Birth Control, Breast Cancer, and the Exploitation of Women

I am not a medical doctor.  I am not a scientist.  I am not a professional researcher.  I am not a conspiracy theorist. I AM a woman who is pretty good at figuring things out.  I like to think of myself as being observant.  I try to employ “critical thinking” when I look at an issue.  I am not a feminist, but I AM feminine.  I am also hopping mad because I truly believe that women are being exploited by the birth control industry and even (and I know I might get in trouble for saying this) by some Breast Cancer Research/Find-a-Cure organizations.    Let me state right now that I have family members who are currently fighting this awful cancer.  I have friends and neighbors who have been affected by this terrible scourge on women.  I admire their determination and their strength.   I admire their courage and their positive attitudes.  They are heroes.  In absolutely no way am I attempting to belittle or blame them or their struggles.  If anything, I am appalled that these brave, beautiful women are being used.  They are being exploited.  And this is unacceptable.

I think all of us are aware that October is “Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”  How could you not be?  Even the National Football League’s Official Website was pinkwashed.  (During my research for this post I discovered that this is actually a new term that, according to Urban Dictionary.com, means “the use of breast cancer by corporate marketers in which companies promote their products with claims to donate a percentage of proceeds to the cause” or “The act of using breast cancer to guilt consumers into buying a product which, if it had not been for the advent of aiding the cure for cancer, they would not have bought..”)  I have a simple question about Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Who among us is not aware of the disease?  Seriously.  Everyone I know either knows someone or has a family member who has confronted this cancer unique to women.  Why do we need a whole month to become “aware of it?”  I think perhaps, because the term “awareness” is a smokescreen.  During this month of so called ‘awareness’ we are bombarded by pinkwashed everything.  I took  a few minutes to peruse the NFL shop online.  They have a special “Breast Cancer” section.  They even have advertisement links for it on their main “Shop” page.  In this special pink area of the online store one can purchase pinked up merchandise for every team in the National Football League.  Not only that, but ribbons, earrings, drinking glasses, and even jewelry.  All pink.  All purportedly for “Breast Cancer Awareness” Month.  Here’s the thing though; I looked all over the site – the main store page, the main NFL pages, all over the “Breast Cancer Awareness Merchandise” pages, and every page in between.  No where could I find a disclaimer or an announcement that any of the profits from all the pinkwashed nonsense would go towards actually curing Breast Cancer.    It looks to me like the NFL is squarely in the “raising awareness” business, all while substantially raising their profit margin.  (I did notice a press release that outlined some activities that individual teams will participate in during October – most of them involving giving out pink ribbons or pins, and honoring Breast Cancer survivors at home games.  The Referees gave $14,000 to Susan G. Koman for the Cure Foundation, and while that is all nice I think we need to keep in mind that one [almost sold out] game alone nets around 6 million dollars. )

I am all about free enterprise, and a free and open market.  I have no problem with sports and admit to being a NY Giants fan.  I do not begrudge the National Football League for making money off of an obvious demand for entertainment and sportsmanship.  Where I draw the line is exploitation.  Could a big multi-million dollar money making company use Breast Cancer and its victims to increase their profits?  Yes.  They could, and I believe they do.  But should they?  Now, that’s a different story.  I may seem like I am unfairly picking on the NFL, but they are far from the only corporate entity to make money off the misery of women suffering from Cancer.  They did catch my particular attention because Football is stereotypically the “man’s” game, and the percentage of male versus female fans has always been incredibly lopsided.  Now, though, the NFL has found a way into women’s hearts – by exploiting them.  They even went so far as to allow the players to wear pink gloves and the coaches and other support staff pink hats.  How cute.   You can buy the exact same hat right there in the NFL shop.  But like I said, they are not unique in their pinkwashing endeavors to raise the bottom line.  Yoplait Yogurt has recently come under fire for misleading consumers through their own pinkwashing campaigns involving the yogurt tops.  So has Cartier, who has its own pink program.   (1)  As have Ford Motor Company, BMW, Shiseido ( the make-up company), Estee-Lauder, Revlon, and Target, among others.  I do not want to outright accuse everyone involved in a pink washed campaign of knowingly exploiting women.  I am sure there are employees of Cartier, Yoplait, the NFL etc. who are proud of their companies’ initiatives, and who feel like maybe they really are making a difference with all the pinkwashed campaigning and merchandise.   The bottom line, however, is that in too many cases these “Cancer Awareness” and pink ribbon promotions do more for the company than for curing Cancer.   Take this excerpt from the Center for Media and Democracy:

How did breast cancer become such big business? Corporations have plunged headlong into re-framing purchasing as a way to fight disease, spurred on by groups like the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which partners with big business to raise money. Few if any pinkwashers mention ways women can help prevent breast cancer — for example, by quitting smoking, changing their diet, or avoiding unnecessary exposure to harmful chemicals. Some critics say the almost total lack of focus on prevention is because prevention doesn’t make money. It’s much more profitable to make people believe that their consumer purchases are contributing to a “cure.” (2)*

This, my friends, is a travesty.

What is even more unfortunate, is that I have uncovered (with documented evidence and citations)  what I believe to be an even bigger travesty.  This one involves Susan G. Koman for the Cure.  Many of you have heard of SG Komen, or “Komen for the Cure.”  Its one of the biggest and best-funded Breast Cancer Foundations in the United States.  You should find it disturbing then, that Susan G. Komen for the Cure donated $7.5 million in 2009, and over $700 thousand between 2005 and 2006. to Planned PArenthood Federation of America .(3)   Why should you find this disturbing?  Because Planned Parenthood is the number 1 Abortion Provider in the United States.   It is also one of the leading pushers and prescribers of contraception in the U.S.  Both Abortion and Contraception can CAUSE Breast Cancer!!  (4) Now do you see the disturbing link?  Komen for the Cure gives money to an organization that is responsible for promoting and providing some of the very practices that cause the cancer Komen is supposed to be so vehemently fighting to cure!  Isn’t that twisted?  Innocent women are caught in the twist!  Women’s lives are caught up in his incredibly unfortunate duality.

The National Cancer Institute has done its best to suppress this data, which is incredibly disgusting.  The director of the NCI, Louise Brinton actually organized a 2003 workshop on the “ABC” (Abortion Breast Cancer and Contraception link) that “determined that no such link existed,” and that evidence as such was “well established.”  How interesting to note, then, that the same Louise Brinton participated in the Federal Study that confirmed that such a link does in fact exist!  The research done in the United States that I cited was not conducted by the NCI.  It was a Federal Study done by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and it was published in the April 2009 issue of the cancer epidemiology journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. (4)  This study confirms the link between Breast Cancer and Contraception.  It doesn’t hypothesize, it doesn’t casually link, it confirms.  In fact, more than one study that confirms this link exists! These studies (which can be found by following the links below) were performed around the world, and the US media has been very slow in reporting the findings.  These studies do not have good news for women who take hormonal birth control.  In fact they concluded that a woman’s risk of developing Triple Negative Breast Cancer (one of the strains with the highest mortality rate) is either tripled or quadrupled depending on her age and how long she has been on the birth control.

When it comes to Abortion, the numbers are just as grim.  A study done in Iran concluded that women who have an abortion increase their chances of developing Breast Cancer by 193%.  Interestingly, the Iranian study also found that delaying childbearing increases the chance of developing Breast Cancer by 310%, which is not good news for women who have bought into the lie that they need to contracept well into their 30s or 40s before starting a family.  (Especially given that contraception alone increases Breast Cancer risk.)    In Sri Lanka a study that was concluded at roughly the same time as the Iranian study determined that the more births you have, the greater your risk is reduced.  Women who had 5 or more births saw their risk reduced by 90%.  Also, breastfeeding for  an extended period of time helped to reduce the risk of cancer as well.

So whats does all this tell us?  Well, it tells two very important things.

First, it tells us that the women of the United States are victims of a fraud.  Yes, that’s right, I said Fraud.  Ever since the tween years I have heard about birth control, the pill, the mini-pill, diaphragms, rings, and shots.  They are supposed to liberate us.  Liberate us? From what?  Our fertility or our heath?  Contraception is the biggest dupe to ever be pulled on anyone.  Its exploitation pure and simple.  How many sane people do you know who would take medicine (with some serious side effects!) if they weren’t sick?  How may sane people do you know who would take medicine in order to make their body do something it’s not supposed to?  It sounds silly right?  I mean, could you imagine giving a healthy man a pill and saying, here, take this every day and you won’t have any more of those pesky erections.  The guy would probably stare at you like you had green ears and then walk very quickly away from you!  But, dear ladies, that is exactly what the contraceptive culture is saying to you!  You have been fed a bunch of garbage and then duped into believing that some form of contraception is going to make your life easier and more manageable – risk free!  What a crock!  You’ve been told over and over again that your fertility is a curse; your monthly cycle, the biggest drag on the face of the planet – to be avoided at all costs – if chemically possible.  The Truth is, when you mess with what “isn’t broken, you’re going to break it.”

When I was little my brother loved to take things apart. I am sure he learned a lot this way.  He also broke a lot this way.  Every time he decided to take apart some perfectly good electronic device, he inevitably had a piece or two left over – and the thing wouldn’t work.   It was always the same.  He would be convinced that he could “make it better.”  That he could improve on what the master technician had crafted.   He couldn’t.  Ever.  He was convinced that a tweak or two here and then if he put it right back together the way he took it apart, it’d be better than it was before.  Not the case.  The same is true of our bodies.  Why do we think that we can tweak what the Master Craftsman put together so perfectly?  Do we really think that we can make it better?  Or have we become victim to the exploitation that is Contraception?  Have we fallen for the lie that its freeing to abdicate personal responsibility and self-control to a pill?

The Truth, dear reader, is that pharmaceutical companies make big big bucks by exploiting you.  Susan G. Koman for the Cure makes a lot of cash exploiting you.  Planned Parenthood makes a lot of dough exploiting you.  Even the Federal Government makes money exploiting you.  (those in Government also get Power – a “drug” just as powerful as money).  When the pill first hit the market it was primarily because a woman named Margaret Sanger put together a team of nurses, doctors, and scientists and decided that she wanted to have a little rebellion against her femininity and in the process, eradicate the United States of African-Americans, and cleanse the population of unwanted children.  (For more on this particular topic see The “CONdom” of Contraception)  Since then its been “off to the races” with feminists, politicians,  pharmaceutical execs, and Planned Parenthood alike touting contraception as a necessary part of womanhood.  In the process, the Truth got trampled and the lies glossed over.  That, my friends is when women began to be exploited by the very people who were waxing rhapsodic about the freedom and necessity of putting women on drugs to stop their bodies from doing what they are supposed to.

Contraception is not necessary.  It is not life saving, in fact in many cases it is life-taking, as many forms of contraception are abortifacient.  It is not “preventative” as the new Planned parenthood Campaign is trying to assert – so that it can be included in the New Health Care Law as being fully covered by insurers.  (By preventative they mean “preventing disease or malady”.(5)  Obviously by its very nature contraception is preventative!)   What it is is dangerous.  Contraception is dangerous, and even life threatening.

We’ve already established that Contraception triples or quadruples a woman’s chance of developing one of the deadliest forms of Breast Cancer.  What you may not know is that before you are even given the chance to develop cancer, your contraception could kill you.  RU-486 has a death toll on the rise, and yet it was approved by the FDA.  Ella-One, the newest “Emergency Contraception” is expected to have a similar track record, and yet before it could even be adequately tested, the FDA approved it.  Yaz and Yasmin (the generic form is called Ocella) are currently  making a little news because these very similar drugs, that have a new synthetic progestin hormone called drospirenone, are the targets of a few very large class action law suits.  These contraceptives have caused incredibly serious side effects in a lot of women who were taking the drug.  These side effects have included stroke, blood clots, DVT, pulmonary embolisms, and even death.(6)  The seriousness of the side effects is so widespread that class action suits are popping up all over country, and if you Google “Yaz Lawsuit,” you’ll find pages and pages of search results with entire websites dedicated to nothing but the Yaz cases and the lawyers who are representing the victims.  Over a year ago there was some speculation that Bayer would recall  Yaz and Yasmin until the suits were all filed and/or settled.  This never happened.  Instead, the numbers of women involved in the lawsuits is growing and Bayer still proudly displays Yaz and Yasmin on its Birth Control Homepage (www.bayerbirthcontrol.com).

Even if a particular form of contraception doesn’t have a class action lawsuit filed against it, it still had serious side effects (besides the Breast Cancer connection, that is).    Most women do not read the insert that comes with it, because most women trust their doctors to prescribe them safe medicine, and most doctors trust the FDA to only approve safe medicine.  Look up some of the inserts – the fine print.  Its ridiculous!  A whole list of very unpleasant side effects, a few life threatening ones, and then a bunch of warnings about how something as innocuous as Tylenol can throw off the effectiveness and the safety of the drug!  The sad fact is that, as we have shown, none of it is safe.  It is however, extremely lucrative.  Its a great money maker to convince women that they need to take unnecessary drugs, then to treat the women who take the drugs and develop cancer.  Imagine the money that can be made off of one women who buys into the lie of contraception, who then buys the lie of abortion when the contraception fails (because she didn’t realize that taking tylenol while on the pill lowers its effectiveness), who then needs chemo and radiation after the lumpectomy she needed to remove the cancerous tumor in her breast.   And all that would have been preventable if the simple Truth was told.  Contraception is dangerous.  Abortion is dangerous.  They both cause Breast Cancer.  Breast Cancer kills women.  And the whole messy triad makes a lot of money.  That’s exploitation.

I had mentioned before that there were two things that we could learn from the results of the various studies that were conducted.  How the Contraceptives Industry Exploits women by perpetrating a fraud was the first.  The Second is less complex:

It is HEALTHY to be open to life.

As I was going through the data from the various studies it kept striking me that what the scientists proved with all their tests is what the Catholic Church has been teaching all along: that contraception and abortion are deadly, and not just to the soul – they prevent a woman’s body from doing what it is naturally supposed to do.  Abortion kills another person, and violates a woman’s body during a time when her body is again, doing precisely what it is supposed to – protecting and nourishing a life.  Violating a woman’s body – through contraception or abortion – produces serious consequences.  It is as if Nature were sending out a cry for help, “This isn’t supposed to happen!”

Our bodies are amazing in their complexity.  When something doesn’t go right, your body sends warnings – it reacts.  Normally this is good.  It keeps us healthy.  When you cut yourself you feel pain.  You bleed, and that cleans the wound, and the pain registers in your brain so you can tend to the wound.  If you get an infection your body heats up – a fever – as it tries to kill the infection.  White blood cells rush to attack the infection and your immune system goes on full alert.  These are ways your body identifies something that is wrong and fixes it – restoring your body to the way it needs to be in order to be healthy and functioning.  In the case of contraception and abortion, the exact opposite happens.  Your body was working the way it was supposed to, and all of a sudden something is introduced that forces the body to function in a way contrary to how it was designed.  Is it really any wonder that there are serious consequences?

What I found remarkable is that the studies discovered one of greatest ways to reduce the risk of developing Breast cancer was to have babies!  In fact the Iranian study concluded that having 5 or more children reduced a woman’s risk of developing Breast cancer by 91%!  All the things that reduced breast cancer risk were positive, life-affirming things that respected a woman’s body.  Rejecting contraception, not having abortions, giving birth – and giving birth again, and maybe again, and again…..), breastfeeding for longer than 6 months…..being open to life, respecting your body for the way it was created – these are the things that reduce the risk of cancer.

It took several different independent and Federal studies to confirm what the Catholic Church has known all along;  being open to life is healthy!

It is up to us to spread the Truth about the horrible exploitation that is occurring right here in our own country.  We must not stand by and allow women to be victims of this fraud any longer.  Only when women truly understand the beauty and dignity, the gift that is their fertility, will they be truly free.  Only then will they cease to be exploited, and their pain used for profit.  We must not be afraid to speak the Truth, and uncover this unfortunate exploitation for what it is: wrong.

Until next time, May God Bless your Beautiful Hearts!

*For more information on pinkwashing, and how to be pink-saavy in your personal philanthropy, you can check out the National Cancer Institute’s “Think Before you Pink” Campaign.

**I want to take a moment to point out that knowing the Truth about Breast Cancer, Contraception and Abortion can tempt us to become judgemental.  There are of course women who develop Breast Cancer who never contracepted, who never had an abortion, and who tried to be healthy.  Women who fell prey to genetics or developed the disease with seemingly no explanation, and while theses women may be more of the exception than the rule nowadays, it is not our concern why a woman we meet may have Breast Cancer.  Women who have been diagnosed deserve nothing less than our love, compassion, and support.  NOT our judgement.  The information I have provided you here in this post is not intended to  point fingers or encourage anyone to pass judgement on a woman suffering from a Cancer diagnosis.  Rather, it is to inform so as to hopefully prevent other women from falling victim to some of the practices that increase their chances for developing Breast Cancer.

Works Consulted:

(1)http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1543947-2,00.html, http://www.naturalnews.com/030020_breast_cancer_awareness.html

(2) http://www.prwatch.org/node/7436

(3) http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/apr/08041002.html,

http://lifenews.com/int1665.html

(4) http://www.ncregister.com/blog/federal_study_confirms_contraception-breast_cancer_link/, http://lifenews.com/int1665.html

(5) http://healthland.time.com/2010/10/13/is-birth-control-preventive-medicine/

(6) http://www.yazsideeffectslawsuit.com/

(7) http://www.lifenews.com/2010/10/13/int-1665/

(8) http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/2009_study_confirms_abortion-breast_cancer_link/

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Love

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Trees Love Quietly.

That is what a bumper sticker on the little compact car in front of me said.  Trees love quietly?  What the heck does that mean?  I pondered this as I followed the little car with my Mommy mini-van onto the on-ramp and then onto the interstate.  Trees love quietly….  My theology-major brain kicked into gear.  My first thought was “Well, first of all, trees can’t love.  They are, well, trees, for goodness sakes!”  My second thought was, “Oh my goodness, are there people who really believe that trees can love?  And am I driving behind one?”

This was a somewhat sobering thought.  It had the potential to be very funny, given that to me, it seems ridiculous to even ponder if trees are capable of love, but instead it made me very sad.  Have we, as a culture, become so confused that we do not understand love?  I mean if someone somewhere (and we’re talking about grown ups here, not some little child who doesn’t know any better) actually thinks that trees are capable of caring for people, then Houston, we have a problem!   This train of thought led me to really start thinking about what our culture tells us about love.  It’s not very encouraging, and it is sorely lacking in one area: the Truth.

Ask yourself, what is Love?  And then look around for the answers we are supplied with by society:

Love is a warm fuzzy feeling.

Love is something that you just fall in and out of.

Love is sex.

Sex is Love.

Love can be bought.

Love is hugging a puppy.

Love is always feeling happy.

Love is physical.

Spray on this perfume and you’ll feel loved.

A pint of ice cream can be substituted for Love.

Love is a crock.

Ahhhhh!  What ever happened to “Love is patient, Love is kind…” you know, from Corinthians?”  Oh that?  That is only read at weddings because it sounds pretty.  (Sigh.  Shaking my head.)  I think its time that we give our culture a refresher course on what Love truly is because it’s certainly not any of those things on that list that you read, and yet I can’t help but think that people wish it was one of those things – because that would make Love easy.   When I was a Youth Minister we used to ask the teens what Love was, and then we’d point to a Crucifix and say, There – THAT is Love.  It sounds simplistic but its truer than all that bumbo-jumbo written above.  Love is an action.  Love is from God.  God is Love.  Christ’s sacrifice for us – THAT was Love.  Love isn’t a feeling.  It’s not an easy thing.  Love is a decision. Love means putting the good of another before yourself.  Love means wanting good for another person.  Love is laying down your very life for  another.  Love involves sacrifice.  Love is not about self.  Perhaps that is the crux of our problem today.

It’s no secret that we live an age of “me me me.”  We Facebook and Twitter our way through the day (and I’m as guilty as the next with FB procrastination!!), we have drive-thrus for food, coffee, even desserts.  We have ATMs,  and credit cards. We are constantly looking for faster download times, we have our email sent to our mobile phones, we Tweet from anywhere and everywhere, even our technology is me-centric – iPhone, iTunes, iPod…. I, I, I.  Me, Me, Me.  All this can keep us focused on ourselves – and this kind of “me-first” focus is contrary to Love.  True Love is not about “me” – it’s about giving that Love away, to another person.  As a culture, we have lost sight of that.  Love is an act of the Will.  It can’t be demanded.  We can’t temper-tantrum our way into getting it.  We must give it.

Consider this beautiful excerpt from Deus Caritas Est, (God is Love, written by Pope Benedict XVI):

Love of neighbour is thus shown to be possible in the way proclaimed by the Bible, by Jesus. It consists in the very fact that, in God and with God, I love even the person whom I do not like or even know. This can only take place on the basis of an intimate encounter with God, an encounter which has become a communion of will, even affecting my feelings. Then I learn to look on this other person not simply with my eyes and my feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ. His friend is my friend. Going beyond exterior appearances, I perceive in others an interior desire for a sign of love, of concern. This I can offer them not only through the organizations intended for such purposes, accepting it perhaps as a political necessity. Seeing with the eyes of Christ, I can give to others much more than their outward necessities; I can give them the look of love which they crave. Here we see the necessary interplay between love of God and love of neighbour which the First Letter of John speaks of with such insistence. If I have no contact whatsoever with God in my life, then I cannot see in the other anything more than the other, and I am incapable of seeing in him the image of God. But if in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely out of a desire to be “devout” and to perform my “religious duties”, then my relationship with God will also grow arid. It becomes merely “proper”, but loveless. Only my readiness to encounter my neighbour and to show him love makes me sensitive to God as well. Only if I serve my neighbour can my eyes be opened to what God does for me and how much he loves me. (Pt I, section 18)

I find it so sad that there are so many people who are starved for love.  People truly do look for it in all the wrong places, because Love isn’t something you can acquire for yourself by force, by will, or by money.  You get love by giving love.  This seems so counter-intuitive, and yet its true.  Love, when given, multiplies!  Just look at the Trinity!  The Love of the Father and Son spirated the Holy Spirit – the Trinity is a perfect “Love Triangle” if you will – the Father Loving the Son, who Loves the Father so intensely that the third Person of the Trinity proceeds from them both.  St. Athanasius put it this way, “The Holy Ghost is from the Father and the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.”   In a marriage, a husband and a wife love each other so intensely that, with God’s permission, a new person is created!  Love is meant to be given, and to quote an old, but good prayer, “It is in giving that we receive.”

How then, do we shift the shallow perceptions of Love that have invaded our cultural psyche?  I believe the answer is actually quite simple: Love.  I mean it, Love.  Jesus gave us the answer over two thousand years ago when He commanded us to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  How do we love all these ‘neighbors’ of ours enough to change the culture?  Mother Teresa of Calcutta showed us that we do so by loving one person at a time.    We must be willing to sacrifice for others.  Small acts of love – like giving up a seat in a crowded room.  Like picking up something a stranger dropped on the floor.  Refilling the coffee maker at work.  Smiling.  Stopping to pray with a homeless person, and giving them your lunch.  Being extra kind to the co-worker that seems to hate you.  Letting your spouse sleep in – again.  Not losing your temper with your children, and playing with them instead.  Showing compassion to someone in need.  Putting your own needs second to your friends and family.  These are small, and seemingly pointless acts.  But if they are done out of Love, then they absolutely are not small or pointless.  Remember, the nature of Love is to multiply – the more Love you give, the more Love you receive, and the more Love there is to go around.  Love, that five letter word, has the Power to change our culture, because it is a Supernatural Gift from God – Who is the very Essence of Love.

That is the other side of it.  You will not be able to Love, truly Love, unless you receive that Love which you are to give away from the Father.  Ask for it.  When you feel run down, when you feel burnt out, when your family or friends or coworkers are driving you up the wall and you have no desire to Love them and feel like you can’t, ask. Ask God to give you the Love you are lacking, so that you can, in turn, love.  He will never ever NOT give you the love you ask for.  In fact, He will give you more than you ask for.  God, Our Loving Father, delights in giving us gifts, and one of His absolute favorites is Love.  Ask Him for a few drops of Love to share and He will send you a tsunami.

I know this all sounds so simple.  I also know that it’s not always that easy to love.  It’s not easy to Love when you feel hurt.  It’s not easy to Love when you may not feel loved in return.  It’s hard to Love when you might get ridiculed for it.  It’s hard to Love when that very Love requires you to make someone unhappy for their own good.  This is when Love is heroic.  Heroic Love is when you truly die to yourself out of Love for another.  Christ’s death on the Cross was the most Heroic Act of Love every committed, and since we as Christians are called to imitate Christ, we too are called to heroic acts of Love.   Here’s the thing though.  As we practice Loving, as we ask for more and more Love to give away, we begin to learn how to Love more and more perfectly.  We learn how to begin to love heroically.  God never asks us to Love beyond our ability, He just increases our capacity for Love – if we let Him.   Sometimes it will feel uncomfortable.  That’s OK.  God never promised that Loving the way He loves would feel good all the time.  That is what Heaven is for!  That’s what we have to look forward to!  Down here on earth we have to imitate Christ’s example of Love – and I can tell you for sure that the cross was far from comfortable!   There is a quote from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton that is one of my favorites, “To enjoy you must Love, and to Love you must sacrifice.”  Doesn’t that just sum up everything I have been trying to say?

“To enjoy you must Love, and to Love, you must sacrifice.”  How amazing the Resurrection of Christ must have been – the joy that His disciples must have felt.  They never would have felt it if Jesus hadn’t died on the cross.  We would never know the joy of Heaven if Jesus had’t made Eternal Life with Him available to us by His death –  if He hadn’t surrendered to the Father in a Supreme Act of Love.  “To enjoy you must love, and to love you must sacrifice.”  There is a Divine Order of things that Mother Seton put so simply.  First comes the sacrifice, then the Love, and then joy!  If only our society understood this!   Could you imagine a world where everyone was willing to sacrifice for one another?  If everyone was willing to put the good of others before themselves?  What an abundance of Love there would be – what joy!  It is not entirely impossible on this earth.  Your families are called to be such places – little oases of Love and Joy in a love-deprived culture.  God wants you to bring His Love to everyone you meet.  We  are given opportunities for heroic love every day – these are opportunities to literally change our culture – to change the world.  You don’t need a mega-phone.  You don’t need to make a big production of it.  Love.  Simply Love.

Trees most certainly cannot “Love Quietly”.  But we can.

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