In the summer of 2006, my soon-to-be youth group traveled to a Steubenville youth conference.
In September of 2006, God touched my heart at the exact time I opened it to Him, just the tiniest bit.
A rush of warmth came over and then, an explosion of sparkles and prettiness all around me (more on that some other time).
At that moment, I left my atheistic ways and completely gave my life over to God.
The next week that soon-to-be youth group became my church family, my best friends.
And all they ever talked about was Zoolander, plans for the upcoming weekend and their amazing experiences at Steubenville.
Their stories were about powerful encounters with Jesus and “the best praise and worship ever.”
Our youth group would be going on a mission trip to Mexico that upcoming summer, so me being a senior, I knew my chances of a Steubenville experience were long gone.
Fast forward 16 years…
This summer I spent a weekend at a Steubenville youth conference chaperoning my parish’s youth group.
*Yes, dream come true. Thank you, thank you! Pass the Kleenex *
When I heard the youth group was in need of another female adult for the trip, I jumped at, no, attacked the chance of experiencing this conference.
Now, I’m gonna lay it all out there.
Sure, I was happy to hang out with some teens. My passion had been in youth ministry for years, but when baby after baby came, my focus had to shift.
So, of course I wanted these kids to like me, but let’s be honest, this was about me getting the Steubenville experience.
On an early Friday morning, I stepped out of my car in the church parking lot, saw a bunch of hyped up teenagers, pillows and blankets in hands and; I felt a deep desire to truly know each and every one of them.
I couldn’t stand not knowing them. I didn’t even know their names and I felt this crazy need to know their souls!
Once our charter bus took off, I forced myself to wait an appropriate amount of time before going total adult-loser on them.
When that appropriate time came, we danced in the aisle to High School Musical.
As the weekend unfolded, these kids stole my heart.
They shared their stories with me and listened while I bothered them with mine.
We laughed, cried and praised Jesus whole-heartedly.
They expressed their frustrations, worries about life and faith.
They broke my heart as I listened to their hurts.
We rapped to Christian music and encouraged each other through some awful dining experiences.
These kids gave me a weekend in Heaven.
To my most grateful surprise, these kids were my Steubenville.
Now, you might be thinking; “That’s all great buuut, what does this have to do with Humanae Vitae?”
Well, I’ll be happy to share.
All of these kids have a mom, a dad, a grandparent; that said “yes” to life.
Because of their “yes,” my life has been blessed beyond belief. Truly.
See, Church teaching is hard. And, it can be very easily seen as annoying rules that are thrown at us simply because the Catholic Church is so out of date.
But Church teaching isn’t here, just ‘cause.
It’s here to save our lives.
It exists, thanks be to God, for our own good.
Look at this mess we are in, folks.
Look at how Pope Paul Vl, through Humanae Vitae, warned us all.
When the creation of Life, a Human Person, is looked at as something that must be “dealt with,” we have completely lost sight of who we are as People.
Why did God ever begin creating humans?
To love! YOU and me.
Whether our parents created us out of complete love or not, OUR God made us because He wanted us alive so HE could love on us. All we have to do is allow His love!
Those youth group kids, every single one, added so much in their own way to my life.
Some were born to loving families, others have had a harder go at life.
I hope one day they will understand what a treasure they are, by simply being.
I pray that one day soon, all of those kids see themselves as their Father in Heaven sees them.
I pray that one day soon, we will all see ourselves as our Father sees us.
He doesn’t see a pill as an answer to freedom.
He doesn’t see a double line on a pregnancy test as the end of the parents’ lives.
He sees a creation of new Love.
Whether our parents created us out of complete love or not, OUR God made us because He wanted us alive so HE could love on us. All we have to do is allow His love!
What if we started seeing Life for what it is and will be?
A heartbeat that will grow into someone’s husband.
Tiny fingers that will grow into hands of a surgeon.
Little toes that will grow into feet that take her on missionary work to save the nations.
A pure, innocent soul that will grow to become someone’s life-long best friend.
Humanae Vitae is a reminder of who we are.
With this 50th anniversary, I hope we are all reminded.
We need that reminder now more than ever.
Do you ever feel the excitement for your Catholic faith fading out a bit? Maybe you’ve noticed you’re beginning to simply go through the motions of your faith life without that zeal you once had. Or, maybe you’re in that dry desert stage of your relationship with God.
If you thought, “Yup, that’s me,” don’t be so sad, you’re just in need of some Catholic Caffeine!
Here are 10 Catholic treasures that are worth “googling” to help a momma out in her time of need, in no particular order.
1) Surprised by Truth by Patrick Madrid
Girl, I’m tellin’ you. This is a gem. An easy read that’ll have you falling in love all over again with this One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. (PS: This is my go-to gift for people that are curious about the Faith.)
2) “Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher
Not only is this song goooood, it’s written by a fellow Catholic! We gotta support those Catholic musicians. All of his albums are wonderful for you and your kids. Check ’em out.
3) The Fourth Cup talk and book by Scott Hahn
Blow yo mind. This will remind you/teach you just how deep and craaaazzzyy awesome our faith is. It’ll have you throwing your hands up in the air ’cause you just don’t care how weird you look ’cause, dang. And, it’s Scott Hahn. What else do you need?!
4) Novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots
Our Lady: all she wants to do is bring you closer to her Son. This novena will do that for you. You’ve got an impossible problem? Hand it on over to her, girl.
5) The Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn
Scott Hahn. Mass. Boom.
6) Daily Mass
There is something so intimate about Daily Mass. It’s usually a small-ish number of people there and knowing that you don’t “have to be there” makes your presence in front of Jesus so special.
7) Christ is the Answer podcasts, Fr. John Riccardo
Ho-ly. Spi-rit. Moment. Every single talk. Listen to while cooking, doing the dishes, laundry, whatever it is; you’ll thank yourself for tuning in to this blessing of a priest. Find his talks all neatly put together by subject. Or on your phone.
8) Theology of the Body by St. John Paul ll
Learn how beautiful the simplicity of being human truly is with TOB. If you don’t have the time to read it all, listen to some talks about it … like Fr. John Riccardo’s.
9) Real Life Catholic video series by Chris Stefanick
Perfect thing to watch as a family! This series is wonderfully done. Great quality, entertaining and full of the Truth.
10) “I Shall Not Want” by Audrey Assad
Another inspiring Catholic artist. Her voice will transport you to the clouds of Heaven.
11) Any Mother Angelica talk
(Oops, I added an extra. Bonus nugg.) Do you know Mother Angelica? Make her your best friend. She’s not only hilarious, but feisty and has a way of delivering God’s message that is just so endearing. Her videos are available on EWTN.
12) One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler
(Dang it, I did it again! I should change the title…but 10 just sounds better.)
I love this woman. Real, funny, light and deep all in one. Read this to help you in your discernment of who God made you to be and what only He can do within an already insane life.
I hope these treasures bring more Jesus into your life!
What’s on your list of Catholic Caffeine?
I have an almost 11 month old “tiny” little baby.
He’s crawling and rolling all over the house and has an odd attachment to our Bluetooth speaker, which began one morning we were listening to the rosary (that’s the only thing that keeps me from freaking out about this creepy new obsession).
This little boy will be completely into his new found treasure of the moment, I’ll catch his eye from the kitchen, he’ll drop that treasure out of his mouth, mad dashes over to me, pushes himself up on his knees and stretches his arms out as far as they can go. He breaks out into the biggest, happiest smile you’ve ever seen and begs for a hug.
Ohh, my heart.
Starting a couple of years ago, every now and then, I’d ask for the grace to really feel and understand God as my Father, Father.
So many times I get stuck in the motions of faith and who God truly is, that I miss the depth of His love.
I have no problem referring to God as my BFF, that was where my faith began, but the Father side of God is a side of Him I really have desired a deeper connection with.
One of the most beautiful things about a relationship with God are the quiet, hidden moments when He reveals Himself to you with a gentle touch to your heart. The subtle, “I am here.”
Just the other day my tiny little baby looked up at me with those big eyes, threw his chunky arms up and gave me the cheesiest “I love you!! Hold me!” smile.
I froze. I didn’t grab his tiny little body close.
I just stared at him…but I’m telling you…it was not my tiny little baby.
It was God.
It was God taking that subtle “I am here” moment to another place.
For years now I have been hearing people ask, “Do you know God the Father?”
Because I have never referred to God as my Father in my conversations with Him, I’ve thought, “No, no I don’t know God as my Father.”
In that mere second with a tiny little baby, God moved like a tidal wave in my soul.
As I looked at my son, God asked me, “Why does this baby love you?’
And then, the epiphany.
My baby loves me and his Daddy because of who we are to him.
We are the people that feed him.
We are the ones that put snuggly pajamas on his body.
We hold him tight after a bump of his head.
We give him the baths that refresh him.
We are the ones he trusts.
He loves us because he loves us.
He loves me because I am his Mommy.
He loves his Daddy because he’s his Daddy.
In that mere second with a tiny little baby, God moved like a tidal wave in my soul.
It’s so simple.
Tears streamed down my face.
I know God as my Father. I have always known God as my Father.
I thought I had been missing out on that huge part of my relationship with Him because I’ve never referred to Him as Daddy, but that’s just not true.
Lately I have been feeling guilty about the reasons I love God.
I felt like the love I have for God was based on selfishness.
I love Him for the blessings He gives me and my family.
I love Him for the “God moments” He sends to brighten my day.
I love Him for the lessons He has taught me.
I love Him for how He takes care of me.
But, when my baby reached out for me in love that moment, I realized… I love God for the same reasons my baby loves me.
I, too, put down my new found treasures of the day, reach my arms out to Him in love and beg Him to love me back…simply because He IS my Father.
I love Him because He IS my Father!!
God, I love you…you are my Daddy.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Text ©Stephanie Stovall 2018
I’m just sitting in a hospital bed waiting. I don’t even really know exactly what I’m waiting for. I’m waiting for my health to go south so the doctor will be forced to deliver the baby in my womb. I’m waiting for my water to break or contractions to start; I have a history of pre-term labor, so this wouldn’t be too far-fetched. I’m waiting for the weeks to go by to give my baby time to mature. I’m waiting for my uterus to stretch just a little more and help that placenta get out of the way of my cervix. I’m waiting for the day that the doctor comes in and tells me that he can deliver the baby safely and lets me in on making the call to induce or wait. I know I’m waiting for our baby, a little girl, but the circumstances are not ideal and I’m just feeling uncertain and unsettled about how everything is playing out.
And I’m no stranger to uncertainty. Thankfully, I’m not a worrier, but almost daily I’m wondering if I’m doing God’s will and what His plan for me is. I do believe that God is with me and I know that God has a plan for me, but that doesn’t always mean I’m feeling confident or secure.
There are three ladies from a local parish who administer the Eucharist at this hospital. They are such a bright spot in my days. In addition to the Eucharist, they pray with me, tell me stories, offer me encouragement and sometimes bring prayer cards for me. The last one who came brought me a card that really spoke to how I am feeling in this moment and the words are so beautiful that I wanted to share it with you all.
God has created me to do Him some definite service;
He has committed some work to me which He has not
committed to another. I have my mission –
I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.
I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.
He has not created me for naught. I shall do good,
I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth
in my own place while not intending it – if I do but keep His Commandments.
Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever, wherever I am. I can never be thrown away.
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity
may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.
He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about.
He may take away my friends, He may throw me among strangers,
He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me –
still He knows what He is about.
I may never even know exactly what my mission is! For me there is tremendous comfort in this. How freeing it is that I don’t have to know everything. By keeping the Ten Commandments, loving God with my all my soul, mind and strength, loving my neighbor as myself, heeding the Beatitudes, doing Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and living the Great Commission, I will already be doing the mission He has planned for me. I don’t have to worry if I haven’t started a ministry or wrote something so profound that hundreds of people felt prompted by the Spirit to know Jesus. So maybe I’ll never feed thousands of hungry people. Maybe my mission is just to feed a few, like my kids and husband and friends and the occasional sick person or homeless person. Or maybe He’ll ask me to do things that don’t seem related to what I think my mission is. I don’t have to figure out how it fits into the plan. The burden of knowing everything is lifted. I can just have faith and do His work without knowing the exact mission. Like most everything that is good and beautiful and worthwhile, it is not easy, but it is very simple. Everything I do, even this waiting in uncertainty, I can do for Him.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
Text © Natalie Clevenger 2018
The story of The Visitation is the gift that keeps on giving, especially for us women.
I’ve written before on this holy get together, but the more you sit with those words, the more that the Spirit reveals. Not surprisingly so, after all, it is the Living Word.
What strikes me the most about Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth is the model of charity and service that is perfectly lived out by Our Lady.
But, this time around, it was the connection between the two little hearts inside those bellies that really tugged at my soul.
Play out the events of the Visitation in your thoughts like a movie…it is one of the most adorable scenes in the Bible.
Think of the two tiny babies connecting with each other, not body to body, but living soul to living soul.
Seeing baby St. John the Baptist “leap” inside of his mommy because he actually feels the presence of baby Jesus in Mary’s womb, wow.
I see the two little boys smiling during this moment.
Love radiating all around.
The presence of the Holy Trinity, right there.
The Spirit is so present that it actually moves Mary to break into song in the following verses.
What a moment.
Four people, four souls, all connecting with each other.
The Holy Spirit moving within all of them, bringing them together, gifting each to the other for the sole purpose of glorifying God.
And we all know what happens when humans glorify God, He turns right around and blesses us in the most unimaginable ways.
It’s what He does. It’s that love He has for us.
Isn’t the gift of life so precious and beautiful?
Can’t help but see the pro-life message in all of that.
Text ©Stephanie Stovall
The Advent season is a time the Church asks us to slow down. We are encouraged to spend more time in prayer in preparation for the reality of the huge-ness that is our Savior’s birthday.
If you are a fan of St. Ignatius’ imaginative way of praying, you know that spending time in the Scriptures of that first Christmas is an impossible thing to do without looking into the eyes and heart of Mary.
The Church does not tell us to worship Mary and it does not tell us to hold her as high as we hold the Trinity. The Catholic Church is all about following the Ten Commandments right beside Jesus, which means we honor His Father and His mother.
As a cradle catholic, I’d always been aware of the love we are supposed to have for our Holy Mother- especially coming from a Hispanic background.
Every time my family traveled to Colombia we’d see shrines dedicated to Mary all along our trip. I understood. She’s a big deal.
As I grew more serious about my faith and matured in theology I understood why we hold Jesus’ mom on such a pedestal.
It all made sense in my head and I loved the idea of her.
I just didn’t know her myself.
I would pray the rosary, but with little Marian faith or love behind it.
The closest I’d ever come to praying a novena was when our family would get together and pray the Christmas novenas with song and dance the nine days before Christ’s birth.
But, pray one of those serious long ones on my own? No way. I did not have enough self-control for that!
Or, I’d forget I was doing it by day three.
That was until I reached a moment of complete hopelessness and despair.
I had been battling an emotional situation for years and years with no moving past it in sight.
Through a miraculous little God moment, I was given a booklet on the Mary Undoer of Knots Novena.
Something about the painting on the front of the prayer book tugged at my heart.
Seeing that ribbon in such a tangled disaster on one side and then on the other side, once the ribbon passed through Mary’s hands, perfectly ironed out…it struck me.
I wanted her to untangle my darkest place.
I began the novena that night.
Those nine days were hell. Events took place that took me to the rock bottom of my emotions. I now know and see them as what they were, days of purification.
On the ninth day, the worst day of them all, my family happened to be visiting from out of town.
When the final blow was given to me that ninth day, my heavenly mother had brought my earthly mother for my physical need of love and tenderness.
I bawled in my mom’s arms like I had never done before.
With my mom living so far away, she was rarely able to be there like that for me.
It was exactly what I needed.
I consider this one of the greatest gifts of my life, having my mom there to hold me that night.
After that, came peace.
Nothing. But. Peace.
The days, months and years since that night, since that novena, have been filled with peace for my impossible emotional situation.
My heavenly mother had taken my ribbon of disaster, placed it before her Son, and it was ironed it out.
Of course there are still tough, tough moments, but the peace that I have in my heart for the situation makes me handle it all…truly with God.
Mary Undoer of Knots didn’t bring me back to the relationship with God that I had before.
That novena has taken me to a deeper, more beautiful relationship with Jesus than I have ever experienced before.
After all, that is what Mary is all about. Just like on that first Christmas day, all she wants is to give us her Son, to bring us into His heart. The only heart that loves freely and saves.
text ©Stephanie Stovall 2017
In an effort not to look stupid, I avoid things. I especially avoid things that could broadcast my perceived stupidity publicly. Like writing a blog about Jesus and Mary and being a Catholic mom. Because, you know, the world might start hating me because I’m not smart. My intelligent Christian friends will see how incredibly ignorant I am or worse, how bad a Christian I really am. Other people might start to think I’m one of THOSE people who need religion to console themselves and they’ll think I’m weak and feeble minded. Really, I could list a zillion things that keep me from being a fool for Christ but they all come down to fear.
And I’m pretty sure Christ said, “Do NOT be afraid.” (Emphasis my own.)
A zillion times He said that. (An exaggeration, I actually do not know how many times Jesus actually said it.)
Yesterday I was doing my reading for a study that I am doing called “Courageous Virtue” by Stacy Mitch (it is a really wonderful study by the way) and I read Wisdom 2.
Crack open your Bible to the second chapter of Wisdom. I’ll wait. If you have a Protestant Bible, well, you are missing out. Read the second chapter of Wisdom here.
I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after I read it. Then I headed straight for the World Wide Web to find out when Wisdom was written. Folks, it wasn’t yesterday. It was written about 50 years before the coming of Christ. So, for at least the last 2067 years (give or take a few), the world has been rejecting believers and embracing the “live it up now because we’ll soon be dust” mentality. The culture of death?? Yah, I guess that’s not a new thing.
I almost cried when I read the misguided reasoning, “Let our might be our law of right, for what is weak proves itself to be useless.” (RSV, 2nd Catholic Edition) I can’t help but think of abortion and euthanasia. The exploitation of the poor and the exploitation of women and an amazing list of a zillion other sins that our culture embraces continue in a long train in my mind, torturously reminding me that in our great country the majority rules, even when the majority is horribly wrong and terribly misguided.
And then I stopped being afraid. The people of God of have been insulted forever and they will continue to be mocked and called stupid. We have all been tasked with taking up our crosses and following Christ. He didn’t say to take up our crosses but only if you feel like it, or only when you have the encouragement and support of your peers, or only if you can safely do so.
So here I am, O great big Internet. I love Jesus.
I want to share him with all of the people. I want you to know Him. I want you to love Him. And I want you to share Him too.
If even just one person is stirred to crack open the Word by my post, then Jesus wins. If even just one person turns their mind towards Christ because of some word of mine, then Jesus wins. If even just one person wants to get to know Him better because of some feeble thing I said, then Jesus wins. And the thing is, Jesus wins anyway, so maybe more of us can win with Him and spend eternity basking in the heavenly glow. Yes, our bodies will someday return to dust, but they are joined to a soul that is eternal.
Lord, show me the areas of my life where I am afraid to be a fool for you. Help me live for eternity and not for the acceptance of others. Amen
© Natalie Clevenger 2017
There’s a song every Texas school kid learns as they take their first steps into an educational building.
“The stars at night, are big and bright
(clap clap, clap, clap , clap clap)
Deep in the heart of Texas.”
It’s one of those songs that as soon as the melody starts playing, your heart smiles and your memory pulls out the old Elementary School File.
You think of the 5th grade performance and that silly costume you had to wear.
You think of old friends and the ones you’ve somehow been lucky enough to have kept along the way.
You think of art class and was it, Ms. Daley? What a terrifying, wonderful woman.
Usually childhood memories bring comfort and joy. If you live far away from where you grew up, they mean all the more to you.
When the rain began relentlessly pouring down over Houston; those memories came rushing back with deep sadness and hurt.
Hurt for your family and friends that were living it and hurt for the places of your past.
Houston will be different, but Harvey will not change the heart and soul of who we are.
We are the Astrodome, Jeff Bagwell, J.J. Watt and Hakeem Olajuwon (Clutch City, baby!), Brother’s Pizzeria, HEB, Lupe Tortilla and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, where all artists are invited…from Selena to Boys II Men to Garth Brooks.
A full beach trip can be made in a day and rockets get sent into space from our H-town.
But more than anything, deep in the heart of Texas, is goodness.
Good, God fearing people that desire to hurt right alongside their neighbor.
People that were lucky enough to have a dry living room did not hesitate to throw all credit and gratefulness to God. They considered it a blessing from above and intended to go right out and become a blessing themselves to those that did not have a dry floor.
Since the floods, all eyes have been on the fourth largest city in our country.
The world has watched my class mates, just regular good ol’ boys, jump into bass boats and monster trucks to go save some stranger’s life.
Doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, what you believe…you need help…you grab my hand, get in and let’s go rescue some more people, buddy.
And shoot, Mattress Mack isn’t just a local legend anymore, that beautiful catholic man’s gone viral.
I don’t know why this happened to my hometown, nor does it matter.
What I do know is that God brings good things, real good things, from the bad.
Another thing we all know is that these times we’re all living in, are crazy.
We’ve all gone insane.
I’m not sure there’s a person out there that isn’t scared or concerned to the core about what kind of future our children will have to face.
But, take a moment to look at Harvey and all it has done.
Take a look at the faces of southern Texas.
Do they look like they all come from one place? They don’t.
They look like your family and mine.
They look like that picture in schools where the Earth has those stick people of all kinds holding hands around it.
There’s another song every single Texan knows by heart, and please, hold the eye rolling until all Texans have at least finished tearing down the dry wall.
The song is called “God Blessed Texas.”
Today, those verses have taken on a deeper, close to home meaning.
“First, He let the sun shine
Then He made the waters deep
Then He gave us moonlight
For all the world to see
Well everybody knows that the Lord works in mysterious ways
He took a rest, then on the very next day…
God blessed Texas
With His own hand
Brought down angels from the promised land
Gave 'em a place where they could dance
If you want to see heaven, brother, here's your chance
I've been sent to spread the message
God blessed Texas.”
Here’s the thing, and P.S., I don’t mean to be controversial in these extra sensitive days, but…God didn’t just bless Texas.
The pictures of unity you are seeing are not because the hurricane happened to hit a state where people know how to love.
If disaster would have hit Nebraska, Alaska, Colorado or any other state…the pictures would look exactly the same.
We’ve seen this time and time again.
People being there for each other.
People picking each other up off the ground and simply loving.
Whether we like it or not, deep in the heart of our country, is love for our neighbor.
It shouldn’t take horrible natural disasters or terrorist attacks to show us.
We need to stop acting like a tantrum throwing little two year old, guys.
Quit the talk of “we want unity!” and actually unite!
Are we not all tired? How are we not all exhausted?
Let the media do its’ media thing.
Let’s, the rest of us, do US.
So, how ‘bout this for a game plan…
Deep in the heart of the United States, we really do love each other.
It’s just time we start acting like it.
Text ©Stephanie Stovall 2017
A couple of winters ago I was pulling out of my driveway attempting to convince myself that arriving at the gym instead of Chic-fil-a was a much better start to the day.
In the midst of my inner debate, catholic radio caught my attention.
I ignored the fight going on between #3 and #4 in the back seats and turned up the volume.
The program host was interviewing a doctor that used to perform abortions back in the day. He was sharing his conversion story and I came in when he became emotional while recalling all of the abortions he had been a part of.
You could hear the pain and disgust for himself in his heart as he spoke.
I turned up the volume some more.
What I heard next completely threw my world into a whirl.
The doctor began to talk about how he hadn’t just been a part of the abortions that occurred in his office, he had been a part of possibly thousands.
Huh? Without knowing? What do you mean?
Doctor: “ I realized that I had been an active participant in all the abortions that occurred through my prescribing of birth control. I was sick. I had to get to confession.”
Me to car radio: “What is he talking about?!”
Then the radio host and doctor start talking about how birth control can act as an abortifacient but people are not aware of this facet. Then they dove deeper into the details of how the pill actually works.
It was then my turn to feel sick.
I had never heard this before.
In all of my life, I had never heard that birth control could act as an abortifacient until I turned on my radio that morning. I was shocked and disgusted with myself.
My husband and I had been on and off the pill in between kids.
We always felt guilty, we always knew better. But, it was so much easier than any other option!
We’d use it for about 6 months and then decide we were either too guilty to stay on it or ready to be open to another baby.
Yes, everything I knew about Catholic teaching on contraception should have been enough to make us dedicated NFP-ers.
The problem was, I could not trust God with all of it. I just couldn’t.
(I still have trouble with this, PS. But am relying on His grace day by day.)
I had very recently thrown away my birth control because I couldn’t stand going against God anymore. But after hearing that radio segment, there was no way I could go back to using the pill.
So, all of this brings me to…why aren’t the words “WARNING: The pill can act as an Abortifacient!” seen all over the place? They should be on billboards and all over social media! Shoot, why isn’t it in bold red letters on birth control packets?!
It’s one of the best kept secrets of our time.
Doctors will fight you on the truth of the pill. Many are not even aware themselves of how it truly works.
I’m telling you, best kept secret.
Should it be the one fact that keeps Catholics away from using the pill? Nope. However, for those stubborn ye of little faiths (ME) it could be just the thing to turn them back to living the faith.
I have to tell you, ever since this conviction came and God gave my husband and I the grace to be obedient to His desires, our life has changed immensely.
Is NFP challenging and hard and sucky at times? Yup. But, it has opened our hearts to hearing God like we never have before. I feel so much closer to my husband and I feel so much closer to Jesus.
Guess God knows what He’s talkin’ about after all.
Text Copyright 2017 Stephanie Stovall
When was the last time you let yourself go deep in thought about how much you love being a Roman Catholic?
As wives and mothers our hearts send our thoughts down sporadic love paths for our husbands and kids.
I’ll be nursing, looking into my infant’s eyes and completely forget about the world going on beyond my couch and Boppy.
I sit in the passenger side and glance over at the hubby carefully weaving through traffic with the whole family in tow and my heart melts as I remember glancing over at that same man, driving us to our first date.
Our deep love for our families give us little “love bites” throughout our days.
Does love for your Catholic faith ever give you some love bites?
I sure hope so.
We are so stinking lucky to be Catholic.
Just think about it for a second. All of your fave Catholic things.
What’d you come up with? I’ll take some guesses…
How about our Holy Mother? Yeeeessss! I know I wouldn’t be in this wonderful place of life right now if it wasn’t for her.
Which brings me to my next guess…
Novenas and all other Catholic prayers.
I love that when I am so overcome by emotion that I can not put a prayer into words I have “go to prayers” to offer up.
And also, novenas are just wonderful. Something happens, you need help, you find the perfect novena and bam! Your hope in the prayer begins to ease your soul.
One of my favorites are the statues. I love me a good religious statue.
One time on vacation my family was walking down the Riverwalk area of San Antonio trying to find the church we were attending for Mass that day. On the way we passed a skinny woman laying on the ground, pregnant tummy exposed to all. I wasn’t sure if she was begging for money or simply resting from the Texas heat, because I had quickly looked away.
A few minutes later we had arrived at the church and right on the side of it was a statue of “Homeless Jesus.” He was laying on a bench in a way that was so strikingly similar to the pregnant lady I had just uncomfortably walked past.
I reached out and touched Jesus’ head in forgiveness for my heart of stone.
It was a powerful moment. But it didn’t stop there.
As I kept walking towards the entrance, I see one of my boys had stopped at the statue. It was my six year old.
He stops, reaches into his pocket and places the precious penny he had been so excited to find just moments before, right by Jesus’ head.
What a moment.
I am so grateful that our church acknowledges we are tangible creatures that are moved by objects we can touch and see.
Part of that story holds another one of my faves.
I love that our church truly is a universal church. I know that at 9 am on a Sunday morning there are many others doing the same exact thing I am.
We’re all praying the same exact prayers and kneeling at the same time.
We are all calling up to God in this one, universal way.
How beautiful. I mean really, how beautiful.
I love our magnificent cathedrals and how we have men and women that commit their lives to God as priest and nuns. I love that we are the faith of Scott Hahn, Mother Angelica and Fr. John Riccardo. I love that we are “obligated” to attend Mass every single Sunday because receiving the Eucharist, visiting God in His house is just that important. I love how deep the faith is. I love the rich history we have. I love our traditions, how they’ve been passed down just like any family’s traditions. I love that Jesus…Jesus Himself (!) started our church and gave us an apostle as our first Pope. I love our hymns. I love that we put the Bible together and I love that we have guidelines on how to interpret scripture as well as Lectio Divina.
I love that every single thing about being Catholic enriches my faith life and brings me closer to God.
Watching people walk up and receiving the Eucharist gives me the biggest love bite for our Catholic faith. It can bring me to tears.
Fall in love, truly FALL IN LOVE with being Catholic and be excited!! We are SO STINKING LUCKY to have been called into this faith. Jump for joy, guys!!
Take some time and think…what gives you your Catholic love bites?
Text Copyright Stephanie Stovall 2017