It has been over a year since my last post--at that time I signed off, saying good-bye and assuming I wouldn't be back. Something told me not to delete my blog, however, and now I'm happy I didn't.
But my more than a year of Not-Blogging was good. Not-Blogging gave me time to finish three books and see one to publication and two to acceptances that will lead to publications. Not-Blogging let me think about things but not have to formulate opinions or create text. Not-Blogging gave me some free time after the book's publication as well. (The book is "The Heart's Truth: Essays on the Art of Nursing" from Kent State University Press.) But so much is happening in the world that I thought it might be time to begin again.
First of all, it took me some time to figure out how to get into my blog. I cleverly assumed I'd recall all the steps and passwords. Ha! (But now I've written them down.) Next of all, there are so many things to blog about that I'm not sure where to begin. I've been attending the Latin Mass faithfully at a parish in Norwalk, CT. that offers the Extraordinary Form with reverence and obedience. I'm rejoicing that the Pope has lifted the excommunications on the four SSPX Bishops. My entrance into the Catholic Faith was guided by a young SSPX priest, and my catechism was among the very best (oh, to remember everything I learned!). I've written about this wonderful period of time with Fr. B. in several of my earliest posts. Now I'm praying that the SSPX and the Pope will be able to come to consensus about the other issues that are keeping the Society on the outskirts of Rome. Truly if it wasn't for the priests of the SSPX and their dedication to the Latin Mass, I'm not sure this Mass would have survived the years between Vatican II and today. We owe them our gratitude and prayers.
I'm also about to embark on training to be a Creighton Model practitioner. The Creighton Model is a wonderful, natural method of fertility control (both to postpone and to encourage pregnancy) that involves no chemicals and no risk of abortifacient action, such as we find with the pill and other chemical methods of birth control. This will be an exciting adventure, and I have no idea where it will lead me. And being naturally timid about my abilities, I'm nervously approaching the week's seminar hoping my memory will not fail me and I will pass all the tests!
But I suppose the thing that tugs at me the most is my feeling, my steadily growing feeling, that our young women today are in serious trouble. Not all of them; but many of them.
Standing near to my young women patients in the health center where I work as a nurse practitioner, I have two strong and somewhat creepy feelings: that the women are innocent and yet, at the same time, that they are unwittingly being led to sin by our society and by the secularization of so many of our churches. Can one be both innocent and sinning at the same time? I assume that these women are unaware that their actions are against the dignity of God. And I believe in the reality of the devil. I don't for a moment doubt that he sees, in our society and in our young people, a wonderful opportunity to do his terrible work.
So what are these young women doing that worries me? They are, almost all of them, on the pill or another form of birth control; they are unaware of the very real immediate and long term risks of these birth control methods; if they aren't on the pill for contraception, they are on it for regulation, for their skin, or to prevent ovarian cysts; if they start off on the pill for non-contraceptive reasons, within a short time away at college they embark on sexual activity; many of these women have had multiple partners by age 17 or 18, meaning 5 or 8 or 10; many of these sexually active women have abnormal Pap tests already, already exposed to HPV; many of these young women "hook up" with men before they even know the man's name; and many of these young women are tattooed, pierced, and dressed in outfits that leave little to the imagination. They have been taught by our society that sex outside of marriage is to be expected; that contraception is of course sensible since sex is "bound to happen"; that multiple partners is the norm; that a relationship of more than one month is "long term"; that you can judge by how a man "looks" if he is STD free; that STDs happen to someone else; that "freedom" means doing what everyone else is doing, even when it doesn't feel right or good or true; and that those who speak about chastity and modesty are old-fashioned or downright weird.
Our society is of course to blame (and aren't "we" our society?). But so are our churches to blame. Where are the priests who are willing to speak out against pre-marital sex, contraception and abortion? Where are the priests who talk about personal dignity as a reflection of God's dignity within us? Where are the priests who talk to young women about how they dress and act, and to young men about respecting women and themselves? Fortunately, my parish does have such priests, but from what I hear, few other parishes are so lucky. I fear for the future of our society; we too often, as the citizens of Rome once did, define the value of our lives by the sensual, the temporary, the exciting, the campy, the convenient, the self-serving self-love that doesn't leave room for introspection, devotion, chastity, service, self-sacrifice and yes, even for suffering. It has always, through the centuries, been a small remnant of people who struggle to remain true to God's Word. That remnant seems to be shrinking. But how awful that some of the women I see don't understand what they are doing! They are simply living their lives as they have been taught by movies, novels, TV shows and, alas, by their parents and their schools. These women don't see that there is anything wrong with their lifestyles because no one has opened their eyes--and because they are unable to respond to the small voice inside that may be telling them that something is wrong. It is, indeed, very difficult to work day after day with young women who are anxious, stressed, often medicated for depression, and too often worried about their health and their bodies but unable to see the disconnection between their sexuality and their souls.
I don't know the answer. Sometimes the problem seems overwhelming.