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jovenTHE PILL: IT’S JUST A COVER UP

The first time I was “recommended” (judgmentally urged) to begin using the birth control pill by a doctor, I was 16 years old. My doctor’s reasoning was firstly, “because you never know, and you’ll want to be protected” and secondly, because I had an irregular cycle that she claimed would be made “regular” by the pill.

At the time, to be honest, I mostly declined the pill because I was highly offended that this doctor didn’t believe me when I said I wasn’t going to be sexually active until marriage; but in the years since, I’ve continued to decline because I know using the pill for my “medical reason” is not the best, nor the only, option for me. And it shouldn’t be for any woman.

NOTHING MORE THAN A MASK

I know many women who are in a similar boat as me, whether it’s insane cramps, headaches, acne, PMS, cysts, irregular cycles, or any other number of things, the only way out of the misery seems to be the magic little pill. At least that’s what society and nearly every doctor make us think.

However, the truth is this: the most commonly used birth control pill is nothing more than a mask.

Just like makeup only covers up a pimple, the birth control pill only covers up the symptoms of a woman’s menstrual issue. Sure the pill might make a woman’s cycle seem regular, but in reality, it is only fooling her body and her mind.

What the pill basically does is trick the body into thinking it’s pregnant, and therefore doesn’t produce an egg, which also means no period. However, one week of the month, the hormone filled pills are replaced with placebo pills. Suddenly the woman’s body no longer thinks it is pregnant, and the woman has a period. What may seem like a regular cycle is actually a faked pregnancy. As soon as the pill stops being consumed, all the irregularity and other symptoms come back; no different than taking your make up off and still seeing that dreaded pimple.

THE DANGERS OF THE MASK

Now everyone knows that covering a pimple with oily makeup can often make it larger or worse—give you more acne! The same is true with the birth control pill, but on a much more dangerous level. The pill can give a woman what seems to be a regular cycle, but it could also give her to various life-threatening illnesses.

Woman who rely on the most commonly used type of birth control pill, estrogen plus progestin, have a 41% increase of having a stroke, 50% higher chance of getting blood clots, 29% increase in heart attacks, 22% increase of cardiovascular disease, and a 26% increase in having breast cancer.

Sure the pill might take away cramps and decrease a woman’s chances of getting ovarian cancer, but is it worth the risks?

About 21,990 new cases of ovarian cancer will be found in the next year; however, about 230,480 new cases of breast cancer will plague women this year as well. Since breast cancer is nearly ten times more common than ovarian cancer, and taking the pill only increases a woman’s chances of getting breast cancer, is it really worth the risk?

WHAT IF THERE WAS ANOTHER OPTION?

Now I know the above statements might be hard to hear; many women are reliant on the pill to live a productive life, not plagued with debilitating pain each month. But ladies, there is hope! There are other options that could possibly cure your symptoms and not just mask them! The best part is that there are options that won’t hurt you.

My first suggestion is to find a pro-life doctor or medical professional that is willing to dig deeper into your issue with you. Go to fertilitycare.org to find a doctor in your area who practices pro-life medicine and fertility care. Don’t settle for a doctor who tells you the pill is your only option!

Next read up on Natural Family Planning (NFP). NFP is not just for married couples seeking to have or not have a baby. The purpose of NFP is for women to learn to understand their bodies. Visit nfpandmore.org to start learning.

The Creighton Model FertilityCare System is especially designed to help women discover any issues they may have with their menstrual cycle. By tracking your cycle every day, women can pinpoint the cause of their issues.

Here is a list of websites that offer more information:

These are just a few places to start looking for options other than the pill. Once a woman finds the cause of her symptoms through tracking her cycle, a doctor can help her solve the issue in various ways. Tracking your cycle through NFP may not sound like it could relieve your menstrual cycle issues; but combined with the help of a pro-life doctor, you and thousands of women could be on their way to healthier lives.

God created us women, and our bodies, to be something so mysteriously beautiful. Stop covering that beauty with a mask; dive into the mysteries of your body and leave the pill out of it.


By Erika Parks: Lifeteen.com

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BasuttiGOODBYE VICTORIA’S SECRET: AN INTERVIEW WITH KYLIE BISUTTI

She had her dream job . . . and she was only 19! Kylie beat out 10,000 other women when she won the Victoria’s Secret Model Search back in 2009. She travelled the world modeling lingerie as a Victoria’s Secret Angel but Kylie realized it wasn’t everything she had hoped it would be, especially as a married woman. So last Spring she said “peace out Victoria’s Secret!”

Why? In an interview she said:

“My body should only be for my husband and it’s just a sacred thing. I didn’t really want to be that kind of role model for younger girls because I had a lot of younger Christian girls that were looking up to me and then thinking that it was okay for them to walk around and show their bodies in lingerie to guys.”

We wanted to hear it straight from her and share her story with you, so we asked her some more questions. I hope you’re as inspired by her story as I was. It’s so great to have these reminders that life is more than a dream job, physical perfection, or money.


What made you change your mind about being a Victoria’s Secret model after you beat out 10,000 other hopefuls?

The Lord graciously opened my eyes and heart to the fact that I was not honoring him with my body and I was not being a Godly role model to other young women. The Lord showed me that it was not respectful to model lingerie for other men to see me in and that my body should be for my husband. I had a desire to have a Christ centered, Godly marriage and I was not living out that desire by modeling in lingerie.

How did your decision impact your family/husband/friends? What were their reactions?

My husband and family were all very thankful and supportive! My husband had been praying about it for a while so it was an answer to his prayers!

Do you still plan to pursue modeling? If so, how will you uphold your Christian values in your career?

I’m not doing as much modeling now because most of the jobs out there promote sex, idolatry, and a poor standard in beauty for young girls. The little jobs I will take on are only jobs that promote a healthy image and do not sell sex.

What message do you hope that you have given to young girls?

I hope that girls see that living for the Lord is so much more fulfilling than living to be accepted in this world. I hope that girls see that they don’t have to live up to the pressures that the society and modeling world puts on them.

Apart from your decision to leave Victoria’s Secret, how has God and your faith impacted your life?

I’ve grown tremendously in my walk with the Lord over the past couple of years. My relationship with my husband is stronger than ever! I am involved in my church and have made many great friends there. I’m so much happier and fulfilled now!

What advice would you offer to girls who are striving to live a Christian life?

Live out God’s word. Live for Him, to please and honor Him. Eternity with Him is way more important than the short time we have on this earth. He accepts you even when the world does not! Girls can email me for advice, accountability, or prayer at kyliebisutti.com.


By Lifeteen.com

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orarOff to a Good Start!

Why the Schoolwork?

Did you ever stop to wonder why you are going to school?

Perhaps you have a goal to enter a certain career, and you know your studies are leading you to the fulfillment of that goal.

Whether or not you know how you will use your education later in life, your schoolwork, like everything else in your life, is a means to help you become a saint. Yes! It’s true – there is a spiritual reason why you are studying, as well! “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Cor. 10:13. Everything that we do, whether important or insignificant, must be done as a humble “yes” to God’s will. We should always work with the intention to glorify and serve God, rather than acting “because we have to,” or for our own pleasure.

Beginning each new activity, whether school-related or not, with the intention to glorify God is an excellent way to keep in mind Whom we are really working for. When you know you are studying for God, it helps you to do your best, and hard or boring work doesn’t seem quite so unpleasant once you think that you can please and glorify our heavenly Father by doing it well!

Start With a Prayer

Sure, a student’s life is busy! Classes, homework, exams, sports, activities – where does the time to talk to God come in? We don’t always have time to pray for long stretches of time, so we say that we have “no time to pray.” But there is a simple way to keep the thought of God always present in your mind. It’s something the saints were careful to do often, and you can imitate them in it: simply begin each new activity with a prayer.

And it doesn’t have to be a very long prayer, either! Even simply making the Sign of the Cross reminds us of God and the sufferings of Jesus for our salvation. The Sign of the Cross also gives you a partial indulgence each time you make it. Or, you could make up a short prayer such as, “My God, I offer this schoolwork for your glory,” or “Jesus, help me to work well.” If you prefer a longer prayer to offer your work to God, there are many such prayers in prayerbooks.

Dedicating Your Schoolwork

Here’s another idea: at the beginning of the school year (or later, if you don’t happen to think of it earlier), pick a saint or saints for your special study helper, and ask them to help you in your studies. At the same time, make a firm resolution to use your studies for the glory of God, and to use them to accomplish HIS will in your life.

Make a ceremony out of it: bring your books and binders and notebooks – whatever you’ll be using during the year – and place them at the feet of a crucifix, or holy statue (or you could bring a few representative books to a church and place them before the altar as you make your resolution before the Blessed Sacrament) to symbolize your complete willingness to use your studies to serve God. If possible, get a holy card of the saint you have chosen as your patron, and stick it to the inside of one of your books, to remind yourself to pray to him or her for guidance during your studies.

(Catholic Youth Networking)

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castChastity is Essential to Marriage Preparation

by Pope John Paul II

Most of you will walk the path of life in marriage. This too requires a kind of education. You need to equip yourselves for the magnificent commitment of marriage and founding of a family – the most important unit of the Christian community. As young Christians, you must carefully prepare to become good spouses and good parents with families of your own.

Essential to preparing for marriage is your vocation to chastity. I know that young people reject hypocrisy. You want to be honest with yourselves and others. A chaste person is honest. When God created us He gave us more than one way to “speak” to each other. Besides expressing ourselves through speech, we express ourselves through our bodies. Gestures are like “words” that tell who we are. Sexual actions are “words” that reveal our hearts. The Lord wants us to use our sexuality according to His plan. He expects us to “speak” truthfully.

Honest sexual “language” requires a commitment to lifelong fidelity. To give your body to another person symbolizes the total gift of yourself to that person. But if you are not married, you are admitting that you might change your mind in the future. Total self-giving would then be absent. Without the bond of marriage, sexual relations are a lie. And for Christians, Marriage means sacramental marriage.

Chastity – which means respecting the dignity of others because our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (Cor. 6:19) leads you to grow in love for others and for God. It prepares you to make the “sincere gift of self” that is the basis of Christian marriage. More important, it teaches you to learn to love as Christ loves, laying down His life for others (John 15:13).

Do not be deceived by the empty words of those who ridicule chastity or your capacity for self-control. The strength of your future married love depends on the strength of your present commitment to learning true love, a chastity which includes refraining from all sexual relations outside of marriage. The sexual restraint of chastity is the only safe and virtuous way to put an end to the tragic plague of AIDS which has claimed so many young victims.

Helped by God’s grace in the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist, “be strong and of good courage” (Dt. 31:6) the Pope urges you to commit yourself to this spiritual revolution of purity of body and heart. Let Christ’s redemption bear fruit in you! The contemporary world needs this kind of revolution!

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bibleHow do I start reading the Bible?

meet tens of thousands of people a year at different events. Most of them are Catholic Christians who want to start reading the Bible but don’t know where to start.

So if you’ve ever wanted to go deeper into God’s Word but haven’t known how to approach it, allow me to suggest a few tips (so you can learn from my mistakes).

Like anything else, if you want to build something – in this case, your knowledge and love for the Scriptures – you don’t just grab a hammer and some nails and start pounding. To ensure that you don’t just jump in and then quit out of frustration or confusion, there are certain things you can do to be more successful.

We’ll attack this on three levels – the tools, the blueprint and the construction. By the end you’ll have ten total steps to help you build your bodily temple into a Biblical fortress, able to resist anything the devil can throw at you.

THE TOOLS

Let’s start with three things you should do before you start studying.

1. Pick a time, but not just any time. Commit to a daily time that you’ll open God’s Word but be sure it’s an intelligent time. If you’re really tired, for example, than reading the Bible once you’re in bed probably isn’t the best time. Pick a time when you’re totally awake so you can give your full attention.

2. Pick a Bible that you can understand. Get yourself a good Catholic Bible (that way you have all 73 books), but if you don’t have one right now, that shouldn’t keep you from reading. The best translation today is the one that you already have. It’s important that your Bible is comfortable to read, light enough to take with you, durable enough to really use, and inexpensive enough that you don’t feel bad writing or marking in it. If you haven’t seen it – I highly recommend the Life Teen Catholic Teen Bible. Remember, your Bible is meant to beused.

3. Have other books that help you understand the BOOK. There are some great resources out there designed to help you understand the Bible better. You Can Understand the Bible by Peter Kreeft is a great resource, as is the Ignatius Bible Study series by Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch. There are other resources like Sword of the Spirit that highlight specific books (like St. Paul’s epistles, in this case) as well as Finding Yourself in Scripture. It’s also great to have The Catechism of the Catholic Church handy, so you can use it as you study.

THE BLUEPRINT

Next, we’ll cover three things you can do as you study.

1. Pray, and then pray some more. Before you open God’s Word, ask the author of that word – the Holy Spirit – to be present in a bold and fierce way. Quiet yourself, spend some time in silence, and hold the Bible in your hands as you pray. Ask God, through the power of His Spirit, to open your mind, your eyes and your heart to His truth. Thank Him for the gift of His Word, a gift that millions have given their lives to defend and offer you the freedom to read and pray. It doesn’t have to be a long prayer but take some time – this is the most important step in Bible study.

2. Have a plan. If you were planning on reading the Bible cover to cover – don’t. The Bible isn’t a novel; it wasn’t designed to be read from Genesis straight through to Revelation. After you have studied it for a while, if you want to go back and read it cover to cover, go for it. Until then you’d be wise to attack it from a different angle. Pick one book that you are going to start in and make that book your focus for a while. If you are starting from scratch, I’d suggest the Gospel of Mark. St. Mark’s gospel is the shortest and easiest to understand.

3. Get the background. If you do start in a Gospel, take the time to learn about who the author was, who he was writing to, and what the basic themes are of his Gospel account. Ask yourself what makes that specific account different than the other three. Don’t just jump into a letter of St. Paul without knowing what is going on in the city to which he is writing. If you are reading a prophet, know what was going on in his world at the time.

Where do I learn these things?” you might ask. Read the Introduction to the Gospel on the pages preceding it. Use one of your additional books or resources to help you. When you know what is going on with the author and the audience, the words will jump out at you in a much different way and you will have a far greater insight.

THE CONSTRUCTION

Finally, let’s hit four things you should remember, while reading the Bible and beyond.

1. Less is more. Don’t just open up the Gospel and read until you get tired or “for fifteen minutes” because that’s what you committed to doing. Most Bibles break down the chapters into subchapters. If you began in the Gospel of Mark, for instance, you shouldn’t just start in verse 1 and continue through verse 45 (the end of the chapter). Instead, take verses 1-8 and spend 15 minutes meditating on them. Take just verses 9-11 and ruminate (chew) through them. That first chapter (the 45 verses) should be broken down into about 10 different studies alone. Studying the Scriptures is not like driving across country – it’s not about how much distance you cover in a set amount of time. Enjoy the time, roll down the windows and take everything in.

2. Periods are there for a reason. The periods at the end of each sentence are almost as much a gift as the words that precede them. Each little “dot” is an invitation to take a breath and reflect on what you just read and prayed. At each period, take a moment to envision the story that’s unfolding. If you are reading about the Baptism of Jesus (Mk. 1:9-11), don’t just say “Hey cool, Jesus is getting baptized.” Go deeper. At each period, put yourself more deeply into the story – at His baptism, where are you? Are you on the shore, on the mountain overlooking the scene or in the water right next to Christ? Is it hot out? Does the water smell bad? Is it noisy or peaceful? Let the story come alive.

3. Journal. As you are writing and verses confuse you or questions arise, write them down in a journal. Don’t allow yourself to get hung up on “tough verses.” Scribble down the verse number with a question mark and keep moving. Later on you can search the footnotes, other books, this website or just ask someone knowledgeable in the Bible for more help. The journal isn’t just for questions, though. You should also use it to write out reflections that the verses stir within you. Write down images God gives you in your imagination. Record key verses that stand out to you spiritually. God will reveal a great deal about yourself to you when you let Him.

4. Put the Book down. Don’t become a Bookworm, who never takes their eyes off of the page. The Bible is the Living Word (Jn. 1:1-5, Heb. 4:12). It lives and breathes well beyond the page that contains it. Share what you learn. Write out passages and post them up in your room, locker or office. Email verses to people. Put them on the fridge. Just like the Eucharist, the Word should be taken, blessed, broken (down), and shared. The greatest gift you can give someone is to live a life that mirrors the Gospels – reflecting God in all you do. The second greatest gift is to invite others to peer into that mirror.

IN CONCLUSION

Okay, so that’s a substantial start. Get the tools, pull together your blueprints, and start building your love for God’s Word. There are several ways to begin reading Scripture – these are just what I’ve found over the years to be the best, most realistic steps to begin and keep reading it daily.

And don’t just think that you have to “study” every time you open the Bible. It’s great if you set aside 30-45 minutes every day to begin studying, but that doesn’t mean you can’t flip the pages in other books like the Psalms, Proverbs, Sirach, Wisdom, Ecclesiastes, or in St. Paul’s letters – you’ll be blessed by all of them.

I also strongly recommend the Book of James in the New Testament. Romans is a gorgeous and extraordinarily well-written book but is sometimes a little “too deep” for the Biblical beginner. While Romans teaches us how to get to Heaven, James teaches us how to live on Earth (with people who might annoy you and try your patience). It’s great.

All I can tell you from my own experience is that the Word of God has changed my life. It has deepened my experience of the Eucharist, both at Mass and in Adoration. It has deepened my love for our Mother Mary and my gratitude for intercessory prayer and the communion of saints. It has deepened my love for the Church, the Papacy, and basic human dignity. It has fueled a fire within me for truth, the need to proclaim it, defend it, and uphold it – especially in this morally relative culture. I pray it will do the same for you.

By Mark Hart

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Me? an Apostle?

1. Amazing Graces:

Luke, whose feast we celebrate in today’s liturgy, is the only gentile author in the New Testament. It was part of God’s design that he be chosen by God to be the author of one of the Gospels and the Book of Acts. Who am I to receive such a grace? Luke might easily have said to himself, marveling at the gratuitousness with which he received his role within the Church. An honest look at the great grace we have received in being called to be part of God’s Church should bring us to say the same thing: Who are we to receive such an incredible blessing?! Why did we receive this grace and our next-door neighbor did not? Why have so many souls in the history of the world never had the opportunity to know about Christ, but we have? Only one answer comes close. God wants it, and it is part of his plan of love for all mankind.


2. More Hands on Deck: 

Here is a true situation at a parish on the West Coast: After five draining hours in the confessional, the priest climbs out to verify that no one else is in line. This is the normal Sunday morning routine there. During those hours the priest was witness to several powerful conversions, souls finding peace after years of struggle, other saintly souls whose delicate consciences were cause for admiration, and still others moving along with a more-or-less attitude in their response to God, but who were helped by the grace of reconciliation. Many more confessions could be heard, but there simply aren’t enough priests to meet the need. The more confession is offered, the more the faithful take advantage of the opportunity, and the more the Church grows in holiness. Do we pray that God send more laborers to the harvest?


3. A Lamb without Sandals: 

Christ’s comparison almost seems cruel: I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals. If he considers the apostles to be like lambs, why on earth would he send them among wolves? As always, Christ wants to stretch the faith of the apostles. My Father’s providence will take care of you and protect you is the message he wants them to accept and live. Later he tells them to take these items with them (cf. Luke 22:36), but he also reminds them, When I sent you out with no purse or bag or sandals, did you lack anything? They said, Nothing. He wants us to rely on him, not on our own skills or talents. While we always need to apply all our God-given human intelligence and prudence, we still need to rely on God to bless our work and fill in for what is lacking.


by Father Daniel Ray, LC | Source: catholic.net

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Danielle Rose – The Saint That is Just Me

We are called…to be…SAINTS!!!!

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Fr. Don Calloway: Divine 2×4

Fr. Don Calloway shares his story and makes you an invitation.

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Psalm 139 (Wonderfully Made) by Danielle Rose

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Crucified – Noelle Garcia, feat. John Angotti

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Saints- Young people respond

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