Seven Quickies: 40 Days Edition

Jen is not hosting the shin-dig this week, but I wanted to get a few things off my chest that have been rattling around in my head a bit.

Travel Man is teaching Big Girl in religious education this year. He shared with me a few lesson plans and suggested I step up her sex ed.
I did so, but wasn’t particularly happy about it, if only because I keep thinking, “She doesn’t really need to know this yet, right?” We talked this week while Little Girl was at ballet, then again during story time at the library. We talked about (ahem) cycles, some very basic biology, and the idea that some people do not understand the Marital Embrace and do not save that embrace for when they are married. (This has come up a couple of times before, but we discussed a bit more of it on a new level.) Then she dropped a bombshell on me as I was turning off the car to go back into the dance studio.
“On vacation Older Cousin told me that when two girls get married, it’s called a ‘gay.’ What does that mean?”
This is NOT something I would have brought up with my not-quite-eleven year old! As a matter of fact, it wasn’t something I was going to bring up for a few years yet. (Why even start that nonsense?) But I’ve been praying since Big Girl was about five in order to be prepared for sex ed, so I prayed my favorite “Kids Dropped a Bombshell on Me” prayer (which is, “HELP!!!”) and tried to do some very fast damage control. Fast because I was already two minutes late getting back to the studio.
We discussed it a bit more the next day, and I showed her some pictures of anatomy (hers), while letting her know that we really didn’t need to get into male anatomy right now. “Let’s just concentrate on what YOU’VE got, okay?” (She’s seen baby boys occasionally, but since it’s not a regular occurance, I figured we could hold off on that for this moment. Besides, I don’t want to get too much into the reproductive anatomy of men.)
I did make sure I answered all of her questions, and the approach I took (in case you’re wondering) was very centered on Culture of Life vs. Culture of Death. I told her that while I wasn’t happy she had heard about gay “marriage” (it’s not possible for two women or two men to be married, I explained, since it cannot fulfill the “fruitful, faithful, freely given, and permanent” requirements for matrimony), I was very happy that she told me what happened on vacation. “I am glad you told me about it. I want to answer your questions, and I want to help you understand what the Church teaches us. Remember, “I continued, “that things are not true because the Catholic Church teaches it. The Church teaches things because they are true.”
At the end of it all, Big Girl was grateful. “Thank you for talking to me about that stuff. You helped me understand it, and I feel better.”

By the way, that prayer is very useful, you know. Very simple, too, which makes it easy to remember. “HELP!!!” And I use it in pretty extreme circumstances, and it’s usually answered pretty quickly. In the above example, the answer was, “Ask her for more details before you get carried away.”
And, by the way, that’s very good advice for parents. Sometimes, the answer they’re looking for is not as detailed as we think. If we ask before we start in on our explanations, we’ll learn just what they’re looking for. Plus, it gives you a little time to contemplate how to answer questions. Questions like, “Mom, if Mary had a baby and was married, how is she ‘Ever Virgin?'” In the time it takes to cry out (silently), “HELP!!”, God says, “Remember that term ‘Marital Embrace?’ Now’s a good time to use it.”
Our family is now in the habit of saying a daily Rosary together. We remember many intentions while praying, but we usually have one or two “main” intentions. Right now, it’s for an end to abortion because of the 40 Days for Life campaign. But yesterday, we also prayed for my mother, who was having the first of two knee replacement surgeries. When she was in the OR, the girls and I prayed a Rosary. Later that day, we went to Mass. We arrived early because Big Girl has volunteered to altar serve on Wednesday nights, and so Little Girl and I went to Adoration beforehand. I decided to pray a second Rosary, in thanksgiving for a good surgery for Mom.
I’ve noticed something interesting about praying the Rosary so much, though. The night terrors I sometimes have seem to get worse when I draw closer to God. It’s been relatively mild lately (usually it’s imaginary spiders – I’m terrified of spiders), but yesterday I prayed TWO Rosaries, went to Mass, and stayed for Adoration a little bit. Plus I’m in charge of Respect Life (and it’s Respect Life Month), so I made sure the parish had enough pamphlets to go around on euthanasia and assisted suicide as well as the pamphlet on marriage (“The Difference is the Difference“). Oh, and I put out a bunch of CDs and audio tapes of Christopher West’s “Marriage and the Eucharist” and “Contraception: Why Not?” on the table, too.
Let me tell you! I could barely sleep last night for all the night terrors I was having. Now, I’m not some holy person. I think that Saint Anthony – who was famous for his spiritual attacks – and Padre Pio – who sometimes suffered physical attacks – had more holiness in the toenail of their baby pinky toes than I’ve got in my whole body. But I am becoming convinced that these night terrors are a kind of spiritual attack on me. They virtually went away when I wasn’t praying daily. When I picked up the Rosary and stuck with it – and there’s the key – they got worse. But yesterday – a day when I was in tears during the Liturgy of the Eucharist – I was awakened about every 15 to 20 minutes with imaginary spiders coming for me.
I’ve had similar things happen before, too. When I was pregnant with Big Girl, I saw a man – I could still describe him to you – in a doorway. He rushed at me, reaching for my throat.
By the way, in case you wondered, it’s not usually a good idea to scream suddenly in the middle of the night while staying at your in-law’s home and your father-in-law is in the next room, dying from cancer. No one really appreciates it.
Anyway, if you could, please pray for me. Saint Michael and I have been hanging out at night because when I get these, if I can keep my head about me, I call on him, along with my Guardian Angel, for protection. I love Saint Michael, and I love his line in the Bible, too!
Speaking of the Bible, we’ve finished the Old Testament portion of The Great Adventure Bible Study. The girls are doing very well with it, and have done most of the reading. We’ll be reading Luke for the Messianic Fulfillment (because it contains the story from the beginning, starting with St. John the Baptist’s conception).
Hey, did you know that St. Luke has all those cool stories about the Blessed Virgin Mary because when he had finished studying with St. Paul he went to stay with Mary for a while? I thought that was really cool.
I have been thinking about people who hate the Church. And it occurs to me that many of the same people who scream about Rosaries and ovaries (explain that, please – I’d much rather pray with my Rosary than … well, you know …) also complain that the Church did not do enough during the reign of the Nazis to save Jews. (Never mind that history shows that the pope helped save more than 80,000 Jews through his actions. Or that the Church spoke out boldly against the Nazis’ actions very early on, only to be oppressed and to have their seminaries shut down. Or that because they were so dang stubborn in their defense of their Jewish neighbors, one-third of the Polish clergy was slaughtered in the concentration camps.)
Which way do you want it? Should the Church stay out of public affairs, or get involved and try to sway the government? Or can She only be involved in things that you deem to be acceptable? Make up your minds!
I thought it was kind of interesting that they seem to want it both ways. It’s like Chesterton said: somehow, those who insist the Church is not true also find ways to insist that it lives up to what it says it is. I mean, if the Church is a load of hooey, then why would you care that there are hypocrites? There are hypocrites everywhere! But we are held to a higher standard. And if it’s a cute fairy tale we tell ourselves, why would you want input (or scold us to stay out of things)?
All of this insistence on higher standards is fine, by the way. Because the Catholic Church is true. And we ought to live up to those standards.
Video, anyone? I think I’ve talked to people like this before. I’m so glad I am not working any more. Really.

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