i’m moving!

vita gratiae

Hello everyone! After much consideration, I have decided to revamp my blog and move it to Blogger. I feel I can reach more people that way through gmail and G+ accounts. Please visit my blog there and follow it. It would be greatly appreciated! Click the graphic above to go to the new site. God bless!

-Elizabeth

what is the third leg of the stool you’re sitting on?

Jesus Christ

The title of this post is an interesting question, isn’t it? This is a concept that I first heard when I went to spiritual direction a couple of years ago. This is an important analogy that everyone should evaluate in their lives.

Think of a stool and the stability of it. The third leg is key here. If that third leg is wobbly, loose or unstable, your whole stool is unstable and not suitable for sitting, right? Well, this stool can be thought of as your life and the stability is your spiritual safety and happiness. It all depends on what you use as that third leg, or to put it more plainly, what you use to fill the voids in your life.

All of us are born with a longing for something. Some may have certain wounds that further drive this longing. Unfortunately, many fill the void with unstable, worldly things: sex, drugs, shopping, money, fame, even other people. The common denominator here is none of these things withstand time because none of these things are Jesus Christ. People come and go, sexual relationships come and go…. material things, money, fame… they all come and go and are always changing. Jesus Christ does not… He never changes, He never falters…. He is stable. 

This is why we must always have Jesus as that third leg. This is not to say that you don’t need other people in your life, or that material things are bad (of course, in moderation), but do not put all your weight on these things as they will not hold you. Only He can!

That longing we all have deep within us is a gift from God and is meant to lead us to Him. Let it! Though I heard this years ago and it really put things into perspective, I falter in it and must constantly be reevaluating what I am truly using to support my life and spirituality. I invite you to evaluate your life today keeping this analogy in mind as will I!

ways to prepare this advent//3 ways

A little late with this, but there’s still ample time to prepare. I just stumbled upon this infographic from Our Sunday Visitor with great ideas to do with your family.

From Our Sunday Visitor

I don’t have children, but I’m super excited to implement these things into my future family’s way of preparing for Christmas during Advent. For now, I took to seek some inspiration not only from this graphic, but from Pope Francis’s words from earlier today regarding his appeal to end global hunger (read more about it here).

idea #1//blessing bags

One thing I’m going to try this Advent is something called blessing bags. These are simply plastic Ziploc bags that you keep in your car to pass out to those you see who may need it while you’re out and about. There are many variations of these all over the internet, but I’ve come up with my own ideas on what want to put in them. I plan to put some travel sized toiletries like toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, deodorant, a toothbrush, tissues. Maybe a protein bar or some other non-perishable food item. I’d also like to put in a pair of gloves or socks. I really love this idea and can’t wait to go to the store tomorrow to pick these items up!

idea #2//go to confession

I was once asked by a priest, “If our Blessed Mother told you to do something, would you do it?” I without any hesitation said, “Of course!” He then proceeded to tell me that though the Catholic church requires one to go to confession at minimum once a year, Our Blessed Mother asks that we go once a month. I know, weeks fly by and before you know it, it’s been a couple of months or more since you’ve received the sacrament. What better time than now to truly prepare the way for the Lord into your heart by going to confession? Many times, I start to  feel weighed down and sad… then I know it’s been too long! If you’d like to find out when a parish near you is offering confession, go here and type in your zip code. A little inspiration from St. Thomas Aquinas which really hits the nail on the head for me:

In the life of the body a man is sometimes sick, and unless he takes medicine, he will die. Even so in the spiritual life a man is sick on account of sin. For that reason he needs medicine so that he may be restored to health; and this grace is bestowed in the Sacrament of Penance.
–St. Thomas Aquinas

idea #3//set a daily goal of forgiveness

This one is especially hard for me. When I find myself struggling to let go of something, I remember one line from the Lord’s prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” That really gets to me! I have to show forgiveness to others as I would want the Lord to show to me. To better prepare for Christ’s birth, I’m making a daily goal to really focus on showing grace and mercy to everyone in my life; even when they hurt me. This is something I hope to carry on permanently, but… baby steps! I feel like it’s a great time to really begin a focus on this because if it wasn’t for the birth of Jesus, I would not have the opportunity to be forgiven in the first place.

Murillo: The Return of the Prodigal Son

Those are the 3 things I’m going to try this Advent. What are you trying? Anything new or old you are implementing into your life this Advent?

December 8- Wear the Veil day!

Photo from Veils by Lily

A couple of weeks ago I made the decision to start wearing a mantilla/veil at mass. Coincidentally, I just found out today that tomorrow is a global Wear the Veil day! Hearing this made me super excited. Women wearing  a veil at mass has become a little controversial. Gerard’s mom started wearing veil over a year ago and I’ve heard her say people have asked her if she wears it for attention or why she wants to support women being submissive to men in the Church (see: Women and being submissive).  So far, I haven’t experienced anything like this, but I don’t doubt I will one day.

Unfortunately, this beautiful act of reverence has been misconstrued to be something bad and demeaning. I actually wanted to write a post on my experience with wearing a veil after I had been doing it for a while, but with tomorrow being wear the veil day, I think it’s appropriate to touch on the subject.

Though women wearing a head covering was explicitly required according to the 1917 Code of Canon Law (see Canon 1262), it is no longer a requirement according to the 1983 Code of Canon Law which is what is being used now.  I personally feel like it is  great opportunity to humble myself before the Lord and to outwardly show my reverence for Lord as He is truly present. It also helps me to remember that when I go to receive Jesus’s Body and Precious Blood, I am participating in a wedding and walking up to receive my groom. Lately, I’ve found myself to become very distracted with those around me at mass, so when I pull it up really high on my head, it falls down right beside my eyes… I think of it as my little blinders! :)

Wearing a veil isn’t the only way to show this reverence.  A woman just simply needs to cover her head. I’ve seen some YouTube videos of women simply pulling a scarf over their head or a hat when they enter a church and participate in mass. A man should not wear a hat in church, but a woman can if she chooses. It doesn’t have to be anything as intricate or fancy as a lace veil. I’ll admit that because it’s so new to me, I do feel nervous to put it on. I have to remember that I’m not doing it for anyone else, and it really doesn’t matter what the other parishioners at my church think of me. 

If you are interested in wearing a veil or mantilla, I invite you to do so! Or if you’d like to use something else to cover your head, that’s great too! Especially tomorrow, know that you won’t be alone. If you’d like a recommendation for a place to purchase veils, I recommend Veils by Lily. I’m very happy with the veil I ordered from her a few weeks back. 

Here’s a short video about Wear the Veil day that I really enjoyed. Please note that though it is expected for women to cover their head at the Extraordinary form of the mass (the Latin mass), it is not required, just as it is not required for the Ordinary form of mass.

So tell me, what do you think about covering your head in church? Is this something you’d be interested in trying? If you already veil, how do you like it?

Vatican collecting your video greetings for the pope

Elizabeth:

Just found out that the Vatican is collecting video greetings through Vine and Instagram for both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI! I’m super excited about this, especially since Pope Francis’s birthday is coming up on December 18. I’ll most likely be using the snail mail route seeing as I’m not super creative with videos, but who knows. Maybe I’ll get a creative hair and give it try.

Will you be participating? Leave a comment below. Oh, and be sure to tell your friends and family about this great opportunity. God bless!

Originally posted on CNS Blog:

VATICAN CITY — Since email is so last decade, how would you like to send the pope video Christmas greetings and prayers? popevideo msg

Now you can with Vine and Instagram sharing platforms through the Vatican’s Pope2You website.

Record and post your video using Vine or Instagram and insert the link onto this form, adding any additional notes and prayers in the dialogue box.

If you want, you can also send the links directly from your device via email to pope2you@me.com adding any written words you want in the email.

The only downside is the videos they collect won’t be presented to Pope Francis until sometime after Christmas.

But there is always the old-fashioned way of sending an actual card or note by air/surface mail to:

Pope Francis

Domus Sanctae Marthae

00120 Vatican City State

and don’t forget:

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Mater Ecclesiae monastery

00120 Vatican City State

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women and being submissive

Detail of the Isenheim altarpiece, painted by Matthias Grünewald (1512–1516)

Hard times are upon the Catholic Church. With the ever-growing influence of social media and news outlets, it’s as if the Church is drowning in a sea of viral misconceptions. The truth is hard to come by when you have to pick through the good and the bad of the media. In fact, it seems as though truth has become subjective… I’m sure everyone has heard the phrase, “What’s true for you may not be true for me.” Though there are a few things the Church has been criticized for, I believe the topic of women has been at the forefront for quite some time. The Church is seen as oppressive and demeaning to women. I’ve been hearing this an awful lot lately and it actually makes me really sad. If only the real Truth was out there… there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Church raises women up and fully recognizes their importance, beauty and dignity. This is the first of a series of posts about the Church and Women and the common misconceptions surrounding the relationship of the two.

What I’ve found that seems to really rub people the wrong way comes from the Bible. Specifically, Ephesians 5: 22-23. From the New Jerusalem Bible it reads:

Wives should be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, since, as Christ is head of the Church and saves the whole body, so is a husband the head of his wife.

I believe some other commonly used versions of the bible, for example the King James Version, use the word “submit” or “submissive” instead of subject. In any case, when taken out of context, it does in fact seem to be implying men should in someway “rule” over their wives, and a good wife is supposed to allow this. I can definitely see  how that conclusion can be drawn from these two lines. Before I returned back to the faith, I always heard about this verse and thought to myself, “Ugh, another old-fashioned way of thinking. People need to realize that the Bible was written in a different time than now. They need to modernize it!” The truth is, the Bible, including this verse, transcends time and in fact applies to the time period we are in now just as the time period it was written in. The problem is, this verse is taken out of context! Many people do not read the Bible (I’m guilty of this, too), and do not take the time to see what else is being said before and after the verse. This leads to confusion and the spread of misinformation.

As with anything in life, if you use something out of context, it can create a very dangerous situation. Let’s take a look at the verse again, but this time with some of the verses before and after it. Ephesians 5: 21-30.

Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, since, as Christ is head of the Church and saves the whole body, so is a husband the head of his wife; and as the Church is subject to Christ, so should wives be to their husbands, in everything.

Husbands should love their wives, just as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her to make her holy by washing her in cleansing water with a form of words, so that when he took the Church to himself she would be glorious, with no speck or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and faultless. In the same way, husbands must love their wives as they love their own bodies; for a man to love his wife is for him to love himself. A man never hates his own body, but he feeds it and looks after it; and that is the way Christ treats the Church, because we are parts of his Body.

Okay. So now, taken all together, that says something quite different! What these verses in fact say is, first, we must be subject to ALL out of our reverence and love for Christ. Secondly, it does say for wives to be subject to their husbands. That is, wives should be submissive to the mission and duty of their husband. The important question you may be asking now is, “What is the mission and duty of a husband?” Now it’s getting good!

First, let’s look at the origins of submit. I think it really sheds some light on this verse. Below, I’ve put a pretty little graphic I got from Google showing this for you. The word submit is from the Latin word submittere with sub- meaning ‘under’ and mittere  meaning send or put. So essentially, submit means to be put under something. From this verse, it is used to mean that wives are to be put under the mission of their husbands.

submitgraphic

Now back to the verse. It says, the mission of husbands is to “…love their wives, just as Christ loved the Church…” Let’s remember what Christ did for the Church (we are the Church)… oh yes, He loved us so much He died for us! I don’t know about you but when I was younger (okay, even now) I swooned over the idea of a man coming to save me… even sacrificing himself for me because he loves me that much and thinks I’m worth it. I blame Disney, but that’s a story for another day. Anyway, the whole knight in shining armor thing… it happened for every single one of us. Except the man who died for you didn’t have shining armor. In fact, He loved you so much that he allowed Himself to be humiliated in front of all and was stripped of all clothes before he was brutally crucified for you.  I first heard it put this way at a talk by Father Donald Calloway, MIC (who is amazing by the way… Google him.) and I just about cried. I never really pondered on the idea of how much Christ loved me and what He willingly and happily put himself through for me. Jesus Christ is a real person who really went through much torture and agony for us. Christ is my knight… He’s OUR knight!

The image above is from the Isenheim altarpiece, painted by Matthias Grünewald and I think it’s a beautiful but sobering painting that more closely resembles how Jesus really looked when was crucified. Body contorted, face showing such strong emotion of  agony and pain.

Matthias Grünewald

Grunewald

Grunewald-christ

This painting shows what a husband is supposed to do for this wife. Though not necessarily physically, he must sacrifice himself out of love for his wife to make her holy. Believe it. So the mission of a wife is to be subject or submit to this mission of their husband. Wow. The life and mission of Jesus Christ is the best love story ever and it can be mirrored in every marriage through the grace of God and willing  participation of both spouses. What this ultimately is, is submission to the will of God, and I’m all for that! Even Jesus Christ was submissive to the will of His Father which resulted in His crucifixion.

I  mentioned Father Donald Calloway earlier and I highly recommend you look him up or watch some of his talks on YouTube. He also has a great book I just read (I’m thinking about posting a review on it here) named Under the Mantle. It touches on this subject and more. He’s not affiliated with this blog or me… I just really like the guy! He has a great perspective.

I think that’s enough for now. Thank you so very much for reading. Let’s stop the spread of misinformation of our beautiful Catholic Church and faith. If you liked this post or learned anything at all (I hope you did), please share it! Don’t forget to subscribe or like my Facebook page so you don’t miss a post in this series. Also, feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought about this first post. Until next time, may God bless you abundantly!

introductions

Mary, Mother of God

Hi there! I’m Elizabeth. I’m 23 and currently a full-time student studying Diagnostic Medical Sonography. I have a wonderful boyfriend whom I’ve been with for almost 6 years. Most importantly, I’m Catholic. Yup! I only became truly faithful, practicing Catholic 2 years ago and my life hasn’t been the same since. In the best way possible. I love how beautiful my faith is and I love how beautiful my faith thinks I am. That’s why I’m here! I’m bursting at the seams with happiness in knowing how cherished women are in the Catholic Church and what my role in it truly is (and it’s so important!). To most, that might seem so contrary to what the general consensus is about the Catholic Church and that’s so very tragic. I hope to, in my own small way, change that for even just one woman. 

That’s what this blog will mostly be about: being a Catholic woman in the world today. Once I found out how the Church really views women (totally different from what I ever even dreamed of) my life..the WORLD… it all suddenly made sense! It’s so beautiful and I want to share it with all of you.  I hope to have my first “official” post up in the next couple of days, so subscribe or check back very soon. Tell your friends, too! Until then… may God abundantly bless you!

With love,

Elizabeth

Disclaimer: I do not own the image of Mary that is featured in this post. I found it on the internet but could not find the source to credit! If anyone owns this or knows where it can be originally found, please let me know and I will credit him or her immediately.