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    Mary, Modern Catholic Women

    The culture of “efficiency” and how to escape it

    The culture of "efficiency" and how to escape

    Our society is very concerned with productivity and efficiency. As with most social phenomena, there are a variety of factors that contributed to this. One factor that I find fascinating, however, is the so-called “Protestant work ethic”.

    I had never even heard of the Protestant work ethic – although it’s got a whole Wikipedia page unto itself – until senior year of college in my Intro to Sociology course (yes, it was a class of freshman + me). Sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920) wrote an entire book called The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, in which he claims that Protestant (especially Calvinist) theology, laid the foundation for capitalism. It’s a very fascinating argument, but I can’t do it justice here. The overall (oversimplified) argument is that, in some Protestant circles, there has historically been a significant emphasis placed on hard work and industry as a sign of one’s “election by God.”

    Hence, the emergence of capitalism.

    I suppose it’s no surprise, then, that American Christianity has elevated “industry” to a virtue. Think I’m exaggerating? I was shocked to discover recently that sloth (the deadly sin, not the animal) is NOT the same as laziness.

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    Dear Edith

    Dear Edith: Starving but wanting to stay

    Dear Edith Starving but wanting to stay at your Parish

    Dear Edith,

    A recent move has landed my family 20 hours away from home. We now find ourselves in the rural south, in the middle of the “Baptist belt.”

    The Catholic parish is very small, and I am embarrassed to admit this but I absolutely hate the parish life. I’ve disliked priests before, but never to this extent.

    Our pastor is a good man, he’s faithful and is available for all the sacraments; my dislike is totally a clash of personalities. I also disagree with the way a lot of things are done within the liturgy. Often things are included and made a part of the mass that have no business being a part of the celebration (for example, once a month we sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to everyone who is celebrating their birthday that particular month).

    I’ve worked in professional ministry settings for the last 7 years and I have a degree in Theology and Religious Education. I think this is partially why I get so frazzled. I volunteer at the parish, helping where I can, but I’m not in a position to “fix” anything.

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    Struggle with the rosary? This book will help

    Struggle to pray the rosary? This book will help --

    I did not grow up praying the rosary.

    For the first half of my life, my rosary hung on the wall, draped over the framed guardian angel prayer that was also never prayed.

    By the time I got to high school, I tried to fumble my way through praying the rosary from a little blue pamphlet. My few failed attempts did not exactly foster a deep desire to pray the rosary.

    The Creed at the beginning intimidated me, the Fatima prayer was totally foreign to me, I didn’t understand how to meditate on the mysteries, and quite frankly, I didn’t see the point.

    When I entered college, I started hearing bits and pieces about “the power of praying the rosary.”

    Though I still didn’t quite get the purpose, I tried praying it a little more – because if it had helped so many people, and so many Catholics did it, there must be something to it.

    I still have ups and downs.  I’ve felt peace fall upon me in the midst of intense anxiety after praying the rosary, and there are many more times I’ve fallen asleep gripping it tightly in my hand because I was too exhausted to actually pray. I’ve heaved out Hail Marys as I dragged my body along a path I was hiking. I’ve turned to the rosary turing times of distress.

    Yet still,  I struggle to pray it.

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    Dear Edith

    Dear Edith Response #2 – Image of Mary

    Dear Edith Response 2 Image of Mary.

    Read the original question here.

    Hello! Thank you so much for verbalizing what so many of us feel, and don’t worry- this doesn’t make you a terrible Catholic at all! I know that for so long, I have found it so hard to relate to Mary, and even just to approach her in prayer. You hit on a core problem that I am sure many of us encounter in our growth in being Catholic.

    When I read your question, I began to ask myself the same thing. I can honestly say it has only been about a year since I have been able to be comfortable going to Mary and actually seeing her as someone I can relate to. And one thing that changed it for me was praying on very human aspects of her as well. Read more

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    How to make the most of dating in a secular world when you’re Catholic

    How to make the most of dating in a secular world when you're Catholic.

    Dating is hard. We know this. Throw in expectations for your husband-to-be to subscribe to a very specific Catholic dogma, though, and the spousal needle just got buried in a way bigger haystack.

    The woes of Catholic women wending their way through the frustrating world of modern dating (if it can be called that), where hookup culture is alive and thriving and half of marriages end in divorce, are familiar to all of us. My own personal experiences and the stories my Catholic girlfriends tell me confirm a good man truly is hard to find.

    It’s not impossible though, and every day inspiring Catholic couples join in the sacrament of marriage. Which is great. But it can also make you wonder, “What am I doing wrong?”

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    Dear Edith

    Dear Edith Response #1 – Alessia

    Read the original question here.

    Dear Ashleigh,
    First of all don’t beat yourself up for a lack of courage. While it is a good thing to be ready to stand up for the Lord at all times, the truth is these people, who are so readily attacking you, would often not be receptive to anything you’d say. I’m someone who is always ready for an argument (and often makes it worse that way), and I’ve found that a lot of people won’t even listen or let you speak. If it’s on social media, you can bring out any article or proof that they’re wrong, but they’ll only read what they want to read.

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