No Vacancy

“There was no room in the inn but there was room in the stable. The inn was the gathering place of public opinion, the focal point of the world’s moods, the rendezvous of the worldly, the rallying place of the popular and the successful. But there’s no room in the place where the world gathers. The stable is a place for outcasts, the ignored, and the forgotten. The world might have expected the Son of God to be born in an inn; a stable would certainly be the last place in the world where one would look for him. The lesson is: divinity is always where you least expect to find it. So the Son-of-God Made-Man is invited to enter into his own world through a back door.” –Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas!

Blessings, peace, and joy to you and your loved ones on this most perfect holiday! Prayers to all of our readers and well wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.

In case you’re tired of the endless “Santa Baby” and “War Is Over” remakes (and remakes, and remakes, and remakes), enjoy a sampling of our favorite Christmas music to get you through the next couple weeks! Click each image to listen to the tracks!

I Know the Reason by Mindy Smith

It’s Christmas Time by storybox feat. Marlijn

Joseph, Who Understood by The New Pornographers

(okay, I know they have a sketchy name, but I promise the song is amazing!)

Fairytale of New York by The Pogues

Winter Snow by Chris Tomlin and Audrey Assad

Hey Guys! It’s Christmas Time! by Sufjan Stevens

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I love the Duggar Family

I love the Duggar family. I love everything about the khaki-wearing, giant-house-living, home-schooling, Jesus-loving family that they are.

Michelle and Jim Bob (how can you not love that) have 19 children and have been in the news most recently for having lost their 20th baby, Jubilee Shalom Duggar.

The family compiled a beautifully touching slideshow about baby Jubilee, including incredible pictures of Michelle holding her daughter’s hand. Amazing. Let’s not beat around the bush, this family is pro-life to the max. They celebrate each conception, every birth, and every second of their children’s lives. They also mourn the death of a human being.

And you know what else? Most of their viewers are mourning the death of a human being, not the loss of a clump of cells.

I have only found one news article referring to Jubilee as a fetus, and it’s from The Hollywood Gossip, so not exactly top notch journalism (says the amateur-blog-writer).

But just think about that! Professional news sources are using terms like “baby”, “child”, and “daughter” to refer to Jubilee.

NCRegister blogger Jennifer Fulwiler has a much better post about the matter.

This is why I love this family. They are 19 incredible witnesses to an authentic family. Two parents who love and honor each other, 19 beautiful children who are living out a Christian life, and a beautiful daughter in Heaven who is helping the pro-life cause.

Merry Christmas!

Caitlin

Viva La Vida

Coldplay is way cooler than you thought. Listen to this song if you’re not familiar with it, and then read my article and admit my awesomeness. (Just kidding about the last part.)

This past summer I was blessed enough to be a teacher for Totus Tuus, a summer catechetical program in the Diocese of Lincoln.  Totus Tuus is a Latin phrase that means “Totally Yours,” and JPII adopted it as the motto for his pontificate.  During Totus Tuus a team of 4 college students and seminarians travel around a diocese for the whole summer, teaching on a theme for one week at a parish and then moving on to another parish the next week.  We spent the majority of each week trying to show the kids how cool we were… I mean the beauty and energy we find in the Catholic Church using any method we could. In theory, in order to inspire the same love and devotion in them that we have for our wonderful, huge, beautiful Church.

I had recently taught myself how to play the guitar, so I thought it’d be a great idea to learn some popular songs to sing with the kids and tote my guitar around for the summer.  I needed to build my street cred, in other words. Coldplay has been one of my favorite bands for like, ever, and their most recent single was “Viva La Vida” at the time.  Looking it up online, the chords were easy enough to learn, so I printed off the lyrics and shoved it in my music binder to pull out in a dull moment.  Secretly I think I hoped it would never happen, because let’s be honest, I get major stage fright even in front of a group of 10 kindergarteners.

During my first week of teaching, by Friday afternoon I found myself in my worst nightmare.  My class of 5th and 6th graders were getting a little restless, so I decided to pull out my guitar and entertain them to stop them from climbing on the stacks of chairs in the back of the classroom or hiding in the trashcans (don’t tell my boss, please, and if you’re reading this, ignore me).  I flipped my binder open to “Viva La Vida” and began to play the chord progression, which elicited excited shouts of “Hey I know this song!”  So we sang along to the song, dancing around and having lots of fun.  I think I maybe stepped on a couple kids’ hands because we were having so much fun…but they were fine, I promise. As I was playing and singing the lyrics I had printed off, I began to really think about what the song was saying, and I had a mini-revelation that Chris Martin’s lyrics were totally and completely Catholic!  Don’t tell him, but I can read his mind.

In “Viva La Vida,” Martin sings through the character of a once-ruling king who has been ousted from his throne.  This king speaks of the power and riches he once had that have been taken from him.  He has been reduced to a street-sweeper, walking past all the magnificent buildings that he once ruled with an iron hand. He sings, “One minute I held the key, next the walls were closed on me.”  He used to “listen as the crowds would sing ‘Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!’” and now he is powerless and alone.  This king reflects on the life he has led as he nears death in disappointment.  He
says his “castles [stood] on pillars of salt and pillars of sand,” regretting the life he has led and seeing the transitory nature of the life he had chosen for himself.  As he nears death, he hears Heaven calling to him.

I hear Jerusalem bells a-ringing,

Roman Cavalry choirs are singing

Be my mirror, my sword and shield

My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can’t explain

I know Saint Peter won’t call my name

Never an honest word

But that was when I ruled the world

The king hears the bells of Heaven calling to him as he gets closer and closer to death; choirs are singing and beckoning him home.  The lines after those in the song are what really got to me: right here in Martin’s music is God’s call to each one of us.  “Be my mirror, my sword and shield, my missionaries in a foreign field,”  echoing God’s call for all of eternity to reflect His beauty, to fight the good fight, and to spread His love and His word to all we meet.  The pivotal moment in the song comes when the king says, “For some reason I can’t explain, I know St. Peter won’t call my name.”  He realizes the futility of all he has pursued his entire life.  He loved money, and power, and glory, and now at the end of his life he sees how flawed and false they all were and how his pursuit of them has cost him the most important treasure of all, Heaven.

Needless to say, when I had this revelation I was blown away. So much of the popular music on the radio glorifies any number of immoral and horrifying things, and this song was God speaking directly to the world through the mouth of Chris Martin.  As we finished singing the song, my mind was reeling and I began spit-balling these ideas to the kids, talking faster and faster as I discovered more and more the truth that lay in the song.  I think the kids at least pretended to listen to what I was saying, but unfortunately I couldn’t express to them how amazing this really was.  (To note: I repeated this routine every week for the rest of the summer, and I couldn’t ever seem to get any of the kids as excited as I was about my idea—which is either a testament against my teaching skills or a testament to how scary I can be when I get excited about Catholic things!)

In the chapel later that day, I sat in wonder at God’s amazing and often unseen power.  He had used a world-famous musician (a Brit, no less) to speak to me through the lyrics of a favorite song, and was using those same lyrics to subtly influence literally millions of listeners around the world.  How often does He do that without our noticing?  After this revelation, I’ve tried to approach each song I hear with an open mind and heart to see what God is telling me right then through the lyrics He inspired.  For similar ideas, listen to “Mean” by Taylor Swift as a song about the attacks of the Devil, “Show Me What I’m Looking For” by Carolina Liar as a plea to God to show us the desires of our own hearts, or “Crazy Girl” by the Eli Young Band as a proclamation of God’s love for us.

Don’t tell Chris Martin that I’ve got his secret figured out though.  I’m planning an elaborate blackmail job that will mostly involve him converting to Catholicism.  That’s moral, right?

Pax!

Hannah

Moses, He Knowses

Moses is one of my all-time favorite characters in the Bible, and not simply because there’s a song about him in Singin’ In The Rain, one of the best musicals ever written. But because he was really just an average guy, but God chose to make him great for His sake.

If you need a quick refresher on Moses and his most famous escapades, read the beginning of Exodus, or I’ll do a quick recap here. Moses was the kid who was sent down the river by his mother in a basket (yep, Prince of Egypt), who then was raised by the Pharoah’s daughter in his palace.  When he reached his teenage years, he was passing by a camp where his fellow Israelites were working for the Egyptians.  He witnessed an old Israelite man getting beaten and was so infuriated with the injustice of it that he killed the Egyptian slave driver.  At this point, I’m sure he was like, “Crap, now what am I going to do? Everyone knows who I am…” so he fled Egypt. Whilst there, he found a girl, got married, and became a shepherd for his father-in-law.  Not the most illustrious of careers.

Now you’re caught up.  This is the part of the story that really makes me love him.  While Moses was out doing his thing with his sheep, the Lord spoke to him.  I’m sorry, what?  Can you even imagine that happening to yourself?  You’re in the middle of class, trying to pay attention to a boring biology lecture, or sitting at your desk job desperately trying to beat the next level of Angry Birds, or walking from your car to the post office, when God speaks to you out of nowhere.  No warning, no preview, no nothing.  I am impressed with the lack of reaction Moses seems to have.  Of course, if I were writing Exodus, I maybe wouldn’t mention if Moses fainted, looked around himself furtively to see where the voice was coming from, or started talking back to one of his sheep, thinking it was one of them. (In my head, I always imagine Moses jumping out of surprise, looking around and trying to find the voice, then resuming his ways until the Lord spoke to him again.)

Here Moses gets his big life task, given to him by the giver of everything. Big deal, right? I don’t know how I would react to such news.

“Hey Hannah, it’s Jesus. No, you’re not going crazy, it’s really me. Yeah. Okay so I want you to do something for me. Yeah, I want you to go to the president and tell him to set all the Catholics free. Let them leave the country. No, I know you’re little and you don’t even know how to get there. Don’t worry about it, I’ll be with you. Yeah, he’s scary and he’s got thousands of men at his command who could kill you at any second. No problem, dude.”

I apologize if that analogy was heretical or made the President akin to the Pharoah. I just needed a modern example. But can you imagine that? Just going about your business, and suddenly God’s like, nope, I want you to go save the world? A little intimidating to say the least.

So Moses goes and does it. Unwillingly, but he does. (What are you gonna do, run away?) He marches up to Pharoah (risking his life because of the warrant out for his arrest, remember), gets rejected a couple times, asks for the Lord’s help again and warns Pharoah of the plagues, witnesses the plagues (which are SO COOL by the way, go read them if you’ve forgotten the awesomeness that is the plagues), and then finally runs out of Egypt with his fellow people across the sea, watching the waters recede from the lifting of his arms and crash down again on the most powerful army of the time because he lets them down.

That’s pretty neat, right? But the best part about Moses is who he really was as a human being. According to Biblical historians, Moses probably stuttered and really wasn’t very popular. He might have been kind of a dork (or whatever word you might have used thousands of years ago to describe someone who likes fan fiction…just kidding). But seriously, that’s the most amazing part about him. God took this nobody – this shepherd – this guy who was pretty unpopular for having lived with his people’s oppressor for about 18 years – and made him into a great leader.

Now the question is, why would God do this? I’ve often pondered this and have come to my own conclusion, and I think you’ll agree with me. Isn’t God all the more powerful for working through someone as normal and kind of boring as Moses? If I was an Israelite, the last person I would want to trust would be Moses. I’d think he was plotting something with the Pharoah, tricking the Israelites into further and further misery, having lived  in his palace for so long. Yet people believed him and followed him. Why? Because they knew it was really God who was working through Moses.

Moses stuttered. But he was suddenly able to speak to crowds of people and to the Pharoah.

Moses was shy, yet he gladly stood up to the biggest leader in the land, and faced his people who had been hating him for a long time.

Moses was a shepherd, yet became one of the greatest leaders Israel has ever seen.

Kind of hard to deny God’s hand in that, isn’t it? Such a radical transformation is impossible to ignore. And that’s why Moses is one of my favorite characters. If God can take someone as apparently untalented as Moses and make him so awesome, what can He do with me? What Pharoah is He wanting me to go after right now? And how about you? What is He wanting you to conquer? Think about it.

And for good measure… Moses Supposes (from Singin’ in the Rain…in case you missed it earlier).
Pax tecum.

Hannah

War on the War on Christmas

After reading Marc BadCatholic’s post about St. Nicholas punching heretics in the face (please please read here), I decided to take some time for face punching.

I want to talk about the war on “The War on Christmas”. Everyone knew it was coming, and atheists and cranky-pants alike have prepared to rebuke the “Keep Christ in Christmas” catchphrase.

Well, surprise!

Weren’t ready for that, were you? Hooray for monotheistic holidays!

But for this post, I want to address this internet gem:

OH! You best believe they are, and I will be the Queen of them!

Here’s the deal. You can’t ignore etymology.

Christmas: late O.E. Cristes mæsse, from Christ (but retaining the original vowel sound) + mass (2). (Source)

Holiday: 1500s, earlier haliday (c.1200), from O.E. haligdæg “holy day; Sabbath,” from halig “holy” (see holy) + dæg “day” (see day); in 14c. meaning both “religious festival” and “day of recreation,” (Source)

So say “Happy Holidays” to appease the cranky pants and then smile because you know the root of it.

I just don’t understand why it’s cool to occupy streets but it’s not okay to raise the awareness of the real purpose of a holiday.

It’s like celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. day but saying, “Yeah, he was fine but I want to change it to Eddie Murphy day and celebrate his success in films, and if any MLK Jr. supporters tell me to acknowledge the purpose of this holiday, I’m going to make snarky memes about them!”

And while this would be terrible because Eddie Murphy is awful and MLK Jr. is heroic, taking Christ out of Christmas is worse because, let’s face it, Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of us all, the REASON for the SEASON.

So I will continue to say “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Advent” and “Happy Holy-days” and punch heretics if I have to, because I love Christ and His birthday.

Caitlin

Modest Is Most Certainly Hottest, Or, 7 Reasons Not To Wear Leggings As Pants

(Necessary disclaimer: let me suffice by saying that I don’t expect a lot of people to agree with this standing, but I could rant about this issue for HOURS, so I thought a post was necessary.)

If you attend a university, or perhaps go to a public high school, you’ve all seen this sight before. Beautiful girl walking down the sidewalk/hallway/up the stairs. Hair perfectly coiffed or perhaps up in a messy bun. Cute winter coat, backpack, scarf, sweater visible, and on the bottom half? Leggings.

If you’re me, you gasp. Why? Because…

LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS.

NOR SHOULD THEY EVER BE WORN AS A REPLACEMENT FOR PANTS.

There, I said it. Now, some of you may disagree with me or think I’m being ridiculous, citing the often-heard rebuttals when I bring up the leggings-are-not-pants-issue.

“But they cover all the skin on my legs!”

“They are pant-shaped!”

“I lost all the rest of my pants!”

“My dog ate my common sense!”

And to all of that I say phooey. Leggings are not pants, nor should they ever be employed as such. There are many reasons as to why this is the case, so let me lay them out for you.

7 Reasons Not To Wear Leggings As Pants

1. Leggings were originally invented as an extra layer of warmth, originating in the 15th and 16th centuries. The “tights” that Renaissance men wore were actually more like leggings – no one had invented nylon or lycra by then, so they were made mostly of cotton and wool. So if you wear them, you are going beyond “vintage” to “eww, men use to wear these over 400 years ago.” Not cool.

2. Leggings have about the same amount of fabric as a pair of tights. Tights were manufactured to be worn under things like skirts, dresses, etc. Therefore, leggings were invented to wear with something else, and if you wear them solo, you aren’t using them properly.

3. Leggings are not warm. I hardly go a day in the winter without wearing my CuddleDuds (warm version of leggings) underneath my jeans. Jeans alone simply aren’t warm enough for me. Logically, then, every girl who wears leggings as pants either has a severe nerve disorder in her legs which makes her impervious to the wind, snow, and sleet, or she just doesn’t want to admit that they aren’t warm. THEY ARE NOT WARM. I have worn them. I can attest to this. They are simply not warm enough to wear as pants, no matter where you live, but especially in Nebraska where the average low temperature is 14° – and that’s without wind chill.

4. Leggings were what your mom made you wear when you were 5. You might want to be “hipster” and bring back styles from your youth, but leggings are not ones that should be ever brought back. I remember having a horrible pink pair that had little yellow flowers in swirl patterns on them that my mother made me wear under every dress I ever wore out of the house, and I’ve been forever scarred by it. For something to be hipster/vintage, it’s gotta be at least 25 years old. Therefore, your leggings just aren’t cool enough to make that cutoff – plus I’m sure you have some emotional baggage from that time as it is, don’t you?

5. Leggings are not flattering on any body shape. I feel this is the most controversial reason of my 7 reasons, but trust me on this – it’s true. From a girl’s perspective, leggings are simply not flattering, no matter your body shape or size (I can’t say anything about the guy perspective, but I have a guess that they agree). If you’re tall, skinny, and have the metabolism of an NFL player, leggings make you look like a giraffe. They elongate your legs to the point of exponential increase, and soon enough all you are is leg (and not in a good way). If you’re normal size and height, leggings accentuate every “flaw” you usually try to hide. I put “flaw” in quotes on purpose, because God made our bodies and He doesn’t make mistakes, but every girl is a little self-conscious about her body (thank you, unrealistic media!). If you’re wearing leggings, everyone can see EVERYTHING. Literally everything. If you’re short, leggings make you look like a hobbit-gnome-minstrel. If you don’t know what that is, just look at a short girl wearing leggings. They just aren’t flattering, period.

6. Leggings make it look like you aren’t wearing anything to a guy. This is the most fundamental reason you should not wear leggings as pants. Men are visual creatures, you see. They are as attuned to their eyes and images as women are to emotions and feelings. When they see an image, their brains are simply wired to react to them, most of the time in a lustful or harmful way if the image is provocative. I don’t have time in this post to go into the details about this topic, but there is plenty of research out there available if you’re looking for it. So to a guy, when you wear leggings, you might as well be wearing nothing at all. Yes, I know that the fabric technically covers all of your skin, but that is no excuse. You certainly can’t wear sensible underwear with them, which is certainly attractive and therefore bad. And really? There is nothing left to the imagination. Your legs and rear might be colored black instead of your skin color, but every nook and cranny of them is as visible to a guy as if you were naked.  He can see your curves, and that is provocative stimuli for a man. If you wear leggings, you are (intentionally or not) leading men to lust after you. If you’re doing that on purpose, shame on you! Getting a guy to lust after you is not something you should aspire to. If you want a good husband when you’re older, or wouldn’t want a girl to do that to your brother/cousin/guy friend/boyfriend, then don’t do it to them. If you’re not doing it on purpose, be more conscious from now on, and please, choose pants next time.

7. Jesus doesn’t want you to. No, seriously, He doesn’t. Most of this relates to the previous point, insomuch that Jesus doesn’t want you to lead others to sin if you can help it. This is why He calls women to dress modestly. He loves you unconditionally and wants you and everyone you know to be with Him forever in Heaven. If you are leading men to sin because of the way you dress, that is harmful to both you and the men you affect. And let’s be honest – modest is actually hottest. If you give everything away at the beginning…what’s the fun in that?

I hope you are now more informed as to why leggings are NOT pants. Don’t get me wrong, they are comfy and super helpful in the frigid weather…underneath other pants, though. Stay warm, girls.

Hannah

And with your spirit

I hate change. When Netflix was going to split into two seperate websites, I was up in arms. When UNL changes the Myred site, I break out into a cold sweat. If I have to change my clothes more than once a day, I panic.

But you know what change I do love? I hope you said the New Translation, because I love the New Translation.

I love it, love it, love it. I want to call it up, ask it out, and then marry it.

However, there are a lot of people who apparently do not feel the same way. I understand, change is scary. I remember my Grandma talking about the first Mass she went to after Vatican II, she said she was alarmed at how much she understood (you know, since it was now in English). She said it took her awhile to get used to, but she grew into it. She said it challenged her to get settled into her faith in a new way.

That’s what people are scared of. People are afraid of having to reevaluate their faith life, people are uncomfortable with having to pay attention during Mass and following along, people are scared to actually be Catholic.

Now you can’t hide behind “we believe”, you have to take responsibility for what you actually believe. No more demanding mercy, you are going to humbly beg for mercy you do not deserve. You aren’t just unworthy to receive Him, you are unworthy for Him to even enter in under your roof. The WEDDING supper of the LAMB? Literal tears every time.

I firmly believe that people aren’t upset about losing the translation they were comfortable with, they are afraid of losing the faith they grew comfortable with.

The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness! Pope Benedict XVI

This translation is a challenge to pay attention, follow along, understand more deeply, and become on fire with the faith.

So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Revelations 3:16

But, the most important change that happens in Mass will remain the same. The changing of bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often — Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman.

So, cowboy up and take it like a Catholic.

The Big EC… Emotional Chastity

Okay, so now it’s my turn to write on emotional chastity (thank you to our Tumblr followers for suggesting the topic!) since Caitlin already took the religious-vocation aspect. This post will be very marriage-vocation oriented, so I apologize if I turn some of my readers off because of it. I’m assuming that if you’re reading this, you know for certain that you are called to marriage. Sorry if not!

Fair warning, though – I don’t claim to be any sort of expert when it comes to emotional chastity, and I don’t usually know anything about anything. So take a grain of salt with any and all advice you find on this blog.

Okay. So. Emotional chastity. Big words that didn’t mean anything to me until about three years ago. Because I’m a word person, I decided to look up the definition for “chaste,” and this is what I came up with.

Chaste:  refraining from sexual intercourse that is regarded as contrary to morality or religion, virtuous; virgin; free from obscenity, decent; undefiled or stainless.

When it comes to emotional chastity, the last two words become the most applicable. Therefore, emotional chastity is “being stainless in emotions.”

Sounds high-falutin’ and just plain annoying, doesn’t it? How is one supposed to be stainless in emotions? Don’t you experience emotions unintentionally every day, and aren’t they supposed to be good things? (On a side note, how does one kick the habit of using “one” in supposedly informal settings? Anyone? Bueller?)

Well, see here’s the thing. God gave us women the ability to be especially attuned to our emotions, but we as flawed beings have distorted that to the point of emotional harm (not all the time, but sometimes). Emotional chastity, from what I can tell, is the constant state of being in control of one’s emotions and thoughts – or trying to restore the original intention of emotions back to God’s plan for them.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. Emotions are a good thing. But when girls spend too much time devoted to dreaming about their emotions – planning their future when nothing seems in sight – that can be really harmful to a girl’s mental health.

Say a girl sees a boy she doesn’t know at whatever school she attends, and realizes that he’s kind of cute and she kind of likes him. If you’re a girl and you are in this situation, what is your mind immediately drawn to? Getting to know him, going on a date, dating him, getting married, and having babies. Come on. As embarrassing as that sounds when listed out like that, you know it’s true. (I promise, the first step to recovery is admission.)

If you say to me then, “Hannah, why is that bad? If everyone does it, how can that be bad for me?” I know, I know, I had the same internal struggle. But when you really look at it from a Catholic perspective, it makes total sense.

God designed human beings who are called to marriage to be made to marry one person. One person. That’s really different from the societal norm, isn’t it? Yet in Genesis 2 God says: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” It says A man. And A woman. Not “once you get tired of a girl you can get rid of her through a legal process and find somebody else.” (Sorry, mini anti-divorce rant. I’ll save it for another post.)

But you get the picture. Man and woman were literally made for each other. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “Man and woman were made “for each other” – not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be “helpmate” to the other, for they are equal as persons (“bone of my bones. . .”) and complementary as masculine and feminine. In marriage God unites them in such a way that, by forming “one flesh”, they can transmit human life: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents cooperate in a unique way in the Creator’s work” (CCC 372).

Okay, so admitting this, how does that work into the argument of emotional chastity and why it is necessary? Well, if we take the point that we are made to be fully united with one person (physically AND emotionally), then isn’t it logical to presume that emotionally connecting yourself to another person who is not your future spouse is harmful for your heart?

There are many many studies that prove that being physically unchaste (aka having premarital sex or many sexual partners) are harmful for a person’s health and emotional well-being. The same goes for your emotions, especially for women. If you see a boy and immediately dream of what it would be like to be married to him, you’re giving him (unintentionally) a part of your heart. And that’s just contrary to the way God designed marriage.  We are meant to be given in whole (heart, mind, soul, and body) to one man when we marry – and giving away a part of yourself in your heart to a man who isn’t your future spouse is against that.

Girls grow up in an extremely emotionally-unchaste environment. They are taught to dream of their weddings from a very early age, asked to describe their “ideal husband” as a fun game, and are constantly bombarded with imagery and media that urge girls that nothing in their lives will be right until they have found their future husband. And that’s just plain sad!

God designed us to be born, grow up, and when the time is right, find a man to help us get to Heaven (and to get him to Heaven as well). Giving ourselves away prematurely to men who are not our husband draws us closer to them and heightens the pain and scarring that can happen if that relationship either never happens or doesn’t work out for the long haul.

So, tips for emotional chastity. For fear of repeating Caitlin, I will say also that I make these rules for myself and break them, then try again over and over again. So don’t worry if you fail a little bit at the beginning. God loves that you are trying, and each time you guard your heart a little more it becomes easier and easier.

  1. No Facebook stalking, and I mean it. If you just meet a guy and you’re curious as to what kind of a man he is (remember ladies, women only date men, not boys), then I think it’s permissible to go through a couple of his pictures once. And only once. None of that “Oh I’m bored let me go through every picture he’s ever been tagged in” stuff. That just leads to harmful thoughts like “Who’s that girl? I’ve never seen her and he’s hugging her in that picture…man that could be me! Wait I’m not as pretty as she is, I’ll never have the chance to date him…” etc. etc. etc. So just don’t do it.
  2. Control your daydreams. Be very conscious of the images and thoughts you dwell on. Women are very emotionally-driven, and it’s easy for us to get lost in our daydreams about a boy we like. But imagining the future that might not happen is bad, bad, bad.
  3. Get to know a guy before you judge him. Sure, the cute guy sitting across from you in your English class might have great insight into the poetry you’re discussing, but he also might be a drug dealer. Guarding your heart means being smart about the men you interact with – find a good group of holy men who will help you protect your heart, and don’t fall for the bad guys just because they’re handsome.
  4. Don’t completely shut out your emotions, either, though. If you feel something for a nice boy, then by all means pursue that! God doesn’t want you to be a clam until your wedding day. He knows better than we do how much our emotions can help us make great decisions, so if your heart and prayer are telling you to pursue a relationship with a man, by all means do so. Which leads me to my last point…
  5. Pray, hope, and don’t worry (Padre Pio). Pray for your vocation. Pray for your future spouse. Pray for the strength to be emotionally chaste. Pray to know God’s will for you in every aspect of your life. Have hope in the fact that God has the perfect plan for you, and He will show you when it is right. And don’t worry – He’s got it all under control

Hopefully that helps a little bit. If there’s any aspect of emotional chastity you’d like to know more about, feel free to message me at any time or just comment on the post. If you’re looking for more resources, this is a great resource, and Lisa Cotter has a talk she gave at FOCUS National Conference somewhere floating around on the internet. (If you can’t find it, I can probably hook you up.)

Peace!

Hannah