Saturday, October 25, 2014

The King's Good Servant: a Word on the English Martyrs

As a half-English Catholic convert (from Anglicanism, no less), there is a special place in me for the English Martyrs. It took a while for me to actually hear about them, but once I did, I instantly turned into a fangirl (ahem, I mean that I reverently and seriously pondered these lovely Servants of Christ).

Who are the English Martyrs?
The English Martyrs are the English men and women who sacrificed their lives for the Catholic Church during the persecution of Catholics, between the years of 1534 and 1680. Being a Catholic priest was an offense punishable by death, as was harbouring priests. Being Catholic, and refusing to partake of the Protestant sacraments/not going to Protestant church services, was considered treason. Those convicted of treason were hanged, drawn, and quartered (or, if female, burned at the stake).
As you can imagine, the prospect of being either 'quartered' (while alive- the hanging lasted only until the convict was thoroughly stunned, not dead) or burned alive would have been absolutely horrifying. This is why we find the martyrs so inspiring: in spite of the possibility that their heads might be displayed on London Bridge to dissuade the public from offending the crown, after the grisliest and most humiliating executions Elizabethan torture could concoct, they were still some of the most joyful, humble, Jesus-loving people we will ever hear of.

Some English Martyrs that everyone should know:

Saint Margaret Clitherow: also known as the 'Pearl of York', Saint Margaret was a fairly well-off, beautiful woman, wife to a Yorkshire butcher and mother of three. Already married, at the age of eighteen, for three years, she converted to Catholicism in the year 1574. Her husband remained a Protestant, but supported her, and she raised their children Catholic (her son, Henry, eventually went to Reims to train as a priest). Masses were regularly celebrated in her home, and she taught the Faith to children. There was a hole cut into her attic that lead to the adjoining attic, through which the priests she hid could escape if there were a raid.
In 1586, she was brought to court for the offense of harbouring a priest. Rather than pleading either guilty or innocent, which would mean a trial in which her family would be made to testify, and also mean that her persecutors would murder her for her Catholicism and therefore put their souls in further peril, she remained silent. She knew the punishment for remaining silent, but did anyway.
On Good Friday, she was stripped down, and laid on a sharp rock. The door of her own house was laid on her, and weights added. In fifteen minutes, she had been crushed to death, invoking the Name of Jesus to the last, her back broken by the sharp stone. It is suspected that she may have been pregnant at the time, and that this was done publicly- the two men that had been supposed to execute her were so distressed that they hired four desperate beggars to take their place. This was especially shocking as women were rarely killed, undressed, in public, particularly in such a gruesome way; in fact, so shocking, that Elizabeth I, who had persecuted Catholics with zeal, wrote to the citizens of York to express her horror.
Saint Margaret's hand is currently venerated at the Bar Convent in Yorkshire.
"I ground my faith upon Jesus Christ, and by Him I steadfastly believe to be saved, as is taught in the Catholic Church through all Christendom, and promised to remain with Her unto the world's end, and hell gates shall not prevail against it: and by God's assistance I mean to live and die in the same faith; for if an angel come from heaven, and preach any other doctrine than we have received, the Apostle biddeth us not to believe him. Therefore, if I should follow your doctrine, I should disobey the Apostle's commandment."

Saint Edmund Campion: I actually learned about this amazing man through the Blogosphere. Shout-out to Peregrin for mentioning him just a little over a year ago (she also wrote about him here)!
Saint Edmund was a secret Jesuit who ran a secret printing-press in the country, on which he printed his famous Ten Reasons, which, I've heard, he would smuggle into Protestant chapels and plant in the pews. He was caught in his underground ministry by priest-hunters, and taken to Tyburn at 41 to die.
Before this, he was a well-educated young man and liked by Queen Elizabeth, who held him in lasting regard. He was a gifted spokesman who gave the address when she visited Oxford, just as he had also welcomed Queen Mary when he had been just 13. He was under the patronage of the powerful William Cecil and the Earl of Leicester, tipped to be the possible future husband of the Queen. When caught, he was taken to London with pinioned arms and the words, Campion, the seditious Jesuit attached to his hat. Upon hearing his death sentence, Campion broke out into 'Te Deum'.
"In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors, all our ancient bishops and kings, all that was once the glory of England — the island of saints, and the most devoted child of the See of Peter."

Saint Thomas More, whom Kathryn wrote about for Our Friends, the Saints a while ago, could very well be called the man who started it all. He was a husband and father, a famous lawyer, and was appointed Lord Chancellor to King Henry, who was very fond of him. When King Henry broke with Rome and decided to take the Sacrament of Marriage into his own hands, Saint Thomas remained silent, stepping down from his role of Lord Chancellor and letting go of his income and status. The time came, however, when he was asked to take an oath and acknowledge Henry's supremacy over the English church, which he could not, in conscience, do (Henry went through wives like flu-sufferers go through tissues, which the Church would obviously disapprove- as it should). He was taken to the Tower of London, but remained cheerful and humble through all of this humiliation. He, the King's friend, was beheaded for refusing to turn his back on the one, true Church and condone Henry's selfish choices.
He described himself as, "the King's good servant- but God's first."

My favourite resources on the English Martyrs

Faith of Our Fathers: in Search of the English Martyrs (2014)

This DVD captures the journey of two British priests who travel through England to see the sites of the English Martyrs. The celebrate the Eucharist on the same altars, stand in the same rooms, and see the hiding places were priests sat for days at a time. They also picture relics and have interviews with other people who are passionate about the Martyrs.

The Autobiography of a Hunted Priest, by John Gerard, SJ. Father Gerard was a Jesuit priest who traveled through England during Queen Elizabeth's reign. He tells the stories of martyrs and converts, some quite amazing, and delivers riveting accounts (in old-fashioned English, of course) of his suffering- but also of his great joy and humility while he suffered for Christ.

You could also do worse than read this cool post on Catherine of Aragon.

Interesting stuff about the English Martyrs
1.) There is currently a convent where Tyburn was, and they have a lot of relics there- I think they may even have a bit of cloth with Edmund Campion's blood on it.
2.) Speaking of blood (...awkward), there is another Saint who was profoundly converted when Saint Edmund's blood splashed on him at his execution. The only trouble is that I've forgotten his name and can't find him online; he was mentioned in the above documentary, which I would highly recommend.
3.) Doctor Perne, possibly the most notorious turncoat of the era, told his Calvinist friend that she should never die in any Faith but the Catholic one, despite the fact that he had converted to Anglicanism to save his position, himself. Unfortunately, he died unexpectedly before he could do his planned last-minute conversion. His friend, however, was converted.
4.) Campion and More are venerated in Anglicanism. WHAT. The heights of awkwardness. But anyway... huzzah, ecumenism.

Happy Feast of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, and may we be inspired by them,


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Father, Forgive Them

Within moderation, I am very much in favour of social-media. However, lately I've been feeling discomfort as I sign onto Facebook- not because I know that reminders of my school-work are on there, or because I'm procrastinating (sometimes I am, but that's besides the point), but because I feel somewhat... persecuted. I know. When the Apostles were being brutally slaughtered, and now as Christians overseas are losing their lives, I have limited complaining rights. I am, after all, allowed to practice my religion, which is more than many are; I have unlimited access to the Scriptures, opportunities for Reconciliation, and nobody is going to throw me in prison for openly, loudly, and explicitly being a Catholic Christian. This is a place where I can make the Sign of the Cross in a restaurant before eating my food; where I can order spiritual books and nobody bats an eyelash at the check-out counter; where I am permitted to wear a Crucifix or Medal around my neck; where I can pray in public. I am privileged.
But I am also persecuted. 
Because I belong to something outside of myself, something far greater, and (I really hesitate to sound like Enjolras) I'm striving toward a larger goal. I am a member of the Body of Christ, one of a choir of many voices, and where other members are persecuted, so am I. I burned with indignation when I heard that the Little Sisters of the Poor were being pushed into paying for contraception, I cried when I read about the persecution in the Middle East, and was otherwise generally involved with my Brothers and Sisters as we prayed, and laughed, and wept, and sang, and cried out, and hurt, and rejoiced, and sacrificed, and suffered death and were buried. We are all linked through the Church, and the Faith she has carried through the centuries.
More specifically, however, I suffered persecution over Facebook (and, yes, I realize how first-world that sounds. Roll with me.), when someone whom I love posted something that made me first quiver with rage, and then quiver with tears. 
How can anyone possibly consider that acceptable? I asked myself. Do they not realize just Who it is that they're insulting? I can't believe this. 
The post in question was one of those open mockeries of Christ and His Church that are angry and hurt, and are somehow hailed as 'edgy' and 'real'. I didn't click the link, as the title was enough to push me to the very edge of the precipice. I truly believe that this person did not mean to cause me pain, and that they did not seek to add the straw that breaks my proverbial camel's back- it wasn't specifically directed at me. It was, however, directed at my Saviour, the Blessed Virgin, and the Church. And where the Church is targeted, so are her members. Where the Shepherd is hated, so are the sheep- why do you think that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world?
Still, in my hurt, the Holy Spirit sent me a slap upside the head (sometimes we need that, no?).  I was reading and came across the following quote from Pope Paul VI (emphasis mine):
The more they have been immersed in the fervor of charity, the more they have imitated Christ in His sufferings, carrying their crosses in expiation for their own sins and those of others, certain that they could help their brothers to obtain salvation from God the Father of mercies. 
What does it mean, I wondered, to imitate Christ in His sufferings?
The most obvious example, of course, would be the Crucifixion. What immediately came to mind was Jesus' words as He died there: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
Honestly, before Catholicism found me and dragged me to the Cross, would I have been offended by that post? Would I be as horrified as I am now at what is happening to my Brothers and Sisters around the globe? Probably not. In fact, I can say that, no, I wouldn't- similar things happened before I accepted Truth, and while I was disturbed, I could so easily put myself above the blows aimed at the 'Ark of Salvation' and ignore it, focusing instead on my own worldly vices. I'm sure that if the people around me knew about the contents of my heart and mind, they would be echoing Christ- "God, she can't have any idea what she's doing. Help her."
When we are being persecuted, directly or indirectly, for our Faith in the Great I Am, it is best to first realize that the persecutor has no idea of what Love he is forsaking, what Love he is murdering, that what he is doing to the least of these he does also to the One who created him. It is best to defend the Truth in love. But before the debate, before the dialogue, before the discussion, we must pray, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

Father, forgive us. We sometimes haven't the slightest notion what we're doing. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's Been Many Years Since I've Tasted Such an Exemplary Vegetable

I've been tagged as a Janeite by the lovely Joanna, and have therefore felt the need to compete with her for the longest Austen-themed post-title in existence (sorry, couldn't help it. I've always wanted to begin some online endeavour with a Mr Collins quote.). Thank you mightily, madame!

1.) Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
2.) Tell us how you were introduced to Jane Austen and share one fun fact about your Janeite life.
3.) Answer the tagger's questions.
4.) Write seven questions of your own.
5.) Tag as few as one, or as many as seven, other Janeites and let them know you've tagged them.

She often condescended to drive by my humble parsonage in her little phaeton-and-ponies... er, my family owned the Penguin audiobook of Pride & Prejudice, read by Joanna David, which was magnificent (although, alas, abridged). I used to listen to it for hours while colouring. Soon after it was released, my older sister bought the 2005 version of P&P, which I really, really liked. Then I got the 1995 Sense & Sensibility for my birthday a couple of years back. I bought a copy of S&S, read it, bought a copy of Mansfield Park, read it, found a copy of P&P (unabridged this time), read it, and then watched Emma (the one with Gwyneth Paltrow), Mansfield Park (the one with Billie Piper), and some nondescript 1990s edition of small-time television Northanger Abbey, which I won't even reference except to say that it had Siegfried/Cornelius Fudge in it, and Bath was a disturbingly clean town.
OH. And can I just say that I loved Pemberley Digital. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved (particularly the latter) are just the easiest shows to marathon ever. Oh, and Snarky Knightley's declaration of affection melted my heart in three different ways.

I wrote a poem about Mrs Bennet and submitted it for my English class last year.


1.) Which elder sister would you rather have- Jane or Elinor?
One of my real elder sisters is rather like both of them. Convenient, no?

2.) Least favourite heroine?
I haven't read Emma, but judging from the film, she is, as the King of Siam would put it, very difficult woman, and a little too like myself for my taste. I also wasn't a particularly huge fan of the Northanger Abbey chick, and therefore can't bring myself to remember her name.

3.) Which friendship best describes you and your best friend?
ALL OF THEM. Haha, we're actually a bit like Kitty and Lydia, because there are times when we cannot stop giggling (we are the most obnoxious duo, I know), and we're also a bit like Emma and Annie, and then sometimes like Lizzie and Jane. Neither of us, obviously, is very decisive.

4.) Least favourite hero?
Is this a legitimate question?! *swerves chair* *flips hair* *walks away sassily with nose in the air*

Honestly, probably Edward Ferrars. He is lovely, manly, and good, and a great redemptive figure... but... he's too sedate. Can the soul really be satisfied with such polite affections?

5.) Would you rather visit Bath or Brighton?
Bath. Who wouldn't want to be in what is, apparently, the hub of romantic confusion, cleanliness, and healing spas?

6.) Would you rather have dinner with Mrs Elton or Lady Catherine?
Lady Catherine could exercise the privilege of her rank and order me about, and Mrs Elton would talk my ears off and order me about without the privilege of rank; I think, therefore, that Lady Catherine would be the better choice. One at least knows where one is with her.

7.) Do you know any English country dances?
Unfortunately and to my everlasting regret, no... or, at least, not yet.

I hereby nominate all ye who would like to participate. Answer in the comments, or on your own blog (but be sure to send me the link!).

1.) How do you pronounce Northanger? [For the record, though I've heard it most often said North Anger, I pronounce it North Anne Ger with a soft g, as in hinge. Come at me.]
2.) Which Austen family is most like yours?
3.) Favourite Austen quote?
4.) Which character is most like your best friend?
5.) You can visit the set(s) of any Austen film adaption ever made. Which do you choose?
6.) Regency fashion (Empire waists, ribbon belts, intricate hair, etc): yea or nay?
7.) If you, knowing how the novel ends, could go to the beginning of any Austen classic and give one piece of advice to the heroine, which book would you choose, and what advice would you give her? [This is technically two questions, but I do what I want! *more sassy hair-flipping*]

Yours sincerely,

*all pictures from Google Images

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What on Earth is Authentic Femininity?

When you hear the word 'femininity', images of blank-faced young women in frilly dresses, doing recreational needle-work and not worrying their pretty little heads about anything, may come to mind. Or, perhaps, a tired-looking teenage bride from the Wild West, making cornbread while quintuplets tug at the strings of her feed-sack apron. Or, maybe, some crunchy nature-mavens swaying in the Circle of Love while the leader of their hippie ladies' group gives a pep-talk on embracing one's inner goddess.
While I'm sure there have been plenty of frilly dress-wearing, cornbread-making, pep-talk-giving (and just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with ruffles, baking, or crunchiness. And while we're on this strain, let's give it up for the 'gold-rush brides and homestead wives' who raised our ancestors. We have a lot to thank them for/learn from them.) women, none of those comes close to the meaning of authentic femininity. Being feminine is not about being helpless, a slave to the opposite gender, or some cheesy Venus shaving-razor commercial; it's not about being stupid or mindlessly emotional. Authentic femininity is about nothing more than striving to be good without trying to squash the natural tendencies of womanhood. To be feminine is to embrace one's womanhood and let it make you a better person, not see being female as an inconvenience or something that doesn't matter.
So, what are women?
Women are naturally mothering. We made doll-families. We mourned our lack of small relatives when aunt so-and-so's boy turned seven and THERE WERE NO BABY COUSINS ANYMORE (this just happened to me, so I'm kind of sappy over the fact that my adorable little cousin is in the second grade). Some of us may have stuffed pillows down our shirts and pretended to be pregnant. I'm not saying that all women will be biological mothers, but we will mother something. Dogs. Cats. Other people's children. Younger siblings. This is not necessarily a weakness, but a strength. If you've watched the film The Impossible, you may remember the scene where the mum and one of the sons are wading through muddy water to find shelter, injured, lost, and separated from the dad and the other son. The mum, played by Naomi Watts, hears the cry of an abandoned child who will probably die if they don't intervene. The son is against finding the child, but the mum convinces him that it is the right thing to do. She allowed her mothering instinct to teach her son self-sacrifice and goodness, and they ended up rescuing the little boy (I didn't see much beyond this point, so I don't know what happens to the one they rescue eventually, but I do know that they get him out of the flood).
Women tend to be more sympathetic. Not because men are boorish or unkind, but because they tend to be natural problem-solvers who, rather than commiserating, like to put an end to the misery. This can be good, but it can also be annoying when you just need a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on ("You're sick? Let me get you some aspirin and cough-drops. What do you mean, you'd rather have chocolate and Breakfast at Tiffany's? I thought you were sick! I'M HELPING YOU. Do you like being miserable?" Answer: yes.). This can definitely be used for wrong. But it is also good- we can use this instinct to become better listeners and advice-givers.
Women are complex. I don't mean that men all act like they just crawled from their caves or came back from a boar-hunt. I don't mean that all men ever want is more food and ale, what ho! Women are naturally more complex because there is a whole 'nother dimension to females- the giving of life- and this does not mean that we are either inferior or superior to the boys in our lives. Just more complex. The rose may have more petals, but the sun shines equally on the crocus.
Women communicate better. Now, I know some boys that communicate very well, but I also think it comes more naturally to women. Why? Because when males are about eight weeks gestation, testosterone kills cells in the communications center of their brain. Even non-talkative women tend to be more chatty than most men. Again, this difference is not a bad thing, and it can be used to bring about very good things. Verily Magazine has published an article, written by a gentleman, about how women can better communicate with their significant others, that I would recommend.

Back to the point. Authentic femininity uses these qualities (and men have plenty of qualities that women don't, too, by the way) for good, rather than trying to quash them or use them for the advancement of evil. It does not require renouncing one's views or personality to accept that one has natural tendencies because they are a woman, and these tendencies were not instilled in them to weaken them or tie them down- they are there for good. But whether they are used for good is our decision. Of course, the best example of womanhood is found in Our Blessed Mother.

But she deserves her own post. Until then, let's ponder on our womanliness (or, to the gents, manliness) and try to, rather than do away with it, let it make us into better people.

Love and all that,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

10 Lessons Musicals Teach Us

1.) Girls are always practicing ballet in their bedrooms.
If musicals spoke truth, one would assume that every time girls go to freshen up, they have a dance-party in their corsets and frilly skirts.

2.) The farmer and the cowman should be friends.
Why aren't they friends? Nobody knows, but unexplained prejudices have ruled Musical Land since Javert was snarky towards Valjean (the only thing for certain here is that somebody will be prejudiced against Hugh Jackman, whichever scenario we use for an example).

3.) It's okay to break the law, as long as someone ends up married.
Curly has possibly killed someone on his wedding night? Ah, well, let's hold court in the kitchen. This spoon can serve as a gavel.
One's an adult, the other's a high-school student? Let's have a wedding before the month is out!
Six people were kidnapped and held in a remote mountain farmhouse for months, but everything will work out if we make the kidnappers marry them... right? Just be thankful that they're all in love... and that there's an equal number of single men... what would happen if there were seven single men?!

4.) Sass becomes violence, and this is completely normal. What's the matter?
These ladies go beyond southern sass. They beat each other up, and nobody bats an eyelash. It's par for the course. All good in the 'hood, even though he's bleeding from the head! Stand by and cheer on!

5.) PDA is always creepy-looking. 
It's just a little too intense for the screen.

6.) Rarely does anyone cry without a shoulder to lean on.
There's Marian sobbing on Professor Hill's coat. Cosette can't weep without Marius. Esther needs Grandpa. Tuptim... I'm pretty sure Tuptim sobs on her boyfriend's shoulder at one point.

7.) Pick-up-lines that include children are a thing.
"Supposing that we should have a third one?" *awkward chuckle*
"Here's a baby girl!" *everyone blushes*
"We'll bring up a pair of boys!" *she blanches*
"A while back, I heard a wee babe crying in the house..." *the chance to get married within the hour glimmers hopefully ahead of their eyes*

8.) Everyone lives in constant romantic tension. And they talk about it all. The. Time.  
Except Enjolras. He's above such things.

9.) The elderly are all as sassy as can be. 
Grandpa. Aunt Eller. Helen. You name them, they're sassy.

10.) Nobody (with the possible exception of Laurey and Curly) is ever too proud to admit how lonely they are.
I would just love to be that humble. Maybe I wouldn't frustratedly swing an ax with such nonchalance, though.

Musicals mentioned:
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Meet Me in Saint Louis 
White Christmas
The King & I
Les Miserables 
The Music Man

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

13 Awkward Situations in the Life of the Hard-Core TOB Nerd

1.) Having to explain that you do, actually, think and talk about something other than sex.
Believe it or not, my interests span far beyond meeting at pubs to discuss neurochemicals.

2.) Having to explain that Theology of the Body is about more than sex.
There's a reason why it isn't called Theology of- you know what, I'm just going to stop right there.

3.) Having to explain to some random relative/friend/complete stranger that you're reading an in-depth chastity book, not a risque novel. They've obs never read an in-depth chastity book.
Hey, now. The cover is misleading. Don't think any worse of me here.

4.) Having to explain anything to do with TOB, sex, or chastity. Ever.
People just get the wrong idea. Particularly people you're related to.

Imagine how much joshing will happen when one isn't married by
the following family reunion. We're looking at you, Wannabe-Matchmaker

5.) Watching multi-layered, old-fashioned movies that just drip with everything mentioned above. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, anyone?


6.) Listening to music/watching movies/reading books that are implicitly, explicitly, or metaphorically about something to do with TOB that you don't know if you should listen/watch/read or not. Where is the line drawn between inspiration and wrongfully indulging the senses? Nobody knows, and fewer people care, but it's somewhere between the last four minutes of Little Women 1994 and a Francine Rivers novel.

7.) Making a linguistic faux pas. 
Guys, there are words that we should just never use for any reason. Just refrain. Lock them in and throw away the key. Become a Carthusian and give up speaking.

8.) Calling something by your TOB nickname for it... aloud.
Roy Orbison's song 'Falling' is now called 'The Dopamine Song'. 'Come on, Eileen'? No, more like 'The Cheap Pick-Up Lines of the Walking Hormone'. Moonstruck has been re-titled The Mediterranean Jansenist Who Ain't No Freaking Monument to Justice. And- oh, sorry, I didn't notice you there, hehe...

9.) Dating, thinking about dating, deciding not to date, or any other decision you make that concerns you, a person of the opposite gender that likes you, and dinner at a generic French restaurant. Because no matter what you decide, it will be awkward.
"Yeah, I'm awkward. But I own it, baby." -Paul J Kim

10.) Vocational discernment.
You either end up with a Catholic studmuffin, a badass single life, or in an awesome habit with your body consecrated to Jesus. It's the fact that you have to give up two options that's unsettling. And how are you going to explain such internal conflict in mere words to your parents, friends, or spiritual director?

11.) Hearing people be morally-relative where matters of human sexuality are concerned, and automatically engaging them in debate.

12.) People witnessing you doing... chastity stuff.
Please tell me I'm not the only one who was questioned when their grandfather walked in on them watching Romance Without Regret.

13.) Reading this list.
If you found yourself relating to every single item on this list, put that Jason Evert book down, my friend, and we'll trade our favourite JPII quotes.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ermagherd, DESIRE {on the seeming burden of natural wants}

Desires are annoying.

Just think about it. Physical desires so easily manifest themselves in lustful ways; the desire to be fed can slip into gluttony; the desire for beauty falls to greed; the desire to be beautiful turns into vanity; the desire to be loved withers into pride. It seems there are so many ways that desire leads to sin, and it can also seem as though that's all desire ever does.

"Dang it, if only I didn't have any desires! I'd never lust, eat too much, get drunk, be prideful, or take too many selfies. I'd never feel any urge to sin. I'd be the purest of the pure- see, that was pride, wasn't it? THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU WANT THINGS. So, here You go, God. Take all of these desires back. Thanks, but no, thanks. I want no part of this base internal feeling."

Ah, life would be so easy if we never desired anything.

But it wouldn't be good.

Life without desire wouldn't be as good because desire is good. God made it, and God doesn't make bad things. Satan can't make anything, really, but what he does do is twist the good things God has made into things that can be very harmful, indeed. Like when someone makes a ghastly cover of a song which was, originally, beautiful: we hear the opening strains come on the radio and switch the station, thinking that the original must be as dreadful as the copy.

Desire spurs us on, and whether it spurs us on to the good or the evil is primarily our choice. Thoughts will come, but what will we do with them? 

When we think of how 'easy' life would be without sexual desire, we forget that life wouldn't be at all if it weren't for sexual desire- the human race would be Mr Discontinued. Holy marriages wouldn't be the mysterious icons of the Holy Trinity they're supposed to be; marriage wouldn't even, essentially, exist. The most beautiful way God has created for spouses to express their love would never be discovered.
If the desire for good food didn't exist, we could eat nothing but flavourless rice chips for the rest of our lives and not care. Thanksgiving wouldn't even happen. Going out to dinner wouldn't be an occasion. The special Feasts we celebrate in the Church, and the bonding memories we create over the dinner-table, wouldn't be.
If we didn't desire beauty, we would have no motivation to create it- there would be no art, no soul-stirring moments, and essentially, we would have no desire for the beauty of Heaven.
If we had no desire to be beautiful, what would point us to the delighted and appreciative eye of the One who is Beauty and fashioned us in His image and likeness?
If we had no desire to be loved, how many of us would have turned to Him at all?

We would be the invited guests who had no desire to show up at the Wedding Banquet. We would have no desire for good. We wouldn't be us if we lived lives free of longing. Our desires, for all we can use them for sinful means, have been implanted deep within our hearts to point us back to the only Person who can fulfill each one, in its purest aspect, and in ways that we most often never imagine.

Desire was never meant to be squashed. It was meant to be employed for the good of mankind and the glory of Him who made us, to lead us closer to salvation and help us get back up again when we fall, and to be ultimately fulfilled by Christ.

Desires are annoying. But, when owned, they shape the Saints.

Let's be Saints. I think we should desire it.

Previous Rambles