Monday, November 23, 2009

Drum roll please…

I have an exciting announcement for you all this week, one that I have been just dying to write about for weeks because it is all I can think about: Daniel and I are parents! I’m having a baby!!

I must admit that I’m really not enjoying this first trimester of pregnancy, but that’s just not that important—obviously, Daniel and I are both ridiculously excited and happy. I am overwhelmed by the fact that there is, right now, a tiny, brand new human being growing inside of me with its own unique, made-to-live-forever soul! God is so good!

My due date is June 9th, so right now I am eleven weeks along. On Monday of last week I had my first sonogram, which was incredible. The baby really looked like a baby, even at only nine weeks, and we got to see him or her move around, waving one of his arms and wiggling his lower half (for the sake of not getting wordy/awkward, I’ll use masculine pronouns this time, and switch off between the two for other entries). I never knew such a tiny little thing could be so darn cute! We also got to hear his little heartbeat, which is so much faster than mine.

I have another doctor’s appointment this afternoon, which isn’t going to be nearly so fun (in fact, I’m pretty sure it will not be fun at all). I wish I could have a sonogram every time! As far as I know, we won’t have another until around 20 weeks, when they’ll be able to tell the sex of the baby. That will be in January, I think. We haven’t decided for sure yet whether we want to find out or let it be a surprise…

Anyway, please pray for all three of us! I hope you enjoyed our good news—I sure enjoyed writing it. :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Love and Life in the Divine Plan

What is marriage, really? This week, the bishops of the United States voted to approve the release of their new pastoral letter on marriage called “Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan.” This message from the bishops is so important today because of all the challenges and or threats to the institution of marriage. In their own words, “Our pastoral letter is an invitation to discover, or perhaps rediscover, the blessing given when God first established marriage as a natural institution and when Christ restored and elevated it as a sacramental sign of salvation.” After all, “God himself is the author of marriage.” Not us.

Here’s the gist of what the Church believes marriage to be, as authored by God and explained by our bishops.

· It is an institution created by God
· It is an indissoluble bond
· It is established by mutual consent
· It is a “lifelong partnership… of mutual and exclusive fidelity”
· It is an exclusive partnership between one man and one woman, who are complementary in their two distinct ways of being human
· It is a “unique communion of persons” through the mutual self-giving of conjugal love
· It is meant to image and point to Christ’s love for the Church
· It is ordered towards two equally important ends: the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children

One of my favorite quotes from the letter is this: “The love that is as strong as death is the love that prays and praises, caught up into divine love.” The idea that love can be “as strong as death” is an intense concept. This sentence says that love is this strong when it “prays and praises,” placing love and service of God at the forefront of married love. In my last entry, I cited Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s words: “Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward in the same direction.” If that looking in the same direction means looking towards the cross of Christ, then married love can be “as strong as death,” caught up in the divine love which is itself stronger than death. Such a beautiful thought!

The bishops then go on to talk about several “fundamental challenges to the nature and purposes of marriage” today, which include: contraception, same-sex unions (by the way, way to go people of Maine!), divorce, and cohabitation.

All of these challenges can be seen as stemming from original sin, which harmed the original communion intended for marriage; but Jesus restored the institution by raising it to the dignity of a sacrament. Because I just can’t say it any better, I quote a paragraph from the bishops about this:

“In restoring to marriage its original meaning and beauty, Jesus proclaims what the Creator meant marriage to be ‘in the beginning.’ He does so because marriage will be made into the visible embodiment of his love for the Church. In his espousal of the Church as his Bride, he fulfills and elevates marriage. He reveals his own love’to the end’ (Jn 13:1) as the purest and deepest love, the perfection of all love. In doing this he reveals the deepest meaning of all marital love: self-giving love modeled on God’s inner life and love.”

In marriage, Daniel and I are called to give ourselves to each other as fully as Christ gave himself to the Church. That’s a pretty tall order. If every married couple and every single or engaged person discerning marriage were to read this letter and make this a goal in their own marriages, that would be pretty amazing! I’m reminded of Mahatma Gandhi’s suggestion (here I go with another quote) to “be the change you want to see in the world.”

Daniel and I can work towards loving as Christ loves through self-gift every day, even when it isn’t easy, and thus be the change that we (and the bishops) want to see in the world.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I’ve talked before about my love of song lyrics and have used a few in my entries in the past year. Another thing that I love, which I don’t think I’ve really used here before, is my love of quotes! As a writer, I am enthralled with the power and beauty of words and the way they work together to create meaning. Poetry, like the lyrics of a song, expresses human emotion on all levels beautifully and creates something that others can deeply connect with. But even non-poetic written prose or spoken language can carry great inspiration, wisdom, and insight about our human experience. In certain cases, the way words work together to carry meaning just rings so true for readers or listeners that those words become “quotable.” These quotes or sayings will then be used in others’ writing and conversation, advice, and humor; or simply savored by a reader for their inspirational quality.

So today, since I have been very busy this week writing an article and have not been able to put much thought into writing my blog entry, I have assembled for your reading pleasure some of my favorites. And since this blog is about “my Catholic marriage,” you can expect most of them to be about love and Christian in theme.

“Tell me who admires and loves you, and I will tell you who you are.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” -Mother Teresa

“Every single one of us can do things that no one else can do - can love things that no one else can love. We are like violins. We can be used for doorstops, or we can make music.” -Barbara Sher

“Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward in the same direction.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“The three ingredients of a successful union between two . . . humor, commitment & undying love.” –Bill Cosby

“Pure love produces pure nonsense.” –Jonathan Klinger

“Smile at each other, smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other -- it doesn't matter who it is -- and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other.” –Mother Teresa

“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” –Pope John Paul II

“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light, it scattered the night, and made the day worth living.” –Anonymous

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of leave the world a better know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken.” –William Shakespeare (Okay, so this one is actually poetry, but I still love it.)

“Who, being loved, is poor?” –Oscar Wilde

“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” –Pope John Paul II

“The years teach much which the days never know” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.” –C.S. Lewis

“Love keeps the cold out better than a cloak.” –Henry Wordsworth Longfellow

I always love hearing new good quotes—please share your favorite, or more than one, in a comment!