#NFPAwarenessWeek – Evangelizing By Testimony

Since Pope Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae on July 25, 1968, the week containing July 25 is now considered #NFPWeek.
If someone is able-bodied, and effectively using NFP to space children, whether that means having 6 instead of 12 kids, or “stopping” at 2, or whatever, then I think it’s important to share stories.
If someone is struggling with NFP, pastors and other laity need to be aware of different methods to provide more effective help. It seems like proponents of almost every method say, “Ours is *the one*, and you don’t need to learn about the others,” but each method has advantages and disadvantages and are better suited to different couples and situations. For those who say, “Trust Providence,” I say that NFP *is* trusting Providence.
In our case, I think most people in our families assume we are experiencing secondary infertility. Just this evening, my wife was holding her brother’s new baby, and her sister said, “Next baby will be yours,” as if she’s presuming we’re “trying” but can’t. Yes, from time to time we pause to consider it, and, yes, we have had a few “close calls,” and if God blessed us with another baby, we’d figure it out, but as our close friends have put it, “If anybody has grave reasons, you two do.”
When we were first married, we used sympto-thermal method (CCLI), charting temperatures, getting up each morning to take temperatures, etc. Our first month of marriage, when “phase 2″ rolled around, we were praying over whether to abstain.

We tried “Bible roulette,” prayed to the Holy Spirit and found a few passages about not worrying about what other people think, and that addressed a few of our other side issues. Then I looked up from the Bible and saw that my wife was wearing a t-shirt that said, “Consider the Lilies of the field. . . .”
The second month, on the first day of Phase 2, the Gospel was “Anyone who welcomes a child welcomes Me. . . . ”
So while we charted, our prayer led us to openness to a baby. One of our main concerns was my wife being the primary wage earner. We’d hoped I’d be done with my MA by the end of our first year of marriage and able to get a full time job. If that didn’t happen, we figured we should time a baby to be born in early summer, so after September, we began abstaining during Phase 2, until April when we figured we’d at least have Winter break, and in May, my wife woke me up one morning and said, “Good morning, Dad.”
I was never able to get full time work in spite of trying, so we made do withwe a lot of help for a couple years. Over Christmas 2002, when our eldest was 9 months old, the holiday got the better of us, and we got a bunch of signs from God, and we knew a baby had been conceived, and we would name that baby Lewis or Louise. It wasn’t the best timing but seemed to be God’s will. In March, we suffered a miscarriage.
As time went on, we learned how difficult it can be to use sympto-thermal method once you already have a baby, and if you’re using “ecological breastfeeding” as a form of child spacing. However, the charting we’d already done had given us a general sense of the “unofficial signs” of ovulation, such as ovulation pain. We moved from sympto-thermal to rhythm.
That June, we had a “method failure”–early ovulation, which nothing but abstaining from day 1 until 3 or 4 days after ovulation occurred could account for–but better timing in that by the time our second full-term baby was born, my wife’s short-term disability insurance’s maternity leave coverage would be in effect.
Lactational ammenorhea ended about 8 months of time after each birth. When that ended in October or November 2004, we started looking into Billings Ovulation Method, I misunderstood some signs, and by January 2005, we learned there was another baby on the way.
My own career had been on the upswing that year, and a week before our son was born, I started my first and only full time job. My wife was able to get a year of leave from her school district, and started tutoring online part time.
During that period of amenorrhea, we studied Billings Ovulation Model. We also tried practicing NFP more
“conservatively,” waiting from Day 1 till 3 days after we thought ovulation had occurred. That time, weren’t even sure when ovulation occurred, or how it was possible, but our youngest daughter was born in May 2007.
In the meantime, we had moved to SC, I had had a few health scares, and I began feeling a new kind of pain and pressure in my upper back. Over the next several months, I studied the various methods, indicators, and available devices in great detail. I found out that Marquette had developed a model using the ClearPlan Fertility Monitor, so we bought one of those. After a couple years, the device burnt out, and we started just using over the counter test strips because they’re cheaper, and we then knew how to read them. We found a website called myfertilitycharts.com, and we began using that to chart. Our youngest is now 8, during which time both of us have had health problems.
1) God sent us the method we needed it when we really needed it
2) If we had followed the more worldly advice of “waiting,” we might never have had kids at all (which we knew and was why we didn’t).

Carmelite Glorious Mysteries Scriptural Rosary “

I have previously blogged about the 6-decade “Carmelite Rosary,” suggesting a sixth Luminous Mystery.
You may be familiar with the relatively standard “Scriptural Rosary,” where a Bible verse and, in a few cases, antiphon, is prayed before each Hail Mary. There are several variants of this practice, but the one most often published has a few verses assigned to the Assumption and Coronation that have always sounded mismatched to me, and, if one is to add the sixth Carmelite mystery of the Patronage/Apparition of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, another set need to be added. So, with credit to “Rosary Army” For the structure.
All Scripture verses are from the Douay-Rheims, unless noted; titles, chapters and/or verses in brackets are the “standard,” KJV/Masoretic-based numbering versus the Douay/Vulgate numbering).

The Sign of the Cross
Creed
Lord’s Prayer
Prayer for Faith and Hail Mary
Prayer for Hope and Hail Mary
Prayer for Love and Hail Mary
Glory Be

First Glorious Mystery: The Resurrection of Our Lord
Our Father
resurrection_iconol
1. “Amen, amen, I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice: and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” (John 16:20)
Hail Mary
2. “So also you now indeed have sorrow: but I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice. And your joy no man shall take from you.” (John 16:21)
Hail Mary
3. “And on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared.”  (Luke 24:1)
Hail Mary
4. “And behold there was a great earthquake. For an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and coming, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.” (Mt 28:2)
Hail Mary
5. “And the angel answering, said to the women: Fear not you; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.” (Mt 28:5-6).
Hail Mary
6. “He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where the Lord was laid.” (Mt 28:6)
Hail Mary
7. “And going quickly, tell ye his disciples that he is risen: and behold he will go before you into Galilee; there you shall see him.” (Mt 28:7)
Hail Mary
8. “And [the women] went out quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy, running to tell his disciples.” (Mt 28:8).
Hail Mary.
9. “Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live.” (John 11:25)
Hail Mary.
10. “Blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.” ( Jn 20:29).
Hail Mary.
Glory be
Fatima Prayer

Second Glorious Mystery: the Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven
Our Father
glory2

1. “And [Jesus] led them out as far as Bethania: and lifting up his hands, he blessed them.” (Luke 24:50)
Hail Mary
2. “And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: ‘All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.'” (Mt 28:18)
Hail Mary
3. “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Mt 28:19)
Hail Mary
4. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:” (Mt 28:20)
Hail Mary
5. “He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)
Hail Mary
6. “and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Mt 28:20)
Hail Mary
7. “And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9).
Hail Mary
8. “And the Lord Jesus . . . was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God.” (Mk 16:19).
Hail Mary
9. “And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments.” (Acts 1:10).
Hail Mary
10. “Who also said: ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven.'” (Acts 1:11)
Hail Mary
Glory Be
Fatima Prayer

Third Glorious Mystery: the Descent of the Holy Spirit
Our Father
holyspirit-2

1. “And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place:” (Acts 2:1)
Hail Mary
2. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:2)
Hail Mary
3. “And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and [. . . they began to tell] the wonderful works of God.” (Acts 2:4,11)
Hail Mary
4. “Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven, and they were all astonished.” (Acts 2:5-6)
Hail Mary
5. “But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke to them.” (Acts 2:14)
Hail Mary
6. “Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins: and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)
Hail Mary
7. “They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41)
Hail Mary
8. “And all they that believed, were together, and had all things common.” (Acts 2:44)
Hail Mary
9. “Thou shalt send forth thy spirit, and they shall be created: and thou shalt renew the face of the earth.” (Psalm 103[104]:30).
Hail Mary
Glory be
Fatima Prayers

Fourth Glorious Mystery: the Assumption of Our Lady 
Our Father
Assumption 02

1. “Behold my beloved speaketh to me: Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come, for winter is now past; the rain is over and gone” (Cant. [Songs] 2:10-11)
Hail Mary
2. “Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thy ear: and forget thy people and thy father’s house” (Psalm 44[45]:11).
Hail Mary
3. “Shew me thy face, let thy voice sound in my ears: for thy voice is sweet, and thy face comely..” (Songs 2:14) Hail Mary
4. “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; nor wilt then give thy holy one to see corruption. ” (Psalm 15[16]:10).
Hail Mary
5. “He sent from on high, and took me: and received me out of many waters.” (Psalm 17[18]:17).
Hail Mary
6. “Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God, above all the women on earth; and blessed be the Lord God, the creator of heaven and earth, who guided your blow at the head of the leader of our enemies..” (Judith 13:18; NAB) Hail Mary
7. “Your deed of hope will never be forgotten by those who recall the might of God.” (Judith 13:19; NAB)
Hail Mary
9. “Thou art the glory of Jerusalem, thou art the joy of Israel, thou art the honour of our people.” (Judith 15:10[9])
Hail Mary
10. “For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again; even so them who have slept through Jesus, will God bring with him.” (1 Thess 4:13)
Hail Mary
Glory be 
Fatima Prayer

Fifth Glorious Mystery: The Coronation
Our Father



1. “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
Hail Mary
2. “And when the prince of pastors shall appear, you shall receive a never fading crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4)
Hail Mary
3. “And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple, and there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail.” (Apoc. [Rev] 11:19)
Hail Mary
4. “And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Apoc. 12:1)
Hail Mary
5. “The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes; in many-colored robes she is led to the king,” (Psalm 44[45]:13-14; RSV-CE)

Hail Mary

6. “Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?” (Cant. [Songs] 6:9[10])
Hail Mary
7. “As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.” (Cant. [Songs] 2:2)
Hail Mary
8. “After her shall virgins be brought to the king: her neighbours shall be brought to thee” (Psalm 44[45]:15
9. “The queen stood on thy right hand, in gilded clothing; surrounded with variety.” (Psalm 44[45]:10).
Hail Mary
10.  “Hail, Queen of mercy, protect us from the enemy,/ and receive us at the hour of death.” (Queenship of the B.V.M., Gradual) Hail Mary

Sixth Glorious Mystery: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Our Father



1. “With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts” (3[1] Kings 19:10). Hail Mary
2. “Elias said to Eliseus: Ask what thou wilt have me to do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Eliseus said: I beseech thee that in me may be thy double spirit.” (4[2] Kings 2:9). Hail Mary
3. “And he took up the mantle of Elias,” (4[2] Kings 2:13). Hail Mary
5. “Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of thy Order; it is the special sign of my favor, which I have obtained for thee and for thy children of Mount Carmel.” (Vision of St. Simon Stock)

Hail Mary

6. “He who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection.” (Vision of St. Simon Stock)

Hail Mary
 
7.  “And now, my sons, listen to me; / happy are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise.” (Prov 8:32-33) Hail Mary
8. “Happy are those who keep my ways,/ watching daily at my gates.” (Prov 8:32,34) Hail Mary
9. “For he who finds me finds life / and obtains favor from the Lord.” (Prov 8:35) Hail Mary

10. “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation: and with the robe of justice he hath covered me, as a bridegroom decked with a crown, and as a bride adorned with her jewels.” (Is. 61:10) Hail Mary

Glory Be

Fatima Prayer

Closing prayers

My son found a Fleur-de-lis at Wal-Mart, and I was offended.

My son found a fleur-de-lis medal in the craft section of Wal-Mart for $1 and asked if he could have it. He just thought it was pretty. It made me furious.

It made me furious because I was wondering how long it will be before Wal-Mart announces it no longer sells items depicting that newfound “symbol of hate.” it made me even more furious when we saw one of those paintable wooden wall hangings in the shape and someone had broken it.

The fleur-de-lis is the symbol of New Orleans and other parts of the former Louisiana Purchase because it’s the symbol of the French monarchy and of French Catholicism. Yes, those regions practiced slavery and segregation. Yes the fleur-de-lis has far more of a claim of being part of “heritage” than a battle flag of an army that existed for five years and lost.

But to call it a symbol of hate is like calling the Three-leaf Shamrock a symbol of hate, and I’m sure that will be next.

Do people even realize that it was the Catholic Church that tried to ban slavery and successfully did so in some countries centuries before the Anglophone Protestant countries caught up?

Then there’s the debate about the Planned unParenthood baby parts video. Even with the woman saying they sell organs from aborted fetuses, people are still clinging to “blob of tissue.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy has argued in several abortion-related opinions that parents have the right to determine whether they think an unborn baby is a person or not. If that’s the case, then what about those of us who so believe? This blog was founded precisely on that premise and named after the miscarried child who would have been named after St. Louis of France (among others depicted above). If Person A chooses to interpret a symbol of Christian purity as a symbol of hate, and we have to listen to that person, why don’t pro-abortionists have to listen to the offense of those of us who choose to accept the science that an unborn baby is a biologically distinct human person and not offend us with their hateful rhetoric?

Why do liberals get a monopoly on being offended?

How can you believe in a God who allows [insert problem here]?

A common objection to Christianity is that we worship a cruel, capricious God, that God is distant, that God does not understand human frailty or have compassion for our suffering. Yet, we do not worship some vague God. We worship Jesus Christ, crucified (1 Cor 1:23), a God who became one like us in all things but sin (Hebrews 4:15).

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be 4 through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
. . . 10 He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. 12 But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, 13 who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14).

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16
For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

6 Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. 7 Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, 8 he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.

9 Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:6-11).

18 He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, 20
and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross [through him], whether those on earth or those in heaven. 21 And you who once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds 22 he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through his death, to present you holy, without blemish, and irreproachable before him, 23 provided that you persevere in the faith, firmly grounded, stable, and not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven. . . . 24
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking* in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, (Colossians 1:18-24).

That’s the God I believe in, Charlie Brown.

Today’s first reading really struck me

Coupled with the commissioning of the Apostles from Mk 6:7-13, it’s Amos 7:12-15:

Amaziah, priest of Bethel, said to Amos,
“Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah!
There earn your bread by prophesying,
but never again prophesy in Bethel;
for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.”
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”

Amos is one of the “Minor Prophets,” a book of only 9 chapters. Most of those are warnings and visions. In chapter 7, the string of messages are interrupted with what the New American Bible subtitles, “Biographical Interlude: Amos and Amaziah.” The priest Amaziah accuses Amos of conspiring against Jeroboam, king of the Northern Kingdom, and accuses him of being a prophet-for-hire.
He’s not a “seer” or a crooked “evangelist” who takes money from the gullible. He’s not the equivalent of a Greek sophist who takes money from the rich to promote people with a message. Amos defends himself merely on the fact that he’s a humble farmer, who’s prophesying simply because God told him to. He makes no profit from being a “prophet,” nor is he a particularly educated person.

The Truth about St. Maria Goretti

Apparently, between the Confederate Battle Flag, the two SCOTUS decisions, the Oregon bakers, etc., there weren’t enough controversies circulating before #CommunistCrosswithChristGate happened, so certain prominent Catholic #blogpologists (I just came up with that one) decided to celebrate the feast of St. Maria Goretti by debating whether she should be upheld as an example of “purity.”

You see, to feminists, this is offensive because she was a victim of an attempted “rape.” In his canonization decree, Ven. Pius XII said she was a martyr of purity, for protecting herself from “rape.”

To feminists, this is an example of “shaming” rape victims–a practice common in pagan cultures but which the Church has always condemned. Indeed, St. Augustine’s reflections on the decline of Rome in _City of God_ begin by addressing how being a rape victim is not a sin on the part of the woman, and he condemns the Roman practice of telling rape victims they need to commit suicide. Somehow, because he’s “St. Augustine,” if you cite this passage to certain feminists, they’ll still say it’s sexist and evil and condoning rape, or whatever, but a Muslim or some other Western figure would be applauded for saying the same thing.

Anyway, along comes Maria Goretti–a saint whose story is very similar to Sts. Agnes, Cecelia, Agatha, and so many other virgin-martyrs. To feminists, to praise a virgin martyr as a model of purity is offensive, since in part they consider “purity” itself to be an offensive concept, moral or physical.

To a Catholic, who understands that body and spirit are integrated, spiritual and physical purity can go hand in hand. That’s not to say that “rape victims are guilty” or “deserve it,” but just that we are far more understanding of the complexities of human psychology than we’re given credit for: a simple example being the psychological shame a rape victim feels which leads many, cultural norms or not, to fall into despair and contemplate suicide.

The two female “blogpologists” who’ve reignited this discussion this time have a bit of a history of taking stands on certain issues that seem to try to avoid offending NOW, or to favor a feminist perspective over a traditionally (small “t”) Catholic one.

Thus, they say we should emphasize that Maria forgave her attacker but not that she protected her “purity.”

However, the problem with that argument is it misunderstands several things.

1) The definition of “rape.” The word “rape” comes from the latin word for “catch,” and is a “catch-all” term for not just sexual assault as we would understand it, but kidnapping (the “rape of the Sabine women”), seduction, etc. The term could even be used of men being “taken”–it’s the same Latin term from which we get the ever-popular Protestant doctrine of “rapture,” since that is a direct translation of the infinitive form of the verb from which we also get “rape.”

2) In the particulars of St. Maria’s case, it’s not like her neighbor/landlord Alessandro randomly accosted her with a knife and ordered her to remove her clothes or forcibly removed them himself. He propositioned her on several occasions to consentually fornicate with him, and she refused him, repeatedly, even knowing that he had the power to destroy her family’s livelihood (her mother was a widow). That is why she was protecting her purity. Only the last time did he pull out a knife, threaten her with it and stab her. Had he physically “raped” her in the contemporary sense, she would still have been a martyr for purity.

Was Jesus “Bound By His Times”?

So, Jimmy Carter thinks that, if Jesus “were alive today,” He’d approve of gay marriage, abortion, women’s ordination, etc. . . .
One of the popular notions of “Christian” liberals is that “Jesus was bound by His times,” that if He had not been so bound, He’d have approved of all the things they want to do–things that, at the same time, they remind us were popular in most pagan cultures, anyway. So, 1) How was “Jesus” bound by His times for teaching people not to do things that pagans and in some cases even Jews allowed?
2) If they truly believe Jesus is God, how could He be bound by the times He chose to be born into,
3) if Jesus is God, and the Jews were God’s Chosen People who received His Law, how could the time and place Jesus was born into *not* be what He wanted them to be?