Temperamental Teresa Comments on The View

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Usually, when I step on my soapbox, I make a warning that I’m probably gonna sound like a word that starts with “B” and rhymes with “witch.” Well, right now, I’m not gonna step on my soapbox. Instead, I’m gonna introduce you to Temperamental Teresa who is not as sweet as I am. She has some things to say about some recent events.

Hi! I’m Teresa Delacruz! Like many Filipinos, I am a nurse. I was so happy to see a real working woman in the Miss America pageant. Finally, a woman with actual brains in a competition where the winner is usually judged on how well they look in a bikini! However, I wasn’t so happy when I heard some backlash from some women on The View.

First of all, Miss Colorado did not sound like someone reading her emails. A typical e-mail looks like this: 

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Yes, I subscribe to Etsy. A nurse has to have some hobbies.

And another thing: we nurses have our own stethoscopes. Do these ladies even watch Grey’s Anatomy? (Personally, I’m a Scrubs fan myself.) Or do they know any actual doctors? Doctor Oz doesn’t count, you know. Maybe they do watch Grey’s Anatomy, but only pay attention to the eye candy and not the actual, you know, medical stuff. 

Do they expect nurses to look like this?

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I thought these ladies were feminists. Isn’t feminism supposed to be about supporting women who go beyond the norm? If anything, they should be celebrating Miss Colorado for showing that women are more than just their bodies. I mean we’re talking about the largest scholarship program for women in the United States. John Oliver says so.

Irregardless, as they say in Mean Girls, I’m gonna feel very sorry for these women. I mean they might end up in a hospital someday. And well, let’s just say not all nurses are going to be as friendly as Florence Nightingale.

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But then again, that’s none of my business!

P.S.: Miss Colorado. You may not have gotten the crown, but you’re definitely a queen in the hearts of all of your fellow nurses!

 

LEVV Lights a Strange Fire With Debut Album

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You wanna know why I wonder Audrey Assad gets any sleep? Because she’s always doing something. LEVV is a departure from Audrey Assad’s usual stuff, in the sense that it isn’t Praise and Worship/Gospel/Christian music. But there’s an ethereal quality that still feels like God is a part of this album as much as Audrey’s other stuff.

For those who don’t know LEVV is a band consisting of Audrey Assad and Seth Jones and the music is pop, but there’s so much more depth in these five songs (plus the song “Dream” from the Arrow single) than I’ve heard from anything on the air right now. Audrey goes more into the name of the band on LEVV’s Tumblr page. Without further ado, let the album review begin!

1. Darkness

Darkness sounds like a ballad collaboration between Calvin Harris and Sia. It starts out slow with a piano and lyrics that tell the story of a dark love. The person in the song was fighting against her feelings for someone and yet the lover broke through. It’s a haunting song and you could almost see it as something coming out of a Gothic novel.

2. Heartbreaker

This song is the most “Top 40” sounding song with a catchy beat and easy rhymes. But as I said, most top 40 acts wish they could sound this good. The song speaks of still loving a person even after being rejected. It’s a bit sad underneath the upbeat melody. There’s a wonderful electric guitar bridge and a techno beat that would feel totally in place in the club. Of course, this song isn’t exactly the kind you would dance to at a typical raging nightclub. The song’s more suited to a VIP kind of nightclub on ladies night, more singing and less grinding. Like Bridesmaids.

3. I Feel Good

Once again, lyrical dissonance is at play in this song. The melody is like a sunrise, like the feeling you get when you wake up on a weekend. The lyrics, however, feel like the story of someone struggling with depression. I mean the chorus goes “But I feel good/I feel okay/I’ve got a pill waiting for me at home at the end of the day.” There’s a beautiful piano bridge in this song that transitions into a bridge that speaks of the post-breakup blues. Way to make a misleading title, Audrey!

4. Arrow

“Arrow” was the first single from this album. There isn’t much to this song lyrically and yet I can’t help but think of Eros and Psyche when I listen to this song. The song tells the story of falling in love unexpectedly. There’s a piano melody that plays after the chorus, followed by a cool techno/drum beat as the chorus echoes again and again until the end of the song.

5. Learning to Let Go

The story in this song of two lovers in war with each other for no real reason. The lover in the song is jumping at shadows and the way he’s treating the beloved in this song is making her act like she’s at fault and giving her major relationship issues in the process. The chorus is just one line, but it repeats and overlaps with beautiful vocalizations. The song is a tragically beautiful track and I can definitely relate to.

Bonus: Dream

Dream is a track from the Arrow EP and I’ll be honest when I say that I wish that this song was on the actual “Strange Fire” album because this is the LEVV song I relate to the most. The lyrics tell the story of a broken woman finding love, finding home with someone. The song has a beautiful piano melody that honestly doesn’t feel out of place with the rest of Audrey’s usual music. My favorite lyrics from the song are the chorus:

I would love you with my whole heart if my heart was whole—

as it is I’m all in pieces, and you can have them all.

Strange Fire is available on LEVV’s Bandcamp page for $4.99, but you can get a discount by tweeting about the album on Thunderclap. You can download Dream for free from the Arrow single off of LEVV’s Noisetrade page.

I can’t wait to see what this band will create next. I hope for an album that has at least 10 tracks. And seriously Audrey Assad, GET SOME SLEEP! You’re making the rest of us look unproductive!

Album cover courtesy of Audrey Assad and Seth Jones and is used for editorial purposes only.

Therese, Faustina, and Mary: Ladies of Radiance

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Photo courtesy of Melissa Clayton

From Radiance and Grace Magazine:

I’ll be honest. When I think of the word “Radiance,” I usually think of a pregnant lady first. But a few other things come to mind like the word “effulgent,” a synonym of “radiant,” the imagery of fireworks, and a bright, shining light. The beautiful thing about being a Catholic is that there are so many beautiful, wonderful ways to be a woman, to be a Catholic woman, and there are many unique ways to have radiance. Like light shining through a stained glass window, God shines through our lives in a multifaceted way, giving us His radiance. You can have radiance just by doing little things every day, as St. Therese did. You can have radiance by trusting completely in God like Saint Faustina did. Most of all, you can have radiance by being active, just like the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 

Read the rest here!

Yes, I'm A Christian AND…?

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By now you’ve probably heard of this viral video from Buzzfeed. There are many, many awful things about this video, but honestly what I dislike the most about this video is just how bland the Christianity is. So yeah, you’re Christian and you like Beyonce and you’re not judgmental and you’re queer, blah blah blah.

Lemme ask you a question brought up in yesterday’s Gospels: Who do you say Jesus really is? Because if you don’t give the same answer Peter did…well, as they say in Texas, “Lord have mercy and bless your heart.”

WARNING: MAJOR CATHOLIC BRAGGING AHEAD. 

One wonderful thing about being Catholic is that there’s this beautiful phrase called “both/and.” As in we are Catholic AND we’re human beings like everyone else on this planet. I found this wonderful infograph on a Catholic tumblog that pretty much explains how Catholics see the world.

So Catholics are Christian but…unlike Protestant denominations, we believe that salvation is gained through both faith and works, which means accepting God’s gift of grace and cooperating with Him. Grace is the spirit that inspires us to go out into the world and helping the poor and needy. We believe that we can receive forgiveness from our sins both directly from God in prayer and through the Sacrament of Confession. We are people that are good because we are created in God’s image and sinful because we’ll always be in need for forgiveness.

What are we? We are a people who are free to make our own choices and obliged to choose what is good and right. We understand the world through religion and science. We can explain that the world was both divinely created and had natural evolution. We are a church made of traditionalists like Peter who remind us of what our core values are and visionaries like Paul who want to help make the church better.

What do we want the world to know about the Catholic faith? That the greatest commandment is to love God and to love all. We love our neighbors, our enemies, and ourselves. That our religion is based on Scripture and tradition. That we take the Bible as literature and interpret it spiritually for theology and ethics. We mediate on God’s word because it’s prayer and also study it because it’s history as well as theology. That we believe in a God who is a father and a king and his Son and the Holy Spirit and…I might as well just copy and paste the Nicene Creed at this point.

Finally, who do we say that Jesus is?

As Peter said, “You are the Christ.” “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

 

So lemme ask you: “Yes, you are a Christian, but who do you say Jesus is?”

Girl Meets I Am Farkle: An Episode Review

Let me state for the record that Girl Meets World is the only show I watch on Disney Channel. I grew up watching Boy Meets World with my family. These days, Disney Channel shows covering heavy topics would normally make my skin crawl, but I trusted Girl Meets World with the issues given that they’ve done really well so far. They’ve shown the importance of kids getting more politically involved, why it’s important to trust your friends, and that you don’t have to grow up so fast.

In “Girl Meets I Am Farkle,” Farkle Minkus, son of Stewart Minkus and Jennifer Bassett, is tested to see if he has Asperger’s Syndrome. At first, I didn’t like how Riley and Maya reacted. Lucas, of course, was cool-headed, doing the research of what the symptoms of Asperger’s are. But Riley and Maya didn’t want Farkle to be diagnosed with it. Honestly, though, I understand why. They were scared that Farkle would be taken away from them. After all, having autism/Asperger’s could mean that Farkle could change schools. The important part, though, was that Farkle wanted his friends and family with him as he waits for the results.

As Lucas listed the symptoms for Asperger’s Syndrome, I realized that another character in the show actually had Asperger’s, but Farkle didn’t. As someone who was diagnosed around the age of 12, I already knew which actually had Asperger’s. Farkle, after all, is openly affectionate and always knows how he feels. Even though I’ve always been in touch with my feelings, I have major personal space issues. And I was awkward with flirting growing up. There’s a character who shows issues with hugging and flirts awkwardly. Spoilers: It’s not Farkle.

I love how the adults approached the issue as well. Jennifer was originally a minor antagonist who grew up into a major knockout. She and Stewart are so used to being in control, but parenthood is a whole new world for them. But they were also ready to help Farkle deal with whatever happens.

The best part of this episode, though, was Cory’s speech about labels. “Don’t live under a label. It just gets in the way of who you are.” Amen to that, my brother! At the end of the episode, Farkle talks about Asperger’s as a label and it turns out (non-surprisingly) that he doesn’t have Asperger’s. The moral of the story is that people are really defined by their actions. And even though Riley, Maya, and Lucas were scared of losing Farkle, they studied Asperger’s and wanted to be there for their friend.

The character who actually has Asperger’s is a recurring character named Isadora Smackle. And yes, her behaviors in this episode are exaggerated for the sake of comedy, but honestly, she is a genuine love interest for Farkle. Riley, Maya, and Lucas see her as a friend and wanted her to be part of their clique. The important thing, though, is that Isadora is shown to be open to love and affection from Farkle.

The episode ends with Riley asking “Who is actually normal? And who actually wants to be?” Isadora was the only one who wanted to be normal, much like others on the spectrum. But to be honest, there is no such thing as normal.

Could the episode have treated Asperger’s better? Probably. But I’m considering the reality that it’s a 30 minute sitcom targeted to middle schoolers and younger kids. It wasn’t the “family” show on a regular network the way “Boy Meets World” was. It was miles better than Glee, though which had a character who diagnosed herself and used it as an excuse to act like a jerk. Isadora Smackle is an actual person, not a walking stereotype. And this episode is at least enough to get the kids asking questions and do further research.

So kudos to you, Girl Meets World writers. You made this adult Aspie proud of her childhood.

America, the Wonderland: A Poem

O lovely land with open skies, the land of free and brave.
Where freedom is seen as entitlement and narcissism reigns.
Double standards and double talk replace our laws and news.
It’s harder to make gold from straw than to find unbiased views.
Oh brave new world that has the joys of the big brother nanny state
Where pundits would rather be right than try and actually debate.
Places where people ought to broaden their minds
Have turned into nurseries with safe spaces to hide.
The best protests come from those who act like a child
Screaming and breaking things and acting all ways wild.
They say they are adults with fully developed brains
and yet apply dizzying logic when they can’t get their way.
They’d rather have candy-colored vigilantes
than the boys in blue defending their lives.
As they fly their colors and their shades of grey,
all they really see is black and white.
It’s all “us versus them,” the “tolerance” against the world.
In reality they are spiders treating lesser being like flies,
destroying opposing thoughts with their own violent words.
America is a wonderland, filled with upside-down logic and nonsensical dreams
and each of us is like Alice, trying to make sense of everything.
Be wary of mushrooms that distort our thoughts,
making us feel bigger or smaller than we actually are.
Watch out for the Cheshire Cats and Mad Hatters
who turn logic upside down and party til they drop.
And for goodness sake, stay away from the Queen of Hearts
The divas who like to chop off everyone’s heads
who walk along the corpses of people they stabbed
and stand tall while saying they are victims of fate.
America, America, a wonderland are thee
You think we can hide in those bunkers from the 1950s?

Priesthood: Why Does It Have To Be A Man's Job?

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I used to joke with my friends that if God made me a man, I would’ve become a priest in a heartbeat. But I have an easier time imagining myself as a man than not being Catholic. So here’s the question: Why doesn’t the Catholic Church allow for female priests? There are a lot more answers that go beyond misogynistic misunderstandings.

I watched the ordination of the auxiliary bishops of Los Angeles. It was my first time watching an ordination. Like the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation, the sacrament of Holy Orders is a sacrament of initiation. The Catechism says “Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time.” (CCC 1536)

The role of a priest is to act in the person of Christ. It’s the most literal form of imitating Christ that a person can be. And like Christ, most Catholic priests don’t marry or have families because they’re already married to the Church, who is feminine. They are literally married to their job. The feminine aspect of the Church is also why women can’t be priests, since women cannot marry women in the Catholic Church. Instead, women can choose to represent the Church and marry Christ through becoming a nun or a consecrated virgin.

One major part of the ordination was the laying of hands and the greeting of the new bishops with a handshake and kiss. Like many traditions, the laying of hands represents an aspect called “apostolic succession.” Today’s priests and bishops are all descendants of the apostles, carrying on the mission of going out into the world, baptizing and preaching. Bishops have the added responsibility of ordaining new priests and giving the Sacrament of Confirmation.

But it wasn’t watching the ordination that made me realize the responsibilities of priesthood. It was two books: To Save a Thousand Souls by Fr. Brett Brannen and Geekpriest by Fr. Roderick Vonhogen. Although the book is for those discerning diocesan priesthood, it gives a lot of insight to everything a priest does and once I finished reading it, I realized that there was no way I could do everything a priest does.

I said before that being a priest comes with a lot of responsibilities and it’s true. Priests don’t just celebrate Mass, write and preach homilies, and pray. They also baptize, celebrate marriages, visit the sick, stay with the dying, bury the dead, instruct others, counsel and guide the suffering, evangelize, perform exorcisms, and act as father figures to their flock. Fr. Roderick said that the life of the priest stressed him out. He wanted to be there 24/7 for everyone and he had a bit of a meltdown from all the stress he experienced. But once he realized that he didn’t always have to say “yes” to everything and accept the reality of his situation, things got better.

Ladies, we already stress ourselves enough as it is.  I don’t know about you, but we constantly worry about other people already and like Fr. Roderick, we tend to say “yes” to everything, even when it’s more than we can handle. We carry emotional burdens from our friends and coworkers and sometimes that emotional support can drain us. Now imagine trying to do that as a 24/7 job and being expected to be a leader and defender of the Church on top of that. I’m not saying that we can’t already do it as women, but as members of the laity, we have the advantage of having emotional support from other people and coming home or calling someone who will listen and help us carry our burdens. The priests of religious orders can come home and support each other, but it’s not the same as having a family or a spouse. Not to mention diocesan priests live alone. All priests need the support of the people.

Once I learned the number of responsibilities a priest takes on, I realized that I am blessed to be someone who could support my priests in their journey of holiness. I may not be able to consecrate the hosts or officiate weddings, but I can still represent the church by caring for those in need, defending the church, and making sacrifices and make ordinary things sacred. All of us can do the same.

Today, dear readers, I want to ask you to pray for your local pastor and reach out to them. Send them a card or a gift that lets them know how much you appreciate them. If you have a friend who’s a priest, call them up and spend some time with them. I know that I benefited greatly by having priests as friends. I got to know them as people.

The power of a priest isn’t an authoritarian kind of power. It’s the kind of power that requires having a servant’s heart, the strength to carry that emotional burden and responsibility . Today, I hope that you will pray for your priests and for an increase in vocations to priesthood and religious life.

The Imitation of Mary in the 21st Century

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Today is the feast of the birth of Mary. Something I remember from my Catholic school days is something called The Imitation of Mary. It’s an actual book by Thomas A. Kempis, but the idea of imitating Mary is honestly intimidating. She was born without sin and she has so many miracles attributed to her. How the heck are we ordinary, flawed, imperfect humans supposed to be anything like her?

It starts by remembering that aside from being born without sin, Mary was just as human as the rest of us. She felt pain, she felt fear, she felt loss just like the rest of us. She was a mother and a wife and a daughter and a cousin. I imagine her as a short and sassy woman who wasn’t picture-perfect in looks, but still beautiful in heart. Once we remember that Mary (and the rest of the saints) are as human as the rest of us, it helps us on the path of relating to her and imitating her.

One way that we can imitate Mary is to practice The 10 Virtues of Mary. This list was written by St. Louis de Montfort. They are as follows:

The 10 Virtues of Mary

  1. Ardent Charity: Letting her love for God be the driving force behind every decision
  2. Profound Humility: Knowing who she is before God, nothing more and nothing less
  3. Universal Mortification: Seeking to lay down her life and her will at every moment
  4. Constant Mental Prayer: Always being aware of God’s presence
  5. Blind Obedience: Following God’s call without counting the cost
  6. Divine Wisdom: Always begging for God’s Spirit to guide her
  7. Surpassing Purity: Having a heart immaculately clean and unstained by sin
  8. Angelic Sweetness: Radiating joy and peace to everyone she encountered
  9. Lively Faith: Constantly seeking God’s will and never settling for complacency
  10. Heroic Patience: Always trusting that God was on the move; having more faith in His plans than her own

(Thanks to LifeTeen for introducing me to this list!)

The list seems daunting at first because we struggle with humility and patience. Not all of us see ourselves as sweet or wise or charitable. Being obedient is scary because we’re so used to asking questions about everything and being mortified is equally frightening because we are so used to doing what we want.

But there are real-life examples of people practicing these virtues. They may not have all these virtues, but if we start with imitating one, it takes us that much closer to becoming like a saint. So let’s break down these virtues and see how people of the 21st century can live them.

1. Ardent Charity: Letting our love for God be the driving force behind every decision. 

We may not always make the best decisions for the right reasons. Everyone always seems to have an ulterior motive for their actions, some kind of personal gain. But when we put God first in our decision making, we can give our hearts into our actions freely, even when we don’t stand to gain anything from doing something.

I can’t help but think of Saint John Paul II when I think of this virtue. He was a great example of someone who was driven by love. He lived his life with a great devotion to Jesus and Mary and he showed his love to the world, even to the communists who dictated his homeland and the assassin who shot him. All of his actions were motivated by unconditional love, acting with great justice and mercy. Communism fell thanks to his influence and a whole generation of people are inspired by his actions.

2. Profound Humility: Knowing who we are before God, nothing more and nothing less.

Humility is a balancing act. On the one hand, we can’t be divas and think that we’re special snowflakes entitled to whatever we want just because we want it. On the other hand, we can’t go around acting like emo kids who think that we’re worthless wastes of space. Humility is knowing your own value and understanding that you don’t need anyone else’s approval or love outside of God’s.

There are two instances that come to mind when I think of having humility. A good example from fiction can be seen in the ABC series Agent Carter, in which the titular character goes through many instances of personal humiliation as she tries to clear Howard Stark’s name. She loses her job, her apartment, and almost loses her friends, but manages to save the day in the end. When Agent Thompson ends up taking the credit, she doesn’t speak out against his lie or beg for approval. She says outright: “I know my value. Anyone else’s opinion doesn’t really matter.”

Another example is found in one of my favorite songs “He Knows My Name” by Francesca Battistelli. In a behind the scenes video, Francesca says that the song came from her struggles of believing what other people think of her, for better and for worse. The song itself tells the story of a person who sees herself as less than perfect, but at the same time, knows that God is calling her to live for Him and marvels in the love that God has for her. The music video shows four women who’ve all had hardships in life and overcame them through God’s help and have turned their lives around for the better.

3. Universal Mortification: Seeking to lay down her life and her will at every moment

You wanna know why Police Lives Matter alongside Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter? Because the true job of a cop, of a soldier, of anyone who works in public service is to be willing to lay down their lives for the ones that they love. The duty of all public servants is to protect and serve everyone, even to those who hate them. Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth is being honored in Houston for the life that he lived. The fact that there hasn’t been any reports of violence in retaliation to his death says a lot about everyone else as well. Like public servants, the people who are honoring Darren Goforth’s death are laying down their desires to seek vengeance. Instead of rioting, the people are rallying, asking the world to “Love Thy Neighbor.” I wish other cities can learn from this.

4. Constant Mental Prayer: Being Aware of God’s Presence

Something I recently learned is that we take the Holy Spirit with us wherever we go and in whatever we do. It’s not always easy because there are times that we wish God was far away or we don’t feel like he’s there when we need him. But like that infamous Footprints poem, God is there carrying us through the hard times.

Stephen Colbert, who is going to start his stint at late night network comedy tonight, had an interview with GQ Magazine in which he talked about how God was constantly present in his life. He was grateful for the losses that he endured as a child, first by losing his father and brothers in a plane crash and then losing his mother later in life.

“I was left alone a lot after Dad and the boys died…. And it was just me and Mom for a long time,” he said. “And by her example am I not bitter. Byher example. She was not. Broken, yes. Bitter, no.” Maybe, he said, she had to be that for him. He has said this before—that even in those days of unremitting grief, she drew on her faith that the only way to not be swallowed by sorrow, to in fact recognize that our sorrow is inseparable from our joy, is to always understand our suffering, ourselves, in the light of eternity. What is this in the light of eternity? Imagine being a parent so filled with your own pain, and yet still being able to pass that on to your son.

“It was a very healthy reciprocal acceptance of suffering,” he said. “Which does not mean being defeated by suffering. Acceptance is not defeat. Acceptance is just awareness.” He smiled in anticipation of the callback: “ ‘You gotta learn to love the bomb,’ ” he said. “Boy, did I have a bomb when I was 10. That was quite an explosion. And I learned to love it. So that’s why. Maybe, I don’t know. That might be why you don’t see me as someone angry and working out my demons onstage. It’s that I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.”

I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.

I asked him if he could help me understand that better, and he described a letter from Tolkien in response to a priest who had questioned whether Tolkien’s mythos was sufficiently doctrinaire, since it treated death not as a punishment for the sin of the fall but as a gift. “Tolkien says, in a letter back: ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” Colbert knocked his knuckles on the table. “ ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” he said again. His eyes were filled with tears. “So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn’t mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”

He was 35, he said, before he could really feel the truth of that. He was walking down the street, and it “stopped me dead. I went, ‘Oh, I’m grateful. Oh, I feel terrible.’ I felt so guilty to be grateful. But I knew it was true.

“It’s not the same thing as wanting it to have happened,” he said. “But you can’t change everything about the world. You certainly can’t change things that have already happened.”

Consider that this is coming from a man who millions of people will soon watch on their televisions every night—if only there were a way to measure the virality of this, which he’ll never say on TV, I imagine, but which, as far as I can tell, he practices every waking minute of his life.

5. Blind Obedience: Following God’s call without counting the cost.

There’s something about doing what someone says without asking questions that scares me. It calls to mind a hell that consists of shades of grey, military dictatorships, Big Brother. UGH! No thank you!

The difference between that kind of obedience and following God’s will without counting the cost is that God does allow us to ask questions. In the Annunciation, Mary was initially confused at the angel’s greeting and asked “How can this be? I have known no man.” Gabriel gives Mary an explanation and proof of God’s power. After receiving that explanation, Mary accepts God’s will. If we were in Mary’s place, we’d probably ask more questions, to be honest, but God gives us enough knowledge to help us understand the present because the future is in His hands.

One example of this is from the soon to be Bishop Robert Barron, whose ordination into bishophood takes place today. He posted a video explaining his coat of arms.

One particular thing I love about his coat of arms is the motto he chose: Non nisi te Domine. The motto came from Thomas Aquinas who said this to God after presenting his works on the Eucharist in a private altar. Bishop-Elect Robert Barron said “If you have Christ, then you know what to do with the wealth, pleasure, power, and honor that come your way or you’ll know what to do with the lack of wealth, pleasure, power and honor which is why the one thing you should ask for is Christ himself.” As someone who’s also an Aquinas fangirl, I can’t help but totally agree with him.

Follow me on the next page to learn about how we can practice wisdom, purity, sweetness, faith, and patience in our lives.

The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet : A Spoiler-Free Book Review

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A long time ago…well, actually, three or so years ago back in my crazy college days, I was getting over a broken heart. Nothing new there, really. As with anyone in a moping state of mind, I needed something to distract me. So I was browsing Youtube when one video blog I followed linked to this video:

For those who don’t know, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modern vlog adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice created by Hank Green and Bernie Su. I fell in love with the series as soon as I saw the t-shirt with Austen’s most famous opening line. It became my obsession, my catharsis over my sucky dating life, and was there for me when I had my post-college crisis. If you want to watch the whole series, check out the playlist here.

Something you’ll notice, if you watch the playlist all the way through, is that there is more than one YouTube channel involved in this story. One channel involves Lydia Bennet, the youngest Bennet sister.

Coming to love Lydia Bennet and being emotionally invested in her story arc was the last thing I expected when I got into the series. Lydia Bennet’s character growth is treated very differently in the series than the book, which is a major improvement considering the original had Lydia marrying a man twice her age who didn’t love her and living in the north of England, which in British terms is the equivalent of moving to Alaska or Canada. The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet follows up on Lydia’s life after the havoc that George Wickham wreaked on her and her family. Since the book itself doesn’t come out until September 29th, I am going to keep this review spoiler-free.

I will have to say, though, that this post will have spoilers for The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and all the videos in relation to them (Lydia Bennet’s channel, the Pemberley Digital videos, and Maria Lu’s videos), so like I said, if you haven’t seen The Lizzie Bennet Diaries yet, watch the playlist first.

The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet looks into Lydia Bennet’s life after her sister decides to finish her video blog. Lydia is undergoing counseling in between finishing community college and has no idea where life will take her next. For the longest time, Lydia saw herself as the wild, carefree party girl but that lifestyle led her to making a huge mistake that almost cost everything. So this story centers on Lydia figuring out who she is outside of the lifestyle she used to have.

Changing one’s life doesn’t overnight, however. Even as Lydia makes progress in improving herself, she  comes close to backsliding into her party girl persona when she hits some obstacles that keep her from pursuing her dream of studying psychology. Even though Lydia has her family, she takes this journey of self-discovery on her own. And all the while, the people she’s closest too start adjusting to their new lives as well. The story is realistic in showing Lydia’s desire to change and her fears that she will never be seen as something other than a semi-famous YouTube sensation or the wild party girl. And even though the incident involving George Wickham’s attempt of distributing a sex tape to the internet is over, everyone in Lydia’s life is still walking on eggshells around her.

The good news is that life takes Lydia in a whole new direction. Her relationships with her cousin, Mary, her sisters, and her parents start to improve once she makes an effort to turn her life around and not let the setbacks she faced get to her. When one door closes in Lydia’s life, another one opens and she takes the courage to walk that new path, even though it’s not as safe or as certain as the life she thought she would have. But at the same time, the new life of Lydia Bennet is a promising one.

So for anyone in the LBD fandom who wanted more of our favorite double-jointed redhead, pre-order this book on Amazon and see where Lydia Bennet goes next. You might find it more surprising than you think. Major kudos to Kate Rorick and Rachel Kiley for keeping the spirit of Lydia Bennet alive. The only thing that would top this is if there was just one more video from Lydia Bennet to promote the book and give the YouTube viewers some much-needed closure. But what are the chances of that happening?

Tweeting to God – Every Young Adult Needs To Read This!

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I will admit that I was put off by the title at first. I thought it was a gimmick, kind of like “Letters to God.” When I actually saw the book on sale at a Catholic gift shop, I was surprised at the size of it. When I actually got the book, I felt like devouring it. The best part? I still haven’t finished it!

The book is huge, over 400 pages of stuff, with tons of questions that are divided into 4 sections. The first section has questions relating to theology-related things such as who God is, the nature of Jesus and the Trinity, and all the questions everyone asks about Catholicism specifically (Mary, the problem of evil, heaven and hell, etc). The second section is all about Church history, which includes questions on Islam and Protestantism. The third section is about having a personal relationship with Christ and how the Mass and sacraments relate to that. The last section has questions about the Catholic life, which covers questions relating to vocations, sexuality, all the pro-life questions, death, and society.

Every time I open this book, I find something new about Catholicism that I didn’t know. Each section goes into great detail answering the question and has a tweet-sized summary at the end. There are no gimmicks with this book. It just presents the Catholic Church as it is. Something I heard on Catholic Radio is that you can always learn something new about the Catholic Church no matter how long you’ve been a Catholic. This book is a great example of that.

I think this book would be great to use for teaching Confirmation. It goes beyond the stuff one teaches in Catechism classes. It’s not just a list of rules and regulations, but actually gets to the “why” of things. I also think that campus ministries would benefit greatly from this book. I wouldn’t be surprised if people are hosting book clubs that look into the various questions that everyone is asking. I also love this book as something to use for apologetics because it’s easy to understand, but it’s not dumbed down, either.

A lot of people these days talk about the “New Evangelization,” which, according to this book is “seeks to spread the faith to all who are far from Christ, in particular to the baptized who no longer believe.” I feel like this book would be a great contribution to the movement because through this book, people will relearn what exactly it means to be Catholic. I also feel like this book reaches out to Catholics who just want to know more about their faith beyond the courses taught in college or in Catechism.

If you haven’t read this book yet, #getthisnow!