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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Doubt and Peace: When to Discern God's Will

Confusion. Doubt. Fear.

These are, unfortunately, words that I have heard from devout, practicing Catholics this summer in regard to their faith. They are sensations with which I myself have deeply struggled. These are not what God wants us to associate with our faith, though he will allow us to be plunged into doubt and despair as a path to eventually bring us closer to him. During the experience, however, we can have great difficulty discerning God's will in our lives.

Questions about what God wants from us, to whom he wants us to listen, and how we are supposed to follow him are all natural and good. However, when these questions turn so much to fear and doubt that our hearts are stirred into a frenzy of unknowing, then we are no longer simply asking questions of our God: we are falling prey to the Tempter.

St. Ignatius, five-hundred years ago, addressed this very problem, and his insights into the issue are all too-little known in our day and age. Ignatius calls it the Discernment of Good and Evil Spirits.

Basically, Ignatius discerns between Consolation and Desolation, and how when we are in Consolation we often make resolutions which are good, but are not necessarily what God wants from us. We get caught up in the moment, filled with a fervor of love for our great Lord and Creator, and we vow to do great things to transform ourselves and the world. We forget in this moment of fervor about St. Therese's Little Way, or Mary's hidden life in Nazareth; we want to become a Joan of Arc overthrowing evil, a Sebastian peppered with arrows for God, a Paul spreading the Word across the nations. We must acknowledge however, that we are simple, fallen human beings, and God asks only that we obey him at every moment of every day. "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” (Matt. 6:34) We stack up to many expectations for ourselves, and so forget to rely on God's calm guidance in our lives.

Sometimes, after we have resolved on these great plans, fear suddenly sweeps over us. Fear of what we think God is asking of us, and fear of our lack of desire to obey Him. We start thinking that we are terrible people, that we are sinful wretches incapable of loving God. This is not the turmoil that stems from an empty life, or the committing of a grave sin. This is fear about everything: fear about God's very ability to love us because of our fallen nature. These thoughts discount God’s mercy and are never from Him. This is an experience of Desolation, and arises from thoughts instilled in us by Satan.

Ignatius discusses Desolation and how, when we are in this state, we are filled with fear of our intentions, our actions, our future. Sometimes, we mistakenly believe that God is speaking to us through this feeling of confusion and turmoil: that he is allowing us to feel wretched as a way to disengage us from our current path.

Most often, however, this is simply not the case. God's nudges and guidance come from a place of peace in our hearts. They come from a deep well of trust in his counsels. If we can not feel that trust, if we can not feel the love of God in a decision over which we are agonizing, then we are not in a position to make any decision.

Two years ago, I experienced a deep desolation, and within the confusion of the experience, nearly turned away from God. I suffer from Chronic Fatigue, which is a generally unknown and misunderstood illness. It is debilitating and can become so to varying degrees. I was confined to my room, divorced even from the company of my family: I was plunged in a state of brain fog and depression, which made thinking practically impossible. For a person whose whole life centers around Philosophy, this affliction began to undermine the very way that I viewed reality. I could not believe that God would allow such constant pain, such entire solitude, such total misery. I could no longer recollect with any intelligence Christ's experience of agony, or any of Aquinas' proofs for God's existence; I was bereft of any comfort, and even Sunday Communion was an unknown privilege. I doubted the existence of God, and I remember the moment one day, sitting upon the side of my bathtub, with my head in my hands, when I decided that God must not exist. But cradle Catholicism has its perks, and habit was too strong for me. I cried out in desperation to the ceiling, telling God that I could no longer believe in him, and I had to give up trying because it made me too tired.
What followed was a literal cartoon moment - a flash of a light bulb above my head: without any thinking, without any reasoning, but with a simple, solid knowing. The knowledge came with an almost audible voice: "You are not expected to prove my existence."
With that all the doubt, confusion, turmoil, and pain of mind washed away like a stream in a desert. I was not being asked to make a decision, to prove anything, or to understand anything. Only to have faith. I knew then that one day, I would be well-enough to think again about why I believed in God. But until that day came, I had only to believe.

With simple surrender, I prayed a simple prayer for belief.

Faith is underrated, and in this world of scientific proofs, individualism, and logical reasoning, our world expects us to understand and prove everything that we believe. God, however, is not so hard on our simple, limited minds. He knows and loves our limitations, and gives us the grace in every moment to simply accept him. He will not always give the knowledge for which we pray, but he will always give us peace.

The best advice with which I would like to leave you is this: Do not make a decision regarding your faith when you are in a state of desolation, and be careful of the decisions that stem from Consolation. Do not expect that any decision you make will bring you peace. Pray first for acceptance and peace, and only when Christ has restored you to that tranquility, will you be in a state of mind to know and do his will. Confusion and doubt are from the Devil, but Peace is from God. 

For further reading on Ignatius' teachings, check out these sites:
Ignatius' 8 Rules for the Discernment of Spirits:
Article about Ignatius' Teachings:

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Proper Sphere of Woman

Here is the third part of my thesis that I wrote on women. The last time (which you can read Here) I talked about Mary as the ideal woman, and before that, about the Two-fold Nature of Woman. Now, I will discuss Woman's Proper role in the world. Is she called to the professional world? Or purely Motherhood? Why or why not? 

Woman, as a bride and mother, is called to emulate Mother Mary’s example. She is often called upon to sacrifice the development of her personal talents in order to pour her energy into the cultivation of the talents of her children. This is not a sinful neglect of her talents, but a proper self-effacing, wherein the glory of humanity is revealed through the mother’s gift of herself. This particular female charism is most accurately portrayed through the vocation of the Bride-Mother: “wheresoever woman is most profoundly herself, she is not as herself but as surrendered, and wherever she is surrendered, there she is also bride and mother”[1]. Only woman can be mother and bride, and thus only woman can symbolize the nurturing element of humanity which pours forth upon the world the gifts of love which she receives from her lover. It is through this vocation that woman learns to be the beloved of her spouse, and to respond to this love by bestowing her energy and leisure upon her family. Through the family she finds fulfillment in the love that is given her and the love she gives forth.
I once asked my own mother, “Mom, you don’t have a job, or any hobbies, and you can’t even donate time to our parish. How do you find fulfillment? What gives your life happiness and meaning?” She smiled at me: she knew I was not blaming her for not giving time to those other things, nor would I have criticized her if she had felt a calling to them. She understood that I was asking the question pure and simply, “It’s you guys.” She said. “When I see all of you and your Dad happy, and practicing your gifts, and loving God, my life is the happiest it could ever be.” As a bride and mother, she is, within this life, blessed with an abundance of joy in watching her children and husband enter the world brimful of the love and nurture that she gives of herself for their sake. When her loved ones succeed and live happy, holy lives then she finds fulfillment in their success and joy. And she seeks, by her loving example and diligence, ever to increase their welfare. While the Bride-Mother is not the only vocation of woman that allows her to maintain an attitude in line with her specific dignity, it is she who most clearly symbolizes the call to openness and reciprocity, and the subsequent pouring forth of that fruitful love upon the world.
The life of the mother is invaluable, but not pretty; it consists of the hidden and the humble, the dirtiest and most unpleasant tasks, which she fulfills in a complete and specific manner that is unique to her dignity as a woman. The mother is called to be open to the gift of the person, to accept every individual as an “I” and to cultivate that personality. John Paul II mentions this open attitude of mothers: “motherhood implies from the beginning a special openness to the new person; and this is precisely the woman’s ‘part’.”[2] The woman is called to accept each person she encounters, receiving their unique gifts into herself in order to love and cultivate them, but the ultimate reception of her nature is revealed when she embraces the gift of a new person: an infant, who depends unconditionally upon her acceptance. This is why Abortion is such a complete denial of woman’s true nature, since it is an intrinsic refusal to accept a person as another “I”, and thereby reduces that helpless individual to a the state of a commodity. Woman is, within the home, called to strive for the most ideal spiritual, emotional, and mental wellbeing of her children; she is called to strive for the best education possible, the best health they can attain, and the greatest independence they can achieve. She recognizes their dependence and nurtures them on account of it, at the same time as she teaches them to function as individuals, until finally, she makes the greatest sacrifice by watching them become independent. The mother is the nurturing, loving part of reality that recognizes weakness and draws greatness out of it. She adores the smallest, most seemingly insignificant individual, and by doing so, exalts his nature and enables him to succeed in the world. In the success of the child, the mother finds fulfillment.
Many women are called to exercise their gifts outside, or in addition to, the family sphere, and when properly practiced, this call does not negate the gift of love a woman is called to bestow upon her family. For, while woman is not called to ignore or deny her gifts (unless a specific situation arises in which something greater is demanded of her sacrificially), yet she is encouraged to put those gifts to the service of those she loves. Edith Stein says that motherhood and the professional sphere can be combined so long as there is a proper ordering of priorities. She says that:

the fact that all powers which the husband possesses are present in a feminine nature as well – even though they may generally appear in different degrees and relationships – is an indication they should be employed in corresponding activity. And wherever the circle of domestic duties is too narrow for the wife to attain the full formation of her powers, both nature and reason concur that she reach out beyond this circle. [3]

She does offer a warning, however, saying that certain “professional activities” may “jeopardize domestic life”.[4] “It even seems to me a contradiction of the divine order when the professional activities of the husband escalate to a degree that cuts him off completely from family life. This is even more true of the wife.”[5] Therefore, Edith Stein maintains that a woman can embrace her nature even while living in the professional sphere, so long as she maintains a proper ordering of priorities. Cultivating one’s God-given talents results in accidental[6] self-glorification, even when directed toward the good of another or that of humanity in general; however, a woman can pursue a realization of her talents in subordination to her primary vocation of mother and wife. A woman can find fulfillment in the professional sphere if she is careful to always maintain an attitude of self-gift rather than to seek self-glorification. She must remember to receive love when offered and always remain receptive to the ‘others’ that she encounters in life.
An entirely new level of difficulty is found for the woman who grants the two spheres, motherhood and professional life, equal attention. The problem that arises is that women often do not maintain a correct ordering of priorities and desire self-glorification in the professional sphere above the self-effacing of familial life. While it is important for a woman to find fulfillment in her professional life, it is ultimately more important that she pour her maternal, nurturing energies into her familial relationships.  Whether married or single, the public sphere is an appropriate place for woman, so long as she retains an understanding of her nature, and is forever receptive to the call of her Creator.
Love is the ultimate vocation of woman. It is that which gives woman her ultimate dignity, for it encompasses the two-fold nature of those dignities inherent to her as a person. John Paul II proclaims that “a woman's dignity is closely connected with the love which she receives by the very reason of her femininity; it is likewise connected with the love which she gives in return.”[7] Whether in the professional, familial, or religious sphere, woman is called to reciprocate love. This is more an attitude than a job description. Feminists of this age tote the phrase that anything man can do, woman can master as well. This is, in fact, true. Gertrude von le Fort says that “whenever woman has been suppressed, it is because she is recognized and feared as having power.”[8] It is by the very fact that woman has great power in the exercise of her gifts that she is called to surrender of herself: she is called to love first and foremost, for without love, her power would destroy society. Edith Stein raises the question: “should certain positions be reserved for only men, others for only women, and perhaps a few open for both?”[9] She answers this question with a definitive ‘no’. She says that “no legal barriers of any kind should exist”[10] to limit woman’s participation in the professional sphere, yet neither should any social condition exist that forces the mother to be away from her home. It is a rebellion against God’s divine plan for anyone to suppress woman, either within or without it the home, for it is her free choice to submit to God’s call, and to rise up when evil threatens and none others will take a stand. She is free, as a person, to choose not to insert herself into those roles that most often suit men, but to respect that she is different, and her own talents may lie in a separate direction.
However, when man will not stand up and defend, protect, and generally live up to his own symbols, then it is the woman’s responsibility to act in his role. Judith’s great virtue was that she stood up and called on men to have faith and overthrow the invaders of Israel. But that when they refused, she took the task upon herself, and with only her handmaiden, beheaded Holofernes, the general of the invading army, and disbanded the entire horde. [11] Woman can do anything man puts his hand to, but whether she is called to do so in every instance is another matter. The cosmos is mighty, yet is called to submit itself to the Creator. In this way, it realizes its full potential, and is exalted by Him Who loves it. Woman is the symbol of the universe’s great receptivity, and she takes upon herself the unlimited, active love of God; and she, as his vessel, pours out that love upon the earth. “Man, regarded in his cosmic aspect, stands in the foreground of strength, while woman dwells in its deeper reaches.”[12] It is in the depths of existence that woman gives of herself and thereby fortifies the foundations of society, whether she does so as mother, executive, employee, social worker, etc.

[1] Le Fort, pg. 11
[2] Pope John Paul II, part 18
[3] Edith Stein, Essays on Woman (Washington D.C.: ICS Publications, 1996) pg. 80
[4] Ibid, pg. 80
[5] Ibid, pg. 80
[6] Accidental: in the Aristotelian sense. Categories cite
[7] Pope John Paul II, part 30 emphasis his
[8] Le Fort, pg 13
[9] Edith Stein, pg. 81
[10] Ibid, pg. 81
[11] Judith, 8-13
[12] Le Fort, pg. 13

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


    Lately, I've been overwhelmed with trying to fix the world. 
    You know what I mean: you look around and see all the problems of this fallen world and just want to heal and fix everything: presidential elections, LGBTQ (Q? What does that even stand for?) divorce, abortion, euthanasia, hunger, faulty education, chemical-laden food....I could just keep going because the list is never ending!
    I wish Christ had not said "The poor will always be with you" (Matt. 26:11 paraphrase) because if he had just left that issue vague, maybe I would be justified in Martha-ing all the time. But he did say it. And he said it for people like me.
    As we were going through finals at the end of the school year this April and I was preparing to enter the world as a post-graduate, one of my best friends, who is a year behind me, suddenly had a break-down. It was not that unusual - we were college students at the end of a school year. But she just became overwhelmed, after encountering something online, with the evil in the world and she began to beseech me, with tears in her eyes, to go out and bring goodness to a confused and helpless world, because she did not want to leave our catholic and loving and philosophical school for the illogical, irreverent and indifferent world.  Her words triggered a feeling of helplessness in my heart and I shook my head, crying out that as much as I wanted to I could not fix it all before she graduated. Then she smiled mistily and took my hand, "You don't have to do something grand or different - you just have to be you. Be the good person that you are in a bad world, and that'll be enough. I just want to know that there is one good person in the world."
    Those words brought a sudden calm to my heart and as we hugged each other, I began to reflect. I have been reflecting since and I keep going back to her words: "Just be you." I do not need to be Martha all the time because then I will neglect that which makes me a good person: I will neglect Christ and my prayer life. I will become a worried, fretting wreck who tries to fix things that can not be fixed, and I will be incapable of bringing love to those that I encounter. Mary chose the better part because she was so full of trust and love. She remembered to nurture Christ and pamper him because she knew that He was the rare, perfect gift that makes this fallen world livable and who brings love to the poor, the broken, the dying, the angry, etc., etc., and so on until the end of time. And at the end of time we will have Christ. Not this broken world or these crumbling clay cities; not these faulty philosophies or whirling, confusing politics. We will have the King of Peace and he will bring the Love and Joy that we never can on our own. So it is our responsibility to be good people who live for Christ; and when we live such a life - saying 'yes' to Christ's call to Love Him and to love our neighbor as ourself, then He can not help but work through us. And it is in this way that the world will change.

Matthew 26:7-13New International Version (NIV)

a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”
10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you,[a] but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Luke 10:38-42New International Version (NIV)

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a]Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Great Gift of Grace

As I boarded my flight last Tuesday, June 7, I was very excited for the week awaiting me, but I had no actual idea of what was in store. I was on my way for the first time to Washington D.C. to attend the very first Catholic Young Women's Leadership Forum called Given. And it was a true gift.
I expected to encounter networking, information on how to start a young women's group in my area, and also to grow in my faith a little, since I knew we would have daily mass and daily adoration. I was not expecting the overflow of graces that I actually received. 

Mary is good, and knows much better than I what exactly it is that I need. So while I received some of those things (networking and info) ultimately, I grew in leaps in my faith this last week. As I flew back on Sunday, I reflected on all the peace that flooded my heart. At breakfast that morning, one of the attendees, reflecting on her experience of the week, commented that she did not feel like she was on a spiritual high that often follows a retreat. Rather, there was a deep calm that ran all through her, and could not be plunged from her heart by any depressing or difficult things that she would encounter at home. 
I agreed with her at the time, and now, after almost a week at home, I can attest to the truth of her statement. Mary knew my weakness and last week she gently exposed it to the light  and softly healed it. My ability to trust in Christ, while before was only theory and wishful hoping, has since blossomed and overflowed. I am no longer filled with fear of the future, or of my own weaknesses. 
The greatest thing that I learned at the Given Forum was not the head knowing of fact and truth, but the deep seated knowledge of God's Merciful Diving Plan for me. Just being able to rest in his plan, with all of its twists, turns, plunges, and soars, is a great grace. 
One thing that I highly recommend after this week, a practical tool that brings great benefit from just learning about it, is The Discernment of Spirits by Fr. Timothy Gallagher O.M.V. It brings the ability to tell when we are truly living in accord with God's plan, or else psyching ourselves out about not being good enough, or doing things that are good enough. But 'God does not call us to do great things, but small things with great love' (Mother Teresa, paraphrased). And when we are doing his will, no matter how small his request, we accomplish the great work that is his Divine Plan.

I can not thank all the communities of sisters enough for the great gift that they gave us in putting on the Given Conference. Thank You All.

If you would like to know more about Given, please check out these links: (look under the events tab)

I hope and pray that this event can be put on again, and more Catholic Young Women can benefit from this Great Gift of God's Love.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

His Will Be Done

Do you ever feel that sometimes the devil just really wants to disuade you from a project/event/trip? That he's like a little child who knows all your buttons and decides to push every single one at once. 
That's how I've been feeling the past two days. I have the Given Conference coming up (which is an oppurtunity for young women in America to come together and plan how to ignite the world with Christ's love) and yet I am sick, and discouraged, and stressed out. None of it is really a big deal, but it's all my triggers, and they're being triggered. 
So why am I unloading all this onto you? 
Well, because there's someone else involved in all my stress, and He is the one allowing it to happen. Jesus loves me with a great love, and I always tell him He has permission to do what He likes with me. But of course I complain when He allows bad things to happen. But if He allows it to happen then there is a good reason, even if all He wants is for me to show that I trust Him. I know he wants me to go to this conference and I know I'm going. Irrelevant facts like me not having enough energy to stand right now will not stop Him from getting me there. He has a plan, and I trust in Him. 

Jesus, I trust in you.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Mary, Mother of God

Happy Memorial Day! Here is the second part to my Thesis about women and our place in the world. Last time I talked about the Two-Fold Nature of woman: Her call to self-gift, and her receptivity to Love. Today I will talk about Jesus' Mother, Our Mother, who is the most perfect and loving and womanly lady that ever lived.

Mother Mary is the most excellent example of a woman who lives in full recognition and acceptance of her vocation. It is she who best demonstrates woman’s active receptivity to love, and the way in which this receptivity affects woman’s call to give of herself. In her Fiat to the Holy Spirit at the Annunciation, Mary accepted the love of God at the same time as she gave herself to the Christ Child. John Paul II says that “the Bride is loved: it is she who receives love, in order to love in return.[1] Mary understood this, and when Love was offered to her, she accepted it humbly and with a sincere return of devotion. This relationship between the Lover and Beloved, demonstrated by Mary and the Holy Spirit, is a symbol of God’s relationship with the cosmos. It demonstrates the fruitful nature of self-gift that springs from the love between the Lover and the Beloved. In this role as both Bride and Mother of God, Mary receives her ultimate fulfillment. Mary abases herself, always pointing toward God and leading others who love her to the love of Christ, just as creation continually points toward the Creator. Mary, while finding happiness on this earth, is ultimately exalted in heaven above all creatures in heaven and on earth; for, being “full of grace,”[2] she was able above all women (or any person) on earth, to abase and humble herself before the Lord, and for this reason, she is and always will be the most gloriously exalted woman of all mankind. “The motherhood that is accomplished in her comes exclusively from the ‘power of the Most High’, and is the result of the Holy Spirit's coming down upon her (cf. Lk 1:35).”[3] Her only participation is her wondrously active receptivity: her ‘yes’ to the request of the Holy Spirit. Thus Mary displays the ultimate example of self-effacement before God, and so receives the ultimate glorification at his hands: the honor of being the Theotokos.
As Mother and Bride in relation to Jesus and Joseph, we can imagine that Mary found intimate joy and satisfaction in her private life, where we can easily envision that great love and happiness overflowed on account of the holiness of each member of the Holy Family. Mary offered a continual gift of self to her family, for whom she would have poured out her energies. Despite the many trials of her life, such as giving birth in a stable, fleeing to Egypt for the safety of her son, and finally, watching her only child die on a cross, she continued to accept the will of God in her life: “he who does the will of my father is my mother.”[4] Christ appreciated the loving care of his mother to such an extent that he entrusted to her the care of his beloved disciple, whom he desired should benefit from the same maternal love that he himself experienced: “behold your mother.”[5] Mary is the best example of how mothers that live holy and sacrificial lives can find a degree of that eternal fulfillment and glorification here on earth that awaits the faithful in heaven.
Mary was humble in spirit, in soul, and in mind, and the inner beauty and grace of her soul overflowed into her outward actions and lifestyle. It is a paradox that when the woman abases herself she is exalted by the Lord. It is Christ who, more than anyone, recognizes his mother’s great and hidden dignity, and who thereby exalts her above every other person in heaven or on earth. We have already discussed how she lived this humility in the concealment of the home, but after her son ascended into heaven her presence in the world (although she still retained her unique feminine attitude) became more manifest: she poured out her maternal energies into the community of the Church. We find her, in the Acts of the Apostles, sitting among the disciples, in prayer to her son: “all these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”[6] Mary, once Joseph and Jesus no longer needed her, did not remain hidden away
 in her home in her later life. She embraced her vocation to extend her motherly love to all the world, and enrich it through her unique gifts and charisms. It was the inward humility of her soul that allowed her to live in the world but still retain the attitude of her womanly nature: she neither exalted herself nor sought to set herself up as a queen among men, but lived to serve and to continually efface herself so that the glory of Christ her Son might be all the more visible. She sought out the company of others so that her gaze, that was so continually oriented toward Christ, might direct their eyes also to His splendid radiance. The call of woman in the world is that she utilize those qualities which are so visible in motherhood for the care and nurture of the world and society.

[1] Pope John Paul II, part 29
[2] Luke 1:28
[3] John Paul II, part 20
[4] Matthew 12:50
[5] John 19:27
[6] Acts 1:14

Friday, May 27, 2016

Theology of Dance

The other day my brothers and I went to a Theology of Dance night. It was so fun! It is a theology course based on the principle that dance is a reflection of the theological and practical relationship between man and woman.
Image result for swing danceBefore we began the dance lesson, the instructor, Matt, gave a brief theology lesson. Since we were new to the program, he started with the basics and talked about the complementarity of men and women in dance, and how this reflects life. He started with four principles: Beautiful, Musical, Comfortable, and Loving. Beautiful is when the true and the good are united, and used for what God intended. Musical is, in Matt’s words, “when the couple is in Harmony with the Music”. Comfortable is when both partners trust each other, and there is a lack of stress in the dance. And finally, Loving; “to desire good for someone else for their sake and their sake alone.”
He elaborated on the complementarity of the dance: that man leads, and woman allows herself to be led. That it is a man’s joy and purpose in dance to make his partner look fantastic, and it is the woman’s joy to let him show her off. He said that it was only when a man shows his partner off to advantage that he will look good, and if he neglects to show her off, then his beauty diminishes in the eyes of the viewers. Wow! What an interesting reflection on life! Does this mean that it is man’s joy in life to magnify his lady, and her joy to let him? I guess it is! This is so contrary to the mentality of our world, wherein each person stresses their autonomy and individuality, and where (especially women) assert that they don’t need anyone else in life. But the truth is that we are relational beings, created for the other, and meant to live in complementarity. It is only when we live as we are created that we will rise to the great heights for which we are destined. When a man, even if he’s only my friend, offers to carry something, or hold open a door, or even drives me to where I need to be, I feel most feminine and appreciative and loving toward him. I feel a desire, in those moments, to be more toward him, and to find a special way to express my gratitude. Men, I say to you, do not fear the feminists of this age! Do not stop being kind to women and fulfilling your manly proclivities just because most women think they don’t want you to. Because the only reason they think they don’t want these expressions is because they themselves are denying their own natures. Women, I say to you, do not ever let your pride and insecurities keep you from being ready and willing to allow men to reveal your glory. That is their joy, and it is yours to receive their gift, and to pay it back in kind.

Here is a link to Matt’s website ( and I encourage you to reflect on dance in light of the natures of man and woman. John Paul II, in his Theology of the Body, gave the world a great gift of explanation of the nature of mankind, and Matt has taken this to its natural extension: offering practical, visible, and physical representation of JPII’s principles.