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Posts Tagged ‘Dignity’

From my friend, Tina Mahar, who daily teaches me the power of humility through her blog and FB page:

“In the fictional novel, The Clowns of God, by Morris West, Jesus comes back to earth, and some people think it’s Him while some don’t. At one point, Jesus is at a school for children with Down syndrome, and He is holding a little girl. Jesus says:

‘I know what you are thinking. You need a sign. What better one could I give but to make this little one whole and new? I could do it, but I will not. I am the Lord and not a conjurer. I gave this mite a gift I denied to all of you — eternal innocence. To you she looks imperfect — but to me she is flawless, like the bud that dies unopened or the fledgling that falls from the nest to be devoured by ants. She will never offend me, as all of you have done. She will never pervert or destroy the work of my Father’s hands. She is necessary to you. She will evoke the kindness that will keep you human. Her infirmity will prompt you to gratitude for your own good fortune … More! She will remind you every day that I am who I am, that my ways are not yours, and that the smallest dust mite whirled in the darkest spaces does not fall out of my hand … I have chosen you.

You have not chosen me.

This little one is my sign to you.

Treasure her!’ “

— Kurt Kondrich (father of a beautiful daughter who has Down syndrome)

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The host of life issues, riotous and varied as they are, share a very simple common thread. We have forgotten who we are and what it is we are supposed to be about. Perhaps the most lost among us are the men. That’s a tough one for me to choke out, but fearfully accurate.

We have replaced one extreme, characterized by male dominance, with another characterized by female dominace. Both are hateful in God’s eyes. A look at 90% of TV sit-coms and advertisements shows men to be dumb, clueless, weak, homosexual (of the effeminate stripe, which is not characteristic of all gays), and for the most part aloof. Television both reflecting and sculpting reality.

Of course, any males exhibiting testosterone’s effects are usually males shown to be suffering from testosterone poisoning, blowing up half the world and having sex with half its women in the process. Where are the men in the middle? Where is marriage presented as something more than the extremes of gauzy romance or divorce court fodder?

Children don’t thrive on the margins. The men on the extremes harm children through their abdication of authentic masculinity. It is the men in the middle who appreciate their true dignity and that of their wives and of their marriages. It is the men in the middle who provide the genuine strength of character that nurtures children with firmness and principle.

Pope John Paul II saw that twenty-nine years ago when he wrote on the family. Here an excerpt directed at men.

APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION
FAMILIARIS CONSORTIO
OF POPE
JOHN PAUL II
TO THE EPISCOPATE
TO THE CLERGY AND TO THE FAITHFUL
OF THE WHOLE CATHOLIC CHURCH
ON THE ROLE
OF THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY
IN THE MODERN WORLD

Men as Husbands and Fathers

25. Within the conjugal and family communion-community, the man is called upon to live his gift and role as husband and father.

In his wife he sees the fulfillment of God’s intention: “It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him a helper fit for him,”(67) and he makes his own the cry of Adam, the first husband: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”(68)

Authentic conjugal love presupposes and requires that a man have a profound respect for the equal dignity of his wife: “You are not her master,” writes St. Ambrose, “but her husband; she was not given to you to be your slave, but your wife…. Reciprocate her attentiveness to you and be grateful to her for her love.”(69) With his wife a man should live “a very special form of personal friendship.”(70) As for the Christian, he is called upon to develop a new attitude of love, manifesting towards his wife a charity that is both gentle and strong like that which Christ has for the Church.”

Love for his wife as mother of their children and love for the children themselves are for the man the natural way of understanding and fulfilling his own fatherhood. Above all where social and cultural conditions so easily encourage a father to be less concerned with his family or at any rate less involved in the work of education, efforts must be made to restore socially the conviction that the place and task of the father in and for the family is of unique and irreplaceable importance.(72) As experience teaches, the absence of a father causes psychological and moral imbalance and notable difficulties in family relationships, as does, in contrary circumstances, the oppressive presence of a father, especially where there still prevails the phenomenon of “machismo,” or a wrong superiority of male prerogatives which humiliates women and inhibits the development of healthy family relationships.

In revealing and in reliving on earth the very fatherhood of God,(73) a man is called upon to ensure the harmonious and united development of all the members of the family: he will perform this task by exercising generous responsibility for the life conceived under the heart of the mother, by a more solicitous commitment to education, a task he shares with his wife,(74) by work which is never a cause of division in the family but promotes its unity and stability, and by means of the witness he gives of an adult Christian life which effectively introduces the children into the living experience of Christ and the Church.

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Today is the seventh day of the Octave of Christmas.

In today’s Liturgy of the Hours, Office of Readings Pope St. Gregory the Great meditates not just on our human dignity being elevated by becoming members of the Body of Christ in Baptism, but also on our dignity being elevated by sharing in His Nativity, his coming into the world like us, as a baby. He shared our humanity, and through that sharing gave us a share in His divinity.

Had Margaret Sanger grasped that truth, that cornerstone of Christian Anthropology, we would be inhabiting a very different world today. Science cannot blind itself to its crossroads with Christian Anthropology without resulting in unspeakable tragedy, as we have seen again and again.

A sermon of Pope St Leo the Great

The birthday of the Lord is the birthday of peace.

“God’s Son did not disdain to become a baby. Although with the passing of the years he moved from infancy to maturity, and although with the triumph of his passion and resurrection all the actions of humility which he undertook for us were finished, still today’s festival renews for us the holy childhood of Jesus born of the Virgin Mary. In adoring the birth of our Saviour, we find we are celebrating the commencement of our own life, for the birth of Christ is the source of life for Christian folk, and the birthday of the Head is the birthday of the body.

Every individual that is called has his own place, and all the sons of the Church are separated from one another by intervals of time. Nevertheless, just as the entire body of the faithful is born in the font of baptism, crucified with Christ in his passion, raised again in his resurrection, and placed at the Father’s right hand in his ascension, so with Him are they born in this nativity.

For this is true of any believer in whatever part of the world, that once he is reborn in Christ he abandons the old paths of his original nature and passes into a new man by being reborn. He is no longer counted as part of his earthly father’s stock but among the seed of the Saviour, who became the Son of man in order that we might have the power to be the sons of God.

For unless He came down to us in this humiliation, no one could reach his presence by any merits of his own.

The very greatness of the gift conferred demands of us reverence worthy of its splendour. For, as the blessed Apostle teaches, We have received not the spirit of this world but the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the things which are given us by God. That Spirit can in no other way be rightly worshipped, except by offering him that which we received from him.

But in the treasures of the Lord’s bounty what can we find so suitable to the honour of the present feast as the peace which at the Lord’s nativity was first proclaimed by the angel-choir?

For it is that peace which brings forth the sons of God. That peace is the nurse of love and the mother of unity, the rest of the blessed and our eternal home. That peace has the special task of joining to God those whom it removes from the world.

So those who are born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God must offer to the Father the unanimity of peace-loving sons, and all of them, adopted parts of the mystical Body of Christ, must meet in the First-begotten of the new creation. He came to do not his own will but the will of the one who sent him; and so too the Father in his gracious favour has adopted as his heirs not those that are discordant nor those that are unlike him, but those that are one with him in feeling and in affection. Those who are re-modelled after one pattern must have a spirit like the model.

The birthday of the Lord is the birthday of peace: for thus says the Apostle, He is our peace, who made both one; because whether we are Jew or Gentile, through Him we have access in one Spirit to the Father.”

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Bouguereau, Song of the Angels

From the Liturgy of the Hours, Christmas Day, Office of Readings

A sermon of Pope St Leo the Great

Christian, remember your dignity

Dearly beloved, today our Saviour is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness.

No one is shut out from this joy; all share the same reason for rejoicing. Our Lord, victor over sin and death, finding no man free from sin, came to free us all. Let the saint rejoice as he sees the palm of victory at hand. Let the sinner be glad as he receives the offer of forgiveness. Let the pagan take courage as he is summoned to life.

In the fullness of time, chosen in the unfathomable depths of God’s wisdom, the Son of God took for himself our common humanity in order to reconcile it with its creator. He came to overthrow the devil, the origin of death, in that very nature by which he had overthrown mankind.

And so at the birth of our Lord the angels sing in joy: Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to men of good will as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. When the angels on high are so exultant at this marvellous work of God’s goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men?

Beloved, let us give thanks to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, because in his great love for us he took pity on us, and when we were dead in our sins he brought us to life with Christ, so that in him we might be a new creation. Let us throw off our old nature and all its ways and, as we have come to birth in Christ, let us renounce the works of the flesh.

Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God’s kingdom.

Through the sacrament of baptism you have become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not drive away so great a guest by evil conduct and become again a slave to the devil, for your liberty was bought by the blood of Christ.

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Rosemary Cappozalo is a saint. Literally. She is also one of the unsung heroes of the Culture of Life and Civilization of Love. Affectionately known as Mrs. Rosemary, she ran her dance studio on Staten Island for fifty years, dying from Cancer this past June during her studio’s Fiftieth Annual Recital. Mrs. Rosemary is an icon in these parts, her studio an oasis for parents who want their sons and daughters to study dance without compromising their innocence or dignity. Her three daughters and staff of teachers, all trained by the Master herself, carry on this marvelous tradition of combining the best of traditional dance with modern sounds and rhythms, and all the while celebrating the joyous purity of youth.

Mrs. Rosemary

To quote her website, “The studio’s primary focus is to offer the joy of dancing to all the students regardless of age or ability ~ to build self-esteem, grace and motivate the students every step of the way.”

Accent on grace.

I first attended a Mrs. Rosemary recital back in 1992, and never realized how much she protected her “darlings,” as she called them, until I began attending my nieces recitals at other studios with their trashy costumes and hyper-sexual choreography. Our three darlings, shown above in costume from last year’s recital, have grown in grace and self-esteem with Mrs. Rosemary’s daughters and staff over the past four years.

Juxtapose that with Planned Parenthood’s deceptive description of sex as “sex play” in a page aimed at teens contemplating “The Truth About Virginity Pledges”.

“Should You Pledge?
Virginity is a personal choice, and there’s nothing wrong with waiting to have vaginal intercourse — or to abstain from sex play completely — until you’re married. But if you’re thinking about pledging, here are some questions you may want to consider:
What are you pledging? Many teens agree that some level of physical involvement is important in an intimate relationship. So find out what the limitations are before you pledge. Is all sex play prohibited? Or only vaginal intercourse?”

Note the evil deception in sex being referred to as mere “play”; losing virginity, a mere “choice”.

Not mentioned are the terrible burdens carried by teens who become sexually active, especially the girls.

The burden of worrying about STD’s as well as 1/4 of all girls actually contracting an STD prior to age 19.

The burden of sequelae from STD’s such as cervical cancer, lifetime herpes infection, PID, ectopic pregnancy, and sterility.

The burden of unplanned pregnancy and abortion.

The burden of the tension between their innate desire for emotional connection and oneness on the one hand, and the ‘need’ to satisfy adolescent boys who only want the fulfillment of the unrealistic sex they’ve seen in porn movies.

The burden of pleasing a boy, of needing to look hot instead of soft and feminine.

The tension between wanting to be a child (complete with pink bedroom and stuffed animals) and the “need” to be sexually sophisticated.

The burden of rejection when the sex gets old and new prospects materialize.

The tragedy of learning to separate the natural experience of bonding effected by sex, from the sex itself, as a means of ego-protection.

Where do they learn to bear themselves with grace and self-esteem in all of that?

And we wonder why body dysmorphic syndrome and depression are epidemic. After all, its only ‘sex play’.

We need more adults like Mrs. Rosemary, her daughters and teachers, to call forth the awesome power of true femininity and masculinity in our daughters and sons, to show them how to celebrate their emerging womanhood and manhood with grace and dignity, with purity and nobility, to lead as they do:

By Example.

To those who say it can’t be done, Mrs. Rosemary’s legacy continues to prove otherwise.

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Several months ago, eight year old Elizabeth climbed into my lap and asked, “Daddy, why do brides wear veils?” I looked at Regina and smiled as my bride smiled back waiting to see how I managed this one. In an instant, the leading of the Holy Spirit to be sure, I decided to give Beth her first sex education talk.

I started by asking Beth what we place around the Tabernacle in church. “A veil,” was the correct response, though Beth looked a bit puzzled by the non sequitur. “And what does the Priest place over the chalice and ciborium, which also hold the Blessed Sacrament?” “A veil,” was the correct response. Beth was beaming; she was on a roll. “And what sign do we use to indicate that Jesus dwells within the Tabernacle?” “The sanctuary lamp,” came the response. Correct, but secondary. The veil, going back to the Tent of the Meeting in the desert and later the Temple in Jerusalem has always been the sign that God dwells within. Beth soaked up the new material like a sponge.

I could hear Dr. Scott Hahn of Franciscan University giving a lecture where he made this connection, “That which is veiled is that which is Holy”.

“Every one of our bodies is not only the tabernacle of our souls, but also of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. So every person’s body is sacred Beth. But women’s bodies have an added dimension of the sacred. When you grow up, God will use your body to make your babies, just as He used Mamma’s to make you, Joseph and little Regina. So when you get married and I walk you down the aisle, that veil will tell your husband that your body is sacred to God and he is to treat you and your body with reverence. Don’t forget, Jesus could have hopped off of a cloud. He chose to be born of a woman, and that makes every woman so much more sacred.”

“Oh, I get it,” was the reply. We could see the light bulb go on. Beth really did get it. She’s told a great number of people all about it too.

From the gleam in Regina’s eyes, it was obvious that she loved this first step down the road of Beth’s sexual maturation.

I think we go wrong when discussing contraceptives and their ill-effects as the substance of sex education. It misses the mark by a mile. We’re Holy, fearfully and wonderfully made by God; which is why St. Paul tells us to glorify God in our bodies. Sex isn’t dirty. Our human sexuality is one of the greatest goods of all creation. At only eight years old, I couldn’t tell Beth the other half of that good, that she and her husband will use their bodies to forge inseparable bonds of passionate love and selfless devotion. I’ll tell her in due course. There’s simply no room for premarital sex in that equation. Forgetting sexually transmitted diseases, which afflict 1/4 of all girls by their nineteenth birthday, 80% of all adults during their lifetimes according to CDC, premarital sex corrodes that sense of the sacred and the dual, inseparable purposes for which sex was made: Unitive and Procreative.

All sex education MUST begin here, teaching a reverential love for what God has made. Little girls dream of being beautiful brides. Passionate daddies look beyond the wedding day to their daughters being good and faithful wives and mothers, to them marrying men who will honor and cherish them. Therefore, we fathers need to look in the mirror each morning when we shave and make sure that the guy looking back at us is a sound role model for our sons and duaghters.

That’s the best sex education of all.

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