7 Quick Takes Friday ~ Vol 10

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My 1st Book Review:  In this week’s blog post, I shared with you a book review of Katie Hartfiel’s book, Woman In Love: Redefine The Journey Toward Your Husband To BeGo here to read my review of this wonderful book!   

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Marianne crying in the rainBrokenhearted:  I was blessed to spend time with my friend, Carolyn, this past weekend and it reminded me of the wise advice she once gave me after she read my book.  As a favor to me, she read it and provided valuable feedback. 

One concern I had about the book is that some of my advice would appear to be ‘snarky.’ One hazard of providing advice about Chastity is coming off as a kind of ‘know it all.’ In order to prevent this from happening, Carolyn’s advice to me was to approach each chapter “as if I am talking to a brokenhearted girl over coffee.”

My hope is that this blog is providing both wisdom and hope and that I am bringing you the truth about Chastity in a way that heals.  Please know that when I write, I try to picture you, a brokenhearted girl, sitting across from me.  I also picture myself as that brokenhearted girl and try to share with you the insights that would have helped me during my single years.

May the Lord use me to encourage you.  Most of all, may the Lord by glorified!

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Scrooge:  Gregg and I have a tradition of watching this classic every Christmas with a bottle of wine. We are convinced that the 1970 version of the movie with Albert Finney is the only one worth watching.  We watched it last Friday night. Watching it prepared my soul for the Sacrament of Confession which I received the next day. It helped me recognize the many links in my chain!

“…I am alive! I’ve got a chance to change and I will not be the man I was.  I will begin again, I will build my life.  I will live to know that I fulfilled my life.  I will begin today and throw away the past.  And, the future I build will be something that will last…”  

Ebenezer Scrooge

May we all be inspired to change, to begin again and build our future on something that will last!

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Crowded Mass:  We spent Christmas with my family and everyone reported on how crowded Mass was at their church.  Some might see the crowds as a great inconvenience but I think the crowds are beautiful.  Sure, sure, there are folks who only come to Mass on Christmas.  But, won’t it be sad if there is ever a day that they choose instead to stay away?   

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GollumThe Hobbit:  Saw it.  Hated it.  Way too violent. Nothing spiritual other than in the very small role for my favorite character, Sméagol/Gollum and his Precious. He is the only one I enjoy in this movie or in the trilogy…which may tell you something.

Anyway, about half way through the 3 hour movie, I got up to use the rest room.  I could have very easily started to weep once I was away from all the violence, gore, blatant disrespect for property, frightful scenes, creepy people, dirty fingernails and unbrushed teeth.  Zero stars from me.  Everyone else in my party loved it. Sigh.

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Previews:  When we went to see The Hobbit, there was a full 30 minutes of previews before the actual movie started.  Violent, violent, violent previews!  It is as if the ‘creative’ world can only tap into one thing ~ destruction. You see, in our house, everything we watch is recorded on DVR. NFL football is the only thing that comes close to being violent and we fast forward through all the commercials.  So, I am not used to it….especially 30 minutes of hard-core, in your face violence. I had to either close my eyes or look away.

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MegMeg Hunter-Kilmer:  Our Church is hosting an all-night event for our youth tonight filled with fun, Eucharistic Adoration, Mass, basketball, games, movies and spiritual talks by Meg Hunter-Kilmer.  I am so excited to welcome Meg to our church!  She will talk to our youth about several topics including ‘The New Evangelization.’  She will be visiting my family and me before and after the event and we are very excited to meet her!  I will report out on her visit next week!

If you have enjoyed my blog, please “like” my Facebook Page, The Veil and sign up to receive my blog posts automatically by clicking the rectangular “Follow” button. Thank you and God Bless!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Praying For Your Husband

Woman In Love BookI have been dying to post this book review ever since I finished this book back in September.  Katie Hartfiel’s book “Woman In Love: Redefine The Journey Toward Your Husband To Be” is one of the best books I have read regarding practical and spiritual advice to single women.  

I immediately knew that Katie was my kind of girl when I noticed she used the word Superabundance’ several times in her book.  Although she applied the term a little differently than I do, I was impressed because it is a word that is not often used. 

Okay, where do I begin?  I will break the book down into three main points and try not to give away too much:

  1. It is a proactive approach to the vocation of marriage
  2. It is her personal story and therefore it held my interest
  3. It is a complete catechesis on Chastity

A Proactive Approach To Marriage

St Michael The ArchangelNow by proactive I don’t mean aggressive.  I mean she got down to business!  She wisely chose to participate, through prayer, in the spiritual well-being of her unknown future husband.  She proactively started praying for him when she was 17 years old. 

Her prayer was not “God please give me a husband!” or “God, please give me ‘that’ husband!”  It was, instead, “God please bless and protect my husband.”  And, her prayers were honored.   

This, to me, is the best quote from her book:

The most important thing you can do for your spouse is pray for him.  Crawl into the trenches of the spiritual battle raging over his soul and be a warrior for him.”

Goodness, I wish I had this insight when I was 17!  I may not have had to wait 38 years to be married.   I can accept that it may have been God’s will for Gregg and me to have a delayed marriage vocation, but if I had known the power of this prayer, I could have positively impacted Gregg in his earlier years.  I could have crawled into the battle and been a warrior for him!!

But, I didn’t.  However, you can!

A Personal Testimony

Katie was honest about her story.  She did not have her spiritual strength handed to her on a silver platter but instead went through suffering and doubt.  God had to unlock her heart. 

Katie wrote, “The process of discerning our vocation molds us.”  She admitted that, “the time leading up to the revelation of God’s will can sometimes be seemingly torturous.”  An understatement indeed!

A Key Decision

She did a very wise thing, in my opinion, which set the course for her life.  She was determined to attend The Franciscan University of Steubenville.  Every single person that I have met who attends or attended Steubenville has impressed me with their love of the Lord and their solid Catholic identity and foundation.  This one decision seems, to me, to have been a driving force in the revelation of her future vocation.  She met Mark, her husband, at Steubenville practically on her first day!

What if she had attended some public college (like I did)?  Think of all the secular guys she would have met.  Her heart, which needed to be unlocked, could have hardened and locked up even more from all the hazards awaiting her there.  Her life today would have potentially been totally different!

Sometimes Our Wounds Protect Us

Katie met Mark, her future husband, at Steubenville and they immediately were interested in each other.  But, Katie was suffering from her parent’s recent divorce which caused her, out of fear, to keep her feelings for Mark hidden.  In other words, she did not chase him or overtly reveal her feelings for him.  She did, however, sweetly respond to his courageous initiation

After a while, Mark initiated their ‘relationship talk’ because her struggles with herself  “caused her to hesitate and prevented her from chasing Mark.”  It is amazing how God can even use our wounds as a natural protection.  As women, our reserved and silent, but sweet, response to a man’s initiation can often force a man (that loves us) to reveal his feelings.

Beyond Expectations

I can relate to Katie when she  wrote, “My expectations paled in comparison to what the Lord had in store for me.”  God knows what we need and in my case as well surprised me beyond my expectations with my husband, Gregg.

Katie thought she would have to “Choose between a man who was a strong spiritual leader and one she was attracted to” but happily reported that “Mark fit the needs of her soul while simultaneously captivating her on every level.”  She wrote that, “God chose Mark as His vessel to save her from herself.”

I can also relate to this!  I thought I would have to choose between a strong spiritual leader and a man I was attracted to.  But, to my surprise, Gregg met all of my hopes and needs

A Complete Catechesis on Chastity

Katie somehow packed a complete catechesis on Chastity in her book.  And, she made the information relevant and easy to understand.  She explained that chastity is a ‘yes, yes, yes’  as well as the Sacramental component of a chaste marriage.  She covered the bonding hormone oxytocin, STD’s, the problem with contraception, the benefits of NFP, reconciliation and much more.  She answered the question “How far is too far?” and provided rules for singles that are logical and clear.  She displayed a solid understanding of the Church’s teaching on Chastity as well as Theology of the Body.  Finally, she included quotes from Blessed John Paul II and others concerning marriage and chastity.

Help Lead Men To Holiness

Without  coming off as judgmental, Katie gives girls the straight facts on supply and demand, respect and holiness.  This quote nicely summarizes her wisdom:

“For every guy who gets what he is looking for, there is a girl who is giving it to him.  If women begin to demand respect, men would be more inclined to offer it.  Help lead men to holiness.”

Katie’s book also includes insights from Mark.  This quote was my favorite one from Mark because it parallels the terms and concepts I use in my book and on this blog :

“When the man that God has for them comes along, he will be captivated by this purity and it will be utterly beautiful to him.  He will never forget how superabundantly blessed his is to have such an amazing woman.”

I clearly do not own the rights to the term Superabundance or the concept of a Holy  Spouse.  But I think it is amazing that Mark and Katie applied the term and concept in a way that aligns with how I apply the term and concept.

Holy Spouse

Note that Mark wrote, “when the man that God has for them comes along…”.  To me, he reinforced the idea that God arranges marriage and has a specific person in mind for us in accordance with His will.  This is what I call our ‘Holy Spouse’ This concept among believers is not often discussed with such certitude.  Virtually all the books I have read concerning chastity and marriage seem to lead the reader to believe that God leaves it completely and sadly, up to chance.  Woman In Love will fill your heart with hope!

Katie and Mark Wedding

Katie and Mark on their Wedding Day
Gorgeous Dress and Veil!


Mark’s quote also described what I believe happens as a result of chastity before and within marriage.  The husband has this supernatural view of his wife.  He is “captivated” by her and she is, despite her faults, “utterly beautiful” to him.  And, he has a perpetual belief in how blessed he is to have her. 

As a result of the Superabundance in a chaste marriage, my observation is that the husband’s love for his wife grows rather than diminishes with time.  This, I believe is a result of the supernatural grace imparted during the chaste marital embrace.  The Catholic Church teaches us that this is a renewal of our Sacramental wedding vows and that supernatural grace is imparted.

Get. This. Book!  You will learn so much and be inspired to get in to the trenches and pray for your future husband! 

You can join Katie on Facebook here .  Go to Katie’s website to order her book.  There is a special bulk order price!  Also, while you are there, check out the video of Katie and Mark and you will be further inspired!

Her book is available on Amazon in soft cover  or for only $9.99 through Kindle.

** Next week: Mythbuster #3:  Something Is Wrong With Me

God Bless!

If you have enjoyed my blog, please “like” my Facebook Page, The Veil and sign up to receive my blog posts automatically by clicking the rectangular “Follow” button. Thank you!


7 Quick Takes Friday ~ Vol 9

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This Week’s Mythbuster: Myth #2 Part 2:  God has forgotten about me, A Perspective on Suffering

Though woefully inadequate on the topic of suffering, I pray my post blesses you in your walk with the Lord.

— 2 —

Looking For Answers: Yes, Part 2 is about suffering. For the most part, I wrote the post prior to the killings in Connecticut. I read a lot of blogs this week about suffering and found that no one, including me, has the market cornered on the topic. Everyone, those with faith and those without, is looking for answers and no explanation seems to completely satisfy us.

But, these words from our dear Holy Father astutely sums up what we are all trying to understand:

“….We encounter moments where God seems absent, His silence weighs on our hearts and His will doesn’t correspond to our own as we would like it to…”
Pope Benedict XVI, December 19, 2012
— 3 —

Mental Health QuadPerspective on Mental Health:  Following the killings in Connecticut, my husband and I went through many philosophical discussions about the root of murder and evil.  We discussed the idea that it is only those who are away from the Lord who can commit such atrocities.  But, then I read these two articles by Monsignor Pope and my mind was opened to the suffering of the mentally ill and their families:

The First Article  was written the day before the killings in Connecticut:  Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen, Nobody But Jesus. A Meditation On A Grief Observed 

The Second Article was written after the killings: A Brother’s Reflection On The Mental Illness Of His Sister In The Wake Of A Great Tragedy 

Monsignor Pope’s sister suffered from mental illness and had signs of mental illness even as a toddler.  Their dear parents tried their best to manage it.  It took quite a toll on them.  For some reason unknown to man, this mental anguish persists for some even in the face of emotional, spiritual, mental and physical support.

Monsignor Pope is coming to our Church in March for our County Youth Day.  I will be sure to thank him for his insight and sharing.

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Where Were We When?:  We were at Mass on Friday morning when the killings happened in Connecticut.  Our child’s school has a 9:00am Children’s Mass on Fridays and we try to attend when we have the day off.  It was the feast day of St. John of the Cross who is famous for his book, Dark Night of The Soul

For some reason, the Children’s Mass does not always follow the USCCB Daily Readings, but anyway, this part of the Gospel that morning caught my attention:

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” 

Matthew 5:45

My pride tries to convince me that this is not a fair deal.  But then I am reminded that I am both the righteous and the unrighteous.

— 5 —

Mother Teresa:  Dr. Pia de Solenni wrote an insightful article called, What does Sandy Hook have to do with abortion?”

We could all argue about the connection between abortion aMother Teresa Violence of Abortionnd senseless killing in general.  What struck me about the article was the profound quote from Mother Teresa:

 “…back in 1994 when she spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast. She stood before President Clinton and the First Lady, both outspoken supporters of abortion and she said:

But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?…

By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. [Full text here.]

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JPII Suffering

Blessed Pope John Paul II
Lifting Up and Begging in Prayer

The Old Baltimore Catechism gives us a beautiful definition of Prayer:

“Prayer is the lifting up of our minds and hearts to God, to adore Him, to thank Him for His benefits, to ask His forgiveness, and to beg of Him all the graces we need whether for soul or body.”

Lifting up and begging.  God requires our effort.

 — 7 —

Advent at EphesisAngels Singing:  When it comes to gift giving at Christmas, I am not very original or overly generous.  I give a lot of gift cards and Bath and Body Works soap because I am Mrs. Practical.  My husband, however, is extremely generous with everyone and likes especially to give the gift of music. 

With 3 shopping days left, may I highly recommend and persuade you to buy everyone on your Christmas list The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles CD called Advent at Ephesus?

Go here to hear samples of their angelic voices.

It will lift their hearts to God and give them peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding, in this Holy Season.

God Bless You and Merry Christmas from The Veil of Chastity!

If you have enjoyed my blog, please “like” my Facebook Page, The Veil and sign up to receive my blog posts automatically by clicking the rectangular “Follow” button. Thank you and God Bless!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!  Thank you for hosting, Jennifer!

7 Myths Singles Must Resist: Myth #2 Part 2 God Has Forgotten About Me

My posts over the last several weeks addressed Myths that singles must resist:

1.  Setting the Stage

2.  Myth #1Others are getting away with sin/sex is consequence free

3.  Myth #2 Part 1:  God has forgotten about me

Today I will address Myth #2 Part 2:  God has forgotten about me:  A Perspective on Suffering

As I stated in Part 1, I do not have all the answers. I am not a theologian or a philosopher.  But, I am intimately familiar with feelings of being forgotten by God.  I think we have all felt as if :

“My plight is hidden from the LORD, and my cause has passed out of God’s notice” 

Isaiah 40:27

In Part 1, we established that God is real, He is intimate and you have His attention.  But, I ended that post with this: 

“…Life’s events may seem random and chaotic but they are not.  He can bring order out of chaos.  There is a plan for your life.  And, it will involve….suffering.”

Even-Steven God

From my very limited perspective, suffering is not evenly distributed.  Sometimes we suffer at the hands of others and sometimes we suffer due to our own decisions. Sometimes suffering’s origin is unknown and exasperating.

Suffering starving ChildThe first type of suffering is out of our hands and is, to me, impossible to understand without taking into account our gift of free will.  Everyone has this gift of free will and their misuse of it will cause us to suffer.  But, our suffering is not even.  Some suffer terribly in this life.  I mean, terribly!  And, I can’t explain why.

“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

                                                                                                                Matthew 5:45

Free Will CS LewisWouldn’t it seem fair if God was an Even-Steven God when it came to suffering?  But, this would require Him to limit our free will.  He won’t do that.  Even if He decided to limit our free will, would you want him to?

It is the suffering in this world that can challenge our belief in God and Who He is.  Satan knows this and delights in our suffering.  Satan especially takes delight in the kind of suffering that leads us to ask “What kind of God would allow this?” 

To answer that question:  A God who has bestowed upon us the great gift free will.

A Perspective on Suffering

As I have shared before, I did not get married until I was 38 years old. I had every blessing I could think of (family, friends, faith, health, steady employment, a roof over my head and all the basic and some of the non-basic necessities) except for marriage and children. And, I still, at times, felt that God had forgotten about me. It is only in hindsight that I can see that my plight was not hidden from Him.

What I was not able to see at the time is that I did not have a proper perspective on my suffering. Back then, I was quick to notice that there were those that appeared ‘more blessed’ than I was. Grumble, grumble.  But, I didn’t like to think about those who were ‘less fortunate.’

I avoided analyzing my ‘lot in life’ compared to orphans, the lonely and abandoned, the aborted, the sick, the terminally ill, the mentally ill, the starving, the unemployed and the homeless.

I still don’t have a handle on the allocation of blessings and suffering. These words from Isaiah ring true for me: “his understanding is unsearchable”

CrucifixBut then I asked myself, “Who is this God that allows for all this suffering?” One look at the crucifix and we see that He did not spare His own Son. He intimately ‘gets’ our suffering and our plight is not hidden from Him.

The Suffering of Singleness

My dear single girls, I am not trying to downplay your suffering by reminding you of the starving, homeless, unemployed, aborted and orphaned. Singleness is also a suffering! 

I am not a theologian but from a Catholic perspective we know that our bodies are made to glorify God. The purpose of marriage and of our fertility is to glorify God. Not being able to fulfill this purpose is, I think, a special kind of suffering. As we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of Mary and miraculous conception and birth of Jesus, we see how family, fertility and life are not just “part” of our purpose and plan for salvation. They are The Plan.

The shape, form and intricate design of our bodies reveal this strong link to our fertility and femininity. Our bodies are oriented toward marital love…. to bonding and babies.  I could be wrong but I think that God weeps over delayed and missed marriage vocations in a unique way. I feel confident that the plight of the single person is not hidden from Him nor has their cause passed out of His notice.

The Veil’s Wager

Isaiah 40 28I am not going to try to sugarcoat it.  We are at the mercy of other’s free will.  But, we have our own gift of free will where we can choose to believe in God, to be intimate with Him and to give Him our love, devotion and attention.  We can choose to bind our sufferings to His and bring about redemption and purpose.  We can choose faith and hope over doubt and despair.

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.”

Psalm 62:5

Remain chaste and stay close to our good Lord in the Sacraments. Pray for faith, hope, patience and insight into God’s purpose for your life. I request this of you because if you don’t, Satan, the father of all lies, will play havoc with your mind. Satan will convince you that suffering is pointless and that God has forgotten about you.

God is SovereignGod is real. He is intimate. He is mysterious. He has not forgotten about you. Your cause is not hidden from Him, especially in the midst of your suffering.

** Next week:  My First Book Review:  Woman In Love ~ by Katie Hartfiel

God Bless!

If you have enjoyed my blog, please “like” my Facebook Page, The Veil and sign up to receive my blog posts automatically by clicking the rectangular “Follow” button.  Thank you!

7 Quick Takes Friday ~ Vol 8

 — 1 —

Myth #2 Busted:  This week’s post is the second of 7 explaining the Myths That Singles Must Resist.  

This week’s Mythbuster: God has forgotten about me

I decided to break it up into two posts since it is a tough topic.  I pray it blesses you in your walk with the Lord!

— 2 —

Mountains and Valleys:   Haven’t the readings this week of Advent been beautiful!  They have focused on our need to make straight the highway for the Lord. 

“A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!  Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; The rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley.”

Isaiah 40:3-4

What are the mountains in our lives that need to be brought down to clear the way for the Lord?  What are the valleys that need to be filled in to make the highway smooth for Him?

— 3 —

Prepare the wayConfession:  It clears the obstacles and smooths the potholes in our lives.  Have you set aside a date to receive this most important Sacrament of healing during Advent?  What a gift to our Lord your preparing the way will be.  And, what a gift His healing will be for you!

I will be examining both the mountains and the valleys in my life.  What are my sins of commission (the obstacles) that I need to stop doing in order to clear the obstacles?  What are my sins of omission (the potholes) that I need to start doing in order to fill in the potholes?

— 4 —

Decade RosaryA Staircase Rosary:  I am not a good ‘faster’ of food.  Due to my tendency for low blood sugar, fasting makes me somewhat unable to function.  Oh, and it makes me really cranky.  But, I have not been able to find a medical excuse for fasting from exercise. 

A little over a year ago I started hula-hooping at home. I also started an exercise program at work.  I started climbing the stairs 4 times a day. The bonus is that I have been saying my prayers during the stair climbing first thing in the morning. 

I work on the third floor and there are a little over  60 steps in each staircase.  Doing 60 stairs 4 times a day 4 times a week ended up being almost 1000 steps per week or 4000 steps per month. 

Recently, I decided to up my stair climbing commitment to 10 times a day…..or a decade.  Sort of like an exercise Rosary.  This new commitment will allow me to climb almost 10,000 steps a month.  And it only takes about 10 minutes a day!

At first, my muscles protested from all the use and I was winded by the time I reach the top of the staircase.  It is interesting to me that, like a virtue and a good habit, the more I do it, the easier it becomes.  My muscles and lungs are getting conditioned.

If you are trying to overcome a bad habit or vice, it will obviously be challenging at first.  You might get winded from the climb.  If you are trying to instill a good habit or virtue, keep in mind that your new muscles will protest.  But, with persistence and God’s grace, it will get smoother.

— 5 —

Every Step I Take:  Speaking of stairs, my Mom told me that the Sisters taught her in school that each time you climb a step to offer it up for the souls in purgatory.  They taught her to say, “Every step I take is for the poor suffering souls in purgatory.”  To this day, she recites this for every step. 

There are times that I do not want to do my Staircase Rosary and there are times I look at the elevator and tell myself that would be the easier way. But, as a member of the Church Militant, I remind myself that overcoming this temptation can be a powerful tool for those that are suffering. When I get tempted to cop-out, I say to myself, “I will offer this up for my sister or my friend from work” who are both going through Cancer treatment. I have faith that it makes a difference.

What other ways can we strengthen the Church Militant? 

— 6 —

burning bushBurst Into Flame And You Did Not Burn:   Saint Amadeus of Lausanne (1108-1159), Cistercian monk and Bishop wrote this about our Blessed Mother, Mary: 

   “The Holy Spirit will come upon you.” He will arise within you, Mary. In some saints he has come; in others he will come; but in you he will arise… He will arise by means of the fertility, the abundance, the fullness of his outpouring in your being. Even when he has filled you, he will yet be upon you; he will sweep over your waters to create in you a work greater and more admirable than when, hovering over the waters at the beginning, he brought created substance into being in all its various forms (Gn 1,2). “And the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” Christ, the power and wisdom of God, will overshadow you. Then he will take human nature from you while keeping the fullness of God, which you are unable to bear, even as he assumes our flesh. He will take you beneath his shadow because the humanity to be taken by the Word is to be a screen for the inaccessible light of God. This light, filtered by its screen, will penetrate your most chaste womb

     We therefore pray you, Sovereign Lady, most worthy Mother of God, do not despise today those who ask with fear, who seek with devotion, who knock with love. We pray you, tell us what feelings moved you, what love seized you… when this was accomplished in you, when the Word took flesh from you? In what state was your soul, your heart, your spirit, your senses, your mind? You burst into flame like the bush that was shown to Moses long ago and you did not burn, (Ex 3,2). You dissolved away in God but were not consumed. Burning, you melted beneath the fire from on high yet regained strength from that fire divine to burn again and dissolve once more in him… You became more virgin still – and more than virgin because both virgin and mother. Therefore we greet you, full of grace: the Lord is with you. You are blessed among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

Isn’t that a beautiful Advent meditation!?!?! 

— 7 —

Divine Utterances:  There are so many powerful reasons to be Catholic!  How about these gorgeous words from one of our many brilliant a Doctors of the Church:

“You nourished me with spiritual milk, the milk of your divine utterances. You sustained me with the solid food of the Body of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Your most holy, Only-begotten Son. You gave me to drink of the divine chalice of his life-giving Blood, which he shed for salvation of the whole world.”

Saint John Damascene (c.675-749), monk, theologian, Doctor of the Church

If you have enjoyed my blog, please “like” my Facebook Page, The Veil and sign up to receive my blog posts automatically by clicking the rectangular “Follow” button. Thank you and God Bless!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!  Thank you for hosting, Jennifer!

7 Myths Singles Must Resist: Myth #2 God Has Forgotten About Me

My posts over the last several weeks addressed Myths that singles must resist.  In the first post of the series, I set the stage for the remaining 7 posts.  I addressed Myth #1 two weeks ago and today I will address Myth #2:  God has forgotten about me.

Myth #2 will be the most difficult because I do not have all the answers. I am not a theologian or a philosopher.  But, I am intimately familiar with feelings of being forgotten by God.

“Why do you complain, O Jacob, And you, O Israel, why do you say, “My plight is hidden from the LORD, and my cause has passed out of God’s notice”? Have you not known? Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchableHe gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.  Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strengththey shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary;  they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:27-31

The verse from Isaiah above reveals that His people have always dealt with this feeling of “passing out of God’s notice.”  When you are single well beyond your hoped-to-be-married time, it can feel as if you have passed out of God’s notice.

In order to tackle this myth, we must first ask some very philosophical questions:  Is God real?  Who is God?  What is our purpose?

These questions will be tackled in three parts.  Each part will be progressively more difficult to explain and accept.  I will discuss number one and two this week and conclude with number three next week.

  1. Pascal’s Wager 
  2. Distant or Intimate? Chaos or Order? 
  3. A Perspective on Suffering

Pascal’s Wager

“In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.”

Blaise Pascal

Blaise PascalIn order to answer the question “Does God forget about us?”, we must first establish that He exists.  Pascal’s wager, simply stated in my non-philosophical way, teaches us that if God does exist, then it benefits us to live our life in friendship with Him.  Because if He does exist and we live our life as if He doesn’t exist, then we have a lot to lose; namely Heaven.  And, we have something to fear, namely the pains of Hell.

If, on the other hand, God doesn’t exist and we live our life as if He does, then we have nothing to lose. We just die and our soulless bodies rot after living a life of trying earnestly to not harm ourselves or our neighbor.

So, logically it makes sense for us to live as if and wager that He does exist.  Unless we can be 100% sure that He does not exist…..which we can’t.

Once we make the logical wager that He does exist, then we must ask ourselves Who He is? Is He a distant God or an intimate God? Is He a God of chaos or a God of order? 

Distant or Intimate?

“What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”

                                                                                Matthew 18:12-14

To be honest, I grew up with the notion that God was a distant keeper of rules.  It has only been over time that I see His intimate love and involvement in my life.

Maybe becoming a parent has helped me with this renewed vision of God.  Once you have a child, you begin to understand God a little more. You understand the strong feelings of love, protectiveness and potential heartbreak.  You begin to understand the difficulty of training and disciplining a child and then allowing for the gift of free will to manifest itself in that child’s life. 

It is similar to, I think, how God parents us.  First, He trains us.  Then, He gives us the long leash of free will.  While we are in training, He can feel a little like a taskmaster.  While we wonder away on our long leash, He can feel distant.  But, His love, protectiveness and attachment to outcome are constant.  He allows us to break His heart.

Hairs Numbered  “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

                                   Matthew 10:30

I always heard people say “God loves you!” and I would silently say to myself, “So what?  He loves everyone.  I am not special to Him.”  Ouch.  That was hard to admit.  But, I think I was putting human limits on God. He is not like a parent who has to divide His time and attention between His children.  There is infinitely enough of Him to go around.  He can ‘pay attention’ to me and the rest of the gazillion humans He created, all at the same time.  And, He does not have ‘favorites.’  We are all equally favored by Him.  I don’t know how He does it.  He is God.  He is all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful.

So, let’s conclude He is real and He is intimate and you have His attention.  Just how involved is He in the details?

Chaos or Order?

God of PeaceThis part is hard to prove or explain because sin produces chaos in our life and in the world.  And, our finite minds cannot fathom the ways of our Lord.  But, when I look at the Old Testament and at the design of the universe and our bodies, I see a God of order.  When I look at salvation history, I see a God that allows for our free will and allows for chaos but somehow brings order and goodness out of it all.  Again, how He does it, I do not know.

Our part in the order of things is critical.  That is why Chastity is so important.  Unchaste behavior is morally disordered and adds to the chaos. 

Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.” (CCC 2351)

The Fall of Man has brought chaos and disorder into the world but you can avoid adding to it by living a chaste life.   

Morally disordered unchaste behavior also leads you into darkness. This darkness and confusion can convince you that God has forgotten about you.  It can convince you that life’s events are random.  But they are not. God can bring order out of chaos. You are not left to your own devices.

God is real. He is intimate. He is mysterious. He has not forgotten about you. Your cause is not hidden from Him.

There is a plan for your life.  And, it will involve….suffering.

** Next week: I will conclude this myth with Part 2:  A Perspective on Suffering

God Bless!

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7 Quick Takes Friday ~ Vol 7

 — 1 —

The theme of this week’s QTs will be:  God chases all of us.

This week’s blog post features guest blogger, Amanda from Worthy of Agape.  Please go check out her beautiful and inspiring ‘God chases all of us’ story.  Thank you, Amanda!

— 2 —

Barbara Curtis:  My Mom, who is completely electronic media-free, sometimes knows more about what is going on in the world than I do simply because she reads newspapers.  Over Thanksgiving, she told me about a 64-year old woman who died suddenly on Oct 30th. The woman was a ‘local’ from my hometown area and she was a writer in our Diocesan paper. Little did I know the impact this woman, Barbara Curtis, would have on me.

Barbara Curtis was the mother of 12 children. When I heard that I thought, “Oh, she was a life-long counter-cultural Catholic with a large family.”  But, when I looked deeper, I found out that God had completely transformed her life and that she only converted to the Catholic Faith 5 years ago.  The rest of the QTs will reveal what an amazing woman Barbara was and how God truly does chase all of us.

None of us live a life of perfect obedience to God. We all fail Him. But, these stories of sin, redemption and transformation glorify God in a way that is, for me, sometimes more moving than a life of obedience.  I look at these stories and the crucifix makes sense to me.  It becomes…. captivating.  It becomes…desirable.

— 3 —

12 Children: Barbara and her husband, Tripp, have 12 children. Child #8 was born with Down’s Syndrome. So, they decided to adopt 3 more children with Down’s Syndrome.

Blink. blink.

This act of courage and love left me speechless.

— 4 —

Child #9:  Barbara and Tripp’s 9th child, Maddy Curtis, was a contestant on American IdolTake a listen to her here.  The clip shows a 16-year old Maddy talking about her Down’s Syndrome siblings just before her audition on American Idol.

She said, “The four boys bring out the best in every person they meet. They see the world in colors and we need to see the world that way.”

For her audition, she sang an amazing and soulful version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

Notice what the judges say about Maddy.  They notice that she is different from other 16- year old contestants in that she is “not annoying.”  I think what they mean is that she is unspoiled and humble.  These priceless characteristics in a child are often a result of being in a large family…. especially a family that embraces the imperfect among us.

After being eliminated from American Idol, Maddy decided to raise money for Haiti Relief.  She performed a one-woman show which sold out two full houses at Franklin Park Performing Arts Center in Purcellville, VA January 31, 2010. All for charity.

She has the voice of an angel and she uses it for good. This is another priceless characteristic.  To know our gifts and talents are from God and they are to be applied for good….for His glory.

— 5 —

Pro-life:  When I hear of large families, I assume they are and always have been pro-life.  But, this is the part that brought me to tears. Barbara has not always been pro-life.  As a matter of fact, when you read this, you see that she was a strong advocate in the pro-abortion movement in her mid-20’s. In that same article she reveals her own tragic involvement in abortion.

I know of several girls who have had abortions and most of the time, their lives spiral downward. The impact of their abortion lingers long after they participate in the death of their children.

But, Barbara’s life spiraled upward to the glory of God. God’s grace and her cooperation with Him completely transformed her life.  Her life and heart were transformed to the point where she became a significant witness to the world.  She showed us that all life is precious, including those shunned by the world.

— 6 —

Curtis ChildrenLord?:  Barbara died of a massive stroke. The funeral Mass included her children singing a four-part a cappella version of ‘Abide with Me.’   One of the Down’s Syndrome children let out a wail of distress during the Mass. The beauty of these children is that their emotions are real.  They honestly express what we are afraid to feel and express.

I did not know Barbara Curtis and my heart wailed “Why her Lord?”  She has all those babies (I call all children babies…even the grown ones) who need her.  She is such a witness to the Faith and the pro-life cause. How can You take her life?

But, God is the Author of life and of death. He creates life and allows us the privilege of co-creating with Him. And He calls us home according to His will and perfect plan.

— 7 —

Saints Among Us:  Barbara became a Christian about 25 years ago and she entered the fullness of the faith when she converted to the Catholic Faith in 2007. God chased her and she cooperated with Him. Her life was completely transformed.

But, the first half of her life was tragic and left many emotional scars. She was a survivor of her parent’s divorce, she battled alcoholism, suffered neglect and spent much of her young life in foster homes after her Father abandoned the family. She was a former radical leftist, feminist and abortion activist. But, God chased her and transformed her.

Barbara homeschooled her children and had a long-running blog called Mommylife.net.  She was a writer for the Arlington Catholic Herald.  She wrote nine books and more than 1,200 articles during her professional career. She was a certified Montessori teacher with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.

Barbara was strongly pro-life not only in word, but in deed.

It is people like Barbara who motivate me to do more, to be more and to love more. She convicted me as a Mother in this article with her simple recipe for success: All you have to do is sit down to a family dinner.  Because she had ‘walked the walk’ and had raised 12 children, I put a lot of merit in her advice. I was immediately motivated to enact this ‘sit down to a family dinner’ change in our home and we have already experienced blessings from her ‘simple recipe for success.’

Barbara CurtisReading about her life enlarged my heart and called me to open my heart to life, love, redemption, transformation and grace the way she did. These are the Saints among us. Thank you, Barbara.

God bless the Curtis family and may the soul of Barbara, who has faithfully departed us, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

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Guest Blogger ~ Amanda Mortus!

The blog world is such a blessing to us Catholics! What a wonderful way to collaborate with and initiate friendships with other faithful Catholics.  I am honored to welcome my new bloggy friend, Amanda from Worthy of Agape as this week’s guest blogger!

Amanda is a Youth Minister and is in the trenches doing battle for young souls.  In a recent interview, she said, “My heart has been so set on fire for women’s ministry that I wrote a book about the lies that Satan tells women, how Jesus triumphs over those lies, and how to live out His powerful love in our lives.”

Good Girls Only?

Romans 3 23

To some, my blog and the concept of The Veil can appear to be a club just for “good” girls.  It definitely is not!  My blog is for all girls who have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). So that would include all of us!  We have all taken our own path to this place.

Some have been able to maintain the virtue of Chastity (yay, keep going!).  Some have not maintained Chastity but are now more committed than ever (yay for redemption!).  And, some are thinking about giving up on their commitment to Chastity (nooo, keep reading!!). 

Amanda’s story and the concept of The Veil are for all of us because we all need to be reminded of our frailty in this area. We all need Truth. We also need to be encouraged to seek first our holy God for He is the source of all strength. 

God chases all of us.  As Matt Maher says, all you’ve got to do is….turn around.

The Peace Of Certainty

Prodical SonSometimes, I think the reality of The Veil and the beauty and power of Chastity are more easily seen by those who have struggled with unchaste behavior.  The proverbial scales fall off and eyesight is restored.  The certainty, peace and clarity that result are powerful.  The witness of God’s love and mercy is very moving.  Amanda’s story is both powerful and moving. 

You can follow Amanda on Twitter @worthyofAgape and “like” her Facebook page to stay encouraged in your walk with our Lord and to stay informed on the progress of her book, Worthy.  I can’t wait to read it!

Thank you, Amanda for sharing your beautiful story of redemption and for this gorgeous note of encouragement for all of us! 


I’ll be perfectly honest, when Cindy asked me to write a guest post about the concept of the veil, chastity and living life as a young, yet unmarried Catholic, I had a pretty strong feeling where God was calling me…and I wanted to run in the opposite direction.  I’ve slowly felt the Lord working on my heart and preparing me to share more of my story with the world and every time I feel Him working on my heart I want to throw up the walls and crawl into a hole.  But that just won’t work, nor will it make Him very happy, so here goes nothing. 

The truth is that I haven’t been 100% chaste in my life so far.  I’ve made mistakes, and a lot of them.  At one point I told people that my new address was the confessional at my local parish.  I had a semester in college, which I refer to as my “stupid decisions” semester.  I drank a lot (despite the fact that I was not of age) and hung out with the entirely wrong crowd.  I got myself into a lot of sticky situations, and looking back now it is so obvious to me that the Lord and my lovely guardian angel kept me out of any real harm.  After college I started dating a guy very seriously, though our relationship wasn’t very pure.  We pushed the limits on a lot of physical boundaries.  In the end it only led to a lot of heartache when, after nearly a year of dating, he told me that he wasn’t in love with me and never had been, despite the fact that we’d been telling each other “I love you” for nearly nine months.  He said that just because he wasn’t in love with me didn’t mean the relationship needed to end.  I disagreed and walked away confused, hurt, and even angry. 

The next serious relationship I entered started out as hands-down the holiest, most beautiful relationship I had ever been in.  We went to Mass together, we prayed the Rosary together daily (even if we were across town, we prayed it at the same time).  A number of our friends said that we were the picture perfect couple.  Eventually, we got lazy.  We stopped going to daily Mass together as frequently, we stopped praying the Rosary together or at all.  As our prayer lives suffered our physical temptations increased and once again I found myself in a relationship that pushed more physical boundaries than I care to admit.  A few months after we’d given up our prayer life together we made a committed effort to get back to it, in part because we wanted to kick the physical temptations, but also because we knew we had erred in losing our ultimate focus: God.  Sad to say that perhaps it was too little too late, but eventually that relationship ended too, leaving me more broken-hearted than the first.  In truth, I hadn’t guarded my heart.  I was so emotionally invested in the relationship and our future together that I had stopped asking God if this was really where He wanted me, so when the relationship ended I was crushed.

I have, for quite some time, loved learning about the Holy of Holies and the concepts of the Ark of the Covenant as well as the curtain or veil that guards the Holy of Holies.  When I first read Cindy’s concept of the veil I felt my heart leap for joy!  YES!  This is spot on!  I’ve lived it, but not in the way I would recommend others to live it.  I’ve tried (clearly) to lift my veil before it was time and before God wanted me to.  I fought with all of my might to lift that veil and let someone enter the Holy of Holies (a.k.a. my heart), regardless of the fact that God wasn’t the one lifting that veil.  I can promise you, based on my own experiences, that it only leads to hurt and heartache – things I wouldn’t wish for anyone.  Because I tried to lift that veil before it’s appointed time (see Ecclesiastes 3:1-8), I was left feeling insecure and unsure of myself, my worth as a woman and child of God, and of the relationships I was in.  Instead of clinging to God, I clung to the relationships with all that I had because they became all I knew.

When those relationships ended I was left alone with a God who had been patiently waiting for me to be washed in His love.  He washed me clean.  He restored me, reminded me (and continues to remind me) of my worthiness and His unconditional love for me.  He’s lowered the portions of the veil I foolishly tried to raise and granted me the patience to wait for His time.  I know now that His time is better than mine.  Saint Catherine of Siena said that “everything short of God must and will disappoint you.”  Her words are exactly true because in my attempt to raise the veil before its appointed time I tried to make myself and those other relationships my God, so they naturally had to disappoint me.  Those relationships had to end, and now I see that those guys ending those relationships was actually the most loving thing they could have done for me because it thrust me back into the loving arms of God.  No matter which side of the veil you find yourself on, there is a God who is waiting for you and inviting you into the Holy of Holies, into His glorious and loving heart.  The invitation is always there and He is patiently and lovingly waiting for you to accept.  Will you?


Next Week:  Myth #2 BustedGod Has Forgotten About Me

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Thank you and God Bless!