Saturday, July 18, 2015

Discord Among Brothers Standing for the Life of the Unborn

16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
   seven that are detestable to him: 
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
   and hands that shed innocent blood, 
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
   feet that hurry to run to evil, 
19 a false witness who pours out lies,
   and one who spreads strife among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19)

I was out at the Planned Parenthood in Aurora, Illinois this morning.  We regularly go out there each month.  Also there today, as usual for the third Saturday, were the Knights of Columbus praying the rosary, begging Mary's intercession to end abortion.

While they were praying someone from Abolish Human Abortion (AHA) was razzing them on his battery powered, loud megaphone.  He explained later to the person replacing him, also from AHA, that he had to yell things into his megaphone to keep him from throwing up as they were praying to a false god, etc. etc.

Two of the Knights came over to him after they finished praying the rosary, and explained that they understood he didn't agree with how they prayed, but could he please either move away or otherwise ignore them so they could pray in peace.  He said it was his right to say whatever he wanted.  Things escalated a bit--verbally, and a squad car drove up and honked loudly to get them to separate.  

I was standing on the clinic side, with information on the nearby pregnancy center and was pretty much staying out of it.  I didn't like what the AHA megaphone guy was saying about the Catholics or Mary, but I just ignored it because I wasn't there to argue.

The Knights and the others that prayed with them left.  The AHA guy did not, and continued to mouth-off citing scripture that doesn't exist to say how the Catholics were dark and he was salt and light.

Again I heard him, but ignored him.

Then he said, "God doesn't want them to pray the Hail Mary.  Their Hail Mary prayers just fall to the ground.  God doesn't hear their prayers.  Their prayers are as worthless as the ground they were standing on."

"No where in the Bible does it say Hail Mary."

That is when my adrenaline fired off, and I yelled.  "Yes it does!  How can you say that?  The angel Gabriel greeted Mary with 'Hail full of Grace.'  The rest of the prayer is from her sister Elizabeth, 'Blessed are you among women.'"

At this point, in their eyes, I became a lost soul in need of saving.  

Prior to this they assumed I was a Protestant since I am a chaperone for my kids' non-denominational Christian school's pro-life events.

I continued yelling, "You are ignorant saying these things.  You keep telling everyone what God says but you are not quoting anything that is actually in Scripture.  Most scary you are as bad as Naral or Planned Parenthood.  These people are on the same side of us.  Here praying to end abortion.  They are our brothers and sisters in Christ and you are judging them.  That is a terrible example for your children.  Do you know the Parable of the Steward that was forgiven much but could not show mercy?"

The second AHA guy came over to me.  I looked up and began reading beginning at Luke 1:26.  

He said, "That is an angel greeting her.  Are you an angel?  It doesn't say you should pray the Hail Mary in the Bible."

I said, "Where in the Bible does it say to not pray the Hail Mary?  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created Mary of all women to be the vessel to bring Jesus into the world.  It says Jesus will be the Son of the Most High God.  He is also the son of Mary.  You are going to have to answer one day for not honoring his Mother.  The Catholics are right to venerate her.  He gave her to be our Mother too as he hung on the cross."

He turned to John 3:3 and told me how I needed to be born again.

I yelled, "I am born again.  That is what Baptism is."

Then he turned to some other verse--I couldn't hear because he was shouting over me, but it was something about preaching a doctrine other than Christ.  Maybe 1 Timothy 6:3?  

"Catholics preach Christ.  Christ is the only mediator between us and God.  St. Therese taught her sisters to beg the Father to look at them through the holy face of Christ.  Here tell me what doctrine of Christ the Catholics don't preach and I'll check the Catechism for you."  

Him, "Do you think Mary never sinned?"

Me, "No she didn't.  She was preserved from sin from her conception. That is what full of grace means."

At this he walked back to the other side of the street.

Our group leader tried to get me to calm down, but the only thing that re-focused me was when a couple started walking into the Planned Parenthood and I wanted to try to get them the information on the free clinic.

I have a feeling I'll be counseled to not lose my cool again.  I failed this time.  I guess there is a way to gently disagree, but you have to admit, it is hard to do that with someone using a battery operated megaphone.

The policeman came by and talked to me and said remember what Paul said in Philippians about fighting among each other.  

I told him, "I don't like it either officer."

And he said, "Peace be with you."

I speed read the whole book of Philippians afterwards and didn't find the verse he mentioned, but I did find this one in 1 Corinthians 1

10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you should be in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you should be united in the same mind and the same purpose. (1 Corinthians 1:10)

So I failed to be a peaceful, gentle, meek witness today.  Did get to talk to one man whose wife was in for an abortion.  I told him to plead with her to please come to the Waterleaf clinic for a free ultrasound.  Not sure what happened with that. 

What do you think?  Would you have held your tongue?

Now if you use a version of the Bible other than the Douay Rheims it is true you are likely to just see Greetings, Favored One.  But this doesn't mean that is the correct translation from the Greek.

Please see

You'll find the the angel Gabriel's salutation to Mary: "Chaire, Kecharitomene" (translated in the Douay-Rheims and other Catholic versions as "Hail, Full of Grace" or "gratia plena" in the Latin Vulgate) is valid.
" 'Highly favoured' (kecharitomene). Perfect passive participle of charitoo and means endowed with grace (charis), enriched with grace as in Ephesians 1:6 . . . The Vulgate gratiae plena [full of grace] "is right, if it means 'full of grace which thou hast received'; wrong, if it means 'full of grace which thou hast to bestow' " (A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, p. 14)
"It is permissible, on Greek grammatical and linguistic grounds, to paraphrase kecharitomene as completely, perfectly, enduringly endowed with grace."(Blass and DeBrunner, Greek Grammar of the New Testament).

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Revelation -- ever ancient, ever new

"For thus says the Lord, who made heaven--this is the God who formed the earth and made it. He established it, and did not make it in vain, but formed it to be inhabited--'I AM, and there is no other. . . . I AM God, and there is no other besides Me; there is no righteous God and Savior in addition to Me. Return to Me, and you shall be saved, you who are from the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other. . . . Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning, nor did I speak in a dark place of the earth. When it took place, I was there, and now the Lord and His Spirit have sent Me. . . . I AM your God, who showed you how to find the way wherein you should walk. If only you had heeded My commandments, then your peace would be like a river, and your righteousness as a wave of the sea.'" (Isaiah 45:18, 21b-22, 48:16, 17b-18)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Meaning of Life?

The entire book of Ecclesiastes poses the question: what is the meaning of life? Then in the last 2 verses, the author gives us:
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, Whether good or evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

Quite similar to the words of the Glorified Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, in Revelation:
"Look, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me, to repay everyone as their deeds deserve. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who will have washed their robes clean (see. Rev. 7:14 -- washed clean in the Precious blood of the Lamb of God, Our Lord and Savior), so that they will have the right to feed on the tree of life and can come through the gates into the city. Others must stay outside . . . . fortune-tellers, and the sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters, and everyone of false speech and false life." (Revelation 22:12-15)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Freedom and Dependence

The 4th of July is the time that fortunate Americans reflect, celebrate, and if they are honest, thank God for the peace and prosperity that they enjoy.  It is pollyanna to think that that everyone is living free from grief, disease, tragedy, but relatively easy to think that we are the beneficiaries of God's Providence and the fruit of the sacrifice of men and women from revolutionary times forward, and left with one of the best foundations for beginning and governing a country.  I haven't seen America the movie yet, so I imagine there is more I might say.

As I was riding in on the train to work on Friday I thought about how little I've been thanking and intimately talking to God lately.  I prayed, visualizing the Presence of God, and realized my ingratitude and negligence.  I made the trek over to St. Peter's in the Loop (a.k.a. Chicago's downtown) for Confession and Mass.  St. Peter's has two Confessionals staffed most of the time.  I picked the one staffed by a Franciscan with an Italian last name.  I don't know why, I just did.

While I was waiting, the door shut on my side, I prayed for the priest, that he would truly be in persona Christi, "in the person of Christ" and that he would truly speak the words Christ, through the Holy Spirit, would give him for me.

How wonderful the Sacrament of Confession is.  Here we are receiving an individual audience with our Savior to receive His Forgiveness, to receive the healing and teaching from the Holy Spirit audible to our ears, as some of us, including me, lack the gift of hearing God speak audibly.

This isn't the first time I wrote the advice I heard in a confessional in a blog post, but when you are touched by love, healing, and light that helps with re-establishing an intimate relationship with our Lord and God, who is the great lover of our souls, it seems that advice should be shared.

"Spend some time dwelling on God's presence.  Think about the fact that any goodness or holiness in you comes from God's presence.  Any goodness, or holiness that you sense in others comes from God's presence."

Earlier on the train ride in I had read, "Since our Lord dwells in our soul, His prayer is ours." by St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

John--chapter 8, have you read that recently?  Several verses have been coming up for me lately, usually from KLOVE's Encouraging Word email that I receive everyday. As I peacefully alternated between reading John chapter 8 and napping at the pool yesterday (yes a lovely way to spend the 4th, and the first summer in many years that I could do this, as even the youngest child is a good swimmer now) these verses stood out.

"I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)

"I have told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he (the Son of God)." (John 8:24)

"If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8:31b-32)

"Jesus answered them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever.  So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.'" (John 8:34-36)

"Why do you not understand what I say?  It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.  You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and father of lies."  (John 8:44)

That last one seemed to help me make sense of the incredible, orchestrated deceptions of those who did not view the Hobby Lobby decision as a victory for religious freedom . . .  and defeating the rising tyranny of a government imposing its beliefs on others.  If someone in good conscience believes that destroying a fertilized egg before or after implantation in the womb is immoral, they should not be forced to contribute to it.  Those vociferous and deceitful talking heads claiming otherwise are really angry that they have been given a hurdle to imposing their views.  Ironically this is their main argument  . . . that Hobby Lobby and other corporations can now impose their views on their workers.

Photo: As our country celebrates Independence Day, we invite all believers to join us in saying the following prayer from the Priests for Life:


God our Father, your Son Jesus spoke to us a message of peace and taught us to live as brothers and sisters. His message took form in the vision of our Founding Fathers, as they fashioned a nation where all people might live as one. This message lives on in our midst as a task for us today and a promise for tomorrow.

We thank you, Father, for your blessings in the past, and for all that, with your help, we must yet achieve. Bless our nation and bless each of us. As we thank you for our independence, may we extend its blessings to our youngest brothers and sisters, the children in the womb. Hasten the day when our nation will be a nation with liberty and justice, not just for some, but for all, through Christ our Lord. 

Amen.Their second argument is that the "Science" as confirmed by the FDA says these are not abortion causing drugs.  They up the anecdotal claim that fertilized eggs fall through without implanting not 60%, not 75% but 80% of the time.  That is really hard to believe without a cross-reference to a medical study (and I have looked for them), but they keep increasing it so anyone that disagrees is cast as an uneducated, uninformed, religious bigot.  It's also hard to believe from my own experience.  Armed with the science behind Natural Family Planning's sympto-thermal method, my husband and I were pregnant with our first the second month of trying, and I had one period between my 1st and 2nd pregnancy, and no period between my 2nd and 3rd pregnancy.  My sincere apologies to those who suffer from infertility and do not know this ease of conception.

Their third argument is the classic, if you don't believe in an abortion causing drug, don't take one.  In similar reasoning, in WWII Germany the SS commanders of the concentration camps and even Hitler himself had no responsibility for the millions that were gased, because only those that turned the knobs or the switch (whatever the mechanism) were the ones that were guilty of those terminated by the toxic gas.  What a feeble argument.  Our country permitted slavery, legalizing all of African origin as less than a human being.  All that approved of that line in the constitution and fought on the side to maintain that practice have some moral responsibility for the injustice done to those who were enslaved.

If you read the book of Jeremiah, you find that God didn't just punish the parents that sacrificed their children to Moloch, the entire nation was punished by famine, disease, sword, and exile.

Further, If we don't stand up against injustice and evil we do bear some responsibility when it is perpetrated.

"Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more." Luke 12:48b

If we have the gift of faith, and conscience we are required to speak and stand against the lies and murder that comes from the devil, "a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him." (John 8:44)

"He who is of God hears the words of God; the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God." (John 8:47)

Therefore we should not be surprised when we hear lies, and we have an explanation for how some are able to justify killing of infants within the womb, and declare those opposed to this as "religious bigots who love the 'non-sentient' fetus more than the mother." That too is a lie.  Those of us that do go out to the clinics are not just there because we grieve the killing of the babies, but because we are viscerally aware of the long-lasting heartbreak, guilt, and regret that follow the woman as she exits the facility.  We also know that 75% - maybe 80%, who knows really (similar to the claims of fertilized eggs falling through without implantation) are coerced or otherwise arrive at the facility thinking that it is the only option for them.  The prayer and presence of the prolife people outside of the clinics is that the woman would talk to them and learn there are other options, not only to save the life of the unborn child, but to spare the woman of the deep and lasting pain that is germinated from the termination.

"Jesus said to them,  'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." (John 8:58)

Finally these words of Fr. John Bartunek from The Better Part on John 8:12-20:
Jesus himself, his person and his teachings, is the pillar of saving fire that shines throughout the entire world, leading whoever believes in him to the fullness of life itself. . . . Thoreau (wrote) . . . most men lead lives of quiet desperation, knowing that there is more to life, but unable to find it.  We walk in darkness, groping tentatively and anxiously - unless we have Jesus.  His example, his teaching, and his presence are a "lamp to our feet and a light to our path" (Psalm 119:105).  With Jesus, we know where we are going and how to get there.  Who are the people in history who have lived the most fulfilling, fulfilled, and fruitful lives if not the saints . . . ?  Only the saints (by walking the path of Christ's light) learn the secret of rejoicing in the midst of suffering; only they conquer the conundrum of how to be happy in a fallen world.
I am reading The Quiet Light, a novel about St. Thomas Aquinas.  I would like to add what St. Thomas wrote about that last highlighted part--the conundrum of how to be happy, believe and love God, seeking after him, in a fallen world, but this post is already longer than planned and longer than any but 1 or 2 will read!