Saturday, February 14, 2015

Love, whipped, tied, and tortured.

Want to know who I'm talking about?   Not those people in that movie about that book.  If there's anyone we should be enthralled with this Saint Valentine's Day it should not be Christian Grey.  It should most definitely be the person who won Saint Valentine's heart.  Namely, God.

Love itself whipped, scourged, tied, nailed, and tortured to death.   He gave himself up for us freely.  He gave himself totally.  He is faithful to the end.  His love brings us new life. 

The violent porn will not. 

Friends please, I'm joining the cacophony of internet voices and plead with you, if you do anything this Valentine's day, don't go see that horrible movie.  I hope it's the biggest flop.  I hope it doesn't get any funding for a sequel.  I have hope that people won't all go see porn at the box office.  But really? The sales of the book are pretty disheartening.  So many people bought that trash.  Wait, worse than trash.  It's poison.

Poison in, poison out.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
-Philippians 4:8

I just had a talk with Clare a few days ago about some weird valentine card she got from a ballet classmate.  I am so disconnected from the strange cartoons lately that I have no idea what the card was.  Monster something?  The card had two glamorous teenage monster things on it saying, "You're fang-tastic!"  I had to explain to the kiddo why Daddy and I don't really let her watch stuff like that.   I quoted the above from the Bible.  I had to explain that if we fill our mind and soul with ugliness we'll lose sight of heaven.  Beauty and goodness are given to us by God to remind us of our heavenly home.

I'm pretty sure we can all agree that "50 Shades of Grey" is not true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, gracious, or excellent.  Right?  If not, then we're pretty lost.

 Hopefully I'm not too late to the party in posting this, but if you believe in true love, don't go see this movie.  True love isn't dominating and self-seeking.  It's self-sacrificial and self-donating.

Since I am so vehemently opposed to this movie I have been working on a couple of blog posts about it.  I couldn't really decide which to publish, so here's what I wrote for the other one.

“For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother

and be joined to his wife,

and the two shall become one flesh.”

-Eph 5:21-33

It's  Saint Valentine's day and the internet is buzzing with opinions, outrage, and excitement over a certain movie release.  I for one can't think of a worse way to honor Saint Valentine than by releasing "50 Shades of Grey".  The movie isn't about love.  It has for some reason in our disordered society been associated with love and romance.  Sure, there is sexual content in the movie, but does that equal love?  In today's society sex has been flung so far from love it has become unrecognizable.  No one remembers what sex is for.  No one remembers what love is.  Everything seems like a dizzying cycle of shock factors and pleasure seeking.  It's weird.  So weird. 

Hopefully you know by now that Saint Valentine has a great story in which his life gives witness to God's love.  That's really what we should be celebrating on this feast isn't it?  God's love and how it transforms us, our lives, our souls, and everything.  That's worth celebrating.  Pope Saint John Paul II had a favorite portion of scripture when it came to speaking of love between husband and wife and God's love; Ephesians 5 quoted above.  It reminds us what true love is and gives us true insight into relationships between men and women.

"Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ".  Not subordinate to each other for BDSM sex which is completely disordered. 

"Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies."  Dominating a woman and torturing her doesn't exactly say, "I love you and I will take care of you". 

Furthurmore, sex is about unity and procreation!  "The two shall become one flesh!"  Not about torture and twisted sexual pleasure.  Rightly ordered sexual pleasure is amazing!  Thank goodness God made Man and Woman and the marital embrace the way he did!  But when society sterilizes, twists, and fetishises what should be faithful, total, fruitful, and free we lose sight of that self-sacrificial Christ like love.  TRUE LOVE is supposed to be a mystery which reminds us of "Christ and the church". 

NOTHING about 50 shades of grey reminds us of the love Christ has for his Church.

So don't go spend your money on porn friends.  Go help a women's domestic violence shelter and help undo the way our culture is twisting and suffocating true love.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lord, kindle a light for my guidance and scatter my darkness.

A few trains of thought, or meanderings of the  mind have been returning to me recently, so I thought I might as well write a blog post about them in case they're useful trains of thought.

At the wonderful moms group I used to attend at my former parish, our leader used to list off virtues at the beginning of every "Hail Mary" during our meeting prayers.  She used to pray for "blind obedience".  This always irked me.  On the one hand I knew that blind obedience to God would be a virtuous thing, and I trusted the prayer of my friend and group leader.  On the other hand, it stoked the fires of defense because "blind obedience" is often something Catholics are accused of.  I think the accusation is mostly that of blind obedience to seemingly arbitrary rules that make no sense.  While that is a topic for a discussion of freedom and license or Church authority, I want to address something else.

Part of me realized that the talons of "the liar" had gone so deep into my person that virtues had begun to irritate me for unknown reasons.  I mean, the world's view of the Church had seeped in so deeply that something like "blind obedience" to God seemed threatening.

So here's the kicker,  why shouldn't we be blindly obedient to God?  What does that even mean?  Have you ever had a parent or someone else ask you to do something without questioning it?  Like, "Do first, ask questions later"?  My boss at a former job used to ask this of all the employees. "Don't ask questions, just do it."  My boss was amazing, so after the first two mistakes (I guess my knee-jerk-reaction is to ask questions when told to do something....) I finally trusted my boss and obeyed.  My dad used to say things like "Just trust me!" all the time when I questioned him.  If I can trust my boss, and my dad, shouldn't I be able to trust God?

Isn't that what blind obedience is?  Trusting God?  Isn't it just laying yourself at the mercy of the one who created you? Who gave his life in a bloody sacrifice for you?  This is so hard to do.  I feel like the world has taken that ability to trust with abandon from me to some extent.  I suppose that is part of the scar of Original sin.  I'm sure I'd know more about this had I a theology degree or something, but this has just been kicking around in my head lately.  I wonder how many other areas in my soul have now been sneakily made suspicious of God through my intake of "the world."

The title of today's blog post comes from the Divine Office for today.  I suppose it's part of the psalms that I need to pray more often.  "Lord, kindle a light for my guidance and scatter my darkness."  Sometimes we have darkness that lays undiscovered.

Lord scatter the darkness I have yet to find, that you can see in your infinite vision.  Amen.

As a sidenote, I know that blind obedience to anything isn't a virtue.  This goes along with our 1st commandment.  "I am the Lord, thy God, thou shalt not have other gods besides me."  Our trust should lay with God alone and with everything he gives us and shows us.  "Put no trust in princes".   We humans wreak all sorts of havoc without God's guidance, so in general I will continue to question everything but God.

See?  Meandering.  Hopefully somewhat useful.

** Update**
My friend on fb mentioned that it seems strange to call it blind obedience if we have a relationship with the Lord.  Here's my take on it straight from the facebook thread.

"I think this is probably the key. We can have full trust in God and our relationship with him and still be blindly obedient. I may not see, but I can still trust in my God. I suppose the two are not mutually exclusive. Blindness in this sense doesn't mean that you don't have a relationship, it means that you just don't see what's ahead. So you obey, even though you don't know why, and still trust. That makes sense when we think about the trust walk and the blindfold right? Isn't it a wonderful testament to our spirit/body state that I have to recall a physical experience to make sense of spiritual thoughts?! "

I also found out that the virtue of Blind Obedience is one of the 10 virtues of Mary from St. Louis Marie de Montfort's.