December 24, 2013
For unto us a child is born, a Son is given



To all our friends and family, a most blessed, holy, and joyous Christmas!


December 19, 2013
Happy third week of Advent! Who better than our Holy Father to remind us to rejoice?
Gaudete!

Text taken from the Official Vatican Network.

(Vatican Radio) “The Christian message is called the ‘Gospel,’ that is, ‘the good news,’ an announcement of joy for all people; the Church is not a refuge for sad people, the Church is a house of joy.”
In his Angelus message on the Third Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis reminded us that the day is also called “Gaudete Sunday,” “Rejoice Sunday.” The Liturgy, he said, is filled with calls to rejoice, to be joyful, in order to prepare us to celebrate the feast of Christmas with renewed exultation.


But, he said, the joy of the Gospel is not just any kind of joy. It is the joy that comes from knowing that you are welcomed and loved by God. Pope Francis pointed to Sunday’s reading from the Prophet Isaiah, which tells us that God is a God who comes to save us, and especially to lift up those who have lost heart. “However great our limits and our losses, we are not allowed to be weak and vacillating in the face of difficulties and our own weaknesses.” On the contrary, he said, we are called to be strong, “to strengthen the hands, to make firm the knees, to have courage and not be afraid, because our God always shows the greatness of His mercy.” With His help, we can start anew and overcome sadness and tears, we can “sing a new song.”

The Holy Father said that “Christian joy, like hope, is founded on the faithfulness of God, in the certainty that He always keeps His promises.” Isaiah, he said, calls on those who have lost their way, who are despairing, to trust in the faithfulness of the Lord, “because His salvation will not delay in breaking into their lives.” Those who trust in God, the Pope said, “experience a peacefulness in their hearts that nothing and no one can take away.” Our joy, he said, is Christ. For this reason, a Christian who becomes sad can be said, in a certain way, to be far from Christ. But precisely for that reason, we must not leave them alone, but rather we must “pray for them, and make them feel the warmth of the community.”
Pope Francis concluded his Angelus address with an appeal to the Virgin Mary to “help us hasten our steps to Bethlehem, in order to meet the Child that is born for us, for the salvation and joy of all.”

December 18, 2013


For the 7 days (or octave) before Christmas Eve the great 'O Antiphons' are recited or sung during vespers.  Each antiphon highlights a title of the Messiah and refers to a prophecy from Isaiah.  They are, in order:

Dec. 17 - O Sapientia (Wisdom)
O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence. 

Dec. 18 - O Adonai (Lord)
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
Who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush,
And gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

Dec. 19 - O Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse)
O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples,
Before you kings will shut their mouths,
To you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

Dec. 20 - O Clavis David (Key of David)
O Key of David and scepter of the House of Israel,
You open and no one can shut,
You shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house, those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Dec. 21 - O Oriens (Dayspring)
O Morning Star,
Splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Dec. 22 - O Rex Gentium (King of the nations)
O King of the Nations, and their desire,
The cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
Which you fashioned from clay.

Dec. 23 - O Emmanuel (God is with us)
O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
The hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God. 

If you take the first letter of each antiphon (after the 'O') from the bottom up, you get 'Ero Cras', which means 'Tomorrow, I will come’ in Latin.  


I love the rich symbolism of each antiphon.  I love the intensity of the buildup to Christmas that still allows us to ponder the attributes of Him who is coming.  And I especially love how the intensity of the liturgical season mirrors the intensity of the real-life preparations going on right now.  There is a reason we're all frantically cooking, cleaning, buying, thinking and preparing.  We're like a "Martha" right now; busily making everything perfect and set for the Lord's coming.  The O Antiphons help us not to forget "Mary" in the meantime and spend time pondering the Christ Child's presence.   

The Prophet Isaiah

December 16, 2013
For Christmas this year I was thinking of some new clothes - something to wear for Christmas with the family.  Something casual, elegant, classy, warm (it's been minus 30 Celsius these days) and something that preferably does not need to be adjusted constantly, won't adhere to every lump or bump and isn't something that makes me look like the paper bag princess.  I don't really want to piece the outfit together from thrift store finds (which is my usual method of getting dressed in the morning) but rather for once I'd like something "off the rack" from a real store that sells new clothing.  I wouldn't even know what that looks like these days.  And I work with young people. But I like clothes and I like staying current…at least as much as I can with fashions what they are.

So on my annual, one-day, all-day Christmas shopping trip I wandered around the mall to look for ideas.  What I was thinking was something like this:

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 Or this:

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Or this:

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Aren't these outfits cute?  They're a step above "jeans and a tee", and yet they're still casual enough for a family get together where there will be children and food and general crazy fun-ness.

Here's what I found at every store.

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Or this:

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 Or this:

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I was disappointed to say the least.  Is there anything out there besides leggings-that-look-like-panty hose and ugly, oversized bag-sweaters?  No, I'm afraid there isn't.

So I looked for something a bit more dressy, and I found things like this:

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Or this:

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Or this:

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I can't imagine picking up one of my nephews in this "dress".  Or sitting on a couch.  Or standing.  Or leaving my room…wait…leaving the change room for that matter.  What can you do in a dress like this besides stand still?

I haven't lost hope - I'm going to try again, but I imagine I will go back to my favourite thrift shops and piece something classy, cute, warm and trendy together.  I've sifted my way through Pinterest.  I've got some good ideas, but I'm open to new ones.  Any thoughts, tips or ideas you want to share with me?  Did you find something pretty at a shop (that's available in Canada)?  Post a pic - or tell me about it.  Or even just tell me about your favourite store.  I'll let you know what I find.


December 11, 2013
Keep Christ in Christmas.

Jesus is the reason for the season.

Both statements are little slogans we use to beat back the total commercialization of the Nativity of our Lord. We hear “Happy holidays”, and, “Season's Greetings” when we brave the outside world, and perhaps, like me, you reply under your breath, “It's not Christmas yet.” Because, of course, we know this is not actually Christmas but Advent, the period during which we prepare for the coming of the Lord.

'Keep Christ in Christmas', and 'Jesus is the reason for the season' remind us that Our Lord is the center, the heart, of daily life, including the gift giving and festive gatherings. The coming of the Lord is surely worthy of anticipation... but while we wait, are we lacking?

Old Beggar, Vasily Tropinin
I go to a downtown parish. If I lived in LA or Detroit, it would be called an inner city church, but you'd be hard pressed to find anything remotely gangsta in this tame city. Even still, we have the usual downtown fixtures of groups of teenagers hanging outside the coffee shops and homeless people hoping for spare change. Two weeks ago, one of those homeless men, Max, came into the church after Mass and asked for money from people still sitting in the pews.

While I attend Mass in a smallish city, I live in an even smaller town, and work in its equally small library. It's a lovely place to work, most especially because I have had the opportunity to get to know our regular patrons. One of those, Louise, is a dear, kind, joyful lady. She is quick with a smile, is always appreciative of what we do for her, and loves to talk about what she is reading. Louise also suffers very greatly from back, shoulder, and hip complaints – so much so that she walks stooped over and slightly twisted to one side. Her doctors, unfortunately, can do nothing to remedy her situation.

Gabrielle lives in a group home because she is unable to care for herself. She has a brain injury which has stolen her memory. Every Wednesday she asks me for the same items: Sting, Avril Lavigne, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion. She can't remember where to find them, and comes to the desk four separate times to ask for each one individually.

Then there is Martha who has been more subdued with each passing week because this year for the first time her husband's advanced Alzheimer's will keep him in the nursing home for Christmas.

While I was humbled by Louise's quiet joy in the face of pain and suffering, and was moved by Martha's patient and steadfast love for her husband, I would often be very impatient with Gabrielle's frequent and repetitive questions, and annoyed with Max for approaching me inside the church.

Not many days ago, a colleague and I were talking about how difficult English must be to learn as a second language because of its subtleties and nuances and exceptions to the rule. The book that triggered the conversation was called “The Present”. Was the book about a period of time, or about a gift? You'd have to read it to find out because the cover gave nothing away. Somehow, that title got folded into my thoughts about “It's Advent, not Christmas” and my dislike for the frenetic pace of pre-Christmas hullabaloo.

Thankfully God is patient with me, because it took a while for the realization to sink in: Christ is both. He is God's greatest gift to us, and He is present... right now. He is in each of those people – the ones who are easy to love and admire, as well as those who are more difficult to accept as they are.

All of which helped me see that Advent is one of those paradoxes God seems to love sprinkling through our faith: Advent is a time of waiting and preparing for what we already have. Christ is present among us. We need only have the eyes to see.
December 10, 2013
Yesterday I quoted a book called The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander, which has been Advent reading for me for some years now.  So I thought it appropriate to post this review Tess put up a couple years back.  Enjoy!

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This book was Ent water to me: it was good, and clear, and pure, bringing healthy growth and fresh strength. Like Ent water, The Reed of God is potent – a little goes a long way. This little book of 187 short pages lasted for two months of daily reading and rereading (my partner here at TFG told me she rereads it every year... I know it will be on my frequently visited list as well.)

I received more than one healing from Caryll Houselander’s wisdom; if the cause for her canonization has been opened, I’ll be letting the investigator’s know. Surely spiritual and emotional healings are proof of celestial intervention? Of particular blessing is my new perception of, relationship with, and respect for Our Lady.

There used to be a stout wall between me and her, constructed of my inability to appreciate her humility and generosity. The Mary I thought I knew was cool and aloof and far too perfect to be appealing.


Caryll Houselander, with all the gentleness, acceptance, and humility she reveals in Mary, took me by the hand and ushered me into the Madonna’s presence. She taught me to see the generosity of Mary in action and in spirit, and was able to show me how to imitate it... more importantly, she inspired me to desire to imitate Our Lady – quite a thing in someone who avoided anything resembling Marian devotion

The theme of the book is emptiness. Specifically how our emptiness is perfectly and uniquely shaped in each of us to contain God. (Another healing I received from this book was to not fear the emptiness I’m so aware of inside me.)

Houselander also explains beautifully what it means that Christ is in us and works through us, which helped me better understand the phrases we often hear as Catholics: “Offer it up” “Die to self” and the concept that everything we do – changing diapers, shuffling papers, plucking chickens can be for Christ.

The Reed of God not only teaches, but is also a guide to meditation. It leads the reader to Jesus through Mary; that while
“each saint has his special work: one person’s work. But Our Lady had to include in her vocation, in her life’s work, the essential thing that was to be hidden in every other vocation in every life.
She is not only human; she is humanity.
The one thing that she did and does is the one thing that we all have to do, namely to bear Christ into the world.”
The author shows us how Mary’s example of emptiness and hiddenness reveals our own purpose.

While reading the book, I wrote notes on key passages, aha moments, and eye-opening insights to include in my review. Let me instead encourage you to read it for yourself with a notebook nearby to record your own journey through the book. I suspect The Reed of God offers something unique to each person who reads it. It, too, conforms to the emptiness in each of us, fitting each one perfectly.

Yesterday one of our deacon friends gave a short reflection about the season of Advent - how it is the season of waiting.  He told them that in the midst of all the busy-ness of their lives (they're right smack in the middle of exams) that they should set aside time every day to wait on the Lord.  Set aside time to wait?  How odd, I thought.  I imagined getting up extra early to sit down, stare off into the distance and think of nothing but how I'm "waiting".  But I doubt that's what he meant.

Many moons ago a cassette tape (remember those???) landed in my possession, a talk by Fr. Henri Nouwen entitled "A Spirituality of Waiting".  That talk changed me, deeply.  In fact, I listened to it so much over the course of several years that I think I could recite the whole talk, word for word.  But I needed to take it in because I am deeply impatient.

He spoke about how waiting - in any way, shape or form -  is not a popular notion these days.  I mean, our society is practically built around convenience.  The faster we can do something - anything really - the better.  What used to take weeks, months and years, now can take a matter of days sometimes.  Take building a house, for example.  Whole subdivisions can go up in a shorter span of time than it used to take to build one, single house.

But there are a few things, though, we cannot rush - primarily God and nature - and Advent is one of two liturgical seasons (Lent being the other) where the reminder to slow down and ponder has been 'built in', so to speak.  Advent is a subdued time, a time when all things around us are closing up for winter.  The days are short, the wind howling, and the scriptures speak to us of wondrous signs and the end times, reminding us not to get comfortable because this world is a passing sigh.  Advent is special in that it is the season of the seed, says Caryll Houselander.  It is the time when we can stop to consciously think about how the Christ Child, like a seed, is growing within us in a new and exciting way, just as he grew within Mary during those nine months in her womb.  Houselander, in her book the Reed of God, says it beautifully:
"We live in an age of impatience, an age in which everything, from learning the ABC to industry, tries to cut out and do away with the natural season of growth.  ….We ought to let everything grow in us, as Christ grew in Mary.  And we ought to realize that in everything that does grow quietly in us, Christ grows.  We should let thoughts and words and songs grow slowly and unfold in darkness in us.  There are things that refuse to be violated by speed, that demand at least their proper time of growth; you can't for example, cut out the time you will leave an apple pie in the over.  If you do, you won't have an apple pie.  If you leave a thought, a chance word, a phrase of music, in your mind, growing and cherished for its proper season, you will have the wisdom or peace or strength that was hidden in that seed.  In this contemplation there is great virtue in practising patience in small things until the habit of Advent returns to us."  
I love the thought that Advent is a habit, instead of a length of time we must endure until Christmas comes.  As an aspiring writer, I can relate to what she says.  Often a word or a phrase will imbed itself in my mind or heart, and days, weeks, or even months later something beautiful and creative will flow out of it.  That, my friends, is what it means to "Advent"; to bring to yourself that which the Lord is trying to communicate - whether it be a thought, a word, a virtue or even a specific hardship - and to sit with it, to stay with the pain and trust that something is being born within it, within us.  We are all expecting - living within that quiet and joyful hope that the Christ child is growing inside of us.  Sometimes he comes wrapped up in suffering, sometimes in joy.  Sometimes he's enmeshed in the daily succession of nothings we call life.  But he is there nonetheless and that gift of himself that he communicates to us every day can't ever be rushed or cut out or something of the gift is lost.

Perhaps today is a good day to start cultivating the habit of Advent - letting go of the concrete ideals you have of the way things "should" be, or the limits you might be unknowingly placing on God.  Tell the Lord you want everything he has for you.  Tell him you love him.  And most of all, set aside the time and silence to give his little heart space to gestate and grow within your own.

December 5, 2013
It is Advent - one of our favourite times of the year, here at The Feminine Gift.
We'd love to hear from you... your reflections and observations on this liturgical season, or your favourite childhood memories, or your current family traditions during Advent.

Following is a reflection on the tension between truly observing Advent as a time of preparation, (and celebrating Christmas and the Twelve Days) and the increasingly secular interpretation of "The Holidays Season".

Contributed by guest writer Olga Everaert
Advent in Rattenberg

So out come the plastic red velvet bows, the fold up Christmas tree, the blow-up Santa’s: everything predictable, over-used and artificial.
It is Advent, the time of preparation, but the rush to Christmas is on.
Whether or not one intends to celebrate the birth of Christ, I don't think there is a person who will not find benefit from a period of quiet, a time for reflection. In this part of the world, the approach of Winter means absence of light, days are shorter and more time is spent indoors. The house is closed off to keep out the cold and snow that muffles sound, a fire in the stove and fireplace. Stillness. Intimacy. An almost natural setting for more inner stillness also.
Since November, whenever I enter a store, I am subjected to the Twelve Days of Christmas, and someone who lived in California and never saw a snowflake in his life croons on about dreaming of a White Christmas.
The twelve days in the song actually refer to the twelve days starting with Christmas Day, or in some traditions, the day after Christmas (Boxing Day or St. Stephen's Day, the feast day of St. Stephen Protomartyr) to the day before Epiphany, or the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6, or the Twelfth Day). Twelfth Night is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "the evening of the fifth of January, preceding Twelfth Day, the eve of the Epiphany, formerly the last day of the Christmas festivities -- and observed as a time of merrymaking."
We have just begun the Season of Advent, that beautiful time in which we prepare ourselves to receive the great gift of Christmas. And Christmas, the birth of Christ, [hence the name Christ Mass] that Christmas, lasts 8 days.
All too many of us have become victims of the commercial world, willingly or otherwise, submitting to the dictates of businesses, the pressure to shop, the demands for money, the long list of all we are supposed to do and give and spend spend spend for Christmas. All along, the real meaning is entirely lost. The message of Christmas is for ALL people of goodwill. It is a message of Peace and Joy to the world. It never was, never is, intended as a never-ending shopping spree.
My mailbox, both for snail-mail and e-mail, are crammed full on a daily basis with demands for money, 'suggestions' for 'gift' giving. Since early November the stores have multiple organizations stationed inside and out, soliciting for money. Every cause known to man wants money.
The spin is spinning out of orbit. Thanksgiving has been overcome by Black Friday. The focus here is the biggest shopping extravaganza of the year. In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October and we are not at all familiar with a Black Friday, nor a Cyber Monday, whatever that may mean. To prove my point, I just read this in today’s blunt demand for money campaign "Be a Part of  #GivingTuesday". Pardon me? I can't believe my eyes so I read on "The retail industry created Black Friday, Small
Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Join us in celebrating a day of giving during this season of spending." A season of spending?! it makes me want to cry. This frenzy to overturn our traditions and special holidays with shopping and profits for the shops and retail business is disturbing. The most disturbing effect is that quiet preparation and enjoyment are caving in under all this pressure. Being polluted and inundated by all this extreme commercialism, is distorting our sense of preparing, entering into and enjoying our traditional holidays.
Boxing Day is no longer a day, it has by now moved from a week to an advertizing gimmick used throughout the year. And when at last we arrive, worn out exhausted and financially depleted at our celebration of Christmas, the Christmas Season proper which has barely begun, the Valentine shopping spree begins. And so it goes.
It is not we who get to enjoy and celebrate and decide when and how we choose to do so, it is retail and advertizing and commercialism. Profit has to be made during the 'festive' season or the stores are in trouble.
Another effect of this is that we are pushed harder and harder, never allowed to linger and relish the seasons and holidays as they come.
It's like get this holiday, this celebration over with so we can rush on to the next one.  Sorry, I am not interested in Boxing week or month, diamonds for Valentine Day while I am celebrating the Christmas season you were so busy selling from under me in November and December. I do not want to hear about anything to do with Valentine's Day nor Mother's Day nor nor nor…
I am preparing for Christmas. It is Advent.
Advent in Tyrol


December 4, 2013


 

It's a chilly, greyish day here in Sohoe today. There is actually snow on the ground, and I hear slush as cars drive by my window.  So I'm setting aside more serious and sober affairs to indulge in a cup of spiced gingerbread tea, and a glossy British design mag (Living etc.).
And now to dream....
 
 
 
 
What are your Leaves today?
 
 
 


December 2, 2013

It’s Advent now.  Yesterday it wasn’t, and today it is.  Time is passing quickly.  We’re stepping into Gospel readings that reflect the time and season.  Stay awake.  Ready yourself with eyes wide open, watching and waiting for the Lord’s Christ to appear.  You might not notice him, small and unassuming that he is.  So we must cultivate wisdom and be attentive. 

It occurred to me that we, as Christians, must live this way not just in Advent, but all year round.  We must pay attention and discern the truth of what we see and hear, what is going on around us, and also be awake to the wiles of the world, the flesh and the devil, who are trying to trip us up with as much subtlety as they can muster.  The more attentive we can be, the better, most especially when it comes to our culture.  Things are never as cut and dried as they seem.

I came across this ad campaign for a Kentucky Catholic all-girls college-prep academy recently and as I read through the different ads this school has adopted for their ladies, my brain said “true” and my spirit said “false”.  The campaign features ads that say, “Life’s not a fairytale”, “You’re not a princess, but you can still rule the world” and “Don’t wait for a prince, be able to rescue yourself”.  Their point, I suppose, was to get the young ladies attending Mercy Academy to kick their inner “princess” to the curb, and step up to ready themselves for “real life” through the solid “performance task-based curriculum” which I’m guessing will prepare them for every eventuality. 

Ok, I’ll admit that there is a bit of veracity to their claims.  For those who see princesses as spoiled, sassy, dramatic, selfish, know-it-alls – well then, I agree.  Ladies, stop being that.  (But I wholeheartedly object to calling that a princess.) I can also agree with the thought that we can’t live in fairy land (it doesn’t actually exist), we must live in the truth of the created world.  And I also agree that hard work is necessary to accomplish what needs to be done in life.  Yet, if that was the point of the ads, they probably would have said something like, “Work hard because reality hurts if you don’t”.

That isn’t what they said - there’s something amiss on a deeper level. 

Canadian author Michael O’Brien once quoted J.R.R. Tolkein in an article about fairy tales saying that they “…contain rich spiritual knowledge. The sun may be green and the fish may fly through the air, but however fantastical the imagined world, there is retained in it a faithfulness to the moral order of the actual universe. The metaphors found in the literary characters are not so much random chimeras as they are reflections of our own invisible world, the supernatural. Whether in dreams or conscious imagination, the powers of the mind (and one must see here the powers of the human spirit) are engaged in what Tolkien calls “sub-creation”. By this he means that man, reflecting his divine Creator, is endowed with gifts to incarnate invisible realities in forms that make them understandable.”

In other words, fairy tales and storytelling are important because we figure out ourselves, and our world, by the magic that is contained within them.  Everything around us is simplified and clarified: good is good, evil is evil, we strive for the good, we fight the evil, forever and ever, amen.  And poof, that which we can’t see, can be seen for what it really is and we can make sense of it all. 

So what does the fairy tale say about the reality?  In this case, the princess is the archetype for the quintessence of the feminine, just like the prince or the knight is the same for all things manly.  All girls, no matter their age, if they’ve not been wounded, want to be who they were made to be: beautiful, graceful, shining ladies made for an adventure bigger than themselves.  They want to love and be loved, be honoured and respected and fought for, and mostly, they just want to be happy – which is what happens for the princess, if she is true and good, in the end of the fairy tale.  This consistently includes others – whether it is a prince, family, friends or even pets.  In the end, she’s surrounded by a community that loves her.  

Every girl, teenager and then woman strives for that perfection.  She instinctively knows that the ideal exists and does what she can to bring her heart’s longing to fruition.  Princesses in fairy stories (and I mean the real stories, not the truncated and twisted Disney stories) represent to every girl, teenager and woman the best and most beautiful ideals of femininity.  Why would anyone encourage a girl not to be a one then?

Perhaps because the ad creators and the academy people believe that striving to be a princess (ie. striving to be truly feminine) is incompatible with being real and living a good life?  In which case they would be wrong.  The two are perfectly compatible, and life is, in fact, much better when a gal can live fully her own nature; be the best rendition of herself with no reservations.    

But there’s more.  The slogans encourage girls outright to say goodbye to that integral part of themselves - their femininity – as if it was something a girl could actually stop being or worse, something of which she should be ashamed.  Also, life without the ‘fairy tale’ suggests, in essence, that there is nothing beyond our senses; that which we can see, hear and taste.  It suggests that the only reality is the one we make for ourselves and that there are no great and wonderful things beyond the material world.  There is no spiritual realm or magic or miracles or joyous spontaneity or worse, no Love Incarnate.  There is only cold hard fact and reality. 

Bu-bye.  Good luck.  

And with that, they’re out the door into the “real” world, finishing Catholic school up with both feet planted firmly in agnosticism, or worse, atheism. 

Now perhaps the powers that be at the Academy didn’t mean it this way.  Perhaps they have a group of drama queens who needed to hear the message to quit acting like spoiled little brats and hopefully the girls who needed to hear it, heard it.  But it does not change fact that the real danger is the deeper message, the insidious directives that at first are only sensed and can’t be fully appreciated until they are pondered and discerned.  Some of those young ladies might never get it, living their whole lives with the shoddy ideals that they need to stop aiming to be beautiful and virtuous and feminine, that men should never ever be “waited for” and that God isn’t real if I can't see him.  For shame, Mercy Academy, for shame. 

 So what would my ad campaign say if I did it?  

Be a princess: Strive to be everything that is good, true and beautiful.  

Wait on the Lord, your prince: He will show you the path of life.  

Trust deeply in that which you cannot see: Live the fairy tale that is your life to the fullest.   

Because if Tolkein and O’Brien are right (which I think they are) then nothing is more exciting than stepping out your front door every day.  Who knows what could happen? 

“Most of us do not learn about the nature of reality through theology, philosophy, or higher mathematics. But all of us readily grasp the language of a parable drawn from the universal human story. The forms may be dressed in elaborate costumes and enact impossible dramas, but they enable the lover of tales to step outside of himself for a brief time to gaze upon his own disguised world. What is the value of this temporary detachment? It is an imaginative withdrawal from the tyranny of the immediate the flood of words and sensory images that often overwhelm (and just as often limit) our understanding of the real world. A rare objectivity and insight can be imparted regarding this world's struggle for spiritual integrity. In the land of Faerie, the reader may see his small battles writ large in the wars of titans or elves and understand for the first time his own worth. He is involved, not in a false or spurious world, but in the sub-creation of a more real world (though obviously not a literal one). I say more real because a good author clears away the rampant undergrowth of details that make up the texture of everyday life, that crowd our minds and blur our vision. He artfully selects and focuses so that we see clearly the hidden shape of reality.” ~Michael O’Brien, Just a Fairy Story

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What is a woman? What does it mean to be feminine? There is softness and hardness, compassion and ferocity. There is contentment and adventure, freedom and service. We're conundrums, especially to ourselves, but we all, in some way, possess beauty, creativity, intuition and love. We were made for love, and we are loved, cellulite and all. Here we aim to show every woman the richness and beauty of her own femininity and explore current issues relating to women in our world. We also wish to share our own experiences - exploring the joys and challenges of stay-at-home moms and single professionals and everyone in between. Welcome! So glad you're here!

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