Saturday, April 22, 2006

new blog

I have abandoned this blog. I am now posting on my new blog grounded.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Catching a few rays

This week I went to daily Mass by myself for the first time in YEARS. Mass here in Cortland, NY, is 7 am and I figured that I could sneak out and get back before the kids were really coherent enough to damage themselves or the house. My oldest is almost 12, so she is "in loco parentis."

It was amazing. Let me say first that daily Mass was everything that I remembered it to be. . . the echoes of prayers said in a Church that is mostly empty, the cold pews, the three sentence homily. At first I found myself wondering how it could be that this handful of folks could be lifting up the Church with their prayers. It all seemed, if you'll excuse me, a little pathetic. But then, after communion, I felt such joy at the real presence of Jesus within me. With no little children to distract me, He seemed very close. . . "more inner than my inmost."

I pray often for the "radiation" of God's fatherhood. If you have not read the play "Radiation of Fatherhood" by Karol Wojtyla, then I highly recommend it. I have read the whole Theology of the Body and all of the encyclicals, but my favorite is "Radiation."

I yearn to feel this radiation, to behold the face of the Father. Like everyone else, I guess, I want to be chosen, to be anointed. In Mass today, it seemed possible.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Are you still with me?

I was shocked when I read when my last post was! Moving is like being in a time warp. Good thing my husband is paying the bills these days.... As I said, he is still in Michigan, now I'm here in Central New York. Here to live out the dream (!) I'm still trying to get my act together with regard to New York's homeschooling laws and so not so much communing with nature (the hills, the barns, the stream...) yet. But we have ploughed a good-sized garden and planted a cover crop. And so the spring will be much anticipated.

It is hard to put together deep thoughts here, although I think much about anonymity. Maybe it is the generation I grew up in (or the one that parented me!), but, despite the immense satisfaction I get from being at home with my children, I still wish I were "someone out there in the world." Fr. Francis Martin said that 90 percent (or was it 95 percent) of what we have in our brains is heresy. I think that my definition of what constitutes "the world" may apply.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Move

I have been a really bad blogger of late. The reason: we are moving to a farm in upstate New York. Finally, the chance to "live out" all my crazy ideas. It is I and the children who go first, husband to follow (pray to St. Therese and St. Maximilian for us!). True motherhood, indeed.

Hans Urs von Balthasar talks about the "constellation" of persons who stand behind each mission. These are the "saints," canonized and otherwise, by whose lights we are guided. For me the "stars" are John Paul II, Balthasar, Gertrud von le Fort, Therese of Lisieux. But right now I follow Wendell Berry, still alive and still the sole member of his own sect...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

More on penguins

The article mentioned that penguins have no external sexual organs and that the sign of their gayness was observed "bonding" behavior Maybe these penguins are just friends! Can two fathers raise a child and not be gay? I don't see why not.

Penguin Sex

Thanks to all who attended my talk on marital sexuality yesterday in Pinckney, MI. Feel free to click the comment link below to ask me any questions.

Now, some thoughts on penguin sex. It seems that because a couple male penguins were hatching babies (provided, of course, by a female) together we are once again uncertain about whether heterosexuality is "natural" or not. Please, my dear Catholic friends, recall the story of your origins. We were created but sinned, and that sin polluted the entire ecosphere. We are good "by nature" but that nature, indeed all nature, is touched by sin. That is why there is plenty of violence in the animal world. Are we surprised that penguins are gay? We shouldn't be.

The only difference between them and us is that we can choose to rise above our lusty flesh and let grace transform us. Granted, it is not easy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Diet

A poem for y'all.

I have been put on a diet-
No more fat or lard.
Just a thin slice of meat
And a grape
For me.

Or maybe a little kiwi.

For He likes to train,
To train my likes,
To change my appetite.

Mind and intellect,
Soul and sinew,
Trained anew.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Changing faces

You’ve heard me complain about my body. I’m thirty-six and my friend Beth tells me that this is the magic age for the transition from the 30s body to the 40s body. After baby number six, none of the fat has rearranged into its traditional spots. Now I have love handles, rolls above my waist, and that ultimate sign of middle age, fat on my upper arms. Sigh.

Which brings me to my topic this evening: plastic surgery.

For the first time in my life I have sympathy for women who have it done. Hey, I see all the same magazines in the checkout line. I go to movies (well, at least a couple times a year). I watch TV. (We don’t have cable, but I have friends and relatives who do.)

But I am not going to do it. My opposition to plastic surgery is not coming from my own body, but my understanding of what the body is supposed to be in the divine plan.

Tonight, the short form of the Theology of the Body. (I knew those degrees would pay off sometime--look out Christ West!).

With John Paul II, we turn to that critical moment in Genesis where the woman, newly created, is presented to the man as the one creature that fulfills his longing, a "helper fit for him." In this moment Adam sees Eve and joyfully exclaims, “Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.” He is affirming that she is a gift to him. The gift of her whole person is present in the vision of her naked body. Because Adam is without sin, he can experience her as a gift, and he can glimpse the supreme love that is at the source of her creation--for our God created us from nothing and called us good. In this moment, therefore, he can see that he himself, who is bone of bone and flesh of flesh with the woman, is a gift. Because he is without sin, he experiences his own body in the same way—as a gift, a manifestation of his person which is not to be separated from it (contra Descartes).

When Jesus, in the back-and-forth with the Pharisees about the issue of divorce, directed them back to "the beginning” he directed us to this very moment as the heart of marital communion. In point of fact, however, this moment is not only important for our understanding of marriage, but for our general understanding of the body itself. It reveals the real meaning of bodily life—hence John Paul II’s “nuptial meaning of the body.”

Now, as regards plastic surgery (here I mean cosmetic plastic surgery), there are two reasons a married woman (like myself) might choose to have plastic surgery: because she is looking at other women, TV, etc., and feels unhappy with how she looks to herself, or because she wants to please her husband.

Lets take the first reason first. If it is the case that the body is a gift then a woman really has to see her physical imperfections as part of the gift. The body is redeemed in Jesus Christ, but it is not simply returned to the original state. Jesus suffers in the body, and, even in his redeemed state, his body retains the signs of the suffering—“Probe the nail marks, put your finger in my side…” We could say that, in light of the suffering and death of Jesus, it is precisely the physical frailty of the body that reveals its giftedness. We can suffer for others, we do suffer for others. A woman who has had children has suffered for others. And this suffering is evident in her body. Her body is a witness to a life lived for others. The medieval artists had it right: Mary offering her breast parallels Christ offering the blood from his side. (Granted, it is not a sagging breast!).

And so, the woman can rejoice, with Paul, that Christ’s suffering is being manifested in her own body.

Second reason, hubbie wants it. Lets talk about this man. The husband is called to love his wife’s body as he loves his own body (Ephesians). This is what Adam didn’t do when he sinned, he didn’t look out for Eve (I believe I got this from Scott Hahn). Paul articulates a return to that first moment when the woman is bone of his bone. The woman’s body is a gift that reveals and communicates the giftedness of her person. When we really love a person, we see in their body, their face, their presence, the authentic gift of their personhood. So, it is hard to see why a husband would want his wife to undergo plastic surgery unless he really is only seeing her body as an object for his own desires, not as the manifestation of her person.

And in this day and age, this would be the result of his having seen way too many other women who are presented as objects. In other words, pornography. As my husband has said, the ultimate male fantasy is that the woman will do anything, absolutely anything for the man. He wants to abolish her given reality (remember that it is God who gives the woman to the man) and have her remaide into his own creation (think about how many men are turned on by women having sex with women—hey, she will do absolutely anything!!!!). And so, to have his wife remade, in the image of his own idea, that is a problem. No woman should make herself into an object.

Nope, not gonna do it. No matter what hubbie says.