Small Success Thursday: Going Outside of My Comfort Zone

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This past week has been a challenge for me in that it required me to go outside of my comfort zone multiple times.  The first was completion of my first graduate level Final test.  Undergraduate was not a challenge for me at all.  I spent a lot of my time bored.  Part of starting my Master’s degree was to fulfill a void in me that needs intellectual challenges.  I love to learn and I love to learn things that are hard and make the brain hurt. That is why Theology and Philosophy are right up my alley.  They stretch me to my very limits of reason and then Faith expands me even further.  I appreciated that my Final exam required me to write 7 pages of definitions and essays.  That is nothing like what I experienced in Undergrad.  In three weeks, I will take a Church History Final that stretches 12 centuries.  I want to move out of my current intellectual understanding, into deeper knowledge of God, truth, and myself.

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Second, I decided to REALLY step outside of my comfort zone and try out an online direct sales business.  I became a Jamberry Nails Independent Consultant.  Sales are not a strong suit for me.  I am bad at asking people to purchase an item even if I really enjoy using the product.  I was introduced to Jamberry nail wraps three months ago at a friend’s online Facebook party.  At first I was skeptical.  I don’t usually take the time to do my nails and the first time I put them on I did a poor job, so they did not last as long as they should have.  Even so, I agreed to host a FB party of my own and really started to like them.  That’s when I decided to give selling them a try.  I like that they allow me to “dress up” a bit as a mom and grad student.  I am going to give it a year and see how I do.  It is a marathon not a sprint.

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Third, I went a ministry meeting on a committee at my parish for the first time in months.  I got burned out after our parish became rather divided after a couple of years of tumult.  I got tired of the fighting and needed to take a step back.  I was asked a couple of months ago to join the Christian Formation Committee.  Since I like to teach and study it is a good fit for me.  The best part, I am not in charge!  Thankfully, our priest has taken charge and it was a very enjoyable meeting.  It only lasted an hour and nobody left upset.

Fourth, I am learning to rely more on my husband even when he has to be brutally honest with me.  It is hard and it has caused a lot tears, but it is growth.  I have been fiercely independent for most of my life, so marriage has been a major adjustment for me.  I am a huge work in progress.  How have you done this week?  Click on the CatholicMom.com graphic above to join the conversation.

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The Need for Masculinity in the Church

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Recently I have read two excellent posts on the need for masculinity within the Church.  One was by Monsignor Pope and the other by a Dominican Friar calling men to the Priesthood.  I personally see both the Priesthood and men within the Church as an important balance to the “feminine genius” that St. John Paul II preached for women.  In a culture such as our own that demands that men conform more closely to what women demand of them, it is becoming obvious that this ideology is damaging men.  This very same idea has led to a crisis of faith for a lot of men.  In fact, men are leaving the Church at alarming numbers.

I have always related to men more than women.  I served in the military.  For a while I was the only woman on my watch team while I was in the Navy.  Men provide a different way of looking at the spiritual life.  One that is no nonsense and based on courage, spiritual warfare, and protective instinct.  My husband is always reminding me that it is in his nature to protect our daughter and me.  That is what drives him to serve and work so hard for us.  Unfortunately this type of service is derided in our feminized culture.  A culture that has been hurt by the clarion call of post-modern feminism.

As Monsignor Pope wrote in his post on masculinity, the Church needs mercy and love, but she also needs justice, to forgive quickly, and courage.  Men do not typically hold onto anger for as long as women and know how to forgive and let things go.  The path to holiness is a battle.  It is a battle that we wage every single day whether it is fighting temptation or defending the Faith, it is a part of our journey.  I think that in our over dependence on Feminism, we have forgotten that while women can teach compassion, mercy, and love, it is essential that men teach us courage and justice.  Men have a keen sense of these virtues.  I saw it when I was in the military and I see it in my male friends now.  Many of these men have been worn down by women and they are afraid to serve in the role that God has called them to.

Men and women are equal in dignity.  Both were created in the “image and likeness of God” with unique gifts.  Men and women are complimentary and neither is superior to the other.  It is time for members of the Mystical Body to embrace all of the virtues, not just the feminized or more palatable (to some) virtues.  We can learn from our brothers and sisters in Christ and as sisters we need to learn to allow our brothers to freely exercise their own gifts.  I get the male call more because I have a warrior’s heart and because I see the great gifts that men bring to the Church that women cannot possibly bring.  God made it that way.

We also need to regain this masculinity so that young men understand the call to the Priesthood.  To become a priest is to take on the role of Shepherd and in various moments it is to act “in the person of Christ”.  There is no higher form of masculinity than to be like Christ.  There is a yearning in the hearts of all men to serve and protect the Church.  There is a desire to serve Christ with their unique dignity.  So let’s help our husbands, brothers, friends, sons, etc. recapture that authentic masculinity.  Let’s help show men that becoming a priest is to embrace their truest masculinity.

Here are the two posts I referenced from Monsignor Pope and the Dominican Friars.  They are much more eloquent than I.  God bless.