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My Baby is not an Obstacle

Click HERE to watch to “My Baby is not an Obstacle”

My baby is not an obstacle to pursuing my dreams.

Isn’t incredible that as women we are punished for bringing life into the world? Why is it that we cannot easily share our feminine genius as professionals without having to put our children to the side? Why do we have to choose in between two extremes: stay at home with your children or go to work without them? 

I want us to change this.

I want to be like the “Proverbs 31” woman. She is beautiful and powerful. She inspires me. She works tirelessly in and out of her home; she is wise and kind; and always has enough for those in need.

[She] works with her hands in delight… [She] stretches out her hands to the needy… Strength and dignity are her clothing… She smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: “Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all. (Proverbs 31: 13, 20, 25-29).

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Coping Mechanisms

Click HERE to listen to the Podcast

“What’s bringing you down?”

Today, I talk about the emptiness that comes from different coping mechanisms, such as getting involved in cyber reality and the danger of living through other people emotionally.

I also talk about just how easy it is for us women to get brought down and consumed by a powerful and lingering negative mood especially when we are experiencing relational struggles.

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“A Guided Study in Theology of the Body”

There are so many beginners’ guides out there on Theology of the Body. If you’ve read these and want to go deeper, then this is for you. In this series, I walk you through the original words JPII preached as we discuss this teaching. I will help you lay a philosophical, theological, and historical foundation that will give you a greater grasp of this teaching.

In this series, Alexandra invites you to St. Peter’s Square to listen with a fresh mind and an open heart to Pope John Paul II as he preaches his catechesis on marriage and family and the divine plan for human love to YOU.

Simply click on the icon below to download over 100 minutes of Part 1 of this MP3 Podcast:

TOB

Your donation is greatly appreciated!

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The series takes you through John Paul II’s work “Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body” as translated by Michael Waldstein. You do not need to own this text to benefit from this course, but you may feel inspired to purchase it during our time together.

Track 1: Intro to Series

Track 2: Discussing Cardinal Christoph Schönborn’s Preface

Track 3: Discussing Christopher West’s Prologue

Track 4: Discussing the History of the TOB Text

Track 5: Wojtyla’s Carmelite Personalism (Michael Waldstein’s Introduction)

Track 6: Introducing St. John of the Cross’ Influence over TOB (Michael Waldstein’s Introduction)

Track 7: Poetry Reading and Analysis of St. John of the Cross (Michael Waldstein’s Introduction)

I am currently recording Part 2 of this series. Be sure to subscribe to this Blog to get updates!

Facing Insecurities

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

(Psalm 139)

Watch my Vlog “my big nose” by clicking here.

People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

(1 Samuel 16:7)

St. Peter tells us, Women:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.

Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

(1 Peter 3:3-4)

 

Let’s be honest: I have a temper

“Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

(Psalm 141)

There are certain words that just tear right into my heart like a dash of salt rubbed into an open wound. I feel so miserably little. I desperately wait for someone to tag me, to unfreeze me. Let’s play hide-and-go-seek and never stop counting.

The hard part is realizing that I tear into peoples’ hearts in just the same way.

Watch my Vlog “I have a temper” here.

If we are to be uplifting women, shelters of healing, we need to reassess how we are speaking to one another. Realizing how damaging my own choice of words can be, I’ve been working on purging my own vocabulary. I want to invite you to speak from your deepest heart, where there is calm and silence.

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. “

(Proverbs 12:18)

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

(Proverbs 15:1)

not crushed

Listen to Broken Hallelujah by The Afters

Even though I don’t know what your plan is,  I know you make beauty from these ashes.

You know the things that have brought me here. You know the story of every tear.

When all is taken away, don’t let my heart be changed. Let me always sing Hallelujah. And when I feel afraid, don’t let my hope be erased.

With nothing left to hold onto, I raise these empty hands to you. Here’s my broken, here’s my broken, Hallelujah.

Scriptures for your personal prayer and reflection:

If anyone can control his tongue, it proves that he has perfect control over himself in every other way. We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in his mouth. And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong.  So also the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A great forest can be set on fire by one tiny spark. And the tongue is a flame of fire. (James 3:3-6)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.(Ephesians 4:29)

 

 

 

 

She loved much

We continue our healing journey and Bible Study on the women Christ encountered.

Let us read Luke 7:36-50 with a fresh mind and an open heart to see what Good News is being proclaimed to us. What verse stood out to you? How does it apply to your current situation? What is Christ inviting you to do? 

This woman was on the road to repentance. She was seeking forgiveness presumably for sexual sin and desired healing. In her humility, she dared not approach Christ directly. She stood behind him and anointed not his head, but his feet. She anointed them with myrrh and tears. She kissed his feet and wiped them with her hair.

It is so powerful to see this woman’s healing as the scene takes place. A woman who has not had the best relationship with men and has so many sexual wounds is now being transformed by genuine repentance and divine forgiveness. She touches and kisses Christ and lets her tears mingle with the myrrh anointing his feet.

Simon the Pharisee is in utter disbelief. He is not able to look beyond the external in order to realize the magnificence of what is happening in this woman’s heart. Without repentance there is no forgiveness. Because Simon neither recognized nor acknowledged his own sinfulness, he could not repent nor receive forgiveness. On the other hand, the woman recognized and acknowledged her many sins, and, because she had truly repented, she was forgiven and was filled with great love.

There came a point when the woman could no longer go on living the way she was living. Instead of entering into a depression and losing hope, she sought out healing. It was not until she encountered Christ, the Incarnate God, that she was able to purge and shed genuine tears of repentance. She realized that it was not just her situation that needed to change, but her very heart, mind, body, and soul. “It was this more perfect repentance that allowed her to be healed and to love with a transformed love that was no longer destructive but life-giving.” [1]

Whatever our experience has been in the realm of sexuality, there is healing. Furthermore, not only does Christ offer us healing but also gives us the grace to forgive. God does not want us to hold unto destructive relationships. He wants to transform our relationships and grant us life-giving love. 

I want to invite you to step deeper into this scene by listening to the Hymn of Kassiani (The Hymn of the Fallen Woman) (the lyrics are below) and learn the backstory of an unrequited love that led to the writing of this song.

O Lord God, the woman who had fallen into many sins, having perceived Thy divinity received the rank of ointment-bearer, offering Thee spices before Thy burial wailing and crying: “Woe is me, for the love of adultery and sin hath given me a dark and lightless night; accept the fountains of my tears O Thou Who drawest the waters of the sea by the clouds incline Thou to the sigh of my heart O Thou Who didst bend the heavens by Thine inapprehensible condescension; I will kiss Thy pure feet and I will wipe them with my tresses. I will kiss Thy feet Whose tread when it fell on the ears of Eve in Paradise dismayed her so that she did hide herself because of fear. Who then shall examine the multitude of my sin and the depth of Thy judgment? Wherefore, O my Saviour and the Deliverer of my soul turn not away from Thy handmaiden O Thou of boundless mercy.

This hymn, sang during Holy Week in the Eastern Church, has a very neat backstory [2]. Emperor Theophilus fell in love with Kassiani, an exceptionally beautiful, equally intelligent, and outspoken woman, at first sight. She would have been the future Empress had his pride not gotten in the way. As he passed her during the arranged line up of potential brides, he said to her: “It is through a woman that Adam fell.” Kassiani, not too delighted by this misogynistic retort, responded: “But it was through a woman that he was led back into paradise.” This remark stung his pride and so Theophilus moved on the woman standing next to Kassiani and married Theodora instead. Kassiani became an abbess, poet, composer, and hymnographer.

Tradition holds that the elderly Theophilus, still in love with Kassiani, wished to see her one last time before dying. Kassiani was alone in her cell writing this now famous hymn when she heard a large commotion outside. Realizing it was the imperial retinue, she hid in her closet and left the unfinished hymn on her desk. Kassiani was also still in love with the Emperor, but she did not want to break her monastic vow. Theophilus found her cell and entered it alone. Regretting the moment of pride in which he rejected such a beautiful and intellectual woman, he cried. Then, noticing the papers on her desk, he read the hymn. Before he left the cell, he added the lines “those very feet whose sound Eve heard at the dusk in Paradise and hid herself in fear.” After the Emperor left, Kassiani returned to her desk and finished the hymn.

“Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” (Luke 7:47)

Glory be to Jesus Christ!

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[1] See Bonnie A. Michal

[2] Irene Archos (see the full article at greekamericangirl.com) shares this reflection on the hymn: “The hymn is beautiful because it speaks of the dual nature of womankind–how one [woman], Eve, could with her wiles damn mankind to hell, and yet, another [woman], the Most Holy Theotokos, could bring salvation back into the world. The powerful metaphor behind the line Theophilos composed for the Hymn echoes of the deep relationship between a woman full of pride coming to a reckoning with her Lord. At the very same moment Kassiani was hiding in her closet, [she] witnessed the Emperor’s repentance over not making the proper choice.  How ironic, when he was ready to listen to her, she was silent; and yet when she had something [true] to say, he shunned her.  A meditation on this Hymn reveals the complexities between the sexes, the power of speaking the truth and risking offending someone’s pride, and how devastating pride is in matters of the heart.  Had he put his pride aside, Theophilos would have married the brilliant and beautiful woman worthy of being his soulmate.  Although these two unrequited lovers have lost the chance at a fruitful union in their lives, yet we still can marvel at the beauty of this extraordinary spiritual poem and be raised to the heights of mystical union, which is what Holy Week is about anyway–to love, to become One with the Lord.”

 

Hang ups

Sometimes we set our minds on getting what we think we need. This thing promises to satisfy our hearts and offer us the finish line. After X I’ll finally be happy. Why are left so unsatisfied, still thirsting? Were we searching for the wrong thing all along? What is this “X” for you?

The Samaritan woman comes to the well hoping to fill her empty jar with water. Yet, after her encounter with Christ, she leaves her jar behind. Why?

We continue our study on the Samaritan woman. Please read John 4:27-42 and follow the steps below.

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Share your thoughts. What verse stood out to you? How does it apply to your current situation? What is Christ inviting you to do? 

What “thing” in your life, even if it’s an innately good thing, have you been running towards head first without any thought about how you could be hurting yourself or others in the process? Inner peace is the confirmation of God’s will. Does God really want this “thing” for you? Could this “thing” be what’s keeping you from building loving relationships?

What is this “thing” in your life that is taking away your peace? Maybe you are waiting for an apology, a thank you note, a job offer, a change of heart, etc. Stop grasping. Gently let go of your grip, stretch out your fingers, and put your hands over your heart. Breathe and be grateful for the things God has blessed you with.

The Samaritan woman left her water jar behind, her past mistakes and her hang ups with people. Only then was her thirst truly quenched. Jesus is inviting you to do the same.

Check out this beautiful song by the band Bethel Music called “Letting go,” click here to listen.

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