Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Do you ever feel like you are spiritually wandering around the desert?

Like the woman at the well, even the briefest encounter with Christ can be like a refreshing taste of cold water, even if we continue to wander through the dry abyss.

I can't help but reflect on this when I listen to Journey:

And being apart ain't easy on this love affair
Two strangers learn to fall in love again
I get the joy of rediscovering you...
You stand by me
I'm forever your's... faithfully.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jesus Christ is Risen, Alleluia!

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow.
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

- John Donne

"Faith in the resurrection of Jesus says that there is a future for every human being; the cry for unending life which is a part of the person is indeed answered. Through Jesus we do know 'the room where exiled love lays down its victory.' He himself is this place, and he calls us to be with him and in dependence on him. He calls us to keep this place open within the world so that he, the exiled love, may reappear over and over in the world... God exists: that is the real message of Easter. Anyone who even begins to grasp what this means also knows what it means to be redeemed."

- Pope Benedict XVI

"Man's resistance to death becomes evident: somewhere - people have constantly thought - there must be some cure for death. Sooner or later it should be possible to find the remedy not only for this or that illness, but for our ultimate destiny - for death itself... What would it really be like if we were to succeed, perhaps not in excluding death totally, but in postponing it indefinitely, in reaching and age of several hundred years? ... The true cure for death must be different. It cannot lead simply to an indefinite prolongation of this current life. It would have to transform our lives from within. It would need to create a new life within us, truly fit for eternity: it would need to transform us in such a way as not to come to an end with death, but only then to begin in fullness. What is new and exciting in the Christian message, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, was and is that we are told: yes indeed, this cure for death, this true medicine of immortality, does exist. It has been found. It is within our reach. In baptism, this medicine is given to us. A new life begins in us, a life that matures in faith and is not extinguished by the death of the old life, but is only then fully revealed... Indeed, the cure for death does exist. Christ is the tree of life, once more within our reach. If we remain close to him, then we have life."

- Pope Benedict XVI


Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

We call today Good Friday because of the infinite grace that abounds from Jesus' passion. Today, in a way, we celebrate suffering, because it shows us that we are human and it reveals Christ to each one of us. Through our suffering, we are able to join with Christ on the cross, even if our suffering is only a mere splinter of the heavy burden he carries. Through suffering, he fully shares in our humanity, uniting each of us with him.

A friend found this great explanation on the meaning of suffering - I Scream Therefore I Am. This excerpt in particular shows why suffering is so crucial to understand our desire for God:
We rage and weep because of suffering because we know deep down that we are destined for something better. Our existential wail in the face of suffering is so deep because we know that we were made for infinite happiness. Our fury at the irrational evil of suffering is because we know deep down that there must be a rational meaning and a reasonable answer. The pain and suffering is our deepest awareness of our need--yea our demand--for joy.

Friday, April 15, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (#24)

  1. I promise, once I finish up everything I've let pile up throughout the semester, I will post more than just Quick Takes! I seriously have about 5 drafts started already... just not enough time to finish them!
  2. Teaching chemistry lab has been great for helping me work on patience, which is something with which I have always struggled. Unfortunately, it still has it's fun times... like this past week, when I caught a couple of my students blatantly copying an assignment. I would like to live in a perfect world where I don't have to worry about students cheating on an assignment that is worth 1.8% of their grade, but we obviously don't. My thinking is, if you're going to copy something, at least be smart enough to change the wording! It's out of my hands now, though, so hopefully it will work out for them.
  3. On a lighter note, in the 5th grade, we did this huge interdisciplinary unit on the Revolutionary War. We had to each choose a hero from the war and research them and represent them at our tea party. I was Sybil Ludington, the female Paul Revere. Today, I saw this ad on Jill Stanek's site, and it just made me laugh. Obviously a low budget film, but she does have an inspiring story... still not sure I could make it through this movie though. Barely made it through the trailer without laughing a few times.
  4. Check out this great piece by Joe Carter at First Things, who writes about abortion and the "Culture of Me".
  5. I've been following along with this post over at Leila's Bubble, and I finally couldn't keep from chiming in anymore... it was starting to remind me of my post last week on abortion and the Holocaust. Sometimes, I just really don't understand the reasoning behind being pro-choice. It seems to me it's like the Holocaust, when people had the evidence in front of them and still denied that anything was wrong.
  6. I'm going on a women's retreat this Saturday. I'm hoping it will be very eye opening for me... I am feeling overwhelmed with finishing up the semester, searching for jobs, and figuring out what I am actually doing with my life, so I hope that the retreat will be the centering that I need!
  7. I can't believe I graduate one month from today! AH! Crazy! 

Friday, April 8, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (#23)

  1. I love how my Feedjit is always going crazy with people coming to my blog from all over the world! I would love to get to know more about you! Check out my Getting to Know YOU post.
  2. Are you praying for the Pope? Join us as we pray a novena for the Pope for his 84th birthday present! It starts today and continues up until his birthday... so it's not too late! Check it out here.
  3. Last week, I had a friend from college visit me for a week, and this weekend, two of my cousins are here to visit! It has been fun playing tourist with them, because sometimes I forget that I live in this amazing city where there is so much to do! Today, we are heading to a couple of the Smithsonian museums, Chinatown, Ford's Theater, and then maybe we'll make it until dinner time. I hope to take them out to the Basilica as well!
  4. Last week, I had a tourist ask, "If you only had 2 days in DC, what would have to be on your list of things to do or see?" That's an easy answer for me... see the memorials and monuments at night. Gorgeous! My drive to and from campus some evenings gives me a front seat view to the Lincoln Memorial at night, and it is beautiful to behold. Crazy that humans are able to construct such beauty out of rocks, and yet some people still don't believe that we have a Divine Architect in charge of it all...
  5. I am in the process of searching for a new roommate for (at least) the summer months. If you know any young women looking for a place in the DC area, let me know!
  6. On the topic of "searching", I am looking for a job. I will be graduating with a Master's in Chemistry in May, so I am ready to entire the career world! Unfortunately, I still really am not sure what I want to do. I am looking at jobs with Catholic organizations and teaching high school chemistry in Catholic schools in addition to chemistry positions. If you know anyone who is hiring or looking to fill a position, please let me know! I would also appreciate any hints on where to search, as I am feeling a little lost in the job searching world right now.
  7. God rested on the seventh day, and I'm going to take a rest on my 7th quick take so I can get ready to play tourist today!
Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Largest Genocide our World has Ever Seen

I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum recently with a friend who was visiting from home. This is the second time I've been there, and for those of you who have been to the museum know that it is a profound experience no matter how many times you see the exhibits.

A sign outside the museum that we really need to take to heart.
The museum is very well done, as it highlights not only the Hitler and Nazi regime, but also the factors that led to the atrocities committed during the Holocaust. There is also currently a special exhibit on Genocide, and how it is still happening today.

This happened to be the first exhibit that I walked through while I waited for my turn to go through the main permanent exhibition. While I was there, I just had the greatest sense of unease. It is awful that the genocides such as those in Rwanda and Darfur have happened and are continuing to happen. Why can't our world learn that this is not right? But the greatest sense of unease hit me when I sat down to watch a film detailing Hitler's rise to power. In this film, they defined genocide as the systematic murdering of large groups of people deemed inferior.

Systematic... done or acting according to a fixed plan or methodical system.
Murdering... the wrongful premeditated killing of one human being by another.
Inferior... a person lower than another in rank, status, or ability.

This definition of genocide is when it hit me, when I realized why I was feeling such unease in my heart. It was because we are committing the greatest act of genocide today in our world, and the worse part is that it is a legal and systematic act that ends the lives of millions of unborn children each year. 

Pictures of actual victims line 3 stories of the building.
In the pro-life circles, it is not anything new to compare abortion to genocide and the Holocaust. However, I think my sense of unease came from the fact that the museum kept portraying all the defining qualities of genocide - all of which can blatantly be applied to abortion - but yet there wasn't even a mention of abortion whatsoever. Not even in the exhibit highlighting the atrocities in the genocides of our generation. There was an area where you could make a pledge to take action against the atrocities of genocide around the world, and I wrote that I will "continue praying for the respect, dignity, and protection of all human persons." This, ultimately, is what it comes down to. A lack of recognition and respect for the dignity of human life - even human lives that are different from ours, those lives that seem to be "inferior" to our "superior" intellectual and physical abilities.

As I spent hours walking through the exhibits, I was continuously struck by the similarities between the atrocities committed against the oppressed, mostly the Jews, during the Holocaust and the unborn children of the world today.

There was a section that highlighted the Nazi's T-4 euthanasia program, which shed light on the atrocities committed against men, women, and children with disabilities. They were used as experiments, and then exterminated because they were deemed inferior. I don't think there are many people that could see these atrocities and not see how wrong these acts were. 

Yet, we are doing this today. It has been estimated that 90% of babies with down syndrome are aborted. This statistic doesn't even include the number of aborted children who test positive for other disabilities in the womb. I really would like to know how this is different from what the Nazis did during the Holocaust. How is almost completely wiping out children with different intellectual and physical abilities than the average person any different from the Nazi plan for euthanasia and extermination of those deemed inferior?

Of course, it doesn't end there. We all know from our history textbooks that Hitler and the Nazis set out to make the "inferior" races obsolete. 6 million Jews were exterminated because they were inferior, but that's not all. I think the numbers speak for themselves:

(The sources that Wikipedia used are listed on the main article thread.)

This toll doesn't really account for those that publicly and politically opposed the Nazis, although many of those can be accounted for in some of the above numbers. I am especially thinking about the many Catholic priests and laypeople who were martyred for standing up for the dignity of the Jews and others who were murdered.

Of course, the numbers differ depending on what source you use, but it must be recognized that none of these values are entirely accurate. How can one possibly track that many deaths? However, all in all, estimates for the total death toll from the Nazi genocide come to around 17-26 million individual lives lost from 1933-1945, or an average of 1.3-2 million deaths per year.

In comparison, there have been multiple statistical analyses tracking the number of abortions since 1973. An analysis in 2010 showed that 52 million abortions have been performed since Roe v. Wade legalized abortions in the United States, an average of 1.8 million abortions per year. How on earth can some humans be so blind as to not see that abortion has become our modern day Holocaust?

When we expand this to include the concept of inferiority, all you have to do is look at the numbers to see that abortion targets minorities. If looking at a map to see where Planned Parenthood builds most of their clinics isn't enough to notice this trend, you can also look at the statistics. Abortions are performed on more than 3 times as many minority children as it is on white children. From the census data in 2000, African-American women comprised 12.3% of the female population but accounted for 36.4% of the abortions in America in 2006. Hispanic women accounted for 25% of abortions in 2008, while they only made up about 12.5% of the female population in 2000. Meanwhile, 69% of America's female population check the "non-Hispanic, white" box on the census, but only account for 36% of all U.S. abortions. From 1973-2001, abortion alone has claimed more than 2.5 times as many African-American lives as the next five leading causes of death combined. Between Roe v. Wade and now, about 30% of the African-American population has been lost to abortion.

It is time for America to WAKE UP! We claim to be the heroes of defending freedom and protecting those who can't protect themselves, yet we are the leader in the largest genocide our world has ever seen. Yes, the latest action to try to defund Planned Parenthood is a start, but we have to go deeper than that. We have to appeal to the hearts of Americans. We can't do that with facts and numbers and percentages, but only by showing the reality of recognizing abortion as genocide. It can start with looking at the aftermath of the Holocaust that people still deal with today, but it ultimately has to come from a conversion of the American mindset and heart.

Where can we find the steadfast leaders we need to undertake this challenge?

The Catholic Church. Today. Yesterday. Every day.
From the Hall of Remembrance, from Deuteronomy 4:9

One of the things that gave me the most hope as I walked through the Holocaust exhibit was that the Catholic Church was recognized as being the only one who consistently opposed Nazi programs of sterilization, experimentation, and extermination of the "inferior" races (despite the fact that many claim the leaders of the Church either ignored the Holocaust or were Nazi supporters). It gave me hope - especially as a Catholic - to see that we continue to publicly oppose these horrors still present in the more modern forms of contraception and surgical sterilization, embryonic stem cell research, and abortion. We will not change our tune - even when we are publicly criticized for it - because this steadfast spirit in opposition is the right thing to do. People can now recognize the horrors of the Holocaust, and so they recognize that opposing the Nazis would have been the right thing to do. I hope and pray that the time comes soon when people will see this opposition against the atrocities in our modern culture as the right thing to do now as well.

As I walked through the exhibit and saw a wall that honored many priests and laypeople, who devoted their lives to hiding the Jews, and as I saw pictures of priests being executed for publicly opposing the Nazi regime, I started to keep true to my pledge. I asked those priests that were in the photos, by name, to pray for us and an end to genocide. We can't do this alone, and who better to turn to in our time of need today than the army who opposed these atrocities during the Holocaust.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

I've recently discovered this blog called 1000 Awesome Things, and I find it highly entertaining. My favorite post thus far is this short and sweet one about making babies laugh.

Unfortunately, I haven't yet come across a post that highlights what is the one and only AWESOME... God!

However, this last post is kind of getting there... in a way...

Awesome thing #275 is... SUNDAY!

And it is awesome, because it is the day that our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead! It is a feast (love me some juice today!) and a celebration. It is a time to rest and relax from the anxiety of life and enjoy time with friends, family, and God. Unfortunately, our society tends to forget the importance of this day of rest. So I was mildly surprised to see that this post mentions going to church, taking a break from the world, and enjoying quality time with your friends and family. That, in my opinion, is pretty awesome.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Time Flies When You're Having Fun... or Just Really Busy

Instead of my 7 Quick Takes this week, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on some of my favorite blog posts of the year so far - both from my own blog and from a few others! As we are about one-fourth of the way through 2011 (when did that happen?!?!), it seemed like a good idea. My choices do not reflect all the amazing posts out there... I just apparently have been behind on catching up in the blog world lately.

  • This post on patience is hands down the favorite one that I wrote for the month.
  • This post at The Corner with a View on Julie's first novena just resonated really well with me since I just recently prayed my first novena!
  • Check out my latest post on keeping up with God's friendship!
  • Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary started a series on the Our Father this month for Lent. Be sure to check it out!
  • If you haven't checked out the Bright Maidens' series of posts yet... well, where have you been?
  • Short posts are not usually what you see on Little Catholic Bubble (which is why I love it!), but this one is definitely short and sweet.
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