Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Blogging hiatus

I won't be posting for a while here.  I did just post over at Community of Catholic Bloggers if you are interested in reading.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Quick Takes - Not Giving Up on Truth

  1., Snopes,, fact checker - claim to present facts but have been known to demonstrate some left-leaning, liberal bias.  And none have footnotes of the caliber you find on Wikipedia. I am really seeking an edited site that has facts cross-referenced and a credibilty score given to the reference source . . . e.g. if the source is an opinion or a claim vs. a fact. For example and used a candidate's campaign website as a source for proving or disproving a claim by an opponent. Sometimes the answer is for the site to just declare a claim and a counter-claim as noise since neither is based on record and only a detailed, defended plan passes a threshold of legitimacy versus an empty promise to satisfy a voting segment.

    Philippians 4:8 -

    Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
  2. Robert Feldman, author of The Liar in your Life, found in his research that two people, meeting for the first time, will lie to each other an average of three times in the first ten minutes of a conversation.

    Proverbs 12:22 -
    Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.
  3. Forget the politicians, who distort the truth in small and large ways in order to maximize votes. What about our friends, family, or better yet - me . . . how often do we lie? Why do we lie? Sure there are lots of degrees of "Not True".

     Remember when Happy Days (and other shows) would have a whole show premise being the difference in how the same event was remembered, with each reteller reshaping the telling to vindicate or augment the positive for how they acted?

    My own reflection is that we lie out of fear and distrust. Politicians lie because they fear their opponents will use the truth against them or that the people they want to vote for them are too uninformed, unintelligent, uneducated, selfish to appreciate their position relative to the truth.

    Proverbs 6:16-19
    There are six things which the LORD hates, seven which are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and a man who sows discord among brothers.
  4. Had to admit to myself that I had been sucked in by the bias of some of the pundits on Fox News channel, particularly Dick Morris and Karl Rove, to believe that the polls were incorrect, and Romney had a chance to pull out victories in the battleground states and the election.  Gallup has earned my respect.  I thought I was too educated to fall for hope over facts and polling science.  Nope.  I believed Dick Morris.  I rationalized that Conservatives had to be underrepresented in the polls because they are not home by a landline to receive a survey call.  Wrong, wrong!  Some of the articles on lying that I was scanning said that we are more likely to accept deceit as truth when it matches what we want to hear.
  5. Remember when you first hit the internet and you found out bulletin boards, discussion groups, chat rooms were a source of unlimited information, but then discovered that much of it was not from primary, or secondary, or any source worth believing?  We were taught in high school and college to develop critical thinking skills and research skills and not to accept claims at face value.

    Whether your source of information is friends, family members, teachers, professors, lawyers, doctors, Fox News, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, Newsweek, Time, US News and World Reports, your husband, your child you will universally find that the truth is misrepresented, contradicted, distorted and transformed into a non-truth . . . ok a lie.

    Even when it is on your side that it occurs, it is still pretty disappointing.  As recently as today one of my pro-life sources of news was reporting that Abortion is the most common surgical procedure in the U.S.  It doesn't state in the news report the source of the quote, nor in a footnote after the news report.  After good 20 minutes of googling I found the source was a 1981 Chicago Tribune article.  But this is 2012 and that fact is now 31 years old.  Plus, there is trend toward "chemical" vs. surgical abortions now.  It is so hard to get at the facts.

    Planned Parenthood opted out of doing an annual report for 2011.  Why?  Well why provide facts that are good ammunition in an election year, right?  How about President Obama multiple times claiming Planned Parenthood provides mammograms?  Isn't that a convenient lie to tell in October, breast cancer awareness month, when even my son's tackle football organization has to wear pink socks, pink shoelaces, and pink ribbon sticker on their football helmets?  Yes it is.  Lots of positive heartfelt emotion to trigger in the desired female voting block that has some experience with a family, or friend that has battled breast cancer, and is now painfully aware of the importance of mammograms in catching the disease early.  I am going to look into what fact checking sites there are, and give them some kind of credibility score.  I am hoping we can find a source that's first priority isn't convincing, just accurately reflecting the truth with as little distortion, bias, belief filter as possible.  I would prefer being told this is what I know and why I am sure of it instead of, this is what I know, this is what probably follows from that, and this is why you should agree with me that this is the conclusion.  Wouldn't you?

  6. John 18:38a - Pilate said to him (Jesus), "What is truth?"

    Why did Planned Parenthood spend $12 MILLION DOLLARS to re-elect President Obama and defeat pro-life candidates, and why did the PP President focus her daily efforts on campaigning rather than the business of Planned Parenthood?  These following answers that campaigning to protect government funding are mission critical to Planned Parenthood.
    • According to its latest report, in 2010 Planned Parenthood Federation of America performed 329,445 abortions. In 2009, the number of abortions was 332,278 and in 2008 the number was 324,008. The Guttmacher Institute (originally founded to be the research arm of Planned Parenthood but later becoming an independent body) reports that the total number of abortions in the United States in 2008 was 1,210,000.16 Therefore in 2008, PPFA provided approximately 27 percent of abortions in the United States.
    • Since the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, over 54,000,000 children have died from abortion in the United States. To put this number in context, this is more than twice the population of Texas in 2011, and is approximately 87 times the population of the District of Columbia in 2011. Almost every year has seen an increase in the number of abortions performed by Planned Parenthood, even as the nation’s abortion rate is decreasing.
    • According to estimates, a first trimester non-subsidized abortion costs approximately $550. As reported in their 2010 annual report, Planned Parenthood performed 329,445 abortions, yielding approximately $181,000,000 in revenue—solely from abortions performed that year. In contrast, Planned Parenthood made 841 adoption referrals in 2010.
    • While PPFA holds non-profit status, it continues to pull in a sizeable profit each year. In the annual report for fiscal year 2010, the organization claimed an excess of revenue over expenses of 18.5 million dollars.  In fiscal year 2009, the organization claimed an excess of revenue over expenses of $63 million; in fiscal year 2008, PPFA’s excess of revenue over expenses was $85 million. 
    • In addition to the financially profitable practice of performing abortions, PPFA’s 2010 annual report indicates that it received approximately 46 percent of its income from federal, state and local government grants and contracts. In other words, taxpayer dollars fund nearly half of PPFA’s budget. In 2010, $487,400,000 was paid to PPFA by the government.
    • While the federal government does not pay directly for elective abortions performed by PPFA, it appears to subsidize PPFA’s least lucrative component, family planning. By funding non-abortion services, the federal government essentially allows Planned Parenthood to cover overhead and other expenses, as it pursues a more lucrative and lethal business—abortions.
    • Planned Parenthood increasingly has benefited from state and government funding. In 1994, the group received approximately $163 million in state and federal tax dollars. By 2010, government funding for PPFA had almost tripled to $487 million. During this same period of time the number of abortions performed annually by the group increased from 133,289 in 1994 to 329,445 in 2010.
    • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by far, black Americans are the ethnic group having the greatest number of abortions. They composed only 12.6 percent of the population in the 2010 census, but a staggering 42% of total abortions in the U.S. for 2008, the latest year in which CDC abortion data were available.

      This last fact is the ultimate irony to me.  Our country was dead wrong when it legislated in our Constitution the evil of treating African slaves as 3/5ths of a person.  Our country is dead wrong in treating the infant in the womb as 0/5ths of a person.  The irony is our President is half African and his race is most impacted as a result of legalized abortion.  I used to hold hope that his wanting to be a historical figure like Lincoln would actually motivate him to realize this and correct the injustice.
  7. I am not giving up on the truth.

    Revelation 22:12-15
    "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.  Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and every one who loves and practices falsehood."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

You learn more from a defeat than a win

This is something I have especially realized from coaching.  I always enjoyed winning more as a player, a coach, or a parent of a player.  The tougher the contest, the more passionately I was involved in the game, the sweeter the victory, and alternatively the more emotionally wrenching the defeat.

After a win, just happiness, joy, congratulations.  Not much reflection.

After a loss, especially as a coach, I analyze, and research, and try to understand how it happened, what weaknesses we had in our game plan relative to the opponent's; what could be improved in our practices to turn the weaknesses realized in the loss into strengths.

I wasn't the coach or the player or the parent in this election.  My only job was to represent my faith, explain my positions and who I was supporting because of my beliefs, and then to pray fervently for the will of God to be done, that his favored candidates would be elected at local, state, and federal levels.

I didn't feel last night that this is what happened.  It was more wrenching this defeat, because I was so passionate and so hopeful and had done what was in my power to do.  What good is analyzing it going to do?

What I did learn again was how recuperative sleep can be.  I didn't drink last night.  I wanted to go to a movie but there wasn't anything worth watching.  I just went to bed after finishing Story of A Soul.  I had to force myself to read that.  I was so completely fed up with drudge, foxnews . . . . my little crutches during this election season.

I am glad I did.  The last thing I read was about St. Thérèse's dream where she has her head held in the hands of a deceased superior in her Carmelite order, and she is told that Jesus is very pleased with her, and with her little acts done with great love.  What a saint!

Last week I was a little disappointed that the new pastor for our local Catholic parish confused St. Teresa of Avila with St. Thérèse of Lisieux.  I love them both. We gave my younger daughter the middle name Therese in honor of both of these great saints, as well as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

What did I learn from this defeat?  I learned that my passions continue to get the better of me instead of God getting the better of me.  I was praying after Mass this morning and realized that the magnitude of sorrow and irritability I had last night as the election went the way I had hoped it wouldn't, showed me how far I am from who I might be and hope to be . . . someone like St. Thérèse whose passion for Our Lord was so well channeled into actually loving him in her small acts.  She wrote toward the end of her autobiography of how her soul was in peace and calm.

How different from my soul last night.  Here I am in my middle years and still my only solace from the personal defeats of my obsessiveness over polls, candidates, issues, and election results is that the Holy Spirit continues to find ways to show me what my weakness and failings are.

I can resolve anew to seek first the Lord's Kingdom (Matthew 6:33) within me . . . not in a detached way as advocating a philosophy or an engraving on the back of my iPad (and it is), but as the way I live each day of my life.

I have so little self-discipline.  That is a personal defeat.  Knowing that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit seems to tell me that I am in dire need for a greater out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, or I am making the wrong choices with my free will that is impeding his action in my life, in transforming my heart, or it is a thorn that God permits for me to realize how much more I need his grace.

"My strength is made perfect in weakness," is what he told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Just hoping Lord that you will give me the strength to follow where your Spirit leads and to please you.  I do place all my trust in you.

Monday, November 5, 2012

God please help the voters seek your will

I hope this malaise type feeling is passed by tomorrow night.  Just finished watching the documentary Bloodmoney.

Last Saturday we were attempting to do sidewalk counseling outside of an abortion clinic in Chicago's downtown.  There were very few women going in while we were there from 9-11 a.m., and the NARAL affiliated volunteer escorts did masterful job keeping them within the Bubble Law area (50 feet from the entrance of the clinic) so we could not attempt to offer the women love, non-judgmental hope and help.

I did see one couple who left the clinic, where the woman, girl really, probably late teens, was sobbing.  Really upset.  She would not let the guy with her put his arm around her.  I made the mistake of trying to pass him the brochure on Project Rachel, that has a picture of Jesus and, "Neither do I condemn you" on the front, and he pushed it away.  Essentially telling me, leave us, her alone.  I say it was a mistake because if the girl would have pushed me away i would have thought at least I tried to reach her instead of trying to reach her through the guy she already didn't want trying to console her.  Felt afterward like i had a lack of courage there.

I want a miracle.  I want that clinic to fall down like the walls of Jericho.  We didn't have any shofars with us, and I prefer if God would have the building demolished by his holy power when there is no one inside to be hurt or killed, but I just want it demolished.  It was strange because the Security guy that organizes these trips for my daughter's high school, for which I am a regular driver, chaperone, said he had the same thought.

He then told me how there was a Catholic group that did the exorcism prayers outside of a clinic that was subsequently shut down.  (I still think he doesn't realize that I am one of those Catholics.)  I used the google on my phone to find these prayers and began praying them alone.  No crumbled building to tell you about, but I hope that it was very unpleasant for the evil spirits milling about inside and outside that clinic while I was praying, and I hope a few of them were bound and cast into the abyss as a result of my prayers.

That brings us to the eve before this election.  I started today with Mass praying for tomorrow.  I would say I'm a bit depressed.  I have hope and faith, but the polls are so close.  I think I'll get out tonight to pray at our local Adoration Chapel too.

I was disappointed yesterday that our brave priests repeated some non-naming logic on how to vote, but stopped short of saying, "Let's be real people.  Obama is the most pro-abortion president in the history of this country.  If you want to defund Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion mill in the country, if you want to stop having federal funds overseas used for abortion, if you want to stop the administration that doesn't care about your Church's teachings or your rights of conscience, then DO NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA."

Our church had so few actually in attendance at our Divine Liturgy yesterday.  I think that bothered me too.  It should be packed.

Enough about shoulds.  Reminds me of that quote of Jesus's (NOT that I am righteous, but that my Lord is righteous and I get his quote), "O unbelieving and perverse generation . . . how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?" (Matthew 17:17)

I know many of you are just as concerned tonight as I am.  We are told to not worry.

St. Padre Pio:
“Pray, hope, and don’t worry! Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer. Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is the key to God’s heart. You must speak to Jesus not only with your lips but with your heart. In fact, on certain occasions, you should speak to Him only with your heart.”

"Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:6-7

Sorry about my anxiety, Lord.  Thank you that we live in a country that has elections.  Please keep them fair and honest.  Please grant that the candidates you want to win, that humble themselves before you and seek to govern according to your will, win the elections tomorrow.  Please grant that those who vote will have the grace and integrity to vote according to the consciences you gave them, according to the natural law you have written upon their hearts.  Please, if it is your will, let Obama and every other pro-abortion, pro-Planned Parenthood candidate up for election tomorrow be defeated.  In Jesus Name, Amen

In case you are a Catholic that takes exception to Romney making exception for abortion in the cases of rape, incest, life of the mother please consider the following.  I agree with you that abortion is not a solution for rape, that it actually compounds the trauma, and makes it even a deeper wound to heal. I also think, based on the testimony of a converted abortionist, that doctors have the skills and creativity to avoid ever needing to make that choice between the baby's life and the life of the mother.

I do think it is morally sound to vote for Romney, but I think the author of this article makes that case clearer than I could.

"Even the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which was previously the research arm of Planned Parenthood, reports that only .3% of all U.S. abortions are done for reasons of rape, .03% because of incest, .1% because of a threat to the mother’s life, and 98% for mostly reasons of preference. So, the Romney-Obama election is between a man who favors that fewer than .5% of the 1.2 million abortions in the U.S. each year should be legal and one who favors that 100% of them should be."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What about their rights?

If you have had an abortion, and suffer from post-traumatic abortion pain, there is hope and help at Project Rachel's website

If you have been raped and are being pressured into an abortion, or considering whether to abort, please see

If you are suffering from either having had an abortion, rape, rape conception I have to warn you my passion on this issue (as obvious from overuse of font enhanced emphasis throughout) may have resulted in thoughts being conveyed in ways that will upset you. This is not intended.

Our "Witness to Life" activities are multiplying at my daughter's high school.  This is the group that I ended up being a regular driver and chaperone by chance (definition 7:  Holy Spirit's orchestration).  Instead of just the one Saturday trip to the Planned Parenthood in Aurora, Illinois - which was the largest abortion facility opened in the United States when it opened (since then this evil organization has opened larger facilities) we are now also visiting a facility in downtown Chicago.

Before I start what I hope to be a persuasive, fact filled, inspired rant, I wanted to relay a couple of heart-touching incidents from this past Saturday when we went to the Abortion Clinic at I-90 - "the Kennedy" and Washington Boulevard in the Chicago Loop (downtown Chicago).

  • Six escorts were out in yellow traffic vests, and they were replaced at regular intervals by other escorts.  The escorts have their own website and a location for food, beverages, and wind-down after a volunteer shift is completed.  They started immediately telling our high school kids where the 50 feet ended so they wouldn't be in violation of the 50 foot bubble law.  This is a local law that limits the location of free speech to 50 feet + 1 mm (I guess), for the safety of the employees, patrons, and pro-life activists.  Problem is they were inaccurate with what they told our team.  I was ready to set up our sidewalk counselors just past where the escorts told us but the sidewalk counseling woman that had been out there for 3 hours previous, shook her head no.  She said, "I have a measuring tape in my car.  Let's find out where it really is."  One of the escorts said, "I have a better idea.  Let's have the Police come and measure it for you."  I told her "Go ahead and get the measuring tape, I'll help you."  It was about 50 feet in from where the escorts told us, which was one problem.  Second problem was I accidentally bonked the other sidewalk counselor in the head when I was helping to roll the tape back up.  I got this email on Monday from the brave woman with the measuring tape pictured below (also pictured is the escort in front of the door in a pose):
    • Thank you so much for coming. I have been wanting to measure 50 feet in front of the escorts for the longest time.

      Attached is the flier we made up. Blessings to you and all your students

  • Our girls, sidewalk counselors, range in bravery, but every single one of them is brave, and self-sacrificing as they are often getting up within 3 or 4 hours to make it to one of these early Saturday morning events.  One of them asked an escort, why she decided to do this.
    • The escort, a woman about my age, articulate, and filled with confidence said, "Because something happened to me once where I had to have an abortion.  I was raped and it was necessary for me to get an abortion because I should not have to deliver the rapist's baby."
    • I explained privately to our girls, that might be her view, but there are also rape victims who are in the pro-life movement that regret that family and friends encouraged her to have an abortion and that it compounded the trauma.  I didn't express my cynical thought that this might be another inaccuracy handy for young, impressionable teenage pro-life activists to make them rethink how they are spending their Saturday morning.
    • Later, shortly before we left, the same two girls went up to the escort and told her, "We are really sorry for what happened to you.  Is there anything you would tell girls that might protect them from something like that happening to them?"
    • The escort went up to them and hugged them both!
    • They could have been cynical, or uncompassionate, instead they assumed this was a wounded woman and they wanted her to know that they did care about her.  It was a stronger testimony than when I heard a counselor at the Aurora clinic yell to the escort there (they only had one; there were 6 at all times present at the Loop clinic), "You are beautiful on the outside.  Why don't you get beautiful on the inside by repenting of your sin, being complicit in the killing of innocent babies."  Her heart was strong too, but have to think my girls, one of whom was my daughter . . . who is not the bravest sidewalk counselor, had a bigger impact reflecting the compassion of Christ than the woman proseltyizing from the curb of the Planned Parenthood parking lot.   Her intentions were similar to our girls, but her method was different.  The Holy Spirit can certainly use both methods!
    • I don't know if that woman was honest with our girls.  She used absolute language and was very quick on the draw with her story, which I don't have anything that traumatic to tell, but seems like wouldn't be that easy to tell to two strangers.  It doesn't matter though.  They touched her heart regardless.
  • A teenage black girl and her mother or aunt (don't know) pulled over to an escort to ask where to park.  I was the closest so as the escort blocked off the whole passenger window with her body, I held out with my hand the brochure with the title "Pregnant?  Worried?"
    • The older woman in the driver seat was shaking her head no, as she edged away from the escort.  I said to the girl in the passenger seat, "Hi, I am not here to judge you. I am hear to love you.  You don't need to talk to me.  Here is something you might want to take and read."
    • The escort said, "She'll love you now, but will she love you after?  We will."
    • I said, "Of course, I'll love her after."
    • The girl shook her head initially, then stuck her hand out the passenger window to take the pamphlet.
So here are my questions - we are told often by advocates for free, available, tax subsidized abortion facilities and abortions that the woman has the right to choose.  Here are some other obvious and not so obvious people that should have rights but do not currently in our country, and the disregard for their rights is increasing under the current president (Obama the one that needs to be defeated), and as bad as the HHS regulations are now, is their any question that things could get even worse in a second term?
  1. The one most pressing on my heart and thoughts:  What about the girl that is being forced to have the abortion?  This is what I suspect when I see an older man, Dad?, driving in a teenage girl that is crying, weeping really, in the passenger seat when she is being driven into the Planned Parenthood parking lot.  Where are her rights, not to mention the rights of her unborn child?  Is this the decision she has come to after careful deliberation and/or prayer, or is it the snap, angry, "I'll fix this for you, dammit!" decision of her Dad?  Maybe she would prefer to not have the experience replayed in her mind, the post-trauma memories reawakened, the thoughts of what might have been for her child coming into her mind if she might have given the child up for adoption or left home, found help and found a way to give the child life and provide for the child?

    I imagine it is natural for her to want to trust her Dad and go with his decision, but what if she doesn't have the right to say, "No, Dad.  I can't.  It is my body, and the baby is growing in my womb.  It is my decision, Dad, not yours.  I need time to think and talk to others about this."  Please see related story below related to Grandma's rights.

    I wanted to let you know, there was an incident two months ago at the Planned Parenthood in Aurora where a woman was lying on the surgical table when she said, "Is it too late to not go through with this?"

    She was told, "No, it isn't too late."

    The woman, got up, got dressed, walked out, and then talked to a counselor and went to Waterleaf, the nearby free women's center for help.  Praise God!
  2. What about the Father's rights?  Sometimes the man that fathered the child doesn't even know that he has made a girl pregnant.  Sometimes in the case of incest, rape (and all rape is legitimate rape!) the man doesn't deserve to know.  How about the other cases though?  Why is it that the woman has so many more rights than the father?  What if he just needs her to take care of herself for the remaining 8 months of pregnancy and deliver the baby and then he will take care of and provide for the child, or he is willing to bear the brunt of the effort of finding adoptive parents.  Why doesn't he have any rights?  As one of our girls yelled to a man walking a woman in to the abortion facility, "Men mourn lost fatherhood."
  3. What about the Grandma or Grandpa's rights?  Here is a story that combines the power of prayer with the rights of the young mother with the rights of the Grandma (yes, I know I haven't mentioned the right to life of the unborn child . . . that one is the most obvious, but bear with me.)  This story, which you would do well to share on FB or a post tells how a girl was being pressured into an abortion immediately after telling her father with no other options allowed, and the Grandma took it upon herself to pray prostrate, all night in her dining room.  The answer to her prayer: the young Mom, 16 and a junior in high school, was given the option of adoption or abortion.  She chose life and adoption for her baby girl, who was adopted into a Christian family and is now friends and co-worker with her Mom in the pro-life movement.  You will like this story:  The picture shows how the two now look like sisters, since the Mom was so young when she had the baby.  Here is the Grandma's note to her grown-up Granddaugther (Alisha) concerning her intercession for the life of her great-granddaughter (Katie):
    “I remember years ago you told me that Alisha’s decision had to be made by the morning… but what I haven’t told you before was that I laid face down on my dining room floor and prayed with all my being for that precious infant’s life… and I feel so blessed to see the complete fulfillment of that prayer…first, by being present at the hospital just after Katie was born to see her ‘physical’ life, but also seeing her now…a life abundantly beautiful! And I am so overjoyed to see YOUR joy, because I know that it was not easy for a lot of years. God is good…VERY good!”
  4. What about the rights of the individual taxpayer that would not like tax dollars funding facilities that perform life termination on defenseless babies within the wombs of their mothers and consider this an evil practice on par with child sacrifice to Moloch in the Old Testament (part of the reason God gave through Jeremiah for letting the Babylonians destory Jerusalem, and the Temple)?  What you now consider me a fundamentalist, extremist quoting Biblical mythology?  The opposite is true:  it is extreme and opposes truth to not read the Bible, inclusive of the Old Testament as the inspired Word of God and treasure the fact that God reveals himself and what he loves and what he hates through the words of the Prophets, and his actions, whether it was to bring forth Isaac from Sarah's post-menopausal womb, deliver Daniel from famished lions, or to permit the destruction of thousands of Israelites and their temple because they worshipped Molech and sacrificed their children to this false god.  Did you know they banged drums to drown out the cries of the infants as they were burned so that the parents would not be able to hear them?  "When a child was sacrificed to Moloch, a fire was lit inside the statue. The priests would then beat loudly on drums and other objects so that the cries would not be heard."  Similar to the woman being anesthetized for surgical abortions, isn't it? 
  5. 21 Weeks from Conception:  Samuel grasps doctor's finger
  6. Women are anesthetized but the babies undergoing the procedure that will painfully destroy their life do not receive anesthesia.  In contrast, if a baby is operated on in utero they are given anesthetic  Forget about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, what about the unborn baby's right to not suffer a painful death where the only mercy shown is quickness so as to maximize the number of revenue generating abortions that can be performed on a given day, by a given abortionist, in a given facility?!  Yes it is all sad, but if this doesn't upset you, compel you to pray and use your voice and presence to stand-up for the rights of the unborn, what will?
Did you know? (Planned Parenthood 2009-2010 Annual Report via
In addition to its $320.1 million in clinic income and $223.8 million in private donations, Planned Parenthood receives $487.4 million dollars a year from taxpayers. And that number is drastically increasing. Taxpayer funding for the abortion giant has more than doubled in the last decade.

This increase is in part due to the fact that it is now reporting the numbers a little more honestly. For the first time, Planned Parenthood is reporting revenue from Medicaid as revenue from the government, taxpayers. Its latest report states, “In past reports, payments from Medicaid managed care plans have appeared as ‘health center income’ rather than ‘government grants and contracts’ ….”
So now that Planned Parenthood has graciously decided to stop under reporting the money it takes from taxpayers, we can see more fully, how much Planned Parenthood relies on the Government. Over 46 percent of its $1 billion total annual revenue comes from the government – from our tax dollars.
What about our right of conscience?  No where in the Constitution or Declaration of Independence does it state the federal government needs to ensure the right of a woman to terminate the life of the child in her womb through the misappropriation of other people's tax or health insurance dollars.  Yet that is what we are being told, and were inundated with during the Democratic National Convention.  I hope that the consciences of those that are lovers of God, and thankful for the gift of his Son, his Son's redeeming death on the cross, and the gift of the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus are troubled like mad trying to reconcile how it is still OK to vote for the presidential candidate that is ensuring more funding from conscientious objectors who do feel killing innocent children in the womb is evil. 
We believe in the God-given right to life and that a woman's choices, once pregnant with a child, do not justly include the right to terminate the life of the child within her.  Her rights to not have to take care of herself and the baby, not have to endure the discomforts (and joys) of pregnancy and child birth do not logically, or justly, nor in the eyes of God as reflected in the Fifth Commandment:  Thou shall not murder trump the child's right to the health and safety of her womb to prepare for birth, nor the right to life, love, and care once born to pursue life, liberty, and happiness like the rest of us.
Why do some rape and incest victims say "abortion was not a good solution and I would not recommend it to others"?
  • "I was an innocent victim of a horrible crime.  I was not to blame for what the rapist did to me.  But in choosing to abort, to kill the innocent child growing within me, I lowered myself to the level of the rapist." victim of rape
  • "After the abortion, I wanted to die.  How could I live when I had just ended the life of my child?  The negative feelings resulting from the rape were not eliminated by the abortion.  Nothing was solved; instead, the grief was now doubled." victim of rape
  • "Like any woman in a crisis pregnancy, a pregnant sexual assault victim might welcome an instant answer to her problem.  But abortion is too permanent an answer to a temporary problem.  Abortion may sound compassionate--even noble--but it isn't." victim of rape
  • "Making it through the pregnancy is a way for a victim to overcome the abuse.  The selfless act of giving birth is proof that she is better than her attacker."  counselor to rape victims who choose life

Did you know? (Sandra Mahkorn, "Pregnancy and Sexual Assault." The Psychological Aspects of Abortion (Malls and Watts 1979), 53-72.):
  • Two major studies of pregnant rape victims found that 3/4 of these women chose to give birth.
  • None of the women who gave birth said they did not want their children or wished they had aborted instead.
  • Of those who aborted, nearly half did so because of the demands of others.
  • 94% of women who gave birth said abortion would not be a good solution to a pregnancy resulting from rape.
  • 93% of those who had abortions said it "had not been a good solution to their problems" and they "would not recommend it to others in their situation."
Finally, Thank God (!!!) that Romney did well last night.  I don't know about you, but this is proof to me that God heard mine and others' intense prayers that God's favor would be upon him, and that he would have the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to do very well in the debate.  Given that I was rather disheartened by his RNC nomination acceptance speech, thought he seemed a bit plastic, and his doing phenomenally better last night, how could I not be thanking and praising God for answering prayers?  I know not everyone considers him the perfect candidate, so I will tell you I do include, "if it is your will" when I pray.  

Will you join me in continuing to pray for the defeat of Obama's re-election efforts and continued help from God for Romney and Ryan to continue to do better than their human best in the campaign for the leadership of this country?

Pat Buchanan, "Romney did even better than Reagan ever did."

What?  Pat would know, and yes, prayer is powerful!  Romney wasn't perfect, but he was really outstanding, and Obama was just OK.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Extra Credit

Obviously proper capitalization and spelling were not required to get 6 points of extra credit.  He got 106 on this test.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's A Shame Protestants Don't Get Mary

By  Pietro Perugino (c. 1446/1450–1523)

John 19:25b-27

25 . . .Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ 27Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

Catholics with devotion to the Mother of Jesus, believe fervently that in these most generous words, in the midst of his torment, that Jesus was not merely telling John to take care of Mary because he was dying, but that he was giving Mary to be John's Mother, and our Mother.  That in this action he established her as the Spiritual Mother for all of us that make up his Mystical Body.  Those of us that have experienced her love, her powerful intercession have no doubts whatsoever that this is what he intended, and that any mere literal reading of his words is regretful on the largest scale imaginable.

We know by experience of the love of God expressed through the love of the Mother he gave to us, the rich truth and deep meaning of the following passages:

Luke 1:46-55, 68-75

46And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.50His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.51He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 

Luke 2:33-35

33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34Then Simeon* blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

We know that Mary's soul truly does magnify the Lord.  She is blessed, all generations have called her blessed, not because of a violation of the 1st Commandment to worship none but God, but because God looked with favor on her lowliness, and did these great things for her, and it is part of God's holiness that he did so.  It is part of his mercy to those of us who fear him from all generations that he looked with favor on his handmaid.

Reading scripture alone, we don't know what exactly had all been revealed to Mary about her son, that was also God's beloved Son.  This may have been the first time it was revealed to her in poetic terms the suffering she would bear as part of her vocation.  "A sword will pierce your own soul."  We now know, some helped by the movie the Passion of the Christ, how horrific this soul piercing sorrow was.

There is a promise that comes with that prediction.  "So that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed."  Do you know what this means?  I don't fully.  It is part of the metaphysical realities we will not grasp until we enter in the Glory of Our God after death.  Still, I can't explain it, but I know when I am talking with Mary, without vocalizing or writing my words down that she can hear me.  The thoughts of my heart are revealed to her.  I don't know if this is a gift to her or if it is part of the ongoing relationship between her and the Holy Spirit.  I just know that it is true.  

Some of us have also read the role that Mary played in the lives of our favorite saints, like St. Faustina and St. Therese, who wrote, "Mary, is more mother than queen."  St. Therese knew Mary at the age of 12 as the Mediatrix of all Graces.  She credited her with her healing from a serious childhood illness with a smile from their family statue of Our Lady of Victory.

Part of what drives me to write this post is the sadness I felt when one of the girls I drove to our High School's monthly Witness to Life outside of the Aurora, Illinois Planned Parenthood, made a statement mocking one of the Catholics praying to Mary.

I used to vehemently protest when Protestants, or their school books say that Catholics "pray to Mary".  I would go back to what the priests and nuns told me, "We don't pray to the saints and Mary, we pray with them."  Mary, as Jesus's Mother, is a most powerful intercessor.  He didn't refuse her at the wedding at Cana and he doesn't refuse her now.

John 2:1-9

2On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ 4And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ 5His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ 6Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it.9When the steward tasted the water that had become wine . . . 

Then I started thinking about it, having the benefit of Google that I didn't have as a 2nd grade religion student, I googled pray to Mary and found the criticism stems from praying the words of the Angel Gabriel "Hail Mary, full of grace" 53 times during praying of the rosary, versus 12 prayers addressed to either Our Father, or Glory Be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  

I still prize the simple faith I had as a child and the zeal I defended the rosary along these lines, but I also have to reconcile the truth.

We do pray the rosary.  We do pray the greeting of the Angel Gabriel to Mary at the Annunciation 53 times while praying the rosary.  When we ask Mary to pray for us, isn't that request, reverent and full of confidence a type of prayer?  I think it is.

Still we do not worship Mary.  Mary holds special place of reverence higher than any of the saints or angels and is only second in holiness among humans to Jesus, her Son, who was directly conceived by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit.  He is the Son of God.  He is true man, and true God. 

God, inclusive of the three persons of the Holy Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is far above Mary, but Mary is above all of the creation and created spirits and humans.  God created her to be the vessel through whom He became incarnate on his mission to redeem us.  What Protestants do not realize is that in saying those most generous and kind words in the midst of his death agony on the cross, he was also setting up that Mary would be the vessel through whom God's grace would come to us for all time.

One morning when I did not rush off to work, I watched Journey Home on EWTN and saw the testimony of a former Presbyterian who converted to Catholicism at Notre Dame (where I went to school) and also is now serving as a Roman Catholic priest at a parish about 10 miles from my home.  He said many beautiful things about how the Eucharist drew him, but like most Protestants on that show, Mary is usually the final sticking point before their conversion.

He said that what was incongruous with what he was taught about Mary, that she was an idol worshipped in place or alongside of Jesus, a clear violation of the 1st Commandment, was that those he knew with devotion to Mary were the same individuals that he knew to be most strongly and passionately devoted to Christ.  This common sense observation led him to understand the truth that Mary leads us deeper into a saving, and life-giving, transforming relationship with her Son, through the Holy Spirit, to the Glory of God the Father.  She does magnify the Lord to us.  

Personally I have faith in Mary's intercession as strong as my faith that the sun will rise tomorrow in the east, and set in the west, and that Sunday will be the first day of next week, and Saturday the last.  I credit this most loving, most tender, most compassionate, and most efficacious of all mothers with the fact that my husband and I are still married 22 years now, despite what at times has experienced the intense lows, and periods of emotional pain that would no doubt have ended many other marriages that did not have the benefit of recourse to Mother Mary.

Father Corapi said in one of his televised talks that Mary is like EF Hutton.  When she talks the Lord listens.  He said further that she is like the world's best stock broker.  We can take our little intercessory prayers to her with what little merit we might have and she takes them and leverages her great standing with the King so that we gain the help we need because of her.  This is similar to what Scott Hahn teaches about Mary being similar to the "Queen Mothers" of the kings of Israel, whom the Bible records had great influence with the king.

St. Kolbe talked about it being God's will that his awesome presence enter the world and mankind through his vessel, the lowly, beautiful handmaid, Mary, Israelite descendant of King David.  He said it is still his good pleasure that our prayers go through her to him and that his graces pass through her to us.  

This is again metaphysical territory that I am no expert in, and am happy going back to my 2nd grade nun's explanation of "mystery".  I just know I love her, and I know how much she loves me, and all of us . . . having seen the terrible price her son suffered to open the gates of heaven to us, and that she will do everything to aid us . . . in the most important things . . . . following the will of God in our lives so as to follow Christ's command to be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect by pursuing holiness, and in the more temporally important things like the sickness of a child, the brokenness of a marriage, the wayward son or daughter or husband.  She loves us and IS our mother.  We should expect no less and go to her with confidence.

Mary is also our example as we also hear from her son!  She isn't just the example to women, or to virgins, or to mothers like me, she is the example and role model for all of us.

She treasured, and pondered in her heart every word of God that came into her life . . . not just what Simeon said to her above, but also what Jesus, at the age of 12 said to her when she and Joseph found him after three days of searching, in the temple.

Luke 11:27-28

27 While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!’ 28But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!’

Mary heard the word of God and obeyed it.

Luke 1:38
38Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the handmaid of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

I don't know how to say a couple sentences to persuade the girl in the back of my van, the daughter of a Baptist pastor to give Mary a chance.  I should ask for Mary's intercession on that one too.  What a shame she has not been taught how Mary's soul magnifies the Lord for us.  Instead many Protestants emphasize the other part of that passage, when Mary rejoices in God my Savior.  They say that proves she was not sinless because she was in need of a Savior.  If they go the sola scripture route, as illogical and non-scriptural as that is:  

2 Thessalonians 2:15

15So then, brothers and sisters,* stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.

. . . then they cannot believe the dogma that Mary was Immaculately Conceived without the stain of original sin due to the merits of the Son she was designed by God to carry in her womb, and raise as her little boy.  The emphasis on that untruth, hides the beauty of the actual truth, Mary's role is to give us the graces to grow in holiness and in a loving relationship with her Son, Our Redeemer.  He is Our God, and she helps us to rejoice in Him along with her!

When my parish priest prays over me sometimes after giving me absolution, he sometimes prays, "Lord, here is your handmaid."  I don't deserve to have that name handmaid applied to me since it is the name Mary used for herself in response to the angel, but it is very powerful to me when he does.  He reminds me that I am to follow in Mary's path of humility and obedience.  It helps that I also get the message when the penance he gives me involves several Hail Mary's because it is through the grace she releases to me that I manage any trace of humility and express any semblance of love and tenderness toward her Son and to those he suffered and died to save.

God Bless You!  Mary, Our Lady of Victory, pray for us, pray for our children, and for our country!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Impossible to Overstate the Love God has for Us

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." Jesus in Matthew 6:3
Scott Hahn in the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible commentary writes, "Those who recognize their need for God and his grace . . . find their security in the Lord and rely on his mercy rather than their merits."

I don't think this is merely a promise for the end of time, after the last judgement or after our own personal judgement and meeting with Jesus after our death, I think we find the Kingdom of God within ourselves when we realize our powerlessness, our inadequacy, our ineffectiveness, our inability to bear fruit despite what others might say about our natural gifts and talents, unless we are rooted in the confidence, trust, and awareness of the magnitude of God's love for us.

The Holy Spirit has been teaching me this for the past several weeks.  What patience the Counselor has with me!  One of our priest's in the homily on August 12, 2012 on Matthew 18:23-35 explained how ridiculous the servant was to the master saying that he would pay back everything.  The NIV says the debt was ten thousand bags of gold.  The NRSV says ten thousand talents, and in the Oremus online reader there is a mouseover footnote that reads, "A talent was worth more than fifteen years’ wages of a labourer."  Our priest explained that there was no way that the servant could repay his master.  It was ridiculous for him to make this promise as he fell prostrate before him begging for patience.  He could never repay the debt. 

The priest also explained that many times in Scripture the word debt is used in place of the word sin.  And this is why in one version of the Our Father  we pray or sing, "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors."  Still the real debt is the inability we have to repay the great love God has for us.  This is our poverty, our wretchedness, our nothingness that we read about in the writings of our beloved saints.

The priest explained that the worst thing to happen in this world is not losing your job.  It is not getting diagnosed with cancer (and he knows what that is like).  It is sin.  And what is sin?  Sin comes from the prideful, self-absorption that moves us from the natural gratefulness and returning love for love that should be so natural to us if we consider the tender love and mercy God has for us.  Sin is choosing and seeking our own will and desires apart from God.  It is losing the humility and trust that should come so natural to the state of being the mere children we are, and instead following the example of our first parents, Adam and Eve, that lost that humility and trust when tempted to vanity and pride with Satan's promise, "to be like God." (Genesis 3:5)  That was the lie the serpent told, that we mere children could be like God, deciding good and evil based on what suits us.

I read once, in one woman's infertility blog, that it is an often repeated, but fallacious saying that God only gives us what we can handle.  (It is a variation on the actual scripture verse that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear and without a means of escaping the temptation. 1 Corinthians 10:13) Instead he gives us more than we can handle because this drives us to Him.  God does this with me in my worklife, in my marriage, with my children, with the mental health of my parents.  No doubt he does this with you too.

Without this overburdening, how rarely do I come out of my habitual self-absorption, and mental preoccupiedness (is that a word?), and come to him as David, his anointed prophet and King did so readily?  Instead, sadly, how often do I rely on my own thinking, or even consultation with those around me rather than simply acknowledging my own poverty and need for Him.  King Saul was also anointed and blessed by God, but instead of asking God when he should attack he consulted soothsayers angering God.

I've learned a few things this morning that you are probably aware of, but might appreciate the reminders:
  1. We are all poor in spirit, the question is whether we realize it or not
  2. Jesus is drawn to the weakest and poorest, to those who realize they are weak and poor, and to those who don't realize the truth that they are weak and poor (that covers most all of us, doesn't it?)
  3. I need to contemplate regularly what God has done for us
  4. I need to remember Jesus is everywhere present and longs for me to make the effort of will to come to him directly, relying on Him with all the trust he always expects from me
  5. Jesus wants me to realize that just as he is filled with compassion and love for me, he expects me to follow in his footsteps, certain of the power of his love, opening my eyes and heart to the people around me---seeing their needs and reaching out to them as he has reached out to me.  He tells me, "Let your heart overflow to those who come near you."
Here's a scripture to help you through the rest of this post.  When I need several weeks to learn something the Holy Spirit is teaching me, the result is not a quick read!
"Better gain wisdom than gold,
choose understanding in preference to silver.
Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
Those who listen to instruction find happiness;
whoever trusts Yahweh is blessed." Proverbs 16:16,18,20

From He and I:
Gabrielle:  I should so much like to do something for You!  Even in giving all of myself, I give you nothing.  What can I do?"
Jesus:  Come to me.  Rely on me with all the trust I always expect from you.  Come to me directly; I'm waiting for you.

Since I am yours, you are rich.  You are only poor when you count on yourselves and expect to act in your own unaided strength.  How destitute you are then!

But if you lay hold of My merits with humility and hope, what a priceless fortune is yours?

Who is anything beside the infinitely great God?  And you, particularly chosen to be showered with blessings, you are nothing but wretchedness.  I feed this wretchedness every morning with my Eucharist because I want to keep you in My friendship, for I am drawn to the weakest and the poorest.  Give me everything that you blame in yourself, since I am the One who transforms even the ugliest, the lowest into the gold of My Glory.  How?  By love. (from May 9, 1946 and April 26, 1946)

"The secret to perseverance in friendship with Christ is to draw our satisfaction not primarily from what we do, but from what God has done for us, and that requires the daily mental discipline of directing our thoughts again and again to God's goodness, cultivating an attitude of gratitude." (#186, meditation on Luke 10:13-24)

Again from He and I:
Jesus:  Follow me everywhere . . . . Let your heart overflow to those who come near you . . . . My poor little girl, enriched by my riches alone, may you be careful not to think that you are worth anything by yourself.  May you be conscious of your power through my power.

Tell Me that you are beginning to be more certain of the power of My love, although you know you are unworthy.

Tell Me this to comfort Me for the ones who do not believe. . . . Let us make an alliance between your poverty and my riches.  Never fail to lean on Me.

Have no confidence in yourself for even a moment.  Where would it lead you?

You don't think often enough that I am everywhere, that nothing exists where I am not present.  Think of this.  It will help you reach me.  One thing only I ask of you:  oneness with Me.  We are united in the morning in my Eucharist, let us not be separated by your indifference; it leads to constant mind-wandering.  When people are in love they never stop thinking of the beloved, do they?  Then what should I conclude if you don't think of Me?

Say to Me, "Have pity on me.  I am nothing but a poor sinner."  Believe it and I'll be moved to pity.  

Consider your nothingness.  If you could see it, you would be terrified if you didn't know My tender mercy.  Try to grasp the poverty of your soul, its destitution.  The you in you is nothing.  The vision of yourself as you are would be terrible for you if you couldn't count on my merits.  Make this your consolation in the meditation on my passion.  Look upon Me and discover My obedient death, accepted with the sweetness of My entire Being. (April 26, 1946; Holy Thursday - April, 1946, March 22, 1945)

8 He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. 9 For which cause, God also hath exalted him and hath given him a name which is above all names: 10 That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: 11 And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. 12 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only but much more now in my absence) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.13 For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will. 14And do ye all things without murmurings and hesitations: 15 That you may be blameless and sincere children of God, without reproof, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation: among whom you shine as lights in the world. (Philippians 2:8-15)

And still more from He and I:
Jesus:  Will you ever comprehend My sensitivity and how your every tender and compassionate thought thrills My heart?  But even if you don't understand very well, even if your love never gets beyond the stage of trial, I always take into consideration the earnest effort of your will, and this is My delight . . . .

My poor little girl, I love the nothing that you are so much that if you give me permission, I take up all the room in you.

Lose yourself in Me.  Surrender yourself.  Fade out of your own thoughts.  Enter into my eternal being and move and have your being in me. (April 10, 1947)

Finally in the midst of the homily on August 12, and the readings and learnings that concluded this morning, I received some helpful spiritual insights from our friend Patricia, between her comments on my comments on her blog and an email she sent me.  I don't think she'll mind me sharing these since much of the reason she blogs is to share these same insights with whomever might find them.

"Some people pass their whole lives without realizing how great God's love for them is.  How blessed are we, Colleen, to know and to believe in His Love for us!  I heard a priest mention in his homily once that 'a Saint is not so much one who loves God, as one who is absolutely convinced that God loves him.'  To feel safe and confident in God's Love, to know that He longs for us, will never reject us, sets us free to just run to Him and hold on, and be hugged and want to love Him back with all our might."

He (the lawyer) answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.’ And he (Jesus) said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’  Luke 10:27-28

To sum up:  I can only love the Lord my God with all my heart, and with all my soul, and with all my strength, and with all my mind, and my neighbor as myself if I regularly contemplate the great Love that God has for me, and if I remain in that Love, follow his commands -- to see and love others as he has loved me and as he exemplified during his time on earth.  The more my job or anything else augments my vanity and pride, the more I have to run back to him, declaring my poverty of spirit, and my absolute need for him.

Again as Patricia wrote in a comment:  "We should gaze on Jesus lovingly in the midst of whatever else we are doing, as St. Teresa of Avila (and Brother Lawrence too) wrote, 'finding God among the pots and pans.'  As I am so small and helpless, I beg for his power to fill me with that grace of recollection, of turning to Him with a gaze or sigh, as we do with those we so love."

Glory to you Lord Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Do You Acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Really In You?

That is the test, St. Paul says.  If you don't acknowledge that, then you have failed the test.  He was writing to the Corinthians in his second letter explaining that backbiting, gossip, obstinacies, disorders come because others are not as we would like them to be.  This was another lesson that the Holy Spirit served up for me this week when I grabbed a few minutes to check out the Office of Readings last Saturday.  I had come off a week which seemed to have daily recurrence of the backbiting, gossip . . . . and that was what was sending me walking around the pond to detox from at least once a day.

Here are his words that spoke to me and may to you as well:

What I am afraid of is that when I come I may find you different from what I want you to be,

and you may find that I am not as you would like me to be, and then there will be wrangling ---
jealousy, and tempers roused, intrigues, and backbiting and gossip, obstinacies, and disorder.

Examine yourselves to make sure you are in the faith; test yourselves.

Do you acknowledge that Jesus Christ is really in you?

If not, you have failed the test.

Try to grow perfect.  Help one another.  Be united, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,

the love of God

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 12:14-13:13)

Many of you have read the following from St. John Mary Vianney and probably as recently as his feast last Saturday, but it is so beautiful and touching and impactful that I wanted to spread this good news around too.  Bold emphasis is mine.

On Prayer
Man has a noble task:  prayer and love.

Prayer is nothing else than union with God.  When the heart is pure and united with God it is consoled and filled with sweetness; it is dazzled by a marvelous light.  In this intimate union, God and the soul are like two pieces of wax molded into one; they cannot any more be separated.

It is a very wonderful thing, this union of God with his insignificant creature, a happiness passing all understanding.

We had deserved to be left incapable of praying, but God in his goodness has permitted us to speak to him.  

Our prayer is an incense that is delightful to God.

My children, your hearts are small, but prayer enlarges them and renders them capable of loving God.

Prayer is a foretaste of heaven, an overflowing of heaven.  It never leaves us without sweetness; it is like honey, it descends into the soul and sweetens everything.

In a prayer well made, troubles vanish like snow under the rays of the sun.

Prayer makes time seem to pass quickly, so pleasantly that one fails to notice how long it is . . . . 

Once almost all my colleagues were ill, and as I made long journeys (to visit them) I used to pray to God, and I assure you, the time did not seem long to me.

There are those who lose themselves in prayer, like a fish in water, because they are absorbed in God.  There is no division in their hearts.

How I love those noble souls!  St. Francis of Assisi and St. Colette saw our Lord and spoke to him as we speak to one another.

How often do we come to church without thinking what we are going to do or for what we are going to ask. And yet when we go to call upon someone, we have no difficulty in remembering why it was we came.  Some appear as if they were about to say to God:  "I am just going to say a couple words, so I can get away quickly."  

I often think that when we come to adore our Lord we should get all we asked for if we asked for it with a lively faith and a pure heart.

That is my prayer for you dear reader, and for myself.

Dear Father please give all who read this and myself  a lively faith and a pure heart.  
In Jesus Name,