Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Created For Love; Our Lady of Guadalupe (UPDATED)



I had an encounter with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that changed the way I understood who and what Mary is, how God loves the world and our place in this plan of Divine Providence.

(click link to hear audio: "OLG message to Church of 21st Century")

I was in Philadelphia at the Theology of The Body Institute and was invited to dinner with a couple, Ryan and Lisa, who lived nearby. At dinner we visited and shared our journey as parents of large families, homeschooling and more. I liked them both instantly. All at once, Lisa asked me if I ever looked closely at the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I had to confess that I did not, after all I have always thought that this image was just a picture of the blessed mother as she appeared in Mexico, nothing more, nothing less. Boy was I in for a huge awakening.

She left the room and returned with a votive candle, you know the ones that have images on them? This one had an image pasted on the outside of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She proceeded tell me that one day when she was looking at the image, she discerned what looked like a line on the inner gown that was comparable to that found on a pregnant woman's belly called a linea nigra. This is darkening of the skin due to changes in hormones, that spans from the bellybutton to the pelvic area and is quite common to women who are expecting.

As I looked at the inner robe, I experienced a profound insight to the image that took my breath away. Not only did I see what she was seeing, but I saw even more. I saw how the entire inner robe looked like a torso, but not any torso. It looked to me that of the torso of Christ. Right down the center of the torso is the line which is in the very fabric of the Tilma itself. This is thought by many experts to be the exact center of the original image, as it has been cut to fit frames over the years, thus changing the shape.

If I followed the line, indeed, there is a dark area of where the bellybutton would be, the line going down, then leads to a shadowed area that looks like two thighs coming together in the pubic area. As I followed the darkened line up from the bellybutton, I saw that just to the right of it, where the heart shaped flower is (and where one would expect a heart to be inside of a body), I saw the punctured heart of Christ, there is even a curved line like that of the flow of water and blood coming from the the heart and curving into the the folds just under the 4 petaled Jasmine flower that is a glyph of truth and for the one true God.

I was flabbergasted. Right in front of me, I was seeing the torso of Christ, whose arms extended upwards and become her arms, as if symbolically they were conveying that they are united in purpose ending with her pinkies crossed in the St. Anthony cross. I also noticed how only four of her fingers show on each hand just like the shroud of Turin does of the crucified Christ, another Holy image said to be a miraculous image. I have since taken both images and overlapped them and discovered other beautiful coincidences.

Upon leaving the couples home that evening, they gave me a book about the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to read. I stayed up most of the night reading it. I am sure some of you are shaking your heads at me saying, “You didn't know that it was a codex or a language in picture form to the Nahuatl Indians?” Nope, but I did now and I was beginning to get a whole lot more. As I read through the Handbook of Our Lady of Guadalupe I began to decipher the codex with the lens of Theology of The Body. Something was happening, I started seeing a message related to our own times. I began to see a new purpose revealed within the image and it was a message to the world that we were created for love. This message was filled with divine mercy and it's grace that was literally emanating off of the picture as I gazed at Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The glyphs within the image, spoke a language in codex form to the Nahuatl Indians. This message signaled an end to human sacrifices and that a new civilization had arrived (the shape of the heart conveyed hill or mountain, the “stems” of the flower were a glyph for river or water and together they revealed civilization) for in this image was revealed that she was bringing the one true God, which was greater than any of their gods (she blotted out the sun, thus the rays coming from behind her).

The glyph of the face of the “wise man” which can be seen within the 9 large heart shaped flowers spoke another truth to me. Since I believed that the curved line emanating from the heart shaped flower glyph was that of the font of Divine Mercy, (after all it came from the heart just like the Divine Mercy image and it also originated from the belly of Our Lady where the incarnate Christ was inside of her womb) the rest of the revelation came to me in a tidal wave of thought.

What if the face of the wise man was John Paul II who not only canonized St. Faustina, thus giving the message of divine mercy to the world, but what if this “new civilization” was about making our hearts right, untwisting them, putting a “person” or face into our own hearts so that we would not objectify others as he wrote about in Love and Responsibility and in Theology of The Body.

Even her name, “Guadalupe” she shares with the name of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Spain, traditions says was carved by St. Joseph and painted by St. Luke. The Icon is titled “The Queen Of Mercy” because she protected those who sought her intercession.

The Divine Providence alone begs the question...Why was OL Guadalupe the Icon in Spain, the icon that in the 5th Century saved St. Gregory Great, in the 7th Century saved Bishop Leander in Spain, preserved the faith there and upon it's discovery after Mary appeared to a farmer, a church was built there in which later St. Isabela would consecrate her reign and Columbus, Cortez and Bishop Zummaraga would all visit this same church and consecrate their lives and their work to Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Why? Unless the preservation of the faith is some how tied to Mary through this particular title and this particular Icon.

In the image from Spain, she is a mother, holding the Christ child. In the image in Mexico, she is a mother expectant with the God incarnate. The mercy of God, the reason for Him becoming man. Our Lady of Guadalupe spoke these words to Juan Diego on Tepeyac hill “Am I not here, I who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am 1 not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more? Let nothing else worry you or disturb you.” She is the source of our joy. She also called herself our merciful mother. What is in the hallow of her mantle? Christ's mercy, God's love demonstrated in the incarnation. No wonder we are told to place ourselves within the hallow of her mantle because this is where the trinity is.

More miraculous findings have been revealed within the past century. For instanct, in her eyes, using high powered microscopes and computers images of St. Juan Diego, the Bishop and others have been found in her eyes. It is an interesting side note that her eyes display a triple reflection (Samson-Purkinje effect) characteristic that is found in a living eye. In one of her eyes a discovery of a man and woman with several children are found, representing a family. I find the images of the family strangely reminiscent of the themes of JP2's pontiff. If the family is seen in Mary's eyes, this reveals much to us about the future of the “church” since Mary is the mother of our church and we are her church.

"The family is the domestic church". The meaning of this traditional Christian idea is that the home is the Church in miniature. The Church is the sacrament of God’s love. She is a communion of faith and life. She is a mother and teacher. She is at the service of the whole human family as it goes forward towards its ultimate destiny. In the same way the family is a community of life and love. It educates and leads its members to their full human maturity and it serves the good of all along the road of life The family is the "first and vital cell of society". In its own way it is a living image and historical representation of the mystery of the Church. The future of the world and of the Church, therefore, passes through the family.” Homily of Pope John Paul II November 30, 1986.

John Paul II brought us these messages in Theology of The Body and Love and Responsibility. Within them, he desired to share with us the relationship of God, which is the trinity (father, son and Holy Spirit). The trinity reveals profound theological truths to us about who God is. We are called to “know” God. Just as scripture says “and Mary knew not man” this knowing is one of intimacy and relationship and is how God desires to “know” us (union and communion).

JP2 desired to reveal that each one of us are called to this union and communion. JP2 also worked tirelessly to share the dignity of all life and our call to love freely, fully, faithfully and fruitfully. This is how we would know, love and serve God so that we could enter into union and communion with God not only in Heaven but right now on earth. I believe all of these truths are revealed in this image.
The Devil Is Out To Destroy The Family


I have begun to read every book that I can on the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I have come to see many things in the glyphs, in the codex, in the icon like image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. What is the most important thing that I believe is revealed in the image? I would have to say the most important image I see is overwhelming symbols of the trinity.

God the father (creator and giver of life, expressed in her receptivity of motherhood) so loved the world that He humbled Himself and became Man (incarnation of Christ in her womb). God the son, (revealed through sash signifying pregnancy as well as the torso of Christ seen in the inner robe)so loved the father that He gave Himself as a gift back to the Father(the flowing blood and water from the pierced “heart” comes out of the “mouth” of the glyph of the wise man found inside of the heart) the flow of blood and water cascades down the 3 folds (symbolic of the one true triune God?) just under the 4 petaled jasmine flower (truth, God) showing us that the Father received the gift of the son. This love was so complete and full that it became life-giving (the three folds as well as the fact that her pregnancy is a result of being overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit).

Identical twins result from the splitting of a single embryo, one flesh becomes two sharing the same DNA. In this image we see that Christ takes his humanity from Mary's flesh alone (no biological father) and in doing so, gains the hands and feet in which to give himself as a sacrifice to mankind. Archbishop Fulton Sheen says that “since a woman played so great a role in the fall of man, would not woman then play such a great role in the salvation of man?”

Interestingly, the constellation of Gemini, the twins, is located on his torso indicating this profound truth that God made the body that made His body. They are flesh of the same flesh, united in purpose conveying union of purpose and love as well as communion since not only does every participle of her DNA exist within Christ but she is also carrying his infant form within her womb, giving him the blood and water in which to give Him life. He then reciprocates by giving us his blood and water in which to bring us all, through his mercy into the next world.

Eve, was brought into the world through the gift of himself and through the flesh of Adam she came to be. Now the New Adam, through the self-donation and gift of the New Eve, will receive His flesh from the flesh of Mary. So it would seem that God really does make all things new. In the beginning, Eve in her no, of her own free will, took, with her no to God and in doing so she brought the fruit (knowledge of Good and Evil) of death into her body and subsequently brought death to all of her offspring.
All is made new when the New Eve, Mary, of her own free will, gives herself as a gift and in doings so brings into her body the fruit of life and of all knowledge, into her body and subsequently brought life to all mankind. Mary is the ark, she is the first tabernacle and we see her her standing on the moon as if it were a patent, suspended by an angel that venerates her.

I found many “secrets” that at first I thought were secrets, but now I have found that there are Saints and mystics that have been saying this stuff for the past 2,000 years!  In fact, I am encountering many people who are being drawn to Icons and Iconography right now.  They are drawn to Our Lady of Guadalupe like never before and there are people that are being drawn to find ways to use art to communicate truths of the Christian faith to the people of the world that are so lost and broken right now and falling under the weight of their own weaknesses that they are thirsty, desperately thirsty and desire hope and desire to encounter a living God!


Indeed we are created for love. I hope your Christmas season is filled with the revelation that God is with us and He came to be with us physically in the flesh of mankind so that we might participate in the salvation of mankind through our gift of self. It is in our yes, that we are able to bring Christ to others.  Caryll Houselander taught me that.   In the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, God reveals that there are no lengths in which He would not go to reveal His love to the world.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Captivating Beauty- For Teen Girls

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Preparing For Battle: Talk for Teen Boys

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Spiritual Motherhood in a Single Woman

I had many spiritual mothers who loved me through my youth. Had I not, I may not have believed that their could possibly been a Father in Heaven who loved me. Single women are called to be mothers just as much as married or consecrated religious women. It is written in their very bodies. The body reveals the person, the soul within it and the body speaks a language. The body of a woman says, I am made to bring life into the world . I am made to receive love and to birth it to the world. As a woman, your body also reveals this truth. You were made to bring life into the world. As a single woman, that life is spiritual life. I just met a 20 year old single woman who ran an amazing youth conference in Sparks, Nevada. She brought myself and Doug Barry in to speak to Boys and then girls in turn. I gave the boys talk "Preparing for Battle" on how to know (meaning intimate relationship with) God, as a father, to know God as a lover/romancer of their masculine heart (one made for adventure, to fight a battle and to pursue and lift up his Eve, his beauty, which would be either a spouse or the church if called to priesthood or consecrated life) and to know God the Holy Spirit who speaks to use, heals us, anoints us and fills us with his gifts and charisms to live out our yes and plan for our lives so that they can change the world through their yes.

I then talked about the 3 things that will oppose them in battle; The World, (Jersey Shore and pornography) The Flesh (The senses and temptations to use/lust and not love others), and The Devil: The Enemy, The Evil one, who uses many tactics to destroy them. The Evil one uses the following tactics; 1. Break down communications with headquarters (God) by sloth, or to make undisciplined a man so that every excuse, impediment or obstacle stands in the way between a man and God. 2) Propaganda: The Evil one uses lies and faulty information in the messages we hear and the way he tells men that they do not have what it takes or that they are phonies. He will use any and all means to introduce lies into our lives. He desires only that we listen. Jesus never entered into dialogue with the enemy, instead, he pulled out the sword of truth and cut that dragon in half by quoting scripture to him, thus revealing the lies. When we dialogue with the Evil one, who is superior in intellect, we make the first mistake. Once we listen, he works on getting us to believe and make agreements with him about the lies. “You never do anything right”, Ya..what is wrong with me? Right there, an agreement has been made and the door has opened for the enemy to gain a stronghold and affect our relationship with God. As an enemy always watches the Perimeter, (3) so too does the enemy knows our weakness and chinks in the Armour. He will expose them and use them to deceive us, to destroy us, to win the battle. Men must know his tactics so that they do not allow him to exploit these chinks. All men are meant to fight the battle. In Combat (4) The Evil one uses the intellect, body and our soul/spiritual receptivity to manipulate our feelings and our thoughts so that he can incapacitate us. I then lead the boys through the prayer in scripture of putting on the Armour of Christ. Since only a man can bestow masculinity, I made sure to tell them to listen close to Doug Barry's talk later that day as he would lead them on the adventure to fight the battle for his Bride (spouse or the church). As a woman, I told them my gifts are to inspire them to this call and through my feminine heart, to lift them up so that they too can learn to be receptive to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The girls talk was "Captivating Beauty" and it was about how women were created to Know God. This means he desires an intimate and personal relationship with with her through the father who desires to protect and care for her. He desires to know her through the son who is her lover and romancer of her feminine heart and an inspiration to men through the power of her feminine beauty. He also desires to know her through the Holy Spirit who is the life giving healer and voice of God who spoke through out scripture and continues to speak to our hearts to day. Woman with her unique ability to receive and be receptive is called to bring Christ as Mary did in her womb to men of the world. We are called to be mothers and to be tabernacles! Just as Mary brought Christ in her womb to Elizabeth, so are we called to be tabernacle, bringing Christ to the world. We are to be the hands and feet that Christ desires to bring his love and presence to others. We are called to Love through our femininity. We are the Bride and Christ is our bridegroom. The Bride and the bridegroom analogy shows how much Christ desires for us to see we were meant to be in communion. I talked about the creation of woman in the Garden, out of the image and likeness of God and not the dust of the earth like man was...his creation shows his rugged creation of wilderness within him revealing his impending adventure, battle and need for Eve.

We were created out of the image and likeness of God, which shows our precious dignity as well as our design from the original invention of man which is to give and receive love to our bridegroom (spouse or consecrated religious life or consecrated single life). We too are called to change the world with our fiat, to serve through motherhood (spiritual or physical) and we too will face the challenges of the World, the flesh and the devil.

The world tells us our physical beauty is the most important thing we have of value. This is a lie. WE are Body, Soul and Intellect. Our femininity is infused throughout this relationship that makes us the “person” that we are. Not only this, but God says just being a woman is beautiful. Why? Because only a woman can carry another human being within her body. We are touched by the finger of God as he knits the body and soul of new life within our wombs. So to have a womb, to be woman, this conveys our beauty and is why the devil hates us so much. I expounded on the the need to invite God the father in and heal our father wounds, to invite God the Son in to romance our hearts, to invite God the Holy Spirit in to heal us and to speak to us so that we can change the world with our yes.

I also talked about renouncing any agreements or vows that we might have believed from previous Father wounds that the evil one tries to exploit to keep us controlling, angry or unable to trust. I talked about forgiving others and using the sacraments as the means to physically experience God through the physical reception, to spiritually experience God as we are receiving the Grace from the sacraments and to intellectually receive God has our will is conformed with His Will through the meeting of the Holy Spirit in the sacraments.

This young woman put together this amazing conference in the Diocese of Nevada. It is too bad that only 50 students came. Because her conference was not supported by the person in her diocese that is in charge of faith formation for teens, she was unable to bring this amazing opportunity to more teens there. We, like this young woman, are called to stay faithful no matter the obstacles. I am grateful that she did not give in to the spirit of discouragement. Instead of giving up, she worked hard to bring confession, adoration and mass to the youth of our church. She, through her feminine gifts, opened herself to the Holy Spirit and received the gift of counsel (by virtue of her baptism) and in this counsel, she knew God desired for her to show the youth of today that they are in a battle for their souls and she gave them the truth of the faith to fight that battle!

This is only one way that she has shown to the world her feminine receptivity to God. She is showing her mother heart, her desire to share and teach the faith, to love and encourage others. This is what a mother does. This is what we as women are ALL called to do! We are called to be "impregnated" as Pope John Paul 11 said in his encyclical of the dignity of woman, we are called to be filled, infused, impregnated with the Holy Spirit. To allow it to grow and transform our lives with in us so that we can give our fiat, our yes to God and through our yes, God will "birth" and bring forth the life Christ from our feminine hearts. This demonstration of trust and being a child of God reveals the Father to the World. This passion and desire to love others reveals God the Son. This receptivity and obedience to open herself and receive the word of God and to listen to it and then convey it to the world reveals God the Holy Spirit. All women are called to Motherhood. A mother is one who loves, nurtures, instructs, encourages, gives life, gives her very self to the world as a gift. So that through her gift of femininity and of motherhood, others will see the face of God, they will see Christ in her...they will hear His voice and know they are loved.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Teachable Moments; Parenting the Teens We Love

In my experience of being a mother of 8 children, many opportunities present themselves throughout the course of the day that provide the perfect teachable moment. In this column I would like to share some of those moments with others in hopes that they too begin to recognize the moments that present themselves as well as examples of how to dialogue with with our kids in a way that they will not even realize we have just taught them about love, faith, forgiveness, respect, honesty, courage and more. I welcome questions from the readers on how to approach any subject they may want advice about as well as some of their own examples of how to raise the children we love in a culture that seem to be at odds with our faith and values. The goal is that our kids begin to embrace their faith for themselves so that they too can live out God's plan for their lives and change the world with their own yes!

My daughter was listening to the radio while doing the dishes and a Brittany Spears song came on. The subject matter of the song was about how Brittany believes that there are only two kinds of people; those who entertain and those who are entertained. My daughter drew my attention to the song and made some kind of comment about how she knew that there was something wrong about the lyrics but was not sure why. As I listened to the lyrics the answer hit me like a ton of bricks. This is what I told her.

Brittany was missing out on the full truth of what it means to give yourself as a gift. It is true that some of us are more comfortable with being in the lime light however, that was not Brittany's point. Her lyrics were not about sharing her gifts with others but with being consumed and used by others as an object or a commodity in her “entertainer role”. She was packaging herself and saying that the “person” Brittany is not as important as her role as an entertainer.

We discussed how sad this was because she was missing out on what it means to be a person made in the image and likeness of God. She was also missing the point that her gifts in music were a gift and should be given away, but Brittany was not seeing this value, her value was being measured by cheers, leers, the ability to tantalize.

We agreed that Brittany was not understanding the basic foundational truth to what it means to love. If she never came to understand this, no matter how successful she became she would still be consumed with emptiness, a feeling of not being at peace with herself and would not be fulfilled in life. St. Catherine of Sienna says that if a person is doing what they are called to do, they will set the world ablaze! We see Brittany's desire to do this, but she will forever fall short if she does not grasp the fundamental truth that she and her life are not an object for use by others.

My daughter and I continued to talk about it for awhile and she began to then extrapolate what I said and apply it to other things going on in school between a best friend and her best friend's boyfriend. I am grateful for that moment because we might not have talked about these other things had I not seized that moment as an opportunity to teach her something about love, her faith and the dignity of the human person. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, take my heart and give me yours”.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Pivotal Question: Christopher West's Response after the Nightline Dustup...

The Pivotal Question:

Christopher West’s Response to the Recent Discussions

When the public conversation about my work unfolded following my appearance on Nightline last May, I did not think it was wise for me to respond until I had submitted the matter to my local bishops. Now that Cardinal Justin Rigali and Bishop Kevin Rhoades have issued a statement, it seems appropriate for me to offer some reflections as well.

First, I want to thank the many men and women – former students, married couples, catechists, theologians, seminarians, priests, deacons, religious, and bishops – who contacted me to offer their encouragement during this time. Your prayers and support were a tremendous gift to me. I would also like to thank those scholars and teachers of the faith who wrote in support of me, especially Janet Smith, Michael Waldstein, Michael Healy, Father Thomas Loya, Matthew Pinto, and, of course, Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Rhoades. Your willingness to speak out on my behalf remains a profound consolation.

Second, I want to thank those of you who offered thoughtful critiques of my work and helpful suggestions on how to improve it. I have taken them to heart. Indeed, I have always weighed my critics’ observations carefully and prayerfully. They have helped me refine my approach a great deal over the years and I remain very grateful for that.

That said, much of the criticism that appeared after the Nightline interview significantly misrepresented what I teach. Rumors were repeated so often that subsequent commentators simply treated dubious accusations as fact. Although I do not intend to respond point by point to the various criticisms, it seems I would be remiss as a teacher of the Theology of the Body (TOB) not to reflect briefly on what seems to be the pivotal point of the conversation. It is “pivotal” in the sense that people’s perspective on this point pivots them in very different directions when evaluating my work. This point is also critical in as much as it leads us to what I, and many others, consider to be “the pearl” of John Paul II’s TOB.

I offer these reflections in a spirit of humility and love for all those involved, not in an effort to “defend” myself. I am well aware that those looking for flaws in me will always be able to find them. I, like every interpreter of the Pope’s thought, bring my own personal perspectives,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An Explanation of Why CERC did not Post Dawn Eden's Thesis

An Explanation of Why CERC did not Post Dawn Eden's Thesis
Here are some highlights:
Erroneous claims
In a footnote in Chapter 1 Miss Eden states that she will show in the succeeding chapter that Mr. West's interpretation of the symbolism of the Paschal Candle "was condemned by the fathers of the Second Vatican Council."13 Anyone who is familiar with Council's 16 documents will recognize at once that this statement is false. Her own references in the following chapter show that clarification on this point did not come from the Council Fathers, but from a commission formed after the Council ended.14 Moreover, while the clarification and other sources cited by Miss Eden demonstrate that Mr. West was mistaken about Paschal symbolism, the guidance issued was explanatory and pastoral; there was no "condemnation."
None of the possible interpretations of this are favourable to Miss Eden. Either she has failed to check her manuscript to correct an obvious and serious mistake that she later detected, or she does not know the difference between documents issued by an ecumenical council and those produced by subsequent Church committees, or she does not understand the difference between correction and condemnation, or she has deliberately or carelessly used exaggerated and inflammatory language, or she has knowingly made a false accusation. These are not the marks of a thesis that warrants affirmation by thoughtful and prudent people.

Lack of systematic analysis
(there is only part here)
Considering Mr. West's treatment of "occasions of sin" (p. 49-55), Miss Eden introduces an eleventh theme that she neglected to include in the comprehensive overview in Chapter 1: "the association of "mature purity" with a man's ability to actively seek out what would be, for other men, occasions of sin, and – instead of being defiled by them – find in them a source of further purification."27
The only evidence she offers for this "running theme" are stories Mr. West told about two of his personal experiences: one at mass, the other at the beach. It is abundantly clear from both of these accounts – as they are given by Miss Eden – that Mr. West did not "actively seek out" occasions of sin, but turned unsought temptations into opportunities for an increase in grace. It is equally clear – again from Miss Eden's account – that he does not recommend the strategy without appropriate reservations. Despite this, Miss Eden goes on to say:

To the best of my knowledge and research, this idea that one should actively seek out opportunities to engage in a "lively battle" against lust is completely novel in the Church's history. (emphasis added)28

If that is true, then credit for introducing this novel idea belongs to Miss Eden, not Mr. West. Her claim that this is Mr. West's position is contradicted by the only evidence she offers to support it.

She suggests that Mr. West's responses to these cultural artifacts are too much coloured by a personal reaction against "puritanism," and that they reflect an insufficient awareness of the objective dangers of such entertainment.33 Based on the material she presents here and the reflections of John Paul II (again, see note 31) the suggestion is plausible. However, it is also clear from what she presents that Mr. West was offering an hypothesis about their origins and suggestions about how to turn them into "teachable moments." He was not, as her heading states, promoting the work of the singer or playwrights.
Taking Chapter 2 as a whole, Miss Eden has failed to provide a careful, systematic and detailed analysis of Mr. West's work in light of John Paul II's theology. It does not substantiate her accusations
Chapter 3
Chapter 3 of the thesis opens with the statement that the preceding chapters showed "that Christopher West's presentation of the theology of the body is compromised by errors and lacunae."(p. 63) Since the preceding chapters did nothing of the sort, and Chapter 3 relies on this claim, it is not necessary to review it.

According to Miss Eden, Mr. West's presentation of the theology of the body

is "damaging"34

"theologically compromised"35

fails to understand continence as it is defined by the traditional teachings of the Church"36

appears "to validate the culture's preoccupation with sex"37

teaches that the deposit of faith is incomplete and that Church doctrine keeps pace with changing times.38

encourages people to actively seek out occasions of sin, and find in them a source of further purification
None of these accusations are demonstrated by her thesis; the last is shown to be a false accusation by the evidence that she presents to support it.
Sean Murphy

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lady Gaga's "Alejandro": The Occult Meaning | The Vigilant Citizen

Lady Gaga's "Alejandro": The Occult Meaning | The Vigilant Citizen
Alejandro, is God; specifically she means Jesus, she carries a stabbed Sacred Heart in front of the coffin and she makes the hand gesture for the 2 natures of Christ. She also wears a nun outfit and eats a rosary...She is denouncing her relationship to Jesus through her Catholic Faith and is claiming her new spirituality, which is Satanism.

Friday, September 24, 2010

5 Themes of Theology of The Body I would like explained further

I have been thinking a lot about areas of Theology of The Body that I would like to understand on a deeper level. There are many. However, some of the areas are important to the extent that if there is confusion, the entire body of work can be misunderstood. Here are just five areas that I would love to see explained further, with subtopics I would like explained in context if they do relate at all.

1. Sex as a Noun

a) Redemption of the Body
8:23 Romans
b) As a truth expressing “The Beginning” the Ontological man and (TOB 46:6) Called in that truth, what does the body reveal?
c)Spousal Meaning of the Body
who man is
who woman is
who they are reciprocally one for the other in the work of creation
1) Freedom occurs to concupiscence of heart
(Freedom of that spiriutal state and power that derive from
mastery over the concupiscence of the flesh.
2) (TOB 46:6) Spousal in regard to the last sentence in TOB 46:5, “the
supreme value, which is love, dignity of person, expressed through
reciprocal relations of man and woman.
2. Sex as a Verb
3. Lust
1. Relate desire inside of this
2. Discuss the ramifications of Lust and concupiscence being translated from the original text.
4. Theology of Concupiscence
1. Three Fold Concupiscence, we need a solid language
1. Define all three
1. Nietzschean hermeneutics, concupiscence of the heart
2. Marxist Hermeneutics, Concupiscence of the eyes
3. Freudian hermeneutics, Concupiscence of the flesh
1. Is this carnal concupiscence?
2. Relate “Remedy or Relief of Concupiscence to this to further clarify lust
and mature purity.
3. Is “Pride of Life” saying that the trinity and it's truth is replace with
the me, myself and I trinity?
4. Unfold scripture John 2:15-16 and Romans 8:23 in light of this clarification
of language.
5. Does the quote “The words of Christ testify that the original power (and thus also the grace) of the mystery of creation becomes fro each one of them the power (that is the grace) of the mystery of redemption. Mean that the cross provides the power and grace to redeem the body in such a fullness that we can be healed in one or more areas of the 3 fold concupiscence? Can we be freed from one or more of the 3 forms of concupiscence if indeed we can say that there are 3?
1. If God is a trinity and a relationship are we as well a trinity of body, soul, and intellect/free will? Would it make sense that there would be concupiscence in these three separate areas, of the body, the soul (heart) the intellect/will (our eyes and what we choose to put into it? Perhaps we are not giving credence to the fact that only through continence (motivated by love) can allow us to heal the concupiscence of the eyes which are the window to the soul and in looking away we do not allow into our souls/hearts the opportunity to lust. So it is not only continence but also it is freedom and healing that must in union be embraced so that we can be healed in these areas?
5. Mature Purity
To include discussion of (46;6) “a vision of man's possibilities”. Important that precisely in his heart he does not feel himself irrevocably accused and given up tot he concupiscence of the flesh but that in the same heart he feels himself called with energy.” (Is energy here referring to the power and grace available to us through the redemption of Christ on the cross or what is he referring to here?

Mark Steyn: Mollifying Muslims and Muslifying Mollies

Mark Steyn: Mollifying Muslims and Muslifying Mollies

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Prayer When They Slander You

I ask that we all pray this prayer to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit so that His Divine will be done and not our own.

Prayer When They Slander You
Leanne Payne

April 1, 1998

When I seemed to be getting nowhere in [one spiritual] battle, I finally cried out in desperation, "Lord, what and how am I to pray for my enemies? Those beloved ones who slander me and the work you've given me to do?"

Several days later, as I was praying, [God gave me a blueprint for prayer in this situation.] It contains sound principles that everybody seems to need once the battle is joined:

1. Pray that the eyes of all who surround these persons be opened to see the situation as it really is.

2. Pray that their associates will be given ways to speak truth and light into the situation.

In these first two steps, we are praying for godly illumination and wisdom for the persons who can minister truth and peace into the situation, while at the same time we are praying for their safety We are asking that these stable people be spared from getting caught up in the dark net of spiritual confusion and deception—a very present danger in spiritual warfare—and that they be enabled to aid others who are ensnared.

As I meditated on these first two ways of prayer, the Lord greatly ministered the story of David and Goliath to me, this truth from 1 Samuel 17:47 in particular: "… it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's."

I then asked, "Jesus, what is the smooth stone, slung at your command, that will stop the Goliaths of envy, slander, murderous hate—all that is the enemy of your cross, your message?"

And immediately I heard in my spirit, "Truth, truth will out—it will hit the mark."

Then the following instruction is what caused us to name this way of interceding the "paint-the-dragon-red" prayer:

3. Pray that any demonic power within these persons or within these situations manifest itself— that it may be clearly discerned and seen by all the people.

C. S. Lewis has rightly said that "Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness." This is terribly hard on the "beloved enemy," but it is the only way he will be healed. In answer to this prayer, God causes the real enemy of all our souls to be revealed for all to see.

There will, of course, always be some unwilling to see and repent. They blind themselves by continuing to rationalize their sin.

When this happens, we invoke and practice the Presence of God and find that, "Wherever Jesus is, the storms of life become a calm." We find also that he is doing a work within ourselves that could never have been done apart from the disciplines learned through sustained spiritual warfare.

After this third point, the Lord quickened 1 Samuel 14:15 to me. I saw that Jonathan and his armor-bearer, only two men, put the entire Philistine army to flight as they fought for God's people. They stepped out in faith, speaking the word of truth, and the Lord worked with them: "Then panic struck the whole army … and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God."

There is an illusory nature to evil. It attempts to win through bluff—through puffing itself up to horrendous size. One word of truth, spoken in the power of the Holy Spirit, solid as a rock and splendid as eternity, flies swift as the surest arrow to puncture evil's swelled balloon of lies, posturing, and bravado.

The fourth step the Lord gave in this "paint-the-dragon-red" prayer is ever so important. It underlines the fact that our battle is against sin and not against the sinner:

Ask that what can be salvaged in this situation and in the live of your opponents be saved, humbled, blessed by the Spirit of God.

With this, I wrote out these instructions from the Lord:

Pray for the health, the wholeness, of your enemies. Pray for the salvaging of all that is good, beautiful, and true within them. I do a great work, one that will amaze you. Be at rest now from all that besets, offends, attacks—love, write, pray, live in peace in my Presence. Enter the timelessness of my joy and peace.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

10 Themes of Dawn Eden Set Straight

The “ten themes” chosen by Ms. Eden to correspond to what she believes are Mr. Christopher West is actually saying or teaching are listed below. However, it is my claim that Ms. Eden fails to thoroughly consider his complete position on various issues, and does not fully take into account his major work. Here are just some of my opinions on these ten things, you can read a more detailed analysis here:

10 major themes

1. The TOB is an all-encompassing theology that requires theologians and religious educators to re-contextualize everything about Christian faith and life.
In a sense theology of the body does give us a new lens in which to view everything about our Christian faith and our lives. Because we are made male and female, something that the theology of the body tries to express to us in a deeper and more profound way we can not help in a new context. To use the word require, implies that Mr. West has made some kind of insistence Ord declaration when in fact Mr. West always invites. It would be prudent for Ms. Eden to reframe this statement.
TOB is all-encompassing when we are discussing our lives because we live our lives in and through our bodies. We are made in the image and likeness of God and therefore church teachings have always told us that we are not to reject the body. As a matter of fact we live out our Christian faith through our bodies when we participate in the sacraments. Sacraments are an outward sign of an inward grace received in our souls.

2.The sexual revolution was a happy fault.
This sentence is misleading. To say Adam's sin was a happy fault, is to actually say how great he redeemer are we have found in Christ Jesus. The statement oh happy fault, is an exclamation of the greatness of our God to our brokenness and redeem it. To say the sexual revolution was a happy fault is to say that Pope John Paul II looked upon the brokenness of men and women reaching for completion in sexual sin and out of his desire to heal their brokenness he dedicated his life to bringing the teachings of theology of the body to the world. I fail to see where there is an error in this.

3.Two contrasting means of satisfying hunger. Dumpster versus banquet.
Here if Ms. Eden even understands that the human desire for love is definitely a need and not a want. Ms. Eden does not understand that what they really want is the love that only God can give them. However, because of our brokenness we may miss or Mark and reach for the very thing that keeps us eating out of a dumpster, to use Mr. West analogy. Hunger, understood in this way is actually our desire to receive the love of God and to reciprocate that love with God, in other words our desire for communion with God. When Mr. West talks about us eating out of a dumpster or eating fast food is that because we all have the desire to love and to be loved or written on our hearts we will seek to fill that love in whatever way we understand it can be filled. Seeks to change our understanding of how that love is to be filled by revealing to us the banquet, or the pure love of God, exists and how to identify it.

4.The nuptial analogy is the primary means by which the faithful should understand their relationship to God and nuptial is to be envisioned in sexual terms.
One of Ms. Eden's largest errors as a verb when many times Mr. West is referring to sex or sexual as a noun. The nuptial analogy allows the faithful to understand the differences and complementarity of the masculine and feminine. By looking at how gives it self to woman we can understand something about the very nature of being male and female. This is not talking about sexual intercourse the receptivity of woman and the call to serve in the masculine. Are called to serve and to receive, the theology of the body goes into these roles of male and female on a much deeper level to reveal a truth about our call to live out her femininity or our masculinity as well as it reveals something about the very essence of who and what God is. When we talk about the nuptial analogy we are not referring to the base minimal act of sexual intercourse but rather we are talking about the complementarity of men and women made in the image and likeness of God with differences that will reveal many things to us. We must be clear the word sacks or sexual is immense to reveal a deeper truth about male and female not intercourse between the sex of male and female.

5. The whole reality of the church's prayer and sacramental liturgical life is modeled on the union of spouses.
All of the sacraments and the Catholic Church are experienced a spiritual way intellectual way through our will. Ms. Eden must understand that the analogy of the nuptial union is pointing to the fact that we are made male and female. Being male or female is a physical reality it is a spiritual reality and did these things do affect the receptivity of our souls. We are a relationship within our own individual selves. That relationship is intellect or will our souls and our physical bodies. We are not just a body we are not just a soul we are not just an intellect or will but a relationship of all three of these things. This points to a higher truth of God. God is God the father they give her of all life is God who receives the love of the father and reciprocate that love back to the father the holy spirit is the fire of love that burns between the persons of the father and the person of the son creating a third person in the holy Trinity. God is the relationship of persons. God is not just the father God is not just the sun god is not just the Holy Spirit. When we understand thisthe whole reality of the church's prayer in our sacramental life is understood in a beautiful way. To say the sacramental liturgical life is modeled on the union of spouses is actually saying of the inter-connection between male and female or masculine and feminine the relationship of persons and their relationship within ourselves and those around us.

6. The Joy of sex in all its orgasmic grounder is meant to be a foretaste in some way of the joys of heaven.
I only have three words to say; “God is love” by Pope Benedict the XVI. Read it.

7. God created sexual desire as the power to love as he loves.
In her understanding of sexual desire this would be a faulty assumption. Sexual desire when understood as sex of being a noun, is a gift given from God so that we may love as he loves. To say God created the feminine heart and with in it ability to connect to the world through this femininity to love in a way that God loves would not be denied. To say that God created the masculine heart with the ability to connect to the world through his masculinity to love in a way that God loves would not be denied. This is what Christopher West teaches. This is what Pope John Paul II teaches.

8. Mature purity enables liberation from Concupiscence.
The fault here lies in Ms. Eden's understanding of what mature purity is. She somehow thinks that Mr. West feels that persons within opportunities to fall or into occasions of sin so that they may grow into mature purity when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. What West has always tried to share within his presentations reveals that lies within the cross. Christ can read D- and has come to steal our brokenness. Theology of the body challenges us to grow it in mature purity past learning custody of the eyes and beyond it. What Pope John Paul II reveals is that through the grace of God through the redeeming p ower of Christ on the cross we can grow in mature purity to a point where we can look upon ourselves not only as our bride but as our sister bride. The point can be made that in a dating relationship if a man struggles with the desire to use the other as an object to satisfy sexual desire that being married will not suddenly allow him to be free from judgment in this area. God sees into the inner workings of our hearts can only objectify that to which he is betrothed than marriage will not suddenly and miraculously change that heart. Although sexual union between husband and wife is not committing fornication or premarital sex, there still will lie judgment on his heart for object defined his spouse if he can not learn to enter more deeply into giving himself as a gift and receiving the gift of his wife as more than just a means to an end.

9.The song of songs is of great importance to a proper understanding of Christianity.
The song of songs is of great importance to proper understanding of masculine and feminine. For those of us who have been abused for those of us who have not seen the purity of love and desire they can be reciprocated between men and women we see in the song of songs we see in the song of songs the purity of heart that we are all capable and called to. Building upon this understanding of masculine and feminine we see a call to holy Communion. We see a relationship of persons. All of these things point us to our Creator. Building on this understanding we begin to understand as a relationship of persons that we too must engage our physical bodies are intellect and free will as well as our sole to receive the graces of which God has in store for us. Building on this understanding we we can see how the Catholic church is the one true church they can satisfy all of these truths. We see that God seeks to have a physical relationship with us and that is demonstrated through the physical reception of the sacraments. These are the foundations of our Christian faith. God desires to have a spiritual relationship with us that his wife to the physical reception of the sacraments they become a conduit of grace that flow in to our souls. The song of songs offer a great importance to those who receive it because our wills can be more properly engaged and submitted to the will of God because we see the lover and the beloved in their wholeness and their completeness. We see in the songs of songs. Purity of heart. Through the reading and contemplation of the song of songs the desire to submit our will to that of God's will for our lives can be fufilled. It is a piece of the puzzle so to speak.

10. The meaning of marriage in encapsulated in intercourse.
Not only does Pope John Paul II say that the marital embrace is an “enactment” of the sacrament, but so does St. Thomas. If the meaning of marriage is to give your life to another fully and freely, faithfully and fruitfully, then doe the marital embrace reveal all these same truths? What about a means of grace? Is the marital embrace a conduit of grace to grow in holiness? We are called to know God, does the marital embrace reveal something about God? We are called to Love God, do we learn to love as God loves when we give ourselves in the marital embrace fully, freely, faithfully, and fruitfully, learning to not use the other as an object? If the opposite of love is use then I would have to say yes. We are called to serve God to be with Him forever in Heaven. Does the marital embrace help us to grow in holiness as a means of receiving grace into our souls that we may one day be with Him in heaven?

I am not sure these 10

A point by point rebuttal to Dawn Eden's Thesis

Thank you Sister Lorraine for the incredible gift of time and energy you have dedicated to uncovering errors as well as revealing a better language for those of us who are trying to bring Theology of The Body to the world as well as learn to live through our own fiat.

I am so very grateful for you providing a forum on your blog for those of us who are looking for worthwhile discussion on this subject and I am sure that our labor will bear fruit for ages to come.

It seems there are many who, no matter how you try to encourage them to see truth, will refuse to see it. For those readers that are truly interested in discovering truth and helping others to discern where there is either error or confusion in all of this, I would like to make an observation. I have seen on many blogs that people are taking Ms. Dawn Eden's thesis at face value. The end result is that Mr. Christopher West's work is being impugned as well as the work of the Theology of The Body Institute.

It seems that the reason this is occurring is that people are not evaluating what they are reading critically. One way this can be remedied is by printing out Ms. Dawn Eden's thesis and then reading through her points line by line. If they use a copy of “Theology of The Body Explained” by Mr. Christopher West to read his words in full context as well as “Theology of The Body” Pope John Paul II (the revised edition has the necessary citations to make looking up exact areas referenced an option). In doing this, the reader will be able to see where Mr. West was or was not in error in his teaching on TOB based on JP2's original masterpiece.

It is a slower process than just reading something, making assumptions and then blogging about it but I believe it makes for more worthwhile discussions that are rooted in truth. For those dedicated to the truth and not merely slandering one another, it is worth it. I have actually found some areas where Mr. West could have used different words to express himself which I will provide later on.

In regard to your statement “My main point that I hoped to make clear is that Dawn's critique http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/DawnEdenThesis.pdf is not a fair and impartial one. It is incomplete and her bias is obvious from the way she writes in her thesis”. Is well substantiated. In fact, for anyone who looks up the footnotes will notice right away that many sentences quoting West are taken from multiple sources strung together. There has also been instances where her own opinion within the footnote which re-contextualizes the footnoted statement. The result is the addition of her bias, her comments are threaded throughout the thesis but they come across as if she is bringing to light errors in West's presentation.

Since I have already shared these with Ms. Eden personally and since I have also told her that I will continue to dialogue with her, let me share some examples;

FALSE: "The Theology of the Body Institute was founded to promote West's presentation".(see it here: http://dawneden.blogspot.com/)

TRUTH: The Theology of The Body was founded in 2004 by David Savage,with the cooperation of speaker and author Christopher West and Matthew Pinto, founder of Ascension Press and CatholicExchange.com.

 FALSE: "The Theology of the Body Institute was founded to promote West's presentation".(see it here: http://dawneden.blogspot.com/)

TRUTH: The mission of Theology of the Body Institute is to educate and train men and women to understand, live and promote the Theology of the Body. http://www.tobinstitute.org/page.asp?ContentID=2
FALSE:"At the time I wrote my thesis, West and the Theology of the Body Institute, which was founded to promote his presentation of the theology of the body” (emphasis mine) shared as fact by Dawn Eden's in her thesis "Toward a Climate of Chastity" 3rd paragraph under"Preface to the Third Edition
FALSE ACCUSATION: "..the Theology of the Body Institute, which West founded and directs" (emphasis mine) page four of Dawn's Thesis. She actually uses afoot note from a Zenit article (found here: http://www.zenit.org/article-26894?l=english) to support this claim.
TRUTH: Dawn Eden sites the above article as a foot note to prove the validity of her statement. When I went to the actual article and read what it said, this is the quote I found from Cardinal Justin Rigali:
"We are convinced that John Paul II's Theology of the Body is a treasure for the Church, indeed a gift of the Holy Spirit for our time."Yet, its scholarly language needs to be 'translated' into more accessible categories if the average person is to benefit from it."To do this is the specific mission of the Theology of the Body Institute, and we believe that Christopher West, the Institute's popular lecturer and spokesman, has been given a particular charism to carry out this mission." No where in the article is there a reference that the Theology of The Body Institute was founded by West and under the direction of West.
TRUTH: Christopher West is simply the Institute's popular lecturer and spokesman, not the founder and director who founded the Institute to promote "his" interpretations of TOB to priest and layperson. This is an untrue statement in the thesis, the footnoted source used to prove this statement as a truth does not support the statement and it should be rephrased or retracted.
FALSE ACCUSATION: "you just have to know Christopher West to understand him" from Dawn Eden's thesis.
TRUTH: If Ms. Eden is going to write a Thesis which equates the Theology of The Body Institute and it's teachings with Mr. West and his teachings as well as say that Mr. West teaches a different Theology of The Body than that of what is presented in John Paul II's writings, then she must have accurate knowledge and proof of this.
Ms. Eden would have had to attended or viewed lectures, writings or video presentations from the Institute in which to base her material on. This is not the case. Ms. Dawn Eden has not attended any courses taught at the Theology of The Body Institute.
Ms. Eden has not viewed any video or listened to any taped presentations from the Institute as they are not recorded.

Ms. Eden has not read through the course materials as the manuals are not available to the public. They are available to course attendees only if she had some how gotten a hold of a manual, most of the course is lecture form with references to the manuals so this view would be incomplete.
Therefore Ms. Eden would not know what is or is not being taught there unless she has attended the courses. It is my assertion that Ms. Eden did not have any of this information to use when compiling her thesis and therefore her thesis would be lacking necessary information to prove most of her points.
I have attended 4 of the 5 courses given by the Theology of The Body Institute and Ms. Eden was not present in any of them. I have contacted past course attendees and facilitators and have confirmation that Ms. Eden has never attended a course taught at the Institute. Therefore, Ms. Eden can not know what is being taught there.
I purpose that in her 4th edition to her thesis that she exclude any references to the Theology of The Body Institute until she attends a course. Until then, she does not have sufficient knowledge to substantiate her claims. The courses are very inexpensive and there are scholarships available. Food and shelter, which is a cost of the retreat center and unrelated to the Institute in any way, are the most substantial cost but still very inexpensive for what you receive.

FALSE; “West condemns those who seek to avoid occasions of sin”. Ms. Eden states on page 43 of her thesis: "At a time when Catholic young adults overwhelmingly ignore Church teachings on premarital chastity (if they are aware of them at all), West's urging engaged couples to "accept the risk" rather than "lock up (their) freedom"107 lends credence to Schindler's concern that his "ambiguity" could lead to "dangerous imprudence in matters of sexuality."
TRUTH: Mr. West is merely stating that occasions of being alone do not and should not all be occasions of sin just because a couple would be alone.  If being alone always equates an occasion of sin, then the couple may not have their desires properly ordered. They may not love one another but merely desire one another.  (This will be part of my argument of lust in the heart later).

FALSE: Footnote 107 is used to support Ms. Eden's comment that West condemns those who seek occasions of sin and encourages engaged couples to “accept risk”.

TRUTH: Footnote #107 refers to TOB Explained, revised edition, 275 and reads as follows: "A couple who choose not to be alone together in order to avoid sexual temptation should be commended.  (This does not sound like West is condemning them.)  They should also be aware that they are called by Christ to a much deeper freedom". 

As for the comment of "accepting the risk" or "locking up freedom" West was not talking about risking sexual purity, rather this is the proper quote:

 "We are called to set our eyes on Christ, get out of the boat, and walk on water.  Many Christians, it seems, stay in the boat for fear of sinking if they were to get out.  This may seem like a "safer" approach.  We can't sink if we never leave the boat.  But neither can we walk on water. The truth of human life does not reside in the boat! It can only be found on the water amidst the wind and the waves-in the drama of putting faith to the test and learning to walk with our eyes set on the Lord.  Learning to love always involves risk.  (notice West is referring to love when he says risk is involved).  "There is nothing "safe" about it.  But it is better to get out of the boat and accept the risk of sinking than to lock up our freedom and throw away the key.  As with Peter, Christ says, "Come!" Yes, we might sink.  If we do, we have a merciful Savior ready to save us, as did Peter."
Clearly West was talking about Love, he was talking about growing in faith and true charity, not about placing our selves into occasions of sinful temptation.  Surely West did not mean that Christ was saying "Come!, go ahead and tempt sin.  West was referring to the risk of our hearts, the risk that we open them to love more purely. Her quote of "West's urging engaged couples to "accept the risk" is unfounded and the footnote used there seems to site her own opinion, rather than actual facts of what West was writing as the source in which to back up her claim.

 Her source is not a sound source. Anyone not taking the time to look up these things would believe them at their face value and this is the danger in her thesis.

If someone can provide a direct quote, in context please, in which West is urging engaged couples to accept the risk of occasions that they know would be sinful for them, please send them over to me as I would like to see evidence to this false accusation.

FALSE: On page 7 of Dawn's intro of 3rd edition to her thesis she says of West “He asserts that, because the human body is inherently holy and decent, the need for women to dress modestly exists only because many men are impure. Those who are tempted by the sight of immodestly dressed women have failed to make the effort to attain mature purity.”

TRUTH: West is speaking of lust in the heart not carnal concupiscence. There needs to be a language we can all agree on to understand that John Paul II spoke of different kinds of lust. He also spoke of “carnal concupiscence.

Page 107 of JP2's TOB 1/2 way down the page:
"It must be deduced from this that the "adultery in the heart", committed by the man when he "looks at a woman lustfully," means a quite definite interior act. "  He later goes on to say (same page bottom)
The pope also mentions that Christ uses the words "looks" to draw our attention to the eyes since the sense of sight is highlighted.  (Relevant to my point coming up)
If you go to JP2's TOB page 156 "Interpreting the Concept of Concupiscence"  in the first paragraph it says "Lust of the eyes is defined specifically as "adultery committed in the heart".  HERE IS WHERE IT IS CRUCIAL TO MATURE PURITY; "The moral evaluation of lust (looking lustfully), which Christ called adultery committed in the heart, seems to depend above all on the personal dignity itself of man and of woman.  This holds true both for those who are not united in marriage, and-perhaps even more-for those who are husband and wife." 

The pope goes on to say (bottom of same page 156) "Christ did not stress that it is "another man's wife," or a woman who is not his own wife, but says generically, a woman."
The reason this is important is that many people begin to believe that marriage has a 3rd purpose, which is relief of concupiscence. This is not an error in and of itself, however, when we begin to think that "relief" means that marriage legitimizes a desire to use his wife for pleasure, rather than burn and lust outside of marriage, then we have veered off course. It is my opinion that our understanding of marriage being a relief is better translated as remedy. In this way, we understand the marriage can heal lust of the heart as we become tranformed by grace. Although carnal concupiscence is something we will live with and fight against until our deaths, the concupiscence that tends to turn our hearts so that we "look" on others with lust, can be healed to that of being able to "look" with eyes of love. (Forgive me for not wording this correctly in a previous post on Sr. Lorraines blog. I have corrected my words for it was wrong of me to assume that this is what Ms. Eden believes. I thank Kevin for pointing this error out as he graciously did, for it was definitely worded to seem I was intending an attack on Miss Eden's character and I certainly did not mean to do this. I apologize with all my heart publicly and I will do so again privately to Ms. Eden).

Defenders of marriage being a “relief of concupiscence” often quote the tribunal on marriage from The council of Trent that refers to the marriage act being a "remedy for concupiscence" but John Paul II teaches us that remedy is meant to mean a healing and we should not mistake remedy to mean a relief.

To read what Christopher West's take is on this in his OWN words please go to Page 199 of TOB explained last paragraph under the subheading of "Concupiscence Habitually Threatens Love". West talks about how the Pope adds the word "almost" in the comment that "the human body has almost lost the power of expressing this love in which the human person becomes a gift" and then West goes on in pages 201-202 to use a much better analogy than the one in Dawn's Thesis  (page 40 of her Thesis). 

FALSE: If you look at Dawn's Thesis at the bottom of page 40 (3rd edition) at footnote # 93 Dawn say's here; “ West adds a footnote here: “See CCC, nos. 1768, 1770, 1775, 1968, 1972.” The sections of the Catechism that he cites concern the need to order the movements of the sense towards virtue, and the grace given by the New Law to enable the faithful to act virtuously. They do not, however, condemn those who seek to avoid occasions of sin, nor do they suggest that the proper way of enacting one's freedom in Christ is to risk occasions of sin" (emphasis mine as she as inserted her opinion in the footnote as a source).

TRUTH: West has never condemned those who seek to avoid occasions that they believe could be sinful to them and has never taught this. Her footnote to back up her claim does NOT PROVE her allegation. What is does do is declare her opinion and then she uses her own opinion as a source in the footnote to make a comment about something West has not said or done. 

FALSE: On page 42 of Ms. Eden's thesis says in regard of the account of Nonnus and Pelagia in The Desert Fathers, that the original story counters West's implications that casting a look of “mature purity” upon a “scantily clad prostitute” may cause her to notice the loving gaze and so discover God's love. Ms. Eden states in her thesis that not only does Pelagia not notice that Nonnus “looks” at her, but her conversion comes after wards.

TRUTH: John Paul II writes in TOB that “looking with the eyes” translates as “lust in the heart”. He goes into great detail educating us all that adultery or use of another person can happen in the heart without a physical action. When West shares that Pelagia does not notice that Nonnus “looks” at her, we must understand that is because Nonnus did NOT “look” at her. To “look” means in this parable and in the writings of concupiscence by John Paul II , of an objectification. “Look” in this context, means to transfer a “look” from the eyes to the heart. Nonnus did not “look” lustfully and in not “looking” thus, he did not allow lust to transfer to his heart. This is the whole point of the story.
FALSE: Ms. Eden goes on to say: “Most significantly, when Pelagia then writes to the Bishop and asks to see him, she agrees only on the condition that there be other Bishops present.” This is offers, is deliberately omitted by West because it would mean that St. Nonnus was insufficiently virtuous.
TRUTH: This demonstrates that one can, through mature purity, grow in love so that lust of the eyes, transferred to the heart, which is concupiscence from original sin, is different than carnal concupiscence or concupiscence of the flesh. The Bishop realized that “looking” upon her as he meets her on the street, and “looking” upon her in love is much different, then agreeing to meet her alone. He is acknowledging carnal concupiscence, something that West has never taught can be overcome.

FALSE: Ms. Eden also says that Nonnus's tears are not because “such beauty is being sold to the lusts of men, bur rather the bishop feels ashamed that the prostitute puts more efforts into her physical appearance than he puts into his spiritual appearance (soul) for God (this para-phrasing is mine).
TRUTH: This points to how beautifully this story relates to Theology of The Body. The Bishop is understanding the connection between the body and the soul! He weeps because he sees the connection between them. He is “seeing” her person in the moment that he discovers that her physical should match his spiritual. He is seeing a nugget of truth that is revealed in Theology of The Body.

FALSE: On page 44 of Dawns Thesis she says that “West emphasizes that a couple must advance beyond mere continence prior to marriage”. Then she claims West “chastizes” John Paul's instruction on growth in continence.

TRUTH: West talks about how just because a man and woman get married does not mean that their will not be guilt or even judgment from God for using the other person or even for committing adultery.  In the TOB, Pope John Paul II talks about adultery going from something that can occur physically between unmarried individuals (forgive my paraphrasing here) to something that can take place in a person's heart, a married person's heart and for their own spouse.  Lust can occur inside of marriage the Pope teaches us.  West shares that marriage is not a magic wand that suddenly makes an act of intercourse free from a person's desire to use another or to lust.  If God calls us to love then how can a man love his wife if he uses her?  In love and responsibility the Pope teaches us the opposite of love is not hate but use. How can two persons enter into the sacrament of Holy Matrimony if they do not LOVE each other? This is what West is alluding to.
This whole idea that marriage legitimatizes sex is not the full truth...in light of what I have just said it becomes so wrong.  I have seen how a man can grow in love to such a degree that he starts to step outside of himself and the marital embrace becomes not just a physical act of pleasure or use for pleasure but it becomes about entering into the other person and a mysterious moment that seems to make you both hover outside of your own self. 

 Before I go further, let me clarify that if two people know that they are not entering into the call to love the way they should but desire to grow in this way, that marriage and the marital act will be a means in which to heal them in this area, even if they struggled with the desire to "use" one another previous to the marriage.  The hearts acknowledgment of this "pull" and the hearts desire to heal it will be given grace through that marriage and the marital embrace.  However, if a couple desires to use one another for pleasure and they have a mentality of "I can't wait until we are married" because it is some how a magic wand that will make the sex act okay, this is a grave error and this is What West is speaking about.
I would say that any person's who diliberatly avoid all occasion of being alone together simply because they think being alone would make it an occasion of sin are missing the point of their love.  If just being alone together, constitutes an occasion of sin, then I would say the TOB would say that no love exists between these two persons and then West would be correct in saying that they should not marry.  
Here is an example: 
Lets say an engaged couple desired to go to adoration together, but seeing that this would place them alone together, they decide not to "risk" it for they believe they are being holy and pious by avoiding this "occasion" of sin, because after all, it would not be good to be alone together, regardless of where it was.  
Well, that would mean that the occasion of sin would be that they would desire an intimacy that would be sinful outside of marriage or provide an opportunity to be intimate in a way that they feel is not appropriate.  Well, this would make them no better than an animal.  Animals can not control themselves, they are ruled by instict or the body without a will or intellect to discern and choose.  However, we are not animals, we have the ability to discern what is good and impose that will on the flesh and choose the better good for sake of love. This is the freedom that Christ offers us.
When we love, truly love with mature purity, we can be in occasions of being alone without them having to be occasions of sin.  West never teaches that a couple MUST put themselves in occasions of sin, but rather occasions of being alone do not constitute occasions of sin.  This is key to where I see the misunderstanding. 
If a couple knew for a fact that a certain scenario would be an occasion of sin, then of course the couple should avoid that occasion.  Sadly, if being in adoration together would incite lust, then the couple should not be alone together, but a marriage would not legitimize their union of lust.... Just because they are married God will not sit back in heaven and say...yes my son, now that you have married her in church, have at her for her body is for you to use for pleasure, it is okay now because you are married, in fact have at it with my blessings.  This is how birth control has made it's way into marriage, by people misunderstanding the church’s teaching on the marital embrace.  There are people that think that marriage is a remedy for those who can not or think they do not have to control or heal their concupiscence, better to have sex with a wife than to burn right?
WRONG.  Remedy is not the same as relief.  Remedy is meant to be understood as a way of healing. 
 These are just SOME of the many errors I have found and a good place to begin.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

UPDATE; Dawn Eden, Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand and other's

I have gone to and printed out hundreds of pages of blog posts related to this whole Theology of The Body debate. I have decided to read through and prayerfully review them all so that I can discern what the Holy Spirit is asking of me in regard to this.

I have spoken directly to a number of persons who have shared other materials with me and other positions with me so that I can consider other aspects that I may have not been aware of.

I will then privately converse with any persons I feel are in error, whomever the will be, or I will either retract, correct or apologize for any place in which I may have been or currently am in error.

My goal always has been and always will be to know, love and serve God. I truly desire to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Please pray for me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Part 2 (Pulled from running on Catholic Exchange) Defending the Theology of The Body Institute

The goal of anyone teaching TOB should be that one day those that they teach would grow enough to consume the words of Pope John Paul II themselves and not just another person’s interpretation of it.

Perhaps Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand uses an antiquated language. By this I only mean that it's beauty can be lost on the modern everyday John or Jane Doe. This may be why she finds the words of the average layperson to be vulgar or crude. In a sense, she is right; there is a more noble and beautiful language that can and should be used when possible. However, if the reality is that most persons do not read or understand the language she feels is best suited to communicate TOB, then the results would be that no matter how eloquent a person’s language, it will fall on deaf ears, it will be throwing pearls of wisdom to swine.

For example, I consider Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand a scholar. I consider myself an average person of intellect, but definitely not a scholar. In Dr. Von Hildebrand’s latest essay, she chastises Mr. West for his comments in his column “Born of a Woman” (Dec 8 2006). In fact, she claims him to have a “defective attitude.” This surprises me since she is a philosopher. What I discerned from his article was that when a woman gives birth she experiences what Mary herself did at Bethlehem “physically.” As a mother, I know that means a lot of things including our water breaking, the cervix must thin and efface, etc.

The mystery of God’s birth into the world is magnified by contemplating the birth because of the truth that is revealed in that physical experience. We are a relational beings and God is a relationship of persons. By meditating on Christ’s birth through the body of a woman and being awestruck by the truth and love revealed to us about God the Father (revealed through Motherhood), God the son (revealed through the infant of God made flesh), and God the Holy Spirit (through Mary’s yes, her receptivity as woman, allowed the Holy Spirit to overshadow her and fill her womb with life), we enter more deeply into it’s mystery.

Was it then wrong of me to contemplate that Christ’s humanity was a demonstration of the Trinity through Mary’s Motherhood and subsequent birth? When I read his article, I then meditated on the birth of my own children and understood in my own smallness that “God the Father in His Glory, united Himself through the Holy Spirit to the dust of the earth, mankind in Mary’s yes. So as St. Bernard said, God made the body that made His body and in so doing, God had a bellybutton, God had sweat, tears, blood, urine, hair and yes, there was a placenta, because this is God’s design for bringing life to be.”

This communicated to me how God does not desire to be far away, He desires to be close and intimate and a part of all of our life experiences. As Caryll Houselander says in “The Reed of God,” Christ is living out his life in every living person. He is just at different stages. So here, Mr. West entered into the mystery of Christ the infant, nourished by a womb, by a placenta and then by the breast of his mother. Was this somehow wrong?

When reading Dr. Hildebrand’s reaction to this article by Mr. West, it seemed that her response was to elevate God so high and far away from us all it is as if she places Him on a pedal stool to be looked at and adored but never ever touched and never talked about but instead “Silent adoration is the only valid response to such a mystery” are her words to us in her latest essay condemning what she clearly cannot understand.

I do have a couple final thoughts for anyone interested in my simple observations. Why is the Theology of The Body Institute being tauted as the mouthpiece for Mr. West? One get’s the feeling of a witchhunt (I say this because if you follow the blogs of those that are opposed to the Institute, they surf the internet on any and all information about persons associated with the Theology of The Body Institute and then post it on their blogs to paint the person in a negative light) http://maryvictrix.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/theology-of-the-body-and-the-mystical-magical-train/

The Theology of The Body Institute has somehow been labeled as a place in which Mr. West’s views on TOB are being projected onto the world. (see Dawn Eden's Blog here http://dawneden.blogspot.com/

In her speech defending her essay she states:

I am here tonight to defend my master's thesis, which is a critique of Christopher West's presentation of Pope John Paul II's theology of the body. By "Christopher West's presentation," I mean not only his own personal presentation, but also, more generally, the presentation he promotes through the Theology of the Body Institute, which trains priests and lay catechists to teach his particular interpretation of John Paul II.

On her blog she has this posted:

"...the Theology of the Body Institute, which was founded to promote West's presentation.."

This is at best an opinion and at worst a false allegation.

The mission statement of the Theology of The Body Institute is this http://www.tobinstitute.org/

"The Theology of the Body Institute exists to promote the revolutionary teaching of Pope John Paul II on the divine meaning of the human body and human sexuality."

Furthermore, while she may know what Mr. West's books and tapes say, she does not know what the Institute teaches. Why? Because she has never attended any of the Institute's courses.

I have attended ALL of the courses that she would have been able to attend she is not on my roster. As for previous TOB 1 courses, I used my class rosters to contact attendees, her name is not on their rosters either.

Perhaps she should modify her essay to say that she has no first hand knowledge of what the Institute teaches.

Another proof that the Institute was created to promote the Teaching of Pope John Paul 11's Theology of The Body and not of Mr. West's "teachings" is that he only teaches 2 of the 5 offered courses and other instructors have been teaching those this past year. Further proof? The books used to teach the course are not Mr. West's books but rather the books used are Theology of The Body by Pope John Paul II as well as Love and Responsiblity and of course their student manuals. The student manuals are filled with quotes from Saints, previous and current Pope(s)and the Catechism of The Catholic Church – all approved resources. If she had attended any of the courses, she would have known that, notice there is no critique of the manuals used in the courses to "train" the attendees.

Secondly, Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand acknowledges Dawn Eden, stating “her in-depth knowledge of the work of Christopher West has been crucial to me.” If one is going to write an essay critiquing another person, then I would suggest that said writer should use the original person as it’s source and not the “in-depth knowledge” of an entirely separate person. The first rule of any scientific theory is that you must control the variables. For someone who as never attended any of the courses taught by the Theology of The Body Institute, it would seem any comments she would have about the Institute would be of only her own opinion and interpretations of what she had either heard or read about from someone else. The courses are not taped and there are no video's of the courses so again, she would not have any first hand knowledge of what goes on at the Theology of The Body Institute. That being said, I am not sure how this merits source material for Dr. Von Hildebrand.

If I have any opinion on the essay by Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand it would be this; They both love the Church very much. They both have a gift to share with the world. They both understand and communicate the Truth revealed by Pope John Paul ll in Theology of The Body. However, they just speak a different language. I agree with Heidi Hess Saxon, they are different parts of the body of Christ and each serve a unique purpose in the Church. Don't take my word for it, check the Imprimatur at the beginning of his books, or perhaps ask the bishops that are on the board for the Institute:

The following bishops have also joined our Episcopal Board:

His Eminence George Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney

Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, Bishop of Fargo

Most Reverend Robert Baker, Bishop of Birmingham

Most Reverend John M. Dougherty, D.D., V.G. Auxiliary Bishop of Scranton

Most Reverend Victor Galeone, Bishop of Saint Augustine

Most Reverend Alfred C. Hughes, Archbishop of New Orleans

Most Reverend William E. Lori, Bishop of Bridgeport

Most Reverend John Myers, Archbishop of Newark

Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City

Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of Harrisburg

Dr. Von Hildebrand states clearly in her source material that she has not studied all of the writings of Mr. West herself. Instead she uses the opinions of another person's critique. I propose that if she or her source had attended a course offered by the Theology of The Body Institute personally, she may have found something beautiful within his approach and could have perhaps entered into a dialogue. I agree with Heidi Hess Saxton's comments on www.CatholicExchange.com that Surely, the best course of action would be for a dialogue with Mr. West rather than what comes off feeling like a public denouncement of him and the Theology of The Body Institute.

I am grateful for both of the Drs. Von Hildebrands beautiful and articulate language to help me go deeper. I am also grateful to Mr. West. He is like a fisherman, he goes out into the world and catches the fish that are swimming in our current culture and we the church with all our rich resources are the net.

I suspect many will be led to read Dietrich Von Hildebrand because of their conversions through Mr. West evangelistic work sharing TOB with the world.
So I will end with what we should all be praying for.

I pray that Mr. West, will receive enlightenment from the Holy Spirit so that the language he uses can elevate the message and magnify the truths within Theology of The Body so that his work can be fruitful and pleasing to the Lord. In the end, that is all that matters. If his work is pleasing to God, not to scholars or to men, but God.

On a personal note to Christopher West; Thank you so much for your yes, I can now listen to the music of forever and imagine my bridegroom singing to me and His song fills me with peace, excitement, joy and love. Amen

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Part 1 (ran on CE August 2) Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand and Christopher West

I met Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand in 2003 at a fundraiser for a crisis pregnancy center.  At that time I was frequenting the Latin Masses of "Institute of Christ the King", a conservative but approved group of priests that offer the latin mass in the Green Bay Diocese and other Diocese's around the country. I met a couple of women there that were running a crisis pregnancy center that was experiencing some financial hardships. I expressed to these women that I had experience in fund raising and would love to help them.  One of the first things I helped them with was to schedule Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand.  I had a met a mutual friend of hers and thought that because of that friendship I might be able to secure her for their event.  We were all delighted when that proved to be true.
Because of my involvement in organizing this event, I was able to spend a couple of days with Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand and speak to her about a number of things, including my own talks.  I specifically asked her about the word "sex" since at that time I had been attacked by numerous individuals for simply using the word even though I in no way described or discussed sexual activity.  Not only was she more than happy to give me advice and encourage me, her answer to me was quite beautiful. 
She told me that simply using the word "marital embrace" or "marital union" instead of the word sex,  conveys an elevated message to my audience.  She went on to point out that using words such as marital embrace, gives the listener a vision of what this act was meant for without having to give an entire explanation.  She pointed out to me that simply using words that are infused with truth and beauty conveys to the listener a much deeper message. 
I then asked her what was wrong with the word sex.  She said that nothing was wrong with it but rather our culture had taken over this word and that to use words that mean something completely different to them would bring them to a lower message.  "Your goal should be to elevate the message and challenge others to raise themselves to it" she told me.
From that moment on I removed the word sex from all my talks.  She was right, it even felt more beautiful flowing from my lips..."marital embrace".  She has spent her life writing and speaking on Theology and Philosophy and so her grasp of language is much more eloquent than mine will ever be. 

The reason I share that I actually knew and know Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand or “Lily” as she invited me to call her (a nickname from her sister) is to share that I understand where she is coming from. However, I understand where Mr. West is coming from as well. I have also experienced judgment from a group that was so puritanical, that they had decided that because I used the word “sex” in my chastity talks while speaking with Catholic Answers, that I was a “sex educator” even though I clearly was not and never have been. Just the word “sex” scandalized them. In one attack which came in print form, the person's proof that I was a sex educator was to say that “she used the word sex 8 times!”
Although I enjoyed my time going to the Latin mass for it's reverence and tradition, I found that my experience with most of the people there was not enjoyable Mostly this was because of the puritanical views that many of their members extolled. For example I was told by a priest that I was not allowed to wear pants because I was an attractive woman and to do so would lead men to sin (no they were not tight pants). I had many of the women comment that I should not work outside the home and that I should not wear make-up or even jewelry as it adorns the body. This reminds me of Caryll Houselanders book “The Reed of God” in which she says in her chapter “The word made flesh” that some have such a fear of the body that they even reject beautiful things in churches. This is all a part of the Manichean heresy and it is alive and well among conservative groups. I do agree there should be modesty in dress however, there is disordered thinking when people believe that men are only capable of lust when they look at a woman. Yes, pornography is rampant in our culture, however the knee jerk reaction of many conservative Catholics has been to run the other direction and so it seems the two extremes do in fact exist.

What we need is to be brought to the middle and this is what I believe Mr. West has at least attempted to do and quite courageously I must say. So, there is a danger in extreme thinking so I am writing this commentary in defense of Mr. West, but also in defense of Dr. Von Hildebrand and if I am persecuted again because I speak the truth, so be it.

 I will begin by stating the obvious, Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand's grasp of Theology as well as the language we use to articulate thought is complex, mature and beyond that of the average lay person. Why? Because her level of education is greater than most ever can dream for. She studied at the foot of Dietrich Von Hildebrand, her life experiences have been teaching philosophy and entering into dialogue with some of the greatest minds of her time. So for her, the truth is carved out in stone with words and intellect that is the most precise and therefore far superior to that of someone with half of her education and life experience.
In a sense, it is superior, especially when discerning the words as a vehicle to express something succinctly, however, not everyone possesses the same vocabulary and so what to her is superior becomes a foreign language to others. The feeling that there is a superior language and that anyone who attempts to reiterate these truths using a “less perfect” language, then becomes a scandal in the eyes of a scholar.
It would be a tragedy to expect the message of Theology of The Body to remain in the sphere of intellectuals instead of working on finding a language that can be received by the average person. To expect the average person to consume the words of Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand, is like expecting a baby to find nourishment by sucking the juice off of a steak. Her language is just to rich for many to understand or relate to.
Mr. West attempts to find a language that communicates Theology of The Body to a world whose staple diet is Lady Gaga, Jersey Shore, Hooters and the like. His audiences are not the upper elite of the intellectual world, despite the fact that he is in my opinion a scholar in this area and could most likely articulate the truths in TOB with the utmost of eloquence.
There needs to be a diologue between the TOB scholars so that together they can use their gifts and develop a language that can be received by the average lay person living out his life in the world.
If this can be done, we could then feed this steak(TOB), this banquet of truth to the world as a mother would her own child. When a mother wishes to share food with her baby, she first receives it herself, then she lovingly attempts to put the baby to breast so that the steak in all it's original glory can be received by the infant in a way that it's maturity can understand and grow from.
The goal of anyone teaching TOB should be that one day those that they teach would grow enough to consume the words of Pope John Paul II themselves and not just another person's interpretation of it.
Perhaps Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand uses an antiquated language. This may be why she finds the words of the average layperson to be vulgar or crude. In a sense she is right, there is a more noble and beautiful language that can and should be used when possible, however, if the reality is that most persons do not read or understand the language she feels is best suited to communicate TOB then the results would be that no matter how eloquent a person's language, it will fall on deaf ears, it will be throwing pearls of wisdom to swine. (End Part 1 Next part could be Part 2)