40 Days for Life 2011: Week 2

This post transferred from my old blog.  Bold words are new/modified.

October 13, 2011 at 8:23PM

So I missed my scheduled hour last Tuesday on the account of a minor toe surgery. I didn’t want to risk driving here since I couldn’t wear a shoe…

But that’s not what I’m blogging about.

They do abortions here on Thursdays as well as Fridays and Saturdays. I just wonder how many babies didn’t make it. Maybe it’s best to not think about it. Pray. Continuous praying for them and especially their parents. That’s all I can do.

Earlier today I was texting back and forth with my cousin in California. We were kind of sulking in our lack of social activity since we’re so busy compounded with how we both currently don’t have love lives.

So stemming off that text conversation, I started thinking about those who are currently in relationships. I see couples everywhere either married, engaged, or dating. I often wonder the depth of their love for each other. Is it merely superficial or is there something on a deeper level here?

To the very few that have asked me about relationship advice, I make sure to tell them that sex shouldn’t be the ultimate end as to why you’re in a romantic relationship.  It should not be the focal point or the goal unless you’re meant to be with that person until death. It’s not being prude–it’s being practical.

We live in a sex-saturated society where it tries to convince us that sex without consequences is THE way to “love” each other. Where lust is acceptable. Where objectifying the other sex is acceptable. Where babies are burdens and thus it is such a grave thing that a baby be conceived!


And this is why I’ll eternally stress that true authentic love is free, total, faithful, and fruitful.

True love is free because if it is forced, it is not love at all. The lack of choice in the matter isn’t really loving. By juxtaposition, think of rape. Authentic love is free because it gives the other the option to choose it or not. Like a father willing to let his daughter go on her wedding day.

True love is total because to hold yourself back is shortchanging your beloved. “Hey honey, I love you but not completely.” I know that most of us would never openly say that to our beloved but do we hold such an idea in our hearts? Do we express our lack of total self-giving with our bodies? Think of the husband saying this to his wife, “My dear wife, I love you with all of my heart and all of my soul but I’m not willing to give up myself completely for you.” Shortchanged wife. Now switch the word “husband” with “wife.” Shortchanged husband. Authentic love is total because your beloved deserves nothing less of you.

True love is faithful. Lol, just listen to celebrity news and you can see how unfaithful love isn’t really love at all. Isn’t it every woman’s dream to be that special someone to a man? Imagine how heartbroken she must feel if he goes and pulls a jerk move and cheats on her. She doesn’t deserve that. I’ll flip it the other way too. How less of a man would he feel knowing that the one he protects and provides for and loves…goes off with some other guy. Authentic love is faithful because there is no fear in your beloved leaving you in the dust.

True love is fruitful. You know, love is meant to be shared. It’s not something for one to take and keep for oneself. Of course, love is an intangible thing but there are signs that make it visible. The fruitfulness of marriage are children. They are the visible signs of a husband and wife’s self-giving love for each other. For us singletons, the fruitfulness of our love for others are meaningful friendships. If love isn’t fruitful, how then is it shared?

Anyway, relating it all together… Sex is a visible sign of love that points towards something much greater. So, if sex is an expression of love… Sex, too, must be free, total, faithful, and fruitful.

So if a man and woman have intimate relations fulfilling love authentically… Is abortion really an option?

– JD

40 Days for Life 2011: Week 1

This post transferred from my old blog.  Bold words are new/modified.

October 4, 2011 8:22PM

Tonight is my first night of 40 Days for Life for this year. I was going to write this out on paper but my pen wouldn’t write… :-/. I decided to do some on-site reflective journaling because I … feel like it would be fruitful.

This time around is different. Last year I went from 7PM-8PM where the sun was still setting and you can still see. But now that I’m from 8PM-9PM… It’s already dark. This is also different in that it is evening since I usually go on a Saturday morning. The parking lot is near empty and no one is driving up like a Saturday morning.

I prayed a Divine Mercy Chaplet and during this time the employees, with their conspicuous tattoos (even in the dark), drove away in their really nice cars. I didn’t look at them purposely. I closed my eyes with my head down as they drove past me. Now, the only person on the premises is the custodial worker.

Praise God that I’m not alone here. I’m in a somewhat shady part of town. A few Hispanic women are near me with their devotionals, and a mother and son showed up a few mins ago, and they’re now on the corner holding signs.

One thing I want to reflect on is what to name my spiritually adopted baby. Last year, I was inspired by the idea of spiritually adopting a baby. I named her “Melody” because I wanted to make it personal. If I had my own baby girl, I would probably name her “Melody.” Let me pray about this.
(insert pause for a few minutes)
…and hmm… Somehow the name “RJ” sticks out to me though I don’t know what those initials stand for. “RJ” would be my first name’s initials, inverted. Sounds good to me. It’s a boy!

What RJ and Melody share in common is that they face the threat of their parents aborting them. I don’t know their actual status or well-being nor do I know anything else about their parents. This is the burden of spiritually adopting a baby. But the fruit of it is that you can’t help but to pray for them and their parents because that is all you can do.

So that’s settled. I thought I’d spend a little more time on deciding on a name, but it only took a few minutes.

On my drive here, I heard on 910 AM that 64% of women who have an abortion are forced to have it. The ad continued by citing examples around the nation of cases where women were threatened with violence if they didn’t have an abortion. How sad is that? That even if she desires life for her child, she cannot because someone is threatening her life unless she goes through an abortion. The ad ended with that, in this way, abortion is an unchoice. www.unchoice.info is the website, I think.

Hmm, I was just thinking… The nice thing about going this late in the evening is that you don’t have to ponder the reasons why a woman enters this facility like you would on a Saturday morning. No one is inside right now except Mr. I Have To Clean This Place.

What’s frustrating about this facility is that it offers other sexual and health services besides abortion. But sometime in the past year, I realized that if a man is truly a man and a woman is truly a woman and their conjugal union is truly a gift of self to the other in marriage (we’re talking eternally, here), then the whole sexual health purpose of this facility means nothing. Pointless.

I pray here not to shut down this facility though its existence doesn’t promote an authentic loving environment, but rather I pray here for a change of heart.

It is the attitudes about sex and love that we must seek to change in order to end abortion. I don’t feel like eradicating the means is enough.

To get rid of a weed, you must consider its root.

– JD

Missing the Mark

Towards the end of college, I came across Blessed Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body through my college campus ministry.  St. Mary’s had set up study groups to delve into the Theology of the Body as presented by world-renowned theologian on the matter, Christopher West.

He explains, in a video we watched and in a book we read, that the Greek word for sin means “to miss the mark.”   Now, I don’t remember his exact analogy, but I could totally relate to his message on sin.

Quick backstory: I took Archery class for kinesiology credit my sophomore year and continued to take it practically every semester thereafter until graduation.  Not to brag or anything, I got good at the recurve bow ;-).

Anyway, Christopher West explained how when you sin…you aim for something good, but something twists your aim and you “miss the mark.”  In other words, I’m aiming for the bulls-eye, but maybe I didn’t have proper form or proper anchoring–I release the arrow and it isn’t a bulls-eye.  :-/

I think the important lesson here is to know that every time you sin, it’s really because you desire something which is good and holy, but somehow something has caused your view of that good thing to be twisted.

The other important thing I gained from this analogy, moreso from my own reflection, is that you can’t beat yourself up for having screwed up.  Not forgiving yourself for messing up isn’t a good thing either.  Be sorry, confess it–yes! As you are forgiven, you must also forgive yourself.

How does this relate to archery?  I’m not particularly pro at archery so it’s not like I shoot bulls-eyes (which is a score of 10 by the rules that I play) all the time.  If I shoot anything less than a 6, it’s easy for me to be negative about it but focusing on how I screwed up doesn’t net me a bulls-eye the next few arrows.  The archery (or golf, as I’ve also heard it) mentality for success requires focusing on what you’ve done right in order to keep hitting a 10 rather than dwelling on an unsuccessful arrow.  Haha, that could probably be its own blog post or can be read in books.  But yeah! Sin and archery…who would have known they kind of go together O_o.

In summary,

  • Sin, in Greek, means “to miss the mark”
  • Behind every sin is the desire for something good
  • The journey to success and “hitting the mark” can be a twisted one
  • Forgive yourself
  • Focus on what you did right!

…some inspiration:

12/05/09, recurve bow, 18 meters, Score = 30 pts

Trying not to brag…
– JD

Last Sunday Night

So … I had some free time one weekend, and the creative juices were flowing so I reworded Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” and made it Catholic…since my life is Catholic.  And nerdy.  And bored.  Either way! Here it is below:

“LAST SUNDAY NIGHT”  …reworded by JD

====Verse 1====
Now here’s a thought in my head
That I should get out of m’bed
Getting dressed to go to Mass
Where’s my seat? I’ve got to guess
I hop in a front row pew
With granny and momma too
Priest processing down the aisle
Feels like a really long mile
Blessings from last night
I talked about online
I’m blessed
Oh yes!
It’s filled me up with joy
And I’m really sure it rocked
Last Sunday night
Had Supper on altar tops
With the Son who was begot
Should I kneel or should I not?
Last Sunday night
Yeah we passed out prayer cards
A rosary in our cars
We crowned Mary with some stars
Last Sunday night
We were sitting at the Mass
Donated a bit of cash
Received His Body and Blood
Last Sunday night
Read some verses from the Word
Always trying to sing-ing
This Sunday night
Go to Mass again
This Sunday night
Go to Mass again
====Verse 2====
Trying to take in the Word
I went up to present the Gifts
Thought I heard a baby cry
I should wake this sleeping guy
Looked across and saw my friend
Standing up and down again
Think I need a Communion host
Of Jesus I love the most
Blessings from last night
I talked about online
I’m blessed
Oh yes!
It’s filled me up with joy
And I’m really sure it rocked
(Return to chorus)
Father. Son. Holy Spirit.
Father. Son. Holy Spirit.
Father. Son. Holy Spirit.
Father. Son. Holy Spirit.
Father. Son. Holy Spirit.
Father. Son. Holy Spirit.
[insert sax solo]