Monday, April 15, 2013

Saint Gertrude Chaplet- release 50,000 souls from Purgatory!

Print this & share it with others!

  I have had many requests to redo my St Gertrude Chaplet (video on YouTube). It is a surprisingly difficult chaplet to get ahold of... 1 of St Gertrude's prayers releases 1,000 souls from Purgatory (it may also confer special graces and indulgences for living souls). . . This chaplet has what I like to think of as a Spiritual Multiplier Effect. If prayed faithfully, this chaplet releases (up to) 50,000 souls from Purgatory! (What happens to souls released from Purgatory?...) Those 50,000 souls are able to go to Heaven and pray for us (for our soul & the world)! God literally gave us a prayer to increase the number of souls in Heaven- and it's so easy too! Why is this prayer (and chaplet) so difficult to find? Satan tries to hide things like this from us in order to keep us from living a faithful life... and to prevent the release of souls into Heaven. This means its up to us to share it with others! You can try printing a few & leaving them in the back of your Church [it might be a good idea to ask your priest first]... or share it with the your church's youth group & (CCD) Faith Formation classes... you can even repost it on Facebook, leave it in Catholic books at your library (for some lucky person to find in the future), share it with your family, friends, and Catholic neighbors... the possibilities are endless!

So...I only had one class today, "The Devil in Film" and it was cancelled so I came back home, researched a guide for the Saint Gertrude Chaplet (so I could redo my video & post this with it) ... but I couldn't find any that were very useful. (There were a few but they were poorly written and difficult to follow so after struggling to figure out their instructions... I believe I have put it into an easy to use guide by reformatting a standard 5-decade Rosary guide.) ... I have a 2 page paper to write tonight (I'm analyzing the concepts of soul, sin, sexuality, and Protestant thought in the 1931 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - I chose both topic & film so- yay! This should be interesting). I also have some Philosophy articles to read on the ethics of war but if all goes as planned, I should hopefully find some more time today to rerecord my Saint Gertrude Chaplet video & post it tonight - or maybe sometime later this week... Oh! I almost forgot... it might be a little hard to see but the Immaculate & Sacred Heart prayers come before the Glory Be.
 ... Pray on!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Downton Abbey, 50 Shades, & Vampires: What we really want is …

What do people really want? Is it literary porn written at the reading level of middle school children? Is it historical fiction, Victorian mustaches, top hats, or long dresses with corsets? Or is it an awkwardly ephebophilic vampire who goes to great lengths not to harm the subject of his desires? What the heck do all of these things have in common? – These are all expressions within the American culture that we deeply crave a sense of division and gender identity. This may be difficult for some of us to acknowledge, yet all of these elements in our popular culture point to this conclusion...

I must admit, as a lifelong Victoriana fan and student of history, I genuinely enjoy Downton Abbey. But what is it about the Victorian Era that this generation so ardently adores? Sure the clothes were awesome, the facial hair was silly, and the people seemed sophisticated- but why the late 19th century? Why not another time? Another place? The rekindled fascination with the Victorian Era boils down to this – it was an era and culture which was everything that we currently are not. Perhaps most notably, during the Victorian Era definitive gender roles existed and though they were occasionally bent, they were rarely broken. Everybody knew what was expected of them. The women were innocent and motherly, and always celibate until marriage. Men were truly gentlemen and it would be scandalous if they did not stand when a lady entered the room. When a Victorian gentleman danced with you, he might even wear gloves, not because it was cold, but because he would not dare to think of soiling your lovely gown with his dirty hands, or of touching the soft skin of your delicate hands directly. When he danced with a lady, he would look at her in the face and gently guide her body in rhythm with his own, being careful of course to leave ample space between the two as a subtle way of expressing his high opinion of her chastity and virtuous purity. 

The concept of dating without courtship would be utterly foreign... he would sooner die than stare at the back of your head while groping your flesh in a noisy crowd, let’s not forget this was when dancing required one to actually dance. Not only would the Victorian gentleman actually buy you flowers, each color and type of floral arrangement would convey a complex range of emotions (of course red roses meant “true love”). 

The Tridentine Era persisted and Douay Rheims was the common Catholic Bible. This was a time when everyone was Christian, children would behave, and teenagers could sustain a full conversation without pausing to text or tweet. Women were women and men were men. Life was splendidly simple and simply splendid. There was tea every afternoon and opera every evening. [At least this is what we imagine the Victorian Era would have been.] -- To a large degree, much of this is true (though we sometimes forget about the child labor aspects of the time…) But since the average person is not a historian, it does not entirely matter whether or not we are romanticizing the Era. Even if we are wrong in holding such prototypical mental images, this dreamy world of virtue, faith, and social order appeals to us so very deeply because it stands as a reminder and representation of everything our society is missing—self-control, submission, and faith in God. It is not sex that we secretly or subconsciously desire, as Freud’s theories claim, it is human connection, love and God (who is love). The Devil’s lies whispered in our ears cannot drown out the voice of Truth. How were so many Victorian men and women able and willing to remain chaste before marriage, and afterwards, to remain with the same spouse for life? Our secular society would lead us to believe that this is virtually impossible yet (for the most part) this generation found a way to do so. Our fascination with this Era stems from a fascination with purity itself and what one might call the "separation of social spheres". I realize of course, not everyone is Steampunk or a Hipster...  But just because tops hats and petticoats might not be somebody’s idea of fun, it doesn’t mean they don’t also hold these desires.

*** Please note: I don’t wish to treat these next few topics lightly but I don’t want to dwell 
on them too long either (for reasons which should be obvious as this is a Catholic blog) ***

The same can be said for the Rap and Hip-Hop culture which is a more extreme and degrading interpretation of the division of gender. Here, the concept of domination/submission is presented [though in a disturbingly dehumanized manner]. In this “urban” sub-culture, genders are reduced to two basic categories. “Pimps” and [a variety of synonyms for female prostitutes]— which is say the world is divided between “men” and “women”. You don’t have to be a Christian to find these “gangsters” repulsive. I’m positive that this is one of the farthest things from what God had in mind when He created us. But why is it so popular? In the rejection of God there is an absence of Truth. In this dark hole evil has found a way pry its way inside and to prey upon our basic human nature and prompt us to reinterpret our relationships with one another. We were made for much more. We know that. But we cannot deny that there are inherent differences between men and women and our God-given nature as (respectively) masculine/feminine beings. Our secular society adamantly refuses to accept this, no boundaries or explanations are offered to young children which would ease these anxieties and present them with healthier (more pure!) interpretations between gender roles and identity. Those entranced by this subculture are also seeking a sense of social order (they might not know it and they certainly are far from the truth but they are looking for a more rigidly defined separation of gender identity and social spheres).    

Obviously, not everybody listens to this music or watches the music videos (I know I certainly don’t!) but this is not the only way our cultural desire for stronger gender roles has manifested itself in recent years... The Vampire phenomenon, whether it is Twilight, True Blood, or Buffy, is also a subconscious expression of our deep desire for love, and submission to one’s (stronger) partner. [Here I’m mostly speaking of women… but I happen to know that a sub-culture exists of men that claim to identify with and in some cases believe themselves to actually be vampires- in which case, this serves as an expression of masculine dominance.] Vampires of course are not a new concept-these mythical creatures have been given life in folktales and literature for centuries. But, the way in which vampires are prominently featured has shifted in the last generation or two. Gone are the days of Bela Lugosi and Nosferatu, this genre has undeniably changed in drastic ways. Some literary scholars claim this is due to our general loss of sexual innocence; young women no longer fear or abhor this dark demon but cherish the thought of being dominated and overcome by his strength as he feasts upon her flesh and greedily drinks her blood. Except when convenient for Feminist agendas [such as the Take Back the Night tirades], the fear of rape and subjugation have been virtually replaced with notions of pleasure and masochism. If this sounds silly, it’s because it is and for the same reason, books like “Fifty Shades of Grey,” are also immensely popular. [Please don't read it!] 

As much as Feminists would hate to admit it, we long to be "saved" and "protected" by the men in our lives just as much (or even more!) than they wish to protect us. You might wonder how this works when these protective men are also the ones which are (potentially) "dangerous"... But the idea of the man being dangerous, whether he's a quintessential "bad boy", a vigilante, or vampire, serves the feminine subconscious desires to be in a position of vulnerability solely for the sake of feeling "weak" or feminine in comparison. Since power is also associated with masculinity, it stands to reason that a fascination with the almost-sensitive "bad boy" image is simply an extension of this same concept. These potentially dangerous men possess the power and capability to harm the woman but always chooses not to. [Guys: I'm not not offering dating advice or suggesting women enjoy being abused... I'm referring simply to the idea of it all.] The examples I've given, are by no means the only stories which include this. These books and television shows present a perversion of God's plan for men and woman [masculine protection and feminine vulnerability] which is of course warped almost beyond recognition and hypersexualized. I’ve seen interviews of authors try to defend their sexually explicit novels, falling back on the claim it's because “sex sells” but if we look just a little bit deeper. Does it really? Is it really the sex which people are drawn in by?

Or is it that, very, very, very deep down in these stories there is a small hint of truth? We are thus faced with the question Feminists continue to fail in their meager attempts of providing an adequate answer for— why does the dominance/submission aspect seem appealing to so many men AND women? Why would women actively choose to reject an "equal" or dominant role in favor of deference to a man? Why do women flock to these stories of gentle subordination like moths to a flame?
The reason why these themes of power and compliance, particularly between genders, enthralls so many, is because it is a restatement of the nature between genders which has always existed but has been forgotten, perhaps more accurately ‘rejected’, in recent years. Men are naturally "strong" and women are naturally "weaker" (physically and emotionally).

 Whether it's vampires or "Mr. Grey", in each of these cases, there is a man (or even 2 men) who are very powerful, physically, emotionally, or financially (and of course very attractive), and a woman who, despite her honest attempts, finds herself weak and drawn to him. She desires to be his ideal woman and submit herself to his every whim. With the exception of the Twilight series, (which was written by a Mormon woman), these stories commonly feature the woman being unable to resist. They tend to suggest that she has no free will and must fling herself into “passion” [here is where the truth of human nature is commonly manipulated in order to justify lust and sexual depravity]. The women in these dramatic fictions must learn to trust that her respective “lover” will not take things too far (by abusing or killing her) as she submits to his domination. Though perverted with deep immorality, we are once again seeing this same domination/ submission fantasy which has evolved out of the very same culture which claims to reject the idea that men should assert masculinity and authority over women (while not abusing this power of course) and that women could ever find joy in relinquishing Feminist “power” and being a stay-at-home-mother and wife.(Gasp! What a thought!) What does all of this really mean? When you subtract the sex and violence, this sounds to me a whole lot like Ephesians 5:21-32.

Translation: For the past several decades the Feminist movement has been telling ladies that we must be ashamed of being the women God created us to be (mothers, wives, nuns, or chaste single lay). They've claimed in order to achieve happiness we must sterilize ourselves, strive to become more like men, and reject the Church and true femininity. Yet here we are, the changes have been made, the family has been crushed, a multi-milllion dollar industry has been created with the sole purpose of killing nearly a million babies a year, breast cancer has increased from our careless consumption of contraceptives, the new standard of working women rapidly increased our workforce- faster than new jobs could be created. We now have rampant unemployment, national depression, and children who are more or less left to raise themselves. From where I'm sitting, it looks like Feminism has failed to fulfill any of its hollow claims and empty promises. As a society and as individuals, we are no happier and clearly, it just isn't working... By deconstructing one of the most basic and natural elements of humanity we have thrown the American culture into utter chaos. In the midst of all this chaos we are still longing to return to our natural state. Sadly, many of us have become confused how we might achieve this since these desires starkly conflict with this culture of so-called "equality" which Feminism has bombarded our nation with. If this cultural longing for social order, tradition, and faith continues, en masse, we will hopefully be forced to readdress the questions- What's wrong with being a feminine woman or a masculine man? Are humans just sexual animals with “uncontrollable” urges, or are we capable of upholding a much higher dignity? [Unlike Freud, hopefully we can answer this correctly …] As the Baltimore Catechism puts it, “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven.” Part of serving Him is accepting the natural order which He has created and embracing our place within it. We don’t need “Vampire Diaries” or Lil’ Wayne to tell us about humanity and the relationship between men and women. God answered these questions long before we were even able to ask. We are living in a time of lonely people looking for Truth. As you and I know, Jesus is that Truth. We must remember to pray for the conversion of these desperate souls looking for love in the wrong places.

So, as promised, I have begun to discuss gender issues and while I would love to continue, this is getting quite long. I have so much to say about this topic, I could write a book! (Hmm… maybe I will… but definitely sometime after midterms.) Until then, I will be posting a second [and maybe even a third] post which will continue on this topic but address more of the Catholic Theology behind it all which I didn’t quite get to today. Thanks for taking the time to read this. 

 Don't forget to pray for our priests, all that are discerning, all abused &/or homeless children, an end in abortion & contraception, & an increase in reverence for our Lord. Please pray for the newly converted & all who have left the Church. Please pray for our Bishops & ALL the clergy! May God guide them so that they may better guide us! Please pray for our exorcists as well- we leave them out far too often! May our Heavenly Father Bless you now and forever. May He guide you to the truth, may you open your heart and listen to Him! May He quell all your fears & help you to worship & adore Him properly. May you be blessed with good health & happiness & may your family [& all relationships] be healed in whatever manner is needed most! May you not be afraid to truly live your faith & to glorify God in all you say & do!


*Dear reader- I'm sorry if there are spelling or grammatical errors. (This post was written by a woman on a break after making sandwiches... 'till next time... it's back to kitchen -for me!)*
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Saturday, February 9, 2013

I'm still here! ...

Hello world!

I'm still here! I've been meaning to sit and write a post but it has been a very long time since I have had the opportunity to do so. I've been quite busy with school, family, and running my Youtube channels.
I have several essays I must finish for a scholarship renewal [very soon], 2 midterms to study for, and an additional paper due Friday. Gah! My schedule is full but very soon I hope to have a new post worth reading on gender roles / relations which will address the question of feminine submission vs masculine dominance, whether the Religious Life exempts or upholds gender roles, how we as Catholics are to understand & approach the subject matter and more! This will be posted perhaps within in the next week (or 2) ... or maybe even tomorrow if I get the chance! .... Thanks & God Bless!

-Pax Vobiscum