese would bomb the airfield, creating craters in the ground all around the Americans.  The craters were considered "safe zones" because the crater probably wouldn't be the location another bomb would be dropped. 
     Human nature's tendency is to find safety, take cover, stay alive! And these craters were safe-houses in the midst of absolute chaos.  Yet their orders were to get across the airfield.  These soldiers were going against human nature and running in the open across an airfield that was being attacked viciously. 
    Yet they made it across the airfield, and ultimately, American victory.

What does this have to do with Catholicism?


     Our goal in life is to get to the other side of the airfield - life - with the city of refuge - Heaven - as our main goal.  In our life as Catholics, there will be craters - places of "safety" along the way where we can hide. 
     But these craters are not our destination, and they only deter us from getting to our ultimate goal.  Some are content to stay in their crater of safety - but those who are "The Old Breed" realize their destination of Heaven and reject craters of worldly safety and settling for something easier. 
     A question to ponder:  Are you crossing the airfield with the destination of the refuge city, or are you hiding in the supposed safety of a crater?

     Do you have a story to share about hiding in a crater or the journey across the airfield?  Let me know in the comments!

Thanks to all and God Bless,

Chloe M.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why Do Catholics....Call Priests Father?

The Question: A question that is often brought up in conversations with our Protestant brothers and sisters is the following:  "Why do Catholics address their priests as 'Father' when this clearly goes against what the Bible says? Matthew 23:9 says, 'Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in Heaven.'".  Here are a couple of ways to defend your Catholic beliefs on this subject.

What does the Bible Say?  People in the Bible use the word "Father" frequently.  If your protestant brother or sister relies on Sola Scriptura, you could use the following Biblical passages to point out the use of the word "Father" :

1) Luke 16:24, "...Father Abraham, have pity on me."
2)  James 2:21, "Was not our Father Abraham considered..."
3)  1 Cor. 4:15, "I became your father in Christ...."
4)  Matthew 19:5, "For this reason, a man will leave his father.."
5)  Matthew 21:31, "Which of the two did what his Father
6)  Ephesians 6:2, "Honor your mother and father."

     So our Protestant brothers and sisters see these verses and decide that it is OK to call a man “father” in the biological sense, just not pertaining to a spiritual life.  Yet Matthew 23:9 does not say: "It's OK to call your biological father, "father," just not in a spiritual sense." No!  It says to call no man “father.” So Protestants themselves do not take the verse literally - as they have called their biological father, "dad," or "father."

What Does Tradition Say?
It always helps to look at a verse in context.  Let's take a look at Matthew 23:1-10.

Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat;  so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.  They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger.  They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long,  and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues,  and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men.  But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.  And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.  Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ."

     It is in these verses that the Pharisees were essentially exalting themselves.  Their position was highly honored in the Jewish society, and pointing out the faults and sins of the Scribes and Pharisees wasn't something you did.  Christ then says, "call no man Father," but He isn't discouraging the use of the word though.  He is instead is getting on the Pharisees because they were putting themselves in the place of God for the Jewish people.

What Does the Catholic Church Say?

     When we consider a priest to be God, we have missed the point.  The priest is a channel through which God works.  So, we worship God and do not believe that Catholic priests are God. However, to consider them spiritual Father is in fact very biblical! (1 Corinthians 4:15) 

In Conclusion
In Matthew 23:9, Jesus is not telling His followers that they can never say Father.  This applies to men who are biological or spiritual fathers. To call biological and spiritual leaders Father is the truth and biblically supported, and not discouraged by Christ.  In this Bible verse, Christ is instead warning us to not place any man as equal to God (as the Pharisees were doing with themselves). 
Do you have anything you would like to add, or did I miss anything? Do you have an apologetics question you would like me to answer on the blog?  Let me know in the comment below? Thanks!

God Bless you all,

Chloe M.



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Book Bucket List
Amazing Books I Can't Help but Recommend

    Regina Doman, the author of The Midnight Dancers is a literature life-save for me.  I love to read, but had been feeling bogged down by the secular literature available.  I ran across Regina Doman's books, and fell in love.  Regina retells fairy tales (such as Snow White and Rose Red, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and Sleeping Beauty.) 

     Even though Regina retells fairy tales, the guy readers shouldn't be daunted.  Each story is packed with adventure, intriguing plot lines, humorous characters, and good old fashioned mystery. 
     Out of all of Regina's books, I have to admit, The Midnight Dancers ranks the highest on the shelf.
     The Plot line

Rachel is a young woman who is beginning to get sick of the constant strive for holiness, a stance given by her father and her stepmother.  Plus, she is in senior year, so she feels that she should be given more freedom.  So when her eleven sisters and her find a secret passageway that leads to the beach, they jump at the idea of a little night-time adventure. 

     When their father cannot explain the girls' sudden tired behavior and crankiness, he calls upon a new friend, Paul, to observe the girls.  Paul is a Catholic, pre-med student and is employed as a juggler in the festivals for the summer.  Paul is to see why the girls are acting strangely and put a stop to the cause of the problems.

    Paul discovers that his task is much greater than he imagined - it begins to involve discovering the brokenness of the family and a fight to protect the innocence of the twelve girls when different young men began to show up at their nighttime beach romps.

     This is a good story for another reason.  Although Paul is Catholic, the girls and their parents are not.  So it is very interesting to see Catholicism from an outsiders view - a very refreshing and eye-opening take.


     In Conclusion

An incredibly good book, Regina's writing gives a much anticipated break from secular fiction and dives headfirst into the world of Catholic fiction for young adults.  Check out her website here, and get one of her books today!

    Have you read Regina Doman's books?  Will you after reading this review? Have a book that you would like reviewed? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks and God Bless,

Chloe M. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

No Labels - Working Against Stereotypes

    Today in family devotional, there was a story about a little girl who "labeled" all the kids in her school.  If their family was rich, the kid was stuck up.  If the kid was foreign, he was strange.  Then, her little brother brought in a can of food with no label on it.  The father was able to use this as a teaching lesson for his kids - we shouldn't label people based on their appearances.

     I experienced something similar at work this week.  I was conversing with a customer about a dress and school.  The topic of where I went to school came up, and I said that I was home schooled.  The customer's jaw hit the ground and she exclaimed: "But your so talkative and nice! Homeschoolers are supposed to be anti-social!"  She had a stereotype of what a homeschooler was in her mind, and let's just say I didn't fit it!

     I'm reminded of a story in 1 Samuel.  Samuel comes to Jesse's house and tells him to call out his sons, one will be the next king of Israel.  Jesse pulls his strongest and most handsome sons and lines them up.  Samuel, greatly impressed, says "Surely it is he!"  But God shakes His head and tells Samuel to move on.  Why? Because, " 
Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  And then here comes David.  David was a strong and handsome shepherd, but he wasn't Samuel's ideal of a King.  God has different plans then ours - and those plans are fulfilled easier when we stop judging and stereotyping.  

     This week, Lord, we pray that you help us stop judging others based on appearance.  Help us realize that labels are for cans of food, not people, and assist us to see all as your children and imitate your love. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Praying for Your Future Spouse

     I had picked up a book, Praying for Your Future Husband: Preparing Your Heart for His, by Robin Jones Gunn.  I cannot speak for the entire book, as I haven't read all of it yet, but I wanted to share with you something I found in the back appendixes that caught my eye.  In the book, the author lays out 52 bible verses that are designed to help with everyday journeying.  There is a small reflection, and then a bible verse that echoes the reflection.
     I want to share with you the first ten verses, reflections, and my thoughts today.
     Don't freak out - even though the book is about praying for your future husband, the reflections apply to both genders praying for their future spouses. 

     Day 1:  Pray that your future spouse will turn to God for Salvation.  Pray that he/she will seek God as strength and song.
Today, pray that he/she will turn to God in times of trouble, but also remember to have a relationship with Him during times of Plenty.  Isaiah 12:2 says, "God indeed is my savior, I am confident and unafraid.  My strength & courage is the Lord and He has been my savior."

Day 2:  Pray that your future spouse will be guided by God on paths of righteousness, so God's name will be honored.  God never said this path of purity and holiness will be easy.  Our path is narrow, and not chosen by many.  Sometimes all we have to hold onto is the fact that we are following God's will.  Psalms 23:3 says, "He [God] restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake."

     Day 3:  Pray that your future spouse will call out to God in every need.  Pray that he/she will see that God can use his/her struggles, and to be confident in God's ability to turn our hardships into opportunities for grace.  Psalms 70:5 says, "But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you.  May those who long for your help always say, 'God be glorified!'"

Day 4:  Pray that your future spouse will trust God and not be afraid.  Pray that he/she trusts in God to be their defense.  In our world there is so much temptation and ridicule.  Psalms 59:9 says, "My strength, for you I watch; you, God, are my fortress, my loving God."

Day 5:  Pray that God's face will shine upon your future spouse.  In Hebrew, the phrase: "Let his face shine upon you" means to smile.  Pray that God smiles on him/her - for the best form of worship to God is to give thanks to God with our very lives.  Numbers 6:25-26 says, "The Lord let His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you.  The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace."

     Day 6:  Pray that your future spouse will submit all to God.  Our very task of life is impossible without God's grace.  Pray that he/she will be mindful of God's plan in all their ways.  By submitting and surrendering to God, we are able to be free of this world and free for God.  Proverbs 3:6 says, "In all your ways, be mindful of Him, and He will make straight your paths."

Day 7:  Pray that your future spouse will have a heart tender towards God's instructions.  God's plans are so much higher than ours, so pray that he/she will keep his/her heart open to God's voice.  Psalms 16:7 says, "I bless the Lord who counsels me; even at night my heart exhorts me."

Day 8:  Pray that your future spouse will run to the Lord as a strong tower.  The Church and Christ are a solid support system and refuge from the trials of life.  Proverbs 18:10 says, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the just man may run to it and is safe."

Day 9:  Pray that your future spouse can see God as his/her hiding place.  Even when we give into temptation, God is ready with His arms open.  We are all His children, and His fondest wish is or us to coming running back to Him.  Christ loves us so much, and wishes to protect us.  Pray that your future spouse runs often to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.  Psalms 32:7 says, "You [God] are my shelter; from distress you keep me; with safety you ring me around."

Day 10: Pray that your futures spouse will seek God's pleasure above his/her own - and that God will give the desire of his/her heart. Pray that he/she will enjoy their relationship with God and seek happiness in Him. Psalms 37:4 say, "Find your delight in the Lord, who will give you your heart's desire."

Do/did you pray for your future spouse?  Let me know your story in the comments below! I'd love to hear from you.

God Bless you all,

Chloe M.