Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stand up, Be Heard, Defend Life

Life so simple and taken for granted by so many and yet here with this statistic in NYC 4 in 10 new lives are being aborted, their life taken away before they even have a chance to voice it.  Pause for a moment and consider that, 4 out of 10, 40 out of 100, and 400 out of 1000.  I try to wrap my head around those numbers and I cannot, it is so unfathomable that so many lives would be erased without even getting the chance to see the light.  Today we mark the passing of Roe v. Wade and the beginning of legalizing abortion in the US. 

The following is some quotes assembled from Popes and the documents of the Church on Pro-Life issues:

"We cannot but recognize that, in practical terms, defending human life has become more difficult today, because a mentality has been created that progressively devalues human life and entrusts it to the judgment of individuals.  A consequence deriving there from is lessened respect for the human person, a value that lies at the foundation of any form of civil coexistence, over and above the faith a person may profess."
~ Pope Benedict XVI, speaking to the Italian Movement for Life, May 12, 2008 ~

"The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself. This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right -- it is the very opposite. It is a deep wound in society."
~ Pope Benedict XVI ~

"We are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the "culture of death,” and the "culture of life.”  We find ourselves not only "faced with" but necessarily "in the midst of" this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.”  Gospel of Life #28 – John Paul II

CCC §2271 - Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion.  This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.  Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.  (see note 75)  God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves.  Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.

CCC §2274 - Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.  Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, "if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . .  It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence."

Simply stated it is human life, when you look at an ultrasound and you see life growing within someone there is no greater thing.  There is no greater thing than life, the creation of and nurturing of is an act ordained by God and should never be so brutally or violently interrupted as is done during an abortion.

John Paul II's Closing prayer of Evangelium Vitae
O Mary,
bright dawn of the new world,
Mother of the living,
to you do we entrust the cause of life
Look down, O Mother,
upon the vast numbers
of babies not allowed to be born,
of the poor whose lives are made difficult,
of men and women
who are victims of brutal violence,
of the elderly and the sick killed
by indifference or out of misguided mercy.
Grant that all who believe in your Son
may proclaim the Gospel of life
with honesty and love
to the people of our time.
Obtain for them the grace
to accept that Gospel
as a gift ever new,
the joy of celebrating it with gratitude
throughout their lives
and the courage to bear witness to it
resolutely, in order to build,
together with all people of good will,
the civilization of truth and love,
to the praise and glory of God,
the Creator and lover of life.
God Our Father, Giver of life,
we entrust the United States of America
to Your loving care.
You are the rock
on which this nation was founded.
You alone are the true source
of our cherished rights
to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Reclaim this land for Your glory
and dwell among Your people.

Send Your Spirit to touch the hearts
of our nation's leaders.
Open their minds
to the great worth of human life
and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom.
Remind Your people that true happiness
is rooted in seeking and doing Your will.

Through the intercession of
Mary Immaculate, Patroness of our land,
grant us the courage to reject
the "culture of death."
Lead us into a new millennium of life.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord.

Prayer to the Virgin Mary

O Mary, Mother of Jesus and Mother of us all, we turn to you today as the one who said "Yes" to Life. "You will conceive and bear a Son," the angel told you. Despite the surprise and the uncertainty about how this could be, you said yes. "Be it done unto me according to your word."
Mary, we pray today for all mothers who are afraid to be mothers. We pray for those who feel threatened and overwhelmed by their pregnancy. Intercede for them, that God may give them the grace to say yes and the courage to go on. May they have the grace to reject the false solution of abortion. May they say with you, "Be it done unto me according to your word." May they experience the help of Christian people, and know the peace that comes from doing God's will. Amen.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Light of Christ - We are called to be light in the darkness

“For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret; but when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light.  Therefore it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.”  – Ephesians 5:8-14
We are but mirrors for the light of Christ to shine in the darkness.  Let Christ reflect off our mirrors and shine through our brokenness.  As I think about this, I wonder for how long has my mirror been shattered, damaged, broken pieces some on the ground, some still clinging to the frame, and others half off ready to fall.  My light instead of shining forth in fullness was weak and just slivers of what it could be.  I knew I needed to allow Christ to repair it.  However, I was deep in sin and yet Christ reached out, pulled me out of it, and guided me into his light.  In turn I saw the brightness of the light and desired it and to share it more fully.  God asked me if I wanted him to repair the mirror and I did but I was afraid.  Jesus came, calmed my fear, and told me to trust in him, it might be painful at times but he would be gentle as possible and always be holding my hand.  I saw the light of Christ burst through the darkness, as a beacon in the night, a lighthouse whose beam pierces the fog.  I was shown the light of Christ like never before, through friends, family, those that I served, and those that served me.  I realized then just how shattered and damaged my own mirror had become and truly wished it to be healed and made complete.  Slowly Jesus started to gather up the shattered pieces that lie on the path that was behind me, the path that I had walked.  Sometimes the shards were sharp and cut him, sometimes so deep that I see the red blood dripping from his hands.  I go to reach out and He looks up and says fear not for the price has already been paid; I love you so much that it pains Me so much more to see you so broken.  This is blood that I sacrificed freely for all and he continued to gather up pieces.  Sometimes He would find a piece that would belong perfectly to my mirror and would reach up to put it in its place.  I shied away in fear but he echoed the words, “Be not Afraid.”  Trust, not that it would not hurt but that He would be there always holding my hand.  He reached up again to place it and I surrendered to him and believed He could heal me.  I felt His hand touch my heart and felt pain and heartache, both physically and spiritually, I cried out and He was there.  I received the healing of the Lord and He healed the piece to where it belonged and helped me through the pain, the memories that came with it, and the forgiveness that must be given and received.  He was so gentle, so loving, and his hand caressed my face as I cried out in pain.  When I felt alone in my pain, He assured me was there and it would be over soon for He had already experienced most of the pain for me.  However, I needed to experience that piece of my life, that piece of darkness and while I would feel the pain of it, then I would be healed from it.  Through this, I always felt the love of God piercing through my pain, a reassurance of light in my darkness.  Finally a light burst forth from His hand and He pulled it away and that small piece was once more a part of the whole and it shined a little brighter than before.  Jesus reached for another broken piece, this one seemed jagged and with lots of sharp edges.  I could see how it pained Him but before he brought it to my heart to be healed, He took the sharp edges and made them smooth with His hands, redeeming my sin and brokenness.  Then bringing his hand to my heart, once more I gazed into His loving eyes and trusted him, surrendered my fear to Him, believing that He could heal me and received His healing touch.  I knew it would hurt but that His love was greater than my pain and I trusted Him to always be there for me.  There were many broken pieces and I saw in them much pain and sorrow but I knew that He would heal them all, but only as I was able to receive them.  That I would be purified through Him and made whole so that I could be the beacon in the darkness shining forth with the light of Christ, for a city on a hill shall not be hidden.  We are called to shine forth with one light and as each shard is healed that I come to know Him more and reflect the light of Christ that little bit more.  In the words of John Paul the Great, “Be not Afraid.”  Therefore, I am no longer afraid of my broken pieces of mirror and everything they hold, but embrace them as I can allow myself to be healed through them and the love of Christ.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, New Thoughts, New Choices, Same God - Always Faithful

New Years is always a time for looking back, reflecting on the year, looking forward, and resolving to do better in the New Year.  This process of reflecting and resolving seems to be an inevitable part of the human experience.  Many times this involves doubting oneself, feeling guilty for things not accomplished, complaining about all the bad things that happened, and rejoicing about all the good things.  In all this reflecting and resolving are you taking into account God and thanking him and asking him for help in the new year and what He wants to do for you in 2011.  The following are some thoughts and questions that made me think about what occurred and what did not occur in the past year and how God’s plan was perfect even if I didn’t seem to see it then.

Did you take time to thank God for all the blessings in your life or just grumble to Him about all the not so great things that happen? 

Did you see the little blessings even in the most irritating of moments?
Know that God has a plan and that at that moment you were exactly where he needed you to be

How did you serve others over the past year?  Your family, friends, co-workers, people you saw that were in need?

Did you keep your promises?  When you give your word, do people believe or just blow it off?
Is your word as good as a bond, do people respect that when you give your word things will get done or do they blow it off as he/she says it will happen but we will see.  When you make a promise keep it, your word is your bond make sure it has value

Where did God fit in, was He first every day, or was He squeezed into those few spare moments
God wishes to be a part of our everyday and every minute, never forget that He is always there even when it seems like you are the desert places with no one around

Did you fight for life, and for the culture of life, and most importantly for those that do not have a voice, the unborn, and the elderly?
Life is precious and every life has dignity imbued by God in creation, I challenge everyone to be a voice for the voiceless and to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves

As we make resolutions for the New Year, resolve to put God at the center of whatever you do and in this knowing that whatever you do is part of His plan for you.  Suffering and struggles in this world are passing and cannot compare to the Joy we will have in the next life.

Final Reflection:
On this day, God wants you to know... that tonight you can turn your worries to God, and have a good night's sleep.  You have been worrying too much about the future lately.  So tonight, go ahead, put your faith in God, and just have a peaceful evening and a restful sleep.

Numbers 6:22-27
“The LORD said to Moses, "Say to Aaron and his sons, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The LORD bless you and keep you:  The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you:  The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.  "So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them."