I Never Want to Be a Priest

This post by Michelle Neitzke is reprinted from LifeTeen.com

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Going home for holidays was always something I looked forward to in college. I didn’t get to go home a ton because my family lived over 24 hours from my University, unlike most of my friends I didn’t just hop in a car to go home for Christmas. Instead while most people were driving a couple hours to get home, I was hustling through busy airports.

I have always enjoyed people watching in airports and I also actually enjoy the small (sometimes awkward) conversations with the person next to me on the plane. When I traveled home for Christmas break these plane conversations usually started with my neighbor asking me why I was going home. Once I told them I was going home for a break, the next question that usually followed was “what is your major?” I always get varying responses when I tell someone I studied Theology, but on these plane rides in college, there was one response that was pretty common.

“What do you want to do with your degree in Theology? Do you want to be a priest? Why can’t you be a priest?”

To be honest, sometimes these questions made me uncomfortable. But because it was such a great opportunity to share my faith, I tried to answer to the best of my ability.

“Do you want to be a priest” isn’t just a question that was asked because I was woman studying theology. I think it comes from a deeper place, I think people are genuinely curious why the Catholic Church teaches that the priesthood is reserved to men. And let’s be honest, some people aren’t just curious about it, they are angry about it.

I want to tell you as a woman, I am not mad that I can’t be a priest but actually respect and uphold the priesthood.

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the priesthood. I think the only way we can start to understand why the priesthood is reserved for men is by looking at what the priesthood actually is.

1. WHAT’S A PRIEST ANYWAY?

Christ’s priesthood was prefigured in the Old Testament. Priests in the Old Testament mediated between man and God. Think of the priests who offered sacrifices. While these priests in the Old Testament mediated and offered sacrifices, they were unable to to bring salvation through their sacrifice, that would only come through Christ (CCC 1539, Exodus 29:1-30). Read the rest of this entry

Dreaming of Love: What to do if you are crushing on your BFF

This post by Courtney Kissinger is reprinted from LifeTeen.com

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Q: I’ve noticed that every time I meet a new guy, and we start to become friends, I instantly start looking at our relationship as a potential “more than friends” kind of relationship. Sometimes I take it as far as imagining what life would be like if I did marry that person. I’m not sure how to get out of this. I want to be friends with guys. I don’t plan on entering a courtship-relationship until I’m ready to truly consider marriage, so there is really no point in taking interest right now. What should I do?

A: It’s a timeless question – can girls and guys be “just friends”? Although it can be hard during our single years to like someone without letting the thought of “could this be the one” cross our minds, I think healthy friendships can be formed. Here are my suggestions for making that happen:

1. Realize that you are fantasizing about a potential future relationship. Just being aware of your thought process will help you address it.

2. Think about how you do want to be treated in a relationship. If you know you want (and deserve) a proper courtship – then don’t settle for less! Take note of what the guy you’re obsessing over is NOT doing (eg, he hasn’t asked you out; he hasn’t asked for your parents’ permission; he’s not actively pursuing you).

3. Appreciate that the friendships you are building now are gifts in themselves. You can learn a lot though these friendships about characteristics that may be desirable in marriage someday, and that help you be a better person today. Don’t just think because you are “just friends” with some nice guy that there is no worth in your friendship.

4. Be the kind of friend that you hope other girls have been with your future husband. Maybe this means you can’t spend as much time with guy friends as you do with your girl friends, because you do start to develop feelings that aren’t going to be fulfilled right now, and that’s okay. It’s okay to give yourself that space and back off. It’s important to protect and guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).
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7 Ways To Love Our Brothers & Sister Who Experience Same-Sex Attraction

This post by Daniel Glaze is reprinted from LifeTeen.com

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The “Catholic Church hates gay people” is a misconception floating around society. I’m sure Catholics have heard it many times. I don’t know about you, but I always wonder why people believe this misconception. My guess? Many Catholic individuals don’t know how to properly express love. When the Church’s individuals fail to express love, the Church loses its identity.

As a Church we hold a unique power to bring people into the fullness of truth and witness Christ in the Eucharist. But, how do we, as individuals of the Church, bring our brothers and sisters in Christ who experience same-sex attraction into the loving arms of the Church? How can we prove to the world that Catholics do NOT hate gay people, and that we actually LOVE them?

Answer: Build relationships based on love and truth.

It’s honestly that simple.

Okay, getting to that certain point might be a little harder in real life then reading it on this blog.

After praying, reading Scripture and the Catechism, talking with my close Catholic friends who experience same-sex attraction and are living their faith, I’ve come up with a few ways we could foster those relationships.

1. PRAY

I know almost every single Christian faith blog about starts with prayer, but that’s because it’s the most important thing we can do. Everything you do to build these relationships starts with prayer. If you’ve never prayed for a person’s soul – you have no business talking to them about it. The world thinks we try to “pray away the gay.” Obviously, that’s not true.

We pray that God will soften hardened hearts. We pray that everyone will be open to the truth. We pray and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in difficult conversation. We pray that everyone finds their love fulfilled by Christ. We pray that people with same-sex attraction will find their identity in Christ and not their sexual orientation. We pray for everyone, especially Christians, who unjustly discriminate. Just pray.

2. RECOGNIZE

When building these relationships the worst thing you could do is act as if a person’s sexual orientation is their identity. Everyone is a child of God before they are anything else. That being said, denying that same-sex attraction exists only makes you look naïve.

Just as a person who watches porn isn’t identified by the desire to watch porn, a person who is attracted to someone of the same sex isn’t identified by that desire. If we look at a person and recognize their dignity and find Christ in their heart, the Gospel will bring healing, fulfillment and truth. Which brings me to my next point.

3. DIALOGUE

The Catholic Church has the truth. You can explain it and it can even make sense, but sometimes people aren’t ready or in the right state to hear the truth. The key is to meet people where they are. Tell your testimony and how God changed your heart. Talk about how you felt God’s love healing your wounds and how you were able to accept His love. Once the truth of the Gospel is shared, every truth will come to light.

You should talk to any person with SSA the SAME WAY YOU WOULD TALK TO ANYONE ELSE. There should be no “them” and “us.” We are all sinners and are all in need of God’s mercy. The best way to make someone feel like a “them” is to act as if you have to approach them differently.

If you plan on dialoguing with someone with SSA or with someone who wants to know about what the Catholic Church teaches, make sure you’ve studied and understand what the Church actually teaches; CCC 2357-2359, to be more exact. Also, this shouldn’t need to be stated, but make sure your words are kind and understanding. If you want a reference point, read this article. Read the rest of this entry

Love Over Convenience: Why I am Not Living With My Fiance

This post by Alison Griswold is reprinted from LifeTeen.com

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I marry my fiancé, Jim, in 55 days.

Whoa.

For the last three and a half years, Jim and I have lived in separate places. At first this made sense — we met at a youth conference when I was living in South Carolina and he lived in Florida. After dating for about a year and a half, I moved to Florida so we could continue to discern marriage without an eight hour drive between us.

When I moved to Florida many people assumed Jim and I would move in together. After all, we were pretty sure we were going to get married so why not save on rent? We could speed up this whole “getting to know you” process as roommates and figure out if we were really in love.

Yet for Jim and I, living together before we got married wasn’t an option. Sure, I might have saved some rent money these past two years, but as we get ready to celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, we’re realizing just how much we gained by waiting to share an address:

WE KNOW WE’RE MAKING A FREE CHOICE.

Falling in love is awesome. For the first few months, I don’t think Jim and I saw any of each other’s flaws. We both loved coffee, being outdoors, Jesus, and we finished each other’s sandwiches. Clearly we were meant to be together. Everything — even boring stuff like grocery shopping or taking my car for an oil change — seemed incredibly exciting because Jim was there with his cute glasses and adorable grin, telling me that I was the best. Love songs that I had previously found cheesy were suddenly profound, expressing exactly how I felt!

However, the magic eventually wore off. Jim learned that when I travel on airplanes, I’m one of those people that tries to stuff bags that won’t fit into the overhead compartment. Jim is always on time or early, I am often running just a tiny bit late. I learned that Jim will eat a banana on his way to work and then leave the peels in the car, claiming that it functions like an air freshener.

These are just a few examples of the differences and weaknesses we discovered in each other after three years of dating. However, when Jim got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, I knew that he was choosing me — bad packing and tardiness included — and he knows that when I said “yes,” I was choosing him, even if that means our cars will always smell like bananas. If we had already been living together, in the back of my mind I’d wonder if Jim was asking me to marry him because he’d gotten used to having me around. I’d wonder if I had said “yes” because I was afraid of being alone and having to open jars by myself.

But when I walk down the aisle, there will be no doubt in my mind that we’re freely choosing marriage not because we had settled in as roommates who had learned to put up with each other, but as two people that have freely chosen to love each other.
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Chris’ Reflection Seminary Life

Q: “Chris, what did you like about Seminary? Do you regret going into Seminary?”
A:

(Chris)

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