The Poor Boy and the Rich Lady

31 10 2013

The Poor Boy and the Rich Lady

A little boy was sitting at the doorstep of a splendid mansion in a great city; he was cold and hungry, and his clothes were only rags. He was an orphan, for both his parents were dead, and he had been wandering over the country without a friend or a home. He hoped that someone would offer him a crust of bread, or allowed him to sleep under the stable.

As he was sitting there tired and weary, and tears running down his cheeks, the door opened and the lady of the house appeared. She was on the point of telling him to go away ; but when she saw his sad face, and heard his sorrowful tale, she had compassion, took him into her house, and gave him some food.

While she stood watching him, a thought suddenly came into her mind. “Would you like to stay with me?” she said. “I think you would be happier here than wandering about without a home.”

The little boy looked up and could not imagine what he had heard. So, she asked him a second time, and he threw himself on the ground at her feet, and for some moments could not speak, so great was his joy.

The lady was pleased with the boy, and in a short time adopted him as her child, and made him the heir of her great wealth; and the boy, in gratitude loved her tenderly all his life.

But God has done more for you than that. He created you and made you His child in this world, and has made you also the heir of eternal treasures in Heaven. Is He, then, not worthy of all your love?

 





Pope Francis Appeals Strongly For Peace and Declares September 7 Day of Prayers for Syria

31 10 2013

Pope francis ask for prayers

“Today, dear brothers and sisters, I wish to make add my voice to the cry which rises up with increasing anguish from every part of the world, from every people, from the heart of each person, from the one great family which is humanity: it is the cry for peace! It is a cry which declares with force: we want a peaceful world, we want to be men and women of peace, and we want in our society, torn apart by divisions and conflict, that peace break out! War never again! Never again war! Peace is a precious gift, which must be promoted and protected.

“There are so many conflicts in this world which cause me great suffering and worry, but in these days my heart is deeply wounded in particular by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments which are looming.

“I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children who will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgement of God and of history upon our actions which is inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.

“With all my strength, I ask each party in this conflict to listen to the voice of their own conscience, not to close themselves in solely on their own interests, but rather to look at each other as brothers and decisively and courageously to follow the path of encounter and negotiation, and so overcome blind conflict. With similar vigour I exhort the international community to make every effort to promote clear proposals for peace in that country without further delay, a peace based on dialogue and negotiation, for the good of the entire Syrian people.

“May no effort be spared in guaranteeing humanitarian assistance to those wounded by this terrible conflict, in particular those forced to flee and the many refugees in nearby countries. May humanitarian workers, charged with the task of alleviating the sufferings of these people, be granted access so as to provide the necessary aid.

“What can we do to make peace in the world? As Pope John said, it pertains to each individual to establish new relationships in human society under the mastery and guidance of justice and love.

“All men and women of good will are bound by the task of pursuing peace. I make a forceful and urgent call to the entire Catholic Church, and also to every Christian of other confessions, as well as to followers of every religion and to those brothers and sisters who do not believe: peace is a good which overcomes every barrier, because it belongs all of humanity!

“I repeat forcefully: it is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.

“May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and let themselves be led by the desire for peace.

“To this end, brothers and sisters, I have decided to proclaim for the whole Church on 7 September next, the vigil of the birth of Mary, Queen of Peace, a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world, and I also invite each person, including our fellow Christians, followers of other religions and all men of good will, to participate, in whatever way they can, in this initiative.

“On 7 September, in Saint Peter’s Square, here, from 7 p.m. until 12 a.m. we will gather in prayer and in a spirit of penance, invoking God’s great gift of peace upon the beloved nation of Syria and upon each situation of conflict and violence around the world. Humanity needs to see these gestures of peace and to hear words of hope and peace! I ask all the local churches, in addition to fasting, that they gather to pray for this intention.

Pope Francis

 





No Arms No Legs No Worries

17 10 2013

how a child without limbs became ridiculourly happy
My name is Nick Vujicic (pronounced Voy-a-chich). I am twenty-seven years old. I was born without any limbs, but I am not constrained by my circumstances. I travel the world encouraging millions of people to overcome adversity with faith, hope, love, and courage so that they may pursue their dreams. In this book I will share with you my experiences in dealing with adversity and obstacles, some of them unique to me but most universal to us all. My goal is to encourage you to overcome your own challenges and hardships so you can find your own purpose and pathway to a ridiculously good life. Often we feel life is unfair. Hard times and tough circumstances can trigger self-doubt and despair. I understand that well. But the Bible says, “Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of any kinds.” That is a lesson I struggled many years to learn. I eventually figured it out, and through my experiences I can help you see that most of the hardships we face provide us with opportunities to discover who we are meant to be and what we can share of our gifts to benefit others. My parents are devout Christians, but after I was born with neither arms nor legs, they wondered what God had in mind in creating me. At first they assumed that there was no hope and no future for someone like me, that I would never live a normal or productive life. Today, though, my life is beyond anything we could have imagined. Every day I hear from strangers via telephone, e-mail, text, and Twitter. They approach me in airports, hotels, and restaurants and hug me, telling me that I have touched their lives in some way. I am truly blessed. I am ridiculously happy. What my family and I could not foresee was that my disability—my “burden”—could also be a blessing, offering me unique opportunities for reaching out to others, empathizing with them, understanding their pain, and offering them comfort. Yes, I do have distinct challenges, but I also am blessed with a loving family, with a keen enough mind, and with a deep and abiding faith. I’ll be candid here and throughout the book in sharing that neither my faith nor my sense of purpose grew strong until I went through some very scary times. You see, as I entered those difficult adolescent years when we all wonder where we fit in, I despaired over my circumstances, feeling that I never would be “normal.” There was no hiding the fact that my body was not like my classmates’. As much as I tried to do ordinary activities like swimming and skateboarding, I would only become more and more aware that there were simply some things I would never be able to do. It didn’t help that a few cruel kids called me a freak and an alien. Of course, I’m all too human and wanted to be like everyone else, but there seemed little chance for that. I wanted to be accepted. I felt I wasn’t. I wanted to fit in. It seemed I didn’t. And I hit a wall. My heart ached. I was depressed, overwhelmed with negative thoughts, and didn’t see any point in my life. I felt alone even when I was surrounded by family and friends. I worried that I would always be a burden to those I loved. But I was so, so wrong. What I didn’t know back in those dark days could fill a book:the one you’re holding, actually. In the pages that follow, I will offer you methods for finding hope even amid arduous trials and heartbreaking tribulations. I’ll light the path to the other side of grief where you can emerge stronger, more determined, and empowered to pursue the life you want, and perhaps even to find a life beyond any you could have imagined. If you have the desire and passion to do something, and it’s within God’s will, you will achieve it. That’s a powerful statement. To be honest, I didn’t always believe it myself. If you’ve seen one of my talks posted on the Internet, the happiness I have that shines through in those videos is the result of the journey I’ve made. I didn’t have everything I needed at first and had to pick up several important attributes along the way. To live without limits, I found I needed:
A powerful sense of purpose Hope so strong that it cannot be diminished
Faith in God and the infinite possibilities
Love and self-acceptance
Attitude with altitude
A courageous spirit Willingness to change
A trusting heart
Hunger for opportunities
The ability to assess risks and to laugh at life
A mission to serve others first.

 





The Selfish Spouse

27 09 2013

selfish spouse2

Extreme selfishness or “narcissism” has been described as one of the major enemies of married love and of love within the family. This description is psychologically correct because selfishness, while falsely appearing to have many benefits, actually turns the person in upon himself/herself, thereby interfering with healthy self-giving which is essence of marital love. Subsequently, this personality weakness creates significant pain and suffering in marriages and families. It is a major cause of marital anger, permissive parenting, addictive behaviors, infidelity, separation and divorce. Unless it is uncovered and addressed, selfishness will lead spouses to treat loved ones as objects and not as gifted persons. Studies show that selfish people are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short lived, are at greater risk of infidelity, lack consistent emotional warmth, exhibit game-playing and dishonesty and manifest overly controlling and violent behaviors. These behaviors in young adults are often fostered by highly permissive parents.

Charles, a 32-year-old married father of three children and a successful professional, manifested periodic explosive anger in his marital relationship particularly when his needs were not met immediately. Charles was overly demanding, insensitive, self-preoccupied and he had difficulty in giving himself to his wife, Kimberly. As the older of two children, he was always his mother’s favorite, and according to his wife, he had always been spoiled. In addition, Kimberly believed that her mother-in-law had never accepted her and she found her to be intrusive in the marriage.

In marital therapy it was pointed out to Charles that he manifested a number of narcissistic personality traits that predisposed him to excessive anger. He was highly resistant to therapy and attempted to blame all the marital problems on his wife. It was suggested to him that when he felt extremely angry he should try to act in a more mature and giving manner and to think about forgiving his wife.

Kimberly was an intelligent, giving wife and mother. She was highly committed to making her marriage work. She came to realize that her major emotional conflict was that of being an enabler to her husband�s narcissistic behavior and by doing that, she was damaging their marriage. She embarked on a course of healthy assertiveness with her husband. For a number of months the tensions intensified in their relationship to the point that Charles threatened to divorce her.

She viewed this threat as highly manipulative and challenged him to proceed. At the same time Kimberly tried to forgive Charles regularly for all the hurts of the past caused by his narcissistic behavior even before he made a commitment to try to change. She also tried to work at forgiving her mother-in-law in order to protect herself from the damaging effects of her own resentment toward her.

The possibility of divorce created enormous stress and anxiety for Charles and motivated him to work on his narcissistic anger. When angry, he began to employ forgiveness exercises. He came to understand that he had developed strong narcissistic tendencies because of his childhood and adolescent relationship with his mother. He worked at trying to forgive his mother for spoiling him and for depending too much upon him as a source of happiness in her life. He apologized to Kimberly and asked for her forgiveness and trust. Charles’ impulsive and explosive behavior diminished slowly through the use of past forgiveness exercises with his mother.

Unfortunately, many narcissistic spouses are reluctant to change and their marriages end. Some individuals would rather give up their spouse and children than give up their self-indulgent behaviors.
How selfishness harms marital/family love:
It can lead to
a. an inability to maintain a healthy loving relationship
1. strong feelings of loneliness and sadness in spouse and children
2. a poor marital friendship
3. failure to seek the happiness and good for one’s spouse
4. poor marital communication
5. a marked weakening in the ability to trust which is the foundation for loving
6. substance abuse or pornography
7. unhappiness at holidays, birthdays or special family events
8. an unwillingness to work on resolving marital difficulties
9. a lack of faith
10. unstable self-esteem
11. permissive parenting
12. lack of respect for one’s spouse
13. mistrust in the family members and leads to anxiety
14. weakness in self-giving to a spouse and children
15. regular overreactions in anger
16. resentment in regard to self-giving to a spouse and children
17. excessive love of self to the disdain of spouse and children
18. immature behaviors and weak leadership in the family
19. infidelity, separation and divorce
20. a materialist mentality
21. the contraceptive mentality

— Richard P. Fitzgibbons

 





Why Marriages End In Divorce By Fulton Sheen

19 09 2013

 The Difference Between Sex And Love: Why Marriages Are Full Of Deception

Love is primarily in the will, not in the emotions or the glands. The will is like the voice; the emotions are like the echo. The pleasure associated with love, or what is today called “sex,” is the frosting on the cake; its purpose is to make us love the cake, not ignore it.

The greatest illusion of lovers is to believe that the intensity of their sexual attraction is the guarantee of the perpetuity of their love. It is because of this failure to distinguish between the glandular and spiritual–or between sex which we have in common with animals, and love which we have in common with God—that marriages are so full of deception.

What some people love is not a person, but the experience of being in love. The first is irreplaceable; the second is not. As soon as the glands cease to react with their pristine force, couples who identified emotionalism and love claim they no longer love one another. If such is the case they never loved the other person in the first place; they only loved being loved, which is the highest form of egotism. Marriage founded on sex passion alone lasts only as long as the animal passion lasts. Within two years the animal attraction for the other may die, and when it does, law comes to its rescue to justify the divorce with the meaningless words “incompatibility,” or “mental torture.” Animals never have recourse to law courts, because they have no will to love; but man, having reason, feels the need of justifying his irrational behavior when he does wrong.

There are two reasons for the primacy of sex over love in a decadent civilization. One is the decline of reason. As humans give up reason, they resort to their imaginations. That is why motion pictures and picture magazines enjoy such popularity. As thinking fades, unrestrained desires come to the fore. Since physical and erotic desires are among the easiest to dwell upon, because they require no effort and because they are powerfully aided by bodily passions, sex begins to be all-important. It is by no historical accident that an age of anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, such as our own, is also an age of carnal license. The second factor is egotism. As belief in a Divine Judgment, a future life, heaven and hell, a moral order, is increasingly rejected,

the ego becomes more and more firmly enthroned as the source of its morality. Each person becomes a judge in his own case. With this increase of selfishness, the demands for self-satisfaction become more and more imperious, and the interests of the community and the rights of others have less and less appeal. All sin is self-centeredness, as love is otherness and relatedness. Sin is the infidelity of man to the image of what he ought to be in his eternal vocation as an adopted son of God: the image God sees in Himself when He contemplates His Word.

There are two extremes to be avoided in discussing married love: one is the refusal to recognize sexual love, the other is the giving of primacy to sexual attraction. The first error was Victorian; the second is Freudian. To the Christian, sex is inseparable from the person, and to reduce the person to sex is as silly as to reduce personality to lungs or a thorax. Certain Victorians in their education practically denied sex as a function of personality; certain sexophiles of modern times deny personality and make a god of sex. The male animal is attracted to the female animal, but a human personality is attracted to another human personality.

The attraction of beast-to-beast is physiological; the attraction of human-to-human is physiological, psychological, and spiritual  The human spirit has a thirst for the infinite which the quadruped has not. This infinite is really God. But man can pervert that thirst, which the animal cannot because it has no concept of the infinite.

Infidelity in married life is basically the substitution for an infinite of a succession of finite carnal experiences. The false infinity of succession takes the place of the Infinity of Destiny, which is God. The beast is promiscuous for an entirely different reason than man. The false pleasure given by new conquests in the realm of sex is the ersatz for the conquest of the Spirit in the Sacrament! The sense of emptiness, melancholy, and frustration is a consequence of the failure to find infinite satisfaction in what is carnal and limited. Despair is disappointed hedonism The most depressed spirits are those who seek God in a false god!

If love does not climb, it falls. If, like the flame, it does not burn upward to the sun, it burns downward to destroy. If sex does not mount to heaven, it descends into hell. There is no such thing as giving the body without giving the soul. Those who think they can be faithful in soul to one another, but unfaithful in body, forget that the two are inseparable. Sex in isolation from personality does not exist! An arm living and gesticulating apart from the living organism is an impossibility. Man has no organic functions isolated from his soul.

There is involvement of the whole personality. Nothing is more psychosomatic than the union of two in one flesh; nothing so much alters a mind, a will, for better or for worse. The separation of soul and body is death. Those who separate sex and spirit are rehearsing for death. The enjoyment of the other’s personality through one’s own personality, is love. The pleasure of animal function through another’s animal function is sex separated from love.

Sex is one of the means God has instituted for the enrichment of personality. It is a basic principle of philosophy that there is nothing in the mind which was not previously in the senses. All our knowledge comes from the body. We have a body, St. Thomas tells us, because of the weakness of our intellect. Just as the enrichment of the mind comes from the body and its senses, so the enrichment of love comes through the body and its sex. As one can see a universe mirrored in a tear on a cheek, so in sex can be seen mirrored that wider world of love. Love in monogamous marriage includes sex; but sex, in the contemporary use of the term, does not imply either marriage or monogamy.

Every woman instinctively realizes the difference between the two, but man comes to understand it more slowly through reason and prayer. Man is driven by pleasure; woman by the meaning of pleasure. She sees pleasure more as a means to an end, namely, the prolongation of love both in herself and in her child.

But when sex is divorced from love there is a feeling that one has been stopped at the vestibule of the castle of pleasure; that the heart has been denied the city after crossing the bridge. Sadness and melancholy result from such a frustration of destiny, for it is the nature of man to be sad when he is pulled outside himself, or exteriorized without getting any nearer his goal. There is a closer correlation between mental instability and the animal view of sex than many suspect.

Happiness consists in interiority of the spirit, namely, the development of personality in relationship to a heavenly destiny. He who has no purpose in life is unhappy; he who exteriorizes his life and is dominated, or subjugated, by what is outside himself, or spends his energy on the external without understanding its mystery, is unhappy to the point of melancholy. There is the feeling of being hungry after having eaten, or of being disgusted with food, because it has nourished not the body, in the

case of an individual, or another body, in the case of marriage. In the woman, this sadness is due to the humiliation of realizing that where marriage is only sex, any other woman could fulfill her role; there is nothing personal, incommunicable, and therefore nothing dignified. Summoned by her God-implanted nature to be ushered into the mysteries of life which have their source in God, she is condemned to remain on the threshold as a tool or an instrument of pleasure alone, and not as a companion of love.

Two glasses that are empty cannot fill up one another. There must be a fountain of water outside the glasses, in order that they may have communion with one another. It takes three to make love. Every person is what he loves. Love becomes like unto that which it loves. If it loves heaven, it becomes heavenly; if it loves the carnal as a god, it becomes corruptible.

–F. Sheen

 





16 Lessons I learnt After Losing My Virginity at 16 By Anna Kemarch

15 09 2013
16-lesson-i-leant-after

“I am sixteen and have already lost my virginity. I truly regret that my first time was with a guy that I didn’t care that much about. Since that first night he expects sex on every date. When I don’t feel like it, we end up in an argument. I don’t think this guy is in love with me, and I know deep down that I am not in love with him either. This makes me feel cheap. I realize now that this is a very big step in a girl’s life. After you have done it, things are never the same. It changes everything.” Since then I have been involved with other guys and I have learnt a few of lessons. Here are a some:

1. Many teenage girls sleep with guys because they are trying to find love, to find self-worth. But the catch is that the more guys they sleep with, the less self-worth they had.

2. Many girls think that if they really care about guys, sex will bring them closer together. Indeed, sex creates a bond. However, 80 percent of the time, the physical intimacy of first sexual relationship won’t last more than six months.

3. Couples who want what is best for their relationship or future marriage will have the patience to wait.

4. Most of the time, when a girl gives away her virginity, she assumes the relationship will last forever.But study of more than 10,000 women shows that when a girl loses her virginity at that age at 14, she’ll probably have about thirteen more lifetime sexual partners.

5. Teen sex frequently causes tension within families because of the dishonesty that usually accompanies the hidden intimacies. Relationships with friends are often strained, and when things turn sour, the gossip and social problems often become unbearable.

6. Everyone talks about how hard it is to say no to sex, but no one tells you how hard it is when you say yes.

7. It is dangerous for a teenage girl to be sexually active. Because a teenage girl’s reproductive system is still immature, she is very susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases

8. In fact, early sexual activity is the number one risk factor for cervical cancer, and the second is multiple sexual partners. A girl’s body, like her heart, is not designed to handle multiple sexual partners.

9.While a girl might plan on sleeping with only one guy, she could be exposing herself to the STDs of hundreds of people through a single act of intercourse. Here’s how: Scientists studied the sexual activity of a public high school of about one thousand students. About half (573) of the students had been sexually active, and most of them had only been with one partner. However, when the scientists tracked the web of sexual activity among the students, it was discovered that more than half of the sexually active teens—without knowing it—were linked together in a network of 288 partners within the school! So if a girl slept with a guy from this school, theoretically she could be in bed with one-fourth of the entire student body.

10.The emotional side effects of premarital sex are also damaging to a young woman. One of the most common consequences of teenage sexual activity is depression. Girls who are sexually active are more than three times as likely to be depressed as girls who are abstinent. In fact, the condition has become so predictable that the American Journal of Preventive Medicine recommends to doctors: “[Girls who are engaging in] sexual intercourse should be screened for depression, and provided with anticipatory guidance about the mental health risks of these behaviors.”Even if a girl experiments with sex once, research shows an increased risk of depression. Also, consider the fact that the rate of suicide attempts for sexually active girls (aged twelve to sixteen) is six times higher than the rate for virgins. Tragically, these girls do not realize the purity, hope, and forgiveness that they can find in Christ.

11. Unfortunately, many young women search for meaning only in relationships with guys, instead of with God. It is not uncommon for a girl to have sex in order to make a guy like her more or to encourage him to stay with her. She may compromise her standards because she is afraid of never being loved. Once he leaves her, though, an emotional divorce takes place. A person’s heart is not made to be that close to a person and then separated.

12. Since teenage sexual relationships rarely last, the girl’s sense of self-worth is often damaged. She may conclude that if she looked better, he would have stayed longer. This mentality can lead to harmful practices, such as eating disorders. Or the disappointment she feels may drive her into a state of self-hatred. Some young women even begin to hurt their own bodies in an attempt to numb the emotional pain. Such practices never solve the problems, though. If she wants to be loved, she needs to begin by loving herself.

13. In her heart, a girl who has been used knows it. However, she may immediately jump into another sexual relationship to escape the hurt. If she tries to boost her self-esteem by giving guys what they want, then her self-worth often ends up depending upon those kinds of relationships. Her development as a woman is stunted because without chastity she does not know how to express affection, appreciation, or attraction for a guy without implying something sexual. She may even conclude that a guy does not love her unless he makes sexual advances toward her. She knows that sex exists without intimacy, but she may forget that intimacy can exist without sex. A girl on this track usually feels accepted initially, but that acceptance lasts only as long as the physical pleasure.

14. Such a lifestyle will also take its toll on her ability to bond. Here’s why: Sharing the gift of sex is like putting a piece of tape on another person’s arm. The first bond is strong, and it hurts to remove it. Shift the tape to another person’s arm, and the bond will still work, but it will be easier to remove. Each time this is done, part of each person remains with the tape. Soon it is easy to remove because the residue from the various arms interferes with the tape’s ability to stick.

15. The same is true in relationships, because neurologists have discovered that previous sexual experiences can interfere with one’s ability to bond with future partners. This does not mean that if a person is not a virgin on the wedding night, he or she will be unable to bond with a spouse. It simply means that when we follow God’s plan, we have the most abundant life possible. But when we turn from his designs and break his commandments, often we are the ones who feel broken afterward.

16 Spiritual. Sin cuts us off from God, and this is the most serious consequence of premarital sex. After going too far, many of us know all too well the cloud of guilt that weighs on our hearts. The solution is not to kill our conscience but to follow it to freedom. It is calling us, not condemning us. Provided we repent, God will be there to welcome us home and let us start over (see John 8 and Luke 15).

What this all means is that our bodies, our hearts, our relationships, and our souls are not made for premarital sex. We are made for enduring love

Article adapted from Chastity.com

The video below share signs to detect guys who are only after sex (f*ck boys) so you can dump them





Why I Am Still A Virgin at 22 By Sarah E. Hinlicky

10 09 2013

I Am Still A Virgin at 22: Here are My Reasons  By Sarah E. Hinlicky

Okay, I’ll admit it: I am twenty-two years old and still a virgin. Not for lack of opportunity, my vanity hastens to add. Had I ever felt unduly burdened by my unfashionable innocence, I could have found someone to attend to the problem. But I never did. Our mainstream culture tells me that some oppressive force must be the cause of my late-in-life virginity, maybe an inordinate fear of men or God or getting caught. Perhaps it’s right, since I can pinpoint a number of influences that have persuaded me to remain a virgin. My mother taught me that self-respect requires self-control, and my father taught me to demand the same from men. I’m enough of a country bumpkin to suspect that contraceptives might not be enough to prevent an unwanted pregnancy or disease, and I think that abortion is killing a baby. I buy into all that Christian doctrine of law and promise, which means that the stuffy old commandments are still binding on my conscience. And I’m even naive enough to believe in permanent, exclusive, divinely ordained love between a man and a woman, a love so valuable that it motivates me to keep my legs tightly crossed in the most tempting of situations.

In spite of all this, I still think of myself as something of a feminist, since virginity has the result of creating respect for and upholding the value of the woman so inclined. But I have discovered that the reigning feminism of today has little use for it. There was a time when I was foolish enough to look for literature among women’s publications that might offer support in my very personal decision. (It’s all about choice, after all, isn’t it?) The dearth of information on virginity might lead one to believe that it’s a taboo subject. However, I was fortunate enough to discover a short article on it in that revered tome of feminism, Our Bodies, Ourselves. The most recent edition of the book has a more positive attitude than the edition before it, in that it acknowledges virginity as a legitimate choice and not just a by-product of patriarchy. Still, in less than a page, it presumes to cover the whole range of emotion and experience involved in virginity, which, it seems, consists simply in the notion that a woman should wait until she’s really ready to express her sexuality. That’s all there is to say about it. Apparently, sexual expression takes place only in and after the act of genital intercourse. Anything subtler—like a feminine love of cooking or tendency to cry at the movies or unsuppressable maternal instinct or cultivation of a wardrobe that will turn heads or even a passionate good-night kiss—is deemed an inadequate demonstration of sexual identity. The unspoken message of Our Bodies, Ourselves is clear enough: as long as a woman is a virgin, she remains completely asexual.

Surprisingly, this attitude has infiltrated the thinking of many women my age, who should still be new enough in the web of lies called adulthood to know better. One of my most vivid college memories is of a conversation with a good friend about my (to her) bizarre aberration of virginity. She and another pal had been delving into the gruesome specifics of their past sexual encounters. Finally, after some time, my friend suddenly exclaimed to me, “How do you do it?”

A little taken aback, I said, “Do what?”

“You know,” she answered, a little reluctant, perhaps, to use the big bad V-word. “You still haven’t . . . slept with anybody. How do you do it? Don’t you want to?”

The question intrigued me, because it was so utterly beside the point. Of course I want to—what a strange question!—but mere wanting is hardly a proper guide for moral conduct. I assured my concerned friend that my libido was still in proper working order, but then I had to come up with a good reason why I had been paying attention to my inhibitions for all these years. I offered the usual reasons—emotional and physical health, religious convictions, “saving myself” till marriage—but nothing convinced her until I said, “I guess I don’t know what I’m missing.” She was satisfied with that and ended the conversation.

In one sense, sure, I don’t know what I’m missing. And it is common enough among those who do know what they’re missing to go to great lengths to insure that they don’t miss it for very long. In another sense, though, I could list a lot of things that I do know I’m missing: hurt, betrayal, anxiety, self-deception, fear, suspicion, anger, confusion, and the horror of having been used. And those are only emotional aspects; there is also disease, unwanted pregnancy, and abortion. As if to prove my case from the other side, my friend suffered a traumatic betrayal within a month or two of our conversation. It turned out that the man involved would gladly sleep with her, but refused to have a “real relationship”—a sad reality she discovered only after the fact.

According to received feminist wisdom, sexuality is to be understood through the twin concepts of power and choice. It’s not a matter of anything so banally biological as producing children, or even the more elevated notion of creating intimacy and trust. Sometimes it seems like sex isn’t even supposed to be fun. The purpose of female sexuality is to assert power over hapless men, for control, revenge, self-centered pleasure, or forcing a commitment. A woman who declines to express herself in sexual activity, then, has fallen prey to a male-dominated society that wishes to prevent women from becoming powerful. By contrast, it is said, a woman who does become sexually active discovers her power over men and exercises it, supposedly to her personal enhancement.

This is an absurd lie. That kind of gender-war sexuality results only in pyrrhic victories. It’s a set-up for disaster, especially for women. Men aren’t the ones who get pregnant. And who ever heard of a man purchasing a glossy magazine to learn the secret of snagging a wife? Sacrifice and the relinquishing of power are natural to women—ask any mom—and they are also the secret of feminine appeal. The pretense that aggression and power-mongering are the only options for female sexual success has opened the door to predatory men. The imbalance of power becomes greater than ever in a culture of easy access.

Against this system of mutual exploitation stands the more compelling alternative of virginity. It escapes the ruthless cycle of winning and losing because it refuses to play the game. The promiscuous of both sexes will take their cheap shots at one another, disguising infidelity and selfishness as freedom and independence, and blaming the aftermath on one another. But no one can claim control over a virgin. Virginity is not a matter of asserting power in order to manipulate. It is a refusal to exploit or be exploited. That is real, and responsible, power.

But there is more to it than mere escape. There is an undeniable appeal in virginity, something that eludes the resentful feminist’s contemptuous label of “prude.” A virgin woman is an unattainable object of desire, and it is precisely her unattainability that increases her desirability. Feminism has told a lie in defense of its own promiscuity, namely, that there is no sexual power to be found in virginity. On the contrary, virgin sexuality has extraordinary and unusual power. There’s no second-guessing a virgin’s motives: her strength comes from a source beyond her transitory whims. It is sexuality dedicated to hope, to the future, to marital love, to children, and to God. Her virginity is, at the same time, a statement of her mature independence from men. It allows a woman to become a whole person in her own right, without needing a man either to revolt against or to complete what she lacks. It is very simple, really: no matter how wonderful, charming, handsome, intelligent, thoughtful, rich, or persuasive he is, he simply cannot have her. A virgin is perfectly unpossessable. Of course, there have been some women who have attempted to claim this independence from men by turning in on themselves and opting for lesbian sexuality instead. But this is just another, perhaps deeper, rejection of their femaleness. The sexes rightly define themselves in their otherness. Lesbianism squelches the design of otherness by drowning womanhood in a sea of sameness, and in the process loses any concept of what makes the female feminine. Virginity upholds simply and honestly that which is valuable in and unique to women.

The corollary of power is choice. Again, the feminist assumes that sexually powerful women will be able to choose their own fates. And again, it is a lie. No one can engage in extramarital sex and then control it. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the moral nightmare of our society’s breakdown since the sexual revolution. Some time ago I saw on TV the introduction of the groundbreaking new “female condom.” A spokeswoman at a press conference celebrating its grand opening declared joyously the new freedom that it gave to women. ?Now women have more bargaining power,” she said. “If a man says that he refuses to wear a condom, the woman can counter, fine, I will!” I was dumbstruck by her enthusiasm for the dynamics of the new situation. Why on earth would two people harboring so much animosity towards each other contemplate a sexual encounter? What an appealing choice they have been given the freedom to make!

The dark reality, of course, is that it is not free choice at all when women must convince men to love them and must convince themselves that they are more than just “used goods.” There are so many young women I have known for whom freely chosen sexual activity means a brief moment of pleasure—if that—followed by the unchosen side effects of paralyzing uncertainty, anger at the man involved, and finally a deep self-hatred that is impenetrable by feminist analysis. So-called sexual freedom is really just proclaiming oneself to be available for free, and therefore without value. To “choose” such freedom is tantamount to saying that one is worth nothing.

Admittedly, there are some who say that sex isn’t anything nearly so serious or important, but just another recreational activity not substantially different from ping-pong. I don’t believe it for a second. I learned most meaningfully from another woman the destructive force of sexuality out of control when I myself was under considerable pressure to cave in to a man’s sexual demands. I discussed the prospect with this friend, and after some time she finally said to me, “Don’t do it. So far in life you’ve made all the right choices and I’ve made all the wrong ones. I care enough about you that I don’t want to see you end up like me.” Naturally, that made up my mind. Sex does matter; it matters a lot; and I can only hope that those who deny it will wake up to their error before they damage themselves even more.

It is appalling that feminism has propagated lies so destructive to women. It has created the illusion that there is no room for self-discovery outside of sexual behavior. Not only is this a grotesque lie, but it is also an utterly boring one. Aside from its implied dismissal of all the world’s many riches outside the sexual domain, this false concept has placed stultifying limitations on the range of human relationships. We’re told that friendships between men and women are just a cover until they leap into the sack together. While romance is a natural and commendable expression of love between women and men, it is simply not the only option. And in our sexually competitive climate, even romantic love barely deserves the title. Virginity among those seeking marital love would go far to improve the latter’s solidity and permanence, creating an atmosphere of honesty and discovery before the equally necessary and longed-for consummation. Where feminism sees freedom from men by placing body parts at their disposal in a bizarre game of self-deception, virginity recognizes the equally vulnerable though often overlooked state of men’s own hearts and seeks a way to love them for real.

It is puzzling and disturbing to me that regnant feminism has never acknowledged the empowering value of virginity. I tend to think that much of the feminist agenda is more invested in the culture of groundless autonomy and sexual Darwinism than it is in genuinely uplifting women. Of course, virginity is a battle against sexual temptation, and popular culture always opts for the easy way out instead of the character-building struggle. The result is superficial women formed by meaningless choices, worthy of stereotype, rather than laudable women of character, worthy of respect.

Perhaps virginity seems a bit cold, even haughty and heartless. But virginity hardly has exclusive claim on those defects, if it has any claim at all. Promiscuity offers a significantly worse fate. I have a very dear friend who, sadly, is more worldly-wise than I am. By libertine feminist standards she ought to be proud of her conquests and ready for more, but frequently she isn’t. The most telling insight about the shambles of her heart came to me once in a phone conversation when we were speculating about our futures. Generally they are filled with exotic travel and adventure and PhDs. This time, however, they were not. She admitted to me that what she really wanted was to be living on a farm in rural Connecticut, raising a horde of children and embroidering tea towels. It is a lovely dream, defiantly unambitious and domestic. But her short, failed sexual relationships haven’t taken her any closer to her dream and have left her little hope that she’ll ever attain it. I must be honest here: virginity hasn’t landed me on a farm in rural Connecticut, either. Sexual innocence is not a guarantee against heartbreak. But there is a crucial difference: I haven’t lost a part of myself to someone who has subsequently spurned it, rejected it, and perhaps never cared for it at all.

I sincerely hope that virginity will not be a lifetime project for me. Quite the contrary, my subversive commitment to virginity serves as preparation for another commitment, for loving one man completely and exclusively. Admittedly, there is a minor frustration in my love: I haven’t met the man yet (at least, not to my knowledge). But hope, which does not disappoint, sustains me.

Sarah E. Hinlicky, a writer living in New York City, is an Editorial Assistant at First Things.

 





If There Must Be A Head In The Family, Why The Man? By C.S Lewis

11 08 2013

If There Must Be A Head In The Family, Why The Man?

As long as the husband and wife are agreed, no question of a head need arise; and we may hope that this will be the normal state of affairs in a Christian marriage. But when there is a real disagreement, what is to happen? Talk it over, of course; but assuming they have done that and still failed to reach agreement. What do they do next?
They cannot decide by a majority vote, for in a council of two there can be no majority. Surely, only one or other of two things can happen: either they must separate and go their own ways or else one or other of them must have a casting vote.

If marriage is permanent, one or other party must, in the last resort, have the power of deciding the family policy. You cannot have a permanent association without a constitution.

If there must be a head, why the man? Well, firstly, is there any very serious wish that it should be the woman? As far as I can see, even a woman who wants to be the head of her own house does not usually admire the same state of things when she finds it going on next door. She is much more likely to say “Poor Mr. X! Why he allows that appalling woman to boss him about the way she does is more than I can imagine.” I do not think she is even very nattered if anyone mentions the fact of her own “headship.”
There must be something unnatural about the rule of wives over husbands, because the wives themselves are half ashamed of it and despise the husbands whom they rule. But there is also another reason; and here I speak quite frankly, because it is a reason you can see from outside even better than from inside.

The relations of the family to the outer world—what might be called its foreign policy—must depend, in the last resort, upon the man, because he always ought to be, and usually is, much more just to the outsiders. A woman is primarily fighting for her own children and husband against the rest of the world. Naturally, almost, in a sense, rightly, their claims override, for her, all other claims. She is the special trustee of their interests.

The function of the husband is to see that this natural preference of hers is not given its head. He has the last word in order to protect other people from the intense family patriotism of the wife. If anyone doubts this, let me ask a simple question. If your dog has bitten the child next door, or if your child has hurt the dog next door, which would you sooner have to deal with, the master of that house or the mistress? Or, if you are a married woman, let me ask you this question. Much as you admire your husband, would you not say that his chief failing is his tendency not to stick up for his rights and yours against the neighbours as vigorously as you would like? A bit of an Appeaser?
C.S Lewis





“Turn Me Over. I’m Done On This Side!” Says A Man Condemned To The Flames

10 08 2013

Lawrence was a deacon in charge of giving help to the poor and the needy. On Aug. 10, 354, a persecution broke out and the Prefect of Rome, a greedy pagan, thought the Church had a great fortune hidden away. So he ordered Lawrence to bring the Church’s treasure to him. Lawrence said he would, in three days. Then he went through the city and gathered together all the poor and sick people supported by the Church. When he showed them to the Prefect, he said: “This is the Church’s treasure!”

In great anger, the Prefect condemned Lawrence to a slow, cruel death. They tied him on top of an iron grill over a slow fire that roasted his flesh little by little, but Lawrence was burning with so much love of God that he almost did not feel the flames. In fact, God gave him so much strength and joy that he even joked. “Turn me over,” he said to the judge. “I’m done on this side!” And just before he died, he said, “It’s cooked enough now.” Then he prayed that the city of Rome might be converted to Jesus and that Faith might spread all over the world. After that, he died and went to heaven to receive his reward of Everlasting life.





Reasons not to Divorce when Love is gone? By C.S Lewis

4 08 2013

reason not to divorceThe Christian idea of marriage is based on Christ’s words that a man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism—for that is what the words “one flesh” means, like when one says that a lock and its key are one mechanism, or that a violin and a bow are one musical instrument. The inventor of the human machine was telling us that its two halves, the male and the female, were made to be combined together in pairs, not simply on the sexual level, but totally combined.

The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union.

The Christian attitude does not mean that there is anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.

As a consequence, Christianity teaches that marriage is for life. There is, of course, a difference here between different Churches: some do not admit divorce at all; some allow it reluctantly in very special cases. It is a great pity that Christians should disagree about such a question; but for an ordinary layman the thing to notice is that Churches all agree with one another about marriage a great deal more than any of them agrees with the outside world. I mean, they all regard divorce as something like cutting up a living body, as a kind of surgical operation.

Some of them think the operation so violent that it cannot be done at all; others admit it as a desperate remedy in extreme cases. They are all agreed that it is more like having both your legs cut off than it is like dissolving a business partnership or even deserting a regiment What they all disagree with is the modern view that it is a simple readjustment of partners, to be made whenever people feel they are no longer in love with one another, or when either of them falls in love with someone else.

Before we consider this modern view in its relation to chastity, we must not forget to consider it in relation to another virtue, namely justice. Justice, as I said before, includes the keeping of promises.

Now everyone who has been married in a church has made a public, solemn promise to stick to his (or her) partner till death. The duty of keeping that promise has no special connection with sexual morality: it is in the same position as any other promise. If, as modern people are always telling us, the sexual impulse is just like all our other impulses, then it ought to be treated like all our other impulses; and as their indulgence is controlled by our promises, so should its be. If, as I think, it is not like all our other impulses, but is morbidly inflamed, then we should be especially careful not to let it lead us into dishonesty.

To this someone may reply that he regarded the promise made in church as a mere formality and never intended to keep it. Whom, then, was he trying to deceive when he made it? God? That was really very unwise. Himself? That was not very much wiser. The bride, or bridegroom, or the “in-laws”? That was treacherous. Most often, I think, the couple (or one of them) hoped to deceive the public. They wanted the respectability that is attached to marriage without intending to pay the price: that is, they were imposters, they cheated.

If they are still contented cheats, I have nothing to say to them: who would urge the high and hard duty of chastity on people who have not yet wished to be merely honest? If they have now come to their senses and want to be honest, their promise, already made, constrains them. And this, you will see, comes under the heading of justice, not that of chastity. If people do not believe in permanent marriage, it is perhaps better that they should live together unmarried than that they should make vows they do not mean to keep.

It is true that by living together without marriage they will be guilty (in Christian eyes) of fornication. But one fault is not mended by adding another: unchastity is not improved by adding perjury.
The idea that “being in love” is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made. The curious thing is that lovers themselves, while they remain really in love, know this better than those who talk about love. As Chesterton pointed out, those who are in love have a natural inclination to bind themselves by promises. Love songs all over the world are full of vows of eternal constancy.

The promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits one to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise never to have a headache or always to feel hungry. But what, it may be asked, is the use of keeping two people together if they are no longer in love? There are several sound, social reasons; to provide a home for their children, to protect the woman (who has probably sacrificed or damaged her own career by getting married) from being dropped whenever the man is tired of her.
C.S Lewis





Why Do We Suffer? A Clue From The Apple Tree

31 07 2013

Why Do We Suffer? A Clue From The Apple Tree

In the apple-growing state of Maine in America, I was visiting a farmer friend and saw an apple tree so loaded down with fruit that the branches had to be propped up to keep them from breaking under the weight of apples. When 1 remarked about the fruitfulness of the tree, my friend said to me, “Go over and look at that tree’s trunk down near the bottom.”
There I saw that the tree had been badly wounded by a big gash across its side. The farmer explained, “That is something we have learned about apple trees. When the growing tree tends to run to wood and leaves and not to fruit, we stop it by wounding it, by cutting into its bark. And we don’t know why, but almost always the result is that the tree turns its energies to producing fruit.”
Could that be a parable for some of us human apples trees in the God‘s orchard? Christ‘s death on the cross bore the fruits of our redemption. Some of the best people in the world suffered a lot; wounded, and purified by the pain, they bore great fruits of goodness.

 





Heavenly or a Hellish Creature?

28 07 2013

heaven or hellPeople often think of Christian morality as a kind of bargain in which God says, “If you keep a lot of rules I’ll reward you, and if you don’t I’ll do the other thing.”
I do not think that is the best way of looking at it. I would much rather say that every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself.
To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other.
That explains what always used to puzzle me about Christian writers; they seem to be so very strict at one moment and so very free and easy at another. They talk about mere sins of thought as if they were immensely important: and then they talk about the most frightful murders and treacheries as if you had only got to repent and all would be forgiven. But I have come to see that they are right.
What they are always thinking of is the mark which the action leaves on that tiny central self which no one sees in this life but which each of us will have to endure—or enjoy—for ever. One man may be so placed that his anger sheds the blood of thousands, and another so placed that however angry he gets he will only be laughed at. But the little mark on the soul may be much the same in both. Each has done something to himself which, unless he repents, will make it harder for him to keep out of the rage next time he is tempted, and will make the rage worse when he does fall into it. Each of them, if he seriously turns to God, can have that twist in the central man straightened out again: each is, in the long run, doomed if he will not. The bigness or smallness of the thing, seen from the outside, is not what really matters.
One last point. Remember that, as I said, the right direction leads not only to peace but to knowledge. When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping. You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly: while you are making them you cannot see them. You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk. Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.
C.S Lewis





He died for me, a man said at a boy’s grave

27 07 2013

This boy died for me, says a man at a boys grave

For many years after the Civil War an Illinois farmer used to visit a soldier’s grave at Nashville, Tennessee, tending it and planting flowers with much devotion every day. If some stranger asked him: Is that your boy?’ he would answer: ‘No, he just lived in our town. You see, when the war came I had seven small children, and my wife was not strong. I was drafted for the army, there was nobody to carry on the farm, and they would have nearly starved without me. We were in terrible trouble about it, and the very day I was going to report at camp my neighbour’s boy came and offered to go to the war for me. He said he had nobody depending on him, so he could go better than me. He went, and was wounded at Chickamanga, and died here in hospital. This is his grave.’

Then he would point to a rough inscription, which he had cut with his own hand on the tombstone: He died for me.
Christians are a bit like the Illinois farmer. They believe that Christ died for them. Thus, they in turn, live for Christ.








%d bloggers like this: