Pope Benedict XVI’s February intention is, “That all people may have access to water and other resources needed for daily life.” This is the world we live in. While some fret over the choice between Fiji and Dasani, others scrape for any access to (non-potent) potable water.
How do I react to the reality that, as I live in abundance, others do not have access to basic necessities? As a young, single person who is attempting to manage money and cultivate a lifestyle that reflects my faith, the answer to this question is important.
Today I came across a quote that sheds some light on Christian consumption.
“Our faith demands of us a certain sparingness in use…In societies enjoying a higher level of consumer spending, it must be asked whether our lifestyle exemplifies that sparingness with regard to consumption which we preach to others as necessary in order that so many millions of hungry people throughout the world may be fed” (Justice in the World, 1971).
So, today I’m thinking: Does my consumer spending reflect a consciousness of the Gospel and of the poor? What does ‘that sparingness’ look like?…
The following are some creative takes on how to approach the three penitential practices – prayer, fasting and almsgiving – in order to cultivate a sense of true womanhood. Readers, please include any other ideas in the ‘comments’ section! God bless your Lenten journey.
Pray the rosary. Yes, the whole thing!
Reflect on women’s stories in Scripture:
[Books of Judith, Esther, Ruth, Hannah (1 Samuel 1:1-24), Sarah’s Laugh (Genesis 18:1-15), Psalm 45, Psalm 139, The Godly Woman (Proverbs 31), The Woman at the Well (John 4:1-42), The Woman with the Hemorrhage and Jairus’ Daughter (Mark 5:21-43), Marian stories of the Gospels]
Rally the troops – include Mass in your weekend activities with friends, or alter your coffee shop conversation to include spirituality.
Contemplate the unique aspects of womanhood, and of your femininity, and pray about ways to put these into action.
Pray for your vocation – your future spouse or religious order.
Read Mulieribus Dignitatem, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_15081988_mulieris-dignitatem_en.html)
Replace Katy Perry with the music of Catholic artist Danielle Rose. http://www.daniellerose.com/…. Fast from media and entertainment sources that mar the dignity of women, or that contribute to a woman’s negative body image.
Replace time spent reading Vogue or watching Grey’s Anatomy with time browsing Catholic women’s websites such as altcatholicah.com and thenewfeminism.net.
I looked from my phone to the room of 7th grade students reviewing Pentecost in partners.
“Guys, I have to step outside for a minute. I think I might have a family emergency.”
As I closed the door behind me, I heard Luke say, “Everybody! We have to say a prayer for Miss Sloan! She has a family emergency!”
I called Dad, and my suspicions were confirmed. “Grandpa has begun the process of actively dying. He has one to three days left. Come home as soon as you can.”
I hung up the phone and walked back into the classroom.
“Is everything okay, Miss Sloan?” Tim asked, concerned.
“Not really, it looks like my grandpa is passing away. I have to go home for a few days.”
There was a chorus of ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘We’ll pray for him.’ I tried to continue with the lesson, but they wanted to know more about my grandpa. So we put the book down to do some real learning, together.
“Are you sad?”
“I am sad, because I really love him. But it’s a joyful thing too.”
“How can it be joyful? He’s dying.”
“You know how moms cry when a baby is born?”
Chorus of nods.
“It’s kind of like that. Because death is like preparing to go on a journey to new life with God. I get to help him prepare for his journey to heaven. …
Did anyone notice this makes the acronym SAD?
Today is Valentine’s Day and I will be celebrating all the love in my life. Though not to a husband or boyfriend, there is much love to give.
I have made 96 mini-valentines for my students using the old white-crayon-and-watercolor trick, and I have found 96 unique quotes about love from Scripture and the saints. Today we’ll go to the chapel and pray to understand the words in our minds and hearts, and we’ll find a way this calls us to action in our lives.
Later this evening when I know people are out on special Valentine’s dates (or making fun of the concept of special Valentine’s dates, but at least together), I might feel down. So I might, might do the Beyoncé ‘Single Ladies’ dance. Well, probably not. But I will remember and give thanks that love cannot be found first in a person, but in the Person of Christ.
He is the love of our lives. He’s a bit on the shy side – only shows up in the appearance of Bread and Wine nowadays. Yet I would suggest that anyone who does not first fall in love with Christ and let him fall in love with them will have difficulty calling another person their Valentine.
I’ll leave you with a favorite quote, from Blessed John Paul II’s encyclical Redemptor Hominis:
Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.…
“I’m writing a blog about the single life,” I told my colleague Mark.
“Hope it’s a short-lived blog!” he laughed.
Took the words right out of my mouth, Mark did.
Anyway, ahem, a little about me:
I am 26.
I teach high school theology. Most days it doesn’t seem like “work.”
I have never become a morning person as I’d hoped.
I own a blue 1957 Smith Corona electric typewriter.
At World Youth Day in Toronto I met eyes with Blessed John Paul II.
I am single. I am writing a blog about it.
I struggled to name the blog and asked friends for suggestions. This usually ended in a mess of laughter. People took the question seriously for about ten seconds and then threw out titles that played upon stereotypes of single women:
Are You My Husband?
Me, Myself and Chocolate
It’s Sweatpants Again
The Coffee Shop Prowler
Lady in Waiting
Stop Asking Me if I’ve Met Someone
I Hate Valentine’s Day
Some of these failed titles are funny because they’re true. It’s liberating to admit that, and to laugh at oneself.
And yet, some evenings after dinner and dishes, a smoldering emptiness creeps between my shoulders. I feel this same emptiness when my Facebook feed updates with friends’ wedding or ordination photos, or when I remember that friends my age have children older than my longest relationship.
In the midst of others’ emerging vocations, I sometimes feel stunted, stuck, and made to wait like the child I no longer think I am.…