++++++++++++++++++++God's timing is not our timing, but He is never late.++++++++++++++++++++

Layers - in the knowledge of God and the path to holiness

Learning about God is like unwrapping a head of lettuce, pealing back one leaf at a time. Always there is another leaf below. We will eventually reach the center of the head of lettuce; but we will never unwrap everthing there is to know about God.

The path to holiness is like pealing an onion. God shows us what is sinful and convicts us that we have sinned. No matter how sweet the onion, there are always tears in the peeling. No matter how sweet the grace of repentence, there are always the pain of letting go of the sin. As the peeling of the onion reveals another layer, so God shows us what we lack in holiness, drawing us ever closer to "be(ing) perfect even just as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48




What I Believe

Why I am and always will be a Catholic. "So Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. Tthe living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever." John 6:53-58 The words and actions of man cannot sanctify. Only the priest, empowered by his ordination, can invoke the Holy Spirit to transform the bread and wine into Jesus so we can receive Him - Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity into our bodies and souls. This is the core of the Catholic Church; without this there is no purpose or meaning to the Catholic Church. There are other ways to holiness, to grow in grace; there is no better way than union with Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Visitation Catholic Church

Visitation Catholic Church

Friday, December 7, 2012

Immaculate Conception

On December 8, Catholics celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.  The doctrine declares, "The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin."  Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854: DS 2803.

Mary could not have been preserved from original sin from the first monent of her conception if she did not have a soul at that moment.  If she had a soul, she was a person.  Therefore, a Catholic cannot justify abortion, even as a cultural belief, no more than treating other persons as chattel can be justified as a cultural belief.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Covenant of Marriage


In His covenant with Israel, God said, “You will be my people and I will be your God.”  A covenant is a personal bond, not merely a promise or a contract.  The breaking of the covenant bond by one person does not end the covenant for the other.  The covenant bond between God and Israel and the indissolubility is best seen in the relationship between Hosea and his wife.  Hosea represents the faithfulness of God and his wife represents Israel.  The Church sees marriage as a covenant.  Marriage is not merely and exchange of promises or a contract between two people.   It is a binding of two people.  This means the Church cannot dissolve a marriage in divorce.  It can only declare that the marriage never existed.  The covenant of marriage cannot be broken by the unfaithfulness of one or both to the vows.  The covenant is greater than the vows.  This is why the Church takes great pains before marriage to the disposition of the parties involved.  Thus the Church usually requires a waiting (cooling off) period and counseling to ensure that the couples have no insurmountable issues that would later cause them to separate.  Marriage assumes that each of the couple is fully free to enter into the covenant.  Annulment is granted when the Church finds an impediment to that free assent, whether it be physical (age, pregnancy, etc.) or psychological (neglected “child” looking to be loved for example).  When an annulment is granted, the Church is saying that the marriage covenant never took place; this does not involve any civil legalities.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Election, Freedom of Religion, and Abortion


Opposition to abortion by Christians can be traced back to the earliest years of Christianity.  Early writings, such as the Didache (a type of catechism, c.100 A.D.), condemn abortion.  In essence, part of being a Christian is to believe that abortion is immoral.  Christians are also to be concerned about social ills, but first one must have life.  If a person does not act in accordance with the beliefs of the organization s/he belongs, is one truly what s/he purports to be?  As citizens, one’s convictions should be reflected in the voting booth. 

The issue of abortion, however, is not merely a religious issue.  Rather it is a moral issue.  This country is not a Christian country, being composed of diverse beliefs and cultures.  However, we need to have a base standard of morality.  An attitude of “if it is okay with you, then it is acceptable” only leads to moral anarchy with everyone doing what s/he wants, when s/he wants without regard to the consequences to others.

The Supreme Court determines what is or is not legal (in regards to the Constitution); but legal does not necessarily equate with moral, unless one believes that slavery and segregation, both once declared legal and Constitutional by the Supreme Court are also moral.

Abortion is part of today’s culture.  In some areas of the country, getting a gun and shooting someone is also part of today’s culture.  True, abortion is legal and shooting someone is not, but both result in death (in the case of abortion nearly 100%).  Where is the moral constant?  It certainly is not in the current laws of this country or in the prevailing attitudes of society.  Consider “my freedom to choose to do what I want ends when it infringes on your rights as a person”.

Oh, many will say that the unborn are not really persons.  Should personhood be determined by the arbitrary timing of one’s birth?  In Colorado, there is a set of twins whose birthdays are 63 days apart.  The first boy was delivered early for medical reasons. For 63 days, one boy had legal rights as a person, while his brother could have been legally aborted.  Where is the moral constant?

This country needs, aside from the law and aside from religion, a moral constant that every life conceived is entitled to the right to life that is not infringed on by the prevailing whims of society or the decisions of another individual.  Every person’s life would be cherished.  Once we begin to cherish life, we will then be able to effectively address other social ills.

 

Justify

Thoughts on my daughter's birthday. She was unplanned and unexpected, my obgyn thought I could not get pregnant. If she had been conceived by a pro-choice woman with the circumstances we had at the time, it is possible that she would never have lived to see the light of day. I cannot imagine what life would be like without this beautiful, intellligent person. The job difficulties, she has had, has lead her to be with kids of all ages - school wise, instead of continuing on with school or field research. I wonder what their lives would be like without the impact of her enthusiasm of learning and of life. She is a joy. How can I justify any right to deny life? 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

3-Minute Retreats - Daily Online Prayer - Loyola Press

3-Minute Retreats - Daily Online Prayer - Loyola Press

Religion


The virtue of religion is part of the virtue of justice, to give each his due.  Source-St. Thomas Aquinas
Acts of religion are prayer, adoration and sacrifice.

Does God need our prayers, our adoration, our sacrifice (Jesus on the Cross)?  No.  Then, what is the purpose of religion if it is to give God what He is due, but He doesn’t need it?  The virtue of religion (and justice) is rather for our need.  Our need is to redirect focus from ourselves to the other.  Love is willing the good of the other for the sake of the other.  We cannot do that if our focus is on ourselves.  In focusing on giving God ‘His due” in prayer, adoration and sacrifice we are forced to see that we are not the source of our creation, the source of Love, and the source of salvation.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Early Church on Abortion

In compiling a new page, Early Church on Abortion, I read many writings of the early Church Fathers, which I quoted.  Morals, reasons for abortions or infanticide, and even the abortions procedures are eerily similar to today.   Christ have mercy.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Right to Life

"There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents."  President Barak Obama to the United Nations, Sept. 25, 2012.  Obama was speaking on the violence that arose from the anti-Islamic video, but how can they NOT pertain to all innocent life, including the unborn? 

Why should anyone have the power to determine whether we are worthy of continuing to exist?  If you say that it is a matter of opinion, then whose opinion counts regarding your continued existence?  Laws regarding the worth of an individual, including, slavery, abortion, euthanasia, etc., can be changed with the whims of public opinion or the might of a government.  Only acknowledging an absolute protects everyone's right to life.  This absolute is that our existence begins at conception (science, not theology, philosophy, culture, morals or opinion). 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Respect Life Crosses


 
 
Over the past several years it has been the tradition at Visitation Parish to display white memorial crosses on the front lawn of the church during the month of October, which is observed as Respect Life Month. These 4,000 crosses represent the number of children
who are killed by abortions each day in our country. Some are upset that we have this display. Seeing these crosses should be unsettling for us, as we are reminded of the millions of our brothers and sisters lost in this holocaust of the unborn since the legalization
of abortion in the United States in 1973.


As you pass these crosses during the next couple of weeks, be sure to offer prayer for these “holy innocents,” for their mothers and all those touched by the tragedy of abortion, and for our country, that we may turn away from the culture of death and embrace the Gospel of Life. Let us work for the day when all human life is protected under law and this display in no longer necessary. Thank you to our parishioners whose dedication to the cause of life makes this memorial display possible each year.
 
On the back of the funeral prayer card for former Rep. Henry Hyde (a great pro–life advocate in Congress), was a quote from one of the Congressman’s speeches:


When the time comes as it surely will, when we face that awesome
moment, the final judgment, I’ve often thought, as Fulton
Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no
advocates, you are there alone standing before God—and a terror
will rip through your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really
think that those in the pro–life movement will not be alone. I
think there will be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in
this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world
and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement.
They will say to God, ‘Spare him because he loved us,’ and God
will look at you and say not, ‘Did you succeed?’but ‘Did you try?’

from The Visitation Parish bulletin 2012-10-7

Voice of John: Nurse Tells Story of Baby Born After Failed Abortion | LifeNews.com

Christians are responsible for the majority of abortions in this country.  Why? 
 


Voice of John: Nurse Tells Story of Baby Born After Failed Abortion | LifeNews.com

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Eden - as revised by man


In the center, view of Earth from space, surrounded at the top, going clockwise, mining slag (2), river pollution (2), garbage in the ocean and deforestation. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

John Paul II to Women who have had Abortions

Pope John Paul II Speaks to Women
who have had Abortions
Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), #99
 
I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will come to understand that nothing is definitively lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living in the Lord. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.

Abortion and the Christian

Abortion and the Christian, by John Jefferson Davis,  is a thoughtful, well-written analysis written in 1984. The arguments -pro and con- are still being debated today; so almost 30 years later, it is still relevant. Pro-abortion? This is a chance to look at the issues without the layers of rhetoric of the past decades. It is a book just over 100 pages on The Evangelical Christian Library. Even though it is addressed to Christians with a chapter on the Scripture, non-Christians still find value in reading the other chapters.

From the back cover:
 
Abortion is a topic of immense importance. Not only is it a burning controversy in its own right, but it is also symptomatic of a larger crisis in contemporary values. At stake is the very meaning of human life.
 
In spite of 1.5 million abortions annually in America, there is much the public does not know about what has become the nation's most common surgical procedure on adults. The Christian public, in particular, needs a more thorough understanding of the questions surrounding abortion -- questions like, What does the Bible say about prenatal life? When, if ever, is abortion justified? What are the medical risks of abortion? Are the unborn individual persons, biologically, spiritually, legally?

Building on a broad base of biblical data, John Jefferson Davis answers these and many other questions related to the ethics of abortion. In so doing, he equips readers to challenge current assumptions in the areas of law, medicine, and social concern, and to affirm the value of human life both in and out of the womb.

Dr. John Jefferson Davis is Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Massachusetts. He was a Danforth Graduate Fellow and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke University, where he earned the Ph.D. degree in systematic theology.

 http://www.ccel.us/AbortionandtheXian.toc.html

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sharing An Open Letter to Melinda Gates

Posted by: TeresaTomeo

Bill-MelindaGatesAs requested, I am sharing this letter with anyone interested in spreading these words of wisdom regarding the fallout from the world’s contraceptive mentality. This very bright young woman who was raised in Nigeria and now living and working in Great Britain is speaking out against Melinda Gates and her effort to raise nearly five billion dollars to pour additional contraceptives into countries in dire need of food, clean water, medical supplies, better infrastructure systems etc.
Our dear sister, Uju, is a regular listener to Ave Maria Radio and an EWTN viewer. She contacted me via e-mail and asked me to help her edit her editorial and have it published in the United States to get the word out about what her homeland and other countries like Nigeria really need. Her letter stresses how contraception is indeed controversial, despite what Mrs. Gates and Planned Parenthood would like us to believe, for a long list of important health reasons for women and because it would make tough situations, as I mentioned, much worse.
Since I was on the road speaking last weekend, I did not have the opportunity to sit down and edit the letter, so our friends at The Catholic Free Press in the Worcester, Massachusetts diocese stepped in to help and were also the first to have it published. I am hoping to get this published for Uju in other outlets across the nation. Pass it around and help spread the truth.
http://www.catholicfreepress.org/commentary/2012/08/10/unlimited-contraceptives-for-africa-why-not/
—Teresa Tomeo

Posted By August 10, 2012
This letter was written by Obianuju Ekeocha, a 32-year-old Nigerian woman. For the past six years she has been living and working as a biomedical scientist in Canterbury, England. Most of her family and many friends still live in Nigeria.
She is active in her parish and says she is grateful to God for the graces she receives as she serves the Church.
She praises Catholic radio in America, specifically the programs of Teresa Tomeo and Al Kresta, for keeping her “informed and inspired in all the things that ‘matter most,’” and for providing her with a Catholic world view.
She said she was inspired to write an open letter to Melinda Gates after learning of Gates’ move to inject $4.6 billion worth of contraceptive drugs and devices into her homeland.
“The worst part is that no one in Africa (meaning the average African woman or man) knows that Melinda is about to bequeath us her ‘legacy’ which can and most probably will stifle love and life in our continent,” she said.
She is hoping Melinda Gates will hear her “as the voice of the African woman.”

She wrote the following to Teresa Tomeo. (Teresa Tomeo can be heard locally at 9 a.m. weekdays on 1230 AM Emmanuel Radio. Her website is: www.teresatomeo.com)

An open letter to Melinda Gates

Growing up in a remote town in Africa, I have always known that a new life is welcomed with much mirth and joy. In fact we have a special “clarion” call (or song) in our village reserved for births and another special one for marriages.

The first day of every baby’s life is celebrated by the entire village with dancing (real dancing!) and clapping and singing - a sort of “Gloria in excelsis Deo.”
All I can say with certainty is that we, as a society, LOVE and welcome babies.
With all the challenges and difficulties of Africa, people complain and lament their problems openly. I have grown up in this environment and I have heard women (just as much as men) complain about all sorts of things. But I have NEVER heard a woman complain about her baby (born or unborn).

Even with substandard medical care in most places, women are valiant in pregnancy. And once the baby arrives, they gracefully and heroically rise into the maternal mode.
I trained and worked for almost five years in a medical setting in Africa, yet I never heard of the clinical term “postpartum depression” until I came to live in Europe. I never heard it because I never experienced or witnessed it, even with the relatively high birth rate around me. (I would estimate that I had at least one family member or close friend give birth every single month. So I saw at least 12 babies born in my life every year.) 

Amidst all our African afflictions and difficulties, amidst all the socioeconomic and political instabilities, our babies are always a firm symbol of hope, a promise of life, a reason to strive for the legacy of a bright future.

So a few weeks ago I stumbled upon the plan and promise of Melinda Gates to implant the seeds of her “legacy” in 69 of the poorest countries in the world (most of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa).

Her pledge is to collect pledges for almost $5 billion in order to ensure that the African woman is less fertile, less encumbered and, yes, she says, more “liberated.” With her incredible wealth she wants to replace the legacy of an African woman (which is her child with the legacy of “child-free sex.” 

Many of the 69 targeted countries are Catholic countries with millions of Catholic women of child-bearing age. These Catholic women have been rightly taught by the Church that the contraceptive drug and device is inherently divisive.

Unlike what we see in the developed Western world, there is actually very high compliance with Pope Paul VI’s “Humanae vitae.” For these African women, in all humility, have heard, understood and accepted the precious words of the prophetic pope. Funny how people with a much lower literacy level could clearly understand that which the average Vogue- and Cosmo-reading-high-class woman has refused to understand. I guess humility makes all the difference.

With most African women faithfully practicing and adhering to a faith (mainly Christian or in some cases Muslim), there is a high regard for sex in society, especially among the women. Sex is sacred and private.

The moment these huge amounts of contraceptive drugs and devices are injected into the roots of our society, they will undoubtedly start to erode and poison the moral sexual ethics that have been woven into our societal DNA by our faith, not unlike the erosion that befell the Western world after the 1930 Lambeth conference! In one fell swoop and one “clean” slice, the faithful could be severed from their professed faith.

Both the frontline healthcare worker dispensing Melinda’s legacy gift and the women fettered and shackled by this gift, would be separated from their religious beliefs. They would be put in a precarious position to defy their faith – all for “safe sex.”

Even at a glance, anyone could see that the unlimited and easy availability of contraceptives in Africa would surely increase infidelity and sexual promiscuity as sex is presented by this multi-billion dollar project as a casual pleasure sport that can indeed come with no strings – or babies – attached. Think of the exponential spread of HIV and other STDs as men and women with abundant access to contraceptives take up multiple, concurrent sex partners.
And of course there are bound to be inconsistencies and failures in the use of these drugs and devices, so health complications could result; one of which is unintended abortion. Add also other health risks such as cancer, blood clots, etc. Where Europe and America have their well-oiled health care system, a woman in Africa with a contraception-induced blood clot does not have access to 911 or an ambulance or a paramedic. No, she dies.

And what about disposal of the medical waste? Despite advanced sewage disposal in the First-world countries, we hear that aquatic life there is still adversely affected by drugs in the system. In Africa, be rest assured that both in the biggest cities and smaller rural villages, sewage constitutes a real problem. So as $4.6 billion worth of drugs, IUDs and condoms get used, they will need safe disposal. Can someone please show us how and where will that be? On our farm lands where we get all our food? In our streams and rivers from whence comes our drinking water?

I see this $4.6 billion buying us misery. I see it buying us unfaithful husbands. I see it buying us streets devoid of the innocent chatter of children. I see it buying us disease and untimely death. I see it buying us a retirement without the tender loving care of our children.

Please Melinda, listen to the heart-felt cry of an African woman and mercifully channel your funds to pay for what we REALLY need.

We need:

• Good healthcare systems (especially prenatal, neonatal and pediatric care).

Needless to say that postpartum and neonatal deaths are alarmingly high in many Sub-Saharan African countries. This is due to the paucity of specialized medical personnel, equipment and systems. Women are not dying because they are having “too many” babies but because they are not getting even the most basic postpartum care. A childbirth or labor complication can very easily be fatal, for both mother and baby. To alleviate this problem new, well-equipped and well-staffed birthing centers with neonatal units need to be built in easily accessible parts of the poorest communities. And if Melinda Gates really insists on reducing population, she can have highly trained Natural Family Planning (NFP) instructors strategically placed in these women’s healthcare facilities. At least then there would be a natural and wholistic approach.

• Food programs for young children.

This would serve a two-fold purpose if it is incorporated into free or highly subsidized nursery school programs. It would nourish and strengthen the growth of these children, who are so, so vulnerable to malnutrition, and it would also serve to encourage parents to bring their youngsters, ages 3 or 4, to nursery school. In so many parts of Africa, children miss out on nursery school education because it is expensive and considered a luxury reserved for the rich and middle class. As a result, the children miss the first few crucial years when basic math and reading are easily learned. By the time they are considered “ready” for school, at age 7 or 8, they struggle academically. Many of them never quite catch up and so drop out after six or seven years. This is when a lot of young girls are married off as mid- to late-teenage wives who unfortunately would become the perfect recipient of the Melinda Gates comprehensive contraceptive care!


• Good higher education opportunities

Not just new school buildings or books, but carefully laid out educational programs that work – scholarships, internships at higher levels, etc. – are needed. Despite the problems and obstacles to primary and secondary education, a significant number of young girls make it into universities, polytechnics or colleges. The problem however is that, most of the schools and resources are substandard and outdated. As such, the quality of higher education is low and cannot compare to that of more privileged countries. Even though the teachers put in their very best and the students work hard, the system is inadequate and will always produce disadvantaged graduates who are not confident enough to stand with their counterparts who have studied in other parts of the world.


• Chastity programs

Such programs in secondary schools, universities and churches would create a solid support system to form, inform and reassure our young girls and women that real love is that which is healthy and holy. Many African girls are no longer sure about moral sexual ethics thanks to the widespread influence of Western media, movies and magazines. More support should be given to programs that encourage abstinence before marriage and fidelity in marriage. This approach would go a long way to combating the spread of HIV and other STDs through the continent. And it would certainly lead to happier marriages!


• Support for micro-business opportunities for women

The average African women is incredibly happy, hard-working and resilient. Any support both economic and through training would most probably be used well and wisely.

• Fortify already established NGOs that are aimed at protecting women from sex-trafficking, prostitution, forced marriage, child labor, domestic violence, sex crimes, etc.

Many of these NGOs do not have much success because they are not well-funded. Though most of them have good intentions, they lack professional input from those such as psychologists, logisticians or medical personnel needed to tackle various problems.

$4.6 billion dollars can indeed be your legacy to Africa and other poor parts of the world. But let it be a legacy that leads life, love and laughter into the world in need.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Building a Culture of Religious Freedom

Building a Culture of Religious Freedom  

Address Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia gave at the Napa Institute on July 26.

07/27/2012
Peter Zelasko/CNA
– Peter Zelasko/CNA
Transcript of Archbishop Charles Chaput’s keynote address given at the Napa Institute on July 26.
A friend of mine, a political scientist, recently posed two very good questions. They go right to the heart of our discussion today. He wondered, first, if the religious freedom debate had “crossed a Rubicon” in our country’s political life. And, second, he asked if Catholic bishops now found themselves opposed — in a new and fundamental way — to the spirit of American society.

I’ll deal with his first question in a moment. I’ll come back to his second question at the end of my remarks. But we should probably begin our time together today by recalling that even at the height of anti-Catholic bigotry, Catholics have always served our country with distinction. More than 80 Catholic chaplains died in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. All four chaplains who won the Medal of Honor in those wars were Catholic priests.

Time and again, Catholics have proven their love of our nation with their talent, hard work and blood. So, if the bishops of the United States ever find themselves opposed, in a fundamental way, to the spirit of our country, the fault won’t lie with our bishops. It will lie with political and cultural leaders who turned our country into something it was never meant to be.

So, having said that, let’s turn to my friend’s first question.

The Rubicon is a river in northern Italy. It’s small and forgettable, except for one thing. During the Roman Republic, it marked a border. To the south lay Italy, ruled directly by the Roman Senate. To the north lay Gaul, ruled by a governor. Under Roman law, no general could enter Italy with an army. Doing so carried the death penalty. In 49 B.C., when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his 13th Legion and marched on Rome, he triggered a civil war and changed the course of history. Ever since then, “crossing the Rubicon” has meant passing a point of no return.

Caesar’s march on Rome is a very long way from our nation’s current disputes over religious liberty. But “crossing the Rubicon” is still a useful image. My friend’s point is this: Have we, in fact, crossed a border in our country’s history — the line between a religion-friendly past and an emerging America much less welcoming to Christian faith and witness?

Let me describe the nation we were and the nation we’re becoming. Then you can judge for yourselves.

People often argue about whether America’s Founders were mainly Christian, mainly Deist or both of the above. It’s a reasonable debate. It won’t end anytime soon. But no one can reasonably dispute that the Founders’ moral framework was overwhelmingly shaped by Christian faith. And that makes sense because America was largely built by Christians. The world of the American Founders was heavily Christian, and they saw the value of publicly engaged religious faith because they experienced its influence themselves. They created a nation designed in advance to depend on the moral convictions of religious believers and to welcome their active role in public life.

The Founders also knew that religion is not just a matter of private conviction. It can’t be reduced to personal prayer or Sunday worship. It has social implications. The Founders welcomed those implications. Christian faith demands preaching, teaching, public witness and service to others — by each of us alone and by acting in cooperation with fellow believers. As a result, religious freedom is never just freedom from repression, but also — and more importantly — freedom for active discipleship. It includes the right of religious believers, leaders and communities to engage society and to work actively in the public square. For the first 160 years of the republic, cooperation between government and religious entities was the norm in addressing America’s social problems. And that brings us to our country’s current situation.

Americans have always been a religious people. They still are. Roughly 80% of Americans call themselves Christians. Millions of Americans take their faith seriously. Millions act on it accordingly. Religious practice remains high. That’s the good news. But there’s also bad news. In our courts, in our lawmaking, in our popular entertainment and even in the way many of us live our daily lives, America is steadily growing more secular. Mainline churches are losing ground. Many of our young people spurn Christianity. Many of our young adults lack any coherent moral formation. Even many Christians who do practice their religion follow a kind of easy, self-designed Gospel that led author Ross Douthat to call us a “nation of heretics.”[1] Taken together, these facts suggest an American future very different from anything in our nation’s past.

There’s more. Contempt for religious faith has been growing in America’s leadership classes for many decades, as scholars like Christian Smith and Christopher Lasch have shown.[2] But in recent years, government pressure on religious entities has become a pattern, and it goes well beyond the current administration’s HHS [Health and Human Services] mandate. It involves interfering with the conscience rights of medical providers, private employers and individual citizens. And it includes attacks on the policies, hiring practices and tax statuses of religious charities, hospitals and other ministries. These attacks are real. They’re happening now. And they’ll get worse as America’s religious character weakens.

This trend is more than sad. It’s dangerous. Our political system presumes a civil society that pre-exists and stands outside the full control of the state. In the American model, the state is meant to be modest in scope and constrained by checks and balances. Mediating institutions like the family, churches and fraternal organizations feed the life of the civic community. They stand between the individual and the state. And when they decline, the state fills the vacuum they leave. Protecting these mediating institutions is therefore vital to our political freedom. The state rarely fears individuals, because, alone, individuals have little power. They can be isolated or ignored. But organized communities are a different matter. They can resist. And they can’t be ignored.

This is why, for example, if you want to rewrite the American story into a different kind of social experiment, the Catholic Church is such an annoying problem. She’s a very big community. She has strong beliefs. And she has an authority structure that’s very hard to break — the kind that seems to survive every prejudice and persecution and even the worst sins of her own leaders. Critics of the Church have attacked America’s bishops so bitterly, for so long, over so many different issues — including the abuse scandal, but by no means limited to it — for very practical reasons. If a wedge can be driven between the pastors of the Church and her people, then a strong Catholic witness on controversial issues breaks down into much weaker groups of discordant voices.
The theme of our time together today is “building a culture of religious freedom.” How do we do that?

We can start by changing the way we habitually think. Democracy is not an end in itself. Majority opinion does not determine what is good and true. Like every other form of social organization and power, democracy can become a form of repression and idolatry. The problems we now face in our country didn’t happen overnight. They’ve been growing for decades, and they have moral roots. America’s bishops named the exile of God from public consciousness as “the root of the world’s travail today” nearly 65 years ago. And they accurately predicted the effects of a life without God on the individual, the family, education, economic activity and the international community.[3] Obviously, too few people listened.

We also need to change the way we act. We need to understand that we can’t “quick fix” our way out of problems we behaved ourselves into. Catholics have done very well in the United States. As I said earlier, most of us have a deep love for our country, its freedoms and its best ideals. But this is not our final home. There is no automatic harmony between Christian faith and American democracy. The eagerness of Catholics to push their way into our country’s mainstream over the past half century, to climb the ladder of social and economic success, has done very little to Christianize American culture. But it’s done a great deal to weaken the power of our Catholic witness.
In the words of scholar Robert Kraynak, democracy — for all of its strengths — also “has within it the potential for its own kind of ‘social tyranny.’” The reason is simple: Democracy advances “the forces of mass culture which lower the tone of society … by lowering the aims of life from classical beauty, heroic virtues and otherworldly transcendence to the pursuits of work, material consumption and entertainment.” This inevitably tends to “[reduce] human life to a one-dimensional materialism and [an] animal existence that undermines human dignity and eventually leads to the ‘abolition of man.’”[4]

To put it another way: The right to pursue happiness does not include a right to excuse or ignore evil in ourselves or anyone else. When we divorce our politics from a grounding in virtue and truth, we transform our country from a living moral organism into a kind of golem of legal machinery without a soul.
This is why working for good laws is so important. This is why getting involved politically is so urgent. This is why every one of our votes matters. We need to elect the best public leaders, who then create the best policies and appoint the best judges. This has a huge impact on the kind of nation we become. Democracies depend for their survival on people of conviction fighting for what they believe in the public square — legally and peacefully, but zealously and without apologies. That includes you and me.

Critics often accuse faithful Christians of pursuing a “culture war” on issues like abortion, sexuality, marriage and the family and religious liberty. And, in a sense, they’re right. We are fighting for what we believe. But, of course, so are advocates on the other side of all these issues — and neither they nor we should feel uneasy about it. Democracy thrives on the struggle of competing ideas. We steal from ourselves and from everyone else if we try to avoid that struggle. In fact, two of the worst qualities in any human being are cowardice and acedia —and by acedia I mean the kind of moral sloth that masquerades as “tolerance” and leaves a human soul so empty of courage and character that even the devil Screwtape would spit it out.[5]

In real life, democracy is built on two practical pillars: cooperation and conflict. It requires both. Cooperation, because people have a natural hunger for solidarity that makes all community possible. And conflict, because people have competing visions of what is right and true. The more deeply they hold their convictions, the more naturally people seek to have those convictions shape society.
What that means for Catholics is this: We have a duty to treat all persons with charity and justice. We have a duty to seek common ground where possible. But that’s never an excuse for compromising with grave evil. It’s never an excuse for being naive. And it’s never an excuse for standing idly by while our liberty to preach and serve God in the public square is whittled away. We need to work vigorously in law and politics to form our culture in a Christian understanding of human dignity and the purpose of human freedom. Otherwise, we should stop trying to fool ourselves that we really believe what we claim to believe.

There’s more. To work as it was intended, America needs a special kind of citizenry: a mature, well-informed electorate of persons able to reason clearly and rule themselves prudently. If that’s true — and it is — then the greatest danger to American liberty in our day is not religious extremism. It’s something very different. It’s a culture of narcissism that cocoons us in dumbed-down, bigoted news, vulgarity, distraction and noise, while methodically excluding God from the human imagination. Kierkegaard once wrote that “the introspection of silence is the condition of all educated intercourse” and that “talkativeness is afraid of the silence which reveals its emptiness.”[6] Silence feeds the soul. Silence invites God to speak. And silence is exactly what American culture no longer allows. Securing the place of religious freedom in our society is therefore not just a matter of law and politics, but of prayer, interior renewal — and also education.

What I mean is this: We need to re-examine the spirit that has ruled the Catholic approach to American life for the past 60 years. In forming our priests, deacons, teachers and catechists — and especially the young people in our schools and religious-education programs — we need to be much more penetrating and critical in our attitudes toward the culture around us. We need to recover our distinctive Catholic identity and history. Then we need to act on them. America is becoming a very different country, and as Ross Douthat argues so well in his excellent book Bad Religion, a renewed American Christianity needs to be ecumenical, but also confessional. Why? Because: “In an age of institutional weakness and doctrinal drift, American Christianity has much more to gain from a robust Catholicism and a robust Calvinism than it does from even the most fruitful Catholic-Calvinist theological dialogue.”[7]

America is now mission territory. Our own failures helped to make it that way. We need to admit that. Then we need to re-engage the work of discipleship to change it.
I want to close by returning to the second of my friend’s two questions. He asked if our nation’s Catholic bishops now find themselves opposed — in a new and fundamental way — to the nature of American society. I can speak only for myself. But I suspect that for many of my brother American bishops the answer to that question is a mix of both No and Yes.

The answer is No in the sense that the Catholic Church has always thrived in the United States, even in the face of violent bigotry. Catholics love and thank God for this country. They revere the American legacy of democracy, law and ordered liberty. As the bishops wrote in 1940 on the eve of World War II, “[We] renew [our] most sacred and sincere loyalty to our government and to the basic ideals of the American republic … [and we] are again resolved to give [ourselves] unstintingly to its defense and its lasting endurance and welfare.”[8] Hundreds of thousands of American Catholics did exactly that on the battlefields of Europe and the South Pacific.

But the answer is Yes in the sense that the America of Catholic memory is not the America of the present moment or the emerging future. Sooner or later, a nation based on a degraded notion of liberty, on license rather than real freedom — in other words, a nation of abortion, disordered sexuality, consumer greed and indifference to immigrants and the poor — will not be worthy of its founding ideals. And, on that day, it will have no claim on virtuous hearts.

In many ways, I believe my own generation, the “boomer generation,” has been one of the most problematic in our nation’s history because of our spirit of entitlement and moral superiority; our appetite for material comfort unmoored from humility; our refusal to acknowledge personal sin and accept our obligations to the past.

But we can change that. Nothing about life is predetermined except the victory of Jesus Christ. We create the future. We do it not just by our actions, but by what we really believe — because what we believe shapes the kind of people we are. In a way, “growing a culture of religious freedom” is the better title for this talk. A culture is more than what we make or do or build. A culture grows organically out of the spirit of a people — how we live, what we cherish, what we’re willing to die for.

If we want a culture of religious freedom, we need to begin it here, today, now. We live it by giving ourselves wholeheartedly to God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ — by loving God with passion and joy, confidence and courage. And by holding nothing back. God will take care of the rest. Scripture says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). In the end, God is the builder. We’re the living stones. The firmer our faith, the deeper our love, the purer our zeal for God’s will — then the stronger the house of freedom will be that rises in our own lives and in the life of our nation.
Archbishop Charles Chaput is archbishop of Philadelphia.


[1] For patterns of religious belief in various age groups, see Barna Group and Pew Research Center data. For the state of moral formation among young adults, see Christian Smith, editor, Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood, Oxford University Press, New York, 2011. For an overview of American religious trends and their meaning, see Ross Douthat, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, Free Press, New York, 2012
[2] See Christopher Lasch, The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy, W.W. Norton, New York, 1995; and Christian Smith, editor, The Secular Revolution: Power, Interests and Conflict in the Secularization of American Public Life, University of California Press, Los Angeles, 2003
[3] “Secularism,” a pastoral statement by the Administrative Board of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, on behalf of the bishops of the United States, November 14, 1947; as collected in Pastoral Letters of the American Hierarchy, 1792-1970, Hugh J. Nolan, editor, Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, IN, 1971
[4] Robert Kraynak, “Citizenship in Two Worlds: On the Tensions between Christian Faith and American Democracy,” Josephinum Journal of Theology, Vol. 16, No. 2, 2009; see also a more extensive discussion of this theme in his book, Christian Faith and Modern Democracy: God and Politics in the Fallen World, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, IN, 2001
[5] C.S. Lewis, see his “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” in The Screwtape Letters, HarperCollins, New York, 2001
[6] Soren Kierkegaard, The Present Age: On the Death of Rebellion, HarperPerennial, New York, 2010, p. 44-45
[7] Douthat, Bad Religion, p. 286-287
[8] “The American Republic,” a statement by the bishops of the United States, November 13, 1940; as collected in Pastoral Letters of the American Hierarchy, 1792-1970


http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/building-a-culture-of-religious-freedom/#ixzz21r6Gb6Yd

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Extreme Makeover


Reading and recommending Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ Not Conformed to the Culture, by Teresa Tomeo, a TV and radio journalist on the toxic influence of the media in today's culture. She speaks as one who, in her words, has "Been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt."

In showing the state of Christianity in today's society, she quotes Archbishop Chaput, "Instead of changing the culture around us, we Christians have allowed ourselves to be changed by the culture. We’ve compromised too cheaply. We’ve hungered after assimilating and fitting in. And in the process, we’ve been bleached out and absorbed by the culture we were sent to make holy." p. 43
His entire speech is worthwhile reading: http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/4728

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty


O God our Creator,
from your provident hand we have received
our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us
the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God,
and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.
We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.
Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be "one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

USCCB.org

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Got Adoration?

Catholic Study Fellowship
Twelve Biblical Reasons For Wanting To Spend One Hour With Jesus In The Blessed Sacrament

1. He is really there!
"I myself Am the Living Bread come down from Heaven." (Jn 6:35)

2. Day and night Jesus dwells in the Blessed Sacrament because of his Infinite love for you!
"Behold I will be with you always even to the end of the world," because "I have loved you with an everlasting love, and constant is My affection for you." (Mt 28:20; Jer 31:3)

3. The specific way that Jesus asks you to love Him in return is to spend one quiet hour with Him in the Blessed Sacrament.
"Where your treasure is, there is your heart...." "Could you not watch one hour with Me?" (Mt 6:21; 26:40)

4. When you look upon the Sacred Host, you look upon Jesus, the Son of God.
"Indeed, this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life. Him I will raise up on the last day." (Jn 6:40)

5. Each moment that you spend in His Eucharistic Presence will increase His Divine Life within you and deepen your personal relationship and friendship with Him.
"I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly." "I am the Vine and you are the branches. Whoever remains in Me and I in Him shall bear much fruit because without Me, you can do nothing." (Jn 15:5)

6. Each hour you spend with Jesus will deepen His Divine Peace in your heart.
"Come to Me all of you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will refresh you..." "Cast all of you anxieties upon the One who cares for you..." "My Peace is My Gift to you." (Mt 11:28; 5:7; Jn 14:17)

7. Jesus will give you all the Graces you need to be happy!
"The Lamb on the Throne will shepherd them. He will lead them to the springs of life-giving water." (Rev 7:17)

8. Jesus is infinitely deserving of our unceasing thanksgiving and adoration for all He has done for our salvation.
"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive honor, glory and praise." (Rev. 5:12)

9. For Peace in our country!
"When My people humble themselves and seek My Presence... I will revive their land." (2Chr 7:14)

10. Each hour you spend with Jesus on earth will leave your soul everlastingly more beautiful and glorious in heaven!
"They who humble themselves shall be exalted...." "All of us, gazing on the Lord's glory with unveiled faces, are being transformed from glory to glory into His very image." (Lk 18:14; 2Cor 3:18)

11. Jesus will bless you, your family and the whole world for this hour of faith you spend with Him in the Blessed Sacrament.
"Blessed are they who do not see and yet believe..." "Faith can move mountains..." " What is needed is trust... " "Behold I come to make all things new." (Jn 20:29; Mk 11:23; Mk 5:36; Rev 21:5)

12. Each moment you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament brings joy, pleasure, and delight to His Sacred Heart!
"My joy, My pleasure, My delight is to be with you." (Prov 8:31)

Eucharistic Adoration By: Pope John Paul II

"I encourage Christians regularly to visit Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament, for we are all called to abide in the presence of God. In contemplation, Christians will perceive ever more profoundly the mystery at the heart of Christian life."
From Medjugorje.org

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Catholic-Study-Fellowship/269333284741

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Essence of Marriage

“The Lord God said:   ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a suitable partner for him.’  So the Lord God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and He brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name.  The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man. So the Lord god cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, He took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.  The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib that He had taken from the man.  When He brought her to the man, the man said: ‘This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.’   That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.”  Genesis 2: 18-24

A person who believes that the Bible is the word of God cannot dismiss the message of Genesis.  God made man, and He made woman to be a partner for man.  A person cannot claim to believe in the Bible and also claim that two men or two women can be partners in the same sense as God intended for man and woman.  Two persons of the same sex cannot become “one body”.  This connotes a union that is not just physical, but also emotional and mental.  This bond enables the two individuals to become one unity.  NO rhetoric from popular culture can change the words or the meaning of Genesis.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jesus, the Eucharist, in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel


15th anniversary of the Adoration Chapel at Visitation Parish, Elmhurst, IL

"Consider therefore the Bread and the Wine not as bare elements, for they are, according to the Lord’s declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ; for even though sense suggests this to thee, yet let faith establish thee. Judge not the matter from the taste, but from faith be fully assured without misgiving, that the Body and Blood of Christ have been vouchsafed to thee." St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catechetical Lectures 22:6 A.D. 350

Corpus Christi

The Catholic Church celebrates in Scripture and liturgy the feast of Corpus Christi, the belief that our Savior, Jesus, is truly and wholly present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the consecrated bread and wine. This was His gift to us at the Last Supper and was celebrated and revered by the earliest of Christians. It is, if we chose, our daily Bread. Those Catholics, whom the world has called holy, are also ones who have centered their lives around the Eucharist both in their devotion at daily Mass and in private adoration. The eye looks upon the Host, and the mind says that it is impossible that it is Jesus. The soul looks upon the Host in faith and proclaims that as with the Incarnation, if God wills, it is indeed possible and it is indeed real. We are called to look upon Jesus in the Eucharist with eyes of faith so that the mind accepts what the soul embraces. The devil may tell us still it cannot be so, as he told some disciples in John 6; but Jesus told us it is the source of eternal life. “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:54 Then He said in John 6:56, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in Him.” That is why it is so important to approach the altar with repentant hearts. To do otherwise would be to invite our Savior into a filthy, sinful soul, which is why the Church considers it sacrilege to receive the Eucharist in a state of soul deadening mortal sin and urges frequent confession of sins for all. The cleaner our souls and hearts the more open we will be to His transforming grace as He abides within us.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Abortion

In Colorado, a pair of twins was together for the first time outside the womb.  Not in itself strange, but the brothers have birthdays two months apart.  Brother #1 was delivered premature.  Brother #2 stayed in the womb for as long as doctors could manage.  In our legal system, if someone ended the life of Brother #1 in the interim it would have been murder; if someone ended the life of Brother #2, it could have been a legal abortion.   Insanity?  No, this is justice in our country.  The Catholic Church has always condemned abortion.  In the Didache it is prohibited along with infanticide.  The Church teaches that life begins at conception when physical life is formed and the being is infused with a soul.  Some say that Thomas Aquinas said abortion was permitted in the early months.  Aquinas was always opposed to abortion; he was just not certain of when life began (considering the stage of medicine in the 13th century).  All human life has value.  God would not allow conception to occur if He did not have a plan for that person, if He did not want that person to be.  No one is an accident.  Only our laws are ludicrous, the arbitrary time of birth is a poor factor for determining the start of legal rights.  Brother#1 for two months had all the protection of our legal system, while Brother#2 had none at all.  The same doctor who delivered Brother#1 could have also aborted Brother#2, all while trying to do everything possible to keep Brother #1 alive.  Any wonder why some people think the world has gone mad?

http://www.9news.com/news/story.aspx?storyid=135046

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Seeds

In the parables, seed was used as a symbol for the Word of God.  All of us are called to sow.  Some may have the talent to speak of the Word.  Others’ talent may be in writing.  Still, others spread the seed through their actions.  Sometimes, it is necessary to do as St. Frances of Assisi is to have said, “Preach the Gospel at all times: if necessary, use words.”  Mother Teresa spent most of her life in a country where public proselytizing was forbidden.  The only way she could “preach the gospel” was through her actions. 

It is by our actions that we all can preach the Word best.  It is also by our actions that we fail in preaching the Word.  Gandhi was purported to have said that he would become a Christian, if he ever met one.  If we truly have Jesus we cannot be silent; because to love Jesus is to share with others the Good News about Jesus.

One of Jesus’ last commands before His Ascension was to make disciples of all nations.  If we do not preach, people cannot know.  It is not, however, for us to know the results of our  sowing.  God works on His time table.  For some people the seed needs to be nurtured more than for others.  So, some of us may also be called to be nurturers of the seed.  Others may have the joy of seeing the seed take root, grow and blossom in the person who turns to Jesus and brings Him into His heart.  We should also not neglect the seed in our own hearts.  That seed which grows by the grace of God also needs to be nurtured through the Word, so that we may grow strong and blossom.

Seeds - so that the world may be full of flowers for Jesus.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

It All Comes Back To The Eucharist

"Living the Christian life is not easy.  To grow in the Christian life we need the nourishment of the Eucharist.  And so, each Sunday, we return to the Eucharistic table, bringing all our efforts of the previous week, the good and the bad, the successes and the failures, the joys and the sorrows.  We gather with our brothers and sisters in the Lord and, together with our priest, we join our efforts to the perfect sacrifice of Christ, asking that God will receive what we offer back to Him in humble thanksgiving."

From the Visitation Sunday bulletin

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Practicing Catholic

I didn't realize until recently, when a relative used the term "practicing Catholic", how much I dislike the term.  The term is used commonly, even in the Church, to describe those people who normally go to Mass on Sundays and adhere to the Church's teachings.  The term seems to be more of a description of what I do, much like my job title.  The job title indicates to others what functions I have and what expectations they can have of me.

I do not see myself as a "practicing Catholic."  I am Catholic.  Being Catholic is part of who I am, not what I do.  Being Catholic is a unique relationship with Jesus and His Body of followers, the Church.  What I do as a Catholic flows out of this relationship with Jesus and the Church.  In much the same way one can view a parent.  This label can bring to mind all of the things one needs to do as a parent.  But the term "parent" speaks also of the love/bond with the child which transcends the doing and is a part of being.

I could do all sorts of parenting things for my children, but if I didn't love them, I wouldn't really be a parent.  Going to Mass, fasting, even saying prayers doesn't make me Catholic either.  My relationship with Jesus, the Eucharist, is what makes me Catholic; and through Jesus, the Eucharist, is my relationship with His Church.  The depth of being a parent or being a Catholic depends on the bond, the relationship. The stronger the bond, the relationship, the more one is a parent - or a Catholic.

I do Catholic things because I am Catholic; I am not Catholic because I do Catholic things.

Grudges

"If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."  Matthew 6:14-15

It is easy to hold on to a grudge from someone else's perceived transgression.  A grudge can be nurtured through bringing back memories of the perceived transgression, magnifying it and giving it holding power over us.  a nurtured grudge can lead to bitterness towards the other person.  a grudge has only as much power over us as we give it.  Satan is always willing to whisper thoughts to us to encourage the grudge.

God commands us to forgive.  His grace can empower us to forgive and break the hold of the grudge on us.  We can then in turn bless the other person whenever Satan tries to get us to pick up the grudge again.  All we need to do is to ask God for the grace.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Seconds - I Am Second

Seconds - I Am Second

Scott Hamilton Gold Medal winner. Cancer survivor. Brain Tumor victor. God’s trophy.

"Olympic Gold Medalist and figure skating commentator Scott Hamilton knows a thing or two about preparation and dedication. His sport demands that a competitor come as close to perfect as possible. No break or fault goes unpunished by the judges. Scott mastered the sport and its nuances to become the world’s best.Yet as good as he was, he could not on his own handle some of life’s biggest challenges to his health. Cancer. A re-occuring brain tumor. In the times that he needed someone by his side, there was always Someone there. Someone he has grown to know, to love,. The one who introduced him to his wife and who has made having children possible. In this film he recalls a journey that many others are also traveling, and its telling never gets old."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bishops

  In the Chicago Tribune, I have been reading columnists who are accusing the Catholic bishops, who are speaking out against the civil laws that are being passed or proclaimed by executive order,  as trying to regain waning power or as engaging in a fruitless exercise, since Catholics are not following a particular Church teaching anyway.  The function of the bishop (Titus 1:9) is to "be holding fast to the true message as taught so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute opponents." (NAB)  (He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.  (NIV))  As a member of the Church, aka the Body of Christ, the bishop has a purpose.  That purpose is to teach and defend the teachings of the Church.  That purpose does not give him as an individual any power over people.  It is the teachings which have the power.  Neither the purpose nor the teachings depend on the number of people who agree or disagree with them.  If the bishops did not speak out, they would not be serving God as their role requires.  If Catholics disagree with a teaching of the Church, they should deeply examine the teaching.  Perhaps, it requires what St. Augustine spoke of:  “For understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand so that you may believe, but believe that you may understand; for unless you believe, you will not understand.”  Tractates on the Gospel of John: Tractate 29 (John 7:14-18)


Friday, February 10, 2012

Bumper Sticker for Adoration chapel

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pope Paul VI on contraception

In the encyclical The Splendor of Truth (Aug. 6, 1993) the Pope (John Paul II) reaffirms the intrinsic evil of contraception as taught by Pope Paul VI:

"With regard to intrinsically evil acts, and in reference to contraceptive practices whereby the conjugal act is intentionally rendered infertile, Pope Paul VI teaches:
'Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good, it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it (cf.Rom.3:8) - in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general.'" (n.80).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mom and Dad a Celebration of Love


 On this date in 1930, my parents vowed to love, honor and cherish each other for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health till death did they part.  They kept their vows for 70 years through job loss in the depression, living with relatives (in-laws for my mother), four children spread over 20 years (I'm the baby), Dad working two jobs at times, Mom keeping house for two mothers, multiple fractures from osteoporosis for my Mom, and cancer and dementia for my Dad.

On this date in 2000, my parents celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.  Dad was already in a nursing home due to his dementia and bad knees.  He died later that year and Mom followed him three years later.  Together again in heaven.

(And, yes, at 92 that is my Mom's natural hair color. I didn't get that gene.  ;) )