I think we need to have a chat about suicide.

As you know, the other day, beloved comedian, actor, friend, father and husband Robin Williams lost his battle with depression. When I heard the news, I was devastated.

My heart ached for his family, friends, everyone who he loved, and everyone who loved him.

But mostly, my heart ached for him and the pain I know he felt.

Maybe that’s why Matt Walsh’s article caused me so much anguish.

This semester, I found myself in a pretty bad depression. I felt alone, like no one cared, and I was hours away from any of my family or friends at home. One sleepless night, I found myself contemplating how easy it would be for me to simply roll off my lofted bed and end the pain I was feeling and the pain I was sure I was causing others.

Thank God that I never went any farther than that, and a breakdown after daily mass and discussion with the chaplain of my school forced me to reach out to others. But, this isn’t the first time I’ve felt like ending my life was the only option, and other times, I had a plan, and attempted to commit suicide.

I have been at the brink of life and death. I have found myself grasping for relief and peace from my suffering. I have seen the light come in the form of ending my life.

So when someone says something about how, by commiting suicide, you are showing “The willingness to saddle your family with the pain and misery and anger that will now plague them for the rest of their lives”, I’m bound to disagree. Vocally.

Were we there when Robin Williams sadly ended his own life? No. no one was, not even the all mighty Matt Walsh. Maybe when he chose to end his life, he thought he was relieving his family, and in a way setting them free of various burdens that he could have felt were put on them. Maybe he realized the wrong too late. Maybe as he died, he regretted it and cried out in sorrow.

We don’t know, and it’s wrong to assume that anyone who committed suicide suicide understood what his family would have to endure after his actions.

In memory of Robin Williams, reach out to people. Love them, show them that they and life are beautiful.

Holy Archangel Raphael, appointed by God to guide, protect and heal, I entrust to you all people who at this moment are contemplating suicide. You guided young Tobias on his journey and protected him from the spirit of death which sought to destroy his life. I ask you to protect all people from the road that leads to physical and spiritual death, especially those in most danger of despair and suicide. Just as you led Tobias by the hand, lead them away from the sadness of addiction to peace and joy. O holy Raphael, whose name means, “God has healed”, bring them the Lord’s healing. Lord God, hear the prayer I make together with your faithful servant Raphael. Amen.

 

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What is Modesty?

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31

This has been a question I’ve been thinking about for a long time: how do you define modesty? Can there be one definition of modesty? 

So, I decided to look at a few sources to get an idea of what different people think modesty is.

According to Wikipedia, modesty is “a mode of dress and deportment intended to avoid encouraging sexual attraction in others…”

Although I guess that if you dress modestly, this can be a side effect, I don’t think this definition covers even a fraction of what modesty really is.

Saint John Paul II said that the problem with pornography wasn’t that it showed too much, but that it showed too little. What does he mean by this? Pornography shows not only the human body, but the person, as a sexual object with a sole purpose of sexual pleasure and instant gratification. Humanity is worth so much more than that, so much more than only being used for pleasure. In this Lifeteen post, the author says that this is the problem with immodesty.

So, with that in mind, we can say that immodesty is an objectification of the human body, and modesty is seeing the body as a vessel of the person within.

I once said that I wasn’t modest. I’m still not sure if I am. Sure, I cover what needs to be covered, but in all honesty, it’s not to reflect the dignity of my personhood, but to cover what I think is ugly.

So, I’m going to define modesty: Modesty is a way of dress which glorifies the Lord and reflects the dignity of the person.

We are called to glorify God in all that we do, not man. That includes modest dress and immodest dress. If we are dressing modestly simply to make sure that no one is sexually aroused by us, we are putting man before God. We are trying to please those around us.

Similarly, if we wear what is “cool” with the knowledge that it is not pleasing to God. We are putting man before God.

When you put something on, don’t think what your grandmother or brother or father or best friend would think: think about what God would think.

 

Defending the Impractical Students

As of Thursday, I am officially halfway done with my college career. I can’t even believe it. Freshman year went by so slow, but Sophomore year? I feel like I blinked, and then I was done.

I started off the fall semester  but finally taking the classes needed for my majors. I took Introduction to Literary Study I, and Introduction to Christian Theology. I also discovered that I’m good at philosophy, and really like it, to boot! Because I hate myself, I declared myself an English and Theology Major with a minor in Philosophy.

Katie before declaring her double major and minor.

Katie post-declaration of double major and minor.

But really, I am so glad I took on that Philosophy minor. It goes beautifully with Theology and English, and I have learned so much because of the classes I’ve taken and the skills they have taught me. Even though Theology, English, & Philosophy are considered to be three of the most useless majors (rude), I am so passionate about all three and the good they can do in the world.

Really, is any major “practical”? It’s incredibly rare for college students to find a job in their major right after graduation, and most majors require a Masters’ degree to get anything done. You can’t really do anything with a psychology or sociology degree unless you go to school for at least two more years.

There are going to be people who judge me for my decisions, but there are also so many people who support me, and even respect me for it. Something I have learned is that, often, my biggest judge is myself.  That’s also the hardest judge to defend myself to. I can tell everyone why I’ve chosen my majors, “Because it’s what I love”, but when my inner judge comes out, no defense  is good enough to excuse my “crime” of impractical majors.

I find myself second guessing my English major almost daily, “Should I have gone with communications instead? What if no one wants to hire me simply because I’m an English major?” Maybe choosing communications would have been more practical, but it wouldn’t have led me to the self-discovery and passion I’ve found as an English major.

In the long run, I hope that’s what matter. When I’m sitting in a job interview, and my interviewer asks why I chose English as opposed to communications, maybe “because I loved it. Because I wanted to learn to analyze, and understand, and write about what I analyzed and understood. I wanted to see how the world influences art, and how art influences the world. I am learning that.

Would I love to have  a big house with a super stable job and a steady and heavy income? Well, duh. I am human. But I also know that things aren’t going to make me happy. If depression has taught me anything, it is that you can get everything you want, and still feel worthless and unloved. Happiness is found in God.

I started this blog post out as “lessons I’ve learned after sophomore year” and it morphed into this… thing. Yeah, I’m not really sure what it is. But, I guess that’s life, huh?

 

 

40 Things to do in preparation for the Birth of Christ

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“Advent is here. What a marvellous time in which to renew your  desire, your nostalgia, your real longing for Christ to come — for him to come every day to your soul in the Eucharist. The Church encourages us: Ecce veniet! — He is about to arrive!” – St. Josemaria Escriva

Here are 40 ways to prepare your heart for the Birth of Christ! *note* I am NOT doing all of these. I am doing some. These are just ideas I had and decided to share.

none of the pictures are mine.

  1. Spend 10 minutes in prayer daily – or if you already do this… why not 15 or 20?
  2. Go to daily mass!
  3. Go to adoration… “Oh Come Let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!”
  4. Go to confession.
  5. Pray a Scriptural Rosary (these are my favorite!)
  6. Do a daily meditation … I’m doing a few that are available on the Apple app store! Magnificat is $0.99, but Advent Daily Devotions is F R E E ! I’m also using the Word Among Us.
  7. Don’t listen to Christmas music until the fourth Sunday of Advent… Christmas is about waiting, right?
  8. If you can’t do that… what about not watching any Christmas movies until after the fourth Sunday?
  9. Celebrate Advent as it’s own season!
  10. Volunteer your time and talents.
  11. ImageRead a devotional book. Right now I’m reading “My Vocation is Love” by Jean Lafrance and it’s beautiful!
  12. Write a letter to God. Write it like you’re writing to a friend, with tough honesty.
  13. Forgive someone who you haven’t forgiven yet.
  14. Think about how beautiful it is that Jesus was born. Like us, He depended on His mother, He cried, He couldn’t do anything for Himself. GOD loves us SO much that He became an infant! How crazy is that?
  15. Fast
  16. Say thank you… even for the littlest things. Thank God for the sun, for your pillow, for your family (even if you got sick of them last Thursday). Thank your friend for texting you about dinner, for sharing something with you, for being a friend.
  17. Be there for someone.
  18. Read a book about Advent… The Catholic Company has a bunch (I’m looking at the one based on St. Therese’s Little Way)!
  19. Put up a Jesse Tree!Image
  20. Do Lectio Divina
  21. Do a daily examen
  22. Go through all of your stuff and donate it.
  23. Make a spiritual bouquet for someone who needs it.
  24. Read Luke 1:1-2:21
  25. Read Matthew 1:18-2:18
  26. Read a bit of Luke 1:1-2:21 and/or Matthew 1:18-2:18 a day throughout Advent.
  27. Read Advent and Christmas with Fulton J. Sheen . . . Leah Darrow posted on Facebook that she does this every year for Advent!
  28. Pray a novena… EWTN has a bunch that you can look through! There’s also the St. Andrew Advent Christmas novena and this Christmas novena
  29. Find a giving tree and buy some toys for less fortunate kids.
  30. Send a Christmas card to a soldier overseas
  31. Go Christmas caroling at a convalescent home.
  32. Send a Christmas card to someone that you normally wouldn’t/haven’t sent a card to in a while
  33. Donate to a crisis pregnancy center.
  34. Go beyond what is expected of you.
  35. Write thank you notes to your teachers, mail carriers, lunch ladies, etc.
  36. Bake cookies and deliver them to a neighbor you’re not very close with.
  37. Call someone who you haven’t talked to in a while.
  38. Pray for someone.
  39. Tell them that you prayed for them.
  40. Give something up that you taken granted. Even if only for a day.

I hope that you have a fruitful Advent season and a blessed Christmas!