++++++++++++++++++++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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

From Jewish Passover to Christian Eucharist: The Story of the Todah, byTim Gray

 
Scholars have often wondered how the practice of Christian Eucharist could have arisen from the Lord’s Supper, which occurred in the context of the Jewish Passover. Since Passover occurs only once a year, how is it that the Christians got the notion that they could celebrate Jesus’ sacrificial meal weekly, if not daily?

The Last Supper
Gustave Dore



The answer is found in the ancient Israelite sacrifice called the todah.
While most people have heard of Old Testament sacrifices such as the holocaust offering or burnt offering, those who have heard of the todah sacrifice are as rare as lotto winners. Today's ignorance concerning the todah, however, should not imply that it was unimportant to the Jews. Far from it. The todah was one of the most significant sacrifices of the Jews.
Indeed, an old Rabbinic teaching says: "In the coming Messianic age all sacrifices will cease, but the thank offering [todah] will never cease."(1) What is it about this sacrifice that makes it stand alone in such a way that it would outlast all other sacrifices after the redemption of the Messiah?
A todah sacrifice would be offered by someone whose life had been delivered from great peril, such as disease or the sword. The redeemed person would show his gratitude to God by gathering his closest friends and family for a todah sacrificial meal. The lamb would be sacrificed in the Temple and the bread for the meal would be consecrated the moment the lamb was sacrificed. The bread and meat, along with wine, would constitute the elements of the sacred todah meal, which would be accompanied by prayers and songs of thanksgiving, such as Psalm 116.
What does the word "todah" mean? It is Hebrew for "thanksgiving," although it also connotes a confession of praise in addition to gratitude. For example, Leah gave thanks to God when she bore her fourth son, and so she named him yehudah — or Judah — which is the verbal form of todah — to give thanks.
There are many examples in the Old Testament of people offering todah — thanks — to God. Jonah, while in the belly of the whale, vows to offer up a todah sacrifice in the Temple if he is delivered (cf. Jon. 2:3-10). King Hezekiah offers up a todah hymn upon recovering from a life-threatening illness (cf. Is. 38). However, the best example of todah sacrifice and song is found in the life of King David.
Temple Liturgy
After David had defeated the last Canaanite stronghold, he decided to bring the ark of the covenant up to Jerusalem. The bringing of the ark to Jerusalem was the occasion of a great national todah festival. The sacrifices were "peace offerings," and the todah was the most important and common peace offering. All the elements of the todah were present. For example, David offered bread and wine along with the meat of the sacrifices (1 Chron. 16:3). Most importantly, David had the Levites lead the people in todah hymns, that is, psalms of thanksgiving (1 Chron. 16:8-36).
At this pivotal point in Israel's story, David not only changes the location of the ark, but he also transforms Israel's liturgy. At the todah celebration that brought the ark into Jerusalem, David gave the Levites a new mandate — their primary job was to "invoke, to thank, and to praise the Lord" (1 Chron. 16:4). The Hebrew word for "invoke" is zakar, which literally means to remember — the noun form signifying "memorial" (zikkaron). One of the most important purposes of a todah meal was to remember the saving deeds of the Lord. Indeed, this is one of the functions of the todah psalms: to recount the mighty deeds of God (cf. Ps. 22:28).
We are also informed that "on that day David first appointed that thanksgiving [todah] be sung to the Lord by Asaph and his brethren" (1 Chron. 16:7). The Levites were to give thanks and praise to God "continually" (1 Chron. 16:37, 40). This perpetual adoration was to characterize the Temple liturgy as a todah liturgy — a liturgy of thanksgiving.(2)
The Psalter made up the heart of the hymns and prayers of the Temple liturgy. In light of David's appointing the Levites to give perpetual thanks, we can see why "the thank offering constituted the cultic basis for the main bulk of the Psalms."(3) The todah psalms have a twofold structure. First, although they may begin with thanks and praise, the first half of the song is largely a lament, where the psalmist recounts how his life was in peril. Then the psalmist recounts how God graciously heard his plea and brought about deliverance from death. Thus the second part of the song, or at least its conclusion, is usually taken up with giving thanks and praise to God.(4) So the movement of the todah psalms is from plight to praise — a movement that reflects Israel's movement from enslavement to exodus — while also looking forward to the paschal mystery of Our Lord.
Todah and Jesus
The importance of the todah as a backdrop for Jesus and the Last Supper comes into sharp focus when we realize that in Jesus' day the Greek word that would best translate the Hebrew todah was eucharistia, which also means "thanksgiving." From the earliest Christian sources we learn that the celebration of the Lord's meal, or what we call the Mass, was known by Christians as the Eucharist. After all, at the Last Supper Jesus took the bread and wine and gave "thanks" (eucharistia) over them (Luke 22:19).
The German biblical scholar Hartmut Gese claimed that the todah stands behind what Jesus did at the Last Supper. He goes so far as to argue that Jesus' giving thanks over the bread and wine came in the context of a todah sacrifice rather than a Passover meal. However, no other Scripture scholars have followed Gese's theory about the todah backdrop of Jesus' meal, because the evidence for the Passover in the Gospel narratives is overwhelming.
Here is where I would like to make an adjustment to Gese's theory. I think he is right to see the todah backdrop, but wrong to deny the larger Passover context. The solution to the seeming dilemma is actually quite easy. The Last Supper celebrated in the upper room is both a Passover and a todah meal. The Passover has all the same elements found in the todah: bread, wine, and sacrifice of a lamb, along with hymns and prayers. Indeed, the Hallel psalms (113-118), that were sung during the Passover meal were all todah psalms! The Exodus narrative itself has the basic contours of a todah hymn, with Israel in distress and lament calling out to the Lord (cf. Ex. 2:23-25), while the Lord in turn hears their cry and delivers them (cf. Ex. 6:5-7). The Passover has both the form and content of the todah, because it is a concrete example of a todah sacrifice.
Philo, a first-century Jew, describes the Passover as a festival of thanksgiving: "And this festival is instituted in remembrance of, and as giving thanks [eucharistia] for, their great migration which they made from Egypt."(5) Philo focuses here on two key reasons for the Passover: remembrance and thanksgiving (cf. Ex. 12:14, 13:3). Here again we must note how the Passover fits into the todah genre, for remembrance was one of the primary purposes of the todah. The Passover is Israel's corporate todah meal.
When Jesus takes the bread, breaks it, and declares thanksgiving (eucharistia), He is performing the key function of both the todah and Passover — giving thanks for deliverance. But here Jesus is not simply looking back at Israel's history of salvation, but forward to His death and Resurrection. In other words, Jesus is giving thanks to the Father for His love and for the new life to be granted in the Resurrection. Note that Jesus' words over the bread, His thanksgiving, is what the Christian tradition has focused upon — so that they could call every re-enactment of the Last Supper "Eucharist."
In the Eucharist, Christians give thanks for God's deliverance and remember how Jesus brought about the new exodus with His death and Resurrection. For Jesus had told them, "Do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19). This act of remembrance is what the todah is all about — recalling in gratitude God's saving deeds. This leads us to one of the key fruits of a todah — or Eucharistic — spirituality: A deep sense of thankfulness leads to worship. Worship flows from gratitude; cut off from gratitude the will to worship withers.
The todah teaches us to trust God with a grateful heart. By "remembering" Jesus' gift of Himself upon the Cross our love for God is rekindled. Such "remembrance," which is the purpose of todah, leads to deeper trust. As the psalmist says, "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God" (Ps. 20:7). (6)
ENDNOTES
1.     Taken from the Pesiqta as quoted in Hartmut Gese, Essays On Biblical Theology (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1981), 133.
2.     The prayers for the morning and evening sacrifice were characterized by the todah thanksgiving (1 Chron. 16:40-41). See also Allan Bouley's discussion of how the prayers at the morning and evening sacrifices included thanksgiving formulas in From Freedom to Formula: the Evolution of the Eucharistic Prayer from Oral Improvisation to Written Texts (Washington, DC: CUA Press, 1981), 7-13.
3.     Gese, 131.
4.     Some examples from the multitude of todah psalms are Psalms 16, 18, 21, 32, 65, 100, 107, 116, 124, 136.
5.     Philo, The Special Laws, II, 145. The Works of Philo, trans. by C.D. Young (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993), 582.
6.     I use here the KJV translation of Psalm 20:7, which is closer to the Hebrew in my judgment.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Tim Gray. "From Jewish Passover to Christian Eucharist: The Story of the Todah." Lay Witness (Nov/Dec. 2002).
This article is reprinted with permission from Lay Witness magazine. Lay Witness is a publication of Catholic United for the Faith, Inc., an international lay apostolate founded in 1968 to support, defend, and advance the efforts of the teaching Church.
THE AUTHOR


Scripture scholar Tim Gray is a member of CUF's board of directors. His book Sacraments in Scripture may be ordered by calling Emmaus Road Publishing toll-free at (800) 398-5470. CUF members receive a 10% discount.
Copyright © 2002 LayWitness

Nine Ways the Eucharist Is Hidden in the Old Testament, by Stephen Beale

Nine Ways the Eucharist Is Hidden in the Old Testament

by Stephen Beale on October 29, 2013 
         
shutterstock_154303682

John Henry Newman once compared Scripture to an inexhaustibly rich wilderness—never failing to reward the faithful explorer with thrilling new discoveries yet always beyond his ability to master it completely:
It cannot, as it were, be mapped, or its contents cataloged; but after all our diligence, to the end of our lives and to the end of the Church, it must be an unexplored and unsubdued land, with heights and valleys, forests and streams, on the right and left of our path and close about us, full of concealed wonders and choice treasures. (An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, 71).
The Eucharist is among those ‘concealed wonders and choice treasures’ in the Old Testament. At first, with the obvious exception of the manna heaven that rained down on the Israelites, it seems that there is little in the Old Testament that foreshadows the extraordinary new reality that is the Eucharist. But Newman invites us to venture deep into the hidden valleys and the secret gardens of the Old Testament. When we do, it turns out the Eucharist is everywhere—from the Pentateuch to the prophets.

1. The forbidden fruit. The forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden seems like the last place one would see a foreshadowing of the Eucharist. But medieval commentators saw the Eucharist as the “antidote to the poisonous effects of the apple,” according to Ann Astell, in Eating Beauty. Just as eating of the forbidden fruit was a sin of pride, avarice, gluttony, or disobedience, so the Eucharist was seen as inculcating the corresponding opposite virtues: humility, poverty, abstinence, and obedience, according to Astell. The parallel goes even deeper: in eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve brought death into the world while those who partake in the Eucharist are promised eternal life.

2. Fruit of the Tree of Life.  The connections between Eden and the Eucharist are reinforced in the last book of the Bible. First a reminder: there were actually two types of trees in Eden. The one that gets most of the attention is the tree of knowledge of good and evil—it is the fruit of this tree that Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat. But, when the pair are banished, a second tree is mentioned: “See! The man has become like one of us, knowing what is good and what is bad! Therefore, he must not be allowed to put out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life also, and thus eat of it and live forever” (Genesis 3:22). In Revelation, John indicates that, through Christ, we will be able to eat of the fruit of this second tree. In Revelation 2:7, John writes, “To the victor I will give the right to eat from the tree of life that is in the garden of God.” Ten verses later we read: “To the victor I shall give some of the hidden manna”—a clear reference to the Eucharist. (I’m particularly indebted to Deacon Sabatino Carnazzo for this reading. For more about the Eucharist and the Garden of Eden, read his article at the Institute of Catholic Culture.)

3. The blood of Abel. This is another one that seems an odd type for the Eucharist. But Scripture links the blood of Christ with Abel. In Genesis 4:8, after Cain has slain his brother, God speak to him, “What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!” In Hebrews 12:24, St. Paul draws a connection with Christ, calling Jesus “the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.” St. Gregory the Great elaborates on this, “The blood of Jesus calls out more eloquently than Abel’s, for the blood of Abel asked for the death of Cain, the fratricide, while the blood of the Lord has asked for, and obtained, life for his persecutors.” When we receive the Eucharist, St. Gregory adds, we too must cry out and proclaim our faith in Jesus. “The cry of the Lord finds a hiding place in us if our lips fail to speak of this, though our hearts believe in it,” he concludes.

4. Sacrifice of Melchizedek. In Genesis 14, after Abraham rescues Lot and his relatives who had been seized in an invasion of Sodom, a most strange figure bursts into the scene: Melchizedek, the king of Salem comes out to greet him. We are told in Genesis that he was a priest of “God Most High”—long before the institutional priesthood of Israel was established. And, ages before the gospel was brought to the Gentiles, Melchizedek had somehow come to know God. Later in Scripture we read that he was “without father, mother, or ancestry, without beginning of days or end of life, thus made to resemble the Son of God” (Hebrews 7:3). Melchizedek is thus portrayed in Scripture as one who foreshadowed Christ, Himself true king and perfect priest. The parallels go even further: in Genesis 14:18 Melchizedek offers a sacrifice of “bread and wine,”—a foreshadowing of the Eucharist, according to the Haydock Bible Commentary.

. The todah. As Catholics we know that the Passover was the primary Old Testament sacrifice that is the backdrop for the Eucharist. But another important one was the todah, a sacrifice offered in ancient Israel after a person had been saved from a life-threatening situation. Here’s how one writer describes the sacrifice: “The lamb would be sacrificed in the Temple and the bread for the meal would be consecrated the moment the lamb was sacrificed. The bread and meat, along with wine, would constitute the elements of the sacred todah meal, which would be accompanied by prayers and songs of thanksgiving. …” Does this not immediately call to mind the Eucharist? In Hebrew, todah means thanksgiving, which is exactly the literal translation of the Greek word eucharista. Indeed, both are sacrifices of thanksgiving for salvation.

6. Elijah in the desert. In 1 Kings 19, Elijah flees from Jezebel into the wilderness. After wandering for a day, he sinks down by a lone tree and begs God to let him die. Instead, he is sent an angel who brings a “hearth cake and a jug of water.” But this was not normal food—it was enough to sustain him on a 40-day journey to Mt. Horeb where he had a profound encounter with God in the “whistling of a gentle air.” Catholic interpreters have long seen this super food given to Elijah as a type of the Eucharist. (Sources include: Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio and the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.)

7. Bread of the Presence. In ancient Israel, the Bread of the Presence was set out on a golden table in the tabernacle as “a memorial of the oblation of the Lord” (Leviticus 24:7). The bread was to be before the presence of God continually, was perfumed with frankincense, and accompanied by constantly burning lampstands. New bread was put out every Sabbath and only those who had recently abstained from sexual relations—normally priests—could eat it. When the table that held the bread was carried out of the tabernacle, it was veiled. In fact, when the tabernacle was moved, all the vessels in it were carefully wrapped. Those transporting the vessels were to not directly touch these vessels, lest they die (Exodus 25, Leviticus 24, Numbers 4, and 1 Samuel 21). Does not this all sound quite familiar? Indeed, it’s harder to imagine a more obvious precedent for the devotion and reverence with which Catholics of today treat the Eucharist.

8. Isaiah’s coal. Once we arrive in the prophetic books, we encounter some truly extraordinary and provocative types of the Eucharist. First, in Isaiah 7, the prophet envisions God sitting on a throne, flanked by the seraphim angels. “And one of the seraphims flew to me, and in his hand was a live coal, which he had taken with the tongs off the altar. And he touched my mouth, and said: Behold this hath touched thy lips, and thy iniquities shall be taken away, and thy sin shall be cleansed” (Isaiah 7:6-7). In Church liturgies, particularly in the Orthodox tradition, the fiery coal prefigures the Eucharist. The Liturgy of St. James describes Communion as “receiving the fiery coal” and, in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the priest says, “Lo, this has touched your lips and has taken away your iniquity,” according to one Orthodox writer. The parallels couldn’t be clearer: like the fiery coal, the Eucharist comes to us from the altar and cleanses us of sins (specifically venial sins, but it also fortifies us against mortal ones).

9. Ezekiel’s scroll. Another extraordinary foreshadowing of the Eucharist is in Ezekiel 2. Like Isaiah, the prophet has a vision of God and the Spirit of the Lord enters him. Then, in verse 8, he hears these words, “open thy mouth, and eat what I give thee.” “And I looked, and behold, a hand was sent to me, wherein was a book rolled up: and he spread it before me, and it was written within and without: and there were written in it lamentations, and canticles, and woe.” In the next chapter he describes his eating of this book: “And I did eat it: and it was sweet as honey in my mouth” (verse 3). Catholic interpreters over the centuries have seen this sweet scroll that was eaten as another sign of the Eucharist (the most recent example is Scott Hahn’s new book, Consuming the Word). The episode illustrates well what we experience in the two liturgies of the Mass. In the first, we consume the Word, in the readings of Scripture and the homily that is preached on them. Then, in the second liturgy, we consume the Eucharist, which, as the Body of Christ, is the Word made flesh.
     

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Respect Life Month

You may have seen crosses on church lawns or people standing in a group praying.  October is designated as Respect Life Month by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Respect Life Month recognizes life in all its glory and in all its forms, providing opportunities to embrace the whole cycle of life with which humanity has been blessed, from conception to natural death.


Visitation Catholic Church, Elmhurst, IL

PRAYER FOR A CULTURE OF LIFE
Lord God, We thank you for our salvation in Jesus Christ. We thank you for the call he gives us -– not a call to sit in a corner cowering in fear over our enemies, mystified about how to overcome the Culture of Death, despondent because of our sins or worried about the perceived strength of our opponents. Rather, it is a call to stand victorious in the light of the Resurrection and to proclaim to the Culture of Death: “You have been conquered! You have no place here, no power to defeat the forces of truth and goodness!”
Yes, Lord, we stand in that light and we are filled with joy –- not a superficial joy that rises and falls with the ebb and flow of circumstances beyond our control, but with the profound joy that only you can give and that nobody can take away. In the strength of that joy, may we your people continue to proclaim your truth and share your grace not only within the walls of our Churches, but in the halls of government, in the voting booth, in the media, and in every inch of the public square.
Lord, in our work for you, may we find you in our efforts to change the world, may we ourselves be changed. In our struggle to build a Culture of Life, may we find life eternal. We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(From bulletin of Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Chicago)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Doctrine

“It is not true just because it is Catholic doctrine; it is Catholic doctrine because it is true.”  Scott Hahn Swear to God

We look at Catholic Doctrine and see it as a list of things we ought to believe.  Apologetics defends Catholic doctrine by looking to Scripture and Tradition; but this is working backwards from the doctrine from our position in time.  Back in the early Church there was no doctrine per se.  The early Christians had to ask, “What is true?”  They looked to the Traditions of the Church, both written and oral; and they make declarations on what was to be believed (doctrine).  There were many disagreements.  Many broke off from the faithful because they had a different view of what was true.  We need to rely on the promise of Jesus that the Holy Spirit would be with the Church, guiding the Church.  If we cannot believe in this promise then we cannot trust anything purported by Christianity.  Everything then needs to be proved over and over again.  One cannot trust what has been declared before, but one must discover the truth for oneself, one on one with the Holy Spirit.  One then becomes a church of one only allying oneself with others of similar beliefs.  The unity, which Jesus prayed for at the Last Supper in the Gospel of John, becomes impossible.  Only the belief that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church and has guided the Church from the beginning can lead to a unity of belief.  That belief is the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Rules


Some people ask why there are so many rules in the Church.  Why can’t we just believe in God?  Rules are a natural development of living.  The more years, the more people, the more problems demanding a resolution, the more rules are made.  Rules are needed because we are too insensitive to God’s love.  If we all lived, ruled by God’s love then we would need no other rules.  We wouldn’t need to be told to do or not do something.  Some rules are necessary to help us and some to keep us from hurting ourselves and others.  One basic set of rules that God thought necessary to give us is the Ten Commandments.  People then began to dicker with God.  If I break someone’s arm but don’t kill him, have I broken a commandment?  Thus, is born another rule.  We are to keep holy the Lord’s Day.  How?  The Church answered with rules about going to Church on Sunday and of resting.  The denser we are about something, the more the Church needs to spell it out for us.  Those of us who don’t need something spelled out quite so much wonder why we needed a rule for that - because someone else did need it.  Sometimes we don’t like the rules because we know that we are doing something we shouldn’t and don’t want to change our behavior - so we grumble about the rules.  Rules are simply another way God provides the Church to help us change our lives toward Him.  Breaking a rule is part of a larger part of not wanting to do what God wills.  It points that out in a more specific way.  Our observance of rules cannot depend on our own understanding of their need; we must thrust the Church to know what is necessary for the health of our souls.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Existence

"There are no words to excuse the killing of innocents.”
A strange quote to come from a person who fully supports unlimited abortion. One could argue that he was speaking of the loss of civilian life in the civil was in Syria. But those words ought to be able to stand alone. One could argue that the unborn do not qualify as people and therefore do not belong in the category of "innocents”. When one is conceived, one begins to exist. At that point no one else has the right to determine whether one is entitled to exist, unless one empowers another with that right (i.e. living, DNR, etc.). One’s existence begins at conception and at death, physically ends, but continues on with God. He, as the source of our existence, is the only One entitled to the power of life or death.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

All Heaven Declares

All Heaven Declares
by Noel Richards, Tricia Richards and Tom Fattke

All heaven declares the glory of the risen Lord
Who can compare with the beauty of the Lord?
Forever He will be (Forever He will be)
The Lamb upon the throne (The Lamb upon the throne)
I gladly bow the knee (I gladly bow the knee)
And worship Him alone

I will proclaim the glory of the risen Lord
Who once was slain to reconcile man to God
Forever You will be (Forever You will be)
The Lamb upon the throne (The Lamb upon the throne)
I gladly bow my knee (I gladly bow my knee)
And worship You alone

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI

The Vatican has put out on the internet a 'booklet' of pictures and sayings of Pope Benedict XVI.  It also has a link to each taking you to the original document.  Modern technology can be wonderful. 



http://www.vatican.va/bxvi/omaggio/index_en.html

Monday, February 11, 2013

Letter to the President on his inaugural speech

Mr. President,

"'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.' Today we continue a never ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing. That while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by his people here on earth."

The first right mentioned is the right to life. The government and this administration is denying the right to life to millions through the sanction of abortion. By a rough calculation I estimate that 20-25% of a projected population under 40 (without abortion) has died due to abortion. This is using the 2010 census figures for a total of the population under 40, adding in the 55,000,000 aborted and taking a percentage of those 55,000,000 from that total.

"Together we resolve that a great nation must care for the vulnerable and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune." This administration has continued to pledge its support to destroy the most vulnerable, the unborn, instead of supporting those organizations which would nurture both the unborn and their parents through whatever problems they may be facing. They are out there. See my blog http://tochooselife.blogspot.com/ assembled from a week of book and internet searches.

 "Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America." Why should God bless a country which blatantly ignores one of His basic commandments, "Thou Shall NOT Kill"?

A politician, who says that he is Christian, must act on his beliefs in the policies he proposes, and the fruit of his beliefs is seen in the policies he proposes. The fruit of your policies is abortion anytime, anywhere, for whatever reason. I see nothing Christian, or remotely ethical, in that.

Evil in the World

The world is evil.  You cannot read Scripture without knowing that the world is evil.  You cannot live in society today without knowing that the world is evil.

What is a Christian to do about evil in the world?  Some have said that there is nothing that can be done.  We must accept evil in the world.  Is that what Jesus wanted us to do? 

What is the meaning of discipleship?  Are we not supposed to be the hands, feet, eyes, ears, mouth of Christ, with Him as the Head of the Body?  Is not the Great Commission meant for us to go out and make other disciples for Christ? 

Billy Graham preached to thousands at one time, encouraging them to turn to Jesus.  Mother Teresa's way was to help one person at a time, showing them the love of Christ.  Each of us must find our own way to be Christ to the evil world.  What is not acceptable to God is to be complacent and just accept the evil of this world.

What we are asked to do could be summed up in what is known as the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.


O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Thursday, January 31, 2013

40 Years of Abortion

Our Founding Fathers are remembered for the sacrifices that they made to bring this nation into beingThey are also remembered for what they did not do, abolishing slavery.  The legal perpetuation of slavery led to not only the suffering and deaths of untold numbers of slaves and the bloodbath of the Civil War, but also to the social ills that we experience even today.
Abortion was declared legal, nationally, 40 years ago.  The abortion industry was founded on the lies of those who pushed for legalization in the State of New York. (See The Hand of God-autobiography of Dr. Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL).  The lies have continued through the efforts of NARAL and Planned Parenthood, among others.  As the Founding Fathers are remembered for not ending slavery, so this generation of politicians will be remembered in history as the generation that believed and acted on the lies of the abortion industry, instead of seeking the truth.  Over 50,000,000 people have been legally aborted since 1973. We already see the consequences of legalized abortion today in the increased violence in our society.
No matter what other legislation has been passed, no matter what good has come out of that legislation, failure to end abortion in this country will define this administration and this Congress, maybe not in current times, but ultimately in history.
There is no justification for ending a human life.  If one believes in God, then every human life ought to considered a miracle, for science with all that it has learned, cannot even now tell us how we become what we are.  Saying that one is personally against abortion, but...is a cop-out and means nothing for the one being aborted. (Try to say that you are personally against gun violence but that you respect someone else's choice to shot someone.) Yes, abortion is now legal, but legal does not make it right. Make it right.
(Not in letter)
From Abortion Facts:
Fact #1: Every abortion kills an innocent human being.
Every new life begins at conception.  This is an irrefutable fact of biology. It is true for animals and true for humans. When considered alongside the law of biogenesis – that every species reproduces after its own kind – we can draw only one conclusion in regard to abortion: every single abortion ends the life of an innocent human being.
Fact #2: Every human being is a person.
Personhood is properly defined by membership in the human species, not by stage of development within that species. A living being's designation to a species is determined not by the stage of development but by the sum total of its biological characteristics.
Fact #3: Beginning at conception, every pregnancy involves two or more bodies.
No matter how you spin it, women don't have four arms and four legs when they're pregnant. Those extra appendages belong to the tiny human being(s) living inside of them. At no point in pregnancy is the developing embryo or fetus simply a part of the mother's body.
Fact #4: It is just, reasonable, and necessary for society to outlaw certain choices.

Any civilized society restricts the individual's freedom to choose whenever that choice would harm an innocent person. Therefore, it is impossible to justify abortion by simply arguing that women should be "free to choose."
Fact #5: The right to not be killed supersedes the right to not be pregnant.
The comparison between a baby's rights and a mother's rights is unequal. What is at stake in abortion is the mother's lifestyle, as opposed to the baby's life. Therefore, it is reasonable for society to expect an adult to live temporarily with an inconvenience if the only alternative is killing a child.
Fact #6: Poverty, rape, disability, or “unwantedness” do not morally justify abortion.
There are all sorts of circumstances that people point to as justification for their support of abortion. Since none of these circumstances are sufficient to justify the killing of human beings after birth, they're not sufficient to justify the killing of human beings before birth.
Fact #7: The differences between embryos and adults are differences of degree not of kind.
Like toddler and adolescent, the terms “embryo” and “fetus” do not refer to nonhumans but to humans at particular stages of development. Human beings inside the womb are smaller, less developed, and more dependent than human beings outside the womb. These are differences of degree, not differences of kind. We can all point to other people who are bigger, stronger, smarter, or less dependent than we are, but that doesn't make our life any less valuable or any less deserving of protection.
Fact #8: Less than 1% of all abortions are performed to save the life of the mother.
It is an extremely rare case when abortion is required to save the mother’s life. Of course, when two lives are hreatened and only one can be saved, doctors must always save that life. However, abortion for the mother’s life and abortion for the mother’s health are usually not the same issue. Since every abortion kills an innocent human being, it is morally abhorrent to use the rare cases when abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother as justification for the millions of on demand "convenience" abortions.
Fact #9: To be only "personally pro-life" is to not be pro-life at all.
If abortion doesn't kill children, why would someone be opposed to it? If it does kill children, why would someone defend another's right to do it? Being personally against abortion but favoring another's right to abortion is self-contradictory and morally baffling.
Fact #10: If there is uncertainty about when human life begins, the benefit of the doubt should go to preserving life.  It is a scientific fact that life begins at conception. However, if one personally has even a shred of uncertainty about when life begins, then they are still morally obligated to err on the side of life and NOT have an abortion. Why? Because to make a mistake about the exact time when life begins is to kill an innocent human being.
Fact #11: Abortion is more dangerous than childbirth.
Not only does every abortion kill an innocent human being in the womb; but abortion is also more dangerous to the mother than if she were to give birth to the child. The evidence overwhelmingly proves that the morbidity and mortality rates of legal abortion are several times higher than that for carrying a pregnancy to term.
Fact #12: Prior to abortion's legalization, 90% of abortions were done by doctors, not by "coat hangers in back alleys.
Some justify abortion on the claim that if it is outlawed, women will abort anyway and may die in the process.  There are 3 problems with this hypothesis. First, it doesn't address the ethics of abortion. Second, laws against abortion would deter most women from having one. Third, there is no evidence that illegal abortions are more dangerous than legal abortions. Of course, even if the "coat hanger" argument was true (it's not), then it's still morally ridiculous to legalize procedures that kill innocent babies just to make the killing procedures less dangerous to the mother.
Fact #13: The 8 week+ unborn baby feels real physical pain during an abortion.
Yes, every abortion kills an innocent human being. Even more alarming is the fact that beginning at the 8th week of development, an unborn baby that is aborted feels pain during the abortion. The baby feels both psychological and real physical, organic pain. Let that sink in. Of course, whether or not abortion is a painful experience to the unborn child being aborted, the child is left no less dead as a result. In talking about the question of fetal pain, we must remember that it ultimately has no bearing on the morality of abortion.
Fact #14: Abortion is condemnable for the same reasons that slavery and genocide are.
Networks of killing centers across the globe are eliminating "unwanted, unborn" children at a staggering rate. Were the context not abortion, the world would be outraged. Call it what you want, when an innocent group of human beings is targeted and exterminated by the millions, that is an injustice on par with any of history's most egregious atrocities. At the end of the day, if the unborn are people (and they  are), then abortion is not only comparable to past crimes against humanity but is also, by sheer volume, the greatest holocaust of all.
Fact #15: Abortion is not a “women's only” issue.
Abortion affects both men and women.  Beyond that, abortion is a human issue, not a gender issue. If abortion kills innocent human life (it does), then everyone, male and female, should stand against it. One doesn't need to be a young girl to take a position against the sex trafficking of young girls, and one doesn't need to be a woman to take a position against abortion.
Fact #16: Every legal surgical abortion stops a beating heart and terminates measurable brain waves.
What do we call it when a person no longer has a heartbeat or brain waves? Death. It's a scientific fact that life begins at conception, but even more obvious; what should we call it when there is a heartbeat and there are brain waves? Life. It is an indisputable fact that each and every legal surgical abortion in America today stops a beating heart and stops already measurable brain waves.
Fact #17: The right to not be killed supersedes the right to privacy.
Some defend abortion by claiming that they have a right to privacy. Whether they have an abortion or not is between them and their doctor. Everyone else should stay out of their business. Of course, if abortion kills an innocent human being (it does), then killing done in private is no more acceptable than killing done in public; and the encouragement or assistance of a doctor does not change the nature, consequences, or morality of abortion.
Fact #18: Abortion disproportionally targets minority babies.
Whatever the intent of the abortion industry may be, by functional standards, abortion is a racist institution. In the United States, black children are aborted at 5 times the rate of white children and Hispanic children don't fare much better. Abortion is the leading cause of death among black Americans. We can debate the racial intent of Planned Parenthood past and present, but we cannot debate the results. Abortion is by no means an equal opportunity killer.
Fact #19: Abortion has become a form of gendercide, shrinking the global female population at an alarming rate.
On top of the fact that every abortion kills an innocent human being, abortion has also become the driving force in eliminating females around the globe. Estimates put the global gender gap somewhere between 100 and 200 million people. Abortion has become the most effective means of sexism ever devised, ridding the world of multitudes of unwanted females.
Fact #20: Laws concerning abortion have significantly influenced whether women choose to have abortions.
Some will concede that every abortion kills an innocent human being. They will also concede that society has a right to outlaw choices that harm innocent human beings. But even after conceding those points, some still do not favor more stringent abortion laws because they  think that they don't really work - there would still be too many abortions.  Historical data, common morality, and basic legal theory prove this line of thinking to be false. 
Selected content reprinted with permission from John C. Willke M.D., Barbara H. Willke R.N., John Jefferson
Davis Ph.D., David C. Reardon Ph.D., Abort73.com, Eternal Perspective Ministries, Abolish Human Abortion, Life Issues Institute, BlackGenocide.org, Heritage House '76, Inc. & The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform..



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