The Wisdom of Chastity ~ A Guest Post by Morgan

When Morgan first conveyed this story to me, I knew that many of you would benefit from it.  Each of you will be challenged in your commitment to chastity by many people in various situations. Morgan offers many reasons for choosing this virtue.  This quote, to me, is the best reason:

“…But do I know that living chastely is what makes me the best version of myself? A thousand times yes…”

 Thank you, Morgan for sharing your story!  Check out her blog here and find her on Twitter here!


Imagine this scene:

There I am, sitting on an exam table, waiting for my very first OBGyn appointment to begin.

I’m feeling a mixture of emotions…nervousness especially, but also a twinge of annoyance.

I was 20 years old and a virgin with no plans of sexual activity until marriage.

So then WHY, I asked myself, was I there. Ugh.

My doctor walked in, she seemed nice enough and began to ask the routine questions.

It was when I revealed to her that I was indeed sexually inactive and surprise! never had been, that the appointment took a turn I hadn’t anticipated.

Let me pause for a moment and explain something.

Now, I had prepared myself for this moment in the appointment. The moment when I tell my doctor that yes, I am a virgin, and yes, I am saving sex for marriage.

I had expected that perhaps she would accept my answer but blow past it with the assumption that I should go on the pill, “just in case I changed my mind” (after all, I was in college, and who really expects college kids to not give in to the hook-up culture?).

I had expected that perhaps she wouldn’t believe me and would push and prod in hopes of me giving her the real truth.

What I didn’t expect was that a normally hour-long appointment turned into a 2+ hour discussion on how I had managed to retain my virginity in the society we live in today.

I’ll be honest, that was the first time I’d ever had to explain myself. Most of my friends in high school were Mormon, so living out chastity was pretty easy with that support system around me. I never received any negative backlash while in high school, though I found out years later that people said that I was “really religious” (a comment I took pride in upon hearing it, though, had I heard that at the time it was said, I may not have taken it as a compliment).

And in college, I was extremely involved at the Catholic Newman Center, which provided me with numerous friends also living chastely…as well as many examples of couples who made chastity a priority in their relationship.

But this conversation with someone who turned out to be genuinely interested in how I, in her words, had become “such a confident young woman who is so assured in [her] decision to save sex for marriage”, allowed me to explore how I DID choose chastity and in turn, also strengthened my commitment to this way of life.

(I think I remember her saying something about how “normal” I was…umm yeah, common misconception about those who are living out chastity…)

The following are just a few of the seemingly endless questions she asked me, which I think help to encompass the “how” behind my commitment to chastity.

Were you raised like this?

hermmm….well, yes, I suppose you could say that. I mean, I am the eldest of four children and we were all taught to love, respect, and honor others AND ourselves. But I don’t ever remember my mom sitting me down and saying

“now, Morgan, remember that you must always protect the precious gift of your virginity until marriage”

….because, to be honest, that never really came up. I don’t look back and see my childhood as being “sheltered”, but my parents definitely guarded their children’s young minds and hearts from worldly influences that might encourage certain negative behaviors.

(Read: no PG-13 movies until we were AT LEAST 13, etc.)

I learned about sex when my mom gave me “the talk”, not from cable television. And because I had a good relationship with her, when I had a question, I went to her for answers, and I’m sure that formed my mind in how I viewed my body and sexuality as a whole.

Are you a virgin because of religion?

Oiy vey. My answer to my OBGyn went something like this:

“Well, I am Catholic, and the Church does teach that chastity is what ought to be practiced. However, the teachings of the Church aren’t the fundamental reasons why I’ve remained a virgin…but they support the values that are already ingrained in me.”

I love that our Holy Mother Church teaches about chastity. Despite the misconceptions of others that her loving teachings are “restricting” or “old-fashioned”, I love them. Plain and simple.

But as I stated those 3-some years ago in that doctor’s office, I feel like my desire to practice chastity has been inherently written on my soul. I love that Church teaches what I practice, but it’s kind of like my pro-life beliefs.

I am pro-life not because my Church tells me to be, but because it is what is right and true.

I live out chastity not simply because I’m Catholic and therefore must, but because it is what is right and true for my body and soul.

Having the Church’s teachings there as a safety net when I’m feeling weak and want to give in to temptation really do help me to remain strong. It’s great to have back-up!

But in this society! You must be REALLY convicted.

Yes. Yes I am.

Living chastely is a choice I have to make every. single. day.

Is it easy, especially in today’s world? Heck to the no.

But do I know that living chastely is what makes me the best version of myself? A thousand times yes.

I’ve been in impure relationships before and they were harmful to my soul. Being conscious of my mind, heart, and body at all times can be exhausting, but it’s something that I’ve committed to myself, and to my future husband, and I intend to see it through.

People, while they say that men are visual creatures, that doesn’t mean that a herd of shirtless runners doesn’t also affect us women. Seriously.

But the phrase “practicing chastity” means, for me, just that. I’ve grown and become much better at controlling my thoughts and desires than when I first consciously began choosing chastity.

The bottom line: at 23 years old, I am a virgin and saving sex for marriage. There have been many influences in my life to get me to the place that I’m at today, but when it comes down to it, the choice, the commitment, the promise to live chastely has to be my decision. I am grateful to everyone and everything that has brought me to this point, but what keeps me on this track is remaining faithful to our Lord and when I’m feeling weak, running to Him for the strength I need to carry on.

Thank you so much to Cindy for allowing me this opportunity to share part of my story!

Please know of my prayers for all of you!

Morgan  Photo of Morgan (Beautiful hair and smile!)

7 Quick Takes Friday ~ Vol 39

— 1 —   This Week’s Post:  The World’s Way ~ A Guest Post    Wonderful insight!  Thank you so much to the author for sharing her heart and her wisdom!

— 2 —  Meg Hunter-Kilmer:  As promised, I am reporting back on Meg’s visit with us this week!  She had a great time at our Parish Summer Camp and of course she made tons of new friends.  She participated in our Jane Austen Movie night (see QT #3) and she gave several talks to the Camp Instructors during the daily “Theology Class.” (Yes, isn’t it amazing that they have a one-hour daily theology class?)  Anyway, one of Meg’s talks was on “Discernment” and I just loved what she said about it:

“Instead of seeking after your vocation, seek after God.”    Meg Hunter-Kilmer

 — 3 —  Jane Austen Movie Night:  Gregg and I hosted about 15 High School and College age girls for a Jane Austen movie night a couple of weeks ago.  Since Pride and Prejudice is over 5 hours long, the girls returned this week to finish up the movie.  At first, the girls did not like Mr. Darcy.  But, they all clapped and cheered at the end of the movie. One girl said that the movie proved to her that she should ‘raise her standards with guys”  Music to my ears!

— 4 — Woman In Love:  I gave each of the girls at the movie night a copy of Katie Hartfiel’s book, Woman In Love.  It was cute because I had already given one of the girls the book earlier this month for her birthday.  She was reading it at work (the Summer Camp) and one of the more popular college guys took a peek at the book and began to read it out loud.  He declared that he wanted a copy!  When the girls heard this story at movie night, they couldn’t wait to have their own book.  In fact, they started reading it out loud to each other right there on the spot! 🙂

— 5 —  Pray for A Teen Girl:  Before we started Pride and Prejudice this week, I passed around a notebook and told the girls that if they wanted to jot down their name, I would add them to my Divine Mercy Chaplet prayer list.  Their sweet young faces seemed to light up at the idea!  They all added their names and one girl even added her Mom’s name to the list.  What a joy I will have praying for them!

If you meet a High School or College-age girl, ask her if you can pray for her.  And then do it.  Even if you are only a couple of years older than she is, she will appreciate being singled out for prayer.

These girls are navigating some tough waters and they get a lot of lectures and (often necessary) correction.  Sometimes, however, they just need someone to encourage them and pray for them.  I feel so privileged to have these girls and all of you who visit this blog in my Motherly heart and on my Divine Mercy Chaplet prayer list.

— 6 — Spotlight On: This week’s spotlight is on Leticia Adams from The Ramblings of a Crazy Face blog.  She doesn’t post a lot but when she does it is always good.  This post really was especially good.  Here is the (ouch!!) quote that got me: 

 “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image,” ………“when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

 — 7 — Guest Post:  I am so happy to announce that my bloggy friend, Morgan from Follow and Believe will be my guest poster this week!  Keep an eye out for her post this Monday, July 29th! 

God love and bless you!

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. Please check me out and follow me on Twitter too! Thank you!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

The World’s Way ~ Guest Post

“…When I was young, I tried things the world’s way. It was a total disaster….” 

Wow, this guest post is chock full of wisdom!  Like me, this woman is able to look back upon her life and see the path in which the Lord has led her.  Some footsteps on the path have been lamentable yet, due to the grace of God, these steps did not lead her down the path of destruction.

“…Holy Mother Church and Her beautiful sacraments provided me with tremendous healing…” 

There is significant benefit in avoiding these missteps and by no means is she saying that healing from them has been easy.  Spousal abandonment is extremely painful. Instead, her goal in sharing this with you is to encourage you in the virtue of Chastity now instead of learning it the hard way.  And, to not be afraid to turn toward the Lord for strength and healing at any point along the path.

“…Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are Mine….”  Isaiah 43:1

In my conversations with her, I feel that she has also witnessed both Superabundance and a lack of Superabundance in marriages.  The Superabundance, from her perspective, is a direct result of the virtue of Chastity in marriage.  And, the lack of Superabundance unfortunately abounds in marriages where the virtue of Chastity is not present.  

Check out the Blessed are the pure of heart paragraph where she provides a list of the beautiful fruits of Chastity.

Thank you, dear Guest Poster, for sharing your heart and your wisdom!


In Him we move, in Him we live, in Him we have our being:  I have learned, the hard way, that chastity fills our lives with a great deal of freedom~ mentally, physically and spiritually.  I am a divorced single mom who made the decision not to have a relationship with another when my marriage ended. Well meaning loved ones attempted to introduce me to prospective suitors. However, when my husband abandoned me, I felt very strongly that my job was to raise my children and continue to work as hard as I could in the spiritual realm to fight for my former husband’s soul. I had the distinct impression that for the rest of my life, Jesus wanted me all to Himself. As time went on, I could see that there was tremendous freedom in this. I continued to fight the battle for the integrity of my family. By the world’s standards, I lost. My former husband “moved on”. At first, I was crushed. Holy Mother Church and Her beautiful sacraments provided me with tremendous healing. I must say that I am glad that there are no “divorced/single support groups” in our parish. Another relationship would not have been what I needed. When I was young, I tried things the world’s way. It was a total disaster. Contemplating the way in which Jesus lived and died, I am daily learning about forgiveness and repentance. This will take the rest of my life. Through this process, my heart has endless room to receive blessings and graces from Jesus and his Mother.  Certainly, there are frightening, lonely moments, but God always blesses us with events that are unmistakably miraculous. There is an abundance of solitude yet very little loneliness in my life. 

To Jesus through Mary: If measured by the world’s yardstick, I am a complete failure. I have no career outside of my home. Materially, our life is very simple. Our Lord has, through miraculous home based work, allowed me to continue to be a homemaker for my children. Caring for them and praying for their father keep me quite busy. Inspired by the woman who fed the prophet Elijah with her last meal, I chose emotional fidelity to our Blessed Lord. Additionally, Our Lady always keeps her promises to families who practice devotion to her through the Rosary.  We experience a peace in our lives that defies human understanding. Trying our best to imitate Mary makes Jesus the center of our lives. 

Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God: Purity of heart extends far beyond refraining from extramarital intimate relations. There are so many benefits from modesty in dress, conversation, and choice of reading, music and movies. These benefits are daily gifts from God. Our Heavenly Father blesses us with a distinct awareness of His spiritual and emotional protection, peace of mind, healthy self-esteem, inner joy, tranquility during trials, enhanced enjoyment of the beauty of His creation, energy to serve others with charity, increasing willingness to follow the Holy Spirit (this will also take a lifetime!), and a constant awareness of the loving presence of Jesus, Mary and the entire Celestial Court. 

I am so grateful for the gifts that God blesses us with when we choose chastity as a way of life. The world could never give what Our Lord gives to those who love and serve Him!

7 Quick Takes Friday ~ Vol 38

— 1 —   This Week’s Post:  Endless Circles   It seems that many of us struggle to understand what our role is versus what God’s role is when it comes to our vocation.  Is He intimately involved in every detail and does He lead us to our destiny…… or does He have more of a ’hands off’ approach?  Can we significantly alter our destination with our choices?

— 2 —  Meg Hunter-Kilmer:  Guess who is coming into town and staying with me next week?  Meg! Remember my 7QTs from back in January where I shared how great she is?  Well, this week she will be spending time at our Parish Summer Camp teaching the kids about Jesus and His Church!  I will report back with details next week!

— 3 — The Definition of Sexy:  I loved this post!  It is so true that a man is most attractive when he is giving of himself.    I will refrain from embarrassing Gregg with a story.  (wink)    p.s.  If you have a daughter, I think you will find a lot of wisdom throughout Haley’s blog.

— 4 —  Spotlight On: This week’s spotlight is on (I don’t know her name) from the Grace for the Road blog.  Her post, I Don’t Wait, was spot on.   She had 782 other bloggers “like” her post and 1,114 comments about the post.  It was that good.

— 5 —  Not Alone SeriesI am looking forward to next week’s post in this series!  They answer the question:  Is it possible to be “just friends” with a guy? Remember to check out what the girls have to say!

— 6 — Pray for Your Parish Priest:  I was recently convicted about how much our Parish priests need our prayers.  We are blessed with a wonderful Pastor and it is easy to take that for granted sometimes.  Thank you, Father Ray, especially for the Sacraments.  See you tomorrow for Confession. 🙂

— 7 —  Guest Posts:  I am so excited to announce that I have at least 3 guest posts coming up!!  You can expect the first one on Monday, July 22nd and the next one July 29th! In the first guest post, a single Mom (who is a firm believer in the concept of Superabundance) shares about the freedom she experienced once she committed to Chastity.  The second guest post is from fellow blogger, Morgan, who shares her wisdom on the virtue of Chastity.  And the third guest post…..well that may be from a guy!

God love and bless you!

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. Please check me out and follow me on Twitter too! Thank you!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Endless Circles

“Yet in the absence of light, everything becomes confused; it is impossible to tell good from evil, or the road to our destination from other roads which take us in endless circles, going nowhere.”

Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith)

The new Encyclical, Lumen Fidei, is so timely for me as I struggle with how to answer the question of God’s will when it comes to marriage. Last week, I introduced this series of posts with the idea that there is no formula for getting what we want from God.  God is a mystery and His ways are not our ways. God is infinitely good and we, His creatures, are limited in our understanding.

I ended that post with some very philosophical questions. Based on your comments and emails, it seems that many of us struggle to understand what our role is versus what God’s role is when it comes to our vocation.  Is He intimately involved in every detail and does He lead us to our destiny…… or does He have more of a ‘hands off’ approach?  Can we significantly alter our destination with our choices?

Today I will share with you some stories which reveal that I also struggled to understand my role.  My goal in sharing these stories is to give you peace of mind about your future vocation. Yes, you can negatively and positively affect your vocation with your free will.  But thankfully, your role and God’s role in your future vocation are intrinsically and mysteriously connected.

Keep in mind that I am writing this as a lay person.  I do not have anything close to a philosophy or theology degree.  I write from life experience.  I write about marriage as someone who can turn around and see the path I took to get here.  I also know the path that Gregg took to get here.  We have this vantage point and it is from this vantage point that I write.


I think it is interesting that, although we lived on opposite coasts, Gregg and I were almost in the same city eight years before actually meeting in person in 2002.  In January 1994, Gregg was living in Los Angeles and I was supposed to be in Los Angeles for a business trip.  However, I was in a terrible ski accident in Reno, NV the day before and had to be flown home to Virginia to recover.

The only reason we know this is because the Northridge earthquake happened on January 17, 1994 and we both clearly remember where we were on that day.  Gregg was in the middle of the earthquake and I had just missed it.

I could go in endless circles trying to imagine if we had somehow met 8 years earlier in Los Angeles.  Would we have fallen in love?  Would we have married? How many babies would we now have?  And so on. But, can I really believe that God’s will was for me to get into a ski accident in order to prevent me from going to Los Angeles and meeting Gregg?  Not really. Was it all just a coincidence?  No.

You see, the light of faith keeps me from going there.  I am just a creature and my Creator is the only One who knows the answer of how? and why? and when?


Catholicism has a both/and approach to explaining God’s movement in the world.  God’s hand is in all things and He allows for our gift of free will.

Do I believe in Calvinistic predestination?  No.  Do I believe in the gift of free will?  Absolutely.  Do I believe that God’s hand is in all things?  Yes.  Do I understand how He works?  Not at all.

But, I can see His promptings in my life and so can Gregg.  These promptings led us to each other at an exact moment in time.  Not one minute earlier.

What Is Your Will Lord?

If you are single, you are where I was 10 years and 9 months ago.  As a single girl, my future vocation was veiled from me.  But I will tell you a funny story to show you that I tried to wrestle God into telling me His will.

In 1997, five years before marrying Gregg, I was in a pickle.  You see, my job was transferring about two hours away from Virginia to Maryland.  I was fresh from a serious break up and I had the choice of remaining in VA and getting a new job or following my  current job to Maryland.

What did I do?  I pleaded with the Lord to guide me. I didn’t care about my job.  I wanted my decision to be based on where my husband lived.    “Lord, is my husband in Virginia?  If so, I will stay.  Lord, is he in Maryland?  If so, I will go.  Just tell me already!”  Silence.

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?” –C.S. Lewis

So, I lived in both states for five years in the hopes of being in the right place at the right time. I kept my residence in Virginia but then stayed in Maryland during the work week. I dated guys from both Maryland and Virginia.  It was a crazy and fun but faith-stretching time.

And guess what?  Gregg was neither in Virginia nor Maryland.  And, he was no longer in Los Angeles.  He was in Kansas!

In the end, my job decision had no bearing on my future vocation. But, I could only know this after the fact.

Invisibly Present

I hope the anecdotes I shared above help you to stay out of that endless circle of darkness. Your future and your vocation are in God’s hands.  Trust Him to reveal it to you at the right moment.  Bathe yourself in the Light of Faith.

The following quotes are from The Joy of Full Surrender by Jean-Pierre de Caussade.  I highly recommend this book to keep you bathed in the light of faith.

“All Creatures are in the living hands of God….faith sees God’s hands in all things. The physical creation is a veiled concealing of the profound mysteries of the divine work.

There is not a moment in which God is not present with us under the cover of some pain to be endured, some obligation or some duty to be performed, or some consolation to be enjoyed.  All that takes place within us, around us, or through us involves and conceals His divine hand.

His hand is really and truly there, but it is invisibly present, so that we are always surprised and do not recognize His operation until it has ceased.  If we could lift the veil, and if we were attentive and watchful, God would continually reveal Himself to us, and we should see His hand in everything that happens to us, and rejoice in it.

At every moment, we should proclaim, “It is the Lord!” and we should accept every fresh circumstance as gift from God.

Faith is God’s interpreter.  Without the light of faith, creation speaks to us in vain.” 

Hope and Chastity

Now that we have touched on faith, next week I will write about hope and chastity.  We are not left to our own devices and yes, Chastity does make a difference in staying on ‘the road to our destination.’

God love you and bless you!

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. Please check me out and follow me on Twitter too! Thank you!

7 Quick Takes Friday ~ Vol 37

— 1 —   This Week’s Post:  There Is No Formula!  Oh, how I wish there was a formula!  But there is isn’t. However, we are not left to our own devices.  Stay tuned for future posts where we explore the mystery of God.

— 2 —  Modesty Discovered:  <—  This guest post was reblogged by L.I.F.T this week!  L.I.F.T (Living In Faith Together) is a Young Adult Ministry in the Diocese of St. Augustine, FL serving those 18-39 in all stages of life; married or single, with or without children.  This ministry is based on the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church but all are welcomed to attend.  Their goal is to form a community among young adults through spiritual formation, service and social events.  Some activities include faith sharing, adoration, retreats, praise and worship, etc.

I have no idea how L.I.F.T found out about this guest post but Praise God that they did!

— 3 — Furlough:  Anyone out there aware of the government furlough?  Our furlough started this week and for the next 11 weeks Gregg and I will have 1 unpaid day per week.  It is a very clever and targeted income tax, wouldn’t you say?  Oh well, there are worse things that could happen to us!  And since we are furloughed every Friday, we are making the best of it including……Jane Austen movie night!

— 4 —  Jane Austen Movie Night:  Gregg and I hosted a ‘Girl’s Night” for 15 high school and college girls from our parish Summer Camp last night.  We watched Pride and Prejudice, ate pizza and cookies.  What a wonderful group of girls!  I would post a photo of these lovely girls but I forgot to obtain their permission.  They are coming back next week so hopefully I will remember to ask!

— 5 —  Spotlight On: Audrey Assad!  Have you downloaded her new free songs yet?  Check out this link for her song “Good To Me”  which I fell in love with right away:

— 6 — Not Alone Series: This week’s topic was Despair and VocationsBritt from Proverbial Girlfriend wrote something that I can easily relate to.  I felt the same despair over the thought of my vocation not including Motherhood.  This was definitely a painful thought for me as a single girl.  Here is what Britt wrote:

“I do despair. The issue that freaks me out the most—to the point where I really have to consciously control myself so I don’t blow up at friends or potential dates—is never becoming a mom. Motherhood is the vocation I despair never having. Marrying late is one thing—I know a handful of women who have and they are very happy—but only one managed to birth children. I fear that if I marry late, my mom won’t be around (or around, but not aware) by the time I might become a mom. ….I fear that I will have problems or miscarry. The fears are so deep, that I get anxious, and when I get anxious, I tend to do drastic things and want to inappropriately speed up the process or mentally give up entirely. Both of those feelings fluctuate from day to day.”

— 7  The Action Bible:  Our son loves this bible!  It is in comic book style writing but it still gets the stories across in a somewhat reverent way.  I mean, the bible is kind of…action-packed and even violent at times, right?  I highly recommend it.

The action bible

God love and bless you!

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. Please check me out and follow me on Twitter too! Thank you!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

There Is No Formula

I stumbled upon a blog today which left me wondering if my blog is misleading you girls.  This other blog is owned by a single girl who (I think) is in her mid-30’s.  She writes a lot about her singleness and is very honest about the painful things that others say to her about her current state in life.

Her posts took me back to my life as a single girl.  Going to weddings alone.  Returning home after disappointing dates.  As I was reading her posts, I was able to feel in my heart some of those same feelings she was describing.

She wrote a post about the unhelpful things that married people say to single people.  She shared that one thing that is not helpful is when married people present life as if there is a formula for getting what you want from God.  These married people imply that “When you do A, B will happen.”  For example, they say, “When you let go of your desire for marriage, God will bless you with a husband.”  This statement is just as hurtful as saying, “As soon as you relax, you will get pregnant.” 


Both of those philosophies are, in my opinion, crazy. They imply that there is a formula for getting what we want from God.  One of the many things I love about Catholicism is that it does not put God in a creature-limited box.  It honors and allows for the mystery of God and of His will.

“When God speaks it is a mystery and therefore a death-blow to my senses and my reason, for it is the nature of mysteries to confound both.  Mystery makes the soul live by faith; everything else sees it as nothing but a contradiction.  The darker the mystery, the more light it contains.  The life of faith is a continual struggle against the senses.” 

The Joy of Full Surrender  by Jean-Pierre de Caussade

As a young person, however, I did not like or accept this aspect of my Catholic faith.  I was frustrated by the fact that my Catholic Faith was ‘unable’ to an answer my difficult questions about God.  For example, why do bad things happen to good people? Why are some people abundantly blessed while others suffer tremendously?  Oh, and where is my husband?

The Catholic explanation of life seemed to boil down to “God is a mystery.  Suffering is a mystery but it is part of God’s loving plan and it leads to our sanctification and holiness.” 

Y U No give me formula cropIs That All You’ve Got?

I was not able to accept this. I thought it was so lame! My reaction: You people are in charge of understanding God and this is all you’ve got???

So, I went looking for a brand of Christianity that would give me an answer.  I wanted a formula so that I could follow it and get what I wanted.  There had to be a formula!

Name It And Claim It

I left my Catholic faith in search of a church with a formula.  I was enamored by the ‘name it and claim it’ form of Christianity.  I scoffed at Catholicism and wondered if they ever heard of these scripture verses which give us the formula for getting what we want from God:

John 14:13-14 And whatever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

1 John 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Matthew 7:8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 18:19  Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

Matthew 21:22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

John 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Isaiah 34:16 Search the book of the Lord, and see what he will do.  Not one of these birds and animals will be missing, and none will lack a mate, for the Lord has promised this. His Spirit will make it all come true.

No formulaWho Is To Blame?

These scripture verses were like tokens for my desired-filled vending machine of life. Upon discovering them, I was mad that no one had ever showed them to me before!

But when I inserted the tokens, I did not get what I wanted.  Instead, this is what resulted:  The belief that I was not asking correctly and I was not seeking in the right way.  I was not delighted enough in the Lord.  The desires of my heart were wrong.  My prayer life was off.  I did not believe enough.  I blamed myself.  Then, I blamed God.

The ‘name it and claim it’ formula touted by some brands of Christianity was not adding up. For example, those that thumbed their nose at the Lord were getting married and having babies.  They took no delight in the Lord yet He seemed to give them the desires of their hearts. Chaste women were remaining single for life despite their prayers. Faith-filled people who, in prayer, begged for healing, were dying of cancer.  Where is the formula, God? How do I receive what I have asked for in prayer?

I returned to my Catholic Faith.  The one with Jesus on the cross.  The one that admits that God is not easy to understand and that suffering is salvific. The faith that boasts no formula but instead proclaims that God is infinitely good and we, His creatures, are limited in our understanding.

“…God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures…”

Catechism of the Catholic Church #385

God is a mystery.   There is no formula.

So, given that background, is the concept of The Veil a formula?  If you remain chaste, will you receive a husband?  Is God really in control of all things?  What about your free will?  What about your potential future husband’s free will? I will address these tough questions over the next couple of weeks!

God love and bless you!

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7 Quick Takes Friday ~ Vol 36

— 1 —   This Week’s Guest Post:  Modesty Discovered  This post received a lot of traffic this week.  When I first read the testimony of her discovery about modesty, I was blown away by the wisdom it contained.  I can say for a fact that I would not have been open to receive this wisdom from the Lord when I was 18 years old.  The Lord can do amazing work with this level of openness in a young person. Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord.  Yes, yes, yes!

— 2 —  Woman In Love:  Do you remember my book review of this fabulous book by Katie Hartfiel? I ordered a bunch of her books to give away to young women in my Church.  When the package arrived, it contained a hand-written card from Katie thanking me for my order.  She also thanked me for “my ministry to singles” and said, The message of purity is so well-needed these days and I am so thankful for your witness.” 

I had no idea she even knew who I was! Oh, yes, her card is displayed for all to see!  Have you read her book?  Out of all the books written for single girls, her book is the best one yet.  I highly recommend it!

Woman In Love Book

— 3 — When Your Mother Says She’s Fat:  Did you see this article?  I try my best to graciously let other Mom’s know how their own body image translates to their daughter’s psyche.  I think unless you have been in the presence of your own Mom saying these things, it is hard to understand the impact.  Either way, it is a great article.

** Note that I do not necessarily support everything else the author stands for.  I tried to figure out exactly what it was that she did stand for and it just seemed so foreign to me. So, I recommend just sticking to this article.

— 4 —  Pope  Francis’s Encyclical:  Pope Francis’ first encyclical, which he said is largely the work of our beloved Pope Benedict XVI, will be published today!  It is called “Lumen fidei” (The Light of Faith) and it completes Pope Benedict’s “trilogy” on the three “theological virtues.”  First, “Deus Caritas Est” (2005) on Charity, then, “Spe Salvi” (2007) on Hope and now an encyclical on Faith.  Here is what Pope Francis had to say:

“It’s an encyclical written with four hands, so to speak, because Pope Benedict began writing it and he gave it to me.  It’s a strong document. I will say that I received it and most of the work was done by him and I completed it.”

The Light of Faith

— 5 —  Spotlight On: This week’s spotlight is on Mary Beth Bonacci for her article about seeking an annulment before dating on Catholic Match.  Wise advice from her!

— 6 — Not Alone Series: More great insight from the girls participating in this Series!  The topic this week:  what you can do to prepare for marriage?  Jen from Jumping In Puddles discussed a topic that I wish I would have known about before I got married…..Charting!  Here is what she said:

“Charting– I have talked a bit about my NFP journey on here before.  But, I’ve been prettttty horrible at it lately.  I keep telling myself, “it’s ok. I don’t need to know this 100% yet… I’m not married. It’s not happening right now. It’s fine.”  But, you know what’s funny about God’s timing… things happen when you least expect it and maybe when you aren’t thinking about it.  So, if I keep doing what I am doing, I will be in panic mode before my wedding trying to make sure I really understand this NFP-ness.  It’s just silly.  This is the easiest and most practical thing I could be doing right now to prepare for my marriage.  If I’ve got it down, it will be easier to teach the hubs and be less of a stressor when we are first married.”

Nikki from A Catholic Heart for Home had the following wise advice:

“Don’t Date Jerks
If he spits, sniffs, scratches and swears, you know you could never marry him then do NOT date him. If you think you can change him, he is just misunderstood or no one understands him like you do… you probably can’t, he most likely isn’t and I’m pretty sure you don’t, time to move on.”

“Become The Person You Want To Marry
If you want to marry a devout, Catholic man, then become a devout, Catholic woman. While considering what you want your future husband to bring to the altar you need to ensure your basket is just as attractive.”

— 7 —  Independance Day:  In light of all the offenses against our religious liberties, yesterday felt different from all of the other 4th of July’s.  I am thankful for thoses who have made and are making our remaining freedoms possible.  May God be merciful on America and help us turn back toward Him.

So as to not end on a downer note, I provide you this recipe for gluten-free chocolate chip cocoa oatmeal cookiesThey were a big hit!


God love and bless you!

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For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Modesty Discovered

Many thanks to the Guest Author for this beautiful and powerful testimony!

I’m 18 years old, a rising sophomore in college, and a few weeks ago, I threw out many of my dresses, most of my shorts, and all but one swim suit.

Wait, what?

I am fairly recent “re-vert” to Catholicism, and I went to confession (for the first time in 10 years) and started attending mass again about six months ago. Since then, I have been on fire about my faith (About as on fire as anyone who just realized life is infinitely more special than they ever knew!) I read anything I can get my hands on, attend daily mass, attend adoration at least weekly, confession every two weeks…I’m all in, for the most part.

But there was something I kept skipping over as I learned more about my faith.


Modesty, especially modesty of dress, is a touchy subject for girls today. We have been taught that clothing is about expression, that our bodies should be bared while we are still young and beautiful, that we have no responsibility for men’s eyes that wander. I bought into these explanations.

Since I was very young, my family has put my self-worth and importance on how I look. It had something to do with the fact nearly all of my extended family is overweight, and I have never struggled with my own weight. I spent my life receiving compliments such as “you are so thin!”, and “what a beautiful girl,” from well-meaning relatives.

My mother has struggled with her weight and appearance her entire life, even though to me her heart makes her the most beautiful woman in the world. But, I believe she encouraged my way of dress because she never got to dress that way herself. I wore bikinis, short skirts, half-shirts, you name it from age 10 or possibly younger. At one time I owned over 30 swimsuits, and only one was anything close to modest. I could wear anything I wanted, and frequently got in trouble at school for broken dress codes.

“Respecting myself”  came to mean showing off what I was given to me. My mother thought it was good. It made sense. It was natural. After all, God created us naked, right? And that is just how I lived my life.

They say if you find yourself justifying an action again and again, it is probably sin. And that is certainly the story of my journey to modesty. As I came back to the Church, I began to feel a discomfort about my clothing choices. But I was stubborn. Extremely stubborn.

But God knows our hearts, and he knew mine. He knew exactly how much of a push I needed, and he gave me what I needed to change.

                First, he introduced me to nuns. I had never met a nun. I thought they would be sad, strict, unhappy women who would pass judgment on me. Instead, they were some of the happiest people I’d ever met. By chance, I got into a conversation with one sister about what her habit meant to her, since some nuns are abandoning the practice of wearing a habit at all. She explained,

“My habit does a ministry that I cannot. If someone looks at me across the street, they see me and think of God, even if we never exchange a word.”

Huh, I thought. Well that must only work for nuns! And I ignored, again, the pull on my heart to something greater.

                So  God nudged me again. During a confession, a priest asked me to mediate on this question: If you really loved the Lord with your whole heart and your whole life, what would that look like? And although he hadn’t been asking about the way I dressed, it came to mind first in my meditation. Hmm…I would probably choose to dress in a way that made my mysterious and beautiful self…well, a mystery! But I was again, able to justify my actions to myself. It seemed stupid to change something so “minor” when there are so many greater evils in the world.

                God then started offering me little nudges. My spiritual reading mentioned modesty in passing. I heard someone speak on the origin of the bikini. I spoke to a young man in seminary about how difficult it was to have immodestly dressed women all over ads and the streets. I saw a study from Princeton University that showed that when young men looked at photos of scantily clad women, the part of their brains associated with tool use were used, almost exclusively. Tool use!

It was swimming in a bikini in a friends pool when it suddenly hit me. No, I didn’t suddenly feel self-conscious. No, I didn’t see a vision or hear a voice. All of the sudden it just hit me. What I was doing was wrong.

Why shouldn’t people see God when they look at single girls? Why shouldn’t they see God when they look at me? Why shouldn’t I glorify the Lord in everything  I do, even clothing choices? Why am I not worth keeping a mystery? Why do I feel this is what I have to offer the world? Why won’t I recognize that I am above a tool? I am wondrously made, and my wardrobe needed a makeover that helped me show it.

                After the realization came the questions. Should I start immediately? Will people think I’m faking it, or being dramatic? How will I explain this to my mom?  And, as I feel I am called to marriage, how will I attract my husband?

Changing My Ways

                When I finally made my choice, I ended up sharing it with my mother first. And because she is my mother and she loves me, she made sure I was sound in my decisions by presenting some common anti-modesty arguments.

                1. Don’t let anyone make you too modest. People are overly prudish about things. Sometimes values are changed because of pressure from Christians with puritanical values. Can anyone “make you modest”? Although someone may require you to dress modestly, modesty is a personal choice. It involves more than just clothes, and it is not something that can be forced, only instilled or realized. And since when are shorts that come closer to the knee or one-piece swimsuits or jackets worn over strapless dresses and shirts puritanical instead of just a bit more covered up?

                2. You said you have been dressing differently, and for most people your age the way dress represents your autonomy/uniqueness. I have always admired your style. Yes. My new clothing that covers my body does represent me, although that me might be better than before! It says, “Hello! I am beautiful on the inside, so beautiful that I don’t have to show the whole outside to just anyone! I have more to offer!”

                3. The way things look is not as important as how they are and feeling valued and worthwhile for the uniquely beautiful person God created you to be. I agree with so much of this argument. The way things look is not as important as they are! I could say it right back! The only problem is that your clothing is not just a “look.” it is an “are”, or an action that you take every single day. Every morning I dress myself, and now I choose clothing that respects me and others. That is how things are. And ironically, nothing helps me feel more ‘valued’ than the realization that I am more than a body!

                4. I am just asking you to reflect on how your dress might be perceived by those around in all situations. People you might be led to reach to may not be able to relate to someone they perceive as “dressing like a nun.”  By this logic, you should dress like a prostitute to do ministry to prostitutes. Why would you dress like the world, when you have something so much more to offer them?  Something mysterious, something worth covering up.  

                5. You are great the way you are! We love you how you are.  This part of the argument hurts. It says “We love you how you are! …as long as how you are never changes and is rooted in how you look.” But why would you want to stay ‘how you are’ when there are bigger and better things in store for you?

                I have faith my mother will see the value in my decision in time, as long as I can show her by my life. Taking action to speak how I felt about these arguments was not comfortable or easy. But I wasn’t created for comfort. I was created for greatness.

The Fruits of Modesty

                I also had a big hang-up on modesty because I feel I am called to marriage. I’m sure others can understand this. How will you attract a man if you aren’t dressing a certain way? How can you possibly get a boyfriend?

                Well, the first realization is that God created your future husband to desire a modest wife. That means he won’t have to look around your modesty to see you are the woman for him, he will love and admire you for it. If that is too far away from home to really hit you, try this: do you want to marry a man who chooses who to date based on their exposed skin? Or would you rather have a man that knows and loves who you are in your heart?

                Even in the times where I thought I didn’t deserve the church-going, non-drinking, respectful, hilarious, and handsome man of my dreams, I prayed for him. And God is faithful. His plan for us is infinitely higher than our own. But in order to receive what we ask him for, we must create room for it in our own lives. And the way to create room for a faithful Catholic husband in your future is to start dressing like his future wife now! In fact, in a study on modesty by The Rebelution, 95.4% of men surveyed agreed that modesty was an important quality for their future wife.

                The reality is, the church-going Catholic man isn’t looking at the women in miniskirts for his future wife.  He can already see what they are offering, and it isn’t what his heart desires! But a girl who is modest catches his attention. He sees that there is more to find out, and that is refreshing in today’s “show me” society.

It’s Not My Problem!

                This is perhaps the most troubling of the arguments and rationalizations behind the issue of modesty in dress. Guys should take control of their own eyes, and it just isn’t our problem as women.

                Yes, it is your problem. The “guys” you are talking about so generally are your brothers, your uncles, your fathers, your close friends, and your future spouse. Even the guys that aren’t any of those things are still your brothers in Christ, and you have a call to love them as you love yourself.

Love is an action. Love is an act of sacrifice. Modesty is an active way to say to your brothers in Christ “Hey! This is difficult for me. Something it involves spending a little more money, searching a little longer for clothes, dealing with the reactions of others, and separating myself from what media and culture is telling me to wear. I am making a sacrifice for you, because I love you and care about you, and I want you to get to heaven!”

Final Word

Modesty was not easy for me. It wasn’t something I grew up with, or something I was taught in my religious education. It was something God helped me discover when I sought out the truth. I know it is a difficult attachment, one that is ingrained in society. The world tells us modesty is outdated, unnecessary, and holding us back. But, as Jesus tells us, we are not of this world because He has chosen us out of it.