Monday, January 31, 2011

Our Lady's January Message

This is a beautiful message from Our Blessed Mother in Medjugorje- she speaks much hope and light into the world. Thank you mother :)

Subject: Our Lady's Monthly Message of January 25, 2011
“Dear children! Also today I am with you and I am looking at you and blessing you, and I am not losing hope that this world will change for the good and that peace will reign in the hearts of men. Joy will begin to reign in the world because you have opened yourselves to my call and to God’s love. The Holy Spirit is changing a multitude of those who have said ‘yes’. Therefore I desire to say to you: thank you for having responded to my call.”

Sr. Miriam's Conversion Story on You Tube

any of you have asked to hear the full story of the gift of God's mercy in my life.

Here is a video version from a talk I gave in August of 2010, I am working on the video quality, so it might qualify better as a audio version at this time!

Part 1

Part 2- the audio and video timing is a little off in this clip, sorry- you may just want to listen to it rather than watch-

Sr. Miriam's February Speaking Schedule

Friday Feb. 4th- St. Bernadette's Catholic School, Vocation talk to students

Feb. 25th-27th- Boise, ID Catholic Youth Convention. See link here

Many more dates coming for March, check back for Lenten Retreat dates and locations.

The radio show Sisters in Christ can be heard on Thursdays at 6pm Pacific Time on AM 1050 or streamed here

Friday, January 28, 2011

Arrogance and Ignorance Leave Bristol Palin Out

What is wrong with people? Bristol Palin was uninvited to speak on a university panel discussion about sexuality.

Why? because she promotes abstinence only.

Apparently an actress who is a member of (WHAT A SURPRISE!!) Planned Parenthood encouraged the students of Washington University in St. Louis to boycott Palin's invitation, should she herself decide to attend the panel. Beyond that arrogance, the actress, Kate Walsh, stooped to a low of saying, "what does she (Palin) know about college or abstaining?"

Not cool.

So the panel will include a medical doctor, someone from the Catholic Student Center (which is suspect if they don't want Palin to speak, what else would a true Catholic student speak about?) and *shocker* a representative from Planned Parenthood.

Bristol, rock on girl, continue to speak your truth. Your light will shine all the brighter in these dark times. I am praying for you.

Read the full story here...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More Beauty

Love the moon? me too :)

here is another fun song by Jon Foreman called Moon Is a Magnet

The story of our lives?

this is a beautiful song by Jon Foreman, an AMAZING songwriter and musician, wow- his music is very deep.

I heard this song and I see so much of my own heart in it-- running away. Why do we always run away from the One who loves us? Such a profound mystery...

Lyrics: I Am Still Running

You remember me
before I learned to run
At the kissing tree
before I learned my guns
We were 17
17 years young
I am still running
I am still running

I had no idea the pain would be this strong
I had no idea the fight would last this long
In my darkest fears the rights become the wrongs
I am still running, I am still running I am still running I am still running

Build me a home
inside your scars
Build me a home
Inside your song
Build me a home
inside your open arms
The only place I ever will belong

I am still running
I am still running
I am still running
I am still running
Build me a home
inside your scars
Build me a home
Inside your song
Build me a home
inside your open arms
The only place I ever will belong
The only place I ever will belong
inside your open arms
The only place I ever will belong

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Huge Conversion...

Happy Feast Day of the Conversion of St. Paul- one of the greatest "sinner to saint" stories in the history of the Church. Read about his own account in the Acts of the Apostles. I love that he is so honest about where he came from and where he was called to go- he doesn't try to minimize his past nor hold it over his own head, his life is a testimony to the mercy of God, a mercy that never fails, a yearning for authentic truth and love.

I love the work of the Italian artist Caravaggio- you can see posted here his account of the conversion of St. Paul- I love the dramatic use of light and darkness that Caravaggio expresses, a hallmark of his work. it's beautiful, so real and so....human.

After a talk I gave last year, an older man came up to me and said, "that was an interesting talk, it was very....human"

I don't know if he meant it as a compliment or a derogatory remark but before I began studying TOB, i would have taken it as an insult. I would have thought (please insert whiny, self-pity voice here), "WHAT? HUMAN? I am trying to be holy here, how unkind to say that my talk was merely "human"!!"


But since studying TOB, whatever that man meant, my goal is to allow Jesus to heal me so I become more human-- as He is the fullness of humanity. He is the glory of God, who is Man fully alive.

What does this require? how do we become fully alive, fully human?

We must turn toward Jesus, as the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes reminds us-- that Christ fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear.

This requires that we take responsibility for our journey with Jesus, no one will do it for us. We can't wait for "other people" to have a conversion for the world and our lives to become better, conversion begins with us personally, and there is no substitute for it.

Our faith as Catholics is SO beautiful. It is SO powerful and So healing because it is about an encounter with the Beautiful One.

We do not have to water down our faith or add anything to it, all we have to do is LIVE it as it is.

We ask Jesus to come and touch our wounds, our hardness of heart, our errant opinions and beliefs.

Think I am preaching to you? I am not, for I am sharing with you my own prayer to Him that I utter every day.

We must first receive before we can give.

The Church is Marian (receptive) before it is Petrine (going out). If we do not receive, if we do not let Jesus come and wash our feet first and ever more deeply, how can we give? what will we have to give?

The world is crying out for Jesus. At the heart, it is not about economic or political salvation. What we truly yearn for is a living encounter with Love.

St. Paul had such an encounter. Jesus came to St. Paul and met him where he was and St. Paul received Jesus.

That reception changed not only St. Paul's life but it changed the world as we know it.

Personal conversion changes the world.

You ready?

I am.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A doctor's thoughts...

Here is a good article on the new MTV show written by Dr. Manny Alvarez

MTV, Grow Up

An open letter to the producers, writers and consumers of MTV:

To All It May Concern,

The news is out that MTV has released yet another "controversial" teen drama. Of course this drama, as many other featured shows, includes generous portions of sexual scenes, drinking, drug use, homosexuality and other "typical" teen behaviors. It has earned a TV rating of MA (for "mature" viewers only) and it has stirred up the ire of parent groups and advertisers who find the show offensive and vulgar. The Parents Television Council is calling for an investigation that the show is promoting child pornography.

To all this, MTV responds "Skins is a show that addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way. We review all of our shows and work with all of our producers on an ongoing basis to ensure our shows comply with laws and community standards. We are confident that the episodes of ‘Skins’ will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers.” 


First of all, I would like to say, "MTV. Please grow up"

This is getting old. How many "new and provocative" shows will you release and pretend that you are heroically bringing "typical teen behavior" to the forefront of the minds of the world's young people?

Yes, you are getting much press about this new show, which I am sure suits you but it speaks volumes that you do not really care about the youth of the world nor do you know what they really seek.

You show teens engaging in drug and alcohol abuse, misusing their sexuality, fighting and lying. You show them as shallow animals who have no destiny, no origin and no reason. 

You pass off much of this behavior as "freedom and fun" but you neglect to show the real repercussions of these choices that will affect many teens for the rest of their lives.

You make sex, drugs and fame look glamorous and try to pass it off as "normal", yet you fail to connect the dots that the second leading cause of death of young people in America is suicide.

Something isn't adding up.

The youth of the world are not animals who only indulge their passions. Every single person who has ever been created is unique, precious and unrepeatable. In the history of humanity, no one ever has been nor ever will be recycled. Every single person has a divine and mysterious mission, destiny and light to bring to the world.

Life is too short for the darkness of sin.

What appears to be glamorous- binge drinking and numerous sexual encounters- is most likely only a cover for a wounded heart, a heart that cries out to be loved and cared for in safety and truth.

When we do not know who we are, what our bodies mean and what it means to be a man or woman we can easily throw ourselves away, thinking we deserve no better. What is most sacred can be seen as a curse and what is to be cherished and preserved is easily trampled upon and tossed aside.

We were created for more. We long and we yearn for more.

Young people don't yearn for incurable STDs, drug addiction, loneliness and death- the fruits of the "freedom" MTV touts.

Young people do not yearn to be used as tools for someone else's pleasure, only to be discarded like kleenex when lust has run its course. This is, for sure, the only path that MTV promotes. They seem to be incapable of promoting any other path.

The human heart yearns for true love, the kind of love calls a person not to use another but to sacrifice themselves so the other person can live. The human heart yearns for communion, for relationship, for authentic truth and life. 

Why? because we are children of God. We were made in and for Communion and our longings on this yearn are a reminder of where we came from and where we are called to go.

True love always, always brings life.

Do we struggle with lust and sin on this earth? Yes. We will make mistakes and fall? Yes. But the beautiful thing is that that is not the end of the story. Darkness is not the end of the story. The Resurrection has the final say. Reconciliation is always possible and Jesus waits to bring us out of our misery- he lends his heart in compassion to our misery. We were not made for sin and death. We were made for life and love.

The choice is ours. What kind of people do we want to be?

Look within yourself and see. Ask yourself what your heart really longs for.

MTV, your new show does not shock me. It makes me sad. It makes me sad that you scrape the bottom of the barrel and call it typical teen behavior. It makes me sad that with your power and influence, you will lead teens to engage in this type of behavior because of the lies you promote. It makes me sad that you would use teenagers as actors in this show and destroy their soul in the process along with others.

Dont know you know that whenever a person engages in darkness, a little piece of them dies? Perhaps you do know this for it seems your agenda is death. 

You pass this show off as a pseudo-reality show when all it is is pornography.

You say this show is "mature"?

MTV, the young people of the world deserve much better. Don't insult them. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

March For Life Washington State

Thousands came to Olympia, WA to march for life on Tuesday Jan. 18th. 

Read about it here!

Interview with a Sister...

Ever wanted to know what a high school student would ask a religious Sister?
Here is the question and answer interview and I thought the questions she asked were very thought provoking

  1. Why did you/ how did you become a nun?   I became a sister (a nun or sister, I am technically a sister, is a Spouse of Christ. She gives her life to Jesus in love for all eternity) because Jesus called me. During my college years, I was living in very profound darkness and from this darkness came a thirst for something more. I didn’t know what the call would be but I wanted to a live a deep, authentic life. When I heard Jesus call me, I said “yes”.

  1. Do you feel that you are going against societal values in your calling? I do feel and believe very strongly that a life of authentic discipleship of Jesus goes very much against societal values. Society values money, power, fame, egotism, a misuse of sexuality, domination and control. As I follow the life of Jesus, His life is not about any of these “societal values” but a life lived in truth.

  1. When were you called to act according to your conscience and choose this career path? Religious life and the priesthood (along with marriage) is not a “career path” although, sadly, many people in these walks of life think it is.
     These realities are a vocation- a calling, not an occupation- a job. The difference    may seem small to many people but it is foundational in understanding our destiny. It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I distinctly heard Jesus call me.

  1. Do you think that it is ever justified to break a law in order to stand up for what you think is right? Or in other words, is civil disobedience with a purpose justified? The question of civil disobedience is a good question because it makes one think. The laws of society are supposed to help guide and govern man to his true good and end. Laws are not ends in and of themselves. Laws are called to be objective in the governance of all people and should adhere to reason and the dignity of the person.
     We are faced in today’s society with certain laws and movements that although declared “legal” are not moral. Since the passing of Roe Vs. Wade, the American courts declared it a “legal right” to kill 53,000,000 unborn children in the wombs of their mothers.

      This could hardly be considered a “just” law or a “right”, for in our nation’s beautiful document The Declaration of Independence (where we, as a free people, declared independence from a controlling and dictatorial government) we declare the God-given (not man-given) right of ALL people to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

       We, especially as Catholics (although the right to life is a human rights issue and not merely a religious issue, as the popular media would have us believe) must stand up in defense of these unjust laws that destroy and decimate life.

          However, as we have a right to assemble and protest, we can never descend into using violence and hatred as a means to carry our message.

  1. How have you personally acted in contrast to society? One of the ways I act in contrast to society is by living a celibate life totally devoted to God and speaking to others, especially young people, about the truth of their dignity and destiny.
     We were not created by God to be mere consumers of material goods or to be used as tools in the great economic “machine”. We were not created by God only to destroy ourselves by the misuse of our sexuality and the use of others. Our dignity and destiny is that we are eternal, created in the image and likeness of God, created for love, to give the gift of ourselves in true love.

      The wearing of a religious habit is a powerful sign of this commitment.

  1. In your opinion, what is freedom? When considering my opinion on such monumental matters as the subject of freedom, I have to go to God to learn the truth. For my opinion may not be the truth and this is a topic that I cannot personally afford to be misinformed of, for what I believe about freedom will affect my life profoundly and those around me.
          True freedom is the ability to a) identify what is good and b) choose that good.

          True freedom is not being able to do whatever I want to do, whenever, with whomever and however I want. This is a great error. For this is not full freedom, it is license.

           Just because I can do something, does that make me free if I were to choose to do that? Just because I could, technically, steal a car, does that mean I am a free person if I have to steal the goods of another person? No.

            There is a saying- “If you do whatever you want to do, there will come a day when you will do the things you never thought you would.”

The journey to freedom, interior freedom is the foundation- not operating under compulsion, is a life-long process. As we heal within on a daily basis from our sin and darkness, we become freer to choose what is truly good—Love Himself.

  1. In your opinion, what is oppression? Oppression, as I understand from the definition of freedom, would be the suppression of what is good and the ability to choose that good. We can experience interior and exterior oppression. An ordinance that would prohibit a person to worship according to their conscience would be an example of exterior oppression or a person being forced to submit to a government health care plan that they did not want is not in keeping with the dignity of a person.

          Sin oppresses us from within and keeps us from living in true freedom and happiness. The deeper we are in sin, the less free we are.

  1. What would be your advice to people who feel like society is going against what they believe to be just? My advice to people who find that society is going against what is seemingly unjust is to educate themselves and pray for wisdom. We need to know our faith, we need to know who we are and where we came from. We need to know the teachings of Christ- who He is as a person. We need to know the Bible- the living Word of God and the Catechism of the Catholic Church where we learn how to implement and incorporate divine truth. We need to receive the Sacraments, especially Reconciliation and the Eucharist, as they heal and strengthen us to fight this fierce battle.
           We, as Americans, must know our true history and what this nation stands for. We must personally read the documents of our foundation and see the gift of this nation and how to live that out.

          We simply cannot afford to be ignorant of any of these things or else we will be swept away with the tide of relativism, consumerism and hedonism. I heard someone say, “If we don’t know where we came from and where we are going, we will be easily manipulated” and this is very true.

      Because so many of us, even though we profess to be Christian, have not found our true identity in Jesus Christ; the Center of all humanity, we have been easily led astray by society and we have bought into and live out lies rather than the truth.

       It is not enough to spout opinion and tout it as truth, we must allow our opinions to conform to the beauty of truth and speak the truth always in love.

       When we, in truth, find things in society that are unjust, then we can assemble and peacefully speak out and protest the injustice, always recognizing the dignity of every human person.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Powerful Message

Whatever your political affiliation, I am posting two links to today's Glenn Beck show. In this show, he speaks about the personal change that is necessary in order to change the country and the world. That the country will change when we take seriously the journey of becoming the people we were created to be.

He speaks a lot of wisdom and common sense and tells the story of his own struggle with alcoholism, the power of the light and goodness of his wife and how when friends told him the truth, even when he didn't want to hear it, it changed his life.

Good stuff.

Part 1

Part 2

Sunday, January 02, 2011

All I ask of you...

I offer this beautiful song as dialogue between the soul and Jesus. Jesus wants to free us from our fears and solitude, He wants to be with us always, He wants to be one with us.

In our souls, we desire this as well. We want to be loved forever, this is the deepest longing of our hearts- eternal, life-giving love.

We yearn for this on earth and this longing is a call from heaven, that we were made for eternity.

So often we try to squelch this yearning or fill it with things that will never satisfy, rather than allow this yearning and longing to bring us to the One who truly loves us.

Let us yearn for this freedom, allow it to purify us and bring us to heart of the One who is All Beautiful.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

There's Some Good In This World, And It's Worth Fighting For..

Here is a link to Samwise Gamgee's speech to Frodo in Lord of the Rings when all hope seems lost. It's beautiful.

Text of Sam's speech---

Frodo: I can't do this, Sam.

Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

You Are More

Ah!! This is an AMAZING song and video by 10th Avenue North-- a beautiful and TRUE message. Have we not all felt this way? wow. Jesus does come to set us free.

There's a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she's wandered
And the shame she can't hide

She says, "How did I get here?
I'm not who I once was.
And I'm crippled by the fear
That I've fallen too far to love"

But don't you know who you are,
What's been done for you?
Yeah don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

Well she tries to believe it
That she's been given new life
But she can't shake the feeling
That it's not true tonight

She knows all the answers
And she's rehearsed all the lines
And so she'll try to do better
But then she's too weak to try

But don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

'Cause this is not about what you've done,
But what's been done for you.
This is not about where you've been,
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

You've been remade
You've been remade.
You've been remade.
You've been remade.

Vatican You Tube Channel

The Vatican has its own you tube channel. Check out the latest happenings in the Church and in the world on their channel.

Holy Father's Message for the World Day of Peace

Today the Holy Father gave his message for the World Day of Peace- focusing on the area of religious freedom being the path to peace.

Read it here!

See a brief recap of his message below!

Urbi et Orbi Christmas 2010

Pope Benedict XVI gave his annual address, Urbi et Orbi (to the Church and to the World) on Christmas Day in St. Peter's Square. This beautiful message focuses on the reality of Jesus becoming flesh, the Word was truly made flesh- and that changes everything.

Read the message here

Watch him give the address below--

Calling All Women...

Happy Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. Today is a beautiful day where we celebrate the motherhood of Mary and also give thanks for all women, as we are all maternal in our spirits. We ask our Mother to teach us and show us what it means to be a woman and to heal us in our wounds.

We cannot deny the attack that is being waged upon women and children in this day and age. Not only is this attack becoming stronger, it is also becoming more blatant. Do we as women know what it means to be a woman? Do we know what our mission and destiny is?

There is a beautiful passage from the closing documents of Vatican II that reads, "The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of woman is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women impregnated with a spirit of the Gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling"

and the Council Fathers go on to say (and this is VERY beautiful and VERY important), "Reconcile men with life and above all, we beseech you, watch carefully over the future of our race. Hold back the hand of man, who, in a  moment of folly, might attempt to destroy human civilization...women of the entire to whom life is entrusted at this grave moment in history, it is for you to save the peace of the world."



Let's talk about this.

We need to go back to the very beginning, when God first created Adam and Eve. We see that God created Adam and Eve to go together-- the image of their union is a sign of eternity when we will be one with God in an eternal marriage.

We see that the evil one came into the garden and planted the seed of a lie that God doesn't really love us, that He doesn't want what is best for us, that He is holding out on us.

The evil one tempts Eve first (getting to her, bypassing Adam) and she buys into the lie and eats of the fruit. Why did the evil one go after Eve? Some say that it because she is the "weaker" of the two and many a writer has tried to blame every societal evil upon women but this is untrue.

Both men and women have natural strengths and weaknesses, but when we look at relationships between men and women, women have a natural gift of strength to safeguard the morality of the relationship. Most often, it is the woman who sets the moral tone of the relationship. Even now I hear that many couples do not move in together before they are married, until the woman decides to make the move.

The evil one takes the path of least resistance, he knows that once Eve falls, Adam is sure to follow.

When women in a society accept something, the society follows suit.

We see here that women, as the Council Fathers have noted, have a great mission in aiding humanity in not falling, of safeguarding the peace of the world.

For a long time, many "progressive" thinkers have accused religion of "brainwashing" people and robbing them of their ability to think. Those who practice religion have been called, "simple minded", "naive" and "superstitious".

So let's think about that because I would like to suggest the opposite.

Is it Christ who does not want us to think and use our God given abilities to reason and believe? Or, rather, is it society and evil that wants us to accept certain schools of thought without discernment?

Faith and reason go together, they belong together, they were made together.

As humans, we have been given the gift of freedom, self-discipline and reflection.

This is why we as women must unite and really discern this whole area of what society tells us is the meaning of femininity and maternity, for we cannot afford to get this wrong.

We need especially closely examine the area of contraception and abortion, for this strikes deeply at the heart of what it means to be a women. And if we as women, accept the lie of contraception and abortion, then society will surely follow.

The leader of the birth control movement in America and the foundress of Planned Parenthood was an American woman named Margaret Sanger. She was also an ardent eugenicist who believed in the statement of her newspaper The Birth Control Review- "Birth Control, To Create A Race of Thoroughbreds".

Yes, folks, the foundress of Planned Parenthood was not concerned with the quality of life of the poor, as much as she was concerned with increasing the population of "desirable" people and decreasing the population of "undesirable" people.

Birth control was her way of controlling the "quality" of the human race. Sound familiar? Hitler believed the same thing, he was, obviously, a big "believer" of "race purity" in his extermination of millions of Jews.

What doctors know now is that the birth control pill is an abortifacient, it allows for breakthrough ovulation and then hormonally changes the uterus so that either is becomes impenetrable to the new baby or expels the embryo. So the woman has an abortion, whether she know it or not. And on a deep level, many women are realizing this more and more. and then if contraception fails, the woman is encouraged to "terminate" the pregnancy. And this is what is called "civilized society"?

To me, here is the real issue. What is more civilized? Killing the most defenseless people in society and violating our deepest dignity at the same time or using our natural body rhythms, dialogue and discipline to be a gift, receive the gift of the other and be open to a gift from God?

Which requires a deeper entering into what it means to be a human? Which invites more respect from a true love? Which safeguards human life? and yet, women are encouraged to embrace artificial contraception which has been a pandoras box of death.

We have, in our society today, more contracepted sex than ever. It was promised by Margaret Sanger to be a cure all for society's ailments, but we have more STDs, more abortions and more sexual brokenness than ever before.

Something isn't working.

Think about it.

An excellent book to read about the truth of Margaret Sanger and her mission is "Margaret Sanger- the Father of Modern Society."

Within the true feminine genius is the gift of attentiveness to the person, the safeguarding of the dignity of the individual and being a guardian of life.

When we embrace our true dignity and calling, even when it is exceedingly difficult, we allow the love of Christ and Truth and Light enter into the world.

May Mary our Mother watch over us and guide us. May she heal us and restore us.

May we as women know the truth of our beauty, and may Jesus set us free.