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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Culture of Death spreading in Europe??

Will Ireland No Longer Be Pro-Life?

The culture of death seems to be spreading its tendrils and hooking in everywhere.  In the above link discussing the legalization of abortion in Ireland the murder of innocent children might be spreading.  Pray fo the people of Ireland that when they go to the polls they support pro-life candidates and that the culture of death and the breakdown of our culture overall does not continue to spread across Europe.
In His name you are also called to pray for an end to abortion in the United States and throughout the world. Roe versus Wade is incompatible with human dignity. It must not stand. It cannot stand. It will not stand."
Cardinal Justin Rigali, homily at the
Basilica of the National Shrine of the
Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.
January 21, 2008

Prayer for Protection of Human Life at its Beginning

God our Father, you lovingly knit us in our mothers’ womb.  Grant that each human embryo will be respected as a human being, and not dismissed as a product to be manipulated or destroyed. Grant us the courage and conviction to be your voice for our sisters and brothers at the very earliest stages of their development, and for all defenseless unborn children.
Jesus, Divine Healer, foster in those conducting medical research a commitment to finding cures in ways that respect  these little ones and all your vulnerable children.
Holy Spirit, grant us the wisdom to develop morally sound treatments for conditions now thought to be incurable. Help us persevere in defending human life while alleviating suffering.
Show mercy to all who have cooperated in killing our tiniest brothers and sisters. Bring them and all who support destructive embryo research to true conversion. Grant them the ability to see the immeasurable dignity of all human beings even in the first days of life.
Father, we ask this in Jesus’ name, through the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Canadian court rules baby’s life support removed against parents’ wishes

As I was browsing the internet this afternoon I discovered the article posted at the bottom of this post.  It is an article discussing the court overruling parents on how and when their child should die.  The court decided, I repeat, the court decided that baby Joseph's life will be ended on monday.  This complete lack of respect for the dignity of the human life, the casting aside of the will of the parents at the whim of the court, because of a Doctor's say so.  As I try to wrap my head around this idea that this father's baby will be murdered at the whim of the state.  The following is a quote from the article'
“Monday at 10 am they will kill my baby,” Moe Maraachli, Joseph’s father, told LifeSiteNews shortly after the ruling.  “There’s no more humanity.  There’s no more chance.  I’ve tried everything for him.  No more appeals, nothing.”  “
I asked them: why not send him to Windsor and let him die at home?” he continued.  “They said they will give him injection, but I don’t want to.”
“I ask God, and maybe he breathe,” he added.
Can anyone imagine the pain that this father must be in, to know that he has lost control of the life that God entrusted to his care.  It is not the domain of the state to decide how this child is to do die, that domain is God's and God's alone.  Job 12:10, "In [God's] hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says
"Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect...whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists of putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick or dying persons.  It is morally unacceptable"  CCC 2276-77
For more information on overall issues related to life see the Catechism articles 2258-2330

I would ask everyone to read the article, and join the facebook page supporting baby Joseph.
Please join the father as he prays to God,
“I ask God, and maybe he breathe,” he added.
"Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end.  God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end:  no one can under any circumstance claim for himself  the right directly to destroy an innocent human being"  Donum Vitae (5)

‘Death panels’: Canadian court rules baby’s life support removed against parents’ wishes

Facebook page supporting Baby Joseph

                                         Photo from Lifesitenews.com

Prayer for our Courts and Judges

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of our nation.
You alone rule the world with justice,
Yet you place in our hands the solemn duty
of participating in the shaping of our government.
I pray today for our President and Senators
Who have the responsibility of placing judges on our courts.
Please protect this process from all obstruction.
Please send us men and women of wisdom,
Who respect Your law of Life.
Please send us judges with humility,
Who seek Your truth and not their own opinions.
Lord, give all of us the courage we need to do what is right
And to serve you, the Judge of all, with fidelity.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Revealing of the Culture of Death

In recent weeks we have seen many videos come to light showing the lawbreaking and complete lack of respect that Planned Parenthood employees have for women.  This complete lack of respect has been seemingly systemic throughout Planned Parenthood.  They blatantly disregard the law as it is convienent for them.  This article from lifenews is another example of this, those of us fighting for life need to make these atrocities as known as possible. 

Planned Parenthood Tried to Force Raped Teen to Have Abortion

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Prayer to St. Joseph

O' Gentle and caring St. Joseph, Guardian of our Lord,
Protector of the Holy Family and humble carpenter.
Be with us and guide us as we seek to do the work of your Son.
Give us the humble spirit of a carpenter,
that we might rebuild your Church.
That through your intercession,
we might rebuild the hearts of men and women everywhere.
That we become what it means to be true men and women,
through your son Jesus Christ.
That through humbleness, simple witness, and hard work;
we become strong men and woman of faith.
Know our brokeness and our weakness.
Give us the strength to know that your wife , foster son Jesus,
are always at our side to aid us.
Help us to know that we are able to turn to you when we need strength,
and draw upon your protection.

Lend us your strength O' humble carpenter,
foster father of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We beseech thee to intercede on our behalf of your Son,
and give us the strength to focuse on the task ahead.
That we as men and women of God,
come to emulate your humbleness, purity and obedience,
as we seek to follow your son Jesus Christ.

St. Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Family...Pray for us
St. Joseph, Guardian of Life.....................Pray for us
St. Joseph, Terror of demons...................Pray for us
St. Joseph, Protector of the Church..........Pray for us

Amen

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Conversion, Reversion and Transformation

We here so many things about those who have converted to the faith, those who have reverted back to their Catholic roots.  These events are great and wonderful things.  We are called to evangelize and call to conversion all those who are searching for the truth, those that are lost in the fog we call modern culture.  However, conversion is just the first of many steps as so many I am sure are aware.  I am personally a quote “revert” meaning a cradle Catholic who has come back to the faith through a profound and transforming experience.  As Catholics, as Christians, we are called to continuing transformation both internally in mind and heart and externally in our actions.  Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Simple question is how do we do this?  By what power or effect does this transformation come about?  While some of it is the act of will of the person to want to be transformed through Christ, it truly begins with Baptism and the gift of Sanctifying Grace. 

“It is important to grasp that Sanctifying Grace is a real transformation of the soul.  The Church teaches that the very substance of the soul is renewed, the soul is affected in its very being so that it can well be called a new creation: it has a new life in it, a life with its own vital "organs" and operations, so that it can now perform actions at the level of its new being, actions which because they are supernatural can merit a supernatural reward. Thus it is that St. Paul speaks of us as "in Christ a new creature" ( 2 Cor. 5.17), "the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth."  Frank Sheed
The next question is how do we receive and keep this wonderful gift of grace.  The Sacraments are the way that we receive grace.  We must keep close to the Sacraments, for it is through the Sacraments that God works in our souls for the transformation that we all long for. 
CCC §1275 Christian initiation is accomplished by three sacraments together: Baptism, which is the beginning of new life; Confirmation, which is its strengthening; and the Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with Christ's Body and Blood for his transformation in Christ.
The world tries to distract and tells us that it is material things that matter.  Ultimately, that fallacy is shown by those who have everything and realize that suddenly they have nothing.  St. Augustine says, “Our hearts are restless until they dwell in you O’ Lord.”  So then, the question that brings us to is that after going to the Sacraments and receiving all this grace am I different.  Do I resolve to work harder to conform myself to Christ?  After going to confession and receiving the gift of our sins forgiven, do we resolve to do better?  Do we take the words of the Act of Contrition to heart? 
Act of Contrition: 
“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins, because of Your just punishments, but most of all because they offend You, my God, who are all-good and deserving of all my love.  I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin.”  Amen.
CCC 1695 Healing the wounds of sin, the Holy Spirit renews us interiorly through a spiritual transformation.  (Cf. Eph 4:23)  He enlightens and strengthens us to live as "children of light" through "all that is good and right and true.  (Eph 5:8, 9)
The Disciples all experience this radical transformation.  We are all called to this internal transformation.  Our life then must be one of witness of this great gift of spiritual transformation that God in his gracious mercy bestows upon us.  This transformation is the essence of the Christian life.  The question is then asked, “What is the Christian life?”  Pope Paul VI has an excellent answer for us:
Now the Christian life may be defined as a continual search for perfection.  This definition is not complete, because it is purely subjective, and omits many other aspects of the Christian life.  It is exact, however, in the sense that the kingdom of God, the economy of salvation, the relationship established by Christianity between our littleness and the greatness of God, His ineffable transcendence, His infinite goodness demands a transformation, a purification, a moral and spiritual elevation of man called to so great a destiny.  It requires the search for, and the effort toward a personal state of feeling, thought and mentality, a way of conduct, and a wealth of grace and gifts that we call perfection.”
Will you be transformed?  Will you let God work in your life to transform you? 
Be transformed in Christ for it is through this that we come closer to the divine, which in itself is the summation of Unity, Truth, Beauty and Goodness.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand.  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.  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.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.”  Philippians 4:4-9

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Prayer: Get on Your Knees and Do It

     This is a link to a blog post about the 7 reasons you sometimes stink at praying.  When examining the list I was suddenly all too aware that most if not all of these applied to me.  Pausing to think about when do I pray and is it a set time or is God squeezed into my day.  How many excuses do I have and hmm why bother I am sure God has heard them all (The dog ate my prayerbook probably won't work)  So take a moment and read these 7 reasons and see how many apply to you.  Then reflect on that and examine your day, is there time to pray, how many excuses are you making.  I know that I myself have many different ones.  My tendency is to pray late at night and I fall asleep before I get too far into my prayers.  Anyways here is the link take a moment and reflect and then a short description of what prayer is will follow

7 Reasons I Stink at Praying

     So prayer - we all do it, most of the time when we are in need of something or want something from God.  Maybe when we are thanking him for something received.  How often do you pray just to pray.  Sit down, kneel down, lay down or whatever position strikes your fancy and talk to God, let Him know that you are there and that you are interested in his input. 
"For me prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy."  St. Therese of Lisieux

     When we go to the Catechism of the Catholic Church we hear that prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.  (CCC 2559)   How easy it can be to request things from God but never lift our mind and hear to him.  I am as guilty of this as are most people, it is natural throughout the day to request things from God.  Please let this light turn, this traffic to end, this meeting to go well, help me stay awake in class, help me get through______God.  A lot of times there isn't time for anything else in the hustle and bustle of today's working world.  However, when you get home and your day has winded down, the kids are in bed and whatnot (by no means do I easily dismiss the awesome responsibility and work it is to be a parent).  But when the day is done do you lift your mind and heart to God and thank you for those things that went well and for those things that did not.  There is a great quote from the movie Facing the Giants: 
"I want God to bless this team so much people will talk about what He did. But it means we gotta give Him our best in every area. And if we win, we praise Him. And if we lose, we praise Him. Either way we honor Him with our actions and our attitudes. So I'm askin' you... What are you living for? I resolve to give God everything I've got, then I'll leave the results up to Him. I want to know if you'll join me."
While this applies to many different things, prayer is one of them.  Do you take the time to thank God for the day for what went right and what went wrong.  Then the wisdom to maybe see that God had you exactly where you needed to be that day whether it seemed like things were going right or wrong at the time.  When we pray the Catechism tells us it must be from a humble and contrite heart.  "He who humbles himself will be exalted, humility is the foundation of prayer.  Only when we humbly acknowledge that we do not know how to pray as we ought are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer.  Man is a beggar before God."  (CCC 2559)  Throughout all of this it needs to be remembered that God has called us first, He desires this relationship.  God gradually reveals himself to us and prayer is our reciprocal to that revealing from God.

     For those who seem to have trouble organizing their prayer life or prayer time there are many aids including the Liturgy of the Hours and other daily prayer books.  There is also the idea of doing it early, and getting it done.  I don't mean this to say that you should rush through prayer or that the morning is the only time that you should pray.  However, this is time that you set aside for God and dedicate it solely to Him.

     During this time of prayer I would propose that there are four moments that occur within the one movement that is prayer.  Thanksgiving, Adoration, Petition, and Sorrow.  First you thank God for the day for whatever is going well and possibly for things that didn't go your way that you know see the reasons why.  Then you praise and adore Him, he is God and deserves our praise and adoration.  Then ask him for what you need, be honest, be open, be sincere, he already knows what you are going to ask Him, so don't hold back.  Finally tell him your sorry and that you will resolve to do better.  Prayer, like the Mass is one of the lifebloods that helps us maintain our relationship with God and to grow that relationship.

     The Catechism lays out for us five different kinds of prayer.  Blessing and Adoration, Petition, Intercession, Thanksgiving and Praise.  (CCC 2626-2649)  Take some time and read about each type of prayer and understand what is distinct about each.  The only one that I would like to mention in specific is that of Prayer of Intercession.  Mary and her prayers of intercession bookend the public ministry of Jesus Christ.  At Cana and at the Cross.  At the Marriage at Cana she intercedes for the needs of the wedding feast.  Then again Mary is present at the Crucifixion when the lamb sacrifices His body and blood at the request of the bride, here Mary becomes the "Mother of all living" and when she is is in heaven, our intercessor who always has the ear of her Son.

     Thus I have two challanges to give.  The first is related to intercession.  Many times we go around and tell people we will pray for them.  How many times do you actually pray for them beyond that moment.  Make the point to pray for those whom you promise to pray for.  This challange of intercession is to everyone including myself, make the time to intercede on behalf of those who have asked it of you.  Second reflect on the seven points brought up in the link and try to pick one and focus on making that aspect of your prayer life better for a week/month.  We are constantly working to improve our prayer lives and we need to encourage and help each other.  For as Proverbs 27:17 says "Iron sharpens iron, and one man[woman] sharpens another."

Monday, February 7, 2011

Great Post about Families and Faith

Since my theme of late has been about the family, this is a blog post from my home diocese about how families need to take charge of the their childrens faith

Kevin Keenan blog about Families and faith

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Family: Live and Transmit the Faith Part 3 of 3

This is the last part of a three part series, that is a paper I wrote on Pope Benedict XVI's thoughts on the family.  In the last post we heard about the family and its importance.  Also the openeness to life that must be a part of a solid marriage and family.  This section discusses the responsibilities of the family to this precious life that they choose to bring into this world.  May God bless all parents and the wonderful gift of life that graces their lives and that they may be able to live up to the responsibility that God gives to all families

Part 3 of 3

The family thus becomes the place where the faith is nurtured, taught, and one of the places where conversion can occur.  The family has the responsibility of guiding the child to the faith.  “The family is the primary place of evangelization, for passing on the faith, for helping young people to appreciate the importance of religious practice and Sunday observance.”[1]  It falls to parents to foster this appreciation of the faith and the traditions that come with it.  To guide them to an authentic understanding of the faith and thus parents are called to renew their faith so that they will be able to communicate effectively the faith to future generations not only to their children, but also hopefully to their children’s children.[2]  “Parents have the right and the inalienable duty…to foster the responsible exercise of their [children’s] moral freedom and their ability to love on the basis of their having been loved; and above all to enable them to encounter God.”[3]  Christian parents are then called to be a credible witness of the faith and hope that they have in Christ ensure that the good news of Christ reaches their children with the highest degree of clearness and authenticity.  Following there needs to be cultivated a capacity for discernment in order to foster right judgment.[4]  “Children have the right to be educated in authentic moral values rooted in the dignity of the human person.”[5]  One of the essential ways that the Christian family can pass on the faith is through teaching their children how to pray and to pray with them.  By uniting themselves in prayer together, they unite themselves to Christ.  Parents must also lead their children to the sacraments and into fullness into the life of the Church.  Christian parents have the duty to let the light of faith shine on their families and through this exercise; they raise their family to God.[6]  Pope Benedict can be heard exhorting parents during a homily to help their children learn the faith.
“Dear Parents!  I [Pope Benedict] ask you to help your children to grow in faith, I ask you to accompany them on their journey towards First Communion, a journey which continues beyond that day, and to keep accompanying them as they make their way to Jesus and with Jesus.  Please, go with your children to Church and take part in the Sunday Eucharistic celebration!  You will see that this is not time lost; rather, it is the very thing that can keep your family truly united and centered.  Sunday becomes more beautiful, the whole week becomes more beautiful, when you go to Sunday Mass together.”[7]

This quote shows the passion and desire that the Pope has, families to be united in faith, that through faith they will grow closer together and stronger in their bonds of love.  Only through God who brought the family into existence and together in the first place will be found the strength to keep it together.  “Only faith in Christ and only sharing the faith of the Church saves the family; and on the other hand, only if the family is saved can the Church also survive.”[8]
            Families that teach about the faith must teach it authentically, truthfully and thus accordingly have the duty to teach truth to their children.  “One must then be re-educated to the desire to know authentic truth, to defend one’s own freedom of choice…to nourish passion for moral beauty and a clear conscience.  This is the delicate duty of parents…and it is the duty of the Christian community.”[9]  It falls to the family to be the area where morality and conscience is formed.  It is in this community where “the child is taught to worship and love God, learning the grammar of human and moral values and learning to make good use of freedom of truth.”[10]  Therefore, it is shown that the family whose fundamental necessity is shown in the natural law is on the supernatural level the fundamental school of Christian formation. 
It then falls to the family, rooted in Christ that must be the first school of education in morality and values.  “The family is also a school which enables men and women to grow to the full measure of their humanity.  The experience of being loved by their parents helps children to become aware of their dignity as children.”[11]  Through authentic love, which all marriages and families are called to, the growth of the humanity of their children occurs.  The light of truth is ignited in them and authentic freedom can be experienced.  The definitive “yes” is given to Gods plan and of his calling us to choose him and by extension to choose all that is good, true, and beautiful.  Parents guard this freedom to choose and are called to cultivate it properly so that the child grows in the fullness of his/her humanity as ordained by God.[12]  When families properly cultivate this atmosphere in their homes, they have a “unity and strength that helps society to breath genuine human values.”[13]  The evidence is abundant for when this cultivation does not occur properly, the culture that is around us today is an example of this.  A modernity that is not rooted in authentic human values is threatened by instability and the confusion of roles that is currently occurring in the world.
The family is thus the first teaching moment that is brought forth where the child can learn authentic Christian values and morality.  It is the innermost nucleus of truth about man and his destiny.  Today’s culture seems to have a lack of attention to these aspects of truth that are brought forth by Pope Benedict XVI.  The necessity of the family is written in the natural law and elevated by Christ by his simple birth into a human family and growing in wisdom under the tutelage of Mary and Joseph.  Society today seems to be ignoring the obvious in their quest for what they believe to be truth when they are in truth violating laws that should not be violated.  “Therefore, no law made by man can override the norm written by the creator without society’s becoming dramatically wounded in what constitutes its basic foundation.  To forget this would mean to weaken the family, penalizing the children and rendering the future of society precarious.”[14]  Society stands on a precipice as new definitions of what marriage fundamentally is, and what families fundamental are is being explored.  The Pope reminds us to look to the Family of Nazareth may it be for our families and communities the object of constant and confident prayer as well as their life model.





[1] Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Benedict in America: The Full Texts of Papal Talks Given During His Apostolic Visit to the United States (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008), page 47.
[2] Cf. “Benedict XVI On World Meeting of Families,” Catholic Online, http://www.catholic.org/featured/headline.php?ID=3449 (accessed September 21, 2010).
[3] Pope Benedict XVI, “World Congress of Families: What Parents Should Do (given as a Homily),” Catholic Insight 14, no. 8 (September 2006): 12-14.
[4] Cf. ibid.
[5] Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Benedict in America: The Full Texts of Papal Talks Given During His Apostolic Visit to the United States (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008), page 49.
[6] Cf. Pope Benedict XVI, “World Congress of Families: What Parents Should Do (given as a Homily),” Catholic Insight 14, no. 8 (September 2006): 12-14.
[7] Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Homily at Vespers in Munich, Germany, September 2006, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 88.
[8] Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Meeting with members of the Roman clergy, March 2006, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 85.
[9] Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Address to members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, February 2006, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 79.
[10] Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Address to the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, May 2008, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 84.
[11] Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Address at the prayer vigil for the Fifth World Meeting of Families in Valencia, Spain, July 2006, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 26.
[12] Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Message for the Forty-First World Communications Day, January 2007, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 47.
[13] Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Address to the participants of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, May 2006, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 26.
[14] Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Address to participants in the International Congress on Natural Moral Law, February 2007, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 6.

The following is the bibliography of resources used for the paper that appeared in the three sections over the past few days
Bibliography
Pope Benedict XVI: Family. Spiritual Thought Series. Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009.

“Benedict XVI On World Meeting of Families.” Catholic Online. http://www.catholic.org/featured/headline.php?ID=3449 (accessed September 21, 2010).

Pope Benedict XVI. “Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace.” The Holy See. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/peace/documents (accessed October, 27 2010).

Pope Benedict XVI. Pope Benedict in America: The Full Texts of Papal Talks Given During His Apostolic Visit to the United States. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2008.

Pope Benedict XVI. Questions and Answers. Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor, 2008.

Pope Benedict XVI. “World Congress of Families: What Parents Should Do (given as a Homily).” Catholic Insight 14, no. 8 (September 2006): 12-14.

Coulet, Jean-Michel, ed. An Invitation to Faith: An A to Z Primer On the Thought of Pope Benedict. Translated by Kate Marcelin-Rice. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007.

Ratzinger, Joseph Cardinal. Christianity And The Crisis Of Cultures. Translated by Brian McNeil. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009.

Ratzinger, Joseph Cardinal. Values in a Time of Upheaval. Translated by Brian McNeil. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006.

Schurmann, Heinz, Joseph Ratzinger, and Hans Urs von Balthasar. Principles of Christian Morality. Translated by Graham Harrison. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986.

New Youth Catechism

The publication of the new youth Catechism by the Vatican is very exciting moment for the youth of our Church.  For those who struggle in reading the 1992 Catechism, from what I hear this will provide a simplified document that is understandable by all youth.  It is not only youth that should heed this new catechism.  As a catechist it is very exciting to have another resource to reach the youth of our age in their own language.  For those who struggle to reach the youth of today and educate them about doctrinal matters this will be an invaluable resource to aid them.  I look forward to march when the publication of this document is scheduled.  Attached is also an article by Pope Benedict XVI praising the new youth Catechism.

Pope promotes 'gripping' new Youth Catechism

Friday, February 4, 2011

John Paul II: Familiaris Consortio, On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World [1981]

Given the recent few posts about the Family and its importance in the world this is a excellent article about Familiaris Consortio which was written by our late Holy Father John Paul the Great.  Also there is a link to the document itself in case you have never read this excellent document by our late Holy Father

A Family Manifesto: How to Read Familiaris Consortio

FAMILIARIS CONSORTIO

Family: Live and Transmit the Faith Part 2 of 3

This is the 2nd of 3 parts of my paper on the family, reflecting the thoughts of Pope Benedict XVI.  The last portion of the paper discussed the importance of marriage and ended with the discussion that God at his very heart is love.  Love something that is such abundance nowadays it seems like, but when you pause to reflect is it really?  Is true authentic love that imitates to the best of our ability the divine love of God in an abundance or is it slowly fading into the lesser love of eros love.

Part 2 of 3

            The necessity of authentic agape love as well as eros love in marriage and by extension the family is shown in the self-giving nature of love.  “The experience of being welcomed and loved by God and by our parents is always the firm foundation for authentic human grown and authentic [moral] development, helping us to mature on the way towards truth and love.”[1]  The welcoming love of the family, not only parents but also, grandparents and relatives is essential in the formation of the person, how can one learn love, and by extension truth if they have never, felt loved.  “The family is the privileged setting where every person learns to give and receive love.”[2]  Love is such a great gift, and the greatest gift that can be given by parents to their children so that they can learn that example, apply, and follow it in their own lives.  The Christian faith helps families as they journey along this road.  “Christian faith and ethics do not wish to stifle love but to make it healthy, strong, and truly free:  This is the exact meaning of the Ten Commandments, which are not a series of no’s but a great ‘yes’ to love and to life.”[3]  Love is not the guarantee of a problem free life, suffering is a part of our fallen nature, and where many families began to falter is when there is the onset of suffering.  However, “we must accept the crisis in which it seems that it is no longer possible to stay together.  Husbands and wives must learn to move ahead together…love one another anew with a love far deeper and far truer.  So it is that on a long journey, with its suffering, love truly matures.”[4]  When the going gets tough for marriages and families, the tough must get relying on God and through Him mature in himself or herself. 
            A foundational aspect of the family is that it needs God to survive.  So much today is seen the absence of God in the lives of young couples and all too much those lives end in the pain of divorce.  This is easily remedied since “each generation, all parenthood, and every family has its origin in God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”[5]  Accordingly, God is the origin of the family, which makes perfect sense since he is the origin of all life.  “Without trust in God, without trust in Christ who in addition gives us the ability to believe and to live, the family cannot survive.”[6]  The family finds its basis in God and if he is not present then things begin to fall apart.  He is the stabilizing force that brings order and meaning to the existence of the family.  “The family is a living organism…and what is important is that the Word of God, which keeps the flame of faith alive never be lacking.”[7]  Consequently, the foundational aspect of God is shown in the family and the necessity to keep the faith alive and vibrant in the home.
            The family, which is under attack and under revision in today’s culture, is a foundational aspect of society, which must be maintained.  “None of us gave ourselves life or single-handedly learned how to live.  All of us received from others both life itself and its basic truths.”[8]  Life must have come from somewhere and thus the vital role that authentic family life plays in society.  “The family, founded on marriage, is the ‘patrimony of humanity,’ a fundamental social institution; it is vital cell and pillar of society…the family is an intermediate institution between individuals and society, and nothing can completely take its place.”[9]  The family is what holds our society together.  Without the traditional family, there would be what could amount to chaos due to the lack of any guidance given to children.  In the extreme sense as seen most significantly in Europe is the serve population decline due to the lack of children.  This lack of children stems from the lack of a solid family foundation.  The family is a necessary good for peoples, indispensable foundation for society, and something that should always be treasured.  For children the traditional family atmosphere is a unique good because children are the fruit of the complete self-giving love of the parents, who gave them life.[10]  “The family is irreplaceable for the personal serenity it provides for the upbringing of children.”[11]  The family is the primary societal foundation that allows for the growth of society but in the direction of solid faith and morals orientated towards God without which the family would cease to exist.
            The human family and in specific each family must have an openness to life.  The fruit of the self-giving love of spouses is meant to be children.  The family is a safe and peaceful place where life can be brought into existence and nurtured in the faith and truth.  “I [Pope Benedict] would like to stress the fundamental vocation of the family to be the first principal place where life is welcomed.”[12]  Many times, it is seen that unwanted life is murdered by abortion and this is the sad reality of the world today.  Life is not welcomed it is seen as undesirable and a burden.  Families are not formed completely because of this lack of openness to life.  They see their marriage as lacking something but cannot place their finger on what it is.  However, they have closed themselves off to the very thing that would bring fulfillment.  “The family…is the “cradle” of life and of every vocation”[13]  Without the vocation to family life and to marriage all other vocations would evaporate.  Life comes from the self-giving of two people brought together by God, forged into one flesh that bring a new life into the world.  This new life is their responsibility to educate in the ways of faith and truth.


[1] Pope Benedict XVI, “World Congress of Families: What Parents Should Do (given as a Homily),” Catholic Insight 14, no. 8 (September 2006): 12-14.
[2] Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Address at the prayer vigil for the Fifth World Meeting of Families in Valencia, Spain, July 2006, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 23.
[3] Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Address to participants in the ecclesial diocesan convention of Rome, July 2006, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 70.
[4] Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Meeting with priests of the Diocese of Albano, August 2006, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 72.
[5] Pope Benedict XVI, “World Congress of Families: What Parents Should Do (given as a Homily),” Catholic Insight 14, no. 8 (September 2006): 12-14.
[6] Pope Benedict XVI, Questions and Answers (Huntington, Ind.: Our Sunday Visitor, 2008), page 32.
[7] “Benedict XVI On World Meeting of Families,” Catholic Online, http://www.catholic.org/featured/headline.php?ID=3449 (accessed September 21, 2010).
[8] Pope Benedict XVI, “World Congress of Families: What Parents Should Do (given as a Homily),” Catholic Insight 14, no. 8 (September 2006): 12-14.
[9] Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Address to the participants of the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, May 2006, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 22-23.
[10] Cf. Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Address at the prayer vigil for the Fifth World Meeting of Families in Valencia, Spain, July 2006, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 24.
[11] Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Address to the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean in Aparecida, Brazil, May 2007, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 25.
[12] Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Visit to St. Martha’s Dispensary, Vatican City, Dec. 2005, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 21.
[13] Pope Benedict XVI: Family, Angelus, February 2007, Spiritual Thought Series (Washington D.C.: USCCB, 2009), page 36.


Last section, part 3 will be posted tomorrow