Christopher West is coming to South Africa and it promises to be a fabulous occasion! But you may not know who is. He is a populariser of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and he has wonderful insights into how we an live out this beautiful message.
I have written a post on TOBSA to get you acquainted to Christopher West and get some freebies from his website. Here is an excerpt.
In the run-up to Christopher West’s visit in September 2017 we will be introducing him and his work; refresher for those who know him and for those who do not, you are in for a treat.
To start you off we will let some his work do the introduction. Why don’t you head on to his website where he has a giveaway currently going on of his new e-book, Theology of the body at the Movies … read more
Wow! Amazing weekend at the Totus Tuus Women’s Conference! Read all about it on TOBSA! Excerpt below 🙂
We had an amazing day on the 27th of August, the inaugural Totus Tuus Women’s Conference. Thank you to all who attended, we were just over a hundred in attendance and the reception we had was phenomenal.
As promised (albeit later than I had hoped) here are the cliff notes and links to all the information I gave in my talk. As I mentioned then, most (if not all) of my talk is NOT original, and the content is derived from many sources, men and women I read and listen to for their insights. I hope it inspires you in some way and helps you to find your voice in being a woman of God. A precis (LOL, it was 8 pages long so yeah I’ve shortened it a lot) outline of what I said is below. To those who did not manage to come maybe this will make sure you get a ticket early for next years conference… 🙂 Read more
This ToB Tuesday we are focusing on info from Into the Heart Part 2. Again these are my random notes that I took, of points to remember and ponder.
Christopher West expanded on the Nuptial union, which shows a call to deep intimacy with God: a union that is spousal, St. Theresa says we are all called to this deep union. The human body whispers to us the innermost secrets of God. The bookends of the Bible using the analogy of marriage unlocks the meaning of life. Marriage and eternal life, that God wants to fill us with life.
The union of man and woman in marriage is the foundation of the entire sacramental order. Of who Christ is and of who the church is.
Love involves the gift of self. Spousal love is that of total self-giving, and in human experience that is shown in marriage. And this is the mystery of the Trinity, the life-giving union of man and woman gives a minuscule glimpse into the life-giving union of God. It is the Primordial sacrament.
“May all be one like I and the father are on”. God made them man and woman and called the two to become one, the fundamental unit of life. Humans are the only ones created for their own sake. Never meant to be used, to be used is to violate the dignity of the person. Spiritual or mystical marriage is the ritual surrendering of one to another, as God surrenders to us and we are supposed to Him, analogous to consummating a marriage. Spiritual mysticism/growth tends towards ever more intimate union with Christ, and this union is called mystical as it participates in the mystery of Christ.
3 stages of the journey on which we are all on. Purgative, illuminative and unitive are all aspects of the way for we never leave any of the stages behind.
Purgative: a firm resolve of will to follow God, despite the fact that we feel a rebellion to it, purged and cleansed of our disordered desires. Continent but not yet virtuous. Continence is the ability to contain the disordered desires. Virtue makes it easy to get to self-mastery. Observance of the commandments is purgative and leads to the illuminative way. God illuminates our lives, we begin to seem more like Him, we move from continence to virtue. Values are lights which illuminate existence. We become ever more aware of the gratuitous beauty of the body. We begin to feel less and less burdened by the struggle against sin, we come to move with ever greater freedom.
The unitive stage is a move from betrothal to consummation. The fullest expression of union with God. It involves a total transformation into Christ. Think of a log on fire, there is no difference between the fire and the embers, so there will be no difference between Christ and the person. There are two nature’s in one Spirit and love. Creation then takes on its true glory.
Caterina Zino, our lives have to be Christo centric.
The heart of christianity is Christ, God taking on flesh. Good is an eternal love bomb explosion.
An opportunity for us to allow the light of christ to come two into our heart. We grow up in a pornographic culture, we must fill the hunger of love to good f
od, which means exposure of our hearts.
Our hearts are the deep interior self, but we will never know who we are if we don’t open our heart to God and to others. Here is a battle between good and evil, deep on the heart, st Paul, fight against the self.
We look at physical realities to point us to spiritual realities. CCC the heart is our hidden centre, only the story of God fab fathom the human heart and know it fully, it is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drive, it is where we choose between life and death, it’s the place of encounter, ‘CCC 2563’ a call to live in relationship. It is chiselled in our bodies, they do not make sense by themselves. We don’t recognize this easily because our hearts are wounded and in need of healing…. For your hardness of heart Moses allowed divorce, but in the beginning it was not so.
A prayerful study of tob in informational and transformational.
Try and achieve harmony between faith reason and the heart each give to the other. The immensly profound bond between love and truth awaits.
St. Augustine says prayer is an excercise of desire. Be not afraid of your desire, for these on the depths we find that which launches us to transcendance. It opens us up to receive the gift of God. The vessel that is our hearts must be made larger and cleansed of the vinegar, so that we can be filled with the infinity of honey, love. It is a painful groaning of the spirit of of the heart.
Man remains a being that is incomprehensible to himself if he does not encounter love.
Paul 6, humane vitae. We need an adequate anthropology on being human.
What does it mean be human?
How do I live my life in a way that will be bring true happiness?
He gave them the law of life as their inheritance…… I have given you blessings and curses, death and life… Choose life!
Yesterday for TOB we went for adoration. It was in this beautiful adoration chapel and the traffic was amazing, so many people came. We generally have guided adoration, which sometimes grates when all you want is silence but because we were visiting an already established adoration hour silence ruled….and I couldn’t deal. I was just so tired, my mind kept wandering and then I decided to give up trying.
At first I people watched, one man had his arms up in adoration the whole time and his lips moved in silent fervent prayer. An elderly lady came in with a cushion to sit on, showing she was going to be there a while, Mimoo knelt in the aisle as usual and so did this man behind her and they were so close to the ground as to be almost prostrate, a sign of submission. That in itself was beautiful I became filled with awe. Because my mind was tired I then decided to just be a part of this body of Christ and help offer up their prayers, whatever they were; to just be and realise that He knows my needs even when I don’t; to just be and worship with my posture and by being there no matter how distracted; and just be and rest in His presence.
When I realised that I was in danger of falling asleep I began to read and pray prayers from Pure Faith and came across a novena by the “Prayers when in the presence of the Blessed sacrament”. As I prayed this novena there was a place to put in my intention and marriage just popped into my head. I lately had not been praying fervently for marriage but yesterday it felt just right. After adoration we all migrated to the hall where a TOB session was in progress so we sat in as they ended and participated in the wrap-up and it was amazing, the insights people have, the thirst for truth the openness… and to be a part of it all wow.
Then afterwards everyone mingled… I can’t remember the number of times I said we had to go because honestly there were people to see and chat to and fellowship with, whilst we ate the most amazing desert which MA told me it’s called Millionaire shortbread… and I loved the name. It reminded me of the sweetness of the Lord, the richness of His mercies and of a recent reading, “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord”. Well in His creations He sure is sweet, in adoration He is sweet enough to let me be, and in the rest I will trust it will be just as decadent. Now to get ingredients for some divine shortbread!!!
Coincidentally MA felt led to pray for marriage for us all as well during adoration Oh well… ht
After a long time blogging offline aka journalling, I just had to post this one. The break was mainly because I am lazy to type and I have a lot of posts to edit from by notebooks. So anyone willing to type for me? I have decided that I should just post anyway and maybe those posts in my notes will one day grace this page and ironically the topic is one that addresses blogging in a way.
BP sent an email today to the TOB group, thanks for the heads up, of a TED talk by psychologist Sherry Turkle on how we are ‘Alone together’ and he mentioned how technology has made living out TOB that much more difficult. A lot of what she said hit home, especially the bits on getting an immediate audience, and the feeling that you are being heard… all us attention seekers so get that, hence the irony that I had to write about this on my blog. Here is the video he shared.
Sherry Turkle–Connected but alone?
The video brought home the need for self actualisation, how we are created for relationship, and how so many people can feel so disconnected because of the way our culture has evolved, but as she said we need to learn to be alone so we can have real conversation, real friendship, and develop the virtues for friendship; tech is not bad we just need to be aware of what it does in our lives. At TOB on Mondays we have begun to go through Men, women and the Mystery of Love by Edward Sri using the DVD’s and we touched on virtuous friendship and this just brought home what I have been reflecting on the past week, that I have been letting my friendships slack.
According to Aristotle “A virtuous friendship is based on aspects of selflessness and equality between friends. First, one must do good towards a friend purely for the sake of the friend. There is no other desired outcome but for the friend’s happiness. Next, one desires the friend’s existence purely for the friend’s sake and not for reasons of utility, pleasure, or the like. One must also spend time with the friend without ulterior motives of gaining something in return. In addition, one must be in accord with his friend, meaning they both desire the same things and can agree on how to go about achieving them. For instance, “..a city is said to be in concord when [its citizens] agree on what is advantageous, make the same decision, and act on their common resolution.” (1667a 27-29) Finally, one must be empathetic to his friend’s joys and sorrows, equally sharing in the burden of these emotions……
He argues that each aspect of a virtuous friendship directly correlates to a virtuous person’s relationship to himself……
The virtuous person, by Aristotle’s definition, is one who first desires and works for his own survival and wishes to do well for himself. He also spends time alone with himself……
Aristotle summarizes these points by saying, “…one is a friend to himself most of all. Hence he should also love himself most of all,” (1168b 9-10) and “These are features [of a friendship] most of all of one’s relation to oneself; and so too are all the other defining features of a friend, since we have said that all the features of friendship extend from oneself to others.”” [ht voice/yahoo]
Are we comfortable in ourselves? Are we ‘okay’ being alone? Do we ever allow time for solitude? Do we love ourselves, does todays loneliness stem mostly from not knowing how to be by ourselves and hence how to actually have relationships? Do we know ourselves… a lot of the evidence points to no, we don’t know ourselves, we have problems having conversations let alone relationships and we are so plugged in to being connected without actually experiencing the connection… I wonder how this week will pan out as I try be more ‘present’ and not just connected. I will strive to strive for the common good of my family and friends and colleagues.. eish let the games begin
There is this very talented artist by the name of Janette-Ikz ok I’m not sure if that’s her name because there are a lot of alliterations of her name “Mysterious Genetics = MissTerious Janette-Ikz” and her poem “I will wait for you” is phenomenal… I am going to learn it to use for our TOB rallies, talks and retreats because it is so powerful… all credit to Janette-Ikz of course and the good Lord for blessing her with such awesome talent (words below ht)
I WILL WAIT FOR YOU” BY JANETTE IKZ
So it seemed that it was cool, for everyone to be in a relationship but me.
So I took matters into my own hands, and ended up with him.
Him who displayed the characteristics of a cheater, a liar, an abuser, & a thief. So why was I surprised when he broke into my heart?
I called 911, but I was cardiac arrested for aiding and abetting,
Cause it was me who let him in…
Claiming we were “just friends”.
It was already decided for me by the first date, that even if he wasn’t!
I was gonna make him ‘The One’
You know, I was tired of being alone.
And I simply made up in my mind, that it was about that time,
So I decided to drag him along for the ride,
Cause I was always the bridesmaid & never the bride.
A virgin in the physical, but mentally just a grown woman on the corner in heat!
Who was tired of the wait!
So I was gonna make him ‘The One’.
He had a… form of Godliness… but not much.
But hey, hey I can change him! So (honey) I’ll TAKE him, I mean he’s close… enough. Ready to sell my aorta for a quarter, not knowing the value of its use to me. Arties so clogged with my will, it blocked His will from flowing through me.
So, I thank Christ that His blood pressure gave this heart an attack,
That flatlined my obscured vision, put me flat on my back
Through my ignorance He sawed,
Through my sternum He sawed & cracked open my chest
To transplant Psalm 51:10
A new heart & a renewed right spirit within!
So now I fully understand,
Better yet I thoroughly comprehend,
How much I need to wait… for You.
See, the bad thing is that I knew he wasn’t you from the beginning.. Cause in the beginning was the Word And he didn’t even sound or shine like Your Son Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, And all he could whisper was sweet, empty nothings – Which meant NOTHING.
He couldn’t even pray when I needed him to,
Asking him to fast would be absurd!
So forget about being cleansed & washed with water through the Word…
But I know You..
You were already praying for me.
Even never having met me,
Let me assure you, I will wait for you.
I will no longer date, socialize or communicate with carbon copies of you
To appease my boredom or to quench my thirstiness I have for attention
And short-lived compliments from ‘sorta kindas’.
He ‘sort kinda’ right, but ‘sorta kinda’ wrong?
His first name LUKE,
His last name WARM.
I, I won’t settle for false companionship
I won’t lay in the embrace of his arms,
Attempting to find some closeness,
But never feeling so far apart cause, I just wanna be held
Cause ”all I gotta do is Say” No!
No more ‘almost sessions’ of ‘almost coming close’
Passing winks & buying drinks,
I’ma, I’ma, I’ma flirt!
Who flirts with the ideology of,
‘Can you just tell me how much I can get away with & still be saved?’
I’ll stay in my bed alone, and write poems, about how I will wait for you.
He won’t even come close,
Our fingers won’t even interlock
We won’t even exchange breath
Cause I have thoughts that I’ve ‘saved as’ in a file that God has only equipped you to open. I will no longer get weighted down, From so-called friends & family talks, About the concern for my biological clock When I serve the Author of Time. Who is NOT subject to time, But I’M subject to Him, He has the ability to STOP, FAST FORWARD, PAUSE, or REWIND at any given time…
So if we could role play,
You would be Abraham & I would be Sara
Or you can be Isaac & I can be Rebecca – a servant’s answered prayer
I am bone of your bone, flesh of your flesh,
Made up of your rib Adam!
And once we meet, like electrons
I will be bound to your nucleus, completely indivisible atom.
We even speak the same math: 1 + 1 + 1 = 3, which really equals 1 if you add Him.
We were all created in His image,
But you have the ability to reflect, project & even detect the Son.
If I were to explain what you looked like,
You would have to look like a star,
A son of the Son..
I would gain energy simply from the light on me.
I would need you , in order to complete my photosynthesis
I await your revelation, but once again from the genesis, I will wait for you.
And I will know you… because when you speak I will be reminded of Solomon’s wisdom,
Your ability to lead will remind me of Moses,
Your faith will remind me of Abraham,
Your confidence in God’s Word will remind me of Daniel,
Your inspiration will remind me of Paul,
Your heart for God will remind me of David,
Your attention to detail will remind me of Noah,
Your integrity will remind me of Joseph,
And your ability to abandon your own will, will remind me of the disciples, But your ability to love selflessly & unconditionally will remind me of Christ.
But I won’t need to identify you by any special Matthews or any special Marks,
Cause His word will be tatted all over your heart.
And you will know me, and you will find me,
Where… the boldness of Esther meets the warm closeness of Ruth.
Where the hospitality of Lydia is aligned with the submission of Mary,
Which is engulfed in the tears of a praying Hanna.
I will be the one, drenched in Proverbs 31… waiting for you.
But to my Father, my Father who has known me before I was birthed into this earth
Only if you should see fit…
I desire Your will above mine,
So even if you call me to a life of singleness,
My heart is content with YOU – the One who was sent.
YOU are the greatest love story ever told,
The greatest story ever known
You are forever my judge & I’m forever Your witness
And I pray that I’m always found on a mission about my Father’s business
Oh, I will always be Yours!
And I will always wait for You Lord, more than the watchmen wait for the morning
More than the watchmen wait for the morning… I will wait.
And I’m back… after a bit of hiatus and it’s because I am bursting! Bursting with evangelical spirit and wanting to share everything I learnt this weekend. We were highly blessed to have Jason Evert here in South Africa and we were hosting him! Well specifically MA our TOB mentor and we went around with him to the school and different parishes as he gave his talk “Romance without regret” and even though I’ve heard it all before it came at a time when I needed to hear it again… and again and again…
What I specifically needed to hear was that I am NOT too fussy, that I deserve the best because I am a daughter of God, that the Lord has a plan for me, that I should seek the Lord in all things and the details will be taken care of, that if I run after God I will not need to go hunting of this “perfect spouse” (no such thing)… all I’ll have to do is look to my side and see who is running with me…and to work on becoming the spouse I want to get, to become the woman of God that God wills me to be. I’ll be posting a lot on what struck me most soon.
On my amazon wish list is this book that Jason and Crystalina wrote called “How to find your soul mate without losing your soul”… and I have been telling myself I’ll buy it… then Jason came with copies and I never had cash on me… finally got the cash and just plum forgot and then it was too late coz I was singing in the band so when I got to the back the books were finished arrggghhh!!! So I still need to get the book and here he was autographing them too. well, I got the “Pure womanhood and Pure manhood” books autographed so that’s ok. Here is a clip they did quite recently on their book
Been a while ha? What with Easter Monday being a holiday and last Monday as well because of Workers day it’s been a while. And I had missed the one before that because of vigil dance practice, the things I do… sigh. Anyway, today was a good session and we discussed original solitude. Yes ‘tis still Monday but this will only get published tomorrow so ‘tis still TOB Tuesday post.
We are now in Chapter 5 of Man and Woman He Created Them which is all about the Meaning of Original Solitude. MA highlighted that we need to delve into and understand that there was solitude before there was unity… and why this is important. The unity part we kinda understand, so where does the solitude come from? “Moses allowed you to divorce … but in the beginning, it was not so”… we are still in the beginning. And in the beginning man and woman were not together… or were they? MA explained something I’m still finding a bit difficult to comprehend; that as told in the creation story “man” as in mankind was created, and man imaged God, but man was not male nor female… man was… man. Man was mankind and as such embodied both male and female sexuality not one or the other. So when ‘Adam’ is put to ‘sleep’ only after he awakens is he male and there too is now Eve, female. Note the quotes ‘Adam’ in quotes is generally ‘mankind’. Let’s explain.
So everyone put in quite a lot of info so this again is précis of all that was said. For the intention of a relationship, there needs to be two entities, we need at least another for a relationship to be possible. God is relational in that He is 3 persons. He created us in His image but we are not 3 persons in one. So how and when do we reflect God’s image? Always but more so and more perfectly when we are in unity, then we mirror the communion of three persons – a true reflection of God. “Let us create man in our own image” i.e “Let us create a communion of persons that reflects us” thus making man always relational. Thus ‘Adam’ was not just man but mankind. Through carrying out God’s commands to till the earth and name the animals ‘Adam’ reaches self-actualisation and realises that he is different from the animals and he longs for a deep communion with someone like himself (or should I say itself mmm).
In that solitude, Adam realises that he needed God. This is true for all mankind. In solitude we get closer to God, we ‘find’ God and begin to know ourselves better, we self-actualise. We realise that we are called to communion and relationship. So after the ‘sleep’, Adam is reawakened, in a sense ‘reborn’ as two, Isha and Ish, (Adam and Eve in the English translation). This name change is significant for only after the ‘split’ the creation of woman from the rib is there male and female. The maleness and femaleness of ‘man’ is only evident after the creation of Ish. As man we only complete each other through the definition of our sexuality, that is mankind has sexuality and one cannot be without the other, both are needed for there to be mankind. Then we began wondering so was ‘Adam’ not a perfect creation, if he was humanity why did he need to split into male and female, and did God not know this as he created Adam, or He did and …
And what about free will is it truly free if God knows what is going to happen and it’s a plan He has set in motion… how’s a plan free will and…? yeah we digressed… but we did come to some important points. Like the bible shows us the reasons such as it is not good for man to be alone we need communion with each other. It does not show us the ‘thought processes’ of God as such. Free will is not about God laying His plan and we having to conform, for we sure can go astray. It’s about us making a choice for the good, a choice to love. A choice. And this ‘splitting’ of Adam (mmm beginning to sound a bit schizoid) is the introduction of choice. The beginning of free will for then man began to choose to love, to choose to complete a perfect union of giving and receiving thus truly reflecting God. Truly reflecting and sharing in love…for love ain’t love till ‘tis chosen freely right?
MA explained that the call to evangelise is the call to reflect God in our lives so that people can say gee-whiz because we will be reflecting ultimate love. MdK gave a simple analogy I loved. See God as a teacher and ourselves as little kids and His pupils. As a teacher, He knows what we need to do in order to pass, i.e. to study, to concentrate, to attend lessons, but He cant do it for us. As a diligent teacher, He will give you all the help you need, the tutorials, the prompting, use techniques to make you see and understand why it is better for you to work towards passing. But the work still has to be done by me. Just because He can see that you are going to fail does not mean He will pass you regardless. It will hurt when He sees you wasting time and throwing away your books but He will continually keep showing you the right way.
So it is in life, the Lord puts all sorts of cues for us to be reminded of our path and of His will. And that path leads to ultimate joy when we align our ‘free will’ with His ‘divine will’. MA then gave this titbit from Christopher West, that when we think of Adam and Eve, think of their perfect relationship with God before the fall which mirrors the perfect love of God. ‘Adam’ was created for a perfect relationship. That is mankind was FIRST created for relationship THEN for conjugal union. God created relationships as a communion of persons before ‘male and female’ were in being. Therefore when people talk of sex before marriage being a non-issue or being for pleasure alone, remember this: we were created for relationship and communion before sex, so let our relationships follow the same path, great relationship and friendship before conjugal relations.